Showing posts with label fundraising. Show all posts

What a difference a year makes...



A year ago today, I was actively running around making sure every coworker, friend, family member, best friend, and associate had their flyer to aid in Honeybee's fundraiser.  I was biting my nails with worry because I'd already had a conversation with people who thought the entire thing "tacky" and "tactless".

I got angry and then worried that others would feel the same.  Then, I was embraced by wonderful and loving people who reminded me that it's rare that a family has an extra $$$$$ lying around.  If this assisted in removing some of the fees and stress, then so be it.

Slowly bit surely, posts started coming in.  People were sharing their photos of hot wings, sliders, and yummy appetizers from one of the local restaurants.  I was touched and humbled by those people who went and ate lunch and dinner on our behalf.

Though we only raised a small amount from that event, I was simply honored and appreciative of all those who took time out of their day for us.

Today, things are a bit different (insert smile as I write this).  Today, I'm watching my daughter hand books to her daddy to read.  Today, my family is sitting in the family room.  Spaghetti was on our menu tonight and watermelon.  Our music has been laughter.  It's been a wonderful and great day.

We still wait for the final letter decreeing everything to be legal, but we are just secure in our togetherness.  We are enjoying being a family.  A year ago, it crossed our minds that this may not occur as we wanted it to.  We were still in the midst of custodial decisions, but we still moved forward.

Today, we are thankful just to be.  May that never change.



-WinterMommy

Fundraiser #2 is a GO!!!



What an amazingly awesome and yummy fundraiser!!  Buffalo Wild Wings, 1050 Stafford Marketplace has graciously offered to play host to “Wings n Things 4 Gigi” an adoption fundraiser where 10% of the customers pre-tax total will be donated to our daughter's adoption fund!  Like the fundraiser last weekend, patrons are required to present a flyer to the server in order for it to count.  Meals include CARRYOUT, so you don’t have to sit inside and eat!


Please share this flyer with everyone in your local community, your local office break room, and your local community boards.  We’d love to make this event successful for not only our daughter, but the adoption community at large.  Thanks so much.

www.youcaring.com/babygirlsnow

-WinterMommy

Of Ignorance and Held Tongues

I've had a bit of writer's block today.  Well...that's not quite right.  I have had things I've wanted to share, but the words wouldn't flow.  I didn't want to share too much or keep too little.  But, I can definitely say my writer's block is GONE.  Today, I had the unfortunate privilege of listening to the incorrect assumptions and generalizations of adoption and its funding.

I was sitting at my desk during a lunch break and happened to look at a grant application for adoption.  I hadn't applied for this one before and I wanted to see if our family qualified.  If we did, I would have marked the URL for review tonight when I was at home.  It was about this time that I felt someone behind me.  You know the feeling.  The horror movie feeling where the girl has seemingly escaped the bad guy and is hiding from it or him, peering around the corner, and then slowly realizes that someone or something is at her back.  She does the slow over the shoulder glimpse and, shock of the year, there he is!  Well, that's kind of my experience.

I did the slow turn and one of my colleagues is literally standing behind my back peering at my screen.  Fortunately for me the only thing showing was a statement that reminded the viewer that we are charged to care for the widows and the orphans.  No personal information or anything like that, but I was a bit taken back.  And because I was so shocked by this person's presence I said, "oh, just doing a bit of adoption research on the break".  

Now, I recognize that this statement alone opened the door, gave a carte blanche of sorts to discussion, but nothing prepared me for the conversation that followed.  This colleague stated that while he thought it was wonderful that my husband and I were adopting, he felt it absolutely unfair the exorbitant costs that were associated with adoption.  He felt agencies were getting rich of of people like my husband and myself.  Now, I'm listening to him go on and on about how something should be done about the "prices" and feel myself turning all kinds of shades of red (which is difficult as I am an African-American).  I'm getting embarrassed as it is because my colleague speaks with a loud baritone and by now I am certain everyone is listening to his conversation.  I say his because I'm not getting any words in edgewise.  And just as I am about to politely attempt to change the subject, my other colleague who sits in the same general area as I begins talking.  

