Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amelia and the Angel....and angel hair

This is one of the paintings we got at the Art for Ethiopia fundraiser. It’s the one Amelia loved so much. In fact, she couldn’t take her eyes off it! There was a huge mix-up, and we almost had to give it back for another buyer. So many thanks to our friend Shawn, who saved the day!

We don’t know what it reminds Amelia of, but the rest of us think of the statues and art we saw in Rome the week before we met Amelia. It’s a pretty big painting, and we have it hung in the entry. When Amelia is in her high chair, it’s so cute to watch her crane her neck to get a look at her angel. And when we go up or down the stairs, she likes to pause to get a look, do a little giggle and smile.

Speaking of angels....Amelia has something happening on the top of her head. I wouldn't call it regular "hair" yet. And "bird's nest" seems a bit harsh. So let's just go with "angel hair." (Aside from the difference in color, it does look a bit like the pasta.)

Physical Therapy

Amelia has been working really hard at physical therapy. Our physical therapist, Jessica, is incredible. She comes to our house each week and plays, er, works, with Amelia. I think we had all underestimated how malnourished Amelia was when she came home. Not because of her life in the orphanage--but because she was likely premature, and her first mom was likely so malnourished, and her serious reflux only made everything much worse. But she is thriving now, thank God!

Something we have learned about malnourishment is this: When a young child is malnourished, her body feeds her brain first. And then her organs. And finally, her muscles. Isn't God amazing? We wouldn't be able to help Amelia catch up when it comes to brains or organs. But muscles? No big deal!

Here she is, poised to crawl. (Just overlook the drool.)

She has a belly--yea!

She loves her sissies.

Bath Time--Before and After

Here are pics of one of Amelia's most favorite activities: Bath Time! (Or perhaps more appropriately called, Sink Time.)

Bath time is the one time in the day when Amelia doesn't have to wear a bib....because all her drool just drains into the sink!

Look closely at this one--see what I mean about the drool?
And now here is a picture of our very first bath, when we were in Ethiopia. It was taken exactly four months ago. It's hard to recognize her as the same baby. Hard to believe it's only been four months...because it seems she has been with us forever. Thank God for His love and grace to all of us!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hanna is (almost) in the house!

Hanna Fanta, founder of Children's Heaven, will be in the States for just a couple of weeks. We found out today that she will come to our house tomorrow, and she'll stay for a couple of days. We are thrilled to have the chance to spend a bit of time with Hanna, and we pray we will be able to bless her while she is with us. If you are in our area, and you would like to meet Hanna, let me know. She is such a wonderful, humble, beautiful and faith-filled woman.

Here's a bit about Hanna's work:

Children's Heaven serves orphaned girls ages eleven years and older. Without the safety net that Hanna provides, these girls would fall through the cracks, and they would be forced to make their way by begging or even prostitution. Children's Heaven ensures these girls can go to school (providing uniforms and supplies as well), tutors and teaches the girls, teaches them about God, and makes sure they have access to health care and plenty to eat. These girls have been orphaned and no longer have mothers. Hanna truly shows them a mother's love. Because of Children's Heaven, these girls have a chance!

As an example of the incredible work that Hanna does, click here to read about the Dumpster Girls pictured below. Hanna had just met these girls in July when we were in Ethiopia. If not for Hanna Fanta and Children's Heaven, there would be a lot more Dumpster Girls in Ethiopia.

Living as we do in the U.S., it's hard to comprehend that anyone, especially children, lives like this, isn't it?

Finally, I leave you with a two minute video about Children's Heaven.

Again today, be INSPIRED!

Art for Ethiopia

An organization called Ethiopian Orphan Relief held a fundraiser for Children's Heaven Saturday. You may recall that we spent a fair amount of time at Children's Heaven, and a lot of time with its founder, Hanna Fanta, when we were in Ethiopia.

The benefit was called Art for Ethiopia, and the goal was to raise funds to help Children's Heaven build an actual, permanent building in Addis Ababa for the teenaged girls they serve. (Children's Heaven currently puts up temporary buildings made of tarps and other materials, which the Ethiopian government occasionally makes them take down....)

We went to the benefit and had a good time. (Well, Amelia thought it was a bit too crowded and noisy, but it was her first fundraiser, so she's not yet experienced at these things.) Hanna Fanta is visiting the U.S. right now (a requirement for her U.S. Visa), and she was at the fundraiser. It was soooooo wonderful to see her!

We picked up some art for such a great cause. Amelia loved one of the pieces in her daddy couldn't stop himself from getting it for her. (Dads and daughters...what can I say?) Ethiopian Orphan Relief had set a "high" goal of raising $10,000. We heard today that $12,800 was raised. That's so fantastic!

Here's Amelia at "Art for Ethiopia," taking time out for a little snack.
(I think she was stress-eating.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Need inspiration?

If you could use some inspiration today, and if you have some time, check out this blog:

It's a well-written, inspiring and often funny blog about a family and their incredible adventure. This family recently adopted from Ethiopia. But that's just the beginning of the story....of God's calling and involvement in their lives, and of the big assignment they have accepted.

Here's a "Lory's notes" version to get you caught up on what's going on in this family now:

This family had accepted a referral for an Ethiopian baby, but she passed away before they were able to get her. Then they accepted a referral for Ethiopian twin babies....who almost passed away, too. In the process, they managed to befriend and bring to the U.S. an Ethiopian woman--married, former Olympic athlete--who was experiencing a high-risk pregnancy after losing one baby already. Well, Baby Christiana was born this week, with many complications.

It's amazing, what this family, and the larger family of adoptives families and Believers in Christ, have done. And what they continue to do. They all demonstrate what happens when we choose to love and serve outside of ourselves. And how beautiful and wonderful (and difficult, too) it is when we respond to God's call.

Stories like this make me want to be chosen to help change the world.

Be inspired today!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

America votes today

I hope you voted. We don't all agree on everything, but I hope we can agree that we have a wonderful country. We are the most generous country in the history of the world, for one. I love America!

Even with an almost-always-at-work husband and three daughters, I found time to make some calls last night. And I'm on my way to my poll-watching gig here in a few minutes.

And then I'm sure we'll be up late into the night, watching it all unfold. (I'm a political junkie, by the way.)

God bless our country!

Tammy D.--are you out there???

Hey Tammy,

I got your message, but can't find your email address / phone number. And I don't have the spelling of your last name (which to readers who aren't Tammy might sound lame. But her last name could have many, many, many different spellings), or I think I could track you down. Grrrrr!

I can't believe you found us! I would love to hear more about your family and what you're up to. Please post here or send your email / phone to our gmail And I hope you'll send a note, too, of course.

Waiting by the keyboard,