Friday, January 25, 2013

What You Should Know

Empowered to Connect has a set of videos we urge every adoptive parent to view and review.  We've heard from parents who have been home with their children for quite a while how beneficial it is to be reminded of these insights into their adopted child.  An annoying behavior can suddenly make sense and help is found to deal with it by trying a new parenting strategy based on lots of research and experience.

No matter what stage of the process you are in, these basics are so important to keep at the forefront of thought, prayer and conversation between parents.  Click on the title below to view the videos.

If you're able, don't miss the upcoming Empowered to Connect conferences.  Our families who've attended attest to the value of these weekends!

February 15-16   Orlando, Florida
April 19-20          Chicago, Illinois
Sept 13-14          Houston, TX

Visit to get more details and register!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Ethiopian Cultural Playdate

 by Michelle Gallegos

We brought home our son from Ethiopia in September of 2010.  Because we were having trouble finding resources locally to help keep him connected to his Ethiopian heritage, we began making weekend trips to Seattle to visit the playdates and events held at the Ethiopian Community Center located there.  We desired to try to replicate those playdates locally and after making a few phone calls to our church and to a couple other adoptive moms, we began meeting for our Ethiopian Cultural Playdate in the Fall of 2011.

We now meet regularly throughout the year.  Recently, we came together to celebrate Genna (Ethiopian Christmas).  Some arrived in their beautiful, traditional attire.  
We enjoyed a feast including Doro Wat, Beef Tibs, Mesir Wat, Sambossa, Shiro, Aleecha, and of course -lots of injera.  All these dishes were prepared by the adoptive parents who have been practicing their Ethiopian cooking skills.  We enjoyed the music of a Marimba band and let the children play while parents visited.

We ended the morning with a man visiting from a local Ethiopian church gathering our children around (all 50 of them!!)  to teach them a song in Amharic.  We are so thankful this church wants to be more involved with our group to help teach our children language and traditions.  It was a wonderful day celebrating with people who have now become friends and connecting with families who are just like ours; beautifully Ethiopian-American!  

This group has been a wonderful resource for sharing information on culture, traditions and cooking tips, supporting those starting the adoption process, welcoming children home to their new families, and encouraging each other in the Lord always.  
Michelle and her husband Robert live in Idaho and are currently in the process of adopting again from Ethiopia.  Thanks to Michelle for sharing this great idea for family fellowship and cultural connection!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Links You’ll Like

Linking together
Easier Said Than Done
@Empowered to Connect
You look around and it seems that other parents (you know the ones) have it all together… Experts have even given this reality a name: the illusion of expertise. 

A Year of Belonging
@Nations Around Our Table
We made it home, exhausted physically and emotionally.  And I knew that now the real healing would began for my new children.  The healing that can only happen in a family where you belong. 

When Separation Brings Panic
@One Thankful Mom
Adoptive moms share strategies for dealing with separation
anxiety in adopted kids. 

Adopted: The Cost of Love
@The Austin Stone
An audio sermon you really shouldn’t miss. 
Free mp3 download or listen online.

Adoption Costs and Financial Assistance Resources
@Tapestry Adoption & Foster Care Ministry
Many people are unaware that there are an increasing number of ways to meet this challenge through a variety of adoption financial assistance resources.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Boxes of Joy

Back in mid-December we gave our blog readers and ministry partners an opportunity to be a part of a really exciting and meaningful expression of Christ’s love at Christmas:  giving gift boxes to children in a rural part of Ethiopia.

Samy and Ruth, originally from India, are YWAM missionaries who have established a work in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia where they do children’s ministry, pastoral care, prayer and personal outreach. 

For Christmas, with the help of many generous donors, they delivered gift boxes to children in four different rural locations where they will continue to share the Gospel.  Each box contained:  toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, bath tissue, spoon, cookie biscuits, candy treat, boiled egg, pen, small toy and a New Testament.

Abi helping fill the boxes!

Matthew 1:21 was printed on the top of each gift box: 
“She will give birth to a son and you are to give Him the name ‘Jesus’ because He will save people from their sins.”

Very special deliveries!


We can’t really imagine what a treat these boxes were to 200 children in and around DebraZeit. 

