When Laurie and I were in college, our church’s college ministry used to take service trips during semester breaks. They were called short-term mission trips and we had to raise the money to go ourselves. On a practical level, we had to raise support because our college ministry was large and could not pay for several hundred collegiates to travel state-to-state. But on a spiritual level, support raising was a terrific way to prepare our hearts to serve.
Many of us worried that we wouldn’t be able to raise the full amount, which sometimes got up to several thousand dollars. On the verge of giving up, we’d ask, “If we can’t raise all of it, does that mean we can’t go?” Then a mysterious donor would anonymously send the church a check on our behalf or a distant relative would call the church and offer to finance the whole team. We might have felt a little jealous of our wealthier friends whose parents paid for their entire trip while we had to organize carwashes and garage sales. But ultimately, those who didn’t have to raise support missed out on an experience we got to partake in – the very tangible feeling of God working on our behalf.
Nevertheless, I rejected the idea of support raising to pay our adoption expenses. With Isaac and Vivi’s adoption, I could afford to think this because we really didn’t need a lot of money upfront. Since Isaac was in foster care, our only adoption fee was the court cost at finalization and CPS took care of it for us at the courthouse. With Vivi, we had the money upfront, so we could afford to pay it out-of-pocket and wait for reimbursement checks from my company and Uncle Sam in our tax return.
However, this time around, we don’t have any alternative. I suppose it’s the cost of raising two kids while Laurie stays home to raise them that accounts for why we have no money. I might feel jealous of families who have $20,000 burning a hole in their savings accounts, waiting for their next adoption, until I consider how much we’ve paid in credit card debts since Vivi came home, which is more than enough to pay for most adoptions out-of-pocket. At times, this depresses me. Then I remind myself that this must be part of God’s plan. If you ask me, it’s a pretty weird plan – made all the weirder last week when our savings account got obliterated by our agency’s home study and a new A/C compressor for Laurie’s van.
It’s easy to pray things like, “Not my will, but Yours, Lord,” and “I trust You will provide everything I need, but not everything I want.” But on a more practical level, I wish I could trust God and have enough money to not have to nickel-and-dime every visit to a pizza buffet. As it is, Laurie and I have placed our trust that God will provide the funds for us to bring our next child home. My struggle now is not to fret, but to enjoy the very tangible feeling of God working on our behalf.