A few weeks back I found myself unable to fall asleep.
I figured I would take a trip down memory lane and look at Jonathan and I’d friendship history on Facebook.
Sappy, I know.
Here we are on one of our very first dates – when Jonathan still had beautiful flowing locks of hair. 🙂
While the posts were a lot of fun to look over, an overwhelmingly evident truth hit me:
Our lives are not our own.
For whatever reason, God has placed Jonathan and I in positions where we have to depend and rely on others in very concrete ways. We’ve been fundraising our income for almost 9 years so we were used to not only giving to others but receiving the gifts of others’ time, talent, and treasure. Because of that, I don’t think I truly noticed at how God have repeatedly asked us to bring our relationship into the public eye and ask for the assistance and generosity of others.
A completely humbling and a vulnerable trend that this introverted and private heart of mine is slightly afraid of.
But it’s undeniable. Let’s look at the ways others stepped up and helped us:
The Wedding Contest
Anyone remember the Fairytale Wedding Contest from Hell?!?! LOL
We sure do.
It started out simply – Obtain the most likes on a certain photo and qualify to make a video which others can then vote on and the most votes will win.
This was 2011. Facebook sharing was definitely a thing but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is today. The fact we had over 750 likes was HUGE back then…and it was all because of you guys. So we got to go in studio and make a series of videos about our relationship. There were a handful of other couples we were up against, competing for votes over the course of about a week.
Less than 24 hours to go in the contest (that we were definitely winning) this random couple came up like a Dark Horse and stole the lead. We were quite dumbfounded actually because of all the couples in the contest….these two hardly even seemed like a couple. No wedding date set. Barely spoke or smiled in their video. It was bizarre.
That’s when YOU all stepped up again. Some of our friends (and let’s be honest even their friends’ friends) spied on the votes for this other couple, revealing that almost ALL their votes came from Facebook profiles created that very same day and had no friends and no profile picture.
You all turned up the heat. No way were cheaters going to take this contest from us all. In the final few hours of the contest, your help paid off and we soared ahead of the cheaters, declaring VICTORY in the Fairytale Wedding Contest.
The cheaters were overcome and the honest were victorious….how is there even more to this story?
Instead of calling to congratulate our win, WOWT called to tell us they were CANCELLING the contest altogether because one of the couples (not us) had cheated. Not offense WOWT but last time I checked, just because a losing athlete in an Olympic race was later exposed for using steroids, the Gold Medal isn’t stripped from the winner. That’s not how things are done.
AND YOU ALL CALLED IT OUT. HARRRRRRRRD. (There are close to 100 comments on that thread and several are just pure gold, LOL!)
The righteous wrath that rained down on WOWT was incredible. Jonathan and I sat back and let y’all do your thang.
Within a day, the station called to say the contest was BACK ON and that it would be a shady, through-the-night text off to victory. (Side note: The cheaters weren’t even expelled from the competition…they were allowed to still compete even after proof of cheating. Mind boggling.)
So we did the text off. Jonathan was out all night at the bars. Friends were out all night at their bars in their prospective cities. People from all over the world were texting in for us. It was unreal.
The next morning we were declared victors and 6 months later we had ourselves one heck of a wedding because of YOUR help. This last weekend we celebrated 5 years from that day! 🙂
Our lives are not our own.
A few years later we found ourselves again at the mercy of needing your assistance.
We felt it was time to begin the adoption process and were hoping to find a private match (as those are less expensive typically as there are less legal and agency fees).
On a June evening in 2014 we took some photos with a stellar friend who donated her photography talent for our adoption. We told her it was important that we get the pictures back the same night, as we wanted to put some pics up the next day online to announce we were hoping to adopt. I have no idea how or why she agreed to turn these around that fast but SHE DID.
The next morning we posted the photos on our blog and loaded them onto Facebook and asked y’all to help us find #BabyTex, wherever they may be.
While we jumped on a 5am flight to Florida and had no internet access, you guys practically broke our blog that morning with your shares. When we landed in Florida and saw what the heck was going on because of YOUR sharing, we were stunned. There were several situations that we were being alerted about that day. When my head hit the pillow that night, I heard a Facebook Messenger ding, and I felt my tummy do a flip. Another possible situation and before I even looked at the message I knew it was special. That conversation was the one that led us to Miss Josie Rosie’s amazing first family.
We could have simply gotten on a list or kept our search to ourselves but we felt a call to be vulnerable. To let you all into this area of our lives. Because of that, you led us to our daughter.
Our lives are not our own.
Fundraising for Adoption #1
Y’all led us to connecting with a birth family and practically in the same breath came to assist us in coming up with the necessary funding to be ready for the adoption.
However, it was hard in a few different ways.
Some may think it was due to disliking fundraising but that’s wasn’t it. I mean really…we’d fundriased our entire income for nearly 6 years at that point. What was humbling was that we couldn’t have children – biological or adopted – by simply just deciding to. This is typically a very intimate decision that families have the privilege of keeping behind closed doors. Certainly with biological kiddos but even in most adoption situations, while it’s usually public knowledge the couple is adopting, a majority don’t fundraise. Perhaps they will ask for help finding a match but that’s where request for assistance ends…and that wasn’t an option for us. We were invited to lay ourselves at the mercy of others’ generosity in an insanely vulnerable aspect of life.
