Friday, August 26, 2011

6 Months

Now that my little pity party is officially over, my eyes are once again focused where they belong....outward:) Last week was tough. I am completely out of what little comfort zone I feel like I have left. I think I've gotten in a horrible habit of walking in blind faith completely expecting God to work or meet the needs I feel that need to be met. Does that make sense? I fully expect God to provide what is needed..only I have gotten in the habit of defining what is needed. I need to trust that He will work according to His will and not mine. I fully expected after I jumped off the freakin' cliff and head first into several conversations with different pastors from different churches (something that terrified me) that God would show up how I wanted Him to...in the form of what I feel are tangible ways...ie..the churches hearing the need, being moved to act and ending with them committing financial support to 24 villages surrounding Mareya by helping provide the funds to purchase the 4x4, midwife training and supplies for the clinic. Nope, it didn't happen like that and to be honest last week I was a little upset. I found myself mad that I did what I thought was my part. I put myself in situations, conversations and reaching out in ways I never thought I would and nada..nothing. No reward. No closer to helping the people God Himself told me to help. Then, it occurred to me...who am I expect or define how I feel God should respond? I don't know what seeds were planted, I don't know how or when God will grow them. Heck, I don't even know the type of plant that will eventually be harvested. All I do know is my God is good and He will provide what is needed and when it's needed. With that said...I have fully surrendered the outcome to Him and I will continue to be obedient . I will work like it depends on me and pray because I know it's up to Him. If I had my way, the funds for the 4x4 would already be in the bank. Their not. Not even close. I had someone today try to bring comfort by telling me even if we don't raise the money in time that we will definitely have it raised by our spring trip. That is comforting. That maybe...it's not suppose to happen this trip. There's always spring. That's only 6 months away. That is only 120 people who will lose their lives. That in only close to 240 new orphans in Ethiopia. I have had someone tell me that maybe we aren't successful raising the funds because a 4x4 (ambulance) is not the answer and I heard God wrong. The day I sat in the ditch with the administrators from the 24 villages and I heard that 4 out 10 women die giving birth, I heard that they don't survive the 10 hour hike down the mountain, I heard the men ask, "Please save our women". I'm pretty confident I also heard God that same day...Do I believe that He is in control? Yes. Do I trust in His timing? Yes.
It was last week that I felt so convicted that the bulk would be raised by helping others as well. I was in my bed and my mind started thinking about how on earth I even came to be in a ditch with 24 villages by myself in Ethiopia. My journey started with my desire to adopt and after my twins joined our family in 2008, God grew my passion for orphans into an organization whose primary focus is to prevent them. I get so many requests to help fund adoptions that it only made since to combine my two passions. Adoption of the 160 million orphans that are already waiting for someone to love them and providing the resources and education necessary to 24 villages in Ethiopia that would prevent 40 orphans a month and save the lives of their mothers.

you can read about the dual fundraiser here http://toliveloveandlaughtoday.blogspot.com/2011/08/adoptive-parent-talk.html

To date we have raised almost $1250 of the 20k we hoped to raise to support 11 families adoptions and the ambulance.
There is a chance we may not reach our goal. Worst case scenario 120 people will die and 240 children will be left orphaned. And we will have to be okay with that...we will take comfort that even though this thought is painful we would have to believe it's not His timing...

There is also a chance that we will reach our goal. That we will witness a miracle. That 120 people will be saved by providing the 4x4 by Oct. and 240 children will still have a mother. And when that happens...We will give God the Glory....

I just know...Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

For a min. $20 donation you can give hope to an adopting family and save lives.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Every Moment...

