Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tis the Season......Buy An Ornament

Selling ornaments was our inital and most lucrative fundraiser.  I am an adament supportive of ornament sales for adoption...  Each year when you pull out the ornament, you think of adoption, the child/family you supported, and your heart for adoption.  I am posting three ornaments below all made by people who are in process and who I considered important to our family, in friendship for the first two and support of our adoption in the last one.  If you can afford it this season, please consider supporting these families

1) Neeley Family:  He is the minister at the church we are attending and already has four children.  They are just starting their adoption and are raising funds.  Email Laurie Ann (  They are not setting a price but asking for donations.  Please consider.  http://a4us/

2) Elliot Family:  Sarah and her son Noah are adopting a son from Ethiopia.  They are selling ornaments for $6.  Email Sarah with any questions.....  Her blog  is

3) Debi Jenkins and her family supported our adoption and here are the ornaments they are selling...I love them. How am I going to talk JT into buying something from all of these fundraisers..?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


"once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us RESPONSIBLE to act." Prov. 24:12

Are you acting?

Check out Project Hopeful, an organization dedicated to raising awareness for HIV+ adoptions....  They are the centerfold article in the People magazine on stands now. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Cards....

This is the first year our Christmas card has ever had a picture on it and I am EXCITED!!!!  Now first, I must thank Elizabeth Lauer ( who took the family pictures featured on the card.  They are fabulous.  I was looking for a way to save money this year since we have a lot of cards to send (my dad has 9 living siblings, my mom has four siblings, and JT has tons of family) I had a girl on design the card for $12 and then printing on 4x6 photo paper was $0.06 each and the first 100 were I paid $30.00 total for >200 cards.  I am pleased with our first Christmas Card as a family of three!  We will be sending them out in the next week or so.  If you are not on our list and one want, let me know... Otherwise enjoy the one below!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Tedi

Four years ago today in a village in the Wolayta region of southwest Ethiopia, a widowed mother of five children ages 1-5 gave birth to a beautiful brown boy and named him Twedros Chinasno. I am sure she was filled with joy and in the eyes of another baby boy and the despair of traveling through parenthood alone... Her journey is now mine. She has given me her youngest child and most precious gift, my Tedi. She must be thinking of him, today more than others, aching for him, worrying about him. To her, his first mother, I am indebted for her gift. I am thanking her today and praying for her heart today....

I am also celebrating her son today. What a blessing! Enjoy a few pictures below of Tedi's birthday....It is a slight degression from adoption awareness on one hand, but on the other, Is it?

Tedi's Cake (fabulous job by Toni Jefferson)

Pics of JT's parents' basement which turned out to be a great venue for the party

The Bounce House aka a God-send with copious numbers of kids

Tedi with his prize possession, "his Lightning McQueen."  By the way, he drives like his mother

Sunday, November 21, 2010

National Adoption Awareness Day: Disney Pixar CARS Style

Yesterday was official National Adoption Awareness day....  In our world it was a perfect day to celebrate adoption.  Yesterday we partied the day away in celebration of Tedi's 4th birthday (which is tomorrow...we think...see paragraph below).  My mother and mother-in-law helped me immensely in planning a huge, but well executed party.  We had over 50 people there and probably about 20-25 children...4 or 5 from Tedi's class at school, several family members' children, close friends's children, and many other adopted children.  Even several families in the process of adopting came to support our family and celebrate Tedi.  While it was hectic, crowded, busy, and quite honestly overwhelming for this first time mom, it was such a blessing to my heart to see the pure and innocent excitement consume my son.  Admittedly, he was overwhelmed at times but so full of joy.  He could not believe that all of the people, gifts, food were all for him. 

For the party, (since it was his first American party and likely the first one to be celebrated at all), JT and I bit the bullett and rented a bounce house thingy for the party.  It was decorated with all of the characters from Cars...Lightening McQueen, Mater, Sally, Ramone... (for of those of your Cars fans).  It was a wild and crazy place with probably too much pushing (sorry if your kid was pushed....I think they all were).  At least my child was the only one who had tears after a fall...  Despite the chaos, I peeked in at one moment to see five Ethiopian children, one African American child, and four Caucasian children... THAT is ADOPTION AWARENESS I like to think heaven will look something like this...a mix of ages, personalities, minus the pushing without regard for the color of their skin.  Prior to the party, I emailed one of the mothers of Tedi's classmates to thank her son for being so accomodating and accepting of Tedi.  She told me yesterday that she did not know Tedi was adopted so she thought by my words that something was different about him.  When she asked her son if Tedi was different in some way, he said, "No.  He just has black hair."  What do you really say to that.  Unfortunately, the picture below is the only one I have so far.  My mom took tons of pictures (I hope others did too). And again, if your child was pushed, I apologize.
Yesterday's party also wrought some saddness in my heart. I thought about Tedi's birth mother, and all that she is missing....the pain it must cause her to have him worlds away...I am so thankful for the her most precious gift....her mine.  May she know he is happy and loved on his birthday.  I hope to write more on this tomorrow, on the day of his birth.

I am going to post this now at 11:34 p.  I am on call and going to try to catch a bit of sleep!
Happy Adoption Awareness Day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I am being convicted....deeply.  I debated on whether this was the correct forum to share my personal convictions, especially during my Adoption Awareness focus. Then I realized that this is truly the perfect topic to tie in life and adoption.  At church, the sermon, which I missed but was filled in on, was about grumbing....complaining about life, jobs, circumstance, this or that or him or her.... The discussion also focused on how grumbling directly stems from a lack of faith.  (If you would like to see the message, check out  There were many more points but this is what hit home the most for me.  I catch myself grumbling more than I care to admit, but the most common place for me to grumble is at work...and there are people there to entertain such complaints....and there is always something to complain about.  If I am completely honest with myself, I realize this lack of faith that perpetuates my grumbling is two fold....It is a lack of faith in myself, my abilities, my knowledge, my self image....and in the same breath, the lack of faith in all the aforementioned things are just symptoms of the lack of faith I have in Christ to work out the details in my life and transform my attitude, my perspective about myself and my job and interactions with others....I am challenging myself, trying to move forward and start anew with better inward and outward perceptions...thus hoping to decrease my grumbling....

How does this relate to adoption?  Before, during and even after adoption, grumbling can easily creep into our minds and mouths...
Before....we grumble about our finances, our families repsonses, our inadequacies, the challenges in our way, our finances, what is holding us back, our jobs....
During.... again, our finances, our agency, the flaws of the country we are adopting from, our support, the process...
After.... lack of support once the dust settles, the challenges of attachment, adjustment, readoption costs, taxes...
There are sources for grumbling all along the way....and all are legitimate reasons for frustrations... But are the orphans around the world complaining.  Are they grumbling in their circumstance? I dare to say they are not.  Most of the videos of Tedi's orphanage show kids singing Christian songs together, praising the Lord despite their circumstance.  They would long to have my job with my co-workers; they would love to have family to be frustrated with or finances that need tweaked.  So when, in life or adoption, we are tempted to grumble, complain, get frustrated, argue....maybe we should spend a small moment thinking about these children who are waiting for their forever families..(and I am included in the WE.)

Below are some fundraisers that have been added:

These are ornaments made by the pastor's family at our new church....they are just starting the process.  Please go to their blog to help support them!

Another Family asked me to post their fundraiser.... Debi Jenkins and her family supported our adoption and here are the ornaments they are selling...I love them. How am I going to talk JT into buying something from all of these fundraisers..?

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Fundraising Ideas.....  and Giving Gifts that Give

A twofold post....for those seeking ideas to fundraise, below are some great ideas (and there are many more). For those looking to give great gifts at Christmas and give back to those adopting, please consider checking out these blogs and many many more to find cool gifts and help out!

Cloth wreaths...I really dig these

Making these awesome signs...I am very tempted

(a sling made by an adoptive mom)

She makes these bags, wall art, key fobs, tshirts and much much more.  Check her out!

