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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coming together to make a difference!

Our adoption agency and the 30+ families with referrals had a 2-hour conference call on Thursday. This is a monthly conference call that takes place in order to answer questions and share information. In this particular call, we were informed of the dire need right now for infant formula. Food prices have dramatically increased and at the moment, formula is not even available. In a matter of days, the orphanages our agency works with will have to begin using regular milk to feed desperately malnourished, sick and under-weight babies. Instead of bringing clothing, shoes and other supplies, they have requested that we only bring formula - because that is the immediate and desperate need.

Ethiopia and much of Africa experienced a drought during the rainy season - which is affecting food prices and food availability now. The children arriving in orphanages are exceptionally malnourished and sick. Food supplies can be shipped into the country, but unfortunately it can take months to arrive after getting through customs, and the taxes and fees to get it into the country are enormous. So the easiest way to alleviate the immediate need is with the families travelling in the coming weeks and months. We have been asked to load up our suitcases with formula first - and then whatever else will fit!

With this information in mind, many adoptive families across the country are appealing to friends, family and church families to ask for help. Alone, we can only do so much - but together we can make a larger impact!

This morning, I shared our adoption story with our church family, and explained the immediate and ongoing needs in Ethiopia and what our adoption agency is doing. Speaking in front of a large group can be daunting. Speaking about something this personal/emotional to us - and then asking for financial support for our agency and for supplies for the orphanages, was exceptionally difficult. I prayed for the right words to touch hearts and encourage action. I hope I was able to appropriately convey the needs. Not for us - our adoption expenses are paid in full except for our travel, but for the children in orphanages and the transition home right now.

Another adoptive family, the VanWettens, held a large fundraiser last night and we just found out that $40,000 was raised. AMAZING!!!!! Ray VanWetten works in the grocery industry, and when several vendors found out about their upcoming adoption, they offered to donate non-perishable food supplies, diapers, etc. Suddenly, the accumulated response was enough to fill a container! Overwhelmed by the response, the VanWettens were now faced with how to ship a container-load of supplies to Ethiopia - about an $8000 expense. Duni, the Africa Program Director for AWAA, flew to OR to speak at the event and several AWAA families attended as well. Initially, there were concerns about a small response and many last minute cancellations from sponsors and attendees ... and then we received word moments ago about the outcome. $40,000 raised to ship the container and to help with immediate needs at the orphanages and the Transition Home! Again - AMAZING!!!!

The response from our church family has been rewarding and encouraging. I thank you - and I am humbled by your generosity and willingness to help - either financially and/or with prayer. I am hopeful that we will continue to see financial support in the next few weeks as we prepare for travel. Every dollar will be used to purchase desperately needed supplies for the Transition Home and orphanages. We will keep everyone informed of our upcoming travel dates and the impact your generosity will make for hundreds of orphaned children in Ethiopia.

As for our recent delays and upcoming court date - it is in God's hands and it will happen in His perfect timing. As hard as that is to comprehend and understand, I am at peace knowing that it is in His hands. And that is a perfect place for it to be - I can trust in that!

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