I spend every moment of every day thinking about faces that I can honestly not bare to disappoint. When I look at my kids I feel like I'm failing them, when I close my eyes I see all of the beautiful people I have met on my trips to Africa and I am now failing them.. I have sold more possessions than I own to constantly meet goals to not disappoint anyone. Yet...I fail. I haven't had a decent nights sleep in years and I know by me quitting it won't change that. I will continue to be haunted by failing and quitting, but man...I really needed a freakin cookie. I obeyed God beyond pain and beyond my comfort zone.. I didn't do it for my benefit or gain. I did it because I love. I love so much it hurts. I put everything I have out there. I'm tired. I just want to be numb for a day. Not to feel. Not to think. Cause I'm breaking. And I see no relief. People are still hurting. I'm still failing. I have nothing left to give.

I quit. I quit trying. I quit pretending. I can't do it. This moment and every moment I fail.

Adoptive Parent talk....

I have a confession to make. I'm serious...don't laugh, but BACE (You know...before adoption changed Everything!) I was pretty much the "weird mom" that nobody understood. I seemed to never fit in anywhere. I tried. I really did. I would act interested in the same things other mommas liked even though my my mind drifted elsewhere..It wasn't until I became a STBEAP (soon to be expecting adoptive parent) that I became aware that there were other BACE and STBEAP people like me. All of a sudden for the first time in 30+ years I didn't feel..you know...um..weird and alone. After we suffered our first ARM (adoptive referral miscarriage) I realized that I had a new family. A family of BACE, STBEAP and some ARM's and they were wonderful. For the first time ever I witnessed community. A group of people who looked beyond themselves who, yes...were slightly weird like me and stood for something that beat with in my own heart. I found AP's (adoptive parents)! When our first children died in Liberia before we could bring them home and during the transition of bringing our twins home from Ethiopia that weighed 10 pounds at 2 years old AND me bringing home a sick pregnant Ethiopian momma home with me thus starting BEMM (Because Every mother Matters) YOU WERE THERE! All of you..the BACE, STBEAP, ARM, and AP's.My family. A community of people like me. It wasn't long after that I became a PASOP (post adoptive stressed out parent) and yes..You were still there. Encouraging me. Loving me. Supporting me. I consider the adoption community my family. The ones that get it. The ones that are laughing at my BACE, STBEAP, ARM...because you understand.
Here it is...You are my family. You are my community. I'm calling on you once again as a JAMT6KWRANPTHPMO (Just a momma to 6 kids who runs a non-profit to help prevent more orphans) to support me. My org is currently raising the funds necessary to purchase an ambulance that will service 10,000 people and save 20 lives a month! We Need 20K in two weeks. This will prevent up to 40 orphans a month! Awesomesauce, right? ...Yes. but what about the 160 million orphans that need a home TODAY! I found it's so easy to get on my PAHH (post adoption high horse) and only support prevention. Yet...my family is my family because of adoption and I believe in my BACE, STEAP, ARM. AP's and placing children in loving homes. Period.
So...WE (BEMM) is donating $2500 towards a family's adoption when we meet our 10k goal. Wait...wait...How will we do this? We are counting on the community I have come to love and trust to help us help them. We need $ to help fund our projects that were inspired because all of our board (minus 1...but this one has more heart and has personally served more in Africa than all of us combined) are AP's who were were once BACE, STBEAP and some ARM's..my point! We get it. We get you. We love our kids, your kids..We know it takes ALL of us to make a difference.

The details.
For every $20 donation you or ANYONE you know gives to www.bemm.org(have them mention your name) YOU will be entered to win 25% of the 10k we raise.
You do not have to be an AP to enter...You can submit a name into the drawing.
Here is where it gets COOL! Our goal is to raise 10k by Sept 4th. What ever is raised above that will be split up by 50% thousand...
If 10k is raised then 25% will towards one adoptive family
For every additional 1k raised after 10k then 50% will be donated to an additional adoptive family...up to 20k
The breakdown
Give $20 and you are entered to win (not adopting? Just want to give $20 ? Write a friends name down and it will be credited towards them)
After 10k each additional 1k will be split 50/50 with an AP.

If we raise 20k in 2 weeks then 1 family will receive $2500 and 10 additional families receive $500 a piece for every 1k raised.... That is $7500! 11 adoptions helped and an ambulance funded that will prevent 40 orphans a month!!!!!!


