In August of 2007, God began tugging on my heart about another child in China. My husband felt no such tugging and I swung emotionally between two extremes: trying to ignore those pangs, and allowing myself to fall head-first into daydreams about the little one that God might have for us. You guys know the story, so I won’t go into it here, but it was a difficult time for me, waiting has never been my forte. Eventually God prevailed and my husband realized that indeed, there was one more child in our future. One by one we were able to mentally overcome the obstacles that presented themselves, we’d just have to buckle down, organize our time, and energy, squeeze in a bit tighter at the dinner table. But one obstacle remained: money. We had felt God’s leading and then had committed to a new budget. We’d paid off outstanding debts and in the wake of three previous adoptions, had very little left in the bank. Both of us knew that God wanted us to do two things: use our sparse savings to pay off our debts and live on a budget, AND adopt a child from China. Sort of a contradiction, we thought. But more than that, we knew that if God wanted us to try, that we’d do our best, regardless of what our heads were telling us.
So we prayed, seeking an answer, and came to the stomach churning realization that God also wanted us to do something else. Ask for help. “UGH! Are you sure, God? This is way out of my comfort zone, can’t we just do this some other way? Any. other. way?” Needless to say, His answer was “no”. So we nervously plodded forward, watching and waiting to see what He was going to do. God placed others’ stories in my path for inspiration: Hayley and Kim were in the midst of fundraising for their adoptions and their tenacity and strength of purpose astounded me. Hayley encouraged me to consider a giveaway and what we had hoped would bring us several hundred dollars to go to our adoption expenses brought us several thousand dollars. We sent a check to Lifeline for over $3300 after paying for the camera. We were awed by the support of the adoption community. God’s participation was undeniable.
In the process of letting the word out that we needed help, my friend and fellow adoptive mama Maureen at My Little Pearl, saw the ChipIn button on our blog and decided to realize a long-time dream of hers, and The Little Pearl Fund was created. Through Maureen’s selfless giving and hard work, we were $4000 closer to the reality of bringing Shepherd home.
Then Chelley at Live Fully, Laugh Often, Love Deeply generously donated a blog redesign from Rebecca for a giveaway. Again, we were left slack-jawed by the kindness and selflessness of others, and we raised over $600.
I was encouraged by Kim and another fellow adoptive mama, Karen, to consider applying for a grant. Not sure how to proceed, and fearing we wouldn’t qualify, I procrastinated. But God insisted and we turned in applications to Katelyn’s Fund, The Lydia Fund and Shaoh@nnah’s Hope, hopeful, but very reservedly. During our wait we worked hard to raise funds in any way possible, we held a few garage sales and a clothing sale, which brought in $1300. Friends reached out and sent us notes of encouragement and checks large and small, whatever they had to give. With each gift and word of encouragement our hearts spilled over with gratitude, we were acutely aware of God’s hand on the entire process.
Time was drawing close to travel, we were still short on the necessary funds, and Chris and I spent many hours discussing what we could/would do if we needed to. We were sticking tightly to our budget, with every extra dollar going into our Adoption Fund. I sold some of my jewelry and purses on ebay. Often I found myself fearful and wanting to do the practical thing, PANIC!, instead the godly thing which was wait faithfully and expectantly. Chris stood firm (which, at the time, really bugged me), we were not to abandon ship in fear, and in my heart I knew that he was right. We were both thrilled when we heard from Katelyn’s Fund, just a few weeks before we were set to travel, that we would receive a $3000 grant! WOWZA!! With those funds we were able to fully cover our travel expenses, God had provided, and as usual, in His timing, not mine.
After the flurry of packing, planning and traveling for Shepherd we have now taken in the full realization of what God had done: provided for us completely. And requiring us only to step out in faith. From our giveaways we raised close to $4000. Through The Little Pearl Foundation we received $4000. And from Katelyn’s Fund $3000. Gifts from friends totaled more than $1000 and our clothing/garage sales netted $1300. After the adoption was completed we received a reimbursement from Chris’ work for $2000 and another $2000 from Georgia, since Shepherd was a waiting child. Total? $17,500! Close to the full amount we needed to bring him home ~ start to finish! We won’t even be able to claim the tax credit, praise God!
When I look at nature, I am gently and consistently reminded of God and how He works. Recently I have noticed how some plants grow, slowly, intently toward the sun, without much underneath them. And having less of a destination and more of a purpose: to be closer to the sun. I want to be like that… growing towards Him and trusting no matter how far out on a limb I might feel. The more I trust Him, the more opportunity I give Him to reveal Himself… and be glorified in the process!
$344 remains in our Adoption Fund. And we want to help someone else. I know $344 isn’t enough to bring a child home, but Matthew 17:20 reminds us, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” So we are going to use our remaining $ to step out again and try to raise funds for another family that is near and dear to our hearts: my sister.
Her story and more details to come…