"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Had a dream today that Dan was back in the "Adoption Boat." Yes, he 'fell out.' To be honest, we had only.. maybe a couple people give us rosey pictures of their transition period. Almost everyone told us that it was excruciatingly hard, often for many months on end, or even a year. The children in Africa are suffering. *To be fair.. we have our hands full with Hunter a lot of the time and he's not good with change. This is a concern!* They come home with severe food issues and traumatic backgrounds a lot of the time. We want to do something for them, and I will continue to pray for them and look for a way to do just that. Until then we pray and learn about the country, the children, and organizations there that are helping. I found a great organization looking for volunteers but you have to commit to a 3 week stay. I can't do that right now with my kids and I can't bring my kids with me due to the lack of adequate health care. (Caleb is an asthmatic.)

We still have yet to recieve our initial sponsorship package on Efrata. I hope we recieve it soon as her birthday is coming up in less than 2 months. I would like to be able to help her pay for something special to celebrate. (I hear that many children buy a sheep or a goat with thier birthday money. What a different world it is over there. It's all about survival.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ethiopian Orphanages

Children's Hope Chest Video

Do Something Now from Children's HopeChest on Vimeo.

HIV + Orphans in Ethiopia

You are 5 years old.
Today your mother died of aids.
You are HIV+
You have no home, no food, no medication, no hope.
Who will help you?


I bought 2 shirts from A Hope today to wear on Worlds AIDS Orphans Day, May 7th, 2010. Proceeds of the purchases from their store also help these children.


In sub-sahara Africa 12 million children are orphans due to the AIDS epidemic.

Mingi Children (cursed)

A tribe rich in tradition and very fearful of evil spirits. They drown children who they deem cursed ("Mingi.") Something as simple as the the top teeth emerging before the bottom will deem your precious infant cursed and will result in her death. What a terrifying reality that happens regularly here.

You may wish to turn the music player off at the bottom of the screen.

"It Began with Bale" from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

You can find more HERE
There is a tribe in a Africa that has a culture rich in tradition. However, this tribe lives in fear of evil spirits who they believe bring ill fortune to their villages. They use the word “Mingi” to describe persons they consider cursed or otherwise imperfect. Those deemed Mingi face severe consequences, as they believe the presence of these children on their land curses the tribe. Their solution to this perceived threat is to drown Mingi children in the river. Last year, 7 percent of the children in this tribe were associated with Mingi, resulting in the deaths of at least 77 children. If the two other nearby tribes practice the Mingi tradition at the same rate, then combined 3,000 children would have their lives at risk

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adoption tax credit increased & extended

News on the Adoption Tax Credit: it has been recently increased (for both 2009 and 2010!) to $13,170. It has been extended though Dec 31, 2011.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Efrata's Name

Efrata's name means Honored. (WE are honored to sponsor her!)

In the Bible, Efrata was the 2nd wife of Caleb. (Caleb is my oldest sons name!)

Her name is pronounced (according to google) ef FRAY tah

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Forsaken Children

*You may want to turn the music off at the bottom of this page.*

There are 100,000 street children in Ethiopia.
This is a project in Addis Ababa to help these children.

**Double click the video to bring up the full screen version on You Tube.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am restless

I can't decide what i want to do with my life because I want to do everything. I want to see new things, help someone in need, save a life, do great things. I want to rise above mediocracy. I want to change the world.

-author unknown

Efrata (our sponsored child) lives in Holeta

** Double click on the video to bring up the you-tube full screen video.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A small step-

Dan and I are sponsoring Efrata Paulos Damtew. She is 7 years old and will turn 8 on May 21st. She lives in Ethiopia just west of Addis and is in the Holeta Berhane Wengel Child Development Project.

“Efrata makes her home with her mother. Cleaning is her household duty. Her mother is sometimes employed.

For fun, Efrata enjoys playing group games. She attends church activities regularly and is in primary school where her performance is average.”

