Sunday, August 26, 2012
In May of 2005 we welcomed a sweet little puppy into our lives. Snickers Delano Matthews joined us after finding him at a shelter in Illinois. He was only 3 months old and weighed just 4lbs. I remember before going in we prayed that if God wanted us to have a dog he would show us which one. When we went in we looked at all the dogs and in the corner with a "Do not show" sign on his cage was our puppy. He arrived 20 min prior to us getting to the shelter. The moment I laid eyes on him I knew he'd be the one for us. They let us see him and several days later we were able to bring him home. He has been a great companion to us and the kids. He would always lay next to us and the kids when we were sick. He loved walks and running after ducks, squirrels, and rabbits (thankfully never actually catching one). He loved the kids and up until this last week he has done great with them. The stress of all the activity in the house over the last 18months deemed too hard for Snickers. Prospero went to sit next to Snickers and he must have sat on him, Snickers got aggressive and bit him in the face. Thankfully Prospero did not need stitches and is healing well. As our kids parents it is our responsibility to love and protect them. It was at that moment we knew it was too hard for Snickers and life here wasn't fair to him. We could not risk another episode like this. It broke our hearts and we cried many tears over having to see him go. I know he will make a great companion for someone who does not have children and needs a sweet lap dog. We are so thankful we found a rescue in Buffalo to take him and help find him a new home. Just as we prayed for him prior to finding him, we sent him off this morning praying he would be placed with the right home. The kids are processing it well, grieving the loss and knowing why he has to go. Several tears have been shed and hugs continue to be given. He is a great dog and will always have a special place in our hearts.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Gift of Adoption Guest Blog Post
Navigating the Financial Hurdles of Adoption
By Jeanne T. Tate
Today, there are more than 140 million children around the globe orphaned, abandoned or taken from their parents due to extreme abuse or neglect.1 For many of these children, adoption is the key to a life they otherwise may not have known.
In the U.S., families have shown tremendous support to the staggering need of parentless children. In fact, half of all adoptions worldwide take place in the United States. What’s more, an astounding 40 percent of Americans report they have considered adoption, however, the reality is only two percent begin the adoption process and less than one percent follow through.2
For many prospective adoptive parents, it’s the cost of adoption that stands in the way. With an average cost of $25,000-$35,000, many intended parents are left feeling helpless and defeated.3
For those struggling with the cost of adoption, take a deep breath and don’t be discouraged. The good news is there are options and hope. Following is a list of cost-cutting resources and creative strategies to help put adoption in reach for those working to bring their children home.
What many people don’t realize is that their employers may already have adoption assistance benefits in place. Contact your human resources department at your workplace to find out if they offer any adoption benefits. A human resources representative can confirm if there is such a program at your company and determine if you are eligible for assistance. Your human resources department should also be prepared to assist you with filing the necessary paperwork and educating you on what funds are available.
There are several charitable organizations dedicated to reducing financial barriers to adoption. Conduct research online to find out what organizations offer adoption assistance grants and determine if your situation qualifies. National charitable organization, Gift of Adoption Fund, is one such organization providing adoption assistance grants to families across the country – regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or marital status. They prioritize grants of up to $7,500 for families adopting the most vulnerable children facing what is possibly their last or only chance at adoption. This includes families adopting biological siblings, children with critical medical conditions or those aging out of orphanages. For more information on how to apply or to learn how to get involved, visit www.GiftofAdoption.org.
Organize a Fundraising Event
Consider financing your family dreams by hosting an adoption fundraiser. Asking for money from friends and family can be a daunting task, but a little creativity can go a long way! A hostess party is a great option for those looking to raise funds. Many people already know someone who sells items like Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay or Pampered Chef. Reach out and ask if they would sponsor a fundraiser for your adoption. You could also brainstorm seasonal service ideas and enlist the help of close friends and family to get the job done. Launch a neighborhood spring clean up, Christmas decorating, snow shoveling or window washing session for donations to help bring in extra cash. Be sure to ask for donations instead of a specified dollar amount. This will give you the best chance of raising the most funds.
The government provides adoption tax credit to families adopting a child and who meet specified criteria. Tax credits and subsidies can vary by state and in some cases, subsidies may only be available to those adopting a foster child or a child with special needs. Determine what’s available in your state. Some federal adoption subsidies can be used for ongoing medical care for your child and the tax credits can help lower initial adoption costs.
