Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Being Intentional About Christmas With Adopted Kids


Together on the Ledge
@Empowered to Connect
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and has always been a treasured day for our family.  We love a Christmas tree with sparkling lights, stockings stuffed to their brims, meaningful gifts, and lots of special food. But with the addition of our children from “hard places” we have found it necessary to learn new strategies to successfully celebrate holidays together as a family.

Why Christmas Stinks Sometimes
@Empowered to Connect
It instantly occurred to me that somehow I managed to have the only elementary school-aged child in all of America who actually hates Christmas. But I quickly asked the obvious question, “Why?”

An Older Child's First Christmas Home
@Rainbow Kids
Often, having had to survive a number of holiday seasons wondering if they would ever have the experience of purchasing gifts for a son or daughter, many new adoptive parents are at risk of overwhelming and indulging the new child in the family.

Celebrating Christmas With Newly Adopted Children
@One Thankful Mom

I’ve been wondering just how to “do” Christmas this year with three newly adopted children from Ethiopia. I would really like to change our “normal” Christmas to focus more on Christ and less on presents.

Creating a Hopeful Christmas for Your Adopted Child

Adoptive families of older children, especially during the holidays, must be sensitive to their new child, while bringing him or her into the family and making him or her a part of traditions that have been in place for years. The following seven points can help us get through a holiday fraught with emotion, keep our important family traditions, blend in our new children, and head off most major blow-outs.

Adoption Gifts
Here are some adoption gift ideas … from adoptive parents and birth parents to adoptees.

Audiobook Ideas for Your Family
@Delighting in Dirty Carpet
A list of audio stories you can use at bedtime, in the car, during quiet play…


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Real Heroes

Don’t you love a good hero story?  The folks in the stories below haven’t entered a burning building to save a life or used super-human strength to lift a beam off of someone who was pinned underneath – at least that we know of!  But their generosity and sacrifice has made a huge impact in the lives of the very poor in Ethiopia. 

Click on the titles below to read about some very creative giving via our YWAM Gift Catalog


Kids Changing the Lives of Kids
Something as simple as selling cookies makes a huge difference

Talent Project-2

Bursting With Thankfulness
Houses and sheep given to many families in Gutumuma

Smith fam

They gave up their Christmas gifts last year so children in Ethiopia could have clean water, food and bibles!


These kids bought a house!
An Awana group in Arizona worked hard to provide a big blessing in Ethiopia

Kids Blow Me Away!
Water filters, formula and food – all from big-hearted kids


He was planning to get a parrot
A generous boy changes his mind about spending his savings


Check out our 2012-2013 YWAM Gift Catalog to see
many ways to become a hero to someone in Ethiopia.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Links You’ll Like

They’re Both Mine
I have two daughters, one by adoption and one by birth…
Two girls, two different stories. 
Both mine.

Have you ever watched a broken heart heal?
Some days it is so easy to see the healing of his heart through the progress he is making.  Yet other days it feels as if we are back to day one. 

Keeping the Lid on Tight
This is another step of letting go, of admitting that we are not who we used to be, and of being uncomfortably needy.

Finish Line
@Injera&chocolate gravy
Oh the things that come out at bedtime

I love the words to this song by Tim and Laurie Thornton of The Blackthorn Project because it describes our adoption in Christ.  It’s called The Mud Song…

isn't it just like you to invite me into a warm house
isn't it just like you to stroke my hair as I fall asleep
Father you made me yours
found my orphan heart and brought it home
and I'm safe here and I sing
isn't it just like you to make a slave into your daughter
isn't it just like you to make wine out of dirty water

I used to live in chains
my wounds bled to the ground
my bed was out in the rain
my hair in knots and soaked in mud

but you took my hand
and you led me in
and you combed my hair
you kissed my skin
and you gave me food
you made me yours

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Up Close and Personal

by Cindy Wallitner
One year ago my life was turned upside down, although a more accurate description would probably be, my life was put right side up.

I am a typical American woman (married, with three children, attending a good church, living an upper middle class lifestyle) who one day thought it would be great fun to go to Ethiopia. My church was organizing a group with YWAM and it sounded like quite the adventure.

