Just Look...

Just Look...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You're ok...You'll be fine..It's fine...You're going to be fine...Don't worry, it's really ok, you're good.

I told someone the other day, I honestly think that 94% of being a teacher is just telling people, "You're ok," "You'll be fine," "It's fine," "You're going to be fine," "Don't worry, it's really ok, you're good," ALL THE TIME. :) Seriously. I don't remember saying it nearly as often when I taught tenth graders, but my seniors need to hear these words so frequently, and I think it's because everything feels so heavy to them. Everything feels like it matters so much. One flopped assignment, one bad day in class, one negative interaction with a coach, one issue with a teacher, one expectation not met and it seems like it can ruin every bit of their hard work for the past thirteen years. It typically won't, of course. You know that. I know that. We've been there already, survived it, and we know that the picture is so much bigger than what they can see right now. But they don't know that, because they are living it. And they can only see the tiny square of the picture that they are currently painting.

I wonder how much more God is murmuring to us, "You're ok," "You'll be fine," "It's fine," "You're going to be fine," "Don't worry, it's really ok, you're good."

This adoption journey for me has been full of Madonna (Mother of Jesus, not the artist)-like moments of great serenity and moments where my flesh is so loud I can hardly hear anything over it screaming. Let me say upfront that I have zero doubt at all that this is what the Lord has for us and I am ELATED that He is blessing us with the gift and opportunity to bring these kids into our home. But I am also very human, and while I am certain it's His plan for us, I have moments of great fear.

When we first considered the adoption, Kraig was concerned about the money required for the adoption itself. $37,500 is, after all, rather a lot of money. I was more concerned about, you know, parenting 5 kids financially. I was certain that the Lord would make a way to bring them here. At some point, we traded places and Kraig became deeply concerned (to the point that we really debated if we could do it financially) about raising a houseful of teens and I got very nervous about raising that much money to bring them here. I think we have now both come to a place where we have decided that we will take things one step at a time. And the current step in front of us is a daunting one. The hard part for us in regard to the money is that we are taking what is normally a 12-18 month process (with that long to raise funds) and squishing it into a six month or less process. There are many adoption grants out there, but you can't apply for them until your home study is complete and, as fast as we have moved, we are still only just now to the point where our home study is being written. We are going to be tight to even be eligible for most grants due to the expedited nature of the process for us.

I think the for the first 6 weeks (yes, we called the adoption agency six weeks ago today-- and will finish our part of the process on Saturday as soon as we do our psychologicals), I was going on adrenaline. Since we finished our home study visits and turned in the last of our paperwork last week, I have felt strangely letdown. It's kind of like that January feeling you get... Christmas is over, summer is a long way away, and things are empty. It is in those times that the flesh starts to take over and faith feels distant.

I'm really stressing over the money part. As I told a couple of friends today, I have absolutely no doubt that God's hand is in this. And I have no doubt that He will provide. There is no way that He would leave those three kids over there for one to age out and for them to be separated. But man, my flesh is struggling with faith. In the past six weeks, it feels like we have already worked really hard and leaned on our people. And we have been tremendously successful, raising almost $8,000 so far through a couple of big donations, an envelope donation fundraiser, and our team shirt sales. But $8,000 isn't even 1/4 of $37,500. And we are probably well over 1/4 of the way to our final payments being due.

We have a 5K (register here or email forsuchatimecreations414@gmail.com) scheduled for October 22 and hadn't had any registrants at all until this morning... THIS MORNING. Just when I was struggling, I checked my email and had the first two people sign up. Granted, two is a tiny fraction of what we want/need. But two is all it took for my spirits to lift and for me to hear God's reassuring "You're ok," "You'll be fine," "It's fine," "You're going to be fine," "Don't worry, it's really ok, you're good." Because all I'm seeing is the tiny portion of the picture we are, with our fleshly, human hands, painting. He knows how the story is going to end. And He knows that, even when it doesn't feel like it, I'm ok. And it's going to be fine.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our Pure Charity Account