This lady is fabulous.  She made me four pendants for Christmas last year and is very expedient.

Some more cool ornaments

These are our friends, The Borders.  They have friends and are adopting....CHeck out their candle holders.  We love ours! Plus, they are getting ready to debut some cool tshirts!

The Marquis's daughter, Grace, was Tedi's friend in Ethiopia.  She continues to fundraise to support work in Africa!  We love her and Tedi and I love our necklaces!

Feeding the Orphans....(blog to the right).  This a website run by a young girl whose family is currently in Ghana bringing home siblings.  She said "why do we eat like kings and queens when they have nothing to eat.?" and thus started her own mission to "feed the orphans"  What an amazing girl.  These are her new shirts and there are many colors

Cool T-Shirt Colors!

I can not say enough about their work and their items...they are helping to fundraise with their shirts now.  You won't regret checking this one out. (below is their infant and toddler shirt)

If you want me to add your fundraiser to my blog, PLEASE message me or email me at  We are open to answer any questions.  If I take a few days to get back to you, I apologize.  My work is busy right now so it may make a day or two!  (That is why I blog three times in one day but maybe not again for 3 days!)

Church, Where Have We Been? 

The post below is borrowed from a fellow blogger and adoptive mom...I read her post this morning and wanted to share it on my blog.  I hope you enjoy and are challenged by her words.... This is her blog address if you want to check it out...  The comments I added are in blue.

November is National Adoption/Orphan Awareness Month. Most people don't know that about November; At one time we didn't know...but we do now! When I tell others that it is National Adoption/Orphan Awareness Month, the response that I normally get is, "Oh, that's nice." I'm not satisfied with that response. Here's why...There are millions - MILLIONS - of children with no mother or father. They have no one to kiss them goodnight and tuck them into bed. They have no one making sure that they have enough to eat. Millions of children have nothing to call their own, not even the shirt on their back (if they have one) is their own. Orphans are caring for orphans. They're not allowed to just be a child. When they are sick, there is no one to take care of them. There is no medicine to make them feel better. One million children are trafficked every year - CHILDREN being raped 30-40 times a day by men. (In August in the Congo, a village was raped and pillaged.  Three boys were raped, a 6 week old, a 4 mth old and a 14 mth old.  Think about this.) I could go on and on... So an answer like "Oh, that's nice" is not enough for me.
Their cries haunt my dreams, even when I'm awake. I can't live like I don't hear them. And yet, I feel powerless to help silence their cries. So I speak...I tell people that it is National Adoption/Orphan Care Month. I tell them that children need them. I tell them that the Church is God's plan for the orphan. And as much as I think I say it, it just isn't enough.
I am going to say something that may offend some. It may sound judgemental (I truly don't want to be, and have, with all sincerity, prayed that God would convict me when I am judging another). So, with all love for the Body of Christ I want to know....CHURCH, WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?!? Why are there millions of orphans? Why aren't we fighting for these children? How can we go about our lives, and completely ignore what is going on - the absolute terror that children live under? The orphan crisis is OUR crisis! These kids are OUR matter what country they live in! I know that this sounds strong. I just don't know any other way to write it. My dear friends, the Church IS (WE are) God's plan for the orphan.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute." Psalm 82:3

Well, there is much more to say about this...much more that would bring hope. And I would like to take the time to write about the hope this week. Because there is hope! God is at work....

I am blessed that the church we are becoming a part of is changing to incorporate orphan care, here and abroad, as a primary part of their mission.  But one or two churches are not enough....we as a culture need to step up and advocate for orphans.  We are called to care for orphans, whether by actually adopting, financially supporting those who are adopting, or emotionally walking the journey...we are called to do something!  Thank you Rebekah for your post!

****Today, I am thankful for my job.  I often complain and grumble when I should express my genuine thanks everyday!
Ornaments....tis the season

 I have had several emails asking about our ornament sales from our fundraising season last year....  So here are a few thoughts on ornaments....

