Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Story God is telling, part 2 (the auction story)

*I know not all of you who read my blog make claims to faith, or believe in God. I hope you'll read this anyhow. We believe God is a huge part of our story and journey to our daughter.

To see The Story God is Telling part one, click HERE.

Here's a little clip of part one..."We have known this would be God's story from the start. We wanted it to be. We knew that if we had it all figured out on our own, he would not get the glory. More than anything, we want HIS story to be known, not ours. Well...I think we can officially say, HE is one good storyteller! I can't wait to hear the ending..."

Part 2-The Auction (It's really long...) I told Matt, aside from the whole "marrying the love of your life" part, I think this auction nearly topped our wedding! It was so amazing, read on for the story...

May 30, 2009-My wonderful and dear friend, Nicole (more like a sister kind of friend) about a month or so prior, had invited Matt and I to join her and her hubby, Arlyn for dinner. I have had the wonderful privilege of being present when all 4 of Nicole's sweet babies have made their entrance into the world...seriously, one of the greatest honors of my life, to be in those moments with her. I had been practicing my photography skills, and Nicole was the perfect subject...her beautiful belly, her baby boy entering the world, and then having a newborn. She willingly subjected herself to me and my camera...and claimed she wanted to thank me by taking us out to a nice dinner at the golf club they belong to. Of course, a night out with no kids, great dinner, good friends, of course we said "YES!".

She even "bumped" into my sister in law, Stephanie, at Costco, told her about our dinner plans, and Steph insisted on watching the kids (I watch Abby, her daughter twice a week, they are always trying to make up for it!) Perfect, my childcare is even taken care of, I thought. Steph, conveniently passed on the same story, of bumping into Nicole, volunteering to take the boys, etc.

I had been really busy, wrapping up our paperwork for our Dossier, wrapping up the year of our MOM's ministry at church, planning a huge garage sale fundraiser for MOM's, my brain was on total overload. I even had a sweet lady from our church tell me, "My son plans to give me some money to spend at your auction!" I politely told her, "oh, we aren't having an must have us confused with the auction the highschool ministry at church just had..." She sweetly replied, saying, "Oh, yes, you're right! That is what I was thinking..." I was clueless. My mind did not EVEN think for a minute that something was up. I was waaay to consumed with getting through the month of May and GETTING ON THE WAITLIST!

So, May 30th rolls around, I got my Dossier off the week prior, and we got official word Wednesday, May 27th, that we were officially waiting! We were ready to take a deep breath and enjoy a night (Steak and Lobster Dinner, we had been promised!) with our friends. Originally, Arlyn and Nicole said they would pick us up on their way. The day of, Nicole called with a slight change in plans...they were dropping thier kiddos off in Hillsboro, at the grandparents, could they just meet us there? Of course, we agreed.
Nicole and Arlyn Maldonado (Nicole aka Auction Director)
I drove over to drop off my kids at my brother and sister in laws home, where they were going to play for the evening with Aunt Kassy, Steph's sister.

I went home to get ready. We were told it was a nice dinner, so we needed to dress nicely (Thanks for the heads up, Nicole!)...not Burgerville attire. Our reservations were for 7:45. She called about 7:30, telling me they had made it sooner than they thought, and were waiting in the bar for us. She said there was a big event happening at the club, so to call when we arrived, and they'd come out to meet us. The "event" might make it seem confusing on where we should go.

We arrived, called and they came out to meet us. Matt saw 2 cars in the parking lot that seemed familiar, and he mentioned "That's weird, I don't think they're members here." I, on the other hand, didn't think anything of it.

We walked into the building, greeted by an enormous red heart shaped balloon arch and red carpet...Matt joked, "Oh, you mean this red carpet isn't for US?" "Nope, sorry, Matt" Nicole said. Arlyn and Nicole led us back to the dining room, we passed all sorts of tables and such, I mentioned, "oh, it looks like an auction or something". She said, "Oh, yah, I guess it does!" The host greeted us, "Maldonado, party of 4?" Yep, that's us! Then, they stepped out of the way, to let us enter the closed doors first. As the doors opened, what felt like all the friends we have, greeted us with cheering and clapping. We stood there, looking dumbfounded, as to why in the world, is everyone we know and love, standing here cheering for us? We kept looking at eachother, wondering, "what is going on here? Not your birthday, not my birthday, are you getting an award for teaching or something?"

