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We are so loved 💝

What a year 2021 has already been. We launched AND completed our first adoption fundraiser, Jedd started a new job, Iowa got 92 feet of snow, we rearranged half of our house, squeezed in another successful fundraiser, and we're just halfway through February—oofta!!

First off, thank you to everyone who adopted pieces of our puzzle, checked in to see the progress, and cheered us on along the way. When we first shared this fundraising idea, we anticipated it would take months to complete... 520 pieces is a lot! We had no idea we would finish it in a few weeks. It was overwhelming and uplifting to receive SO much love in such short time. For the record, when I told Jedd my idea for the stop motion videos of the puzzle progress, he thought it was dumb...HA! People liked it, JEDD.

We knew our parents would of course be very excited and overly generous, and expected some of our friends and extended family would help out. We are so so lucky. But one thing that's been particularly moving, is the support from former coworkers, old classmates, and people we've never even met. It is so amazing that they would find it in their hearts to want to share their money with us to support our family, wow.

My apologies to those who have been eagerly waiting for an update of the final product. I glued the puzzle together, wrote each and every name on the backs of all the pieces, finally found a frame big enough, and then I may have shattered the glass trying to put it together... So I had to order another one 😂 I promise I'll share a picture once the puzzle is framed and hung up!!

As I mentioned, we anticipated the puzzle would take months to complete, so we did not have any other fundraisers planned. Coincidentally I stumbled upon the Super Bowl Squares idea in an adoption fundraising facebook group less than 2 weeks before the big game. I had never heard of such a game! Jedd said he's done it with family a bunch of times. I'm apparently the only person who has never played it?... It sounded fun, easy to do, and like a good distraction from our post-season depression.

Within a week or so, we "sold" all 100 squares. Our plan was to save half of the money raised for our adoption fund, and award the other half to the four winners, but our family surprised us yet again. The winners donated their winnings back to our adoption savings fund. WOW. again. A special shoutout goes to Jedd's brother, my favorite brother-in-law, Thad, who won both the third AND fourth quarters. He could have pocketed $700, but he wanted us to keep it... on the condition that we name him the God Father of our first kiddo. We'll see if he remembers that in a few years. Seriously, thank you, Thaddeus!!

We also have to thank our excellent helpers on game day. Our ringbearers and best pals, Julian and Caspian, drew the numbers for our squares board, and they were the funniest and absolute cutest, per usual.

We've now raised $4,870 for our adoption expenses. THANK YOU💜

Adoption Update Time: We've been looking around at many agencies, and have found it is very common to have a 2-5 year marriage requirement to adopt through them. Some agencies won't even talk to us until we've been married for two years. We did recently have a phone consultation with an agency that facilitates both domestic and international adoptions. We learned that, although every country has their own very specific adoption eligibility requirements [more on that soon] some countries count cohabitation toward their minimum length of marriage requirement. This is great, because while we've only been married for a few months, but have lived together for over 3 years!

So, we're exploring that route right now. There are additional costs associated with international adoption, including added travel expenses and other extra legal fees, that we must factor into our saving. If you adopt internationally, you must travel to the country you're adopting from 2-3 times. Visits can be as long as 3-5 weeks, so in addition to the cost of flights, there are considerable costs for the lengthy accommodations needed.

We attended an info session tonight with the same agency to learn more about their domestic adoption program in Iowa and the international adoption process. We learned a few new things and now need to determine what path is best for us. Also, I want to clarify something I mentioned in a video we shared recently, when I said we are not moving forward with fostering. I misspoke! It's not that we decided not to foster, but rather that we hadn't moved forward yet.

Still keeping as many of our options open as we can ❤️

P.S. Seriously look at these two 😍 If you need a laugh, watch the video of them drawing numbers on our IOWAdopt facebook page!

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