And by that, I really mean: YOU did it! You helped do something truly incredible, something I would have never thought possible - and that is, raise $10,000. In just a little over 3 weeks. With little more effort on our part than to put our story out there on my blog and on Facebook, where you found it and shared it with your family, friends, the newspaper, and a TV station.
Seven weeks ago, after our adoption agency filed for bankruptcy we had very little left to try and do this on our own a second time. We strongly felt the call and the desire to press on, to do everything in our power to still give one of these orphaned and forgotten children a home - yet we truly had no idea where to even begin. We had absolutely no idea where the money would come from, and after having worked so hard, taking on extra jobs, and taking out an adoption loan to pay a large sum of money that then was lost ... it was the most helpless and soul-crushing feeling.
After blogging the story of our adoption agency's bankruptcy, I saw that the post had generated 1,000 page-views. And I had this little idea: What if every reader gave just $10? We could raise $10,000! Not enough to pay for the adoption (far from it) and not even enough to recover the fees we lost ... but enough to move on. Enough so we could regain hope, gain momentum, and figure out a way of how to pay for the rest. And so the idea for the blog-raiser " Ten for Ten(thousand) " sparked ... A crazy idea, really ... one of those things you cook up when you're out of feasible, reasonable options. The fundraiser went live on March 5th - and I had no idea what would happen. Did I think we *could* raise $10,000? I guess ... otherwise I probably wouldn't have started it. Did I think we *would* actually do it? Heck no! Absolutely not! No, sir! Because let's face it: $10,000 is an insane amount of money... and we (just like many of you blog readers out there, I'm sure) live in a community where people work hard to pay their bills and money doesn't grow on trees. Charitable giving is down across the nation... every church and non-profit will tell you that... because people are still working so hard to make ends meet.
But somehow, this sparked something in your hearts ... and gifts started trickling in: $5 or $50, it didn't matter. We raised $1,000 in the first 24 hours, $6,000 in the first 4 days. Then our friends and family from Germany got wind of it, and we started to receive some gifts from overseas ... and we reached over $8,000 last week. This Friday, friends from church put on an spaghetti dinner for us and the other two affected families. The event was called "It Takes a Village to Bring Them Home," and we were just blown away by the 350 people that came to support us and our friends that night. We (the adopting families) weren't allowed to do much of anything in preparation ... and to walk into a gym full of people was such a humbling experience: friends from church, family members, co-workers, families from our children's preschool classes, neighbors (who hadn't heard about our adoption news but read it in the paper), and even a dear friend who I met online a few years back when we were both new moms to twins (and who lives in the area now, bringing her whole family to show her support.) It was overwhelming in the best of ways.
One of the dads of the other two affected families said later that he feels like the event changed him ... and I know exactly what he means. It is both humbling and incredible to see people rally together for a common good. To be at the center of it has been often uncomfortable for Bjorn and I as we are private people who like to take care of their own problems (much like most of you, I'm sure) - and yet this was something we simply couldn't do alone. And if it had just been about us, we would have simply buried that dream and moved on, but it was about an orphan, a child without a home ... and in the end, it was about faith and it was about hope. And about hope and faith persevering in a very devastating and hopeless situation. In the end, we figure about 500 people gave toward our adoption and helped us raise this incredible amount. And my heart is truly filled with so much gratitude and love and hope for each one of these people ... some of whom I don't even know, and many of whom I don't know very well. It took more than a village ... it took a local community along with friends and family (and their friends and family) all across the country and even across the globe to make this happen. And it reminds me in the most real and humbling ways that I always have the power to do something when I come across someone else's hardship or pain. Whether it is a small financial gift, a hug, an encouraging word, or a prayer ... I might never know if whatever small thing I can do just made that person's day. You made so many of our days in the last 3 weeks. And the incredible thing we saw happen here is that many people coming together to do one small but generous thing will in the end make a mountain move.
This blog post is already threatening to turn into a book, so let me just close by saying this: As I mentioned before, the total cost of this adoption will be about $35,000 (which is on top of the sum we already paid and lost). Our full fundraising goal is $20,000. That's $10,000 through personal fundraising and $10,000 through adoption grants. So I will continue to keep the fundraising thermometer up-to-date. In a few days, I'll update it with the total fundraising goal and then include grants as they come in (we've secured about $2,500 in grant money so far). And in case some motivated giver finds us, I don't want to discourage him or her by giving the impression our adoption invoices are paid for ;) But we're hopefully not only done asking for money on this blog, but also done talking about it!! The thermometer will simply continue to track the amazing thing God is doing. But please know this: you have done your part! More than that, really. And for that, we can never thank you enough.