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Redeeming the Wait: Fundraiser #4

November 30, 2011

OK, so, this really isn’t a fundraiser story. But it is the continuation of our story of God’s jaw-dropping, astounding provision for our adoption. So I’m going to stick with the “fundraiser” theme.

For those who don’t know, Tim is a special education teacher and non-staff pastor at our church, and I (Sarah) am a stay-at-home mom. So, needless to say, we rely on Tim’s teaching salary to pay our bills. For those of you familiar with the world of education, you know that teacher salaries don’t exactly break the bank. Now, I am in no way complaining. Tim’s salary is sufficient to meet all our needs and allow me to stay home with our kids, which is the only job I want to have at this season of my life. I am exceedingly grateful for Tim’s job and that his paycheck is exactly what we need to live on. Truly, truly thankful.

That said, there is very little “wiggle room” in our budget for major expenses, such as, oh, I don’t know, an international adoption. Hence the reason we had to/are having to fundraise. When we started this adoption process, we knew that Tim’s salary is what it is. Sufficient to meet our needs but not very useful for financing an international adoption. And there you have it. We knew we could not rely on any windfalls, bonuses, etc. associated with his paycheck because… well… that just doesn’t happen in education. Ever. For any reason. Business world, sure, bonuses are standard practice, practically expected at least once a year. Education- no way, huh uh, forget about it.  We knew the money would have to come from somewhere other than Tim’s job. And we were fine with that.

Well, a few weeks into the school year, Tim received a notice from the front office that he needs to come sign for a check. Tim thought this was bizarre because his paycheck is alway directly deposited into our checking account and a stub is just placed in his box. When he goes to sign for the check, the front office clerk explains that the state of Texas gave districts extra money for incentive bonuses for teachers whose students had passed the TAKS test (Texas’ standardized test). This in and of itself is shocking news, because, as I mentioned earlier, bonuses are unheard of in education. So Tim signs for the check and opens it as he walks down the hall, expected maybe an extra $250 or some token “good job” amount like that (which would have been more bonus than he had ever received before and we would have been very grateful for it). When he opened the check, he took one look at it and thought, “There must be some mistake.” He rushed home after school to tell me, and I said the exact same thing, “This can’t be right. There must be some mistake.” But it was no mistake. In the middle of federal and state budget crisises, God ordained that my educator husband would receive a sizable bonus from his district, pushing us one step closer to our adoption.

Here is the part of the story that is even more insane. A few weeks after this, Tim got another notice from the front office that said the same thing: come to the office to sign for a check. Upon arriving, the front desk clerk explained that the district had miscalculated some of the incentive pay, and this check was to correct the miscalculation. Again, Tim is expecting and would be grateful for $100 token “good job” amount and instead opens it to find half of what was in the original bonus. Two generous bonuses. Just like that. Finally, just before Tim goes on Christmas break, as I was balancing the checkbook, I noticed an extra $400 deposited in our checking account from Tim’s school district. I was so confused as to how it got there and when I called Tim to ask about it, he said the district had just sent out an email letting employees know that extra money was found in the budget and the district administration decided to give it to employees as a Christmas bonus.

Did you get that? While working in a profession where bonuses are absolutely unheard of and virtually non-existent, my husband received not one, not two, but THREE bonuses this year. THREE. And the bonuses combined into a little over $4,000. Crazy. It still boggles my mind and makes me awestruck by the power of our God, who is able provide for the tasks He has called us to do in any way He wishes. ANY. way.

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