He agrees with the statement that adoptions cost "way too much" and goes on to say how he feels there should be legislation to regulate the prices.  How it should be based on heart and not funds.  I'm listening to his opinion, respecting him, agreeing with some, disagreeing with others, still not speaking because the two colleagues are speaking to each other now and not to me when one says six words that completely STOPPED any thoughts of joining the conversation....he said "I mean, it's legalized human trafficking".

WHAT?!!! This feeling on pure heat rushed through me and I heard myself offer a rebuttal before I even realized what was coming out of my mouth.  "Adoption is in no way, form, or fashion legalized human trafficking".  He affirmed that it was and that all that was missing was "the forced sex and drugs".  WHAT?!!  So, I politely excused myself to go to the bathroom, made sure to stop by the front desk for stress-relieving chocolate, and left the office for a rare out of office lunch.

The entire way to lunch I was shocked.  I kept playing over and over again what I should have said, what I could have said.  I remember when I started this journey that I was told by close friends who had gone through the adoption process that I would hear all kinds of things from people who just didn't know any better.  Their's wasn't an attempt at malice, but of ignorance.  They simply didn't know.  

Those words were brought to my remembrance and I felt a little better.  But I still felt greatly embarrassed that I didn't say too much to defend.  I did defend our daughter's caseworker as one of the greatest and hard working individuals I've ever known and certainly not the money-grubbing person the colleagues' conversation attempted to make her out to be.  I also defended the agency.  Out agency has been awesome.  There were agencies in the beginning that wanted upwards of $40K.  In our journey, I've seen adoptive families who require a lot more.  Our amount seems paltry in comparison.  [And] I am convinced our agency is truly vested in the best interest of the child, not money or anything else.  I did say that as well.  So, as I replayed these things over in my head, I felt better....but not greatly.

Then, tonight, I sat down and looked up a few scriptures online.  I did some internal searching and re-evaluated the conversations.  I recognize(d) a few things.  

1.  The colleagues weren't trying to be mean or nasty.  They have their own opinions and that's fine.  I can choose to correct some of the incorrect things they believe or not.  I spoke where I felt necessary and I chose to end the conversation by not being a part of it.  They meant no harm and I don't even think they knew I was uncomfortable with the conversation.

2.  I had to self-evaluate.  Why was I so embarrassed?  Was I worried about what they thought about me?  If I was, why?  I am not here to impress anyone and our journey is open to scrutiny.  That's what brings growth and a healthy discussion.  I realized I didn't like the comparison of human trafficking and child purchasing.  I immediately corrected the statement, said what I needed to say in a calm and polite manner, and kept it moving.  People are going to say, do, and think what they want.  Mine is to drop a seed.  Someone else will be provided to water it.

3.  I know both of these colleagues...not intimately, but I have worked with them day in and out for quite some time now.  I know that the heart of their 'argument' was there are a lot of great people in the world who would adopt, but don't see being able to afford it.  They wished there was some legislation that would regulate that.  I've heard others say the same.  It is an interesting topic of debate and having someone who is going through the process likely brings it home for them...especially since we are in the process of  fundraising and grant application.

So, while I was initially hot and taken aback, I'm more comfortable with the fact that I got to home tonight to my family, to my daughter.  I got to look into her eyes as I fed her.  I got to see her smile as we sang.  I am happy, blessed, and so grateful.  This journey has nothing to do with money or anything remotely close to it.  This journey is the journey to our daughter's adoption and I am certainly thankful for it.

-WinterMommy

I'm Getting Nervous...

Can I be honest?  I'm so nervous about the upcoming fundraiser.  I kind of feel funny about that nervousness.  I know God is going to let everything happen the way it should happen, but I still feel the butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I think about this event.  I find myself wondering if people are really going to show up.  I wonder what it means if they don't.  I shouldn't think about it all.  It's just...well...I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can for my daughter.  When she is older, I want to be to show her pictures of all the people who came out and supported her.  Even if they don't purchase or donate a dime, their presence means so much to me.  My husband once said something that made so much sense to me.  He said the best thing you can offer someone is your time.  When you don't have a dime to your name, you can offer your time and it means more than you can ever know.

