Day 14: Adoption Movie Night

As I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, there was one primary reason why we chose international adoption, Stuck. Stuck is a documentary that follows 3 families adopting from 3 different countries: Haiti, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. I stumbled upon this documentary by sheer accident (aka God’s providence) and it has impacted our lives more than any film ever has. It was what moved us from our pursuit of domestic infant private adoption to the crazy rough and tumble journey of international adoption. We knew that our child was somewhere out there just waiting for us!

Back in 2013 the Both Ends Burning organization took Stuck on a bus tour to several cities across the country. They came to San Diego and I served as a volunteer encouraging people to attend the showing (and I think I worked the merchandise booth for a bit too). My husband and I made our families to come along so they could understand a bit more about the journey that we were about to embark on. It was an emotional eye opener for everyone!

I could go on and on about this film, but I’d rather you see it for yourself! Here’s my plan, let’s have Stuck movie night! This  Saturday, May 16th, is National Step Forward for Orphans Day, so let’s set aside Saturday night to watch Stuck together! There are a few ways that you can watch:

  1. Netflix! Yes, it’s on Netflix, just type in Stuck (I think it’s the second choice that pops up);
  2. Click here http://buy.stuckdocumentary.com and download the film, it costs $9.99 and it is soooo worth every penny! (This is actually how I watched it the first time around) or
  3. Pop in your DVD and watch it again for the millionth time (like I’ll be doing).

Plan a date night-in with your husband and cuddle on the couch with some tissues. Invite a girlfriend over to watch it with you. Drive to your parents house and watch it with them. Just WATCH IT! I guarantee that you’ll like it. So, once you’ve decided to join in on this little movie night (because you know you need to!), let me know in a comment below or on social media. I truly hope you watch the film, it is so powerful and highlights its tagline so well, every child deserves a family. 

Here’s the teaser again in case you missed it earlier. Now, go run and pen in Stuck on your calendar for this Saturday night! #StepForward2015

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Day 1: Why China?

The one question I get asked about our adoption, more than any other is probably: why China? It’s a simple answer really.  Chinese food has always been my favorite! Kidding.. but not on the “favorite” food part, I do love me some Chinese food, yum!

When Ryan and I initially decided to build our family through adoption, we thought that we’d adopt through the local foster care system. We attended 36 hours of education/training over 6 weeks to complete the PRIDE course offered through the County of San Diego. The information was great, but it just wasn’t our path. Fostering just didn’t “feel right” for our family. Now, I would absolutely never discourage anyone from pursuing that path, it just wasn’t our path. It might be yours, but it just wasn’t ours. There is no “one size fits all” adoption road.

After deciding that foster to adopt was not for us, we settled on domestic infant adoption. We opened a savings account for our adoption and started shopping for adoption agencies. I’m pretty sure that I “liked” every single US adoption agency that had a Facebook page and soon my feed was flooded with nothing but adoption related posts. So, it was no surprise when my Facebook ads and suggested “likes” became entirely adoption related. One particular day Facebook suggested that I like “Stuck”, a documentary about international adoption by Both Ends Burning. International adoption?! No thanks, there are kids here in the US who need families. I hid the ad and went along. The next morning the same blasted ad popped in my feed. Again, I hid the ad. Then a couple of days later, there it was again! That stupid ad and the 1:59 trailer would not leave me alone! Fine, I’ll watch you! Click. One minute and fifty-nine seconds later, every preconception that I had surrounding international adoption was shattered. I felt my heart break and spirit move all at the same time. This. Was. Our. Path!

I’ll link to it here and warn you to either grab tissues or a paper and pen to write your Congressmen!

That documentary in a nutshell is “why China?”. Only it’s not. China is not one of the countries featured in Stuck. They show families adopting from Haiti, Ethiopia, and Vietnam, but not China. But for some reason after downloading and sobbing through the documentary, I knew my baby was waiting for me in China. I can’t explain how I knew, but I just knew. To be fair, I also thought a sweet little baby girl (who we would’ve named Jia Evangeline) was waiting for me, but we’ll save that for another post!

