Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Will You Do For The Lord?

This video is a compilation of my thoughts regarding our adoption and the overwhelming need for orphan and widow care that still existst. What will we do for the Lord?? (pause my music at the top to first)

Monday, June 21, 2010

We're Glad You're Our Dad

Last night I asked the kids what they love about their dad. Caleb said, "he plays army men with me." Colton, then said the same thing-all the kids laughed. Hermela said, "He works hard for us and he plays fun games like "hammer down" (rough housing, swinging kids around and throwing them into the air-in a very safe manner of course). Meron said she likes that daddy plays babies with the girls and Caroline said, "I love my dad." All were great responses and highlight a lot of Nick's great "dad" qualities. He works very hard for our family, even homeschooling our kids two mornings a week while I work. He is definitely way more fun than I am and the kids have a great time playing with him. His "army man" playing abilities are exceptional and he's great at coaching baseball, teaching the kids to fish, launching them into the pool, riding wheelies on their scooters, fixing things that need fixing and all sorts of other essential "dad" skills. We are grateful for you and the kids are really glad that you're their dad!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Advocating Update #2

On our refrigerator, we have the pictures of 4 Ethiopian orphans. One is Meseret, our sponsor child with Trees of Glory. The other three are orphans that are on our agency's waiting child list-and have been since last year. I started advocating for them a month or so ago and last posted about the financial details of their adoptions and the grants and reduced country fees that each of them have been assigned here. ***UPDATE: K AND M HAVE ZERO AGENCY FEES AND ZERO FOREIGN FEES AT THIS TIME***

So it has been about three weeks since that post and still no families. No one has picked them. These children still wait.

What does it mean to wait? I found three definitions of the word (my comments are in red):

wait (wāt)

1.to stay in a place or remain in readiness or in anticipation (until something expected happens) -Like your mom and dad finally come to bring you home.

2.to be ready or at hand-
They are so, so ready to be loved

3. to remain temporarily undone or neglected-They are surely undone and certainly feel neglected

The last group that travelled said that these three children are longing for a family to call their own. They have witnessed countless children coming and going.

When will it be their turn?????

Who will pick them?????

Here is another peak at these precious children.

This sweet girl is about 9 years old and has a quiet and cheerful disposition. She has been waiting for far to long to know she is loved. **ADOPTED**
These siblings, a sister age 9 and a brother age 11 need a family to belong to-a place they can thrive and grow and know they matter.

Please forward this post on to anyone that you think may be interested in any or all of these children. For more information, please contact IAG at www.adoptionguides.org.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Meron

Meron woke up super early on her birthday. She had been counting down the days and on her special day, she too wanted to wear her new Ethiopia dress. She beamed with delight when she put it on and thoroughly enjoyed all of the extra attention she recieved.

All three of our girls have birthdays within 4 weeks of each other which had pros and cons this year. The biggest pro is that nobody had to wait long for their turn to be the birthday girl. These days, the more "the same" everything is for the girls the better-same pajamas, same shoes, same bathing suits.... It makes everything a little easier.

So after Hermela and Caroline got new bikes for their birthdays, Meron said, "whereza me bike?" I asked her why she thought she was getting a bike (which she was) and she said, "Hermela and Caroline told me." So it is a good thing that they all got very similar gifts this year or we would have been dealing with some major disappointment.

I've mentioned before what a hard worker Hermela is and how uninterested Meron is in helping or doing work. So I put Meron and Caleb (another one that is slightly less motivated in the work department) in charge of putting all of the shoes away in the cubbies. Well, you'd have thought I asked them to make the shoes before they put them away. There was crying and laying on the floor and it took nearly 20 minutes to finally complete a job that should have taken about 5 (looks like I haven't been giving enough work lately:). This was the day before her birthday. I told her that she was almost four and I knew she could do it.

They next day, when she was 4, she did the same job with ease and without complaining. She kept saying, "I'm four now." I'm using the "your 4 now" card while I can and so far, she's been doing a great job and even volunteering to help out.

