Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
My apologies for not updating this sooner. Though Erika and the girls are home, things have been a whirlwind...and Erika is still recovering from the trip (which is why I'm still at the helm of the Sol Train).
If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the following images are epic. I will say this, though: all is well. We are loving each other and having a lot of fun. I'm sure Erika will be offering more updates soon...
Monday, December 13, 2010
Please keep praying that my girls might come home early. With God's speed, they might be able to leave as early as Thursday. The next flights after that are Sunday or Monday. Whatever the case, they're earlier than thought...and we want 'em!
For your enjoyment, I'm including some excerpts from some of Erika's recent emails:
I saw an x-ray from her tuberculosis check and her heart is HUGE (in more ways than one!). I feel a little scared now. She looks so healthy (except her cough), but reading [the medical report] has scared me and I wish you were here to process this with me! But, I am okay. The Lord has brought her this far!
Church was so cool today. Evelea made it through the 3 hour service. Tomorrow (Monday) we go to Ouga to do some business there and we'll stay there. Love you so much and miss you more than ever. Give S and C huge hugs and tell them how much their momma misses them. I can't wait to have a rocking praise party when we get back!!!
* * *
We are going back to Ouga today. Another adoptive family is coming and they need our space here. We might return to the orphanage over the weekend. Pray for us in Ouga, we will miss Ruth and the other girls here. Here is a funny story- apparently Therese learned this English phrase from a toy here- she blurts out multiple times a day- "it's my home computer". Totally cracks us up!
We had her good bye party last night. Incredibly touching. I have it all on video. The girls here video taped our first meeting, we'll get that eventually.
Evelea has been so amazing here. If she is not a missionary, I will be shocked. She is not afraid of anything! We went to a party at someone's home yesterday. Very primitive and we had to eat some very unusual food, very. She ate it and did not let on a bit how gross I'm sure she thought it was. Even with swarms of flies attacking us, no problem for her. Amazing.
No kidding, I could barely sleep last night (and every night) because of all the noise from the local bar and the braying/squealing/honking of donkeys. Yup.
* * *
Good news. We ended up getting lots done today! Poor Therese had to get 6 shots and didn't bat an eye. It was a crazy, crazy clinic. I would have rather died than get a shot there, but yet I had to let her do it so we can get out of here! The attorney says we'll be done tomorrow and I can almost believe that.
Therese fell asleep eating dinner tonight. Your mom made pasta in the mission kitchen with the GF pasta we bought. Yum.
And, finally, for your entertainment, the following is a video clip that a short term missionary took; when she learned from Ruth that Therese was being adopted, she contacted us and sent this clip and these pictures.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
So, I checked my email one last time, hoping maybe I'd get some news from Erika. Instead, I got an email from my mother-in-love who apparently went all 21st century on me and checked Google images for pics of the orphanage. So I followed her footsteps...and stumbled across this video footage on Youtube.
The first clip is a celebration of some sort, which is being held in the main courtyard of the orphanage (Ruth, who runs the orphanage, explains it in the next clip, which I included just so you can get to know her a bit). I searched frantically but didn't recognize Therese, but I still got a feel for where my girls are right now. I thought that maybe some of you might want to see it.
The third clip is long and rather boring...unless you take it as an opportunity to get a more thorough picture of where my girls are. Even then, it's still "boring"--informative, but boring--which is, surprisingly, overwhelming. Look closely: did you notice it? Right. There's nothing there!
Friends, please pray for my girls (and for my mother, Gail, who is with them). There might be a chance that they can come home early--and I think all of us would take practicality over the sentimental Christmas Eve return! Pray, especially, for Therese's health: apparently, the nurses stopped administering her heart meds some time ago (we don't know why). I also got to read a copy of the medical report that wa written in 2006. Today, I received some good advice (and encouragement) from one of Carter's docs. But he was a bit concerned about her ability to travel. Specifically, he's concerned that the limited oxygen levels in the plane will exacerbate Therese's cardiomyopathy.
Thank you, friends, for your love and prayers. And a special thank you to those of you who have called us, braved the elements for us, or are cooking for us!
Blessings. And good night.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I've commandeered this blog for the time being so that I can bring you...
UPDATES FROM AFRICA!
(after that rather annoying multi-post on facebook, I thought I'd give this a try; the following is from Erika's most recent email update)
Right now we are in Yako at the orphanage. We only spent one night in Yako in a missionary hostel. Now, we are at Ruth's house in the orphanage compound. It is very homey in a Africa like way! On Monday, we will return to Ouga, and may return here later in the week.
