Colin & Noelle

Colin & Noelle


CURRENT TIME IN ETHIOPIA.



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Monday, April 30, 2012

Garage Sale!

Our neighborhood garage sale is happening Saturday, June 2nd!

Again, we will be using all proceeds to help bring our little one home. There are several ways you can get involved...


IF YOU ARE IN THE SOUTHERN INDIANA / LOUISVILLE AREA:

  • We would love donations! If you would like to donate any items, please email us and we can talk about picking them up from you, or having you drop them off at our house.
  • We might have a need for extra tables to set things up. If you have tables we could borrow, please let us know!
  • We would love a few extra people to come help us run the garage sale! We might even bribe you with breakfast and coffee! ;)
  • Come shop at our garage sale!


IF YOU LIVE FAR AWAY:
  • Consider hosting a garage sale of your own to benefit our adoption. Please contact us if you are interested and we would be happy to partner with you in this!


We've heard about great success when doing a garage sale to raise money for an adoption, both by the adoptive families, but also when those out-of-state hold one in their honor. We hope you'll consider ways you can help us raise money to support our adoption! And no matter where you live, we could always use PRAYER. We trust that God has every detail of this adoption planned the way He wants it. Whether or not this garage sale is a financial success, we hope it provides us the opportunity to interact with those in our community, to tell them our story, and to educate them on adoption. :]

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And thank you to those of you who have already blessed us with your financial, emotional, and prayerful support so far. We can't tell you how much your support has been helpful to us in this process. We hope to post updates on how we did at our Thirty-One party very soon!

Noelle


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Working on our Home Study Binders

If it seems we've been neglecting the blog a little bit, that's because we have been. :) We've been busy doing a lot of paperwork, without a lot to report back on. So, I suppose our absence has been both a good and bad thing?

Currently, we're still assembling our Home Study Binders. We had somewhat of a slow start on them, but over the last few days, we've really picked up the pace. We're hoping it won't take much longer than another week or two. Once these binders are assembled with everything that the Home Study Agency has requested, each of our binders will be sent off and reviewed. After that step, we should receive a call to set up our interviews.

So far we are in the middle of typing up our autobiographical statements, we've scheduled our fingerprinting through the state, and we've started on our characteristics document (where we specify which characteristics we'd be open to accepting in a child - which is probably the toughest piece so far). We're also working on getting our background checks run, as well as scanning copies of our IDs, marriage license, and other pieces of info to be put in these binders. It's just a matter of locating all the right documents, getting them all filled out / printed, and put in the right order in the binder. And there's a lot of them.

The amount of paperwork can be so overwhelming at times (and this is only the start). But we're getting through it. And we are trying our best to remain diligent in getting it done in a timely manner, because we know that as time-consuming and {sometimes} emotionally draining as it is, it will all be worth it in the end. <3

Noelle

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adoption Language



During the times that Colin and I are busy working on paperwork with minimal updates, my hopes are to provide insightful and educational posts on adoption issues. It may seem unnecessary to some, but one of the easiest ways to support any adoptive family is to know what to say and what not to say - just as in any situation. In a way, adoption comes with its own language. There are words and phrases that are considered insensitive and inconsiderate. Not that most people are trying to be rude (we know they mean no harm), but when you are not closely touched by adoption, there is no reason that you would know these things ahead of time. If you know you have said these things to us or another adoptive family, please do not take this as any type of condemnation. We know you all mean well, but for the future, these phrases are worth knowing. :)  So here's a run-down of "proper" phrases to ensure you're using the appropriate language (as provided by one of our agencies)!

Appropriate Adoption Language
Inappropriate Adoption Language

Birth Child
Child Placed for Adoption      Special Health Care Needs
Birth Parent / Biological
Born to Unmarried Parents Waiting Child
Was Adopted
Child from Abroad
Search
Terminate Parental Rights
My Child
Parent

Own Child
Unwanted Child
Handicapped
Real Parent / Natural
Illegitimate
Available Child
Is Adopted
Foreign Child
Track Down Parents
Give Up
Adopted Child
Adoptive Parent


In addition to these key words & phrases above, there are a lot of very personal, and very inconsiderate questions that many adoptive families are asked. These are compiled from several sites I've seen around the internet (links at the bottom).


  • "Can you not have kids of your own?"
  • "What happened to his/her real parents?"
  • "How much did s/he cost?"
  • "They're so lucky you adopted them!" (usually referring to the family being American)
  • "Why don't you adopt ____"  (int'l, domestic, baby, older child, etc.)
  • "What kind of person would give up such a beautiful, sweet child?" 
  • "I could never love someone who doesn't share my biology." 
  • (Insert any horror story you've heard about an adoption falling through - this is the equivalent to telling a pregnant woman your most horrifying labor stories.)
  • "Wouldn't you at least try fertility treatments first?"

