Monday, March 29, 2010

Church at the Dump

Written by Liane Wolbert, wife of our Missions Director, on Sunday March 28.  Mark is in Ethiopia now until late April.

Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!!!

I spoke with Mark this morning, which was about 5:30 in the evening Ethiopia time. He spent Palm Sunday in the Addis Ababa dump in a leper community. He acknowledged that it was the most impacting journey that he has ever made and the Spirit of Christ was visible on the faces of the jewels that he visited.

We have a friend who serves with The Forsaken Children in Addis. This is an outreach to street children who live on the streets in Addis - as you can imagine, there are many. Our friend invited Mark to spend the day with him at the dump where he has also been working for several years. Mark told me that there are 15,000 lepers that live in this location--it's like a town! Bisrat, our friend, has started a church for the lepers and it is about 200 people now. That is where Mark was singing Hosanna! He said that the people were worshipping "off the hook." Many were blind and lifting their stumped arms in worship to the Lord! He was humbled to the ground!

After church, they visited many in their homes which house 15 to 20 people. Bisrat told Mark that if he wanted to shake their hands, he should reach out first and then they would respond. (That makes sense as I'm sure that they would normally be rejected.)  Mark said that he would and then asked if he could hug them. The response was astonishment. Mark said that this day of hugging and holding lepers and their children will go down in his memory as walking in a place of holiness like he has never known. He was honored to have been there.

A team coming in April will visit this place to love and share with the children the love of Christ. Mark is hoping to raise money to purchase bags of coal for cooking fires. This is their greatest need. They will also purchase maize. $8.00 will purchase a bag of coal for two families for 2 months. If you check out the website for the Leper Hospital in Addis, you will find that a great work is in place for medicines for this community. Many are serving here. If you would like to purchase coal and maize for the leper community, just send $8.00 to the YWAM office in Puyallup.  (Please make checks payable to Adoption Ministry and designate 'for Ethiopia humanitarian support.')

On the way back to Addis (this is way out of the city), the palms were everywhere - at the orthodox church entrance, in the streets and made into head bands worn by the people. When you are in the city, you can get a glimpse of what a scene of biblical times were really like - minus the cars! Many are still riding donkeys and herding oxen down the roads. Joy, recently back from Ethiopia, said that she saw vultures devouring a dead camel of the road.

After this day, Mark headed to the Internet cafe in the small little community where he is staying to work on his communication back to the States. I could hardly hear him for the noise of all of the people in the background. The Internet was down and so he began a walk back to the YWAM compound. I could hear him puffing as he was walking down the road. He stopped at a little store (they look more like a kid's fort) to purchase a Miranda drink (Ethiopian Fanta) and, to my amazement, he was talking in Amharic to the kids who were selling. (Maybe that was the dialog that he learned this week and he just wanted to show-off!) He was joking with them, they were laughing, money was exchanged and he was on his way down the street. When he shouted "Ciao!" they all responded with "Good bye!"

Mark will be in language school though this week. He will be leading a team of wonderful people coming to serve from Virginia Beach, VA on April 6. They will be staying for 11 days and he'll be flying back to the States with them on the 17th of April.

Thank you for your support and prayers for Mark in Ethiopia!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Linking Together

Two topics from a wonderful blogger...

Right priorities sometimes leave a trail
Sensory processing idea

Two topics from one of our own awesome YWAM adoptive moms...

A link to a great discussion for adopting families
Movies, games, flashcards and books

An interesting article from Newsweek magazine

Can you really do this?

The Forsaken Children
A wonderful outreach to street children in the heart of Addis Ababa.
YWAM mission teams often help at Nega's drop-in center.  Be sure to read
the posts titled 'Zor-zor' (to wander) and 'The Way, The Truth and The Life.'

It's in that place of being stretched that God will meet you and bless you.

El Olam - Eternal One
Our God doesn't ever grow weary!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adoption Tax Credit Extended!

Good news for adopting families!  The Adoption Tax Credit, which had been scheduled to 'sunset' at the end of this year, has now been extended and even increased.  Here's a quick summary:

•The current adoption tax credit has been extended until the end of 2011.

