Monday, August 25, 2014

For Those Who Wait

by Katja Starkey
Joy Casey asked me if I would share some of my thoughts while we wait to bring home a little girl in Ethiopia. My goal is to encourage other families who are waiting for their children to come home. God has given us an incredible peace as we wait that most definitely passes understanding.
Before I jump in, if anyone reading this is just really roughing it emotionally, I have genuine compassion for you. Our first adoption nearly tore my heart out, because I had a Mama heart and nobody little to love on. Now our son has been home for over 3 years, and is a delight. As I share what God has been showing me during our current waiting process, please know I totally validate anyone who is broken and undone. My prayer is that God will bring great peace, comfort and rest to your souls.
Currently, our 2 year-old’s paperwork is stuck waiting for a signature from MoWA, and it has been like that since Thanksgiving of last year. Her orphanage ran out of food in March, and our friends have been faithfully feeding everyone in that orphanage since. When we look directly and only at the factual negative circumstances, we can definitely become shaky and fearful. But the Lord has reminded us to fix our eyes on Him.
We totally trust the Lord in all he is doing. I sense much greater purposes than any of us can imagine in all that’s going on. We only see in part. Of course we deeply want our family united, but we believe God must be doing something we cannot even fathom in this wait. When Moses’ mother put him in a basket in the Nile and had Miriam keep watch, could she have ever imagined the future God had in store for her son and the much bigger plan God had, which Moses fit into? Of course as waiting parents, WE WANT OUR BABIES HOME. And so we should. The loss of time together is real, and something to grieve. At the same time, I somehow strangely feel that God is going to do more than bring our kids home. In January of this year, he showed me a vision of two angels in simple white clothes stacking sand bags. I wondered what that meant, and the Lord said, “They’re preparing for the breakthrough.” Wow. I still haven’t seen it 8 months later, but God is not a man that he should lie.
The most recent Bible passage on my mind is of Pharaoh, and how he resisted letting God’s people go so fiercely, but in the end, the Lord had tremendous victory. The reality of the spiritual realm is making the less-than-favorable situational circumstances fade somehow. I think of Mary & Joseph—inconveniently on a road trip while pregnant, but about to shake the history of the world—then fleeing to Egypt, but having the provisions of the wise men’s gifts to meet their needs. God does big things in common and even inconvenient circumstances. This is so real to me right now. Don’t get me wrong… I long for this process to move forward, but the peace of God is on me. I know this is all in his hands. God spoke to my heart, “I will bring her.” That word I can trust.
Over the many months of waiting, God has brought to mind several Biblical references of how he worked out His purposes despite apparent setbacks, unfairness, unjust leaders, literal blockades (Red Sea, jail, etc.) and things that seemed to be ill-timed. He is faithful and trustworthy. I pray we can all celebrate and rejoice soon, with the literal homecoming of our children. Until then, may we watch and wait with expectation, cast our cares on Him, and persevere through intercession. The Bible says the persistent widow got justice, not because the judge cared or was fair, but because of her constant coming. Let us be that way in prayer.
Submitted with humility and compassion for all who ache for their babies to be home…
Katja Starkey
TTN Starkey family pix

Katja and her husband Jonathan brought their son Gadisa home from Ethiopia in July 2011. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ready for School

Many of you have been taking advantage of the back-to-school sales in all the stores right now, outfitting your kids for another year in elementary, middle, high school and even college.  It’s always a bittersweet, exciting time of year.  

But what if you simply couldn’t scrounge up enough money for the required uniform, supplies and registration fee?  What if about $55 prevented your child from getting an education?

Yonas’ mother wanted nothing more than for her son to learn to read and write so that his future might look much different than her own.  But without help, those registration fees and the cost of a uniform were completely out of reach for this single mother.  Through help from Adoption Ministry, Yonas now gets enough to eat and attends school where he is learning his letters and numbers.  He loves to play soccer too!


There are SO many great causes and ministries to give to... this is one way you can help us send kids to school with a gift of only $55.  That will provide a uniform, school books, supplies, backpack, lunch box and school registration fees for one child.  Any amount will help us reach our goal of sending every child in our AM 1:27 program to school!  Just click on the button below for an easy way to make a big difference in a child's life:

school pkg 4

Friday, August 15, 2014

Adoptive Mom Mini Retreat!