So my only explanation for “why China?” is because God ordained it to be so. He knew our deep desires to be parents and he knew that there was a little pint-sized, chubby-cheeked, flat-headed toddler on the other side of the world who needed us to be his parents. I am so glad that I was not responsible for writing the story of my amazing adoptive, transracial family. Our story is more heartbreakingly beautiful than I could put into words. And that my friends, is why China.

STUCK

Okay, the day for soapboxing has finally arrived. There is a documentary currently on tour throughout the US called Stuck. To recap Stuck in the simplest way possible: it is a documentary about the need for reform of the current international adoption process. I use the word reform here loosely; it needs to be bulldozed and rebuilt from the ground up!

STUCK

According to the information presented, the average international adoption will cost $28,000.00 and take 3 years! THREE YEARS! Three years for waiting children! This isn’t waiting on a private domestic adoption list for 3 years as birth mother to carefully and methodically browse through thousands of potential adoptive parent profiles in a last effort to supply her unborn child with the best family possible. No, this is three years of waiting for a child who is already waiting! Does this make sense to any of you? Me neither!

I did not want to be the that girl how shares too much too soon in her blogging career, but I have no choice (and I’ve sort of already spilled the beans on my Etsy shop). Husband and I will build our family through adoption. We feel that this is God’s plan for us. (At this time I will not go into the details of why we can’t have biological kids). I share this only to explain why I was so impacted by the film.

We’ve known for about two and a half years that we would adopt. After doing extensive research, reviewing our finances, and discussing our desires in great length we decided that we would adopt through the the County of San Diego; basically adopt through the foster care system. We were interested in adopting an already waiting child or a sibling set. So, this past summer Husband and I spent 3 hours twice a week for 6 weeks taking the required parenting classes through the County. Isn’t it funny that any 15 year old on the street can become a parent without government involvement, but here we were a married couple of 6 years (at that time), home owners, college graduates, responsible citizens in our late 20s and early 30s; and there we were learning how to become parents. Oh, the ironies of life!

By the end of our 6 weeks I felt uneasy. I wasn’t against the idea, but something just didn’t set right with me. Over the next 3 months, that uneasy feeling kept growing. I finally told Husband that I wasn’t sure that I was cut out for the foster-to-adopt route and that I was beginning to lean towards a private adoption. This, of course, would mean increasing the cost of our adoption tremendously but some times you have to do what you have to do. We both have a strong desire to become parents and this looked like the route that we would go. And our baby would be born in the USA, I had no desire whatsoever to adopt internationally…. until I heard about Stuck! I don’t think that I have ever been as immediately impacted by anything in under 2 minutes as I was when I watched the Stuck trailer (below). Right then and there I had a change of heart and felt something stir in my soul.

I then became obsessed with researching as much information on international adoption as I possibly could. I knew that I would need to be well informed before presenting this radical change to Husband (and our families). I felt as though I was being drawn to China and after watching many, many documentaries on China’s one-child policy and the affects of heavy coal pollution (which causes many diseases and deformities) I was sure that China was the country for us. My web-browsing also led me to an organization called Love Without Boundaries (http://www.lwbcommunity.org/) where I fell even more in love with the orphans of China. I plan on engaging in an embroidery fundraiser for LWB in the very near future, so stay posted.

LoveIsWaiting

The Stuck tour reaches San Diego today and I am proud to say that we will be attending the screening along with several of our family members and a few friends. This is an exciting time, a nervous time, and a time for us to seek exactly what God’s will is for us as we attempt to build our family. I encourage you to visit the Stuck website (https://bothendsburning.org/) and to PLEASE sign the petition; it literally takes 30 seconds to do so! And, if you’re able to, please attend the screening today in San Diego or download it from the website. Prayers for these children are greatly needed!

