Friday, December 31, 2010

Heartfelt Thanks


In all our prayers for all of you,
we always pray with joy because of your partnership with us in the gospel. 
Philippians 1:4-5 

To all of you who have faithfully prayed for and so generously supported this ministry in 2010, we say a big THANK YOU! 
We couldn't do it without you! 
How blessed we've been... and we look forward to what God has before us in the new year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Photo credit: The Nativity Story

For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us.

The government will rest on His shoulders.

And He will be called:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government and its peace

will never end.

He will rule with fairness and justice

from the throne of His ancestor David

for all eternity.

The passionate commitment of the Lord of

heaven's armies will make this happen! 

Isaiah 9:6-7

From all of us at Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia,
we hope you have a very blessed celebration
of the coming of God in the flesh...
that we might be adopted!

Joy and Dennis
Becky and Jeff
Mark and Liane
Teri and Gayle

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Movie Coming: Change of Plans

We wanted to put on your radar an upcoming made-for-TV film that carries a great story and significant, positive messages surrounding adoption, sacrifice and other important themes.

It’s important to remember that if films like this aren’t well-watched, producers quickly turn their efforts back to the push-the-envelope-as-far-as-they-can programming. What TV executives and advertisers care most about is simply the number of watchers. Essentially, every viewer is a “vote” for TV programmers to produce more of the same. If quality programming generates viewers, TV stations will deliver more quality programming.

Sadly, what passes as “family friendly” TV often draws its appeal more from what it doesn’t have (sex, violence and profanity) than what it does have (thoughtful scripts, good acting, etc.) That’s not the case with “Change of Plans.” It’s not likely to win an Oscar, but it is a well-written, well-produced program…well-worth watching. Below is a post from the Christian Alliance for Orphans blog today, which also contains a link to the movie’s website. 

        Jedd Medefind, President of Christian Alliance for Orphans

A new made-for-TV movie slated for showing on January 8 explores adoption, sacrifice and life priorities in a way very few films today do. “Change of Plans” tells the story of a young, jet-set couple whose all-too-perfect lives may be irreparably altered by four orphaned children. I had the chance to preview the director’s cut this week and came away inspired and thoughtfully challenged.

When Sally Danville’s (Brooke White of American Idol) best friend from college dies in tragic accident in Africa, she leaves behind four children—three of them adopted from countries around the world. Sally and husband Jason must now grapple with choices that will shape the rest of their lives. Step by step, the couple realizes that for every inch they open their hearts and home to the children, the plans they’ve mapped out for themselves will likely be lost forever.

The film gets its strength from the underlying story and real-world decisions it represents for each of us. The acting, music and script are not Oscar quality, but still solid. Many adoptive families and others involved with kids in the foster system will likely see parallels with their own stories as well. The widows the story offers into the potential challenges of adoption and foster care are perhaps understated, but not absent: it’s clear that to welcome a child into our home is not a cost-free choice.

Refreshingly, this movie earns its “family friendly” identity not merely by cutting out sex and violence, but by delivering a thoughtful challenge to some of the great lies of our era. Most narratives today, from commercials to movies, implicitly argue that fulfillment is found in getting what we want. “Change of Plans” points in the opposite direction, helping us see that real life is only found by embracing the inspiring-but-costly invitations God puts before us.

If your evening January 8 is not already booked, I’d encourage you to spend it enjoying “Change of Plans” with your kids or a few friends. Doing so sends a message to TV producers and advertisers that there is, after all, a market for quality programs. More importantly, the story just may provoke a change in your plans as well.

**We have not prescreened this movie so we're not endorsing its content.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Anticipating Challenges

This article provided by Empowered To Connect.

Holidays and other special occasions often present unique and unexpected challenges for adoptive and foster families. In this story, Lisa provides some very helpful insight into how parents can anticipate these challenges and respond with compassion, understanding and in a way that brings about a deeper sense of connection with their child.


Photo credit:

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. Last Christmas was a day of extremes which contained so many lessons for me that I wrote them down that night hoping to make a better plan when Christmas rolled around this year. This is how I began.

How many times do I need to remind myself: Children with a history of trauma/neglect must eat every two hours.

