Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Urgency of the Need

Yesterday I received an update from another AWAA mom who is flying back from Ethiopia today.  I want you to read exactly what she wrote regarding the situation in the orphanages and the need for donations.

"We're taking the remainder of our donations to a government orphanage this morning. We made a last minute change in plan, after hearing that the government orphanages are in the worst shape.

After seeing the conditions of the orphanages ourselves, we feel even more passionate about collecting donations to bring back with us next time. We have a clearer understanding of the greatest needs. And we hope to help other traveling families fill their donation space as well. Because 200 lbs. of donations doesn't go very far when it's divided among more than one depleted orphanage, but if we all work together we could start to make a difference.

She goes on to list some things they need, and most are on our donation list.  But, she also says that formula is the most dire concern right now.  So let's keep that formula money coming!  We're up to........

$340.00 for formula! 

If you missed the donation list, here it is again:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


When we travel to Ethiopia, we will be bringing 5 large tubs/suitcases full of donations.  These donations will be spread between our agency's "Transition House", orphanages we will be visiting, and Bring Love In Ministries. 

Please help us fill up our suitcases! 

There are many needs, but this list contains the items we have chosen to bring.  Cloth diapers are not on the list, because another family already generously donated enough cloth diapers and covers to fill almost an entire suitcase.  What a blessing!

If you would like a hard copy of the list that you can print out, let me know and I can email it to you as an attachment.

All donations should be given to us by Wednesday, May 2nd, so we can see how much space we still have in the luggage at that point and re-arrange or add more donations.  That gives everyone two weeks to shop.


          -Tri-vi-sol (0-6 months)
          -Poly-vi-sol (6 months -2 years)
          -Chewable multi-vitamin (2-9 years)
          -Adult multi-vitamins (9 years and up)
-Tylenol (acetaminophen) infants and children’s
-Syringes for giving medicine (5 ml)
-Powder-free disposable gloves
-Benadryl liquid
-Permetherin for scabies
-Lice kits
-Dental floss
-Antibacterial hand gel (40 oz. containers at Walmart for $5)
-Unscented baby wipes **Unscented is the ONLY kind accepted**
-Scrubs for nannies and nurses
-Crocs shoes in all sizes, from children up to adults
-Lightweight tennis shoes in all sizes
-A+D Original ointment
-New packs of children’s underwear from toddler to older child
-deflated soccer balls
-money for formula (see note below)

**Important:  Please check the expiration dates on all medications and vitamins donated!  They will NOT accept anything that is expired.

This is a picture of vitamins I found at Walmart for just under $10 that are perfect for donation items:

This is a picture of one of the kinds of vitamins for infants/toddlers we are accepting, so you can see what the boxes look like.  I also found this at Walmart:

Now to explain what is happening with baby formula.....

Baby formula is a MUCH NEEDED item at the orphanages, but it is heavy.  Instead of collecting a bunch here, we are going to collect money.  That money will be given to a person in Ethiopia when we get off the plane that has agreed to purchase all the formula in country.  Then we will deliver it on our visits.  That way we can save room in our luggage for other items, but can still make sure we donate something they really need. 

Please donate formula money and spread the word to your friends to do the same!  You can give it directly to Alan or me, or you can click on the donate button on the Paypal link here on the blog.  If you choose to use Paypal, please write in the note section of your payment that this is for formula!  Otherwise it will be credited to our trip (staying in-country is adding a significant amount to our costs).  I do not want to mix up the money.  I hope that makes sense.  I want to make sure your money is used for whatever purpose you intend.

Thank you all for your support of these children.  I can't wait to send pictures of the places and people you are helping.  Feel free to share the donation list post with your family and friends.  We want those tubs and suitcases to be full!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

We are very excited to be able to share with you what God is working out in our plans for visiting Ethiopia!

Through a series of events that only God could have orchestrated, we have the opportunity to stay in country for approximately 3 months between our court date and our embassy appointment.  That's a long time for a family who has never been out of the country before!  We have so many things to plan and work out that my head is spinning, so if I seem a little incoherent in the next few weeks, just disregard my behavior.

All 5 of us will travel to Ethiopia for our court date.  After we pass court (and we still don't have a date, hoping now for the end of May at least), we will be allowed to take the boys from the transition home our agency runs and let them live with us until the U.S. Embassy clears us.  We will be staying in a home we are renting from Levi and Jessie Benkert, founders of Bring Love In ministries, and serving with them. 
Please visit their website,  Here is a quote from one of the pages of their site: "Ours is a mission to build more capacity to care for orphaned and abandoned in Ethiopia, and to give them a bright future by raising them in small Christian family groups, giving each child under our care access to the best education possible and doing our best to build a future not only for each child individually but also the community around them."  Consider clicking on the page called, "Sponsor a forever family", and doing it!

We're blessed to be part of helping Levi and Jessie's ministry, doing whatever they tell us they need us to do! 

How can you be a part of our trip? 

Our family is going to be able to visit orphanages and take donations, as well as donating some things to Bring Love In. I am writing a separate post with a list (so you can print it out and take it with you to the store) of things we are going to be collecting over the next couple weeks to take with us.  Won't you please pick up some extra items when you shop in the next two weeks?  If you aren't able to do that, we are also going to be collecting money for formula for the orphanages that will be purchased in-country.  I'll tell you how to donate to that as well.

Stay tuned...........

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Waiting Again.... What?

Yesterday we received news from our adoption agency that they cannot give us a court date yet because the Ethiopian government wants more paperwork from the orphanage the boys were in.  It was quite a blow, believe me.  I fully expected a phone call telling us our court date would be the first week in May.  The typical time frame the past few months has been almost exactly 8 weeks from referral to court date, and that would put us at the first week in May.  But, not now.  They cannot give us any kind of time frame.

