We’re doing something we haven’t done before, and I think I love it! The DeJong Family has a One Mission Fund to raise money for the adoption of these precious twins in Haiti.

Kate DeJong, their mama, writes her story so beautifully and how lucky are we that she has shared it with us!!? This mama’s heart… it’s a good one.  Read on, dear friends!

Guest post by: Kate DeJong

Once Upon A Time

Our adoption journey began 35 years ago. I was five years old and happily living out childhood in Michigan. Meanwhile, across the ocean, a little boy in Bangladesh was born and placed in an orphanage. In time, that little boy became my beloved brother. Yet months before a dear nun placed him into our arms, my heart swelled for him and my understanding of family grew deeper. Adoption gave me the gift of my brother and so much more as it enriched my soul and influenced my approach to life.

God’s hand in my brother’s life set the foundation for our own adoption journey. Nearly twenty years after his homecoming, my husband and I met while serving as missionary teachers in the Dominican Republic. At one point during our years in the DR, we took a weekend trip to Haiti. That trip stirred our souls in such a rich way. The groundwork leading us to our Haitian-born children was being built upon. Reflecting on specific moments, it’s evident that God was preparing us. Mark’s heart was also drawn to orphans. Consequently, when we entered marriage, we knew that in God’s timing our family would grow through adoption.

After ten years of marriage and three biological children turned us into a family of five, DeJong Familywe officially began the process to bring our children home from Haiti. That was four years ago. Back then we couldn’t have imagined the beautiful, though sometimes hard lessons God would teach us through this journey. At that time, it was all about faith, family and paperwork. Since then it’s been faith, family, paperwork, hope, perseverance, waiting, grace, trusting, provisions…. and so much more!

When we began our adoption journey in 2013, we knew the expenses would be overwhelming. Yet as the numbers came in, our limitations became quite apparent. Despite financial doubts, we proceeded in obedience to God, trusting our provider and following our hearts to our children in Haiti. While His hand has always been evident in our adoption journey, we never could have anticipated how He would reveal himself through fundraising. Upon humbly sharing our financial needs, His loving affirmation and provisions poured in from our community.  Fundraising has taken several different forms in the past four years.  Most recently, our fundraising has featured two logos dear to our hearts: the One Mission logo and our adoption logo.  These two logos featured together on quality apparel has eased our hearts, provided much-needed financial support, and lifted our spirits during some pretty tough times in our waiting.  Turns out there may be something to retail therapy. 😉

The Beauty Behind the Logo

Within the first year of our adoption journey, a talented friend created our adoption logo.  Michelle, owner of The Wordsmiths, artistically united a Haitian metal piece, scripture and an old hymn that were each meaningful to us.  The strength and artistic talent behind each piece of metal art is inspiring.  So is God, the artist of our adoption.  The particular piece we were drawn to was a tree with birds.  A tree symbolizes life, strength, seasons and growth.  The birds represent our family members.  The birds in the tree represent the five of us here, waiting for our two in Haiti.  Those two sweet souls are depicted on a branch that isn’t yet connected to our tree.  Likewise, the birds serve as a reminder of how God holds His creatures.  A portion of Matthew 6 speaks to my often anxious, waiting heart. There is so very little that I can do to physically care for my children while they are in Haiti. Likewise, there is little I can do to move paperwork along in the system. But Jesus calms my heart with his words.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:25-33

In my prone-to-worry nature, I am calmed by the truth that He provides for each of us each every single day. In His infinite wisdom and perspective, he sees the five of us here in Michigan and our two children in Haiti at the same time.

In addition to scripture, an old hymn has been a beautiful reminder of the promises we can claim in this adoption journey and beyond. His Eye Is On The Sparrow by Civilla D. Martin brings peace to my hopeful heart and mind.

Why should I feel discouraged?

Why should the shadows come?

Why should my heart be lonely

and long for heaven and home,

when Jesus is my portion?

My constant friend is he:

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me;

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.

 Refrain:

I sing because I’m happy, (I’m happy)

I sing because I’m free, (I’m free)

for his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.

 “Let not your heart be troubled,”

his tender word I hear,

and resting on his goodness,

I lose my doubts and fears;

though by the path he leadeth

but one step I may see:

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me;

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.         

 

Whenever I am tempted,

whenever clouds arise,

when song gives place to sighing,

when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to him,

from care he sets me free:

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me;

his eye is on the sparrow,

and I know he watches me.         

Beyond the care given to the sparrow and us, another theme has also been foundational in our adoption.  Love. It is because of a mighty love that we persevere. It is because of a gracious love that we have the privilege of being parents to all five of our children. We’ve drawn on this love and have celebrated this love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

And so, our adoption logo was gifted to us and always brings to mind the scripture and hymn that have sustained us in the past four years.

When One Logo Met Another Logo

Last year the One Mission logo (also a tree) entered our hearts along with our adoption logo. Of course, as God works, the union of these two logos (or missions) really started over 30 years ago in a small town in Minnesota when two third grade boys became friends. Who would have thought?  The short of it is that these two besties have remained close and their wives fell quickly into a deep friendship.  The wife of one bestie is from Mount Vernon, Iowa.  She knew all about One Mission and shared it with the wife of the other bestie (that would be me).  And the rest is history!

