Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Been thinkin'...

This whole process has taken such a dramatic turn in the last few weeks that sometimes I forget that we’re on a whole different path. I still think it’s so strange that possibly in a few short months we’ll have a baby screaming at us! I can’t think of anything more fantastic than a brand spankin’ new baby screaming for ME, not anyone else (well Tyler too but you know what I mean), just me, wanting to be soothed by their mama. So weird, so awesome.

I sometimes wonder why God changed our path. I'll probably ask him that when I get to heaven, wonder what kind of disaster he saved us from or maybe no disaster at all, he just has THE right child here for us in Florida. We were always so sure that international adoption was the way God wanted us to go with adoption...and I’m just so curious as to what He has in store for us through this domestic adoption process.

We’ve officially sent off our first grant application. We are so hoping that out of all the grants we’ll apply for that we’ll receive something towards our adoption fees, anything really at this point is worth the time it takes to put together all of the information for the grant packets! YIKES! For now, I’ll continue dreaming of my future screaming infant, the one who will be screaming for ME....

James 1:4-6 Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need. 5 But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. 6 But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No clever title here...

We received our actual paper home study in the mail on Monday! It was super sweet. I opened it with such care like it absolutely couldn’t be recreated if I ruined it! We had to sign one page of it and send it back to our social worker but the rest was ours to keep. It looks so fancy. It’s still kinda bizarre though that a 10 page paper could make or break us you know? Whatever, it’s a go and we couldn’t be MORE THRILLED!

Last Friday we got an email from our social worker telling us about a biracial girl who was due in March. She specifically said DO NOT GET EXCITED, to which I informed Tyler is the most ridiculous thing anyone could say. It’s like saying “Don’t look over here” or “Don’t freak out when I tell you this”...impossible! She wanted Tyler and I to call her when we both were home at the same time so we could discuss birth mom details. Turns out the birth mom is 36, has already had a heart attack due to heart disease, her mother passed away at 43 from a heart attack due to heart disease AND she wants to be compensated an additional $2800 on top of our normal fees. We decided due to the heart disease and the additional fee we were going to pass. Now, don’t be fooled we weren’t the only people that were being considered so it’s not like it was a given. She did, however, want her child to be placed with a Christian family that’s very involved in their church so I think we may have had a little bit of a leg up in that department. So, it’s a pass for now. We prayed a different kind of prayer that night. It wasn’t “Lord help us make the right decision with this”, it was “Lord help us know that the decision we already made is the right decision”. So for now, I’m really focusing on taking a true break over the Christmas holiday. Just kind of get my bearings and then next week be firing with all cylinders.

Friday, December 18, 2009

*WARNING* it's a sappy post...

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep, just couldn’t get comfortable and I must not have been tired enough. Anywho, I just started thinking about how life will be changing soon and how much I really will miss it being just Tyler and I. Being able to pick up and go whenever we want, being able to lounge and be unscheduled every once in a while, it’s a nice life I’m not gonna lie. Then I started to think about my new little guy or gal. I imagined them all tiny and warm snuggled up and smelling like a million bucks. I imagined the bassinet set up by our bed and our little one in it. I fast forwarded to when they’re talking and walking and so excited to see us, and sad to see us go. I imagined them being three or four and saying hilarious things and asking TONS of questions...I did a lot of thinking last night and then I fell asleep.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home study APPROVED!

Well we just received an email from our social worker Jan that we are officially, the most official of officialness approved for our home study. Its been signed and notarized and now we’ll get a copy of our very own to have and to hold!!!!! Its been weird because we’ve transitioned so drastically from international adoption to domestic adoption. With our original path, after our home study would have been approved we had about 3 or 4 major steps to complete before baby. Now with domestic it’s like after the home study...that’s it! We wait for the call. However, we have to raise the money so there’s a little bit of a cushion when it comes to that, but still it’s weird to me that we’re pretty much done with all of the paperwork and such.

We are excited, we are freaked out but totally stoked to be parents. I can’t believe that it’s just around the corner. Sometimes I just look at Tyler and I’m like... “WE’RE HAVING A BABY SOON!”

