Sunday, April 20, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ready Set GO!


Our 2014 Missions season begins this month with a team from Brooklake Church in Federal Way, Washington.
 
Brooklake is one of a growing number of ‘radical’ churches who are partnering with Adoption Ministry to meet needs in Ethiopia (see the video they did about this partnership here). Because they are committed to a long-term relationship with those they serve, the church is sending a team of 12 people who want to meet those they are sponsoring through Adoption Ministry 1:27 in Shashemene. Two churches in this city have identified over 50 at-risk families that Brooklake has found sponsors for and the team will be serving many of those families, spending time getting to know them and also working on a small construction project at the Mana Gammachuu orphanage.
 
Brooklake team
 
Fundraising is a huge part of any mission trip and together this group organized a “Mission Dinner and Auction” with entertainment and lots of items up for both live and silent auction. They raised almost $13,000 to help with airfare and in-country projects. Some creative team members sold handmade jewelry and art pieces in their church foyer on Sunday mornings. One guy bought 100 lbs of green Ethiopian coffee beans that he roasted himself and sold to church-goers as a unique “Brooklake Ethiopian roast”! One couple, who we featured on our blog in January, has been raising money specifically for a house for the woman they have adopted through AM 1:27. The good news is that all $5000 was raised, which was the goal to reach by the time the group leaves next week!
 
This team has met weekly for the three months leading up to their departure and their preparation serves as a great example for any group going on a mission trip. Our missions director, Mark Wolbert, used the video series “Missions Dilemma” as a teaching tool (view preview trailer below) and a catalyst for some great discussion. It has impacted each team member, helping them approach the trip with less of a Western mindset and with a desire to be culturally sensitive in serving. Their goal is relational: to plant seeds of friendship with the families they sponsor and to bring Christ’s encouragement and practical help.
 
You can follow this team on their Facebook page and we’ll also be linking to blog updates!



Missions Dilemma–7 part series for Missions preparation


Monday, April 14, 2014

Passing the Torch–Adoption Training


Adoption Ministry is joining others in passing the adoption torch to Ethiopian Christian families. Traditionally, adopting outside of your family was taboo in Ethiopia. Even now adoption is equated with a lesser position within the family unit and Ethiopians cannot fathom cherishing an adopted child as they would a biological child. But the tide is changing! We have been speaking in churches and to individuals about God’s heart for adoption and challenging couples to take care of the orphans in their community.
 
Shashemene town is where YWAM has a sweet little orphanage with mommy nannies tenderly caring for throw-away babies brought to us by the police. One little miss has already been adopted by a family in Addis Ababa... 

Hailu & Dureti-1_thumb[2]  

but there are eight little sweethearts who need their very own families.

babies
(How I wish I could show you these adorable little faces... but only after they are adopted!)

At the end of February, our orphanage director planned a two day seminar for Ethiopian couples interested in adoption. A knowledgeable and respected judge spoke about the legalities and procedures of adoption, and a representative for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs painted a picture of the unadorned realities and bleak future awaiting children without parents. Abandoned children are either raised in an institution or on the streets making them highly vulnerable to slave trade. She also gave compassionate insight as to why mothers abandon their children. A highlight was when a young man named Belay shared. He grew up as an orphan in Ethiopia and gave the attendees a snapshot of what life is like from an orphan’s perspective.
 
adoption training for couples
The second day featured an adoptive mom from Addis who has adopted two children. She underscored the need to claim adopted children as your own and how she and her husband integrated their two children into their extended family and normalized adoption. Abonesh, the wife of our country representative, taught on the Biblical perspective of adoption.
 
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By the end of the conference, six families walked to the Mana Gammachuu orphanage and picked out the child they wanted to adopt! Those six couples are now in the homestudy process and we are hoping that within a month or two, six tiny people will be lovingly ensconced in a home where they will be loved forever.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Adoptive Families and the Church {a repost}


Stephen Curtis Chapman shares his heart about
church orphan and adoption ministry.

Excerpt from an article by Michael Monroe.  For the complete story, please visit the Empowered to Connect web page The Safest Place on Earth.


It is fundamental that our communities of faith fully realize and embrace the lifelong journey that (adoptive)  families are walking – and commit to being a church that will walk beside them each and every step of the way.

Churches that desire to become a “safe place” must:

1. Become Missional – ...Churches that are missional as it relates to adoption and foster care reach out to adoptive and foster families. These missional churches are willing and able to translate the message of hope and love being lived out in the lives of these families to the broader church culture that, in many ways, does not have an accurate, realistic and healthy understanding of adoption and foster care. In order to become missional in this respect churches must go out of their way to tell the stories of adoptive and foster families, and to tell them honestly. They must also more fully consider the needs and unique characteristics of these families as they develop and design their programs and activities...

