Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ellicott City Donors so far

Well, we walked around Ellicott City for a couple of hours this morning. Most of the shops were closed initially because we got there too early not realizing that many of the shops weren't open until late morning. We just walked around to the businesses that were open early and stopped by the other businesses later in the morning. We did distribute flyers and letters to many of the businesses in the hopes that the owners or partners would contact us and offer some assitance for the silent auction.

The following businesses agreed to contribute to our cause, or did today do just that:

A Journey from Junk-Kelli donated 3 handmade baby onesies and a cute door sign for baby's room. They are located on Main Street in Ellicott City and sell vintage inspired furniture, home decor, jewelry and gifts. Very cute shop!

Mon Amie-Debbie is getting together some items and a purse for us to auction. This is a cute little boutique which carries women's accessories, and they are located on Old Columbia Pike in Ellicott City.

Su Casa-donated a $20 gift certificate, and I missed the man's name with whom we spoke. But he didn't think twice, and the shop was one I fell in love with immediately. We only saw the first floor, but they have The Corduroy Button (children's stuff-love it!), as well as home furnishings which I also loved. They are located on Main Street as well.

Wreath and Basket-donated a decorative flag. It's really cute and the shop is adorable. I also missed the owner's name on this one, but she was very easy to talk to and we shared some stories. They sell creative gifts and custom decorations. They had a lot of dog stuff, and we all know my family loves animals! They are also located on Main Street.

I also spoke with an old high school friend who manages a pharmacy in Catonsville that also happens to sell wine, and he does wine tastings, etc. He has agreed to donate a couple of bottles of wine for us to auction. I'm not sure yet how he would like to be listed on here, so when I pick up the wine today, I will post it here. Thanks Matt!
A big thanks to all of you who contributed for our event!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Man, I was up at 5am because I couldn't sleep. No real reason, was just up. Which figures since I didn't go to bed until almost 1am because I was just very engrossed in my planning for the fundraisers.

Once business started today, I was out and about with Archie and Jack tagging along. We picked up bottles for the "Bottles of Love" fundraiser, as well as tickets for the 50/50 and other raffles, and while we were at Office Depot I thought, "Well, I'll ask about who I would talk to regarding donations". I got referred to corporate. When we left there we thought, "Why not stop at Lockett's (our mechanic) and see if he might donate services for a silent auction." The answer was yes, and so began the spiral where we spent the whole day with Archie driving and me calling just about every business in the Catonsville area that popped into my head. No doubt Archie was wishing he hadn't opened his mouth, you see, he had yet to take a nap when he got home from work this morning. I think we left the house at 9am and we got home at 2:15pm.

At 3:15, I left to go pick up my mom from work, only to continue running around looking for baskets to display the silent auction items, grab a bite, and keep on going. I think I got home at 8:30 tonight and since then I've been working on letters for the businesses. I had emailed ideas for flyers and labels for the bottles last night, and she came home from work with samples for me! She's a huge help, and lucky for me, just as type A where these things are concerned, LOL.

So, to announce our donor list thus far:

Lockett's Auto Care where we (my mom included) take our cars, will be donating services for our silent auction and displaying our flyer for his clients to hopefully see. We trust and highly recommend them! Thanks Mr. Mike!! His auto shop is located on Rt. 40 in Catonsville right behind Next Day Blinds.

D. Na Nails where my mom gets her nails done donated a $20 gift certificate, will display our flyer, and is allowing us to have a basket of the "Bottles of Love" in her shop. Thanks Ms. Emily!! Her nail salon is located on Sulphur Spring Road in Arbutus right next to Ambrose Funeral Home.

Bill's Music House donated a $20 gift certificate for a 30 minute music lesson. Thank you to Nancy. They are located on Frederick Road in downtown Catonsville across from the fire station.

Salon 1612 in Mt. Washington is putting together some items for our auction, I will elaborate more in a later post when I know more. Thanks for helping us get that set up Tracy!! They are located on Sulgrave Avenue near the Whole Foods.

Jack's preschool, is allowing us to display the baby bottles as well. I didn't think to ask about placing the flyers in the kid's cubbies, but will do so on Tuesday.

Thank you so much to those who were able to help us today. That's it so far, but a good start. All in all today I called 34 businesses, 2 said they couldn't help us, 1 did (the other 3 listed here we visited), and the rest of the people either require additional documentation, weren't available, or referred us to corporate.

Tomorrow is another day, and we're all getting together to cover Main Street in Ellicott City in our search for more contributions!

It is now midnight exactly, and I'm exhausted. My mom commented that I didn't have to rush and obsess over this right this second, but my feeling is that as it gets closer to the car wash/yard sale/raffle/silent auction, I will be gathering items to sell, putting together auction baskets, making signs, and organizing help, so the time to look for business contributions is NOW!

Thank you again for the supportive emails and phone calls, prayers and help!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mark your calendars!

We have made an agreement with Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department where Jen volunteers to rent their pavilion and use the parking lot on June 27, 2009, time TBA. We will be holding a car wash/yard sale with proceeds going to the adoption. We have yet to decide on a rain date should we need to postpone the event.

If you would like to help us with this event, there are many ways we could use you! We need help with selling items or washing cars, as well as donations of items to be sold. If you have any items in good condition that you might be thinking about getting rid of or donating to Goodwill, please consider donating them to us to help us in our venture. If you're willing to take some fliers to distribute to others, that would be great as well. Please help us spread the word so we can be successful. We are planning on posting a flier at the station as well as at local businesses, our workplaces, around town and on cars. It takes a lot of work to make something like this successful, so the more help we have, the better, and all of it no matter how small is appreciated! We just pray that this event is successful and brings us closer to our goal.