Disclaimer: I have NO idea if I'm allowed to post her photo, but I saw other people post their sponsored child's photo. I may have to remove the photo and other identifying information. Until then, Enjoy! Isn't she precious???

Where are Gods people?

Why are WE allowing the suffering of others to continue? My heart is in pieces and I am struggling as we try to learn of a good way to help the needy children who have stolen our hearts.

The annual world economy breaks down like this:
Low Income, $825 or less: 37%
Lower Middle Income, $826 to $3,255: 38%
Upper Middle Income, $3,256 to $10,065: 9%
High Income, $10,066 or more: 16%

We are not only in the top 16%, we are in the top 1%. I can no longer continue to be ignorant about our own wealth. By American standards, we aren't among "the richest." I used to point fingers & wonder, why aren't THEY helping the poor?

12% of the world's people do not have access to safe water. 5,000 people a day die of causes related to unclean water. If all the worlds water could fit into an average sized bucket, only one teaspoon of it would be drinkable. The average person world wide uses 2.5 gallons of water a day. This includes washing, drinking, and cooking. The average person in America and other developed countries use 13 gallons of water a day JUST to flush the toilet.

Every day 1000 children (mostly infants) are infected with HIV. 22 Million people who live in Sub-Sahara Africa are living with HIV.

One in Six children in the world are involved in child labor. In the least developed countries, this number is 30%. World wide 126 million children are working in hazardous conditions. They often endure beatings, humiliation, and sexual violence by their employers.
Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun:
"It's the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

Mohandas Ghandi, political and spiritual leader in India:
"Be the change that you want to see in the world."

(Most data comes from Compassion Internationale's website.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An inspirational woman in Uganda

I spent some time reading this blog:

Katie Davis (Amazima Ministries.org) is a 21-year-old girl who lives in Uganda, has custody of 14 little girls, sends over 350 children to school, and now has a feeding program of over 1200. Within a year, Amazima (which means THE TRUTH) has grown from 150 to over 350 children.

I'm in awe!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A quote that caught my eye & held onto my heart today-

"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do
The something I can do.”

Helen Keller

Monday, March 15, 2010


Hunter lost one of his top front teeth today. I believe this would be tooth #3 that he has lost. I love his little toothless grin. The other top front tooth is about to come out as well.

He has been pulling on this tooth, trying so hard to yank it free, since yesterday evening. This morning he was back at it, pulling & pulling on it. While he was at school today he pulled it out. He kept it in a special spot because he said his pockets would be "too big" and it would become lost if he put it there. So where is the next best place? In his shoe of course!

This past week has been a long one. Caleb spiked a fever on Saturday March 6th. His asthma soon flared up & he was out of school until Thursday the 11th. On Friday the 12th Hunter woke up with a fever & some serious ear pain. We took him to the doctor that morning and he had a nasty ear infection "with effusion." The strep test came back today (the 15th) as positive.
Caleb continues to have some asthma problems. He was back in the 'yellow' zone this morning but after albuterol he was feeling better and able to go to school. It's been 9 days of illness and I'm not sure we are out of the woods yet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I think we need to work on getting a loan...
We added up the first set of expenses & they total about $10,000.

We also talked about meeting with Bethany...

Now if the Government would pass the bill extending the adoption benefits.. I would be a very happy person! Or if someone just felt like handing me a very big pile of one hundred dollar bills.. that would be nice too. ;)

It's been 2 months of talking. I honestly think if we had could wrap our heads around a few aspects of adoption (specifically bonding & the transition, or post placement) we would be further in the process by now. That and it would be nice if someone dropped a bunch of money in my lap. Oh, Did I already say that in this post? Ooops.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Global Rich List

Click Here to find out where you stand in the world.

Are you surprised?

To be wealthy in Ethiopia is to be poor in America

Does our wealth depend on the third world being poor?
Ask yourself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Law Changes in Ethiopia

There has been a big change in the adoption process for Ethiopia.