We have had several people ask us about an easy (and tax deductible!) way to donate to our adoption. We have a Pure Charity account set up in which your donations go directly to our adoption agency. We can't begin to express how much each and every donation, shirt sale, and 5K application thus far have meant to us. Staring down a massive cost was (and still is!) very intimidating to us. However, as we said to each other the very first weekend we were considering all of this, if the Lord calls you to something, He will also provide a way. And He is doing that in some really beautiful ways. Below is the link to our Pure Charity account. https://www.purecharity.com/davis-family-adoption-3

Sunday, September 18, 2016

He's Still Working on Me...

In the past one and a half months, I have asked people for more favors than I think I have in my entire life. I have accepted more offers of assistance, both financial and physical, than I think I have in the first 38 years and 10 months of my life. (Except maybe those first few years.... I guess I was pretty dependent back then. ;) ) I almost posted something like this just after my surgery in August and it's laughable to me now to look back and think about how much has transpired in this character development for me since that time and how much more full this blog post will be than if I had written it back then.

Let me be really clear upfront about something.... While I certainly think a degree of independence and self-sufficiency is important, I don't say any of this to brag about how independent and self-sufficient I am. In fact, it has become painfully clear to me this past year that, in fact, my particular brand of independence is actually sinful and prideful. 

I HATE to feel like I am inconveniencing people. I can't STAND to have to ask people for favors. And money? Well for OTHER causes, I am happy to fundraise but fundraising for my own personal missional causes makes me tremendously uncomfortable. In fact, I am so uncomfortable with money that I have a ridiculous amount of outstanding invoices in the business, some from as long ago as six months or more, because I feel so awkward going back to people and saying, "Hey, you still owe us for those shirts." I would prefer to just let it go. (Don't anyone tell Kraig.) The only situation that I feel more uncomfortable in than having someone hand me money is standing in front of people to speak. (Not MY people, in MY classroom, but OTHER people. ;) )

Soooo..... in light of the above paragraph, want to know what I have done in the past month and a half? 

During my heart stuff at the end of summer, I had to "take it easy" while other people handled certain things around here and with family. 

While in the hospital, my mom ran errands for me, other teachers in my department picked up my slack, friends helped me out in various ways like sending me information from the girls' registration days. Every single time I needed to get up, even to go to the bathroom, I had to get a nurse because I was hooked to too many things and they were still so concerned about my heart. 

During my recovery, our church ministry brought a meal every night (which at first I was just HORRIFIED to have to receive, that those sweet people took all that time to cook (something I HATE to do) and deliver a meal to me-- THEN it became so wonderfully amazing that I adjusted to it quickly, haha!), my family had to lift everything over a certain poundage for me, the teachers at school made my classroom somewhat inhabitable, and my mom and friends bailed me out with the girls regularly, and I had to continually ask for people to do or lift or walk or be during those two weeks. These "people" included students of mine that I hadn't even really MET yet. 

God's something, isn't He??? *said with a wry tone because you know He basically made me have to do everything I hated, all in one week!* *said with dramatic irony because you and I know what comes next but the first-of-August-me had no idea....*

So that ^ all felt really hard and icky. Then God chucked to Himself and said, "Watch her finally have to drop that prideful self-sufficiency and become a humbled woman who can not only accept help, but even ask for it."

