Tag Archives: adoption awareness month

“God didn’t call us to easy” Testimony of the Knights

From our FIG Awassa Directors Greg and Charisa Knight:

The beginning: 17 years ago with a momma’s heartcry and a dad’s face to face visit with orphaned children.

The blessing: 2 crazy loved Ethiopian boys who have rocked our world and the HUGE privilege of being able to serve hand in hand with our Ethiopian brother and sisters bringing hope to children and families in Awassa through Project HOPEFUL Awassa 
There is so much more to these stories that I think I would have to have a 2 hour video. I am going to sum them up quickly with Things I Have Learned Through Adoption:


1) Don’t put God in a box.  My boxes that God busted open:
  •   We put under age 3 because I didn’t want to full with “baggage” (Ab was almost 6 when he came home to us)
  •   I am not traveling with Greg because I can’t handle it (terrified of planes!)    (God said yes, you can )
  •   I don’t want to meet or have any relationship with birth family. It’s too emotionally complex.  (We did and now have a beautiful      relationship with them and I can’t imagine not having it! I am sooo glad God busted that one!)
  •   special needs parameters.  We went from “minor correctable special needs” to wishing we had opened that up more during our    adoption to now if we were currently do an adoption would much broader and include HIV. Be sure to keep an open mind and heart for that decision.
2) Remember that God is faithful. 
When we accepted our first referral for a little guy who was 7 months old, the whole slow down in Ethiopa happened and I was a mess thinking that the our child might wait a year or more (the thinking at the time) to come home. A friend emailed and told me this “God has told me to tell you that your son will be home by the time he is 9 months old.”  Now you have to know that this friend had never told me things like this before and she is not the person to proclaim things such as this. In fact, she told me she was nervous about saying it but God clearly told her to do it.  I posted her email on my fridge and read it. over and over again.  Then the phone call came that this first little guy’s mother had taken him home to raise. (which was a good thing but my emotions were in a whirlwind!) and I promptly balled that paper up and through it in the trash in a fit of despair.


Fast forward to receiving Teshale’s referral and bring him home. At exactly 9. months. old.  Greg reminded me that MY son would come home at 9 months old. God is faithful and true to His word.  Remember that in times of doubt.


3) God did not call us to easy.  


There have been many times when I have wondered about the easier path.The paperwork and governmental hoops can just about do you in sometimes. The emotional complexities of adoption are daunting. Trauma is hard. Blending a family together takes work. Sometimes exhausting and emotionally draining work.  Is it worth it?  As I look into the faces of my kiddos…yes. yes. yes.   Is it easy?  Not at all.


 But in the words of my husband  “God didn’t call us to easy”


About to Jump…

This post is by our Waiting Child Director, Jenni Johnston:

Our home is about to be open to foster kids. I keep going back and forth between being super excited and super depressed about the whole thing. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for our family. I’m excited to see the miracles and lives changed forever because we gave God our YES.  We didn’t give God our “super pumped up, I want to change the world!!” YES. We gave him our “fine, I guess… since things didn’t play out our way” YES.

2013 has been my nightmare.

Starting in 2011, I began begging my husband and God for a little girl in Russia, who had HIV. I had seen her picture and knew she was my daughter. It took 11 months of me crying, praying, and yelling for my husband to feel the same way. Those were some bad months!  I began to see my husband as the obstacle in my way rather than the love of my life. We ended up in marital counseling… Not my best moment. The problem was, I KNEW, without a doubt, she was my daughter. I no longer could focus on anything else.

March 2012: My husband came home and said God changed his mind. We started the process and got to meet our princess on November 26, 2012. It was AMAZING.

She and Josh bonded. She was so proud of her new father!

When it was time for us to leave we promised her we would be back for court in a couple months. She cried and said she would wait for us.

By the end of December there were rumors about US/Russian adoptions being banned. As the weeks passed it became a reality. I was a wreck! There was some time where we jumped through hoops making flight arrangements, getting more medical work done for court, paying waaaaayy too much money for last minute visas, thinking, and praying that we would get special treatment and get finish our adoption because we had met our child. We fought publicly, trying to get the American people to care.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pizAaJEIt-Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6DYr-q-ndY

I spent the early part of 2013 so stressed that I was physically sick. Then I moved on to being angry with God. After all, HE chose when to change Josh’s mind. Why did HE wait sooooo long? During those months, when I made it to church, I would stand with my arms crossed mocking HIM, taunting HIM, and throwing temper tantrums. All the while, knowing what HE wanted me to do next… FOSTER CARE.

