Monday, September 5, 2016

Shoe Fundraiser and Why We Wait

I have not written a blog update in over two years.  I have written a few in my mind, but none of them ever even made it to a keyboard.  We have done a fair amount of paperwork these past two years, but, more than anything, we have WAITED.  I remember the first year that we were in the adoption process we met a couple who told us that they had waited over 6 years to bring their daughter home, and I remember thinking, "Wow.  I don't think I could EVER do that!" :) But, more about waiting in a minute...

This Summer, we did a shoe fundraiser for our adoption process.  We worked with a company called Funds2Orgs, and we had a wonderful experience with them.  We were unbelievably blessed by so many people (lots we knew, and some we didn't!) who donated shoes.  People drove them to our house, mailed them to us, met us in other cities, and in restaurants, and at the farmer's market.  Our friends and family shared about our fundraiser on Facebook and through text messages.  They collected from their churches, their workplaces, and their neighborhoods.  It was amazing.  And, whether you donated one pair of shoes or a carload, we are so very grateful. 

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome, for most people, when adopting a child internationally, is the financial part.  When you begin to do your research, it is mind-boggling.  Most people simply don't have tens of thousands of dollars stashed away for a rainy day.  We have seen God do some incredible things through our finances over the years we have waited, but there are still times that the figures seem daunting.  The average adoption ranges anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.  I honestly don't know anyone whose adoption expenses were as low as $25,000.  But, I have seen that figure so much that it must be true for someone.  The longer an adoption goes on, the more expensive it becomes.  Every year in the process means more money.  While we continue to save and put money away, the fact that the cost keeps climbing (added home study fees, immigration fees, orphanage fees, and travel, etc.), there are still times when the process feels overwhelming...and unending.  Someone asked me recently how much more we needed to be fully funded.  The only answer I can give is a ballpark figure because we don't have an end in sight just yet. We really just don't know exactly.

All that said, when I first heard about the shoe fundraiser, I knew it was something I wanted to do.  I loved the entire concept of people donating what they no longer needed as a means of helping others around the world.  The only issue I had with doing the shoe fundraiser was that if we DIDN'T collect our goal of 100 bags, then we would be charged a pick-up fee.  We wouldn't have to pay the fee directly, but it would come out of the money we raised as part of the shoe drive.  And, it was a pretty significant amount to me.  So, I prayed and asked God to please help us get to 100 bags because I wanted every bit of money that was given to go directly to our adoption account. 

However, there came a point in the shoe drive fundraiser where I didn't feel like we were going to make it to 100 bags.  It just didn't even seem possible given the time we had left.  While I was driving to pick up some shoes one day, I just prayed one more time about the 100 bags.  And, I said, "God, I just don't want to pay the fee.  I want ALL of shoe money to go towards our adoption."  It felt like, at that point, that it was a God-sized amount that we had left, and I knew I needed to trust it to Him.

About an hour later, I collected some shoes and was handed a card with them.  I didn't even open the card until much later that night, and I am not even sure what I was expecting when I opened the card, but it surely wasn't what was inside.  When I opened the card, a check fell out, for the EXACT amount of the pick-up fee.  I immediately had tears in my eyes.  I knew immediately that God was answering my prayer.  He was reminding me, once again, that He was in the details of our adoption and our finances.  HE was the one writing this story.  And, I believed He was telling me, right then, that He would not only provide the 100 bags (and no pick-up fee), but that He could provide the pick-up fee as a BONUS. In the end, we collected (with your help), 125 bags of shoes.  That is 25 bags over what we needed to have a free pick-up.  You helped us raise over $1,200 that went directly to our adoption account with All God's Children.  It absolutely blew my mind.  And, it was just a reminder to me, once again, that God has walked and is walking every step of this process with us. 

So, we wait.  We are trusting that the God who answers our prayers abundantly, who is so good at the details, has a plan in our wait.  I do wish we had a better update than "we are still waiting," but we don't.  We have been in the adoption process for five years and in the Haiti process for almost three.  The typical timeline for a referral from Haiti is when your paperwork has been in their system for 18-24 months.  Our paperwork has been in their system for 27 months.  If you have not figured it out yet, we are not typical.  :) But, we know we are right where God wants us to be.  He is never late.  He is never early.  He is always on time.  And, He can be trusted.  I know it doesn't make sense to a lot of people why we have waited this long.  And, if we didn't know beyond a doubt that it was God who called us to this process, it wouldn't make sense to us. But, I am more sure than ever that while we are waiting, He is working.  And, we are hoping to find out what He has been working on any day now. 

Thank you so much for going with us on the journey.