Advocate & Pray: Margaret

MargaretMargaret, an eight-year-old girl from Ethiopia, caught my attention this week.  Because of her health problems, she is in need of a special family to take her in and give her the care and attention she needs to thrive.

Margaret is listed with Children’s Hope International
Ethiopia

Margaret is a great little 8 year old girl.  She is HIV positive and both her parents are deceased.  She was relinquished to the orphanage by her aunt who is no longer able to care for her.  Margaret does not have any other siblings and is in need of a good home.  With medical professionals in the US and HIV medication she can live a wonderfully healthy life.

View Margaret’s profile

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Join me in praying for Margaret to find a forever family.  Click to tweet

Margaret is in Ethiopia, waiting for a loving family.  Click to tweet

Leah’s Note

Hello! Leah here. I just wanted to add a special prayer request for orphans in Ethiopia. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Ethiopian adoptions right now, including some stuff that is preventing parents who are ready to fly from going to get their kids. Please pray that these issues are resolved and Ethiopia does not close to foreign adoption. Pray for the families in the midst of the process who are facing uncertainty, for the kids who are waiting, and, of course, for Margaret.

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Book Review: No Greater Love

No Greater Love

We felt overwhelmed, trying our best to understand how someone could love a child–dearly love a child, just as we did our own–and then decide to kill that child because of fear.

With his real-estate business crumbling around him, Levi Benkert receives a phone call. An old friend wants him to travel to Ethiopia to aid an effort to rescue children who’ve been sentenced to death by an ancient tribal practice. The idea is ludicrous. There’s no way he can go. Yet Levi soon finds himself on a plane bound for Ethiopia. It’s the beginning of a change that will dominate, change, and revolutionize life for him and his family.

I got this book for Christmas and the whole family got a laugh when I unwrapped it. I already knew what it was about, but I flipped it over to skim the back cover. As I did so, my mom said, “It’s a really good book. You need to let me borrow it because I’m half way through it.” That’s right. She’d been reading my gift before wrapping it! 😛 Anyway, she was right. I read it in one sitting. It’s heartbreaking. It doesn’t have a strings all tied up “happy ending”. (The ending is happy, but only after a heart rending close to the first part of the Benkert’s journey.)

One of the things Levi says in this book is that orphan care is inherently messy. This becomes obvious just reading books about it. It gets confusing. The last book I read about orphan care, Orphan Justice (great book!), really stressed how important it is for kids to be in real families…that orphanages aren’t the solution. This book shed light on how messy international adoption can be. Another documentary I watched shared the tremendous need for international adoption. It’s confusing! But it’s also really good to get all the different sides of the picture.

This book is definitely one of the best told/written orphan care stories I’ve read. Thumbs up for recommending it.

Partner with His Heart (part 2)

Turner Kids Hopefully you didn’t miss part one of this interview, but if you did, check it out here –> Partner with His Heart (part 1).

What were some of the most helpful things people did for you during your adoptions?
It was so nice to have friends and family who were supportive of our adoptions. I was actually nervous to tell people we were adopting 11 year old twins- but getting a positive response from our loved ones meant so much to us! The adoption process could be long and emotional, just hearing a friend express interest in the process really helped me through the ‘waiting game.’

Practical help, including friends and family donating to our massive tag sales, friends helping me organize benefit dinners, and especially watching my other 3 children while we were traveling overseas. It was also a huge blessing having people coming to my doorstep with meals after we arrived home. On many occasions I was brought to tears by people’s love and generosity during the whole process. And most importantly…prayer! Even though that is the unseen aspect, it was felt the most! I knew people were praying for our family, for the children being adopted, for our children already home, and for my husband and I. I truly believe our adoption experiences were held together by those who were praying for us.

Is there anything you wish people would not have done that they did?
Turners - In EthiopiaOn several occasions I winced at statements and questions asked to my daughters that I knew would make them uncomfortable. I have even heard someone ask them which country they like better! The key is sensitivity. Everyone is excited the child is finally home and they expect that every child will feel the same way, but in reality adoptions stem from trauma and loss. I was surprised to even hear that baby’s adopted right from the hospital will experience this loss. Some people expected that the girls would just automatically be thrilled with America and all the ‘stuff’ we have. We have found that even though our children have been hungry and gone without food, they still miss the food that they were used to. We think we have access to so much great food and yet, we were surprised to find that they were picky and do not like a lot of our foods! International adoptions come along with culture shock for children. We can not believe that our culture is better than any other’s. These children will miss their culture.

Do you have any suggestions for teens who want to help orphans and start adoptions?
Turners - J and HYou are never too young to make an impact in an orphans life! It was my 4 year old daughter–who remembered life in an orphanage–that pleaded with us to “go back and get more kids…they don’t have a mommy and daddy!” My five year old son was a huge catalyst telling us all the time that we should adopt more kids. Your voice is important–your friends and family are hearing what your saying. By reading books on the topic and doing research you can be a wealth of knowledge to families who express interest in the topic. It was Steven Curtis Chapman’s young daughter who had a burden for orphans and would often write letters to her parents asking them to prayerfully consider adoption. God then worked in her parents hearts and, after their Chinese adoptions, the Chapmans started one of the largest orphan care ministries in America, touching thousands of lives….which all started from a young teen praying for orphans.

