March 15, 2010

Ways to save

Someone else in the adoption blog world had the idea to post about ways people are cutting corners to save toward adoption.  So I thought I'd steal that idea and share some of my frugal tactics, and hope that some of you will share your ideas, too.

Thanks to my good friend, Jamy, I can now join the ranks of other coupon queens (I haven't reached the pro leagues, though, but with homeschooling three boys and going back to school, I am happy with my average savings).  On average I save at least 50% off my grocery bill by combining sales with coupons, and stockpile when the price is right. I have enough Shout, Downy, and All to last me through a couple of baseball seasons!  And Joel has enough free Mach something razors to last a couple of years.

Joel cuts the boys' hair.  I stretch my hair appointments to ever 5 or 6 months (thankfully my hair grows slowly).

I shop thrift stores.  I just bought a cashmere sweater for $4!  Sometimes I call it "thrift store therapy" and treat it like treasure hunting.  One time I bought two pair of designer jeans on there and made $100 selling them on eBay.  I donated it to a couple of cutie-pies on Reece's Rainbow.

I like to find bargains on Craigslist.  I've gotten some great deals on things for our house.

We don't have cable.  Our tv is limited to dvds and the occasional Gamecube play by the boys (and Dad).

My husband, a jack of all trades, has done the bulk of the updating of our 1970s home.  He is amazing!  The cost of labor for all the repairs and remodels would have been impossible for us if he wasn't willing/able to do it himself.

I'm sure there are other ways that I cut corners, but these are a few.  I'd love to hear other ideas!

March 2, 2010

Pauline's "March Mystery" fundraiser

In honor of World Down Syndrome Day (see post below), I will be fundraising for Pauline in Russia and ask if family and friends could generously donate $21 for her grant (tax deductible!).   Isn't she beautiful?  She is an orphan who lives in Russia.  She turns 4 this year, which means her clock is ticking quickly. She will be sent to a mental institution to live out the rest of her life if she doesn't find a family soon.

She currently has NOTHING in her adoption grant, and the cost to adopt from her region is approximately $25k when all is said and done. As you can see, the need is great so she can find her family before it's too late. Let's make her grant grow!!

I will make this a "March Mystery" fundraiser and draw a name from the donors and send a surprise present handpicked by me (aka: I don't know what yet, but hopefully it will be something you like!)  If you could generously donate $21 (in honor of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome) - or any amount, less or more, would be greatly appreciated and I will put your name in the drawing. Once again, your donations are tax-deductible. Please use the Chip-in below that links to Paypal.  Many thanks on behalf of Pauline!


Pauline W.
There are brothers or sisters
Date of Birth: September 2006
Gender: Female
Eyes: Black
Hair: Black
Character: "Uzbek" appearance. Beautiful, kind, affectionate.
Not certain this child has Down syndrome.

Contact  Andrea for more information

World Down Syndrome Day


World Down Syndrome Day

March 21, 2010
Every year, on March 21 (to honor the 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome presented in Down syndrome), the world comes together to raise awareness and advocate for people living with Down syndrome.  Because Reece's Rainbow has an international focus, we are doing our part to further the recognition of this very special day! 
The primary focus of our ministry is to promote the international adoption and rescue of children with Down syndrome (and other special needs).  But our ultimate goal is to be a catalyst for social change abroad.  With every successful adoption, and now through our "Connecting the Rainbow" program, we hope to bring education and advocacy to those countries where people with disabilities are still left in orphanages and mental institutions.  
With your help, one day there will no longer be a need for Reece's Rainbow!

March 1, 2010

A penny saved...

I probably should have posted this sooner, just to let you all know where we are in the adoption process for ourselves.

Last November is when we were fully committed to the idea of adopting a special needs child from abroad.  But there is a huge gap between the desire and reality - money.  Yes, that darned thing that causes so much trouble ;-)  But little by little the Lord has graciously been providing money and paving the way.

Between selling some things on Craigslist and doing a little bit of babysitting, I have been able to put aside about $700!  About $150 of that was used to order certified copies of Joel's birth certificates and his passport.  Then, we have received unexpected gifts from generous people ($450 total!!!) of my best friends since middle school.....the aunt and family friends of my good friend and her mother (whom I've never even had the pleasure of meeting!)....the parents of a young family from church......  These are people we don't have a lot of interaction with in our daily lives or at all but have out of their generosity and soft hearts decided to help us, which is really helping to save the life of a child!  We are so thankful!

A couple of weeks ago the boys and I decided to count the money we have set aside so far.  After counting all the bills and change we were short of $1,000 by about 50 cents. The boys and I went on a "treasure hunt" through the house and found more than that!  So, as of now we have $1000 and some change.  That's a lot in about 3 month's time!  The boys out of their own generous hearts will sometimes donate coins they find.  They have such tender hearts for the orphans and pray for them daily.

My breakdown of the projected costs that I have on an Excel spreadsheet is this (assuming that there are no glitches, I think it could be closer to the $17k range rather than over $20k+, but we would still need to be prepared for the unexpected):

Promise Trust fee (or agency fee) ** $1,000.00
"Love offering" to Voice of Hope Fund* $250.00
Sign up for Family Sponsorship Program (so people can give tax-deductible donations) $25.00
Birth and Marriage certificates (3 each) $100.00
Apostille records (for dossier) (CA charges $20 per signature) $100.00
INS application & fingerprints $830.00
Home study $1,000.00
Physicals for Joel and Marianne $60.00
Shipping cost for dossier $30.00
Travel for 2 trips (rough estimate for tickets, hotel, food, transportation, etc) $6,000.00
Facilitator fees in Ukraine $8,500.00
Visa & medical fees for child  $550.00
Promise Trust fee reimbursed -$1,000.00

TOTAL $16,445.00

* Goes to help Reece's Rainbow remain operational
** Promise fee will be given back to parents once they receive a date for travel, if for some reason parents can't follow through with adoption, this would remain as a grant for that child.

So, that is where we stand.  I have no idea how soon we will be able to commit to a child, but we are continuing to trust the Lord to pave the way.  We feel we have other commitments to attend to in the meantime (aka debt and my going back to school) in addition to setting aside for adoption, but are making progress.  I think we would prefer a larger amount of money set aside before we commit to a child, because once you commit the process can be pretty fast moving (as fast as 4 months, but more like 6-10 months I think).  So in that short amount of time after committing to a child, we would have to fundraise like mad to get the rest.  And the fundraising is honestly what I'm afraid of.  I hate asking people for money, but I know that it is the Lord's hands.  It's not about my fundraising abilities (just see how much people have given us so far without fundraising!).  This whole thing is teaching me patience and trust in God.

Well, I think I've rambled on and on enough.  I'll end with this cute picture of Nate putting a penny in the jar which he found the other day (which prompted the title of this post).  A penny saved is a penny earned....