Monday, March 25, 2013

ADOPT Stamped Shirt + An Announcement

We love adoption.
I come from an adoption heavy family with multiple adopted family members including my dad, who is one of my favorite people in the world world. Times 10 thousand. It's his story, and he's a private man, so it wouldn't be fair to share much about it publicly  But it is safe to say that my dad didn't have the most successful adoption. It was rather messy and resulted in him having two families as a teenager that were completely separate from the people who adopted him originally. I still have a hard time explaining my dad's side to outsiders. It really doesn't make sense to the outside world at all.
I remember being about 6 years old and hearing about my dad's 'childhood'. I remember off-handed comments being made by family from the adopted side questioning whether or not I was really family. I remember clearly thinking, "This should never happen. Some day I'm going to grow up and adopt a child, and I'm going to do it right".
Because adoption is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Literally. I cannot hear an adoption story without sobbing. They wreck me. People who have adopted or are adopted can't get away, I must hear their entire story. Twice. Actually- sometimes it gets me in trouble. Back when I was a pastor, I met a little girl who was about 8 years old, her name was Lucia. I told her it was such a beautiful name and she said, "My mom got me in St. Lucia, so she named me Lucia"... instantly my eyes welled up with tears and I launched into a tirade about how special she was and how loved she must be by her parents that of all the children in the world they chose her, etc. I went on forever. Short and concise? Never. The whole time Lucia just stared at me with a look that was part 'you're crazy' and part 'obviously, I'm special' ... and I just assumed she was too young to grasp the concept. So anyway, later that day I decided to research adoption in St. Lucia to see if it was a good, ethical option. And it struck me... um... why did the little girl have big blue eyes, fair skin and super blond hair if she was adopted from St. Lucia?
Are you already ahead of me?
Her mom was using the phrase, "got you" in a much different way than my pre-disposed to adoption brain realized. It was code for "conceived". Open mouth, insert foot.
Anyway- the desire to adopt has been so ingrained and strong since childhood that I've never even wanted to birth biological children. However, it wasn't a decision I could make on my own- obviously there was this looming factor of "husband" and how he would weigh in.
Thank God.
I can't say that John was always 100% on board with adopting. I don't know that it comes naturally to many people. But he is the best of men, and no one in the world was more perfect for me. You may or may not know that he took a trip a few summers ago to be part of filming a documentary about sex-trafficking in Asia (Thailand and Cambodia). He spent a lot of time in orphanages and daycare safe-centers for children of trafficked women and his whole world view changed. Suddenly, seeing all of these sweet faces who needed loving, stable families gave a new perspective. The idea of adoption really spoke to his heart and he developed his own, personal passion for it. That's really key in adoption, the whole family needs to buy in. I have so much to write about this, so many things to say about the everlasting pain and disconnection that can come from family members (grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins... ) who don't see an adopted child as 100% fully part of the family. It's just so important.
If you're considering adoption, having a conversation with your family is one of the first steps.
SO- all of that to say- this year we are starting the adoption process! We have been knee deep in paperwork and packets for months and months. At first we were only open to international adoption, but now we'd really love to adopt a waiting foster child as well. We have picked out an agency we'd like to work with and are going to attend some meetings to really nail down the next steps.
There are a million requirements for adoption and they vary depending on what sort of adoption you'd like to commit to, but we meet the basics for most which is why we can now start. The only thing we don't have is a home, which we're hoping to purchase this year. Then we can really get moving!
No matter how we slice it, adoption is expensive. That's why we created these shirts! They were done way back during my BBC Sweatshirt Refashion week (Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Doctor Who) and feature elements from all of the refashions, including hand dyeing and stamping. We'll be selling them to help fund the rest of the down payment on our home and the adoption process (which if done internationally can soar to 60K). This will take us a few years, but we're commited. If you'd like to help- please consider buying one of these awesome ADOPT shirts. The highlighted ADOPT on back was inspired by a shirt from Whatsewever Designs. We wrote to her and asked permission to use the idea and it was given, please do not use the idea without her consent. The rest of the design is ours. We'll be selling them from Etsy for $20. Each is hand crafted and therefore they vary and have slight imperfections- just like people :).
Have you adopted before? Are you adopted? I'd LOVE to hear your story! Please comment below. I've interviewed dozens of adopters and adoptees during the last 20+ years, some had great experiences and some had awful... and all of the stories have helped to influence and give guidance for what to do and not to do! If you're against adoption, please refrain from commenting. I have a massive history with it and fully, 100% believe that loving and caring for a child who would otherwise be without a family is always the right choice. I do realize that some (awful) people have taken advantage of the system and used international adoption as a way to traffic children. The amount of time we have spent in the fight against trafficked children has been helpful in many ways. The agency we're working with goes to vigorous lengths to ensure that all children are orphans with no traceable family, which means they're generally older and not infants. And of course, with American foster children waiting for forever families, this isn't an issue.
We just can't say how happy we are to start the process. We talk about and pray for our little person all the time, and can't wait to meet him or her. I just know, know, know how special s/he is. And John is going to be the best, most loving and patient dad in the world. And I'm just going to try to refrain from checking every cold symptom on WebMD and thinking s/he has cancer. Just kidding. Kind of. :)
I'm leaving you with the above video. Watch it if you feel the need to sob profusely. Thanks for reading this personal post today. I'll be sure to make updates now and then about the process, but you may not read too much about it here. I try to refrain from too much personal info on the blog, as this is a DIY/lifestyle blog. You are the best readers in the world and it has been a joy walking through life with you so far! All the best! 
*Black background photos by the incredible Sharon of ERTHTONES.com
** I was talking to a friend and I wanted to add a little bit. Adoption isn't for everyone- and that's ok, we totally get that. Raising your own natural children isn't for everyone. Having children *at all* isn't for everyone. We all have different passions and pursuits in life, and blending together creates a beautiful society. No judgement here. <3 p=""> 

