What Do You Need?

presented by cj:

i am hanging my head as i write this really humbling, really difficult post. as soon as we made it public that we were getting on a plane, my phone and Facebook blew up with sweet, excited messages, majority of which contained this question: “what do you guys need?”

when you are adopting there is so much unknown, especially in our situation. we didn’t know when, we didn’t know gender, we didn’t know age until that phone call came, so it was pretty hard to prepare. i couldn’t really respond to any of them though except with a “thank you! getting on the plane now.” i was focused on our son and focused on getting there. we didn’t know what getting him was going to be like and we were so overwhelmed, i had no clue what we really needed. my mind was not on bottles, diaper sizes, or the thousand of other things babies need. my mind was just get to to Japan, get Kai, do whatever it takes to bring him home, and get. home. stat. we didn’t even know how long we would be staying in Japan, hence why we had to buy one-way tickets.

when we got home, those excited messages and that question kept happening: “what do you need?” and when i wouldn’t answer, my family and close friends were being hunted down on Facebook to find out what the heck we needed. i just couldn’t answer. i felt so guilty. so, so many of you helped us in the past year to bring Kai home. so many of you had already given to us financially, given us your time, given us relentless prayers. i just didn’t want to say what we needed and didn’t want to ask for help anymore. it just felt wrong to me. we even decided to cancel a fundraiser we’d planned. it got to the point that, while planning Kai’s welcome home party, my sister and best friend pretty much forced me to create an amazon baby registry. i really didn’t want people bringing us gifts because everyone had already done so much. again with the guilt. and mostly the pride that “we can take it from here.” but i did it, because they were getting asked “what do they need?”

Kai’s welcome home party came and went (and it was amazing to celebrate and introduce him to so many of you, and thank you, Lacey & Bekah, for going above and beyond-y’all are such good aunts). afterwards, i was thinking, “ok, we’re in the clear, we can take it from here.”


this blog post could also be subtitled: When it Rains, it Pours. again, in adoption, there are many unexpected, unplanned things that occur. this includes both events and finances. for any of you that have been following our story, you know we aren’t done with this adoption. we are Kai’s legal guardians right now, but the adoption isn’t final or complete (so he doesn’t have our last name, he’s here on an immigrant visa).

we knew-ish what post placement visits would be, we didn’t know how much legal fees would be, and we certainly didn’t know how much medical expenses would be (he can’t be on our insurance until the adoption is complete). what we raised before getting Kai was a guesstimate, and it is all gone. our Grafting Branches adoption account is at zero. there were lots of unexpected things on our trip we had to pay for, so everything we had sitting in the bank for our adoption was used completely to get Kai home. in our “we’ll take it from here”-attitude, we thought we were done fundraising. we really wanted to be.

but the truth is that we still need help. and i can’t tell you how much it just pained me to type those words. all of these expenses are here and majority must be paid upfront, not in gradual installments like we had hoped (and 18 lab tests and a chest x ray alone was…whew). right now we can’t even get the legal side of it started. because in addition to being hit with all this, one car just broke down, the other has hail damage, and our roof has to be replaced (along with the rest of North Texas), so everything is going to those lovely home ownership/car ownership things. so i’m now going to answer the question y’all so incredibly GRACIOUSLY and GENEROUSLY keep asking. there are 3 ways you can help us with what we need (and these are all only adoption related things).

1. Buy a puzzle piece to help with post-placement visit & legal expenses.  we started this fundraiser last year, and still have over 100 pieces left. there’s a button up at the top on the right of this page. here’s how it works: that Totoro puzzle is sitting in Kai’s room right now. if you buy a piece for $10, we write your name on the back of it, and it will be hung on the wall in a double sided glass frame so we can take it down and show/tell Kai “these are the some of the sweet people who brought you home.” we love this, because it is such a tangible way for our son to see his preciousness and how many people it truly took to help get him here. he was wanted that much. if we sell all these pieces, this will help significantly with post placement expenses.

2. Give a one-time donation. you can go to our website here and scroll down to the one-time donation section. give whatever amount you desire and it will go toward adoption expenses (post-placement visits, legal fees, and those wonderful medical expenses).

3. Get something for Kai.  for all of you who miss buying baby stuff or just like buying tiny cute things, there is a lot of stuff we need specifically for Kai. you can visit our amazon registry here or we frequent amazon and target quite often if you want to do a gift card. this will help us be able to use our money for other adoption expenses i’m sure will arise before it’s complete at the end of august.

we can’t tell you all how humbling this is, and the fact that you have continued to ask us what we need is just beyond me. what a blessing every single one of you is to our family. we wouldn’t even be a family if it weren’t for you. seriously. this sweetness could not occur.

and i think about that every time i kiss my son’s face (which is a lot).

thank you, for making our family of two become a family of three. being a parent is simply the best.

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