I have not been the same since.
It was my second day in Ethiopia and we were preparing food to be distributed to families with the then fledgling program called Adoption Ministry 1:27. A young Ethiopian girl hovered around the periphery of our group and caught my attention. Her too small clothes were filthy and she seemed very lonely and sad. My heart was drawn to her and as the day progressed I knew I needed to connect with her.

I found out her name was Kalkidan and she was 18-years-old. Her source of food was from the nearby garbage dump where she went daily to scavenge for anything edible as well as for plastic things that she could sell. As the realities of her existence were revealed, my life came into sharp focus. I have never been hungry. I have always had clean water to drink. I have a closet full of clothes. I have unlimited opportunities. I have a loving family who cares for me. Kalkidan had none of these things and my heart shattered.
My two weeks in Ethiopia flew by and I met many memorable people and assimilated the sights and smells of a country that God used to draw me to Him, but Kalkidan’s face never left me. When I got back to Washington, I “adopted” Kalkidan through the Adoption Ministry 1:27 program, and the life and future of this young girl changed drastically.

A few months later the ministry Director was in Ethiopia and visited with Kalkidan who shyly admitted that she had always wanted to be a hairdresser. A donor had given Joy some discretionary funds and that money was used to arrange for Kalkidan to enroll in a cosmetology school.
Cindy & Kalkidan
In August 2012, I went back to Ethiopia and I saw a very different woman from the one I left a year ago. Kalkidan looked AMAZING! She was confident and happy and so proud of all she had accomplished. She showed me the small room where she lives with two other women and two children, very thankful for enough to eat and a safe place to sleep. I have such a close connection with Kalkidan and I am especially grateful that she is active in her church and her faith is growing. When she finishes school, she will be well on her way to becoming self-sustaining.

I am proud to be a part of Adoption Ministry 1:27 as a sponsor. I have seen first hand the dedication and attention that the case managers give to the families in this program, and I will always be involved in helping the poor this way. I am eternally grateful for the day-in and day-out care that is given to Kalkidan and to so many others through AM 1:27. $40 a month has changed not only the life of someone in a far-away land, but more than that, it has educated and changed me, my children and my family. Meeting and caring for Kalkidan has made poverty in this world up close and personal and I will never be the same.

For $40 per month, you can also transform the life of a single mother or struggling family in Ethiopia.  Please visit our Adoption Ministry 1:27 website, where you’ll see photos and short descriptions of the many families we hope to serve.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ending a wrestling match with Christmas

by Maureen Durso
For years I wrestled with Christmas – a painful experience – not unlike Jacob’s wrestling match with God in the book of Genesis. Like Jacob, the experience left me crippled. No, my hip wasn’t injured, but I became spiritually and emotionally crippled as regards one of the most sacred holidays in the Christian calendar.
I could find little in the way we, both as a nation and as a family, had come to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I well remember my daughter’s father running out on Christmas Eve to buy more gifts for her saying, “She doesn’t have enough stuff.”

“Christmas” began appearing in some stores prior to Halloween. Friends would proudly remark: “I have almost all my Xmas shopping done!” “I can hardly wait to get my house decorated!” “We are having 23 for Christmas dinner!” “I have all my cards addressed and ready to go!” “It won’t be long until we can take advantage of the after-Christmas sales!” There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but I wanted to scream, “BUT, WHAT ABOUT BABY JESUS?”
I could see little in the way I was celebrating to remind me of the story of the birth of that holy Child as told in our Scripture – nor anything to remind me that He came as a servant to the needy. I even felt short-changed by my church which held Christmas Eve Service at 6:00 so people who planned to open gifts that evening could get home to tear into the piles under the trees. And then, no service on Christmas day.

