This day…today…amazed me.
I am left sitting here typing this an aching, emotionally drained, physically exhausted pile of whine.
So pooped that actual wine doesn’t even sound good to me.
Anyway, let me go back….
You all know that Cort’s sister and brother-in-law are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, yes? If by chance you don’t know what I am talking about, you REALLY should go to their blog, Stepping Stones, and read about their journey. It’s lovely. Go ahead. You can go read now. I’ll wait….
tappity….tappity…tappity…oh, you’re back. Ok…
So, they are adopting from Ethiopia and we REALLY wanted to help out. It all started months ago when they asked if I could contribute something crafty to their online auction. I didn’t have the time or the supplies, but I SOOO wanted to help.
Fastforward to me volunteering to do a garage sale to get rid of our stuff. And then asking for donations. It got huge, people. I am telling you…it took over our basement and part of our garage.
This is only part of it. We had started moving things to the garage already at this point. See?
On Thursday MacKenzie (my sis-in-law), our friend Trisha, and I organized everything into categories in the garage and then priced it all. Friday, more stuff was dropped off, so I went through all that: sorting and pricing. Oh, and it was about 1000 degrees with 100% humidity. It was like organizing in a sauna.
Friday night to celebrate this fundraiser and to get a little taste of what Ethiopia is like, MacKenzie and Dave took us to GoJo in East Town (Grand Rapids). GoJo is family owned and the owner, Sam, waited on us and chatted it up with Kenz and Dave–they are regulars now!
Many families who are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia or who have adopted come to eat here. It’s amazing the sense of community there is even with only one other table of diners in there besides us. I just felt that this was a familiar place for people to come.
Pictures of children who have found their families lined the windows and Sam knew right where his customers were in their own processes. He even mentioned to Dave and Kenz that he heard they had waiting list numbers now!
The experience was super unique to anything I have had before–the only thing I can compare it to is digging in to and appetizer, but it was the table’s meal.
The food is family style and the diners get NO utensils or plates. You simply grab your Ethiopian flatbread and dig in to the lamb, beef, chicken, collards, salads, and lentils. The platter we ordered was pretty darn spicy, but it can be milder. The flavor? Was SO worth the “after burn” in my mouth. Even though I knew I would get a fire mouth? I kept going for more!
Even Eddie liked some of the milder tastes! I can definitely say we will be back! Such a great experience!
So armed with Ethiopian food in our bellies, we met Saturday morning with determination to make some cash at the garage sale!
In fact, I was hanging signs at 7:15am (the sale started at 8am), and a couple stalked me down in their minivan to ask me if we would open early. Garage Salers? Are serious.
The night before I made all these cute little business cards with the Stepping Stones blog address on them to give to people as they bought or donated so they could follow the adoption journey. It was definitely a hit!
So we waited for the crowds. We got a few in the first hour, but by 9:30 I was all panicky that people weren’t going to come. Shouldn’t we have had a morning rush?
So I called my mom and asked her if she was coming. My mom? said she wasn’t “planning on it”. I begged her to come so that we wouldn’t have NO one here…even if she didn’t buy anything, she could play with Eddie.
Apparently that call was the trick! After that, we were steady until around noon! My mom even ended up buying a little bike for Eddie! Hooray for Grandma! And Granny showed up too and bought Eddie some books! Yay! Grandmas are the BEST!
My favorite thing of the day, though, was when Kenzie’s BFF, Alicia was here with her two kids, Ruthie and Lewis. Lewis spotted a soccer ball he wanted and Alicia tried to tell him they had one at home already. Needless to say, Lewis REALLY wanted the soccer ball.
Then Alicia said, that soccer ball? Was one she has donated to the sale. Luckily, HER mom was there and bought the ball back for Lewis.
Again, Grandmas for the win!
We worked hard today. Cortney and I met a LOT of our neighbors (in fact, we met the guy Cort has secretly been calling Mr. Jones and trying to keep up with…get it? His real name is Steve and his wife bought a ton.).
We also learned that many of our neighbors have also adopted.
In fact, one? Is in the process of adopting from Ethiopia too! We heard many lovely stories of adoption and God’s love for all children. It made the day pretty emotional.
Cort’s dad once told me how glad he was to have me in the family. I have NEVER forgotten that. He was glad to have me.
And today, even though so many people told me it was great that Cort and I were helping, I really didn’t feel like we were doing anything special.
I felt like the people who donated and who were shopping were doing the special things.
Kenz and Dave are doing something special for children they don’t even know yet, but already love more than life.
Not us. Not me. But I remembered what my father-in-law said. He welcomed me in even though I wasn’t technically his own. He felt I was good for something.
Today, I felt I was living up to what he meant. I don’t need thanks. I really don’t want it. I just want him to be proud. And I want Kenz and Dave to look at their children and be glad.
And it made Cort and I VERY glad to give them the $500 that was earned at the garage sale! Never once did it cross our minds that that money could be ours. Never. In fact, someone said we should get a receipt at Good Will for the rest of the stuff, but you know what? Most of that stuff was donated. It wasn’t ours. We don’t feel right getting a receipt for it. So it will just be another donation. It’s the least we can do for all the blessings that continue to come our way.
I cannot WAIT to meet my niece, nephew, or both! I can’t. I love being an aunt. Love it. Almost…ALMOST as much as I love being a mom!