Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our booth at the SEHEC

Last Saturday (May 22), we had the opportunity to have an adoption awareness booth at the South Eastern Home Educators Convention. (You can read our first post about it here.)

In addition to sharing info about adoption and showing some orphan awareness videos, we had hoped that it would be a big fundraiser for our adoption fund, but there weren’t many “funds” raised. We had a nice-looking booth, a great location, and lots of “stuff” to offer people, but it just didn’t turn into dollars. I was disappointed at first, but God has been teaching me another “lesson” (as usual).

Even though I had prayed we would receive a “miraculous” amount in sales and donations, we netted only a little over $125. This means we must continue to trust that God has His own plan for providing for our adoption, and that He will do it in His own time and in His own way.

An outcome that I had not considered was how much I would enjoy talking with people about adoption. There were many, many people who said they had always wanted to adopt and who had questions about the process and how our family has come to this point. Some desperately wanted to adopt, but their husbands were not on board with the whole idea yet, and they needed some encouragement to just keep praying and to let God handle the “heart work” in their husbands if adoption was His plan for their family. And to a few the whole notion of adopting internationally, especially when we already “have kids”, was a unique and foreign (and possibly a little crazy) idea.

I now see that “my” goal for our day was so much less than “God’s” goal for our day. (Surprise, surprise!) Our purpose in being there was not merely to “sell some stuff”, it was a grander purpose, designed by God, to promote His plan of adoption. My prayer all along should have been more centered on God using us in big ways to make a difference in the lives of orphans. Instead, I got bogged down in asking for financial provision.  But even though my focus was misdirected, God gave me what I needed rather than what I “thought” I wanted. I am honored that God would teach me and use me in even a small way. (What a “slow learner” I am! Thank You, God, for your patience with me!)


Below is a directory of wonderful companies who, upon being contacted by my friend Shasta at Faithfully Frugal and Free, were willing provide give-away items at our adoption booth at the South Easthern Home Educators Convention on May 22.  Please take a look at what they have to offer and thank them for their support of adoption...

Company:  2fishkids
Item Donated: My Week Calendar

Company: Amazing Bible Time Line
Item Donated: Bible Timeline Poster

Item Donated: Preschool Art Curriculum

Item Donated: Light Speed Video DVD's
1- 866-386-0253

Company: Christian Keyboarding
Item Donated: Keyboarding for the Christian School (Elem edition)
1 (800) 559-2154

Company: CollegePrepGenius
Item Donated: CollegePrepGenius Master the SAT Class Set

Item Donated: Discovering Our Amazing God Curriculum & Workbook

Items Donated: Educaching manual

Items Donated: The Resurrection Student & Teacher Books

Item Donated: Graphics Toolbox Software
845 278-4240

Item Donated: $50 Gift Certificate
1 (800) 718-7986

Item Donated: Complete A Sketch 1-2-3

Company:  Kregel Publications
Item Donated: The Light Across the River
1 (800) 733-2607

Item Donated:  Madsen Method Part 1

Item Donated: 2 Math CDs

Item Donated: Light Blue Package

Item Donated:  2- $150 Gift Certificates
1-888-810-MATH x101

Item Donated:   Seekers Novels & Study Guides
COUPON CODE: Alabama (Good for $5 off purchase of $10 or more)

Item Donated:
Book: Does Your Child really Have ADHD
1-(888) 377-4664

Item Donated: Little House in the Big Woods Composition Guide
(530) 275-2064

Item donated: Autographed copy of
The Secret of Sadie Sequoia

Item Donated: K-8 Christian Art Curriculum & High School Art Survey

Item Donated:
Whole Foods Cooking Cookbook

Sue Patrick's Workbox System
Item Donated: Workbox System

Item Donated: Super Star Speech Workbook

Item Donated:
2 Month Membership to Time 4 Learning Site
(954) 771-0914

Item Donated: $20 Gift Certificate

Item Donated: WriteShop Primary
(909) 989-5576

Saturday, May 15, 2010


That is the estimated cost of our adoption.