Registration for the 2015 Created for Care retreats opened today and both retreats are already full!  You can still put your name on a wait list but I saw another option that I think is fantastic…

A Created for Care Mini Retreat!  From the website:

Have you attended a Created for Care Retreat and wished you could take the blessings and lessons of your weekend home to your family and friends?  Or have cost and distance prevented you from joining us in Atlanta?  We are so excited to be able to offer you Created for Care Mini Retreats; the chance to bring hope, refreshment, girl time and chocolate to your very own community.

You can access resources to plan your own mini retreat, including helps for how and what to organize, a sample schedule and even some mini retreats that are already scheduled.  Visit the webpage:  Created for Care Mini Retreats

With a little effort, adoptive moms all over the country can connect, fellowship, be encouraged and make new friends!  Be sure to let us know if you decide to organize or attend a Mini Retreat!

For moms in the western part of the country, the Called to Love Retreat in Silverton Oregon is on Nov. 14-16 and early bird registration ends Sept 1st!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Acts of Kindness - Pass It On

By Joy Casey, Director
Adoption Ministry

This is an updated re-post, originally written in July 2010

I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1-2

People in Ethiopia wryly chuckle and say, “Everyone here has a story.” It’s true! I have listened to peers tell of torture and loss during the communist rule (1974 – 1987). I have listened to children orphaned by AIDS who lived in trees to escape hyenas. I have listened to beautiful young women relate the awfulness of street life and the abuses that occur. I have heard starving babies whimper. I have looked into the depths of a child’s eyes who has no parents, very little to eat and absolutely no hope. How does the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth, help those suffering profound loss? He does it one person at a time through acts of kindness from people like you and me.

Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Two months ago, my only son died. He was 27-years-old and died of complications post-surgery. His life was sometimes hard, yet he was usually an optimistic and happy soul and I loved him. The days since Micah has been gone have mostly been a blur to me, but the pictures that time and again come into clear focus are the big and tiny things done and the words expressed by people God has put in my path. Never underestimate the power of a kind act or word! God takes the small and big actions and infuses those who mourn with His comfort. I have experienced His comfort, peace and grace firsthand via the many who reached out to me.

Who has God put in front of you to minister to? Is it your elderly grandmother or another family member? Is it a particularly difficult child? A sick person? Someone who is depressed? I have a hunch that most of you reading this blog have had your hearts broken for hurting and neglected children. Might you be the one who will bring God’s all encompassing love to a small child by a simple kind act?

Whatever you do to the least of these, you do for Me. Matthew 25:4

When my son died, those who were in a position to help, did. Others sent beautiful cards penned with heartfelt sympathy. All efforts ministered peace to my soul and each action, big or small, was used to bring a measure of healing.

Just like the people who helped me and my family, you and I together can drastically impact the lives of others who are suffering by giving of ourselves in small or big ways. Every one of us has the capacity to give, either of our time or our resources, be they modest or abundant. Consider these acts of kindness:

Meet needs via our gift catalog (Gift Catalog)

Give a back-to-school package so a child can attend school (Back-to-school Package)

Go on a YWAM missions trip to Ethiopia (Missions Outreach)

Join a 5K run this month to support our ministry to domestic birthmothers (

Become a prayer partner for our ministry (

Adopt a desperately poor family so they can stay together (Adoption Ministry 1:27)

Give seed money to start one woman in a small business (Business Starts)

Involve your church in outreach to a community in Ethiopia (The Radical Church)

For more information on ways to can impact lives in Ethiopia, call 253-722-6780 or email us at


Friday, August 1, 2014

Some Room to Sleep


We didn’t realize just how small Ragatu’s house was until we responded to their need for beds. Their windowless room is so tiny they cannot even stretch out at night; they curl up on the floor three abreast to sleep. Cooking is done over a charcoal fire on the dirt floor, then their pots and the coals are placed outside the door before bedding down for the night.
Hearing of their bedless plight, we sent their Adoption Ministry 1:27 case manager money from our gift catalog to buy two mattresses complete with bedding for Ragatu, her daughter and teen-aged son. When the case manager visited and shared the good news that they would have beds to sleep on, they soon realized that there was no way beds would fit in their space.

Ragatu asked if the $250 could be used to expand her house instead. The bid to build the addition was $33 more than the money available, so Adoption Ministry loaned Ragatu the money (of which $20 has already been repaid!). This family now has a traditional house that meets their needs much better and they are so happy! They still need two beds and the walls need to be mudded, but they are grateful for the space. Just another example of how your donation to our gift catalog has radically changed a family’s everyday living situation!

Here are many more ways you can change a life!  YWAM Gift Catalog

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