Thursday, August 21, 2008

No News...

And no news of news to come...tick tock..time stands still. Well not really, but I was hoping they would assign court dates for October and November, while the courts were closed...but it has been silent during the past two weeks. So I think they may not be. No one knows. The MOWA and some other government officials are meeting in Addis Ababa right now, and making decisions and changes to the international adoption process and policies. I have no idea how that might affect us.

But I DO know God is sovereign and in charge. His will be done.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ETHIOPIA: Coping with increasing orphan numbers through adoption

A perspective on the orphan crisis in Ethiopia. This is from the Humanitarian News and Analysis Website:

ETHIOPIA: Coping with increasing orphan numbers through adoption

ADDIS ABABA, 10 January 2005 (IRIN) - Wrapped in a bundle of warm blankets and lucky to be alive, four-month-old Thomas Bekele still faces a precarious future. Orphaned three weeks ago when his mother died from tuberculosis, he is one of the almost five million orphans in Ethiopia - a mushrooming crisis that the government warned was "tearing apart the social fabric" of the country.

The rising number of orphans has, however, raised the demand for adoptions to a record high. Some 1,400 children made new homes abroad last year, more than double from the previous year. Adoption agencies also doubled to 30 in the capital Addis Ababa in the last year, a highly lucrative market with some agencies charging parents fees of up to US $20,000 per child. Bulti Gutema, who heads the country's adoption authority, says adoption of orphans poses many moral quandaries to his government.

He blames the growing number of orphans and the increasing numbers of adoptions on poverty. "We would prefer these children to remain in Ethiopia because it is their country," he says. "Adoption is the last resort because it doesn't help alleviate poverty in Ethiopia." Bulti, however, admits that the $115 million a month needed to care for orphans in Ethiopia is simply out of the question, when compared to the country's annual health budget of $140 million. It means, for some children, overseas adoption is the only option, he says.

In a move to help stem the growing orphan crisis in Ethiopia, the US government announced a $20 million project in December to help the 530,000 HIV/AIDS orphans. "We can't afford to look after every orphan," Bulti adds. "That is why adoption is one of our existing alternative child-care programmes, although it really solves the problems of just a few children." Ethiopia has strict adoption laws, but the process can be pushed through in 10-15 days if the paperwork is in order, according to Balti.

An international convention, established in 1993, exists to protect children who are adopted overseas. It has been approved by 66 nations, although the Ethiopian government has not signed it yet. Most orphaned children from Ethiopia go to France, Australia, the US and Ireland. Couples are turning abroad because of the huge delays - four or five years sometimes - to adopt within their own country.

"Parents adopt from Ethiopia because of the poverty and the children are beautiful and attractive," said Tsegaye Berhe of Horizon Homes, a halfway house where children from orphanages wait until they are selected by parents from the US." It is not difficult to adopt here, the Ethiopian government has few restrictions for adoptive parents. Organisations like his will pay orphanages a small amount for upkeep of a child.

"This should not be seen as though we are purchasing a child," says Tsegaye. "We are just refunding the costs incurred by the orphanages."

Most adoption agencies are non-profit. His organisation, which opened last year, received around $6,000 a month to cover the expense of looking after the 32 children it sent to America. Next year, they hope to send more than 50 children.

For accountant Russell Giles, 33, and his wife Vivian, 30, who have four of their own children, they expect to be in Ethiopia for three weeks while they adopt brother and sister Philimon, 5, and Bersable, 6. "The government here has been very open and willing," said the couple from Salt Lake City, Utah, who are adopting privately from an orphanage, rather than through an agency. "Other countries appear very open, but clamp up once the process has started.

"While they meet Philimon and Bersable for the first time in a nervous encounter, just a few metres away, 15-year-old Genet Girma was trying to give her two children up. "I have nothing to give them," she said of the two tiny eight-week old twins strapped to her front and back. "I am too poor."

Most mothers will simply abandon their children near a police station or church rather than turn up at orphanages, where by law, they must be turned away. Most children that turn out to be HIV-positive cannot be put up for adoption. Daniel, a three-year-old, bright-eyed boy who is HIV-positive, sits and stares each day as new prospective parents walks around the orphanage, often crying when they leave. "It is very hard for him to see children leave with new moms and dads because he never leaves and he doesn't understand why," says Sister Camilla, who has worked in the country for more than 30 years.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Chapman's

This video is a must see...and update on the Chapman Family.

