The Cost

I’ve been talking to some people lately about the cost of adoption.

 This time, it was two people at work whose lives have not been intertwined with an adoption story. Or at least it came across that way. They asked the most basic of questions. Questions that even those who aren’t interested or “pro-adoption” want to know.  They knew that I was fundraising, they knew that I had a goal; and they asked me what it was. I told them that the cost of adoption varies greatly based in the country you adopt from, travel expenses, and legal fees.

 I told them our expectation with everything said and done, with our daughter here, home, in our arms, is $50,000.

 Both of them gasped in disgust and surprise. “That’s a lot of money!” I smiled and said, “Yeah it really is.” Trust me, I’ve had moments of feeling totally defeated and overwhelmed by it. But I have had many many more moments of uncanny calm. I know the one who owns the cattle on 1,000 hills. I know he has lead us to this point. I have nothing to fear.

 The conversation turned quickly to what the money was used for, indicating that there must be a “cheaper way for me to get a kid.” Questioning why we would choose to go international, pay these fees, and risk such a great unknown. There are many answers to those questions, which lead to more questions, but what struck them the most was the money.

$50,000.

Later in the week, I couldn’t help but think what an extraordinarily small amount of money that is. $50,000. Wouldn’t any parent pay $50,000 for their child’s health? Wouldn’t any parent work overtime, fundraise, give blood, sacrifice, scrimp and save to bring their child home?

 If something happened to my husband, I wouldn’t blink at $50,000. Nor would I for anyone in my family, or my friends. Because we value life, we don’t consider the cost of care or redemption as a factor when we consider wether a life is worth saving. Rightfully so.

 I went to a financial seminar recently – the speaker asked how many parents would be able to save $15,000 quickly if their child had contracted an illness, cured by a costly medication. Time was of the essence. Life was at stake. Every hand in the room went up, without a moments hesitation.

I know I know you’re thinking she’s not my daughter. You’d be so so wrong.

What makes her mine? Do I need I know her name? Know what she looks like? Hear her laugh? Hold her hand? Kiss her cuts and scraps? Read her a story? She is mine. In my heart. I know she is out there and we love her already. She is wanted. She is loved. She is worth so much more then any amount of money you can type.

It has been one of my largest prayers – that she would know in her heart, in some miraculous and age appropriate way, that she is wanted. She is loved. We are coming. $50,000 or more.

 PS – Our home study fee due the end of this week is $5,500.00. Thanks to all of those who donated at our Meadow Day, bought butter, and gave gifts in kind, we raised $5,501.91. He has called. He is faithful.

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This Fundraiser Kicked my Butter

A few weeks ago I came up with an idea for a fundraiser. Compound butter. Easy enough and right up my alley. Food. I can do food. You saw the pictures, you heard my desperate pleas. I had a goal to sell 25. Maybe I could bring in around $500 minus cost. That would be good for a fundraiser for the time spent.

Once it caught on it quickly grew. My goal of 25, thanks to friends and family sharing it at work and on Facebook, was quickly met. Just days before Father’s Day I pushed for 50. We were only two butters away from 50! By this point I realized that I was going to be challenged to present 50 butters at one time, so I took some deliveries in a few days early to work. My deliveries set me back 14 more butters.

 I sold 14 more butters.

 Realizing quickly that I was in way over my head I rallied the troops. The people that I go to first and always for help. Some of our closest kids and some of our closest friends. This was not 25 butters. This is not a nice relaxing hobby. It was go time we had to get this done.  I had to get these butters completed. I couldn’t  say no to “baby girl money” because of my stress level or time commitment. If you’re going to give me money to bring my baby home I’m going to give you butter.

 Tuesday night I got home from work at 6pm. I had a 20 minute break for dinner and I worked on butter until 11pm. Got up at 5am, went to work, Wednesday night I worked on butter, except I had more friends involved. They also stayed till 11 o’clock at night and then they stupidly returned the next evening. They sacrificially gave of their time, energy, and the skin on their fingers.

 They made late-night trips to Target and Walmart searching for supplies that apparently no longer exist. Friday night they treated us to a meal poolside. As I sat there enjoying the conversation, I kept on just thinking how much butter was waiting for me at home.

 What a long night it was going to be.

 I invited anyone who wanted to, to come over to our place. Five of them came, staying late into the night in a kitchen without air conditioning, mixing, freezing, wrapping, organizing, packing, and counting butter. A few of them handed me $20 to take a package home. We were all wiped. My entire kitchen was cloaked in grease.

Saturday came and I had no energy to move.

I was happy people came to pick up their butters, making light conversation as they did. Many gave a suggested donation. Many gave significantly more.  I continue to be in awe at the generosity of near strangers and friends who believe in an orphan-less world.