She has made huge progress since she came home 4 1/2 months ago. We are able to work through situations without as many tantrums and they are definitely shorter now. She is communicating entirely in English (which is a little sad because nearly all of her Amharic is gone). The rate at which the girls have learned English is amazing. I'd love to spend 4 months in Ethiopia and see how much Amharic our other kids and Nick and I could pick up.

Meron chose to have ice cream sundaes for her birthday. Hermela keeps calling them "Sunday ice creams" (you know-the kind that you can only have on church days:). The girls say the cutest things. Meron's newest thing is jumping off of steps. She says, "watch my jump mommy" instead of watch me jump.

Meron has been talking more about her mom in Ethiopia. I don't know how much she really understands, but she'll bring me the phone and ask me to call her. It's hard to explain to her that we can't do that. Last night she had me pray for her. It makes me so sad for the girls that they have experienced such a great loss. I pray that we are able to help them work through all of their feelings and that they know that we love them and God loves them.

We love you so much our big 4 year old girl. We pray that you will grow up to love the Lord and to love and help others.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trees of Glory

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

I know I've been posting a lot lately about the Children's Hopechest sponsorship program, but I feel the need to post again as I've learned more through my correspondance with the Trees of Glory coordinator. I found out that only 35% of the kids there currently have sponsors. That means that about 56 kids still need sponsors.

In order for Children's Hopechest to be able to provide a regular feeding program for these children, they need for at least 60% of the kids to be sponsored.

This is a new care-point in Ethiopia, so they are just starting to get services to these needy children. We have the opportunity to partner with Children's Hopechest at the ground level and help bring about change in the lives of these kids.

Sponsorship is especially crucial right now because as I mentioned above, without it the kids at Tress of Glory are not able to recieve the benefit of a full feeding program. It is heart wrenching to think that these children are not receiving regular meals. We've all felt hunger pangs, but very few of us actually know what it feels like to be hungry. My sweet girls know the fear of starvation. They've had to wait, sometimes for days, for food. They've witnessed their mother going to church to pray for injera and money for food. Our next meal is something that we all take for granted. We know that we will have a next meal. Our biggest dilemma is WHAT we will eat. For the kids being served at Trees of Glory and so many others, they live with the daily fear of IF they will eat or not.

It is not right.

We must do something.

We have an opportunity to make a difference.

The children need you.

They are hungry.

Will you help feed ONE??????

Please contact the Trees of Glory representative today at kjwistrom@yahoo.com. Your sponsorship will help meet the very basic need of food and help forge relationships of hope with children who desperately need to know they matter.

Please visit www.family-from-afar.blogspot.com and view the June 3rd post "my brother and me" to see pictures of two precious brothers that are hoping for a sponsor.

Defending the Fatherless


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why Wait??

This is Meseret. Like I said, she has a sad little face, devoid of hope. It is hard to imagine the struggles she faces and the heartache she feels on a daily basis. We're praying that our relationship with her will help her to realize that she is loved from afar and loved by Jesus.

If you've ever thought of sponsoring a child, why wait???

The Trees of Glory care-point is ministering to 84 children who need sponsor families now. Go to http://family-from-afar.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-do-you-see-in-their-eyes.html to see pictures of some of children at Trees of Glory that are currently waiting for people like you to respond to the call and "care for them in their distress".

What an awesome opportunity to help children in need!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Can $34 Do????

For $34 you can:

Take a trip for two to the movies
Get a hair cut

Buy a week worth of fast food lunches

Purchase a new shirt

or a couple of pizzas


(Children at Trees of Glory care-point. I believe that's our sponsor child, Meseret, is standing to the far left in the blue dress and white head scarf.)

