Monday, October 31, 2011


Have you entered our raffle???? Two posts below are all of the items!  You do not want miss out!  Tons of great stuff and low entry cost... just hit the Paypal button on the right to enter!! 

Nov 10 is the day!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Gracious Donors

I wanted to do a post with a bit of info our those people who donated items for our RAFFLE so that you could know more about each item and why it is special AND why you should buy a chance to be a winner.

147 Million Orphans:
From them: We are two moms who love orphans! We met six years ago as we were both going through our first adoptions (one domestic and one international) … Thirteen kids and seven adoptions later, we are bound together through faith and mission. We love “doing life together” and accepting the call to speak up for orphans everywhere. We want to help as many people as possible to see the 147 million orphans as scripture calls them, “…those who have no voice.” We want you to see YOUR PART in helping change the life of an orphan. Could it be adoption, sponsoring a child, volunteering for orphan care ministry, rocking babies at an orphanage, financially supporting someone adopting, or buying these products?

Project Hopeful:
About them:  Every orphaned child hopes for a family and a home. The reality for many children with HIV/AIDS and other special needs is that the chances of having that dream materialize are slim. Time and again, Project HOPEFUL has witnessed that with education, encouragement, and assistance families and individuals can be enabled to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.

What began as a group of mothers on a mission to advocate for their children living abroad with HIV was developed by God into Project HOPEFUL. Today Project HOPEFUL exists to Help Orphans and Parents Eliminate Further Unnecessary Loss… of time, dignity, and life.

Until January of 2010, internationally adopted children with HIV had to immigrate into the US through a different protocol than children without the virus. Carolyn Twietmeyer founded Project HOPEFUL after her eyes were opened to the serious and outdated immigration procedures facing internationally adopted children (especially those with HIV/AIDS). With a strong desire to adopt children most in need of a family, she and her husband, Kiel, adopted a sibling group of three from Ethiopia, one of whom was HIV+. When the Twietmeyers came up against unyielding immigration delays, Project HOPEFUL was created.

In 2007, working closely with EACH - Equality for Adopted Children, and EACH's Founder, McLane Layton, Carolyn went to Washington, D.C. to advocate for critically needed changes to the immigration process for HIV/AIDS adoptions. Together, Project HOPEFUL and EACH met with Congressional staff and government officials to advocate for removal of unnecessary barriers and delays that were keeping children with HIV/AIDS from their adoptive families. Through these efforts, Project HOPEFUL and EACH were able to help reduce the time involved in obtaining an HIV immigration waiver from the 3-9 months it was taking down to 10 days or less. Between 2007 and 2010, when the HIV immigration waiver requirement was finally lifted, Project HOPEFUL helped almost 200 families seeking to adopt children with HIV/AIDS. Streamlining the process for these highly vulnerable children has been life-saving for many who would not have survived if the changes had not been made.

After a new U.S. immigration tuberculosis screening protocol was imposed that negatively impacted children being adopted with HIV, Carolyn again teamed up with EACH and traveled to Capitol Hill in an effort to make changes. Eventually the tuberculosis screening process for children under 11 was changed to make things more clear and streamlined for adopted children with HIV and/or tuberculosis histories. The changes that were made allows these children to receive the appropriate screening for conditions of concern, while at the same time being able to be united with their families and receive appropriate love, care, and treatment by their adoptive families.

In the years since its inception, Project HOPEFUL also began partnering with University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital pediatric infectious diseases clinic. Together Project HOPEFUL and Univeristy of Chicago have created regional workshops designed to arm individuals and families with powerful medical facts about HIV/AIDS so they can make informed decisions about whether or not adoption is for them. The numbers of UnOrphaned children coming home to the Chicagoland area testifies to the power of local education and support in helping unite adoptive families and combat stigma. Project HOPEFUL is thrilled to report that 100% of families that had previously been undecided committed to pursuing HIV+ adoptions after attending Project HOPEFUL /University of Chicago workshops. Project HOPEFUL desires to replicate this model with other state associations and pediatric HIV specialists around the nation.