We started the adoption process. And within days of making this decision, I was having to ask my boss not only for a letter of rec, but a really detailed letter AND for her to notarize it AND for her to mail it AND for her to fill out an employment verification form! Within two days of making the public announcement, I was asking for money through our envelope fundraiser. In the month that has followed, I have:
  • Had to get reference letters from our pastor, my boss, and three other friends.
  • Promoted a team shirt adoption fundraiser.
  • Gone BACK to the envelope donors, asking for the physical funds.
  • Gotten a medical eval from my doctor (two forms for two agencies) that took half of forever and meant that multiple nurses and my doctor were inconvenienced. Except this was TWICE since Kraig goes to them too. 
  • Asked my kids' pediatrician office for not one but TWO difference medical forms to be filled out on the girls.
  • Applied for two adoption grants, with more to come.
  • Composed a letter to ask another institution of individuals to assist us. 
  • Requested reference letters from one each of our girls' TEACHERS, neither of whom we know very well at all.
  • Begged online for psych references.
  • Been blessed by a sweet friend coordinating her own fundraiser for our team shirt sales.
  • Planned a 5K that I am now asking people to run.
  • Emailed a lady I didn't even know and asked if we could interview her family for our adoptive parents interview and not only did she say yes, we skyped tonight for TWO HOURS.
  • Requested another round of paperwork  from my references and this time we added two additional people.
  • Asked an insanely large favor/request of another loved one.
  • Taken valuable time from our school administrative assistant as she assists me in various ways.
  • Created a 20th Reunion shirt, swallowed some MAJOR pride and insecurity issues and peddled it at my reunion this weekend, and am going to post on our reunion page if I can ever work up my nerve (He's still working on me... to make me what I ought to be!)
It's actually jarring to my system even right now to read over this list. I feel so uncomfortable asking people to help us, financially and physically, and I feel terribly bad about creating extra work for people. But do you know what I have had to realize and the place I have had to come to? It's not about me. That's the root of insecurity and inferiority, you know. You think that everyone's attention is on you, that they are evaluating you and you are coming up short. The truth is, no one is paying you any attention at all. It's not all about you. And so as I have realized that it's not about me, I have been able to speak up and ask for help and let others ask if they could help. It's all about God and the crazy, big, amazing plan He has for our family and our lives. Not a single thing on the list above is going to personally benefit me in any way, but it surely is benefitting those three sweet kiddos we are working so hard to bring home!

And so I will continue to ask and receive, knowing that even though this is a more challenging position to be in than that of the giver, it is what is required of me right now. I will remind myself that there are those who love a chance to bless someone else and the time has come for me to let others take that role for a while. And I will rest in the knowledge that, as Kraig pointed out tonight, there will be lots of chances to pay it forward one day.

His blessings are so abundant. I just have to be open to receive them.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Davis4&Room4More 5K and Character Walk

It's time for our third adoption fundraiser!!!! We will be sponsoring a 5K and Costume Walk on October 22, 2016, at Fletcher Park. We have done so well with our fundraising so far and we are believing God that this is going to be a huge event and raise a significant portion of the funds needed for our adoption. We have coordinated  multiple 5K fundraiser events for Royal Family and PCL, now it's our turn! :) Info below!

5K Run/Walk (approx. 3.1 miles) and Kids’ Character Walk

Date: 5K Saturday, October 22, 2016, 5K at 9:00 AM,
                                Character Walk at 10:30

Where: Race takes place at Fletcher Park

Race Day check-in: Parking and registration opens at 8:30 AM

Pre-registered runners can pick up their t-shirt, goodie bag and race bib on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 5:30-6:30 PM at the South Cleveland Church of God LOWER PARKING LOT (next to Volunteer Drive) OR on raceday.

Proceeds go to: The adoption fund of the Davis family (Kraig, Athena,
                                Emma, and Kelsey)

Entry Fee: $20 preregistration through 10/8/16, $15 student rate (birth-12th grade)
      $25 after 10/8/2016 and day of race, $20 student rate after 10/8/16
                                Free tshirts provided to all pre-registered runners
        ***Character Walk is donations only, no tshirts provided

Awards: Ceremony immediately following 5K. Prizes for top male and female participants in                   each age division.

Registration: Complete the registration form and return with payment to Athena or Kraig (in person or mail to 121 Eddie Wilson Ln) or register online at www.runreg.com, search Davis4&Room4More 5K.