Our good friend, Brandon, was the MC. He (thank goodness) began to explain why everyone was there. It was a "Bring Home Lucy" party. As he said that, I really thought, "Right! The adoption! We are on the waiting list! Is this a party to celebrate that we're on the waitlist?" I saw these gigantic balloon letters, spelling out L-U-C-Y across the back of the room. Brandon continued to explain, all of these people had come to spend thier money at an auction, benefitting our adoption fund, to help cover our expenses. We were completely blown away, we had NO idea.

We were flooded with warm hugs, questions, and trying to wrap our brains around the fact that we are so loved by our family, church family, friends, and friends of friends, who would come, open up thier pocket books, pay for tickets to attend, and shell out tons more money to help us bring home Lucy.

Me and my brother, Zak

As you read in Part One, you would know that we have believed all along, that God has called us to adopt this little girl, whom we have never laid eyes on. We believe that since he called us, we would step out in faith, that he would provide each and every dollar needed to bring her home. We knew and wanted this journey to only be explainable, by the Lord showing up, being faithful to bring us where he'd asked us to go. We also knew, we did not have the cash in the bank to make it happen. He had already faithfully given us exactly what we'd needed up to that point. Every time a payment was due, he provided. Through friends and family. Through a garage sale. Through tax returns...he provided.

There was an amazing silent auction, with wonderful donations, from people who we did and did not know. Beautiful, generous gifts, all to help us bring home our girl!

As the bidding continued, we tried to take it all in. The place was beautifully decorated by my amazingly creative friend, Delores...Red, black, and silver...with a theme based off "I Love Lucy" it was reels, red hearts, candles, ribbon, it was beautiful!
The food, was not to be outdone by the decor, it was also beautiful! I honestly, don't remember eating any of it. It was kind of like our wedding, where we were too busy being overwhelmed by love and support to eat anything. It was beautiful though!

Oh, I DO remember eating THIS one. Delish!

The silent auction closed, and we moved into a time of the "live auction" aka, the REALLY good stuff, the stuff that makes the big bucks. Things like, weekends in mountain cabins and beach houses, things like premier portrait sessions, things like spa days and golfing packages (including clubs).Things like one year of monthly date nights at the wonderful Ice Cream Renaissance. AMAZINGLY good things. Brandon did an amazing job as auctioneer, luring loads of money out of our loved ones checkbooks. There was a beautiful slideshow, of our family, and Ethiopia. Friends who could not attend, spoke to us via videos, sendint us thier love and well wishes. Tears were just spilling down our faces for a good 12 minutes. My talented friend, Heidi, put a beautiful thing together. (hopefully, I can figure out how to post it on here, soon) We were completely overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends.
Brandon, aka, Brando the MC, Ice Cream Maker extraordinairre

Turns out, my sweet friends (pictured below) have met together every thursday evening, for months. Planning. Praying. Scheming. Lying to my face. Blessing our socks off. They collected donations, they made programs, they planned food, they sold tickets, they decorated, they did so much. They, literally, changed our lives and the life of our daughter to be, Lucy. It was beautiful.backrow:Amber, Nicole, Ashley, Shannon, Mom (Denise), Delores (frontrow) Jamie, Stephanie (sis in law), Traci, and Heidi- The Auction Committee

At the end of the night, when all was said and done, when all the dollars were counted, there was over $11,000. We were dumbfounded. Speechless. Overwhelmed. Our hearts were full beyond belief. It was and is completely amazing to us, that God chose us for this adoption journey. To bring home a little girl from Ethiopia. And he, has the means to meet every single need along the way. We fully believe, there is no obstacle, not money, not courts, no judges, no paperwork, too big for Him to handle. We are comfortable in our wait right now, without worry...we know he has a perfect plan for our family. He has the timing under control. When the time is right, his plans will come to be. He will connect us with the daughter he means to be a Kesler. Our God, is a faithful God. He will not call us to do something he cannot make the way for. In one night, he used his people, to open thier hearts to us. All of them together, giving what they could afford to give, pretty much paid for the rest of our adoption expenses. At that point, we expected that we needed about $12,000 to finish this thing. We left that night with over $11,000 in our hands. Since then, we've recieved about another $800 from a returned deposit from the golf club, and others who couldn't be there that night but wanted to contribute. Bringin us within a hundred dollars of our $12,000 goal.

We were able to pay our agency in full, leaving only our travel expenses to be paid for, and we have money in the bank for that. It was pretty awesome to ask if we could prepay the rest of our fees to Gladney. I got the impression that it doesn't happen very often :) I also got to contact Shaohannah's Hope to cancel our request for a grant, because God had provided for all our our financial needs...They also said the NEVER see that email!
We are completely in awe of what the Lord has done for us and Lucy, through our friends who first, love the Lord, and second, love us. Now we just wait for his timing to unfold so we can see that sweet face of Lucy. The Lord is telling his story of greatness and redemption, once again. It is a really, really, good story. All the Glory is for him!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A good word on WAITING

Some very dear friends are currently going through a huge battle. Their son, Luke, who is 8, is battling AML Lukemia for the second time. His amazing mom, Vikki, posted this on thier blog. Habbakuk 2:3 has become one of my very favorite verses on this adoption journey, so her post immediately caught my eye when I saw it at the top. If you are waiting on any part of adoption, waiting list, waiting to finish paperwork or a homestudy, or waiting for your referral, waiting to pass court, waiting to travel, waiting waiting should read this!

She posted this note from Rick Warren:

How God Builds Your Faith: Delay
by Rick Warren

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" (Habakkuk 2:3 LB).

Even as you make a decision to follow the dream God places in your heart, you can expect a delay. God will not fulfill your dream immediately because this is another step toward building your faith.

In Habakkuk 2, God says, "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled."

In this step of faith-building you will most likely start asking the question, "When, Lord? When are You going to answer my prayer?"

And we hate to wait. We don't like to wait in a doctor's office, or in traffic jams, or at restaurants, or for Christmas presents, or for anything else. But what we hate worst of all is waiting on God.

Have you ever been in a hurry when God wasn't? It's so irritating! You're ready, but God isn't. God wants to work on you before He works on the project. Every believer must go through the University of Learning to Wait (ULW). Some of us are still working on our degrees from ULW!

• Noah waited 120 years from the time he started building the ark until it began to rain.
• Abraham was told he would be the father of a great nation and didn't have a child until he was 99.
• God told Moses he would be the leader to lead his people out of 400 years of slavery, but then made him wait in the desert 40 years.
• Joseph spent years in prison before God raised him up and he became the ruler God wanted him to be.
• God had David anointed as king, but then David waited for years until he actually got to be king.

We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for 30 years in the carpenter's shop before setting out on his public ministry.

Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that His timing is perfect. One of the facts we have to learn is this: God's delay never destroys His purpose.

A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between "no" and "not yet," and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, "No," but He is saying, "Not yet.

*my note: I love the part that says, "delay is not denial". That is so true! God is good, I love that he wants to not just place a child in our family, a child who NEEDS a family, but he has so stinking much to show us about who he is in the process. He wants us closer to him, because he loves us so darn much. He had much for us to learn about his heart through the waiting, so much that we would maybe miss if adoption happened overnight...Thanks, Lord, for loving us enough to show us your faitfulness! Help us to trust YOUR timing as we wait for Lucy.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I like to buy clothes by the pound at the Goodwill outlet. (I got 7 items today for $4.02! Can't beat that)

I really like Tori and Dean on Oxygen. I am sad to say, we no longer have it:(

I, the wanna be granola girl, bought Lucky Charms "for my kids" (but I've eaten them for breakfast for 3 days).

I repainted my toes 3 times last night before settling on the 12:30am.

I love having my hubby home from school for the summer, he does the dishes. ALOT. And, I really like his company, too. Thanks, honey!

We spent a week on houseboats with 75 highschool kids from church...and loved it. Made me wish I was still a small group leader. (don't worry mom, I didn't sign up for anything!)

Every couple months, I search my bookshelves for stuff I can trade in at Powell's. I love that I can buy new books, and not spend any money out of pocket!

I had a really fun date with my mom this morning in the Pearl District. We had coffee, we went to Powell's, we browsed anthropologie (love that place), and we tried on shoes at REI, and did some other perusing. We settled in for a tasty lunch a the Macaroni Grill...mmmm. Ice Tea, and shrimp artichoke dip...need I say more?
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