The Old Woman in the Shoe

Adoption Ministry of YWAM is offering social services to women and children in a town called Gimbie located west of Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa close to the Sudanese border. The Seventh Day Adventist Hospital there sees up to 160 women a month who are having difficult deliveries. They also bury 2-4 babies every day as a result of labor complications that were not caught early enough or from self-abortions. Some babies are left at the hospital or their mothers indicate they cannot care for them and want an adoption plan. What to do? Monica, a missionary mom, began caring for a few of the babies and now she and her two daughters are caring for six! YWAM is looking for a house to rent to be able to offer care and adoption services for these precious little lives. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to find a house with at least a cement floor and preferably with running water …. but it is proving rather challenging! Until we find the right facility, Monica is giving these tiny ones expert care and lots and lots of love.

Have you ever felt that your life is a nursery rhyme gone wrong? Like you are Mary and you don't have a little lamb, or you are Jack Horner always sitting in the corner? Well, my life right now is emulating the life of the Old Woman in the Shoe. Didn’t she have so many children she didn’t know what to do? My life exactly!

What is so strange is that it seems normal now to have two babies of our own and Kenny, 6 of course. Also we are very used to taking care of little 7-month-old “Henry” and we have added a little 6-year-old girl who will be adopted with Henry. The six and seven year olds are so very busy all the time. We have our hands full, yet God is still adding babies for us to care for.

Can anyone remember what happened to the old woman in the shoe? I can only recite the first few lines. Did she pull out all her hair and need a wig? For sure her hair was as white as snow (mine has tinges of that). Or worse yet, was a psych hospital her last known address?

When I was in my twenties I wanted to birth twins. I thought how cute it would be to dress them alike and have one like Scott and one just like me. My friend who had twin boys would console me saying, “Really, one child at a time. Twins are tough.” But I was sure MY twins would be angels in disguise.

Well, now that we are watching several babies, my opinion on the matter has changed. Having more than one baby at a time is NUTS!!! If it weren’t for my older kids and other helpers, there is no way I could accomplish this. Now don’t get me wrong - I am not complaining. I love each baby dearly. I am just realizing that my past desire for twins was uninformed and I am finding that experience is the best teacher.

So yes, I have so many children that I don’t know what to do, but I am doing what God wants me to do. If we only help these kids, wouldn’t that be a great enough mission? It will probably never put us in a history book, but we get the privilege of being part of the history of each of these babies. That is a much better reward than any other accolade.
by Monica Barlow