Friends, fundraising is humbling. Super humbling. Especially when you sit in a place of great fortune. Without fundraising could we still be adopting? Yes. We could take out a HELOC on our house and use our savings and we could make it happen. Once it was clear that we were meant to pursue adoption, we were and are willing to make all the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. We know that day to day we can afford another child, and not many people have $40,000 plus dollars just lying around to toss into an adoption process. When your path is crystal clear, you have to be willing to just jump in and not let a big number scare you away. Eyes on the prize, baby.
So here we sit in this humbling place of love and support. We could take on some debt to make it happen all on our own...but we are blessed with friends, community, and people in our lives who are willing to share our burden. We have friends who have been willing to give of their own time and money to help lighten our load, and who support us in this crazy adventure we have been called upon. We are the lucky ones.
Sometimes I want to take the more comfortable and less humbling walk of the HELOC. To quietly and privately move through this stretching and hard process without sharing it. Because of the lies I sometimes listen to, I worry that we will burn out our friends, or that people will think less of us for asking for help. Our independent, can-do culture runs deep in my veins.
But this isn't my first rodeo in asking for help. When my mom was sick and the responsibility of caring for her financially and physically was given to my sisters and me, we ended up asking for help. We created a go fund me page and asked for help to cover her impending funeral. People showed up. Family, friends, and strangers helped to lighten the load that was so, so heavy. We were so incredibly blessed in that humbling experience. The rent was paid and we didn't have to fret about covering the costs of cremation and a funeral. We could just be with my mom in those final weeks.
The amount of pride I had to swallow to ask for that help was immense. As is the amount we had swallowed in this current fundraising process.
Having sat on the receiving side of the crowdfunding now twice, I want to hug and love all those brave enough to ask for help. And I want to help. And I want to raise crazy generous kids who give without a second thought. Grayson asked the other day if someone was cold, could he give them his coat to keep. "Absolutely," I responded. After a few quiet moments (which rarely happen with G) he asked what he would do when he got cold. "Buddy, if you feel in your heart that you are supposed to give your coat to a cold friend or stranger, you do it. And we will figure out the rest." Keep that heart open, sweet boy.
In a world where we are not encouraged to share our needs, and where we are supposed to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, I want to acknowledge that not everyone has boots. Nor does everyone have friends and community like we do.
To whom much is given...
So we have a new rule that was instilled in our house a couple months ago. Every crowdfunding request that has been shared on my Facebook feed, at work in a break room, or wherever, we will give at least $5. If someone is brave enough to ask, we can give. We cling so tightly to our money, and don't want to jump in the mess with others... especially strangers. But, life is messy. I am the queen of mess. I don't need to vet your cause and make sure you are putting your money where you say. I don't need to analyze your past decisions that got you to this point. You have a need, and we have excess. Share your abundance. The end.
The thing is that Facebook monitors the links you click on... so now it suggests crowdfunding sites I may be interested in. Thanks Facebook. Time to slightly reign in my social media usage.
If I can afford take out, and soccer class for my 5 year old, and my large enough house, and a full fridge of groceries, and two working cars, and heat, and AC, and all the extra crap in my life... I can afford to give people $5 whenever they need it. And if we all gave what we could when people needed it, I think the world would be better. Truth is, not everyone has the luxury of the $5 rule. I didn't grow up with it. I was on the receiving end of scholarships for church camp, grants for my undergrad education, and many other blessings along the way. When Jon lost his job we had friends come around us, and they gave us respite and relaxation in crazy generous ways. In those months we were not sure the direction our lives and finances would take. We were provided for and we refuse to just sit in this new found comfort without being willing to do the same for others, even if it is not on as grandiose of a scale. While I do not always have the capacity to get in everyone's mess and be everyone's friend, we can give at least $5.
So that's the Noto family $5 rule.
Thank you for your generosity to this point in dispelling the lies that I hear telling me to not share, or be private, and to take care of only our own. I call BS. Thank you for joining us. We hope to continue to fundraise both on Adopt Together and with a massive garage sale in May. We are getting close to being able to eliminate that HELOC and using only our savings to bring our child home. We would LOVE to be able to adopt debt free.
I'm thinking of doing a T-shirt fundraiser as well. The shirts would say, "Share your abundance". Would anyone be interested?
Also, I'm putting this is writing so that if it happens others can see God's crazy faithfulness. Grayson and I are praying we are matched with twins. Yep. I said it. Jon is agreeable, but thinks I'm a bit insane. This is not abnormal in our relationship. Ultimately we are open to being a family of 5 or 6. We think we have the capacity for 4 children. Why not just be efficient about it and bring home two kiddos at the same time?! (This would raise our adoption cost by about $25,000. Minor details.) So twins are rarely adopted our of Korea. RARELY. So if it happens, to God be the glory.
If anyone has stuff I can sell at my garage sale, I would love it. Let me know how I can get it. If anyone wants to instill the $5 rule, then all the praise hands. Be the change friends, be the change.
(Side note, please know that we vet all organizations that we give larger sums of money to ;), but ultimately this is just money... we are just here to make Earth more like Heaven... and if we can do that in $5 increments, we will.)