Therese LOVES your picture. She will call you Papa. You too will get
along great! All the bonding stuff is going really well. She is very
response to our love and loves us back. The nurses here haven't been
giving her her heart medicine, SO, that is interesting and a bit scary.
She used the toliet for the first time today!
Today, we played all morning with the babies. So sweet, but it makes
you sad. Evelea is wonderful with them. This afternoon, we went to the
only thing to see here in Yako, a Barrage, a man-made lake, and we took
a walk. We took a wild ride in the back of a truck- Africa style!
Guess what? Ruth says "KoKoKo" when entering someone's home- just like
our Precious Ramotse! (from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books and TV show)
We are near a mosque, so we here the call to prayer multiple times a
day. love that at 4 am.
Therese and Evelea are sharing a room. So sweet. They are getting
along wonderfully and I have no doubt all our kids will get along
great. She is eating lots of new foods and is liking everything. I
don't think we have to worry about food at all once we are home.
Seriously, if you can, practice a little French. That will be the
hardest part. She writes in cursive, that is all they learn.
Tomorrow we will go to an Assembly of God church here- can't wait!
Can't wait to see our girl dancing there!
I think that is about it. Keep praying we can come home. I really hope
to know on Monday. I can't imagine what we'd do for the "extra" week if
we need to stay.
I LOVE YOU so much! I miss you like crazy!!! When we get back to Ouga,
we might be able to Skype, so you may want to subscribe.
I really love you all and can't wait for us to be together!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
My heart and mind are too full to write more tonight. My friends and family have been SO good to me. God is protecting us and I feel Him at my side. My children, oh, my children- I love them so much. My heart is aching that I will miss two weeks of their little lives. And my husband, he has put my needs first this week and helped me so much. I could not do this without my home team- I love you all!
I can't wait to tell you all about it when I return. I'm off to experience a miracle.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I am profoundly joyful to be bringing home our daughter. One less orphan in the world and one more spot filled in our family table. She is SO welcome here.
I am profoundly sad to leave be leaving Sitota and Carter at home. I will miss them so much and I am worried about how they will do without me for so long. I reconcile this pain by remembering that the only reason I am leaving, is to spare another child from a lifetime of this kind of grief.
I am profoundly inspired to share with other families the message that they, too, can participate in the miracle of adoption. Really. Tell me what is holding you back- I can guarantee I have had that thought and may be able to help you through it. I'd like to share this beautiful video with you. Once you see it, you will be responsible. There are countless ways to help orphans. Countless. But don't rule out adoption. It is not for special families. It makes you special.
Please watch this.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
We (Evelea, my oldest daughter; Gail, my mother in law; and I) will be leaving on December 8th and returning with Therese on December 24th. That means one month from today, we'll be home!
Can you think of a better Christmas present?!
I have a LOT to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I will be praising God for His wonderful provision. He has orchestrated this whole thing from the beginning and I am so thankful to be a part of His amazing plan.
I AM GOING TO GET MY DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I am thrilled about this and I can't wait for my girls to get their first issues of this magazine. There is Sparkle, for the younger girls and Shine Brightly for the older girls. Read more when you click here.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Alvin was born in a Liberian refugee camp in The Republic of Ghana, Africa. His mother fled there during the civil war in Liberia. Sadly, while she was in Ghana her family was killed in Liberia. Alvin’s father died in the refugee camp before he was born.
In 2007, When Alvin was 4 years-old, he and his mother returned to Liberia. There she began attending church and quit drinking. Two years later, a few days before Christmas, she began vomiting and was admitted to a hospital with malaria. Soon after, she died.
Alvin now lives at Lifesong Liberia's Master's Home of Champions.
You can help a child like Alvin. You can feed a child like Alvin.
Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.
We have 44. 26 to go!
Will you join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your commitment!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Quita is 5 years old. During the disarmament time, rebels came to her village and took all the men, including her father. She never saw her father again. Later it was discovered that these men were taken to a bridge where they were shot and thrown into the river.
Her mother ran to the Salala district with the other villagers for refuge. There she later got sick and became paralyzed. Last year Quita’s mother died and Quita was taken to the Lifesong Liberia's Home of Champions. When she grows up she wants to be a medical doctor and help children.
Isn't it amazing that at 5 years old she's thinking about how someday she can help other children?
How can we help children today?
We're asking for a monthly commitment of $28 for one year.
- eating out at that new restaurant
- the shirt you've had your eye on
- a date night to the movies
- those pillows that would just look sooo good on your sofa.
I won't lie, making this commitment will require some sacrifice. But trust me. The sacrifice is always worth the reward.
