Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Best Gift of Easter

God sent Him to buy freedom for us
who were slaves to the law
so that He could adopt us
as His very own children.
Galatians 4:5

As you are preparing your Easter meal, coloring eggs and celebrating as families, remember that He bought you with His blood because He chose you for His own.  He would let nothing stop Him from adopting you. We hope you are rejoicing in that truth this Easter!  

Happy Resurrection Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When you're in the thick of the adoption paperchase or while you're in the what-seems-like-forever wait time to bring your child home, it's almost inconceivable to think very seriously about some of the issues you may face once you're all at home together.  Most of us - whether subconciously or not - tend to think that any difficulties will be minor ones or that it just won't happen to our family.

It's wise to be prepared for an adjustment - for everyone in the family but especially for your adopted child. 

You can read so many excellent posts about how families are coping with attachment and grief-related behaviors if you peruse the blogs on our YWAM family blog list and on the other adoption blogs listed in the right hand column.  With great honesty and vulnerability, these parents have shared their struggles and triumphs - so that others can be prepared too.

I wanted to share a few paragraphs (used with permission) from some emails I've received recently from YWAM moms now home with their children.  

Jennifer Johns
soon after bringing Sena home...
"The Ergo carrier has been a lifesaver!  John used it quite a bit in ET, as well as when he was navigating the airports.  She just got used to it and seems to like it. I 'wear' her in it at church which eliminates anyone trying to hold her and keeps her from trying to run around. She also goes in it on my back at work - she was in it for 2.5 hours Friday and didn't complain.  I needed to clean the closet on Saturday and I strapped her on. She snuggles in and is happy as a clam!  My point would be that I really recommend the Ergo for adopting parents.  It is great for bonding and having some hands free time!  Sena is 25 lbs., so she isn't exactly light, but the way it is designed distributes the weight evenly."

Heather Mitchell
home March 2010 with Chally, now 2½...
"I wanted to share this picture with you! Up until the last few days, Chally has needed constant interaction. In the last few days I have seen her come upstairs to her play area and play with some puzzles for a few minutes - all on her own, without needing someone to direct her there and guide her in what to do and how to do it. Today I looked over and she was loading up the dolls from the dollhouse into the car and pushing it around, then unloading them and having them play in the house. She's also pretending a LOT with the older kids. She is playing kitties (wishful thinking on the kids' part, I think) quite often, and today she was 'waiting for Daddy to take her to her music practice.'  It's so amazing to watch her emerge, little by little. She will regress and be needy, then all of a sudden she is spreading her wings just a little bit more and more."

Sara Streitmatter
home with Sahara, 20 months old
"Sahara is doing very well. She is super busy and very talkative. It is great seeing her personality come alive. She loves to be outside but unfortunately the weather has been cold and rainy here.  She and Mazie are doing much better. It took almost 2 months for them to like/love each other. It was hard having them have to share me. As I type right now they are playing together. I love seeing their relationship grow. As for the boys, the adore Sahara and she adores them. She is at her best when they are home from school. She loves to play with them and I love to hear them talk with her. It is also an answer to prayer to see how much Sahara loves my husband. Their relationship started off so rocky. Once again, I am so thankful that they too love each other. Sahara loves daddy and runs to the door to greet him each day when he gets home from work. It melts my heart! After almost 3 months home I can officially say I love her like my own! Praise the Lord!"

Haley Ballast
brought Zeke home almost two months ago
"I thought you'd get a kick out of this -- the Ethiopian adoptive moms gathering proved to be the key to drastically improving Zeke's bedtime routine!! Because I was gone, Jon decided it was time to try something new (he knew I would have a harder time with it than him, so he decided to go for it while I was gone). It was taking us 60-90 minutes to put Zeke to bed because he wouldn't tolerate us leaving his room until he was totally and completely asleep. We knew this was not good because he was keeping himself awake vigilantly to make sure we were still in the room, so it was depriving him of sleep. However I was too hesitant to change it because I couldn't bear to have him cry when we left. Well, sometimes daddy's know best! Jon decided to do the normal routine (bath, jammies, bottle, prayers, songs, cuddles) but then leave the room after putting Zeke in his crib. And guess how long he cried before falling asleep? THREE MINUTES. Ha! He was ready to trust that we were close by if he needed us and felt secure enough to fall asleep by himself. And now he doesn't cry at all! We can now have all 3 boys in bed before 8 PM -- great news for EVERYONE! :)  So thanks again - not only did I have a fun night with some great women, I also got my evenings back now that my little guy falls asleep like a champ!"
Be sure to read Haley's blog post "Post Placement

Thanks so much for sharing!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Time Out For Mom

Every mom deserves a break from the routine every now and then.  So we decided to have an evening for our local Ethiopia moms to get together, eat chocolate, laugh and share.

