31 July 2015

Fundraising Friday

I realized I neglected to mention in my last fundraising post the expenses we've already incurred. I'll itemize it out when the thought of it doesn't make me feel so tired. Just know it's >$10,000.

Today I want to focus on one really fun way we're fundraising: The Chosen Marathon!

Chosen is a great organization that allows families to fundraise through their marathon, half-marathon, 5k, and even kids' fun run options. There are even "sleepwalker" and "virtual race" options for if you want to support but not race or if you can't make it down to New Braunfels that day. You send in your time in the month of November, and they send you your shirt, bib, and finisher's medal. #swag

This year's race is November 21st in New Braunfels, TX. The race is a Boston qualifier and USATF certified, so it's for serious runners as well as those who want to complete their first race. Plus the route is along the Guadalupe river, so it'll be pretty to look at when you get a muscle cramp have to stop to pee run flawlessly the whole race.

Another amazing thing is, when you register, you select our team, and then you can fundraise for our team if you want to. That way you can multiply your own gift by encouraging others to support you racing! If you're a team-kind-of-person, that might pump you up, but that's not for everyone. No biggie. But if you do like that sort of thing, GO CRAZY!

If you know someone who likes to run, lives near New Braunfels, and / or has a heart for adoption, they can sign up here: http://raceroster.com/events/2015/4188/chosen-marathon and choose Team Muenich Family! But hurryish because the prices go up after August 31st.

If you want to support my 5k race (what am I thinking? Running voluntarily? Who am I?), you can pledge here: https://raceroster.com/events/2015/4188/chosen-marathon/search-pledgees?q=Muenich

If we can rally around this race, we could raise $3,000!

30 July 2015

Wednesday Whaaaat?

My Wednesday Whaaat is dedicated to our doctor's office losing the documents we need. So I had to call our homestudy agency to get them, print them out again, put notary wording on them again, make copies again, write out instructions for our doctor again, put them in a packet again, and give them to the office. Again.

I was supposed to hit "schedule" for this and didn't. Here's my whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat for yesterday.

28 July 2015

Tuesday Timecard

I need to start writing these as I go, not all at the end. Maybe I'll remember it all?

This week, we:
- gave our doctor's office our paperwork AGAIN bc they lost it. #smh
- scheduled an appointment with an international doctor
- sent a few months' worth ($600) of orphanage care fees to the girls' home.
- Stephen finished reading the chapters of The Connected Child required by our homestudy update
- I finished reading the other articles required for our homestudy update
- made copies of our last two years' W2s (homestudy)
- printed out our pay stubs for the last 3 months (homestudy)
- bought yarn to begin the girls' blankets (separate post)

Okay, not TOO bad. I slowed myself down a little bit bc I've been having a lot of trouble falling asleep. I can't be running around doing things right until we get ready for bed.

All we're waiting on to schedule our homestudy update is our doctor's documents and our adoptive family questionnaire. Yay!

I've got to start some fundraisers, because we've officially run out of our non-allocated funds (as in our emergency fund and the money we're saving for buying a car that will fit four carseats. Sorry, lil Focus). More on that on Friday!

25 July 2015

Having Privilege my Daughters Won't

I confess, since we started planning to adopt from Africa almost 4 years ago, I've thought a lot about racism and white privilege in our country. Like A LOT. I think I alternate between trying to find appropriate methods of guiding my children through a reality I don't have to face, trying to figure out how I can fight this war so that my girls will be protected [#saviorcomplex], and obsessing over it in hopes that I will somehow learn enough to feel prepared.

I'm currently raising white sons. White, middle class boys. They and I have the good graces of the world, and I feel it. I feel the wash of approval every time I'm in public with them. People adore my boys. I like to think it's because holy cow they are so cute, but I know their (and my) whiteness really is a factor.

This pic is old, but it's also precious. Also also, they're so white they might be pink.

On Tuesday we were at the grocery store, and one of the store clerks came up & gave me an "instant winner" sticker she found from the game they have here. And it struck me: would she have given this to me if my kids were black? If I was a black mother? I really don't know, and that is one of the saddest things I've ever thought. Not because more horrible things haven't happened (it was a sticker for a game), but because that is a reality that never goes away for some. It may someday be my own daughters who face that.

I can't show you her face, but this is Star's midsection and her gorgeous, gorgeous skin.

I struggle not to rage at the thought. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. It is. Raising white sons and black daughters is going to make me more angry than I've ever been. And it will tear my heart apart.


I can prepare both my black daughters and my white sons to recognize, externalize, and appropriately combat racism. I invite you to do the same.

24 July 2015

Fundraising Friday

Oh Fundraising Friday, I HAVE NOT MISSED YOU.