*Remeber that adoptive families choose carefully when deciding to adopt, and when deciding where to adopt. Each family must do what they feel is best for their family, and the decision to adopt any child, despite gender, age, or country of origin, is a respectable choice.  A child without a forever family feels the same pain despite where they live.


To Read More:
Personal Questions and Thoughtless Comments: Tips for Adoptive Families 
10 Things Not To Say To An Adoptive Family
15 Things You Should Never Say To An Adoptive Family


Thank you for taking the time to read through this, and for supporting us in every way possible. We hope you found these as enlightening as we have -- we are learning right along with you in this journey! :)




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Home Study Beginnings...

We've  submitted our Home Study "agreement" today and made our payment! Which means we are officially able to start the Home Study process!

The first steps include gathering documents for our Home Study Agency. Some of these will include: another application, physicals, autobiographies, financial work sheets, vet forms, references, etc. All to be neatly compiled into a nice binder, where sheets are not hole-punched, are in page protectors, and the specifications of color and size of binder have been told to us as well.

Crazy, right? Luckily, I think I'm the right kind of crazy for this job! It's going to be long and tedious, but fortunately, it's right up my "organize-everything-into-binders" alley. I have recipe binders, a home organization binder, a coupon binder, and of course... an adoption binder! I think making binders must be my love language. So I'm geekishly excited! ;)

Now, if any of you are confused or completely out of the loop on all things adoption... the reason we are using two agencies (which we're referring to as our "adoption agency" and "home study agency") is because our adoption agency is not licensed in our state to do home studies. We can still go through them for placement, we just need to have an agency that is licensed in our state to do the home study portion. When that is done, we have the home study sent to our primary adoption agency, where we resume as normal. This may seem silly, but it actually happens fairly often. We really like our agency and they have an office close to us, even though it's not in our state. So far, it seems to be working out well for us. It might be a little easier had we chosen an agency that was licensed in our state to do the whole thing, but due to our location, ages, timeline we're hoping to complete the adoption in, and many smaller factors, the adoption agency we chose was still the best candidate, and we believe that the extra work of choosing a separate agency for the home study was worth it. :)

-Noelle



Saturday, April 7, 2012

You're Invited...


 ... to our first fundraising event!

Thanks to a kind and generous friend of ours, we will be having our first fundraiser. Our friend Heather is a consultant for Thirty-One. If you are unfamiliar with Thirty-One, they sell adorable purses, tote bags, backpacks, flat iron cases, accessories, etc. And the great news is that after spending $31, you can receive 50% off the purse of your choice! And all proceeds will go to benefitting our adoption! So let me repeat -- isn't Heather AWESOME?! She is such a blessing to us!



Who: This party is for future baby Graham. Being held by Heather & Noelle!

What: A fundraiser selling all these products and more!  [ ---->

When: Saturday, April 14th, 2012. From 6 to 9pm.

Where:  Our House! (Email for directions - let me know who you are, please)

Why: To help us bring our little one home! & Because, really... have you ever had a better excuse to go purse shopping?! ;)


But wait -- if you are not local to us (which we're guessing is many of you!) or if you won't be able to make it on the day of the fundraiser -- you can still take part! Click on the following link to place orders online, or email / call me if you have any questions.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP OUR EVENT

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dear Family & Friends...

Up until now, we have made the choice to keep our adoption somewhat private. We've told only a few close family members back home, as well as those in our church, as we've sought guidance and prayer.

For many of you, you will be reading this because you've just received our official adoption announcement letter that we've emailed out. If that's the reason you're here, thank you for reading our letter and taking the time to visit our blog.

We spent a while struggling with who to tell, when to tell them, and the best way to share our news. I guess it's not unlike a pregnancy where couples often wait to get past the first trimester before telling others, because it's still so new, and anything can still go wrong. I wouldn't say we're past that point. If I had to relate the adoption process to pregnancy, I'd still consider us in the "first trimester". We have been accepted by our agency, but we have yet to begin the home study process. We have yet to send our Dossier (paperwork we compile and send to Ethiopia) to be reviewed and accepted. We are truly still in the beginning stages. So there's hesitancy to announce. Which is why we waited.

But it came down to this - adoption is not pregnancy. It's not on the same timeline. In some ways, it requires a completely different type of support system. It requires so much prayer, and so much fundraising. And as we've been blessed enough to get to know several adoptive families over the past few months, we've come to realize that it truly takes a community to come together to successfully bring a child home to their forever family. And we honestly can't express how wonderful it feels to start sharing our news more publicly.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to email us at noellegraham88@gmail.com or give us a call. We hope you understand if it takes us a little while to get back to you. We can't begin to tell you about the piles of paperwork we've been filling out, not to mention the hours of educational training, home study interviews, etc., that we have coming up. We are keeping very busy, which is why we hope to keep this site up-to-date to answer all your questions.

Again, THANK YOU so very much for just being there for us. We have such wonderful people in our lives, and we are so happy to finally be bringing all of you along on this wonderful new adventure God has been leading us on.

Colin & Noelle