Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another ride on the emotional roller coaster

We were all ready to send our homestudy to the new adoption agency ... and then the first one contacted us & asked if we wanted to hold off sending it, because a birthmother was going to be shown our profile. We said to wait & see what happened with her first. Well, after 10 days of being on pins and needles, we now know that the birthmother has disappeared & seems to not be working with the agency after all. *deep sigh* So, we're moving forward with the second agency. The birthmother's due date is October 4th, so we were all braced for possibly having a child within the week. This is just so incredibly painful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tales in pursuit of an adoption

I have many short tales to share about our raising funds to pursue a nation-wide adoption, so here they are.

It started with me mentioning that I was going through our personal library to put more books up on my store. And a friend told me she was going through her library & wanted to know if I wanted the ones she didn't want. Absolutely! I made mention of it on Facebook & several other friends asked if they could donate. Well, about 600 books later, I've got a ridiculous number of books listed & at one point, I was selling about a book every 6 hours! See what happens when you ask friends for help?

Sometimes it's not even friends. Sometimes it's from just an acquaintance. I posted a lot of my rubberstamps for sale on my blog a while ago. A lady I know only through an online messaging board contacted me & asked me if one particular stamp was available. When I told her it was, she offered me about 10 times what it was worth, saying "It's for a good cause." I just about cried. I mean how cool is that?

I started going through more things around the house, digging through closets & drawers, saying "I want a child more than I want this object." A few of the items I put up for auction on eBay, including a beautiful wooden painted jar that my parents had brought back from a visit to Kaluga, Russia . The thing was gorgeous -- black with gold leafing -- but it was just not my decor, so into a drawer it had gone. I mentioned on my eBay auctions that we were raising funds for adoption, and the winning bidder contacted me to say that he was so very excited. He'd adopted 3 children, two of them actually from Kaluga! Since then, we've been in contact & I dug out another container made in Kaluga, which he bought from me, paying me twice what I'd asked for it. Again ... wow.

Once I'd gone through my closets & drawers, I realized that I'd accumulated a lot of stuff, but I wasn't too keen on having a garage sale, because I remember all too clearly just how much friggin' work they are! Well, wouldn't you know that a friend's teenage daughter was redoing her room and asked if she could donate her stuff to me to sell & make money? I mean this is a no-brainer. When a teenager takes an active interest in our adoption to move forward, I've just got to run with it, right? Her mom even volunteered to manage the sale while we were gone for the first 3 hours of it at the American Heart Association, making it possible for us to be open for business!

While we were at the walk, my friend made a sale to a couple, a ziploc bag full of toy cars that I'd priced for $1. When they found out the sale was raising funds for adoption, they handed her $5 and explained their son was adopted.

One lady stopped by, completely unplanned, in full church attire & when she saw the sale was to raise funds for our adoption, she explained she'd just been to a talk about growing families through adoption. She picked out many things from the sale & said that although she was financially strapped, she believed God would make sure she had enough in her purse to cover everything she wanted, including a framed crewel-work piece that was in her favorite colors with her first initial! I gave her the total, $15 and change. She pulled out a $20 and told me to keep it all. Praise Jesus, indeed!

One of the funniest moments of the garage sale happened shortly after a neighbor lugged over a giant cooler & told us to sell it & keep the profits. A shiny black Audi pulled up & I joked with my friend that hopefully they'd have some money to spend. Well, he'd spotted the cooler & did a U-Turn to come back. The guy hopped out of the car, neatly groomed with pressed pants & an argyle sweater vest, walked right towards us briskly and asked how much the cooler was. We told him it was $20, and he said he'd take it. We learned that he and his wife were on a way to a christening and they decided to stop. We laughingly asked if this was a typical pre-christening activity for them, as he pulled gifts out of the backseat to make room for the cooler. We also said we hoped this wasn't going to result in marital discord, as his wife continued to sit in the car. He laughed and she said, "Are you kidding me? Now we won't have to borrow a cooler from the new guy anymore!" Happy people all around!

One gruff customer dickered with me over the cost of a cordless drill that was missing a charger. He was a fierce bargainer, and it was clear he was keen on getting a bargain & didn't want to part with his hard-earned cash. We decided upon a price, and he counted out the money. I laughingly mentioned the cookies & brownies we also had for sale and mentioned we were raising funds for adoption. He looked incredibly sheepish, handed me a bunch of singles and said, "Aw, just take it. I don't need no cookies. Give 'em to somebody else." Never would've thunk it!

