Christmas in September - Part One

Last night was truly one of the best nights of my life!  Lisa and Andy Bauermeister, who created the #runningtuckerhome fundraiser, got to play Santa Claus to FIVE very special families. But before I get into that, I want to address adoption fundraising in general. The people in our lives have been so supportive throughout our puzzle fundraiser, our garage sale, and then #runningtuckerhome. Other people have not been so lucky. Moms adopting have heard some pretty awful opinions about fundraising. The most famous line is something like, "Why should I help you adopt a child? I want a new car. Should I fundraise for that, too? I'd love to build a new house. Maybe I should start a fundraiser."

For any of you who have heard those kind of remarks or even have thought or said them yourself, I want to give you an opportunity to see the situation from a different perspective. One of the primary reasons people do not adopt is because of the cost. People will say, "I'd love to adopt, but we just can't afford it." Then, there are other people who try to compare adopting a child to buying a car or a house. In our culture, houses and cars as some of the most sought-after items. They are seen as the reward one gets for working so hard. My question is this - What kind of country, world, and culture do we live in if a car or a house is more important than the life of a child? There are an estimated 147 million orphans (though some sources say more) in the world, and only 8,668 adoptions were initiated by US citizens around the world (domestically and internationally). That's less than 6% of the orphans in the world. SIX PERCENT. Although US citizens initiate more adoptions from China than any other international country, only 2,969 adoptions took place between the US and China in 2012. That is just a touch over TWO PERCENT. So sad.

"For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world." 1 John 2:16 ESV

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19)

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27)

Keep oneself UNSTAINED from the world. We cannot let what our culture promotes as important drive our desires. Visiting orphans and widows in their distress - now that is true religion.

I am proud to say that so many of our friends and family members embraced our desire to adopt Tucker and contributed to fundraisers that have helped our family, as well as other adoptive families. Lisa and Andy Bauermeister were two of our great friends who just embraced us and offered to hold a fundraiser in Tucker's honor. Not only did people donate the desired amount to fully fund our adoption, but they also continued to give beyond that goal to help other families bring their children home, as well.

This is when the real fun began!!

A couple weeks ago, Lisa and I began talking about how to use the money that was so generously given through #runningtuckerhome. I shared with her and Andy some families I had come to know throughout the past year. I sent them pictures and gave a short narrative about each family. Andy and Lisa also had a family they knew who was adopting. They prayed over the list and made their decision. They chose FIVE families and decided to give them $1,000 each to help with their adoption costs!

Lisa sent a private Facebook message to each person saying:

"Four years ago, my husband Andy could barely run one mile without being totally out of breath. Since then he's ran multiple 5K's, 10K's, 15K's, 50K's, half marathons, the Chicago marathon, Bourbon Chase Relay, the Peace, Love and 50 miles trail marathon in Hell, Michigan, as well as his first 100 mile trail marathon at the Indiana Trail 100 in Albion, Indiana. When Andy first started talking about wanting to run 100 mile trail marathons, he had a strong desire to simply finish the race in the 30 hour time limit. He ran the Indiana Trail 100 in 27 hours and 30 minutes under some of the absolute worst weather conditions for Indiana in April. When he talked of wanting to run more 100 mile races, he discovered a passion to start running for a cause. We talked and prayed about it and decided his next race in Leadville, Colorado on August 17 would be a great opportunity to accomplish that goal and help bring a sweet two year old boy named Tucker home to Ryan and Amy Abell; however, God clearly wanted us to do more, so we set a goal to raise twice the amount of money that they still needed to fully fund their adoption in hopes of helping other families, as well.

On August 17th and 18th, Andy completed 100 miles in 28 hours and 44 minutes. Our friend Matt Limeberry ran 50 miles with Andy and I ran the last 5 with him. We were even able to talk with Amy on speaker phone the last half mile while we crossed the finish line. Andy wouldn’t have finished the race without the help of family, friends, many prayers, but mostly the motivation to help bring these sweet ones home to their forever families. God rocked our world when we found out we had raised all $10,000 of our goal almost right after crossing the finish line.