Keep praying that the grants we’ll be applying for in the next couple weeks will have successful outcomes. Psalm 90:17 “Lord our God, treat us well. Give us success in what we do; yes, give us success in what we do.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My cup runneth over...

Well today didn’t start out like any other day I’ll assure you of that one thing. My Saturday’s generally don’t begin with a 4:30 wake up call, but this Saturday we were doing this garage sale come hell or high water, it was going down today. Last week we were totally rained out, not torrential rain but constant, drizzling, cold rain for about 48 hours before and during our sale. I had taken the day off of work at the defunct garage sale so I was pretty bummed about not being able to be there this weekend. Anywho, after I wrestled a futon mattress in the backseat of our loaner truck, and tripped over the piano bench and landed on my knee cap I was ready and raring to go for this thing!!!! I could only be there for the nitty gritty where you drag all the stuff out and set up the signs but had to be at work by 8:30. We had SO MUCH STUFF! I mean seriously, just a ton of stuff, we looked like the best garage sale on the block! We had five televisions, a lawn mower, two couches, bookcases, more children’s and women’s clothing than Target could ever have, we were fully stocked with the most magnificent garage sale items. When I left at 8:15 I was a little worried, I’ve heard horror stories about crazy garage salers who basically pound your door down until you’re ready to start so when I left and only about seven people had come through I was like, oh boy this is no good. Then around 10ish Tyler text me that we were rockin‘ and a rollin’! The sun came out and so did the people, it was awesome! We had some real “professional’s” in our midst, who would offer us $2 for something that was $10 and would roll their eyes like we were crazy for not giving it to them, but overall it turned out FANTASTIC! When all is said and done we made a little over $600 in about six hours.

We advertised our cause for raising this money and had quite a few donations from people just wanting to give something a little extra...I love it. I love that so many people will play a part in this child’s life before they’re even here. I love that we’ll get to tell those stories to them when they’re old enough to understand, I love that our baby will be part of a big adoption family from the start. I’ll point out someone at church and say “That person helped bring you to us, that person loved you before they met you”. That is the truth, that is our journey. The journey of people giving to this great cause.

Isaiah 61:11 “The earth causes plants to grow,and a garden causes the seeds planted in it to grow.In the same way the Lord God will make goodness and praise come from all the nations.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

This is just how I feel...

So it’s been 24 hours since we received the shocking, unexpected news that our home study was approved for domestic adoption (if you’re feeling a little lost read the previous two posts). We began our Financial Peace University study a couple days ago and have seen immediate blessings in just these last couple days. The principles in that study are so basic and it’s not a get rich quick scam either, it’s making commitments and decisions together and choosing to stick with them, that’s when you become successful. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out! Dave Ramsey is an amazing teacher and was someone who suffered EXTREME financial stress but came out of that learning something and then wanting to teach others.

I keep thinking about the roller coaster ride we’ve been on the last week. I keep thinking about our plans for Ethiopia and how they aren’t for right now but they are definitely for the future. I’m glad that we have a God who can point us in the right direction by closing doors and opening new ones, challenging us to be better than we think we can be. As our social worker said in an email to me yesterday...”Onward and upward!”.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I can honestly say I didn't expect this to happen Part Two...

