The Littlest’s Etsy Site & The Weirdness of Money

In January, when we started this blog, we also started an Etsy site , thinking it might help us fund-raise. We’re both pretty artistic, or at least, we have a lot of ideas, and we came up with some projects that have turned out pretty well. The primary projects we thought we would try on our Etsy site are barn quilt squares. *E* has done a few of these for family members and friends, one large (4 feet x 4 feet) but most smaller (2 feet x 2 feet) and a new just trying-it-out smaller still size (12 inches x 12 inches). Some are for hanging outside, say, on a barn or a workshop and use outdoor-grade wood and paints. Others are for hanging indoors-only. There’s a little patchwork owl (that’s one *E* did for *A*) on the right-hand side of this page as an example, but here are a few others:  (you can click on any of these images to go to our Etsy page, where you can see different views and find out more information about materials, etc.):

St. Charles Star cropped

St. Charles Star

Stars & Cubes cropped

Stars & Cubes

Guiding Star cropped

Guiding Star

red barnBarn quilts are pretty big here in North Carolina, in the western part of the state, anyway. They are hugely popular in states in the Midwest, too. People paint these squares in colors and patterns that are  significant to them and hang them on their barns and outbuildings.  Tourists drive around the countryside on Quilt Trails that have been organized by barn quilt enthusiasts.  It’s pretty cool.  Here’s some more information. If you’re interested, you can search by state and county using this map here.  Maybe there are some barn quilts around you.  It’s been pretty fun to design and paint them this winter when it’s been cold and miserable outside.

Turning a fun hobby into a fundraiser seemed like a good idea–lots of people do it–but we’ve not yet gotten any traction on Etsy.  Ah, well.  It’s a hard thing to break into, apparently, and I just don’t have the time to continually add new quilts or the know-how to market it successfully.  Maybe next fall or winter, when we have a little more time, we’ll check into local arts councils (the closest to us isn’t well organized, and the next closest already “has a guy”).  I think this sort of thing you need to see to appreciate.

Figuring out the design and transferring it to a “canvas, ” as well as the actual painting is fun, especially when it’s gross outside (rain, snow, combination of the two…) but it would be nice to, uh, generate some interest rather than stockpiling them.  Now that the weather’s nice, I don’t want to be stuck indoors working on quilt squares, especially if they aren’t moving.  We’ve found other ways to save towards “the baby fund” as we call it – but that’s another post.

Though we started the blog with a little “fundraising” box on the right-hand side of the page, we were reluctant to add that (we ultimately did so at a friend’s suggestion) and we’ve since taken it back down.  We’ve been similarly reluctant to post anything about the Etsy site here.  Both of us HATE asking friends and family for help, especially financial help–it’s embarrassing, we feel weird about it, we wonder why on earth someone would want to help us, and we figure that we made the decision to adopt, so it’s our responsibility.  Don’t get me wrong – we’re not altering our stance about that weirdness here – I’m just writing about something we’ve tried out.

piggy bank with coinsWe’re pretty determined people, *A* and I, once we set a goal for ourselves.  We’ve been super frugal since we made the official decision to adopt, and that, combined with a couple of other (completely legal, we promise!) avenues, we’ve almost made the goal we set for ourselves for the primary expenses of joining the agency and some other attendant fees.  We have a long way to go, but we’re well over half-way, so yay for that!

The money aspect of this whole process is a difficult thing – difficult because of the amount, of course, but difficult, too, to explain to others.  Adoption fees can be expensive – this is no secret. But why they are so high (or can be) – that’s where people get confused.  Our agency has been completely upfront about what we can expect, and we’re certainly not complaining about the cost. When we first started exploring adoption, that was the first mental wall that hit us – the cost.  We were as ignorant as anyone else, and it took some research to figure out how these fees are used.

In really only one or two instances, when all that happened was a quick database search for our names in a database, and the clerk printed a copy of whatever came up on the screen, signed it, and handed it to us, as we forked over $25 CASH apiece (seriously, Catawba County AND Wilkes County?!), did we think the fee was excessive. We understand the reason for the fees (the one I just mentioned was paid to the county, and is not part of what we pay our agency, but as it still comes out of the same coffer, it’s a useful example). Our paperwork goes through a lot of hands and these agency fees help pay wages, some goes toward counseling for the birthmother with whom we match, and some of our fees are for legal expenses—every dollar is accounted for and is necessary, so far as we can tell on this end of things.

A lot of people have suggested (a few directly to us, but also all over the internet and in books) that if the financial part is an issue, we should look into a foster-to-adopt program.  And we did.  We looked into it, actually long before we seriously considered what kind of adoption we would pursue.  And right now, for a variety of reasons, a foster-to-adopt program is not the path we feel is right for us.  At this point in our lives.  That could change later.

Once we get through the homestudy process, we’re eligible to apply for grants, and with our self-professed nerdiness and actual enjoyment (I’m being serious) of filling out the next form, you know we’ll be all over that 🙂 .  In the meantime, we’ve got an iheartadoption website to put together very soon! And books – more and more books to read (and review, for your reading pleasure)!

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