 I know this to be true.  Before I met, dated, and married my husband, I was a single mother.  There were times that things were difficult.  I wanted to take my son to plays and movies.  There just weren't funds available at the time to do so.  Before I could get sad and sullen, he and I would ride over to the park.  We'd swing, slide, climb jungle gyms, and talk.  We built great memories and today he still mentions those times to me as some of his favorites.  He doesn't mention bikes or toys or books.  He mentions Mommy Son nights and walks, my making his favorite meals and watching TV movies with popcorn.  It is my time that means the most to him and that is what I want so sincerely for our daughter's fundraiser.  I would like people to think this event and this purpose is so important that it is worth their time. But I recognize that my nerves are having fun with me.

I am looking forward to this week of promotion though.  I'm planning on visiting our neighbors, hitting social media, and seeing what happens from there.  One thing is for certain though... I am looking forward to character photos with the mascot.  Stay tuned for that!

-WinterMommy
#TeamGigi



Of Like Minds & Experiences


It’s funny how a person can have the most vexing kind of day, the kind of day filled with frustration, and then in the blink of an eye all of that changes.  Yesterday, I was admittedly a bit frazzled.  I was thinking about how rapidly the deadline for Honeybee’s payment was approaching, knowing that God was and is going to work it out, but frustrated at my perceived lack of progress in the support of our daughter.  I recognize now that a lot of that was the trick of the enemy intent on making me focus on the illusion of failure instead of the reality of God, His Grace, and His POWER.  Nevertheless, I was heavy hearted and, in a moment of pure vexation typed the quoted phase “Fundraising Frustrations, adoption”.  Please understand, I didn’t really expect anythingto pop up, maybe a few additional links to grants we have already applied for or ideas we’ve already tried.  What came up was a perfect hit.  I saw staring back at me “Fundraising Frustrations” and the word “adoption” highlighted in the Google query.

Curious, I clicked on the link of a blog entitled “No Distance Too Great”.  Immediately after clicking on the blog, I felt compassion, understanding, and empathy.  But it wasn’t from this blog to me.  It was from me to them.  The blog belongs to a beautiful hearted couple who are also in the process of adoption.  The particular post that was listed in the Google Search showed some of their feelings and physical manifestations of fundraising anxiety that I could relate to.  As I read their post, I felt the frustration of the writer because I was walking through it too.  I wanted to reach out and let them know they weren’t in this alone, that someone else was experiencing the same pains.  I wanted to let them know that the prayers they were praying and the scriptures they were seeking in encouragement were the same that crossed my screen and devotions…But I was afraid.

I didn’t know these people.  They didn’t know me.  I didn’t want them to think I was some weird person coming out of the woodwork.  What would I say?  What if they took it the wrong way?  Maybe I should just leave them alone.  I prayed.  Should I contact?  Again, what would I even begin to write?

Then, I noticed there was a separate link that read “Contact Us”.  In that beautiful page was a phrase “We also appreciate any words of advice or wisdom you could impart on us!”  I thought “okay, Lord” and quickly composed an email that thanked them for sharing the information, let them know that our family was walking through a similar journey and included a blog that contained some great fundraising ideas that have inspired some of the fundraising we’ve been able to use for our daughter.  I also told them about those fundraisers, wished them well, and covered them in prayers.  Finally, I apologized if I caused any inconvenience or offense and pressed send feeling sheepish, but comfortable that God had allowed me to find their blog for a reason.  I honestly didn’t expect to hear anything from them at all.
But I received a response.  It was simple, straight forward, and wonderful.  I read it and smiled as the word “like-minded” appeared in my mind and swelled in my heart.  The email was exactly what I needed and though I was only trying to help, it was I who was helped most of all.

