22 August 2015

Fundraising Friday

I started this post on Friday, so it counts... says I.

Here's a baby picture to make it up to you.

Drumroll please?

You guys. Seriously you guys.

Honestly, I've had a lot of trouble writing this post. Not for lack of encouragement, but because I feel so unworthy of such generosity. I know the resources of the world are at God's disposal, but he uses people -- people I admire so much, people I call dear friends, people I don't even know -- to support us. I keep wanting to add the disclaimer that I'm not a wonderful mom -- I'm an okay mom. I don't think I'm a bad mom. I will work hard to walk in the way of love with all our kids, I just mess up all the time. Please don't forget that as you're being so courageously generous to our family. That's all I ask.

Here's where we are in relation to our total financial needs (a reminder: the $20,000 won't get us to the end of our adoption; we just need it really fast, so other methods of fundraising wouldn't work).
That's 70% of our total adoption expenses, covered. *in awe*
There are things we can do to fundraise this beyond direct financial support -- we're still excited about the Chosen Marathon race, and we're teaming up with Stephen's brother, David, to come up with a sweet t-shirt to sell as a fundraiser. I'll have more specific news as we know it. Right now is pretty focused on finishing our homestudy and getting our dossier ready to go. Love to all, and just so many thanks.

19 August 2015

Wednesday Whaaat: Why the Rush?

So what's the rush on this adoption? Can we just slow it down if we don't raise the funds?

It's complicated.

There are a lot of things that come into play when you talk about timing in international adoption. The constraint for us personally is our USCIS approval. Ours will run out at the end of October. Which means that we need to submit our I600 by the end of October. Which means (I understand) we need to receive our court ruling from the judge in Uganda by this time. If we don't, we will need to refile our I600-A and get re-fingerprinted. Which, in itself, isn't the end of the world. But it takes time - at minimum two months. And the courts close for about a month around Christmastime. Which puts us at bringing our girls home in March at the earliest (and adds about $1,500 to the cost of our adoption, maybe more depending on what parts of our dossier we would need to redo).

And I don't want to wait that long to bring them home. And I don't want them in an orphanage (even a great one) for a day longer than they need to be, let alone several months. I want them to spend Christmas with us. I want 2015 to be the year we call them daughter and the year they become Muenichs. Can you blame me? We belong together.

18 August 2015

Happy Birthday, Judah!

Our precious little boy is one! He likes food (so much), Ezra, and sharing his feelings with us (laughter, tears, and angry growling). He's both photogenic and actually that gorgeous. Love you, little lion cub.

17 August 2015

Adoption Update (fundraising and process)

Sorry for no posts last week: we had our beginning-of-the-year leadership retreat, at which time most of the goals and plans for how we fill our time as campus staff are prayed over and made. Not too much got done adoption-wise, but it's basically our New Year's Eve for the whole church. We're pretty tired, tbh, but I'm so looking forward to all the changes coming this year family- and ministry-wise.

Some have asked how fundraising's going so far. Here's a thermometer to show you!
I know this is the coolest thing you've ever seen and you're so impressed with my skillz. I know.
I'm doing this according to the matching principle: every gift we've received has been doubled. I also know there are a couple of gifts missing because of the lag time as they process gifts. Still, just from this: we are 30% of the way there! That is awesome.

Our homestudy update home visit is set for August 26th. Our social worker and her bosses will be working very quickly to get us the copy we can send to the US Center for Immigration Services (USCIS). We have to update our approval (they've approved us for one child, and now we're adopting two). PLEASE be praying everything goes smoothly with our update and for a very quick turn-around with USCIS. More on that in a couple of days!

09 August 2015

Fundraising Friday / Supplication Sunday

First, the cute:
We got a new (to us) camera. Hi, Ezra!

Next, the crazy:
Because our adoption is now going so quickly, we will probably have the girls home with us by 6 months from now. SO EXCITING! But it means we need the rest of the funds for our adoption very quickly. The way the fee structure works means we will need the vast majority of the fees (agency costs, lawyer costs, etc) by the beginning of October.
And because we've had essentially two failed adoptions (one with the Congo and one with our other agency in Uganda that shut down), we've spent all the money we've raised (about $10,000 y'all!) and ~$14,000 of our own. If it makes you feel more positive, we've spent $13,000 of that in the past 2 months...Does that? It's so much that it's starting to feel like Monopoly money to me. We just don't deal with money in these amounts in our house.
So anyway, we still need ~$24,000 to complete our adoption. We need about $18,000 of that by the beginning of October.
I know it's a lot, Judah, but let's not have a tantrum about it.