Also of note is that we will begin our "Bottles of Love" fundraiser in the upcoming weeks. This is a simple one where we will have baby bottles placed at Jack's preschool, our workplaces, and sent out to friends and family who are willing to help us. The purpose is to fill the bottle with change and donations, and to then return them to us when they are full to put into the adoption fund. If you are interested in taking a bottle to place your spare change in, or know someone else who might be, please let us know and we will make sure we get these to you.

Thank you to everyone for your support and prayers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What has led us to adoption, and where we are now

Many of you may already know our history, but for those who don't, here is our introduction.

Archie and I met in July of 2003 online. We began dating in August that same year. We were married in March of 2005. We immediately began trying to get pregnant, but it just wasn't happening. We sought the expertise of a fertility specialist, who after multiple tests determined that it would be highly unlikely that we would conceive on our own, or even with intrauterine insemination. Due to some fertility issues on both sides, IVF (in vitro fertilization) was the recommended course of treatment. In March of 2006 we began the process that IVF entails. April 20th, we were told that we were pregnant! In December, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Jack has been the most special blessing we could ever imagine.

Earlier this year, we decided to go through another IVF treatment in an effort to have another child. This cycle was devastating, and none of the embryos even looked normal enough to transfer back to me. The cycle was cancelled. I was devastated, and Archie was disappointed. In the process of speaking with my urologist about my cystinuria (rare inherited genetic disorder which causes me to form kidney stones) and medications to help control the stones, we talked about whether or not we planned on doing another cycle because the medications used are not ones that you would want to get pregnant on due to the side effects of the drugs. I confided in my physician that I really wasn't sure I could or even wanted to go through the emotional roller coaster again much less the physical one. He told me that he and his wife had also had to go through IVF to conceive their son, and after repeated unsuccessful attempts to have another child, they decided to adopt. Archie and I had considered adoption prior to trying IVF, but for some reason, we hadn't even thought about it this time. I was on the internet that night looking into different countries, fees, the life of adopted children and families, etc. I mentioned it to Archie, and after considering the amount of money we would have to pay to do one cycle of IVF which wasn't guaranteed to help us have another child, we decided our money would best be spent on adoption.

We looked at the requirements of the different countries, and after seeing which we would qualify for, we decided to see what domestic adoption had to offer. We looked into adopting from the foster care system, but honestly feel that we wanted a child younger than Jack (not necessarily an infant) and the only children who would come to us through our county would be foster children who we would have to wait 1-2 years to officially adopt while the state went about terminating the parent's rights. For us to put that kind of investment into a child emotionally, and to have Jack bond, and the possibility that the child would be reunited with their original family wasn't something that we could risk. Jack isn't at an age where he can reason, and how would he understand when that child left that it wasn't his fault, or that the agreement wasn't for that child to come and stay with us forever, but that it would be the hope? It was just too big of a legal risk for us.

So, we began to look into domestic infant adoption. The agencies have safeguards in place for adoptive families like interim families who take the babies when they are released from the hospital while the child's mother is making a decision on whether to parent or to relinquish her parental rights. In the state of Maryland, they have 30 days from the time they sign the consent to relinquish to change their mind and decide to parent. For that time period (she could sign the consent in days, weeks, or a month, and then has 30 days from the date that she signs to change her mind), the child is cared for by another family in the agency who agrees to take these children on a short-term basis. Once that 30 days has passed (and if the father is in the picture and signs consent after her, the 30 days goes from the latest date), the child would be given to the adoptive parents. This way we do not begin a relationship with a child who may not be ours, and the mother can decide honestly what is best for her and her child.

We are considering 3 adoption agencies in our area. The first is Catholic Charities which is located in downtown Baltimore. Next is Adoptions Together which actually is not too far from where we live in Catonsville. The third agency is Bethany Christian Services in Crofton. Catholic Charities has about 75 chapters throughout the US. Bethany Christian has multiple locations throughout the country as well.

We had our first information session with Catholic Charities last night. We went into the meeting very nervous, and there were about 9 other couples at the session with us. Catholic Charities has been around for 78 years and their adoption program was one of the first services that they offered, so they are very experienced. They offer international and domestic adoption services. The director and social workers who spoke with our group were very informative and easy to talk with. One of the social workers was an adoptive parent herself. They addressed everything from fees, to services included in the fees and what was additional, to issues that are unique to families who adopt. Archie and I left last night feeling very confident in Catholic Charities, but still feel that we should explore the other two adoption agencies before we make a final decision. Our information session with Adoptions Together is in mid-June, and the one with Bethany Christian is in mid-July. Our plan is to choose the agency after our last information session, and in February, we will begin our homestudy process.

Adoption is expensive. There is no way around that unfortunately. There are grants and no/low interest loans available. There are people who take out home equity loans or borrow from their retirement. Neither of those options are for us. We will apply for grants, but most of them require that you have tried to raise money for the adoption yourself first. So, we will be hosting some different fundraisers to help raise money to bring a child home. We will be placing baby bottles to fill with spare change around for people to take and fill if they desire. We will also be having some car washes, yard sales, and raffles to help raise money for this cause. If you have any items that you were thinking about giving away or donating to Goodwill, please consider donating them to us to use to help us raise money for our adoption. These fundraising events will begin in the next month or so because after our homestudy, we could get a placement immediately if an expectant mother chooses us, or it could be 18 months until we are chosen. We don't know, but what we do know is that we need to be prepared when we are placed with a child to pay the fees required.

Thanks for reading our blog, and we will update the blog regularly and keep you up to date on what we've raised toward the adoption!