A year ago John and Amanda (the amazing beings behind One Mission) turned our adoption logo and verse into a design for apparel. We were thrilled.  I vividly remember opening the email with the draft of their design and bursting into tears. They perfectly understood and envisioned how the logo, hymn and verse would work together on a piece of clothing.  With ease we set up our One Mission profile and the orders came in. Family and friends began placing orders and in no time, we were seeing this dear-to-our-hearts design in our day to day lives! Each order and donation has felt like a huge embrace of love and encouragement.

There’s something both beautiful and powerful about walking into an event and seeing one or more “love” shirts being worn. All five of us have come to quickly spot the different One Mission apparel and designs. Whenever we see someone sporting these goods in order to support our adoption, our hearts are flooded with gratitude.  Our biological children have even commented on this.  It blesses their hearts to know we aren’t alone in longing for our family to be complete.  Seeing others wearing One Mission clothing or seeing One Mission art prints in homes brings on a rush of sincere thanksgiving to the friends and family member who gifted our adoption with their funds. It’s gratitude for their faith in this calling. A close friend once said, “We may not be called to adopt but we are called to support those who do.” One Mission has created a meaningful and fun avenue to receive support and encouragement from our community.  Yet ultimately it comes from our Heavenly Father.  It’s His sweet reminder that he’s holding our children, providing for our family and in a journey of much unknown, He is in complete control.

Putting the Fun in Fundraising

Last spring we had some fun with our One Mission fundraising. For one month, we held a “spread the love” campaign. It was a way for us to raise support while also giving back to the village that has blessed us abundantly. We asked our supporters to post their One Mission purchases (with or without our adoption logo) DeJong Family Adoptionand our profile link on Facebook. Each post would earn entries into a drawing for One Mission gift cards. Each purchase posted would earn an entry and each link to our profile would earn another entry. At the end of the month, we were able to gift four members of our village with a One Mission gift card. This “campaign” was a success in several regards. The funds raised during this time were significant. Likewise, the encouragement gifted to us through this time was vital. We were in the throws of deep hope for our legal referral to come through and feeling a bit lost. The timing couldn’t have been better! The letter we wrote to our village to explain this campaign is included at the end of this blog post. If you’re inclined to have some fun in the same way, feel free to use and/or modify our letter!

Long Awaited Referral & Belonging

Several months after the “spread the love” campaign ended, we finally got our long-awaited referral. God has chosen to complete our family with twin three year olds. We have a son and daughter in Haiti.  In August of 2016, we met our youngest two children. When adopting from Haiti, adoptive parents get to spend two weeks bonding with their child(ren) shortly after the referral is issued. Following those two weeks, we adoptive parents know something incredibly hard; saying good-bye to our children without knowing when they will see them again. There are countless memories of those two weeks that we hold dear. One moment we hold especially close to our hearts was when we gifted One Mission “love” shirts to our twins.  We had worn our “love” shirts to the orphanage on that particular morning.  After settling in with the twins, we pulled out a purple “love” shirt for our daughter and a blue one for our son.  While we greatly appreciate the beautiful meaning and stories of support behind the shirts, our children saw one thing. Their shirts matched their papa and mama’s shirts. Belonging. We belong together. We couldn’t get those cozy One Mission shirts on them fast enough. That was over six months ago. They recently outgrew their 2T “love” shirts and we’ve sent down larger ones.  How we pray that we will have them home before they need the next size!

Happily Ever After

God is continuing to write the story of our adoption. We realize that even once our beloved children are home and the seven of us are finally together we will continue to learn and grow. Like our Heavenly Father’s adoption of all of us, our family’s adoption story is one that will last a lifetime.  In His grace, our story will go beyond what we know here and into the chapters of eternity that only He can write.

-Kate DeJong

******************      “Spread the Love” Campaign Letter     ******************

Note from One Mission: This is the letter the DeJong’s used for their “Spread the Love” contest among their village of supporters.  And guess what?  They said you can use this/adapt this for YOUR cause!

Our dear village, because we have been so blessed by you all, we want to give back a little something while spreading the word about our fundraiser (with a little social media savvy). When you share with your friends on FB, we see the direct impact it makes for our One Mission fundraiser (plus seeing the awesome products others are snagging is fun too!).

Spread the love! Purchase, post and enter to win! For each purchase you post (either on our FB page or your FB page) you get an entry into a drawing for a One Mission gift card valued at $25. There will be four $25 gift cards to be won! Use the gift card for more great products for yourself or gifts. Think of upcoming celebrations like birthdays, Mother’s day, graduations and teacher gifts.

You get one entry for each product (t-shirts, jewelry, artwork, note cards, etc…) posted. If your sweet face is in the picture, you get an extra entry in the drawing. If your kids are sporting shirts and are in the picture, you get an entry for each child sporting a t-shirt.

Bonus! If you share our fundraiser link on your FB page, you get another entry. That means you don’t even have to make a purchase! Just share the love by posting the link.

Please be sure to tag us in your post so we can keep track and enter you as many times as possible. We’d love for you to have fun with this too! It means SO much that you’re joining us in this. THANK YOU!

The drawing will be ________. Posts will be entered in the drawing through _______. (Most purchases are shipped within 7 days. If your item doesn’t come prior to end date, you can use a stock photo from One Mission’s website.)

If you’re not on FB, no worries! You can send your picture to me via email or a text. Please be sure to let me know if I can post your photos on FB.

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To read more from Kate, visit her blog here.

To view their One Mission Fund, click here.