February 22, 2015

An Honest Conversation

This week I misspelled the word "fundraiser" in a text message and autocorrect changed it to "fun drainer."

Yes, I thought.


Exactly that.

Nothing drains the fun  and the sense of being a grown up  quite like fundraising.  

Here is how it all went down...Our talented and amazing friends, Brandi and Danny Ebersole took Tom and I out to a restaurant over Christmas break and said  nothing close to this, but this is all I heard  basically this, word for word, "Why don't we video tape you ugly crying while you spill your deepest family guts and we will put it on the world wide web for all to see!?"

It took a platter of really disgusting steamed buns and an obscene serving of bread pudding to stuff all my feelings about this proposal. If anyone else on planet earth had asked to make a video of us sharing such a deeply personal experience, I would have punched them in the throat. But, it wasn't just anyone. It was Brandi. Brandi! If anyone could be trusted to delicately handle our baggage with care, it would be her and her sensitive and gifted photographer/documentary making husband, Danny. As fellow adoptive parents, I knew they would know and convey our heart for Harper. And as an adoptee, I knew Brandi would understand the possible implications for Harper, if this were not handled with the utmost care. So, we hesitantly accepted this challenge to initiate a conversation about children with attachment disorders and other special needs that affect a child's ability to make healthy attachments. We all understood that these conversations are frequently silenced because of shame and fear. We knew that our own shame and fear would surface, and would threaten to keep us silent as well.

In fact, there were several occasions where I panic-begged Brandi and Danny to abandon ship, and destroy all footage. But, they believed in our family, and they believed in the power of telling your truth, and they believed in all of you. They believe that you would want to know our story and be a part of a creating a bigger story for our family, one of healing. So, we went forward in good faith that God would use our family's story to bring awareness and hope to someone who needed it, as well as resources and support for our family to be healed. As hard as the public ugly crying was, the fundraiser element is even harder for Tom and me.

It makes me feel like a little girl sitting at a lemonade stand waiting for customers. As an adult, I know that nobody really wants to waste even a dime on the watered down lemonade (that was undoubtedly prepared without any concern for what is sanitary) but we buy it anyways and we dump it out our car windows as soon as we turn the corner. Why do we do this? Because we want to support the little entrepreneur's willingness to be vulnerable and to put themselves out there. I feel like that little girl right now, but with the adult awareness that nobody really wants to waste a single dime on my  problems  lemonade. I feel like that little girl sitting there, with all her ugly hurts and failures exposed before the world, saying do you like my lemonade? 

It is terrifying, and it feels pathetic and humiliating and I keep returning to those moments of panic-begging Brandi and Danny to pretend we never agreed to this project, just to be spared from such feelings of raw transparency. But Brandi's ever-encouraging voice keeps reminding me of a few truths... 

Yes, we have a long and expensive road ahead of us... and yes, we could really use a community of people who are willing to generously walk that road and carry the financial burden along with us. Still her voice gets drowned out by the loud and faithful fear/shame combo that cranks itself up on a regular basis reminding me that "adults don't need money from other people because they should be able to manage on their own!" And ya know what, that is also true. We can manage. If nobody had any desire to partner with us, we would still make every possible sacrifice necessary to get Harper, and our family, the help he needs. But, there is something beautiful about the fact that many of you do desire to partner with us, and some already have.

We are overwhelmed by how many of you have taken the time to comment or share our video. We are overwhelmed by those of you who have generously given financial gifts, as well as gifts of prayer and encouragement. We are overwhelmed that anyone would be willing to pass their words, their dimes and their dollars on to us, so that we can get Harper the best care possible and be relieved of carrying the heavy financial and emotional price tag alone. It is that humbling sense of gratitude that makes me feel a little less like I'm selling refreshments, and a little more like I am the one that is being refreshed.

To view the video, or if you feel led to participate in this mission to bring healing and wholeness to a remarkable boy, our sweet friends have organized this "fun drainer" which we invite you to share with anyone who could benefit from hearing our story. 


  1. Dear Lara and family, we have not met although I'm sure we will at some point (so many mutual friends!). Your journey has grabbed hold of my heart as you demonstrate the very nature of God to Harper. Know this - the proverbial lemonade you painstakingly pour into each cup, isn't just nasty old Countrytime like you think. . . it is actually PURE GOLD liquid that you hold out for us to share. It is valuable, it is worthy. I can hardly wait to watch Harper succeed in his journey across the frozen lake and meet Jesus at a cozy fire on the other side. May the Lord uphold you each day as you are His very hands to this little boy. Love from Julie McOrmond

  2. I will be sharing. Our Dr debates whether we have RAD and I don't think that we do. We are blessed in that our insurance covers most of the things you mentioned and we take advantage of them. Parents, take care of yourselves too. I am the one that has problems attaching to one of my special needs children of adoption. Life can be hard, but we do hard things here.

  3. I will be sharing. Our Dr debates whether we have RAD and I don't think that we do. We are blessed in that our insurance covers most of the things you mentioned and we take advantage of them. Parents, take care of yourselves too. I am the one that has problems attaching to one of my special needs children of adoption. Life can be hard, but we do hard things here.

  4. You know my thoughts on you Lara. I am certain Harper will heal. He is beautiful and chosen ! Praying for you and here if you need me. Thank you for sharing the not so pretty side of adoption.

  5. Dear Lara,
    You don't know me, but my wife and I live in Penfield and are adoptive parents with experiences that are similar to yours in some ways. We would welcome the chance to meet you and Tom and to offer whatever support we can. Probably the simplest way to find her (Emily) is on Facebook. I believe she may have even sent you a message a few days ago.
    I would also strongly encourage you to consider attending this simulcast conference. Emily and I attended an adoption conference where Karyn Purvis spoke and came away with hope and tools for caring for our kids. We were hugely encouraged and plan to attend this one.
    -Brian Fletcher

  6. Found you through Danielle Burkleo's link to your youtube video. I'm afraid you are now stuck with me for a long while :)

    I don't really have words right now... I'm just so thankful to have found a bloggy voice of one who is trying to unravel some intense knots too. So thankful.