kimana517: (family : mandy / puppy dog eyes)
1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Got paid to model (including a spread in a magazine!), went to Europe, took a backpacking trip, rode on a real train, had to put a dog to sleep, started the process of adopting a child, went a year without seeing one of my brothers...  =o(

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not really, and no. I know C25K is some people's resolution, but we started that on November 30th!

3. Did anyone close to you have kids?

My friends Forrest & Shannon adopted twins.  =o)

4. Did anyone close to you get married?
Not that I can think of at the moment.

5. Did anyone close to you die?
Mandy.  =o(

6. Did you travel?
To North Carolina, Tennessee, England, France, Italy, Greece, El Salvador, Georgia, and Connecticut.

7. Did you move anywhere?
Nope! Which is a very good thing since I love it here.

8. What was the best month?
No contest - May! In May we went to four European countries, including Italy, which had been at the top of my Travel Wish List for years. Plus, my birthday is in May.  =o)

9. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A closer relationship with God, and a kid or kids!  =oD  And no house problems for once. That would be nice.

10. What date(s) from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 15 - My first paid modeling gig! May 12-June 3 - our Europe trip! July 2 - when we applied to our adoption agency! September 24 - When we said goodbye to Mandy.

Read more... )
kimana517: (Default)
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Definitely gift wrap. It's so much fun to take off, and looks much better. But usually when I give gifts I give 'em in bags because I always forget I need to wrap them. Hehe.

2. Real tree or artificial? I like the idea of a real tree, and we had a few of them when I was a kid, but I kinda think they're more work than they're worth, especially since a pre-lit fake tree means I don't have to mess with the stupid lights.

3. When do you put up the tree? My family always put ours up the day after Thanksgiving, but Isaac and I are usually slackers and put it up sometime in early December. This year we'll probably put it up this Saturday afternoon.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog? I haven't had any since I was a kid, but I liked it okay then.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmm. Nothing stands way out right now, but there was one Christmas that a church or some other organization gave us a ton of presents because we were missionaries. That was an awesome Christmas.

7. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A holiday nail care kit, LOL. This was back when I was a huge tomboy so I was like, "What the?!" And even now I'm still not sure what all those things were for!

8. Hardest person to buy for? Dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Me. Er, I mean, Isaac.

10. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. It was given to me by one of my favorite coworkers at SnS before Isaac and I got married.

11. When do you start shopping? Whenever I see a good deal on something someone will like, no matter when it is.

12. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Multiple times. I actually see no problem with it unless something was specifically chosen or made for you. I've only regifted generic presents, like the default "I have no idea what to get her" present for a girl: a set of nice-smelling body stuff. LOL.

13. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Peppermint bark! Candy canes! Pie! Turkey! Everything!

14. Lights on the tree? Why would you have a Christmas tree without lights on it?

15. Favorite Christmas song? Hmm... there are several. "What Child is This?" for singing, Bebo Norman's "Come and Worship", Relient K's "I Celebrate the Day", "Mary, Did You Know" by... anyone, and for sheer listening pleasure, there's Hanson's "Christmas Time". And many more.

16. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation!

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I like both.

18. Do you always want a white Christmas? They're definitely pretty, but I am far happier here in Florida not freezing my butt off. I figure if warmth and palm trees were good enough for Jesus, they're good enough for me. ;o) But I don't blame people for thinking it's not Christmas without snow (even though most of the world never/rarely has snow for Christmas) because it's been drilled into our heads for decades now that that's the ideal.

19. Angel or star on top of the tree?
I prefer stars, but angels are pretty too.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning, definitely, although I'm cool with opening one the night before.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? In general, commercialism and greed. Specifically, this year, those Gap chanting commercials are driving me up the wall.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I don't like tree themes. They look pretty but they usually have no sentimental value. My ornaments are every color in the rainbow and more, and they nearly all have meaning beyond just a decoration.

23. Favorite food at Christmas dinner?
I can't choose!

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? $25,000 to bring my baby/ies home without draining our savings. On a smaller scale, I'd love some slippers that cover my ankles, a 50mm f/1.8 lens for my Canon XSi, and gift cards for stores or restaurants so we can still shop and eat out while saving money.

25. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Getting an ornament each year. It's always so fun to see which one I get this year. I'm still bummed that my mom stopped getting me one when I got married, and it's been 6 years now!
kimana517: (misc : adoption is love)
[Error: unknown template qotd]A kid or two.  =oD

Although, adoptions take so long, who knows if we will actually be paying this year the Outrageous Sum of Money that will hopefully appear out of somewhere, or if it'll be next.

Last night my dad asked how much the adoption would cost. We told him. He gasped. "That's outrageous! It should not cost that much!" We told him he was preaching to the choir.
kimana517: (misc : adoption is love)
A friend came to me with some questions and I thought maybe if they were worried about these things maybe some of you are too. Please know that I always, ALWAYS welcome questions and confrontations from my friends. I HATE fakeness and I HATE dishonesty so even if it may knock me down a bit to hear what you have to say, I want to hear it. Now, don't take that as open season on Bethany (I prefer that you come to me in love, not accusation!), but know that you are welcome to ask.

It bothers me that you ask for money for your adoption and then in your next breath you talk about going to another thrift store.
There is a huge difference between spending $30 on several items of clothing and spending $20,000+ on an adoption. I think perhaps you are getting an off-kilter picture of our lives. I write about my thrift store finds because it's something I enjoy and I know a lot of my friends enjoy hearing about the deals I find. I don't write about how we've cut back on a lot of things, because it is not interesting to read about. I do write a lot about how I've saved us $2,000 or more on toiletries, food, and household items just this year via couponing. And that's savings on items we would've bought eventually - not that I just got because they were a good deal. (Although I do get a lot of those things too, but only if they're free.) I'd say that savings of $2,000 makes it OK to spend a little bit at a thrift store sometimes. It's cheaper than going out to eat (which we also do about 2 times per week, but almost exclusively via mystery shops, gift cards, and amazing coupons, which I do not always mention when I say we went out to eat), or going out for drinks, or getting a pedicure (which I have actually never done), or having a data plan on your cell phone, or going to Starbucks a few times a week, or buying one pair of jeans at the mall, or any number of other things.

You could get a part time job, and put all that money towards adoption if this is really important to you.
I have a part-time job. Why do people always forget that I work at my church? I also sell things on Ebay and Craig's List, do occasional odd jobs and, rarely, freelance design jobs, and I make a small amount from selling t-shirts online. I also hope to begin selling my photography online. All that money from all those things goes to the adoption - as did all the money from my modeling gigs.

Don't you think that you and Isaac saving up the money yourself will make getting the baby so much more exciting?
Absolutely not. Getting our friends and family involved is far better because then their hearts will be invested even more, and maybe they will consider giving to other families who are adopting. Read Adopted for Life by Russell Moore for how I feel about that. Also, I don't follow that logic; when a woman gives birth her insurance covers most of it, and that doesn't make her having the baby any less exciting.

Why not save and wait til Isaac is done with seminary?
He won't be done with his Master's until 2013 (that will be the year of our 10th wedding anniversary) and his Doctorate till 2017 (I think). We don't want to just be starting as parents when we're in our mid-30s! Oh, and when he finishes, we will likely be taking a massive pay cut because he will become a Bible teacher instead of a tax preparer, so that will not be an opportune time to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have children.

There are some people who are reading your blog who literally will have to adopt if they ever want to have kids. Knowing that you just don't want to be pregnant is a big reason behind your decision rubs me wrong.
I'm not sure how you got that idea, because that is NOT the reason we are adopting. We are adopting because we don't understand why anyone would bring more kids into the world when there are already millions and millions of kids out there already who will never know the love of a family or hear about Jesus. There are an estimated 6 million orphans in Ethiopia alone. That's about 5 times the population of Jacksonville - just in that ONE country. We know that people think we're nuts for not having a desire for our own biological kids. We're used to that and we accept that we're the weird ones, and we certainly do not look down on people who have biological kids. (Obviously not.) But that does NOT mean we are sinful or selfish or whatever people think we are for not trying to get pregnant.
Edited to add: Isaac said on Facebook, "The Bible talks about a man being blessed whose quiver is full. We are choosing to pick our arrows up of the ground instead of making new ones." Quiverfull Movement connotations aside (because we are SO not part of that), that is a very, very good way of putting it.

