Here is our long overdue update! I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post, but it has been a bit of a circus here for the past month and a half.
When I announced that we were accepting items for our garage sale, things were donated sporadically, and I committed to sorting and pricing them all as they came. Large items were posted for sale immediately so that they would move out, and I felt like I had good handle on this fundraising machine. About a week before the sale, I announced a “last call” for donations, and you guys, it got crazy up in here. For 4 days, there was a steady stream of loaded pick up trucks, minivans and family vehicles backing up to our garage door, and like ants we transported items into every available nook and cranny in our house! The garage was at maximum capacity. There were pop up canopies at the foot of Luka’s bed, boxes of Christmas decorations in our front window, folding tables in our entry, tarped furniture on my back patio, and piles of boxes filling our living room and classroom! It was fantastic to see how many friends supported us, and were willing to deliver their donations right to our door!
My parents drove down from Beaverton to help with the sale and while I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for all the wonderful donations, I was also a bit breathless with anticipation over the MONSTER this sale had become! I started hyperventilating as I edged my way through the piles in every room. I checked the weather on my phone a couple of times a day, and gritted my teeth when the forecast started showing SNOW for two out of the three days of our sale.
The first day dawned misty, but the canopies had been delivered and set up! Tables had been delivered and set up! And friends appeared to deliver coffee and food and to help us pull ALL of the items out of the house and display them for our shoppers. It is hard to describe how much STUFF we had out there. The first day, we weren’t even physically able to bring it all outside. Even with 21 tables and 8 canopies, there just wasn’t enough real estate for all of the goods! When we cleaned up after the last day of the sale, there were still untouched boxes of wonderful items.
During the last hour of the first day, the rain swept in under the canopies and drenched us, and at the end of the third day it hailed so hard that it filled the tops of boxes with a layer of white. All three days the temperature was downright cold, and a few times, wind gusts threatened to carry our canopies away and even bent the leg on one of them. But despite the weather, we only had a total of about 10 minutes with no customers. Shoppers came and spent over an hour trying to see everything. They went home and came back with more cash, friends, and sometimes MORE DONATIONS! Three bewildered husbands pulled up and announced that their wives had returned from the sale and sent them back with boxes of items for us to add. One woman lost a ring while shopping on her first trip and ended up spending another $20 on items she found while searching for it. Another shopper thought he had lost a cell phone while digging in boxes, and in the confusion, he gave us his phone number when he left, and asked us to call him if we found the phone! People came back to shop multiple times, and spread the word for us. They came from as far as Albany, Lacomb and even California. Most people spent generously, blessed our cause verbally, and told us to “keep the change.”
My parents, neighbors, and friends worked tirelessly all three days helping us, and I am SO SO thankful for them. This is incredibly hard to believe, but the leftovers from the sale fit nicely in my garage, and the proceeds exceeded $3500! The leftovers will be added to donations that my parents have been collecting at their house in Beaverton for a sale on Easter weekend, and then the leftovers from that sale will be added to donations being collected at a friend’s house in Albany for a third sale! So we are STILL accepting donations! Let me know if you missed donating to this last sale or have more donations!
It was an exhausting but amazing weekend. The outpouring of love and support has fueled my determination to raise this money. For the first time, I really feel like this is possible. I’m going to get my baby. (Ooh, that gave me chills.)
As far as the “where are you in the process” question, we are technically just starting out, but in reality we have a bit of a head start. In order to be accepted into the program at Faith International, the agency fee and the in-country fees must be paid in full. (See my previous post”Twenty-five Percent!”) Since we started the adoption process from zero, we had to raise about $9,000 before we could even join the program. So while we worked to raise that money, we started on the mountains of paperwork, fingerprints, parenting seminars, and physical exams required for the home study. Once we had the $9,000, we were ready to submit it, but half of it was in our bank account and the other half was in our AdoptTogether fund online, and unfortunately, they only meet to distribute funds once a month. We sent the money that we had in the bank but then we had to wait for our online funds to be sent to make up the difference.
We are now officially part of the Japan program at Faith International, we have done everything we can for our home study, and are just waiting for Holt to schedule home visits with a social worker. Once our home study is complete, we will pay the $700 I-600A filing fee, and then we will work on the big in-country fee which is $20,000 and the second agency fee which is $5,000. We have raised about $3,500 toward those so far. After that, we will just work on travel costs and look forward to holding a baby in our arms!
And last, but not least, the book. Lucid Books created a “landing page” to provide information about the book and its release, and that went live last Friday. You can read about the book and about the author (ME!), and you can provide your email address so that you will be notified once the book is available for pre-sale. That is scheduled to happen on May 3, and it should be available in print on May 31.
It’s thrilling, but nerve-wracking! I’m publishing my DI-A-RY, folks! Am I nuts? And I’m doing ALL of this crazy stuff because I want a sixth kid! Yeah, that’s nuts.
But I am watching a terrific story unfold.
And I can’t WAIT to hold the baby at the end.