Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we started our journey to adopt Katie, I thought we were *just* adopting a child.  Bringing a child without a home into our family and into our hearts.  We have talked about all of the things we will teach Katie - things we will teach her about people, and things we will teach her about the world.  I never really considered what she would teach me. 

I had a call today from my friend Brandi, who works at our bank.  We use a small bank, and they have a Coins for Katie cup out on the counter at the teller windows.  Brandi said that lots of people put in change after they cash a check.  Today a man was asking Brandi about the Coins for Katie cup, and she was telling him about Katie and our adoption.  He gave her a twenty dollar bill and asked her to put it in the cup.  Brandi thanked him and told him how excited we would be.  He left the building, but a few minutes came back in.  He came back to Brandi and said he counted his money when he got outside, and he asked her for the twenty dollar bill back.  What was she supposed to do?!  So she gave it back to him.  He gave her a one hundred dollar bill to replace it.  This man is a total stranger to us!

Today I left work at 4:30 and I was running to the bank to make a deposit before it closed.  As I was approaching my car, my cell phone rang.  It was my office, asking me to come back.  I'm not going to lie - I was irritated at first.  I really had to get to the bank, and I knew if I went back I wouldn't make it.  I drove around and parked in front of my office.  When I walked into the lobby, I saw Kirk, his client R., R.'s parents, and a friend of R.'s family.  They had seen the flier that we have hanging in our window for our Coins for Katie pancake breakfast and asked Kirk who the little girl was.  Kirk explained that we are adopting her and working hard to raise the money to bring her home.  They told Kirk they would like to make a donation to help, and that's when they called me to come back to the office.  I told them about Katie, and that she has Down syndrome.  I told her that we're working hard to get the money we need to bring her home, and that we are waiting for a travel date.  I told her how excited we are to bring her home to us.  

And they thanked us.  They thanked us for opening our hearts and our home to Katie, and they told me that they are from a country that has great poverty.  They explained that they have seen the difference a family and love can make in the life of a child.  They have started a school and an orphanage in their native country.  They told me that they were honored to meet me, and that they very much wanted to be a part of our fundraising.  And they gave us $1,000.  One. Thousand. Dollars.  Are you kidding me?  I had literally never met these folks before today.  That these people - total strangers to our family - would be so giving, so generous, and so selfless is amazing to me.  They were so sincere and genuine, and I could tell by the looks on their faces that it made them as happy to give their donation as it made me to receive it.  They did not make their donation because they were looking for recognition.  They donated to us because they truly wanted to help bring our sweet girl home.  

I am so fortunate to work with people who are incredibly giving.  I get to help people every day through hard times in their life, and that help is coming back to me in spades.  I work with the most amazing group of people who are as supportive as my family.  Many of my clients have turned into friends.  The support we have received can never be repaid.  Katie has no idea what is waiting for her at the end of her rainbow!

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