Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fundraising Update

We have been so blessed by the support we have received since announcing our plans to adopt.  We have received a huge response to our can/bottle drive from family and especially the amazing people and community I work with.  We will take as many as we can get for the next year so please let us know if you have some you would like us to collect!

We have also started to receive a few donations for our garage sale that will happen in early summer.  If you have anything you are planning to get rid of by June anyway, please let us know and we will collect it from you.

Lastly, we have set up a fundraising page on YouCaring.  If you feel led to donate financially to our adoption please feel free to do it here: Growing in our Hearts- Zander Adoption
Our goal is to be able to start the home study process as soon as Eric is finished with school in mid-May, so we have set our initial financial goal to meet that need.

We also greatly appreciate your support through prayer and positive thoughts.  Please pray for the whole process to go smoothly over the next year, for the financial aspect of adoption, and most importantly for patience as we know this adoption process will test us and our faith in many ways.  Thank you again for all you have done to support us as we begin this journey!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Why We Are Choosing to Adopt

The number one question we have received in the last two weeks is “Why did you choose adoption?”  This is a question we don’t mind at all and are happy to share what led us towards choosing to start our family through adoption.  It’s a long story, as it’s been a few years in the making, but here it is…
At some point during our time in Korea the idea of adoption came up between us.  Honestly, I think it started out more as a joke because our first group of students was just so cute we thought it would be fun to bring a couple of them home with us!  But during that time the idea of adoption continued to quietly stir inside both of us until we started talking about it a bit more seriously.  We started thinking that maybe someday we really would like to adopt a child, most likely from Asia.  But it was still just a distant thought for the distant future.
After we left Korea we traveled to a few other Asian countries, one of which was Cambodia.  We both agree that this was probably the place where it hit home for certain in both of us- the timing might have still been unknown, but there was no doubt in our mind our hearts were being pulled in the direction of adoption for a reason. Cambodia was the deepest poverty we have yet to see.  Barefoot children scavenging a table at an outdoor restaurant, hoping to collect any food scraps or aluminum cans before the table was cleared.  Young, school-age girls spending the day from sunrise to sunset at the temples with their baskets of postcards and magnets trying to win the sympathetic heart of a tourist who would buy something for a dollar.  It was impossible to not feel their hunger and their pain pulling at your heart strings.  This was when the thought of just how many children, orphaned or abandoned due to poverty, there are in the world without anyone to love them and care for them. How many of them would benefit so greatly from a loving family to call their own?  Maybe we really were being called to have a family that involved adoption, and change the life of even just one child in the future.  We knew at that point that only time would tell when this might happen.
Fast forward about a year a half and we knew that we were getting closer to really wanting to start our family soon.  Eric would be finishing school soon and we would both have careers that we loved.  We still talked about adoption frequently, but also went back and forth trying to decide if we should adopt first or have biological children first.  We both constantly felt pulled towards adoption, and Eric’s mind was made up.  He knew that pursuing adoption first is what we were being called to do.  I, however, just wasn’t quite sure if it was really what we were supposed to do right now, or just what I thought maybe we wanted to do (I’m the one who likes to see the door WIDE open before I step through it!).  So I began praying that God would show me just once more that adoption was truly the path we were supposed to take at this time in our life, if it was meant to be.  It didn’t take long because very shortly after, the media started reporting on the Zika virus in Central America and how it could be passed on to unborn babies even when the mother didn’t travel to an affected area herself.  Eric would be spending six weeks in Guatemala this spring to finish his schooling.  And just like that God had thrown the door to adoption wide open for me to see.  So here we are.

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”

Monday, March 14, 2016


Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks for people who consider international adoption is the cost.  When looking at the bottom line there is definitely a feeling of impossibility. Fortunately we know God has called to this journey for a reason and we know that He will provide in ways that may seem impossible in the moment. We are already so blessed by the supportive feedback we have received in the last week.
We have decided to set fundraising goals step by step throughout the process. We are setting our first fundraising goal at $5000.  This would be enough to take us through our first “big” payment to the adoption agency and allow us to begin the home study process which is vital to us being able to move forward with everything else.  Fortunately, since we are at the very beginning of this adoption process we are not under any time constraints to raise the money, yet.  However the reality is, the sooner we can raise the money, the sooner we can bring home our child who is, most likely, living in an impoverished orphanage right now.
To get us started on our fundraising trail we have a couple easy ways you can help!  We are collecting cans and bottles that are redeemable for the Oregon bottle deposit. Starting a collection of all those water bottles, pop cans, etc. either at home or work or both really add up!
Secondly, we will be having a garage sale sometime in early summer and are already collecting donations of anything that you may be planning to get rid of anyway as the spring cleaning season is nearly upon us.

We are willing to come take your bags of cans and bottles and/or any donations you want out of the way at any time!  We are so thankful for the incredible support we are already receiving.  If anyone has any experience with adoption fundraising ideas (or knows someone who does) we would love to hear any ideas.  Stay tuned for more fundraising opportunities as we move along our journey towards bringing our child home!

Sunday, March 13, 2016


We’re Adopting!!! 
We are so excited to announce that we are adopting from Ukraine!  Adoption is something that has been on our hearts for a few years now and for the last several months we have felt a very strong calling to start our family through adoption.  So we finally listened and took the initial leap by submitting an application to an adoption agency, who approved us to begin working towards bringing home our child from Ukraine.
We have received many questions about why Ukraine and how the process works.  We would love to share this journey with you and hope that you will follow our blog and our story along the way.  Our reasons for choosing adoption and Ukraine will come in a later post but here is what we know now about the journey ahead:
Adopting from Ukraine is a bit different than it is with other countries.  Normally you would be matched with a child in the country you are adopting from and then when it’s time, go to that country to pick them up and bring them home.  Ukraine currently has a blind referral system, meaning we will get an invitation to travel from Ukraine’s government once all of our paperwork has been approved.  Once we arrive we will have an appointment at an adoption office where they will show us profiles of a few children who should meet the preferences we requested.  We will then be able to choose a child from the profiles we’ve seen and go to the orphanage to meet them.  This is where adopting from Ukraine can become unpredictable in that there could be a chance the child we originally chose is no longer available for adoption (their profile was already seen and selected by another family), the children in the profiles may not meet the preferences we have requested leaving us unable to choose one, or the child could even choose not to be adopted by us as the court system in Ukraine does allow the child to say yes or no.

Children are placed on the international adoption registry when they are about 6 years old so the child we adopt will most likely be between the ages of 6-9.  Some younger children are placed on the adoption registry if they have a certain medical diagnosis, some of which we are open to so a child younger than 6 could be a possibility.  The entire process from beginning to end can take anywhere from 9-12 months or longer.  For us it will be largely dependent on how quickly we can raise the funds for each step along the way.  We know it won’t be an easy journey but it’s what we know God has called us to do in this season.  We couldn’t be more excited about expecting our first child who is, right now, growing in our hearts!