Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Most Beautiful Baby In The World

Quoted by new and absolutely unbiased parents!

Isn’t she gorgeous? Blen came to YWAM’s orphanage when she was two months old and immediately was a favorite. Her big eyes, ready smile and dimples would melt the coldest of hearts.

About the time Blen was born, Tim and Anne Kalkbrenner were in the throes of making up their minds about whether to adopt domestically or internationally. After much deliberation and attending a two day adoption seminar, they began their homestudy with YWAM to adopt from Ethiopia.

Tim and Anne are both nurses at Children’s Hospital in Seattle and had no children. When it came time to talk about a referral, they saw pictures of Blen and fell in love. Who wouldn’t? Several months later Adoption Ministry’s director traveled to Ethiopia and put Tim and Anne’s picture in Blen’s crib and told her she was going to be adopted by a fantastic couple who would love her totally. Two months later, the Kalkbrenners flew to Ethiopia. They were welcomed by Adoption Ministry’s Ethiopian representative, Abebe, and were escorted to their guest house to rest from the exhausting flight. The next day Abebe’s family invited them to go to church with them and they had a lovely time at church as well as interacting with Abebe’s three children and wife.

The following day Abebe took them two hours south to the town of Adama to see where Blen had her beginnings. “We so enjoyed going to the orphanage where Blen was from and seeing the town. What an experience!” Of course, the highlight and best part was when they returned to Addis and went to CHI’s Thomas Center where Blen was and got to hold their precious daughter for the very first time.

The paperwork, the wait, the travel …. worth it all when they looked at their 10-month-old baby daughter who they think is the most perfect little girl in the world. On their way back to the Seattle area they detoured to New Mexico to spend some time with grandparents and show off their new addition. Tim and Anne’s nursing jobs are flexible and they can design their schedules so one of them will always be home with Baby Blen. She has brought such fulfillment and joy to the Kalkbrenners, and we say to them …. CONGRATULATIONS (you lucky ducks)!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Old Woman in the Shoe

Adoption Ministry of YWAM is offering social services to women and children in a town called Gimbie located west of Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa close to the Sudanese border. The Seventh Day Adventist Hospital there sees up to 160 women a month who are having difficult deliveries. They also bury 2-4 babies every day as a result of labor complications that were not caught early enough or from self-abortions. Some babies are left at the hospital or their mothers indicate they cannot care for them and want an adoption plan. What to do? Monica, a missionary mom, began caring for a few of the babies and now she and her two daughters are caring for six! YWAM is looking for a house to rent to be able to offer care and adoption services for these precious little lives. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to find a house with at least a cement floor and preferably with running water …. but it is proving rather challenging! Until we find the right facility, Monica is giving these tiny ones expert care and lots and lots of love.

Have you ever felt that your life is a nursery rhyme gone wrong? Like you are Mary and you don't have a little lamb, or you are Jack Horner always sitting in the corner? Well, my life right now is emulating the life of the Old Woman in the Shoe. Didn’t she have so many children she didn’t know what to do? My life exactly!

What is so strange is that it seems normal now to have two babies of our own and Kenny, 6 of course. Also we are very used to taking care of little 7-month-old “Henry” and we have added a little 6-year-old girl who will be adopted with Henry. The six and seven year olds are so very busy all the time. We have our hands full, yet God is still adding babies for us to care for.

Can anyone remember what happened to the old woman in the shoe? I can only recite the first few lines. Did she pull out all her hair and need a wig? For sure her hair was as white as snow (mine has tinges of that). Or worse yet, was a psych hospital her last known address?

When I was in my twenties I wanted to birth twins. I thought how cute it would be to dress them alike and have one like Scott and one just like me. My friend who had twin boys would console me saying, “Really, one child at a time. Twins are tough.” But I was sure MY twins would be angels in disguise.