"Beginning April 9, 2010, adoptive families will be required to attend their court date in Ethiopia. Up until now, we were able to have an agency staff member represent us in court. All the adoptive family had to do was wait for the news to come that they passed. What this means for us is an EXTRA trip to Ethiopia. We will need to travel there twice." (Taken from another blog, but I've seen many posts about this in the last 24 hours.)

I think this is one to sit and watch because I KNOW that "court" doesn't always (or OFTEN) pass on the first try in Ethiopia. It will get rescheduled a few weeks or month later. Sometimes many times.

This means we WOULD have to travel at least twice. (HUGE cost issue.) It could me we would be traveling numerous times. Right now I'm actually glad that we didn't send our formal application in 'yet.' I would like to sit back and watch the process to be sure that people aren't having to travel numerous times to pass court first.

I'm going to look more seriously into child sponsorship for now. I feel the NEED to do something.
(Anyone out there in internet land know of a good child sponsorship program? Specifically for Africa, and preferably an agency that I can send letters and small gifts to the children.)

Good luck to everyone in the middle of the process. I know that this is a HUGE burden financially for many of you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The For a Day Foundation

Good news! Our chapter finally got the green light to book our first event in 2010! We've been working with Devos Childrens Hospital to put on this event for a few months. What is the For a Day Foundation? It's a "501(C)3 non-profit organization, that aims to counter the debilitating emotional side effects of cancer treatment in children ages 1-21 through positive attention and self-confidence building activities." We have tea-party style events for the girls. We paint their nails, apply make up, take pictures, and do crafts. The girls are crowned, with a real tiara, Queen for a Day! The boys will meet & play with firefighters, get a fire hat, play games, do crafts, and share hero stories.
Updates to come soon! First party will likely be in May!

Blog Title

Last night I woke up & the first thought that came to my mind was "a leap of faith."
I think that should we choose to adopt I will change my blog name to this statement. Then today I read on another blog the words "Leap, and the net will appear."

.. too be continued.

Define Necessity

Define Necessity. A 2 car garage? A fridge full of food? A closet full of clothing? A car for each adult? What's a necessity in America?

It's March 10th. Just over 2 months into a new year. Did you know that 24 MILLION people have died because of starvation this year? THIS YEAR. Did you know that 200,000 kids will die of starvation this week?

"For I was hungry and you did not feed me. I was thirsty and you did not give me a drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me to your house. I was naked, and you did not give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit me."

"Then they will reply, 'Lord when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?"

"I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me."

(This is the absolute saddest thing I have ever seen.)

Every 2.43 seconds someone dies from starvation.

Now redefine necessity.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The heart of God

Sunday Mornings

Yesterday I was about to write this process off as something that wasn't meant to be. I'm not sure Dan & I are on the same page. We are reading the same 'book.' I think we both have felt 'the call.' We both understand that God has opened our eyes to the needs of these children. What we do with this knowledge is still up for discussion.

Yesterday I took the kids, along with my parents & nephew Braedon, to the Grand Rapids Symphony's "Picnic Pops" for kids. As you know, we live in a predominantly white community. The church where this was held was no different. As I was sitting there I watched a very young little girl with beautiful black curls play on her mom's lap a few rows ahead. I wondered if she was adopted. If she was a child from Africa. As I was watching this baby another little girl, a few years older, and just as beautiful, walked next to me & sat a few rows behind. She also had beautiful dark skin & curls. Hand in hand with her light skinned mom and little brother. Was she also adopted? Is this a coincidence? Maybe. But in a sea of white faces and blond/brown hair, these beautiful little girls sat a few rows ahead, and a few rows behind me. If God was trying to tell me something, it worked.

Here is a Sunday morning meditation that I found on another blog, linked above in the title.


It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call,
because then you are not bothered by what He requires. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will.
You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.
Never consider whether or not you are of use - you are His.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What does 143,000,000 look like?

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8