•The value of the adoption tax credit has been increased from $12,170 to $13,170.

•The increase is “retroactive,” meaning that any adoption occurring after January 1, 2010 is eligible for this higher credit.

•The credit is now refundable. This means that even families that owe zero taxes can receive the full tax credit in the form of a tax refund to help with their adoption-related expenses.
Please go to the Christian Alliance For Orphans blog to read more about the details.

Photos from T'ede

Earlier this week, I posted a story Joy sent from the little village of T'ede in central Ethiopia.  It was titled Sheep, Lambs and Kids and told about the distribution of many of the things donated through our Ethiopia Gift Catalog.  There is some question as to whether these are sheep or goats but either way, it was a joyous day in T'ede!  Mike and Dinah Monahan, of Just Love Them Ministries, returned home from 11 days in Ethiopia and were kind enough to share these pictures from that day!

These widows are lined up, ready to receive their goats.

Many of these children are sponsored by our YWAM friends in the U.S.
They are anxiously waiting for their turn to draw a ticket to pick a goat!

Mark with one of the 'kids'

Abebe helps a little one choose a ticket


Tarikua:  Now let's see... which one should I pick?


A pregnant goat means a double or triple blessing!

Can't you just hear the excitement?

This is Tzibt, who lives with her widowed grandmother.

We'll never know the joy they experienced on that wonderful day!
Thanks to all who gave so generously. 
Your gift went a very long way to bless these families!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Word from Ethiopia

Update from Joy Casey in Ethiopia (written March 22nd)

Yesterday we went to the property where we are building a new Widows and Orphans Home in Adama, Ethiopia. I am so pleased with the progress! When the first floor is finished, we will be able to serve 30 children and 10 widows. It will have a clinic, offices, full kitchen and dining hall. I am so thankful for the contribution of Dean and Deb Hustler who have made this dream a reality. We have yet to build a retaining wall in a ditch running alongside the property and also a fence around the entire property. Those things are very important, and I know God will provide.


Trip to Nekemte and Gimbie

Our trip started early in the morning with six tiny babies nestled in the arms of someone.

Tezera, Widows and Orphans Home Director

Mark Wolbert, Missions Director

The road from Nekemte to Addis Ababa is very, very rough, but the babies loved it! They were being protected in a loving embrace and bounced all at the same time! The only time a baby got fussy at all was when we would stop! The drive is a long, dusty one, though, and we were glad when we hit the outskirts of the teeming capitol. Just as we entered the busy, congested streets our bus gave out. The clutch had had it. I called Abebe, our Ethiopian rep, to please get us some other transportation as soon as possible. With bubble gum and string (or similar ingenuity) our bus driver “fixed” the clutch and we went a little further, but the clutch did not hold. After an interminable wait, another van came and we transferred our very tired and extremely dirty selves and babies into it.

Two hours later - well after dark - we pulled into our Widows and Orphans Home in Adama and were greeted by exuberant children and the embraces of the widows and staff. It was so nice to have the nannies take our charges and give them baths to tuck them into their awaiting beds. They were no worse for the wear, but I wouldn’t say the same about us! We were exhausted, tired, and extremely dirty. I blew my nose and all that came out was black dirt! It was heavenly to go to a nice, clean hotel, eat some soup, take a hot shower and fall into bed!

Sheep, Lambs and Kids

Joy Casey, Adoption Ministry's Director, is in Ethiopia and sent this wonderful report of our gift catalog recipients...

Before Christmas last year, we put out a gift catalog for people to buy various things for the poor in Ethiopia. We had a great response and raised close to $3,000 to buy chickens, goats, donkeys, bio sand filters, soccer balls and other things. Money to buy fourteen sheep or goats was given and we had the privilege of going to the village of T’ede to see the fourteen families Adoption Ministry sponsors receive the precious gift of a sheep. But not only one sheep …. all were pregnant and two had already given birth with twins tagging along behind one ewe and one lamb behind another. The names of the families were written and folded on sheets of paper and the children drew the names for each to have a turn to select the sheep they wanted. It was a joyous day for these very poor families to be blessed with such a huge gift and their faces reflected their appreciation and their hugs to all as they left no doubt of their gratitude. I wish every person who gave money for a goat/sheep could have been there! It was such a unique time that one of the people traveling with me commented that he felt we were in a National Geographic story.