If you regularly earn money you may choose to support an orphan monthly. At www.helpkorah.org you can choose a child’s profile who is waiting for a sponsor. I know 2 young teens who even decided to ‘share’ sponsoring a child–they split the cost between them monthly. And of course, Prayer! I remember when I was 18 years old–God put the country of India on my heart- it was a heavy burden and I spent hours reading about India. God would wake me up in the middle of the night to pray for the people of India whom I have never met before! BUT…10 years later when we decided to adopt a little Indian girl, I knew that those tears of my youth were not poured out in vain. I was interceding on behalf of my daughter’s country–possibly her young birth parents–without me ever knowing any of that at the time! Your prayers and petitions on behalf of the millions of orphans around the world will be heard in the throne room of heaven…do not grow weary in doing good–you are shaping a child’s destiny!
Turner Family 3
Has God laid a specific country on your heart the way he put India on Mrs. Turner’s heart? What makes you passionate about that country? Do you have any questions sparked by this interview?

Partner with His Heart (part 1)

Turner Family 2One of my goals for this blog is to interview families who have adopted or are adopting. After all, who knows more about the needs of adopting families and orphans than people who have been so intimately involved in the process. For me, Jill Turner was the logical place to start. I met the Turners shortly after their daughter, Sova-Grace, came home from India. Mrs. Turner was kind enough to share the life book she had made for Sova with me. I cried through her account of their adoption. Since then the Turners have been a family I’ve looked up to. It has been a joy and privilege to follow along through their second adoption, twin tweens from Ethiopia this time. You can read about both adventures on the Turner Times. Enjoy the interview!

How did you become interested in adoption?
Right after our 2nd son was born our church started a bible study for anyone interested in adoption or has a heart for the orphaned. God tugged at my heart to go, and it was during this time of studying the scriptures on what God had to say about caring for the orphan that I started to seriously think about if this was something our family could do. We sent away for the informational packets and read a book on adoption. I vividly remember my 10 month old baby waking up in the middle of the night crying–as I rocked him in the chair, offering a bottle and trying to console him, I heard God speak to my heart, “wonder if Caleb was one of the millions of orphans out there…who would be rocking him to sleep?” I was ruined by that thought. For any parent to imagine for even a minute, their own child to be alone and suffering in this world–it was a wake up call for me. After sharing with Michael all that God had been impressing upon me he said, “let’s save as much money as possible to adopt as many kids as we can!”

What is something you wish more people knew about adoption?
Turner GreetingsDon’t say no because of the cost! That’s the first thing people think of when they hear the word adoption and that makes me so sad. Yes, adoption can be expensive yet by adopting through the foster care system the adoption is often free! There are many grants available for the more costly international adoptions–we received a substantial one! There are adoption tax-write offs and 0% interest loans.

I remember sitting in the living room of friends of ours who adopted 2 children–they knew we wanted to pursue an adoption so they had us over so we could ask them questions. The financial cost was our 1 and only thing holding us back from saying “Yes”. I will never forget this simple statement from our friend Steve, “Jill, adoption is God’s HEART….if you partner with His heart–don’t’ you think he will provide?” We left our friends home that night full of faith and ready to completely trust God to provide for us. He did…in ways that I would never have dreamed! When we started our 2nd adoption, we again wrestled with God over trusting him with the finances. Looking back I see that we acted like the Israelites–forgetting so soon the miracle of his provision–not believing that he would do it again! Once again he provided for us every step of the way–and again…beyond what I could have imagined!

What are your thoughts about these comments? How can we, as teens, help families overcome the fear about finances and pursue what God is calling them to do?

Stay tuned for part two.

Advocate & Pray: Aris

While I was working on setting up the resource page for this website, I happened to read the profile of a little girl in Ethiopia. They referred to her as Aris on the agency site and shared just a tiny bit about this little girls life, but it caught my attention and touched my heart.

Aris is listed with Children’s Hope International
Ethiopia

Aris is a beautiful 12 year old girl. She is deaf and cannot speak. Aris’ biological mother is deceased and her father and relatives don’t have the capacity to raise her and send her to school. Aris is close to aging out of the system and being too old to be adopted. If you or someone you know is interested in adopting her please contact Nicky right away.
Nicky.Losse@childrenshope.net

Visit Aris’ profile

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Please pray for Aris, an orphan in Ethiopia awaiting a forever family. Click to Tweet

Meet Aris, a deaf 12 year old waiting to be adopted. Click to Tweet

Join the prayer chain for Aris, a 12 year old Ethiopian orphan. Click to Tweet