Project HOPEFUL has also presented informative breakout sessions at various orphan care conferences around the nation. Steadily there has been increasing awareness about adopting children with HIV/AIDS, and the number of families seeking to adopt positive children has increased. Project HOPEFUL is working to raise funds to aid in children's adoptions in order to help curb any financial hurdles that might prevent otherwise willing families from adopting. Project HOPEFUL continues to raise awareness and advocate for children living with HIV/AIDS and other severe special needs. We are committed to spreading the TRUTH in PANDEMIC proportions, because NO child should perish for of lack of knowledge.

Pitter Patter Art:
From her: My name is Laura Kelley and I started Pitter Patter Art in 2007 to showcase artwork and other crafty things I was creating. I love God and want to serve Him and give Him praise in everything I do. I acknowledge that I need grace and thank God everyday for it. I have been married to my husband Josh for 8 years and there is no one else I would rather do life with than him. Together we are passionate about Africa and specifically the water, AIDS and orphan crisis going on in our world. We are bound and determine to do as God has called us to do and care for our brothers and sisters. “We have to take the risk to get deeply involved with the people we serve. We should really hurt when they hurt. We don’t work for our brothers to feel good. We work for our brothers because we can’t truly be happy if they are not, we can’t be successful without their success, and they can’t hurt with out it hurting us.” I used to be a kindergarten teacher, but once I had my little girl Harper in 2007, I decided to stay home with her.Our family could not have made a better decision. Our son Hud arrived 18 months later and staying home couldn’t get any more fun. We adopted our second son Sol from Ethiopia in July of 2009 and things just couldn’t get much better. I love what I do. And now we are in the process of adopting our third son from Ethiopia as well. I have always enjoyed painting and creating unique pieces of art. Sewing soon became something I loved to do as well. There is rarely a day that goes by that I do not create something…it’s a passion, a sickness and a true, true love. Hope you will enjoy a glimpse into my little world. All proceeds from my site go straight into our adoption fund, so not only are you getting unique, quality items, but you are also helping us bring our next little boy home.

Feeding the Orphans:
A Note from 10 year old Sydney, the founder: When I was 7 years old, I started praying for a sister to add to my 2 brothers. I would sit for hours and watch videos of orphans and read blogs. Then, three years later in November 2009, my parents finally decided to adopt. We brought Helen and Samuel home in November 2010 and now we are in the process of adopting two little boys.

One night we were driving home from my grandparents’ house in Kentucky and Mom wanted to stop and get dinner. The boys were excited, but I said, “I don’t want anything.” We went into the restaurant and ordered our food. When we got back to the car I asked Mom if we could go buy bread for me to eat. She said, “Only if you tell me what is wrong.” I looked at her with tears streaming down my face and said, “WHY SHOULD WE EAT LIKE KINGS AND QUEENS WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING?” I asked for bread and water because the first picture we had of my little sister was of her holding a tiny piece of bread and she had not eaten in days.

God told me to design a t-shirt to sell to raise money to provide food, medical supplies, and clean water to the orphans of Africa. My goal was to raise $500 and it was reached very quickly. I used the money to buy food and supplies for the orphanages when we traveled for my brother and sister’s adoption. With this money, we also fed the street children.

After I got home from the first trip, I really wanted to go back to Ghana with my mom to bring my siblings home and to visit the orphans. I raised the money for my plane ticket and collected supplies to take over. Since then, God has continued to break my heart for the orphans and I just want to follow Him.  Please join my family and I on God’s journey,

Wallace Family:
From them: Our blog started in September 2010, after a couple months of sending out email updates on William's stage 3 Superficial Spreading Melanoma diagnosis. Blogging was the best way to keep everyone updated on William's health status and the needs of our family. On March 23, 2011 we celebrated 6 months of William being cancer free! We let out a long sigh of relief. Ahhhhh.  And then... we refocused. We are the Wallace's and we are about orphans. Not because it's trendy or heroic or because they're cute. We're about orphans because they are precious to God.  He tells us so in James chapter 1 verse 27 - "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." So what does that mean? What does it look like when you don't feel called to sell everything you have, move to Africa and start an orphanage? We are slowly figuring it out.  For us, the first step was to start the adoption process, so one focus of our blog is adoption. We want to be and provide resources for families interested in adoption and foster care. We want to encourage you and pray for you and support you in any way we can.  BUT, there is so much more to James 1:27 than adoption. We are just starting to unpack it. As we do, we are blogging about it - the theology of orphan care, raising kids with a heart for orphans, adoption and funding, foster care, human trafficking, orphan sponsorships, organizations that are doing orphan care well (and how you can support them) and life and how we are living it.

