Saturday, March 22, 2014

In which Operation Sweet Lamb is in beast mode....

Tyler and I love adoption, this is no secret.  We love to talk about it, dream about it, help others through the process of it, we just seriously love it.  In the last few weeks we have prayerfully considered which avenues to explore when it comes to fundraising as well as personally saving our own money towards the total that we need to raise.  In the last five weeks we have seen God move in unbelievable ways, undeniably His ways which is so exciting for us!  We have said from the beginning of this journey that He chose this for us, there is no doubt and we are most excited to meet this new little guy or girl however there is a major financial boundary.  Even though we've covered costs out of our own pockets initially for some things (i.e. fingerprinting, background checks, copies of certain records, physical exams) the remaining that we need to raise is still great.  Tyler and I have a friend who raised money for their adoption a few years ago leveraging social media and their friends and family who felt called gave their little hearts out and they were able to cover almost their entire $10,000.  The best part?  In 2012 they brought home the most adorable little girl ever!  Because they asked and because they believed and because their friends and family felt the pull to give!  Both Tyler and I agree that one of our favorite things about Emery's process was after we brought her home we invited those who gave time, money, stuff for garage sales, and prayer and sat them all in a room.  We looked around and were so overwhelmed to be holding her in arms and to be able to personally thank face to face some of those who were faithful to our process during that time.  Do you even know how amazing that feels?
So at the risk of not being too wordy and sappy :0) here's what we've prayed for....if every single one of our Facebook friends gave $45 towards our adoption we would have our full amount of $30,000 raised.  Now, we completely understand that some are in a position to give more and some are in a position to give less but we know that God will work in the hearts of those who are to give and that is what makes this process so amazing!
Lets break it down:

1.  Click here to be redirected to our PayPal page.  PayPal does NOT require you to have an account already set up to do this. *Donations are a private gift and are not tax deductible*

2.  If the best way for you to give is not through using a credit or debit card then you can send your donation to:
Tyler & Kari Zielasko
205 14th Street
Winona Lake, IN 46590
memo line: zielasko adoption

What we covet more than anything though?  Prayer.  We simply cannot do this process without people praying for us and we certainly don't want you to think that if you're unable to give financially that there isn't a place for you in our process.  We will need hands and hearts to be united in other fundraising ventures where items and time are donated as well!  We are so excited to have you along for this journey!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

In which I answer some questions and share a story...

I've had several people ask me recently how this process works.  Like what are the steps of which we're taking and specifically where are we in this process.  Currently we are working with an agency based out of Fort Wayne called Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne.  They are the actual agency who will be conducting our home study update however we will not be using them for actual adoption placement services.  Because we have an existing home study from our previous adoption we were fortunate enough to only have to pay the update fee instead of the entire home study fee (which saved us about $1,000).  Have I mentioned how expensive adoption is?  Anywho, the guts of what we had from Florida still works but that still means we had to redo a TON of the paperwork.  During this paperwork time we are answering questions about our childhood, getting physicals, making copies of drivers licenses, social security cards, health insurance, life insurance, asking people to be references, background checks, fingerprinting, employment verification, you name it.  We've done it.  We are almost finished with the paperwork portion which as of right now has taken about five weeks.  Once we mail all of our stuff (or drop it off) to CCFW they will check everything we have and make sure we still qualify for an adoptive placement based on what our paperwork says.  After this we will schedule a home study visit which means the social worker will come to our home and check us out.  Make sure we aren't hoarders with 29 cats, have smoke detectors and a place for the wee beeby to sleep.  After she does this she will actually "write" our home study, send us a proof, and upon our approval of it she will make it final.  You cannot adopt without a home study, at least in the state of Indiana you cannot.  We will use CCFW again when we need our interstate compact (if the baby is born outside of Indiana) and post placement visits.  I will explain that compact thing in a later post.  It's at this point we actual begin our relationship with Faithful Adoption Consultants, and adoption consultant agency based out of Atlanta.  They will give us access to all of the grants that we can apply for and also help us with our family profile book too.  The advantage of using an adoption is consultant is that they advocate for US when it comes to matching the families together.  They also have relationships with MANY agencies and lawyers so essentially we will be on several agency lists which means our actual wait for a baby would be very very minimal.  Like their average client waits four months or LESS.  I've seen on their Facebook page couples get matched within a day of becoming active.  Holy moley.  Also, after you've completed your home study you can apply for grants and such which our adoption consultant gives the names of some that she has had the biggest success with which helps me not waste time.  We will hit those grant apps hard and be fundraising all at the same time.  Once we've reached our goal of  $30,000 (GULP) fundraising we'll give Faithful Adoption Consultants the green light and they'll start presenting our file to birth moms.  WAHOOOOOO!  So when people say, "oh this is so exciting!  How soon will the baby be here?  What's the timeline?"  If we had $30K we'd probably have a baby in four months or less.  Without $30K we're at the mercy of savings and generous gifting which given our current status of super awesome surprises in regards to giving lately we're well on our way!  So that's sort of the ins and outs of the process.  I'll write more about post placement stuff at a later date, for now...enjoy this rad story of something cool that happened to us yesterday.  