Soccer balls were given to the pastor of this village, also. He has a sports ministry with the children and soccer balls have a short life span so he is constantly in need of new balls. The dirt fields they play on are full of rocks and the balls don’t last long. But soccer is the draw for the children so we make sure Pastor Zerahun has plenty of balls. We noticed many of the children were in desperate need of shoes, so some shoe money was also given to the pastor to meet that need. The money donated for uniforms was given to our YWAM Children’s Director as he has a huge ministry to the community children in one of the poorest areas in Addis Ababa.

A bio sand water filter in a home in the village of T'ede

For those who gave money for life giving bio sand filters, we are in the process of having sixteen made! This is a huge gift that will bring clean water and health to sixteen more families (we previously installed fourteen) in a very remote village. There is a shortage of cement right now, so we are waiting on supplies, but hope to have them done and installed soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Saw What I Saw

I love the heart of this song. 
It could have been written in Ethiopia. 
Or Haiti. 
Or in any third world country.
You cannot go there and come away the same.
Because of God's loving heart, you can't stay the same.
Lord, change me!  Break my heart with what breaks Yours.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Amazing Grace @ Adama Diaries

Kelly is a YWAM missionary living at our Widows & Orphans Home in Adama.  Be sure to click over to her blog Adama Diaries to read about the visit to the village of Gutumua Bulbula with Joy and Mark.  Here are a few of her pictures from the trip:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Orphan Ministry Summit VI

Invitation to Summit VI from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Christians from across America and beyond will gather in Minneapolis, MN, for the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit VI on April 29-30, 2010. The objective: to inspire and equip Christians to “care for orphans in their distress” through adoption, foster care and global orphan care ministry rooted in the local church.

What you can look forward to:

• Featured speakers will include national champions of orphan care and adoption, including John Piper, Mary Beth Chapman, Tom Davis, Doug Sauder, Stephanie Fast, Jedd Medefind, and Al Mohler. Compelling voices from the global church will join as well, from Africa to Central America.

• Music will be led by Steven Curtis Chapman, Peder Eide, Desperation Band and other artists.

• More than 50 workshops delivering nuts-and-bolts for adoption, foster care and global orphan programs – designed for both laypersons and leadership

• Orphan care resources for church ministries, as well as personal orphan care and adoption journeys

• Breakouts will also include 5 “Hague Hour” Credits for Adoptive Families.

• Q&A sessions and networking opportunities with respected adoption, global orphan and foster care organizations and veteran ministry leaders.

• For Christians stirred by the plight of orphans, Summit offers the biggest and best opportunity of the year to learn how to act upon conviction. To learn more and register now, visit the Summit website here.

A taste of breakout topics:

• Haiti and the Local Church: What’s Next?

• Bridging the Great Divide: Building Positive Relationships Between Church Ministries and Government

• Understanding Childhood Development of Overseas Orphans

• A Lifelong Love: Keeping the Gospel at the Center of Orphan Ministry

• Church-Based Orphan Ministry 101

• Fundraising for Orphan Ministry

• Starting in the Right Direction: Helping Pre-Adoptive Couples Make Sound Decisions

• Now What? Helping Children Age Out of Foster Care

• The Financial Challenge of Adoption and How the Local Church Can Respond

• Engaging Church Leadership

• A Child’s Journey Through the Foster Care System

• How Does It Work? Models of Global Orphan Ministry Based in US Churches

• Practical Ideas of Orphan-Focused Events

• Understanding HIV/AIDS and the Orphan

• And many more…

And there’s more! Five sessions will provide pre-adoptive families with needed Hague credits.

