We are preparing to head North for some R&R and of course a wonderful meal with family, I am reminded of all we have to be thankful for in this amazing adoption process. I am grateful for God's nudge in the time where this all began. I am grateful for the time and energy both myself and my husband have poured into embracing and accepting adoption as the way we were meant to grow our family. Thank God both of us could get on the same page and have felt equally called to adopt our daughter. I am thankful for our agency and all the many AGCI families who continue to amaze and inspire me. Whenever I feel challenged by the idea of four children, all I do is look around at the many AGCI families and I am reminded of God's grace. By next year we should know who our little Ethiopian daughter is. I know this holiday season she is in Ethiopia, but not a day goes by when she is not in my heart. We hope next year to share this season of giving with her, baby Strobel. We are thankful for you!
Here we sit as a family with a new number in the adoption line. We have been given the number 25 which in loose terms means that there are 24 families ahead of us who are also waiting to adopt their sweet daughter from Ethiopia with AGCI. As the number continues to go down we become more aware that all of this is truly happening. That is a strange comment I know but we have been waiting for so long for all of this to actually happen. Our hearts were stirred many years and three kids ago and over the weekend both Bob and I were enjoying an old favorite restaraunt where we lived during his graduate school days. We were visiting to attend the UofM football game and have our boys and my Dad join us for a day of reminiscing and fun. We determined during our calm dinner that the last time we had been to the Earle, in Ann Arbor, MI, over ten years ago, that we were discussing the possibility of adoption due to infertility issues that had lead to an ectopic pregnancy. At that point we were interested in only one thing. We wanted a baby. We both were convinced that adoption would be right for us and that we would not try to have a biological child forever. Little did we know how much that conversation nearly ten years ago would come to pass. What began as our own journey to children soon became God's journey. We went on to have three beautiful boys but still the feelings of adoption lingered. It began to feel like something maybe we were meant to do. Funny how God works sometimes. As our lives became busier, as we become more aware of the blessings in our lives, as our relationship to God became bolder and more important, we were continually reminded of the days back in Ann Arbor when adoption was our great hope. We celebrated 14 years of marriage with our dinner at the Earle this past Saturday evening and we feel like there is no more we could hope for. We are incredible blessed with rich and rewarding, fun and faith-filled lives. We are listening to God's nudges and the daily benefits are so great. We are number 25 and soon we will hold a little girl who is growing somewhere. She may be growing in her birthmother's belly or growing within the walls of an Ethiopia orphanage. She is growing like the idea of adoption grew in us. She is growing like the seeds of faith that have grown within myself and Bob over the past fourteen years and she is growing to someday be welcomed with open arms into our family. We cannot wait to know who our precious little daughter is. Bless and keep her God as she grows-wherever she may be.
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 email@example.com 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.