Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas Giving That Counts!

Have you ever felt frustrated while thinking about Christmas shopping?

  • What can I possibly get for _____ that they'll even want or need?

  • I wonder if they're just going to return this.

  • I'm spending money on someone that already has more than they'll ever need!
Somehow, our Christmas spending can leave us feeling that we've missed the purpose God intended for our giving.

We have two wonderful opportunities for you to give this Christmas season in ways that truly will change the lives of the poorest people in Ethiopia.

First, YWAM Ethiopia has a brand new Gift Catalog for 2009-2010. We've created a very practical way for you to give - things like a goat, laying hens, school uniforms, shoes and even a donkey! There are gifts to fit every Christmas-giving budget - big or small. Click over to our website on the link above to find out how you can give in a way that changes the world for someone in Ethiopia!

Second, is Operation Giggle! Operation Giggle was created to provide Christmas gifts to orphaned children. We are now teamed up them to supply as many of our widows and children as possible with Christmas gifts! You can sponsor one child's Christmas for $25 or make a monetary donation to go toward food - such as meat, eggs and milk - for the children and elderly in our Widows and Orphans Home in Adama. Please visit the blog "Operation Giggle" to read more about this opportunity and to set up your gift by mid-November.

**Update: There are 16 days left to find someone to provide Christmas for 35 children in our orphanages and sponsorship program! Might you be one of the givers of a Christmas blessing?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

YWAM Family Blogs

It sure is fun to get to read the blogs that several of our adopting families have created to chronicle their adoption journeys. Here are a few highlights:

The Averill Family blog: The Tooth Fairy - a really fun video of David Behayelu's first experience with finding something under his pillow!

Blessed By Baseballs and Bows: If You Guessed - a fun way to share the news that they're adopting from Ethiopia with family and friends.

Ethiopian Adoption Blog: Planning...Almost - Planning, waiting. Planning, waiting. One family's experience until they can bring their little girl home.

Promises and Possibilities: Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together - How God spoke to them about adopting again after they adopted their daughter from China.

Worth the Wait: All My Own, Established by a Promise - A beautiful description of adoption.

Adama Diaries: No Picky Eaters Here - A single missionary mom, Kelly, and her daughter are living and serving at our orphanage in Adama. Here is her observation about the way kids in Ethiopia eat. Be sure to leave her an encouraging comment!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

3 by 3 by 3

Be sure to check out the Weimer's blog: Blessings from Ethiopia

Promo for a documentary about one family's unselfish story of adoption.

Produced and directed by
David N. Watson
Fourth Watch Productions

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Links You'll Love

I'm always on the lookout for resources for families interested in or involved in adopting internationally and from Ethiopia specifically. There seem to be an almost unlimited number of websites, videos and blogs devoted to orphans and adopting - but I'm quite often delighted to stumble onto a new one! Please check these out (by clicking on the underlined link) and then be sure to add your own 'finds' in the comments you can leave!

Leverage - @ How Good Is God? blog. This is about increasing God's position in our own sphere of influence. And it's so good!

Amharic Kids - This website was created by a family who had adopted a baby from Ethiopia but couldn't find books or toys related to Ethiopian culture, which they wanted to build into their daughter's life. It's a resource for games, books, music, dvd's, greeting cards, Amharic phrase books, calendars, maps & flags!

I Care About Orphans - This is Focus On The Family's ministry in support of adoption and orphan care. They offer many resources and information helpful to anyone with a heart for orphans.

Ethio-American Family Services - This is a non-profit organization with a mission to educate, empower and enrich the lives of Ethiopian orphans and their adoptive families.

24-7 Prayer Ethiopia - This website gives direction for praying for the people of Ethiopia. (content is not up to date but still relevant!)

Hope for Orphans - Here you'll find information on establishing an orphans ministry at your church.

African Adoption Fellowship blog - An awesome fellowship group of several families in the Nashville area who have adopted children from Africa. Wouldn't this be a great idea for families living near each other who have adopted from Ethiopia?

posted by Becky

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can You Come Over To Play?

Several of our adopting families are now home from Ethiopia with their children. For those who live within close proximity, there have been some really fun get-togethers and some wonderful reunions as children who lived together in the orphanage get to meet each other again in their new culture and environment. Imagine how that must feel to see someone you knew when your life was so completely different! Here is a short recap by Jennie Young of a recent evening at her house when the Averill family came over. The Youngs adopted 3 year old Joseph (Besufekad) and the Averills adopted David and Daniel (Behayelu and Fraol).

Here are the three boys at the Widows and Orphans Home in Ethiopia:

And here is Jennie's description of their first meeting in the U.S.:

Friday night was definitely interesting! Joseph knew Fraol and Behayelu absolutely and was very nervous to see them again. He went into his little ‘inner world’ for a while before he was really able to loosen up and enjoy his old friends again. The boys could not communicate with each other well, as F and B don’t speak English well yet and Joseph has completely lost his Amharic. I overheard the brothers talking about Besufekad’s English… it was in an “Oh isn’t it so cute“ kind of a tone.