Word from Ethiopia

Another mom-to-be, Kim, in Southern California, has a daughter and son-to be in the same orphanage as Olivia and her daughter, Ruby, and Olivia are good friends. We have a plan to meet at Disneyland sometime after we all bring our children home. Kim did the sweetest thing. She made a map of California and put photos on it of where Olivia will live, where her children will live, and one other family that has daughters that Ruby and Olivia are close to! Then she sent them each a copy in a "care package" sent over with a family who is now in Ethiopia.

I got word this morning that she gave Olivia the map with photos...she said that Olivia is "very sweet, loved her gift from Kim, I also got a video of her!"

I can't wait to see the video and thank you Kim and Jaclyn.

As I read what Jacyln wrote about each of the children there, I just wanted to cry. In fact, I did. Hearing the names and anecdotes about each and every one of these precious children that have a mommy or daddy waiting for them, who is clinging to every word, soaking in every photo. Each child is so special, each are precious.

I think of our heavenly Father is looking down and seeing the list and names and words, and thinking,yes, that one, yes, she fits in with that family, yes, I am especially fond of him. Our God can love each and every one wholeheartedly, tremendously, individually, uniquely.

I just want to hop on a plane and hang out there. Bring my three kiddos and just let them play and I would help do laundry or change diapers or wipe runny noses, teach some English or read a book. I would sing a song, but I can't carry a tune. Would they hire me?

I am so grateful. I am just overwhelmed this morning with the love of this group of families that are adopting from Hope Place and the awesome eternity-affecting things they are doing.

ok..cyber-hug fest... I gotta go find the tissue box.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A taste of Ethiopia

The kids and I, and Angela, joined four other families for dinner at an Ethiopian restuarant, Queen of Sheba. I prebriefed the kids on the fact that they get to eat with their hands, and that even if they don't like it, be polite.

Well, Nick, who is my pickiest eater, loved it! Mary, liked the chicken. I liked most the dishes, just not the injera...a sour pancake you use to scoop of the "wat", which can be vegtables, chicken, beef, lamb,.... Tadpole. Would not eat a thing, and more or less pouted. :( Angela was adventourous and at least tried it. :)

It was an experience. I wonder what Olivia will think of OUR food when she comes to live with us?

Courts are closed for the season....what to do.

I love this season...
Not the season that the courts are closed, back to school season.

Time to buy school supplies, fall around the corner....

I bought Olivia's school supplies today! Now I know she will not be home until November or December, and not in school until probably January, but I had the list for all the classes and since I was buying supplies for the other kids... I thought I would buy hers too and just keep them aside. By January, no telling WHERE that supply list would be.

So pink and purple folders and pencil box holders, notebooks and crayons, pencils galore, watercolors, scissors.... I know she has never had these things before and won't know what to make of them. I wish I was bringing her home NOW. That she was already hear.

The courts in Ethiopia have closed for the season, until October sometime. So nothing to do but wait....and buy school supplies.

God knows she is ours already in our hearts and when she will truly be here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We Were Made for This

A mom from one of the adoption groups I belong to shared this..and I wanted to share it again.

We Were Made for This

I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth - everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. --Isaiah 43:6-7

Ever wonder exactly why God created you?
Or why he placed children in your specific family?
God couldn't have spelled it out any plainer than in Isaiah 43:6-7.

He created you and me for one purpose: to showcase his glory, to enjoy it, display it, and demonstrate it every day to all those we encounter.

What does it mean to put his glory on display?

It means highlighting his attributes and characteristics. It means making hard choices to do the right - that is, the righteous - thing. It means biting your tongue from gossiping, going out of your way for a neighbor in need, telling the truth even when it's hard, not snapping back when someone hurts you, or speaking freely and openly about your Father in heaven. In short, it's living like Jesus lived when he walked on earth.

God is invisible. In the Old Testament, whenever he wanted to display his character, his innermost being, he did so through something visible like a burning bush, a pillar of cloud or of fire, or a "theophany" (an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ). In the New Testament, God displayed his glory through his Son, Jesus. But Jesus doesn't physically walk on earth anymore, and bushes that burn are only in prairie fires or piles of raked leaves.

So how does an invisible God display his glory in this age?

Through you.

What a privilege.

Father God, what an honor I've been given! You no longer choose burning bushes through which to speak, you choose people like me. Point out ways I can showcase your character and glorious qualities to others today. In so doing, I'll be glorifying you... I'll be living the life I was created to live.

Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright (c) 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada.

This morning, as I was praying for my children, all four, I so want them to grasp the passion of God and love Him and see how life is Him. Not good behavior, but a changed heart. Not rules, but life. And I thought, what am I focused on. What do I spend my time with them doing, to nuture that?

Help me Lord, to keep our focus on you. You are the core of our lives and the foundation of our family. You put these sons and daughters in this family. Thank you.