I'll spare you the details, but that's the amount we ("we" as in "Michael") have been able to estimate this adoption will end up costing, and the amount we're praying for God to miraculously provide.  Yes, I do realize it sounds like a crazy amount of money, but when I stop and think of what I would pay to rescue any one of my children from a life of poverty, hunger, disease and a future without hope, and bring them home for me to love, cherish, and adore forever (not to mention raising them up to know God's incredible love!)
doesn't even come close!  I would do anything I had to do and pay any amount necessary in order to bring them home where they belong.  And that's all we're doing now - bringing our children home.  So, when I think about it that way,
is a downright BARGAIN!
(And that's the cost for TWO - so it's a "double" bargain!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Come see us!

Next weekend (May 22nd) our family is going to be at the Southeastern Home Educators Convention (SEHEC) in Mobile, AL. We're going to have an "Adoption" booth set up, so if you're anywhere near Mobile, stop on by and see us! The convention is FREE, and there will be stuff for the whole family. (We're supposed to be located near the "Used Curriculum Sale".)

At our table, we will be selling our T-shirts, wristbands, and some great big totebags for carrying all of your awesome convention goodies (or for taking to the beach or park or even the grocery store!)   We'll also have some inspiring adoption videos playing and have some wonderful information on adoption, plus ways to care for orphans around the world.

I'm also super-excited to announce that we will have some TERRIFIC GIVEAWAYS!  My friend Shasta over at "Faithfully Frugal and Free" has contacted a lot of awesome education companies who have made some very generous donations to us - totaling OVER $1,000 so far!  (She's amazing!  I don't know how she does all that she does, but I'm sure glad about it!) 

So, be sure to stop by our table to visit us, find out more about adoption, and register for some great prize packages! 

And be doubly sure to stop by and visit my friend Shasta at  "Faithfully Frugal and Free"!  She's always giving away some great things over there!  (Really, you need to go there NOW!)  I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH, SHASTA!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In all honesty...

In all honesty, lately I’ve lost some of the passion about our upcoming adoption, and I’m wondering if others ever go through the same thing. I know that sounds terrible, but it's true.  It’s not that I don’t still feel called to adopt, or that the need is somehow smaller, or that I am having “second thoughts” about adopting. I think that the “process” has overwhelmed me (or perhaps “distracted” is a better term than overwhelmed), and I've just lost some of the excitement and anticipation that I felt before.

Anyone who has adopted knows that there is a seemingly unending list of things to “do”. Fill out papers. Send them off. Wait for them to be  _(fill in the blank)_ed by someone and sent back. There is so much “list-checking” and filling out and gathering of documents and signing and waiting… and then, to top it all off, there’s the money. None of this would seem like it would be a big deal to me, since Michael is the one who has been filling out all the papers and taking care of paying the bills, but strangely it is.

I think the part that has gotten to me most is the money. (I haven’t told Michael this yet, and he is probably shocked to read that I have been worried about the money, because according to Dave Ramsey, he’s the “nerd” and I’m the “free spirit”- and I’m a really “good” one, at that!) I KNOW God ALREADY has it all worked out. I do know that!  He promised to take care of that one morning on my walk. (See “Our Story” page.) But for some reason I’m kind of freaking out about it. That’s another thing – I usually have a pretty easy time trusting God to do what He said He’ll do. So, why is this one getting to me?

I’ve been trying to figure out the answer to that question, and I think it’s that I’ve been so distracted by “making” it all happen that I haven’t been trusting God to “make it happen”. I’ve got to give this back to Him. He gave us this dream, this adventure, and I personally have taken over it as if it were “my” dream and “my” adventure.

When I first started the blog, I would always check the Ethiopia time clock and try to figure out what our kids might be doing at that time of day in Ethiopia. I realized today that I hadn’t done that in a while.  Then I realized that I haven’t been praying for any of our children as much as I have been praying about the money. (I am ashamed.)