24 comments:

  1. Not sure if you've ever read the story of my little siblings that were adopted,b ut you can read the adoption day story here: http://noeyehasseen.com/blog/adoption-day/

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    1. I have not- and can't wait to!! though- I have always seen little ones in your Candelora family photos!

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  2. I love this post! Best wishes on starting the adoption process. I work with a lot of kids in the foster care system at my day job and it's so wonderful to read that you're interested in being a forever family to a waiting foster child!

    I love the shirt too - planning to purchase one at some point! I'm not sure if I would wear a small or medium... maybe you could put the measurements of each size on your Etsy listing?

    Beautiful pictures! I love your hair.

    And I'm done now! :)

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    1. haha- I love this *this* post! You're cracking me up.
      I'd be interested to hear more about your experience with foster children! More and more our hearts are being opened to them. The plan/goal/ideal would be to adopt a foster child *and* an international little one. Bless you for loving those children and helping provide safe environments!
      My measurements are 33'', 25'' and I'm wearing a small in these photos. Does that help at all? I haven't done any sizes yet except for the smalls, but will do some this weekend and try to get a more accurate idea of how the M/L/XLs shrink up.
      And hair-- I used a three barrel iron :) Super easy, takes about 15m on that length!
      <3

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    2. Wonderful! I'd love to visit more about foster children - just let me know and we could set up an email exchange or chat or whatever!

      Yes, the measurements help! And I'll definitely be trying that style on my hair - when I can get my hands on a three barrel iron!

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  3. Growing up my parents did foster care for infants because after me, my mom was told that she would never be able to survive another pregnancy. But my parents had soooo much more love to offer. They always wanted more than 2 children. They originally actually wanted to adopt but they were told that they had "too many" kids already and that there were too many families out there with no children. So they did what they could and offered a loving home to foster children. I remember loving it, I was pretty young. I think we did foster care from when I was 4-7. I loved having the babies around, but it was also a little hard for me to understand at that age why they couldn't stay. We always got very attached to the babies. Then one day we got a foster baby at 3 days old that was a crack baby. She had A LOT of health issues and had to constantly be on a heart monitor. She was VERY underweight and going through withdrawls. Most of the other babies were adopted and moved on with in a few short months. But since this baby had so many health issues, the adoption agency was having a hard time finding a family willing to take her. One day my mom and dad had the pastor and board members of the church come to our house and pray for this little baby to be healed of her afflictions and end up in a loving home. At her next dr's appt, the dr said she strangely looked much better. He took her off of her heart monitor. He was flabbergasted at her improvement. My parents, however, knew that this was the hand of God. Still, even though she had been healed, the agency could not find a home for her. An entire year went by and they knew at this point not only were we attached to her, she was getting quite attached to us. The agency called my parents and offered us the option to adopt her. It was just the miracle they were hoping for. We adopted my little sister and she grew up being just like any other sibling. Even though I know she is adopted I couldn't imagine our lives without her and couldn't imagine treating her differently because of it.

