Friday, April 26, 2013

Potpourri from Joy

by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on Weds April 24

I arrived in Addis Ababa this morning at 7:30 and it is now 8 p.m. It has been a busy, long day. Surprisingly, after 20 hours in an airplane coupled with a 4 hour layover in D.C., I had loads of energy… until right now when I am finally off my feet recounting a few highlights of the day. The rule of travel is to keep moving the day of arrival and then sleep well the first night and you will be good to roll for the rest of your stay. Because I am pretty tired and because today was a work day that didn’t lend itself to super interesting stories, I will keep this short and sweet. [didn’t turn out to be so short!!]
Directly from the airport I went to CHI’s (Children’s House International) office to work on adoption paperwork. It is always good to see the staff there; they have become dear friends. I left with a clearer picture of what is needed to bring each file up to the standard required by the court and the embassy. I will be meeting with the orphanage director in two days and discussing all the necessary things with her.

Did you know that our Mission’s Director, Mark Wolbert, is leading seven teams to Ethiopia this summer? He leaves the middle of May and won’t return until the end of August. Whew! I guess you could say I am his reconnaissance person to lay some groundwork for the upcoming teams in our project areas. I met with two of our Adoption Ministry 1:27 case managers and it was fun brainstorming ideas and ways mission groups can be productive while they serve the Ethiopian church.
Is it okay if I complain a little bit? I am aware that God isn’t a bit in favor of grumbling… but I am going to use this little vignette as a way to explain how hard it can be to get anything done in Ethiopia. As those on our prayer team already know, we have been struggling with the government to give approval for Adoption Ministry 1:27 to offer micro loans for small business start-ups. The proposal has languished in this and that office for nigh on 14 months! Needless to say, we are fed up with the procrastination and delays while various bureaucrats hint at bribes, and have finally negotiated some movement by appealing to a man high in the government who nudged the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) to give their approval so the licensing agency can issue the license. We drove quite a distance to get to the federal MoWA office, secured the letter, and then drove back across town to the licensing agency. When we got there, the reference number was nowhere to be found on the document. To my way of thinking, a simple phone call to ask for the number would have been an easy solution; but no, we clambered back into the car and snaked our way through horrendous traffic to the federal MoWA office. Finally, with the revered number scrawled on a scrap of paper, we once again trekked across town to the licensing office and handed the official the reference number so he could proceed with his part of the paper trail. I was baffled. Couldn’t they have called or emailed?  What should have taken one hour tops turned into 2½ hours, but we emerged with the documents that will (hopefully) take us to the last step in a very long process.

I had an interesting lunch in between meeting with case managers and the licensing saga. Our case managers, our driver and Abebe somehow got on the subject of how differently Ethiopians and Americans view weight (as in fat versus skinny people). In Ethiopia, it is a compliment to comment on how fat a person is and it is an insult to refer to someone as skinny or thin. You can imagine how much trouble this faux pas would land them in with American guests! They laughed at themselves for their blunders in thinking they were complimenting a person by commenting on their chubbiness. But, after some serious discussion, they concluded that in the case of weight and Americans they were committed to saying nothing. I thought this a very wise decision.

Tomorrow I head to Adama and I have three loaded suitcases with formula, diapers, clothes and many other supplies for the Widows and Orphans Home where we have 13 children and for another orphanage we partner with, Joseph Children’s Home, where we have 7 children. I will be gathering adoption paperwork for the children, interviewing birth mothers who have recently relinquished, and trying to unsnarl some particularly tangled scenarios. I need specific wisdom to navigate these next three days, and I sincerely thank all of you who pray for me!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

One small thing

You know those times when you’d like to find something great to watch on TV but it seems there are very few good options?  I really just stumbled onto the movie I want to tell you about here on Netflix.

Sometimes those turn out to be the very best!


