Christmas in September - Part Two

And now the story continues! I hope you enjoyed meeting Abigail & Devin, as well as Molly, Nick & Company. I am so excited to introduce you to the other three recipients of $1,000 from the #runningtuckerhome fundraiser.

As I shared last night, I submitted several families to Andy and Lisa, and they prayed over the list and chose the final recipients. I have met dozens of adoptive mommas the past year, and many of them have worked so hard to raise money to fully fund their adoptions. Few people just have $30,000-$40,000 lying around their homes but feel God's calling to bring a sweet child...or even two children into their family. So, they take a huge leap of faith, and spend their energy having garage sales, chili dinners, ice cream socials, selling products, and auctioning off items. The amount of money needed to adopt is overwhelming, but I have witnessed over and over and over again how God just shows up and shows off, and adoptions are fully funded left and right. Somehow, miraculously, the money is donated, and the children come home. For those who participated in #runningtuckerhome, here are the other three families you've impacted forever.

Please say hello to Kelley & David Berry and their three children Clayton, Nicole, and Regis!!!
Kelley and her family live in Georgia, and we met through our agency's Facebook page. When we realized we were both adopting boys from Chongqing, a friendship was born! Kelley is one of my very best adoptive momma friends. We have laughed together (so many times!), celebrated together, cried together, prayed together, pleaded with God together. Kelley, David, and their two biological kids all went to China together this summer to bring Regis home. Isn't he the cutest little guy? I couldn't post just one picture because he is such a cutie!!

Kelley and her family even got to meet Tucker when they visited the orphanage in Chongqing. After meeting Tucker, Kelley wrote me and said, "He is so happy and alert and smiles and waved at me. I talked to him, and he gave me great smiles. I told him his mama and baba love him and are coming to get him soon." Kelley said visiting the orphanage was very difficult. Even though the nannies seem really wonderful, and the orphanage seems like a very decent place, it can never provide what all children deserve: a family. She said that visit was one of the hardest things she has ever experienced but seeing Tucker made it all worth it.

Like so many families, adoption has changed them forever. Their experience in China and their love for Regis planted seeds in their heart. They felt so strongly that God was calling them back to China quickly, so they started searching for their fourth child. Before long, God revealed their daughter, Brighton Mae. You can read Part One and Part Two of their story on her blog. They met Regis on July 1, 2013, and they were given Pre-Approval to adopt Brighton on August 28th. As you can imagine, they poured their money into the adoption for Regis, and going back to China so soon is a HUGE leap of faith. They will be working hard fundraising to bring Brighton home.

When Kelley received the letter from Andy & Lisa saying they were being give $1,000 to bring Brighton home, Kelley wrote me right away. She said, "I am so humbled and in awe! I just wrote a check to our agency last week, and things are tight. This will help bring my bright light home! Thank you is not enough. And now I get to share about how Tuck helped bring Brighton home! So so shocked - no words." Kelley also wrote on Lisa's FB page, "We are in tears. Thank you isn't enough. Praising our Heavenly Father and humbled beyond measure! One huge step closer to our Brighton Mae! Thank you!" I cannot wait to see Brighton home with Kelley, David, Clayton, Nicole, and Regis!
Meet Sara & Josh Noll, and their kids Anna Belle, Emma, Elli, and Levi!
Sara and her family live in Florida, and they began their adoption journey in October and almost immediately saw the face of this sweet girl, Nina (below). They fell in love and got PreApproval to adopt Nina on November 1, 2012. Sara stays at home and homeschools their children. Josh and Sara have built their marriage on Christian principles and strive to be the best parents every single day.

I met Sara on Facebook in February 2013 through one of our Facebook groups. I was advocating for a precious little boy, and this little guy just weighed on Sara and her husband's mind. Although God closed the door on adopting the little boy, it planted seeds in their hearts. They started to feel very strongly that they were supposed to adopt a little boy, too. On March 5, 2013, they saw their son's face for the first time! They received PreApproval to adopt Isac on March 25, 2013 and began their wait for LOA.

Like our family, they got stuck when the computer database for managing adoptions was changed in China. Sara and I prayed many, many days for one another, and then finally on August 13th, they received LOA! Sara is about two weeks behind us in the process and hopes to travel in October or November to bring the kids home.

On Wednesday morning, Sara and her husband still needed $7,000 to be fully funded. That afternoon, they learned that some family friends were making a huge, generous donation of $5,000!!! When she wrote to tell me, I cried tears of joy for her. I cannot explain to you how hard this family has worked to raise money for their adoption! You can check out her blog to learn all about the different things they have done to fundraise. I also cried because I knew Lisa and Andy were giving her $1,000, which would only leave $1,000 more to raise total. I was blown away that in one day, they would go from needing $7,000 to only $1,000 to be fully funded.

