Sunday, April 15, 2012

Are you new?! Nope...been coming here for a long time...

I honestly enjoy meeting new people but I know this isn't the case for everyone. Raising my kids, I've tried to teach them that there should always be room in our hearts for a new friend.

When there is a new kid in their classroom, I'm nosy and ask my children to find out more about that person. Where did they go to school before they joined their class? Do they go to church? If so, where? Has anyone included them in their circle of friends? And so on. Often, my children have answered most of my questions with "I dunno!" But I still encourage them to find out...but more importantly, to be kind to them and to invite them into their circle of friends. Sometimes this works out well and new friends are found all around. Sometimes they find out that a new friendship is not possible due to personality conflicts. But I would hope that everyone feels like they did something to make the other feel welcome. If a new friendship is formed, then everyone wins. And if not, at least they tried.

Awhile back, there was a child who we got to know and invited to several outings. At first it seemed to work out as the kids hit it off well. But a few weeks later, this child made other friends and my child was not included in that circle. Now, years later, my child has realized that new friendships aren't always possible. Sometimes the other child can be hard to get to know. Sometimes they form their own cliques where others aren't included (which turned out to be the case with this child). At least that child did not enter a new environment & feel invisible or bullied, as so often happens when a child changes schools.

As a parent, I'm not comforted by the closed circles of friends I see at my kids schools. Those groups that have been together since Kindergarten and appear to be exclusive. The ones that do not change from year to year, yet new kids come and go. Do these kids know what they are missing out on? Do they know the heartbreak that many classmates go through when they are not even thought of when birthday parties are planned and invites are given out? Are they taught to care? Isn't it our job as parents to encourage our children to be more like Christ, accepting others and opening up our lives to include them? Is it a lack of tolerance? Maybe we're so busy, it's just easier to go through the years without going out of our way.

So what about adults? Are we exempt from including others? How often do we have our comfortable circle of friends and we're very content in the closed familiarity of it. There are book clubs, coffee outings, Saturday lunches, even prayer groups that seem exclusive. Besides waving hello or small talk in passing at the grocery store, when is the last time we truly visited with someone we don't usually hang out with?

Don't get me wrong. It's important that we all form lasting, nurturing bonds and have lifelong, best friends. I think it's healthy & pretty wonderful. But I also think it's incredibly close minded to not give others a chance. We can't leave it up to someone else to make the first move. We might be missing out on someone pretty amazing. We might be missing out on a lifetime of friendship.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paper Prayers

(Paraphrased from the book Adventures In Prayer by Catherine Marshall)
When bringing our prayer requests to the Lord, write them on pieces of paper. Ask outright what the request is. Pray over the pieces of paper, asking Jesus' mind on them, sifting out anything superficial or selfish until we have reached the kernel of the Spirit's hopes and dreams for this particular person or wish. Then, insert each piece between the pages of your favorite Bible, even specifically in between the pages of your favorite texts - Signifying that you are leaving them completely in God's care & keeping.
It is wonderful to go back sometime in the future and find these slips of paper & see how the Lord had blessed and answered each prayer.
(I actually did this in 1990 when Andrew and I had broken up while we were dating. I was so broken hearted. I knew he was the one for me so why did God allow him to dump me?! We were broken up for a year...After making myself sick with doubt, worry and heartache during that time, I followed these steps and completely left it up to God. A few years later after we were married, I discovered that Bible and the pieces of paper I had placed there...21 years of marriage later, I see how God was always in charge...I just had to let Him do what He needed to!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bring "N" Home

Since dropping off on my blogging for sooooo long, I know I've also lost a lot of readers. Or maybe it's not about me at all...we are all very busy. Raising our children, working, playing, stressing about daily life, fundraising....Yep. Fundraising.
When we were in Ethiopia 3 years ago, we met the most incredibly adorable little boy. He was 4 years old and a complete lover. Each morning he would run into my arms, cover my neck with kisses and hug on me like we belonged together. The last day we were there, I inquired about this child's status. He had been abandoned and was HIV+. I cried. The secretary at the orphanage cried. I felt like I was going to leave behind my child! It was heartbreaking. THIS CHILD IS UNIQUE BECAUSE HE'S SO MEMORABLE. Out of an entire orphanage, he was the only child gregarious enough to seek us out.Each.And.Every.Day.

Over the past 3 years, I've thought of this child often. I've held him up before God in prayer. I even asked some of my Ethiopian contacts to check up on him and was able to get reports a few times per year...just making sure he was alive and healthy. HIV+ children do not get adequate care in 3rd world countries (if they receive medicine at all) and the older a child get's, the less "wanted" they are by potential adoptive parents, no matter what they're health status is. Knowing that little "N" was now 8 years old, destined to be in orphan care until his early teens then likely released onto the streets to beg was what he was heading for.

Then, in the past month, I started having very strong feelings that I needed to check on "N" again...I was filled with a sense of urgency. So, each day I brought him before the Lord, asking what I was supposed to do. What was expected of me? Why was I having such a strong desire to look him up again. Were we supposed to adopt him? Were we supposed to start some kind of non profit to help him and others in his same situation? I just didn't know, so I began to pray and ask God to show me. To open whatever door was His will...but just as importantly, that WE be willing to heed the call, as scary as it might be.

A call to the agency we used to bring home Ruby and Roman brought the news that "N" had been matched with a waiting family...but I had already gotten "solid" confirmation from a friend in Ethiopia that "N" was not matched and he was available for adoption. Conflicting reports made me just want to dig deeper because I had to know for sure this child's status. So I posted a simple paragraph on one of the Facebook message boards asking if anyone knew this boy and what his status was. Within a few minutes, I had my answer. I was amazed how quickly someone responded...actually, several people responded. This child had touched the lives of so many others! A lady by the name of Hannah said that yes, indeed, her family was waiting to bring "N" home...I was delighted! After a few private messages back and forth, and validating her authenticity of their pending adoption of "N", I told her my story & the bond I felt with "her" little boy...She did not respond for a couple of days. You see, I had freaked her out a bit!

When we talked again, she said how she had been feeling guilty about holding on to a child when someone else might be able to get him home sooner. She had been praying that somehow God would show her direction. Funding was standing in the way and her family had exhausted their resources. When I assured her I was in no position to adopt "N" & I was merely trying to figure out how best to help her, we realized clearly what we could mean to each other.

With this little boy's best interest in mind, we have set up a fund to raise money to get him home to his waiting family as soon as possible. At this point, money is one of the biggest factors standing in the way. Of course, there is paperwork and court dates still to be passed...but anyone in the adoption community knows that the almighty dollar is the hardest thing to come up with, and usually, a lot of it needs to arrive. At this point, we are hoping to raise about $14,000 more to complete little "N's" paperwork, court dates and Hannah & her husband, Rob's travel expenses.

If you are in a position to help in any way ($1, $5, $10...anything helps), please click on the link or copy and paste, go to the site we've set up at

This child is not getting adequate meds for his HIV status and the orphanage that he's living in is also under pressure from the government. There have been fears expressed that they will be shut down. It is our prayer that he gets home as soon as possible. Please join us in this prayer. If you feel impressed to give, we humbly thank you in advance!

Welcome to our site! We hope you enjoy the information we share during our adoption journey. As we document this wild ride to bringing home our Ethiopian children, we hope you'll fall in love with this beautiful country as we have.

Washington State, USA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa