If you’ve helped in any way contribute to our adoption, thank you isn’t sufficient! I’d try to say “thank you” in every language I know, but that still wouldn’t cut it! We are just in complete awe at the way God has provided every step of the way and I wanted to share that with you.
Micah and I had saved up a nest egg for a several years, hoping to someday pursue adoption. We opened an adoption account back when we lived in Missouri, had an adoption fundraiser garage sale after moving to TN and put everything we could into that account – tax refunds, Christmas bonuses, money from extra speaking engagements Micah would have, etc. But we’ve also had to depend upon the generosity of our friends and family who have faithfully and sacrificially given to us.
We’re not to the finish line yet, but his track record so far gives us confidence that God will get us there. He has been so faithful.
When I look at the amount of money we’ve spent on this adoption, I’m blown away. (I’ve had to detail it several times recently applying for grants, etc!) It’s unreal how expensive it is. And some might think we’re plain crazy for investing this kind of money to add a child to our family. Why not just have more kids? Wouldn’t that be cheaper?? 🙂 Believe me, we’ve thought about it! (And actually that’s another story for another day!) But we didn’t want to adopt simply to grow our family.
Having lived in West Africa right after we were married was where the desire first began. We were “offered” several babies by our village friends who didn’t understand the issues that would arise with us just “taking” their babies back to the US. Our eyes were opened to the vast need for orphan care. We came home from Africa, had Grace and Kessed and life was good….and comfortable. We thought someday down the road we would adopt….someday we’d have our Africa baby. In fact, we’ve always kept a picture of one of those babies in a prominent place in our home to remind us of that. The key moment for our family came at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference in 2010, listening to Dr. Russell Moore preach a sermon called Adopted for Life. It was very similar to the content of his book with the same title. Through that message God convicted both of us of the need to adopt. Though we drug our feet for a few years (and honestly, I hoped it was a feeling that would just go away….but it didn’t) and relocated to Nashville which slowed us down even more, we finally committed to the process. As we have studied more about adoption, we developed a few core convictions.
First, we determined that we would adopt a child that is a little older. Recognizing that older children are less likely to be adopted, we decided early on that we wanted to adopt a child who was older, as long as we could maintain birth order. Second, we were committed to be a family that represents the kingdom of God. We believe that the kingdom of God is represented by people from every “nation, tribe and tongue.” We wanted our family to be a picture of that kind of kingdom unity forged from our diversity. Finally, we were committed to adopting a child from the continent of Africa. Although we have lived on, and traveled to, many other continents, we love the continent of Africa and desired to see a child from Africa join our family.
Let me outline for you just how God has provided every step. The first several things we were able to pay for on our own from the money we had saved….2 application fees (after the initial agency that we chose was closed), a home study, a home study review fee, an agency fee, a CIS application, and FBI fingerprinting for both of us totaled up to around $10,000. We’ve been able to maintain an adoption account with some money in it, but I want to show you how the Lord has been so faithful to provide EVERY STEP!!
Paying for the dossier
After all those things were paid, the next step was paying for the dossier. We spent time preparing it during the summer and fall of 2014. We planned to use Micah’s Christmas bonus that year to submit it, which wouldn’t be until December. Just few days before Micah’s birthday that year (October), we tuned into a webinar about fundraising for adoptions. Several ideas weren’t anything we thought we’d attempt, but there was one that we thought – hey, let’s do that! The next day we launched our “36 for 36” fundraiser. (Micah designed it as a spin off of ESPN’s 30 for 30!) We encouraged our friends to celebrate Micah’s 36th birthday by asking 36 people to donate $36. If that many people donated, it would give us $1225. People were generous and all of those $36 (some even gave larger amounts!) added up to enough to be able to take care of the dossier fee – $1400. We were thrilled that we were able to submit it a few months before we thought we’d be able to!
In the mean time, we continued to point people to our AdoptTogether.org page, if anyone wanted to contribute with a tax-deductible donation. We regularly see money coming into this account from people we know and people we don’t. We are grateful for each donation.