A Small Act is an Emmy award-winning documentary.  It’s the story of how one woman’s $15/month changed the life of one boy in Kenya and, eventually, a growing group of school children who are getting the opportunity for an education that would have otherwise been an impossibility. 

What I loved about this story was the humble little woman who thought she ought to do something - even if she was only able to do a small something - to help children across the world. 

I loved the young man’s gratitude that led him to pay it forward to other children in his same shoes.

I loved the way we got to share in the lives of these desperate families.  The weight of responsibility that the children carry is unimaginable.

I loved the friendship that has developed between two unlikely people - a Jewish holocaust survivor living in Sweden and a Harvard-educated Kenyan man working at the United Nations.


See this movieI think you'll love it too. 

As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think of our Adoption Ministry 1:27 sponsorship program, where families are being preserved and lives are being changed through the “small act” of a monthly donor in Jesus' name. 

Find out how this program works and how you can be a difference-maker here.

Could this be your small act?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

If You Think It Is Easy... Think Again Part 1

Life in Ethiopia through an American lens {A RE-POST}
By Joy Casey in Ethiopia
written on June 5, 2011

This last trip to Ethiopia has given me a new appreciation of what day-to-day life is like for the good people living here. The realization that I am spoiled (and sometimes a spoiled brat) has made me uncomfortable lately. I expect the phone, internet, tv, fax and car to work on command. I expect road construction to be short and sweet and the roads to be wide, spacious and smooth.

Isn’t it a good thing to expect excellence in all things?

Aren’t quick responses to all situations necessary?

Aren’t meeting deadlines a sign of integrity?

How can a country allow the internet and phone service to be down for weeks at a time?

Isn’t efficiency a good thing?

There is quite a lot I expect and if those things are not a reality, I catch myself grousing and complaining. Paperwork in “Adoptionland” is everything and I catch myself throwing little hissy fits if it is not produced on demand. I point my finger at someone to blame and demand it get fixed. Sounds like a spoiled brat to me! 

How can I, a spoiled American, visualize having to walk six hours to a village to get a document because there are no roads?

You mean there is just one person who can do this?
A document can be held up because the answer to that question is, “Yes, there is only one person who can sign this document and he is not available right now.” Officials do not keep regular office hours in Ethiopia. Makes me wonder, Where do these people go? Instead of a sign posted in a rural American shop saying, “Closed. Gone fishing,” in Ethiopia it more likely would read (if there was a sign, which there isn’t): “Office closed. Attending a funeral (or wedding or training). Minimehigit yellum.” Loose translation: Don’t worry about it.

Is this what “Shop ‘til you drop” means?
Monday, our Ethiopia rep Abebe (Ah’-buh-buh)) and I are going shopping. This will be an all day event and we both will be exhausted by the close of the day. I just hope we find what we are looking for, but there are no guarantees. Can’t we just get on the internet and compare prices and see who has what …. or at least, can’t we call shops and see if they have what we want and how much it costs? Not so fast, Joy! The small stores don’t have web sites and there is no phone directory. The other day we wanted to buy hard back Bibles for a church, and it took us several hours to track down a Bible book store that had what we wanted with the quantity we wanted. We had to drive from store to store until we were successful. I’ve shopped before …. I know what I am in for.

Aren’t we in the computer age?
Ethiopia is working hard to get the infrastructure in place for good internet service but I find there is a lingering distrust of the computer, probably not based on the computer itself but with the inconsistency of power. Doing something as simple as printing a document is impossible without electricity! I am amazed that most transactions are done by hand with a receipt book and carbon paper.

Minimehigit yellum. We’ll do it another day.

You can read Part 2 here!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

This process of adoption

Adoption is full of beautiful word pictures that reflect our adoption into God's family...

King Sena J






mostly Samuel 013
Stephens 3

Adoption is also full of hard but life-changing lessons.



12 Raji and Sena

Battling in prayer.

Trusting more.

How has adoption changed and shaped you?

