Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Adoption Story = Saying 'Yes' to God

I've written before about the TerKeurst family's amazing story of adoption, which ended up including many of their friends and neighbors.  Oprah even featured them on her show in 2007, putting the spotlight on His heart for the orphaned and abandoned and also on those who answer the call to adopt.   Be sure to read their story here if you aren't familiar with it.

Lysa has recently given us an update - from her tender mama's heart perspective - about sending her oldest off to college.  Grab a cup of coffee or tea and snuggle up to your monitor to read a wonderful, encouraging and God-glorifying account of His faithfulness...  

Friday, August 27, 2010

You Were Meant To Be!

What an awesome message in this new song by Steven Curtis Chapman for the soon-to-be-released Veggie Tales adventure "It's A Meaningful Life." 

The story of the video is based on Jeremiah 29:11...
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It will be full of lessons in understanding your worth and importance and in being content with what you already have rather than seeking out what others possess.  This video features SCC singing his song "Meant To Be" written for the film.  It includes clips of adopting families meeting their children for the first time, which is part of the message Steven says he was writing the song for:  "You are special and you are meant to be because God has put you in our family."

Release date for the dvd is October 2, 2010.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Go into all the nations and make disciples

by Joy Casey
Director, Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia

Once upon a time…

Most stories that start out like that usually end with, “And they all lived happily ever after."  At the end of the day when caring for my little grandsons, I close the bedtime story book with the assurance that they will have every opportunity to live happily ever after. I kiss their sweet-smelling little heads and herd them down the hall to their very own beds where prayers are said and kisses are liberally received and given and we always sing “Jesus loves the little children …. red, brown, yellow, black and white …”  I am sure many of you have similar scenes in your house.

I am glad that my grandsons can have this kind of nurturing and stability, but it shows in sharp contrast to other little boys that I hug in a small village deep in the countryside of Ethiopia. The future for these little boys most likely won’t end happily at all. For twenty of the poorest families that YWAM has identified to help, hunger is a constant companion. These little boys curl up on a on a dirt floor when the sun goes down hopeless that tomorrow will be any better than today.

But God has sent Ethiopian missionaries to this remote area, and for seven long years they have served and ministered to the people of this village. Just this past year, 108 families have given their lives to Jesus Christ! Adoption Ministry of YWAM has come alongside these tenacious local missionaries to offer humanitarian aid to some of the poorest. We dream of building a school for the 250 kindergarten children of this village, but until funds are provided for that, a house has been rented where the children of these twenty families can come and receive schooling and one nutritious meal. I am overjoyed to see God in action in this out-of-the-way place where the people are illiterate, families are broken apart by sickness and death, and poverty is revealed in stick thin bodies clothed in rags.

God is the author of happy endings! The Good News is penetrating the darkness of this place. Little by little hope is beginning to sprout. He has given YWAM an assignment to build a school and to build a worship center out in the middle of a savannah in Africa.


We need you to help us! Want to be part of an adventure?

If so, please email: joy (at) adoptionministry (dot) net or call (253) 770-2283

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Launch an Orphans Ministry in Your Church

FamilyLife's Hope for Orphans has a pretty succinct mission statement right there under their logo: 

Serving every church to reach every orphan.  

I couldn't say it better than they do on their website:

God has spoken.
He wants His people to care for children who have no one.
This is what He has always wanted.

At different times, we as His followers have been responsive to this desire and at other times we have not. But right now, there is a historic movement underway. It is a movement that is literally changing the world and it is doing so one church and one orphan at a time.

Every week churches are launching ministries dedicated to caring for orphans and to finding many of these children families through adoption and foster care. God is raising up His church in mighty ways to address the current reality of over 130 million orphans worldwide.

How might God want to use your church? 

I hope you'll visit the website here and find out how you can be instrumental in launching such a ministry in your local church.  Take a few minutes to watch this short video giving some practical steps to take.  You could be the beginning of an exciting new direction in your church's vision!

FamilyLife's Hope for Orphans is committed to connecting you with excellent resources and strategic relationships so that your church can do all that God has called it to do on behalf of the orphan.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Links You'll Love

I thought this was an amazing way to help a church catch the vision for orphan care in Ethiopia:

@Building the Blocks

Two great posts on how adopting involves spiritual warfare:

@It's Almost Naptime
@Leaving Our Own Legacy

Take the time to look around this webpage for some excellent audio, video and print resources for parenting the adopted child.  You'll want to 'bookmark' this page!

@Empowered To Connect

Helping adopted kids achieve the basics of living in a family:

@Fun Faith-filled Family

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Adoption Story = Perseverance

If you're at the beginning of your international adoption journey...
you might not know.

But if you're down the road a ways, you've realized that
this journey is not for the faint of heart.

We could not be more in awe of the families we work with as they navigate through all of the paperwork, closures in Ethiopia and then - the waiting.  There just are no guarantees that everything will happen as it should or as you'd like it to!  So faith in God's ultimate control over every detail is the ONE THING that keeps you.  You find yourself having to put it into His hands (where it really lies anyway) over and over again.  Our families have done this in ways that have truly made us so proud to be working with them!  They are honest about the struggle but always faithful to place their trust in God's sovereign control.

One adopting mom posted this verse on her blog (thanks Jennifer) and it's a wonderful reminder:

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!
           Habakkuk 2:3

I wanted to share a great video made by another adoptive mom who brought her little girl home from Ethiopia earlier this year.  This family is an example of walking a difficult pre-adoption journey with determined faith.  There were many highs and some very disappointing lows.  Heather did such a wonderful job of recording how worth it the wait really was!

And now, Chally is HOME!

