Saturday, September 28, 2013

Adopt Debt Free: Adoption Shower

Adopting Internationally can take a toll on your bank account. You have to buy plane tickets. You need to complete the appropriate governmental steps to be able to adopt, which is expensive (I thought that is why I pay taxes, ha ha). You have to take adoption classes as required by the governmental steps and/or adoption agency. You have to pay an adoption agency (some countries require a licensed adoption agency). You have to pay to live in another country for a long time (more than 2 weeks). You have to pay all of the other country's fees, like court. Wow, that's a lot (+$25,000) and that's just to get over there and back with your child(ren).

But, what about living expenses while you are away in another country? You will also have to pay for mortgage/rent, electricity, insurance, utilities, and etc... And did I mention stuff for your child or children if you are adopting a sibling group? What about toys? Clothing? Diapers? Formula? Any new furniture you have to purchase for the new child(ren)? Maybe a bigger home? Bigger car? All of these things can be over $1,000s of out of pocket expenses.

An average amount of money a family can spend just on one adoption could be over $40,000. Question: Do they have coupons for that? Maybe even a groupon? Haha, I wish.

So how does a family adopt debt free? Well, with support with friends and family they can. And by support, I don't mean strictly financially. I am talking about emotional, spiritual, and physical support. And by physical, I mean friends and family can hold garage sales at their houses for you. Hold car washes on your behalf. Help you, the adoptive parents, come up with fundraising ideas and execute them. Your friends and family can help you mail off your adoption papers. (hey, that's another expense I forgot about-I'm pretty sure the Fed-ex guy and I are on a first name basis). I couldn't tell you how many hours I have missed work by simply having to go to the post office. 

Another "physical" way they can help you is by hosting an adoption shower for you. I know it sounds weird and we usually reserve that for someone having a baby or if they are getting married. But hey, you are bringing a child into your home, maybe not the same way as someone giving birth. So if you have a friend or family member adopting, throw them a shower. They will appreciate it. I'm sure they have a huge shopping list of needs, especially if they currently don't have kids.

And now I want to give a shout out for my mom and dad's church, First Baptist Church Natchez. Thank you all for buying coffee all these years. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for all your gifts to help get us over to Poland and adopt our daughter.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and even prayed for us. We really appreciate everything that you all have done for us.

We are currently waiting on the court's decision regarding the adoption of our daughter.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Things to do in Warsaw: Blue City Mall

This is probably one of the best malls I have ever visited. I am from a small town, so that might not be saying much. It is 5 floors of goodness. On the fifth floor they have a play place for children, basically a big playground inside the mall. We did not have enough time to visit that, we were too busy shopping. Maybe we will go back and try that out.

On one of the lower floors they have a open-air type market with fresh meats, breads, cheeses, and other produce items. They have all types of eating places from Pizza Hut to Chinese food and other ethnic foods. They have "American" type of foods like McDonald's. There are also plenty of coffee shops and frozen yogurt places.

And I can't forget to mention about the ToysRUs that is located in the mall. At first our daughter was a little scared because she had never seen anything like that before. She soon learned that they had tons of Barbies and stuffed animals. They even have plastic children's cups with popular Polish names on them. We had to grab one of those cups with her name with the traditional Polish spelling on it because when we get back to the States I'm sure we will not find anything with her spelling.

Of course, I need to talk about shopping for clothes for both children and adults. This mall has lots to choose from regarding clothing stores. Like most malls in the U.S., this mall has both high end stores and low end stores. The prices are very similar to U.S. mall prices. Be careful when you shop because you might spend more than you had planned.

This mall has a large grocery store called Piotr I Pawel. They have all kinds on international foods.

This is a great place to kill a couple of hours. We spent a total of 4 hours, which included lunch. Almost everybody speaks English and they take all major credit cards.

Here is their website for more information:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things to do in Warsaw: Copernicus Science Center

All I can say is wow. This is a really awesome place to visit. As an adult, I really enjoyed doing the experiments and seeing the different exhibits here. And of course, our daughter really enjoyed it too. This is a must see if you are in Warsaw.

The Science Center has hands on experiments for children all ages. For little ones (ages 2-6), they have a smaller exhibit that includes: playing with water, smelling different items, and seeing through different animal eyes like snakes and such. For older children (+14 years), they have a special exhibit and science experiments for them. I would definitely go during a weekday and get there when the door opens. There will be school crowds later on, so getting there first thing allows you to try different experiments with ease and without big school crowds.

