Monday, December 26, 2011

Gifts of Clean Water

I don’t think twice about going to the faucet and filling up a big glass of cold, clear water – preferably with ice. 

I’ve never had to choose between sending my child to school or to the nearest water source for our family’s supply of water. 


I don’t dip water from the same place livestock stand and drink. 


I don’t ever peer into a murky bucket, hoping there isn’t something living in the water I’m about to give my family, causing all kinds of waterborne illness.


But for most people in Ethiopia, this is reality. 

For the last two years, YWAM has been purchasing bio-sand water filters (donors give these via our Gift Catalog) and delivering them to families and communities.   We are also working on a source for less-expensive, portable filters which can be more widely distributed and used.


For $100, a family and their neighbors have a way to filter the water they can access and it does a very effective job of screening out pathogens from dirty water.





This gift of clean water is a LIFEsaving gift.


THANK YOU to all who have given the gift of clean water!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Christmas (and some other)...

Our First Christmas Together 2011 Ornament - 4.5 inches round
First Christmas Together ornament
@ethiopiadad’s etsy shop

Why Christmas Stinks Sometimes
@Empowered to Connect
It instantly occurred to me that somehow I managed to have the only elementary school-aged child in all of America who actually hates Christmas. But I quickly asked the obvious question, “Why?”

Adoption Is Hard, But It Is Worth It
@Show Hope blog
“I now have so much more of a picture of what Christ endured for me. I have a glimpse of His heartache and passion.”

Motherhood is Application
”In the same way we take the food we eat and make it into something the baby can eat (and our bodies simply do this without us willing them to), so we take what we believe about God and the gospel and faith and life, and we apply it in the places that seem too little for it.”

The Other Shoe
@The Stanley Clan
”The beauty of life, normal life, fills me to overflowing. And yet, I feel an uneasiness underlying it all. Like I'm just waiting for something to go wrong.”

While You Wait: Preparing Your Family for Their New Siblings
@Hope at Home
”Here are some ideas to make the time fruitful by building up your family even before your adoption.”
Melkam Genna
from all of us at
Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Working it out

Please bear with us as we work through
some issues with our website and email. 
We'll get it all untangled as soon as possible!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meet some pretty awesome kids...

Two years ago, Kristan Smith traveled to Ethiopia with a friend, Heather Mitchell, who was adopting a little girl through our YWAM/CHI program. When she got back home, she shared with her six children (ages 6-15) how differently kids in that poverty-stricken country live. No toys. No new clothes. Very little of anything American kids consider to be normal life necessities. Their joy just doesn't come from 'stuff.'

The Smiths have been intentionally scaling back on Christmas gifts for a while but this year, the children have decided to give up all of their Christmas gifts and instead, to give to children in Ethiopia who really NEED something.

The kids spent time pouring over our YWAM Gift Catalog, talking about what things kids in Ethiopia might need the very most. Food, for sure. Clean water. Formula for babies. And Bibles! They carefully figured out how they wanted to spend the $325 they'd been given for Christmas and placed their order.

So there won't be any gifts under the Smith's Christmas tree this year. But for Symone, Alona, Camille, Gabby, Josiah and Kerah, Christmas will be FULL of the joy of giving to children and families who are in great need. A big THANK YOU to the Smith kids! I only wish they could be the ones to see how gratefully these necessities are received.

Would you like to give a Christmas gift from our 2011-2012 Gift Catalog? There are lots of ways, big and small, that you can make a real difference in the life of a child or family in Ethiopia.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Language Acquisition - Let's Share!


Sometimes it’s good to put yourself in an adopted child’s sandals.  I try to imagine moving permanently to another country and culture with no knowledge of their language.  Add to that having to learn what family life is all about, odd cultural behaviors and how you fit into this strange new place. 

It is normal to expect some delays in gaining English language skills when bringing a child home from Ethiopia.  Most internationally adopted children evaluated by a speech therapist test significantly below age expectation for language skills.  Their native language has been ‘prematurely arrested’ and depending on their age, development and attachment, learning English can take quite a while.  Having said that, many parents are really surprised at how quickly their Ethiopian children pick up and become fairly proficient in English.

While there is a great deal of scholarly information about second language acquisition available on the internet, I wanted to provide a place here for families to share some very practical ideas for helping a child make the transition from Amharic (or Oromifa in the case of YWAM’s orphanages) to English.    Leave a comment and answer one or all of the following questions, being sure to give your child’s age at the time you brought them home:
  • What did you do to prepare in advance for helping your child learn English? 
  • What worked for you?  What didn’t?
  • How long did it take for you to be able to effectively communicate with your child?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Make It Count!

