Not much new on the adoption front for us......it seems that wait times continue to get a little longer. There's really no way to know if this trend will continue or not. During this time of waiting there will not be much to report about our personal adoption - we will not really hear anything until the day they call us with our referral. We are involved in a great yahoo group where we can follow along with other families who are also adopting through our agency from Ethiopia. Through their journeys and wait times coupled with the information on wait times our agency gives we can try to guesstimate what our wait time will be. Right now, the wait (from the time our papers went to Ethiopia (DTE) until we get a referral) is about 9 months which would put us at getting a referral sometime in July. There is really no way of knowing for sure, so it's just a guess.
While we wait I continue to contemplate what God would have me do on behalf of orphans. He has certainly given me a heart for them and I feel there is something else for me to do...I just don't know what it is. I will continue to seek out what it might be. In the meantime, I hope to encourage all of you to also think about the same.
Below is part of an article I found about Ethiopia and it's orphans:
Ethiopia to see sharp rise in orphans running households: NGO
Nov 7, 2008
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - Ethiopia will by 2010 see a four-fold increase in the number of orphaned children aged between nine and 19 who are heading families due to AIDS, poverty and conflict, a local NGO said on Friday.
Some 225,000 households will be run by children, up from 77,000 in 2005, Addis Ababa-based African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) said in a report.
"This is going to be an explosive problem," said Assefa Bequele, the agency's director.
"In some households, the oldest child is also the principal care-giver to a terminally-ill parent," said the report.
Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest countries. The government estimates that 1.5 million Ethiopians are infected with HIV, while the World Health Organization says nearly 2.8 million are infected.
Can you imagine? Children running homes. My intention is certainly not to sound preachy here, but it is to make you think. It's to make us all think. I really do believe that God wants to use us to care for "the least of these". He tells us so. Children and those who cannot care for themselves are closest to God's heart. They are the people Jesus spent most of his time with. Do our lives look like Jesus' in this way?
Please join me in searching for how God wants us to respond to what we now know. If you are interested in continuing the dialogue and sharing ideas, please leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!
TOMS shoes is donating a pair of shoes to Ethiopians for every pair you buy - One for One. They are working towards raising 30,000 for Ethiopia! You can help by shopping - get a great pair of comfy shoes for yourself while helping someone else out - Just in time for Christmas, too! This video will help explain why it is so important to have shoes to stay healthy.
So help by shopping.......talk about an easy way to help!
It's been two months since our dossier was sent to Ethiopia - we're so busy the time has gone quickly, but waiting isn't easy. The current wait for an infant is 7-9 months. (more like 9!) So, we are looking at waiting another 7 months or so until we see a picture of our baby.
I found this song (from movie Fireproof) and it describes perfectly how I feel about our wait. Enjoy.....
Jesus and his sacrifice for me, my wonderful husband, three great kids, my parents, my siblings, family, friends, church family and the freedom to worship, God's grace, peace, days at home with my family, dinners spent together, home, music, our school, health, purposeful employment, God's calling to Ethiopia, our child there and their family, lazy summer days, girlfriends and good conversation, chocolate, sunsets, walks on the beach, education, opportunities to serve, the kids in my class at school, godly co-workers and their friendships, a warm sweater on cold days, hot baths and hot cocoa, fires in the fireplace, cool fall days and the changing of the leaves, snow days, the freshness of spring, holidays to gather together, my Wednesday night Bible study, beauty of all God has created, His promises, my marriage, cookies, good smelling candles, cell phones, hearing my kids laugh and watching them grow, forgiveness and God's faithfulness......just to name a few.
This week is an exciting week as several families will be traveling to pick up their new little ones in Ethiopia! I only have blogs for a few of them, but if you'd like to check in on their journey next week, here they are:
(Note: The Juvinalls are from Normal, Illinois for those of you who live close to us. The VanWettens just traveled a couple of weeks ago to get their 1 yr old daughter and are now going back for their older daughter!)
Today we got some disappointing news about our possible wait time. It may be longer. :(
We had been expecting that we might get a referral in May and travel sometime in July. While that is not completely out of the question, it is looking less likely that that will happen. Referral times have slowed down as of late. Let me see if I can explain it to you.....
