Read about WHY and HOW one of our Ethiopia mothers, Cindy Douglass, is getting involved in supporting the nannies and staff at our transition home. Cindy has created a sponsorship program called the Ethiopia Ripple Project. Would you consider getting involved too?
My love of Ethiopia started like many of yours when my family answered the call from God to build our family through adoption. When we began the process, wait times were significantly shorter and soon after submitting our dossier, times changed drastically, as many of you know.
I have always had a heart for missions and prayed how God could use me during the wait. I kept coming back to the fact that as hard as it was for my family to wait, it must be even more difficult for the children that were waiting as well. I knew I wanted to do something and found myself leading my first trip to Ethiopia through the Storyteller Missions division of America World in the summer of 2014. That trip changed my life in so many ways.
Missions was not new to me, but something about Ethiopia rocked my world. I came back with a fire to tell everyone I knew about what I had experienced and seen, and how they could get involved. My focus at the time was primarily the children. I could not wait to go back to Ethiopia and had my second trip planned shortly after returning.
I took my second team this past summer and seriously, God blew me away! I feel like the second trip allowed my eyes to be opened in ways I could not have experienced on the first trip. I was so overwhelmed by the poverty on my first trip. On my second go-around, I began to see past the poverty and truly see the people and I was amazed by what I saw. I saw joy and happiness on a scale that was unheard of, given their circumstances. I saw women who gave every last bit of themselves to care for others even if it meant they went without. I was blown away and really began to question so much about life. How is it that these people could be so joyful, yet struggle in ways we will never understand? I have so much and struggle to find fulfillment in what I've been given. I walked away knowing I wanted that joy and I wanted to leave a legacy greater than the one I was writing for myself.
I began to pray and ask God how He might use me in Ethiopia long term. During my visits to many orphanages, I was constantly reminded at how our transition home is so different and the care provided is exceptional in comparison. Why? Because these women and men love the children as if they were their own. They dig deep and plant roots that we the adoptive parents will get to harvest for many years to come. I, for one, am so thankful that in the turmoil that is going on in my girls' life there is someone there loving her until I can…really loving her, playing with her and cherishing her little life.
I felt a deep desire that I wanted to give just a small part back to them, to say we love you too, and that you are valued and important, that you are seen and appreciated.
Through the many prayers I prayed about what I could be doing long term, God saw fit to answer my prayers by allowing me the privilege to start a new program for AWAA called “The Ethiopia Ripple Project.” It is a sponsorship program for the nannies and staff at the Ethiopia transition home. It is a way that we might come alongside of AWAA and give support and help care for these amazing woman and men. The sponsorship program will help to offset salaries, which will help so much. We also have a one-time giving fund set up that will be used for education, enrichment and healthcare. This fund will allow for things that many of the transition home staff can benefit from and yet have never had.
I'm just so excited to see how God will use our efforts. We are encouraged by what is already happening. However, I would like to ask that you might consider praying about how you might get involved. Your sponsorship of $42 dollars a month (roughly the cost of going out to dinner once) will go so far in tangibly showing your love and appreciation for these amazing people. The nannies and staff are so excited for this program and were so touched that we want to help in this way. We all want to know we have someone in our corner rooting us on. Will you consider being that person please?