Fun and fantastic is the way Bob described our Halloween! The boys were so amazing with all their excitement throughout the night! We had good friends here who were new to all the WV hoopla. Grandparents stopped to see the costumes. Grandpa Ron made amazing chili and manned the porch so we could all walk with the kids. Just watching their eyes sparkle as they shook off the cold night air and ran from house to house was so precious. Hayden informed us that at one house Owen even asked for two of whatever they were passing out and it made us recall the days when Hayden would ring the doorbell and say, "trick or treat, I'm allergic to peanuts." People would melt in their doorways or simply dissolve into laughter. Halloween is always a magical night and a favorite celebration of costumes, candy, all the neighbors out taking photos in the cal-de-sac and of course chili and anything pumpkin we can think of. Our Halloween traditions are a blast and this year Frankenstein and my two mummies enjoyed it all! Just think... perhaps next year I will be able to make a little girl's costume. :)
We have had a wild ride of a week around our house and I have not had the chance to update our blog. That's the very reason I love this online journal of sorts... it helps me keep track of all the many changes and updates as we move through our adoption. So about a week ago I received an email informing our family that we had moved from 44 to 37 on the wait list. This is big movement in one months time! Apparently IN late September through early October the courts close in Ethiopia. That means few referrals are likely to occur at that time since the adoption system is slow and quiet. In spite of the closure it would seem that Hannah's Hope is busting at the seams with infants and they are working hard to match children with families. Remember the referral means we have a match! More later I have to run. :)
So as crazy as it sounds today was a day where I wished I could have 14 more children in my life! I warned you it sounded crazy but today was one of the best afternoons we have had as a family. The boys were out of school today for a teacher's inservice. They began their morning with a bit of relaxation and by building a skatepark in the garage. The ramps required that I back the car out and they went to town with any wood they could find. They organized everything and had piles of scooters, skateboards, helmets, pads and of course piles of wood they could add to the ramps. The whole endeavor took them hours and it was quite a sight to behold. Bob worked half a day. We organized backpacks, figured out homework and then cleaned up to spend the afternoon and evening downtown. The guys were a blast!!!!
We started at Cathedral Square and saw the ladders and the Giving Tree. The boys had notebooks and we encouraged them to sketch what they saw or perhaps describe or define it. We traveled next to Calder Plaza and on to BIggby to warm up with coffee and hot cocoa. They guys were dreamy and so fun to watch as they absorbed all the art, some good and some, well the boys are already little critics."Are the ladders really art Mommy or are they more like a creative project?" Carter asked. Owen could not wait to get into the Old Federal Building where several of the top art pieces are housed. Both he and I had visited the area this week and he really remembered the pieces he loved. He owned the place, wanting his Dad and brothers to see it all. How can a five year old be so in love with ART?
I guess I am just sitting here tonight counting my many blessings. I am blessed to have such amazing children and a husband who feels the same way I do. It is our responsibility to teach them all we can, to guide them and to show them the ways of God. They fill our lives with such joy, spirit, concern and love. I am in awe of the gift God has given us in giving is three brilliant and beautiful children. The joy they provide makes me wish I could have more. More children to love. More children to teach. More children to cherish and guide. I can't wait to know who is next to join our family.
During our recent visit to Ethiopia I felt very called to the village of Korah in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. There have been numerous rumblings lately about the tremendous need to help the children of Korah who are growing up in and around the local trash dump. The village was established 75 years ago as a place to send people with leprosy who were said to be cursed. Now there is a 3rd generation of people living in Korah with nearly 100,000 suffering from such things as leprosy, HIV, misc disease and of course malnutrition. There are many children of Korah who have been forced to live and work at the trash dump in hopes of finding food and possible items to sell in Korah's center of town. With the start of the Great Hope Church in Korah and the building of a shelter, along with the ministry of local Sammy Liben and Sumer Yates, there is now a feeding program and a sponsorship program in place to rescue the forgotten children of Korah and send them to boarding school where they can escape the horror of the conditions of living and working in a large trash dump. For more information please visit:
www.help4korah.blogspot.com or www.p61.org where you can learn more about how you or your organization can help the people and the children of Korah.
Please send me a message or email Erin Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org to request sponsorship information.
I will soon be posting the photos of my day recently spent in Korah. I must tell you it was life changing and beyond anything I have ever done to stretch, change and rearrange myself. God helped me to help the people who I met. Much of what I could offer was nothing more than the snap of my camera or a warm touch or an inviting smile. The needs in Korah are beyond our wildest imagination yet God is over Korah and there is already amazing work being done. I invite you to view the following videos to learn more about the beauty and the needs of Korah's people.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO SPONSOR A CHILD
You will need to turn off the music below in order to enjoy this video. Go down to playlist and turn it off.