1) First: I think ornaments are the single best fundraiser for this time of year....Granted, that is only my opinion, but our results were fantastic.  God blessed our ornament sales and we sold over 600.  It is the time of year that people are into giving.  Ornaments are in season.  Selling them now combine the Christmas season and the season

2) Advertising: Use your email contacts, Facebook, friends, and your blog, if you have one.  Display them at church and ask your church family to get the word out!  There is a large adoption community, whether you are adopting domestically or internationally.... Other adoptive families "get it" and will step and help.  Trust me.  Post pictures, spread the word...and as I have said before, do not set limits on God and trust Him to help you!

3) Ask for Help: When making your ornaments, ask your friends and church family to help.  Pick a night, make some snacks and have friends help you.  Not only does it give you extra hands, but makes for a night of fun and fellowship.  Also, it will give your friends a bit of ownership in your process and they will get just as excited as you during each set of your process...ESPECIALLY when the little one comes home.

Below I posted a picture of our ornaments and an ornament being sold on another blog.  If you are another family and would like me to post your pictures, please let me know.

our ornaments from last year (see Nov 09 posts for more pictures)
one of the four ornaments from Embracing the Least of These (

Friday, November 12, 2010


Let me tell you why I am posting a video compilation of our new family pictures.  Not to boast our photographer, who by the way was fabulous.  Not to boast how adorable my boy is, or how handsome I think my husband is...  But today, I am posting out of shear appreciation for my husband and my son....I am thankful for these blessing.  In a month dedicated to thanksgiving and orphan awareness, I feel it is appropriate to highlight the gratitude for these two men in my world... 

My husband is both a wonderful man and daddy.  After I leave for work, he bathes and feeds Tedi, then takes to him whereever he needs to be for the day.  He picks him up after school, meets with his teacher, takes him to soccer.  He handles towing my car while I am work...he handles EVERYTHING while I am work. I could not do the job I am doing and have a productive world without a husband like him...

For those of you that do not know, I am a resident physician at the local children's hospital.  Basically, I am doctor but have to do three years of hospital training before I can go into practice. I have always had a broken heart for children in need, but it was not until Tedi became my son that my heart began breaking for each of my patient's so significantly that tears loom closely on a daily basis.  This month I am on the cancer floor and now more than ever I am thankful to the Lord each day for my son, his health and the pure joy he brings me.  I am thankful and blessed that he is a orphan no more and spends his time lighting up my world. 

So while this is not completely an adoption awareness post, it is one of THANKSGIVING and loving the one I have been blessed with....Enjoy the pictures and the song...(Don't miss the line "EVERY CHILD IN AFRICA IS YOURS")...even if you have already seen these....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The (Other) Boy That Changed My Life

Hey everyone.  JT here.  I think we can all agree that Natalie's latest posts have been fabulous.  I wanted to hijack the blog tonight to tell you a story that I have been wanting to tell since my trip to Ethiopia.  It is such an emotional story that I wanted to take some time before I wrote it. Enjoy. 

When I departed for Ethiopia, I had no clue what lie ahead of me.  I had been warned by our blog friend, Amy Post, to "be prepared for poverty on a scale you cannot imagine."  Well, Amy was 100% right.  The things I saw while in Addis Ababa would fill your heart with despair and your eyes with tears. 

Our second day in Ethiopia (a Monday) was the most exhilirating day of my life.  It was the day when I met Tedi and got to wrap him in my arms.  Besides all the emotion that accompanied that event, Monday left another, almost as indellible mark on my life.

After being at KVI Orphanage for a few hours, the nannies told us it was the kids' nap time.  Not wanting to mess with their routines, we agreed that the adults would leave and do some shopping while the little ones slept.  When we arrived at the market, we were definitely on an emotional high.  I needed to get some shopping done without the responsibility of watching a three year old, however, I was counting down the minutes until we could go back and get Tedi.  We had waited so long to get him (8 months of the adoption process and 15 months of infertility before that) that I was restless as Deena bought everything in sight (gotcha Deena).

