Journey to Judah: Part 17 - The Thank You
I know I said that our “Journey to Judah” series was over. We made it there and back, yes, but a huge part of the story was missing: YOU.
We just want to say thank you. Sincerely. From the bottom of our hearts...and thank you doesn’t even seem like nearly enough. Don’t skip this post. Please let me introduce you to our village. Please let me tell you the story of how a community came together to bring 1 little boy home. You’ll probably find yourself somewhere among these lines of text:
Thank you to everyone who faithfully read our blog posts for over 5 years. That’s a lot of reading, especially when most of them said, “Here’s an update but we actually have no real update for you.” Thank you for asking about our adoption process for 5 years, even when we repeatedly said, “We’re just waiting.” Thank you for encouraging us onward for 5 years.
Thank you to the 250 people who bought Ethiopian adoption shirts, which you may have already gotten rid of or never wear (but we still believe Every Heart [in Ethiopia...and everywhere] Needs a Home). Sorry we weren’t very skilled at graphic design, but thank you for buying them anyway.
Thank you to dozens of people who donated items for our garage sale that you could have just sold yourself. Thank you to the many people who bought items at that garage sale that you probably didn't need and probably could have gotten cheaper somewhere else. Thanks to all the people who added extra zeros to the price of their items so $2 became $20 and $5 became $50. Thank you to the small group of friends who came to help us run that garage sale. Thank you to the 2 children who set up a lemonade stand out in front of it and donated all of THEIR money to our adoption.
Thank you to the person who gave me my very first Mother’s Day Card just a few months after we announced our adoption plans. Thank you for recognizing my desire to be a mother and acknowledging me in the waiting.
Thank you to the family who gave us money for groceries for the week so we could drain our accounts (again) in order to make an adoption payment, which was more than we anticipated.
Thank you to the people who randomly mailed us envelopes of money designated to our adoption.
Thank you to the cosmetologist who gave us several free hair cuts, so we could put that money into our savings account instead of her pocket each month.
Thank you to the small group who baked and sold delicious Valentine cookies as a fundraiser for us. Thank you to the people who sacrificed some money and some calories to purchase those delicious cookies.
Thank you to the person who coached us through applying for grants and to the 6 grant foundations who partnered with us: Pure Gift of God, Woods Chapel, Show Hope, JSC, Families Outreach, & Christian Orphan Fund.
Thank you to the people who signed petitions and wrote letters (and convinced friends to do the same) when Ethiopia suspended adoptions- you DID help families with open cases get their children home!
Thank you to the people who grieved with us when the door was closed on our Ethiopian adoption process. Thank you to those of you who didn’t let us stay in our grief, but encouraged to continue looking forward to see what God was doing.
Thank you to everyone who prayed with us and hoped for us when we switched to India. Thank you for meeting us with the same warmth and encouragement and generosity for a second adoption process.
Thank you to the many, many people over the years who watched our girls (free of charge) so we could complete adoption paperwork or fill out grant applications.
Thank you to the author who had a book signing and donated the proceeds toward our adoption fund.
Thank you to everyone who read our monthly “Battle Cry” blog posts and prayed over those requests. We saw God’s miracles unfold together.
Thank you to the people who wrote recommendation letters for us for grant applications and adoption paperwork. Thanks for making us sound good on paper.
Thank you to the women who sent me messages at least once a month for 5 years reminding me that our son was out there and that he was coming home someday.
Thank you to the three women who notarized (literally) hundreds of documents for us over the course of 5 years.
Thank you to the people who used their connections to help us get the difficult documents we needed for our India dossier when others said it couldn’t be done.
Thank you to everyone who recommended and helped us find a psychologist who could help us when India added a new step to the process.
Thank you to the people ahead of us in the India adoption process who answered all my questions and saved my sanity. Thank you for being a community who understands.
Thank you to the friend who brought coffee, donuts, balloons, hugs, and reminders of Jesus on every single tough day.
Thank you to the person who discretely went and checked on our son after we were matched with him. I will never forget reading the words, “I held your son today.”