What can you sacrifice for a child like Quita?
Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.
We have 36 commitments, 34 to go!
Join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans!
Contact us at email@example.com to commit!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Let's be the Hands and Feet of Jesus!
This week we are inviting our faithful readers and supporters to step up and help us in a time of need for Lifesong Liberia.
Lifesong has partnered with The Master’s Home of Champions orphanage and is providing a loving and safe home to many destitute and abandoned children, some of whom are deaf. We seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and are focused on the goal of raising up champions for the good of Liberia and glory of God!
This summer, another orphanage was in dire need, and thanks to an unexpected donation Lifesong was there. Praise the Lord we can help more children! But now, we need help too! We need your help to make sure these children are fed every day! We need your help to care for the fatherless! Will you join us?
70 sponsors in one week is a tall order. We know this. We also know that we serve a big God who has told us that caring for the poor and vulnerable is at the very heart of who He is! We believe we can make this happen! We pray that God will call hearts this week and we trust that you will answer!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to commit!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
One thing I learned that year was to take one day a week off. We already devoted Sunday to rest, but there is something extra great about taking off a weekday, a day you could be doing something, but choose not to. My day was Thursday. I did not allow myself to schedule anything related to Carter's needs that day (unless it was an emergency of course). I did not allow myself to google anything medical. The internet is a black hole, people. I love it, but it can scare the daylights out of me, too. I didn't read anything about Noonan syndrome or call the insurance company. I even steered my thoughts away from anything stressful regarding my sweet boy.
Do you know what this did for me? It let me enjoy my son for the incredible baby and little boy he is and not be focused only on his medical needs. It gave me a day to look forward to. It refreshed and renewed me. I became more cheerful and more positive.
Whatever your source of stress is- financial problems, marriage issues, whatever it is, try taking a day off. See what it does for you.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
--- © Pamela Durkota, written for Josh
Meanwhile, we discovered that Carter might having more heart trouble. So for the next 48 hours his every beat will be tracked by a monitor. I'll try to get a picture posted here later so you can see all his wires and tape. Thank goodness he is cool with pretending he is a robot or Tony Stark. Actually, I don't think he is pretending. He really thinks he is a robot.
I also got to speak in my friend's Child Development class today about birth defects and adoption. How timely is that? Don't worry, I only cried once during my presentation. Everything just felt a little raw today.
I am also feeling incredibly thankful for my friends who love me when life is hard. I felt so supported yesterday by all the phone calls and facebook comments I got regarding Carter's health and the failed court date. I couldn't make it without you all!
"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4
I will wait, because I know this God who is acting on my behalf!
Monday, September 13, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Casey and I are hosting a small group for families who are considering adopting. It is a great study that really helps you decide if adoption is right for your family by reflecting on Scripture and dispelling fears about the process. It was so cool to recount to that group they many miracles we've seen that are directly related to our adoption. I want to share some of the miracles we've seen- but that will have to wait for another post.
Need + Trust= Miracle.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Here I sit on the verge of finally bringing home my daughter- feeling a little frazzled with tons of stuff to do and a little paralyzed by it all.
Reality: We have court in less than a week. I will be traveling to Burkina Faso in approximately 4 weeks. I will meet my nine year old daughter for the first time with out my husband. I will travel across the globe to bring her home to meet the family. We will have days or weeks until her open heart surgery. I need to learn French. I need to apply for my visa. I need to pick up malaria medication. I need to find clothes for her to wear. I need to figure out how to best educate this sweet girl I have never met.
The Bigger Reality: I have amazing friends and family who are willing to help at a moments notice and love me through it all. I have a God who has a plan that he established from the foundations of the earth and that plan includes the very details of this adoption. If anything goes badly, those bad parts will be redeemed and in turn give God glory. The beautiful parts will speak of His great love for the orphan and for me. Our family has an amazing story that is about to get more amazing.
I cannot wait until next week when I can officially post her beautiful picture and tell you her name. Next week she will be my daughter. Today, she does not even know she is getting adopted. Can you imagine? She has no idea.
We have no idea. No idea the goodness He has in store for us.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 chopped garlic cloves (we love garlic)
1 huge approx. 2 pound zucchini, seeds removed, chopped (6 cups?)
1.5 cups mashed potato (you could use 1 1/2 cup chopped day old bread)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup of water
cayenne pepper to taste
yellow curry powder to taste
Heat olive oil and onions until translucent. Add garlic and zucchini and saute for 4 minutes, stir often. Sprinkle with salt.