Okay.  I'm trying to be positive here.  Bear with me because what I really want to do is put on my pajamas, curl up watching a sappy movie in my bedroom alone with a glass of wine, and cry.  A lot. 

Now that you know how I really feel, I'll share what I need to focus on.  The bright side.  Like my favorite movie of all time, Pollyanna. 

Soooo, let's play the "glad game".  If you are not familiar with the glad game, head on over to your Netflix account and rent Pollyanna.  Okay?  Because everyone should know how to play.

I will choose to be glad about this stinkin' waiting process for the following reasons (Ugh! I have tears already as I write this. Happiness is a choice, people, and I want to make that choice):

1)  I am practicing how to wait on the Lord.

2)  I have more time to finish the boys' room, which I started painting yesterday.  We still need to get beds and finish the room.

3)  There's more time to make sure all the paperwork on our end is complete and waiting for us in Ethiopia.  We have two more pieces of paper being mailed off today to be state certified.

4)  More time to finish the long list of adoption books and teaching videos I wanted to finish before we meet the boys.

5)  More time to learn some Amharic words.

6)  A bit more time to finish making our decision about whether we can stay in Ethiopia between court and embassy.  We're leaning in that direction but we're waiting on a clear answer from God.

7)  More time to complete the extensive to-do list of everything that has to be taken care of if we stay in Ethiopia for 3 months.  It is a REALLY LONG list.

8)  The children have more time to finish their schoolwork for this year and be tested.

9)  I can lose a few pounds of this "adoption stress weight" before I leave.  This is a stretch, I know.  But there's always hope, right? :)

10)  If we're still here when our garden is ready, I can put up produce without having to ask other people to help.  We'll get our entire year's supply of corn, peas, green beans, pickles (cucumbers) and okra from this garden, along with half a year's supply of onions and some tomatoes and squash.

11) There's a bit more time to earn/raise money for the trip and also collect donations to take with us.

12)  Alan and I can spend more time with our bio kids before we leave, because soon their world is going to be rocked, and we want to make sure we're on solid ground with them.

My mantra is "The joy of the Lord is my strength!" and I go around singing it in my head to remind myself that He sees the big picture.  I am sure that two years from now I'll look back on these weeks and it will seem like nothing.  It's in the moment that I get sidetracked with anxiety. 

Please pray for our family.  Not just the ones here in Plant City, but especially our boys, who are waiting for a family.  They are waiting for a mom and dad to kiss their boo-boos, read to them, pray with them, and tuck them in at night. They need some medical care that they can only get here in the U.S., and longer the wait, the higher chance their problems won't be able to be corrected.  God will supply their every need, but we as believers are commanded to pray.  So I will pray in faith.  Join me in praying and playing the glad game. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It Is Finished

Easter is tomorrow!  The most important few days in a Christian's life are this weekend.  A time of sorrow and joy.  Yesterday I took the kids to the community Good Friday service.  Tomorrow we'll celebrate Jesus' resurrection. 

Yes, we'll have an egg hunt in the afternoon.  But that's just for fun.  Easter has nothing to do with eggs.

It has everything to do with the fact that I was born a sinner.  You were born a sinner. 

The Bible tells us that our sin separated us from God.  We needed a perfect sacrifice to bridge the gap between us.  That sacrifice was Jesus

He paid for my sin when he died and went to hell in my place.  He promised to do the same for every person who calls on His name.

He was buried in a grave, but the grave couldn't hold him. 

He rose again, and so will I!  Praise God and thanks be to Jesus!

I want to share Matt Papa's song and video with you called "It is Finished."  Being technically challenged, I haven't figured out how to get the picture of a video to appear right on this blog where you can just push play and watch.  So for now you have to keep clicking on the link.  Please do it.  It's only one click.

Lyrics to "It is Finished" by Matt Papa:

Once and for all
Once and for all
You offered up Your life
For one and all
For one and all
The perfect sacrifice
Atoning blood was shed
Love conquered when You said...

It is finished
It is done
To the world salvation comes
Hallelujah, we're alive!
Hell was silenced when You cried:
It is finished
It is finished

Who is this king
Who is this king
So mighty and so strong
He is the one
He is the one
The earth has waited for
God's remedy for sin
With mercy for all men

It is finished
It is done
To the world salvation comes
Hallelujah, we're alive!
Hell was silenced when You cried:
It is finished
It is finished

Well the earth shook and trembled
The sun bowed it's head
The veil of the temple was open for men
As Jesus went down in the cold of the grave
Defeated the darkness when He overcame
The keys of the Kingdom were placed into hands
Of children and priests and of fishers of men
Through all generations His voice will be heard
Creation resounds the victorious words!

It is finished
It is done
To the world salvation comes
Hallelujah, we're alive!
Hell was silenced when you cried:
It is finished
It is done
Now completed, the work of Love
Hallelujah, He's alive
Join the song of the ransomed Bride
It is finished
It is finished
It is finished!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Waiting.  That's the theme of our lives at the present moment.

Waiting on a court date. 

Waiting to meet our boys.

Waiting for clear instructions from God regarding how long we should spend in Ethiopia.

Waiting for paperwork.

Waiting for schoolwork to be completed.

Waiting to make plans.

Wait, wait, wait, wait.....Ugh!  Sometimes I get so tired of waiting.

That would be impatience speaking.

Here is truth:

"From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him."  -Isaiah 64:4

 "I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry." - Psalm 40:1

"My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning."  -Psalm 130:6

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him." - Lamentations 3:25

"O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble."  - Isaiah 33:2

Heavenly Father,
Let me remember your TRUTH today.  That you are in control of our family.  That you will work all things together for our good. 
In Jesus' Name,