Monday, November 23, 2009

Wrapping Up "Read For Orphans!"

I hope all the families participating in our Read For Orphans campaign have enjoyed two full weeks of "reading with a purpose!"

If your family started the RFO on November 8th, then it's time to report back to all the sponsors to collect pledges. If you started at a later date, then just continue on to finish out your two weeks.

Andrew and Jacob are doing the same thing here this week, and we're excited to see how God has been working through all of you on our baby girl's behalf!

I'm hoping to post a report here by Dec. 2nd, so please get your pledges sent in so we can tabulate and let you know how it went!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It Arrived!!!

Our long-awaited, most important form has finally arrived! I guess I can't really say "finally," as it could have taken up to 12 weeks, and instead it was only 9 weeks. I know I thought I would be devastated if we still hadn't gotten our dossier off by this point. But honestly, we've been so busy with getting fundraisers going that it's okay. And I'm not devastated that here we have our final piece, and we don't have all the funds together to send it off. I know that some of the $7200 has been raised already...I just don't know how much "some" is. And I'm okay with that, despite the fact that sometimes this is a moment-by-moment struggle to have faith in my Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider. At this moment, my weakness is being made perfect in Him!

I do know we made about $150 on the Pampered Chef fundraiser...thank you so much to those of you that ordered! And I do know that several kids are reading voraciously! Our wonderful nieces in PA called the first Sunday of the Read for Orphans campaign, simply besides themselves with delight that between them and their siblings, they had over $300 raised already! Between Andrew and Jacob, they've raised about $150. So it's working, God is faithful, and we just need to have faith and patience!

So what's next? We need to have two documents state-certified, though I haven't yet a clue how to go about that. And then we need to make three sets of copies of our stack of dossier documents, and then off it goes, with $7200, to our agency for review and translation...and then off to Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Adopt from Ethiopia?

I saw this list of sobering statistics on another adoption blog. It's interesting to read other adoption blogs, especially the "Why we're adopting from country X" posts. Whether it is remarkable (or unremarkable, actually) is that for any international adoption, the list is similar to this one...perhaps different issues, but hard facts nonetheless.

So why pick one country over another if they all have horrific circumstances pertaining to the orphan crisis?

I don't think we pick. God picks for us. And when we're trying to follow His will, it's an unmistakable pull towards one country over another. I find that both reasonable and comforting. Our baby is in Ethiopia, and we're going to bring her home...

Why Adopt From Ethiopia,you ask?

• One in six children die before their fifth birthday

• 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old

• 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition

• The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years

• 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)

• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia.

• Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa

• In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)

• Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)

• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.

• Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.

• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.

• In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who Can Resist?

I have been very proud of the boys in their efforts with our Read For Orphans campaign. For those of you who sponsored the boys, I'm not sure how you'll take the news that they've been reading up a storm, and the bedtime routine has certainly been pushed later as a result!

Jacob has lately been "growing up" before my very eyes, as he feels a certain responsibility, as the new 5 year old, to handle things differently. For those of you who know Jacob in person, you have witnessed his "very slow to warm up to new situations" tendencies, and his reticence to strike up conversations.

While his required "warm-up" period is still present, it is significantly shorter, and he's been willing to step out of his comfort zone to speak with people.

Case in point (lest you think I'm posting on the wrong blog!): Last Sunday the boys were asking friends from church to sponsor their reading for Read for Orphans. I know, I's hardly fair, sending the pastor's kids out to ask for sponsors from among the congregation. :)

But to top it off, this is how Jacob worded his request to one person in our church.

"Will you please sponsor my reading so that we can bring my baby sister home?"


PS: If you want me to hear it in person, I can have Jacob call you to request your sponsorship. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Orphan Sunday

I'm not sure the term "celebrating" is the right term for what to do with Orphan Sunday...perhaps "Remember," "Commemorating," or "Honoring." I'm sure those behind the movement to bring awareness to the orphan crisis by creating Adoption Awareness month and Orphan Sunday had the dilemma of what to name it.

Regardless of how we acknowledge it, it's my prayer that each year, more and more churches are using Orphan Sunday as a way to challenge their congregation to get involved in God's call to care for orphans.

Unfortunately, we had technical difficulties at our church on Sunday, so we weren't able to show the video or host the live event from Nashville with Steven Curtis Chapman.

However, I have never been more proud of my husband as I was after he preached on Sunday. His sermon was incredibly powerful and poignant for Orphan Sunday. So often, preachers will simply relate the concept of adoption to our own spiritual condition, from which we needed God to ransom us, defend us, and call us His own adopted child in order to save us from our sins. That is all true. It's all vitally important. But James 1:27 is often glossed over.

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

Too many churches, too many pastors, want to forget about our responsibility to live out our act upon the "as you have done to the least of these, you've done unto me." (Matt. 25:40).

My husband is not among them, and he leads his church to not be among them. He calls it like it is. To share the change God has wrought in his own heart, he gave the illustration of a student sitting in class, dutifully paying attention, silently praying that the teacher will not call on him to give the answer! And that when the teacher did call on him to respond to James 1:27, he was dutiful, but not necessarily passionate about it. But when we respond in faith, God does a mighty work all the way around...and with tears in his eyes, Mark shared his new perspective. "That's my child over there, and I'm going to go get her!"

Do we have that passion? Do we have the heart of God, to love and reach out the way God would? I've said it before and I'll say it again: the church has done a shoddy job of caring for orphans. It's time to change that. If we are the Body, why aren't His arms reaching? We sang that song on Sunday, and I pray it isn't just words we sang, but a battle cry we're issuing as we reach out.

I would love for you to leave a comment about what your church did for Orphan Sunday.

And if it didn't do anything, and you're willing to be a spark in your church, please email me (milligansnorth at gmail dot com) your mailing address, and I will send you a resource DVD to use for next year.

Or go to, and pick a clip to show your pastor and ask him to show it during church sometime this month...Adoption Awareness goes on! A single video clip of just over a minute might be exactly what God wants to use in someone's life.

And start praying, or keep on praying, for orphans to make their way into their forever families.

The only wrong way to help orphans is to do nothing at all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

What will YOU do about the most important statistic?

Friday, November 6, 2009

One more in!

My passport has arrived!

Now, aside from the funds that we need to raise at this point, we only need our I-171H!

Do you have any idea how thankful I would be to have our dossier off to Ethiopia by Thanksgiving Day?


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Read for Orphans!

We were searching for ways in which to both raise money for our adoption and also engage the faith and actions of the body of Christ...for the command to care for orphans in James 1:27 applies to all of us!

A friend suggested the idea of a read-a-thon (thanks, April!), and it seemed like the perfect fit!

So what is "Read for Orphans?" It's quite simple, really. It begins on November 8th, which is Orphan Sunday. Children from age 3 on up through high school set a goal of how many books they will read over the next two weeks (older kids can set goals by chapters instead of whole books). At the same time, they seek out sponsors who will pledge an amount per book, such as .25/bk. Or, sponsors can just support the reader with a flat donation.

After the two weeks of reading is completed on Nov. 21st, the pledges are collected, tallied, and mailed to our church for our adoption fund. Prizes will be given based on who reads the most!

If this is successful, we will try to make this an annual event, putting the proceeds to any number of orphan causes.

We would love to have you join us in this effort! If you would like to participate and you don't already have the info, please just leave me a comment with your email address, or email me at milligansnorth at gmail dot com, and I'll get you the rest of the info you need!

Thanks so much for standing with us in this!
Happy're part of a miracle in progress!

PS: If you're another adoptive family and would like to use this idea, I'd be happy to send you the packet I made up that will be really simple to personalize for your own use!