Don't these moms look Ethiopian??

Moms who have adopted or are adopting from Ethiopia have a lot in common!  Who else can understand what it's like to go through the process of adopting?  Who else can share so many unique emotions and experiences?  No one else, that's who!

How often do you get a chance to talk with no sweet little people vying for your attention?  We told these moms not to leave until they were sure every little person at home was asleep in their beds!

We shared some of the ways God has and is working in us through adoption.  Some struggles and many blessings.  Liane provided our comic relief and some good reminders about what's really important in the day-to-day job of mothering.  We laughed about knowing other moms through their blogs or Facebook - and how great it is to meet in person.

There was lots of encouragement going on in the Adoption Ministry living room!

And of course there were lots of delicious refreshments!

Shelly Luthi (left) graciously provided our treats as well as some wonderful little gifts for each mom.  Shelly is also the one who puts together the life books our families receive once they're home with their children.

We never cease to be amazed at how blessed we are to be working with so many quality families.  YWAM families are the cream of the crop! 

Moms home with their kids shared ways God is giving them everything they need to do this job of parenting.  Moms who have been through the long months of waiting brought perspective and encouragement to those just entering that phase of their adoption journey.   

We sure missed those moms who couldn't be there or who live too far away to join us!  But we look forward to our next time together!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

About Adoption

@King Things
"The only way fear can become courage is to release it to the Lord. And sometimes releasing it to the Lord looks like walking right into the thing I fear most."
 "Adoption is a defining part of my children’s stories well past their adjustment and attachment phase. Perhaps, the most compelling part of this man’s story is remembering that adoption is about evangelism."

@Amharic Kids Blog
"There is so much to think through when bringing our kids back to their birth country!"

A YWAM mission team from Virginia Beach, VA prepares to go to Ethiopia in June 2011.

Two awesome articles from Empowered to Connect...

Closing the Gap
 "Parents who are called, committed and equipped can be used by God to bring about deep and lasting healing in the life of a child from hard places." 

I Used To Be A Good Mom
 "As we struggled to parent our children, our belief in ourselves as “good parents” began to fade. Should we press on with the parenting techniques that had served us well for so many years? In the face of so many challenges, which problems should we focus on first? Was it okay to let behaviors that had never been allowed in our home to be accepted now? Should we read more books on adoption? Should we call somebody? Should we keep quiet and hope that nobody would notice that we were falling apart? What should we do?"

Friday, April 8, 2011

An Unforgettable Meeting

Patsy Johannes is in Ethiopia right now with our mission team.  She sponsors a child in the village of T'ede.  Patsy sold her wonderful hand-made soap in order to raise money for her trip to Ethiopia and had the opportunity to meet her sponsored child this week...

I was privileged to meet Tarikua in person today in T'ede. I have sponsored her for two years now and have enjoyed seeing pictures and hearing updates from other YWAM team members during that time. It felt miraculous that people living so far apart could be brought together, through God's love, and share this moment. I let her know that I cared deeply for her and prayed for her daily and will always love her.

It was a true blessing to meet her mother and let her know that I was honored to partner with her in helping raise this precious young lady.

~ Patsy

Monday, April 4, 2011

Supporting Those Who "Go"

by Joy Casey, Ministry Director

**UPDATE:  We have two more sponsors for these evangelists!
The H.A.N.D.S. mission team (Helping A Neighbor - Develop and Serve) will have the honor of breaking ground for the worship center that is being built for a new Christian community that has sprung up due to the very hard and dedicated work of a handful of Ethiopian evangelists who have been living and working in this area for seven or more years.

Let me introduce you to one of these evangelists. For years, he and his wife have shown the love of Jesus to their neighbors through helps and encouragement, sharing the Gospel when the opportunity presented itself. This man knows that God has called him and his family to live and serve in this village, and he expresses immeasurable joy and thanksgiving for those who have made a confession to Christ. I wanted to meet his wife and family and he proudly got on his new bike (provided to the evangelists through the generosity of YWAM’s friends) and I followed him down the dusty, narrow path to his house.

His barefoot and pregnant wife was a gracious, beautiful woman who I immediately liked. She had an open, welcoming face and joy radiated from her. Their four raggedy children gathered around her, curiously looking at the foreigners who came to visit. She enthusiastically welcomed me to her house and introduced each of her children who smiled shyly and expressed thanks when I gave them a treat.