Ethiopian courts close for 2 months from August - October. Families must pass court before they are able to go and get their children and bring them home. If they are not able to get court dates due to court closure, the transition home they send the kids to once they are referred stays full (because people aren't able to travel to go pick up their children). As long as the transition home is full, they cannot move any more children there to prepare them (paperwork, physicals,etc.) to refer to new families. So, there is a slow down in referrals. In a nutshell, this is what has happened. So, we are looking at a longer wait time because of this slow down. Normally, this wouldn't be that big of a deal, except for the timing for us. It is likely that we may receive a referral too late to receive a court date before courts close next August, which means we would not travel until this time next year. Yikes!
Our agency is making some changes in the program and we are hopeful that this might help, but no one really knows.
Am I disappointed? Of course. Do I wish it were sooner? Yes. Heres the thing: I have zero control. Nada. Zip. Zero. What are you going to do? There really is no hurry except I want to know our baby - I want to hold them and have them here. I can't wait for that day. Until that day I'll just have to trust that it's all in God's timing....He'll work out the details and the day will in fact come!
Lately, several people have asked me about where we are in our adoption and how they can pray for us (I LOVE that question!). So, being ever so grateful that people want to pray for us, I have compiled a list of things that we would appreciate prayer for:
For our baby's health (probably in utero....?) and for proper nutrition and provision for all it needs for healthy development
For our baby's birth parents. I cannot imagine being in their shoes and wonder often what it is they are going through.....do they know they will have to give their baby up, are they living in extreme poverty, are they sick, will the mother die in childbirth? Adoption is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately it always begins with a loss.
For peace and patience as we wait and anticipate the many changes that will be yet to come for our family.
Financial provision for this adoption. God is so good, and so far we have always had the money we needed when the next payment came due. We are fully expecting that He will continue to take care of us in this way!
That we will enjoy these last months as a family of five and not wish our time away!
Lastly, pray for the orphans of this world and how God might use all of us to care for them.
As for the other question of where we are, the answer is: WAITING We will not hear anything else or really have any new news until next spring - probably May at the earliest. Thanks for your prayers - Have a great week!
Our family went today to try our first taste of Ethiopian food. I am both happy and relieved to report that we liked it - all of us! I was a bit nervous because I am not all that adventurous with my food tastes, especially with spicy food, but it was great. We tried different dishes with beef, chicken and lamb. Yum!
Ethiopian food is served on a sour flat bread called injera. You use the injera to grab or soak up the stews, meats and vegetables. Some of it is quite spicy, but we told them we were first-timers and I think they went a bit easy on us! It was a lot of fun to experience this little piece of the culture. There were some other Ethiopian men in there eating at the same time, so it was fun to try to listen as they spoke to one another in Amharic (one of the main languages in Ethiopia). We told our server (I think also the owner?) that we would be traveling to Ethiopia, hopefully next summer. He said, "Oh, you must be getting a baby!" I told him that we were and he replied, "Well, I hope you'll get more than one!" We left promising to be back someday with the newest member of our family!
That's the number of orphans in the world. (estimated, of course) It's a big number. Children whose parents have died or who have been abandoned. It's a staggering number. Too big to comprehend, really. Let me put it into perspective for you.....
This number is half the population of the United States.
If you lined up all the orphans shoulder to shoulder, (1700 per mile), there would be enough children to go around the equator of the world 3 times
If you drove at 60 miles per hour past this line of children, 24 hours a day, you would still be passing children after 60 days
Every 18 seconds a child becomes an orphan
In sub-saharan Africa, there are 13 million orphans because of AIDS alone. (predicted to grow to 40 to 50 million AIDS orphans in Africa by 2010)
Every 13 seconds another child is orphaned due to AIDS in Africa.
It's hard to take in. Hard to imagine. Harder yet to imagine that we can even begin to make a difference. None of us alone can make a difference to 143 million children. Why even bother?
Because we can make a difference to one. (or two, or three....) Because God tells us to. Because if we all do it together, we CAN make a difference. Do you know that approximately 1/3 of Christians contemplate adoption, but only 2% ever do adopt? Do you know how many more children could be helped if more would act on their contemplation? If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. All children would have a family.....think about that. The thing that might be going through your mind right now is something like, "We aren't all supposed to adopt children.".......well, we are all supposed to have some part in taking care of the orphans of this world. Maybe it is to adopt, maybe it isn't. That is between you and God, but I think you will agree that the statistics are mind boggling and something needs to be done. What will your part be?
Yea!! Several families from our agency passed court in Ethiopia today making their children legally their own!! If you'd like to take a look at some adorable Ethiopian babes, take a look at their blogs!!
WOW!! That's all I can say after seeing the African Children's Choir this past weekend. Nathan and I were in Wisconsin while he was attending a continuing education course and I was looking in the phone book for a church to attend on Sunday morning. I found one I thought I was interested in, so I went to the church website and I couldn't believe it - the African Children's Choir was singing the next day!! I have been interested in seeing the choir in the past (I love vocal music and obviously African children!:) but had never had the opportunity. The children were amazing - full of energy and joy as they sang and a real picture of hope for the African countries they come from.
The children in the choir are from very poor villages and many have lost either one or both parents. Their future in Africa without this organization would have been very bleak. The parent organization of the choir, Music for Life, helps these children break away from the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. Once the children are selected for the choir, they are trained for several months before they go out and begin touring. They travel to many European countries, Canada and the US.
The work this organization does is invaluable. Through the donations they collect at their concerts, the choir is able to support numerous schools in Uganda and other African countries. Donations also support emergency relief efforts to ensure destitute children and their families receive the food, clothing, medical assistance and counseling they need to survive and flourish. Choir children return to their homelands to attend primary and secondary schools sponsored by Music for Life Institute. Many of them will go on to college or technical or vocational schools and develop skills that will enable them to lead full, productive lives while contributing to their homeland. Some of the children have gone on to be teachers, doctors, engineers, social workers and other professional leaders in Africa.
What a world of good this organization is doing! I encourage you to check out their website:
Well, one thing is for sure - this adoption thing is a roller coaster!
Yesterday, we received the wonderful news that our dossier had been approved and sent to Ethiopia - It was a time of feeling God's faithfulness and knowing that He would bring us through this adoption and provide for all our needs! It's easy to feel that way when things are going well.....
Later that afternoon, we received an email from our agency that our adoption fees were increasing and will affect us to the tune of an extra $3000 we weren't planning on. Hmmmm.......where did that feeling of certainty and celebration I had earlier go? Now, $3000 may not be a lot to some of you, but at this point, it is huge to us considering what we were already needing to come up with. I felt so discouraged and even angry that this would be happening. I mean, we're trying to do a good thing here, and these obstacles just make it harder!!
So, after feeling anger, fear, and bewilderment, I came to this: I cannot control this. I cannot change the fees, even if I wanted to. (and BTW - the fees are being raised because of increased costs everywhere and our agency's desire to provide good care for the children in Ethiopia before they come home as well as add more staff there, etc. The cost of food in Ethiopia has gone up by 400%!) The only thing I can control in this situation is my response, and so, I have a choice. I can sit in fear and entertain my anxiety, or I can choose to trust Him. God knew about these fee increases from the beginning - nothing surprises Him. He is our provider and so even when we can't see where all of this is going to come from, we have to trust that it will in fact come. (although I'd really love a post it note letting me know the plan!) We believe that this is God's plan for our family and He isn't going to leave us now. I cannot tell you that I won't have moments of stress and anxiety, but I am going to do my best to not let that overcome me. I will choose to trust!
We got an email from our family coordinator today that our dossier was sent to Ethiopia on Friday!! So, our official DTE is 10-03-08!! I went to track our package today and found out it is ALREADY in Ethiopia!! It is so exciting to think that the hands that are handling our dossier now are Ethiopian hands!