Jenkins Family:

The Jenkins are a family I met through the blog world.  The husband is a doctor and just finished residency a few years ago (what I am doing now).  Debi made us some great ornaments last year and continues to sell them as they continue a very long wait for their Ethiopian child.  Check out her blog and store.

My Crazy Adoption:
From her: Welcome to my crazy life! I love to write. I love my family. I love the craziness of love, mommyhood, and life. The definition of “my crazy adoption” means many things to me personally. My life has been full of joy, challenges, miracles, pain, and crazy adventures. I am adopted by God, married to the man of my dreams, blessed mom to three crazy kids, and wildly passionate about adoption and orphan care! I jumped into blogging four years ago and love sharing my life with you. My desire is to be full-time mommy and adoption advocate at any stage of your journey. I want my blog to provide you support, cheers, encouragement, and hope through parenting and your adoption process. I want to help guide you to the best services for adoption and link you with other adoptive families from domestic, international, and foster care at One-Stop Shop.  My site is faithfully updated six days a week with interesting, thoughtful, and crazy content. Relationships and connections with other bloggers have been cultivated all over bloggy land. The readers at My Crazy Adoption are an interactive group of like-minded individuals who visit regularly, read, contribute their comments and participate in blog events. I will feature a new adoption family and video every month that will inspire you to make a difference. Every family featured has made the important decision to adopt and change the life of an orphan! We are all called to simply love.

Elliot Family:

From her:   I'm mommy to Noah, the coolest little train loving, football and basketball watching, oatmeal eating, dimple smiling, scooter riding, Veggie Tale watching, Jesus loving 6yr. old who thinks he is 15! He has had me wrapped around his little finger since the day I laid eyes on him. He is the best gift God has ever given me! I pray that I raise him to have a servent's heart and that he will be an example to all those around him.  Those who know me would say I am a Mommy first. full time nurse, photographer on the side, scrapbooker, lifetime movie watcher, reading, Casting Crowns lovin, SVU drivin, organizing freak, pasta eating, clothes shopping, frozen coffee drinking, yankee candle and bath and body loving chick......but before all that......I am a child of God ♥ Saved by the blood of my Savior Jesus Christ. I strive everyday to live my life so it will glorify him and show Christ's love through everything I do. I love God with all my heart and am always trying to learn more about him, to grow closer to him.

The Canvas Heart:

From her: Although I live in Texas now, my husband and I served in Ethiopia for two years (one year in Addis, the other in a small village). I spent over a year learning the language and have just recently decided to use my Amharic language skills as a means to help support my family. So I created an etsy store where I translate names/scriptures/phrases into Amharic. I find alot of joy in using this skill (especially on this side of the ocean) and am eager to share it with others.

Minus 1 Project:
From them: I am a wife and mother of four, soon to be five, currently in the process of adopting from Korea. I have spent the last several months reading, following and enjoying many adoption related blogs. It is fun to read so many stories, all unique in their adoption journey, but with one become families, fathers, mothers, and siblings to those who are alone. My family is no different and I am excited to be able to join the blogging world and to document our adoption story. We are excited and blessed to share with you our family's MINUS 1 PROJECT. We are walking with our Lord, family, and friends to bring home our son or daughter, brother or sister!! Please join us on our journey

Borders Family:
I went to college with Jenny and Stuart.  They are a super sweet couple with twins that are two years old.  They currently adopting from the Congo.  Check out their blog for more info!

