Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I have had an amazing weekend. I had 28 people for Thanksgiving, potluck - I did not cook it all! It was a blast and the food was oh-so-good.
I spent a full 20 hours decorating. I love to clean and decorate for Christmas. I love lights, Santas, Nativity scenes, angels, ornaments, garland, trees, and lots of candles.
I went out for supper with only adults!
I watched 2 cute movies!
I slept in AND Chad made me breakfast 2 mornings in a row.
I went to a baby shower.
I fit in a long run, OK not as long as I once could, but at least not rushed. And Thank You God that I CAN run. Might be slow but I am able.
I shopped, mostly on cyberspace - no wait there.
I had supper with my bro and family. We drew secret Santa names, one of my favorite traditions. I chatted a long time with my sis-in law who I adore. All the kids had a ball playing. Such sweet family time.
It has been a full and wonderful weekend, my heart is mostly happy - but still I long. I long for a little boy I have yet to meet or hug or rock. A little boy who is in a whole different country, a world away. But God willing, he will be here to dance with my tacky "Holly Jolly Santa" next year. How great will it be to celebrate Christmas with Joshua next year? Fills my eyes with happy tears of anticipation of so many things to come.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A - Almighty God's presence and direction in my life
B- Brenna Joy, my independent, rational, kind-hearted, brilliant youngest daughter
C- Camping! Many of my best family memories have a boat, campfire, or camper in them.
D- Dad, who is wise, intentional, honest, Godly, and loving
E- Enough; I am blessed with enough of everything important.
F- Family and Friends to love, support, encourage, help, and advise me
G- Grandparents that have provided amazing examples of who/how I should be.
H- Home; I am thankful for a spacious, warm home with an empty bedroom, soon to be filled.
I- Intelligence, Independence, Information, and the Internet
J- Jamison Chad, my amazing,smart, athletic, kind, mischievous, double-dimpled son
K- Krissy, my beautiful, smart, self-sufficient, thoughtful, oldest daughter
L- Love, the one thing I have be so lucky to never lack.
M- Mom, my friend, confidant, cheerleader, prayer warrior, and mentor
N- New and old friends to guide my way and lighten my load
O- Occupation that allows me to keep my priorities my priorities, almost all the time
P- Prayer, how awesome that God allows us to speak to him.
Q- Quiet. I love silence. When I am home alone nothing is turned on.
R- Riley, my dog, my ever-loyal partner in a quiet office and on the running trail
S- Sierra Faith, my sweet, silly, enthusiastic, energetic, irrepressible middle daughter
T- Time for all my favorite things, running, cuddling, reading, boating, movie watching...
U- Unexpected blessings; like flowers from Chad, a card in the mail, a hug, this adoption
W- Wonderful relationship with Chad,my amazing husband/boss/best friend/biggest fan
X- Xceptence (acceptance);I am loved and accepted for who and what I am by many.
Y- You! Thank you for caring enough to read this and taking a moment to be thankful with me.
Z- Zeal; I am filled with excitement, passion, and energy.
And I could go on! Take a moment today to be thankful and to share your thankful thoughts with the ones you love. (Maybe even get interactive and leave me a comment with your reasons to be thankful!)
- My teacher
- Our Pastor
Monday, November 23, 2009
- Valentine's Day
- Ice Cream
- Cookie Dough
- Junk Food
- Movie Theatre
- Deer Hunting (GIRL'S NIGHT!)
