Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to Raise $44,000 in 10 Months

I'm excited to get this post down and just stare at God's faithfulness!

This has been an amazing year of watching God so intimately involved in our lives, down to the smallest details.  It's been a year of faith testing and a bold year for my personal walk with God.  See, if you don't know our story, you should go back and read THIS post.  It's been a long journey.  10 years from its very beginning.  And we are here...almost ready to bring home two beautiful children.  It's way beyond the dreams we built 10 years ago!

We never expected to have to raise money for an adoption.  We planned to adopt through the foster care system, which is virtually free.  Well, God had other plans.  And when he started leading us toward China last spring, we were both pretty overwhelmed.  Mr. Prince makes less than $50,000/year teaching.  An adoption from China is around $35,000.  We stepped out in faith when we sent our Letter of Intent for Frannie in May...and when we received our PreApproval, we both had a peace.  We knew God would take care of the finances.  But, that didn't mean we had any clue how!

Prior to starting our homestudy, we had a little money set aside....
$2500 saved from our tax refund
$4500 collected from an accident settlement
--------TOTAL: $7000

While we were waiting for our PreApproval, we did a huge garage sale that many of our friends and neighbors donated to.  It was very successful, so we did it again in September at a friend's house.  We raised $2400 between the two sales!  Once we received PreApproval, we were told we would get the $5025 that Reece's Rainbow had raised for Frannie's adoption!  Our adoption agency also had a $2000 grant for Frannie!

$2400 Garage sales
$5025 Reece's Rainbow
$2000 Adoption Agency
--------TOTAL $16,425

We had HALF of our adoption expenses laid out within a few months of our PreApproval!

Our homestudy took much longer than expected, but God had a plan.  You can read more about why that was delayed HERE.

I tried hard to organize a dinner auction last fall, but it was very stressful and I had little help.  Between midwifery school, paperwork and planning this auction, it was easily the most stressful time of my life.  I was starting to get sick, my hormones were all over the place and I just needed a break.  I quit midwifery school and put aside the dinner/auction for a few months.  October and November were pretty quite and I was grappling for fundraising ideas with no luck.

We decided this would be the perfect time to add another child to our adoption!  :)  Our estimated expenses went from raising $35,000 to $50,000+.  Thankfully God made it very clear this was His plan, or our humanity might have talked ourselves out of it!

Mr. Prince got a $1700 bonus from work in November we put toward the adoption.

In early December I remember we had purchased an extra Ivy Asian American Girl Doll when she was being discontinued last summer to be used for a fundraiser.  So, we launched a give-away for Christmas.  Two little girls had a wonderful surprise on Christmas morning and we had raised another $420 for our adoption!

We launched a puzzle fundraiser in December as well, but only a few close friends purchased pieces.  We quickly raised $500, but knowing the puzzle could potentially raise us $5050, it was slightly disappointing.

On Christmas Eve we were contacted by a family who had found our family profile on Reece's Rainbow, an advocacy site for children with special needs (LINK HERE).  Their children had chosen our family to receive the money they raised all year long for an orphan on Reece's Rainbow!  They donated $1000 on Christmas Day!!

A few days later, a church family contacted us and donated $1260 from their family business profits.  It was a very overwhelming week with the holidays!!

$1700 Work Bonus
$420 American Girl Doll give-away
$500 Puzzle Fundraiser
$1000 Reece's Rainbow donation
$1260 Church family donation
--------TOTAL $21,305

After a few more people donated to our auction I had put off, I realized in January that we had winter items that really needed to be auctioned soon, or no one would want them.  I still didn't have the help I needed to plan a big dinner/auction, so I hesitantly launched an online auction and planned to have it running for 20 days.  We had about 20 items, mostly coupons and a few handmade items, but I didn't expect a lot of profit from it.

Well, in that 20 days I collected over 80 more donations!!  It was a crazy 20 days of living on Facebook (my poor kids), but that auction raised us over $4000!  It was the most amazing experience having that many people, most of whom didn't know us, be so generous.  We raised another $400 for our puzzle during that auction, as well. 

$4400 Online Auction
$400 Puzzle Fundraiser
--------TOTAL $26,105

8 months after we started this process, we had raised HALF the funds to bring home two children from China!  It was quite shocking when we talked about it.  And we had such a peace that God was going to take care of the rest at this point.

It was February, so when we did our taxes we allotted some money from our tax refund for the adoption: $6900.

I had found these amazing kantha quilts from India and sold those in our auction.  There was more interest in them, so I ordered more and we made an additional $350 from those.

I also did another give-away for a Keurig and Kantha quilt and made another $220.

$6900 Taxes
$220 Keurig/Kantha quilt give-aways
$350 Kantha quilts
--------TOTAL $33,375

In March, a college friend and fellow church member donated $2000 to us.  It was the largest, most generous gift we have been given and it came from the most unlikely source.  It was such a blessing to us.

Mr. Prince got an accident settlement in the amount of $750.  I promise neither of these accidents were our fault!  LOL!  But, God turns the bad into good, right?  ;)

We got a deposit back from a therapy company of $1000 in March, as well.