Many people have asked me, "What is next?" Well, we wait. That's it. We've pretty much done all we can do for about the next 7 months.....now our official wait begins. Our agency estimates that we will wait about 5-7 months for a referral of an infant of either sex.....although I've never seen anyone wait only 5 months, it tends to be closer to 7 months. (BTW - this can change at any time - the wait can become longer or shorter). This is just a guestimate - their best guess based upon past referrals.
Thank you for your prayers - Thank you, God, for seeing us this far!
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 57:9,10
Well, I've been waiting to post because I really thought we were going to get an email from our adoption agency on Friday saying that we were officially DTE (dossier to Ethiopia). Unfortunately, I have no exciting news to report. We received no such email.....maybe next week. I do know they received the dossier and it was supposed to be reviewed this week. I also know that once your dossier is reviewed by the agency and approved you have "marked your place in line." So, even if it hasn't been sent to the Ethiopian government, our agency still has us on their waiting list - make sense?
As we wait, I have been thinking a lot about our child (most likely in utero) and their parents. What is happening in their lives that will bring them to have to give up their child? Do they know of their future heartbreak now or will it come as a result of something yet to come? Is the mother sick? Will they give up their child due to poverty......because they can't care for their child themselves? It breaks my heart to think of any of these possible scenarios. How could it ever be easy to give up a child?
I pray for our child - for God's provision for it's health and nourishment. For provision for the parents and God's presence in their lives. That He will comfort them through whatever they are going through. And most importantly, that they will know God in a real and personal way.
It's weird to feel a concern and affection for people you've never met. To want to help and know that you can only pray. (the best thing to do anyway). I would ask you to also pray for this family and whatever their circumstances may be when you think of our adoption.
Our family is going to have to make some big decisions in the next year. We are about to change a lot of things about our lives....sometimes that is exciting, sometimes it's scary. It gives me great peace to trust that as long as we look to God for guidance and direction, He will order our steps. I found this poem below, and it speaks to that. (author unknown)
“One day as I was out walking - a thought occurred to me; Perhaps the Lord up in Heaven is making plans for me. Maybe he’s planning my every step - what I will do and say; Maybe he’s planning some glorious things - if only I follow His way. Dear Lord, I call - I give You my all; please mold my life lest I fall. My vision is clear, and now I can see; I know that the Lord up in Heaven - is making plans for me."
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 Here's hoping that this promise brings you hope and peace today, too!
Most people who know me know that I love accessories. (jewelry, purses, etc.) Well, my blog is no different.....I love to change the look and play with colors and accessorize! So, yes, my blog looks different again...check back often to see if I have a new look. I'll probably change it every so often - it's just like jewelry! :)
Well, our dossier is out of our hands!! I took it to Springfield today to get certification. Then I made copies and sent it off to our agency by Fed Ex! I double, triple and quadruple checked it and I'm still a little nervous that I forgot something. It's out of our control now, though. (not sure whether to make a happy or sad face here!) So, Terra, our adoption coordinator should receive our dossier by the end of the week and will review it on Monday. Hopefully it will all look good and our agency will send it by courier to the Ethiopian Embassy and the US State Department for authentication. (it's all very official sounding, don't you think?!) After that, they will send it off to Africa! All of this means that we could possibly be DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) by next Friday, Oct. 3 and THEN we can OFFICIALLY start waiting. (approx. 7 months for referral - subject to change:)
Thank you for your prayers as we have completed this part of our process.....now we just wait. I'm sure that will seem easy at first as we are so relieved to be through the first part, but I know that becomes hard - especially in the end. We still covet your prayers!!
Well, here it is.....our I171-H!! Doesn't look that exciting to you? I know it may not look like anything special, but here's the thing - We couldn't do ANYTHING else in our adoption process without it! We are so excited that it's here!! This letter officially states that the US government has determined that we are able to furnish proper care to an orphan and we are approved to adopt.
What's the next step?! Well, we will gather all of our documents, get the final copy of our home study from our social worker, get everything certified by the state, make copies and send it off to our agency! Hopefully, they will find everything to be in order and authenticate our documents and then send them off to Ethiopia - at that point we will receive our DTE date (dossier to Ethiopia) and begin our official wait!! We will wait approx. 7 months for a referral from that date!