I’m thankful for the blessing of encouragement and the understanding of similar journeys.  I am thankful for a phrase that was given in my head to pull a blog on a site that could have taken me anywhere in the world, but took me to a family of like-minded Christ-loving individuals walking a similar path instead.  For that, I am exceptionally grateful.

For those who are feeling especially generous, please visit the YouCaring site of the wonderful couple who showed such love and compassion to us at http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/every-child-deserves-a-family-/185954.  I'm sure they would appreciate it.
Thanks
WinterMommy
#TeamGiGi

Philippians 2:2-8:  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord to one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (KJV)


1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

www.youcaring.com/babygirlsnow

Should I or shouldn't I...crowdfund

I came across an older article earlier today that discussed the benefits of crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe and YouCaring.  CNN did a good job covering a family raising funds for an international adoption and infertility treatments, and likewise the trend for other prospective adoptive families to do the same.  http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/09/pf/crowdfunding-adoption/

Our family before being our daughter's placement
As with most of the digital stories these days, the comment section was open and opinion was mixed as to the use of the tool.One commentator spoke of her own adoption and thought it was in poor taste for persons to use the tool at all.  To her, it seemed the children were being "bought and paid for" and left a bad taste in her mouth. Others agreed with her, but several did not.  When searching the Internet for current opinions on the use of crowdfunding, I found several links where posters had similar thought processes.  It gave me pause to my own use of crowdfunding and the motivations behind it.

First, I respect the opinion of all of the posters. Certainly, some have closer experiences than others.  But I felt a bit miffed.  My husband and I are currently using the YouCaring website to assist in funding our adoption.  Someone posted that if we cannot afford adoption, we should not do it.  Hmmm...I understand their thought process, but how many people do you know who happen to have 14K for adoption agency fees just sitting in their pockets.  [And] how many children are sitting in the system right now because the fear is adoption is not affordable.

Our adoption agency was very excited to see a young, married, African-American couple as they had several requests for this type of adoptive family.  There is a deficit of them and based on the discussions we have had with our friends and family, money is the primary reason.  So, if my family asks people who feel led to donate so that a child can join our family, I see no issue with that.

However, I recognize that we're new to this and I could be viewing things incorrectly.  So, what do you think?


Our 1st Fundraiser Has Been Scheduled!!!



It's OFFICIAL!!!!!

Sweet Frog in Stafford, VA will be hosting "Going Sweet Froggy 4 Gigi"- An Adoption Fundraiser on July 26, 2014!!!! All day long 25% of your purchase will be donated to our daughter's adoption fund as long as you tell them you are there for the event OR hand them a really cute flyer Sweet Frog has produced. (Stay tuned for the Event Flyer's posting). A special thank you to Sweet Frog, 315 Garrisonville Road, for this amazing opportunity and wonderful blessing to our family and community! Event Invitation Is posted below. We really need your help to make this event a success!!! How excited are we!!!!!!



Disappointments and Opportunities



Hello everyone,

So this morning, after not hearing anything from the grant organization we'd applied to well past the proposed award date, I contacted the Grant Coordinator and asked if a decision had been made. I was both saddened and disheartened to read the following:





"Dear (name removed for privacy)

Thank you for applying for a grant from (name removed for privacy).

We received an overwhelming response to our call for applications and had a limited amount of funds to disperse. Unfortunately, we are not able to grant your request.

This grant cycle we received over 380 applications with financial requests approximating $3.7 million dollars. We had $150,000 to award.

Though we understand that it is no consolation for the disappointment you must feel at receiving this news, please know that we are actively working to increase the amount of funds we can grant in the future. Our commitment to helping families grow through adoption only becomes stronger with each letter like this that we must send.

We sincerely wish you all the best as you continue your adoption journey."


For one sad second, I let a wave of disappointment wash over me. For a brief minute, I wanted to cry. Our family was really looking forward to some great news after putting in so much time and effort. I wondered why we had not been chosen. Was our file not compelling enough? Were we not representative of the ideal family. Then, almost as quickly as the thoughts began, other thoughts immediately punched through my psyche. "Grab your Word" came and then "What does the Bible say" came next.