In Addis, there is a conglomerate of shops where foreigners go to look for trinkets and souveniers.  Naturally, this is great place for the less-fortunate to congregate and beg for money.  As to not disrupt business, the shop owners hire security guards to keep the street kids out of their shops.  They walk around with long broomsticks and "shoo" away any kid that gets too close to a tourist.  Although I understand the perspective of the business owners, I hated this practice because I wanted to interact with as many Ethiopians as I could.  Also, I hated the idea that it appeared we were better than them in some way and could not be bothered with their presence.  As Deena was dragging Doug and I to another shop, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  It was a t-shirt with a Western Kentucky University Hilltopper logo on it!  For those of you who do not know us, Natalie and I both graduated from WKU.  It is where we met and I worked on the basketball staff there.  To see this familiar logo on a young boy's shirt was amazing.  I knew this was no coincidence and that God had orchestrated this event.  I ran up to the boy who was around twelve.  I am sure he thought I was a complete psycho.  I kept pointing at his shirt and saying, "That's my school.  Go Tops!"  He politely smiled and shook his head nervously.  I tried to converse with him but his English was very broken.  I gathered that his name was Selam.  Here is a picture of Selam and me:

Being a street kid, Selam did not have many earthly possessions.  My friend, Keith, gave him and some of his friends a new soccer ball which made them the envy of their group.  He was wearing a very ragged pair of sweat pants and shoes that you and I would be ashamed to wear.  The shirt was a little big for him but I am sure it is the only shirt he owns.  He was wearing a small plastic cross around his neck that was fashioned with a cheap black string.  To my knowledge, this cross was the only earthly possession Selam had to his name that was not an essential item.  I took a few pictures and videos of him, chatted to him and his friends the best we could and was on my way.  I thought this was a very cool story that I could tell my WKU friends about when I got home.

Boy, was I wrong.

We ended up back at the same shops (I am sure to placate Deena's shopping obsession).  As I was walking around, I heard a voice from the crowd that had gathered.  "Friend.  Friend.  My friend!"  I looked up and it was Selam (still wearing the WKU shirt) and his friends.  I went out to where he was and brought Ayele, our driver, so he could interpret for us.  As we were talking, I noticed that one of Selam's friends had hit what must have been the jackpot for these poor children.  He had stumbled upon some half eaten food that had been thrown in the trash at a restaurant.  The sight of this broke my heart in two.  To see the joy in this boy's face at finding trash was indescribable.  I took a quick inventory of my life and all the blessings I have been given and how I do not appreciate so many of them.  As our time to depart was growing near, I told Selam we must be leaving.  He told me, through Ayele that he had something he wanted to give me.  He reached underneath his shirt and pulled the cross out and started to take it off his neck.  I stopped him.  I politely told Ayele to convey to him there was no way I was taking that cross with me.  He told Ayele that we were friends and this is what friends do.  He told me to keep it as a momento from Ethiopia.

In the car on the way back to the orphanage, I was an emotional wreck.  What was God trying to tell me?  At the time, I questioned why God had put so much emotional baggage on my plate at one time.     

After some separation, I now know what God was telling me when He introduced Selam and I.  He was telling me not to forget what I had seen.  Orphan care is not only about the children like Tedi who are fortunate enough to be adopted.  Orphan care does not end when we step off the plane in the US with our children.  Orphan care DOES NOT END.  Orphan care is about kids like Selam.  Kids who have not been shown the earthly love they deserve.  Thankfully, Selam has been redeemed by his Heavenly Father.  We must not forget Selam.  We must never forget all of them. 
I sit here tonight in a house that has so much stuff we have run out of places to put it.  I can honestly say that this green plastic cross is the one physical item I would grab if I had to get out in a hurry.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Faces of Adoption:

Please watch the video below.. I was able to use pictures of my friends' adopted children, before coming home and now... Mostly Ethiopian, I have a feeling these are the faces that will change our world. If I left you out, I am sorry...I threw this together pretty quickly. I hope you enjoy and maybe get a tear in your eye.....reminding and encouraging you of why you are in the long frustrating process.... or why you are having the feeling you need to make a move... If not anything else, these are WAYYYY CUTTEEE KIDDDSSS......

Family Pictures...
a sneak peek

Thank you to Lizzie Loo Photography...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday
(read cautiously)

Today.  One day each year that SOME churches and SOME Christians acknowledge the plight of orphans...orphans here in America, usually by circumstances their parents create, rarely death and abroad, often by death, un-education, and lack of resources.  Weekly we talk about building funds and AV equipment and our potluck calendar and argue over who is on what committee and what committee should pass what by-law....  But we talk annually, once each year, if we are lucky, about "the least of these."

The question that has been floating in my head, especially of late, is "How I am any different than Tedi?"  He was born in Africa in a small village on the Sudan border to a mother with five older children who had lost her husband to a preventable disease.  I was born in Somerset, KY to parents, then married, and went home to lead a middle class life.  The only difference....we born in different places.  I did not deserve more than him....He did not deserve less.  But here we were, worlds apart. 

When we talk about the "least of these", we must first realize we, indeed, are the least of these.  Just as orphans need a family, we need a Savior.  What if Jesus had not stepped in for us and saved our lives....  What if? Usually it is difficult to digest the thought of children dying, both physical and emotional deaths, so we turn away, file it in the back of our mental junk drawer.... OR we only talk about it once per year. 

As I have written before, I am in a constant state of knowing I can and should do more.  Last week in church we sang "Hosana" and one line from the bridge goes... "Break my heart for what breaks yours..."  My heart is broken and yet I feel paralyzed by my own inadequacies and inability to do more.  I am daily challenging myself to do more.... I NEED to and  I MUST.

SOOOO..... What am I doing?  What can you do?  First, I am mothering a child who WAS adopted.  He is now my child.  I am standing in the gap for him, defending him, mothering him to love others.  Can you adopt.....because chances are if you have found my blog and have read this far, you have something stirring inside of you, aching in your stomach, moving you to step forward.....  I am speaking and writing about adoption every time I can.  Beth Moore, Russell Moore, David Platt, I am not.  But I can do my part.  Can you defend the least of these....  I need to do more, that is why I can challenge you.  I only hope the small things that I have done and am trying to do are making small changes and examples for those around me.

I am blessed that the church we attended today focused on orphan care. They intend to move forward and pursue orphan care, here and abroad, as an important facet of their ministry. And I intend to be involved in this ministry.  Will you start a ministry at your church? Will you get involved?

I can not change the WORLD, but we have changed the world for ONE.  More importantly, this ONE has changed our world and our world perspective.....  Will you cause change and be changed?

Yesterday, our adoption agency, Arise for Children, hosted their annual fellowship.  Fellow adoptive family and our friends, the Marquis Family (team marquis blog), drove in from Green Bay, Wisconsin for the event. Their daughter, Grace Hiwot, is from Tedi's village and came home from Ethiopia on the same plane.  They were elated to see one another....I know he is missing her today.  It does not get much better than this picture. They are are orphans no more.

Lastly, I know several people have commented to me and JT that they have enjoyed reading my recent blog posts.  I must say the words I type are not my words, but God's.  I would like to give credit, jokingly, to my English major, but honestly He has given me the words to say.

****Today, I am thankful that we have settled on a church for our family. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fundraising.... GOD-SIZED.

First, if you are going to fundraise for your adoption.... STOP.  Yes, Stop.  Stop putting limits on God, Stop guessing or predicting what you will be able to gain.  God will continue to pop the top, raise the ceiling, blow your don't limit Him from jump.  When we first started selling ornaments, we said... "Let's be reasonable.  If we sell 150 ornaments at $5 each, we can pay our first home study fee."  We set a limit on God.  We thought if we did not reach it that we would be failures....and worse, we would not get our child.  God blew us away....we sold 650 ornaments and raised greater than $8000 through sales and donations.  So, me saying all this comes from experience...  Now, moving on... fundraising ideas from a family that tried a bit of everything.