Trust HIM
@the lifeline blog
I want to spotlight on one of the hardest parts of adoption… TRUST. This is where I feel the Lord has spoken the loudest to us. Trust plays a huge role in this calling…

The Length of Adoption – A Time to Rise Up
@Over the Brim
One of the more frequently asked questions I hear is "Why does it have to take soooo long???” …I have come to a very peace-filled decision as to what my response to that question should be. 


Monday, April 8, 2013

There is room for you!

Our summer Mission Team schedule is pretty full, beginning in May and going right through to September.  But there is one trip this summer with a few openings as well as a women's team at the end of in November!

A team will be going to Ethiopia August 2-18.  They’ll be concentrating their efforts in Korah – an urban community of extremely poor people located next to the dump in Addis Ababa.
This group became prayer partners last year with several young people in Korah and the team will be bringing audio bibles to each of their prayer partners’ homes.


Other areas of service will include household repairs, playing games with the children and bringing needed items to families living in this desperate area of the capital city.

We have open spots for five people to join this team!

There is also a women's team leaving after Thanksgiving in November *now going to Ethiopia Nov 1-13.

2 widows
This team will minister to women and children in Ethiopia, from elderly widows to pastor and evangelist wives. 

elicia with widow
wash feet
Come and be part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve these oftentimes neglected women.

Cost for these trips is approximately $3000, which covers your airfare, accommodations, food and transportation in-country.

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact our Missions Director, Mark Wolbert at:

Friday, April 5, 2013

How You Can Pray

This post originally appeared here on the blog in March 2011 when there was a big slow-down in adoptions in Ethiopia.  In light of the current climate surrounding international adoption in general, these suggestions for specific ways to pray couldn't be more relevant.  These prayer guidelines come from Tom Davis at Red Letters

How Can I Pray?

1. For God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God is in control. For those of you who are facing being stuck, remember that God is in control.

2. For God to breakdown strongholds of the enemy.

Every child deserves the right to grow up in a health family, and adoptive families provide that for thousands of children each year. Pray that God would demolish the strongholds that are set up against adoption.

3. For God to fulfill His promises.

God defines Himself as the Father to the Fatherless. He declares He will set the lonely in families. He warns those who would interfere with His plan to bring justice and mercy that is due to them. Find the orphan scriptures, pray them to God, and ask Him to fulfill those promises to the children of Ethiopia now.

4. For the courts and judges and government officials making this decision.

Ask the Holy Spirit to permeate the courtroom and convict the hearts of the judges and other government officials. Bring the power of the Holy Spirit into these discussions and proceedings--not that we would get our way--but that God's perfect will would be fulfilled in these decisions.

5. For the children and families

That God would shorten their wait times. Fortunately, God is bigger than these obstacles. Pray that waiting children would receive comfort. And pray that waiting families would experience peace, grace, and love from those around them.

While things are uncertain, our best response today is prayer.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Linking You Up

424774896_640Refresh 2013 Session Videos
The Refresh conference is designed for foster and adoptive parents, kinship providers, grandparents, and others who care for God’s orphaned and vulnerable children.  We understand firsthand that this journey can be difficult and lonely.Take some time to watch these encouraging videos! 


Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
Honestly, I don’t blame the kids. As parents, we often foster this mentality with our own actions. We compare ourselves (and our homes, cars, etc.) to what others have, we let media (and ultimately, advertising) influence our home by not limiting screen time and we have a hard time deciphering between needs and wants.

It Starts With You
10 Ways to Encourage a Global Perspective in Your Kids

Top 10 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
@Adoption Learning Partners
This is a link to information about a webinar on May 14, 2013 put on by ALP.  You can submit questions to the panel who will be conducting the live webinar.  It costs $15 ($18.50 for 1 adoption education credit).

Postcards from Canaan
@It’s Almost Naptime
Maybe you've wondered why I haven't talked much about Ethiopia since we've returned home from meeting our daughter...

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