Sunday, October 31, 2010

ALL God's Children

Our adoption agency has a site that connects families in the adoption process. We can be a great source of information and encouragement to each other. I have found this group to be AMAZING! This past week, five families from the group were in Ethiopia to appear in court and adopt their children. They were able to send this email back to us from there:

We (the five families in Eth for court right now) visited an orphanage today.
We all walked away with broken hearts, stunned at the reality of life for the
kids there.

They do not have any diapers. Yes, you read that correctly. An orphanage full
of babies and toddlers, and there are no diapers. They have rags and ripped
pieces of sheets that they wrap around their bottoms, and keep them in place with
onesie t-shirts. Every single baby we held today was soaking wet (or worse),
their entire outfit. They lay on the floor, soaking wet, and get changed on the
floor...where they all crawl around and play with the few toys that they have.

In addition, they had no mattresses in many of the cribs. Babies sleeping on
the wooden bottom of a crib. I don't know that I would have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Tears filled my eyes when I read this (as they do now). My daughter could be one of the children in this orphanage. Can you just imagine the difference we could make in this world if we thought of every one of these children as ours. Well, God does! Every one of these children are His.

Next Sunday, November 7, is Orphan Sunday. One day out of the year set aside to remind the church that God is the Father to every one of these children and that together, we CAN make a difference!

The five families that visited this orphanage had their guide take them to a store to buy mattresses right then. Members of our group that are traveling to Ethiopia soon have rallied together to bring mattress covers and tons of diapers.

What does God want you to do?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How did we get here?

I have asked myself and Michael this question often in the past few months. I've been asked by friends and family as well as our social worker for our home study. It is surprising how hard it has been to answer this question. With some time to reflect and see God's fingerprints at different points in our lives, the picture is becoming more clear. I would like to try to explain how God has brought us this far.

Both Ethiopia and adoption have occupied places in my heart for as long as I can remember. That was it. They were just small seeds that God watered for many years before they started taking root and eventually grew.

God blessed us with two healthy daughters, so our "back-up" plan of adopting if we could not have children never came out of the shadows. The next time I can recall thinking about adoption, Amelia was in kindergarten (4 years ago). Her teacher had one adopted daughter and was in the process of adopting another. When Amelia was in second grade, her first grade teacher adopted a little boy as a brother to her two biological daughters. Starting to see God? Well, I was. I started telling Michael that I had the feeling God was preparing us...but it wasn't time yet.

God shook my foundation with the earthquake in Haiti. As we watched the aftermath, our hearts began to break for the number of children that would be orphaned. How can we be blessed with so much and not share? About a month later, a friend literally draged me to a bible study by Jen Hatmaker over her little book Interrupted. After reading the first chapter, I bought two more books: one for Michael and one for Michela (13 yrs old). I knew right away this was a journey we were going to have to take as a family. Michela's response was "Let's sell everything and move to Africa." It's funny looking back that she at least had the going to Africa part right. So God interrupted our lives and made it very clear that He had BIG plans for our family, but we still did not know what.

Around this same time, Michela participated in 30 Hour Famine and discovered how it feels to be really hungry. We dicided to sponsor a child through World Vision. When we sat down at the computer I went straight to the children in Ethiopia because that is where my heart was. We sponsor a beautiful 14 year old whose birthday falls on our wedding anniversary. I started carrying her picture in my wallet, praying for her, sending her letters and looking forward to hers. I found myself wishing she could be my daughter and having to explain to the girls that we could not adopt her because she already has parents. Ding! Ding! Ding! So I started to pray that if it was God's will for us to adopt a daughter from Ethiopia he would do ALL the work in Michael's heart. WOW! The power of prayer!!! In July, we started the process to bring our little girl (LG) home.

But that wasn't the end; it was only the beginning! God has opened our eyes to a broken hurting world. A world where 163 million children have no one to love and care for them. I believe God puts it best in Micah 6:8

O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. NLT

People, there is no going back. What has been seen cannot be unseen. I am praying that God will inturrupt your life too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So, I saw this video and read the story that goes with it. The writer for Sesame Street has adopted a little girl from Ethiopia and she was feeling different because of her hair. He created this to help her and other little girls like ours.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Last weekend I had the chance to get away with a friend. We had good food, heard good speakers, and had a good time! She gave me a very special birthday present; she found a t-shirt that has a picture of Africa with the word "eh-my-ay" written across it. This is the sound spelling for the word Mama in Amharic which is the primary language of Ethiopia. I LOVE it and it will be well worn. Thank you Janet.

