Friday, January 31, 2014

May I Have A Compromise?


This article, by Kayla North, comes to us via the Empowered to Connect website. 

When people hear our kids ask, “May I have a compromise?” they tend to look at us a bit funny. They seem completely confused when we respond to our kids as if their request for a compromise is normal. But at our house it is normal. In fact, it’s a request we hear no less than a dozen times each day.

We began teaching our kids to ask for compromises when our now five-year old daughter was only two. We figured that she was old enough to have a conversation with us, so she was old enough to begin learning how to compromise.

One thing we’ve noticed over the years among kids who are adopted or in foster care is that they tend to have control issues — sometimes really BIG control issues. Many kids (and parents) struggle with control issues, but this especially true for adopted and foster kids that come from homes or situations where most, if not all, of their world was out of control.  Sometimes these kids had to raise younger siblings, or had to fend for themselves to find their next meal. Sometimes these kids had to use control and manipulation to stay safe, both physically and emotionally.  And some of these kids resorted to control as an attempt to mask their lack of trust and feed their desire to avoid being hurt, neglected, or abandoned ever again. Control is often an “all or nothing” proposition for these kids, and when they come to our homes they aren’t willing to easily give up the control they’ve worked so hard to get.

In our home we’ve decided we are going to help our kids deal with their control issues not by taking control away from them, but by sharing control with them.

Continue reading here

Be sure to take advantage of all the wonderful resources at Empowered to Connect.  Look around on their website to find articles and videos on a whole variety of adoption and attachment topics!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meeting A Big Need

Try to imagine yourself in this woman’s sandals…  You are extremely poor but are doing your best to feed and care for your three children.  Your grown daughter gives birth to a baby girl then disappears, leaving you to raise your granddaughter.  After you become pregnant with your fourth child your husband deserts you. 

This was the harsh reality of life for Firehiwot (pronounced ‘Fray-oot’), who lives in the town of Shashemene, Ethiopia – a 5½ hour drive south from Addis Ababa.  After her husband left her, she could no longer afford the rent on their house so the family had to move out.  This determined mother built a two-room house out of sticks and mud but was not able to put a roof on it so a leaky tarp has been their only protection from the elements.  Her 19-year old son goes to school and contributes what he can from his meager income at a garage but it is not enough to feed and pay school fees for the family. 


Now picture when the love of Christ enters Firehiwot’s life in the form of a family in the United States who ‘adopt’ her and her children.  I’m not sure we can imagine how much HOPE can transform a life!

Pete and Anna Jones ‘adopted’ Firehiwot in May of 2013 after Pete came home from a trip to Ethiopia with his pastor and missions director from Brooklake Church in Federal Way, Washington.   Adoption Ministry 1:27 has partnered with two churches in Shashemene to identify and help 52 at-risk families there.  Brooklake has committed to “care for orphans and widows in their distress” by finding sponsors who send $40 each month to meet the most basic needs of each of these families.  For Firehiwot, this meant that her family began receiving food (their greatest need), formula for her malnourished baby and regular visits from the Adoption Ministry 1:27 case manager. 

The Jones began praying for Firehiwot regularly and their hearts became invested in this struggling family.  As Anna has written, “Pete and I truly feel like they are an extension of our family.  God has blessed us immensely and has put it on our hearts to use what He has given us to bless others, especially this family.”  After receiving a report that 10-year-old Besufekad was having trouble with vision, they paid for him to go to the doctor where he got treatment for allergies and a new pair of glasses.  The Jones have plans down the road to help set up Firehiwot with her own income-generating business so that she can become self-sustaining. 

When Pete and Anna heard that the city government told Firehiwot that she would have to leave her house because of the danger posed by a live electrical wire above the tarp roof, they wanted to help.  The good news came that there is a place on the property to build a new house and the Jones have launched a fundraiser to cover the cost of building this family a new place to live.  You can read all about it on their blog:

A team of folks from Brooklake Church is getting ready to travel to Ethiopia in April and two very eager people will be part of that group – Pete and Anna!  They are so excited to get to meet Firehiwot and her family in person and they hope to bring the full amount needed to build her a new house. 

If you would like more information about Adoption Ministry 1:27 and to read the biographies of several at-risk families still waiting to be ‘adopted’, please visit our website:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Boxes of Love!

In December of 2012, Samy and Ruth (YWAM missionaries serving in Debra Zeit, Ethiopia) began a project to give Christmas boxes to as many children as they could as a way to share God’s love and the Gospel of Jesus with them and their families.  That first year over 200 children received a box of joy, thanks in part to the generosity of many of you!

