The Perfect Family Car :: A New Thrasher Mobile

We have a new car. 1 1/2 years of disciplined saving and no other major expenses – Dave Ramsey would be proud of us. To be precise, we bought a new car but we don’t have it yet. It’s in transit, on the truck, on it’s way – however, you want to call it. It was very weird to leave a check for the down payment at the dealer without driving our car off the lot.

Our previous car, Roger was his name, served our family well. When we purchased our 2000 Audi A4 Avant, we assumed we’d be driving it for a very long time. Because we assumed that it would fit our family (including the dog) perfectly. We also assumed that we could totally handle the maintenance of a German automobile. Well, we all know what they say about ‘assuming’…?!

Roger, our first Thrasher Mobile. Looking back, I think his name should have been Hans or Gustav.

Let me ask you this: When you purchased your car, did you sit on the backseat to see how much leg room you have back there? Did you consider the space you may need to fit a toddler car seat even though you just got married? Well, we didn’t. While our Audi looked spacious (it was a station wagon, for Heaven’s sake), it actually had a very small interior. We couldn’t even install Emma’s infant car seat behind one of the front seats but had to install it in the middle of the back seat instead. And that still didn’t leave Paul and I much space in the front.

Not enough space between front and back seats.

There was only one solution: Our family needed a car with lots of space for tall adults, a tall toddler, a mid-sized dog, a large stroller, a large cooler and at least three mid-sized travel bags. We needed a car that was Thrasher Road Trip-approved and would meet the following criteria:

  • fit into our budget
  • driving performance
  • large cargo area and spacious interior
  • design
  • bluetooth
  • affordable maintenance and repair expenses
  • and no, we didn’t care that much about gas consumption because they are all the same anyways

After test-driving Crossover-SUVs like the GMC Terrain, Audi Q5, Chevy Equinox and our friends’ Ford Escape, we quickly realized that we had to upgrade and search for the new Thrasher Mobile in the SUV category. After ruling out the Dodge Durango (not liking the design), we tested the Nissan Pathfinder. Still not enough space. So we (as in Paul) went back to the virtual drawing board and researched more SUVs…

(…to be continued.)

As you’re probably anticipating the reveal of the Thrasher Mobile more than Part Two of the Twilight Saga, head over to my Facebook page and guess what car we got.

Adoption Myth Busters :: Part One :: The Adoption Awareness Blog Project

Recently I’ve enjoyed watching the very positive side of adoption as shown on ‘Modern Family’ (Cameron and Mitchell contemplating adopting another baby) and then there’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ depicting the darker side of adoption (Mer and Derrick losing their adopted daughter).

I’d like to suggest it’s also a good time for all of us to start learning more about adoption [...], because the problems will be fixed more rapidly if faulty stereotypes are replaced by genuine understandings. ~Adam Pertman, Huffington Post, Nov. 2011

Why would someone adopt?

  • Some consider adoption because they are unable to get pregnant, some simply have the desire to adopt (like my husband and me), some have family connections that call for adoption, e.g., stepparent adoption, and others may choose to add to their families through adoption for other reasons.
Aren’t you worried that you wouldn’t be able to love your adopted child as much as your genetic child?
  • This was actually my biggest fear. But the wise Mr. Thrasher had the perfect analogy to help me overcome it: He asked me to imagine that dear friends of ours had died in an accident leaving their little son behind (I didn’t say it was a fun exercise!). If we were the ones to take care of him from that moment on, would I be able to love him, care for him and treat him as if he was my biological child? Heck, yes! I already love that boy with all my heart. There was my answer.
  • My own biological father shut me out of his life no matter how hard I tried to connect with him. So forget the genetic ties. They are no guarantee for a loving family. Your commitment and decision to love are the guarantee. Just like in a marriage. Paul and I are not related by blood. But we became One through a covenant and a promise we made to one another.

So where do I start?

  • Read books like The Adoption Decision or Successful Adoption: A Guide For Christian Families, join online adoption networks, talk to people who adopted, join the Adoption Awareness Blog Project here on Thrasher Home, follow adoption blogs (Filled With Praise, Congo, Here We Come! are great blogs) and request info packages from different adoption agencies.
  • Researching an agency is an important step in the process and includes asking questions, talking with references, and gathering other information.
  • The agency you select will depend on the type of adoption you are pursuing (domestic, international, etc.) and other details specific to your family’s adoption plans which may include your age, faith, marital status, costs, etc.

I’m single and 40 years old. Would they let me adopt a child?

  • Adoptive families come in all shapes and sizes. In the last 20 years there has been a steady, sizable increase in the number of single-parent adoptions. The desire to nurture and to share life as a family is a strong universal need that is felt by a large number of people and one that is not exclusive to married people or couples.
  • Despite the greater acceptance of single-parent adoption, the traditional view of parenting, that a child needs a mother and a father for healthy growth and development, still exists. Adoptive parents and agencies, in preparing prospective adoptive parents, stress the importance of having friends and family who can lend support and serve as a backup system. Source: Parents.com
  • Next: 40 years is not old. Secondly, there are no legal restrictions in most states, but many or most birth families select the family for their child, so parents who are younger than 25 or older than 45 may wait longer to be selected.

How much does an adoption cost? Isn’t it ridiculously expensive? 

  • Having to cover intense adoption expenses is a big part of the reason many parents are hesitant to build their families through adoption but it may be more affordable than you think. See Ashley and Mark’s adoption story, for example.
  • Adoptions with the lowest cost are those completed through a public agency (state social services). These generally involve adoption of children in the U.S. foster care system. For more on adopting a waiting child, visit AdoptUSkids.org.

How would I ever be able to afford paying for an adoption?

  • Have faith. If God has put the desire to adopt on your heart, He’ll provide.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26
  • Other resources to consider:
    • Adoption tax credit:
      • Currently the federal adoption tax credit provides a credit of up to $13,170 per child (2010) for “qualified adoption expenses”. That’s half the cost!
    • Interest-free adoption loans (e.g., the ABBA Fund) and grants
    • Fundraising
    • Monetary gifts from friends and family
    • Employer adoption benefits

I’ve heard that you may have to pay the birth mother’s rent or her cell phone bill? What are other adoption expenses?

  • Some of the biggest costs in an adoption are costs related to the unplanned pregnancy itself. These are costs that an adoptive family would have if they were pregnant themselves and the courts view them as the responsibility of the adoptive family. These items include all medical bills, maternity clothing and possibly other items such as rent and utilities during the unplanned pregnancy.
  • Basic service charges included in U.S. adoption costs are: home study and parent education, post-placement supervision, attorney fees and court costs. Additional charges may be incurred depending on the adoption type pursued. With domestic adoptions fees may include: birth parent expenses (see above), including legal representation and counseling, and birth expenses. In international adoption, additional costs include immigration processing and may also include for foster care, escorting, and medical care and treatment charges. Additionally, there are transportation and accommodation costs involved in travel to the country where the child resides. ~ Source: AdoptionInstitute.org

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Disclaimer: The above adoption myths are based on questions we had when we first looked into adoption and focus mainly on domestic infant adoption. They also address concerns raised by our friends and families. The answers are a combination of research we’ve done ourselves on the interweb, conversations we had with our adoption agency, books we’ve been reading and stories from other adoptive parents like Hilary and Dirk or Ashley and Mark.