Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

You have most likely heard the old saying..."How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!" That is what it's like raising money for our adoption! I've never been one to ask for help...and it is even harder for me to ask for financial help. So, raising the funds we need to complete our adoption has really been a huge step out of my comfort zone! But, the cause is so important, and our funds are so limited, that I just don't see any other way!

This past weekend, we were part of two events to help us raise funds. On Saturday, we had a holiday open house event already scheduled with some other friends who also have direct marketing businesses, but it turned into a fundraising event - at least for a couple of us. Obviously, my Avon sales are going toward the fundraiser...but also, my friend Tonya Haskins donated her Pampered Chef earnings from the event toward our adoption! She made this decision on her own and I couldn't feel more blessed! I just found out today that her donation brings us $52.54 closer to our goal! :)

On Sunday, the owners of SquareHead Playground gave us the run of their facility to have an Avon inventory sale/fundraiser. They said if any of their customers came to play, the customer could just donate whatever they would have normally spent for admission toward our adoption fund! It wasn't a very busy day...but I am thankful for Jennifer Hansen, Jim & Betsy Evans, Mom Jansen (David's mom), and a couple others who came by to support us! As we were packing up for the day, a man drove up in a van with three little girls. He said they used to go to Dinosaur Playground and wanted to know if they could come in to play. I told him that they could come in and mentioned the donation to our adoption fund. He only had plastic on him, no cash, and there was only about half an hour left in our time before other people would be coming in to set up for a birthday party, so I let them come on in to play anyway. As he left, he said he was going to the bank to get some cash and he'd be right back. I didn't really expect him to return...but just as we were making a final run-through before leaving, he pulled up in his van and handed me $40! He wished us luck on the adoption and said he hoped that would help! :) So...with his donation and the other purchases, we raised almost $100.

To date, we have just a little over $300 in our adoption fund. Even though that is a significant amount of money, when I look at the amount that's due in just a few weeks ($15,500)...not to mention the full cost of this adoption (approximately $32,000), it makes what we've raised look like peanuts. And then I start to face the realities of what will happen if we can't raise the money...and I get scared. It's in that moment, that God shows up to remind me that He is still near...that He still cares...and that He still has a plan!!! :) Last night, I was in a frenzy of putting in Avon orders and answering phone calls/emails when my cell phone started ringing. I looked at the screen and saw that it was coming from a 334 area code (an Alabama area code - which is where I grew up)...I didn't recognize the number, but answered it anyway. Boy, am I glad I did!!! It was a dear friend, Debra Thornton, whom I'd gone to church with in Montgomery. We had lost contact after I moved here 12 years ago, but had gotten reconnected through Facebook. She also has an adopted son and had been praying for us in this adoption. She said she felt like she just needed to call me and tell me that this adoption was going to happen! There is not another thing she could have said that I would have needed to hear more at that moment! It was almost like God Himself placed that call because it spoke right to the fears I was experiencing! There is no way Debra could have known that's what I was feeling...I've tried so hard to put up the brave front and portray only the positive. I don't like to focus too long on the negatives...mainly because it just feeds the fears already brewing within me!

When you suffer from infertility, it's a pain like no other. A pain that no one can fully understand until they have walked that journey. You want so desperately to do the one thing that every other woman on the planet seems to be able to do except you...conceive a child. You watch the news and see reports of women selling their babies for drugs, abusing children, or leaving them to fend for themselves...and you wonder, why them? Why do they get to conceive these blessings that they obviously don't recognize as blessings and I can't? Worse yet, you hear the staggering statistics related to abortion, and you wonder why God chose to allow them to conceive a child they would kill and leave you barren, when you would love and cherish that child forever. Or even in happy moments...a friend who has also struggled with infertility finally conceives and gives birth to a child or you hear on the news that the Duggars are expecting their umpteenth child...both of those are great news and you are genuinely happy for them and wouldn't take the joy away from them for anything...and yet, you still feel the emptiness of an underutilized womb. It hurts, it's sometimes embarrassing, and you feel inadequate as a woman.

For those of us who have chosen adoption to build our family, it comes with it's own highs and lows. You must be ready for the roller coaster ride! On the one hand, you are thrilled with the idea of bringing a new life into your home...regardless of whether that child is coming as an infant or older, domestic or international, foster or private. You have hopes and dreams of what it will be like when your child is first placed in your arms...or for those adopting older children, when they first enter your home. For those of us adopting infants, you get a thrill out of walking through the baby section of the store and dreaming about the day your baby will come! But, reality has a nasty way of rearing its ugly head in the midst of your dreams. It first shows itself in the mounds of paperwork that must be completed before anything else can be done. It also makes an appearance in the form of the agency & other fees related to the adoption. And of course, it loves to show up in the home study process, when your very ability to become a parent (or a parent again) rests in the opinion of another human being! And let's not forget, for those of us who are adopting an infant through domestic adoption...the very big reality that a birth mother can change her mind and all our hopes, dreams (and money!) seem to quickly swirl down the drain. Thankfully, the worry that the birth mother will change her mind is the least of our worries...but I don't want to neglect those who face that very scary reality! Eight years ago, I was one of those...and to be honest, it does still nag at the back of my mind every now and then. But, we have the added blessing of knowing the birth mother of our children and knowing that when she placed Christopher for adoption, she never once wavered in her decision. It wasn't for a lack of loving him...quite the contrary! She loved him so much that she wanted the best for him...and she knew the only way she could do that for him was to allow him to be adopted!

Boy...I have really gone off on a tangent here. :) But, I'm just sharing a bit of my heart. I hope you don't mind. Maybe, it helps you see things from my point of view a little bit. Maybe it will help you understand better the feelings of a friend facing infertility or going through adoption. Maybe you are that friend facing infertility and/or adoption and this post has put words to the feelings you couldn't quite express. If any of those are true, then this opening of my heart was worth it! With that in mind, this post would not be complete without a "Shout Out" to my friends in my "Holding On To Hope" group at church (you know who you are)! This is a group of precious women who are also on the infertility journey or have lost a child to miscarriage or death. These precious women have given wind to my wings and helped me in more ways than I could ever put into words. They have become such close friends that they are more like family to me...and the support they have shown for this adoption has been overwhelming! I am blessed to be a part of this precious group! Thank you, ladies for everything! :)

So...back to my original question...how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And though the amount we've raised so far seems so small when compared to what we need, I know that my God is bigger. He fed a multitude with one little boy's lunch...2 fish, 5 loaves of bread. I don't know about you....but to me, that's not a lot of food & my brain has a hard time comprehending just how that played out. But, that's where faith comes in. Faith is believing in what we cannot see. We have faith that we will wake up tomorrow...we can't see it yet, but we believe that it will happen. And I have faith that God will provide what we need, when we need it to make this adoption happen! :) And, that's all I need to know...God is good! :)


jennifer said...

Kara, This adoption WILL happen! When you told your story the other night at HOPE I had this surge of excitement run through me that I had when I had found out about my adoption. It is exciting because we get to see God work in a way that only he could.
I wish that I had money to give you, but all I have are my prayers, and I will give more than enough to cover the sum of the adoption!

Don't forget to put on your seat belt this is one crazy rollercoaster ride!

Love ya sis!

Kara said...

Jen, Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I know you would help if you could...and your prayers DO help! The only way this adoption is going to happen is if God provides a way! :)

Anonymous said...

Kara, just remember you are in loving hands. Baby Jansen will be here before you know it and Christopher will be the best big brother in the world. Be blessed my dear friend and continue to find comfort in God's word. All will be well. Sure wish I had a money tree to plant in your backyard. luv ya Sherry