We are grateful to be one step closer to our baby! Yea!
I find this adoption journey giving me lots of opportunity for growth. I have to be honest....not all of it is welcome, but it is there just the same. I have this inner conflict going on that goes something like this...one moment I am trusting God completely, another I am trying to control things and figure out all the details, time scenarios, finances, etc. in my head.....then I will go back to giving it to God only to take it all back upon myself again. Does anyone else do this? Do you struggle to hand things over to God and then leave them in His lap? Now, I trust Him, I really do - I just like to have control and before I even realize it I have taken back all or part of what I have trusted Him with. I don't mean to. I like to have a plan and I like to know how things are going to work out. (doesn't everyone?) I have gone over every possible time scenario, a thousand scenarios of how we can make it out of this adoption debt free, and countless possibilities of what it will be like once our baby comes home. When I try to control things, it only ends in frustration. Honestly, it's only when I bring myself back to God and lay things at His feet that I feel better. It's only when I ask Him to help me remember what brought us to this adoption in the first place - an opportunity to be used by Him, to glorify Him in the process and an opportunity to trust Him for all that we need - that I feel better. As we get further into this process I find myself having to remind myself more and more of the reasons we began this journey in the first place, lest it become about waiting for immigration or worrying about some other detail. Ultimately, this is His adoption and so I will continue to try to truly give all the details to Him and stop pretending that I have any control anyway!
Mr. Postman.... So many days you passed me by See the tears standin' in my eyes You didn't stop to make me feel better By leavin' me a card or a letter
Mister Postman, look and see If there's a letter in your bag for me (Please, please Mister Postman)
Why's it takin such a long time Wait a minute Mr. Postman...... Well, Mr. Postman has still not brought our I171-H.....I keep thinking our next post will be that we received this form and we're movin' on!! Someday......
Someone in our adoption Yahoo group shared this and I wanted to pass it on:
Natural Child: Any child who is not artificial. Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary. Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else's child. Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.
Waiting is hard......no matter what you are waiting on. Some of you reading this blog are waiting for a child, others may be waiting for something else in their lives. Whatever we are waiting on, God is faithful and His timing is perfect. Below is a verse I am using as my life verse during this adoption. It gives me peace that all things are in God's control and His timing. I hope it will encourage you today, too!
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3
Today, one of my second grade students, a boy with a mischievous smile and a tender heart, approached me and asked, "Why can't you just go get that baby?!" I explained to him that it took a lot of time, there was a lot of paperwork and it took time to gather all the money we needed. He perked right up and said, "Oh, Mrs. Garrison, that's no problem! My family has lots of money! My dad is really generous too - He writes lots of people bills! I'll just have him write you a bill, too!"
Is that not the cutest thing you've ever heard? (If you could see his little face, it would be even cuter!) I loved his enthusiasm to help and the simplicity of the way he saw things.....In his mind - problem solved - jump on the plane! If only it were that easy!! I didn't have the heart to explain to him we'd rather have a check - we have plenty of bills already! :)
Well, not much is new here on the adoption front......still waiting for the coveted I171-H.....hopefully it will come in the next couple of weeks so we can get this paperwork out of here! Can't wait!
School started this week, which means back to routine. I always fight it a little bit and feel sad to give up my "free" time, but I also love getting back on a schedule. I'm so much more productive somehow! This is a week of adjustment as we train our bodies to get up early (the saddest part of all) and get accustomed to our new schedule. Our kids are in 7th, 5th and 4th grades this year - I can hardly believe it!
We love the Christian school that I teach at and our kids go to, so we feel blessed to be there again this year. It's been great to get back and see all of our friends as we've missed them over the summer.
Thank you for keeping our adoption in your prayers. This week a family who had received their referral for a baby girl in Ethiopia had an awful thing happen.....their baby died of pneumonia before they could go get her. We feel heart broken for them. What a difficult thing. Please keep the Joner family in your prayers, too.
