When we felt like God was telling us to adopt internationally, I originally told him, "I can't do it." I really did. I told Him that He must not have done his homework. He must be confused - international adoption is SUPER expensive and Rob is a youth pastor and I am a part-time social worker. He must have forgotten that we aren't in the most lucrative of careers.
I'll never forget the moment when I was standing in the nursery at church to pick up Allyn. I told a friend there that we had been really excited about the idea of international adoption but we were disappointed because it was just too expensive. She said five simple words to me: "You can pray about it." I don't even know if this friend has any idea how impactful that moment was for me. I had prayed about adopting and I got an answer. I just didn't like it so I decided we weren't supposed to do it; at least not internationally. I went home that day and prayed HARD. And that was when I knew without a doubt that God did do his homework. He knows our salaries AND he still wanted us to adopt internationally.
I started doing research on grants, loans, and fundraisers and when I found the Both Hands site with Lifesong for Orphans I immediately knew we had found our fundraiser!! So here it is!
James 1:27 has become my "life's verse" over the past few years. "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." I had really been focusing on the orphans part but I have to admit I have done nothing for a widow at all.
Here is how the Both Hands fundraiser works. We assemble a team and do a one-day project on a widow's home. That same team sends out a letter (that we've already written) to as many people as possible that explains James 1:27 and how we are following God's call by adopting an orphan and how our team has helped a widow. That letter asks for support both through prayer and financial means. The money goes straight to Lifesong for Orphans (and donations are tax-deductible - awesome!). At the end, we apply for a grant from Lifesong for Orphans for the amount raised and we can use it to help us pay for the adoption costs.
I was (and still am) super uncomfortable about asking for money to help us with this adoption. But we are estimating that it is going to cost us about $27,000. Needless to say, we don't usually carry that much cash with us on a daily basis! :) But here's the thing: God has called ALL of us to care for orphans and widows. But he may not have called everyone to adopt an orphan or work on a widow's home. Instead, He may be calling you to sponsor a family who is adopting in order to be a part of bringing an orphan home.
I hope you are still reading at this point because, dear friends who actually read my blog (and I love you so much for it), I need your help! I would absoutely LOVE to have TONS of people involved in this project with us! If you would be willing to send out letters and work on a widow's home, please come to our Kick-Off Meeting/Info Session on Tuesday, September 28th at 8pm at our church (Friendly Avenue Baptist). We'll be meeting in one of the Sunday School rooms in the new building. (email me at email@example.com or respond to this post to let us know you're coming)
Or... if you wouldn't feel comfortable sending out letters and working on a home, would you be willing to receive a letter and support us by praying for us and/or donating? There is an orphaned boy in Ethiopia and we desperately want to be his family. But we need help. If you would be willing to receive a letter, please send me your name & mailing address! (firstname.lastname@example.org or just leave a comment... I won't post addresses, I promise!)
And, most importantly.... please PRAY! Pray for our child in Ethiopia. For all that he is going through right now and the giant loss he is going to go through by losing his birth family. Please pray for our family for the patience and love we need in order to welcome him into our family. And please pray for our fundraiser. Pray for the hearts of those who receive our letters. Pray for our widow, that her life may be positively impacted by this project. And above all, we pray that God will be glorified through our adoption and through our fundraiser!