Yesterday was my birthday, the big three-oh! And it will go down in history as my favorite birthday ever. Ever ever.
Let me start at the very beginning.
When we were in Korea in June getting Brodie, we visited Ilsan. When we walked into Molly Holt's house, I saw a face of a sweet girl that had been on the photolisting. I wrote on my blog that it was then my mission to find her a family. So I came home and began to advocate for her. Then in October, I featured "Ms Sass" as one of the waiting children in my series of blog posts. She had been given the name "Hallie" by our agency. And I was still on a mission to find her family!
Just a few days after that blog post I was contacted by a family that was interested in Hallie. We chatted over the next few weeks as they wrapped up the last of the paperwork on their previous adoption. I was so excited that finally a family was interested in Hallie and that maybe, just maybe this would be the family she had been waiting for.
This family would need a waiver from Korea to move forward with the paperwork, and Korea granted that waiver. They were allowed to have Hallie's file and they fell in love! They wanted Hallie! I was over the moon excited. Because of this waiver, the timeline for getting Hallie home would need to be expedited. They would need to be ready to travel sooner rather than later and that meant all the fees would need to be paid in full in a very very short amount of time. The family wanted to proceed. They wanted to say yes. They wanted to be Hallie's family.
The family prayed and prayed over Hallie's file. They longed for her to be their daughter but when it was time to commit the family just couldn't take that leap. That was a very large amount of money in a few short amount of time and there was simply no way the family could do that. They looked at their finances every which way, but it just wasn't possible now, and so soon. They were going to have to say no. They were hopeful that Hallie would find her family soon as much as it pained them they were going to have to let her go. If she still waited in 6 months, then maybe... they would have time to save and penny pinch and just maybe a waiver could be given then... maybe.
I received a heart breaking email from the mom on the morning of my birthday. She wanted to tell me they were having to say no. She was literally in tears as she typed the email. I could feel her pain. She was loosing a daughter. I immediately emailed her back and told her NOT TO GIVE UP. She responded that they had to, it was no use. On top of the finances, their homestudy agency was out of business. So it was road block after road block.
Nick and I headed out of town for a two night getaway for my birthday and over dinner I told him the story. And I laid out my plan....
After dinner, I sat myself in the middle of the big ole king size bed to put my plan into motion. Nick headed downstairs to play cards and I grabbed the laptop and said audibly "Ok, God, let's get Hallie home!"
I logged onto facebook and sent a message to about 15 of my friends. Here's a snippit of the message..
Ok village...It's time for the village to rally and get "Hallie" home.
Meet "Hallie" if you haven't already.... http://holtinternational.org/blog/2011/11/hallie-needs-a-family/
I met Hallie when we were in Korea in June bringing Brodie home. She
was at Ilsan and we spent some time with her and Bates loved playing
with her. This girl captured my heart and I knew I needed to get home
and find her family! I have been working to find and praying for her
forever family since then... over 6 months. And you know I'm not giving
SO, great news. I have found a family for her. The
family has reviewed her file and would love to bring her home. They have
to have a large family waiver from Korea, and do to some changes in
Korea, they have been told this must happen sooner than normal, as in if
they want Hallie they need to move and they need to move now! They
should expect her to be home by June, which is much faster than Korea
has been getting children home. They have prayed and discussed and have
finally come to the conclusion that while they want and long to bring
Hallie home, financially they can't. They are receiving a tax credit
this coming year for their last adoption, but even with that money, they
need about $20,000.
They simply can't step out and say yes to
Hallie knowing they can't afford that. They were wiling to move forward
and pray the money would come, and that when the time came to pay the
final balance, they would either have it and be able to travel or not
and then not be able to bring Hallie home.
Long story short...
just today, they decided that right now they can't move forward. Just
can't take that step. They are willing to penny pinch and save and this
summer if she still waits, and they can come up with the money, they
would try to move forward and pray for an exception to be granted, which
is highly unlikely.
Ok, folks, I'm going to be honest. We
have basically been told this is Hallie's last chance. If not this
family, then they aren't sure she will have one. Now while Ilsan is an
incredible place, it's not a forever home, one with a mom to tuck you
in, one with a dad to tell you that you are beautiful everyday, one with
big brothers to protect you and sisters to play make believe with.
Hallie has a family that wants her. A family that is longing to bring
her home, medical conditions and all.... and that family needs our help!