Weekend Wrap Up 3/16-3/17

This was the absolute epitome of a low-key weekend. With good cause, I suppose. Last week was pretty busy with anniversary ongoings , so a change of pace was welcomed. I knew that I had only two tasks this weekend: 1.) complete commissioned stitching, and 2.) find a dress for my brother-in-law’s wedding! My BIL is getting married this Friday and (despite several tries) I had yet to purchase a dress for the big event. Gasp; the pressure was on!

So, after teaching my aerobics class on Saturday, I made the weekly trek to Michael’s for some needed embroidery floss before heading home and gettin’ stitchy.

20130318-053346.jpg I truly thought that I would find a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, but no such luck! However, the floss colors that I needed were actually in stock; so I suppose that was treasure enough.

The next several hours were spent with me sitting on my caboose with a sketchpad, pens, needle and thread… and my iPad (that thing is never far from reach!). The outcome of this session was the completion of my first Mothers’ Day Collection piece (is that not the cutest?) and another hoop which I am not yet at liberty to reveal… but these were the colors used.

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There is this documentary about international adoptions and the current failed system called Stuck, which I have been highly anticipating. And while stitching Saturday, I decided that I could no longer wait for the Stuck tour to reach San Diego and I downloaded the documentary and watched it right then and there. This is not just a movie, not just a documentary. This is powerful. I can’t remember the last time that I was truly shaken to my core as quickly and as drastically as I was while watching that film. I will not pull my soap box out of the closet for today’s post, but know that this will be a very well highlighted topic in posts to come. In the event that you are now intrigued and want to know what exactly Stuck  is all about then visit https://bothendsburning.org/ or have a quick watch here:

I am using all of the willpower in my body to continue on with the planned Weekend Wrap Up and not to turn this post into a Stuck platform! Everything else that I am going to write about seems so disgustingly trivial in light of the information that I learned through Stuck, but proceed, I must.

Sunday was fabulously lazy. The day began with worship and an excellent sermon by guest preacher Dr. Dennis Johnson. I love my church, it isn’t the fanciest place in the world (clearly) but it is one of my favorite places.

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After church, I had a scheduled lunch and shopping date with sister Dee. Oh, and just in case that you haven’t yet met her yet, this is my only niece (dog niece), Ellie! She is an almost 4 year old Boston Terrier and she is an absolutely excellent pooch. I decided that we should play on our little grassy knoll to get some green shots for St. Paddy’s Day. You can’t tell by the photos, but I am holding a little green hoop featuring tiny little puppies, but this genius misplaced the hoop before photographing it up close. Sometimes I truly am brilliant!

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Dee and I headed to a little outdoors, Mexican lunch. You know, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and all.

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Then it was time for the dreaded shopping! Arg, I hate dress shopping under pressure and my sewing skills are not advanced enough to whip something up for myself. I have to take Dee shopping with me when an important event arises, because she has better fashion sense than I do and she’ll usually push me out of my cardigan, cotton dress, leggings bubble that I’m usually trapped in. After a few shops, I was quite sure that I would be attending the wedding naked. I tried on way too many dresses and I could tell that Dee was getting restless.

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And just then, the heavens parted, bird started singing, bells started ringing and a giant glow lead me to this dress. (Insert the sound of heavenly hosts singing Amen in unison).

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Dee turned to me and literally said: are you saying ‘yes’ to this dress? How could I argue against it! It was quite a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I do love it! And it’s a great dress for twirling around because it has a small layer of tulle near the bottom. Yes, a party dress has to have a good twirling rating in order for me to purchase it.

Post shopping, Husband and I spent the rest of the day lounging around in our Paddy’s Pub shirt. Yes, I am shockingly enough a fan of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It is crass and some of it does go a little far for my liking but the show is hilarious! And I picked these shirts up at Target after St. Patrick’s Day last year for only $2.90 each!

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20130318-053436.jpg And we had to bring Jack into the shots because he’s orange and white, so he complete our Irish look perfectly. Note: he does not like the camera. Not one bit.

And that’s it folks, I’m now well rested and fully prepared to tackle the upcoming week. Wedding in four days!