Is anything too hard for the Lord?
Genesis 18:14

Friday, August 6, 2010

Adopt An Orphanage?

by Joy Casey, Adoption Ministry Director

Near and Dear to God's Heart

I have been pondering and praying about many things lately. Because poor women and children are at the center of God’s heart, I begin every day satisfied that I am doing work that is smack in the center of His will. I continually keep my spiritual ears in tune for any adjustments the LORD would make in this ministry to families, widows and children.
Our fall fundraising banquet is coming up October 9th in Tacoma, and I have especially been seeking to clarify God’s vision for Adoption Ministry so I can present an unequivocal picture of where we are headed to the many who will attend the event. I don’t know how God works in your life, but He is always five steps ahead of me and I struggle to keep up! What He wishes to accomplish is way beyond my simple imagination, and now is no different. Over and over these past months, God has been stirring this mandate within me:

Get the Orphanages Funded Apart from Adoption Fees

Therefore, the challenge for 2011 will be to have all four Widows and Orphans Homes fully funded so our budget is not dependent on adoptions. Because I set the budget and wire the money to Ethiopia, I know that this is a tall order. How do I engage churches to “adopt an orphanage?”

One resource that has committed to help raise awareness in churches and among businessmen and women is a YWAM ministry called Streams of Mercy. In fact, the founder of Streams, Wick Nease, will speak at our fall banquet. But, as God usually orchestrates things, it will take Streams of Mercy along with many others, to accomplish this lofty goal.

And then ……

The second phase after getting the orphanages funded is to put the lion’s share of adoption fees into the Micah Casey Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund will then turn around and financially help strong Christian families to adopt through the YWAM orphanages in Ethiopia. This is exciting to me as this has been a dream of mine since the inception of this ministry.

Can you help?

Many churches have or are starting an orphans’ ministry. It might be called by a different name, but the purpose could be threefold:

1) to help those in the congregation with adoption/foster concerns

2) to help orphans around the world through finances or practical helps

3) to set up mission trips to serve orphaned children.

If your church has such an orphans’ program in place or is contemplating such an outreach and if you have been touched by our ministry in Ethiopia, please consider introducing the Widows and Orphans Homes as a project for your church. We have packets that explain our mission to poor widows and children as well as detailed ways (big and small) an individual or organization can help.

I constantly question if I have heard correctly from the Lord. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It keeps me on my knees but it can also render me inert at times. However, funding our orphanages in Ethiopia apart from adoption fees and then using adoption fees to help families adopt has been a theme in my spirit over and over. I have finally said, “Okay! I get it! I’ll share Your vision and see what happens.”

Will you help with the amazing work God has started in Ethiopia?

If you are interested in finding out more about helping with all or one part of the monthly budget for one of our orphanages, or if you'd just like more information, please contact us: 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Adoption Ministry Family Picnic

Last Sunday afternoon at Bradley Lake Park in Puyallup, all of Adoption Ministry's families were invited to our annual summer family picnic.  Both the domestic and local Ethiopia adoptive families came with their children, strollers, salads, desserts and big smiles. 

It was a wonderful day!

Special thanks to Debi Musick and Katie Salstrom for all of their work to make the picnic such a success!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Into The Streets Of Ethiopia

One of the many ways God has blessed Adoption Ministry is through our partnerships with other ministries with the same passion - to meet the needs of Ethiopia’s widows and orphans. Recently, we’ve linked arms with “Into The Streets Of Ethiopia” which is a wonderful ministry asking God to show them where they might provide support in the form of finances and practical helps to the children of Ethiopia.

Tulio and Kara Portilla were very much like many of us – busy raising a family, involved in ministry, living life. Then, in February of 2008, God led them to do something that was quite ‘out of the box’ – they were to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. During that process, God challenged them to begin leading their family in a “no regrets” lifestyle. Their trip to that country in July 2009 to bring their daughter home only reinforced that call. God began to make real to them the fact that they too are adopted – into His family – and they were forever changed.

They came home knowing their mission was to aid vulnerable children in Ethiopia. As they prayed, they also began doing research on how to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit so that they could support ministries already working in Ethiopia who were reaching out to needy children. “Into The Streets Of Ethiopia” was born!

Adoption Ministry’s connection with the Portillas was truly a God thing! You may have seen links here on our blog to the We Are THAT Family blog, which is written by Kara’s twin sister Kristen. After a trip with Compassion International to Kenya, Kristen’s heart was touched for the people of Africa. She read about our need for formula in our orphanages and immediately thought of her sister’s ministry. One thing led to another and now we are receiving financial donations from Into the Streets of Ethiopia to provide formula and to cover some of the cost of shipping it monthly to our orphanages. A beautiful partnership has begun! We look forward to working with them in many more areas of ministry to the children of Ethiopia.

Right now, through the generosity of a wonderful donor, Adoption Ministry pays for one case of formula per month to be shipped to Ethiopia – and that is not nearly enough! So Dinah Monahan’s “Clothing is Optional – Formula is Life” program has been sending 50 lbs. of formula (or a gift card to purchase it) with every one of our adopting families traveling to Ethiopia for their court and embassy dates, as well as with the mission teams who travel with us. Part of the money that will come from Into the Streets of Ethiopia will be used to cover shipping costs (or for the purchase of the formula itself).  Our goal is to ship one case per week to each of our four orphanages. That’s 16 cases each month and would cost about $1500 monthly for shipping.

God’s ways are absolutely amazing! He is linking together people and ministries who have His heart for the vulnerable and needy children in Ethiopia. We are so grateful to Him and to people like the Portillas and the Monahans. If you would like to donate to bring formula to abandoned babies in Ethiopia, go to the blog here: Into The Streets Of Ethiopia
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