Ok so here’s the deal. If you’ve ready my other post (Part One), then you’ll know all the details necessary to follow Part Two. We had a phone conference scheduled for 10am with our social worker to, in our opinion, get some questions answered in regards to how we proceed with an unapproved home study and even see if there was refund in order. We received the call from her a little after 10 and she went on to discuss what our plan would be if anything financially catastrophic happened after we brought the baby home. We told her we don’t have any millionaire relatives that would be able to bale us out and that our current saving’s only allowed for minor emergencies (thanks to Dave Ramsey’s teaching’s). She said to us “well would you guys be homeless then?”, I was so confused at this point that Tyler stepped in and said we would absolutely not become homeless that if something terrible happened we had plenty of family that we could stay with until we got back on our feet (which is silly because we would do a million things before it ever got to that point). She indicated that her supervisor would approve the home study if that was the case. I was so confused, she told us on Monday that she would need to see additional income in order to approve it. I vocalized my confusion to which she replied “That is what I wanted, but in talking with my supervisor and working through this over the last couple of days we decided we are going to approve the home study anyway”, “I think you guys are going to be great parents, I’ve loved getting to know you and I don’t want to lose you as a potential adoptive family for an infant that needs a home.” WHAT???!!!!!! We were ecstatic! We just looked at each other with our mouths wide open...just staring, and staring and more staring. She even said that because we paid for some parenting classes (which were required for international adoption and not domestic) that they are going to waive the additional $100 we would have needed to pay for our domestic adoption application! Praise God! What is awesome to me is that this was NOT an answer to a prayer I had been praying this week. I was sure that we were through with it and was only praying for faithfulness in some new financial decisions we were making. I never once prayed for God to change His mind. I never once asked Him to make an exception which is weird because I am, by nature of my dad’s gene’s, a negotiator.

So what I’m saying is, it’s on like Donkey Kong. We will have an approved home study in a few days and we are going to continue with our fundraising efforts. Our garage sale is rescheduled for this Saturday (rain or shine), I won’t be able to be there because of work but they’ll be other people there driving hard bargains and helping us bring this baby home. This process only moves as fast as the money comes in, our next fee is for hiring a lawyer and that’s around $1800. Once they match us with a child we owe Children’s Home Society $4300, $4300 when we pick our child up, then another $4300 after parental rights have been terminated which happens about 30 days after we bring our baby home and everything is finalized. So PLEASE faithful blog readers, help promote our coffee sales at www.justlovecoffee.com/zielasko, send any additional fundraising ideas my way!

Thanks for the prayers that have truly helped sustain us in the last few days...Hebrews 11:40 “God planned to give us something better so that they would be made perfect, but only together with us.


Monday, December 7, 2009

I can honestly say I didn't expect this to happen Part One...

I can’t even express what this last week has been like. When I began the first week of December I certainly did not expect to start the second week like this.

On Friday we received an email from our social worker who wanted to ask a few questions because she had over the previous few days began writing our home study. She informed us that because we didn’t have enough assets (i.e. own a home or have any real investments), that the chances of us being able to adopt internationally would probably not happen. However she did indicate that we would be approved for a domestic adoption pending additional fees that we’d have to pay in order to modify that on our home study. I was crushed but resilient. I thought to myself, it doesn’t matter where are our child comes from with adoption the end result is always the same. We help a child have a promising future and we have the blessing of being their parents...whether they came from Africa or Alabama. We decided to find out more about domestic adoption (laws, cost, placement times etc.). We spent this past weekend going through different plans of action. We were supposed to have a fundraising garage sale on Saturday in hopes that we might be able to cover our dossier fee, but it rained for 48 hours straight and we had to reschedule for this coming weekend. We knew that we would have to wait until Monday to see if Jan was able to get in contact with anyone from immigration in regards to our assets vs. liability issue. (As a side note, in the beginning when we did some research we were of the understanding, and obviously an extremely false understanding, that we only had to be a certain percentage over the poverty level of whatever country it was that we were adopting from). I received an email from Jan today stating that as of the way things were looking we weren’t even going to be approved for a domestic adoption unless we could come up with some other form of income or even maybe something we forgot to include in our original paperwork that we filed. Suffice it to say....nothing as of right now is going to change with that. We don’t have some rich long lost Uncle that can buy us a house and fix our student loans. There are many frustrations all of which I’m not going to discuss because they would be more complaints and I’m trying to lay off my complaining. Instead I will share with you all the things that God prevented us from doing that saved us some serious heartache.

  1. He didn’t allow us to send out our support letters. We’ve had our letter completed for over a month but haven’t found the time to sit down together, print them out, and then mail them. This would have been awful if we had sent it out. We would have wasted money on postage and supplies not to mention we would have to send back any donations we did receive.
  2. He didn’t allow our home study agency to approve a home study that wouldn’t pass immigration. That alone saved us about an additional $700.
  3. He didn’t allow us to hold a garage sale to raise funds for our adoption and we’re still trying to decide what to do with all the stuff and also what we’ll do with the money that we raise. We intend on contacting the individuals who donated items and ask them if they’d be ok if we donated the funds raised to another couple who is adopting from Ethiopia.