• Adoption and Orphans: Becoming a Multicultural/Multiracial Family

• Adoption and Orphans: Attachment and Trauma (Part I and II)

• Adoption and Orphans: Grief and Loss

• Adoption and Orphans: Acclimating to a New Family Member

“American Christians are stirring to the needs of orphans both at home and abroad as never before. What’s thrilling is that even small ministries in local churches can make such significant impact. There are millions of parentless children worldwide, but a single statistic matters more than any other: it only takes one caring adult to make a lifelong difference in the life of an orphan.”

- Jedd Medefind, President, Christian Alliance for Orphans

For more information about Summit VI, please click here:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Doing His Work

from Joy...

Today is Thursday morning. Four days ago, Sunday, we loaded up our 20 passenger bus with Mike and Dinah Monahan from Arizona (Just Love Them Ministries), Elias Nichols from Washington (16-year-old son of a dear friend who has adopted two Ethiopian children), Mark Wolbert (Adoption Ministry’s Missions Director), Wick Nease (a YWAMer running Streams of Mercy), Nathan (a professional photographer traveling with Wick), Tezera (our Widows and Orphans Home Director) and me! Ten hours later, over incredibly bumpy roads but having seen herds of baboons (what are groups of baboons called, anyway? I don’t think it is a herd …), monkeys and a 22 foot long python (thankfully killed by villagers), we drove into the thriving city in Western Ethiopia called Nekemte. There is a pretty decent hotel there and all were hungry and tired, so just Tezera and I headed over to the orphanage that we painted, cleaned and readied last December.

Imagine my satisfaction in seeing this nursery operational with nannies tending to seven tiny babies. One baby girl was just 3 days old, another 5 days old, one was 12 days old and one little miss was one month old. The little preemie baby boy I had been so worried about was out of the hospital and while I wouldn’t call him robust, was doing fine - although I have never in my life seen such a skinny baby. He was awfully cute, though, and was alert and loved to be held and talked to. Another little boy was 3 months old and looked huge next to all the tinies and another little girl just a couple of months old. Four of these babies we would be picking up and taking back to our Adama orphanage when we returned.

I was quite taken with the 3-day-old baby girl who didn’t even have a name yet. She had been in our orphanage for 2 days. She is exquisite! Delicate features and huge eyes with downy soft hair …. she was perfect in every way. The fact that she was alive was a miracle. Three days before, her mother gave birth to her in the jungle area outside Nekemte and walked away. An old woman was gathering sticks for a fire and came upon the newborn baby who was all bloody with the placenta laying beside her. The old woman picked up the baby and took her to the police in the nearby town. The police immediately called our social worker to come and get her because there could be no delay in getting her help. Now I am holding this precious lightweight bundle and I know that she will bless the lives of a family in America …. and I hope it will be soon!

After spending a day in Nekemte, we left early for Gimbie where we have another Widows and Orphans Home. We have 11 children here. Eight of the babies have been waiting for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to open so we can get their documents finalized for adoption. Five of them are already matched with incredibly patient families and it is such a joy to know that now we can process them and they will finally be settled. We took pictures and video of the children but were a bit rushed because we had some very important meetings with some government officials that always take a very long time.

Two abandoned little ones would be traveling that evening back to Nekemte with us (and then on to Adama): a 1-month-old beauty with soft curls all over her head and a baby that Dinah Monahan affectionately dubbed 'Charlie Brown,' who is 9-months-old but came to us extremely malnourished. His mother died shortly after birth and his father tried to keep him alive by giving him flour and water. Although teff flour is nutritious, it is not near enough for a new baby to adequately grow on. Our staff immediately hospitalized him where he was put on IV's and a formula specially made for malnourished infants. Now he looks very good and is he CUTE! He has a personality to die for and is soooo responsive with a smile for everyone.

After grabbing a bite to eat, meeting with endless city officials, and having a short time with my missionary friends, Scott and Monica Barlow (Scott will be traveling back to Addis with us), we picked up little 'curly head' (she reminds me a Tiny Tears doll I had as a little girl …) and 'Charlie Brown' and traveled back to Nekemte to get a few hours of sleep.