I am like a student who needs to write this sentence on the blackboard 300 times before I can join the other children at recess.

Today, Christmas morning, my daughter was playing happily, but as the morning progressed I felt I was watching her inch toward the edge of a cliff. At first it wasn’t too noticeable. She was a little irritable, quick and jumpy in her movements, shouting out what her siblings gifts were as they were opening them, and making us all a little edgy. Her smile was too big, her eyes too bright, her voice too loud. She was on high alert.

Once the gifts were opened I focused on preparing the dinner we planned to eat mid-afternoon. But it seemed Russ and I were continually needed to calm things down, diffuse situations and navigate disagreements. She was moving closer to the edge of the cliff.

I saw it, but I was “too busy” and thought I could prevent her from falling….I would get to her in just a minute.

Then she did it. She ran headlong over the edge. I tried to grab her to prevent the fall, but I was too late. I hadn’t kept her close enough. I had been “too busy” to stop and help her. But God is kind and rather than plummeting to the very bottom, she landed on a small ledge.

She had our attention now. Russ and I scrambled to pull from our “therapeutic toolbox” every tool we could think of. We let down a rope….we let down several ropes…but she refused to grab hold.

Finally Russ lowered me down and I squeezed onto that tiny ledge with her. With a bowl of some of her favorite potatoes, I pulled her onto my lap in our big old rocking chair and fed her, one bite at a time.

As she slowly ate, I whispered comforting words into her ear, like I would a baby. “Come here little love. Take a bite.”; “I know you’re hungry, this will taste good”; “I love you. It’s going to be okay. You’ll feel better in a moment.”

I kissed her wet cheeks. She said nothing, only opened her mouth each time the spoon was offered. Her body relaxed against mine. She sighed. I rocked her back and forth in my arms.

We rested and when she was ready, together we climbed back up the wall of the cliff where Russ pulled us over the edge to safety. We smiled, we hugged.

Then we carried the rest of the food to the table, called the family together, and had Christmas dinner…where she had three more servings.

Lisa Qualls has been married to her husband Russ for over 26 years. They have 11 children who came to them by both birth and adoption. She earnestly believes in the power of God to heal children’s broken hearts and is privileged to participate in the process with her own children. Lisa writes about her life and family for Empowered to Connect and on her blog, A Bushel and A Peck.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let's Build A School!

**UPDATE:  The Worship Tree painting sold for $500 and $5,000 has been donated towards the building of the school.  Praise the Lord!

Isn't it amazing what can be done when many give what they can?

Those of you who read this blog know about the village of Gutumuma, Ethiopia where God is a doing miraculous work, bringing many people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!  You can read a bit of this story on our blog here, here, here and here

With the generous donations of many, a fence has been constructed around the property, clean water has been brought in to the compound and a teacher has been hired to teach the twenty children sponsored by YWAM contributors.  Thirteen bicycles have been pledged to give to the evangelists who are working to bring God's truth to this area.  In an amazing answer to prayer, a large donation has been made to build a worship center. 

One of our adopting families, Jason and Kameron Shadrick, had the opportunity to visit this village when they were in Ethiopia for their court date in October.  God touched their hearts in a special way for the children in the village and they've brought this passion back to their church.  Their desire is to fully fund the building of a school for 250 children. 

Jason has created a beautiful piece of art titled "The Worship Tree" (depicting the tree where this group of new believers meets for church) and they are auctioning it to the highest bidder, with 100% of the proceeds going towards the school building.

If you'd like to be a part of building this school, go to Kameron's blog here and leave a comment to place a bid.

Thank you Jason and Kameron!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A flood of generosity!

Nathan and Melissa Lemanski are a YWAM family who are adopting a beautiful baby girl from our orphanage in Gimbie, Ethiopia.  It is extremely difficult to purchase baby formula in Ethiopia and we rely on a few costly and slow shipments from the US as well as the willingness of our families who travel for their court and embassy dates to get this "powdered gold" to our babies.  There is a critical need for formula right now in our orphanages.  If you'd like to donate, please click on the "Into the Streets of Ethiopia" logo in the left margin! 

