Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Phase One

We rolled out phase one of our networking efforts this week. Since we are forgoing working with an agency this time, we have to actively look for an adoption situation ourselves. That means getting the word out by any means necessary.

We created a Facebook page for our adoption. Go LIKE and SHARE it. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. If you share it with your friends and they share it with their friends, we could potentially reach 1,000s or even 10,000s people in a short amount of time. You never know who will know someone thinking about adoption and then think of us.

Please Like and Share our Facebook page: Facebook.com/marlonandjenniferadoption

We also placed targeted ads on Facebook. You can set a budget and perimeters for the ads. You can use up to six different photos for the ad and we directed the click through to our personal website, marlonandjenniferadoption.com. It's interesting to see that one photo of us is more popular than another. That's really useful information.

Next, we went old-school and placed newspaper ads. One ad ran in our hometown newspaper in Virginia and the other two ads ran in small local papers in New York, but outside the NYC area. We'll run them for a week or two and see if we get any response.

We can't leave out Twitter! Introducing our new Twitter account, @MarlonJennAdopt. You know the deal, go follow us. I am not sure how I am going to keep up with three Facebook and Twitter accounts. I need to get a social media system or an intern.

We've been listed on the Adoptimist website for awhile. We switched to a Featured account (which you pay for) to see if we get more looks this way. We need to freshen this page up with some new pictures. Soon...

I feel like we are starting over, yet we've been doing this for almost three years. Waiting and (not)adopting has been such an emotional roller coaster. We want to be a regular family, gushing about first steps, snapping photos on the first day of school, going to dance recitals, soccer games or whatever they are into. You know, sharing laughs at the dinner table or tucking them in at night. As each day passes, I start to doubt if it will ever happen for us. Maybe expectant parents won't like us because we live in NYC or that we aren't super rich. I see other people's ads "promising" that the child will have a happy life and will go to the best schools. I don't think anyone can really make those kinds of promises. We can promise that we'll always parent the best we can, love them with all of our hearts and honor their adoption story. The rest is the surprise of life.

I am excited about the possibility of another match, but really nervous too. The disappointment and heartbreak of losing the twins was almost too much for us to bear. I keep thinking about the advice we got from an adoption conference that we attended - the next situation isn't the last situation, so keep an open mind and open heart. So with that, we move forward.

Look out for phase two!

If you or someone that you know is considering adoption, please don't hesitate to share our information or contact us. Click here for more information about building our family through adoption. Thank you for thinking of us.

Monday, March 31, 2014

We Are Ready!

It's been a busy year and so far I haven't had a lot of time to blog. I thought I would catch you up on our adoption plans. After a rough year, we took some time off from the adoption roller coaster to heal our hearts and figure out what we want in life. We still want to have a family, we still want to adopt. So we are gearing up for the next ride. 

This time, we pursuing an adoption with an attorney versus with an agency. What this basically means is that we will look for a match on our own and do a lot of the leg work ourselves. If you hear of a situation, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. After this past year, we think the best advocate for us is us. We have a great attorney and she'll hold our hand throughout this process.

Since we moved, left the agency and another year has passed, we had to do another homestudy. Ay yi yi. Please enter homestudy #3. We were able to use the information from the previous ones and just have this one updated. It was definitely less paperwork and hoops. Third time's a charm, right? We got this. The social worker came and visited our new apartment four days after we moved. Nothing was unpacked, boxes were under sheets because the painters were coming and it was my 40th birthday. Those of you sweating about the home visit, please don't. I cleaned up, bought some pastries and that was it. We chatted around the kitchen table for an hour, gave her a quick tour pointing out the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the fire extinguisher and briefly told her about our decorating plans. The painters rang the bell and she was gone. We spent the rest of the afternoon in City Island celebrating my birthday with renewed hope for the future.

Our homestudy was submitted to family court by our attorney to be approved by a judge. We had to be fingerprinted again for another background check. I've been fingerprinted quite a few times now to have never been in trouble with the law. I thought I was going to get into some trouble when I got a little huffy with an officer after waiting 1 1/2 hours to get through courthouse security only to be told he was the only one who could fingerprint us and didn't have someone to cover his post until all of the people got in the building. Really? I waited just like everyone else, everyone else who got through were off to take care of their business and we had to wait. I asked him if he thought he could call and get someone to cover his post for the 5 minutes it took to fingerprint us. It didn't seem hardly fair. He said, no and told us to wait against the wall. I was really trying to be patient. After about 15 minutes, someone did come to cover his post and the officer fingerprinted us. I thanked him for calling someone. We now have to wait for a judge to review our file and approve us. Again. At this point, we can start "advertising".

The other important piece to us being able to adopt again was filing for the adoption tax credit on our taxes this year. We spent ALL of our adoption savings on the attorney fees for the disrupted adoption. We didn't have the babies and we lost all of our money. Talk about a sock in the gut. I spoke to a tax attorney for advice and then decided to file our taxes claiming the credit using TurboTax. TurboTax was fairly easy to use. For a failed adoption, you skip the part where you enter the child's name and social security number. That part wasn't really clear, but we figured it out. I didn't need to submit any receipts, but I have them. I also have a letter from the adoption agency stating that it was a disrupted adoption. I also splurged for the audit protection just in case. We received a large refund within a month. We didn't get everything that we spent back, but our monetary loss is significantly less.

