Although the following video is 20+ minutes long, I think you'll find it very helpful and informative if you're thinking about adopting an older child. Tapestry is an adoption and foster care ministry out of Irving Bible Church in Irving, Texas. This video was filmed at an event earlier this year and is the personal story of Darren and Sharon Macdonald, who adopted an 11 year old girl from Russia. Their story helps families to know some of what to expect, how to respond and where to turn for support when it comes to older child adoption.
There are unique joys and challenges when adopting an older child - but God confirms for each family exactly who He has chosen to complete their family unit. Please leave a comment here with your thoughts, experiences or questions!
Visit http://www.orphansunday.org/ to find out more about participating in this wonderful event!
If you would like to provide monthly support for one orphaned child in Ethiopia, it only takes $30. If you'd like information about how you can support or adopt a child, please leave us a comment or visit our website: http://www.ywamethiopia.com/
YOU can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child!
Among the many decisions an adoptive parent has to make is the choice of schooling for the son or daughter they have recently brought home from Ethiopia. Language, readiness, cultural sensitivity, prior education (or lack thereof), attachment issues and many other things must be considered prayerfully.
Traci is a mom who has adopted a little boy from Ethiopia and writes with candor and transparency about her own 'wrestling' over this decision. Please click over to read The Education of George.
One option for adopting families who can use some help in lowering the cost of adopting is the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. After your adoption is finalized, you can apply for this credit to help cover 'qualifying adoption expenses.' On our website on the financial assistance page, there is a brief description of how the tax credit works.
The Tax Credit is set to expire in December of 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it. The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213 would keep it from being repealed and may make the tax credit permanent.
It would only take a few minutes of your time to contact your senators and congressmen and could make all the difference.
Write to your U.S. Representative
Write to your U.S. Senator
Let them hear from as many families as possible who are affected by the tax credit!
Ethiopian New Year is celebrated on September 11th according to the Western or Gregorian calendar. Ethiopia still follows the Orthodox Julian calendar which consists of 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month, Pagume, of five or six days, depending on whether or not it is a leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar, so September 2009 is Meskerem 2002 in Ethiopia. The years run in a four year cycle bearing the names of the Gospels with the year of John or Yohannes being the leap year!
Samuel has the same name as my adopted son. As he told his story, I looked at his scarred face, filthy clothes, and bare feet. The realization that this life could have been my son’s fate, gripped me like a noose around my neck. My son’s mother had died too, and his father in grief had left him at the hospital. Could this be a window to see what would have happened to my Sammie if we had not been prompted by God to adopt him? I will be forever grateful for this look into what could have happened, but (thank God) didn’t.
The second story is Dameca’s. His father died, and his mother remarried a cruel stepfather who chose to beat Dameca during his frequent alcoholic binges. Dameca is no saint, but surely doesn’t deserve to be kicked out of the house at the age of eight. His stepfather even went to the police and told them he did not want the boy in this home, so they agreed. As he told his story, we witnessed an anger that was building in each of his words. By the time I asked about his preference in religion, he was livid. He yelled, “NO CHURCH”. I asked if he believed in God, and he nodded his head “yes”. I can never leave the issue when I see agitation. So I continued, “Are you mad at God?” And this thin spindly waif threw his head into Benyam’s lap and sobbed. Not just a few tears, but a flood of emotion dammed up in his tiny frame seemed to explode. We too could feel his pain, only because he had opened up his soul to us.
I squatted in front of Dameca and with just a whisper I said, “Dameca, God loves you! That is why He sent us to help you. He wanted us to start this school program with lunch for you, Jirata, and Lalisa and look at how many others are being helped, too. Again, a deluge of crying from his thin body erupted. I felt that we were experiencing a lifetime of hurt and disappointment expressed in one session. I tried to change the subject. “Dameca, if you could be anything, what would you like to be?” Without a second thought, he looked up smiling through his tears. “I want to be a doctor so I can help Jirata to feel better.” At that answer, Benyam and I lost it. Crying from the three of us continued for about ten minutes.
A Lost Boy
Another boy stood out in our interview. His fate would also be to endure HIV. But unlike Jirata and Lalisa, he could not find any joy in this life. Having no parents or relatives, he daily lived on the streets. When asked if he would like some new parents, he said, “NO!” When he was asked what he wanted to be, he said, “Nothing.” He felt he had no future. As he walked from the bench, we felt sorry and completely helpless. Again the tears fell.
But Matewos’ (Matthew) story was different. With a smile from ear to ear, he told his story. Just like so many of the others, he had no parents and no siblings. He lived on the street, and was very happy that the Women’s Center had this new program so he could go to school. He would have liked to go to church, but he didn’t have clothes suitable. But the difference in his story came when we asked him what he wanted to be. This 10-year-old boy said that he just wanted to be what God had planned for him. We were shocked. How could he think that God had a plan for him when it would appear that God had forsaken him? Dameca had felt the pain of this rejection and Matewos story was just as desperate, yet what was the difference that produced such a complete opposite response to adversity? I had to ask him. “Matewos, how do you know that God has a plan for you?” Within seconds he replied, “I just know He loves me and has a plan for me. I can feel it down deep inside.”
After today, I question if I can ever leave Ethiopia for more than just a visit home. Its people’s needs have captured my heart. Every day I am able to help here in a way that is impossible in the states. I never again want to go back to my selfish ways, and I pray that whatever is in my future, I will do what God wants and not what I want. Ultimately, He knows what I desire more than I do.
Monica was part of a group from the Gimbie Adventist Hospital that was to interview and assess the needs of 25 street kids in a brand new program started only one week ago. The program was germinated as a response to three wonderfully mischievous street boys who needed some guidance.
As the small group of volunteers walked to the Women’s Center, they were excited to help these little men. Some nursing students set up the physical exam room and HIV testing area. Another was ready to photograph each boy for identification purposes, while YWAM’s social worker, Benyam, found a bench for Monica and him to sit on while interviewing each child for their social history. As each child was excused from class, he was measured and weighed, vital signs were taken, he was tested for HIV and had a scoliosis screening and a brief physical. Benyam and Monica were to do the social intake. One by one, each boy’s life unfolded before them.
Of the 25 kids interviewed, 80% were assured of only one meal a day…the one served at the Women’s Center. About 70% of the boys were complete orphans, having lost both parents to illnesses or desertion. Almost 40% spent every night sleeping on the streets and begging for supper from leftovers at nearby hotels when available. The others found refuge occasionally (usually during thunderstorms) from distant relatives or kind neighbors. Just a few had a home they could depend on every night.
Monica was astounded at the responses to the questions. It seems that a life on the street teaches one what is really important at a very young age. When asked what they would like to be when they grow up if they could be anything regardless of money or education, all but one immediately smiled and revealed their special hopes and dreams for their future. Three said they would like to be rich businessmen, one replied, “a pilot”, two held their options open, and almost all of the rest wanted to be doctors to help the sick. They wanted to help their friends, as living on the street makes the reality of the crippled, needy and sick an everyday occurrence.
Listening to their tragic stories kept Monica’s eyes leaking for the complete two hours of interviews. Jirata’s story of losing both parents to HIV could bring even the strongest man to his knees. Touching stories of an extremely poor family taking in one of the boys for no personal gain were common. Please check back in the next few days for four stories that are particularly haunting.