Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Whole Lot of Goodness

I am, once again, overwhelmed tonight at the goodness of people.

Two of my beautiful nieces (center) and their parents' cousins' kids (2nd cousins?  I'm never sure of the proper  title)

These cute kids were taking tickets from members of Brian's extended family at a birthday celebration for Brian's Great-grandma in Utah today.  You see, this wonderful family that I have married into came up with the idea of doing a raffle for two of Great-grandma's treasured quilts and donating the money from the raffle to our adoption (cue my tears again, which have been at the surface today).

My sister-in-law Melanie (I can't tell who the other person is-family, enlighten me please:)

Brian's parents generously brought some things for the raffle that all the kids would like.  My sweet niece Allie even donated her geode that she had just found this morning in the west desert in Utah.  Anyone that has been around children knows what a sacrifice that was!  Beautiful rocks are treasures to children, so her giving that up really says a lot.  

Great-Grandma enjoying the raffle

Brian's dad was calling out ticket numbers.  From what I hear, the kids had a great time waiting for their numbers to be called to receive their prizes.  


Calling numbers and handing out prizes
Melanie's son Hyrum won the geode!  Perfect!

What a great bunch of people!

In the end, cousin Randy won grandma's beloved quilt.  He heard that she really wanted to win it back herself so it could go on her bed.  No sooner was it in his hands than he handed it back to grandma to keep on her bed as long as she wants.  I love to hear things like that!  Randy, you are just awesome!  

I had completely forgotten that the party was today.  We were wrapped up in the excitement of a yard sale some dear friends and youth were having for us today.  When we got home from that, my sister-in-law (who is one of the neatest, kindest, humblest, practically-perfect people I know) sent me a text with the pictures of the girls taking tickets on it.  As more pictures rolled in, I remembered what was going on, and the tears started flowing!  She was sending me photos as things were happening: first the ticket-takers, then groups of people holding all their tickets, then Allie's donation....each time I became more excited to see what would happen next!  I just love the last photo, of Randy giving the quilt back to grandma.  His gesture displays perfectly the general nature of the entire Preece family.  Honestly, these people are all amazing.  From the time Brian and I started dating (in High School!), they have been so accepting of me and supportive of us.  They are the kind of people you know you could call in the middle of the night for an emergency and they would be ready to help with anything.  For them to even think of doing this raffle for us is just.....completely in character for those I proudly call "my" family.  I love you guys.  Brian and I are just overwhelmed and humbled and so thankful for all of you. We will always remember this, always. 

In all, the Preece family raised over $400.00 for Arnold's adoption!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I just still can't believe it.  I know many of these families are young, some facing a hard time in this economy, which makes that figure even more humbling for us.  Every dollar that has been donated to Arnold's fund has been "blood, sweat & tears" money.  They are sacred funds to us, and have been treated as such.  


Like I mentioned above, we also were blessed to have another yard sale benefiting Arnold's adoption today.  One of the neatest ladies you could meet, Andrea Murray (yes, RODS racing Andrea Murray), helped a young woman in her church put on this yard sale as a project for the young woman to earn her Young Womanhood Award (this is akin to an Eagle Scout award in the scouting program).  

There were also many other young women from her congregation there helping out.  Brian spent the day with them, I was at home wrestling three tired & cranky kids.  But I wrangled them up long enough to head over for the last couple of hours of the sale.

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This lady has been working non-stop for weeks for orphans with Down syndrome!
Thank you, Andrea!
Having gone through the yard sale process a few weeks ago, I can appreciate how much work it is to put one on.  You have to coordinate donations, tables, baked goods, water, transporting all those donations, figuring out pricing, negotiating, hot weather, and cleanup.  Whew!  I was so impressed that these girls spent one of their valuable Saturdays helping out a family they had never even met.  Thank you girls!  I can't wait for you all to meet Arnold when he is finally home!  How awesome is it knowing that you are a big part of the reason he will have a home to come to?  I know Heavenly Father  was smiling down on you today, and I hope you were able to feel his spirit confirming that you were doing something pleasing to Him.

A few more photos from the sale today:

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Andrea's sweet son Nash, enjoying just a few of the many stuffed animals for sale.  I love this kid!

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This was about halfway through the sale.  I can't imagine how much was there at the start!

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There were piles and piles and piles and-you get the idea-of clothes.  Mountains of clothes!

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Look at these cute young ladies!  Thank you so, so much!
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Brian gave this poor kid a hard time about the price of the baseball cards he wanted to buy.  Good thing
he had a good sense of humor!  I'm glad you found what you wanted!
Girls, you raised $830.00 to help bring Arthur home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Can you believe it????!!!!  You should be so proud of what you accomplished!!  That was a ton of work, you deserve a vacation!

So you can see why I am feeling overwhelmed again at the kindness of strangers.  What is so neat is that after you work alongside people like this for a cause like this, you no longer feel as strangers.  One of the many blessings of adoption has been this new extended family we've inherited, who share our love of children with special needs, children who need homes.  These children have been all but forgotten in their country, but not here.  Not in this "family."  

One of the greatest things on this journey so far has been to sit back at moments and see how this cause has rallied people together, united them.  I can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices, and feel it in their countenances.  Even children have it.  They can sense that this is something bigger than themselves, their own family, and even community.  This is about saving lives.  This is about telling the world that people who are different are still people, just as deserving of love and family as everyone else.  Kids especially get the magnitude of what life would be like inside an orphanage, without a family.  Even they can picture themselves alone, without their family, and how incredibly devastating that would be.  They want to make a change for the better too, and their enthusiasm is contagious.  This is striking a chord within me that reverberates to my soul.  I am so grateful to be on this journey.

Today I read a blog post by another adoptive mom who said something that really struck home.  In the special needs community it is often heard that "my child is just a child, who happens to have Down syndrome (or other special need)."  It is meant to point out that our kids are kids first, which I completely agree with.  But it is also my belief that God does not make mistakes.  God does not create a person and then say, "whoops!  Too many chromosomes in that one!  Oh well!"  It's laughable to even think.  My son Jake, and my soon-to-be-son Arnold, were created purposefully, I believe, in the image of God, just like the rest of us.  I believe there is a purpose for the presence of people on earth who are different from us.  I hope that I can, in some small way, show my appreciation to my Heavenly Father for those differences.  I am so grateful that He created us as unique individuals.  I believe we area all unique, not just because God loves us as the individuals we are, but so that we may also learn from each other and thereby become better people ourselves.  The older I get, the more I realize how much I still have to learn.  I think by the time the end of my life is near I will feel like I know nothing but that I have learned so much.  

It is late and this will probably make no sense to me in the morning, but I just had to share this wonderful day with you.  Thank you again for stopping by and following us on this incredible journey!

P.S. I noticed the jump in our Family Sponsorship Page over at Reece's Rainbow.  Thank you, whoever you are, for helping us get that much closer to our son!  We will be forever grateful.   

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about the generosity of other people. That yard sale looks like it was HUGE and a ton of work too. Those young women are truly wonderful. The Preece gathering was a ton of fun and I wish you could have seen Randy's face when he realized he had won and could give Grandma her quilt. I love that man. We have both married into a wonderful family. I too am very grateful for them. Congratulations on all the funding that is coming your way. I know Heavenly Father's hand is involved in it.