Marquis Family:
From them: We've been blessed with the addition of our four year old daughter from Ethiopia. We fell in love with Ethiopia and want to honor the gift of our daughter by continuing to embrace her amazing homeland. Join us on our journey as we become a family of six through international adoption and as we work to support the beautiful country of Ethiopia.  (and their girl came home with Tedi)

We are so thankful for all the donations and encourage you all to buy a raffle ticket.  The picture do not do everything justice!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Giveaway.... Adoption Style

In Honor of Orphan Sunday and our second adoption......

Check this out!!! Several big people in the adoption world as well as families we love and families we are just getting to know have donated the below items. 

There were so many donated items that we have grouped them into two bunches to increase your chance of winning!  The total of the two bunches is valued over $300.  With shipping you would be hard pressed to buy all of this for less than four hundred dollars

Today through November 10th at midnight
Winner will be announced on
(cheesy date, I know, but I actually did not plan it...
it was based on the 10th being the date we turned
in Tedi's adoption application two years ago)

Bunch #1:

147 Million Orphans Shopping Bag

Pitter Patter Art Custom Tee
 (you will contact Pitter Patter Art to custom design yours)

Feeding the Orphans
Size: Adult XL

Wallace Family T-shirt and Necklace
Size: Youth Small in Charcoal Gray (blue is pictured)
"I will not leave you as orphans..."
Wallace Family Necklace

Adoption Canvas by Tiffany Kincaid

Jenkins Family Christmas Ornament

My Crazy Adoption T-Shirt

Size: Men's XL

Marquis Family Africa Hat

Elliot Family T-Shirt (short-sleeved Large) and 2 Bracelets:

Our Shirts and Ornament:
Size: You Choose Color and Size

Bunch #2

Project Hopeful Necklace

My Crazy Adoption T-Shirt
Size: Women's XS

The Canvas Heart: James 1:27 Canvas in Amharic

Minus 1 Project
Got Love: Adopt Tumbler
(cup on the far right)

O'Leary Family: Worth the Wait T-Shirt
Size: Youth 2T

Jenkins Family Christmas Ornament

Borders Family T-Shirts (2 shirts):
Sizes: Large, XL

Marquis Family Africa Purse:

Feeding the Orphans Bracelet

Our Shirts and Ornament:
Size: You choose size and color

How to Enter:
(Pay via Paypal on the right sidebar)
Shipping will be free to the two winners.

$10 for one entry

$20 for two entries

$30 for five entries

$50 for fifteen entries

Free entry (after paying for at least one entry) for one Facebook post about the raffle
(tag me Natalie Stewart Henderson or message me so I know you posted)
Free entry (after paying for at least one entry) for one blog post
 (comment here to let me know you posted)

*in the checkout comments, add which bunch of items you prefer
email for questions:

Thank you for everyone who donated.  I will have blogs to highlight each organization/family
 in the coming days to get their word out as well!

Friday, October 21, 2011

T-Shirts: Orphan Sunday Challenge

My friend, Emily, issued a challenge about adoption t-shirts back at Easter time...  I am going to challenge you again.  Orphan Sunday is NOVEMBER 6, 2011.   Put away your slacks....your blouses....your cardigans.....your sports team shirts.... Pull out an adoption shirt.  If you want to purchase one of ours, we would love the support.  If not, choose any adopting family with a shirt, any organization that supports adoption and REP there shirt on Nov 6. 

Maybe you go to a church that will not emphasize Orphan Sunday.  Well, here is your chance to put the idea in their hearts that serving orphans and the "least of these" really is "church". 

So if you want one of our shirts... or your entire church does....well, email me ... if you don't like our shirts, then email me still and I will direct you to other families or causes in the adoption world. 

November 6.... Don't Forget!


If you are friends with me on facebook, you have seen these and more.  If not, well, here are a few snapshots from our vacation.  On day 3, our camera lens stopped working (it slipped off the cooler into the sand...about six inches...then adamantly refused to work) We have had a great time and hate to leave tomorrow.  We have slept, walked on the beach, laid in the sun, cooked dinners, played a lot, read books, watched movies, and just enjoyed being a little family. 


1) Tedi seeing the beach for the first time
"Mommy, this is awesome"

2) Seeing the deer and alligators

3)  She Crab soup at the marina... amazing!

