Because even in the midst of all the amusement, it's hard to keep my mind from wandering to what it will be like with our boy home and enjoying all the fun, too. Will he like the sugar cookies, too? Or will the process of baking them be overwhelming to him? Maybe he'd prefer chocolate chip cookies?
Our family loves piling on a couch with a bowl of popcorn and watching movies, especially Christmas movies. But all the relaxing can sometimes be hard, too. My mind wanders during those still nights. One night specifically, the cost of the upcoming part of the process seemed incredibly daunting. (Around $20,000+ left.) Dollar signs would not stop swirling in my head. I snuck away from the couch for a quick second, ran as quietly as I could to the computer, logged in to one of the organizations (ShowHope) we had applied for a grant through.
A few weeks prior, I had told some friends "this Christmas would be so awesome if it were like It's A Wonderful Life and all these organizations and people just throw money at us for this adoption." (You know, sans the reallllly sad and troubling rest of the movie.) Then, we laughed because sometimes I say ridiculous things. But.. there I sat.. waiting for the computer to load up the page.
Wait. What?!!? What does that mean?!? Why can't you just TELL US ONLINE?!?! Why do we have to wait for a letter in the mail?!?! The suspense is KILLING ME!!!
After freaking out for a minute and texting a few friends, I breathed.. and prayed. I prayed for the Lord to calm my heart... my mind recalled another organization (Lifesong) we had just heard from the day before. We were awarded a pretty generous matching grant through Lifesong. But the thing with matching grants is that people donate.. and the organization then matches the amount that has been donated toward your fund. We were so grateful for the news... but wait. All these people... they've all lavishly poured money into our adoption process. Knowing this little boy... our boy deserves a family though, I don't mind putting his story and our story out there. If anyone deserves being donated to, I know he does. So, we put our situation out there for all the people to see. We praised God for the gift of this grant.
I made my way back into the folds of entangled limbs on the couch and enjoyed the remainder of the movie. And the next day held more distractions in the form of sugary treats, errands and general Christmas break fun. I had resolved in my heart and mind to try my hardest to not check the mailbox 500 times a day in anxious waiting of the letter from ShowHope. I prayed for extra grace.. for extra patience.. and to fully enjoy the wonderful gifts the Lord's given me in the form of 4 blonde people that take up all the room in our warm home.
Imagine my shock when I opened this that very afternoon... just one VERY SHORT day after the decision was made regarding our ShowHope grant.
My fingers fidgeted and fumbled clumsily... my eyes refused to focus on the words. A few deep breaths later, my heart slowed enough to make all my motor skills work fine enough. And much to my surprise and delight... Show Hope had granted our family an abundant amount towards our adoption costs. ($5,000 to be exact!!!) WHAT?!?! It goes without saying that we praised God for this beautifully HUGE gift.
And much to our surprise.. people weren't done being openhanded with their cash either. Donations poured into our Lifesong account for the matching grant.
Sure, we've discussed the costs of adoption... its a whole bunch of agency fees, government fees, costs of forms, postage and a million things all wrapped up. All the donations towards LifeSong and Show Hope will largely pay for the remainder of all those agency fees, and even 50% of our travel fees. The other 50% of travel is cash we HAVE to have in hand. Lifesong and ShowHope can only send all moneys raised to our agency. And our agency cannot just send us that cash needed for traveling. So, it's a funny little line.. trying our best to raise all these funds through these two beautiful organizations.. but also, somehow acquire the cash needed when we step on the plane.
Overjoyed by the news of Lifesong matching grant and the Show Hope gift, my mind was pretty far from being too worried about the cash we still had to come up with for travel.
Christmas Eve was spent celebrating the birth of our Savior with our wonderful church family. A few of our dear friends wrapped me in warm embraces, celebrating all that's been happening in our adoption world lately... and snuck bits of cash into our hands as well. And I cried... and laughed...cried some more.
That ridiculous notion I had about our Christmas being like It's A Wonderful Life... that thought I had chuckled over for weeks... that seemed absolutely preposterous... well. I guess it really wasn't.
In just 12 very short days, people generously gave 75% of our matching grant goal, we were awarded the Show Hope grant... and were given about 5% of the cash needed for traveling. In less than HALF a month, the Lord provided $14,040 through many generous donors!
We are grateful for all that He has done! And I am especially grateful that He is teaching me more and more about His grace and provision by providing in such a short time frame! Hah!