Mudlove Bracelet Fundraiser Results

My dad and Danette with Liam, Tucker, and Noah

One of the most beautiful and humbling parts of our adoption experience is receiving love and support from our family and friends. In bringing Tucker home, we stood in awe as people encouraged us and financially supported our endeavor. The same can be said for our second adoption.
When I called my dad in July to let him know that Ryan and I were adopting again, I wasn't sure how he would receive the news. My dad isn't one to blindly support anyone and anything. He won't say, "I am behind you 100%," if he doesn't agree with your decision. My dad isn't afraid to voice his thoughts and concerns. So, on my drive home, before I lost the courage to do so, I called my dad to tell him our news. I gave him my speech about how I had fallen in love with a sweet one across the ocean, and miraculously, his file was bring prepared and would be sent to our adoption agency. I shared that while Ryan and I had no guarantee that we would be chosen this little one's family, we felt that God was leading us back to China for him or another child He had selected for us. After I shared my heart and asked if he would be comfortable writing us a letter of recommendation, I held my breath, waiting to hear his response. Much to my surprise- because dads want to protect their daughters from difficulties in life, and as you have learned, adoption is both beautiful and difficult my dad said he supported our decision completely and would be happy to write us a letter of support. I can't express the relief I felt because going through a major life change can be so much easier when your parents are in support of your decisions!

MudLove Staff Photo - Courtesy of MudLove
From the time I can remember, my dad has always loved supporting local businesses. He is currently a cadet in the Kosciusko Leadership Academy (KLA), and he had an opportunity to tour a local business in Warsaw, IN called MudLove with KLA. During this tour, my dad learned that the company allows people to fundraise with their products. He shared the information with my stepmom, Danette, and they decided to purchase us 100 bracelets in hopes of raising $1,000 toward our adoption costs. Ryan and I felt so humbled by their gesture and excitedly chose the following bands.

After receiving them in the mail, I wrote a blog post about the fundraiser, closed my eyes, and hit "publish." I posted the link on my personal Facebook page, as well as in several adoption groups online, and prayed. Side note: Every single time I launch something like this, I always feel a surge of doubt. How are we going to sell 100 bracelets? Are people going to feel obligated to buy them? Will people like the colors and words that we chose?

"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James 1:6

Not even five minutes passed, and we received our first order...then a second order...a third. Within the first hour, I think we had sold 50 bracelets. They were selling faster than I could record them in excel. I was receiving email and comments/private messages on Facebook. Within 3 hours, nearly all 100 bracelets had sold, and people were requesting that I order more.

A week later, I placed a second order with MudLove for an additional 165 bracelets (60 Hope, 35 Redeemed, and 70 Be The Change). I told them that I would pay for them as soon as they sent me an invoice. However, I quickly received an email back from them stating that the invoice had already been paid. I immediately started to cry, knowing that my dad and Danette had surprised us yet again by purchasing this second order. How can you properly thank people for sacrificing their own money to help you? There were just no words for our gratitude!

Order #2

When I posted on Facebook that I was packaging the second order, several more people wrote again to say that they hadn't ordered one yet. Many had given theirs away and wanted more. I contemplated starting a third round, unsure if we would have a minimum of 50 bracelets. In light of the upcoming holidays, I decided to take a leap of faith and open up a third round with the following words:

Be The Change
Order #3
You can imagine my complete shock when two weeks later, I ordered 195 more bracelets! I told MudLove to send an invoice as soon as they received it and told my dad not to pay for another bracelet. He and Danette had done more than enough! He agreed. Well, a few days later, I heard back from MudLove, and they told me that the invoice had been paid yet again. Now this time I was really in shock! I called my dad, pretty sure I was in tears, thanking him for his extreme generosity. He said that after reading my blog post, A Burdened Heart, he felt so strongly about paying for this third round. Again, I was speechless by their generosity, as the result would be more money toward our adoption costs. They had paid more than $1,800 out of pocket to help our family. There just are not words to describe our gratitude!
Thanks to many of you, nearly 190 orders were placed, and we have sold all 460 bracelets!
I even had one friend share our fundraiser with her Mom's Time Out group and another forwarded our information to a sorority she advises. An acquaintance from college bought 10 bracelets for teacher gifts while a friend from Bible Study purchased 17 to be gifts for girls who attend her dance studio. Some friends bought bracelets in 2 or 3 rounds of our fundraiser, while dozens upon dozens of people purchased 1-4 bracelets. Regardless of how many were purchased, every single order made a difference in lifting the financial burden of adoption.
Because of MudLove's fundraising opportunity, my dad and stepmom's generosity, all of you who participated, and God's amazing provision, this fundraiser has provided our family with $5,106 toward our adoption costs!!! Thank you will never be enough.

I asked my dad if he wanted to share anything for this blog post, and he wrote the following:

"Amy and Ryan have opened my mind and heart in a way that has been transformational. Initially, I did not understand the reason anyone would want to travel half way across the world to adopt a child. I’m still not certain I fully understand it. What I do understand is that adopting a child in need from anywhere is a good thing, a great thing, and perhaps one of the greatest gifts that a family can give.  But it is also a gift where the giver (and all around them) receives the greatest gift of all – the love of a formerly abandoned child.

I’ll never forget the feeling that I had when I first saw Tucker when he arrived at the airport.  He looked so little and scared, but he turned my heart into mush. More amazing is to see photos comparing the day he arrived to the change that has happened over a year. It surely is amazing to think about all of the changes he went through: to having everything in his world turned upside down, to leaving his home and his nannies at the orphanage, to learning a new language, to eating new foods that were different. The beautiful miracle is watching him bond with his forever family when he initially could not have known what forever meant. He loves his forever family, and we love him!"

My dad (above in yellow shirt and gray jacket) went back to MudLove today to thank them, in person, for all that they do. He has witnessed how their work has made a positive impact on our family and wanted to express his gratitude. He even called me and put me on speakerphone, and I had the opportunity to thank everyone and share how their work has helped our family. They were so kind and encouraging and shared that hearing stories like ours gives them motivation to keep coming into work day after day.
As a reminder, MudLove gives 20% of their profit to an great organization! Thanks to each person who ordered bracelets for our fundraiser, Water For Good will provide clean water for 460 weeks (1 week per bracelet) to families living in Central Africa. How incredible is that?! After going to the Water For Good website, I learned that $40 will provide over 500 people with a month of clean water. So amazing!

As if MudLove hadn't done enough, they gave my dad the gifts above, including a bracelet and the figure for me. Notice the "v" in LOVE is the shape of China...so sweet! I cannot wait to wear it. And that figure of a mother holding her child - it makes me that much more eager to hold my new little love! They also have invited our family to come visit, have a pizza party, and share our adoption story with them. I am really looking forward to that opportunity!
Like I said at the beginning of this post, one of the most beautiful and humbling parts of our adoption experience is receiving love and support from our family and friends. Adoption is redemption, and when our adoption of these precious children plays a role in transforming your hearts, you encourage us in ways you cannot imagine. To say we are grateful to all of you who participated is an understatement. Thank you for loving us and helping us bring home a sweet little one from China!
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

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