They were so funny playing together outside! Joseph did a fair amount of showing off, and Behayelu learned how to ride a bike! I could plainly see how the boys have a family-type love for each other. The older boys just wanted to protect Joseph and keep their arms around him. Before the Averills left, the kids all had a massive game of tag/dog pile in the house. Can you imagine the chaos? Kids running and flying every which way, finally ending up in a huge tangle of arms, legs, and smiles! I think they enjoyed the evening. It was quite a sight to behold!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Welcome To The Family!

by Randy and Sary-Jo Averill
Randy and Sary-Jo recently returned from Ethiopia with their two boys, Fraol and Behayelu. This is an awesome family and here is a bit of their adoption story...

We believed (and continue to believe) that God called us specifically to adopt two older children from Ethiopia and that He led us to the Adoption Ministry of YWAM in a way that could only be God’s way. As we partnered with YWAM, we had little knowledge of the process, despite the fact that we are, shall we say, more mature than most adoptive couples. Following initial meetings and discussions with Joy Casey at YWAM, we downloaded all the materials and went away to fill out the application paperwork. Yes, we actually spent much of our 30th wedding anniversary trip to Las Vegas filling out the adoption application. Seven years with an empty nest was enough!

We began our homestudy and spent many hours reading the biographies of – and praying for – the waiting children. Also, we were aware that the staff of YWAM would be praying for us and we continue to feel God’s comfort. We then seriously explored scenarios for our children – what might they be experiencing as they leave everything they know, travel thousands of miles, and settle in with these strange people as parents? Trying to empathize with them before we even knew their names really helped us and, we believe, will continue to help us as we parent.

During the homestudy we asked how the referral process would work. Specifically, would YWAM suggest children based on their knowledge of us or would we “choose” from the waiting children? In all candor, we really were not prepared for the responsibility of choosing. When we learned that the selection was up to us, we prayed earnestly for God’s direction. How could we choose two of the waiting children and leave the rest behind? It was probably the most emotionally draining part of the entire process, but God gave us unity in our selection. Contrary to what we all expected, God led us to two brothers. Boys! We just didn’t see that coming, but it’s consistent with how God has acted throughout this process – His wisdom rather than ours. We would not want it any other way.

Joy Casey, Adoption Ministry Director and
Tezera Kebede, Orphanage Director with Fraol and Behayelu

The process of international adoption has periods where there is so much work to be done in a short time that it seems overwhelming; there are also periods where you sit back and wait, hoping that the gears are turning elsewhere. Hurry up and wait. During these downtimes, we were eager for any news, pictures and video of the boys. As you can imagine, once we knew our sons we just wanted them home!

Dossier Approved!

When we traveled to Ethiopia and got through Immigration, Abebe (YWAM’s in-country representative) was waiting for us outside. What a great host he turned out to be! Everything we had hoped for was accomplished during our four short (but sometimes long) days in Ethiopia. Abebe and CHI’s Pastor Abdissa were very attentive to us and essential in-country resources.

The boys with Abebe Getachew,
YWAM's in-country representative

With gifts from CHI

At YWAM’s recommendation, we stayed at the Ethio-Comfort Guest Home and were overwhelmed with the hospitality! Tsebay and her staff were so warm and welcoming that we almost felt like family with them. Food and bottled water were available whenever we desired it; the boys played in the courtyard and on the balcony. We even updated our blog a couple times using their internet access.

With Tsebay at the Ethio Comfort Guest House

After the long trip home, the boys spent the first days exploring their new environment. It was a joy to see things through their eyes and we continue to be amazed at their reactions to things we see every day. They are attaching well and adjusting to life in the Averill family. We continue to benefit from the support of YWAM. Because we live so close to the office, Joy has visited twice and the boys really enjoyed seeing her. When we started this process, Joy told us she knows all the kids because of her frequent visits to Ethiopia. It’s clear that she (as well as Mark and other staff) knows them all VERY WELL, which is a great comfort to us. Liane, our social worker, has phoned to check in and offer counsel as well.

Home at last!

We’re still at the beginning phase of a long journey parenting these boys. So far, our experience with the kids has been amazingly positive although we realize there will be ups and downs along the way. We believe we have all the support necessary to get us through whatever comes down the road – sharing our many joys and guiding us through the challenges.

Be sure to check out The Averill Family Blog! Thank you Randy and Sary-Jo for sharing this with us!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More on Adopting the Older Child

Maybe you've heard the story of Art and Lysa TerKeurst who adopted two teen-aged boys from Liberia after she attended a concert of a Liberian boys' choir. Lysa's story - how God spoke to her about adopting and how many of her friends also adopted from this same group - is one of faith, obedience, blessing and God's incredible plans that are exceedingly beyond all we could ever conceive!

Lysa is the head of Proverbs 31 Ministries and she writes a blog that is always uplifting and convicting. Lysa wrote here about her recent interview on the Oprah Winfrey show. There you can watch the clip from the tv program, which aired back in 2007 and includes an Oct. 2, 2009 update on the families.

I encourage you to read Lysa's story. It's about listening to God and following His lead. It's about overcoming fear. It's about God building a family - many families, in fact! You'll be encouraged!

Also, please read Lysa's next post titled Have I Ever Regretted Being Obedient to God? for more on her adoption story.

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