4) Sleep, rest, sleep, rest, wine

5) Laying in sun (the first three days)

6) The blessing of staying here

Thursday, October 20, 2011


JT here.  I will write this post and know that it will cause everyone to realize how great of a writer Natalie is.  And cause everyone to realize I am not a writer (as you will see below).  I am sure our readers will be clamoring for Natalie again soon!

I came upon the following passage in a book I just finished reading: "Kisses from Katie."  If you have not picked it up, do so.  Now.  Katie is a 22 year-old woman who lives in Uganda and has adopted 14 beautiful Ugandan girls as a single mom.  Her story is amazing and her soul is beautiful.  We have some mutual friends with Katie and have known about her for over two years.  She is an inspration to many- including Natalie and I.  You can find her blog linked to ours as well.  

"But God continued to show me that adoption is His heart, and it was becoming mine.  Adoption is wonderful and beautfiul and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced.  Adoption is also difficult and painful.  Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption.  It is the Gospel in my living room.  And sometimes, it's just hard."

"Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.  And every single day, it is worth it, because adoption is God's heart.  His Word says 'In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5).  He sets the lonely in families (Psalms 68:6).  The first word that appears when I look up adoption in the dictionary is 'acceptance.'  God accepts me, adores me even, just as I am.  And He wants me to accept those without families into my own."

"My family, adopting these children, it is not optional.  It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.'  I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress.  I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much is given, much will be demanded (Luke 12:48)."

This passage, and the entire book, hit me like a ton of bricks.  It sums up many of the feelings that I have on the topic of adoption.  It also challenges me, though.  When we adopted Tedi, life for us had changed.  Not only did we add a member of our family but our outlook on life changed.  Suddenly, my eyes had been opened to the 150million kids who did not have a mommy or daddy.  Things that were important to me (like money, status and sports- don't get me started on the insane importance we place on basketball in the area we live) took a backseat to advocating for orphans.  I thank God everyday that He allowed me to see the orphan crisis up close when I traveled to Afica.  I am a changed man.  Changed for the better.  It is not an easy thing to witness- the extreme poverty and millions of fatherless children.  The responsibility that comes with it is not something I can turn off.  I am so thankful that God has called me to help love these kids.  It is so much better than debating trivial matters like basketball or politics all day!       

Recently, I was filling out a form that asked me to list all of my philanthropic work.  When I wrote out everything that Natalie and I are doing to give back to our community, it looked like an impressive list.  But then I realize that I/we are called to do more.  We have all heard the phrase, "I will sleep when I am dead."  Sometimes, I think that is our family's motto but I realize there is so much work to be done.   

The process of our second adoption has been such a different experience for me.  There are several reasons for this.  First, life is so much busier for us now. We have Tedi to care for now.  Natalie is now a pediatric resident physician and often works 80 hour weeks.  My job is extremely involved and busy- which I love.  I love advocating for children in our community who have been abused and I am so lucky to actually be paid to help rally our region around this cause.  Our first adoption was such a whirlwind that, as I look back on it, seemed to really fly by.  This second adoption is starting really slowly.  We are prepared for the process to take longer this time due to added travel and the Ethiopian government toughening some aspects of adoption. 

As I was at the beach yesterday with my beautiful family: Natalie, my gorgeous, intelligent and driven wife and Tedi, my perfect little boy, I found myself alone and staring out at the Atlantic Ocean.  I came to the realization that about 7000 miles across that big body of water is a child who is destined to become a member of our family.  He does not us; we do not know him.  Yet, he is loved by every fiber of my being.  My heart aches for him because of the "trauma" that Katie speaks about.  It scares me when I allow myself to imagine the scenarios that may have led to his becoming an orphan.  I know that baggage comes along with that.  But I'm willing to deal with this trauma and heartache because I have a Savior who did the same thing for me.  Jesus knows I am screwed up and full of issues.  He does not care and loves me perfectly. 

I cannot stop fighting for my son in Ethiopia.  We have to push on despite the heartache of the wait and the annoyance of international adoption (like having to answer questions about if I can love a child of another color.  Really?  Have you met me and my son Tedi?).