To make this work...We need you to donate $20 AND help spread the word. Remember the more we raise the more we can give towards potentially 11 adoptive families!


Donate $20 today and enter in your name if you are adopting or another family wanting to raise money for their adoption!

*only $ donated with someones name on it will go towards this fundraiser*

Saturday, August 20, 2011

911

Waiting...pacing, antsy, anticipating, expecting, doubting, scared...Yep, that pretty much sums up my last few weeks since I got back from Ethiopia. I remember each face. Forever etched in my mind. I can still feel the flies feasting on my skin. My heart is still beating out of my chest as I replay word for word what was spoken. In June I sat in a ditch with the representatives from 24 villages in rural Ethiopia. I can't quite explain it...I listened to every word, I watched every face, I felt every freakin fly..even now every detail is in place, but I have never felt so out of control in my life. I was calm. I was present....but it was not me. If it was me, I would have cried hearing that women in labor were being carried 12 hours down a mountain tied to a stick only to die. I would have thrown up knowing 4 out of 10 women DIED trying to give birth. Instead I sat there, took a deep breath and prayed. In moments the answer was clear. It was direct. It was simple. You can see it here...
video


I thought what was needed would be accomplished in weeks by sharing their stories, the statistics, the need and voila... Actually not much has happened. Amazing people have written inspiring posts to help raise the funds, our "fans" have increased, I'm finding myself way out of my comfort zone talking to churches, businesses...but..zip. Nothing. We are no closer to providing what is needed to save over 20 lives every month. I couldn't figure it out. I have never been so certain of anything as I have been when I sat in the fly infested ditch and promised we would help. A few days ago I was driving down the street feeling defeated and crying..An ambulance flew by. It was headed towards my home. My heart stopped. My first thought..Are my kids okay? Then it hit me. I thought about all the times I have seen an ambulance, or a wreck on the side of the road and prayed that every one would be okay. As much as the sound of an ambulance stirs up fear in my mind...it also brings comfort. I know I can call 911 and help will come. I know an ambulance can mean life or death. Every time I see one drive by, I think about the one who is inside. I think about the the ones who love the one inside. I didn't realize until I sat with the 24 villages what this means to them...Not one single person in the 24 villages owns a car. The nearest hospital is an 8-15 hour hike away. My son Diezel's life was saved because of an ambulance. By providing a way for over 10,000 people to get to a hospital within an hour will save a life. My prayer is every time you see or hear an ambulance drive by, you think of the person that is inside. You remember that your donation to www.BEMM.org is saving lives...and as corny as this is...WE are going to write every contributors name on the ambulance. Yep, you heard me. I want the world to see (or at least the 10,000) to know YOU!





Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Another Number...

Last week I had someone that I admire greatly ask if they could write a guest post for Because Every Mother Matters. If you don't know Jeff and Katie Seevers yet, I encourage you to find them on Facebook. Their passion, enthusiasm and sincerity is contagious. His post is raw and truthful, but more importantly he gets it. He understands as an adoptive parent the importance of prevention. Holistically speaking orphan care needs to be addressed prior to birth. Taking care of momma WILL and DOES have a direct impact on the orphan crisis. It is my hope that after you read Jeff's post that you do what He says.


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This morning I woke up with some things on my mind. Mothers and the orphan crisis.

My wife and I have been in the process of adopting for over a year. We just passed court and became the parents of two incredible Ethiopian children and we could not be more excited. However, amidst the excitement there is sadness about a problem. A really big problem. It's called the orphan crisis. For those of us who have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, we have felt the immense burden for the voiceless children who are left in the horrible wake of some catastrophic statistics.

But I'm not going to put them here. Why?

Because you don't care.

That's right. We don't care about numbers. 1 out of every 11 women are dying due to pregnancy related issues, and yet those numbers mean nothing to you or me...yet.

