Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warning: Rant Ahead

When we decided to adopt we researched both domestic and international adoption.  Pros for domestic, cheaper, maybe even free, and helping a "local" child.  Cons: Open adoption, years of court trying to get parental rights terminated, and risk of a judge overturning the adoption later on.  Yes it has happened. 

Pros of International adoption: Child is AVAILABLE at that moment for adoption, child is living in an institution and the want these children to be adopted.  No bio parents or family to come back later wanting their child back. Cons: cost.

In the end after a lot of prayer, we decided International.  My husband is a fireman, I am a stay-at-home mom, we are not millionaires.  But we knew we could do it.  By the way, half of the cost of International Adoption is the travel. 

When we were in process we got comments of, "Buy American."  That just really stung because why do people think that one child deserves to be adopted over another child just because of citizenship?  Well, we finished and in total our costs were just under $50,000.  The government offers a tax credit in the year that we completed the adoption of $13,170.  Seems like a lot of money yes?  Well after spend $50,000, it was an answered prayer to restore our savings.  Unlike the rest of America we buy what we can afford, we spend money that we have.  We do not play the credit game. 

Well after this year the adoption tax credit ends for families and is reduced to $6000 and only applies to families who adopt "special needs" children.  That means that most families will not qualify anymore for the tax credit.  And just so you know, Domestic Infant Adoption runs on average $25,000.  I have petitioned my congressman and senator to extend the tax credit for future families.  Today someone shared a page on Facebook for the Save the Adoption Tax Credit I went over to look at it.  I was reading some of the comments and I was truly appalled.  One poster posted a PowerPoint that people who adopt internationally should NOT receive any tax credit because we are ELITE people who do not need the finances back.  And that we are "purchasing" a child.  I finally lost it and responded to them.  I was firm but not offensive.  In my opinion.  It just makes me so angry that people who feel that children in orphanages deserve less because they are not American Citizens yet.  In this power point also it showed children who have been killed by their American adopted parents.  Guess what, it happens to "American" children who are adopted also.  It infuriates me that people can be so narrow minded.  I know that people are not going to change just because they get called out, but I hope that before you think less of a parent who has adopted internationally, I hope you watch this video of A LOT of Russia-born babies, who are now ALL American Citizens and are going to do AMAZING THINGS!
Also if you watch, pay attention around 4:36 you might see some local celebrities.  I know I am not a great writer and I am sure that what I needed to say could of been said SOO much better, but I needed to say it and get it out there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cruisin'


Yes, we are sailing on the Disney Magic on Feb. 5th for a 4 night cruise  out of Galveston, TX!  I am so excited for all of us!  None of us have been on a cruise and just know that we ALL are going to have a wonderful time.

The not so fun part is we are driving to Galveston.  That would be 12 hours in the car, in 1 day... Yes we are a glutton for punishment!  We were able to score a super slick deal on a cruise, about $1000 less than a normal cruise with them, so we decided that the kids could miss a week of school to go on this little excursion.  I have a friend who used to work for Disney on the Magic and she still has a lot of friends on the ship and she said she is going to get us the "hook-up"!  Her words.  Not sure what that means, but her information has been invaluable as to what floors to stay on, the tipping schedule, what characters are going to be on board, and lots of other info.  I think the kids are going to be so excited that they will just run like crazy for 4 days straight.  We are not revealing to them yet as they have NO concept of time, but we sail in 70 days!

In other news Thanksgiving went well.  We only had two days and we actually went down to Arkansas to my parents soon to be home on Saturday, walked in just in time for the feast, and then had to come home on Sunday.  The life of a family where daddy works a TON! 

Since we will be making a port call in Mexico I did HAVE to go apply for Dasha's passport today!  So I am glad that it is finally done and I don't have to do anymore paperwork for a long time.  Post-Placement #2 is on it's way to Russia and we don't have to mess with that for an entire year!  The kids are gearing up for Christmas and I finished Christmas shopping today!  So glad that that is finally done. 

I hope everyone had an incredible holiday and as the Christmas season comes up I pray you all have a wonderful holiday season celebrating the reason for the season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Dave Ramsey changed our lives

This is not adoption related, but I hope it can help some future adoptive parent sometime in the future.  When Randy and I got married in March, I knew that Randy had some debt, but as young(er) people who were just so happy to find each other, we really never discussed the #'s.  2 weeks after our wedding, and home from our honeymoon I went out to get the mail and Randy was at the fire station that day.  There was a bill from his student loan, and so I took the liberty as his new wife to open said bill and pay the bill.  Well when I opened the bill I started crying.  I have never had student loans from college or my masters, and I didn't have CC debt either.  I immediately called Randy and was crying as I asked if the #'s were real.  He was so sad and said yes.  After much back and forth, we decided that the next day we were going to sit down and map out a plan, because I was NOT going to have Sallie Mae make herself comfortable in our home.  She was getting kicked out ASAP.  There were 3 different debts that we had to tackle, 1 was a lowly CC, which we paid off that day with a CD that I had, the second was his car, and then Sallie Mae. 