As more people turn online for support and inspiration on their own adoption journey, consider hosting a blog to share your family’s story. Connect with other adoption and parenting bloggers to exchange links or guest post to drive more traffic to your blog. Raise awareness and make it easy by setting up a PayPal account for donations. Highlight your donation-seeking endeavors on the sidebar of your blog and include a link to your PayPal account in your email signature. You’ll likely be surprised to find how your story will touch so many others and spark generous donations.
Several financial institutions offer low interest loans to help cover adoption expenses. Visit your bank and find out what options are available or speak with a financial advisor to strategize the best plan. An advisor might also be able to recommend organizations that offer interest-free loans. For example, Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. is an organization providing financial assistance to adoptive parents via interest-free loans and grants. The repaid loan is then used to help other families wanting to adopt so more children benefit. For more information on Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc., visit: http://www.heartofadoptionsalliance.com.
Adoption Baby Shower
If a family member or close friend has expressed interest in hosting you a baby shower, forgo the gifts and suggest a pre-adoption baby shower. The host can encourage attendees to make a donation towards your adoption expenses instead of buying from a baby registry. For international adoptions, you could also invite guests to bring used baby gifts to the shower that you will donate to your child’s orphanage or a charitable organization in your child’s home country. Shower guests will likely applaud and admire these efforts.
Local Charities, Churches and Civic Groups
Reach out to churches and civic groups in your area. Organizations that support child development may have money available that they can offer to help cover costs associated with adoption. You can also ask your local church or a charity center if you could host a car wash or bake sale in their parking lot to help raise money for your adoption, or even pass a special collections hat. Remember, every dollar counts!
Jeanne T. Tate is an attorney with extensive and exclusive practice in the area of adoption. With offices in Tampa, Naples, and Orlando, Florida, she works closely with adoption agencies to provide a full range of services to birth parents and adoptive families through her child-placing agency, Heart of Adoptions, Inc. Ms. Tate is a 2006 recipient of the Angels in Adoption award of the Congressional Coalition on Adoptions and serves on the Gift of Adoption Fund Florida Chapter Board of Directors.
Gift of Adoption Fund is a national charitable organization that inspires adoption by providing grants to qualified parents – giving children in need of families a permanent home and a chance to thrive. Over the past 10 years, Gift of Adoption has united nearly 1,000 children in need with families. For more information on how to apply for a grant or learn how to get involved, visit www.GiftofAdoption.org or follow Gift of Adoption at https://www.facebook.com/giftofadoptionfund or @GiftofAdoption.
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1. UNICEF. “UNICEF Child Poverty Report.” August 2009. http://www.unicef.org
2. ABC News Time Magazine News Poll. May 2006. http://www.abcnews.go.com
3. Adoptive Families. “2011 Adoption Cost Survey.” December 2011. http://www.theadoptionguide.com/cost/articles/how-much-does-adoption-cost
Friday, August 10, 2012
We have the honor of receiving the Angels in Adoption Award. We were nominated by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and had the pleasure of meeting her yesterday. We were given a pin and certificate for our efforts in adoption and helping keep sibling together. It was a blessing to receive this recognition and we hope it only makes our story known so that others may consider helping orphans find a forever home. We hope that one less child in this world will no longer be forced go to bed hungry, without food, without good-night hugs and kisses, without the loving embrace of a mother and father, no longer cold and alone, without a bedtime story, without a family to love and be loved forever. We pray a child finds their forever family and parents are united with the children they are meant to be with. Our family has the opportunity to go to Washington, DC in September for an Angels in Adoption 3 day event and gala, celebrating adoption and raising awareness for the need for adoption and foster care. We were on the WCCO news in the evening as well, the kids were thrilled to see themselves on TV. The kids enjoyed a week of VBS at church and loved the time there, (they are actually playing VBS with each other right now). Thank you to all the volunteers with VBS, what a blessing for the kids to attend and hear about God.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The kids and their lemonade stand, waiting patiently
Prospero and Jhon
Jhon's first Twins game
Jesus is 6!
Derly and Jesus
Prospero and Jesus
Mami and Jesus
We had a batman/star wars birthday party
Estefania and Jesus
Clown show in Buffalo, Prospero as a lion, check out his Roar!
Jesus with a snake
Derly and Snickers