Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Littlest

So in a family of three boys being the littlest is not always easy.  The new passion around here is basketball. It is basketball that I have never seen my boys play before. They are bigger, faster and much more intense and all the boys from our cal-de-sac are quick to join in. Baby "O" as we used to call him is now 5.5 but he is the youngest little dude on the court and it is not easy when the big guys pass the ball over and around him because they are serious about their points. Now it is not as if Owen is lacking in the "other things to do" department but many days lately he still chooses "playing with the guys" over anything else. He does not even like to go to his friend's house because being a part of whatever his brothers are doing is his favorite option.

Today I watched the boys playing with loud calling and intense movements. I wondered how long Owen would last. Within minutes of my starting another task Owen drifts in all downtrodden and somber. "Nobody will pass to me Mom. Nobody. They think I can't shoot the ball and when I try they run right up to me and slam it out of my hands." Tears begin to roll and he throws himself on the floor as he whines, "You just don't know what it is like to be the littlest. It is so hard and nobody will play with me." He then begins rolling around in pure sadness and I am finding no words to console him. He is nearly alseep with a dirty face of dried tears when I remind him that he will not always be the littlest. "Soon Owen your sister will arrive and she will be the littlest. You will be her big brother who she will want to play with." He stops his rolling and his crying. He gets right up and heads back outside.

I am in awe of his courage and his tenacity. 

I do find it amusing that even though Owen tends to find ways to get his digs in where his brothers are concerned, I find that more and more he is using the badge of "littlest brother" to argue many points. Earlier this week he was very angry with Hayden, his brother four years his senior, who had knocked a ball out of his hand. He immediately started to wail, "Mom you have to talk to him. I am the littlest and he is so mean to me." Now at this point Owen could truly win an academy award when middle brother, Carter, leans over and says, "Owen you will not always be the littlest. Remember buddy we are going to have a sister and you will be her older brother and she will be the youngest." Carter is so precious in his quiet strength and deep down I find that this sweet baby coming our way is often on his mind.  Owen settles down to a dull roar and seems content to know that another baby will be coming up behind.  Their sweet and subtle thoughts on having a sister make our hearts smile and each time my fears and my impatience creep in there is yet another reminder of God's hand in all of the details. We wait and prepare and prepare and wait. We are preparing our hearts and the hearts of our eager children. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

International Women's Day!

Click above to see a beautiful photos from Partners in Health in celebration of women. The photos are stunning and of course I love the two sleeping babies on the backs of their hard working mamas and also the row of sweet babes all laying together. Women are amazing all over the world! We endure so much, give so much and work so hard. Celebrate all the beautiful women in your life and never forget the many hardships that women of all cultures throughout the world are often forced to endure.

Monday, March 8, 2010

... a new development

Last week we were told that all the hullabaloo surrounding the alleged recruitment of children from families into agencies hoping to place the children with waiting adoptive parents around the world have finally caused a new process to be issued from the US Dept. of State regarding Ethiopia adoption.

This is nothing new in adoption. Many countries already have this process in place and frankly when it comes to protecting children it is likely a good idea however the further delay it will cause in placing waiting children is totally frustrating. What is best for children? Of course it is a stable loving family where children can finally land and begin to flourish without needing to be removed again and uprooted to another place.  Of course we do not wish to have any children removed from families due to the promise of an agency recruiter seeking to traffick children. Such horror happens all around the world and
although most orphanages and agencies operating within Ethiopia have the best interest of the orphan at heart, do not be fooled by what poverty, disease, hopelessness and power can sometimes generate. People living in desperate conditions often resort to desperate measures. Giving up their children is often a means of survival not an act of illegal selfishness.

Our hope is that children are relinquished into the care of an Ethiopian government run agency under fair and legal means. It is our only hope that children around the world are protected by any means necessary. This new policy will mean some delay for all of us waiting to open our arms to our new children but for now we are trying to trust God's timing and remind ourselves that she is already living in our hearts and what we think and feel each day for her is perhaps being felt all the way around the world in Africa. Our prayers, attitudes and actions each day are making a difference!

Into Our Arms Forever!

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welcome home ava! from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Meeting Ava during our first trip to Ethiopia

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Meeting Ava Ethiopia Trip July 2010 from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Korah- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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: or 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 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.


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Hannah's Hope Orphanage- Ethiopia

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