Kate's Story: Why I Joined Project 2713
You know how when someone won’t stop talking about a certain food and then that food is all you think about for days? That’s kind of what happened when I first heard about Project 2713. Every time I talked with Sarah, practically daily, she mentioned her work founding the organization. Naturally, I was curious to know what she was doing with all of her free time.
After learning more about the mission of Project 2713, I immediately offered to help in any way I could. As it turns out, there are about a million ways to help out with such a new non-profit. I started out behind the computer screen while my kiddo was napping. With a background in administration, there was a lot I could offer - organizing, scheduling, reaching out to contacts, and creating a general foundation of paperwork. (To me, that's the fun stuff!)
Then came a volunteer opportunity in PUBLIC. With people. And talking. I should probably state here that my full-time job is raising my 2-year-old son. I spend my days having one-way repeated conversations about animal crackers and whether or not we can watch the Cars movie AGAIN. Like most people, I struggle with public speaking. But. I was free that day and I was needed so I went. Sometimes you just have to GO. I stepped out of my comfort zone, the one where I don't even have to wear real clothes most of the time, and I talked to people. It's a lot easier to start a conversation when you know what the topic will be in advance. It was the most encouraging thing to hear each person share how excited they were that an organization such as Project 2713 even existed.
My next assignment was to interview our very first grant family. They had applied for financial aid and we wanted to profile their adoption story through our website. EEK! More talking! Once I reached out to the adoptive mom though, we had an instant rapport, and the story itself was one I thoroughly enjoyed hearing. This woman was already the mother of 2 little ones when she became the emergency caregiver of her cousin’s newborn child. Due to extreme circumstances, the baby girl was not going to be able to live with her parents. This family raised the sweet little girl as one of their own and they were finally on the adoption road when they were given the option to take in another family member’s child as well. And in the face of this choice, which was not even a real question if you asked her, she said YES. She did not hesitate to open her arms wider and offer another little girl a loving home. She and her family are truly an inspiration to me and a reminder to accept His timing.
In my garden right now, even though it’s December, there are 3 tomato plants just chugging along. Here’s the thing – I didn’t plant any tomatoes this year… My compost was tilled into the garden bed in preparation for the spring and some seeds must have sprouted. I like to call this happy coincidence a “God Garden”. You don’t always know what or where He’s planting things in your life, but they will pop up when the timing is just right. If you are willing, you can let them grow into something wonderful.
I feel called to volunteer my time and skill set in order to help these families gain resources, financial aid, and even emotional support. In my life, there have been very few times I've felt compelled by Him to begin a journey I wasn't already planning. Each time has led to a more amazing and enriched life than I could have imagined without Him. Quite honestly, this is due to me opening my heart to God each time and asking for guidance as well as waiting and giving my worry to Him, all of which are so hard for me to do.
After only a few months of contributing goodness knows how many online hours and tirelessly helping Sarah to develop the growth of the organization, I was offered the open position of Secretary on the Board. WHOA NOW. ON THE BOARD? How did I get myself in this deep? That's a serious commitment. I can't just bail in a few months if I agree to that sort of thing.
And yet, how could I not jump all in? I prayed pretty hard about this decision. It actually turned out not to be a big decision after all. I knew I would accept. I knew I would follow through with this work. Because in the end, it wasn't about me - it was about helping kids find forever homes. God placed Sarah firmly in my life and He placed this Project steadfastly on my heart. I have never felt more confident about making such a selfless decision than dedicating my time and efforts to furthering families through the course of adoption.
I was so drawn to Sarah’s vision because I firmly believe that all children deserve the best in life that we can provide, and often enough, that loving environment is willingly offered by their own families. My husband has several adopted cousins and we have family friends whom we have watched go through their own adoption journeys; I have seen the positive impact that such a life changing event can have on a child. Most people have negative connotations regarding adoption, especially with the stories seen in the media, but I want to make sure that the success stories are shared with the world as well and that there are more of them.
I hope that my work with Project 2713 will bring growth and recognition to our name and our mission. I have learned so much through this experience thus far, and I am ready and willing to continue sharing the joys of children and adoption with anyone who will listen.