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Nov 3First, we want to say THANK YOU!  We are so grateful for wonderful friends and family that are supporting us on this journey.  We are so excited to celebrate with a loving community!

Because of you – we are already at 10% of our goal!  Our overall expenses are estimated to be around $30,000 and we are hoping to raise 50-60% in outside funds.  We have a payment of over $10,000 quickly approaching and would love to have those funds covered by half.  Will you consider joining us?  You can see the Teddy Tracker to the right.  Just pick a number that needs a Teddy and send that amount.  Cash, check, or PayPal is fine.

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We also have Chick-fil-A coupon calendars for sale.  The cost is $7 or more with all proceeds going to help fund our adoption.  I’m happy to send the coupon card to you at no additional cost, or if you would like the calendar,  we just ask you cover the shipping charge as well.

Oh – and some of our BIGGEST news – ALL of our application has been received!  Background checks, references, and questionnaires have all cleared.  We will be assigned an adoption specialist and start scheduling our Home Studies!  Please continue praying and check back often for updates!

 

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We are super grateful for so many gracious gifts already!  All of our paper work and references have been submitted, we are simply waiting for something from the state to be submitted.  This could happen any day now.  Once that has been received by our agency, our Home Studies will be scheduled!  Oh yes – we also have a check to write.  🙂

Adoption Mini SessionsRight now we are working on several ways that others can help, and hope to have something for everyone.  You can simply donate through GoFundMe or PayPal, but below are a few additional ways that would also help:

Amazon:  Who doesn’t shop online anymore?  Before you do your shopping, would you consider using our affiliate link?  This will give us a very small percentage back from your purchases – and if you are shopping any how, it does not cost you anything extra.

Online Auction:  We have several items to get rid of as we make room for Teddy.  Auction runs from October 24-31.  Highest bidder at the end of the day on October 31.  Will ship at buyers expense or arrange local pick up within 72 hours of auction closing.  Feel free to invite others or donate some items as well.

Mini Sessions:  We have opened up mini photo sessions for November 14 at Lake Lily in Maitland.  This is a great way to get those family photos done for Christmas cards or add some updated artwork to your home.  Please email mikeandsaragraham@gmail.com to reserve your time.  Limited availability (but will consider opening another date if needed.)

Party:  Several different friends are hosting fundraising parties throughout the next few weeks.  There is already A Jamberry and Jewelry Trunk Show scheduled.  If you would like to participate in any of these, or would like to hold one for another company, please let us know.

Milk:  Yes – milk.  With all the benefits of breast milk, we would love to be able to have a supply at least half of his feedings with breast milk while supplementing with formula.  If you happen to have (or will have) a supply of milk, would you consider donating some to our freezer?

Share:  Yes – please please please share with anyone and everyone!  We already have heard from a few people offering their services to raise funds for Teddy.  Any thing you can do as an individual, family, small group, or church would be a huge help!

Thanks again for partnering with us and #bringingteddyhome.

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We are incredibly grateful for so many celebrating with us!  This journey has really been a great experience – and we know many of you are making that possible.  Thank you!

We have no idea how long this road will be, but we are certain we will need prayer.  For immediate or urgent prayer requests, be sure to follow us at Mike & Sara Graham on Facebook.  But for now, please join us in praying for the following:

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Pray for Teddy and his/her parents.  We have no idea what their story is, but can only imagine how difficult this decision this is for them.

Pray for our upcoming home studies and no complications.

Pray for the fundraisers and support to help cover part of the initial cost of bringing Teddy home.

Pray for us and using our resources wisely, especially time, as we try to prepare for Teddy entering our family.

Thanks again!  xoxo

 

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We get a few questions over and over again, so we thought we would try to answer those in one place.  Some of these aren’t really being asked as questions, but come up often in conversation so we thought we would include those too. Please let us know if there is anything we miss.

image1 (9)Q:  Why are you adopting?
A:  We believe in leaving a legacy – biologically and spiritually.  We’ve always wanted children of our own, but the story was written a little differently than we expected.  (Be sure to check out our video if you haven’t already for your story.)  We read “Adopted for Life” by Russell D. Moore and it was life changing.  Understanding the importance of Jesus being adopted by Joseph and looking at us being adopted into God’s family left us with very little doubt about moving forward.

Q:  What type of adoption are you doing?
A:  We are pursuing domestic infant adoption, semi-open.

Q:  Are you sure you want to do an OPEN adoption?
A:  Yes.   We are also open to a closed adoption, but more than anything we want the birth parents to be as involved as they want and is healthy for the child.  Our adoption will probably be more of a semi-open, meaning the birth parents will not know our last names or where we live or phone numbers and such.  Our child will always know that someone else gave birth to them, but they will recognize us as his/her parents.  We will send updates to the agency and the birth parents will have the option to visit with us once or twice a year if they want.  And no – we are not worried about them tracking us down and stealing the baby.  🙂

Q:  Why are you working with Bethany Christian Services?
A:  We looked at a variety of different options for adoption.  We had started applications with two other agencies a few years ago, but never really felt a complete peace about them as we started looking into things again.  We’ve had several friends work with Bethany Christian Services and we have heard nothing but wonderful things about them.  When we starting gathering more information about them, we quickly realized that they are committed to adoption as a ministry.  We love how much they care for the birth families and part of our funds will help those mothers in counseling as long as she wants it.  Also, other agencies are very comparable in price, some lower and some higher.  It is pretty common to help pay for some living expenses of the birth mother.  With Bethany, if the mother happens to change her mind last minute or the plans change, we will not be required to pay those fees again.  Bethany tends to match adoptive and birth parents around week 30 of pregnancy as well and we appreciated that this was time for us to get to know the family, while not being there every single step of the way.  Since they carefully counsel the birth parents through the process before then, once there is a match, it is rare for things to change.  So far we have loved our experience with Bethany Christian Services and they work around the country and also include International adoptions as part of their ministry.