This year, over 300 children received a Christmas box in four different communities where Samy and Ruth are reaching out through serving and friendship evangelism.  With their families, the children came to Sunday School, participated in nativity dramas about Christ’s birth, sang in worship and heard a great message from the Word. 

Becky helps her mom, Ruth, put notes on each box.
Putting these together was a group effort!
Becky helps cook the eggs!
Each box contained toothpaste and toothbrush, soap, bath tissue, a cookie, a candy treat, a boiled egg, a pen, a small toy and a New Testament.

There was lots of excitement as the children lined up!

And a fun program for both kids and parents!

Children came to the front to receive their boxes...

The boxes were given with lots of love, in Jesus name!

Thanks to everyone who invested a little over $5 to give a child a Christmas box.  Receiving something of their very own made each child feel special and created an opportunity for their whole family to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Friday, January 24, 2014


by Becky Burns

International adoption seems to be all about waiting.

But waiting is hard.

It seems in all of life we’re waiting… waiting for change to happen, waiting for people in our lives to respond, waiting for prayers to be answered.  The bible is full of verses about waiting so we know that it's something God has chosen for us. 

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws we wait for You;
Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

Isaiah 26:8

How we wait for God to work is important. We have to ask ourselves:
  • Am I keeping my mind steadfast, checking my thought-life to be sure I’m trusting Him?
  • Am I rehearsing what I know God has promised more than what I can see in front of me?
  • Is the desire of my heart that God will be well-known in my life?
If we can answer yes, then we can wait for Him. 

Here’s a revolutionary thought: Waiting reveals WHO we desire to look good.

Somehow God can get the attention and the glory in the way we wait.

Waiting is a humbling thing. It doesn’t usually bring a lot of glory to SELF. Others don’t understand and may wonder what you’re doing and why you’re waiting so long. But ‘walking in the way of His laws’, leaning on Him in absolute confidence, you can wait knowing that God is going to show off His glory in the process and in the outcome. 

He is very good at that!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Creative and Generous Kid!

photo 3
Hi, my name is Mercy Andersen.   When we were on a trip to California, I made some rock and stick dolls to sell for the baby formula in YWAM's Ethiopian orphanages.  My sister (who is from Ethiopia), some friends and I made these dolls out of rocks we found and sticks from an old plant.

photo 2
We made these dolls by doing stations. The boys would chop the sticks and carve them. I knit the hair, made skirts and drew some faces. My sister Chessa would draw faces, glue bodies and faces together and help collect rocks with some of the others. My friend would glue bodies and faces together and collect rocks also.
My brother kept asking the other boys to go and play sports with him but they liked to make the dolls (which was very surprising). My sister and my friend kept saying to me "Can we go in the pool now?" but I kept saying "No we should work on these dolls.”  
When it was time to go home, we had to go on a plane and I was worried that the dolls would break.  When I got home I was so thankful only a couple had a broken arm or leg. And now I'm selling the dolls for the Ethiopian baby formula! 

photo 1

Mercy raised $42 selling her stone and twig dolls!  $42 buys two large cans of formula for babies in Ethiopia.  The Andersen family has obviously instilled a love for the less-fortunate in their children… and are raising a very creative daughter with a very big heart!  Thank you so much, Mercy!

Friday, January 17, 2014

He Understands

{A repost} by Joy Casey

As I was praying for the ministry to the poor in Ethiopia called Adoption Ministry 1:27, it dawned on me for the first time (granted, I am slow!) that Jesus grew up in a “developing country” and the conditions in the areas where we work in Ethiopia are very close in most respects to the culture Jesus was intimate with.

*  His food was from field to table.

*  There were huge inequities between the few very rich and the majority of people with little.

*  Jesus never experienced a western toilet or a hot shower. Didn’t have deodorant.

*  The quaint custom of being offered a bowl and pitcher to wash your hands at the beginning and end of a meal was standard.

*  Were the houses of Palestine made with mud and straw? Not sure, but probably similar with dirt floors and no glass windows.

*  Of course, there was no electricity or running water in Nazareth or anywhere else, and usually it was women and children who had the daily responsibility of hauling water. Those people who had donkeys to help with the water burden were upscale!

*  Jesus ate with his fingers and most likely from a communal dish, too. No need for a lot of dishes and silverware that need to be washed with precious water.

*  I wonder if flies plagued Jesus and the other people of his village? Bet His family had no garbage pick-up.

*  Where were the state-of-the-art hospitals? Crippled people remained crippled; the blind stayed blind.

*  There was high infant mortality and women birthed their babies at home with other women attending them.