1) Holiday-Tailored Items:  As I just said, we sold Christmas ornaments (see Nov 2009 for pictures) last year and found that people loved these...and it greatly funded our adoption.
Christmas: ornaments, wrapping people's Christmas presents and asking for only donations (like a carwash principle), cookie sales, making gifts that are great for giving
Valentine's Day: offer "Date Night" childcare to friends and church family and enlist youth group kids to help..charge and small fee
Memorial/Labor Day: Fundraising Cookout....great time to invite all of your friends and family for a cookout, charge $5 per adult to eat and $2 for kids (have cheap food....hotdogs, chips, cookies, lemonade), have raffles throughout the cookout, cornhole tournament...

2) T-Shirts:  We and many many other families sell T-Shirts....a fabulous idea.  People love them.  My advice, for what it is worth, as a seller and buyer...make them different, have flattering colors, and make them afordable. Check out pics below of some of my favorites....  And trust me, there are SOOO many more out there. (these are ones I could access quickly)

3) Other Ideas:  There are tons and tons of ideas out there...I will just share a few great ideas that I have heard and experienced myself. 
      A)  Yard Sales:  Personally, we did not have any yard sales because of the way that our adoption timing 
                               fell .  However, we have had several friends who have had yard sales, one to many, and
                               raised anywhere from $1000 to $9000.  They got donations from friends and families
                               and advertised everywhere.  These are great April-October events
     B)  Parties:        Do you have friends who sell Thirty-One, Mary-Kay, Avon, Southern Living, Pampered
                              Chef....?  I bet you do.  Well, another adoptive mother had a friend host a party where
                              several sales people set up shop.  You could come and go as you liked and buy from
                              multiple sellers...  A large percentage of the funds of from the sales were donated
                              towards their adoption.

     C)  Talents:       Use your talents..if you are crafty, make stuff.  If you are connected, use your
                             connections to help you fundraise. 

4) Grants: God has placed it in the hearts of many of his servants to give funds to families desiring to grow their families through adoption.  Many companies exist for this purpose.  We were blessed by three places who "granted" us money to help bring our son home.  My goal, once I begin practicing and pay off my student loans, is to do this very thing.  Do not think that because of your circumstance you are out of reach of grants and loans from such companies.  Pray over these companies for if you do not receive help, God has another plan for you. 

If you are reading this and in the process, I hope this helps.  I am by NO MEANS AN EXPERT.  I just want to throw out ideas for anyone to email is nataliehenderson21@yahoo if you have questions..

Happy Adoption Awareness!

***Today I am thankful for having a job I love even if it means I have to sleep there tomorrow.
4 months

Tedi left Ethiopia aboard Lufthansa Airlines with his Daddy on July 2 and arrived in my arms on July 3rd.  That was three months ago.  If you would have told me three months ago that he would be singing songs by Needtobreathe, Chris Tomlin, and Rihanna (shhhh...), I would have laughed.  If you would have told me that he could say his address, make friends and love endlessly, I would have doubted you.  But he does these things and many more.... I am amazed at his resilience, his ability to laugh and want others to laugh with him despite the fact that he has been through more loss than I can fathom.  I wish everyone got to appreciate the intricacies of his personality and be blessed the little boy he is growing into.  He is truly a blessing....and I am anxious to see what the next four months have in store for us.... Think about it...will you let one of these little ones bless your life, by adopting, by helping others to adopt.... just a seed.

July 3, 2010

 November 2010....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Counting the Cost

Here is the question.  The real question of adoption. What will it cost you?  Yes, it is a loaded question because "cost" in this sense is multi-faceted.  Will it cost you money? Yes, whether you adopt from Shelby County, KY or Saigon. Will it cost you pride? Yes.  Will your heart pay? For sure.  Will it cost you friends, family, acquaintances? It may.  Will it cost time? No doubt...... But more than the costs.....COUNT THE GAIN... How will you change, how will you change others, whether you adopt or support adoption, you gain....gain life.  Take a look at the costs...our cost.