Last, the exciting:
First off, we need that money in October because that's when we'll be making our first trip to see our girls and have our court date. So that's exciting, and that's what I'm focusing on as we figure out how to raise that much in basically 6 weeks' time.
Oh, these girls. Worth it. Worth it all.

We just received incredible news from a couple who loves our family: they are doing a matching gift, dollar for dollar, on all gifts we receive, up to ten thousand dollars!!! That means every $5 gift becomes $10, and every $1,000 gift becomes $2,000! You guys. How could we be so blessed?!?

I used to wonder why people would do matching pledge things, like why not just promise to give the whole sum? Until today. They're doing it to challenge others to give. When you think about $20,000, even a large gift like $500 feels like not very much, but the doubling effect makes everything feel bigger, more effective. And their generosity is an aid to me when I'm feeling overwhelmed. They believe that God can call people to help us bring these girls home so we can call them our daughters. So I will too.

Here is the place you can donate. In the "Gift Preference" box, select Adoption Funding. In the "Adoption Gift Preference" box, select Family Specific. Our account number is 3243. All gifts are tax-deductible and there is no administrative fee (beyond the fee the credit card companies take).

Also, would you consider sharing this post? And thanks for reading to the end. Tomorrow I will try to explain clearly why it will be problematic to slow down our adoption timeline. I'll need grace for it, because I don't think I've done that successfully yet. And I've tried. Several times.

05 August 2015

Wednesday WHAT.


You guys. You guys. I can't.

I should have known to just drive them to Waco. That sounds ridiculous, but they would have been there literally a week earlier. I could have gotten them to Waco faster by crab-walking to Waco with the packet on my stomach. I cannot, you guys.

The worst part? They were sent to a post office TWELVE MILES AWAY FROM THE AGENCY, then rerouted back to Fort Worth. Srsly, China Springs USPS, just call me and I WILL DRIVE UP AND HAND DELIVER IT LIKE A BABY. *drops mic*

04 August 2015

Tuesday Timecard

Filling out as I go! #adulting
[I say that because I've been doing a monthly timecard for my job for four years and I basically always do it all in one go. Usually late. Someday I'll #adult regularly.]

So, this week, we:
- called our city again to try and get our 5k approval
- finished our homestudy update documents and mailed it in!
- talked to some people about the Chosen Marathon
- started talking about a t-shirt fundraiser design
- started figuring out how to get a couple documents (our background checks) for our dossier
- got Judah's birth certificates back in the mail
- called the post office where our homestudy documents got sent instead of where they're supposed to have gone
- I tried to take deep breaths knowing that there are originals we can't get back in that packet that was supposed to arrive on Friday morning and STILL ISN'T AT OUR AGENCY YET WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.
- got a good lesson in fundraising from my father in law [support raising for staff is really different. It's weird.]
- emailed some more questions about our dossier to our agency
- and probably other things because I didn't do a good job updating through the week. Oh well.

02 August 2015

Sunday Supplication

You might think this blog is mostly for me to shout my inner thoughts at the world. And yes, that's correct. I'm often worried (probably needlessly) that people will get a better opinion of me than is warranted, likely because I have a better opinion of me than is warranted. ;)

I don't know if I'll keep doing Sunday Supplications every Sunday, but I do think it could be beneficial to be specific in my prayer requests to those who may have a heart to pray for us. There are practical things we need, and there are spiritual things, and there are personal heart things.

For today, I'd love personal prayer for my anxiety. I've been really struggling with anxiety. I told Stephen it feels perfectly warranted from a human perspective -- taking care of our family takes a lot of most of my time and effort, and on top of that I have 14 different documents I need to obtain for our dossier, several of which I have to figure out how, all with differing lengths of time needed, and all needing to be obtained with as little lag as possible. And on top of that I need to raise $20,000.

So yes, I can get really stressed out. I've been having trouble sleeping. I've been having to physically calm myself down because I'm holding tension in all these parts of my body. It's helped that we have all of our homestudy documents complete [thank You, Lord], but we are now "broke" in our adoption account. We have some money set aside, but we need that to buy a vehicle that will hold all our kids. So I need to start raising funds, but I can only juggle so many things in this lil brain of mine without it taking a toll on my personal well-being. I can't do it on my own, but I've been trying.

I need to tune more into what God is saying, instead of just talking rapid-fire at him all the time. Oh my gosh, I AM MY FOUR YEAR OLD. Fine, God, there it is for everyone to see, my realization in real-time. LOL. You sneaky sneakster! Yes, I have been avoiding listening to God because this stage is so scary. I'm really, really scared we're going to lose the girls.

So yeah, lots of anxiety. Pray if you feel led, and thanks.