So....where do we go from here? Well friends, we’re going to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and continue our journey towards adoption. It may take a little while, and it’s going to be very hard to explain along the way but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have been tried and tested and we know what us Zielasko’s are capable of. We know that God knows what we’re capable of. We know that when we resume our adoption process again because we ABSOLUTELY will, that we will be able to bring a child to a more financially viable situation. We have made promises to each other in the last few days to take our finances more seriously. We have said from the very beginning that we were following God’s lead wholeheartedly and we are not going to continue on a path that He does not want us on. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried every day for the last three days, snot, swollen eyes...the whole bit. I mourned the loss of the idea of us bringing our child home this coming year, of becoming a mother for the first time, and seeing Tyler as a dad RIGHT NOW, but I know it’s not forever. Please continue to pray for us as we let people know that this process has come to a screeching halt. Please pray that we will be vigilant in our efforts to better ourselves physically, spiritually, and financially. Obviously the format of this blog will change considerably but I’ll still be using it as an outlet for other things, so I insist that you please....read on.

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not those who turn back and are lost. We are people who have faith and are saved.”

Hebrews 11:1 “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Change...

We were challenged this week to ease up on complaining and every time we allowed ourselves to complain we had to put a dollar in the jar. On that note... Tyler and I have been hit hard this week. On all fronts. Work fronts. Personal fronts. Relationship fronts. Adoption fronts. Health fronts. Like I said ALL FRONTS. It seems funny to me that on the week where we are consciously making more of an effort to not complain, well a lot of things happen that make not complaining very very difficult.

Changes on the adoption front: Without going in to great detail, because the greatest of all details has not been finalized, we would just ask if you all could pray for this process to continue as it has in the last few months. We’ll know some other details after the weekend is through and I’m not trying to be cryptic it’s just new information that we’re processing.

I’m wore out. I’m sad. I’m afraid. I’m stressed. I’m tired.

“You helped the prisoners. You even had joy when all that you owned was taken from you, because you knew you had something better and more lasting. So do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has a great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:34-36

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's done is done...

Well it’s official! We’ve finished our final home study visit, and it honestly couldn’t have gone any better. I know I’ve mentioned before how fantastic our social worker Jan is but really this visit just felt like we had a friend coming over to chat...and then walk around our house with a clipboard noting things. =0) The longest part of the whole 90 minute visit was her going over our course homework and asking us to clarify some things, tell us that our answers were good and just give us general information. Our dogs were well behaved which believe it or not was a huge concern of mine, I had nightmares of Guster knocking her to the ground when she came in the door and then Rowdy humping her leg! They did neither of those things, and it turns out she’s a dog person anyway which is another reason why I knew I liked her. SO what’s next? Well she now has to take a couple weeks and incorporate all of our paperwork and forms and what she noted at our home visit and compile it and write our actual home study. She informed me that it would probably be around 10 pages and would take her a couple weeks to complete and that’s IF it stays quiet on her end before the holiday’s. Once she’s done with that she’ll send it to us and we’ll look it over to make sure all the information is correct (i.e. our birthday’s, family names, places we’ve lived, just factual stuff), after we look it over and approve it she’ll submit it to Holt and they’ll make sure the wording is copacetic to what the Ethiopian government is looking for and if there are any changes that need to be made, we’ll make them, Jan will have her supervisor approve it, notarize it and it’ll be official! Now we have to work on raising $3,000 for our dossier so we can submit our completed home study with a bunch of other paperwork.

We’re getting more and more excited every day, I feel like after today my excitement level increased a little because it’s another milestone we’ve completed. The more I think about how fun and different our life will be with someone to share it with, the more impatient I get! I had the unbelievable opportunity to meet a couple who have adopted two sibling sets from Ethiopia. I was able to meet the children and they were HILARIOUS and well behaved to boot. I got a lot of great info from her and it was just nice to be in the company of someone who has experienced what we’re about to experience.