I know you're out there....our counter at the bottom of the page is moving! Don't be afraid to leave comments or questions so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself! Don't be shy! :)
It's back to school for me - a great, but busy, time of the year! The kids come on Monday, so I am busy preparing my classroom and lesson plans so I will be ready when they come. I have 24 kids this year, so it will be a full year!
Hayden is at camp this week and I am really missing him.....he's our sweet tender hearted boy who loves for us all to be home together, so I am sure he is missing us, too. I hope he's having a great time!
That's all for now - nothing new on the adoption front....just "busy" waiting! Please pray for our next steps (I171-H) to go quickly so we can start our "official" wait!
I promise that one of these days I am going to post more than videos, but for now I found another good one that I wanted to share! This video makes me think.....we only get one chance at this life....what are we going to do with it?
Besides waiting, not a whole lot has been happening with our adoption. So, we were glad when our adoption agency approved our home study this week! One more step done!! It feels like we should be almost ready to send off our paperwork, but we have more waiting ahead of us. Our home study was sent this week to the intercountry adoption coordinator for DCFS for approval. (This was a step we previously didn't know about or forgot about somewhere along the line.) So, hopefully, she will approve it quickly and it can be sent off to USCIS so we can get our I171-H!!
Through it all, I hope to become a better "waiter". For those of you who know me well, you know that patience is not my strongest attribute (no comments, please!). I like to get things done and move on to the next thing. I don't like things hanging over my head that need to be accomplished. And I don't like uncertainty. I also don't like waiting for other people to do what I need them to do. Unfortunately, adoption includes all of these. I am learning to be content in the wait. I am learning to trust that God is in control and will see to it that every detail is taken care of. I'm learning to sit and wait for Him to move in His timing. Old habits die hard - I'm certainly not claiming to be good at any of this. Probably will never be my strength. You will probably never stand in awe at my patience with things out of my control.....or anything else for that matter. Thank goodness God is patient with me, and maybe through this journey He can teach me to be more like Him.
I am very excited about our adoption. I can't wait till the baby comes home. It seems like a very long wait. Please pray for our process. You can also pray for its mother and father in Ethiopia. Also pray for the baby's health. Pray for our family while we wait. Hayden
This post is an effort to answer questions many of you have had about where we are in the adoption process! We are currently in the "paper-chasing" phase of our adoption. This is where they collect more information about you than you ever knew about yourself and then notarize it! (yes, please notarize how much I weigh - be sure to get that documented!) We've collected financial papers, medical forms, recommendations, employment verifications, insurance verifications, pictures of our family and house, and the list goes on. We've met with a social worker 4 times and she is in the process of writing an oh-so-interesting home study which includes all the details of our lives! We are anxiously waiting for her to complete this step since we can't go any further without it. (Is there a polite way to say, "Hurry up, you're holding up the show!".........I didn't think so)
Once our home study is complete (next week...?!), we will make necessary corrections and finalize it to send off to USCIS (immigration) and we will wait again (wait is a popular word when describing adoption!) for them to send us our I171-H form which states we can in fact adopt an orphan and bring them home! Please pray for this to be processed quickly - we recently heard of a family who waited 3 months!
This will be the last thing we need before we can send our dossier (all of our papers, home study, etc.) to Ethiopia. - THEN we will officially begin the wait! From that time our agency estimates that we will wait 7-9 months for the referral of an infant of either sex. Once we accept our referral, we will travel 8-12 weeks after that.
Whew - it's quite a process....makes me tired just typing about it.
I've been thinking a lot about apathy lately......Apathy towards others and apathy towards the many needs of those around us. (I am speaking more to myself than anyone here....) How often do we actually step up and do something that costs us something ?- I mean really costs us. We are people who use most of our time and resources to pursue our own comfort without actually really stopping to reflect on what we could be doing for others. I would venture to guess that on a day to day basis not many of us are actually living with other's needs in mind.
Part of the problem is this: We have bought a lie. We have bought the lie that we cannot make a difference. The problems around the world (or in our own neighborhood for that matter) are so big that there is nothing we could do to make it better. It paralyzes us and keeps us from doing anything at all. So, we all sit and wait for someone else to make it better. We get emotionally moved when we see the starving children on TV or when we watch a documentary about how someone ELSE made a difference......unfortunately, very few of us actually make the effort to follow that example and do something ourselves.
