Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little Bear!

We are coming off a long holiday weekend with much for which to be thankful. We are still digging ourselves out of suitcases to be put away, dirty laundry to be washed, an empty fridge to be filled, and stuff for work that has to get done (tonight!), but we couldn't let today pass without taking a blog moment to celebrate our little girl who is growing up so fast.

Happy Birthday, Eden! We are blessed to have you as our precious daugther and love you more than you will ever know. You are the child of our hearts.

More to come (hopefully tomorrow) on the Little Bear's special day and the Little Ladies' first Thanksgiving...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Lately, we have been inhabiting our favorite space called Camp Chaos. We seem to park it here a lot these days. When we are in perpetual fast forward because life is just that crazy, my blogging life disappears. We had all of the build up to Orphan Sunday, followed by a huge event at our home with 14 screaming kiddos climbing trees and having access to red paint (I'll let you envision that for yourself), and now we are moving into holiday mode. Add to that the fact that this is THE busiest time of the year for me at work and we have all been sick. However, in spite of all that is swirling about me, I could not resist sharing this latest Big Bear moment.

Last weekend, we were in the midst of getting ready for the big party at our house and Junia was being really fussy and would not finish her breakfast. She is in full-blown testing mode right now and often uses time (her ability to control when she will do something) as a vehicle to assert herself in our little power wars. Because she chose not to finish her breakfast, I picked up her plate and took it to the sink - to which my three year old daughter responded, "Hey! Me still eating that, girlfriend!" I should have put on my parent cap at that point and had a teaching moment about why we don't call Mommy "Girlfriend" but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to say much at all. It reminds me of the time that I, as a middle schooler in the Bart-Simpson-infused '80's, thought it would be a good idea to call my dad "Dude". I vividly remember him saying to me "I am your father. You will not address me as dude." I guess what goes around comes around, girlfriend.

Can you imagine what we are in for when Big Bear is in middle school? Look out...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Will You Help One of These Precious Kids?

The country of Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. A child that lives to the age of 15 in Swaziland has a 1 in 10 chance of living to age 35. A statistic like that is nothing short of obscene. As you can probably imagine, thousands of Swazi children have been orphaned because of this disease. The pictures you see above depict just a handful of the many Swazi children who so desperately need our help.

Maybe you have a heart for orphans, but don’t feel called to adopt. Not everyone is called or equipped to do that. The great thing about sponsorship is that it allows anyone to get involved with supporting children in need. Children's HopeChest is an amazing organization that is currently working in Swaziland by using a sponsorship program to reach these incredibly vulnerable children with a message of hope.

Children’s HopeChest believes that every orphan has the right to know God, experience the blessing of family, and have the opportunity to develop independent living skills. Each of their programs attempts to restore wholeness to the brokenness that is orphanhood. They believe orphans have the greatest chances for success when they are surrounded by loving role models who remind them of their great worth and value in the eyes of God.

Through Children’s HopeChest, you have the opportunity to not only sponsor a child but also to develop a relationship with that child through letter writing. I now have profiles of 25 children (out of 150 that have recently been added the program) who are all in need of sponsors in Swaziland. The area where the children come from that I am trying to find sponsors for is so poor that children and adults spend much of their time in the garbage dump trying to find food. Many of the young children have also been sexually abused or have become sexually active in order to feed their families. This is particularly true of young girls.

For $34 a month (the cost of a couple of Frappucinos a week!), Children’s HopeChest is able to meet the basic needs of these children by creating a safe place where they can learn about God’s love through what is called a Carepoint. The Carepoint runs a preschool, as well as neighborhood school which helps to keep older kids off the streets. After school, anywhere from 180-250 children daily come to the Carepoint for Bible Club and a meal.

HopeChest is just one of many great organizations that are seeking to address the orphan crisis through the vehicle of sponsorship. It is an organization that I really believe in and that's why, in addition to sponsoring our child, Tanele, through HopeChest, I have decided to volunteer with them as an advocate. If you read this blog and are feeling God calling you to give of what you have to stand in the gap for orphans, sponsorship is a great way to do that. Please contact me via my email here on the blog and I would love to set you up as a sponsor for one of the precious children you see here in this post. They need you more than you will ever know.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Orphan Sunday - WOW!!!

Yesterday's Orphan Sunday event was nothing short of amazing. We were hopeful that maybe a handful of families (we would have been really excited about 2 or 3!) would come to learn more about adoption. We ended up having to put out extra chairs because we filled the entire room. We had over 80 people show up!!! And so my "Oh you of little faith" saga continues. I had a peace in my heart that we needed to do this thing and that God was going to bring exactly who He wanted to be there to the event. That is exactly what happened and, as usual, my expectations were exceeded beyond what I imagined. I talked to so many individuals and families who were excited about everything from going to Africa to do medical missions with orphaned children, to sponsoring kids in need, to opening their homes and their hearts to a child through adoption. I am thrilled about the group that came together on Sunday and our potential to harnass the resources and energy of passionate Christians throughout our region who care about the cause of the orphan. A friend of ours remarked, "You know, there really isn't one church in our area that owns this issue." I think that's as it should be. The problem is so big that this has to be group effort by believers across congregations making noise at their local churches so that God's people can take action to do something about this now.

It was a truly great day. We now pray about what our next step is in our community and in our family.

God is faithful. As always.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween and Still Cranking...

I am still working like mad to get everything in order for Orphan Sunday this Sunday. I get more excited every day as I hear of more people that are coming because they care about orphans. I even got a call from a woman who saw one of the posters I put in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf! Here are just some of the materials I have ordered that arrived today. I've got boxes and boxes of packets from adoption agencies and tons of great general adoption information that I ordered from The Dave Thomas Foundation (all of which was shipped to me for free!). As bleary-eyed as I am right now, I had to find five minutes to share the Halloween pics of my little Ethiopian butterflies. The Little Ladies loved wearing their wings and caught on VERY quickly to the whole "knock on the door and get free candy" thing. Unfortunately, Eden was in a pretty awful mood most of the day so we didn't get even one smiling picture of her. When we asked her to smile, she would just give us an emphatic "NO!" (Can you guess who is going to turn two in a few weeks?!)