I've written about my best friend Tracy a fair amount in these parts. Sometimes overtly and sometimes as an unnamed friend to respect her privacy. After all, when we met at age 15, she never could have guessed some of our stories would be immortalized for all time on the Internet.
Tracy, her husband Joel, and daughter Anna are a big part of my life. They are not just friends but family. This August will mark 10 years of marriage for Tracy and Joel and I still believe they're as good for each other as I did the first time I met Joel. They have known hardship and difficulty, including chronic illness and lost pregnancies, and through it all, I have been impressed by their abiding faith and honesty.
Last year they decided to pursue domestic adoption and it has been an honor to witness this process. To that end, they decided to partner with Both Hands, an awesome organization dedicated to caring for the orphan, the widow, and adoptive families.
Joel and Tracy have assembled a team and this Saturday they'll work on Miss Helen's house. (More on this in a bit.)
It will be an exciting day but also bittersweet. When the team met for an "envelope stuffing" party last month, Joel and Tracy included the news they had been matched with a birth mother. We thought they'd have the baby with them on Project Day. At the last second, the birth mother decided to parent. It's been heartbreaking. I had so hoped they'd have one of the happy, easy adoption stories but it is not to be and I would give anything to make it better.
This makes the Both Hands Project that much more important. They will need to recoup their losses financially and emotionally before they can move forward with adoption.
I'm asking you to partner with them and I do not do this lightly.
Both Hands enables families to raise money for their adoption by making repairs on a widow's house. Their mission is this: "'to serve widows, orphans, and adoptive families.' Our purpose is to help people raise funds for orphans while serving widows through home improvement projects." I love how this is both/and. My years working for hospice has given me a heart for the widow and how easily they can become marginalized.
The adoptive family finds a widow in need, assembles a team, asks for supplies to be donated, and then spends the day making repairs. In a sense, you're sponsoring someone similar to Race for the Cure or Hike for Discovery.
As mentioned above, Joel and Tracy will be working on Miss Helen's house this Saturday April 12. Miss Helen's husband died 2 years ago after 44 years of marriage. Her home is in urgent need of repairs inside and out. The Eckerts loved meeting Miss Helen (and her dog) right from the start and see this as the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Which means I'm looking forward to meeting Miss Helen, too.
(Full disclosure: I will be at the Festival of Faith and Writing this Saturday (what are the freaking odds?!) and therefore unable to participate in the project. However, Miss Helen's house needs more work than can be done in a day so I plan on helping out after the fact.)
Here's how you can help:
1. Pray. Pray for Joel, Tracy, and Anna as they prepare to welcome a new little one in to their family, whenever that day may be. Pray for them as they grieve the adoption that was not to be. Pray for the Both Hands project, that all would go well, that the necessary supplies would be donated, and that it would be a blessing to Miss Helen. Pray for Miss Helen as this day will surely be bittersweet for her, too. It means so much knowing you're in this with us.
To avoid the PayPal processing fees, you can mail donation checks payable to:
PO Box 2713
Brentwood, TN 37024
Please attach a piece of paper indicating your giving preference for "Eckert adoption fund #139." For tax purposes, please do not mark the designation on your check.
They'll be sharing before-and-after pictures after Saturday and I'll be sure to link to those then.
I cannot wait to see how God works through this process. I cannot wait to meet my new niece- or nephew-in-love. Thank you in advance. Any questions?