Bracelets for Our Brothers
Help Us Bring Our Brothers Home
When a "Thank You" card just isn't enough...
Posted on June 21st, 2017

​She sheepishly stepped into my office and handed me a white, stuffed, envelope.  It was almost time for her class to begin, but she’d run down the hallway to make it early so she could give me the envelope of cash in private.  She didn’t want it to be a public display.  It was $81, mostly in five dollar and one dollar bills.  She had tears in her eyes when she told me, “This is all of my babysitting money that I have been saving, I want you to have it.”
 
I was floored and simultaneously concerned that her tears were from her parting with her hard-earned money.  She nor her family had much extra to spend on anything—let alone helping my family--but this $81 was worth more than millions to me.  As I tried desperately to hand the money back to her and insist she take it back, she cried harder and said, “No, you absolutely have to have it.  I thought about it all last night—what life would be like without my sister.  I can’t stand to think about it.  I won’t feel better until you take it.”
 
The day before, I revealed to my classes what was happening in our family—that we were going back for Evvie and Stella’s brothers and that we were fundraising.  This student has classes with my oldest daughter, Evvie, and has the most beautiful and compassionate soul.  I will never forget this 11-year-old's offering to me, and I consider her actions absolutely Biblical—she is, metaphorically, the widow who gave only what she had, but everything she had.  As she embodied this parable, one of my favorites, right before my very eyes, my faith in humanity was restored. 
 
This was one of the first of thousands of actions that have demonstrated to our family that love, compassion, sympathy, empathy, faith, mercy, and grace are alive and present in our existence every day.
 
Where I struggle is how to express my gratitude.  Where to even begin expressing my appreciation? How do I tell this child what this gift really meant to me on a level that really has very little to do with money?  How do I let the donors I know personally who have contributed thousands but insist on remaining anonymous know the profound way they are shaping 6 lives?   How do I let the woman who donated $5000.00 do our adoption fund know that I am blown away, humbled, and forever changed by her gift?  I tried to find her on the internet, but had no success.
 
There are so many individuals, corporations, and groups that have helped us along.  We have received orders and donations from countries around the world.  It is truly too many to name.  A family member, a childhood friend, and one of Neil’s mentors—all writers now—dedicated huge amounts of time to help us publicize what we were doing.  Through their selfless acts, our family was able to gain thousands in donations that would have otherwise been unavailable to us.  Most of the donations come from people we’ve never met before, and probably never will.
 
Two school friends of Neil’s set up an amazing fundraiser for us at Mellow Mushroom, and thankfully we got to enjoy fellowship and food with them while raising money for our family.  Another friend who I’ve met in person only a handful of times put me in touch with a LuLa Roe representative who, through her sales and the company’s donations, were able to send us several hundred dollars to help pay some of our last agency fees.   This representative has never met me, she just has a heart for adoption.
 
Adoption.  Yes, let me not forget the amazing emotional support, monetary support, guidance, fundraising support, sharing of our story that the international adoption community has given us since they first heard our story.  The internet is a powerful tool, and these families get it and know exactly what to recommend, how to connect, and are generous where they can be.  They know what it is like to spend a year’s salary just to bring a child home, and then half a year’s salary or more on their special needs.
 
Right now there are over 300 individual donations on our PureCharity page.  And, so many more donations have been made in the form of cash or check anonymously.  What is so amazing to me about these donations is that they all stem from a place of faith.  Each donation reaffirms what we believe: that adoption is important, that adoption saves lives, that adoption will change the lives of these two boys in profound ways.  Putting a dollar figure on these beliefs is an act of pure faith.
 
Whether you bought a bracelet, helped with a fundraiser, made bracelets with me on my couch at midnight in December to help get the orders ready, hosted a fundraiser for us, donated to us, spread the word for us, wrote about our family, made others aware of our needs, bid on one of our auction items, donated clothing or other items to us, listened to our frustrations through the process, lifted us up in prayer in your Sunday School class, organized a bake sale for us (thank you to a very special class at Pelion Middle), said a prayer for us, thought about us, encouraged us,  loved us, followed our story, or stood with us in faith—every bit of it counts.  Every bit of it matters.  Every action, large or small, will be remembered by our family forever. 
 
After writing this, I am still at a loss of how to adequately express my gratitude as we approach our court date next week with only about $3800 left to raise to be completely funded.  There is no thank you card large enough (yes, I looked), no words that can truly express how thankful we are, no favors that could come close to returning or repaying you all.  So, this is what I can offer:
 
-- I will make sure that all four of my children know how loved they were before they even got here.  Your actions have already shown my girls this type of love, but I promise to keep letting them know, and to make sure that the boys know the love and support and the cheerleading that went on for them long before they were in our home.
 
-- I will raise them to the best of my ability.  Your donations have taken financial pressure off of our family.  This means that we have more funds available to use on the resources they need to overcome 13 and 15 years of tragedy and trauma, many that are not covered by insurance.
 
-- I will remember your actions forever.  I will carry them as a reminder of unconditional and faithful love.  I will write each of your names on my heart.  I will allow this to be a lesson to myself and to my family that this type of love really should be the basis of our human connections in this life.
 
Lastly, should your family be in the process of adoption, I will always support you.  International or domestic, foster or adoption, whatever the case.  We will buy from your fundraisers, donate to your cause, cook you a meal when you need it, provide respite if we’re able, pass down clothes and toys to other families as we are able.  You name it, we will pay it forward.  


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