It’s been a long, hard week, Gordon Lee High School Spanish teacher Allison Galloway, said Sunday afternoon.
But it was worth it, she said.
Thanks to long, hard, hot hours of work – and the World’s Longest Yard Sale – she and her husband, Ryan, are $7,000 closer to being able to adopt the child they’ve both long wanted.
Aided by several of Mrs. Galloway’s students, early last week the Signal Mountain couple transformed the front yard of their home into a hodgepodge of furniture, knickknacks, clothing and table after table of other donated items.
“We’ve been incredibly lucky,” she said. “We thought maybe we might make a couple of thousand dollars . . . (but) we ended up with a little over $7,000.”
Every penny is earmarked to help cover the estimated $50,000 total cost of adopting the baby they’ve been wanting for years.
Adoption is a last resort for the couple. Mrs. Galloway has suffered a series of miscarriages and their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, died shortly after she was born last year with the chromosomal genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18 or Edwards’ Syndrome.
Edwards Syndrome is the second most common trisomy, after Down Syndome. People with the condition have three copies of chromosome 18, compared to the two copies in most people, and often die long before birth.
“Mary lived three days,” Mrs. Galloway recalled sadly.
The couple’s desire for children is well known to the Spanish teacher’s students in North Georgia, several of whom traveled to Signal to spend days helping out with the fundraiser/yard sale.
They included Hunter Seth Latta, who donated four days to the cause despite the fact that he has already graduated from high school and will soon leave to begin studies at Georgia State in Atlanta.
“She’d make a good mom,” he explained simply. “She’s fun.”
The Galloways are just one of the hundreds of families, antique dealers, charitable institutions and other people who, year after year, line the 690 miles of U.S. Highway 127 with thousands of yard sales.
Created in 1987, the yard sale was the brain child of former Jamestown, Tn., official Mike Walker, who was looking for a way to draw travelers off the interstates and into rural areas.
Originally designed as an opportunity for people who live along U.S. 127 to haul out the discards in their homes and sell them to eager bargain hunters, the sale has become a nationally recognized annual event which officially begins on the first Thursday in August and lasts four days.
At its southern end, the sale – which stretches all the way from Alabama to Michigan – begins at Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden, Ala.
From there it heads north across Lookout Mountain until it reaches Chattanooga and then follows the path of highway 127 all the way to Michigan.
On Signal Mountain, where residents have become used to traffic snarls and occasional fender benders along the sale route, this year‘s pandemic took a toll and crowds were smaller than usual.
But Mrs. Galloway said there was no shortage of buyers at her home, which is located alongside the town’s main thoroughfare, Taft Highway/Ridgeway Avenue.
The money will definitely come in handy, she said, although she and her husband still have a lot of fundraising left to do.
Already, she said, the same day they signed an adoption contract they turned over $18,200 to Angel Adoption of Illinois. A home inspection by Destiny Adoption, designed to show that the Galloways would make good parents, brought that total up to $23,000.
The next expenses, she said, will be lawyers' fees and court costs.
They haven't yet been matched with a prospective birth mother, Mrs. Galloway explained, so there's no way of knowing where she will come from. Whatever state that turns out to be, she said, they'll have to retain an attorney there and then go live there for a a period of weeks or months while the adoption is being finalized.
They may also be asked to cover a portion of the birth mother's expenses. "And if the birth mother changes her mind at the last minute and decides not to let us have the baby," she noted, "we don't get any of that back."
Still, she said, she's hoping for a good outcome - and a baby to bring home and raise.