Love & Refrigerators

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Dear Little One, 
There will times in your life when you feel unloved.  It's possible that you will even remember times before you lived with us when you felt that way.  Maybe you will even think we don't love you sometimes too, especially when we discipline you or tell you "no" about something.  Or perhaps there is going to be an event in your life that dad & I can't protect you from that will make you question the very humanity of people.  That happens everyday all around us.  Bad things do happen to the greatest people, I wish that weren't true, but dear one, it is.  As long as we wait for Christ to return Satan will wage his war against God's beloved.  And truthfully, the fact that you are even a member of our family is a testament to this.  There will be some reasons your family could not keep you and they will be valid but the facts can never diminish the loss you have already suffered.  And there may be a part of you that will wonder if you are loved.  Please listen to your momma when I tell you what love can be for you.

It looks like over thirty families giving us items for a huge yard sale so we could start your adoption OVER with a new adoption agency when our first one could no longer help us.  
It resembles your momma's last piece of pride being scraped away as she asks her girlfriends for fundraising help. (don't worry, momma doesn't miss her pride)

Love looks like a refrigerator that a friend delivered for your sale from over an hour away. (it was the first thing we sold:) 

It smells like ladies baking cookies, pies, cakes, brownies, and bread for our bake sale.  And then people paying triple the marked prices to help cover your fees.  And when we ran out, then went back in their kitchens and made more for our second day.

It looks like kids cleaning out toy chests and giving away their own things so the "baby" could come home.

Love looks like yours sisters giving up new clothes, Friday lunches, and family movie dates and depositing that money in your adoption account and not because we asked them to, because they wanted to.

It looks like a young man & his family dropping off items on his way out of town to his grandfather's funeral.

It's pregnant ladies working all day and then going home exhausted yet still pushing through and sorting out closets so they could donate to your sale.

Love feels like a vacation day someone took just to work your fundraiser because they knew we were shorthanded.

It is our local radio announcers talking about your fundraiser on air everyday to help us get the word out to our community and then coming by to spend some money themselves.

It looks like friends showing up at 6am with smiles, messy hair and coffee cups in hand to set up over 1500 square feet of goods. And not just on one day, but two.

It acts like a young married couple celebrating their anniversary by running around in the pouring rain to pick up tables, bags, and merchandise for your fundraiser.

Love for you is grandparents cooking for volunteers, picking up your siblings while we worked, baking for your sale, and praying for it's success.

Love sometimes looked like a check and sometimes it felt like a hug.   People blessed you through us.  Do not doubt that.

Love is seeing random strangers handing us $5 bills when they found out our fundraiser was for you.  People we had never met gave us money just for you.

Love looks like friends organizing hundreds of pieces of clothing and bargaining over knick knacks knowing that every dollar was one more closer to you.

Love sounds like people laughing.  We laughed together so much over those two days.  We have the most wonderful stories to tell you about.

Love is people continuing to bring us items to sell, even into our second day,  so that we always had something to put out.

Love for you is people rounding up their sales total and paying extra, just because they wanted to.

Love is people praying for you all the time because they want you to be safe, healthy, and happy.

Love is people working the sale together and helping each other and no one complaining about anything for two solid days.  Nothing.  They just reached in and did whatever needed to be done.

Love for you is a whole community of people coming together to help mom & dad do something they could never have done themselves.  We just couldn't do it alone.  We really thought we could but God has taught us better than that.  We can never do it without him.  And he's using his people to show us that his love can look a lot like his children.

Little one, sometimes people think love is just a feeling.  It is not.  Love is a choice.  And all these people have chosen to love you.  They have chosen to live out 1 Corinthians in the choices they have made regarding you.  There is no glory in sorting used clothing or bartering with people over prices.  There is no trophy they got for participating.    Those who blessed you with their love chose to do so of their own free will.  They are doing their very best to get you home as fast as they can.  They gave their money, their time, their skills, and their own personal possessions up just for you.  Mom can never give back to these people what they have given up for you and they don't expect her to.  That's how real love works.  

You are loved immeasurably by a whole community of people over 8,147 miles away from your homeland.  That says a lot about the people who will surround you as you grow up.

But there is someone who loves you more than they do.  A man who loves you more than mom & dad do too.  And his love looks different than anyone else's has or ever will.  On those very tough days this world throws at you remember Christ also chose to love you.  But his love was so BIG that he gave his life to protect yours eternally.  You were so precious to him that he chose to die on Calvary rather than let you face this life without hope of being with him in the next one.  

So when Satan tries to convince you that no one cares and that you are unloved remember that's not true.  

Love is a choice. Christ chose to love you.  

And God is sending his people to surround you & love you too.

*To our family and friends in our Hope, AR community thank you is not a big enough set of words.  There aren't words big enough for what has occurred during our fundraiser.   We believe Paul says it better:
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  
1 Thessalonians 1:2,3