Sunday, June 24, 2012
And the fundraising begins...
Since we needed to fundraise for our last two adoptions, it will come as no surprise to folks that we need to do it again to bring Cooper home.
One thing I know for sure is that God has used our financial dependence to stretch our faith, and to show His magnificant GLORY!
He has shown us how very much he cares for our sons, and all the fatherless children around the world. He has used these fundraising opportunities to show us that it is HE that provides for our needs. I learned this most during our journey to Cameron. The timing of his adoption was so tight that, while I did what little fundraising I could, there was no imaginable way for us to fundraise all that money in 8 weeks. During that time, we received very unexpected grants and donations. All that to say...He has been faithful and has blessed our obedience each step of the way.
With Colin, we worked very hard and had such a variety of fundraisers from selling vintage Barbie dolls and yard sales to Thirty-One parties and our "What can God do with $10?" campaign.
With Cameron, we made homemade bracelets with much help from my Mother.
This time around, with Cooper being younger than the older two boys, and not in danger of aging out, we have one small advantage--TIME. Not a ton of time, mind you, but more than we had before. Just because it will take about a year to bring him home, that doesn't mean that we have a year to raise the funds.
There are homestudy fees, background checks to pay for, educational requirements to pay for, agency fees and the list goes on and on...
Today, we actually achieved the 10% mark for the funds that we need to raise for Cooper! If you focus only on that HUGE end number, it can keep you discouraged, so we are celebrating that milestone with praise!
We have been doing a lot of purging around here and selling off those things that we don't need to prepare for Cooper's arrival.
I have sold many of my nicer clothing items, homeschool curriculum that was donated to us from friends and many other household items donated for our yard sale. That got us started and moving in the right direction.
We held a yard sale for Colin's adoption and had the help of some amazing volunteers from our Community Bible Study Group. But, as a newbie to the Blogger world, I took exactly ZERO pictures! (I know, a major crime!)
This time, I was determined NOT to make the same mistake, so here we go!
Donations started coming in weeks ago. First, we filled the garage.
Once the garage was full, we started loading things into our house.
first the front room....
then the living room...
then the kitchen...
You get the idea. We were overrun with generosity!
Once we received, sorted and priced all these wonderful treasures, it was time to get serious on the marketing. The signs were made, the ads were placed and we were ready to go.
Next step? Supplies and Helpers!
No one ever pulls off a yard sale of this magnitude alone. Just not possible. We were blessed by some amazing friends who came alongside our family and worked tirelessly this weekend to help us maximize our efforts.
Some made baked goods for us to sell, others donated canned drinks, MANY loaned us hanging racks and tables and still others sacrificed a beauitful Saturday with their own families to come work- and I mean WORK.
We were up and moving before 5 and by 5:30 a.m., these angels arrived at our home and hit the ground running!
In a short 60-90 minutes we went from this....
to this...a yard FULL of items for sale and more importantly, full of people buying!
what made the day even more enjoyable was sharing it with good friends, Chris & Annie Hamlin. They are working to bring home a precious 8 year old girl from China, so we joined forces and took advantage of the increased traffic.
here are some of our community members shopping the incredible assortment of items we had for sale yesterday.
Tom and Andy handled checkout under the LIFESAVING canopy that our good friends loaned us. (It was 95 degrees all day).
Our youngest, Tommy, "working" the cold beverage and baked goods table.
We had around 20 tables and FILLED EVERY ONE of them! The body of Christ really came together and supported us with their donations.
We even had an impact on the neighborhood.
About 30 minutes before we planned to pack up for the day, a new neighbor came by with her mother. When she learned the reason for our sale, she asked if she could trade some things for the items she wanted from our sale. (TRADE??--are you missing the point here?) Well, she ran home to get some things she wanted to donate. Now, I must be honest. At this point, I had spent a solid month accepting donations, pricing them, sorting them. I lived for weeks in an episode of the "Hoarders"!
I had been awake since 4:30 (yes, A.M.!) and had been working non-stop in oppressive and almost dangerous heat. While I wanted to be gracious, at this point, the LAST thing I wanted was MORE stuff to sell. My very fatigued, human self wanted to say, are you crazy? Don't you see all the stuff we still HAVE LEFT? But, she seemed so sincere and so I agreed to let her bring me a few "things".
About 10 minutes later, she returned to "trade" her donations for a few goodies she had found at our sale. And oh, how surprised I was when her donations were AMAZING! Their value FAR exceeded that which she wanted from our sale.
She donated a very nice quality, gently used Chicco Play Yard with music and remote control (retail around $300!)
a JEEP jogging stroller with I-pod dock and toy station for the kids
(Retail around $180!)
and SEVERAL... BRAND NEW...Miche Bags!
Even in my current state of exhaustion, it was clear that this generous neighbor was there to help and was graciously offering items of real value to our fundraising efforts.
I was so thankful for her and all the folks who came out and shopped yesterday. It was hard to believe that after all those sales, that there was anything to put back into the garage, but....
we still managed to FILL our garage with the leftovers. So, as much as I would like to say we are done with this particular fundraiser, I'm afraid we will be pulling it all out again this coming Saturday.
We are so thankful for the men and women who came out to support us and hope you will tell all your friends to come see us next Saturday too! We will have COLD DRINKS and a smile!
Here are pics of just a few items we still have available for all your Charleston natives...
For those who are reading this and are not able to join/support us in person, there are still ways for you to assist us in our fundraising efforts.
First, would you come alongside us in prayer? We know from personal experience how Satan loves to attack you when you are following God's call for your life. Please pray that He would protect our family as we work toward bringing home our newest son. Also, please pray for our boys that they would continue to bond with one another and that they would learn to rely on the Lord as we have.
If you are not already a friend of ours on Facebook, please send me an invite. I post lots more updates there than I can here, so keep up to date with the Rylands crew that way.
You can search for "Rylands Family Adoption" and "Angie Jewell Rylands".
If you feel the Lord would want you to support us financially, you can donate directly to our fund in two ways.
1. You can donate funds through our paypal button at the top left of our blog. (They do keep a small percentage of the funds as a processing fee, but it is quick, easy and safe.)
2. You can send donations directly to "Journey Together Ministries" here in Charleston. They are a wonderful Christian non-profit organization that had accepted our family into their scholarship program. All donations they receive on our behalf are sent directly to our adoption agency (LIFELINE!) and they do not charge any fees, so 100% of what you send them is applied to our adoption bills. The best part is that, as a non-profit, you will receive a tax-deduction for this donation.
We are grateful for all those that cover our family in prayer, donate items for sale, make direction financial contributions and even those that follow along on this blog. Your comments of encouragement are fuel for our family and we appreciate you so much!
I will do my best to continue updating everyone on our progress and to keep our thermometer up to date.