A Missouri pasta dinner
From the point of submitting our dossier to getting matched, there’s not much to do besides wait. We decided to tackle a fundraiser dinner while we were back home in Missouri last fall. This was a huge undertaking and if you helped with that – we are SOOOO thankful!! I cooked enough pasta that day to feed an army!! And then I dreamed about pasta for weeks!! 🙂 On that night, between donations for the dinner and the silent auction we held, we brought in $2700 after our costs. That was in September of 2015. It sat in our account and would you believe that when we got the referral from our agency with a match on December 9 (14 months after we submitted our dossier, but only 3 months after that money was raised), we had just enough to pay that $2300 fee to accept the referral. The Lord has always given us not a lot of extra, but almost exactly what was needed for the next check we had to write!
A t-shirt fundraiser
Late one night this past month (January 23rd to be exact), I showed Micah a t-shirt fundraiser I had heard about. My suggestion was to wait to do it until we had our official paperwork that we needed to “make our big announcement”. We were matched Dec. 9, but couldn’t share anything publicly until we received all the paperwork back from the government of Lesotho, which we hoped would be soon, but we had no idea. We were told initially that it would probably only be a week or two and here we were going on 2 months.
If you know my husband at all, you know he’s not one to wait and he’s pretty spontaneous, to say the least! Sometimes it drives me crazy, but I love it about him! He didn’t want to wait. He wanted to go ahead and do it now. Of course. On a complete whim, he threw a logo together in about 10 minutes and designed a t-shirt (he does his best work at the last minute – I don’t know how, but he does). We used this incredible online company called BonfireFunds.com. Their fundraisers have you sell your shirts for 15 days. They suggest a goal of selling 50 shirts in 15 days, so that’s what we went with. We hoped we could sell 50 and even so, it would only profit us $500. Not much, but hey – it was a good return on little-to-no investment so we’d take whatever we could get. Our friends and family members absolutely blew us away. We sold 50 in less than 15 hours!! And from there we sold a total of 221 before our fundraiser’s time ran out. Between t-shirt sales and a few extra donations that were given, we raised almost $3700 in 15 days!!!! Earlier this month, Micah requested a grant from Adopt Together for the $2300 we had sitting in that fund. It transferred to our adoption agency on Monday of this past week. Bonfire transfers the funds you raise to your bank account via PayPal once your fund ends. It hit our account Tuesday. Any idea what else happened Tuesday??? YES!!! We got our paperwork back the Lesotho government and guess how much we owe our agency this week now that this paperwork is complete???? You bet – $2300 + $3700 = the first $6,000 payment of our foreign country fee. I can’t even. The t-shirt thing was a whim. But God knew we’d need that money exactly when we needed it. Not a day too soon. Not a day too late.
Our faith increases
He continues to increase my faith through this journey and I rejoice every day that he has met every need that we’ve had in this adoption process. We have about $15000 left to raise (though that number is an estimate as travel costs fluctuate wildly depending on the time of the year we travel). That amount includes our travel costs to finalize the adoption. Our travel costs will be more than normal since we’ll be taking both girls with us due to the length of time we’ll have to be in-country. It seems like a big amount left, I know. We’re applying for grants at this point, continuing to save extra money as it comes in and I have no idea how it will end. But one thing I do know is that I can trust Jesus to provide. I think about the old hymn that I used to sing as a little girl, giving no thought to the words……
Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
O for grace, to trust Him more
I’m still singing those words and especially praying that last line….O for grace, to trust Him more. Yes. I don’t know why I felt compelled to share this, but I just wanted each of you to know how God has used you in powerful ways to help bring Haddon into our family. Whether you bought a $22 t-shirt, attended our pasta fundraiser, donated or bought silent auction items, swept the floors or moved chairs or buttered bread for the pasta dinner (there were SOOOOO many hands that made this night happen!), gave $36 for Micah’s birthday, have given large amounts or brought $1 bills and change to us like our girls have done several times, GOD IS USING YOU to write a beautiful story and our hearts are full.