Nathan is a teacher at Auburn Mountainview High School in the greater Seattle, Washington area.  He organized a formula drive at the school and the response was tremendous!  Thanks to Nathan, Melissa and all the generous students at AMHS!  Enjoy Nathan's post...

I don't talk a lot about my personal life with my students - it's mostly business in my classroom - but they do know the basics. They know my wife is awesome and my son is adorable and I've even made them ooh and ahh over a couple of his pictures. They also know we're adopting from Ethiopia.

A few of my students are also taking "Service Learning," an occupational course where students volunteer at different venues and complete service projects that they design. With adoption comes lots of questions, and I'm happy to answer them in class (provided they are brief and not an attempt to distract me from getting down to business ... these kids can be slick!).

A handful of 10th Grade English students who are in Service Learning were particularly struck by the poverty of Ethiopia and the scarcity of formula - learning that our own baby girl is literally surviving on donated formula. Then came their brilliant solution: a school-wide formula drive! The entire week after Thanksgiving was chosen for the competition. Every third period they would go from class to class, collecting the formula, and claculating the totals for each teacher. The winning class (congratulations Mrs. Bendt's 9th Grade LA!) won an ice cream party. They spread the word through an informational powerpoint teachers showed kids at the beginning of the week, then made flyers for the school and wrote the morning announcements to keep interest moving.

However, people are the same everywhere - we all know someone who doesn't understand or support adoption, and teachers are no different. There were a handful of teachers who elected not to participate, and a couple who even discouraged it, telling their students, "formula is too expensive, don't bother." Right. It IS expensive. That's why we're helping those who can't afford to help themselves.

Even the Scrooges in the building couldn't hold back the flood of generosity, though. I had students come up to me and give me 1, 2, or 3 double-sized cans of formula, saying their teacher wasn't participating but they didn't care about the competition, they just wanted to donate.

Other students couldn't afford a can, but they gave a dollar or two, and collected it from their friends, and gave it to their teachers to go out and buy cans of formula. They even did price shopping research to find out where the best deals were, to make sure their dollars would go as far as possible. Some printed out coupons from the internet, made photocopies, and put them in teacher mailboxes to distribute to their classes. I love these kids!

By the end of the week, word was really getting around and it seemed like the drive was really just getting started (we had a couple snow days that delayed the start of the drive). So, the principal decided we should extend the formula drive another whole week, and announced that to the school at the end of the day on Friday.

By the end of Friday, December 10th, Auburn Mountainview High School had collected over 273lbs of formula. In the end, they counted cans by net weight of all containers to make the competition fair. To put that in perspective, a small can of formula ($14 at our local grocery store) weighs 12.5oz. Do the math, this is a LOT of formula! When we unloaded the car, it amounted to 8 1/2 large rubbermaid totes.

I love my job, but when kids are able to see the big picture and selflessly get involved with something larger than themselves, then I am filled with hope for the next generation.

GO LIONS! There are many babies in Ethiopia who will thrive and grow thanks to your heartfelt generosity!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Daniel's Autobiography

In September of 2009, two brothers came home to their wonderful family in Puyallup, Washington from Ethiopia.  These precious boys were orphaned and lived in the countryside before being brought to our orphanage in Adama.  They had to learn Amharic as their second language and then of course they had to learn English. 

With Tezera, Widows and Orphans Home Director
at the orphange in Adama

As I watch this video of the oldest, Daniel, share his life story written for a school project, I couldn't help but marvel at how well-spoken and articulate he is.  And language is only one of many areas that these two have grown by leaps and bounds.  Enjoy!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Lost in Translation

by Joy Casey
Joy was in Ethiopia in October/November...

We bumped along over the field and parked under the Acacia tree next to the abandoned railroad tracks.  I love rural Africa.  The air is clean, the sun is warm, and the cacophony of birdsong lifts my spirit.

Our little group enjoyed walking the short distance to the church compound in the village of T’ede where YWAM has a small sponsorship and feeding program for some of the poorest families. Pastor Zerihun greeted us at the gate; it is always so good to see him and he is the only person in the village (at least that I have met) who speaks English.

Waiting for us were ten eager children and their mothers. I have grown to love these dusty, ragged, bright-eyed children, and I have also become friends with their mothers. I am learning more of their stories, and my admiration for their perseverance and strength in the face of extreme adversity knows no bounds.