- Indianapolis Colts Football
Sunday, November 22, 2009
By Sierra, age 10
- Food and water
- My house and everything in it
- God and Jesus
*** A note from Mom - I love Thanksgiving, it might be my favorite holiday. To me it is a day of rest, relaxation, and relationships before the RUSH of the Christmas Season. I love taking a time to list and appreciate all the things I have to be thankful for - that list seems to grow each year. One of my goals as a mom is to raise kids that are appreciative of all that they have been blessed with. Each year, I expect our kids to write a list of things they are thankful for before they make a Christmas wish list. I hope it helps them realize all that they have in the midst of dreaming of Christmas gifts. This year I have asked them to post their lists on our blog. I hope as you read our thankful thoughts each day this week, you take a moment to count your blessings too. Happy Thanksgiving!***
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Between having more time at home this week and the cooler days which makes me want to cook, clean, and get to all those projects that have been put off all summer, I find myself ready to nest. I keep telling myself to proceed with caution! Poor Chad cut his palm last week making sausage and it is very sore, it is still deer season - one more tag to fill this weekend, work is the busiest it has ever been, and my amazing and oh so talented contractor husband hates home improvement projects. Sound like a recipe for disaster? Patience and caution I tell you that is how I must proceed.
I have a sweet blond ally on the first and biggest project on the list. SIERRA! We bought Sierra a new bed, bedding, and nightstand for her birthday. She has to wait to use it until she moves into her new room. Before she can move in a closet needs to be built, the walls painted, and carpet installed. Her bed arrived by FedEx this morning, so now he will have 2 excited girls driving him crazy. (We will do our best to behave. Besides we know that he really will not be able to dive into the bedroom project until after Christmas... but maybe he could start on the other minor projects like that piece of trim in the family room. J/K I will behave!)
The one thing I do plan to do in the mean time is sell/give away/throw out some excess stuff. So if you need a white and brass day bed, a Foosball table, or a cute little cabinet for a TV let me know. They are on my going, going, gone list.
I need to clear some space in the family room for toys for a little boy, and make an office area and a workout area for his mom. We feel it will be very important for Joshua's attachment to spend as little time away from us as possible. We hope that he will be able to come with to the office some. I will office from home a little more than now, and I will probably have to work some evenings/early mornings. I am so thankful once again that I have such a flexible work schedule AND such an amazing boss. (FYI I work for my darling husband. I make sure the bills and guys are paid, he does all the hard stuff.)
Today is a HUGE day in the life of our beautiful Krissy. New Moon, the second movie in the "Twilight Series" is at our theatre. She is going with some girlfriends and has been PUMPED all week. I get the honor of picking them up at the theatre at 11 PM and then 4 excited, giggling 13 yr olds plan to have a no-sleep-over at our house. Should be interesting!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We had all our family over for pizza and ice cream cake - Sierra's choice.
I had to add this picture of Krissy and her littlest cousin because it is soooo cute, and she does not let me snap pictures of her very often.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Anyway all the blogs I have listed on the lower left margin of my blog have inspired me in some way. They have changed my view of the world.
Leap of Love is our friends whose letter started me thinking.
Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet was in Ethiopia bringing their children home as we were deciding to adopt. She is a gifted writer and reading their story of transition reassures me.
Our Silly Monkeys is a local lady who adopted through our agency last summer. She has been kind enough to answer many of my questions.
Lucy Lane was the adoption "gotcha day" video that would not leave me. Her blog is a steady stream of adoption inspiration.
Soli Deo Gloria just returned home with another Ethiopian son. I was moved by their journey last week. Reading of their union with their son was amazing and exciting for this future mom.
The Wayfarer is a family that adopted two little boys. She posts great info. on everything. This week she had a detailed post about what it is like for an American to stay in Ethiopia.
The Howletts adopted a baby a while ago and are going back for a little boy soon. I began watching them because their children were older when they adopted the baby and I was curious to see how the older kids did. Now I watch because the son they are adopting is near the age I think Joshua will be. They are actually the reason I add this post tonight. I read on their blog that their adoption goes to court as we sleep tonight. Court is a crazy thing sometimes, please pray as you go to sleep tonight that they receive the news tomorrow that they officially have a son.
I have IAN in parenthesis by the blogs of families that use the same placement agency as we are. That way if you choose to watch them too you will know if they were at Sele Enat, the orphanage that Joshua will come from.
