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…
Chris and Deb says
What a blessing this story is for all of us to be reminded how faithful God is…. and the story of you giving of the extra money is the gift that keeps on giving! Your family is such an awesome example for all who read this! Thank you! Thank you!
What a testimony!! I am so thankful that you shared how God directed you and led you to Shepherd. He truly rewards obedience. I am excited to hear your sister’s story!!
What inspiration to step out. He does delight in our desire to trust Him. Thank you Stephanie. What treasures you behold. God is Faithful.
You have no idea how your entry has touched me. I am where you once were. Knowing there is a child waiting for me some place far away, and my husband not hearing the same knocking on his heart. And the finances…we have gone from being an active duty military family, my hubby just went from 28 years active to the fleet reserve, we moved cross country to TN , I took a 50% pay cut, he definately took a pay cut…we have struggled to get on a budget and after a year, things are looking better.
God is good ALL THE TIME. Thanks so much for sharing.
In His Grip,
Scott and Sharon Ankerich says
I have chills all over me and I am so thankful you shared your wonderful story. God is so great and always blesses His children. Your family is so precious and I am thankful you all have gotten settled and everyone is doing well. I am so happy your sister is choosing to follow in your footsteps- what a great testimony you have lived for her! I am so excited to hear all about it and with you a very happy first day of Oct!
I cannot wait to hear your sister’s story. We, like you went into our adoption with very little money and at times were struggling to come up with the necessary funds. But we knew in the beginning we were taking a leap of faith, and He would provide. Lucky for us, He did and we now have added a daughter, sister, and miracle to our family.
Hi Stefanie, We have a kingdom kids account and have already traveled, there is about $125 left,we unfortunately are finished adopting, does your sister have a KK account? I would be happy to transfer the remaining funds to her. you can find contact info on my blog or you may still have my email.
What a post? As always, so beautifully written from your beautiful heart! I am studying Moses right now, and 2 weeks ago I was overwhelmed by the story in Chapter 2 when his mother builds him an “ark” and has to physically let him float down the Nile trusting God to protect him. In so many ways you can put yourself in that story too. God chose you to be His Princess on the other side of the river to love and adopt four of his precious children. He provided protection for them until you met, and he orchestrated the perfect plan for you to achieve the goals needed to bring them home. I am thankful for the hearts of so many in this amazing adoption community. I look forward to watching your sister step out in faith too!
(I just sent you an email..)
I’m at work right now and in tears! Your blog could not have come at a better time for me. It is such a wonderful reminder of how God provides. I have felt God calling me to quit my job and stay home now. Even though I don’t make very much it does contribute to our income and it’s scary to think about not having a safety net. Thank you for reminding me that God IS my safety net and I have got to trust Him to help us make those ends meet. He also provided for us financially for both of our adoptions (recently returned home May of this year).He certainly didn’t leave us or foresake us during the process. If He’s calling me to do this then I know He’s going to provide.
I’ve been reading your blog for at least a year now and have been so blessed by it and today was certainly no exception. Thank you for reminding me to TRUST!
What an amazing story. Your family is such an inspiration. My husband and I are in discussions on the topic of adopting from China, and we have so enjoyed reading Shepherd’s story. Thank you, again, for sharing your experience and your testimony with us. I do not doubt that many more orphans will find families because of your willingness to share your story.
What an awesome story! Can’t wait to hear your sister’s story!!!
God is sooo good! Thank you for following His will for your family!
~Jodi Sue 🙂
Oh. My. Goodness!!! You have to be one of, if not THE most giving, gracious, caring, inspiring, beautiful, wonderful people I know!!! You are sooooo spreading His Will continually, in big ways, touching the lives of so many, Every. Single. Day.
YOU & YOURS ROCK!!!!! Big Time!!
Love ya, girl!!
Anna 'B'anana says
I love how God provides if we just trust. How WONDERFUL that you are now reaching out to others in this way 🙂
With much love,
wow wow wow
What a story,beautiful, so precious.
Im so glad i met you.
Thank you for sharing and thank you for taking time to emailme all those details.
