Wow! I am kind of amazed that you all were so interested in the family questions and answers. I do realize that we are different than the average family in a lot of ways, but to me we are just "us" which doesn't seem so special/interesting. Thanks for all your kind words.
Here are two follow up questions on the topic I wanted to answer and then I will start answering all the running (and other) questions soon. Feel free to ask any question you may have on whatever topic. :)
You do not have to answer this, but when I read this post, I have to wonder if you are independently wealthy or what your husband does for work? But, what you could answer, even just via email is how you paid for all the adoptions...the cost is just so high. And we do not want to go into debt to finance the adoption.
Ok, I literally laughed out loud when I read this one. NO, NO, NO, 4 (for EMZ) million times NO, we are certainly not independently wealthy, or even close. I don't mind answering the question because I want people to know that you don't have to be rich to adopt and you don't have to be wealthy to have a large family.
I don't use the word "sacrifice" to describe how we have paid for adoptions and how we make our family work, but we have made a lot of choices and chosen family over a lot of other "things". We have also worked our butts off. At one time, Josh and I were working six jobs between the two of us (mine have always been from home so I could be with the kids).
Josh is the graphic artist/advertising manager for our local newspaper. He does freelance graphic design jobs on the side (logos, print ads, signs, websites, etc.) and he also coaches football, indoor track and spring track. For several years I wrote for our local newspaper (I covered sports, the school district and some features) along with a couple of other part time jobs, and now I am the adoption coordinator for Adoption Advocates International for HIV+ and special needs kids in Ethiopia (and I work from home).
We have not had the "cash" to pay for any of our adoptions. Here is how we have done it:
- We have saved/fundraised (including organizing and holding a huge yard/rummage/bake sale, selling a camper we had, etc.)
- We have applied for and received grants. There are tons of grants out there. There are a lot of families applying for the grants that are available, but there is help out there.
- We have adopted special needs kids, older kids, and "waiting kids", which often means lower fees. (And if you adopt from foster care there are typically no fees at all).
- We have borrowed. I know a lot of people don't want to go into debt to adopt, but we figured that people go into debt every day for cars, boats, trips, and all kinds of "things". We couldn't think of a better reason to go into debt than for adoption. Last month we paid off the very last of our adoption debt, some of which we had since 2001. I have zero regrets about it, even in times that finances were insanely tight.
- We have used the federal adoption tax credit (that you receive after you adopt). We have used this money to pay for subsequent adoptions and we have used it to pay off debt from previous adoptions.
- We have gone on a lot of faith.
Every time we adopted we stressed the financial aspect and it was always a challenge to come up with the money that was needed, but it was more than worth it and we do personally believe that where there is a will, there is a way, and that God does provide if we do our part.
"Affording" this family is not always easy. And it is often assumed that we get money from "somewhere" for our kids, but since none of our kids were adopted from the foster system, no, we do not receive a penny from anywhere. We do have very loving and very supportive families who do many generous things for us... from bringing up extra groceries to buying clothes on birthdays to flying kids to NY for spoiling. (And we have been extremely blessed with TWO incredible family trips to Disney World thanks to Make A Wish). But the cost of raising this family is on Josh and I (as it should be).
Back to school (have you SEEN the lists of what teachers want these kids to have now??) and Christmas are obviously two very expensive times of the year. We've already covered groceries, and shoe shopping is scary. I am a planner and am well-organized so I plan for the BIG expenses and expensive times of the year. As I recently posted, we just for the very first time bought a second vehicle, and we have never had a new vehicle (ever). We have a very nice home although we didn't get a house as big/expensive/nice as we could have. We buy used cars, we don't go on fancy vacations, we don't have boats or four-wheelers or "toys" like that, we don't buy expensive clothes or shoes or jewelry, we don't buy lots of electronics, eating out is a treat, I don't get my nails done, we "make do" with what we can when we can... basically we save money where we can by cutting out "extras". And again... we work hard and we work a lot. Sometimes things are really stressful and tight and sometimes things are easier. But there is nothing we would rather be doing with our time, money, effort, and lives.
Running (and now tri's for Josh!) and the related costs is just about the only money that Josh and I really spend on ourselves. And it is money we feel good about spending. :) Someone asked a question about what it costs to run and I will answer that one in another post soon, but what it does cost, it is well worth to me. Just like what it costs to raise a bunch of kids. Kids and running are both worth the "cost" to me. :)
Calico (no blog linked) asked
Why did you shut your adoption/family blog? Did you announce you were closing it? All of a sudden it was just gone! I do hope & pray everything is OK!
Everything is fine. :) For those that don't know, I do have a family blog and it was (is) a blog that talks a lot about adoption, adoption issues, adoption advocacy, etc. as well as tons about our family, pictures, stories, etc. I had LOTS of readers over there and enjoyed it a lot. But, as the kids got older I have felt the need for more privacy for them. Then the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was that someone that we didn't really want having that much access to our private life was reading, and started making some trouble (nothing too terrible, just nothing I wanted/needed to deal with). So, I made the choice to add the privacy. If you would like the username and password feel free to send me an email. :) This blog is public because 99% of it is about me and my running.
Ok, that's all for tonight. More soon.