I also realized that that guy I married to was still around. His face had gotten lost in a sea of neatly tied wax paper packages and bread. I hadn’t seen him for about a week, I was starting to forget what he looked like. We sat outside in quiet shock that so many butters were ordered, but more so by the servant hearts and ridiculous giving of our friends.

Thank you to all of you who have supported us with butter.

Next time we’ll have more than one mixer. Next time will have a much bigger freezer. Next time we won’t use those ridiculous rubber bands that rip up your skin. Next time? Yep it’s happening again in November. I’ll be offering a sampler platter of butter with fall flavors. We’ve figured out how to do it, and we can’t stop now. Next time we’re shooting for 100. Frankly, I can’t wait.

A Heavy Chill of Grief

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Grief is a very curious thing.

As an ocean beckons promising warmth and delight under a radiant sun, grief promises to feel warm, deceiving you into its icy shock and tension. Suddenly you have no idea how you got to this place.

 You have no idea how to get out.

 My muscles tighten as I try to ignore it, they ache as they try to separate from the only thing holding them together. My skin. It feels as though I have no choice but to settle in. Welcome this pain, embrace this emptiness.

 Be swallowed by it.

 In humble defeat I give up resolve, ignoring who I want to be, and embracing who I am in this moment. I am sad. Grief stricken and victimized by a love lost, a joy misplaced, and an irreplaceable dream taken.

I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to be heavy. I don’t want to be burdened. I feel hopeless to change the permanence of loss. Yet I don’t want to feel right. If a rescue came, I’m not sure I would take it. I’m not ready yet.

I only sense loss.

 I know there is much more beyond this ocean. I know this is a season. I know I will return to joy and again be buoyant. But for now, I embrace the millstone around my neck and sink. It’s darker, colder with each passing moment. It’s lonely; but I am not alone.

Even in my grief I have a friend. Quietly he breaths deep and sinks to the depths beyond me. I reach for him as he falls into the dark, we kick our way to the top. Knowing we need to come up for air. Knowing he needs me to pull him up. Knowing he will save me when I need him to break the waves. Knowing we are in this together; to give each other breath.

 The grief and loss have loosened their grip.

I realize now, as heavy as my heart is, I have more control over it then it has on me. There are moments often, when I allow it to creep back in, reminding me of its deceptive promise of warmth. Threatening to inflict pain, I cringe as it taunts me to return control. But I am awake in this slumber. I am swimming with my eyes open. I am not lost.

 I will not be overwhelmed.

I hope to never recover fully. I hope instead to always carry a sliver of pain under a mountain of happiness. For what I have lost is worthy of that honor; to be loved enough to cause permanent damage.  To remember a great joy with great love and gratitude, maybe someday peace.

 But for now, I’m content to simply float along the waves, breathing in the thick salted air. Hoping for the warmth of the sun, but willing to envelope myself in the depths of the chill. To remember the pain. To never forget the joy. To never stop loving what was lost.

To always remember those blue eyes.

Insaitiably Beautiful

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So I had spent time with God. Something I had been missing the past few days.

 I had coffee perfectly brewed and waiting for me. I sat down to work, paper work threatening but my motivation towering beyond it. And the dog had to go out. He started his prancing, his pacing and is rather annoying talking. (Huskies talk they don’t bark; seriously)

 Being the mature person that I am, I only yelled at him once. Then realizing we would all be better off if I dealt with him now, I slipped on my shoes.

 My front  door swung wide in my determination, but as I looked up I stopped in my tracks. Indiana didn’t seem to notice, but the view was breath taking. The morning was warm, but foggy. it was quiet. Golden beams through distant trees pierced the silence and broke the mist just past the stream.

 I breathed deep as if to hold the moment in time.

 I wasn’t expecting it, which made it more beautiful. Too many mornings I leave for work in the darkness. The deep blue holds a chill, a literal antagonist to the warmth of my recent bed. This morning was a surprising delight.

I glanced at my dog, affirmed my footing and looked again, but the moment had passed. The clouds covered the sun, the trees had lost their spotlight and the fog felt still without rays to highlight its billows. It was there – for a moment. That moment was worth getting up for.

 How much more do we miss the moments of beauty in this life, because we cant find our shoes, and don’t want to leave the comfort? Creation is spectacular. Yet nothing compares to the moments we can share as fellow souls encouraging, helping and loving each other.

What do we miss out on because we cant see past ourselves?

What beams of joy do we turn our backs on because we are unwilling to serve?

These were questions i asked myself after experienceing this beauty.

I wanted more, and I knew I wold find it the next time I smiled at a hurting teen, hugged a squirming toddler or cried with a friend.

 Lord, allow  me to see those moments, and to act on them and to be a part of your creation that is Insatiably Beautiful.