When Sara got her letter from Andy and Lisa, she wrote, "We...just got...another....$1,000 from Running Tucker Home!!!!! HOLY COW!!!! I feel completely in a state of shock! Not because I doubt that God would move, but just getting the chance to see Him work up close through wonderful lives...it's better than anything I've ever been apart of! Amazing!!! My husband has such a goofy grin on his face! I love it! It's his WOW face!" She also wrote on Lisa's FB wall and said, "Our family is so over the moon and my girls can't stop dancing with JOY that people love their baby brother and sister so much to give and give some more!!! Thank you ALL so much! And thank you Andrew for running for our babies!!!! You are ALL part of their lives! XOX." I cannot wait to see Nina and Isac home with their parents and siblings soon!

Meet Rebecca and Mark Radicchi and their children, Sophia and Claire!

Mark and Rebecca live in Georgia with their two little girls. They adopted Claire from China is 2010, and like so many families who have adopted, they made the decision to adopt again! Initially, they started making arrangements to adopt from Ethiopia but then switched to the China program. Rebecca and I are working with the same agency and met in Lifeline's Facebook group.
They have fallen in love with the two cutest little ones, a little boy named Eli and a little girl named Evie! Aren't they beautiful?!

Unfortunately, Rebecca and I became more acquainted with one another while we were "stuck" in the database changeover. We prayed for one another so often, and then finally, she received her LOAs for both Eli and Evie!! Although I have know less about Rebecca than some of the other girls, I do know this. She and her husband have built their life on a Christian foundation, and they are living out John 14:18 every day.

Her family was chosen by Adopt Shoppe to auction off necklaces in order to raise money for her adoption. Rebecca is the kind of person that when she saw that another Lifeline momma named Katie Eaker still had a significant amount of money to raise, and she was also "stuck" waiting for LOA for two precious girls, Rebecca decided to use the opportunity to help raise money for Katie's family. For every $10 that people donated to Katie's fundraiser, they received one "raffle ticket" to win one of the necklaces. At the beginning of September, Katie's family just crossed the $5,000 mark, and 21 days later they have raised $16,637. Part of that is due to Rebecca helping Katie raise money! Rebecca and her family exemplify how the adoption community takes are of each other.

When Rebecca learned that Andy & Lisa were giving her family $1,000, she wrote me and said, "I am BLOWN away by the gift from your friends. Blown away and a mess. Thank you a thousand times over for sharing our story. So humbled and so amazed by our amazing God. Can't believe how big He is and how ddirectly He is providing. Incredible." Later, Rebecca also wrote on Lisa's Facebook wall, "We are blessed beyond measure, and I'm a crying, grateful  mess! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She added later, "Our God writes the most amazing stories. Humbly grateful." I cannot wait to see Rebecca holding her babies soon!

Something really fun to note about the $1,000 donation to Rebecca's family is that the donation will be matched by Promise686, a non-profit ministry dedicated to serving the needs of “the fatherless” both domestically and abroad.  They are committed to inspiring and equipping families in the Atlanta area to foster and adopt with the goal of placing children in loving, permanent, Christian homes. They believe this is God’s heart and have taken the name for this ministry from the promise found in Psalms 68:6.

"God sets the lonely in families..."

God has done just that. God set the lonely in our family, Abigail & Devin's family, Molly & Nick's family, Kelley & David's family, Sara & Josh's family, and Rebecca & Mark's family. We are all building our families with children that were not born from our bodies but from our hearts. So many of you have helped make this possible. You have donated over $11,300 to #runningtuckerhome, and you have helped bring home SEVEN children FOREVER. Anything remaining after Ryan and I get home from China will also be given to one or more adoptive families.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for joining our families in bringing home our children. All of our lives have been changed forever, and we hope this experience is also changing yours. We cannot wait to see the fruit that comes from seeds planted during this fundraiser. We pray that God is setting the lonely in some of your families. You only get to live once, and I hope you will find a way to continue your support for orphans, be it through sponsoring, fostering, hosting, or adopting. I promise it will change your life as much as it will change theirs.
None of this would have been possible had it not been for Lisa and Andy being open to God's plan for their role in helping our children. They worked so hard to contact friends, family, and coworkers in order to raise this money, and to top it off, Andy completed a 100 mile race in the mountains of Colorado. On behalf of all of the families, I want to thank Andy and Lisa for all of their work and their love for the fatherless. I cannot wait to see how God continues to work in their lives and in their marriage. I love you guys!
Lisa wrote, "Can't wait or the day that Tuck learns of all the lives that were impacted through your obedience in God's calling to rescue him. We are blessed beyond measure to be a part of his amazing journey with your family and now five others!"
We are not special. We do not have super human powers. We are just a husband and a wife, living in Indiana with our two of our sons, and we said YES to God's plan for our lives. Initially, we didn't feel joy...just submissive obedience, but within days the JOY of our decision covered any sadness we previously felt about the change in our life's plan. Now that we're living God's plan, I am so grateful that we said YES! This life is better than anything I've ever imagined. Our son will be home soon. I will hold him and kiss him and tuck him in at night. I have a new son, and it's all because God asked, and we said YES.

What is He asking you to do with your life? I pray that you will say YES to however He is calling!

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