Read Andy’s race report for a more detailed description of the race: http://bauies-run.blogspot.com/

Since then, we have raised a total of over $11,300 for the Abell family and five other families who are choosing to be obedient to God’s desire for their families to adopt a child. We have prayed over this money, as well as the families we feel God is leading us to bless with these funds. So many people were involved in getting us past our $10,000 goal! Over 100 #runningtuckerhome t-shirts were sold, a 12 year old girl held a China themed babysitting night for our community, doctors, nurses, children, Andy’s patients, family and friends donated to help bring Tucker and other sweet ones home to their forever families.

God put a desire in so many individuals to donate to #runningtuckerhome. Most of them have never met and will never meet the Abell family or yours. We know that adoption, whether international or domestic, is incredibly expensive, but we are so excited to help and be able to pass along these donations to your family and continue seeing your adoption process. We have written and will be mailing you a check for $1,000 tomorrow!

Are you ready to meet the families???

Drum roll, please!!!!!!!!!
First up, our dear sweet friends from Hanover College, Abigail and Devin Carter!!!

Abigail and Devin are a strong, Christian couple with such a loving, committed marriage. Abigail was my roommate, and Devin was Ryan's fraternity brother. They are pursuing a domestic adoption here in Indiana where they live. I was so sad to learn that few grants and funding is not available for people adopting domestically. Abigail had also shared that she has heard from others adopting domestically that people are not supportive of fundraising. Again, I love that Andy and Lisa saw this as an opportunity to support a family adopting domestically!! Below you will see their nursery. Now, they are clinging to God, being patient, and praying until their son or daughter is in their arms.

When Abigail got her letter from Lisa and Andy, she immediately called me. She was stunned. Many of you know Abigail, and that girl always has something to say. To say she was in a state of shock is an understatement. She and Devin could not believe that someone they didn't know would just give them $1,000 to help their family. That's God for you - surprising you and blessing you around every corner especially when your goal is Kingdom-focused as my friend Lisa says!

Ready to meet the next family??
Say hello to Molly and Nick Hagemeier and their children Will, Clara, and Fritz! 

Andy and Molly went to Physical Therapy school, and now she and her family live in Tennessee. You can check out their blog HERE. They are also working with an awesome agency and are adopting from China. They are just in the early stages completing their home study. I am SO excited for the journey they will experience this next year!

I  have never met Molly but connected with her on Facebook. I'm always excited to meet another momma in the adoption process. When I asked Molly how she felt receiving the gift last night, she wrote:

"I was dumbfounded. I enjoy seeing pictures & updates on FB from the Bauermeisters, but guess I didn't know really that I/we were on their radar so to speak. It has just been a LONG time since we have seen them or connected. So I was astonished. And then I was sort of embarrassed at my astonishment. Why is it that The Lord would bless us in this way? Quite clearly we are undeserving. And yet He lavishly blesses us time & again. You'd think by now that we wouldn't be so astonished, grateful yes but not so astonished. Has He not provided countless times before? Where is my faith on the meter? Not so great I guess. I want badly to be able to do what they are doing some day. To hear His call & obediently carry it out. And I can't wait for the day to reconnect with them, to let them meet my little girl whom God predestined for our family & to sit together basking in the joy of His peace, His plan, His purpose & reminisce how He wove our stories together."

I thought that was so beautiful and wanted to make sure I shared it with all of you. To each of you who bought a t-shirt, donated directly, or participated in Grace's babysitting night, bought drinks at JoCo Crossfit's event in August, and prayed for the money to be donated, these are just two of the families you've impacted forever. To be on the receiving end of such a gift, it's truly remarkable. Thank you will never be enough! Two more orphans are coming home because of your generosity. GOD IS SO GOOD ALL OF THE TIME!

I will post tomorrow afternoon about the other 3 families who Andy and Lisa prayerfully chose to receive $1,000 toward their adoptions! Stay tuned!! #cliffhanger

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