I really apreciate it.
Your testimony has touched me deeply as we begin our 4th adoption journey (through LL as well!) with zero in the bank and many overdue bills 🙂 But we have learned most assuredly that if God has set a task before us, He will provide what we need – praise Him! Just last week I shared my testimony of how God brought us to this place once again. I am so encouraged by families such as yours who have stepped out in faith, knowing full well God would provide all you need. You have a beautiful family (but you already know that!). Many blessings to you~
Wow, Stephanie…what an inspiring testimony and beautiful gift to your sister. Trust in times that seem like panic should be called for can be such a challenge. We have been working on that in our lives on a daily basis for various reasons over the past year, as well. I recently finished reading A Purpose Driven Life (Again) and was really struck by this truth that Rick Warren delivered…”When God’s at the center of your life, you worship. When he’s not, you worry. Worry is the warning light that God has been shoved to the sideline. The moment you put him back at the center, you will have peace again.” It is SO TRUE. I look forward to hearing about your sister’s adoption plans, and I hope that through it all she has not a moment of worry. Love, Amy
God is SO good! Your testimony is so powerful- thank you for sharing so openly and honestly!!!!
Are you kidding me? What an awesome post! What a great story! What a great, awesome GOD!!! Thank you for sharing more completely. I am edified. Looking forward to hearing about your *sister*!
What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing!
Wow! Reading this just gives me goosebumps. God’s timing is so amazing. I needed to be reminded of that since we’re in the middle of waiting for our child. We also have stepped out in faith and have been in awe of how God has provided financially. Thank you for sharing this. And I can’t wait to hear more!
Isabella's Mommy and Daddy says
I know what you mean when you don’t want to ask for help..
Have a Great Week.
Can’t wait to hear about your sisters story..
You are a wonderful family..
Wow! You’ve outdone yourself once again. You are such a great writer. I just love reading your posts. They often give me chills! What a wonderful look into your adotpion journey. I am soooo looking forward to hearing about your sister’s. Don’t make us wait too long!
What a wonderful story about the blessings and kindness of family, friends and strangers. It helps to know that He will provide even when we can’t see how.
The Gang's All Here! says
Thank you for sharing this journey with this particular perspective. You have NO IDEA how close to my heart this is. We have a similar story, but at date of travel had to borrow a lot of money from friends and family still. We are currently facing some criticism and some questions and are unsure how to proceed. Saying “we did what God instructed” is not jiving with some. We are home (oh, so good to be home!!!!!), resting in HIS provision and HIS timing, even anticipating and excited about how He’s gonna come thru. We KNOW He’s gonna come thru. Your story encourages me.
Stefanie, BEAUTIFUL! I will be writing a story similar to yours when we return from China. The Lord has provided all that we need…. plus $400 more. GOD IS GOOD!!!
Oh wow – I can’t believe how much money you were able to raise to bring Shepherd home, what an incredible tangible proof of God’s love for us, and so perfect that you are going to pass on that gift to your sister. I can’t wait to hear more about her story. 🙂
wow! thanks for putting all that inspiration down into words! 🙂
Michelle in MN says
Thank you for sharing your story and your life. As a mother to 2 children (1 biological and 1 SN from China) who hopes to continue to add to her family thru SN adoption let me say you and your family are inspirations! Best Wishes.
Alyson & Ford says
What an amazing story! You have done what we would not have tried. You are so faithful!
Celebrating 17 days as Mommy to Alyzabeth
Waiting for Mia Hope! says
What an amazing “God Story”!!! We are living the very same journey of miracles to bring home our Mia Hope. As we are on day 77 of LOA, I am fighting daily not to hit the PANIC button, but to TRUST IN HIM! Your story renews my hope!
Kelly Kinkel says
What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. It is a great reminder of God’s perfect plan.
Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five says
I”ve seen your link on other blogs and today decided to follow it. I am moved by God’s awesome faithfulness to speak to you, direct you, and make the adoption of Shepherd possible. He is an on-time God.
mom to 2 bio kids, 2 DD from China, and 1 DS from the good old USA