It started the evening before, when Brian went around the neighborhoods collecting tables people had offered to loan us for the yard sale. Not only were they throwing tables into the trailer, but they also threw in bags of clothes, bikes, furniture, and other items to add to our piles of yard sale items stored in our garage. When Brian arrived home, neighbors showed up to help him load up their own vehicles to cut down our loading time in the morning. They stayed until 10:00pm helping load. Then they showed up again at 6am to finish the job.
|Loading up vehicles the night before-best friends ever!!|
After they left, I stayed up until 1:30am printing cards that told a little bit of our story and about Reece's Rainbow to hand out at the yard sale. I also put together a poster to display there with Arnold's picture, saying thank you for helping us bring him home. It felt a little like Christmas Eve, that excited and nervous feeling you used to get when you were a kid, wondering what the next day would bring.
My alarm went off moments after I closed my eyes, so it felt, but I was ready to get this day going after so much prep work. We loaded up the last things, and I headed over to the school to stay there to direct people where to put things. I knew that some people had told me they had some things to donate that they would just drop off that morning, so I expected a car or two. Little did I know how much stuff would arrive. We ended up with probably twice the amount of items that we had packed at our house. When I saw it all displayed, I couldn't stop the tears:
How many families donated to this cause???? Tonight I wrote 45 thank you cards to people who had helped in different ways. In many cases, our friend's parents or siblings also donated items. To say that watching some of these people help set up was beautiful would be the understatement of the year. I saw in their faces their desire to help someone accomplish something remarkable. I have learned time and time again that people have the desire to help one another. I believe it is a God-given gift, and I am just grateful that we have the chance to be in the midst of it through this adoption journey.
|Poor Jake was so worn out. I guess he found a "bed" to sleep on.|
There have been many people physically helping out, and many behind the scenes (like the incredible Weaver and Adams families who volunteered to watch our kids all day so that we wouldn't have to worry about them at the sale). There have been people advertising the sale on their Facebook pages, email, or by word-of-mouth. People baked goodies to sell at the yard sale, provided a popcorn machine to sell popcorn, let us borrow a generator to have power, and on and on. When I first talked to some wonderful friends about possibly doing a yard sale, I could never have imagined just how many people would play a part and just how big it would end up being.
One of the neat things I was privileged to witness during this sale were the acts of kindness and words of support for us. Many people saw the sign about Arnold and asked more about him. A handful of people would tell us "keep the change", when only buying a few dollars worth of items and paying with a twenty dollar bill. Others said things like, "I was adopted, please take this donation and go get your son." Or, "I am a big supporter of adoption, please keep the change." One man drove up and called me over to his window and asked what this was all about. I told him a little about what we were doing, and he smiled with emotion behind his eyes as he handed me some money. One mom, who had four young children with her, bought a few dollars worth of stuff. She asked what her total was, and after I told her, she handed me some money and said, "well, I think it's worth $38.00 because that's what I have in my purse," then proceeded to hand it all to me. People from our church came with their children and bought things. One sweet boy from our church came over and handed me a woven bracelet he had made and said, "here, you can sell this and I'll let you keep the money!"
We came home with almost as many items as we left with that morning, but we also sold a lot of items. Some new and dear friends of ours have offered to hold another yard sale for our benefit on June 23rd in Meridian, so we will be taking our left over items there.
So what was our grand total???????? I hope you are as surprised and amazed and awed and humbled as I am when I tell you we made $2,625.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?? I came home bone tired last night, more tired than I have ever been since my last pregnancy. But I knew people would be wondering how we did, so I dumped out the money on my bed and started making piles of $100.00. I thought I might have 7 or 8 piles, and I would have been thrilled. As I kept making more and more piles my heart was just racing. I was thinking of the upcoming foreign fees we would be sending in of $5,500.00, and realizing that we would be able to do that with these funds and our chip-in funds. This means we would not have to tap into his grant funds yet, which is awesome!
So tonight I will make a blanket statement of "THANK YOU," on Arnold's behalf, to every person who has helped in any way with making this yard sale such a success. I can just imagine Arnold a half a world away, completely oblivious to the huge amount of people working so hard to bring him home. How awesome it will be to one day share this story with him-his story. It is something I will never forget, and it's you to whom I will always be indebted. Thank you.
|Arnold says thank you, too!|