As I posted earlier, we have felt led to sponsor a child in Ethiopia. We signed up with Children's Hope Chest and received the picture of a 9 year old girl named Meseret. She is living in a region north of Addis Ababa with her grandmother and 5 other children. They are living in extreme poverty. Most of the kids that are in the Children's Hope Chest sponsorship program in Ethiopia are living with neighbors or relatives who are barely able to support their own families, let alone another child.

Children's Hope Chest partners with local "care-points" or "drop in" centers in Ethiopia to provide a safe place for children to go during the day to receive food, education and spiritual guidance. Below is part of an email update that I received about the "Trees of Glory" care-point (the center that our sponsor child is a part of).

Ginia with Children's Hopechest was in Ethiopia last week and spent the day Thursday, with the kids and staff at "Trees of Glory" care-point. The team took bread and bananas to the kids and were able to meet many of the care-givers as well.

Ginia explained to me that the situation here is pretty desperate. Most of the kids are orphans, and have been taken in by a guardian or family member that is barely able to provide for them. Many of these kids are being "sold" for $12 a year (like an indentured servant) to local livestock owners - and they work day and night herding cattle. These kids never would have had the opportunity to go to school and she said many of them are starving!

The government has actually intervened on behalf of the kids, and is requiring the guardians to bring the kids to the care-point where they will be provided for. Because of the sponsor program - these kids will have opportunities they NEVER would have had without YOU! Not only basic necessities like food, clothing and medical care - but the director at Trees of Glory is hoping to be able to hire teachers and start a school by September. It's a lofty goal in a short time period - but together and with prayer, we can make this happen for these kids!

In addition, there are no Christians living in this area of Ethiopia, so the kids are hearing the true Gospel for the very first time. The dominant religion in the area is Orthodox, which has a Christian influence but includes much superstition and "witchcraft" as well. The director is a Christian woman and is planning to use one of the buildings on the property as a church, not only for the kids, but also for the community.

I love the work that Children's Hope Chest is doing. The sponsorship program allows for kids that do have a place to stay to remain with family or friends and still receive the benefit of an education, better nutrition, and most importantly, a place to hear that GOD LOVES THEM and has a plan for their lives.

The other thing I love is that when you sponsor a child, you are put in contact with other families that are also sponsoring children in the same care-point as you are. You can then partner together to fund specific projects that provide for the specific needs of that care point. This might include providing clean water, new school uniforms, blankets for the winter, books, a chicken farm....whatever they need to improve their living conditions. You also have the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia annually with other sponsor families to work along side the Ethiopian staff and even meet your sponsor child. I love the idea that you are able to see true change happening in the lives of very desperate children and connect directly with them.

We've told the kids about Meseret and they seem to understand that she has a family, but still needs us to help her. It was kind of confusing to explain that she wouldn't be coming home to our house, but instead just needed our support to be able to have a better life in Ethiopia (the kids are petitioning for another child: first they wanted one from my belly-not happening; Caleb really wants another boy in the house-preferable his age so he can have a built in playmate; Hermela asked me today for a baby from Ethiopia-"I like babies", she said-she'll have to work on daddy for that one:)

The profile that we have for Meseret states that she is good natured, shy and sensitive and likes sports, singing and cooking. She looks quite sad in the picture we have of her and I imagine that she has suffered many hardships. I hope that through this sponsorship program she will realize that she is precious in God's eyes and in ours and that one day that sad face will be a face of hope.

our girls waiting in the care center

The difference that hope makes

Our girls-home for four months (note the sponsored children are not available for adopiton)

If you are interested in sponsoring a child with Children's Hopechest and would like to be matched with an Ethiopian child at the "Trees of Glory" care-point, please contact Karen Wistrom at kjwistrom@yahoo.com or visit her blog at http://www.familiy-from-afar.blogspot.com/. I think it would be awesome for our family and friends to all sign up to sponsor a child (just $34/month brings a lifetime of hope to a needy child). I look forward to the day we get to visit Meseret and dream of bringing a whole group of friends and family with us to do the same.