I saw a video when we first started out on this adoption journey where Eric Ludy talked about "depraved indifference". In essence these terms boil down to the fact that because we are not directly impacted by these people, i.e. the number of people starving in Africa, or the number of women that die during childbirth in developing countries, we won't be moved enough to act. Tough words to swallow, but they are true.

I know, I know...I've said them too. You're thinking, "but what can I do about children in Africa starving, or mothers dying during childbirth? These problems are massive." And you know what? You'd be right. They are massive.

Consider the orphan crisis. There are an estimated 163 million orphans the world over. And the number continues to climb. One would think, this challenge is insurmountable. And you'd be right if you did not believe that you are capable of making a significant impact, Well, maybe it's time for a little pep talk.

Look what happens when that number becomes a face. Consider what you helped BEMM accomplish with one mother who had a stomach tumor, that if not removed, would die. You mobilized. You acted. And you know what? She is a mother alive today because you cared enough to act. You didn't help a number. You helped a person.

You are capable of saving a life. Yes, you heard me. YOU...are capable of saving a life. Not just any life. A mothers life. You could impact the orphan crisis in a very real and personal way.

Numbers are people. Do you care about them?

Prove it. Act.

Go to www.bemm.org and together we can make a difference. They are raising money for an ambulance that will serve 24 rural villages and save 15-20 lives every month!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Carried

I have been going through an incredibly rough time this past month and am a stagnant mess. We have 6 weeks to raise 20k for an ambulance that will service 24 villages and save 15-20 lives a month. Just the thought that we could save just ONE life should be enough to get me moving. Yet, here I am...feeling paralyzed. I'm not sure if it's fear, being overwhelmed, having surgery or just my life in general that is the issue. I have more than I can explain going on in my personal life right now. The thing is...I know.. and I believe that we will raise the money. I can see so clearly in my mind and heart, us delivering the 4x4 ambulance to Mareya. I see Jodie training the 24 villages in midwifery and the birthing kits, I see visiting the 20 mothers from our sponsorship program (only 2 have sponsors as of right now), I see a team of 4-6 additional people with us (we have 1 signed up right now). Living on faith and ignoring fact is a normal thing in my life. Everything BEMM has accomplished has always been relying on God to show up and perform a miracle. That miracle is always YOU. You all.. Even though we are no closer to the 20k, 4-6 people and 20 sponsored mommas than we were last month...YOU all still blessed me in such a personal way. Your encouragement has carried me for the past few weeks. From a family that sponsored the one of the two 70+ year old women in Ethiopia that I didn't know what to do with..If you don't know the story, please follow us on FB to read it. Basically, I found our first sponsor for two Ethiopian mommas. Then my partners sent me two women who didn't meet the "criteria". I did not want to turn them away and put a plea out on FB and a sweet family answered the call in such a beautiful way. They wanted to sponsor the barren woman so she would have an immediate family praying and supporting her. I was blown away. Then today I received the sweetest letter from a momma that calls herself the "$5 Queen". She says she doesn't have much, but I think she has more heart than anyone I know...She sends me every $5 bill that crosses her path..today I got 6 of them. Why? Her words "I'm so excited to send you more $. I know it's not much, but it's from God to be sure." I wonder if she knows that her 6 $5 bills will save 6 lives?! This week, we also had someone I admire write a guest post for us to share..coming Monday! Our medical director, Jodie also wrote an inspiring note that we will be sharing. I met a beautiful momma at a convention recently who has her own fair trade store that helps human trafficking victims...without asking she sold 49 of our headbands for us and wants to feature us in her blog. You must check them out http://www.delicatefortress.com/
We had people donate 2k towards a momma that needed life saving surgery two weeks ago. Oh, a friend of mine from highschool out of nowhere donated and spread the word of BEMM...
I am so thankful for all of the ways so many of you have carried me over this past month. Because of you..I know we will provide the ambulance we promised, the midwifery training, the 4-6 people to come with us and the 18 additional sponsors. We can do this!!!!