Five a.m. came very soon and we loaded the bus destined for the orphanage to pick up six babies. The bus wouldn’t start. Half an hour later the bus was pushed out of the parking lot just enough to jump start the battery and off we went! The air at five in the morning is refreshingly cool and we handed six bundled babies to six waiting arms and drove through the streets of a town just waking up. While watching the sun rise over the hills with the now 4-day-old baby nestled in my arms, I thanked God for allowing me this day, to be in this place, doing His work.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pictures in Gutumuma

I received an email today from Abebe with these pictures taken the day they were in the village of Gutumuma.  Be sure to read both Joy's and Mark's accounts of that wonderful visit!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Running To Keep Up With God!

Joy wrote this on March 13th from Addis Ababa...

Tomorrow we start out early for Nekemte and Gimbie, two towns in the remote Western part of Ethiopia where we have orphanages. Today has been a very full, interesting and productive day. Mike and Dinah Monahan, pro-life leaders from Arizona and recently retired from Heritage House, have been traveling with us for the past three days. Today we connected with a wonderful Ethiopian sister who I have known for some time. It looks like we may be starting a crisis pregnancy center and maternity home here in Ethiopia! We met all morning discussing details …. we are still discussing details! It is so exciting to see what God is doing here. He is orchestrating so much more than I could ever have imagined. More updates will follow this new turn of events as they unfold.

I introduced Mike and Dinah to our wonderful YWAM Children’s Home here in Addis and several of the children shared their life stories, we sang songs and generally had a wonderful time with those precious children. We have opened up a new compound for the girls and a YWAM couple from India are the new houseparents. A renewed street ministry will start this coming week, and now that we have more room with two compounds, many more children from the streets can be brought into a place of shelter, acceptance and love.

Now it is time for sleep. I will not have access to any computer or internet while I am in Western Ethiopia. We have had many new babies come to our orphanages in Nekemete and Gimbie, and we will be bringing at least four abandoned babies to our Widows and Orphans Home in Adama when we return on Wednesday. That should be an interesting fourteen hour drive!

God's time

Mark shares his perspective from under the spreading tree...

We've found the most amazing people group to minister to... a remote village where the people have nothing, really n o t h i n g! Some of the children are naked from the waist down. Their houses are shacks. Abebe has asked us to help them. Over the last 10 months, 80 families have come to Jesus!! 80!!

We were a part of the most joyous worship I've known under a giant, spreading tree in the middle of Ethiopia... They have nothing tangible but have EVERYTHING spiritually. Their faces radiate a joy unspeakable - so satisfied in Jesus. Our showing up meant so much to them. Their leaders were so blessed to know that Westerners were partnerering with them, not necessarily in money but in prayer and caring for their souls. Showing up and linking hands.

We got the chance to pray for them. We formed a large circle and prayed for God to provide and that through our coming that unity would abound and we could shoulder the need of raising a church and kindergarten together. The evangelists felt loved and cared for; the elders of the church were encouraged. But we were the ones truly blessed. And Abebe was speechless! He has wanted our help, but was waiting for the right time to bring it up. This was the right time and everything came together!

In Galatians 4:4 the Word says 'When the fullness of time came God sent...'  I shared this word with the team this morning at devotions. God's time is pregnant with His purpose!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Joy Casey, Adoption Ministry Director, is in Ethiopia and sent us this summary of a day spent in the tiny village of Gutumuma.

Down the main road about two hours, winding through a little town dodging children, goats and donkeys, and then following a very narrow path about another hour more, we came to the small village of Gutumuma. The houses are round stick and mud huts with pitched thatched roofs or square stick and mud houses with a slanted tin roof, but our vehicle drove past those and came to rest by a huge over-reaching tree. In the shade of this magnificent tree were about 100 men, women and children clapping, dancing and singing songs of halleluia to their Savior. Their worship was so joyful it was contagious and we Americans later commented that the “joy of the Lord” took on a whole new meaning for us. We came to this small dot on the map to see what God has done in this remote village that, until just recently, none of us had heard of. This is not just another typical village. More than eighty miracles have happened there over the last ten months.