We received an anonymous letter in the mail today and $100 towards our adoption fund.  Attached was this letter, of which I immediately put in a file to be added to our newest additions keepsake box.  Guys...can I even tell you what this does for me?  It does my heart so much good to know that there are people, some of whom I've never met that are praying for our process.  That is priceless.  The honest 100% truth is, had I received JUST this letter in the mail today and NO money...I still would have thought it was the coolest part of my day.  And I'm not just saying that because during this process everyone's support role is very different.  Some have the ability to give monetarily and others are the prayer warriors who help see this through, then there are the ones donate or volunteer time instead of funds.  Those friends are just as important and play as much of an active role as friends and family who send us money.  Honest.  In the last couple of weeks we have seen God's faithfulness to us without question!  Surprises like this aren't surprises to the One who stirred up this desire within Tyler and myself to parent adopted children...He funds what He favors.  I'm seeing that firsthand and it's quite possible the coolest thing ever.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In which I protect baby mama's...

So the first time around (oh my that sounds so sophisticated, like we have it all figured out..PSYCH), it was a little surreal to pray for a baby in a strange woman's belly.  We didn't have anything to compare our experience to, we didn't know what parenthood was like or the challenges it would create especially within the confines of adoption.  But I'll tell you what is turbo cool.  When you're in bed at night praying with your husband and he begins to pray for your future baby mama.  I'll tell you right now it melts my heart into a puddle of nonsense and I just don't want him to stop.  My love for birth moms is something I never shy away from discussing, in fact I talked my hairdressers ear off about baby mama's the other day until she was crying so that should tell you something.  She didn't give me a discount on my hair though, which I mean come on you can't cut me a break?  I digress...I love those baby mamas so very much.  I love their willpower, I love their fear and determination, I love their pioneering spirit.  I do not, however, love the stereotypes these women encounter, the judgement of why they can't just get their act together, the expectation that she'll do "this" again, the attitude that all their stories are the same and will always be the same.  Don't even get me started on that or I will lose my brains (and blog followers).  
So when I say that I pray for Em's baby mama and for this new little nuggets baby mama I'm praying for peace, and direction, and for love to be shown to this woman whether I think she "deserves" it or not.  I'm praying that her broken heart will heal over time, and that God would place someone in her path to help pave the way to a relationship with Christ that will change the way she thinks about love and fulfillment and family and acceptance because you see adoption isn't just about the baby at the end of the rainbow, it's about HER too and how SHE'S a part of this journey as much as we are and HER ending means SHE'S leaving the hospital without HER very own child in HER arms because that's what SHE chose.  And that's what SHE will have to live with.  So it's MY job as baby mama #2 to make sure that SHE knows SHE'S my hero, and that SHE is shown the love of a God who chose her for His family as much as SHE chose me for HERS.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In which God provides (three times) before I even asked...