Lastly, as I've been putting things on Craigslist, I've made some interesting connections. One was a post of someone looking for postage stamp for his collection. Although it turns out my childhood stamp collection is pretty much worthless, he did share his story of how he adopted his 2 kids about 15 and 20 years ago. It encouraged me to keep on pursuing this new agency even though it feels risky & feels overwhelming & really really really freakin' expensive.

Oh, and as a last thought, I'd just like to make mention of all the friends & family who have come out of the woodwork to loan tables, to give me packing materials, to help me set things up, to donate items for us to sell, and just to let me know you're there. It means more than you can possibly know. Thanks for touching my heart & giving me hope.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Books & stamps for sale!

I'm just going to date this post way in the future so it stays at the top, in case people are looking for the stuff I'm trying to sell to raise funds for our adoption process. So, here are all the links you might need!

my eBay store (stamps, scrapbooking stuff, random stuff)
My store (books, movies, music, games) -- I've now got over 600 items for sale! YAY!
My storefront (books) -- I've got over 30 items for sale, now.

Oh, and we'll be having a garage sale the weekend of October 2nd and 3rd ... so if you're local or know of anyone who IS local ... come on by or contact me for details!

Thanks in advance for helping us to fund our adoption! (There's also a donate button on the right hand margin if you are so inclined to send us a few bucks, too!) We'll find a way to make this work!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The garage sale has come and gone ...

...and while I made some money for the adoption fund, I was absolutely stunned with the amount of stuff left. I will almost certainly have a garage sale next weekend as well & hope that more of it will GO! In the meantime, however, my gentle readers, I've got some beautiful scrapbooking stuff that the garage sale shoppers completely gave a pass. If you're interested, or know someone who is, please get in touch with me so I can make some cash. I'll charge you actual shipping costs ... and if I can fit everything you want into a flat rate priority mailer, I'll do that, if it's more economical.

Just click on the thumbnails to see things in detail.

Acrylic stamps:

Covered Albums:
12x12 Creative Memories albumI believe this is an 8x8 sized album6x6 Creative Memories albumBlue Floral 6x6 albumAqua 6x6 albumSummer Stripe 6x6 albumsummer Dots 6x6 albumFall Stripe 6x6 album

Naked/Chipboard/Acrylic Albums:
Treasure Box chipboard 4.5 x 4.53" keepsake cubeTeresa Collins for Junktiz Box album5x7heart sheer binderMaya Road 5x5 square banner/coaster

Cool tool:
Binderie Punch

Heidi Swapp 9x9 Customizable Calendars:
9x9 black calendar9x9 pink calendar

So, it's all brand new. The larger stamp sets retail for $40, the smaller ones for $15 or $20. Albums' original cost range from $7 to $25. I've found the Binderie on sale for $40 in one store, most carry it for closer to $60. Make me a deal. Help fund our adoption. Okay, I'll stop now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

You are stunned for d6 rounds.

So, we got an email from the adoption agency today. Just an automated response to where we are in the timeline. And we learn, for the first time, that at the same time we cough up $10,000 for our activation fee, they want us to have the remaining balance sitting in a bank so when we match, we can wire it to them in 48 hours. Just one problem, we do not have $20,000 to sit in a bank. I mean ... WTF???? I was completely led to believe, based on the breakdown of when various expenses occur, that we would pay them at 2-3 different stages (depending on how far apart being matched & a baby's birth happened). We're applying for grants that won't get disbursed until DECEMBER. How in the hell can we have the money on hand NOW? My head is splitting. I just want to cry. I know that tomorrow things will be better & I will find a solution somehow, but I am just so very upset right now. I am just staring vacantly at the screen while I type. I hurt.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Okay, I think we're making progress with the 2nd adoption agency. It's kind of hard to tell, because I've thought we were making progress before, only to find out that there were lots of things missing or we had to do things we'd done before with the other agency, but they needed their own copies, etc. So, here's the deal ...
(1) Our homestudy draft has been written by our local adoption specialist, approved by the 2nd agency, and now needs to be signed by our local specialist's supervisor, which she anticipates happening on Tuesday, then she can send it to the new agency.
(2) We got in all of our reference letters (thank you, all!) and mailed them out to the new agency.
(3) We did our captions & text for our profile & mailed off a CD yesterday to the agency with this info.
(4) We filled out what we HOPE is the last of the forms that are needed & we are mailing those today.
In THEORY, all that remains is for the new agency to put together a profile for our approval & for them to review our homestudy. Depending on how quickly they work, we could be "active" in a week ... or a month. We'll just have to wait and see!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Latharia's eBay Emporium

So I woke up to a zillion emails asking me about combining shipping if people won multiple lots. Once I fielded those, and made myself a bowl of oatmeal, the auctions started ending one by one. It looks like I may have made about $100. Considering the "value" of the auctions was less than $40 yesterday, I'm a happy camper. I know that the winning bidders are getting things for a song, but I'm not using them, and to paraphrase another hopeful adoptive mom, I'd rather be a parent than have these stamps!