1. Brenna told her doctor today that she has three brothers. Jamison, Joshua, and Riley (our dog).
2. When asked if he was excited about the adoption by our home study agent Jamison said with a double dimple grin, "Yeah! I'm really excited!" (In some ways I have worried about Jay and Brenna most in this transition. Jamison because he has been the only boy. Brenna because Joshua will replace her spot as our baby. I know it will restack the deck for all the kids, but I feel especially maybe more so for Jay and Brenna. It makes me happy to see them doing so well.)
3. Our pediatrician could not have been more enthusiastic about our decision. He told us that in his experience children from Ethiopia do really well. Their health status is honestly revealed. The Ethiopian people are very affectionate, hugging and kissing their children often. Even in the orphanage children are held and hugged frequently. One of his patients is a little girl that just came home last summer (she was adopted from the same orphanage that Joshua will come from), he called her totally awesome. When she comes in we all get huge hugs. He said he will be happy to look through a referral when we get it. He told me in moments I wonder if I can do enough or am the right person to raise Joshua to remember that anything I can do will be so much more than he would have received in his home country. I respect this doctor so much. I was a little nervous to visit with him today, because his disapproval would have been hard to take. His enthusiasm was much appreciated!
4. On a daily basis I hear one of the kids say "When Joshua comes home what do you think Riley will think." or "Do you think our cousins should be able to carry him?" or "Do you think Joshua will like our food?" It excited me that they are starting to include thoughts of him in their plans for the future.
Monday, November 16, 2009
In 2003 Mekdes Asnake was 5 years old and lived with her grandfather Addisu, her young aunt Fasika and her little brother Yabsira, in a hut on a shared dirt compound outside the capitol. The walls of her house were a hard mix of mud and straw; the windows were open squares cut into the walls. Sometimes the family had firewood; when they did not, the circle of ashes on the floor was black and the hut was cold. They subsisted, year-round on eggs.
The children's father had been a day laborer in coffee processing. One day when Mekdes was 3 or 4 years old and waiting impatiently for him to come home and play with her, she saw a strange thing happen; he approached the house but suddenly knelt and lay full legnth on the dirt courtyard for a while, before getting up and coming inside.
Later, when her father got sick, Mekdes felt he must have caught the bad sickness that day from the dirt. He got thinner and thinner over the next few months, with a look of surprise in his brown eyes. Then thick black blisters erupted on his skin and he cried out from the pain during the day and groaned with it during the night. Mekdes thought he would get better. She was shocked when she woke up one night to the haunting sound of her mother, Mulu, howling over Asnake's wasted body.
Mekdes had not yet recovered from the horror of Asnake's death when her mother began to get the same disappointed, surprised look on her face.....
(I skip ahead to the children being left at a foster home because their grandfather and aunt are too poor to care for them.)
Mekdes felt the air at her back, suddenly aware that her aunts were no longer behind her - they were walking toward the exit! Mekdes shrieked and ran after them. How would she find her way home to her grandfather? Aunt Fasika and Aunt Zewdenesh turned around; they stroked Mekdes' face, kissed her many times, and told her good-bye.
Mekdes turned inside out with grief and terror. She understood; she was being abandoned! She arched her back in protest. She pulled out of the foster mother's grasp, fell backward to the ground, and writhed there beginning to shriek.
(Mekdes proceded to throw herself against the door to the compound so hard it knocked her to the ground again and again. The author could not stand watching the scene, Mekdes throwing herself at the gate berserk with grief and terror, the Aunt's on the other side listening and weeping. She asked her driver if she gave the family all her cash $200 would they be able to raise the children? No he told her they are too poor to raise them.)
The foster mother approached and took the thrashing child. Mekdes twisted and flailed and cried, and the foster mother, with squinting eyes, averted face, and strong arms, absorbed the blows. She was used to this.
(Fast forward to 2005 - Mekdes and brother Yabsira have been adopted by an American couple in Atlanta.)
Mekdes keeps alive the memory of her first parents and drills her brother on the family history.
"Who is our mother?" she demands.
"Mulu!" she yells if he hesitates.
"What was our father's name?"
"Asnake," says Yabsira.
"Good," says Mekdes.