Some of the hands on experiments include: different water exhibits, archeology exhibits, a human-sized hamster wheel, flying carpet, body exhibits (like how long is your intestines), and so much more. We spent a total of 4 hours going through 2 floors of exhibits. I'm sure we could have spent more time there, but we got really tired. Everyone that we talked to spoke English and Polish, which is nice. Most of the exhibits are in Polish and English and there is no set order in which you view the exhibits. You go at your own pace or rather your child's pace. If you don't like a particular exhibit you can just keep walking to another one, or to one that is less crowded.

Here are some things that we did not get to explore that might be fun: robotics theater, guided labs (physics, chemistry, and biology) where you get to wear an actual lab coat and glasses, and re-generation exhibit (+14 years).

They have a nice food/eating area that is cafeteria style. They take all major credit cards for ticket, gift shop, and food purchases. The gift shop area is rather small for a place that is this big. Our daughter really enjoys stuffed animals and they only had 3 to choose from. They have lockers that you can pay 2 zloty deposit (which is refundable when you get your items out) by the front door if you need to store items you don't want to carry through the center.

When you buy your tickets you get a key card. With this key card you are able to visit the different exhibits and load your exhibit information onto it (like pictures, recorded times, drawings, etc..) and it will be emailed to you.

There are a couple of cons to the Science Center that we found, which it really depends on your circumstance. It can get very loud in there, which may scare children who are not use to that type of environment. Also your child(ren) can become over stimulated here with the different exhibits and other children running around. Another con could be that some exhibits are not age appropriate. There are some exhibits that are about the body that might not be appropriate for young ones. Viewer discretion is advised, but those types of exhibits are enclosed and have labels on them to what they are about (both in English and Polish).

I definitely want to go back here. And I didn't even mention about the Planetarium that the Science Center includes because the Science Center is so big, which you have to buy a separate ticket for at another entrance. We hope to visit that too while we are here. That will be another blog post.

Ok so let's get to the bottom line. How much is it going to cost? Sounds like this place would charge a lot of money for tickets, right? We spent 66 zloty ($22 USD) for 2 adults (25 zloty/adult) and 1 child (16 zloty/child). They have a family of 4 (2 adult, 2 children) ticket packet for 66 zloty, which would be cheaper if you have more in your family. And for our lunch for 2 adults and 1 child was 51 zloty ($17 USD). Our total cost for 4 hours of fun was $39. Not to bad! And it was an educational experience as well.

Here is the link to the Copernicus Science Center: Check here for updated price listings and more information about the Science Center.

**The Science Center is located near Old Town Warsaw, so if you are not tired from the center walk to Old Town and see lots of history, shops (factory mall), and eating places.**

Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Poland. Click here for more information about him.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Things to do in Warsaw: The Zoo

In these next set of posts, I hope to give you all some insight on things to do in Poland and give a rough estimate of how much they cost.
The first on the list is the Zoo. It is a great place to walk around and see all kinds of critters.

The Zoo in Warsaw is not too expensive. One adult costs about 20 zloty (about $7 USD) and one child is about 15 zloty (about $5 USD). We spent roughly 2 hours looking at all the animals. Our daughter really enjoyed petting the donkeys (they have a small petting zoo within the zoo). This zoo has many playgrounds and jungle gyms for children to play on. This is not a big zoo, where you can spend all day looking at tons and tons of animals and reptiles, but a smaller zoo with the basic type of zoo animals (giraffes, lions, hippos, birds, monkeys, etc...). You should plan on spending a couple of hours here to walk around and view all the animals. And one last fact about the zoo. Most of the zoo workers did not speak English, although some did know a little English.

The food was not expensive. We spent about 30 zloty (about $11 USD) on 3 cokes and 3 hotdogs. The hotdogs cames with all kinds of fixins like ketchup, fried onions, and some other type of sauces. Not a bad way to spend $11.

Our total cost as a family of three was 85 zloty ($30 USD). I would definitely go back here again if we get another free afternoon in Warsaw.

Here is the Zoo's link for more information:

Side note: There is a really nice park across the street from the zoo.