Luke 12:48 "To whom much is given, much is required."

My heart is still in Africa...

50 in 50

So I have been struggling immensely for awhile with my weight and body image but it has been magnified lately.  This is my weakest point, the place where I feel the most inadequate.  I realize that much of this is that our Western culture puts so much value on appearance.  However, as a doctor, a mother, a wife, and an advocate for orphans, how can I be okay with my "fattness"?  How can I tell my patients to lose weight if I cannot?  How can I talk about starving children when I am gluttonous?  Even more than this, I must learn to love myself as Christ loves me.  He loves me fat or thin but at the same time He gave me one body and I am ruining it...

Here is my plan.  I am posting it here publicly more for accountability than anything else.

50 pounds in 50 weeks
*if it happens faster, then great....but this is reasonable, slow, and allows for failures and bad days.  So by the beginning of October 2012, I would like to weigh at least fifty pounds less.

Exercise at least three times per week
*I often use the 60-80 hour work weeks (yes, this is really what I work many weeks) and I have a kid EXCUSES but I can no longer make these excuses.... The motto of a book I just read, How Lucky Can You Be, was "Don't Whine, Don't Complain, Don't Make Excuses".... no more excuses.

6 Glasses of Water each day
*I love diet coke. I love carbonated beverages in general.  It would be unrealistic of me to say "NO MORE SODA or COFFEE". I would surely fail.  But I can get my water in to balance this....

Fast Weekly:
*When we were in the process of adopting Tedi, we fasted from food from after dinner on Tuesday until dinner on Wednesday.  It was not fancy; it was not taxing but it was a lesson.  I am going to restart this, both to help me focus on my diet, the reason for doing it and remind me of the abundance I have, but to also refocus me on our remind me of children and people who have little when I am gluttonous, even on a diet.  I will not complain or boast in this fast... simply take liquids and gum from Tuesday after dinner till Wednesday night... that is only breakfast and lunch (and the incessant snacking)  What do you think?

Post Monthly Progress
*I likely won't share my weight.  That is a little TOO vulnerable even for the ever honest me.... However, I will tell you if I am down or up and where I stand.  But it will only be monthly.  I hate when all someone talks about on facebook is the gym or their diet...

Run a 5K in 6 months
*My friend Erica promised to do this with me.... cause I loathe running but it is a good goal.

*I believe rewards help us meet our goals.  As I thought about this, I kept thinking....what should I do for each milestone... A new pair of nice jeans, a massage, a purse, a Sephora trip, or some other indulgance that I love.... But after reading How Lucky Can You Be, Red Letters, Crazy Love and Kisses from Katie in the last 7 days, I can't quite stomach any of that... So I am still trying to come up with something useful, something celebratory to give back to others.... maybe donate my old clothes to a worthy cause or the amount of weight I have lost in groceries to another family... or something.  Any ideas?

*I would love if anyone interested wants to join me.  My email is if you want to join or have questions or suggestions and encouragement!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


So I am going to write about it.  In my human heart, I am frustrated.  Even before Ethiopia is actually involved in this adoption, the process is frustratingly slow (is that even a word).  Most of this is due to fundraising.  With our first adoption, we had a few big donations early on making it much easier to have the funds for the initial fees.  Plus, with this adoption, we have to $7300 before we can send our dossier to Ethiopia, and it was ~$4000 before.  God is providing in His timing, but never in the timing we expect.

Yet, I know God's timing is pefect.  I know that He knows exactly where our next child is, when they will come home, where the funds will come from, when the papers will be mailed.  My human self is so weak and so doubting, wanting control, wanting to do it in American time (fast) rather than His time (perfect). 

So I must wait... I must do what I can in terms of endless paperwork and such but pray for God's financial provision. Pray for his peace.  Pray for me to be always aware of His timing rather than mine. 

We wait because he is worth it and the next one will be as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Trip to the Beach

This was Tedi's first trip to the beach.  Thank you to my aunt for allowing us to stay in her place.  Only thing we have to pay for: gas and food. 

Our man was ready to go.  Check out a preview of a view pictures from our first day.


end to a great day