Though my parents and Bee and I had sorted through all of our yard sale donations beforehand, there were still a few odds and ends that I didn’t actually see until the day off.  In the bottom of a box of miscellaneous items, I found these three magnets, which all feature Peru!

I have no idea where they came from, but I’m delighted to have found them and I’m keeping them for myself.  Thanks, donor, whoever you are!  In the middle of the stressball that is our dossier preparations, this was a nice little pick-me-up.

Now I get to see Peru every time I’m in the kitchen.

Our placement agency emailed us our next assignment, which will involve gathering, certifying, notarizing, and apostilling a whole lot of paperwork for our dossier.  

The dossier will be the information that the Peruvian government receives about us, and they are very particular about a lot of the details.  Even though, for instance, we already had medical exams, we will have to go through another set of them and have even more tests done to prove that we are in sound health.  We will also have to have psychological exams, which I’m really not looking forward to.

Below are the documents that we will need to include in our dossier package (some of which, thankfully, we have already obtained as part of the homestudy):

  1. Birth Certificates
  2. Marriage Certificate
  3. Deed to Home 
  4. Police Background Checks
  5. FBI or State Clearances
  6. Psychological Report
  7. Letter from Psychiatrist 
  8. Medical Exams
  9. Letters from Employer 
  10. Home Study 
  11. Post Placement Agreement 
  12. Name Affidavit
  13. Child Support Affidavit 
  14. I-800a approval 
  15. Verification of Residence 
  16. Copy/Proof of Education 
  17. Letter of Request 
  18. Photographs 
  19. Special Characteristics 
  20. Photocopies of Passports
  21. Drivers Licenses

This round of the paper trail feels more daunting to us than the original paper trial for the homestudy, but maybe I’m wrong.  Does anyone out there have advice or wisdom for us?

Now that we have two yard sales and several months of online sales under our belts, Bee and I have definitely figured out some things that worked well for us (and that we wish we had thought of much sooner).  If you’re thinking about having a yard sale to raise money, here are some tips that might help you through the process without wanting to tear your hair out:

  • Start letting people know that you’re taking donations months before you’re planning to have the sale.  That should give people plenty of time to sort through their things and meet up to give them to you.  
  • Organize as you go.  Rather than waiting until the week of the sale, group like items together and figure out how you want to price everything.
  • Sell big-ticket items online before the sale.  Things like electronics, auto parts, exercise equipment, musical instruments, and kitchen appliances will fetch you more money this way.
  • Do some research before you price your online sale items.  See what an item costs new and what it would cost on eBay.  Assess the condition of the one you have and price accordingly.  
  • Keep pricing simple and low for the real-life sale.  You’ve already sold your high end items online, so everything you sell in person is just icing on the cake.  
  • Get tables.  If you know somebody who can lend you tables, take advantage.  It’s more inviting and it helps with organizing.
  • If you can’t get tables or don’t have enough to hold everything, use tarps and picnic blankets to display items so they aren’t just laying in the dirt.
  • Have a place to keep your money safe like a lock box, and keep some ones on your person to make change for people.  
  • Advertise.  Put up brightly colored signs along the route to your sale, put a listing on Craigslist, post in online community forums and Facebook groups, ask your friends to share on Facebook.
  • Start early.  Yard sale hunters start showing up around 7 in the morning (and we got some even earlier!).
  • Set up ahead of time if possible.  We set up two tables the night before and secured them with tarps.  
  • Be willing to haggle.  The goal is to make money, but it’s also to give someone a deal and move the product.  
  • Group clothes together by size and put them in hampers or large boxes so people feel comfortable browsing.  If you have a way to hang up some of your nicer clothes, do so.
  • Place stuffed animals and children’s toys low so kids can actually reach them.  Price them low enough that parents won’t mind an impulse buy.
  • Try to group like items together as much as possible to make it easier for you and your customers to find what they might be looking for.
  • Have a rain date scheduled if your sale is outdoors.  
  • Have a contingency plan for leftover items.  Places like the Salvation Army, Purple Heart, and our local library will be taking our leftovers as donations, and I will be selling a few odds and ends online too.
  • Have sun protection.  Even on an overcast day you can get a sunburn from being outside so long.  Sunscreen and hats are your friend.
  • See also: bug spray.  
  • See also: music.  I made a playlist of artists like Beatles and Mumford and Sons to make for nice relaxed ambiance.  Our customers seemed to like it too.
  • Have fun!  Yard sales are a lot of work, but it’s also pretty fun to hang out with your friends and neighbors and listen to some tunes and talk about your adoption plans.

