Monday, October 26, 2015

Dear Walmart

Dear WalMart,

Yesterday I failed. The lady in line in front of me did not have enough money to pay for all of her groceries.  It could have been any of us.  It could have been me.  There have been times when I have said a silent prayer while stressing out over each item being rung up.  Maybe I could squeeze another week's worth of toothpaste out of the tube at home.  Should I put the Orange Juice back?  I stand there trying to mentally calculate how much more money the remaining items on the conveyor belt are going to cost me.

Yesterday I had enough money, but someone else did not.  I understood all too well how she felt as she realized she was going to have to put some stuff back.  I tried to give her my best "it's all going to be ok" smile as she made a phone call to find out why her card was denied.  I didn't know what to say to her, but I wanted to tell her that it was ok - I wasn't upset and I wasn't judging her.

As she went through her cart and pulled out items to return I struggled, not knowing how to react.  As the items to be returned stacked up I offered to get an empty cart to put them in.  Did I just add to her embarrassment?  I didn't mean to.  I just wanted to help.

How much money do we have in our bank account?  Do we have enough to buy her groceries?  Her bill was larger than ours for the week.  Maybe I could afford to pay for part of it?  How do I do this?  What do I say?  What can I eliminate from my cart to help her pay for the items in hers?

I was frozen in place, wanting to help, but unsure of what I could do or say to make the situation better.   She kept pulling items out of her cart.  I watched her dig through the bags trying to make a decision on which items to keep and which ones to put back.  My heart broke as she tried to explain to her child why he couldn't have his favorite cereal this week.  Inside I was screaming at myself to do something, anything, just do something.  This woman needed help and I just stood there. 

Kenneth did what I did not have the guts to do.  He silently took out his own bank card and paid for her groceries.

Who is Kenneth?  The cashier - a Walmart employee.  He probably broke some rules in the employee handbook when he swiped his own card, but he is winning at life.  I had the privilege of talking to Kenneth a few weeks ago when I got lucky enough to get in his line for the first time.  He was kind and  patient and soft spoken.  He kept a conversation going with me, asking about my kids and what position my son played on the football team while he bagged my groceries and put them in the cart for me.  I went home that day and told my husband about the really kind cashier I had met at Walmart that day.  When I got in line yesterday I smiled as I recognized that same friendly face behind the register. 

The world needs more Kenneth's.  I need to be more like Kenneth.  I cried as I stood in the parking lot yesterday putting my groceries in the trunk and I promised myself that I would not let that moment happen again.  The very next time I came across an opportunity to help someone I would say yes without hesitating.  I would be more like Kenneth. 

Today I got my chance as I responded to a post on Facebook asking for help.  My family has adopted another family for Thanksgiving.  In the coming weeks I will sit down with my husband and children and make a list of all the yummy foods we enjoy eating on Thanksgiving Day.  We will go shopping together to purchase all the ingredients which will in turn be donated to a local food pantry to be given to our adopted family. This year we will do all of our shopping at Walmart and I will be looking for Kenneth when choosing a check-out lane so I can thank him for making a difference.

Thank you for hiring Kenneth.

Monday, October 12, 2015

We're adopting!!

- for all future time; for always

We have been a family for the past two years.  A family that has lived life one day at a time not knowing what the future held or how much time we would have together.  Soon we will have all the legal paperwork making us a Forever Family.  We will go to bed each night knowing that no matter what happened today, tomorrow we will still have each other and no one can take that away from us.

There are two moments in time I wish I could have captured to share with all of you.  First is the moment we sat down with the kids one-on-one and asked them what they wanted for the future.  We were prepared to help them get what they wanted, even if it meant their future wasn't with us.  Each one of them said they wanted us to adopt them, they wanted to stay here forever, they wanted to call us mom and dad.  Second is the day they realized that this adoption is really going to happen.  We had talked to the kids about what had to happen in order for the adoption to take place and when all those pieces started falling into place and the kids realized that this is really happening - oh that moment.  I will never forget that moment.  Kids try to play it cool, act all tough like nothing bothers them.  The moment they realized that this adoption is really going to happen there was no hiding their true feelings.  The way their faces lit up - I'm crying right now thinking about it.  One of the best moments of my life.

Now we are in the process of making those dreams come true, but you guys adoption is expensive. Adoption doesn't happen without lawyers and lawyers are not cheap.  Legal paperwork is expensive. It costs money to go to court.  We have to have our home, ourselves, our family approved by strangers.  We have to pay them money to come into our home, look around, talk to to us, and make a decision as to whether or not we are fit to continue being parents to these kids.

Now to answer some questions we are commonly asked.  Our kids are not foster kids and they have never been in the foster system.  They may tell you they are foster kids simply because it makes the explanation easier.  There are a few criteria that exclude us from many of the grants and fundraisers out there for adoption.  1. They are not foster kids. 2 They are not babies. 3. They are not from a foreign country. 4. They are already living with us. 5. We are not adopting through an adoption agency.  Not meeting some of those criteria means that we were able to keep the cost of our adoption to a smaller amount.  We have worked with our lawyer and done what we can to keep the costs to a minimum, but the fees are still adding up fast.

Asking for help is not my strong point.  I do not like asking for help.  Being a parent has taught me that I can't do it all on my own.  It really does take a village to raise kids.  You are part of our tribe, our village of people. When you pray for our family you are part of our tribe. When you open your arms and embrace us, you are part of our tribe.  When you ask my kids how school is going and really listen to their answer, you are part of our tribe.  When you buy a fundraiser item to support the kids extra curricular activities, you are part of our tribe.  When you send us an email letting us know you are thinking about our family, you are part of our tribe.  You all have given us so much already by just being there.  Our kids are surrounded by people who love them. We have been blessed by you so much over the past two years.  There are not words to express what a difference you have already made in our lives.

We have started a YouCaring page where donations can be made to assist with our legal fees. We would appreciate anything you can help with.  We are researching some additional fundraising ideas that we may be sharing with you in the future as well.  We are also looking into some ways that we can pay it forward.  We would like to thank you for generosity by paying it forward and blessing others.  Know that when you help us you are helping more than just this family.  More details to come!

Click here to read the story of how the kids came to live with us.

Click here to make a monetary donation that will help us achieve the goal of becoming a forever family.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers as we continue on this journey of becoming a forever family.