Friday, April 19, 2013

Dear Friends

Dear Friends, 

We come to you with a proposal.  Whether you've been following along with our story from the beginning, or you're just now joining us, we are truly grateful for your interest and support. 

We are about to jump into a very significant investment - greater even than the investment we've made in fertility treatment thus far - we are adopting a child. It is the next step in our long, often bumpy journey toward parenthood. We came to the realization long ago that we are parents - in essence - we just need a child to make us so by definition. 

Let's be upfront. We are facing roughly $20,000-25,000, and possibly more, to finally bring our baby home.  All emotions and philosophizing aside, that's a huge chunk of money for a young, middle-class couple.  

Now, we've said all along we would try our damnedest to pay our way, and do so as much as possible without incurring debt.  Unfortunately, we can no longer do that. We will be financing our adoption costs through a low-interest loan. 

We pose the following points to all of you reading this not because we want to get out of paying off our debt on our own, but because we are a sound investment, and we believe in the immense goodness of the human beings around us.  We did not come lightly to the decision to ask for donations. It is surprisingly more uncomfortable than we imagined, but we have to at least see if anyone else would like to contribute. Because whatever money we do not have to pay out of pocket will be dedicated to our preparing to raise our child. 

This message is in no means meant to be a guilt trip. We will pose our case to you and be supremely grateful to those who just read our statement.  And if, by the end, you feel like donating a few dollars, you can be assured that every penny will be considered a priceless gift by two people repeatedly humbled in our attempt to put together a family.

First, the nuts and bolts. 

We will be adopting through Christian Family Adoptions.  We are enrolling in both the Loving Options Infant Program and the U.S. African American Infant Program.  We know there is a soul destined to be our baby, and we are open to the right match, regardless of the details.  

We will be financing $30,000 through the National Adoption Foundation at an interest rate of 6.38% because we have excellent credit (just ask Experian!). 

We are accepting donations through our GoFundMe page (see button in right navigation bar).  

And now, the in-between. (aka: The Pitch)

About Us

We are Jeff and Amanda Delapena.  We are both Pacific Northwest born and bred.  We live in Vancouver, Washington. 

Jeff grew up in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by siblings and nurtured by loving parents and stalwart grandparents.  He attended Marshall High School and graduated from Portland State University with a B.A. in English.  He currently works at Charter Communications as a Correspondence Coordinator for his day job.  He is really a budding novelist and is working on getting his first novel published. 

Amanda grew up in rural Pacific County, Washington, in a close-knit family of four, supplemented by an extensive and vibrant extended family.  She attended Naselle High School (5 points if you've heard of it; 10 points if you've heard of it and did NOT actually attend yourself) and graduated from Linfield College with a B.A. in German and Mass Communication.  She currently works for the City of Vancouver as the Assistant to the City Council for her day job.  She really is an aspiring radio jingle singer and color crayon namer.  

In every way we are blessed with a comfortable and fulfilling life.  We rent our home with the intent of buying it in the future.  We have two fascinating cats and one large, exuberant Nym (our 6-month-old Great Pyrenees dog). 

We love camping (in a tent - none of this "glamping" business). We are film buffs - independent films, foreign films, blockbusters, comedies, Oscar-bait - you name it, we've seen it. We play board games and have a closet full to prove it. We try to travel to a new place every year, usually within driving distance, but we also try to get back to our favorite haunts every other year.  We're both lovers of the written word, music, and theater.  And we long to share our passions with our child(ren).

We were married on a beautiful, warm day in May 2009.  Life threw us a curve ball in late 2010 when we decided to start trying to have a baby.  I (Amanda) have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), an extremely common condition that causes infertility in women.  Our journey through the hills and valleys of infertility and associated treatment is chronicled in this blog, so we won't go into the gory details again.

To summarize, we've ended up drawing a line in the sand.  We decided to stop active treatment and instead pursue our dream through adoption.  

Life is a series of in-betweens.  We've learned to stop expecting and just be accepting.  And we are better for the difficulties we've faced in the past few years. Did we expect this would be our path? No.  But we have fully embraced it and cannot wait to welcome our baby home.

If you need to know more about us, please explore this blog or look us up on Facebook (Amanda or Jeff).

Why We're a Good Investment

Because we have tasted the acrid bitterness of the tears of sorrow, we have the ability to taste the sweet fulfillment of the tears of joy.

We are committed to our child. We will do everything in our power to bring our baby home.  But beyond that, we are committed to providing a home and a life full of experiences and opportunities. We joke that we are buying a baby, but at the heart of it, we are making an up-front investment in a future.  We are saying that no price is too great for something so priceless. And we are proud to be able to be a part of something so far beyond ourselves.

We have a support network of family and friends that will not only catch us before we fall, but inevitably enrich the experiences of our child.  I happen to believe that Hillary was right - it does take a village, and our village is almost as excited as us to get started.  Almost. 