We got on a plan, we followed Dave's Plan, $1000 in the bank for emergencies, and then starting hitting the debt.  Now even Dave says that when you start doing things right, Murphy's Law will hit and hit you hard.  Well he did.  Pretty much right after getting married, I got pregnant, and while I was so excited, we were both scared.  Things were trucking along smoothly and we had eliminated about half the debt in a year, refinanced the house, and we JUST paid off his car.  The only thing left was Sallie Mae.  Then we had an ice storm.  I had a dentist appt. that morning and school was canceled, well I decided to go anyway.  Bad idea.  I was hit from behind and my car was totalled.  Being pregnant I called Randy to come and get me and he got hit when he was about 250 yards away from me, his car was totalled also.  Our insurance adjuster had been in the business for 25 years and had never run across that scenario EVER!  So we are out 2 cars, we didn't even have the cleared title for Randy's car yet.  We were able to purchase a car from my parents with our insurance money, and Randy was given an almost 20 year old truck that leaked oil like a sieve to get us through. 

We started going some more, and we were 3 weeks from Camden arriving and it was June and it was hot, and our air conditioner decided that it was done.  Well because of new EPA regulations, we not only had to do the air conditioner, but also the heater also.  $6000 for both, I was a hot mess literally and figuratively!  That done, we still were not completely done with our debt, but I had already left my job, but I was due to get my last 3 paychecks the day after Camden was scheduled to arrive.  That was suppose to finish off Sallie Mae, but instead it went to the A/C. 

Now we were down to one income, a new baby, but we were happy and in love.  Randy went and got a part time job and we were able to finally kick Sallie Mae out 4 months later.  In total we paid off $62,000 in 18 months, plus we cashflowed Randy being in Nursing school the last 6 months of that also.  Yes we did have a good income for the first 14 months, but we had A LOT thrown at us and we still prevailed.  ANYONE can do it, single parents, married couples, widowed, anyone.  You just have to have the drive to do it.  We even had the opportunity to call into Dave Ramsey's show and scream that we were DEBT FREE with the exception of the house.  Because of this we have been able to live comfortably but frugally on one income.  We were scared when we decided to adopt because we didn't want to borrow money, but only had to borrow $5000 of the $50000 that we had to have, and paid that off within 2 months of being home with Dasha.  Now we are actively paying off our house, we replaced the old truck, and we live a comfortable life.  Just remember that car payments are NOT the norm, you don't have to have them, save your money and go pay CASH, it is amazing the deals you can get when you whip out $100's instead of a CC.  My husband is the King of bargaining. :-)

This is by no means to be a bragging post, just to share the lessons that we learned and hope to pass on to someone else.  Imagine the difference you can make if you have NO payments, no car payments, no CC payments, and even more importantly no house payment.  I know many people have made a HUGE difference in our lives because they live by the same principles as we do.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

1 year Metcha Anniversary

I went back and reread our Metcha Post.  Boy I must of been very tired because it was so random and sporadic!  We have lots of anniversaries coming up very fast.  Today is our Metcha Anniversary.  We had been traveling for about 48 hours and SOOO tired.  We had an hour and 15 minutes to take a much needed shower and eat some interesting eggs and ham, but it didn't matter because we were so hungry.  We loaded up in the death trap van and headed out to the orphanage.  I feel very blessed that we did not have to spend hours in car traveling like many people have our orphanage was in the city limits and very close to our hotel.  We went to the play room and in came our little girl.  The rest as they say is history.  I have posted some video also because I really haven't shared a lot of video that we took, but just shows how timid Dasha was.


The Van!
video
Please ignore my annoying voice.  She was very timid, just trying to encourage her.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween


This was Dasha's first Halloween and boy did she have a great time. She really got into the whole trick-or-treating. She was a perfect little Dorothy. Our little girl clicked her heels 3 times and she was transported from Russia to Kansas!  Camden was a doctor again, his costume still fit and he was excited about the doctor bit again.  Next year we will get a new costume!




 Off she goes in her Ruby Red Slippers, they only lasted about 10 houses, after that it was the pink Crocs.
 First house. Wait, I say Trick-or-Treat and you give me candy?!?

 Got it!
 Off to the next house!
 The first treat from the bucket.