All of us have probably given a gift that was – shall we say – less than enthusiastically received.


What if this year at Christmas, you gave a gift that was guaranteed to be






The latest Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia Gift Catalog is full of ideas to make your Christmas giving count!  There are items for every budget that will make a tremendous impact in the lives of widows and orphans in Ethiopia.


Lots of parents have given the Gift Catalog to their children or helped them look online here and let them pick out things they want to give to a child across the world using their own money.  What a tremendous way to live out God’s heart of love for people – the reason He came. 

You can also give a gift in someone’s name and we’ll send your loved one a card, indicating what you’ve chosen to give on their behalf. 

Go to our Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia webpage to make your selection here:

Thank you from all those in Ethiopia who will be the grateful recipients of your Christmas giving!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

“I do this every weekend.”

In May of this year, my husband Jeff  had the opportunity to help Mark Wolbert, our Missions Director, lead a team of folks from the University of Kentucky on a mission trip to Ethiopia.  (You can read more about their trip here and here.)  They spent a week with the head football coach and his wife, the athletic director and his wife, the assistant athletic director and two members of the Wildcats football team.  They visited the poorest of the poor living at the garbage dump in the capital city of Addis Ababa, where they delivered food and coal, shirts, soccer balls and footballs.  They painted the walls of a latrine that had just been built at a local church.  They visited a village where they delivered shoes to children whose footwear was in desperate need of replacing.



Pretty amazing to see these guys – successful in college athletics and used to a lot of perks – serving and loving on those who have virtually nothing.


The athletic director plans to send athletes to Ethiopia in 2012 on a similar trip. What a great way to give these young kids a taste of life for so many millions of people in this third world country and a view of the world so different than what they know. It’s an awesome commitment on the part of the school to teach life lessons beyond the football field or basketball court.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  Mark and Jeff were given tickets to fly out to the UK/Univ. of Georgia game being played in Athens, GA.  The guys flew from Seattle to Kentucky and spent the night in Lexington.  Friday morning was a team walk-through for the game the next day.  Mark and Jeff were introduced to the football team and presented with UK shirts and jackets and a plaque, thanking them for hosting the group in Ethiopia. They got a tour of the UK campus and athletic facility. 


They wore sport coats and dress shirts (appropriate travel attire) and drove through the Kentucky countryside to the airport.  Kentucky looks a little different than the Pacific Northwest – or Ethiopia for that matter! 


They boarded a charter jet and flew to Atlanta.  There was LOTS of food.  Football player amounts. 


They were met by a fleet of buses…


which took them the next morning from their hotel to Sanford Stadium at the Univ. of Georgia.  They had a police escort – lights flashing.  So bizarre.


My text to Jeff:  Wow, VIP status.
Jeff to me:  I will try to stay humble.

The guys had been given game-day gear to wear as well as sideline photographer and all-access passes. 


They headed to the underground parking at the stadium.


Sure, come on into the locker room!


Here’s the semi that carried Kentucky’s equipment…


Here is Georgia’s mascot.  Does he look like he’s got his game face on?


Danny T, a linebacker, was one of the guys who went to Ethiopia with Mark and Jeff.  He has hopes of a promising career in the NFL.


Stuart H, offensive guard, also went to Ethiopia last May.  He is a big guy.  Like 6’4” 295 lbs big.


This stadium holds 92,000 and this was an especially big game for the Georgia Bulldogs – a win would mean they’d secure the SEC Eastern Division title. There were a LOT of people in those stands. Predominantly red and white.


I can’t really imagine what it felt like to be standing on the sidelines with the players and coaches in a game this big. 

Surreal is what Jeff said.

Can you hear the crowd noise?


Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips…


Mark with Assistant Athletic Director Jason Schlafer…


Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart…


The Bulldogs won but Kentucky played a great game – one of their best of the season.  


Then, after the game was over, they headed back to the locker room with the team where the team chaplain lead in a prayer...


They got a little box of something to eat for the bus ride to the airport…


The guys may not have played any football but they did their best to eat like they did.

They loaded onto the buses and headed to the airport – where each of the four buses was met with a charter jet bound for Kentucky again. 


Jeff and Mark are SO grateful they got to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Many thanks to the University of Kentucky Athletic Department for making it possible!   We look forward to partnering with them for future trips to Ethiopia.

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