Hallie needs a Christmas miracle. So, here's my plan. I would
like to rally some folks, and some financial backing for Hallie. I'd
like to call this family and tell them that there are folks committed to
XX amount of dollars to bring their daughter home. There are families
pledging certain dollars to support Hallie.
starting with this circle, and I'm not stopping until I have met my
goal! I want a Christmas miracle for Hallie. She deserves a chance, a
hope, and a future of a forever family. I will not let a few thousand
dollars stand in the way of that for her!!!
Some of you may
know the family I am talking about, if you do, please do not share this
project with them. This isn't their kinda thing, but it's mine and I'm
committed to bringing Hallie home!!!
Let me know if you want
to help! And please share this with anyone else you think will committee
to praying and supporting Hallie and her journey home!!!!!!
Love you friends!!!
Then I sat by the computer and prayed. I got a message, a family was wanting to donate $1,000. Yes Yes Yes! Then my phone rang. The other end was a friend who had read the message. This friend wanted to make sure they understood the only reason the family was saying no was the money. Then they said, they would write a check- a check for the entire amount.
I was floored. I didn't know what to say. I told my friend that I couldn't let her do that. That I would see how much I could raise, but she couldn't do the entire amount. She made me tell her she could. She made me let her be a blessing, but I made her compromise to give me a few days to allow others to be a part of the story too and then I'd let her help.
This friend is simply amazing. She has the most giving heart of anyone I've ever met. I have a hard time giving $10 and here she was giving 2000 times that! I want to be a generous person, I do, it's just not natural for me. This friend is such an inspiration to me. I long to be like her. I want to have that giving spirit about me. What a blessing this friend is to me in so many ways.
So in less than 20 minutes, Hallie would be coming home. I needed to tell the family. The hope was not lost.
I called the adoptive mom. I told her to sit down to which she responded um, ok. I said, no really, sit down. Then I told her that Hallie's adoption was being paid for. And then the screams, the tears and the pure joy started. She kept telling me over and over "She's coming home. She's going to come home. My daughter is coming home." There were tears on both ends of the phone as this mother tried to comprehend what had just taken place.
Meanwhile my computer was blowing up, friends were adding friends to the message like crazy. I was getting messages, texts, and emails of other families wanting to donate. I was blown away.
About this time Nick walked back into the hotel room and I filled him in! He was so cute. He jumped onto that bed with me and the two of us read message after message trying to keep up with the wildfire that was spreading. There we sat on a hotel bed, on holy ground, watching a miracle unfold. We watched a person after person stepped up. Airline miles were donated, money was donated, scripture was quoted, prayers were said.
Then it dawned on me, I needed to share the goodness, so I replied to the message and told everyone that Hallie was coming home!!! And that only fed the wildfire! More donations and more excitement.
Honestly, it was the coolest thing I've ever been a part of.
Today, Hallie's mom wrote this note of thanks to the village that is helping her daughter come home:
It is not often that I am without words. But truly, at a time like
this, words escape me. "Thank you" seems like two small, little words.
"Grateful" doesn't quite touch on what we are feeling, either.
Although, "thankful" and "grateful" are words I have used often in these
past 17 hours. Along with many others, such as amazed. shocked.
humbled. elated. joyful. peace. relief. JOY.
A few hours with the
phone rang with our miracle, I was feeling much different emotions. I
was devastated. Wondering why we had fallen so deeply in love with a
little girl, only for it to end in not bringing her home to us. To our
family. We had spent the past few weeks desperately trying to come up
with a plan to bring her home to us. But, as much as our hearts wanted
to, yesterday we came to the heartbreaking realization that we just
couldn't. Living paycheck to paycheck some months, we just could not
commit to paying the fees necessary to bring her home. The thought was
overwhelming. We tried and tried to figure out a way, any way, to make
it work. For her. For us. But came up empty handed.
watched this little girl for almost two years. Waiting for a family.
Marveling at how she was improving. How with the help of medicine, and
caregivers who loved her, she was starting to thrive. To learn. To
heal. A few months ago we really started thinking about her. A lot.
And soon we realized that this little girl, who we had seen go from an
infant with startling clefts affecting her lips to a happy, smiling,
thriving toddler, was somebody very, very special. So special that
despite the medical issues, despite the hurdles we might face, we wanted
to bring her home to our family.