Watch and Pray is an organization spearheaded by Getanah, an Ethiopian who knows there is a spiritual battle for the hearts of his countrymen. Abebe, Adoption Ministry’s representative in Ethiopia, has been laboring beside Getanah for seven years in several villages in this area, sharing the truth of Jesus and also building houses for the poorest as money was donated. Little by little, the Good News has started to permeate the lives of these villagers and over the past ten months, eighty families have turned to walk hand in hand with Jesus Christ. The joy on their faces as they unashamedly praised their Savior was a sight for sore eyes.

As anywhere in Ethiopia, the children are magnificent and easy to engage. They laugh easily and are eager to have their pictures taken. The children, mothers and most men were barefoot, wearing little more than rags. After spending time with the new converts, we headed across some fields to a piece of property that the government gave the village to build a worship center and kindergarten classrooms for the younger children to attend school. There is a school for the older children already but nothing for the kindergarten age …. and there are a lot of children! The elders of the church met us there and we were impressed with the beautiful setting and large, cleared area where we could easily envision a church, school and large playground. These people are sustenance farmers and are literally dirt poor, but they have come to know God and are used to miracles. He has started a vibrant Christian church – He will also provide. We formed a large circle holding hands and prayed that this church and kindergarten will become a reality.

This house might not look like much to our Western eyes, but to the people of this village, it is better than anything they have ever had. Watch and Pray has been giving $300 for the building of a new house for these poor people, and their obvious pride of ownership is heartwarming. Finances are limited, however, and only a few have benefited from a sturdy house.

$300. With a twinge of conscience, I realized I spent that on new clothes just recently. These people are barely clothed and have so little. I vowed to raise money, starting with myself, to see many more houses provided for this village. The leadership of this village appears to be very strong, but I am sure there are many challenges to these people who have turned their lives to understand the forgiveness of Jesus. The Church needs to show these people support in a tangible way. James expresses quite clearly our responsibility: Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well. Keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing to help his physical needs, what good is it? I will start by helping one poor family build a new house - "Habitat for Humanity" African style! I can do that. Others will join me and together we can show our faith by our deeds to these new converts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Construction Update

Until I hear an update from Joy and Mark in Ethiopia, I thought I'd share some exciting progress with you!

The first orphanage that YWAM opened in Ethiopia - The Widows & Orphans Home Adama - began operating in 2007.  Here, Tezera Kebede and her staff have ministered to widowed women and the children that are admitted to the orphanage.  There are currently six widows who live on the compound and there is a feeding program for 25 more widows living in the nearby community.  The children are loved and discipled before they are placed for adoption. 

It soon became obvious that this facility would not be big enough to contain the growth that God intended! So, through generous gifts to the ministry, construction has begun on a new compound - with architectural plans that allow for additional floors to be built one on top of the next as needed.

These photos were taken a week ago, on March 5th...

More room for more bittersweet goodbyes!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Visit to a widow's house

Mark Wolbert checks in with our first update from Ethiopia...

Today in Addis Ababa, we drove through neighborhoods that became obviously poorer and poorer. Soon the buildings were less and less like houses and more and more like shacks, or lean-to's, made of galvanized roofing and blue plastic tarps with large rocks to divide properties into tiny lots. Some lots were the size of a small garage. Some lots were so small that the tiny shacks took up the entire lot.

It was into this type of neighborhood that we went to go visit a widow. Rather than have a bunch of people go charging into the house, only Joy, Abebe and Kelly went into the home - Joy to talk, Kelly to take photos and Abebe to translate. We have photos that are quite good. During the conversation we found out she was working as the 'live-in cook' for 3-4 military men. She does their housekeeping and is given food and a place to sleep for about $8.00 per month. This news broke my heart...

