Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Don't Know About You...I'm Feeling 22

Well hey there friends. It's been 22 months of waiting for us. What? You didn't think I meant 22 years old right? Because: reality check. I turned 30 this month. Yup. And frankly, I don't think anyone thinks I am 22. Mostly because of my genius wisdom and wit. But seriously, I went to get a glass of wine for my birthday dinner with my BFF. They carded her. They carded the couple next to us. Me? Not so much.

I am SO not 22.

And also this: I went to the Mumford & Sons concert the day after my birthday (shout out to my dear friend for the courtesy tickets) and I was seriously ready to fall asleep before the headliner even came on.  NOT KIDDING. Like full on "I wonder if anyone will notice if I fall asleep here in the grass and take a 15 minute nap before the band comes on." Alas, the scents wafting back from the actual 22 year olds in front of us kept my stomach rolling and my eyes open (and rolling if I do say so!).

Me and Man Friend, trying not to fall asleep at Mumford & Sons. So this is 30.

Birthday presents when you turn 30? Ones you actually get excited about?

A toaster. That works. Because the one you've been using for about a year has no middle heat element. Check out this new beauty:

Guys. It's red. Booyah, that's what I say.
Yeah, aside from toasters, apparently the theme of my 30th birthday was, more wine please!

My mom and dad got me a super cute wine glass. See?

And they took us all to the winery for the lunch. I should have gotten a picture of all of us together. Did I? No. Apparently the glass of wine took precedence. I don't know. I'm too old to remember things like "take pictures of your family at your birthday celebration."

Just pretend this is a picture of the 5 of us instead of a lovely glass of Norton.

So yes. I had a great birthday. Not a 22nd birthday.

All that to say. This is not about my age.

AND...don't speak a word about my blog title. I'm pretending it's fine. Worry about yourself. I'll let you know when I have a solution. Mkay?

So, 22.

Months waiting, that is.  Yes, last week was my 30th birthday and my 22nd month of waiting. We have not moved in any direction since our big change in request. I will say that's just fine but reality is it's the kind of fine you say when your mom says go to your room when you're ten.


But not really. It's a bit of a bummer.  Still, the wait cultivates a heart like his, yes? I know the answer without asking the question.

Yesterday I was having a particularly hard day. I messaged a friend who had been there. She told me to grab a bible and read Psalm 40 ASAP. Which was a little awesome because my bible reading the day before was Psalm 40. He knew I needed a double dose reminder that waiting on him is part of the plan.  God has already redeemed me. He set my feet on a rock. But? I must wait patiently and he will draw me out of this pit as well.

And also, thank you to THAT friend who commiserated for one second before sending me straight to my Bible. Amen.

And so, my verse for month 22:

Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry."
Funny how God always has the right words.

Oh God, set our feet on the rock. Keep us focused on your path when all we can see is what we don't have.

That chain is lovely and lonely. And still. God is faithful in the wait. He's called us here.  No matter when and how the outcome.

22? I'm feeling it.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Funds. They Keep Coming.

Don't think I've forgotten about you. I've wanted to post our fundraising progress for a while now. Except, well, last week this is what our internet was like:


Seriously. No internet. All week. Because, you know, for fun.  Except not fun at all. Finally our company got a repair guy out last Friday. So then I would have posted.

Except football season. And you know me and football season, don't you? Well, if you don't I'd be happy to share more. Except I can't. Because I essentially took zero pictures. Something about being in 100 degree heat for 12 hours makes me not very photo-happy.  Anyway, tiger victory. Let's move on to the week before last week, shall we?

So first, the t-shirts arrived a week ago Thursday. I was so very nervous.  We had the goal of selling 100 t-shirts.  I was hopeful but realistically thought we might not make it.  With a few days to go, we weren't there yet. And I don't know if it's theologically appropriate to pray for t-shirt sales but I did it anyway. And the day we put our order in? It was for 157 t-shirts.

You guys.

They arrived and my fears were immediately put at ease. They were softer than I expected. They were cooler than I had hoped. And since I got both colors, they are now two of my favorite shirts in my closet. We were so blessed to work with a great company, have wonderful people purchase them, and all around just have a fabulous t-shirt selling experience. So fabulous we are considering making a second order.

What a total blessing.