Ten months previously I had the supreme pleasure of distributing goats to these ten families that had been purchased by individuals from our gift catalog.

This time we were there with gifts of clothing and a small toy for the children given to them by their sponsors.

As I stepped into the compound, I noticed that one of the widows had a baby on her back and I vaguely wondered whose child it was.

After greeting the children, I turned to their mothers (in some cases, grandmothers), and one of the mothers came to me wreathed in smiles, talking and gesticulating enthusiastically. I could tell she was happy about something and walked her over to Pastor Zerihun so he could tell me what her good news was. Pastor Zerihun was talking with one of our guests but distractedly translated what this good woman was telling me, and I was stunned.

She told me she had the good fortune to birth triplets! “Three kids?” I asked holding up three fingers making sure I heard right. The baby on her back suddenly took on new meaning. Nodding and smiling she held up three fingers, and then indicated that not only did she have triplets, but she had had two sets of triplets! Incredulous, I held up six fingers and then pointed to the baby, and grinning ear to ear, she vigorously nodded. I was dismayed, confused, and even a bit angry.

I finally got Pastor Zerihun’s full attention and faced him square on and sternly asked, “Are you telling me that this widow woman has had triplets... twice?”

A hearty laugh greeted my inquiry and he said, “No, no! The goat you gave her last year has had two sets of triplets!” Ohhhhh! Relief flooded over me and I began to laugh and hug her unreservedly, joining her enthusiasm over her good fortune.

The goat given to this good woman has provided income for her to the point that she can set herself up in a small business, and her hut now has a sturdy door on it to keep snakes at bay! Her only child (thankfully, only one!) can now go to school with a packed lunch. The baby on her back? Turned out to be a neighbor’s who she was watching. Whew!


Through the generosity of so many people, the poor in Ethiopia are being given a hand-up. Pastor Zerihun was given a donkey, and you would have thought we delivered an SUV!  We constantly bring soccer balls purchased from our gift catalog to villages like this one because the youth go through many balls on the rocky fields where they play. Bio sand filters have given twenty-six families clean water and better health.

I cannot express adequately what these gifts mean to a family. Inflation is skyrocketing in Ethiopia, especially the cost of food, so that the poor are simply unable to purchase it. Now more than ever, these seemingly small gifts can be the barrier between destitution (with accompanying disease) and having something to eat.

I hope you will visit our website and find a way to give a gift that is truly life-giving!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sharing the Good

Today I'll share some links I've been saving for you!

An excellent article written by Lisa Qualls, mom of eleven.  She writes about how God is shaping the culture of her family.  
"In our struggles to help our children find healing , we realized we had to loosen our grip on some of what we held dear..." 

Also from Lisa but this time at her blog.
These are her suggestions for Christmas giving. 
She ought to know - she has eleven kids!

Some good advice about how to avoid overstimulation and keep tabs on your child's feelings.

An easy crock pot recipe that is a version of an Ethiopian favorite.

An adoptive dad and worship leader, Seth Primm, has made an album that he calls "A soundtrack to the fatherless."  Proceeds will go to help them bring their daughter home from Ethiopia. 
Be sure to check it out!

Bringing Home Beautiful, Seth Primm

What to say to those who want to help! 
This would be a great article to share with family and friends.

A story told by JD Greear at the "Together for Adoption"
conference last October.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's In A Name?

by Joy Casey
This time of year causes me to contemplate the humble beginnings of Jesus. I wish I could have known Him as a child and as an adolescent and could have watched Him develop, but you and I know Him most intimately as a grown man who is kind and welcoming to the poor and rejected. His regard and protection of children is legendary, and His own words leave no doubt what He thinks about those who would harm a child, “It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:1-3

Let me introduce you to a teeny-tiny little girl with big eyes, fine features, and skin as golden as toast. In the world’s eyes she is a nobody, hardly worth noticing. She was found naked and dirty by a fence shortly after her mother gave birth and was brought to YWAM’s Widows and Orphans Home in Ethiopia. The policeman who brought her named her Ebise (A-bees’-ay) which means “blessed for the future”. Jesus had a fantastic plan for her! She was dearly loved by all the nannies and found a very special place in the heart of the orphanage director, Tezera. When she was just a few months old she got the measles and really suffered, but Tezera personally stayed by her side and nursed her (willed her!) back to health.