Yard Sale part two was a great success!  We held it at our house this time (it was at my parents’ last time) and had a lot of people stop by, including a little girl with a ferret on her head.  She let me hold her little friend, who was very wiggly and kissy, while she perused our vast stuffed animal collection.

Thankfully, we sold almost everything that we had left from the first sale.  Bee took a big carload of leftovers to the Salvation Army that same afternoon, the books will be donated to the library where I work, and the rest will be sold or given away online throughout the week.

Between the two in-person sales and the online sales that we’ve been holding for the past few months, we were able to bring in over $3000 to add to our adoption funds.  I’m completely blown away by the generosity of our friends and family members who donated items for us to sell, and by the nice people in our area who have been our customers.  Yard saling was a whole lot of work, but it was so, so worth it.  Later this week, I’ll post about some of the things that worked well for us and some things that we would probably do differently were we to have another sale.  Stay tuned, and thanks to everyone who helped support us!

Part two of our yard sale is happening bright and early tomorrow morning, so please think nice, profitable, sunny weather thoughts for us.  We are definitely ready to move the rest of our product, make some more money, and have the ability to walk through our house without tripping over boxes and bags.

I’m hoping fervently that most of our items will be sold by the end of the day tomorrow, but we have some contingency plans in place for the items that don’t (I’m guessing clothes and books will be our main culprits).

As I’ve mentioned before, little hints of Peru have been cropping up around me ever since Bee and I made our adoption plans public.  Suddenly there was a Peruvian chicken place near our house, a Peruvian Christmas concert and a Latin American Festival in DC, and lots of books about Peru getting checked out at the library where I work.  Just as suddenly, three different people that I know took trips to Peru—two for vacation and one for work.

This week, two of my librarian friends (okay, one of them is my mom, but she’s pretty cool) came across books about Peruvian characters and shared them with me: Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match and Maria Had a Little Llama.

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Today, the latest Peruvian coincidence has come in the form of a new exhibit that I stumbled across on the National Geographic Society website while looking for fun local things to do.  Their museum  in DC is about to open a new exhibit on pre-Incan gold, and we’ll definitely be going to check it out!

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One of the things that Bee and I worry about the most with adoption is that we won’t have as many cultural resources available to us and our children as we would like, but I’m so heartened to find that our proximity to Washington, DC has placed us closer to Peruvian culture than we originally realized.  I want our kiddos to be proud of their heritage and to have avenues to learn more about it and to celebrate the land they came from.

Yard Sale part deux will be this Saturday, April 12th, in Huntingtown, MD!

We were at the yard sale for about 8 hours yesterday, all told, and I am whupped!  That said, that sale went well for a Sunday, the weather was beautiful, we had some amazing friends help us set up and run the thing, and we were able to sell the equivalent of two carloads of items (of the five that we started with).  On top of the $2500 that we made ahead of time by selling higher end items online, we brought in an additional $480.

We are planning to sell the remaining stock next Saturday, April 12 at our house to see if we can move the rest of our inventory, cater to a different town’s clientele, and make some more money to add to our funds.  Plus, as many of the yard sale visitors told us yesterday, Saturdays are better days to have sales, so we might get even better results!

Thanks to everyone who helped us make phase one of the yard sale a success, and we’ll be at it again in our own driveway next weekend!

This Sunday is the day, and we are ready to rock this yard sale fundraiser!  We’ve collected our items to sell and have sorted and priced everything, I have an army of friends sharing the info on Facebook, we made ads to post all over social media and Craigslist and our county pages and forums, we have friends who are going to help us run the sale, we made signs for the road, and we even have been lent some great big banquet tables to put everything on.

At this point, I think we’ve done all that we can do, and I’m hoping for great weather and great turn out.  I would LOVE to not have anything left over, though of course we have contingency plans for everything remaining.  Think nice thoughts for us and the bebes on Sunday!

Ever since we announced our Peruvian adoption plans, I keep finding more and more books about Peru in the book drop at work at the library.  Thanks for helping to educate me, universe!