Why can't you adopt an American child? It's cheaper, and there are kids here that need loving parents.
There are lots of kids here who need parents - that's true. But it is unlikely that a child in the States will die of starvation or HIV or TB or any other treatable illness that they cannot afford or obtain treatment for in a poorer country. Not to mention that a child here has a much higher chance of hearing the true Gospel than one in a predominantly Catholic (I'm talking Catholic like El Salvador, not American Catholic) or Muslim country. Plus, we've been to orphanages in poor countries and we've been to an orphanage here in the US. HUGE difference in quality of life. Just talk to a kid old enough to remember their orphanage in the Ukraine or Jamaica or wherever and you will know. That said, we hope if people are moved to adopt from the USA that they will! Who cares where you adopt from as long as you adopt! But we have felt called to adopt from poorer countries. If in the future God does not provide for that, then we will likely adopt domestically. If that happens we would like to work with a crisis pregnancy center or some such thing so that we can put our money where our pro-life mouths are.

Question from a friend on Facebook: When you adopt your child will you keep his/her born name or give it an americanized name?
Our kids are gonna be 100% our kids, and that will include the names we've had picked out for ages. Although I think if they have a given name, we will make that a second middle name. That'll make for some long names, but then they'll have the option later on. Also, if we end up adopting older kids (like, age 5 & up) eventually, we'll probably just keep their names because it might be confusing/overwhelming for them to change after having that name for so long.

Let me also add that I am not posting this to have anyone think badly about the friend who initially asked the questions. I'm glad they asked so I could clear things up, especially since a few of you have said you'd wondered some of the same things.

Any other questions?

kimana517: (misc : adoption is love)
+ My trip to Jekyll Island was great. ) Pics are here.

+ Last week I went to a Goodwill that, the only time I went there before, I didn't find anything. This time I found a few things, but the best was this absolutely gorgeous burgundy Ann Taylor dress. It was too big for me so I bought it for my mom, hoping a) that it would fit and b) that she would like it. Well, I gave it to her and it fits perfectly and she loves it! That makes me so happy.

+ Oh! Our home study visit went great! Thanks so much for praying. Now could you switch your prayers to finances? You can see my most recent entry on the adoption blog for why. Now we just have to finish gathering everything and getting it apostilled (my new word for the week). I got an email from Holt that every family that was finished with their home studies in June or before has received a referral already! They also said they are now doing referrals upon completion of the home study, not just the dossier. *wide-eyed* That means if we can get this all finished up we could get a referral within a few months. Whoa. Tonight we went out to dinner for Aaron's birthday and I saw a white mom with the cutest black little girl and thought, "Wow. Next year that could be ME." And instead of feeling strange like it used to, this time it just made me smile.

+ Over the week I kept thinking, "I ought to write about this and that," but I didn't, and now I've forgotten all that stuff! Oh well. If I think of it tomorrow I'll write it.
kimana517: (misc : adoption is love)
... in about 12-18 months. Hehe.

At about 12:05 this morning, and after much research, I submitted our adoption application to Holt International Adoption Agency's Ethiopia program. It will probably be a few days/weeks until we hear from them about whether we are accepted, and then comes the huge paper chase. That will take a few months. Then we wait till we get a referral - that's often the longest wait - and then we wait until we can get approval in-country and a court date and everything. But I may be a mom by next June! I'm trying not to get my hopes up about a speedy adoption, though. It could take much longer than that.

I think I'm going to change my deal blog, which I keep forgetting about, to our adoption blog. It won't be updated much in the first months of this journey, but eventually it will be very useful to chronicle our adventure in getting baby #1 (and maybe #2 - we said we're open to siblings age 2 and under!).

I'm glad I have you all along for the ride. =o)

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September 2011

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