Saturday, November 27, 2010

Such a Loving Family...

Just want to take a minute to say how grateful I am for my amazing family.  There have been about 25 of us here - divided into two houses - this holiday week.  We have had a great time but sadly it comes to an end tomorrow after brunch.

I got to show off the new kiddos via pictures and videos and the videos were especially touching...brought most of us to tears.  Right now they are in an orphanage in Ethiopia...amazing to think that in just a couple months Bennet, Kaleb and Kali will be here at our house, sitting at our BIG new kitchen table, eating American food, sleeping on comfy mattresses and being hugged, kissed, prayed with and tucked in at night by their daddy and momma and new brother and sister.   I am getting SO EXCITED.

I'm so thankful that my family is not only supportive, but just as excited as we are -- well, maybe not quite that much, but VERY excited.  What a huge blessing to have the love and support of family.  I realize not everyone has that.  Thank you, God!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  There is SO much to be thankful for.   I read this paragraph in my Greg Laurie devotional this week and think it is worth passing along.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.  If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.  If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.  If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world.  If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8 percent of the worlds wealthy.  

There is a lot to give thanks for.  And the primary reason we were put on this earth as human beings is to glorify God and to give Him thanks. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Taste of Humble Pie

Ok, I like pie.  But just to be honest, it is a "humble pie eating" experience to fundraise for an adoption.  I am positive that there are those who are tired of my talking about it and "advertising" it, and we've only been in this process for 2 1/2 months - only had one fundraising event.  But, when you're talking about anywhere from $25,000 - $60,000 for an adoption, there are just very few people who have that kind of money sitting around.  Maybe some do, but I would venture a guess that it's rare.  Sometimes I feel like I need to tell everyone all about our finances -- like, put it all out there for public consumption -- just so people can see that we are using the funds that we have available.  I want everyone to know that we are trying to cut corners and save our pennies, we don't make as much as you might think we do, I'm shopping for furniture on Craigslist, blah blah blah.  It just feels like there's a need to defend.  Maybe there's not.  I can't be sure, but it does certainly feel like that sometimes.

And then there's the crazy stuff like just having bought a car that plays around in my head.  Are people judging me because it's a Lexus?  Should I put a bumper sticker on it that says, "I'm used"?   The timing of the purchase is pretty funny since I decided to downsize from my bigger, also used, Lexus SUV that had over 150,000 miles on it.  Three weeks after making the purchase I saw the kiddo's pictures and we decided to adopt.  Irony.  Thankfully, this car still seats eight.  Whew!!   And I'll drive this one til it has over 150,000 miles.  But I can't feel badly about it.  I really do need a reliable car and I saved up to be able to buy this one.

So, we humbly sent out donation letters a little over a week ago.  We explained that we are adopting a sibling set of three and that it will run around $55,000-$60,000, etc... we just put ourselves out there and humbly asked for others to help us on this journey if they could.  We typed in BOLD letters that helping us is TAX DEDUCTIBLE so that at least it feels like we might be helping our friends out, too.  Kind of?  I mean, it is the end of the year and people do need a write-off.  So, we're here for you!!  Win-win.  Haven't heard from very many people yet, but trying not to think that we offended anyone by asking.  Praying that we haven't.

We had the aforementioned fundraiser event and it was a really great night.  There was a really good turn out and about $6500 hundred was made after expenses.  So, the three families that hosted the event were all blessed and get to divide up that amount.  The guys from Tenth Avenue North (Mike and Brendon) were amazing.  I mean, the dude can sing!  And they were just super kind to be there and donate their time to our families.  And then another group named, Joel & Luke, was also there.  They were fantastic too.  Such sweet, sweet people.   Blew us away with their talents.  I love that.  I prayed for them all as they sang.  That God would be working in their hearts to develop a love for adoption.  Who knows how God will use the fundraiser to impact them and their futures.  It was cool.

So, to fully are the upcoming things I will be begging, I mean, asking for help with.  We are going to have a big garage sale on December 3 & 4.  We are asking for people to donate anything they don't want that's in decent "garage sale" shape.  All the proceeds from the sale will go towards our adoption expenses.  Then we are going to do a big sale of CDs that we are hoping people will purchase for stocking stuffers.  Brian was asked to make this CD for a women's conference so that they could sell them there, but then it didn't happen and we have 500 in our basement.  It is an EXCELLENT instrumental praise and worship beautiful.  We are going to pray hard to sell 500 of those to raise money specifically for our travel expenses.  We'll be hitting Facebook hard on that one.

In January we are going to do a Spirit Night at Chic-Fil-A.  This will be super fun and we'll do a blast out on FB and through email and try to get a ton of people out there to eat chicken for dinner.  Should be easy to get people out for it since it's such yummy food.  We get 20% of all receipts turned back in from purchases.  And after that event I think we will be done.  So, I've given everyone the head's up on what is happening and when it's happening.  And you can avoid me until after these if you would like. (;

This entire process will only be about six months from start to finish.  That is really miraculous.  It is also a short time to raise money.  We are so very thankful for friends who have already given so generously.  We had one friend in particular give a large sum and we will forever be grateful.  As of today we have about $12,000 left to raise.  I am trusting God completely for it.

Here's the thing...I believe that everyone is called by God to walk the adoption journey.  Now, I don't believe that everyone is called to adopt, but I do believe that everyone is called to help in some way.  For some, like us, it will be the actual act of bringing orphans into your home.  For others, it will be coming along side and helping financially so that another family can bring the orphan home.  For others it will be serving and helping a family organize their fundraising activities, or prepare their home for the new arrivals.  And for ALL, it should be a prayer priority.   God makes it a priority.   The Bible commands us to care for the poor and the needy -- it mentions it over 300 times.   James 1:27 says that true and undefiled religion is to care for the orphan and  the widow.  God cares about the orphan.  Adoption is a picture of what God did for us.  He ADOPTED us into His family through His son, Jesus.  It matters.

And so, I will humbly continue the fundraising efforts to bring these three amazing kids home.  I'm going to pray that my friends who read this blog and those who received the donation letters will actually rejoice for an opportunity to be a part of the adoption journey with us, whether through giving or through prayer - or both.   It's not about us, it's about the kids, and I can't wait to tell Bennet, Kali and Kaleb how the awesome body of Christ stepped up and helped bring them home.