Many years ago, before we ever seriously contemplated adopting and before adoption was on the rise internationally, our friends were fundraising to bring home their child in Russia. They did numerous fundraisers and frequently sent out letters updating friends and family on their process (this was even before bloggy world became so useful!). These letters also contained info on how to go about donating or participating in a fundraiser to help cover expenses incurred with their adoption. I honestly did not get it or, rather, did not want to get it. Why would someone ask for money to bring home a child?
A 3 year old child. A 3 year old little girl in a cold, wet orphanage. A three year old little girl who went to bed at night without hugs and kisses, without someone to kiss her boo-boos; a three year old little girl who no one wanted except our friends who were desperately trying to raise money so that they could bring her home, love her, hold her and be her forever family. And what did we do to help? Nothing. It was not on our hearts. We did not understand. We didn't "get it."
Instead, we were much more into "getting" how we could purchase the many-thousands-of-dollars car that we wanted and the electronics that were top-notch and the clothes that we would soon grow out of and the jewelry that would go out of style sooner rather than later. After all, that is what people spend their money on - their desires, their "needs." We did this too well and incurred debt while doing it. Today, we have nothing to show for it; nothing but thoughts of how we should have used that money, how we could have used that money.
Fast forward several years. Adoption became a reality in our lives. And the money needed to adopt became a burden to our finances. We could have said no, but we didn't. Instead, we trudged forward and piece-mealed a plan of our own on how we would afford adoption. We never asked for help; we spent many nights working through the "what-ifs" and we worried endlessly how we were going to bring home a baby girl, one who needed several surgeries, one who needed therapies. One who needed a family.
Even through this we did not "get" fundraising and/or helping families who are seeking to adopt. Our thought was pretty much that if one wanted to adopt a child, they should plan accordingly and have the finances upfront. Or not adopt.
Fast forward two years. MK is thriving. We managed to refinance our home (yes, this is always an option for the willing) and our debt was paid. AND, we had a three year old baby girl to show for it. A happy, well adjusted, little girl who went to bed at night knowing that she would awaken the next morning to a house full of love for her. Our plans to build our family once again through adoption became a reality. However, this time, we wanted to adopt "debt free." Hmmmm.
We tried. Really. And we thought the adoption would take so much longer. And, thankfully, it didn't. However, it is hard to come up with a mere $30,000 in just 10 months.
We will forever be indebted to those who willingly gave to us. The goodness. The love. I cannot tell you how many people sent money and said, "I wish we could do more!" What these folks did not know was that with each piece of money we were given, the large amounts and the small, we were taught so much more. Kindheartedness. No one who is adopting wants to ask for money. Choosing to ask is a humbling experience. Choosing to invest in a life, a deserving life that God has called each of us to do, is even more humbling. Finally, after two adoptions, we get it.
We get that adoption costs are a burden; raising the child is expensive enough. We get that the child may have needs beyond your average child; multiple surgeries, therapies that are not covered by insurance, dental work that was unforeseen; we get it. We also get that each child is so easy to look over until they become yours; or, until, they become a part of you. Through our girls, we continue to learn so many life lessons that we would have easily looked over had they not been a part of God's plan for our family. For this, I am so very thankful.