I had been babysitting full time during the day and in the evenings for many families since December.  I even babysat for 8 kids on Valentine's Day!  All my babysitting so far has earned us around $3000.

I've also had 8 doula clients since last June, with two more due in May, and that has raised us $3300. 

A co-worker of Mr. Prince also has been running an ongoing Thirty One fundraiser for us for a number of months now.  Any orders that come in on behalf of us, she gives her percentage to us.  We have raise $525 from that and $100 from a Mary Kay fundraiser, too.

$2000 College friend
$750 Accident settlement
$1000 Deposit refund
$3000 Babysitting
$3300 Doula clients
$525 Thirty One
$100 Mary Kay
--------TOTAL $44,050

Now, I've found out recently that we need to budget more for flights in June and July, so $56,000 is a more reasonable estimation.

BUT....we have somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000 left to raise!  And almost half of the amount was raised in just a few months!

Isn't God so amazing?!  He has helped us RAISE almost as much as what my husband earns in a year!

We also recently applied for 14 grants.  I am secretly hoping the rest of the funds come in these grants because frankly, I'm exhausted.  And I don't like asking people for money, even if it is for a good cause.  Will you pray with us?  We should hear back from all of them by the end of June.

We do have lots of puzzle pieces still left, too!  So, if those are all sponsored, we would have an additional $4100!  Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring a puzzle piece!

(Pieces range from #1-100 and pieces already sponsored are #1-21, 24, 27, 28, 30, 33, 35, 40, 42, 50, 60, 76 &100)

So, there ya go.  How to raise $44,000 in 10 months!

(Tip: Do not attempt to do this alone.  God's involvement is the key to your success!)

Updates, Updates, here they come!!

So, I've been advised to update my blog often for the benefit of those following our story.  It's really hard to find time right now, but I'm going to do my best!  I really enjoy blogging and look forward to sharing it with our children when they are older, too.

So, I'll be updating on our adoption process, financial status and the preparations for our children.

We are coming around the last bend of the process now!  We submitted our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Frannie Joy in late May 2014 and received PreApproval (PA) 6.19.14 to adopt her and PA to adopt Finton 10.23.14.  We will likely be in China exactly a year after PA!

It's been a whirlwind of a year, yet still seemed like a looooong year.  To have children half a world away from you is just... emotional.  I love these children I only have a handful of photos and 30 second video clips of.  Yet, I really have no idea how they act on a regular basis, what their interests are, how they will react to our family or... anything. It's an odd place to be right now, but my focus is so much on paperwork and packing...it's hard to even focus on some of the emotional part.  It just sneaks up on you when you see an Asian mom kissing her toddler.... or a little girl with Down Syndrome... or a 2 year old little boy playing with a ball.  Then, it rips your heart out.  And all you can do it pull up a photo or video and... wait a little longer.  Sigh.

We will be getting our official Letter of Approval (Letter Seeking Confirmation/LOSC/LOA) in the next day or so.  That is basically a letter from China that is officially MATCHING us with Frannie and Finn. They PreApproved us before, but now that we have proven who we are and they have accepted our dossier, they are officially matching us.  It's one of the most exciting steps in the process!!  We had been specifically praying since December that we would receive this letter BY April 1st so that we could travel in June.  I had also planned to have our dossier to China in late December, but that didn't happen until late January.  It was a long shot to still get LOA by April 1st, BUT...God!

We should receive our LOA in the mail tomorrow, April 1st!!!

So now the process gets a little confusing and overwhelming for me from here on out.  There are lots of steps every 2 weeks or so until travel.  Travel plans are entirely up to me, so I have lots to research. I hope to book flights soon because travel in China is super expensive in June/July due to the Dragon Boat Festival and summer.  My mom is going with me and thankfully her schedule is flexible.  Mr. Prince will stay home with the other 5 kiddos.  I'm thankful I have many adoptive friends on Facebook and tons of China Adoption groups, but the information is still overwhelming to process, honestly.

But, it looks like right now my travel options are June 4th-26th or June 25th-July 17th.  We are trying to decide if me coming home while Mr. Prince and 3 of 5 kids are at summer school for 2.5 weeks is better or worse than me coming home the day after summer school is over.  I'm a little concerned the two littles might be overwhelmed with all the kids home, all the time, from the day they come home.  But, I also don't want Mr. Prince to work for so many weeks before he's off for the summer.  I think my older 4 kids will have a very hard time allowing us to cocoon them, so maybe it's best they are at school for a few weeks...?  I just don't know yet.  We homeschool all year, so summer school is only a summer thing for us.  But, it might be a good tool to use as a buffer to help the kids bond to me as Mom first.  Still thinking on this...

I think I'll post another blog about our finances and preparations later this week.....

I'll leave you with photos of my babies.....

Check out our Adoption Timeline on the right side of our page and read more about our family!  

You can also donate to our adoption by using the donate tab at the top of the blog!

Many Blessings!!