I honestly don’t know how or when Josh actually agreed to fostering. It was always something we were going to do “in the future… down the road, when our kids were older, when we had a bigger house, more money and time”. But, I began taking steps to make it happen and it all just fell in to place.

We are now almost to the year mark of meeting our daughter. (We are still fighting for her.)  But now we are about to jump off a new cliff into the unknown. The scary waters where we are just saying, “Welcome!” We don’t know the age, gender, special need, or even how many. We don’t know how long they will stay or if they will be newest Johnston. We gave God our YES even though we have no clue what the heck HE is up to. We are heart broken and excited. Will I be able to handle more children on top of my three children? Can I handle more children from hard places while dealing with the one I already have and fighting for another one?

I don’t think God cares what YES you give him as long you give it.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of each and every staff member at Project HOPEFUL.  Thank you for following along through our Adoption Awareness Month series!  For more information or if you have specific questions about any post, please reach out to us at projecthopeful@projecthopeful.org

The Orphan Crisis Without Adoption

We could spend hours or days (or longer) debating the question of whether everyone is “called” to adopt or whether it is even a call or a command or whether the Church is necessarily failing because everyone hasn’t adopted.  Today, we set those questions aside and talk about non-adoption options for supporting orphans, or maybe even preventing them.  Let’s discuss “caring for widows and orphans in their distress.”  James 1:27.

Project HOPEFUL operates a number of programs specifically designed to address the needs of widows and orphans in the countries where we operate.  For example, our Hope + Sisterhood program in Uganda, Ethiopia, and soon, Guatemala, partners women and families from the United States with women who are HIV positive from these countries.  The goal of the program is to give the women a “hand up” out of poverty and to help them become self-sustaining as a family.  Many of the women in our program are widows or have been abandoned by husbands upon learning of their positive HIV status.  Most have children, some of whom are positive.  Rather than continue the cycle of poverty and relinquishment for adoption, the Sisterhood seeks to empower these women to start businesses and use the financial support they receive for six months to plan for the future and family sustainability.  For more information about our Hope + Sisterhood, check out our website:  http://projecthopeful.org/hope-sisterhood/

Village of Hope cares for special needs orphans in San Lucas, Guatemala and teaching them about the love of Jesus Christ.  VoH welcomes families and children into its “Village” where these individuals are loved on by house parents, provided food, shelter and education.  The goal is to create a loving home where the people we serve are safe.  Two families from Project HOPEFUL serve at Village of Hope:  The Kiel and Carolyn Twietmeyer family and the Todd and Amy Block family.  There are many ways to partner with Village of Hope, including being a part of the sending team for the Twietmeyers, assisting with the salaries of staff, and partnering monthly in the work being done there.  You can read more here:  http://projecthopeful.org/village-of-hope/

Our Family in the Gap – Awassa program is growing like wildfire! In just a year of operation, our donors are supporting over one hundred families or children in Awassa, Ethiopia.  We have assisted the community in providing education, animals, health care, food, clothing and more.  Like our other in-country programs, Awassa seeks to keep families together and enable the independence of the people we serve.  You can see the details here:  http://projecthopeful.org/awassa/

Project HOPEFUL will expand into Ukraine in 2014!  Our programs in Ukraine seek to provide mentoring, support and education to families living with HIV.  Project HOPEFUL also has the opportunity to participate in providing a summer camp for families living with HIV and provide staffing for children in the hospital who are left alone for more than eight hours every night.  We hope that you will step up to support this program:  http://projecthopeful.org/fig/fig-ukraine/

Last but not least, for the first time this year, Project HOPEFUL is offering CHRISTMAS WITH PURPOSE.  Our in-country programs have put together a list of items you could purchase as your gift to a loved one this holiday season!  Give a cow to a family in Ethiopia; provide malaria treatment in Uganda; contribute to the salary of a nurse in Ukraine; or how about a mosquito net?  It’s all right here:  http://projecthopeful.org/christmas-with-purpose/

In our home, the kiddos each get an animal in their stocking for Christmas.  This year, we can purchase our animals through Project HOPEFUL!  We hope you will join us in this amazing Christmas with Purpose.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

{Isaiah 9:6}

 

http://projecthopeful.org/christmas-with-purpose/