To get us all up to speed, we had our long awaited orientation meeting with our home study person on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011. When we got into the Ethiopian adoption program with America World, they emailed a ton of paper work to start chipping away at and assigned us to two women who would help us through the process. One lady, Trina, is here in Arizona, and she is helping us put together our home study and paper work for the courts here in Maricopa county. The other lady, Lauren, is at the corporate office in VA. She is helping us to put the dossier together that will be sent to Ethiopia. Anyway, it's been a few months of just trying to do what we thought we needed to do with no real results or understanding of where we are in this whole process. In like August we had scheduled an orientation with Trina for October 11th. It felt so far away. We had some paper work that we needed to bring and some money we needed to pay.
Well, the Tuesday finally came. And we were just a little bit of slackers. Ha! We had most of the paper work we needed to give to Trina ready to go.. except for an autobiography for each of us and a financial work sheet. So that Tuesday afternoon, I came to the church and Brandon and I wrote up our autobiographies. I sat in the youth center at the sound booth on the computer there and quickly typed through all of the points that I needed to cover in my autobiography. While Brandon wrote his up in his office. We finished just in time but than I remembered that we needed to finish up our financial work sheet. Brandon was a little frustrated at me for saving this to the very end to finish. But he got that all finished up for us. We ran out the door and drove across town and headed to the South East Regional Library in Gilbert. Some how we only managed to get there just a few minutes late.
We meet with Trina and another couple who is at the same point in the adoption process and is also adopting from Ethiopia. Trina just went through pretty much everything that we had read in the paperwork and books. But it gave us a little better understanding of what was going on. We turned in our paper work plus anymore paper work that we had completed. It felt good to just lighten up our stack of papers and felt like we were getting stuff done.
This first orientation actually counted as one of the 3 times that we were meeting with our home study person (Trina). (I am not really sure what she is-- if she's a social worker or what.) That was awesome! We didn't even know that this was counting as one. We only have two more meetings with her! And we went ahead and scheduled our next meeting two weeks from the 11th. Trina will be coming to our house on October 25th. I feel like we're actually moving in this process! We just need to finish up the rest of our paper work for our home study. (Also, right before we met up with Trina, I emailed her to see what we needed to pay but we ended up not having to pay this time. Yay, so we have a few more weeks to come up with some money.) Which is cool, we should be able to complete our home study by around the holiday time. (Our home study is written up about us and will get approved by the county. Than that will be put into our dossier which is sent to Ethiopia.)
The other couple at the meeting had all of their paperwork in an organized notebook. Whereas, I had all of our paperwork in a jumbled stack of manilla folders. I got ultra motivated when we got home and completely organized our paper work. I bought a new notebook, put everything in order, put all of the paperwork in plastic sleeves, tabbed all of the pages, and made a table of contents. After the meeting, Trina emailed us the rest of the paper work we needed to complete so I inserted that list into the front of the binder. Awww, it's so pretty! (I haven't made very many copies of my paperwork so far, which I hope won't matter right now... but i'm going to be better!)
So to sum up all my ramblings, the meeting went well. We already have one of our meetings done out of our 3. We have a few more weeks to save some money. Turned in paperwork and the paperwork we have left won't be too difficult. Our next meeting is in two weeks. We should be done with all of this home study work around the holidays and move on to the next step. Getting closer to bringing our kids home! The whole thing is starting to become more real feeling!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
After quitting Starbucks last March 2011, I assumed that when I finished my last shift at Starbucks, I would not be back behind that counter again. I was just so exhausted and burnt out. I was a supervisor working more hours than I wanted. I didn't have another job lined up and our financial situation didn't really add up on paper just living off of Brandon's salary. Brandon and I prayed about me quitting and felt peace about leaving. God is greater than money and He continues to provide for us. We knew it was time for me to take a break from Starbucks. I was excited to get to jump in fully into youth ministry with Brandon and really getting involved in other ministries as well. The summer was great! It was wonderful getting to go on all of the trips that I did and all of the coffee dates with students and friends I got to go on!
The plan when I quit at Starbucks in the spring, was to start looking for another job again in the fall after all the business of summer was over. As much as I have really enjoyed getting plugged into various ministries at church, I don't get paid and we're trying to save for adoption & life after we get our kids. I started seeking possible job opportunities. But nothing really seemed to fit... I am not really qualified for the jobs I want (like graphic design or teaching), I didn't really want a full-time career job so that I could still stay plugged into ministry. I have my college degree but nowhere that seemed to need it or it's not in the right area for jobs. Nothing was lining up for a job, so I was pretty much looking for anything. If I couldn't find a job that was exciting or something I wanted to do, I just wanted somewhere that has a good work atmosphere.
I would meet a lot of people for coffee at my old old Starbucks that I worked at (the store that I worked at before the store that I quit from in the spring). It always seemed like when I got to that store, the sweet store manager there would always ask me if I wanted to come back and work for her. I generally smiled and said no. Than about a month ago, Tracy, the manager, asked me again when I was in there, and I said no again. But after I left that day, the thought kept coming back to my mind about working at that store. With other potential jobs not working out for some reason or another. I felt more and more like this might be the place to go. I prayed about it and sent Tracy a text about talking about coming to work for her. I went in to meet up with Tracy, I shared with her that I wanted to just work part-time as a simple barista. That's exactly what she needed! I started picking up shifts that week. And so far, I have had a great schedule with not too many hours (exactly what I want) and I am only really responsible for myself and my attitude.
Going back to work at Starbucks truly wasn't in my plan. My pride and stubborn personality (at times), often gets in my way, which made me so reluctant to return. I had to remember that in the past, Starbucks has always been pretty accommodating to me and to my schedule. It was such a blessing when I went back, Tracy & the district manager were able to get me an adjusted pay. So I wouldn't have to start back at the bottom of the pay scale. It is cool how they already valued me and my past time at Starbucks.
I have skipped over one of the major reasons I went back to Starbucks. Starbucks has this cool program to assist employees who are adopting! They reimburse up to $4000 of our adoption cost!!! $4000 seems small compared to the $25,000-$35,000 we have to come up with total for the cost of our adoption. But that's $4000 that we don't have! And every penny will help. Any employee (any level) can qualify for the adoption assistance as long as they work an average of 20 hours a week. I mentioned to Tracy that I would like to average 20 hours to benefit from this help and she was excited to make that happen for us. So cool! What other job is going to offer their part-time employee money like that to use with whatever part of adoption we need?! Thank you Lord! I may not always agree with all that Starbucks is, but God is using them in our life.
So, I get to start saving money working part-time. (Some money is better than none!) My schedule has great and fits into my busy life (I am working just the right amount of hours). Starbucks is blessing us by reimbursing us $4000 in our adoption process. I get all the perks again (free coffee & discounts)! As a barista I just show up and work and leave (no running things or worrying about stuff). But most importantly, my goal whenever I work is to be a light for Christ in this dark world. I get that opportunity again. And this time working at Starbucks, I feel like I have a renewed purpose. Before when I worked there, I felt stuck (which is not that right attitude, because I need to be working hard for Christ not myself and not finding glory for myself). I was a college graduate working at a job that a 16 year-old can do. But now, I am working for my children. I am working to get money to bring them home!
Thank you my Lord and my Provider for not allowing me & my pride to get in Your way. You continue to humble me and mold me into the women you want me to be. Thank you, O Lord, for the continual work that you are doing in my life. This life is for Your glory.