1) Financial: The main HANG UP.  Adoption can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000.  Most people who desire to adopt do not have that kind of money laying around, regardless of your yearly gross income.  Looking down the barrel at $25,000, as was our case, you start to doubt your financial ability to pay for an adoption, afford a child or another child, make payments on your other responsibilties while raising money, find ideas for fundraising.....but you may doubt God...not openly but in the subconscious place you may not even be able to utter aloud.  I admit that I did.  JT and I fortunately were able to openly discuss our doubt and had friends who prayed over our doubt. 

Gain.....we did gain money...but God showed us His love and grace... As JT now says, "God shows up when ordains something."  We fundraised and God provided.  He moves in the heart of those around you to support you.  So when doubt starts creeping in (and I still remind myself of this), you and I have to remember that if we consume ourselves with doubt, we can not see what is trying to happen before our eyes.

"He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20

2) Your HeartWhile deciding to adopt, your heart will toss and turn like a third trimester pregnant woman.  You will debate, get excited, get discouraged, become on fire, saddened at the state of the will wonder why children have to suffer.... Your heart will definitely Feel the cost while counting the cost.  But your heart will be changed, your world will be changed.  It will cost you the heartache rought by hours of inner deliberation but will free you to live a life of liberation....You will now know what is beyond your small world.... With that said, the liberation of carries its own cost.... That is where I am now.  I KNOW, so now what...what ELSE can I do now that I know AND have adopted.  Thus, my heart is still counting the cost, but now I stand affirmed that it is worth it... see pictures below if you don't believe me.

"Don't say, "I didn't know it!" God can read your mind. He watches each of us and knows our thoughts. And God will pay us back for what we do." Proverbs 24:12 (Contemporary English Version)

3) Who:  Who will support you, be your cheerleader, wipe your tears, hold your hand, plan your shower, help fundraise, financially help, plug you in.... PRAY for you? Who will cautiously stand back unsure of their stance waiting to see 'how it goes'?  Who secretly condemn your decision without asking you questions, probing your heart and theirs?  Who will openly attack your decision, your heart, your future child, your finances to the point of your tears, frustation and possbily crumbling of the relationship?     I have been in each of the places...simply because our adoption.... Thankfully I can say the damaged relationships are now in perpetual repair, but it can be a difficult season.....the cost.  But Oh the gain.  We will never know the hearts that have been changed by our adoption, NOT BY US, but by God using us to adopt.  We will never know on this side of heaven if someone straddling the fence decided to move forward
with adoption because of Tedi and our adoption... we will never know if a heart filled with anger and distaste for different races and cultures has been swayed, softened and re-structured.  We won't know the gain of others now...we do not need to know but we must remember such gain when we are adding up our cost.

I have struggled with each of these topics deeply and that is the only reason I feel slightly capable to write about these things.

~October 2009~

~October 31, 2010~

***Thankfulness: I am thankful for old friends.  I was able to go to the hospital tonight to visit my friend who just delivered her daughter, Mya.  It was so great to see her, her baby and to be grown ups and still love our friendship.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Adoption Awareness Month....

November is adoption awareness month.  It is a busy month for me at my job but I want to take this month to focus on important aspects of adoption and orphan care.  With each blog post, I hope to talk about issues important to me, highlight families and people acting for orphans, and encouraging others to do something for orphans.  I also hope to incorporate posts of what I am thankful for in order to remind myself of the blessing granted to me....for it is the month of thanksgiving.....a direct irony of orphan awareness month and yet the two work so well together. 

For today, I will start with stats.  I found these on a website focused on orphan care.  The numbers vary from source to source but are basically the same and make the same point.....  Try to swallow the is not easy. The question I ask myself and you.... Where do we go from here?

From (pretty consistent with other research)...includes USA foster care system
~Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans
~Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)
~143,000,0002 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home
~Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
~Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system
~Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT
~Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home
~In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals. Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls
are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

****Thankfulness:  Today I am thankful for an afternoon with my son while studying and explaining to him logistics of the childhood movies...I am thankful for the little moments at home between work and life.