When we went through the adoption process the first time, we were both working full-time and we had no children. We lived off of Jon's salary and my salary was fully used to pay for adoption expenses. We didn't need to run a massive campaign project to get our adoption fees met and we didn't need to apply for grants. In short, we felt very "in control" of the adoption process because one of the biggest hurdles in the whole thing (finances) wasn't a blaring roadblock for us. There were times that we were even prideful that we "did it on our own" and that "we didn't need any help."
Then, comes adoption #2. We knew from the start that adoption #2 would be different. We now have three children and live on one income so I can stay home with our kids. We can more than feed, clothe, and educate our children, but like most, we didn't have an extra $30,000 just sitting around in a bank account somewhere. We KNEW that God was telling us to begin the adoption process and we KNEW we had no way to make it happen on our own. But, we decided to step out. We had just enough money to pay the application fee. So we applied....and the rest, is becoming history. You can read about our extremely unexpected, crazy referral story here and a huge part of our funding journey here.
And the best part...the most incredible part...is right here in this video that we made. You can't miss this! You cannot miss what God did in just 9 days. So before you keep reading. Watch here!!!!
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! I mean, how insane is that? 9 days! Just 9 days!!! All our adoption fees for our June 24th deadline were met, even exceeded. And over $10,000 of it came in in ONE day. Say what?!?!?!
How GREAT is our God!!
There is a lot of anxiety and fear and a whole lot of other things when it comes to fundraising, especially for something so huge. There are a lot of feelings and opinions on fundraising and sharing fundraisers, many of which we heard, so we were super anxious to step out, make our need known, and see how God chose to meet our need.
In one sense, we aren't surprised. But, in another sense, we are shocked. I guess I wasn't expecting God to do things so quickly. It was tempting to think, "Well, this need is too crazy. Does God really work like this? It seems like "miracles" this huge always happen to someone else's 'friend of a friend.'" And God decided to show us Himself in a real, tangible way. I can't even count the amount of times I opened up my computer to another crazy jump forward in our funding and I just cried. My kids have asked a lot in the last several days, "Mommy, are you sad? Why are you crying?" What a joy to tell them they are happy tears and what a joy to be able to tell them what God was doing in the life of our family.
When our stomachs churned with anxiety about making our need known, we were told by many friends, "Keep walking. Let others be a part of God doing something great in the life of this little boy in Ethiopia, and in the life of your family. Let others be part of God's command to care for orphans." Wow. Yes. So humbling. So very humbling. Not everyone will physically adopt a child into their family. (Sure, we feel more people, and definitely more Christians, should adopt), but not everyone will see adoption played out in their immediate family. But God does say we are to care for the fatherless. SO many friends came alongside us in the journey and quietly and gently encouraged, "Let others be part of God's work." And not only that, but they themselves were part of that work.
We are just taken back by those who have come around us during this process. The ones cheering us on, the ones asking for daily updates. The friend who prayed every time a grant application was sent out. The friend who texted ideas and brainstormed ways to get the word out. Groups of women from our church who met during the week and stopped to pray for us. The many, many church friends and friends around the country who shared our story on Facebook, announced our fundraiser, and rallied God's people to come around and make it possible for a little boy in Ethiopia to have a mom, a dad, a big brother, and two sisters. Over 5,000 people saw our story through social media. How crazy is that. To those of you, who were the hands and feet, and the social media runners of our story, we can't say thank you enough!
[Random side note: how crazy is technology. Sure everyone has their opinions about Facebook and social media, positive and negative, and especially the opinions of social media mixed with fundraising. But God doesn't limit himself, and God uses crazy things and crazy ways to accomplish His good and perfect will. God used something like social media, to quickly and efficiently, get the word out and to rally God's people to care for the orphan. Incredible! Absolutely incredible].
There was that minute, after receiving our referral, and after the agency announcing the INSANE fees due in just two weeks of acceptance, where I sat on the floor of my kitchen and I cried. I remember thinking, "God, what are we supposed to do? Is this seemingly insurmountable need a sign that this is not the road we are supposed to pursue? Are we supposed to let the referral go and wait to move on until we have the money that we need?"
But instead, God spoke to my heart and said, "This is your son. Keep moving." And over the next 9 days I saw God's love pouring out over this little boy in Ethiopia. I remember texting a friend seconds after the fundraiser was posted and saying, "It's only been 20 minutes and over $700 came in." And she said, "God is showing his love for you. Isn't it incredible?" My only response, "It sure is."
So today, 9 days and almost $20,000 later, we find ourselves asking, What if....
What if we said no because WE couldn't do it ourselves? What if we did have an extra bank account with $30,000+ in it and we were simply able to calmly, with no hesitation, write very large checks, one after the other, all on our own? What if we could have paid outright for this adoption, without even blinking an eye? Well....we would have missed out on something incredible. We would have missed out on the opportunity to truly and fully live by faith, and not by sight. We would have missed God's OVERWHELMING presence that confirmed daily THIS is what we are supposed to do. We would have missed out on putting this peg in the ground, at this point in the life of our family saying, "Here. Here is where we saw God move in a way that we never thought possible. Here is the time in our family, we saw God act personally. Here is the time where we knew, where we felt, God's abundant love for us. Here's a stake in the ground, where God confirms, you are NOT on the sidelines. You ARE destined for great things in the advancement of my Kingdom. You ARE part of something greater than yourselves. And despite everything, you ARE leaving a Gospel legacy and a mark on future generations to know and serve the living God. That's the answer to our, what if...
What if we said no... a little, almost two year old boy, in an orphanage, in Ethiopia, might never have had the chance to belong...to know the love of a mom and dad. The love of a family.
So we thank you. We thank each and every one of you who walked beside us...who truly walked beside us....over the last two weeks. For not just giving, but for calling and texting, and stopping over, and blasting social media and your circles about the grand story that God was doing in the life of a boy in Ethiopia, and inviting others to jump on board and see God move. Because guess what...God moved.
As one friend posted on one of my social media updates... "This is SO much fun to watch."And what an incredible thing it has been to be a part of.
One little boy in Ethiopia and one small family in Indiana are very, very loved.
Thank you, thank you. We love you!