Our Adoption Fund Raising Yard Sale took place yesterday. It was a lot of work, and a very long day. It was so completely worth it.
We have raised over $1500 and climbing!
I am in shock. I never imagined that we could raise that much money in one Saturday. And we wouldn't have without the generosity of our friends, our family, other bloggers and complete strangers.
In the weeks leading up to our sale Blogging Mama Andrea (who is a terrific blogger and an American living in Germany) asked for my address so that she could send me a brand new Hotsling to include in our sale. Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored made arrangements to drive across the city with 3 kids on a Saturday morning so that she could bring me some fabulous donations and also (very generously) shop our sale. Last week I went to Athens to have lunch with the extraordinary Mir Kamin of Woulda Coulda Shoulda and picked up some great donations that she and her lovely children had put together for me. Then I had a fabulous time meeting Merrily from Life is but a Dream for coffee and telling my adoption story to her so that she could share it with others in our community. Talented and altruistic bloggers, every one of them, and women that I'm now privileged to call my friends.
When I sent an email out on Wednesday evening to almost everyone in my contact list, I asked them to forward it to anyone that they thought might be interested. In response, my friend Maria sent our email to at least 100 people with this introduction:
I never forward emails, but this one is for a good cause. After a heartbreaking attempt at an adoption in which the mom changed her mind (you can read about it in their blog: http://exileonmomstreet.blogspot.com/2009/01/interview-meme-from-jim.html), this family is trying to muster enough funds through a Yard Sale to be able to adopt a baby in The Land Far Away. Please see below for the Yard Sale info.
Other friends passed it on to their friends, posted it on message boards, printed it and tacked it to the bulletin board at their child's preschool. In short, went above and beyond what I had even expected.
The next morning, I got this email:
I got your blog from a friend of a friend. We brought our baby girl back from The Land Far Away last June and it was and has been an unimaginable blessing. I would love to donate some things to your yardsale and if you would like to talk about adoption I am happy to meet with you. We (Atlantan's) have an amazing Land Far Away support group. I have made so mnay friends and feel wonderful that my daughter will grow up knowing many other kids from The Land Far Away. Also The Land Far Away society here in Atlanta is very supportive of these adoptions. Let me know if you would like me to bring some stuff by and good luck and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
The following day, I posted an ad about the sale and our cause on Craigslist. I got this response:
I just saw your post because I am looking for a small desk and saw that you are having it for your adoption. My husband and I just completed a domestic infant adoption and our son was born Nov. 26th. I just wanted to send you a quick email to let you know how happy I am for you even though I don't know you and CONGRATS!!!! Adoption is such a long journey and I'm glad yours dream is coming true! I wish you all the best and I hope you raise LOTS of funds for such an EXPENSIVE journey! Take Care!
I began to hope that we would reach my goal (that I hadn't really even had the courage to voice) of over $1000.00 raised. If so many people were reaching out before the sale even began then maybe we weren't naive in thinking that without price tags people would give more to us than some items were worth simply because our cause was just.
We were up well before the sun on Saturday morning and JR, my father, and I set to work setting up for the sale and emptying boxes. My mother and Grasshopper ran amuck, as was appropriate. By 8:30 am we had people waiting, but everyone was very respectful of our "No Early Birds" signs. Our wonderful friends Anne and Lynn arrived just about the time we "opened the doors" and we were off and running! I don't think any of us had a bite to eat or a sip to drink for almost 4 hours! We most certainly didn't sit down.
People really embraced our family and our desire for another child in a way that I hadn't even dared to hope. Sure, there were a few people who gave me a dollar for an item that I'd hoped to get $20 for, but they were FAR outnumbered by the people who gave me $10 for something I thought was worth about $5. Some simply pressed a $50 or a $20 0r even a $5 bill into my hand and wished us good luck on our quest. A couple who moved to Atlanta from The Land Far Away just 3 years ago embraced us with a warmth that still moves me to tears and shared their own infertility heartbreak with us.
At the end of the day, we were all utterly exhausted, completely sore, and incredibly elated at the same time. Even before we counted the money, even though we got rained on at the end, we knew it that had been a great day. When we reached $1500 without having sold a few of our larger and more expensive items (those are going on Craigslist and I may already have buyer for one of them) I started to cry.
Every dollar that goes into our adoption fund brings us one step closer to our baby, and we covered a lot of ground yesterday, but that wasn't what brought on my tears. It was the realization that my faith in the human race had been restored to me in just one day.
After everything that we've been through in the past 2 years (and even the past 2 weeks) my trust in people had been shaken to a degree that I wasn't really aware of. But as I responded to hugs and money from strangers, my heart got fuller and fuller. When we realized just how much we had been given, my heart overflowed. My relief in knowing that I had been right for most of my life and that people are inherently good and kind and decent left me with nothing to do but cry.
We still may not make it all of the way to $20,000, but I've already gotten so much more than money.