I stayed in the van and watched people eye our vehicle as if it were a spaceship that had landed from Mars or the Moon! I guess they don't get many visitors in cars in this neighborhood. Many people came to their front doors to stare at the white guy in the van... I felt like a zoo animal in a cage on wheels!!

Keep checking back for more updates from Joy and Mark!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Celebrating Readoption

What is readoption and is it necessary?

Readoption is a process in which the court reviews the details of the adoption done in the child’s birth country. The judge then issues a new adoption decree - which is independent from the foreign decree - stating that your child has been adopted in agreement the laws of your state. Parents should carefully review the laws of their state to determine how their foreign adoption decree will be recognized. (See the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse web site for a summary of state adoption laws.)

Readoption is not related to U.S. citizenship. Federal law automatically confers citizenship on children adopted abroad by U.S. citizens, although parents must apply for a certificate of citizenship. Readoption may no longer be necessary once the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is implemented in the U.S. if the children are adopted from a country that is also a Hague member. adapted from an article by Peter Wiernicki

There are several reasons why you may want to readopt:
  • Readoption secures the recognition of a legal parent/child relationship under U.S. law.
  • Your child receives a U.S. birth certificate issued by your state, making it easier to obtain copies.
  • The birth certificate will be in English, as opposed to the one issued in their birth country which may have to be translated. English language vital records may be necessary in their future.

Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia got to rejoice with several of our local families as they celebrated the readoption of their kids from Ethiopia last week! Joy Casey, our ministry director, was able to be at the court and share in the final step in their adoption journeys.

The Averill Family
Joy with Randy, Sary-Jo, Daniel and David

The Kalkbrenner Family
Tim, Anne and little Blin with Joy

Grandma helping Blin celebrate

Sunday, March 7, 2010

And They're Off!

Liane is Mark Wolbert's wife and is also our homestudy professional who conducts the homestudies for our Western Washington families. She has led several of our mission trips to Ethiopia.

Liane, Tezera (Widows and Orphans Home Director) and Mark

Dear Family and Friends,

I am sitting at the computer this morning, counting the hours from the time that Mark and Joy left Saturday from DC and where, in the air, they are now. I can just imagine that they will be flying over a dark city (Addis Ababa) with very few lights - even though it is a city with seven million people living there. They will be unloading then loading the seven bags that they have between them on and off of moving luggage belts before they finally get outside of the airport holding area. Many of you who have been to Ethiopia know that it can take hours just getting out of the airport. Fortunately, they won't have to stand in the visa line as they have two year visas that they purchased a few trips ago!

As they make their way out, they'll continually repeat to the hoards of men who are trying to earn a birr that they do not need help handling their bags. Maybe they should just get help this time! The only problem with that is when you open the door a crack, the flood is coming and soon you are surrounded with 20 more who are trying to earn a birr too.

Abebe, YWAM's in-country representative, will be there to greet them, which is always a treat and a joyful reunion. The bags will be loaded into the van (with the help of many men trying to earn a birr) and the van will head to the Guest House (the sign says "Gust House'). The bags will be unloaded and lugged to the back of the property and up the stairs to their rooms. Fortunately there will be four people carrying the fifty-pound bags but now is really when you need all of the helpers looking for a birr.

Joy and Mark will say their good-byes to Abebe and Tadessa (our friend and driver) and fall onto their beds--maybe they'll change before they go to bed and maybe not. But you know that sleeping in silken-pj's on the cleanest sheets in the world (they really are - washed by hand because of no washing machines) is optional when you just flew to the other side of the globe. The electricity in the city is turned off every other day so that the energy can be sold to neighboring countries. Mark and Joy both have flashlights handy.

Catholic Guest House - Addis Ababa

For those of you who have travelled to Ethiopia with us, you are aware that they will need to sleep fast for soon the Gust House church bells will be chiming --loudly-- and the Muslim call to prayer will be sounding out to the city over the loud speakers. Fortunately their first cup of Ethiopian Macchiato will soon follow.

I have updated you on what is going on right now but I want to go back to the past weeks and months...

