I have written and rewritten this post at least 37 times and nothing feels right. The truth is, no cute introduction can do justice to the fact that:
A STRANGER GAVE US $5,555 DOLLARS.
I know. Take a minute. Catch your breath. We’ll be sitting right here with our MINDS COMPLETELY BLOWN.
Now that I hit you with the climax of the story (that’s always supposed to come at the beginning, right?!) let me back up.
I have a friend named Heather. She is a darling, forever kind of friend. We haven’t talked regularly since we spent a summer together in Africa in 2006, but she’s that special kind that doesn’t need the constant connection. We shoot messages here and there and keep up with each others lives through instagram likes and Facebook comments.
April 17- Heather posted a status with a link to a friend’s blog. The link had the word ‘adoption’ in it, so it peaked my interest (Herschel and I had already committed to adoption, but we hadn’t told a soul other than our social worker at this point). The post was so different than I had expected and the reality of their story caught me by surprise. To be short, Heather’s friends, Elizabeth and Allan, were feeling God calling them AWAY from their adoption and they were writing about their plans to give the money they had raised to another couple who were entering the adoption process. (You can read their story here.) They had a couple in mind, but weren’t sure if they were committed to the process and would be trying to discern where to give the money if that couple fell through.
A week goes by and I cannot get this story off of my mind. I finally talked to H about it and we were deeply challenged by their willingness to follow this call even though it wasn’t how they thought it would go. Could we do that? Would we do that? We made a decision to intentionally pray for the Pack’s, the family who would be receiving their money, and it reminded us to faithfully pray for other families like us who were navigating this adoption journey. I’ll admit we had a moment of “What if they gave the money to us?! That would pay for our initial fees!”.. but I promise you, it was fleeting. In fact, we never discussed it again. Not that anything is wrong with that thought, but we were truly caught up in the reality, difficulty, and humility of their story.
April 25- After a week of weird nudges by the Holy Spirit, a conversation with Herschel, and some time to build my courage, I wrote a Facebook message to Heather sharing that we were prayerfully beginning the process of adoption. I told her that I had read her friend’s message and that I couldn’t get it off my mind. I mentioned that we would be fundraising and that if they had a “prospective adoptive families to give our money to” hat - we wanted to throw our name in it. I didn’t really know what to say other than that, but I know it was sufficiently awkward. Boldness isn’t my strong suit.
April 25- Heather writes me back immediately.. firing back, per usual, with scripture and a note of encouragement for our journey. She knows my heart and she spoke to it so beautifully. She mentions that she is going to send my message to Elizabeth and Allan.
April 26- Heather writes me a quick message letting me know that she and Elizabeth had talked and that they were praying for us. Elizabeth had a few questions but mainly offered us incredible wisdom about the journey ahead of us. It has been so refreshing to know we are not in this alone.
May 5- Heather sends me a message “Hey, if you get a call from Elizabeth let me know”. What? My curiosity is officially peaked. “I’m not SAYING A WORD” she says and just like that any attention I had left to give the presenter at the conference I was sitting in was GONE. Shortly after, I received this message from Elizabeth:
"Hey Lee, Heather gave me your name so that I could contact you! God’s timing is so perfect! I’m so thankful that you listened to the Holy Spirit leading you to ask about the money for your adoption. As soon as I read the message I was like 'Yes! we will totally give them the money!' Of course I had to talk to my husband, Allan first though. Your struggle with infertility is all too familiar with us and to be able to help ya’ll experience the joy of a child would be such a privilege! We had to pay back grants and several people wanted their money back so the funds are not as high as I would’ve liked but I know every bit helps. If you could send us the name and address of the adoption agency, we will send them a check! Also, if you are interested, I could send you some books on adoption and books about adoption for your child-to-be?.... I’m so excited for you and your husband to begin this journey! I know God will do great things along the way while you wait to bring your baby home!"
AND COMMENCE BAWLING. Like a small infant. I couldn’t believe it. The check arrived several weeks ago and is in our account and there is part of me that STILL DOESN’T believe it.
While the actual number of their gift is incredible, for us- it is their faithfulness and kindness that have left us completely undone. The Pack’s have no idea who we are. They were STRANGERS TO US. They didn’t do a background check. They didn’t ask us to write essay after essay. The did not push for us to prove ourselves. Instead, they let the very voice that led them into adoption call them to bless ours.
And just like that, we had $5,555 in our adoption account
before we had even gone public with our news.
Truly, the two most difficult parts of this adoption are the public nature of our need (who likes to ask for help?) and the total and complete lack of control. The Lord busted through both of those fears with The Pack's gift.
The “yes!” of this journey has not been hard.. but the “amen”? the actual minute-by-minute trusting in God to actually let it happen, pull all the numbers together, and bring my baby home? Man. It’s a fight.
Whether it's the generosity of the Pack family, a friend who met us in prayer when we felt at our wits end with paperwork, or one of my BUMC youth who donated her report card money- our fears seem to vanish and our hearts remember the truth of 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “the one who calls us is faithful and he will do it!”.
We are humbled and thankful for prayers and provision (both big and small).. and for strangers who have become forever friends. All the glory to the One who has done, is doing, and will do. For us and for you.
-Lee and Hersch
prayer focus for today: That we would be good stewards of all that is given to us and we would live with the same open-handedness as those who are walking this journey with us.