First of all, thank you to everyone who came out to support us and our mission to bring home Emily Hope. We were overwhelmed by your presence, hugs, words of encouragement, and donations for our cause. Because of your support, we raised $8,018 at this event! Seamus and I prayerfully decided to share $1,000 with (un)adopted. We felt a 10% tithe (plus a little extra) would be appropriate and we hope you agree. Take a look at our fundraising thermometer! (you have to view web version if you're on a smart phone) We are less than $5,000 away from being fully funded to bring home Emily Hope!
Thank you to Garth Thorpe, with (un)adopted, who shared in this great day with us. Your presentation was inspiring and we are thankful for your ministry in Christ's name.
Thank you to Joe Bergeron and some fabulous guys from St. Timothy UMC for sharing your music talent and so much of your time and energy. You guys rocked the square!
Mrs. Barbara from Bebe's Kitchen, the jambalaya was second to none! So many complimented the delicious food.
Evan McGinty, the balloon animals were a total hit with the kiddos! I'm pretty sure you had the longest line all evening. :-) Thank you for the fun!
There are hundreds of people to thank personally. I promise not to do that here. ;-) But if I could just give one more shout out to those of you who... donated, served, cooked, sang, worked, organized, ran errands, cleaned, stocked, sorted, popped, presented, and just showed up... THANK YOU! We are eternally grateful. Please know that each of you played an important role in bringing our baby girl home and even in changing hearts to bring other orphans home.
Speaking of changing hearts... Seamus and I were hopeful to raise a good bit of money at this event for our adoption expenses but this was not our primary goal for the event. We wanted God to be present, for Him to send His Spirit to open eyes to the orphan crisis and soften hearts for the ministry of adoption. This is what we prayed for. And this is what He provided!
After our presentation and lantern release, someone approached me and Seamus to share that he was thankful to be included in our day. Thankful to be included? (clear throat) Thank YOU! Then he proceeded to tell us that He was changed this night. He said when our lantern was released in honor of Emily Hope, "the deal was sealed". God had not only softened his heart to adoption but convicted him so deeply for this ministry that he'd decided he and his wife would adopt a son. Let me share that they do not have biological children yet, nor have they tried. Y'all. There is a generation of younger people so in love with the Lord that they are willing to participate in adoption before their desire to have children of their own. Mind blowing. I told this sweet man that our prayers had been answered. It was clear that God showed up on Saturday and impacted lives. We are forever changed by his testimony after our event. It is an amazing privilege to watch God work mightily in hearts.
So, about the lantern release... Ha! I'm laughing already. While planning the event, we thought it would be a beautiful ending to our presentation to have 50 Chinese lanterns released. Think "Tangled". In came 50 lanterns and they ended up being way bigger and way more difficult to light then we expected. Change of plans. Let's release 10 lanterns. Event nears. Lantern anxiety sets in. Change of plans. 5 will be pretty, right? Brady ends our event with his beautiful prayer and Seamus and Laura release a lantern in honor of Emily Hope. I must admit, it really was magnificent. Lantern #2 approaches, hole in lantern, not gonna' work. Seamus calmly walks to the sidewalk and begins stomping the lantern out. Ugh! All in honor of Emily Hope we are stomping lanterns out? Ha! Shoe catches fire. No really. Shoe catches fire. God graciously puts the fire out and we immediately signal to our volunteers not to light anymore. Phew! The whole lantern fiasco makes me laugh now but it seems uncanny that only one actually took flight. Emily Hope is one. She is one less. One less orphan in the world. I will remember that one beautiful lantern in the sky and it will always signify how Emily is ONE less.
There were a few people who stopped by to introduce themselves to us, as they too are in the international adoption process or have adopted. It was heart warming to meet them and hear their stories. It was even more heart-warming to meet the adopted children.
Seamus met a sweet lady in a Baton Rouge restaurant a few months ago after seeing her baby girl (clearly from China), and introducing himself. Turns out she and her husband also went through Lifeline to adopt a special needs baby from China! I was so excited to see them out there Saturday. I'm pretty sure I almost squeezed their little girl's cheeks off. Sorry, Vivienne! One of our best friends' little boy saw Vivienne and began screaming, "Daddy!! Emily's here!!" How totally stinking cute is that?
Before I close, I just want to reiterate something we shared at the event. If you are reading this and adoption has been on your heart in one form or another, Seamus or I would love to sit down to chat and pray with you about this. We want to encourage you and walk with you on your journey. We can answer questions and share some of our own fears and doubts. If adoption is not on your heart but you realize God's call for ALL of us to care for orphans, we would love to share other ways you can be the caring hands and feet these children need. You can message us through our Loman Adoption FB page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for all your support this past weekend (and beyond)! There really are no words to sufficiently express our gratitude. Just thank you.
Our fabulous photographer for the event was our sweet friend Anna Kathryn of AK Photography. She is truly amazing in so many ways. Check out these pics she took on Saturday!