The suitcases contain small gifts from future families to their coming children, pictures of children for our orphanage director of children who have new last names and are now in a forever family, baby formula (lots of formula!), surgical scrubs, diapers, medicine, clothes for little children, vitamins, latex gloves (boxes of those), children's books, digital thermometers, Bible lessons, candy and countless other items that have been ordered, collected, and hunted down at the Goodwill. The packing of the suitcases took two weeks and help from many. The unloading will be about the same as they disperse items to different locations for very specific needs.

Over the past year Mark has worked with many around the U.S. who are planning to come to Ethiopia for this season of missions. Church groups and individuals will be travelling to Ethiopia from Kansas, Tennessee, Arizona, Virginia, California and Washington. These teams will start arriving on March 10 and will continue until November with the last team of this season. They will be serving, teaching, and loving all over the city and countryside.

The preparation for these trips is on-going. Mark's fervent prayer is that his steps will be ordered by the Lord, that he will hear from Him for direction and then be obedient to put his hand to the plough. He does NOT want his labor to be in vain because his flesh is attached!

It would be a great honor for Mark and our family for your support in prayer in these next months. We truly cry out on behalf of our family and for this work to hear from the Living God regarding these things and then to be filled with supernatural power to accomplish all He has set before us and asked of us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Praying them to Ethiopia

Tomorrow, March 6th, Joy leaves for a two week trip to Ethiopia. There she will be visiting each of YWAM's orphanages, meeting with our in-country staff, visiting with our children - both in our orphanages and in the community, escorting a group of potential supporters to introduce our outreach to widows and orphans, and making many decisions about our work in Ethiopia. Would you consider praying for her? She has asked for prayer in these areas:

  • Wisdom! Many decisions and interactions with various people need to be carefully made
  • Time management and a clear mind so all can be accomplished.
  • Pray that the time at our orphanages and humanitarian projects will be beneficial and that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of the visitors to the plight of the women and children in Ethiopia.

Mark is also leaving on the 6th, though he will be in Ethiopia until late April! He'll also be escorting the team of visitors, making preparations for a team of missionaries from Virginia Beach, VA who will come at the beginning of April, leading that team in their work in Addis Ababa and Adama, and in between taking a week-long intensive language course to learn Amharic. Please pray for:

  • Enriched/changed lives for the people on the missions team and those they serve.
  • Protection from water and food borne diseases and parasites.
  • Deepening of relationships - creation of new relationships.

We can also remember to pray for their families at home! I hope to give regular updates on the blog as I get news from them in Ethiopia. Power outages and sketchy internet connections are always a reality there so we'll be grateful for every email and update! (You can subscribe to the blog to get our latest posts via email - just scroll down and look in the left column.)

Lord, we ask you to open doors before them so that gates will not be shut. You have promised "I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron." Isaiah 45:1-2

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Creating a Healthy Adoption Culture in Your Church

I loved this short video on fostering a culture of adoption in our churches...

Adoption Ministry has several ways your church can become involved in supporting one of our Widows & Orphans Homes...

  • Provide for all or one part of the monthly budget for one orphanage
  • Invite individuals in your congregation to sponsor a child or widow @ $30/month
  • Promote missions trips for willing members to help your sponsored orphanage

If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact us at

100% of the fees we receive for adoptions go directly back into our humanitarian work in Ethiopia. The general overhead of Adoption Ministry of YWAM is covered through donations of churches and individuals who love what we do.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Links You'll Love

Click on the titles of the links below to read some excellent posts about adopting, parenting and trusting God.

Do Hard Things
Creating great expectations for our kids.

I Would Love To Adopt But My Husband Isn't On Board
Watch a video by one of 'those' husbands!

Transitioning Support
Getting prepared for the realities of adoption.

Our Pieces
"Waiting for Him to provide. Waiting for Him to lovingly remind us, in the smallest yet most beautiful of Grand Gestures, that our broken pieces, no matter how jagged the edges, are held tightly in His oh-so-capable hands. He has given us this journey, with its brokenness and its unlovely.
He has not forgotten."

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