The next part of the story gets better! A lovely family from Spokane, Washington stepped forward and asked if they could adopt this child and they gave her an American name, Ellie, that is a royal name meaning “Noble, Exalted, Shining Light.” Quite a name for a little girl who was born in the dirt! But her family knows that God redeems the lowly and He looks with eyes of faith on their little one, foreknowing her end from the beginning.

When this couple flew to Ethiopia to meet their daughter, their heart was captured forever by all twelve pounds of sweet baby girl. The state of their emotions and heart was expected, but what they did not anticipate was how affected they were by the obvious close relationship between Tezera and Ellie Ebise. It was bittersweet to see Tezera lovingly say good-bye to this princess (see video clip below), but the knowledge of how supremely Ellie Ebise had been loved her whole life was tucked away in their hearts and brought them great comfort. They decided to include Tezera’s name in Ellie’s already elegant name. Tezera means “sowing seeds”, so now this diminutive lass has a name that means:

Noble, Exalted, Shining Light… sowing blessed seeds for the future

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I hope you'll take eight minutes to watch this incredible video. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today is World Aids Day

Project Hopeful is a mission to educate, encourage, and enable families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.  There is so much mis-information surrounding this disease and unfounded fear about adopting children who are HIV+.

Please watch this fun but factual video from their Truth Pandemic campaign!

Through Jeff's Lens - Part 2

There's nothing like starting a busy day of travel with a morning cup of Ethiopian coffee...

Dark, strong and oh-so-good!

Jeff said he ate and enjoyed the local cuisine. What is pictured below is a bit of a delicacy - most Ethiopians don't get meat often, if at all.

It's called "tibs" and is beef cooked over a coal fire. You can also see the rolled up injera and a dish of chopped chilis and salt for dipping.

There are two villages in Ethiopia where Adoption Ministry has sponsored children. One is the village of T'ede (Teh'-day). It is a 90 minute drive south from Addis Ababa. There's always something to see along the road.

As the team arrived in the village, lots of children spotted the van full of white faces and came to smile and stare.

Here, Pastor Zerihun lives and ministers to many widowed women and their children. 

The parsonage

The church in T'ede

Adoption Ministry has sponsors for nine children in T'ede and when one of our teams goes to Ethiopia, they get to deliver gifts from the sponsors to these children. I thought it was so sweet how each child bowed as they received their gifts of new clothes and toys.

Next was a visit to the village of Gutumuma. 
These are the evangelists who have brought the Gospel to this area.
**Very cool side story: The young man pictured above with the glasses is Jason Sanchez, one of our adopting dads who was in Ethiopia with his wife Jackie to meet their baby daughter for the first time and attend their court date. His dad was on the pastoral staff with Jeff at a church in Redmond, WA back in the late 80's/early 90's. Jason was a little kid then but we both remember those days with great fondness and we're still all shaking our heads over how God brought us together again - via Ethiopia!

As you know if you've been following this blog, the government gave a beautiful piece of land to these people and Adoption Ministry has been able to raise support for water to be brought in, a fence to be built to surround the compound and found sponsors for twenty children there. A little school has been started, playground equipment supplied and the children get lunch - an egg, a chunk of bread and a cup of milk. For most it is their only 'meal' of the day.

Jeff and I sponsor a little girl in this village.

Jeff got to meet her and though he's sure she didn't understand who he was, I'm not so sure. It was a highlight for him, I know!

You know how often you hear that a trip like this changes you forever? Well, my husband is the type who avoids any hint of exaggeration or cliché so he hasn't been saying that he has a whole new outlook on everything. But after seeing what he saw and meeting the people he did, there is certainly conviction and renewed desire to be asking God how he should respond. As we've talked, we both feel that the thing that makes the biggest impression is the people there who are serving Christ. They live in leper colonies, in tiny mud huts or in homes where the widowed and desititute are taken in and taken care of. They are joyfully determined to live out God's word.

So we ask ourselves, "Are we?"
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