“You Can Make a Difference”: An America World Family’s Story
Frustration and joy. I don’t know that I could find two words that sum up the last five years better.
It’s been almost 5 years since my husband and I began the process of adopting our first child from Ethiopia. Little did we know that 4 years and two children later we would finally receive our referral. Most of the people reading this can identify with at least the frustration part, but in this process we have discovered the joy not only of adopting our son, but of serving above and beyond what we thought we’d be able.
Here’s the short version.
This past March we traveled to Ethiopia and had an incredible time. It was also the most emotional week of my life. I am not a crier and I cried 5 of the 7 days we were there. One moment that put me in tears was meeting the man who ran our sons first home (orphanage) and having him hand me an actual photo of my son during his time there.
During our 7 days in Ethiopia a few needs were brought to my attention. Well, there were way more than a few, but a few that I could possibly be a part of meeting. The first was the need for a washer and stove in our son’s orphanage and the second came after dropping off two bags of donations at the transition home. After giving hundreds of dollars worth of donations I turned to the director and asked, “What is a major need that often gets overlooked?” She responded with “Crocs and scrubs for the nannies”; they are the ones who work so hard to care for the children.
At this point God lit a fire in me. Shortly after arriving at home I could not get these two (four) needs out of my head, but I thought how could I possibly come up with enough money to buy a washer or stove (which I learned was just under $1000 each), and how can I get people to donate 60 pairs of crocs and 60 sets of scrubs? This stayed in my mind for a few days until I swallowed my pride of once again asked friends and family for money.
Our friends and family have been extremely supportive during our entire process of adopting 3 kids! They have sacrificed so much in their lives so that they could be a part of caring for orphans by helping us adopt our children. I simply posted on my Facebook that I had a desire to meet a couple needs in Ethiopia. In less than a week family and friends had donated over $2,000.
I reached out to our local Croc store and they agreed to give me 30% off my purchase. Next I reached out to a local scrub store and they agreed to donate 60 scrub tops, so I only had to purchase the bottoms and they agreed to sell them to me at a very reasonable price. Originally my husband and I wanted to buy Crocs in Ethiopia in order to not only benefit the nannies but also the economy, however after talking to a local we learned that the Crocs sold locally do not last very long where the Crocs from the U.S. last four times longer! This made our decision. So with a little work and a few phones calls I brought 60 brand new pairs of Crocs with me to Ethiopia and 60 sets of scrubs along with about 50 more pieces that were donated!!
I also got in touch with a couple America World families to see if they wanted to help in purchasing a stove or washer for the orphanage our son is from. The one lady responded to me with “let’s not buy them one of them, let's buy them both!” I thought I was being crazy wanting to purchase one and this lady said both! So within this same week the three of us families worked together and were able to reach that goal and purchase a washer and stove for an America World partner orphanage.
God has once again shown me how great He is and that He cares deeply for those who are experiencing such brokenness. Not only did God bless us with people to allow us to adopt 3 children in the past 4 years without having to go into debt for it, but he put our desires on the hearts of others and by doing so we have been able to meet numerous needs in our agency's transition home and partner orphanages!
I’d encourage each of you, you can’t solve every problem, but by God’s grace you can make a difference.
America World is actively seeking families who are interested in getting involved with caring for kids and supporting both orphanages and our transition home in Ethiopia. We would love to partner with you! To learn more about needs and how to get involved, please email us at Development@awaa.org
The list of needs is long, so let's partner together!