For Jacob daybreak came, God blessed him, and a new day was set before him. I, too, have ended my wrestling match with Christmas. As a first step, I wrote letters to relatives and friends explaining that for Christmas I would be making a donation in their names to Adoption Ministry of YWAM - Ethiopia. I urged them, in turn, not to send me a gift, but rather make a contribution to Adoption Ministry or a charity of their choice.
Over the past two or three years, many in our family have begun a new tradition in celebration of Christmas -- ministering to the needy in Ethiopia via the YWAM Gift Catalog. God has blessed us and helped return to me the true Spirit of Christmas that feeds my soul while ministering to others who have genuine needs.

gift catalog button
The YWAM Gift Catalog is one way to give at Christmas and to love others as Jesus does by giving to those who really need help.  There are gifts for every budget and whatever you choose to give will be received with incredible joy! 
Your gift donation is income tax deductible and all donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most.  Let us know and we'll be happy to send a card to someone in whose name you want to give.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Family Compelled by Grace

Every one of our YWAM families are really remarkable folks - we often brag about them!

Here is an opportunity to meet one of them - Glen and Kristen Halvorson.  Their story is told in this short video made by their own Scottsdale Bible Church and shown at their observance of Orphan Sunday.

Thank you Glen and Kristen for hearts sensitive to God's call!


Monday, November 5, 2012

So you want to go on a mission trip?

What have mission team members said about taking a mission trip with Adoption Ministry of YWAM?

“I saw Jesus up close and personal in the many faces of the people of Ethiopia, and my life has been changed forever.”

“At each place we served, we made relationships with people we will never forget… the faces of those precious people of God will forever be etched in our memories.”

“The love and hospitality of Ethiopia's people was very humbling to me. I didn't expect the strong faith of so many of the people I met there. They are full of joy, trusting every day that God will provide for them and serving Him in some extremely difficult circumstances.”

“I am not an adventurous person so this was a big deal for me to travel to parts unknown with people I had never met, but God wove our team together and I still keep in touch with several team members.”

“I want to encourage you not to wait as long as I did to say 'yes' to God… I can tell you that there is nothing in the world like cooperating with God and taking a step of faith.”

These trips can be life-changing, never-to-be-forgotten experiences that God can use to forever shape your world view.  Our teams serve widows, children and families in some of the poorest communities in Ethiopia, doing service projects, child evangelism, women-to-women ministry and delivering humanitarian aid.

The 2013 calendar for mission trips to Ethiopia with Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia is already filling up but there are still open spots to either join an existing team or to bring a team from your church or small group. Consider a trip in the spring or fall as the weather in Ethiopia is much better for traveling (our summer is the rainy season in Ethiopia).

In order to successfully plan a mission trip, you’ll need to begin preparing NOW! Nine months is a minimum prep time in order to raise funds and prepare a team to serve. If you start now, you can set monthly goals for fund-raising, which will alleviate a lot of stress closer to the dates your funds are due. Below is our mission team payment schedule to help as you plan.  Total cost varies depending on the trip but you can plan on about $3000.

Payment Schedule

Date Due

Amount Due

Non-refundable appl fee
 With application
$   100.00
First payment
 5 months prior to trip
Second payment
 3 months prior to trip
Third payment
 2 months prior to trip
One-half remaining balance
Final payment
 1 month prior to trip
Remaining balance

*1st and 2nd payment is to purchase airline tickets and secure in-country services
Here are a few suggestions as you plan a mission trip:
  • begin now saving money monthly, setting up specific dollar amt goals
  • start a Facebook group for your team – that can be a place to post information, share prayer requests and stay in touch
  • read everything you can about Ethiopia - its people, history and current events

    Suggested reading:
    There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene
    The Hospital By The River by Catherine Hamlin (book and dvd)
    Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis
    Spiritual Warfare by Dean Sherman (purchased through YWAM publishing)

*Be sure to go to the Missions page on our website and also read some of our most frequently asked questions.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shine a light - Orphan Sunday

This Sunday, November 4 is Orphan Sunday!

Are the people in your sphere of influence aware of the hopelessness faced by orphaned children around the world?

Have you shared opportunities to make a difference in the life of an orphan, like our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program?

Do you tell the story of how your family has been impacted and how your eyes have been opened to God's heart for the fatherless?

Whatever you may be doing to stand up for the orphan - church event, small group, youth activity or your own personal family observance - may God's great love for the fatherless echo in ours!


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