Monday, February 11, 2013

A lesson in shoes

Dear Life,

I've been quiet.  I've been trying to process all that has happened in the last few months.  It's a little overwhelming.  When you watch miracles happen in your own life...obvious can take your words away.  Thank you for letting me have some time to process.  There are a few things I wanted to share.  Our testimony of God in adoption is pure and true.  We have seen small and large miracles.  Things that we cannot deny.  TRUTH is truth.

GOD lives.
GOD exists.
GOD loves us.
GOD knows our needs.
GOD loves our little Sofi. 
GOD has blessed our adoption journey.
GOD has sent us on this journey...and GOD will see us through.

We found Sofi....
We KNEW we needed to bring her be her family.
We prayed.
Step by step.
We realized that we needed our Homestudy money..$2250. 
It was becoming time sensitive.
We prayed more.
It was becoming stressful.
Without a homestudy we couldn't move forward.
Within three days...THREE DAYS of a pleading tearful anonymous donor sent us first $250 and then an hour later another anonymous donor sent $1000.  
The next day I sent the money in for the full amount.
We prayed do we raise more money?
Fundraising is challenging at it's best and impossible at it's worst.
One night, as I searched various things, I came across Angel Bins.
I contacted them...and the “Shoes for Sofi” shoe drive was born.
In December we started the drive...we got 1000 pairs pretty easy.
We went on Kumaka's trip, and then Christmas happened.
Shoes did NOT happen.
We knew January would have to be a big push for shoes.  
We needed a little under 4000 pairs in one month.
I knew....I had a strange knowledge that we could get 5000 pairs. a million years did we think we would see our shoe drive go almost viral.
Never did we even imagine that we could get double of what our goal was...much less over 12,500 pairs.  
Never did we imagine we would earn $9422.
And yet we did.
That covers ALL of our agency fees.
And part of our in country agency fees.
HUGE miracle.  
How many people were touched by “Shoes forSofi” by sharing our story and collecting shoes or donating shoes?
We'll never know.

There is another aspect of the Shoes for Sofi story.
My dear friend Cristina Barber is an English teacher for MacArthur Middle School.
She had been collecting shoes and even counting them and storing them in her own garage.
She and  Lisa Morgan, the CLAS teacher for their district, decided to make the shoe drive a lesson for her 130 students.  
First, she printed off this post from my blog entitled "Their Story" 
Cristina explained that the blog was a type of poem.
The students then had the weekend to interpret the "poem" (my blog post) and do a circle map where they defined words...and of course they all wanted to know WHAT IS SPINA BIFIDA?
When the students came back to school on Monday, she then had a story about a girl named Andrea who has Spina Bifida along with some information about what Spina Bifida is from Kids Health.
That same day the classes discussed Angel Bins, and how they could be a solution.
The students did circle maps for both the Spina Bifida article and the Angel Bins information.
The paired off and discussed what they learned.
They went home and had to discuss what they learned with their parents.
That night, the students had to create a rough draft of a tri fold brochure explaining the whole project:
Who were the Jensen's and what are they doing?
What is Spina Bifida?
How does Angel Bins give a solution?
On the back they had to share a personal quote about the project.
They were also given one day to collect shoes if they wanted to.
Boy did they want to.
These kids were so touched by our story, by Kumaka, by Sofi.
They wanted to help.
And they wanted to know the outcome.
We were invited to school the week after the drive ended.

All five classes were invited to"meet the Jensen's" (Me, Kalani, and Kumaka) at lunchtime for a question and answer session.
We were treated like celebrities.
The kids wanted to hug Kumaka and give him high fives. 
They took turns asking questions, some directed at me and some directed at Kumaka.
These kids melted my heart.

I wanted to share some of the quotes that were given on their final projects:

"We are capable of helping others in need, such as the Jensens.  Even one donation can make a difference."    Maggie 

"Heart-warming, emotional, and more words that are far beyond."  James 

"Find out what's possible, if you never give up."  Jaymy 

"It is our job to protect the children of our generation."  Moses

" I didn't know how involved, determined, and courageous some families are, until now."                                                                                                              Luisa

"So we think a problem is going to get in the way.  No, we can achieve anything we dream of."    Sami 

"We are all different, and that's what makes up beautiful."  Arianna 

"We are capable of so much.  We start nations, we've gone to the moon, we've been to the bottom of the sea … the least we can do is bring Sofi home."  Logan 

"Money is made every day, but the bond of love the Jensens have for Sofi is once in a lifetime."   Rogelio 

"You don't have to be big or rich to make differences, all you have to do is care."  Tyler

"If we are capable of buying shoes, then we are capable of giving shoes."  Esmeralda 

Me, Kalani, Nico, Kumaka and Cristina

This teacher taught 130 children about Spina Bifida, about adoption, about supporting others in the community, about service, about children in other countries....the list goes on.  If I had my way, she would get teacher of the century award.  She is a true teacher...she loves her students as much as she loves her friends.  All of that from a shoe drive.

Amazing right?

God is good.
Miracles happen.
We have witnessed them.

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