Add mashed potato or bread, broth, water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add cayenne, pepper, and curry powder. Puree in blender, food processor, whatever you have. Return soup to pot.
I wish I had a picture of this beautiful green soup. My girls LOVED it (but they are cool like that). I had a plan to add shredded cheese, but they didn't even need that. Yum-o!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Lately, Carter has been making comments such as "I wish I was sick again so I could go fight Zurg at Disney" and "if I get real sick again can we please go back to Disney?". How does a mother respond to such statements?
Today, we saw an ambulance, and Carter said, "somebody is real sick, right?". I said, "yeah, buddy, we should pray". And Carter says "maybe they get to go to Disney now!".
All five-year-old goofiness aside, I am blown away by the progress Carter has made in the past year. He is handling kindergarten like a champ (with the help of an incredible one on one aide). He can ride his tricycle for two blocks. And this past year has been his healthiest ever.
No buddy, I wouldn't trade what we have now for 100 trips to Disney!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
We have been assigned a court date of September 14th. Travel will most likely be about 30 days after that. SO... mid-October, we should be bringing our daughter home! I can't wait until we pass that court date so I can post her picture and share more details with you all.
There are still some pretty significant details that need to come together, but this adoption looks like it is really happening! Praise God!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
We have been hoping to get the teens in this family off to the high school summer camp (this would be their first exposure to youth group!), and this past week, they went! This is a huge victory! I picked them up at the church last night after a week of praying that they would not only meet friends, but that they would meet Jesus- and God is so faithful- all this happened and more.
Did I mention how fun it was to hear the happy cries of teenage girl in my backseat telling me all about how she saw a horse for the first time, how everybody at camp was so nice to her, that the camp nurse was from Kenya, about rafting, swimming, horseback riding, worship and how she now knows Jesus is real? Did I tell you how incredible it was to hear that her painfully shy brother stood up the second to last night of camp and prayed aloud in Swahili?
I am in awe. Thank you to everyone who helped these teens get to camp. They are forever changed and so am I.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Carter not only qualified for a full-time teacher's aide (he starts kindergarten in a few weeks), but the aide is a wonderful woman that goes to our church and has literally prayed for Carter since the day he was born. We had nothing to do with this process, God just worked it out.
God is good all the time, all the time, God is good.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thank you so much!
"The woman is at the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason for the our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world."
2 cups sorghum flour or gf all purpose flour mix
1.5 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat to 350 deg
Spray two 8 inch loaf pans or two 12 cup muffin tins
Place four, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in medium bowl. Use wire whisk to combine.
In large bowl, place oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix with hand mixer until fluffy. Stir in applesauce and shredded zucchini. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide batter and bake for 50 minutes for loaves or 25-30 minutes for muffins or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Okay, I am still discovering this truth. As my patience wears a little thinner as summer break goes on, I am going to remember this. I am going to embrace these "interruptions" for what they are- my job! Not just a duty, but a chance to show love, compassion, grace to the ones I love the most.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The school situation in the town of Ziway, Ethiopia is very inadequate. Many children simply do not have the opportunity to attend school at any level or in any facility. The government schools are overcrowded with up to 75 students per classroom. Private schools tend to be somewhat better, but usually have 40-50 students per class. Whether private or public, the schools are lacking in even the basics. Students must share textbooks and cannot take their textbooks home. Even standard items such as chalk and pencils are in short supply and must be severely rationed.
The caregivers and children recognize the value of a good education. They know that education is critical to their obtaining good employment and providing for themselves and their families. Therefore, it is a priority to Lifesong for Orphans to construct a quality grade school as quickly as possible. One of the essential ways to pull Ethiopia out of its poverty is to educate its citizens.
We all go out of our ways to give our kiddos the very best we possibly can. In Ethiopia, this looks very different than it does for you and me in the US!
Lifesong for Orphans is supporting 3 schools in the Ziway, Ethiopia area. We are currently repairing one of the schools and are in the process of building another, but are hopeful to use all three this fall.
As you start gathering school supplies for your kids, would you consider helping the children in Ziway?
We are in need of new desks, lights, and fixtures!
Current supply shelves:
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
"The real test of a parenting model is how well equipped the children are to move into adulthood as vital members of the human race. Notice I didn't say "as vital members of the Christian community". We need to have kids that can be sent off to the most hostile universities, toil in the greediest work environments, and raise their families in the most hedonistic communities and yet not be the least bit intimidated by their surroundings. Furthermore, they need to be engaged in the lives of people in their culture, gracefully representing Christ's love inside these desperate surroundings."