Monday, January 18, 2010

Extremely Important Announcement Concerning Haitian Orphans!

This was an email sent by Greg Buzek. He is the head of the orphan ministry at my church.

The situation in Haiti continues to be fluid, specifically surrounding orphans. Before the earthquake there were 50,000 orphans in Haiti. Undoubtedly that number has increased, perhaps doubled or tripled.

I received this note below and then a few minutes ago Fox News announced the US is allowing orphaned Haitian Children into the US and it appears that a number of those children wil lbe coordinated through a charity that my friend Irene started 11 years ago in South Florida which has now evolved into 4Kids of South Florida.

This situation remains fluid. If you know of families who were planning to adopt or interested in learning more, please pass this information along. Here is the original announcement. You can see the latest announcement, but here is some more detail on what has been considered here. If you know of someone who has been in the process of adopting from Haiti and they are wondering how their kids are, they can contact the Department of Homeland Security at



Haitian Orphans as Refugees to US.
The U.S. government is giving serious consideration (now it is policy according to Fox News Report) to allowing a large number of Haitian orphans to enter the U.S.-essentially as refugees under special humanitarian provisions. Whether these children could enter permanent families through adoption in the short term is unclear. However, it appears likely that the primary entry point for them to the U.S. would be South Florida. Alliance member organization 4KIDS of South Florida ( has been contacted by Florida's Department of Children & Families (DCF) with questions about 4KIDS' capacity to aid with both direct care and connections to additional care options nationwide. 4KIDS informed DCF that they stood ready not only with their own network of churches in South Florida, but also to activate a vast network of churches committed to caring for orphans nationwide through the Alliance. If the Federal and state governments decide to move forward with this plan, we'll be asking you to join this work in every way possible.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Emergency Help Needed!

I need to tell you about an immediate need. While I was in Africa we worked with orphans at the Canaan Children's Home. This place is amazing! I just got word that there was a terrible fire there that completely devastated the junior girls dormitory and damaged the senior girls dormitory.

There is an emergency fundraising campaign underway to pay to rebuild the dorms and replace the damaged items. I strongly encourage you to prayerfully considering donating.

It's not like these kids can just go stay at their friends house or the nearest hotel. They can't run to the mall to buy new school uniforms that were ruined. They need me, and you, and others to help. Canaan Children's Home is truly an extraordinary place living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can read all the info about the fire HERE. And send your donations in 1 of 2 ways:

Christian Aid Mission
“568 CCTC Fire”
P.O. Box 9037
Charlottesville, VA 22906

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What is going on there...

I haven't posted for a while. Been processing much and busy with much.

I wanted to share with you the blog of Katie Davis. You can go HERE to see it. Katie is 20 year old girl from Brentwood who lives in Uganda. I had the great privilege of meeting her before I went to Africa and then we worked with her ministry while there. She is truly one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. She is now the mom to 13 little Ugandan girls all of which I had the pleasure of meeting. She just posted a great post that shows what is truly going on on the other side of the world. As I read it last night, I sat there weeping, asking God to show me how to be involved on a continual basis. What Africa did to me was make everything I had seen and heard a reality. When I looked at the starving and orphaned children, I saw my own children in their eyes. What if that was my child lonely and hungry? Those children are every bit as real as my sweet Ellie & Libby. They are not just a face or a name. Each one is a real human being who needs to loved and fed and cared for. I’ve tried to imagine my kids out there with distended bellies, no one to treat their illnesses, worms in the bodies, and sadness in their eyes. It’s almost too much. My heart can’t bear the thought of it. I don’t even really know why I’m writing this post exactly. I guess I feel a sense of responsibility for these children. Whether or not you are involved in taking care of orphans or those whom the Bible calls “the least of these”, I challenge you to read this and pass it along to others.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Great News

Early in my trip, I posted a blog about a little girl I met at the America World Transition Home. You can see it here.

This little girl absolutely stole my heart. A day has not gone by since I've been home that I haven't thought about her. Every day I wonder if she's gone to be with her Forever Family yet. So guess what? I found her parents' blog today and they are in Ethiopia RIGHT NOW picking her up! I am so excited for her! She is about to feel the love of a Mom and a Dad, HER mom and dad. Check out her blog, Anxiously Hopeful and say a little prayer that she adjusts well. God is good!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Since I've Been Home...