I went to Google and pulled up bible scriptures for the broken hearted and bible scriptures for the disappointed. What bought peace so rapidly was Isaiah 40:28-31

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

I felt courage and strength course through my veins as I remembered that in all things I am more than a conqueror. I'd contacted several businesses on last Friday asking their help or information on prospective fundraising. I'd waited patiently for responses and hadn't heard from them. I decided to contact them again.

I started with Sweet Frog. It was an amazing and awesome conversation. The marketing representative had literally pressed send in an answer to my email from last week as I was ringing her phone! We talked and she was so on board with helping. She discussed their traditional method of 25% of a customer's bill being donated to a given charity, in our case our daughter's adoption account. How wonderful and exciting! My husband and I need only to choose a date, get the flyers, and disseminate information. Sweet Frog will even post on their website the day of the event. With the size of our church, the social and physical network of friends, family, colleagues, service providers, etc., we should definitely be able to have some impact. Again, ecstatic!

The second business has similar results. This one is a local skating rink which offers two proven methods of fundraising. One included a skate lock-in, the other included ticket sales. I think we will probably do the ticket sales, but I am very encouraged for the suggestions.

We have a long way to go, but I think we will be just fine. God is working things out for us on a grand scale and I am so looking forward to seeing how He works it all out for us.

Stay tuned for dates, pictures, media, etc. I think this is going to be something FANTASTIC!

-WinterMommy
#TeamGiGi

Introductions and Appeals



Hello everyone.


Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm WinterMommy. I am a wife, mother, and a follower of Christ. This blog was started as a means to get the widest dissemination of a fundraising request for my daughter's adoption. Her adoptive father (my husband) and I have been working very hard to let everyone know how great and wonderful this cause is and how much we truly love out family. We hope you'll visit this blog and take the time to get to know us.

We are a loving family of three (Daddy, Mommy, and a handsome third grader) who believe with every fiber of our being that we have been called to adopt. After lots of prayers, a few tears, and some disappointments in placements that were not to be, we were blessed to have a legal risk placement of our daughter in March 2014! We then became a loving family of four!

Our daughter is the most amazing and wonderful infant girl you would ever want to meet with an infectious smile and beautiful dark and endearing eyes! We were overjoyed to bring her home, but the journey is not yet over!

We still have to have her adoption finalized. The anticipated finalization date is Sep/Oct 2014 and we are fortunate that her agency offers payment plans that will allow us a small amount of time to pay everything off. The costs are well over $18K including legal fees. That's a lot of money, but we are doing whatever it takes to make those costs attainable so that we can have our daughter stay with us in her forever family.

We love our daughter. We can't wait to teach her how to ride bikes and tie her shoes. We can't wait to take family pictures with her that we're able to share with all of our family and friends (we can't now because of confidentiality agreements). We can't wait to teach her the rivalry in our household that is the Chicago Bears and everyone else :). We can't wait to for her to be legally ours as she already is in our hearts.

This is where we humbly ask your help. Can you please help our dream become a reality sooner than later? Should you feel moved to donate even $1, it would be a great help and wholeheartedly appreciated.

If you are not in a position to donate, you can certainly help us in other ways.

1. Pray. Pray. Pray. During the particularly hard days waiting for a match during this journey, Phillippians 4: 6-7 remained in our spirit, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We gained peace, left our concerns with God, and shortly thereafter received the call about the match for their daughter.

2. Share, Share, Share. If you know of anyone who would be interested not in the gossip of what is going on, but in supporting a movement that will assist in making our family whole, please share this site with that person. Perhaps they will be moved to donate. Perhaps they will be moved to pray.

3. Keep visiting. We're applying for grants. We're looking for adoption assistance. We're doing it all. In the event a grant is awarded, we'll post it here, let you guys know, AND will show how the grant has helped reduce adoption costs (meaning the goal amount will be reduced!).

We're really excited about the remainder of this journey! We hope you are too.

Thank you so much and so sincerely for all of your help.

We truly appreciate you!