So we prayed. A lot. And a
few weeks ago, I had a dream. I am not much into the validity of
dreams, but this one was different. I dreamed that I had gone to Korea
via a boat (yeah... that was one long trip I guess!!) and after
scrambling to find lodging, I set out to find Holt Ilsan. Because we
were adopting this little girl. But I could not find Ilsan anywhere. I
was in a panic. Truly, I was! Fear gripped me. I walked the streets
of Seoul for days on end, finally calling Ilsan, saying I could not find
my way. Her caretaker there told me, "You must hurry. Please hurry.
You must come for her . There isn't much time."
Two days later,
my husband came home and said she had been on his mind all day. He
could not shake the feeling we were supposed to at least review her
file, and see where God led us. So the next day we had her file. And
continued to pray. And felt led to try and bring her home.
then, came the obstacle. There are new changes on the horizon
concerning Korean adoption. And to bring her home to us, we had to do
the next to impossible, which was have all our paperwork and the
adoption fees really quickly. They wanted us to be paperwork ready in
January. Yes... one month from now. We had to hurry.... there wasn't
much time. (See? My dream???? I know now it was Someone preparing our
hearts for what was to come.)
We tried and tried to find a way.
But, overwhelmed and without much hope, yesterday we decided to let her
go. I emailed MaryLeigh telling her it was no use. We just could not
make it work.
And that, apparently, is where you all came in.
do not know all the details, all I know is I came home from church last
night with a Facebook message from a friend, asking if I believe that
God could accomplish what He set out to do?
I said "yes. I believe."
and then I had another message, from MaryLeigh, asking for my phone number.
And then my other friend messaged me again and said,
""then expect a phone call your phone is going to ring..
and you can know God is AWESOME!!!"
And then my phone rang. And an angel on the other end of the line said,
"I need you to sit down"
I sat down on a chair at my dining room table. Which was a big mistake
because what she said next made me fall out of it (no arms on that
chair!) as I knelt on the ground weeping.......
"I have some people that are going to write you a check for $20,000."
I have heard a lot of wonderful news in my 31 years, but surely none as wonderful and unexpected as that.
cried. I sobbed. I said "THANK YOU GOD!!!" and "SHE'S COMING HOME!!!"
and probably a lot more things that I can't remember right now.
My husband just stared at me in disbelief.
then as the night went on, I learned more about all of YOU. Who not
even knowing us, stepped up and helped this amazing, wonderful little
girl have a chance.
At a FAMILY. FOREVER. NO MATTER WHAT.
struggled to wrap my brain around it as I lay awake throughout much of
the night. Amazed at how one person, MaryLeigh, willing to let God use
her to not only advocate for this little girl, but now to not allow her
to miss out on her one chance..... INCREDIBLE. And then how in
apparently a matter of mere minutes, an army was assembled and went to
work at making this MIRACLE happen.
astounded. Amazed. And so very, very thankful. Thankful to all of you
for allowing God to use you to move a mountain that 24 hours ago, was
impossible. In our limited minds. But God was not going to let our
weak faith keep this from happening for her!!!! WOW. Just.... wow.
So, although it isn't enough.
YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. THANKS to EVERYONE OF
YOU. For donating funds. Airline miles. For praying for this to
happen. For hoping for the best for her.
I am still smiling. Crying off and on. And I literally am still shaking. 17 hours later.
Thank you for our CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!!!!
And here I sit, 24 hours later and I'm still in awe of the miracle that unfolded last night. I sit on this same king size bed (which I will miss tomorrow, I love a King Size bed!!!) and share this story on my blog. I've heard of things like this happening, but to witness it and much less be a part of it, blows me away.
Today at lunch, Nick was told me what I did was pretty incredible. But, I didn't do anything and I really didn't do anything so someone would tell me that or thank me. I simply tried to rally the troops. I couldn't let Hallie slip through the cracks. I couldn't do nothing while a family had to say no. I wasn't going to let Hallie go down without a fight and taking no for an answer isn't something I can do. I knew God wanted more for Hallie! Over two years ago, a passion for orphans was created and I am just know really seeing how God can and will use my voice for the waiting. I am so thankful He chose me and my voice. I did the easy part, I just shared a story, the ones who gave... those are the one who did the incredible part!
What happened last night and Hallie's journey home is a miracle that is unfolding before us. A miracle orchestrated by God's own hands. He used a circle of friends, most of which have never met in real life to stand up, to rally around a little girl a world away, and to be a part of her story! It blows me away, and I am so very thankful to be a part of this community.
Hallie's family has choosen this verse for Hallie's life and it could not be any more fitting.
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work
within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." -Ephesians 3:20
To God be the glory.....