Thank you to the person who used her connection to get us a few extra photos and videos of our baby boy during our wait. Those extra photos during his first year of life are so special and treasured.
Thank you to the Ayahs who stepped into the gap and took care of our son, to the best of their abilities and resources, until we could bring him home.
Thank you to the friend who had a Noonday fundraiser for us and donated part of her commission. Thank you to the ladies who showed up, listened to my heart, cried with me, and purchased jewelry.
Thank you to the people who wrote cards for me to open on hard days in the adoption process. I read each one more than once and held on to your reminders of Truth.
Thank you to the friend who gave me a card to be opened on April 6, 2018. Thank you for remembering his birthday and acknowledging a sweet but difficult day.
Thank you to the Antioch group who took up a donation in their small group to surprise us and help us with travel expenses.
Thank you to Jessie, Hanna, and Abby. They need to be mentioned by name.
Thank you to the friends and family who purchased clothing, blankets, toys, and other things to donate to our son’s orphanage.
Thank you to the 150 people who bought a t-shirt (some of you for the second time!) when we had one last fundraiser for our adoption process. Thank you for wearing those in support of our family.
Thank you to the countless people who gave us money for our travel to India: handshakes that surprisingly ended up with cash, unexpected checks, and sudden Apple Pay notifications on our phones.
Thank you to Antioch Bible Baptist Church and Oakhill Day School for being among our biggest supporters and allowing us to pack up and go to India for 3 weeks without worrying about our jobs back home.
Thank you to the many family members who rallied together to watch our girls while we were in India for 3 weeks. We found comfort in knowing that they were safe, loved, and having so much fun without us.
Thank you to everyone who prayed and encouraged us while we were in India via our Facebook group. Thank you for going on the journey with us. We could not have made it through without your fervent prayers and encouragement. We felt every single one.
Thank you to Adoption Airfare for getting us competitive rates on airfare and handling all of the booking and re-booking for us. You took the stress out of an already stressful situation.
Thank you to Kady who gave us a place to stay in Hyderabad, inspired us with her passion for Jesus and India, and took care of us during the seizure and the hospital stay.
Thank you to Ernest for driving us to 5 different hospitals and becoming a friend.
Thank you to everyone who met us at the airport to welcome us home. Thank you for showing up and clapping and crying and celebrating with us. Thank you to everyone who couldn’t attend but longed to be there. Thank you to those who watched the live video. We will never forget your love and support on May 26, 2018.
Thank you to the photographer who took complimentary photos for us at the airport. We will treasure those images forever.
Thank you to the friends who brought us meals when we were newly home, jet lagged, and trying to figure out family of 5 dynamics.
Thank you to everyone who gave us space to bond as a family once we arrived home. You had been waiting on that little boy for 5 years too, but thanks for waiting a few weeks longer so we could work on bonding and attachment.
Thank you to Oakhill Day School and Antioch Bible Baptist Church for throwing us baby showers for our 13 month old.
Thank you to America World Adoption for guiding us, encouraging us, and praying with us for 5 years. Thank you for leading us to our son and helping us bring him home. A special thank you to Elise, Nichole, Kelsey, Lisa, Minal, and Gloria for the vital roles you played in our journey.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for 1,913 days until our son came home. Thank you to those of you who are still praying for us.
Most of all, thank you to God who answers prayers in His own time and His own way. His ways are higher. His plans are perfect. He is good.
*If you’re considering adoption and are deterred by the cost or the length of time or the difficulty of the journey, be encouraged that there are people who will step into the journey with you. It has been humbling and amazing and encouraging. You will see the hands and feet of Jesus in your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers. God will work it out to His glory.
*If you know you can’t adopt but want to assist, be challenged that everyone can still play a part in adoption. We could not have done it without our village. They are a part of our son’s story too.
*I tried my best, but unfortunately, I’m sure I left someone off of our list. The sheer number of people that we need thank for their role in this journey is absolutely amazing. Please know that we are still so thankful for you.