I want to be different (I am not yet, I assure you). I want my children to be different. I want to use the resources, time, and abilities God has given me to do good in the world while I am here. I want to trust God enough to know that even when things look impossible or feel scary, He will take care of me. He will take care of my family.
What each one of us can do feels small to us, but here's the thing: God isn't small. He can take our meager offerings of service and use them together for good. If each one of us do the part He asks of us, just imagine the possibilities. ...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. (Proverbs 24:12)
GOT COFFEE?! We do!! And we need you to drink it! Ethiopia's major export is coffee. However, most coffee farmers in developing countries live in poverty because their coffee is not sold at a fair trade price. Here's the good news: You can help! Our family is selling coffee from an organization called 963 missions. They only buy coffee at a fair trade price. There are five different kinds of coffee (one specifically from Eastern Africa, but some from other parts of the world as well) and a cocoa that is grown in Ghana. Here is the other good news: When you purchase their coffee from us or through our website (link to the right), you are also helping us with our adoption expenses ($22-25,000 - yikes!). We keep 40% of what we sell that will be donated directly into an account to help us bring our baby home. (BTW - The Sample pack is sold at their cost and does not benefit us when you order it.) Now, I know lots of you drink LOTS of coffee.....please consider helping in this way. Our kids are taking ownership of this project and would love to talk to you about your order, or you can order online - either way, we are appreciative! This will be an ongoing project for the next year or so, so if you like it, come back and order more. You can also sign up for their Monthly Obsession, where the coffee is automatically shipped to you every month. Thanks for your support of us and the coffee farmer!
I realize that many of you who are reading this will already know about our lives.....this post is mostly for those of you who don't know us or are getting to know us through this adoption journey. When reading other people's blogs I always love knowing a little bit about them, so here goes..... We are Nathan and Kathy Garrison. We have been married for 16 years (am I really old enough for that!?!) and we have three great kids. Haley is 12 (7th grade) , Hayden is 11 (5th grade) and Emma is 9 (4th grade). Nathan works as a physical therapist at a local hospital and Kathy works as a second grade teacher at a Christian school.
We decided to adopt towards the end of April 08 and sent in our application to America World the first week of May. Things have been moving along pretty well with our paperwork process......we are currently waiting for our home study to be finished! We have requested an infant 0-12 mos. of either sex from Ethiopia. (although Hayden is really hoping for a boy!) We did not request a boy or a girl mostly because this entire adoption is really God's and we figure he has a plan of exactly who he wants to put in our family anyway!
Why adopt? There actually isn't a good short answer to that question....it seems bigger than what I could adequately explain in a blog post, but I will try.
This adoption is really a faith journey for us. We feel so blessed with all we've been given in our lives and feel like God wants to use us in this way. God has blessed us with so much and we feel like it is our responsibility and privilege to share it. I am not just talking about material blessings, but blessings of faith, family, health, good marriage, church and wonderful friends. If we, with all of these blessings, are not to reach out to others, then who will? To whom much is given, much is expected.
As I have researched adoption I have learned much about the desperate state of so many orphans around the world. I can no longer pretend that I don't know. I can no longer sit and hope that someone else does something about it. I realize that we are only adopting one child and that will not change the world . It will, however, change the world for that child and for our family. And maybe it will inspire someone else to do the same.
We do not have all of the answers to how this will work, how it will be paid for or what it will look like for our family when this new little one comes home. However, we do trust that God has those answers and because he has called us to this, he will provide. We are trusting in him for the answers we don't have. I can't wait to see what he's going to do.
We are a family of ten...striving to live the lives that please God...getting it wrong a lot of the time, but trying nonetheless. We have eight beautiful children...three were given to us through birth and five through the miracle of adoption. We feel blessed to be living the life we've been given.
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
~ 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 ~ 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world) ~ There are roughly 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia ~ 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 ~ Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000 ~ Severe drought struck country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)