After accounting for the costs of the t-shirts, shipping, etc., we made right around $1500. I couldn't be happier. We were praising God!!

And then a little less after we realized we had to sort and ship all those t-shirts.

I kid. But seriously. They took over our house. The day before trivia. Which was, in it self, kind of a big deal. Exhibit A, my dining room table:

Yeah. That's less than half. They were all over my house. On every piece of furniture. But we were so thankful for the funds they raised.  

The day after t-shirts we gathered for what was quite possibly one of the most fun nights of my life: Trivia Night.

To say I was nervous was an understatement. My wedding was about half the size of trivia night. Never had so many people gathered to support me in an endeavor. It was completely overwhelming.

I ran like a crazy person all day but really didn't have that much to do. Why, you ask? Because I have a wonderful group of friends who took on so many of the organizational and gathering tasks. And by 6:30 everything was ready to go and people started showing up.

Let the masses arrive!

At which point I ran to the bathroom. To hide. And pray. And for all the praying that had gone on in the past 6 weeks over this trivia night, all I could pray at that exact moment was, "God, could you please make this fun?? All the planning and people gathering will not be worth much if people come and have a miserable time. Please, please, make it fun."

Now, I know it was for me. And I know I am completely and totally biased. But I really, truly thought it was a very fun night.

Standing at the front of the room, in our t-shirts, preparing for trivia
There was lots of laughing.

Scorekeeping table, having fun and working hard!
And lots of (I think good-natured) frustration as people worked their hardest to get the questions right

And there was some funny game playing

And I even got to hold the mic a few times

There was eating and drinking and all sorts of merriment. There was even a winning team. Who won a golden mailbox of glory.

But the best part of all of it was so many people saying such kind words and supporting us financially and emotionally.

You see, when you've been waiting for an adoption for 2 years and it might be a while still (even though you hope not), you begin to wonder if people still are around. Oh at the beginning, they're there. And they're praying. But two years later? When there's no cute picture or plane tickets to buy yet? When it's just quiet frustration and more updates that cost more money? It's easy to feel alone.

But we didn't feel alone that night. We were filled to the brim with other people's hope for our future family.

We couldn't have done any of this without our friends and community. And this isn't all of them. But it is a good chunk of our small group, who worked tirelessly. They planned, they wrote questions, they picked up pizza. They set up tables. They prayed with us. And for us. And over us. And they stayed til we locked up that night.  

Do you want to know what love looks like? Take a good look.
As we were putting the place back together, the womenfolk started to count the money. And they sent me away, wanting to do a grand total together.  So when I finally stopped moving long enough to celebrate, they handed E and I a bank envelope containing...

Almost $4,000 in profits. You guys. In my wildest dreams. Seriously. I just stood there and I am pretty sure I was so shocked I didn't know what to say.

So, you might notice our thermometer has moved quite a bit in the past two weeks.  That's all of you.  Coming together. Buying t-shirts. Giving donations. Playing trivia. Telling your friends to buy t-shirts and play trivia.

And while I can't write a handwritten thank you to each of you, oh how I wish I could. Because the gratitude in this heart? It overflows. I pray you know how much it means to us to be supported so fully.

And so, with that, we can officially accept a referral any day. The money? It's there. 

The travel money? Not so much yet. But we are sure it will come with time.  People are already asking what fundraising we'll be doing next. And while there will be a "next fundraiser," we are going to breathe and be fully thankful for the provisions we've had thus far for a hot second. I need a little time to recoup. And I am guessing my friends do, too.

I know this post is long but I will answer the final question everyone keep asking: what about that referral?

Well, here's what we know: the new process in Ethiopia (called PAIR) is slowing down the referral process right now as agencies work to meet all the new paperwork requirements. Turns out having every t crossed and i dotted in a developing nation is not exactly easy. So things are slow right now and they don't expect many kiddos to be paperwork-ready in the next few weeks.

This may or may not have any effect on us. After all, we don't really have a good idea of "where we are" in reference to when we'll get the call. Could be soon. Could be later. All depends on what kiddos get clearances and whether or not they fit in our request or someone else's.

But tonight, none of that matters. We're going to sit back and be thankful for a little while.

Thank you for being our people, all of you.  We can't wait to introduce IC to the people who make us so incredibly blessed.


(Thanks to Ashley and Meg for the photos)