Q:  Why is it so expensive?
A:  Yes – that price tag is not pretty.  For those that have walked through this a few dozen years ago, times have changed and adoption has become much more tricky.  Up to $5,000 of that will go to help the birth mother with her expenses.  $2,500 goes toward the Home Study fees.  Another $1,500 goes to the post placement reports and over $2,000 goes toward the legal fees.  The remaining fees cover outreach, education, training, service plan and implementation, resources, connecting parents, services at hospital, relinquishment of parental rights, and preparation and filing of documentation, and administrative fees.  Yes – those working for Bethany still have to get paid too.  As we researched, we felt this was very fair.  Working through the foster care system is much cheaper financially, but has a different set of challenges.  This is something we are open to in the future, but truly believe that God has called us this route for this time.

Q:  How long does it take?
A:  The average wait time right now is 18 months.  We know many that have waited less than that.  We are not yet considered “waiting” until all of our paperwork, references, and home studies have been complete.  We are hopeful that this will happen before Thanksgiving if all goes accordingly.  We went to our first meeting the beginning of September, so really things have moved pretty quickly.  Once the home studies are complete (3 of them) we wait until a family picks us.

image1Q:  What has the process been like?
A:  So far the process has been great.  We made our decision right before they had a general info session and we were able to get in the week following.  They also had a 2-day training the following week that we were able to get into right away, instead of waiting until December.  They only offer the trainings once a quarter so we were grateful.  From there, it has just been a bunch of paperwork and preparing our home and designing a profile book.  Luckily nothing too eventful.

Q:  Do you have any preferences about the baby?
A:  Yes and no.  We fill out a LOT of information about our preferences.  Anything from gender, age, and race to medical concerns and drug or alcohol use of the mother and father.  We have carefully researched many of these things and what would work best to give this little one a loving family.  However, some of those details will not be shared publicly, and probably with just one or two people if that.  The main reason for this, is this is Teddy’s story.  We don’t want Teddy to hear something from someone else, especially out of anger or hurtfulness.  We want to be able to share with Teddy when it is appropriate and let him/her understand our position and the story from his/her parents.

Q:  What are the mother and father like?
A:  On one hand we have no idea, yet.  On another, probably very similar to you and I.  Most of the babies that come through the agency are born to females 25-45.  Some are married.  Some are not.  Some have had great prenatal care from early in pregnancy and others don’t.  We won’t know much about the birth parents until we meet them face to face.  When we do, this will be part of their story.  Most of what we discuss will be confidential.  Not only for their sake, but also for Teddy’s.  There may come a time where those conversations are shared with Teddy, but until then, we don’t want our little one to hear something he/she isn’t ready for.  Teddy will know his/her birth parents along the way, as long as it make sense and is safe, emotionally and physically.  Hopefully that makes sense – but the bottom line for us is we want to preserve Teddy’s story and part of his/her story includes the history of his/her birth parents.

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bear-faceWe have chosen this hashtag for a few different reasons.  First, let’s address Teddy.  Teddy is our name for this little one for the time being.  We do not plan to name our child that.  Why Teddy?  We will just give you a minute for that one…

We believe this is a communal effort, especially with the Church.  The Lord calls us to care for widows and orphans.  He also gives the Church direct instruction in raising children.  In the same way we would (and hope) to dedicate our child within the local church and ask covenant members to stand alongside us, we are asking the big c Church to do the same in helping us bring Teddy home.  And yes, home.  Although genetically we will not be connected to this little one, everything else in his/her life will claim us as parents.  Our names will appear on the birth certificate.  We will be called mother and father.  He/she has a room in our home.  All these things are true – and we want Teddy to feel at home from day one.

We need you-period.  Children are expensive.  We know that – and I’m also guessing we have some of that to figure out.  We will be enduring the finances for the next 18 years.  We get it.  So, why are we raising support for a baby?  Well, we need you, and WANT you to be a part of this.  We estimate it will cost about $30,000 to simply call Teddy our own.  The agency we are working with has a set fee and then we have attorney fees and court fees for finalizing the adoption.  For domestic infant adoption, this agency is very comparable to the others out there.  Part of that financing will also help the birth mother with her expenses, and if something wild happens and she changes her mind, we will not need to pay that part again.  Our agency also provides counseling to the birth families, and we are incredibly grateful to be a part of helping the mother and family work through all that she is going through.

So, with our cost, we are hoping to raise support to cover 50-60%.  We have a few opportunities that will be coming up, but every little bit counts.  This will be responsible for the majority of the funding (and we have a big check to write in the next week or two.)  So, would you consider being a financial part of #bringingteddyhome?

Here’s how it works:
You choose a number from above.  Any number that fits where you are today.  You choose that number, and donate that amount.  That’s it.  If you see a little teddy, that means that amount has already been claimed.  If you would like to donate that same amount, we are happy for you to do so, we may just cross off a few increments to add up to that amount.  So, for example, if you choose $200, you would give $200 to help bring Teddy home.  If that has already been taken, then we would cross off 101 and 99 instead.  Our hope is that many of you will be a part, even before Teddy comes home, in loving and caring for him/her from afar.  Any amount is greatly appreciated and you can use the button below to give directly through Pay Pal or contact us for other options.

THANK YOU!

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