But no more. I am praying for our children – both the ones who live in our home already and the ones who will come home later. I am praying for Michael and for myself as God prepares us for what is to come. And I am praying that God would handle the details and that I would just stay out of the way! I am giving this back to Him. Amen!
Note: By the time I finished writing this, I really had given it all back to God, and He had given me back my excitement and my passion about our adoption. :)  I am no longer "stressing" about things.  It's God's plan and His timing and His money.  I just wanted to share it anyway...

Faith + Hope + Love + Action = Lives Changed

A while back - about 3 or 4 months ago - I prayed that God would give me a concise "saying" that would express a truth about adoption.  I wanted something that would speak of  the blessing of adoption, not only for children being adopted, but also for the family whose lives are also changed and blessed by adopting.  But I didn't want the "saying" to be limited to a message about adoption - I wanted it to apply to all areas of life.  And I certainly knew that I couldn't come up with something like that on my own!  (Unfortunately, being "pithy" is not a strength of mine - just ask my kids!  LOL)

After praying on a Saturday night, I woke up with "Faith, Hope, Love, Action" running through my head.  I knew it was from God - it expressed all that I was learning and all that I had in my heart, but I never could have come up with it on my own. 

We hear "Faith, Hope, Love" all the time. It's on everything from coffee mugs to wall art to t-shirts.  It's a great, wholesome idea to put it on all kinds of things.  It's sweet and kind.  It's everywhere, and everyone has heard it before. But there is a hidden tragedy in the familiarity of it.... 

The tragedy lies in the fact that if I'm not careful I'll allow each of those powerful words to become merely a concept or topic for discussion rather than a call to action.  When Paul spoke those words in 1 Corinthians 13:13, I'm sure he didn't plan for those words to be used as nouns - they were all definitely verbs!  Paul was a man of action!
So, what do you get when you add "Action" to the "Faith, Hope, and Love"? You get lives that are changed!  This not only applies to adoption, it applies to every area of life.  When we walk in faith, when every decision we make is founded on the hope of what is to come, and when we love like Jesus loves - lives are changed forever! 

So, that's why we have made the bracelets - as a reminder that
"Faith + Hope + Love + Action = Lives Changed"
- and so we can be reminded that it is our duty and our privilege to live in such a way that lives are changed because of Christ living in us.

Now, that's an exciting life!

(If you would like to order some of our wristbands, please see our "Fundraising" page.  THANKS!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

LifeSong for Orphans - most recent update

We found many of the students in the Ziway Lifesong School were coming to school hungry and brought no food for lunch. Teachers complained of lack of attention on the students’ part. Lifesong initiated a school feeding program in November, 2009, for all 300 students at the school.
For breakfast each receives fafa, a porridge-like food that provides the nutrients that each growing child needs. The lunch menu rotates through a cycle of fish soup, the national foods of shiro and injera, vegetable beef soup, and pasta.
Now that the Adami Tulu Nursery School has re-opened, Lifesong has also started a similar breakfast and lunch feeding program there.
The Ziway school feeding program, in which 300 children are fed two meals each day, has been very successful. Caregivers, teachers, and the students themselves report that they are much healthier, more attentive in class, and have more muscle and skin tone.
Sustaining the program of feeding each student a nutritious breakfast and lunch at the Adami Tulu School will take additional funding and special logistics. However, if it is God’s will, we know that He will provide what is necessary for the feeding program. On the first day of the feeding program, all students were measured for their height and weight and this data was recorded. Several children were found to be malnourished. Now that we have this statistical data, we intend to monitor the students’ progress.
In Ethiopia, $3 feeds 1 child for a month!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mailed I600A form to USCIS! (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)

We picked up our finalized copies of our home study from our "home study agency" this afternoon.  We had been waiting on it to be finished so we could include one in our I600A for USCIS.  One step closer!