We found ourselves with a little time on our hands, so we decided to check out Josh Duhamel in "Life as We Know It". (Come on, he has a Anyway, it's the story of a "couple" who's going through the adoption of a little girl who was orphaned when her parents, their friends, died in a car accident. I'm not recommending the movie; it's okay but not family friendly. I will remember this movie because of one small part that caught me completely off guard...when the little girl calls her new caregiver Mama. Wow! I cannot explain the depth of emotion I felt when I realized there is a little girl in Africa who was born to another woman and will someday call ME Mama. What an amazing God we serve who knew Amelia would not be my youngest daughter.

Right now, I am struggling with the fact that our little girl doesn't know we are coming for her. My prayer is that God will comfort her and give her a confidence that she is not alone.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Hallelujah! This week I had a birthday and God blessed me with a very special evening.

Let me start at the beginning:
One morning I was listening to our local christian radio station and they were raising money for Bibles to be sent to Russia and Ukraine. I felt that tug at my heart in large part because of the things we have learned about the people and orphanages there through our adoption process. I felt God leading me to give a certain amount, but I couldn't help thinking this would come out of our adoption fund. God did not let up, so when I got to work I called and made the donation. A week later, the station called to let me know that because of "my" donation I was invited to a special dinner event with Michael W Smith...the evening of my Birthday! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!?!? We had a wonderful evening and Michael W Smith sang Happy Birthday to me!

His song "A New Hallelujah" now has a special place in my heart. He sings this song with the African Children's Choir! It is a call for the church to rise and sing a new song.

Also this week, Michela (13 year old daughter) bought a new Switchfoot CD that we listened to together in the car. As we listened, we found ourselves focused on the words and silently glancing back and forth at each other. Michela broke the silence when she said "Mom, everything IS NEW. We've heard these songs on the radio a million times, but now they have a whole new meaning."

God is singing a NEW SONG into the hearts of my family and everything IS NEW! HALLELUJAH!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


This weekend we had the opportunity to attend the National Adoption Conference: Together for Adoption in Austin, TX. What an experience! We went hoping to gain valuable information that would prepare us for our little girl, but we were unprepared for what God was hoping to gain from us.

Adoption is overwhelming. We listened to and shared a lot of overwhelming things this weekend.

Overwhelming fear: I think most of us start here and visit here throughout the journey. There is the fear of change. The money fear. And for us, the fear of receiving a child with bigger needs than we can handle.

Let's start with the fear of change. My wonderful and wise pastor says "God loves you too much to leave you where your are." So...if you are going to grow as a believer...there WILL be change.

Now let's talk money. Really? Do you think God will not provide a way for you to take in and care for one of His children if you are following His lead?

Our BIG fear has a simple answer as well. We are NOT capable of handling many issues that children from hard places may have, but God IS and I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

Overwhelming love: There is this growing love in my family for a child we have never met, her family we may never meet and a country we have never seen.

God's amazing love for me. I was once an orphan, lost to sin, but He adopted me into His family by the blood of Jesus. Okay, this was not a surprise. I knew this, but He showed me again with all the beauty and power of His love and He flooded my heart anew.

Overwhelming numbers: How does 163 million orphans in the world sit with you? This is the newest statistic and it is already two years old.

This is one of those numbers that could paralyze us. How does adopting one...or maybe two children help? Well, if THE Church stepped forward and claimed these children as ours. We could have families waiting in line for orphans instead of orphans waiting for families!

That brings me to the overwhelming call: God is the father to the fatherless. He tells us ALL through the Bible to care for the orphans. The insane number of orphans in the world is the only proof needed that we have not been doing this very well.

God broke my heart this weekend and I am praying for the orphans, THE Church, my church and individual families to hear the call of the Spirit and take action to reduce the number of ophans in this world. If God can use me...He can use you!

Lord, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.