Thursday, December 29, 2011

giving & receiving

This is a post I have been mulling over in my head for a while and I'm glad that I waited because the story got even better over the past week...... so, this may be a given but adoption is expensive!! The amount of our adoption will be around the $35,000 mark, which is cheap compared to some countries. When we began this process, I can assure you that we had nothing set aside to cover these expenses.... but the lack of funds was never a factor in deciding whether or not to grow our family.

During this journey, you get all sorts of feedback from various individuals and one train of thought I've heard over and over is "I'd love to adopt, but we can't afford it" or "I'd love to one day when we have saved up the money." You get the idea. Now that we are nearing the end of the journey, I can honestly say that I think it is a much more exciting ride when you have no clue where the money is going to come from... you get to see the body of Christ surround you & join in the process & you get to see God move mountains to bring in the funds. Had we had the money, we would have missed out on knowing God more intimately as well as having our lives more closely intertwined with other believers. I think this was the way God needed our journey to go in order to change me in the process.

It is humbling to see people care so much for your child that they want to give of their time, money and effort. One of the first moments of being blessed was a sweet friend offering to sell her vintage purses (you know who you are, so thanks!) and give the proceeds to us... which was then used to purchase our passports. Of course, it is about much more than money. It is about seeing God move in another's life to have a heart for your child... and to know that you will forever be connected because of this. This has given me a sweeter appreciation for the Body of Christ to say the least.

As the process has gone on, I have seen a pattern emerge that has encouraged me immensely....basically, the more i give, the more God has given me.... and I don't just me a vague "God has blessed me" but he has literally brought the money in that way. Before you jump to conclusions that I'm some holy person who loves to give to others, let me assure you to keep reading.... So, here is one example, I had a stack of clothes that I was going to sell (nicer adult clothing) and put the money toward the adoption. Nothing wrong with that. But I felt God leading me to give them to my cleaning people (yes, I am spoiled in that aspect). But the catch was that I didn't really want to. I kept thinking "But, God, I need to start stock piling money. These are some nice name brands. I can sell this one shirt for $30. Wouldn't it be better to just sell it?" (haha. Now you see why I told you to keep reading... not the most holy of responses!) But I couldn't shake the feeling so I gave in and gave. A few days later, we got a check in the mail back for taxes from the year before for $5000. I have this mental image in my head that keeps making me laugh of myself holding onto a single dollar tightly and saying "But God, we need this one." and God just shaking His head like this has to be some sort of joke.... thinking "Doesn't she know that I have a storehouse of treasures at my disposal?" And then I see Him opening my grasp to let go and THEN my hands are finally ready to receive.

This is the other part that makes me laugh (at myself).... I have always looked at the israelites in the desert and thought "what idiots!" They would complain and grumble then they'd see God move and the next morning they'd be back to complaining and then God would move again.... over and over and over. I think "surely I would have gotten the idea that God is going to provide and is in control a lot faster than they did?" There were several more incidents where I felt God leading me give... and in every situation, I still pushed back. See? I'm doing the same thing as those "idiots." Thankfully we serve a patient God who is still doing a work in me. So the amazing thing was, that each time we gave, God gave back in unexpected ways.... everything from selling our lakehouse that had been on the market for 3 years (which saved us a mortgage payment each month) to us getting a check from the BP oil spill (yes, you read that correct! Had no clue that one was coming) to most recently a few individuals giving us enough money to cover nearly half of the adoption! Shocking, right?

I don't want this to sound hokey like "give God your money and He will give you more money" but rather this is what God has been showing me in the process:
God is my great provider and His timing is perfect.
I need to hold loosely to the things of this world and be open to God showing me how He wants you to use them.

God will bless you if you give to things of eternal value... not necessarily with money... I think He did so for us in this situation because we literally needed the money for the adoption but I know His blessings come in many different forms.

I think that adoption is so at the heart of who God is.... His great redemption plan for a world lost in sin is all about providing a way that we might be adopted as His children. As believers, why would we not want to be involved in some way in adoption here on earth? I honestly believe that the people who have come alongside us, are playing a role in Mei Sims' salvation story. We are trusting the Lord to allow her to know Him as her Lord and Savior and I believe that God will reward in heaven all those who have fought for her here on earth. And I don't just mean financial support. I have several women who have prayed so fervently for Mei Sims-- I think they pray for her more than I do!-- and that has been SUCH a blessing and comfort to me. I can say that I really never gave too much thought to the plight of the orphans until people close to me began adopting and I got to see firsthand a life being redeemed here on earth. I didn't even fully understand my own orphan status and adoption by God clearly until we began this journey. I say that to just say, I understand if this whole thought process is new to you also.

Anyway, my hope behind this post is two-fold....
First, if you are praying about adoption or already on the journey I want to encourage you that God will provide for all of the finances... our story is a testimony to that.
Second, my hope is that someone reading this will be challenged to DO something to support others who are on this journey as well. If anyone does feel led to give financially, I have a few friends who are still trying to pull together the final $10,0oo cash you have to wire to china before you go. I'd be happy to direct you to them!

Have a happy new year friends!


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

You'd be surprised how it appears when you least expectit... I know it happened to me... But was given about $20 in Yuan.. Some might say so... Well, I got it from a lady I hardly knew and least expected it. It was enough to cover a few drinks in Shanghai and a few snacks to take onto the flight Guangzhou... I made sure I passed it on. Not to be a do Goodyear but those few 'notes' are a little lifesaver... Just wish I had extra to pass on to you...

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that I have been following your journey and praying fervently for your and Derek and especially Mei Sims. I can really see God's hand working in all of this and I love reading about how your family and hearts are growing and changing. It is truly beautiful! You and your sweet hubby have always blessed my family so much. We love you guys!
Grace and peace,
Amy Valentine