We designed an adoption puzzle and so many of you joined us in that. We raised about 70% of the overall costs and when combined with what we’d been scrimping and saving we had juuuuuust enough to cover everything.
We also had people give us free flight vouchers to California as well as arrange a lovely family (whom we met when we showed up at their house!) to stay with in Sacramento while we waiting for legal documents needed to fly home.
Our lives are not our own.
Ready to Adopt Again
When Josie joined the Teixeira clan we were and still are OVER THE MOON to have the honor and joy of being her parents. She is simply just a delight – so warm, affectionate, silly, and social.
As we watched her grow (and become obsessed with playing with other children LOL) we knew it was time to multiply the love within our family again – to be touched by the beauty of another child and sibling.
In all honesty, we sat on this desire for a lot longer than we should have. Partly because of the cost of the adoption process but partly because I wanted to try for biological kiddos again and didn’t know how others would perceive us if we were open to conceiving AND adopting at the same time. I stopped taking Domperidone (medicine I used to induce lactation) last Fall and soon thereafter got my cycles back. Month after month after month and no pregnancy (damn you infertility for not miraculously healing yourself while I was nursing) and I knew adoption was the next step.
We took photos again with our awesome and talented friend, Alzbeta.
But then I stalled again.
She sent us the images and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything with them….especially when I realized my hair made me look like a Conehead.
But then I had a dream about adoption (which can’t go into but will in future blog post of its own) and it was clear we needed to get those pictures up. That very same day, we launched the blog posts and shared it on Facebook. You all came to the rescue as joyful as last time, ready to send the smoke signals out in the online world and help us make a connection with a birth family.
While nothing immediately came together like last time (Really, how many times could a same day match happen?) we had about 25 people share a specific adoption situation with me from a blogger who occasionally shares situations and asks others to get the word out. While we were interested in that situation, we had this gut feeling like it wasn’t the one to pursue. Can’t explain it more than that.
BUT fast-forward a few months and I saw a new blog post from this blogger (that I only started following because of YOU GUYS) and there was a baby due in December 2016. We inquired, submitted our profile, and were chosen.
Our lives are not our own.
Fundraising for Adoption #2
While we had confidence that God would provide and that y’all would come along side us in raising funds for this impending adoption, it began with a lot of worries due to fearing others and their perceptions of us. I am a sensitive gal with super thin skin and if someone has judged me incorrectly, it weighs severely on me.
We couldn’t afford adoption the first go -round so why couldn’t we just “get it together” and be able to afford it the second time around?
People were excited last time but now they’re tired of you.
Why don’t you just take on debt, liquidate your house or retirement, sell an organ etc. to do this ON YOUR OWN?
We submitted our profile on a Friday and ALL WEEKEND LONG I panicked and freaked about how we would afford this without doing something really extreme and unwise, as mentioned in above ideas. I was afraid of fundraising and just wanted to be done with needing others to do life.
That same weekend I got a Facebook message from a friend I haven’t seen in years. She had gotten a raise at work and when praying, she felt that the tithe should go to our family for our next adoption situation.
Yea. When literally no one but Jonathan and I and our immediate family knew about this situation and my fears, God providentially asked a sister in Christ to speak to me through her actions: I’m asking you to fundraise again AKA trust me in this super vulnerable way once again.
So we’ve launched another puzzle and so many of you have once again joined us in raising these adoption costs.
Believe me when I say we’re doing a LOT behind the scenes to scrimp, save, and find extra income (just like last time but on steroids LOL) and I am sure we will come into our deadlines with juuuuuuust enough once again.
Our lives are not our own.
I have no idea what our future looks (although we have no plans to ever enter a Facebook contest or fundraise for adoption again) like but I am finally convinced of two things:
- God will take care of us no matter what comes our way
- Our lives are not our own.
Our lives have taken an EXTREME form of dependence on others’ generosity. This ain’t normal folks, LOL. It’s not because we are special, it’s just how God’s will has shown itself. There are times when I feel blessed and honored by this life God asks us to live but also times I want to know why he’s trying to slowly kill me with the non-traditional things he regularly asks us to do. I doubt this trend will stop today but I’m not afraid anymore.
While we have gotten a huge dose of realizing our lives are not our own, it has taught me ultimately that no one’s lives are simply their own.
We all need each other. No one exists in a vacuum. Some will have needs that are obvious – finances, food, shelter, transportation, sharing a contest photo on social media, winter coats, etc. But others will have needs not seen by the naked eye – friendship, kindness, a listening ear, invitations to outings, meals delivered in stressful seasons, a few hours away from kiddos, a latte when their newborn was up hourly the night before, a neighbor to check-in, etc.
Not one of us exists to live simply on our own. We are all needy and it’s not a bad thing. We were all created for relationship, as we were made in the image of a Triune God. He exists in an eternal relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because we are made by him, he created us to need one another because being in relationship with others is at the core of who we are and what brings true joy in life. When people are cut off and starved of relationships, it creates hardships, massive burdens, and holes left unfilled.
This life wasn’t meant to be done alone.
I hope I am a person who continues to boldly believe that I need you. But not just that. That you need me too. And as someone who’s been blessed by countless lives, I want in turn to be as generous as possible with each and every person I have the privilege of encountering this side of heaven.
No one’s lives are their own.