Oddly enough, except it's not odd at all, my last post spoke to my true feelings regarding adoption fundraising and how it really highlights my insecurities about "asking people to help buy my baby".  Thursday night after revisiting some initial home study paperwork I found myself feeling very discouraged.  I discovered that our home study agency was requiring us to take four online classes at around $30-$35 a pop as a part of completing the home study.  They gave us a specific list of the four classes ALL of which are geared more towards first time parents, first time adoptive parents and parents who will be new to parenting an African American child.  To say I was annoyed would be a lot of an understatement.  WHY?!  I thought.  Why is this necessary, this is a financial obstacle that in my mind is completely unnecessary for a second time adoptive family and only further delays the process.  After I ranted for about ten minutes I decided it was best that I go to sleep and try and begin the day feeling less discouraged and more in tune to the fact that God has a desire for us to adopt again and He's going to do a mighty work in people's hearts when it comes to giving.  Friday morning I decided to send a text out to a couple of close friends and Tyler.  Just asking for prayer in regards to my attitude that day and just the frustration that I was feeling.  On my drive to work I cried out during my prayer time and asked for God to just be NEAR me that day.  I was desperate to feel His peace and comfort to get me through the day and over this hump.  That evening I was driving to Michigan to spend the weekend with my inlaws and received a call from a friend of mine who is in the midst of fostering a little one.  We generally exchange prayer requests and random texts just letting each other know that we get it.  That sometimes it sucks but that we were chosen for this and in the end it'll all be worth it. In the course of the phone call we touched on my day as it were, and she said to me.  "Kari, last night before bed I was praying about what to do with some extra money God had blessed our family with.  We'd like to cover the cost of your entire adoption consultant fee."  I can't make this up.  In case you're wondering?  That fee is...was $2500.  Since we have started this process (30 days ago) we have had more money donated than we did in NINE months with Emery which brings me to this next thought.  Who is this baby God has for us right now that He's moving so fast?  You see with Emery's process which to us seemed to move more slowly, we now know that it moved at the perfect pace because it had to be Emery and no one else.  But this new little one?  Perhaps they're living in the womb of someone who is already in their third trimester.  Or maybe there's a different path unknown to us and they're actually already born!  This is what I know.  God funds what He favors and He has proven this to us multiple times in the last 30 days and He will continue for the next several months if need be!
So what's the time line you ask?  Well, right now we're in the throws of paperwork for our home study.  We have fingerprinting appointments set up for next Monday (3/10), and subsequent doctors appointments for required physicals.  Once all paperwork is completed and turned in to our home study agency they will meld everything together and actually write our "new" one.  Sprinkle in at least one home visit and we're looking at completion of this in probably 60 days.  During this time we will begin to formulate some hard core fundraising efforts because we'll need to raise about $30,000 (give or take)!  Am I scared of that number?  30 days ago the answer would have been yes but now the answer is most certainly, no.  In the wise words of my husband, "We felt God moving us in this direction, so He is going to provide.  Even if someone donates, it's not them, it's God prompting them and moving them to give.  We're not asking anything.  We're providing a way for God to work through someone else."  Man I love that guy and his wisdom and insight.
And the other two times He provided before we asked?  Once I was sitting in a movie theater and someone who saw that I had "checked in" there on Facebook hand delivered a check for $500 to me while I was sitting in the movie theater, and the third time?  Well that was just your "average" we-want-to-give-you-money-for-your-adoption, check in the mail type situation.  God is so good.

Here are a few ways you can help us during this process!
1.  PRAY!  We cannot do this without people praying for us, it's just that simple.  Pray for our fundraising efforts and especially pray for the birth mom that God would soothe her heart during this time of growing a baby and placing the baby in our arms.
2.  Donate via Paypal
3.  Check us out over at Just Love Coffee Roasters and for every bag of coffee purchased $5 goes towards our adoption fundraising goal!

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