While still in the apartment in Addis Ababa(right after they were united with their American parents), Mekdes drew 6 stick figures and labeled them: Mekdes, Yabsira, Mommy, Daddy, Mulu, Asnake. She asked her parents to tape them to the bedroom wall.
"Mommy, did Granny get you out of her stomach or out of Ethiopia?" she asked one day.
On another day, she began a story and stopped: "When I was with my mo- I mean Mulu."
"Baby, you can say Momma," Mikki (her American mother) said.
"Do you like Mulu Mommy?"
"I love Mulu!" said Mikki, and Mekdes embraced her.
Mekdes soon told her mother about the day her aunts took her to the foster home. "Yabsira cry a little. I am scream."
"Why did you cry, baby?" asked Mikki.
"I don't know this Ethiopia. I want my Ethiopia with Goshay (grandfather) and Fasika. I don't want new Ethiopia."
"You were sad," said Mikki.
"No hope, Mommy. I have no hope."
"Because no one told me, Mommy."
"Told you what?"
"That you are here in America. I will not feel so sad if I know you are here."
"Yeah, I was here getting ready, getting your rooms ready. I was here, me and your daddy, waiting and getting ready."
"I am cry because I don't know you will come."
Of course, for many of Africa's ten million, fifteen million, twenty million orphans, no one is getting a room ready. No one will come.
***What a crazy combination of horrible and wonderful. I bet you can understand why Mekdes' story caught my heart. We will soon be preparing a room! Please pray that our Joshua can somehow feel hope in a seeming hopeless moment.***
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Heading out of town with 4 kids is always crazy, but when you add to that the always unexpected demands of a business it gets even crazier. Friday as we were frantically packing and getting set to go a few things popped up. First was deer sausage. Chad and his brother (with as little help from me as I could get away with) made deer sausage last week, and it had to be smoked and packaged and frozen before we left, all 100 lbs. So we worked a little, packed a little, and worked with sausage a lot. Then, our employees informed us that there were materials they were running low on. Could we pull a trailer and pick them up? We don't usually pull a flatbed trailer with my Tahoe so we had some hitch issues, etc to deal with. We had also agreed to deliver a puppy at our first stop. (Chad's mom has German Shorthair pups she is selling, so we played FedEx.) By the time we hit the road we were already running behind and out of breath.
We found the hotel, delivered the pup to his new owner, and got the trailer dropped off in the nick of time. The really important event of the day was yet to come. Lindsey, our home study agent, met us at the hotel for our second meeting. The kids swam and we visited with Lindsey.
What was Home Study Act 2 all about? More questions! Like...
What do you think the strengths/weaknesses are in your marriage?
How do you make decisions together?
What to you do if you disagree?
What types of discipline do you use?
What types of values do you hope to instill in your kids?
How do you work to do so?
What types of responsibilities do your kids have at home?
Do the kids have any behavior/learning/social/developmental/health problems?
We talked a little about discipline and bonding/attachment with Joshua.
I realized that I have unintentionally been protecting myself a little. I have read and researched for hours about adoption in general, and about Ethiopia - trying to learn what Joshua's world is like. (I just finished a book called There is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene. It is a great combination of personal stories, and a journalistic view of the social/political/health problems in Ethiopia. It is a BIG book and heartbreaking, but also eye-opening and challenging. I would recommend it.) However, I have not allowed myself to dive into the issues like attachment and discipline or even health care. It almost feels too personal to start thinking about how we will parent HIM. When it becomes that personal it makes it hard to be patient and a little detached. By staying a little detached, I protect my heart from the wait.
Anyway, meeting with Lindsey on Friday made me excited and curious about how parenting Joshua will be different than parenting our first 4 at 3yrs old. Each of our kids are very different from each other and thus we have parented them differently to an extent, but they have all been attached to us from the beginning. Lindsey talked a little about discipline being different at first with Joshua. Since he will not be attached, he may not feel as upset if he disappoints us. He may also feel more upset than our first 4 kids would have in the same situation, like if he disappoints us we will not want him. All makes perfect sense when you take the time to think about it. I am looking forward to really investigating this topic!