We're refreshed, armed with life experience and we are ready to be parents. WE ARE SO READY!

If you know someone interested in making an adoption plan, please share our website, marlonandjenniferadoption.com.

BREAKING NEWS! We were certified by family court and are officially approved to adopt!

Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm Back!

Hello friends! I'm back from my blogging break. It has been a hectic six weeks.

We moved. 

I turned 40. 

We had our homestudy updated. 

We filed our taxes with the adoption tax credit and I did them myself!

We are leaving soon on our dream vacation to Scotland and Iceland to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

So I have lots to share with you. I'll resume my regular posting schedule next week, so stay tuned! I've missed you all!

Monday, January 27, 2014

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

I am taking a little break from blogging, I just don't have the time right now.

We are moving to Brooklyn in less than a week, so that involves packing, cleaning, tossing, scheduling and every moment of my spare time. 

Well, not every moment, we are also getting our homestudy updated. I just scheduled the social worker to come 4 DAYS after we move. I'll be serving her coffee out of a cardboard box. Good thing this is our third home visit,  I am not even worried about it.

Homestudy day also happens to be the day that I turn 4-0. I am starting this decade with big plans.

Sing it with me, "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"...

The Beastie Boys are so awesome.

I'll talk to you guys again when I am on the other side. My hubby refers to this move everyday as "the other side." The other side of what? I don't know. I'll let you know when I find out.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Full Speed Ahead

We never do anything easy the way, it's only the 9th day of January and I have so many things going on that my head is spinning.

First, we are in full packing mode. We are hoping to move next weekend, but we haven't found an apartment yet. We thought we found one, but the lease was questionable so we passed. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but that's how you do things in NYC. Apartments go so fast that you really can't start looking until you are ready to move. Hopefully we will find something in Brooklyn on Sunday. We have until the end of the month to move. No pressure here.

We're packing, looking for an apartment AND my family will be in town visiting this weekend. I can't wait to see everyone and get some cuddle time with my niece and nephew. I warned them, they will be surrounded by boxes. Good thing I work well under time constraints because we are losing two prime packing days. We love you!

I also thought this is a good time to start the renewal process of our adoption homestudy. It's the new year, fresh start, why not? Ummm, because of things mentioned above. But I figured before we packed it, I could make copies of all of our documents, ask for our reference letters and get this moving. The way I see it, the social worker can start on the paperwork while we move, we'll unpack really fast and have her over for a visit. The hubby thinks I have lost my mind. This will be our third homestudy, so no sweat. I guess I want to enter my 40s (in three weeks) with the groundwork laid for a good start to a new decade. Or I have completely lost it.

Full speed ahead...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Onward to 2014

2013 was a tough year for us, but we made it through. We are a little weary, have been a touch withdrawn and have been waiting for the days to tick off the calendar. But we made it through. I don't know why we think with a flip of the calendar the new year will be a fresh start, but you have to hope, right? I am definitely hitting the reset button.

Last year at this time, I was bursting at the seams with hope and proclaimed that it would be our year. I had no idea. For Marlon and I, it was probably the hardest year of our lives. I know plenty of people have had tougher times than us, so I am thankful for a few bright spots - the birth of my niece, Renee', extra time with my mom and grandma (who have been battling that dreaded "C" word), good jobs, a roof over our heads and friends and family that love us. I have gained more insight about adoption and the nature of people. I have learned that I can get knocked down and pick myself up again, again, again.

We are making changes, hitting milestones and turning this ship around in 2014. We're moving to Brooklyn in a few weeks. It will be nice to have some new scenery. I will celebrate entering a new decade in February. I say good riddance to my 30s. Marlon and I will be happily married for 20 YEARS in March! He's my everything. Twenty years of marriage deserves a prize, so we are taking a trip to Scotland and Iceland. This trip has given us something to look forward to and kept our minds occupied during those rough days in 2013. Our home study will be renewed as soon as we move and will continue to pursue this adoption journey. We'll actively look for a match instead of waiting for an agency to find a situation for us. If you hear of anything, call us! So, big things for us in 2014!

It's another year, a year full of possibilities. I am not going to say that this will be our year. I am just going to say I hope that it's a little better than last year. Thanks for hanging in there with us. Happy New Year to all of you.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Winners of the Red String Good Luck Charm Bracelet

Congratulations to Angela, Karen and Robin! 
You've won the Red String Good Luck 
Charm Bracelet Giveaway!

I hope it brings a little luck your way!
Thank you for entering and reading Two Cats and a Cradle!

If you'd like to buy a charm bracelet of your very own and support our adoption fund, click here. The bracelets are $10 each on Etsy. Quantities are limited.