This family of six lives in one windowless room and they cook their meals outdoors. They have one of the better built houses in this village but their living conditions are still crowded and there is no electricity or plumbing. Mom and Dad have a mattress on a bedframe and the children sleep on the floor. There was little else in their house except for some bags of dried corn, a low table with bowl on it and a water container.

This man is representative of all twelve of the evangelists serving in this remote village. They are there because they are zealous for the souls of every person in this area. Many have experienced freedom and long to introduce their friends to the One who saves and redeems.

We want to help these evangelists! $50.00 a month would be a huge boost to these dedicated men and women and their families. It would allow them and their children to eat regularly and financial support would ensure that their children would go to school. If there was a need for medical help in the nearby town, they could hire a cart to take them to a clinic.

Three people have begun sending regular funds and we need nine more generous people to tangibly show support for the important work that these men do. Can you commit $25 or $50 a month? If you can, we will happily send you the name of an evangelist with a picture, asking that you pray for him, also.

Interested in being a blessing and getting blessed at the same time? Contact us:
or you can go to our website and click on the DONATE button.
Thank you so much!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

True and Complete Joy

**new photos added (click on photos for a better view)
YWAM has a mission team from the NW ministering in Ethiopia.  Oriah Longanecker has been sending us updates and this is from his latest, after finishing several days of ministry in the community of Korah (at the dump in Addis Ababa):

Over the past few days, we helped distribute the supplies that we were able to purchase, with the generous support of many friends and family back home, for the families selected by the local church leadership (in Korah). Instead of supplying 40 families with life-sustaining food, fuel and equipment, God multiplied the 'harvest' and He blessed 60 with these provisions!

Shibur, the young mother who had the infection that we have been assisting, is responding very well to the medication, and therefore eating again, and she and her sister came to church with us today - praise God for seeds planted and watered! Shibur told us that she had decided to name her baby, Himanet, which means 'religion' in Amharic, in honor of the help we had provided her and her baby. Our prayer is that the religion she, her baby and her family find is an eternal relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We also assisted in the digging of a new bathroom septic tank site, 3x3x3 meters in volume, that will serve the church and gym. The going was rough (rocky, hot, oxygen deprived and dirty) and the blisters were many but so were the laughs and the camaraderie that was built will not soon be forgotten. I managed to win over some fans to the 'flavored electrolyte drink' movement such that after greeting us each day, the first thing our digging buddies said was 'red whuha?' - which meant, did you bring more 'red water'? Note: bring more powdered drink mixes next trip...

The church leadership shared a special VHS homemade video with us that provided an inside look at the life of scavenging in the dump for their food, clothing, household goods and various items they try to sell for a few birr (cents) in order to buy items they cannot find in the dump. This was a very special gesture of trust extended to us and helped us not only understand better the desperate situation that so many are in within Korah, but also helped move our relationship as well as our discussions of ways to provide assistance to the next level.

This morning we were privileged to be invited to worship together with the people of the church at Korah. Their pastor even extended the honor of preaching today's sermon to one of our team, Pastor Jeff. We had prayed earnestly that God would speak through Jeff and He most assuredly answered our prayers! The worship was truly a peek at what our worship in heaven will consist of and the sermon spoke truth from the Word into the hearts of many who responded with decisions to trust and believe in Christ as their Savior - as frequently said here in Ethiopia, 'ahhmen'!

Our team has been discussing at length the joy we see in the lives of our brothers and sisters here in Korah. By the world's standards they have absolutely nothing of material value... What is so captivating is their true and complete joy found solely in God!

Tomorrow we visit and work with a dozen local missionaries in a rural village. We will then spend a few days working with the YWAM Adoption Ministry team here in Adama at the Widows and Orphans Home. I'll keep you posted on how things progress. I want to take a moment and say what a great team we have (truly blessed we are!) and what a great leader and friend Pastor Mark continues to be. Please continue to pray for our team and the people of Ethiopia.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Adoption Topics

We are always adding to this list!

Including Teachers, Family & Friends
Hair Care Videos  (Scroll to bottom of page to section titled ‘Keeping It Real’ and click on hair care videos.)
How to Properly Detangle Hair

Older Child Adoption
Fasten Your Sweet Belt  A book and blog written by a mother and her adopted daughter, with topics like eating, bonding, overcoming, believing...
Older Child Adoption: A Psychologist's Story of Love and Attachment

Adopting an Older Child
Initial Adjustment of School-aged Children to a New Family
10 Things You Wish You Knew About Older Child Adoption
Dear Christian Parent Adopting An Older Child
How To Get The Help You Need
Is Older Child Adoption A Special Need?
What We Wish We Had Known

Packing With Attachment in Mind
How To Survive the Trip

International Adoption (General)

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