It seems like I was in Africa just yesterday, yet at the same time it seems like a distant past.

Since I have been home, life has been incredibly busy. In a perfect world I would have like to come home and just chill for a few weeks to recuperate and process everything I saw and did while I was in Africa. This is not a perfect world however. I have been going non-stop. For those of you who know me, you know I typically have a lot going on, but this week has been particularly busy. Thankfully I've been working with kind, laid back clients though which is definitely a blessing. In addition to real estate, I've also been working on my upcoming consignment sale and working on advertising for my dad's blog. Honestly, I am exhausted. I never in a million years imagined my first week back would look like this. I've decided that next week am going to not work during day, unless I absolutely have to. I'm going to try to do most everything I have to do at night once the kids have gone to bed.

My kids need me. I must confess that I feel like a very bad mother right now. I was gone for two weeks and then come home and have basically been gone this entire week. I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to work a bit here and there, but it's just been hard after being gone for so long. I'm definitely taking it easy next week and hanging with my kids. Maybe we'll go to the zoo. I love my zoo membership. I bet the kids at the orphanages would love the zoo. Wish I could take them with me!

Every now and then I've thought about my journey to Africa. I can't even tell how what an incredible experience it was. I've having a hard time reconciling what I do with my life here knowing that there are millions of kids on the other side of the world lonely and parentless and millions more hungry and scared. My life seems so pointless sometimes. Once you've seen the need of those children in Africa, it's hard to forget it. I've got to find someway to help with that need while here in America. The problems in Africa are so large, but quite simple. Kids need parents, families need food, orphanages need training, people need clean water, kids need love, people need God. I don't mean the problem is simple as in easy. But simple as in straightforward. We can ALL do something. At the moment, I'm doing nothing. I feel terrible about that. Those kids need me. They need you. As Christians, God commands us to take care of them. He doesn't say "if you feel like it." Just look up all the verses about taking care of the poor, the orphans, and the widows. It's shocking!

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all. There is so much to be done. How do I decide what I can help with? If I support one organization, then I feel guilty for not supporting the others. I think that is totally Satan's way of getting to not do anything. I think I'll start by sponsoring a child through World Vision. That is so easy, yet at the same time life changing.

Still so much to process. So much to consider.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Days 9-11 Hope At Last

I didn't write very much about our last days in Uganda because I got some sort of virus and ended up with a high fever and terrible cough. I was exhausted and pretty much fell asleep as soon as I could at the end of each day.

I do, however, want to let you know about the most incredible organization we visited during our trip. It's called New Hope Uganda. Running an children's home and ministry training center are just a few of the many things they do. The difference with New Hope Uganda is HOW they do things. There orphanage doesn't feel like an orphanage at all. It is made up of "families" each with a mother and a father. It's such a common sense way of doing things, yet it doesn't seem to be done in very many places. I can't even explain to you the hope I felt after visiting New Hope. It was a renewal of spirit I so desperately needed.

They also have a training program for adults interested in orphan ministry. People come from all over the world to attend and they only all 6 Americans per session. I've never seen anything like this. We met a few of the instructors. How I wish I could learn from them. These are people who possibly know more about orphan care than almost anyone in the world. You can watch the 2 videos below to get a little glimpse of New Hope.

Tomorrow I'll be writing about how my transition of coming back to America is going. It's been a bumpy road.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 8-Compassion Kids & Babies, Babies, Babies

Amanda and Danielle both sponsor little girls through Compassion International. They paid to have their kids brought to Jinja so they could meet them. Amanda’s little girl has a twin so they also brought her. What beautiful girls! We hung out with them for a little while and both Amanda and Danielle gave the girls quite a few gifts such as Bibles, clothes, jump ropes, etc. I think the jump ropes were the highlight. The girls were about 5 and 10, and it was clear they did not have experience with jump ropes. It was great seeing the joy on their faces while they tried out a new toy.

