Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A year ago I didn't think about Africa, orphans or really even poverty really. Its not that I didn't care or didn't see it, I just didn't think about it. I felt like no matter what I did, I couldn't make a difference. I was so stuck in my world with my problems (which was at the time infertility) that I just kind of ignored the needs of others. I mean, someone will help right? It doesn't have to be me right now. Wow was I wrong. God calls all His people to help the "orphans and the widows" ( James 1:27) and to give generously (1 Timothy 6:18). I didn't truly start to wake up to the orphan and poverty crisis in the world until after reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan and started thinking about adoption.

Still, I am overwhelmed by the needs out can my little gifts, the little amount that we can afford, help enough people to make a difference? Well it may or may not make a big difference in the world, that's just the way life works. I saw a quote today that kind of made me stop to and think ‎"Never get tired of doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts". Wow. You see the "burden" that is poverty and orphans is not a burden but a face...millions of faces actually! What if my dollar gives a mom one more day with her baby? What if my dollar made a child feel safe and loved? What if my dollar helped a woman escape human trafficking? Or, what is I kept my dollar and it did nothing? These are the things I think about now. My heart is restless to DO something, GO somewhere, LOVE on someone, to make changes! Right now the best I can do is GIVE and I want to give generously, I want to give in a way that makes me a little uncomfortable. When we give generously we take the power away from money and wealth and its hold on us (ok I might have stolen that from Dave Ramsey, we are doing FPU in our small group and I feel like I remember him saying something like that) and we save lives and hearts. I want to share some of the places and people that have helped build this fire in my heart and who I want to advocate for. Each of these organizations and people have a passion for helping those that can't help themselves and to love the fatherless:

Because Every Mother Matters -

Their mission is to reduce the occurrence of maternal and infant mortality by providing sterile birthing kits, holistic childbirth and development centers, and sponsorships of mothers in East Africa. I talked about them in a previous blog post but I wanted to get the word out about them again! Organizations like this are vital to stopping the orphan crisis! Right now they are trying to fund an ambulance that will help 24 villages in Ethiopia save many lives. Can you help them?

Delicate Fortress -
Shop with purpose! Delicate Fortress sells items that are made by refugees to help stop human trafficking, extreme poverty and modern day slavery. They are unique and well made. Check them out and do a little guilt free shopping!

Give1Save1 -

I think this is said best in their words "every monday i’m going to ask you for a dollar. i’m going to tell you who it’s going to and what it’s being used for. we’re mostly funding african adoption for the people, by the people. we’re just going to rain down a crazy blessing on a family, organization, orphanage, or project and we’re going to do it every week. we’re going to get huge. and the world will be changed for lots of people because of your generosity. that sounds exciting, doesn’t it?! let’s do it.
i’ll tell you who we’re sponsoring and where to send your dollar. you’ll need a paypal account to play. if you don’t have a paypal account, you just need one. it’s time. so go ahead and set one up and meet me back here. i’ll link a button to the paypal account that we’ll be blasting. then once you’ve donated your dollar spread the word to get some more dollars in here. if you have a voice, an email account, a blog, a facebook page, a twitter account or a pinboard USE IT! the only way we can make a big difference is to make it viral!
and your dollar will be saving and restoring lives in all kinds of ways. in ethiopia one in six children don’t live to be five years old. there is a desperate need for basic food, clean water, and medicine. removing a child from an orphanage gives that child a family and a future, something everyone needs. it also frees up a bed in an orphanage for a street child. your dollar will change lives and save lives in ways you may never know." Um, this is super cool and it was started by an adopting Mom!! Yeah she pretty much rocks! Every week they will spotlight someone different and you can expect $1 a week to go to a family adopting a baby, an older child, siblings, and a project. Super cool...Can you give a dollar a week? Or what about a dollar a day? Think about it, pray about it!

Sweet Sleep/Jenn and Chris Verme - and

"Sweet Sleep is a faith-based nonprofit organization which provides beds to the world’s orphaned and abandoned children, demonstrating God’s love for them and improving their quality of life.
Sweet Sleep’s vision is for every orphaned child in the world to lie down in their own bed reminding them they are loved, protected and cared for with hope for the future through Jesus Christ.
According to UNICEF, there are more that 210 million orphans worldwide. Today, 5,760 more children will become orphans.
Orphaned and abandoned children around the world suffer from lack of sufficient or healthy places to sleep. These children often sleep on old, broken and soiled beds or have no beds at all – forcing them to sleep on paper-thin mats or cold, hard floors, making them susceptible to crawling, biting insects and disease. In these conditions, it is nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep and the effects are staggering:
1 in 5 of all childhood deaths is caused from malaria.

90% of these children are in Africa alone.
A sagging or misshapen mattress may add tension to a child’s joints because their bodies rest on the mattress for hours at a time.

Even if a child sleeps well on a bad mattress, these injuries to their bodies only make them weaker.
Old mattresses or scraps of foam are breeding grounds for bed bugs and allergens that contribute to startling increases in respiratory diseases, including asthma as well as rhinitis, eczema and bed bug bites.
When children continuously do not get enough sleep it affects their health, makes them tired during the day, hinders their ability to do well at school and leaves them more prone to disease.
Sweet Sleep’s provision of mosquito nets to orphanages is literally life-changing to children who live in fear of death by malaria. With your help, we are able to get sweet orphaned and abandoned children around the world into healthy, comfortable new Sweet Sleep beds."

Jennifer and Chris went to Ethiopia and Rwanda last month and visited the Noel Orphanage, which is home to over 600 children. Many of these children sleep 2 and 3 to a bed. Right now, Noel needs 50 new bunk beds for the girls and 20 new cots for the toddlers. Each bunk bed cost $135 and each toddler cot cost $65. Can you help a child sleep safely tonight?? You can donate on either the Give1Save1 site, Jenn and Chris' blog or straight to Sleep Sweet's site.

Ok that's all I have right now! There are MANY more organizations out there to help, all you have to do is look.


Walled up!

Monday morning the new contractor came to wall up the arch in the loft/3rd bedroom. They did a great job and finished it in one day! Now I just have to texture and paint the wall on the livingroom side and texture and prime the bedroom side (don't want to paint until we know who is going in there). Here are the before and after pictures. Sorry they aren't that great...both are cell phone pics and I completely forgot to take good ones!

The before picture (there was a railing there but the contractor popped it out before I got a picture of it)
The after...not great because it hasn't been painted, but you get the idea!

We are so relieved that this is finished! Not only did we make an extra room for our kids, but we just uped the value of our house because it is now a 3 bedroom house! Our contractor is awesome! He gave us a discount (He and his wife are adopting from China!) and he added an outlet in the bedroom and patched up 2 other holes without us asking! He is truly a God send!! Did I mention we found him at church?? His wife serves in the elementary ministry at our church with Chris! If you live in the League City/Southeast Houston area and need a contractor, let me know and i will give you his info! Now we just have to finish the bathroom remodel and we can submit our homestudy paperwork!!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Im exhausted! We have been so busy over the last two weeks that I'm kind of starting to feel like Im sleep walking! About a week and a half ago Chris and I both realized that we felt God pushing us to change our request from one child to two children! Yay! We are so excited to see where God is leading our family! But this brings another challenge for us. You might remember our concern about the lack of rooms we talked about here and the fact that we only have 2 bedrooms and a loft that has a huge arch opening. Thankfully the loft has a window, 2 closets and a doorway with a door so if it didn't have the huge archway, it would be a true bedroom. Chris and I just figured we would figure out how to afford this after Christmas when we would be close to sending off our dossier. Thankfully I decided to contact our social worker about our change in request just to see if there was anything we needed to do and she informed me that we had to have the archway walled up before we could be approved for another child over 2. Dangit! I kind of wanted to cry (ok fine, I DID cry) and I started to think that maybe this was a sign that we aren't ready for siblings yet. I mean, how were we going to afford another big chunk of money when we are already struggling to afford the adoption all together! And we had to have it in a week! Well again I will say, what God favors, God provides for! My very sweet parents let us borrow the funds to afford the remodel! Praise God! Now I know that this does not insure that we will be approved for siblings but at least I know that we are doing all we can to bring them home!

To add to all the mental and emotional battles that we are fighting, we are also physically exhausted! About a year and a half ago, we started to remodel our upstairs bathroom which is supposed to be Jacob's bathroom. We had no choice, the toilet was leaking, the bathtub was leaking and well the bathroom was just ugly! We started out thinking that we could do it ourselves and quickly realized we needed help! Instead of hiring a professional (ie expensive) contractor, we hired a "friend" who has been doing side contractor jobs for years. Win win right?? Fast forward a year and a half and we have a halfway remodeled bathroom and zero faith in our "friend" because he never calls when he decides he doesn't want to come over to help (um and get paid!). Ugh! Against our better judgement, Chris and I decided to give this guy another chance and offer a pretty nice chunk of change that we had been saving for this project to finsh the bathroom and a few other quick fixes around the house. Friday he even talked to me, face to face, about bringing some donations for another future garage sale when we comes on Saturday. Sadly by 10am on Saturday we still had not heard from him and he refused to answer our texts. I was crushed! What the heck are we going to do?!? Poor Jacob has gone sooo long without an actual bathroom (ok we still clean him in the shower, but come on, every kid needs a bath! ;) and no one is going to approve us without a working guest bath!! Another UGH! We spent the next 20 minutes angry, confused and crying (ok well I cried), debating about what to do. My husband, my rock, decided that WE were going to finish it! What?!? I know we are kinda handy and there isn't THAT much to do...but drywall, and door framing, and floor laying?? I've never done that! I've watched a lot of HGTV but I hardly think that makes me a trained professional!! After a little prayer I decided that well, we didn't really have a choice. So, armed with our TWO home improvement how-to books and YouTube (hey, you can learn a lot on YouTube!) we dove head first into bathroom remodeling 101! I would love to show the before and after pics but the after isn't finished yet! We busted our behinds all weekend long (did I mention how thankful I was that it was a 3 day weekend?!? GOD IS GOOD!) and learned A LOT but we are slow (hey, learning takes time!) and we still have a little left. We are hoping and praying that we can have it done this weekend and we can move on to the next thing on our "getting the house ready for the homestudy" todo list!

I will leave you with a cute pic of Jacob from this weekend

I am so blessed to have a sister (who is also my best friend!) who took care of Jacob all weekend long so we could concentrate on the remodel without distractions! Here he is with his "friends" watching a movie at Aunt Hannah's house!