I have a good friend whose daughter is renovating her room -- from child to teen, you know the drill -- and she said if I had a garage sale, she'd split the profits with me to help fund the adoption. How can I turn THAT down? I really don't like having garage sales. They're a ridiculous amount of work & the money is usually pretty pathetic. But, then again, money is money, and I've got some stuff to put in there. By then, I'll also have had most of the books up on or for a month. If they're not sold by then, I'll put all the inexpensive ones out for a buck a piece & keep back the two dozen or so that are worth more than tat, and hope they sell to the right buyer in the next couple of months.

I am just bound-and-determined for us to make the necessary cash to help bridge the gap in the money we've got access to and the money we need. We're meeting with our local adoption worker tomorrow to update our homestudy. Once that is done, it'll get sent to the national adoption agency, plus we'll get a copy we can use to apply for various grants. One of our essays we had to write was on personal strengths. I put down determined for mine. Yessireebob. Determined, that's me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A much needed vacation weekend

What with all the upheaval with the adoption process, we really wanted a relaxing weekend vacation ... but wanted to do it as cheaply as possible. Well, we got exactly what we wanted.

We secured a luxurious room at the Hotel Burnham, in the heart of downtown Chicago, for 2 nights.

They stored our car for us & we hopped on the L, red line to Chinatown.


We wandered around & took in the sights & spent a small amount of change on 2 perfect holiday gifts for friends. So far, not outrageously expensive. We then went to the Water Tower Place multilevel mall for the rich and famous, where we splurged on some exotic tea ... it's actually one we've wanted for a while, and now it's ours. We also got a meal for $25 for 2 people, which is a bargain in this place.


After Water Tower, we wandered down the Magnificent Mile, stopping off at the Disney Store to take advantage of their 2 for $24 t-shirt sale. My honey's got a Tron shirt now & I picked up a cute Winnie The Pooh & Eeyore one. It's a big snug, but I am bound-and-determined to drop some more weight, at which point it'll be perfect.

We wound up walking all the way back to the hotel, which was quite a workout for my honey, but not a bad experience at all, and it's good training for the 3 mile American Heart Association walk we'll be doing later this month.

We loved the room, but the bed & pillows & light & noise & whatever were just not kind to us, so we didn't sleep so hot. We nonetheless enjoyed breakfast at the Atwood Cafe, always a treat, and our big food splurge of the weekend.

After brunch, we took a bus to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where we wandered around for hours! We got some spectacular photos, like the one of this Amur Leopard:

and we just enjoyed the people-watching, too. We brought our own picnic, which we enjoyed lakeside. We decided to go back to the Magnificent Mile & found both the Hershey shop & the Ghiaridelli chocolate shop, comically across the street from one another.
We had a treat each ... no, I didn't get the giant chocolate bar, but I did get the biggest cookie I think I've ever seen. While we waited for the L to take us back to the hotel, we talked & realized that we'd managed to fit in everything we wanted. We'd figured on a day for Chinatown, a day at the zoo, and a day for the Magnificent Mile ... but we crammed it all into 2! So we realized we didn't really have anything high on our list for Monday, so although we'd paid for 2 nights, we decided to go home!

We tried to give the last night away to 4 different couples, all of whom have been through some rough patches lately, but they were either busy or we couldn't reach them, so we just checked out, and prepared ourselves to be out the money. They refunded us for the 2nd night! That was just too cool of them. So, a huge shout-out to the Hotel Burnham for helping us save our pennies even more!

We spent Labor Day sleeping in, watching a fave TV show with home-made grilled cheese & crackers, then we headed out to Oakbrook Centre to window shop, get in some more walking time, and we cashed in a freebie coupon at Stir Crazy, and picked up ice cream on the way home.

A frugal, relaxing weekend. Doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, September 3, 2010

They're HUGE!

You may have been following my earlier posts, where I had planted some cucumbers and beans from seeds. To refresh your memory, here they are:
A few days after planting, on July 30th
Two days after that, on August 1st
Three days later, on August 4th
After about a week and a half, on August 15th, I moved them to the front flower bed
So, compare that photo to today's!
Yowza! They're lovin' this space! See the flowers on the cukes and beans? Maybe I'll get some veggies out of this before we have a freeze! Totally cool!