Monthly Archives: February 2009

The Lazy Art of Writing a Support Letter

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If you call God your father and have served him through expensive experiences chances are you’ve done it. You didn’t write what you wanted to, but what you thought you should. Unfortunately, I’m writing this post mainly to myself. Sorry for having to include you in this.

 

“I’ve read it a thousand times. Here it is, I’m about to get hit up.”

 

“Dear ___fill in name here (handwritten only, it means more)_____,

Here’s where we’re going…

Here’s why…

Here’s how much it will cost…

Here’s why I’ll never be the same and they’ll never be the same…

What we really need is your prayer. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to slip it in the end (although we all knew it was coming), If you feel so burdened to give to this you can send the checks to _________________.

              Dutifully Christian and lying out my butt, ______________________.”

(including a small handwritten note at the bottom often bumps up my giving by $20. It’s an old trick)

 

It’s fake, it’s dishonest, and it’s weak. I always ask, “Do they REALLY believe in this experience/opportunity or do they think they have to go? Do they believe this has a chance of changing history? Do they really want to see God blow them away?” I don’t think most of us do. We KNOW they are writing for money…so why not just bluntly ask me for it?

 

I have begun to understand that God lives in a different economy, and he has a side job running the one we live in. Why are we afraid to claim for him what is already his? We need to raise $30,000 that will change the lives of our family (biological and Kingdom) forever. Do we believe we can claim the call we have in God’s name…or are we worried about being CPC (Christian Politically Correct)?  

 

Julie wrote a support letter for the adoption of our two kids with gusto and passion…until the last sentence that is. Until she had to ask people for something. She asked me to look it over. I told her I’d seen a thousand just like it, and I wondered if people would even give to it out of joy…or just duty. She reworked the letter.

 

We are now boldly asking for people’s money and prayer. We are reminding people that we need them and love them and can’t do this without them. We are working our butts off to make extra money and be creative in how to save the money we already have. It feels great (and weird) to boldly invite others we know and love into this with us. We might tick off one or two, but I hope we inspire fifty. We have experienced the deep freedom of claiming something. We are inviting God to accompany us into deep and scary places, and we wait expectantly.

 

If we REALLY believe that partnering in God’s work yields the greatest blessings possible on this earth then we will ask differently. We will not want to deny the blessings that others can share in. Claim it boldly! I am not saying that prayer isn’t a HUGE part of this process, we are actually trying to gather a group of people who will become our prayer team through this process. I see it this way; we are asking those who believe in God to switch economies as much as humanly possible, to keep heavenly eyes in a tangible world. We are inviting people to either be ticked off or blessed richly. We’re okay with either one, but please don’t give to us out of duty.

 

P.S. You’ll find our support letter below 🙂

– Alan –

 

Adoption Support Letter

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It’s time for another adventure!

Alan and I have decided that our lives just aren’t crazy enough. I’m working at the local pregnancy center and attending graduate school to become a counselor. Alan is working as a high school pastor and doing some odd jobs on the side. To youth group, work, school, family, and a little bit of a social life we’ve decided to add one more thing… parenting!

 

No, I’m not pregnant. J We’re adopting! We’re starting the paperwork to adopt two siblings under five years old from Ethiopia. We are excited to let you peek into our passion for adopting.

 

I have been involved in orphan ministry since I was 17. Most of my travels took me to Russia to work with orphans at camps and orphanages. These trips gave me a common bond with orphans and a deep desire to be a mother to orphans someday. I even told Alan before we got engaged that if he wanted to marry me, it meant adopting kids. J

 

We’ve prayed about this a lot and are very excited for this new adventure. We’ve decided to adopt before trying to have biological children because we really want our adopted children to know that they were our plan all along. We’ve decided to adopt two kids for a few reasons:

 

1) Since our children will be of a different ethnicity and origin than us, we want them to have someone else in the family to relate to.

2) We want to provide the opportunity for siblings to stay together.

3) It is cheaper to get two at one time than to get one and go back later for another.

 

We’ve chosen Ethiopia for a few reasons as well. We decided that Africa is really where we want to adopt. All you have to do is pick up the newspaper or turn on your TV to hear about all the poverty, AIDS, and orphans in Africa. Ethiopia alone has over 4.6 million orphans.

We have heard the call… now it’s time to answer.

 

Adopting two children from Africa will be no easy task, and we’re going to need all the help we can get. One of our goals is to raise $30,000 in addition to raising up a team of prayer warriors to cover us. We realize this is a huge task, but our God is much bigger. Alan and I have both taken on side jobs whenever available to help earn extra cash. We’ve opened an adoption savings account and are watching God grow it. We have a few fundraisers planned over the next year as well. The $30,000 will cover all our adoption expenses, our travel to Ethiopia, the four of us getting home, and purchasing furniture and other kid necessities for our home. (We’re still living with my parents and plan to stay in their home while we adopt to save money.)

 

We believe deeply in this call, and we ask boldly for your financial support. Without our community we won’t be able to do this emotionally, physically, or financially. If you can dedicate to pray for us please send us your picture, and if you would like to provide a monetary gift you can email us for our address: juliebriggsis(at)gmail(dot)com

 

We thank God for all of you and all the

ways you’ve journeyed with us.

 

Alan and Julie

Why we’re on this road

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I was sitting in the car alone. The letter Julie had given me was burning a hole through the dashboard. It looked serious. What kind of bomb was she going to drop on me? I thought the worst, of course. We had been dating about five months, and I thought I knew where this relationship was heading. I looked around, as if a friend was going to punk me and pop up at just the wrong moment. With sweaty palms and a heart pounding like a jackhammer I opened the letter.

“God has made me to mother orphans“. That’s pretty much the summary, but I knew it was only the intro. She had written “once upon a time”, and I had to figure out the rest. It was really quite simple; If I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Julie I would be a father to orphans. She had mentioned this jokingly before. Huh, guess it wasn’t a joke. I had always been attracted to her deep heart for those Jesus nicknamed “the least of these.” Julie knows theology better than I do, because she had come to understand that Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said “the least will be the greatest.”

In that moment I pictured my kids looking different than me for the first time. I no longer pictured pale blond boys with azure eyes, but the multicolored family canvas that God would be painting our future on. I must also mention that Julie is one of the most relaxed and easy-going people I know. In other words, I had not seen her put her foot down this way before. In her own words she was saying “If you marry me you are going to have to adopt. If not, I can’t marry you.”

Although not every moment has been simple or easy, I am so excited to be part of this amazing process. It is no longer Julie’s dream but OUR dream. I have heard it said that married couples share their calling, and I have come to understand that. We share this dream and we will share the joy, hard work, cost, and weight of both adopting kids and raising them.

My brother and sister-in-law took part in the miracle of adoption just over two years ago. Little did we know J.R. and I would share this common bond. I don’t think my mom ever dreamed that nearly all of her grandkids would not have her genes, her son’s smile, or her daughter-in-law’s eyes. Life is full of surprises!

In the first week of March we will be contacting Gladney Center for Adoption to receive our packet and begin the process of adoption. We have decided to adopt two siblings from Ethiopia. Parts of this process seem scary, but we are filled with excitement at what is to come. People, including us, are full of questions about this process.

How long? The process will take many months, probably over a year.

How much? Around $30,000 for these two little ones

Why adopt before having biological kids? We desire to show our kids that they WERE our plan, not an afterthought.

Why two? We want our kids to have a sense of common connection and origin

What ages? Under five years old

What names? Not telling

What genders? No idea

What else? We have no idea, but we will find out as we go

                                                                                                        -Alan-