*  Many women were illiterate and totally dependent on the men of their families to provide for them. Of course, they worked very hard their whole lives having babies (no epidurals, by the way), raising children, hauling water, gathering firewood, putting food on the table, baking bread (or buying it if one could afford to), and washing clothes in a stream then laying them over a bush to dry in the hot sun.

*  How many changes of clothes do you think Jesus had? How many pairs of sandals? How often did He bathe and where?

*  Dental care was non-existent. If Mary or Joseph lost a tooth, what did they do? I personally cannot visualize the Savior of the world without a tooth, but it is very possible.

*  School was available and boys attended if they were not needed in the fields or other family occupation.

*  Beggars were commonplace.

*  Herds of goats, sheep and cattle wandered the lanes of dusty villages and chickens wandered and woke everybody up before the sun peeked over the horizon.

*  The rich people had faster and more comfortable ways of getting from Point A to Point B, but the majority of people in Palestine in 30 AD, just as they do in Ethiopia in 2014 AD, walked.

Why didn’t I consciously think of this before? Jesus completely understands the everyday challenges the poor of Ethiopia experience... right down to the lack of money for just about everything. He also is intimately acquainted with the strength and value of family. His Father God designed His upbringing to include a stable father and mother. He was loved. He belonged and had uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents (if they lived that long). His physical world encompassed just a few miles of real estate.

So when I pray for the very vulnerable and courageous families that God has assigned to Adoption Ministry 1:27, He knows! He understands every uncomfortable detail. Of course, He is the omniscient God of the universe and is aware of all of our challenges, Third World or not. But there is a connection and intimate understanding of the poor in backwards settings that I have with Him when I pray for the Widow Anane (Ah-nanny) who is trying to raise five children ranging in ages six to fourteen. She sells onions and potatoes alongside the road and her children are at risk of becoming part of the alarming statistics of those who live on the streets of Ethiopia and do not have enough to eat and barely get an education.

Jesus understands. He knows! He became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and expects us, His church, to preach the Good News to the poor and to meet some of their basic physical needs.

No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame...
Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths;
Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.
Psalms 25:3-5

Now... please excuse me while I fix myself a high protein breakfast with fresh fruit and then take a hot shower, fluff up my hair and put on some make-up.  Then I will choose what to wear from dozens of outfits and slip into my car that will take me to work.  Caio!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pressing Forward by Looking Back

by Joy Casey
Executive Director, Adoption Ministry of YWAM

Those who know your name will trust you, LORD, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

“Tough” would be an accurate defining word for the last several years. Seems like one giant problem after another challenges me and I wonder if the waves will ever cease and if my life will ever be tranquil and predictable. But do I really want tranquil and predictable? Those definitions are becoming more and more synonymous with boring and stagnant.
As a disciple of Christ I am a sojourner temporarily passing a small amount of time on planet earth and God reminds me not to get too comfortable. He wants me to expend the life He has given me to share His love, His grace, His healing, His reconciliation with individuals in this fallen world who are hurting and desperate. Each Christ-follower has the same marching orders, but each person is asked to fulfill His bidding in a unique way personally designed by the Creator.
The ministry in the latter part of my life God has allowed me to be a part of is exciting, fulfilling and incredibly stretching. He has given me a heart for children and I have had the greatest privilege of seeing close to 400 (domestic and international over the past 12 years) little ones who didn’t have a chance in the world, raised in loving, strong adoptive homes. And then God planted the vision of preserving families so children wouldn’t become orphans or remain in the cycle of poverty through Adoption Ministry 1:27. Now we are taking these primarily single mothers into Income Generating Activities (IGA). Who would have thought? I certainly had no idea I would be working with the poor in this capacity! I had no interest whatsoever in the Mu*l*m culture or people, and God astonished me by planting His heart in me for these unreached people. I am still a little bewildered that I am engaged in grass root evangelism work in Ethiopia.
Joy with widow
So yes, these past several years have been tough. But overriding the demanding times is God’s overwhelming love for me. And His patience. I enjoy His sense of humor and I love it that He delights in me, even when I whine. Even when I doubt. Even when I relate harshly with another. Even when I am tired or lazy. I look back at all the ways He has surprised and cherished me and I am energized to press forward into His plans anticipating that the Master Potter still has a lot of molding yet to do to make me a vessel that isn’t so leaky.
2014 will bring its own set of problems, but I can face them because Jesus looks at me with that twinkle in His eye and says, “Is anything too hard for me? Have I ever forsaken you? Remember, I am the same yesterday, today and forever.” With God, there is always enough! There are enough finances, enough love, enough grace, enough vision, enough of everything.