Danielle’s little girl had a very interesting story. She is a 10 year old and her caregiver came along with her. Apparently this little girl, Sharon is her name, didn’t do very well in school when she was younger because she missed too much. Her parents ended up taking her out of school and then reenrolling her later. She didn’t do well again so they sent her away at the age of 9 to work as a housekeeper for a pregnant lady and also live with her. The lady she went to work for said she was too young to be working and decided to enroll her in school herself. She also made the decision to enroll her in the Compassion program. These were life changing decisions for Sharon. This lady is now Sharon's caregiver. The thought of sending away a 9 year old to work full time is completely unfathomable to me. She was a shy, quiet girl who couldn’t even write her own name. She just got involved with Compassion one month ago so they didn’t have too much to tell Danielle in regards to her progress.

Amanda’s little girl and her twin were also shy, but became more outgoing as the day went on. Their mom is a single mother of 5 or 6 kids and is 33 years old. She came along and was sweet and reserved. Amanda took these little girls swimming for what I’m sure was the very first time in their lives. They loved it! We also went on a short boat ride to the source of the Nile River with everybody.

After lunch (which took 3 hours!), we made our way to the Amani Baby Cottage where there are 55 kids ranging in age from newborns to age 5. Most of them appeared to be under 3 though. There seemed to be tons of people working there, but there were babies constantly crying. The caregivers, “Mamas” and “Aunties” as they are called, truly loved these kids just like many other orphanages we have seen. The people that ran the orphanage were also wonderful. I believe it’s an American woman that runs the home and also an American nurse who runs the clinic there. In addition to the paid employees, there were also many college age girls there for the summer to volunteer. All of the children are up for adoption and about 5 or 6 currently have pending adoptions including 2 or 3 from Nashville. Way to represent! Some of the children here have special needs. They seemed to be cared for and loved well. But as a mother of 2 children that I adore, my heart was yet again broken. Just when I think my heart can’t possibly get broken again, it does. Despite the great and loving staff and 14 extra pairs of hands from our team. Some kids were running around in peed on clothes, had snot running down their faces, and would cry for quite a while with no one picking them up. I don’t want to say anything negative about Amani. They are truly doing a great job. It’s just not the same as having a mother and father. No matter how great the staff, it’s still an institution. Children were not meant to live in an institution. Amani’s goal is to get all these kids adopted out. Would you possibly consider making one of these children your child? There was one little boy there. I don’t know if I can share his name because he has a pending adoption, but he was just precious. He was probably about 4 or 5 and he had a photo album that his new parents had sent him with pictures of them as well as his new siblings, his house, his new bedroom, etc. He was so proud of this book! He literally went around showing every single picture to anyone that would pay attention. I was so excited for him! His new life would begin soon. But what about the other kids? Would they have mother and father one day?

A Guest Blog Post by Danielle Patteson

Amani Baby Cottage

I saw the face of hope today. A young boy, maybe three or four, was insistent to find the small , red, 4x6 album of his family. Once he found it, he shared it with every member of our team. Each time he looked at the photos with equal excitement. He pointed to his mommy, his daddy, his two brothers and sister. He delighted in the photo of his own bed. To one of us he said, “I am leaving Friday.” To another he replied, “I am leaving tomorrow. I luf them.” “Xavier” is one of the fifty five orphans that I met yesterday. His future adoptive parents sent him hope wrapped up in this album, and he is clinging to it.

I saw the face of need yesterday. Although there were an incredible number of workers and volunteers, the need of the children was greater than the workers could provide. My mother’s heart broke. I am so thankful that I have the resources to provide for my own son. Soon after I arrived, two little arms reached up for me. Of course, I picked the toddling boy up. So many babies sat on the tile floor. I tried to set this little one down after holding him for 30 minutes with the intention of loving on another. He wailed. I scooped him up and he nestled in my chest for the rest of the hours we were there. These children need the individual attention that only a family can give. More mommies and daddies are needed for these precious children.

I saw the face of Jesus yesterday. My promise is in Matthew 25: 34-40. Read it. I know these children are not destitute. They are not abandoned. Christ knows every hair on their heads. Still, their need is so great that it is overwhelming.