Thank you to all who donated so that children clear across the globe could be touched with the love and message of Christ at Christmas!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hair Help! {a repost}

Caring for your Ethiopian child's hair can seem like a daunting task and I know there is a steep learning curve.  But you can do it!  And you don't have to know how to braid hair like these photos to keep your child's hair looking healthy and well-cared-for.  I have heard more than once from families who have been approached in public about their child's hair - with compliments but also criticism along the lines of "White people can't do black hair" and "That child's hair is nappy!"  Hair is very important in black culture so it's worth the time and effort it takes to learn how to take good care of your child's curly locks.

My purpose here is to give a few resources and then have as many people as possible leave comments with what's worked or not worked for you.  This isn't intended to be the definitive source of information on black hair care for kids and all links are here for you to check out and decide if there's anything helpful there you can use.

First, a few websites and blogs that offer great advice, product recommendations and tips for styling.

@Nations Around Our Table blog

(Scroll to bottom of page to section titled 'Keeping It Real'
and click on hair care videos)

Several YWAM families have shared what they've learned about hair care - much of it from personal experience!  You have to find what works for your child's hair and your own budget and time schedule.  But do take the time to glean as much as you can from as many sources as you can.  It's definitely not an area you can just overlook!  Click on these links to YWAM family blog posts about hair care:

Lessons, Routines and Products

7,739 Miles Away

Braids Braids Braids!

Okay, now we'll open this up for your suggestions, helpful websites, product reviews, tips and tricks.  Please share!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Melkam Genna!

Joy to all the world - the Lord has come!

Christ's birth is celebrated in Ethiopia on January 7th.  Genna comes from the word 'Gennana' (eminent) and expresses the coming of the Lord to free mankind from sin.  It is a much more spiritual celebration than we often observe in the United States and begins early in the day by going to church.  Afterwards, people celebrate with more worship, feasts (when possible) and festivities.  Giving gifts is a very small part of Christmas in Ethiopia - instead the focus is on Christ.  Village men and boys play a game called "Genna" in the afternoon, which is similar to hockey (no ice!), and all the community gather to watch and cheer with lots of enthusiasm.

We want to wish all of our Ethiopian staff, ministry partners and friends a very blessed celebration of our Savior's birth!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year of Thankfulness


We have so much to be thankful for at the start of this new year God has given us!

DSC_8001YWAM Gift Catalog

Since the beginning of 2012, you have donated over $20,000 via the YWAM Gift Catalog!  Many grateful recipients of your generosity will receive clean water, goats, surgeries for widows, houses, food for hungry stomachs and so much more.   THANK YOU for this outpouring of love and giving!  We’ll be sharing more details – about both givers and recipients – in future posts!

IMG_8245Adoption Ministry 1:27

119 new families have been adopted through the Adoption Ministry 1:27 program in 2012, making it possible for parents to provide food for their children.  We now help 185 families in Ethiopia to stay intact.  As God continues to bless this ministry with His favor, we will seek ways to assist more women begin income-generating activities and to work with the churches we partner with to identify at-risk families.

IMG_7530Gutumuma Outreach

So much has happened in the area of M*sl*m evangelism and specifically in the village of Gutumuma (an agrarian village of about 5,800 people).   In 2012, 120 families converted to Christianity in this village.  Construction on the first-ever worship center for the area was begun, and a full-time pastor was hired to train and guide 14 evangelists.  The evangelists began reaching out to surrounding M*sl*m villages, sharing the Gospel with the hopes of planting churches in at least two areas.  Funding has come in to finish the construction of the worship center and to build another kindergarten classroom to accommodate 20 more students!

dsc05925Mission Teams

Seven groups of people traveled to Ethiopia in 2012.  Most stayed an average of 10 days and, depending on the make-up of the team, ministered to children, repaired houses for the elderly, participated in feeding programs, did practical work for local churches, and played with children in orphanages.  Team members returned home committed to making lifestyle changes that would allow more time and money to be channeled to help the poor in their communities and in Ethiopia.  In addition to mission teams, three vision teams were hosted.  These are small groups of pastors or business people who want to see what YWAM is doing in Ethiopia with a view to helping in some capacity.


In 2012, 26 children from Ethiopia were matched with their forever families through our YWAM/CHI program.  We continue to rely on God’s enabling power and His special love for children without families as we press forward in this work.  The spiritual battle rages in this arena of international adoption.  We covet your prayers on behalf of those who have no voice.

Your partnership with us in God’s work in Ethiopia is INVALUABLE and a great source of encouragement!  Thank you so much for your involvement, your giving and your prayers!

Here’s to a wonderful new year staying in step with our faithful God!
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