We also talked about our attachment with him. Some parents feel an instant attachment and love for their adopted children and others need some time for that to develop. She reassured us that if the first moment we see Joshua, we feel nervous, uncertain, fearful, or whatever, that it is OK. Bonds take time. Love is a choice more than a feeling. (I tell you all this because you will be his family. You need information about bonding with him too - and permission to take some time to fall in love if need be.)
We set a goal with Lindsey to have all our documents turned in to IAN before Dec. 15! We should be on the wait list before Christmas! I guess I can start reading those bonding books.
So Saturday we just played. We arrived at my friend Cassie's house at 1:00. Cassie is as close to a sister as I had growing up. She is a rare friend in life. We do not have a lot in common if you dissect our lives, but in my heart she is my sister. No matter how rarely we see each other we can pick up where we left off. We spent the afternoon catching up. We met her boyfriend, played with her dogs, got a tour of her veterinary clinic, and went out for dinner.
After dinner we were off to the main event. The CONCERT! Let me tell you it was LOUD LOUD LOUD!!!!! Like so loud it was physical. Not only did it assault my ears, but the bass hit so hard it made it feel weird to breath. Chad and the kids were in heaven. I am not quite the rocker they are, but I had a great time watching them. When Skillet finally came out the crowd was deafening. I have never heard another as loud. You should have heard my Brenna cheering. It was a riot. And Chad... he was 17 again for an hour or so. The band was filled with truly amazing performers and they put on quite a show. They had 2 platform lifts that carried the guitarists high in the air at times. They had LED light shows, fireworks, and fireballs. Literally balls of fire that shot into the air. Not even a second after they were fired you could feel the heat blast your face. I can not imagine how hot it was on that stage! The other thing that was very unique was that they used a violinist and a cellist on several songs. I do not think there is another heavy metal band that does that. Let me tell you that violinist could rock! It was crazy! Brenna made it until the last song. Then she sat down on her chair and fell asleep. I tried to wake her because I had promised that I would wake her up for "Monster" her favorite song, but it was impossible. She even slept through the crowds encore cheering, which was incredible loud, and the 2 encore songs and fireworks. A lady who was sitting behind me with her youth group kids (a fellow oldie) could not believe how much fun Brenna and Sierra had. She was shocked that they knew all the words to every song. Chad figures it is a testament to his quality parenting.
We dragged everyone out of bed by 7:30 this morning so we could have breakfast with Chad's grandparents before heading home. We started for home by 10. Stopped to pick up and load the trailer with steel studs, and made it home at about 7PM. The kids were troopers every step of the way. I am so proud of them! They all worked hard to help load the trailer, and they all unpacked and got their clothes put away and the Tahoe cleaned out as soon as we got home.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Our family leaves tomorrow afternoon to go to a Skillet concert. I included a video for one of their newest and most popular songs in case you have never heard of them. They are a heavy metal Christian band - what a crazy combination! I love that Christian music goes WAY beyond hyms played on a pipe organ these days. They are Chad's absolute favorite band, so we bought his tickets for his birthday. Sierra loves them too, she dressed as their drummer for Halloween.
We have lots of other exciting stuff planned for this trip too. I will update with pictures next week! I hope you have a great weekend.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In order for the home study to be completed we need a statement of health from Brenna's doctor. She has an appointment next Tuesday. Chad and I have to complete another 8 hours of training. We should be able to wipe most of that out this weekend. We will be traveling, and I can read with him as we drive. (There is not live training in our areas, so our choices are web-based training and books.) We also need to meet with Lindsey two more times. One of those times will be this Friday, the other is yet to be scheduled. And that is it... as far as I know.
Once we get the home study approved, we send it along with the rest of the dossier to IAN, our placement agency. As long as we have correctly crossed all our t's and dotted all our i's, we are then put on the wait list. I think there is a very good chance that we will be on the wait list by the middle of December.
