Thursday, June 24, 2010

why Ethiopia?

(JS) So we're a few weeks into our journey of adoption, and we've had a few people ask us...why Ethiopia? I was browsing "The Crazy Roots" blog (another ET adoption family) and found these amazing stats on Ethiopia that have impacted me significantly. I'm glad Ethiopia chose us...
One in ten children die before their first birthday. One in six children die before their fifth birthday

44% of the population is under 15 years old

60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition

The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years old

There are roughly 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000

Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa

Half of the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school

Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) declined 40-60%from 1998-2002

Severe drought struck the country from 2000-2002
  • first year no crops
  • second year no seeds
  • third year no animals
 Reality is sometimes hard to look at. Let it sink in and move you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

a future and hope

(KS) Our garage sale is now over, and as the dust settles, I finally have a chance to sit down and reflect on all that has happened in the last week.

I think we had donations from 10 different families for our sale. I was floored at all of the merchandise!

Honestly, I was afraid that some govt. official was going to come in and insist that I get a license for  running a store!

Thanks to all of my friends/ family that brought so many items for me to sell... Kim, Erin, Jen, Jenny, Heather, Kerry, Debra, Bonnie, Rachel, Jessica, Kent and Tricia and Sarah, Sue, Julie K, Julie M, Mom and Dad, Candy... hopefully I'm not forgetting anyone. You guys ROCK!

Even after all of the many hours spent in the garage, it was totally worth it!

The grand total was $1,350.00! So worth it. This brings us one step closer to bringing our babe home. I'm amazed at God's faithfulness as He continues to provide for our adoption. Thanks for all of the ongoing prayers and support. Please keep praying for us!

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you... to give you a future and a hope"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

my shelter

(KS) I really shouldn't be blogging right now, as I have a garage full of things that need to be set out, priced, organized onto tables etc. If you haven't heard, we are having a multiple family garage sale TOMORROW! to raise funds for our adoption. I cannot believe how much work this is! I've literally been in my garage for 9 hours every day for the last 3 days... it's been crazy exhausting. Yet, all for such an amazing purpose. I'm starting to get pretty emotional though, and I'm thinking it's the lack of sleep, and the great desire to just BE with my family.

On top of all of that physical work, we excitedly received our "packet" from our agency yesterday to begin the "paper pregnancy". Let me just tell you, I FEEL pregnant! (minus the nausea, thankfully) Seriously though, it's amazing the emotional roller coaster that I've been on these past few days.

I woke up this morning with my "to do" list spinning out of control in my brain, but decided I really couldn't afford to NOT spend time with Jesus before the day took off like a rocket! I am completely floored at what happened next. I have NEVER in all of my years of walking with The Lord had such an amazing time with Him. I so felt His presence and comfort. I just wanted to share with anyone who wants to hear, the verses that literally jumped off the page to me... Psalm 91:1-2 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust Him.

I so needed this today. Also, Psalm 91:14 The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name."

Wow. I'm amazed at how faithful God is to us. And, how awesome it is to receive His new mercies every morning. Just like we need proper sleep and food for our physical health, we even more-so need time with our Abba Father for our spiritual and emotional well being.

I'm so thankful that I was reminded of this today, and that now I can move forward with tackling the garage knowing that He will be supplying my strength... because He is truly my shelter. Amazing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

a man on a mission...

(JS) I'm not sure about you, but I don't have many friends on Facebook that I haven't met in person. As a matter of fact, I can count on 1 (maybe 2) hand(s) the individuals I've connected with, that I've never met live.

That is the case with my "I've never met him before, but connected with him on Twitter and Facebook" friend Kevin Hendricks. I began following him on Twitter because there were some things that we had in common. Passion for charity, adoption, social media, etc. Little did I know, that he was in the midst of publishing a book called Addition by Adoption. A compilation of tweets about his journey as a work-at-home dad and their families' journey to adopt a child from Ethiopia (the journey we are now on). The really cool thing is that a portion of the proceeds from his book will go to charity: water to build a clean water well in Ethiopia. A charity I've become quite passionate about.

I've learned something incredible from Kevin. First, people won't notice you if blend into the scenery. It was one of the first things he mentions he discovered about Twitter.  What I'm learning is that if I just go through the motions, just like run-of-the-mill tweets, I will probably go unnoticed. But I want my life's to-do list to end up making a difference...

To mean something. To stand out.

Thanks Kevin. Thanks for sharing your perspective, by giving us an example of how  to make a statement.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

we're chasing down lions...

(KS) Why should I be amazed? I shouldn't be... God has always been faithful to us in the past. If you know anything about our amazing journey with our precious daughter, Maddie, you would agree. If you don't, developmental delays had us walking down a long winding road  filled with years of occupational therapy, speech therapy, special preschool programs, IEP's, therapeutic listening, brushing techniques and LOTS of tears and prayers... she's 12 years old now, and an AMAZING! girl.

I'm not just being biased... okay, maybe I am. But nevertheless, she's amazing. Which brings me back to God's faithfulness. If you knew Maddie back when she was two, you'd never believe how far she's come... unless you believed in God. You know that phrase, "when you saw one set of footprints in the sand, it was then that I carried you"? well, that was our experience. God literally carried us through that "valley of the shadow of death" and just like the Psalmist said, we got "through" it and made it to the other side, by God's grace.

So, in those moments when I think, HOW in the world are going to be able to afford this adoption, I pull out my old journals and remember God's faithfulness.

Last night I was going through some old papers, cleaning things out for our big garage sale, and I found 4 of my savings bonds that are worth a few hundred dollars! I mean, they were just laying there between some old birthday cards. I know that it isn't much in the scope of the tens of thousands that we need to raise, but to me, it was HUGE! Like God was saying, "don't worry. I've got it all under control"

Jeff and I were super moved by the latest Craig Groeschel talk on We're chasing down lions! Are you?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's Official!!

(KS)We are pleased to announce that we have officially been accepted to the Ethiopia program! WooHoo. Now the fun begins... paperwork, fundraiser planning, garage sale prep, check writing, and lots of continued prayer. But most important of all, we are celebrating that in 12- 24 months, we'll be bringing home our child from Africa to be welcomed into our home! Thank you for walking on this journey with us and for all of you who are supporting us financially, and for the many prayers for us on this journey.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

my new found spot...

(JS) I'm finding myself in this weird spot these days. It's uncomfortable. It's disorienting. It's a spot that I honestly never saw myself being in. It's the spot where the new car is not something I care about. A spot where having a manicured and perfect lawn is not where I want to spend my time or attention. It's a spot where brand name clothes don't define me.

The spot I'm walking away from is the spot where the world places my value.

That spot I do not care to be in.

Moving from that spot has required strength, determination, and will-power. It is hard work. It means people will continue to look at me funny. May say weird things about me, and I will need to be okay with it.

I need to believe that the spot I am in, is exactly the spot where He wants me. The spot where my time and money are spent on things that will last far beyond my days on earth. You know...the spot where moths and rust don' get it.

And you know what else I'm finding? There are others in this spot. And there is more room here. A lot more.