2. Become Open and Willing to Learn — Effectively ministering to adoptive and foster families (as well as those who are exploring) will require that our churches become far more educated on the subjects of adoption and foster care. I believe that staff and lay leaders alike must become familiar with the facts and realities that confront these families and their children. This will require that they begin to listen, read and research as they seek to truly understand realities about which too many in our churches are completely unaware. It will require much effort to understand the perspectives and struggles of adoptive and foster families, and not so much to offer “solutions” but to learn how to better love and serve them...

3. Become Honest and Prepared to Get Messy — Adoption and foster care families are full of joy, blessings and hope. I believe these realities are what most clearly and fully characterize these life changing journeys. But they also have their share of loss, grief, disappointment, fear, doubt and so many different realities that result from our fallen world and our sinful human condition...

4. Become Willing to Change – ... Will we examine our children’s ministry? Our jr. high and youth ministry? Will we seek to understand and respond to the real and unique needs of adoptive and foster parents? Will we commit time and resources to develop an effective relief and respite care ministry for foster parents?

5. Become Committed for the Long Haul — Here’s a secret about adoptive families – you ready? The adoption journey does not end when the adoption is finalized. The adoption journey (on this earth) ends when you DIE! Adoptive and foster families need churches that are committed for the long haul . . . committed during the highs and the lows . . . committed during the times of joy and the seasons of pain . . . committed to celebrating the blessing and grappling with the loss and grief... This commitment must remain strong for as long as it takes and no matter what comes.

If our churches are willing to walk this journey of faith alongside the families that God has formed and transformed through the miracle of adoption and foster care, I believe that not only will they become the “safest place on earth” for these daring families… I believe they will experience the privilege of being part of something truly remarkable. They will serve as an integral part of the visible Gospel being lived out in the lives of countless adoptive and foster families, and all for the glory of God.

Be sure to visit the Empowered to Connect website for more great insight and help with adoption issues!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why We Need Young People in Missions


A post from YWAM’s Rise Campaign…

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by Tanya Lyons
I had my first experience in missions when I was 17. I was just out of High School and ready to venture into the great unknown. Adventure awaited, and I had nothing to lose!

Interestingly enough, I wasn’t following God when I signed up for missions. At the time I didn’t know it was possible to walk with God. I was shocked and delighted when I discovered missions wasn’t about me trying to make the world better on my own, but was about joining God in his mission of restoration and change.

Missions turned out even better than I imagined. It resulted in some unexpected changes in my life too. I came to missions lonely and broken. I was angry with so many people, bitter at the world, and ashamed of my brokenness. But, while giving away the little bits of kindness and compassion God helped me muster up, I was healed myself…

Continue reading: @risecampaign.com

__________________________________

Start making plans now to join us on a mission trip to Ethiopia!  Visit our Missions webpages and read about how to begin planning a trip, a timetable for raising funds and what it might be like to join God at work serving others in Ethiopia.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Birth Families



IMG_2876
Adoption Ministry of YWAM has a three-part ministry philosophy when it comes to the adoptive families we have worked with – both domestic and Ethiopian adoptions.  We partner with families who share these beliefs:

  • Adoption is a calling from God and a commitment to a life-long healing process

  • Adoption is about giving a family to a child not about getting a child for your family

  • Adoption includes understanding and appreciating the circumstances and sacrifice a birthparent has made (whether relinquished or abandoned) and being willing to provide post-adoption pictures and updates to be shared with the birthparent or the orphanage

IMG_4441
Joy always does her best to meet with birth family members when she goes to Ethiopia and it’s our desire to provide them with photos and updates at least once a year.  When she goes to Ethiopia in May, Joy will be traveling to the towns in the Western areas where many of our children are from, thanks to a generous adoptive family who are paying for her travel expenses. 

She will try to find and meet with as many of our birth parents as possible and deliver photos and a little update from each adoptive family.  We so appreciate the effort our families make to provide these appreciative birth families with a happy report about the children they have relinquished.


We have several links to share today that reflect our commitment to honoring birth families.  The first two are written by YWAM adoptive moms and the last is one Joy wrote in May of 2012. 

May We Never Forget
by Kate Hannula

To Ethiopia With Love
by Haley Ballast

Desperate Mothers
by Joy Casey


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Delivering Hope


by Kameron Shadrick

Ethiopia -getting Sarah Jan 2011 292
About four years ago the Lord began to nudge four separate families to adopt children from Ethiopia.  But unknown to us, the Lord had been separately working in each of our hearts to do something beyond adoption. We were all deeply troubled by the maternal deaths that often result in the orphaning of so many children, including some of our own. And our hearts wept when our own older adopted children shared of the heartache and pain from watching a newborn sibling die.