While on the wait list we have to file an I-600A form with US Immigration and receive their approval to adopt an immigrant child. We can not accept a referral until we have a I171H - their approval. (These forms are still clear as mud to me! But what I think I understand, is that we need the home study done before we can do these US Immigration forms, we can be on the wait list without full US approval, but can not accept a referral.)
Once we receive and accept a referral, a court date will be set. That date seems to come about 8 weeks or more after the referral is accepted. Court seems to be delayed/rescheduled a lot. Once court takes place, the adoption is final - but we will have to wait 8 weeks to go and bring our son home. This is the time needed to process all the paperwork. So, for those of you wondering when will Joshua come home, the answer is God only knows! But I do not think it is humanly possible for his homecoming to be before June, and that would be very fast.
Typical time on the wait list is 5 to 8 months. We will be on one of the shorter lists, since the toddler boys list is not the most popular (when we first started this process their were little boys waiting for referrals and no one to send them to), so our wait will most likely be on the short side. But once again who knows!
I do not feel stressed about the timing at all now. I am fine with waiting. I just want to get all my stuff in so Joshua does not have to wait for us. The wait I do dread is from seeing his face(aka accepting his referral) until we go get him. At that point you will all need to distract and encourage me! I plan to save painting and arranging his room for that time period, but I am a pretty fast decorator.
My wonderful sister-in-law sent me a great waiting verse today. It comes from Habakkuk 2:3
This feels more real every day and as it feels more real, my excitement builds!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The end was my favorite part of the play. The kids totally relaxed and did a little dancing to the music. Jamison even blew a kiss to the crowd. It was a riot!
Friday, November 6, 2009
His theme song last night was, "I'm gonna die! I'm not going to remember any of my lines, especially the ones in the cave!" I told him I believe in him enough for both of us!
The live on stage performance can be viewed Monday at 7:00. Break a leg, Jay!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This is the video I referred to in my first blog entry that God sent me to when I was having doubts about whether or not we should really do this. I love it, and since I have gotten smart enough to post videos this week, I posted it. It just speaks to my heart. I hope it speaks to you too.
My heart is troubled today, aching for 143 million orphans. Aching for lack of awareness and lack of understanding. I have been guilty of this too. I have read the Bible my whole life and somehow all those scriptures about taking care of orphans were just skipped over. Adoption was a good option for infertile couples, but too risky, too expensive, and too much work if you had other options. I realize now how blind I have been, and I struggle because not everyone else has caught on.
The process to adopt truly has risks. We signed the form that promised to love our son even if he has physical or emotional problems that are not detected at the time of referral.
It is very expensive. Most families that adopt have to do a lot of fund raising. Their faithfulness and dedication inspire me. No one likes to ask for help. We want to take care of our own families and our own problems. It would be so much easier to just forget it all, and I am sure some do. But many press on! Financially speaking we have it so much easier than most. It will be a stretch, but I can see the possibility. I am grateful. I hope I would have faith and strength to continue if I had to struggle to fund raise almost every dollar. (Why would/should they adopt if they can not "afford" it? Remember there is a difference between being able to pay for groceries, clothes, and housing expenses for a child and having the cash on hand needed to finance an adoption.)
It is a lot of work! I met to 2 banks, 1 CPA, 4 doctors, 1 vet, 1 police officer, and 3 friends to begin gathering all the required paperwork. I have also spent a lot of time gathering and copying tax, insurance, asset, and liability paperwork. Add to that home study meetings and training and it is a lot of head ache.
However the part that gets forgotten is that adoption is most importantly a mission field. We are not moving to Ethiopia to work in an orphanage or build wells, more traditional mission work. We are bringing our mission field into our home, to be a part of our life forever. To share with all we have, all we know, all we hope, and all we are to become. I love the words of the song. "All of us were orphans too till in our darkness love broke through. Give us Lord a heart to break for all the little one's who ache."
I do not type this as a lecture, or as praise for the "amazing" or "crazy" thing (depending on how you look at it) our family is doing. I write partially because getting my thoughts on "paper" is therapeutic, and partially to inspire a new way of thinking. I am convinced that the scriptures calling us to care for orphans are not just directed at a few families, right? How will you help?
On a more celebratory note, I have almost all the documents I need to gather for the dossier! I have everything dispersed. I am waiting for a few things to be returned, but I am feeling so encouraged! We meet with Lindsey for our second home study meeting next Friday. We will have to meet with her one more time and finish our training before the home study is done. Then we can send everything to our agency and when it all checks out we will be on the wait list! Very exciting stuff!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The hottest, most peppery food in all of Africa is found in Ethiopia. This blend of 15 or more spices including red pepper is called Ber-beri or Awaze. I read it can be overwhelming to foreigners, but if you cut down on the pepper the food can be exciting and interesting.
Ethiopians do not eat pork or shellfish for religious regions. (The predominant religion is Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. The Islam and Jewish faiths are also practiced.)
An elaborate hand washing ceremony takes place the beginning and ending of the meal.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
This picture is for our niece.
She gave Riley this ultra cool shirt!
He did not like it as much as Sierra and Brenna did, but he smiled for the picture anyway!
Sunday, November 8 is Orphan Sunday. I will be showing the attached video to our church congregation and sharing how God has led us to adopt.
Please pray for me this week. I speak fairly often in church and it rarely stresses me out. This time I am a little nervous. I typically share announcements or children's sermons,which are not very personal and are very concrete. This time it will be much more personal and less concrete!
I think it will be easier to share my testimony in a year or so when I can hold Joshua and have proof that my "feelings" are correct. Unfortunately, that is not how I feel God directing me. The more I learn the more I convinced I am that the issue of orphans in our world is not one that we can ignore. God has opened my eyes and heart and expects me to open my mouth!
I realize that not everyone can or should adopt, but here are some suggestions of things that you can do. They are taken from http://www.hopefororphans.org/
- Pray for them - Visit http://www.adoptuskids.org/ or http://www.rainbowkids.com/ print off the picture of a waiting child and pray specifically for him.
- Speak up for them - Share what you know about the needs of children in the foster care/orphan care system.
- Provide for their needs - Give sacrificially to a reputable orphanage. You can find one at http://www.helporphans.org/ or organize a drive at your church/work to collect school supplies, Christmas gifts, shoes, whatever for kids in foster care. Check out http://www.gainusa.com/
- Support those who support them - Mow, babysit, or organize meals for a week for foster parents. Encourage a family adopting an older child by hosting a shower for them.
- Protect them from harm - Become a foster parent or emergency foster parent or a court appointed special advocate.
- Visit them where they are - Go on a mission trip to an orphanage or take dinner to a group home regularly.
- Give sacrificially to them - Contribute generously to an addoptive family to help offset their costs. Visit http://www.shaohannashope.org/ or http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/ or help my friends at http://www.leapoflove.blogspot.com/
- Encourage them to press on - Sponsor a child, support them financially, encourage them through your letters. Check out http://www.visiontrust.org/ or http://www.fh.org/ or become a mentor or tutor to a teenager in a foster care group-home.
- Adopt them into your family - give a child a home through international, domestic, embryo, or foster care adoption. Adopt a young adult who does not have close family, become their family and make sure they have a place to go for holidays and advice.
- Mobilize your church for them - Be a catalyst in your church for starting or sustaining orphan ministry. Visit http://www.hopefororphans.org/
I think that list has something that is possible for everyone. I also realize that not all of us are being called to serve children, but you are being called to serve somewhere. Will you choose to make a difference?
On a MUCH lighter note - I have to confess that I am so proud of myself for finally figuring out how to post a video. Took me a while!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
It is really quite simple. There are over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia. We have a room in our basement that houses a treadmill when it could house a child. We throw away leftovers nearly every day. Our kids are the best part of our life. Scripture teaches us to care for orphans. Why wouldn't we add to our family this way?
"To love an orphan is to love Jesus himself." Matthew 25:14
For the loooong answer read my first blog entry.