There has been and there will be again times when I have prayed and begged and pleaded for a child’s future where it looked like God didn’t show up. Those times rock my world, but as I sit on His lap with my head on His chest listening to His heartbeat, he reminds me that the Creator of the world holds chaos in the palm of His hand, giving even the pain a purpose. This season of my life has been hard, but it has also been the best. I have allowed God to cherish me in a sweet way, I am learning to look at seeming defeat in the face and accept that He knows, He cares, and has the situation under control (even when it looks out of control).
Joy  Gudeta pic

This year, a worship center was dedicated in a place where Christianity has never had a presence.

This year, children were placed in forever families in spite of “impossible” circumstances.

This year, I have seen babies and old people die.

I have seen ordinary people rise up and say “yes” to God’s call when they did not have the resources, only to witness miracles.

I have seen missionaries struggle and my heart breaks.

I also see men and women pour out their lives for others and persevere through daunting circumstances.

This year there has been baby drool on my shoulder, grubby little hands grasping mine, work-worn hands on my face as a woman communicates with me eye to eye, hugs and kisses innumerable from a warm and hospitable people.

This year there have been misunderstandings and greed and positive HIV and TB tests. But whether my hands are full or empty, God Himself has flooded me with His peace that passes understanding and a contentment that is deep, deep in my soul.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a handsome and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out,  and loudly proclaiming “"’WOW – What a Ride!!!’ ”  ~ Mark Frost

Friday, January 10, 2014

What’s In Your Adoption Toolbox?


Every adoptive parent is likely to have a friend who has also adopted or a book like ‘The Connected Child’ that they often refer to when confronting behaviors or reactions in their adopted children… a sort of toolbox of resources.  These resources are critical in the first year you’re home with your child but they’ll also be an on-going necessity in the years to come! 

If you haven’t inventoried your toolbox in a while, we’d like to help you be sure your box is full, your tools are sharp and that you have an easily accessible set of helps when you need it most. 

We have a list of good books we recommend on our website Resources page.

Here on the blog, in the column to the right, you’ll find a box titled ‘Adoption Topics’ where we keep updating links to good articles and posts on a variety of subjects related to adopting. 

Adoption Ministry also has a Pinterest account with links to all sorts of great resources and articles.  Follow us on Pinterest!

Today, we’d like to share links that address a whole bunch of different topics relating to adoption… The first three are from a blog titled ‘Death By Great Wall’  - be sure to click around on Dana’s blog to read all kinds of great posts on older child adoption (but that often apply to any adoption).

Waiting is hard.  But there is a lot to do while you wait!

How do things look after coming home.

All about strategies for discipline

A mom and her daughter share lessons learned about older child adoption

@Stinky Tofu
A challenge for us to “Go and be LOVE”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Melkam Genna!

Today is Christmas in Ethiopia!  Genna is derived from the word Gennana, which means ‘imminent’ to express the coming of the Lord Jesus.

Christ’s birth is celebrated by believers all over Ethiopia by going to church early on Christmas morning.  Traditional Christmas foods are served (by those who can afford them), games are played and sometimes a small gift might be given to family members.  But the emphasis is on the spiritual meaning of the holiday.

We know that our friends and staff in Ethiopia will be gathering and giving thanks for the coming of the Savior today and we wish them a very blessed Christmas…

Melkam Genna!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

‘What do we do for Jesus on His birthday?’

This is the question 3½ year old Eden, adopted from Ethiopia when she was 12 months old, asked her mom this year before Christmas.  Melissa reminded her about ‘The Jesus Jar’ they use to collect money all year long for use in donating gifts from YWAM’s Gift Catalog.  The Lemanskis have been doing this for the last three years – letting Corbin and Eden pick out gifts they want to give to people living a world away in Ethiopia to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

JesusJar-3 JesusJar-7 

Melissa did a great job telling about the fun each child had deciding what to give. Be sure to read Melissa's  blog and scroll down to read all three posts: 

The Adoption Ministry staff had some very fun visitors last week, delivering their ‘Jesus Jar’ money with their Gift Catalog order!  Thank you Nathan, Melissa, Corban, Eden and Grandma for blessing so many at Christmas!

Many of you do something very similar in your families, helping your children earn money and save in order to give to those who really need these gifts.  (You can read about a few stories here:  Real Heroes)

Christmas in Ethiopia is celebrated on January 7th so it’s not too late to give your kids the opportunity to give via the Gift Catalog!  Our secure web ordering makes it easy to make a BIG difference in the lives of families, widows and orphans in Ethiopia.

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