The past few days have been incredibly special, thanks to all of you!!! In the midst of what has been a bit of a rough week, we found ourselves being "showered" by blog readers. It seems a couple of sweet someones (my two other strands) cooked up a very special "virtual baby/big girl shower" for our family, and we are grateful beyond words and humbled to the point of tears. We have received generous gift cards from so many of you for everything from gas to groceries. What a surprise this has been! On the heels of our "Nasty Neighbor" encounter, it was as if God was giving us a hug through all of you...and we simply can not begin to express to your our gratitude for this unexpected surprise.
As much as we appreciate your incredible kindness, seeing the photos of your families and reading the messages you all have taken the time to send has meant even more. Some of you I know and have met personally, some of you I have had a years-long ongoing relationship via the internet, and some of you I have never even spoken with before. Seeing your beautiful children...many of whom are from Kazakhstan themselves...is the best gift of all. It reminds us how we are tied to one another, how our "virtual lives" are very, very real and meaningful, and it speaks to how hearts have connected.
My only regret, and it is true regardless of how canned and corny this may sound, is that we have no way of repaying this sort of generosity. How I wish we could!! How I wish we could find some appropriate way of saying "Thank You" for so many thoughtful gestures shown us over the past few years. I find myself very self-conscious over this, knowing that it is the warm hearts of others who have done so many really nice things for us and realizing we don't deserve it in any way. We try to give back in the ways we can by offering up our love and time to others, but it is not the same, it is not equivalent, and it is not something we have ever been able to give to you all.
The past 3 years or so have been a very humbling experience for Dominick and I. We have yet to really understand what is going on in our lives. We have been placed in a position by God to rethink what it means to be "proud", and how much does it cost in the long run to hang on to that pride.
When our adoption angels contacted us with the unbelievable news that they would fund the adoption of our daughters, admittedly at first we wondered if it was real. Who wouldn't? I mean, this is the sort of thing that happens to people on Oprah, not to people like us. When it quickly became apparent that the offer was indeed heartfelt and true...oh, the internal debate we had about accepting it. There were many whispered conversations in the wee hours of the night, after all, we had never accepted anything before in our lives. I recall years ago early in our marriage feeling terribly guilty over filing for unemployment for 2 weeks in California when I was in between jobs. That just wasn't something you do. You work, you pay your own way, you don't take anything from anyone.
But should we decline this offer, our pride would be standing in the way of 2 beautiful little girls having a family. It felt as if it would be turning away from God's will for our lives, which when it came to parenting 5 children was a BIG surprise, to say the least. It wasn't a matter of whether or not we wanted them, only God knows the deep desire of our hearts. We had discussed many times selling our home to try and make it happen, however unrealistic that would be. But had it been able to raise the necessary funds I can say unequivocally that we would have done it instantly. Pride would have cost our daughters their family, and it seemed in some odd way sort of selfish to decline the offer based upon the fact that WE might be uncomfortable with it. We could not have ever managed to borrow enough money to get them home, but we knew we could somehow manage to feed and clothe them (despite our neighbors protestations to the contrary) and that whatever we had to offer would be far superior to what their future in Kazakhstan held for them even at the lowest possible level here in America.
And our angels, in their God-rooted way went about making it possible for us to accept and not feel forever indebted. As I posted about some time back they are the epitome of gracious giving, and have taught us so much as we have been the beneficiaries of this graciousness.
And yet still the giving continues from other corners, and we have to find some way to be gracious ourselves in accepting. In light of this week's Yell Fest, it almost makes us feel worse, as if we really CAN'T take care of our family...but I also know we are not viewing this from a healthy place at the moment. I know that we have attended many, many showers and oh-so-gladly given gifts to expectant moms and dads as well as brides and grooms. But for some reason, it doesn't feel the same right now when we are on the receiving end, and I need to come to terms with that.
And maybe it is because we have never, ever in our lives been showered with so many blessings and it is hard to look at ourselves and understand "Why us?", for we are truly unworthy of what you all are doing for us.
So I leave you with this...you have grabbed our hearts and helped us in ways you can not imagine. You lifted us this week, not just with your gifts but with your care and love which is worth more than any monetary gift that can be given. I reassure you that every single gift will be spent with great care, that nothing you have sacrificed to send us will be spent unwisely. I will involve all of you with photos and many ongoing thanks as we buy our first "girlie things". I can not believe that people who have never met us, who know us only through our blog and my written words, would reach out like this to us. I wish each one of you were in front of me so I could give you a hug, look you in the eye, and offer our heartfelt thanks. May you feel it through this post, as well as the thank you cards we will send out. Unfortunately, the boys were helping "clean up" the other day and threw away a couple of envelopes with addresses on them, so if you sent something this week and do not receive a thank you card, I do not want to identify you by name here on the blog but know it is not an intentional oversight to send a thank you card but was a mistake on the part of a couple of overzealous boys cleaning up for mommy!
Thank you, thank you for our "virtual shower". And know that both Dominick and I will continue to look for ways to help others as we can in an effort to show God our appreciation and gratitude for all you are doing for people who are complete strangers to you.
May God richly bless you all. Thanks for our huge virtual hug this week.