Our marriage is strong - our love and commitment to each other has survived hardship and strain.  We know we are stronger together and we know it will be our relationship from which we will draw  as we venture into parenthood. We will make mistakes, as any first-time parent does.  We will make it up as we go along, at times, and desperately depend on our friends who recently experienced it at other times. But we have a trusting and honest partnership that will lie underneath every experience, every question and frustration, and help us grow as we take charge of this new life.

We are educated, employed and financially stable. We may not have $30,000 just lying around, but we will make this work and come out OK on the other end.  We will make the personal sacrifices when we need to.  

We are willing to undergo the scrutiny we know is coming.  We welcome it if it means we have an opportunity to ensure we are completely ready and are providing the best home possible.  We are open to any questions you may have as well. 

And maybe you think it doesn't need to be said, but we love children. I knew I was in love with Jeff the moment I saw him interacting with his toddler nieces - they adored him (and still do), but quite possibly not as much as he adored (and still does) them.  As for me, my heart aches every time I see a mother and child - it is a bond I cannot wait to experience.

We can do this - monetarily, that is - alone.  We recognize it will be difficult, but we are ready to do it.  But we believe we are a worthy cause.  And we believe we will have a great story to share with our child.  We can say one day to our son or daughter: 

"Other people believed as much as we did that you were meant to be a part of our family that they helped make it a little easier for us to make it possible. We loved you so much that other people could see that and believed in us enough to help us out.  All of these people will forever have a special place in our hearts because of that, and you will always be a reminder to us of the goodness of these people.  We can never thank them enough for what they've done for our family, and we will take them with us an example of how we should spread that generosity with others when we can."

Finally, The Request

If you want to - please do not feel obligated - we would be so very grateful if you would donate any amount you would like to our adoption fund.  We will simply add you to our ever-growing list of un-repayable debts we owe our personal angels.

Thank you, above all, for hearing us out. 


Amanda and Jeff Delapena

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16th

Today is the anniversary of the day we lost our hopes and dreams, the day I miscarried my first and, so far, only pregnancy.  It was the darkest day of my life.

Today is the day we reclaim our hopes and dreams, the day we officially begin the process of one day – soon – meeting our baby. Today I placed into the mail our application to enter the infant adoption programs at Christian Family Adoptions.

I’ve made note of ominous or superstitious days in this blog before, and so far they’ve panned out very unsuccessfully.  So what is the difference this time? One comment, almost glossed over, made by the CFA program coordinator during the info session we recently attended:

Every couple that has stuck with the program has eventually had a successful adoption

And there’s also this:

CFA considers 2 years to be a “very long wait” to complete the process

Based on these two facts alone, I can confidently assert that, while we are just opening the door on our next opportunity, we are finally beginning to see the end of the path that has taken us close enough to walk through that door.  And at that end, we will finally meet our child.

This is the only thing that matters. Not the costs, not the rigorous evaluation of our suitability as parents, not the training and not the waiting. We are resilient, we are determined, and we are seasoned veterans when it comes to this character-shaping period in our lives.  These are the qualities that will lead us to our baby. Two years is nothing to stick out when it comes to the lifetime ahead of us. 

And everything we’ve been through – and everything to come – has simply been to develop the deepest, unspeakable appreciation we will have for the soul that will one day call us mommy and daddy.

April 16th. Everything in me wanted to skip over this day, forget it is even on the calendar. That is until recently. My perspective is now altered – I’m allowed to change my mind, right? Now I want to hold this date forever in my heart.
Let me explain.

It was a sweet, unlooked-for gesture that prompted me to rethink April 16th. My acupuncturist – my hand-holder, my objective sounding wall, my friend – gave me a fertility stone at my last appointment.  One of four, she said.  It is small and simple, yet humbly beautiful in its crystalline and mineral appearance.  Perhaps made even more so in my eyes because to me this stone will serve as a reminder of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced to get to this point.  I am having it made into a necklace, which I will wear over my heart.  It shall be a link between that which we lost and that which we shall soon receive. When I wear it, I will remember the lows, the darkness, the pain, and in doing so, sharpen the joy and happiness now peaking over our horizon.

And so when I woke up this April 16th, I began to think about what this day means to me in the light this recent gift. And I realize now that my personal victory will be found in turning April 16th into another fertility stone to carry with me into and throughout motherhood.  Another reminder of just how lucky we are. Another reminder to never take our child for granted. An assurance to the woman who will give birth to our baby that we truly, completely understand the selfless act she is committing and that there are no two people who could be more grateful and therefore no two people who will work harder to be worthy of her sacrifice.

It is amazing what a year can do.  I am still facing a lifetime of April 16ths, but that idea no longer wilts my spirit. My April 16ths will now be a testament to dreams lost and refound, to silver-lining revelations, to parents whose paths to their babies don’t quite fit the mold, and to selfless acts of love making the just-out-of-reach finally attainable.