    I know that you and John will be great parents and will be purchasing a shirt to support you. I always am a big supporter of adoption.

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    1. That is SUCH an incredible story of love, family and adoption! WOW! I'm amazed! Absolutely loved it, thank you so much for sharing, Steph!

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  4. I have no experience with adoption but this post was beautiful & inspiring. Thanks you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for reading! We can't wait to get our special little one!

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  5. My sister adopted a foster child and the easiest way for her was to be a foster mother first. My aunt also adopted two children this way. You can put in the paperwork that you want to foster with intent to adopt and they should only place available children with you. For my aunt it was rough she had two children that didn't work out before she got my cousins and it was sad for all of us. My sister's was super smooth though. Either way my family now has three awesome new members!!

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    1. Sami- that is beautiful! I imagine your family is full of love. Thank you so much for adding your experience!

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  6. It seems that God has certainly blessed the two of you as a perfect match :) I'll pray that He perfectly matches you with a little one!! How exciting!!

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  7. Congrats to you for taking this step! I have no experience with adoption whatsoever, so I am no help, but I can encourage you to stay strong and don't give up!

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    1. Thanks, Karen! We can use all the encouragement we can get :) :)

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  8. Well you know my story. I know tons of adopted kids and have never seen a stigma attached to any of them for being so. If you were adopted you were chosen and special. My grandmother even whispered to me when I was a teen, "You are the pretty one in the family because you were adopted". I have also been fortunate to never hear about parents NOT bonding with a baby or child they chose to adopt. I think those maternal/paternal feelings absolutely do not come JUST to biological parents but from adopting parents who love and want children. Good luck Auna and John - I know you will make great parents!

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    1. I know and LOVE your story!! Thank you for the kind and encouraging words... Adoption is beautiful!!!!

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  9. I don't have either biological nor adopted kids (ok, except fro my three adopted dogs... but that's not pertinent :D ) but I have three step-children and sure enough I love them if they were mine !
    good luck with the whole process, the burocracy is going to drive you insane!
    Sure you'll be the sweetest mom - ever! xoxox d.

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    1. Thank you!! I'm sure you're the greatest step-mom in the world, then :) Not everyone is so blessed to have a loving one like you!! <3

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  10. Auna,
    You don't know me, but I went to CBC with John. After graduating from CBC, I got my masters in social worker and now am the director of an adoption program. My husband, Steve (who also went to CBC) and I are in the process of adopting a little boy from Taiwan. If you ever need anything or there is anything we can do to help, just let me know. My email is mariagocke@yahoo.com. Will definitely be buying one of your shirts... they are great! Good luck in everything and I wish you God's richest blessings as you begin this journey!
    Maria

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    1. Maria, I love you already!! I can guarantee that you will see me pop up in your inbox. I hear that it's good to stick together with other adopting families for emotional support. I pray that process has been smooth for you so far and will continue to float along with grace and ease! <3 <3

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  11. This is my friend's blog about adopting her baby boy from South Korea. You'll read, re-read and sob a million times. But, from personal experience, this is a WONDERFUL family! http://getmyideasrighthere.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html

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  12. So it's been about a year since this post. Where are you now in the process?

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    1. Still moving through :/ it is a long, lengthy project. Next we need home studies, etc... but we're in the process of moving, so we can't have them done until we are established. The waiting is the worst. BUT- every day is another day closer!

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