I Accidentally Sold My Husband’s Car

It all started innocently enough.

“Does anyone have a cheap car they are willing to sell asap?” one of our Facebook friends posted.

“Oh, heavens,” I thought, “Do I have a cheap car for you!”

Our ’99 Chevy Tracker was a birthday gift from me to Ken over a decade ago. While remarkably rugged, it had seen better days. It had been rear-ended twice and not quite repaired by the Chevy dealership. The dome light blinks uncontrollably. It has a strange vibration over 45 mph. The inside door handle on the driver’s side is missing. One window doesn’t roll down. The air conditioning is anemic.

But we loved that vehicle. Its four-wheel drive had taken us to Canada and back several times, including through snow and ice storms. Though small, it had hauled washing machines, dishwasher, chairs, college students, new puppies, and all manner of junk. It moved down from Indiana with us. It carried me on rotations. It took us on vacations for years.

But still, its reliability was doubtful, and we were hesitant to pour money into it. Now with kids coming in the future, we needed to rethink our transportation options. Our beloved Tracker’s days were numbered.

But who would buy a glitchy ’99 Chevy Tracker? We thought we would do as we had done before, donating the car to charity and taking the tax deduction.

When I saw our friend’s post online, I remarked in jest that I had a car for cheap. When he asked for specs, I thought he was kidding. When his wife texted me the next day, I figured I should respond. So I was honest about all of the things that my brain could think of.

His response? “Sounds great!”

I thought he was kidding.

He asked if he could come look at it and how much we wanted for it. I figured we wanted to get the value of the tax benefit out of it, and I invited him to look at it when Ken was at home. I never thought that once he laid eyes on the vehicle would he actually want it.

Oh, right. This was KEN’S car!

I mentioned it to Ken in passing that someone wanted to look at buying the Tracker, and he flashed the same incredulous smile that I had when I saw the Facebook post.

The next day, our friend came by, and asked if he could take the car for a drive, and Ken said, “Sure. Here are the keys. We know where you live.” After a few minutes he returned and told Ken that he would be back the next day with the money.

“For what?”

“For the Tracker. I’m buying it.”

“Really, how much?”

Perhaps I hadn’t gone into enough details with Ken. Fortunately, Ken was agreeable and the deal was made. Turns out, our friend is extremely handy, and he can fix cars. Nothing that was wrong with the Tracker was anything that concerned him. The glitches could be fixed in his skillful hands. He was coming to get the Tracker the next day.

I had sort of accidentally sold my husband’s car.

And I had to go to a conference the next day. And Ken had to go to work.

Uh, oh. We needed a car.

I apologized profusely for selling Ken’s car, for which he graciously forgave me.

Fortunately, I had done a lot of research about what kind of vehicle would meet our needs and our budget, and we got a fantastic deal at CarMax the very next morning. The money from the Tracker allowed us to put down a down payment on a vehicle. While we had never pictured ourselves as minivan owners, we wanted the ability to haul kids, dogs, equipment, etc. but an SUV was just out of our price range. So when the deal was signed, the car was inspected, and they handed the keys over, it was quite awkward when neither of us wanted them.

“You drive it.”

“No, no, honey, I’ve been driving the newer car for years. You drive it.”

“No, no, I’d rather have you in the new vehicle, for the um, safety. Yeah, the safety.”

We giggled as we argued back and forth as to who HAD to drive the minivan.

So here is the vehicle I now drive. All because I accidentally sold my husband’s car.

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Still Not Okay

After seven weeks of waiting, the day of our first of our embassy appointments arrived this week. Given all of the chaos going on surrounding adoptions from the Congo, I had a sense of dread rather than excitement. I called or emailed our agency to make sure everything was ready to go, and that the appointments would be met, both the week before our appointments and the day before.

I was assured each time that everything was ready to go.

The day after our appointment, I received an email that our representative in the Congo did not have one of the necessary documents, and did not go to the appointment — the one that took seven weeks to get.

Then in an even more cruel twist, I have found out from several different sources that the document he was missing wasn’t even necessary for our appointment to begin with. There was no legitimate reason for missing our appointment.

We have no idea when we’ll get another.

We are frustrated and frankly, feel betrayed by those who are representing us.

Our kids will spend an entire year in an orphanage before we can go get them. This delay means our son doesn’t get to start kindergarten on time. It means we will now have to pay to have our home study redone, spending money that should be going to buying a swing set, for Christian school tuition, or even a trip to Disney. And every month we pay hundreds of dollars to support the incompetence that keeps them there.

Picture in your mind the children in your life who are most important to you. Maybe your own kids, nieces or nephews, grandkids, or kids that you babysit.

