A small group of us met every couple of weeks in her home to dream, plan, and pray for what this day would look like. We spent hours of time and energy asking for donations, coordinating details, and enlisting the help of student and adult volunteers. It was a massive undertaking. We decided to set the date for November 10th and called it "Passport to Always." We wanted the name to be a beautiful picture of the journey our little girl will go on to join our family, along with the journey we'll go on to bring her home...for always.
The week finally came.
Every day I would hear of new donations that were being given for the silent auction: everything from spa packages to date nights to free car washes for a year to beautiful, imported Russian toys. Every day I would hear of new baked items that were being made for the bake sale: Cake pops and pumpkin rolls, biscotti and all kinds of cookies...lovingly baked by friends and people I have never met! Hours and days had been spent on beautiful handmade items like wreaths, coffee mugs, baby blankets and lamps.
My parents were able to come up from North Carolina for the week leading up to the fundraiser. My mom and I spent the days shopping for the event and working on last minute details.
The night before the event, we went to the church to load up all of the donations that were being stored there. Upon arrival we saw our good friends, Eric, Adrianne and Ashley working hard late into the night to make this big event special.
We arrived very early at the venue on Saturday morning and there were already people there setting up, sweeping, mopping, moving tables, and decorating the room. To look around and see my mom behind the concession counter, my dad unloading people's cars and my closest friends carefully placing each donation item on the tables was overwhelmingly beautiful.
As the start time inched closer, last minute donations found their way into the room. A parent of one of our high school student dropped off 15 beautifully decorated cakes from a local bakery. And high school students started spilling in to give of their time as child care workers, parking attendants, grillers, and concession workers.
Finally the doors opened, the event began and people started to come.
|The silent auction table surrounded by vendors|
|Team Garcia shirt designed by a high school student|
Another snapshot was looking at my dear friend, Rachel who planned and dreamed up this event months ago, waddling (and I say that with as much love as possible) around, 9 1/2 months pregnant. We wondered if she would actually have her baby AT the fundraiser. What love and sacrifice! I can only imagine how exhausted she was, but she served all the way until the end with joy and love.
One of the vendors who was selling homemade baby items, handed me a rolled up stack of money at the end of the day with tears in her eyes. She spent a majority of her day, serving us and helping us bring our daughter home. We hugged and I thanked her with tears in my eyes as I thought of the many sacrifices of the countless people who came together for this day. For this cause.
I came home to a message she had written me,
"it was such a privilege to help in your fundraiser this afternoon. it brings tears to my eyes to think of a sweet little girl who will soon be so lucky to have you and Steve as parents. It makes me even more emotional watching you, as a mother fight so hard for your daughter and knowing you cannot wait for the day when you hold her safe in your arms."
But the reality is, anyone would fight for their own child. What is most amazing to me, was to see the hundreds of people who came together to work so hard for someone ELSE'S child. That is something I will hold in my heart.
Finally, a precious snapshot I have was seeing my mom. Just a couple of weeks ago, after this fundraiser was already planned, she was diagnosed with cancer. And though it would have been totally understandable for her to not even make the trip up to North Carolina this week, she came anyway. And she worked so hard and gave so much. She was being her normal self - laughing and talking and making people feel good - all the while, knowing that she was going to come back to her home just days later to face a tough surgery and an unknown future.
And to see my dad, following Dima around all day, buying him an endless amount of cake pops and working hard moving tables and cleaning up - being his normal self - all the while, knowing he was feeling the uncertainty and stress of what was to come for his wife. Grandparents, hard at work, giving of themselves to bring their grandchild home, even in the midst of their own pain. That memory will be forever melded into my heart.
|My mom working the concession stand|
|My dad sharing a hot dog with Dima|
It was a day I will never forget..for many reasons.
I can't put into words my gratitude and as I'm writing even now, I'm realizing I haven't even mentioned how much money was raised. Because for me, the blessing of this day was about watching and being a part of a beautiful community coming together for a bigger cause. The beauty of family and close friends loving us and sacrificing for us and working so hard to help bring our little girl home. That is what stands out in my mind...but if you're wondering...we are $5000 closer to bringing our little girl home. Wow. Is God amazing or what?
- I am hoping to go up to Cleveland this week to redo my fingerprints. Steve will practice pushing my thumb down on a table Tuesday night and if it doesn't break open, I will head to Homeland Security Wednesday morning.
- We found out this week that there are some issues with our home study that need to be resolved before we can move forward. This is not an issue with Russia, but the U.S. government who is approving our home study. We hope to resolve this tomorrow.
- I was hoping that one of our high school students, Sydney, would have been able to help at the fundraiser...but she was busy doing something else. On the same day, her public high school was having a craft fair of their own and she and a group from her school's Key Club were selling homemade jewelry to give the proceeds to..our adoption. Wow, I'm just so overwhelmed to see people of all ages using the gifts and talents God has given them to help bring our daughter home. Thank you Sydney and Ellet High School Key Club!
- Please continue to pray for the details of paperwork and fingerprints. They are a tedious part of this process and so much of it is out of our control. Please pray we would find favor with the officer who is in charge of approving our home study.
- Please pray for our little girl who we believe is in fact born already. Pray she is getting special, one on one attention from whoever she is with right now.
- Pray for us as we wait and trust in God's timing through this process.
Until next Monday - love, Kate, Steve & Dima.