We did it!

Eight years ago I was researching grant opportunities for families wanting to adopt a child. I found a website that had a long list of charitable foundations that offered such grants. It is what propelled us into the realm of international adoption. I thought that with saving, hard work, a little fundraising and the possibility of some grants that international adoption would be feasible. Armed with that information I told Derek of my idea.

It took convincing, but he agreed and we journeyed down that path. As we went along that list of potential grants got shorter and shorter. We didn’t live in the right state. We weren’t adopting from the right country or with the right agency. We weren’t willing to write a “salvation statement.” Jesus died for our sins. Isn’t that salvation enough? “By grace you have been saved by faith.” A statement as simple as that wasn’t going to fly with the ultra conservative set.

I was discouraged. I wanted a child. Money stood in my way. I vowed that once I had my child home I would do something to make a difference. I would help those families where money stood in their way too. I would do it without prejudice.

I started making candy. I sold the candy to anyone who would buy it. I expanded the scope of my giving. Not only did I give to families (we’ve helped 3 children come home so far) I gave to the children. The children left behind who may never find a forever family. I sacrificed my time, my life for these children and families.

A few years ago I roped some friends in to helping. I twisted their arms and asked them to serve on a board of directors. I promised that it wouldn’t be all boring meetings. I would provide the occasional yummy snack and they could drink Derek’s scotch. They agreed.

I found a lawyer willing to provide legal advice for free… and the occasional glass of scotch.

I filled out paperwork, wrote checks and crossed my fingers. It took me almost a year to fill out the seemingly endless IRS Form 1023. International adoption paperwork was easier than that form. I was paranoid. I thought surely it would be rejected. I was meticulous. Finally, after the board threatened me, I sent in the form. That was in December.

On January 12th I received word from the IRS that they had gotten the application (and cashed my check) and I would be hearing in approximately 90 days.

I went out to the mailbox today to collect the 2 days worth of mail only to return to my front door to find out I locked myself out of the house. It was about 15 minutes before Derek was supposed to come home for lunch so I waited in the warm greenhouse rather than wandering the neighborhood to find a neighbor home so I could use their phone. While I waited I sorted the mail. There was a letter from the IRS.

The United States Internal Revenue Service has deemed that Sweet Hope Foundation qualifies as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization! This is nearly the last hurdle we have to face in this process. It is by far the biggest. This means that the donations you make to Sweet Hope are now tax deductible. It means that we can apply for grants. It means the world.

I want to thank all of our supporters through the years. I want to thank the board for telling me I didn’t have to be perfect.

We did it!

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