Now imagine that they have been taken against their will and put in an orphanage in Africa. There is no air conditioning in the scorching equatorial heat. They get one meal a day and very limited access to water, and the water they do have access to is not clean. So they have intestinal parasites. And ringworm. And scabies. And lice.  Medical treatment for these? Nonexistent. Malaria is frequent. Baths are rare. They sleep several to a mattress, with no blankets or pillows, and their entire life exists between the high stone walls immediately surrounding the house with no grass, no playground. There are no toys. They are taught that they have no personal property and that the rule of life is survival of the fittest.  No significant learning opportunities. No one rocking them to sleep or reading to them before bed. They fall behind developmentally. They begin to fall off the growth charts.

Remember, these are the kids who are most important to you. How does that make you feel?

For us, this is reality. These are not imaginary children. They are, in fact, our children. And as good as it sounds to say, “It’s all in God’s perfect timing,” “I hope you have peace about what’s going on,” and “It will all be worth it,” it rings hollow in the face of the suffering that they (not us) are facing. This has never been about Ken and I. This isn’t wistfully thinking, “Gee, it would be nice to have some kids running around.” This is an all out battle against the gates of Hell for the souls of two children, now OUR children, because this is what the Bible tells us that true religion is all about, and God has called us to the front lines. But frankly, the enemy is having a heyday right now, and his fiery arrows are striking our children.

Forgive me for my rant, but I think if these were your kids, you’d share in the rant too. Forgive me for not wanting to talk about all of this in casual circles when asked, “So, when are you going to get your kids?” The ugliness of the situation runs far more deep than I can summarize in two sentences, and is certainly more than I can post on this blog.

Just pray. The power of prayer the only thing that can rescue this situation and get our kids out before things get worse.

Catching Up

Spring has run screaming and headlong into summer. May was especially busy with high school and college graduations, multiple weddings, several showers, countless open houses, Ken having church obligations 5 nights out of most weeks August through Memorial Day weekend, and thousands of things needed to be done before we go to get our kids. The end of May found us worn out.

And then I started my busy time of year May 26th when my work load nearly doubles.

In the midst of all that’s happening in our lives on the job front, there has been even more change on the adoption front in the last few weeks. There’s so much that I’m not at liberty to talk about. There have been significant changes in our agency, and changes in the embassy that have left us wondering when we’ll be able to travel. It could be that things straighten out and we still travel when we were expecting, but each week, the timeline for our travel looks like it is getting longer. We’re in pretty constant communication with our agency and with other parents right now, as things are changing rapidly.

Truthfully, I have seen more darkness and evil out of this process in the last few weeks than I’ve seen in the year since we started.

God has reminded me of the Scripture that I memorized as a child. I’m so grateful for all of the verses I memorized, for at the right time, God speaks them to my mind:

Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

 

I can’t even talk about exactly what’s going on, but I can ask you: Would you pray?

  • Pray that Satan would be bound as he tries to disrupt and corrupt.
  • Pray for the safety of our kids — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Pray for those doing the paperwork for adoptions to work quickly and accurately and be blessed beyond measure as they’re doing it.
  • Pray for those caring for our children.
  • Pray for the safety and sanity of those travelling ahead of us, with us, and including us.
  • Pray that God would give us the strength to endure the challenges that lie ahead.

This week and next are critical in our adoption process. Would you pray?

Love in the Yard of Strangers

I [Ken] am not a fan of shopping in any form or fashion, but I must admit I have enjoyed the last couple of Saturdays as Robin and I have been “yard-sellin”.

True, we’ve gotten some GREAT deals on children’s clothes and toys, but that’s not my favorite part. I am excited about the children who will be wear those clothes and playing with those toys, but that’s still not it. No, my favorite part has been the encouragement that Robin and I have received from the people selling their wares.

A typical encounter begins with us looking over what the folks have set out. We invariably gravitate to the children’s clothes.

“How big are your kids?” Is the question that is almost always asked.

“We’re not sure.” Is our usual response.

Odd looks. Afterall, what kind of parents don’t know their kids sizes?

Robin and I exchange looks. We mentally play rock-paper-scissors to determine who’s turn it is to explain our situation.

One of us starts to explain, “We’re adopting two from the Congo.”

Suddenly the barriers between strangers disappear. Words of encouragement and congratulations follow. No longer are we haggling over prices. [*]

People want to see pictures. They want to hear details. They feel free to ask questions. Lots of questions. How old? How long? What language? When are you going? Why the Congo?

Other customers wait. Or ask their own questions.

But always. ALWAYS. People wish us well or promise to pray for us. They seem to be genuinely excited for us. Every yard sale quickly turns into pep-rally. Strangers give us hugs. STRANGERS! HUGS!!! Seriously!

Better than the deals is the fresh excitement and enthusiasm. God has been blessing us through the kindness of strangers.

 

[*] Actually most people give us CRAZY deals. Sometimes I don’t want to tell people because I don’t want to be guilty of manipulating their emotions. But Emmanuel getting school approved polo shirts for only ten cents is AWESOME!