Proverbs 24:12
Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know." For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

One day, after years of tears and prayers, the Lord gave us a clear burden and vision to help mothers and infants survive childbirth in developing countries, specifically Ethiopia. We had NO idea what this meant, or how we were going to help, but we were excited to see what God had in store.

Habakkuk: 2:3
This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

We began to research maternal care in low resource countries, and were shocked to learn that every 90 seconds a mother dies bringing forth life, and in that same 90 seconds, 14 newborns die, usually from preventable causes.  We enrolled in midwifery classes, attended global midwifery trainings, read studies and reports on the global maternity crises, and became doulas, all while praying about what to do.

We began to ask WHY 99% of the women and babies who die live in developing countries… and found that the reasons include: not enough hospitals, rural living, lack of transportation, medical costs, fear of treatment by medical staff, lack of education….

We developed a name for ourselves… Delivering Hope International (DHI).  And wrote our mission statement…Delivering Hope International exists to bring hope, healing and compassion to those most vulnerable in our world. Compelled by Christ’s love, we improve maternal, newborn and child health, and promote family preservation and the prevention of orphans.

And then we prayed, prayed, prayed...  Finally one day after feeling discouraged about the “bigness” of the problem, we felt the Lord give us a unique solution… “What if we use Doulas?” We immediately began work on a plan, and started picking the brains of anyone and everyone who works within international midwifery. We called and emailed OBs both here and in Ethiopia, directors of birth clinics, international missionary midwives, midwifery university professors, and NGO directors. We shared our vision, each time waiting for someone to tell us that this vision makes no sense, but were repeatedly encouraged when they responded with excitement and gladly offered advice, wisdom, and guidance.

We ultimately developed a plan that included well trained and certified Doulas who will:

1) Provide education on maternal and newborn health: lack of knowledge is a leading cause for women making unwise health choices

2) Provide “Clean Birth Kits” and “Postpartum Care Kits”:  maternal and newborn sepsis (infection) is another leading cause of death.

3) Help families develop emergency transportation and medical savings plans: this will address the delay in receiving care due to lack of transportation or fear of medical costs which increases risk of death. (DHI is also developing an Emergency Medical Fund that will ensure that women in our care are never denied medical services.)

4) Provide 4 Prenatal and 4 Postnatal visits, and compassionate, dignified Doula support during labor: Midwives, Nurses, and Doctors are often overworked and understaffed, resulting in lack of maternity care at all stages. Our Doulas act as an extra set of “eyes” for the medical community, watching for “danger signs” and other problems.

5) Encourage women to birth with a Skilled Birth Attendant (Midwife, Nurse, or Doctor), rather than attendant at home: 90% of Ethiopian women birth without a skilled attendant. This is a dangerous and leading cause for high maternal and infant mortality.

Just this past February, Sara and I went to visit fellow DHI board member Shelly Weiland, who lives in Ethiopia. We shared our vision with those working in the field of maternal and newborn care, and with potential ministry partners, and we asked for honest feedback. We were humbled and encouraged as, once again, we found those within this field to be optimistic and excited too.

Q 8th bday DHI ET 054 (559x800)
On that same trip, we were also able to test out our DHI Doula training curriculum with 13 Ethiopians, and found that the curriculum is sound and complete, and ready to be translated for use by Doulas. (To learn more about our training, visit here)

DHI feb 2014 ET trip 024 (800x534)
We learned more about the needs within the medical hospitals and clinics, and were met by encouragement and support for our plan. (Visit here and here for more.)

IMG_1643 (800x533)
We were humbled to visit pregnant and postpartum women at a Women’s Prison, and further established a relationship with a prison ministry, through which we hope to provide doula services to women who are incarcerated.

Q 8th bday DHI ET 069 (744x800)
We are continuing to establish the foundation of our work in Ethiopia, are raising funds to provide supplies and salaries for our Doulas, are developing Postpartum Care Kits, and are preparing for our first full Certification DHI Doula Training this coming Fall.  Maybe you would like to host a Mother’s Day Party!  Visit here to learn more.

We are honored to serve the Lord in this manner, and it is with joy and thanksgiving that we are able to show through this work the power and grace of our God, who delights in using the ill-equipped to do things that glorify Him.

With His Hope,
Kameron and the DHI Team (Sara, Shelly, Jennifer, Michelle, Alyssa, and Marvin)


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