Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't Know What to Say

I don't know what to say. This day was so incredibly hard. It's hard when you know what the reality probably is going to be, when you know how much you have invested in something, when you know how badly you want something and how hard you're trying to work for it, and the odds are against you. I was scared to do the bingo today, but hopeful for what could be. I was scared of exactly what happened today. I was worried about how I would handle it. We used all of the money we'd made on our previous fundraisers and put toward our adoption fund. Plus some.

So, we had 30 people come to our bingo. Odds were pretty good most would win, we had 20 games including the specials, and 2 additional jackpot games. A few people even won multiple things. I think most of our players were happy. I have to say that I honestly did have a good time today. The bingo was fun to plan, fun to shop for, and for wierd people like me, fun to organize and put together. I'll talk about what wasn't fun later. I had fun seeing what people thought of the baskets my mom and I had put together, and which bags we'd selected. We bought way too much food, enough to feed a small army it seemed. But we sent food home with all of our volunteers-our family members like one of my aunts, 2 of my cousins and one of their husbands, and then my mom, myself and Archie. Arch is taking some of the food to work to share with his coworkers tonight, I'm going to take some desserts to work to share with mine tomorrow night.

Here is what wasn't fun. My mom and I told the people who helped us organize this bingo that we had never done something like this before, and that we needed to know everything possible to make it successful. We bought prizes for a cash pull-tab game that never happened because come to find out today, the prizes were not what they were supposed to be. No one explained to us how much each prize was supposed to be worth, they just told us that the bottom 5 were your smallest and that they get bigger as you get closer to being the only person left. And we were not going to sell tickets to win something that wasn't up to snuff. Nevermind the fact that there is no way we could have sold that many pull-tab tickets to the 30 people in our bingo. We would have needed at least 100 players to even begin to sell that many. The next major issue was our advertising. We posted on all kinds of basket bingo websites for MD, and quite a few of our customers were a result of that, so that was something that worked and that we would do again. We put out flyers everywhere-work, churches, other basket bingos last night..., and we put an ad in the local city's paper which they put somewhere it was never going to be seen, despite my arguing exactly that. That was money well wasted. Then when we tried to place an ad in our local town's paper, it was like pulling teeth. We manage to get the editor to do a little news bit on us for it, but didn't get any customers as a result of that. The girl who was supposed to make sure our ad was placed dropped the ball, and another girl who was supposed to list it in the calendar of events assured me two Thursday's ago she would do so, and come to find out last Wednesday-she did not. Last but not least was our Longaberger rep. I had someone I was going to use, but the ladies auxilary at the fire station where we held the bingo mentioned that they use a particular rep, and so we went with her instead. She was hard to catch up with sometimes, but she was good at taking our order, fixing it when it arrived incorrect, and gave us a 10% discount. Meanwhile the other lady I had not used was upset we didn't use her, we asked if we could use her in the spring if we had another bingo, she agreed. She also told us that she'd give us a 25% discount and some door prizes. That was already more than we'd gotten with the other lady. Then today at the bingo, there were two more reps, one who said she would give us a 25% discount, not charge us shipping or taxes on our items, and had 30 people she guaranteed to come to our bingo because they go faithtfully to all of her bingos. She also said there is no way that our baskets should have cost us what we paid.

I'll be honest. I didn't leave there feeling really disappointed. I was just going through the motions. We cleaned up quickly, and we were out of there. But then we got home, and I was unpacking the car. Oh my gosh, even after unloading a ton of pulled pork bbq, chicken salad, etc., on our family, we still had a ton of food leftover. Heck, we forgot one unopened 8lb bag of fries in the freezer at the hall, as well as an opened bag, and hot dogs in their fridge. Then it really started to irritate me, all of the obstacles that we'd encountered. My mom and I had even questioned whether it was meant to happen. The problem was that we'd spent all of this money, if we didn't have the bingo, we'd have lost the money in those baskets and bags for what reason? What if more than the 23 people who reserved their tickets in advance showed up? What if we had 100 people? Then it would be worth it. The ladies at the station asked us twice this week if we were sure we didn't want to cancel. If we cancelled after having our name all over our flyers for the bingo, and people showed up to see it was cancelled, then we had another bingo in the spring, who would want to come? Certainly not the people who had showed up only to find it cancelled. We felt like we had to take our chances and try to recoup any of our funds that we could. After settling our charges, we came away with $205. If you recall from our fundraising thermometer on our blog, we had raised $2425. That means that overall, we lost over $2000. It's really hard to swallow, trust me. My mom called this evening even more irritated over our obstacles, the lack of assistance and guidance from people who knew we were clueless, the inept people at the paper. I had been really irritated with all of it prior, and just didn't have the energy left for it this evening. I just wanted to be with the child that we do have and enjoy him. I remember thinking at one point that I regretted ever leaving him to do the bingo. There was a silver lining today though. That is these things-our family and friends and the players at our bingo were all really supportive of us; and we came home to find that my father-in-law who had been with Jack all day, had left us a grocery bag of about 7 "bottles of love" filled with coins (by my in-laws and I think some of their coworkers) and some even had cash as well. God love and bless all of these these people because we really needed the support today, and I honestly believe that it helped me get through the day.

The hardest part of today was saying nighttime prayers with Jack. I really tried hard to keep it together, and I think I did a really good job of it today. Not tonight. I laid him down and said, "Ok, ready for our prayers." to which he smiled and responded yes. I try every night to find something to thank God for, whether it be for the little boy in front of me, the fun memories we made that day, a successful fundraiser, or whatever. Jack repeats everything I say during our prayers. We started it, and as I usually do, I said, "Lord, thank you for" and I stopped because I was trying so hard not to cry in front of Jack, trying to get myself together long enough to finish our prayer and say our goodnights. I've cried more than I care for in front of him this week, and he gets upset, and I always explain that everyone gets sad sometimes. Just like he gets sad or mad sometimes and cries, so do mommies and daddies. I didn't want to have to do that again tonight. Well, there was no way I was leaving his bed without thanking God for something, so I thought, and I thanked him for bringing the people that he did to our bingo. And because of my struggling voice, of course, Jack knew that I was close to it and he was trying to find my tears in the dark. That made it even worse and darn if I wasn't crying after that. It broke my heart. He just wanted to wipe my tears and make it better.

My brain is fried after today, my emotions and thoughts are all over the place. Will we do this again? That's a great question. We've got a ton of bingo paper in my mother's basement, dabbers, and we've been through this once and pretty much get it at this point. We know what worked and what didn't. I now have 3 Longaberger reps who want to help me, how do I handle that? It was fun, and a lot less heavy lifting work than our yard sale was. It had the potential to really bring in a lot of money toward our adoption. Perhaps we will do it again, we have the stuff, I'm just not sure that my inclination won't be to cancel it if we don't have enough advance response, and how we would go about doing so. We also had someone mention that we could do a bull roast-she's organized two of them for her children's sports leagues, the first of which raised over $10K, and the second raised $21K. The only problem with that is that she started off by saying that we would need to get a lot of places or organizations to sponsor items for a silent auction-I believe that will not work for us given our lack of being a charity or 501(c)3, and given our difficulty with getting sponsors to assist us with even a basket bingo. For that reason, I think it may not be a good fundraiser for our family, but I think it might be a great one for our fire department to do.

My aunt who helped us today, sent me a sweet email this evening after she thought about today and how we must be feeling after it, and she made a point. God has already chosen the child who will be placed with us. That child may not be conceived yet. Perhaps this obstacle is meant to happen for reason of God's perfect timing. I have no idea. I know that He has a plan for us, and I for sure don't know what it is, I'd just like to think we'll have everything we will need as far as these funds go when our child is ready for us. I don't know what else to say. I'm open to suggestions or ideas if anyone has any. If you've read this far, and I've not lost you, thank you for sticking with my rambling. I had to get it out of my head so that I might actually sleep tonight.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that things didn't go as well as you'd hoped. My heart goes out to you. It's difficult to do fundraisers for personal things like adoption. My husband and I are struggling with the same thing. We don't even know where to begin. We will be praying for you and hoping that some blessing will fall in your lap, if for nothing else than to make you smile.