Well, now that we are watching several babies, my opinion on the matter has changed. Having more than one baby at a time is NUTS!!! If it weren’t for my older kids and other helpers, there is no way I could accomplish this. Now don’t get me wrong - I am not complaining. I love each baby dearly. I am just realizing that my past desire for twins was uninformed and I am finding that experience is the best teacher.

So yes, I have so many children that I don’t know what to do, but I am doing what God wants me to do. If we only help these kids, wouldn’t that be a great enough mission? It will probably never put us in a history book, but we get the privilege of being part of the history of each of these babies. That is a much better reward than any other accolade.
by Monica Barlow

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Hunger Season

In Ethiopia, the months of June, July and August are known as 'The Hunger Season' because the next harvest is not until September and stored food supplies are gone. Rations must be brought in from outside of the country and the BBC is reporting that those sources have dried up: UN 'runs out of aid for Ethiopia.'

I'm old enough to remember the pictures on tv in the 1970's showing the starving children of Ethiopia - with distended stomachs and skin stretched tight over tiny bones. When I read the article linked above, I can't really imagine so many people waiting for food that may not ever come.

All of the children that YWAM Ethiopia serves have come from extreme poverty and are being fed through the generous sponsorship and donations of our supporters. Thank you so much for your involvement and giving! All of us need to ask God how we can be a part of the solution. There are no easy answers but awareness and prayer is the first step.

For a really informative look at this crisis, please click over to view the video called Crisis in the Horn of Africa which the World Food Programme has produced.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Overcoming Fear

I know that I'm blessed so that I can be a blessing. That's more than just a cliche. But if I never step out in faith, afraid of what might happen, I miss His best gifts.

I think adopting from Ethiopia is a big faith step and I greatly admire each of the families we're working with. They are trusting in God's timing as they wait to bring their little one(s) home. They aren't playing it safe. I know there are times of wondering if they have what it takes. If everything will go well. If they'll ever get those kids home! They are pressing toward a very high calling, believing that God will provide all they need to parent these precious children.

Jennifer, at Conversion Diary, is a favorite blogger of mine who very eloquently puts her faith journey into words I relate to. The post linked below is a great description of the contrast between life lived in carefully guarded safety and life lived with trust in the supply of our mighty God.

Please click over to read Fear of Life and come back to share your thoughts/experiences in the comments below.

Blessings, Becky

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you! I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Written by Monica Barlow in Gimbie, Ethiopia

Life isn’t fair. I think I have heard that most of my life. I remember my mother’s wisdom on the matter. She would always remind me that no matter how much I wanted everything to be fair, it just would never be that way on this earth.

But Seena’s (not her real name) situation seemed grossly unfair to me - her mother’s life changed forever by an elementary school teacher (who fathered Seena). A teacher that would move six hours away from the problem and leave no hope for support. Shunned then by her family, Seena’s mother traveled two hours away from the shame to make a life for the two of them. In a third world country, the life of a single mom is almost impossible but she still chose life for Seena over convenience.

In a culture where abortions are everyday events, the choice to end the problem would have been simple, but for some reason, this woman carried Seena for nine months by herself. She was resourceful and found a family who she could work for in exchange for food and shelter. No extras could be afforded, but at least they would have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.

And what prompted the choice of “Seena” for a name? To be named “for you” seems so deliberate, yet who WAS she for? Surely, Seena was not for this teacher, since he was not interested in her mother at all. Maybe Seena was for her mother, but this too seemed hard to fathom since her abandonment two nights previously. So when you are a five month old baby, who ARE you here for? The obvious answer is that Seena is here for her Creator, her loving God who knit her in her mother’s womb and made her with a purpose even in her rough start in life.

But even more than God’s tender care in her life, Seena is for YOU, whoever you are. You know deep in your heart that God has called you to be her family, the people that will rescue her and love her the rest of her days. You have already started loving her and you have never met her, because God has placed a hole in your life, just Seena-sized. She waits for you here. The process will be difficult and maybe expensive too, but once Seena is part of your life, God’s Will will be evident. He NEVER makes mistakes.
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