Okay, taking deep breaths through this one, guys. It's always tough when I'm trying to get things rolling. I want to get a lot done and not completely freak myself out with how much money we need in the next 6 months. But. Sometimes it's good to write it all out. So here goes:

What's Left:
Agency fees: $11,485 (and 62 cents)
Immunizations: $350-500 (guesstimate based on previous shots, which aren't covered by our insurance)
Orphanage fees: $1,200
Passports for the boys: $220
1st trip flights: $1,800
1st trip food: $300?
1st trip lodging: $800
1st trip car: $500
2nd trip flights: $4,350
2nd trip food: $900?
2nd trip lodging: $1,800
2nd trip car: $500
Visa fees (our entry into Uganda and the girls' entry to the US): $970
US readoption: $1,200

Total Estimated Amount: $26,525

In 6 months is all. Does that number seem large to you? Some of it is because we're adopting two girls now. Extra agency fees, orphanage fees, visa fees, readoption fees, and I'm sure more. Still, #worthit

Might that number get larger? Oh yes. Nothing goes as quickly and for the amount you want. But we'll see. God's got this. I'll start sharing my ideas like little pebbles down a path, but mostly I'm just praying a lot (sometimes desperately and sometimes peacefully, tbh) that God would show us what to do and how to do it, and that He would bless our fundraising.

22 July 2015

Wednesday Whaaat?

I probably won't do this every Wednesday, but I thought this would be funny, mostly because it reminds me of this piece of preschool ridiculousness. FYI that may only be funny if you've already watched Rescue Bots. If you haven't, go about your merry way, having missed NOTHING. Anyway, hopefully laughing at this biz will help dispel some of the residual frustration.

There are so many ridiculous things about the process of adopting. Today I just want to highlight two.

The first is just that it's ridiculous that Texas Vital Statistics only allows you to buy 3 birth certificates at a time. So I had to buy 4 for Judah (at $22 each, YES FOR A PIECE OF PAPER). Which meant I had to do the verification process and then the ordering process twice. So dumb.

The second is that we need "national-level" (FBI) background clearances for our dossier. Which you can get. Except the FBI says it's illegal some states. Which states? I dunno. Nowhere was it clear. Not on the FBI site, Not on the Texas government site it linked to. Not on a Google search. NOWHERE. I spent an hour trying to figure out what I was supposed to do for Texas. No idea, and I think I'm not an internet doofus (though I'm sure all the internet doofi say that). Calling our homestudy agency to check because our actual agency is in Pennsylvania.

21 July 2015

Tuesday Timecard

Okay, Tuesday Timecards are for relaying information to you about what is happening on the ground (and by "on the ground," I mean in the car with my two small children being crazy and me being like we're going to the post office anyway just don't fall apart for 15 more minutes please).
It may also be for either accountability or encouragement, depending on if I'm putting things off or if there's so much to do that it seems like I'm not making progress (*coughcough* see below).

So, this past week, we:
-finished our adoption training courses (10 hours!) through Adoption Learning Partners (separate post on that)
-I finished the chapters of The Connected Child that are required for our homestudy (separate post singing glorious praises for Drs Purvis & Cross later)
-sent $4,000 to our adoption agency and had our adoption grant send another $4,000 because money is no longer a tangible thing to me
-made a list of everything we need for our homestudy and dossier
-ordered Stephen's new passport
-gave the medical forms to our doc to fill out & return to us
-called 4 different local government offices to try and get our 5k permit approved (it's not yet)
-absolutely badgered our agency for photos of the girls (and got them, athankyouverymuch)
-ordered birth certificates for Judah
-wrote out every grant we can apply for
-wrote out every fundraiser we've talked about
-taken deep, calming breaths and forced myself to relax

On a not-totally-adoption-centered-but-still-related note, we kicked our old couch to the curb and bought a gloriously inexpensive, perfectly small, slightly uncomfortable, used pleather couch / "futon" (no one will ever sleep on this futon give me a break manufacturers) that makes for much more space in our living area. We'll be getting rid of the other one and replacing it with either an ottoman or a bench bc no we don't care about comfort for guests, we care about floor space for the thousand four small children we'll have playing together soon.


07 July 2015

Homestudy & Dossier Updates

Because we've been trying to adopt for so long, a lot of our documents have lapsed. We have to get new medicals done for all of us and redo our Hague adoption training. We've also moved, so we will have a home visit to our new apartment.

I'm also trying to compile our dossier so we can have it ready as soon after our homestudy update as possible. Dossiers to countries like Uganda are kind of annoying because, besides needing FOUR notarized copies of every document (alllllll the eyerolls over here), every agency has slightly different document needs.

So, I'm off to cull through the money I've spent documents I have to see what I can keep and what I'll need to buy again.

06 July 2015

So, What Now?

Let's get us all on the same page. Here's the plan:

-Update our homestudy
-Update and complete our dossier
-Get court date
-Travel (1st trip), visit girls, have court date, visit girls, visit girls!
-Get court approval
-Travel, bring the girls from the orphanage where we're staying, get their US visas
-Bring them home!!!!
-readopt in US

Okaaaaaay GO!