It's a fair question and one that people ask frequently. It goes hand in hand with "Why didn't you guys choose to adopt domestically?" Let me explain...
Ethiopia is deep in the midst of ongoing poverty, disease and famine. Ethiopia is the fourth poorest nation in the world with nearly 5 million orphans struggling every day to survive. Nearly 2 million people are infected with HIV and many children will watch their parents die of the disease. One in every ten children do not make it to their first birthday and one in six die before their fifth birthday. Obviously such statistics are staggering and there is no doubt that the country of Ethiopia has a great need to allow families in who are eligible and willing to rescue and adopt their orphaned children.
This journey for us has taken many winding turns. It is the true nature of adoption and in all honesty it is just something you just get used to. For us adoption began as a two fold feeling of wanting to add another child to our family and also feeling God nudging us to help where the need was the greatest. We began researching the high need category right here in the USA. There are numerous differences between a first world (so to speak) and a third world country. Here in the US we have a foster care system in place where children can be placed until adopted. We do not have the same institutionalized orphanages which are often developmentally detrimental to many children. In many countries there is nothing in place to help the orphaned child but the orphanages. Thank God they exist or children would have absolutely nowhere to survive. It also became increasingly obvious that a birthmother in this country would have to select us and we would have to become increasingly more comfortable with an "open adoption." We were not certain that was the right path for our family so we began the lengthy research into high needs countries where we fit the criteria to adopt a female. Believe it or not with three bio boys we did not fit every countries criteria. This adoption stuff is a bit crazy but you have to follow the laws. :) Nepal and Ethiopia both immediately began to tug at our hearts. We knew that adopting from either country felt right. We began with Nepal but soon realized the it was Ethiopia where we belonged all along. We made a country switch-a-roo and here we are today.
A couple of other tidbits about Ethiopia that made us feel such a strong connection. Ethiopians value and love their children and their families. That is not always the case. Many countries throughout the world place little or no value in children. In fact many countries are totally unwilling to deal with the orphan crisis at all. Ethiopia is one of just a handful of African nations currently to allow the adoption of children. Ethiopia has followed the Hague Adoption Convention and places great importance on the welfare of their children. Ethiopia's government has also acted with integrity so far in complying with timelines and requirements that are reasonable for all parties, agency, adoptive family and the child. This is a good thing as many countries have lengthening timelines or have closed their doors to international adoption altogether.
So Ethiopia has stolen our hearts. Their needs are so great but the passion to live appears to be greater. I am beginning to understand what some say when they say, I need Africa more than Africa needs me. I am feeling that and sometimes I cannot even verbalize why. We need Ethiopia. We need to be stretched and have our hearts broken for the orphan, the widow and the least, lost and lonely. With two trips now ahead we continue to prayerfully ask God to make us vessels. Use us to be the hands and feet of Jesus in places where people and children need us most.
I want to also say that there is no right or wrong when it comes to following you heart into the land of adoption. It's just like anything we do in life. We have all been given the powerful gifts of choices and free will. Adopting a child no matter where he or she is from is a very personal and spiritual journey. If you are being lead to seek adoption for you and or your family- just do it! How can one human being ever regret such an endeavor!
We are a family of five who are feeling the call to add another sweet bundle of joy to our world. Our hearts and our minds are carrying another child who is currently in Ethiopia. She is thousands of miles away yet we know she is meant to round out our family! She has already been chosen for us as we have been chosen for her. We wait with great anticipation, with excitement and prayers. With three boys ages 9, 7 and 5 there is rarely a dull or quiet moment around here and we are all eager to open our hearts to the beautiful little one we will call Ava.
We are following God's lead as we make our way through all the hoops to Ethiopia and back with the daughter and sister of our hearts.
*There are approximately 5 million orphans in a country less than twice the size of the state of Texas.
*Only 24% of households have access to safe drinking water
*One in ten children die before their first birthday.
*In the 1980's one million Ethiopians died of starvation
*Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school; 88% will never attend secondary school
*Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
*Children and family are honored above all else
*Between 60-150 million kids live on the streets
*82% of the population survives on less than 1 dollar a day
*1 in 3 people are HIV+, the average life expectancy is 37
PRODUCT) RED is not a charity, it is simply a business model. You buy (PRODUCT) RED stuff. (Motorola, AmEx, Gap, Armani, Converse, Apple) (PRODUCT) RED gets the money. It then buys the pills and distributes them. Sick people in Africa take the pills, stay alive. And continue to take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities.