Monday, May 31, 2010

The Story of Baby Ishtu

We can leave our comfy home in New Orleans and get to Ethiopia in less than 24 hours.

Yet our lives are worlds apart from the lives of Ethiopians.

Here, for the most part, babies are welcomed by excited parents while extended family waits anxiously in the nice, clean hospital's waiting room.

Precious newborns are taken home to newly decorated rooms with cribs, changing tables, and rocking chairs. Parents are excited to cater to their every need.

Baby Ishtu's story is not-so-fairy-tale.

She was born to a young single mother in Ethiopia.

There were no excited family and friends waiting to welcome her into the world.

She was born on a jungle trail - not a nice, clean hospital.

She wasn't taken home to her nursery where she could be rocked and nurtured.

Baby Ishtu was left on the jungle path to die.

There are so many factors (cultural, economic, spiritual) that cause these things to happen everyday, all over the world. I can't make sense of them.

But I know this, Ishtu was knit together by her heavenly Father and made in His image. Therefore, her life is precious and her worth immeasurable.

Ishtu was found by a elderly woman gathering sticks and taken to the village police station. There is a family working through the process to adopt her.

Thank God that love and family aren't about genetic code, skin color, or ethnicity.

 Above: Baby Ishtu at Widow's and Orphans home in Ethiopia.

(I found out about Ishtu's story from

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adoption Update

2 is significant to us for a couple of reasons....

First - we've been "officially" waiting for 2 months! Once all of our paperwork was turned in our agency told us to expect a 3-8 month wait before receiving a referral (being matched with a child)....SO...two months down, 1-6 to go! We're definitely hoping that we receive a referral sooner rather than later, but we think it will be a while. So, we've settled in for the wait, trying to keep ourselves busy with projects around the house and work.

Luckily summer is a super busy time for both us - we'll spend more time in "other" places this summer than we'll spend in New Orleans. We're doing our best to stay focused on what God has for us now and not just to wish the months away....

The #2 is also significant to us because we recently called our adoption agency and told them we would be thrilled to take twins or a sibling set ! AHHHH! Crazy, huh? It's something that God laid on our hearts....obviously twins are fairly rare and our agency informed us that young siblings did not often come into their care, either....SO....we're not sure if we'll actually have two children placed into our family or not, BUT we are resting in God's plan, knowing that we were obedient in notifying our agency that we are open to more than one child. Now it's up to HIM! We'll be thrilled either way!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Functional Orphans & Widows

Tonight I spent a couple of hours at Taylor Playground, a neighborhood park in Central City. For those of you familiar with New Orleans you know Central City is a neighborhood that is plagued with poverty and violence.

Each Wednesday a group from our church goes to the playground to serve food alongside a pastor who is planting a church in the neighborhood. The playground is usually teeming with people.

There are guys playing soccer and basketball...and there are kids EVERYWHERE! Tonight I struck up a conversation with Mia. She's three years old and cute as a button.

Before inviting Mia to trek across the park with me to get a plate of food I told her we needed to tell her mom where she was going. I was taken back by her response.

"I brought my own self over here."

"Ummm...You came to the park by yourself?"

"Yeah. I brought my own self over here."

This precious little girl might have a living parent or parents, but she is functioning in this world as an orphan. She is on her own. Three years old, in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city and she "brought her own self" to the park tonight.

Although I don't know Mia's background, if she is like many in her neighborhood, her father is not involved in her life and she is being raised by her mother or her grandmother. They are likely functioning as widows with no one to help provide for their children.

America may not have 4.5 million orphans like Ethiopia, but women and children all over our nation are functional widows and orphans.

Maybe God has not spoken to your heart about adding to your family through adoption. But He calls us all to care for widows and orphans in distress. I submit to you that becoming involved in the life of Mia would be living out James 1:27.

(Another cutie pie in Central City...didn't get a pic of Mia....this photo was taken by Joe Fontenot -

If you don't know a functional widow or orphan, I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone a little more - volunteer at an elementary school, a women's shelter, or another outreach ministry. Of course, if you live in New Orleans, The Care Effect has many opportunities that will put functional widows and orphans in your path.

But it will be up to you to take the next step....because Mia shouldn't have to look out for "her own self."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Special Mother

Mother's Day is tomorrow and I can't help but think about the woman who gave birth (or will give birth) to the precious little boy who will become our son.

Based on solely on the fact that she lives in Ethiopia means her life has been anything but easy. All over Africa AIDS and Tuberculosis kill thousands. a. day. Thousands.

In Ethiopia, 1 in 14 women die in childbirth.

Her untimely and unnecessary death may be the cause of her precious baby's orphan status.


If she lives through childbirth, she will give him life a second time by taking him to an orphanage.

She will make a mother's ultimate sacrifice to prevent her child from becoming one of the 24,000 children who die. each. day. due to poverty - unclean drinking water, malnourishment, preventable diseases.

I pray she knows Peace and Hope.

Obviously, adoption will not solve all of Africa's problems.

Ideally there wouldn't be 147 million orphans in the world today.
Ideally mother's could always feed and clothe their children.
Ideally famine and drought wouldn't devastate entire countries.
Ideally fraud and corruption wouldn't wreak havoc on governments and economies.

Ideally her son wouldn't become an orphan. We obviously don't live in an ideal world.

And while we know we can't change the world, we know we can change the world for one.

147 million minus one.
This Mother's Day we thank God for "Eli's" birth mother. We pray she knows Peace and Hope.
...join us as we bring baby "Eli" home from Ethiopia and advocate for the 147 million orphans worldwide...