Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Here we go!!!

All ready to board our flight!! Keep us in your prayers!

Love, erin

Friday, February 15, 2013

You rocked it...(and giveway winner)

Over the past 36 hours, the Valentine's Day Love Big, Give Big Challenge of $1000 was met...and passed!! You helped to raise $1500 for my friends' adoption and I can't wait another second to say,
You rocked it! I knew the $1000 would be easy-breezy, (yes, I'm a grown woman saying "easy-breezy" -- that's what happens when you work with kids all day! ... I also once accidentally called my husband "doodle noodle" in public! hahaha-- but I digress) and you stepped up and surpassed the goal! How awesome that many of you gave without reservation and many of you gave without even knowing this family. Truly incredible.
Sometimes we hear statistics, see heart breaking images, and become emotionally paralyzed. We start to think and then subsequently believe: the needs are SO great, I can't really do anything to change the brokeness in this world. We, ourselves, can't change the brokenness of the world, only Jesus can bring the redemption needed to bring full life, but we can use the gifts he has given us to love, give, and serve the people around us. By choosing to give and share what we have been blessed with (no matter how small the gift or deed), we can start a ripple effect that potentially can touch many lives.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
~ Mother Teresa
Never underestimate the power of a ripple across undisturbed waters. Even the smallest pebble will produce a ripple that can go far past what our eyes can see. Yesterday, your generosity created a ripple. Look for ways to create another ripple today. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to visit the undisturbed waters where God is calling you. Pray about how you can use what we has given you to do great things for Him. When we seek to follow Him and love like He loves - every.single.day - we should be surrounded by rippling water. Better bring a life vest.


I love that this challenge went beyond people that I know. Thank you new friends for loving my friends. Because many gave who I don't know personally, I may need some help getting in touch with the giveway winner!

The randomly selected winner of this challenge is:  Angie Best
Thank you Angie for your Valentine gift to the Ames Family's adoption fundraiser! I would love to send you an Ethiopian gift after we return from our trip! Please contact me by email: headingtoethiopia@gmail.com  If you know Angie, please let her know she's the winner! :)

Although this Valentine's Day Challenge is officially over, the Ames Adding To the Crew online fundraiser is still running for 22 days (from today's date), so if you know of anyone that might be interested in their story and/or giving toward their adoption please send them to: http://www.youcaring.com/adoption-fundraiser/USS-Ames-Adding-to-the-Crew/38625

Thanks again so much for giving! Your hearts were loving big this Valentine's Day!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love Big, Give Big this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and love is in the air. Do you have your valentine cards filled out and ready for delivery?? Are your cards store bought or handmade? Which would you rather receive, roses or chocolates?

As you're making plans and getting ready to celebrate on Thursday, I can't help but bring your attention to two very special adolescent boys who are incredibly worthy of lots of valentine wishes and gifts, which is why I'm posting this special Valentine's Day challenge.

Our friends, The Ames Family, are counting down the days until they can meet and bring home the two newest members of their family (Remember, their boys are currently in the SAME orphanage as our boys? Read their story here.). These 2 biological brothers are in for such a surprise when we meet them next week (eek!! Still can't believe we're headed to Ethiopia next week!) and shower them with gifts from their new family. I absolutely cannot wait to see their faces as they unwrap the gifts lovingly picked out for them by Sarah and the rest of the Ames crew...seriously cute stuff that they will LOVE and treasure until they can meet their family face to face.

Last week I found out that when the boys were told they were going to be adopted, they couldn't believe that someone wanted them.

Press pause for a moment, did you read that last sentence? Let that thought sink in: they couldn't believe that someone WANTED them.

Oh, sweet boys, you are wanted...wanted more than you know. And you are loved more than you know, not only by your new family, but by Jesus who has had his eye on you since the day you were born, counting the hairs on your head, crying with you during difficult days, keeping you safe when you felt alone, preparing and opening hearts to place you in the wonderful family you are about to join. You were created for GREATER things, AMAZING things that only you can do. We fully believe this about you!! You are so desperately wanted and your family is working very hard to bring you home as quickly as possible.

This adoption is atypical in its process because of the boys' ages and is moving at a much faster pace than most other intercountry adoptions. Although their case is being fast tracked, the costs of their adoption are the same as that of a "regular" adoption...which is requiring a lot of faith on Sarah and Jordan's part for the funding of this adoption. Most adoptions span over the course of (literally) years, creating time for families to financially prepare for each fee as it is required, but with their adoption possibly being complete within the next 6 months, the total funds needed within such a short amount of time can really be daunting when looking solely at the numbers on paper. BUT, we know that God can do HUGE things when we follow Him.

This brings me to my challenge.

I would LOVE for this Valentine's Day to be different for this family, will you join me?? While you're sealing your paper valentines with a kiss, would you consider sending a "virtual valentine" to this amazing family? I would love to have 100 people send a virtual valentine of $10 toward their adoption fundraising effort, totaling a gift of $1000 for Valentine's Day to help celebrate the love of family. They have no idea about this challenge...can you help meet the goal??  I think it would be incredibly awesome if we could surprise them with this special gift. I know there are (at least) 100 of you out there that could give $10. Step up to the plate. I also know there are some of you who could give more. Go on, hit it out of the park. Love Big, Give Big.

$1000 to this fab family should be easy-breezy, so let's get it done! I believe this goal is attainable, especially considering the facts that each year, American Christians spend:
  • $3 billion/ year on bottled water
  • $4 billion/ year on cosmetics
  • $7 billion on sports events
  • $11 billion a year on coffee
  • $13 billion a year on pets and diet programs
  • $17 billion a year on golf & boating
  • $20 billion a year on soft drinks
  • $21 billion on cable TV
  • $76 billion a year on eating out
These crazy high numbers are what CHRISTIANS spend on this stuff...if we really say that we love Jesus, are we following his command to care for the orphan and love our neighbor? While not everyone feels led to adopt, we clearly have the resources to help in other ways, what are we waiting for?

(I know that there are some of you that are thinking, "I can't give anything right now, I'm not even sure how I'm going to cover my own bills this month" -  to those of you in this category - bless you, this particular challenge is not for you; but you can certainly pray for these precious boys. Imagine how valuable and wanted they would feel if they knew so many people were praying for them as they wait for their family.)

To be a part of this challenge, GIVING is SO VERY simple.
1.) Visit their website:
2.) Give $10 (or more <--- hint hint) using any major credit card, bank card or paypal account
3.) Submit - This "Virtual Valentine" is automatically delivered to their account.
4.) Share this post with your friends, family, facebook friends/groups, on your blogs, twitter, email, - let's help them get these 2 guys HOME!!

When giving on their "youcaring" site, make sure you leave a "Happy Valentine's Day" wish for the boys and their family. Anyone who gives and leaves their Valentine message between now and midnight on Valentine's Night (thursday night), will be entered into a drawing. A random winner will be selected to receive a gift from our Ethiopia trip next week. :)

Could it be any easier to send some love this Valentine's Day? Seriously, this gift is much easier than trying to figure out what to buy your honey!

Thanks so much, can't wait to see the love that's spread around! Happy Valentine's Day!!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two tickets to paradise...er, Africa

That's right, we're FINALLY going to Ethiopia to meet our sweet boys! We got our phone call today, telling us that we have a court date scheduled for February 26th...only 20 days from now!

I can't believe we're in the trip planning process of this journey, but SO thankful that we are! We don't have many details about our trip yet, as we still have to have a phone conference with our agency later this week, but our suitcases will soon be packed and we'll be itching to board the plane. Not looking forward to the 13+ hr flight, but totally looking forward to the handsome little faces we'll meet when we get there!

Another family from our agency is there right now and emailed me earlier today that they were able to take some pictures of our boys for us! Unfortunately they haven't been able to email them to me yet (Internet connections aren't consistent or reliable there...it's like they're in a 3rd world country or something!), but the photos will do this momma's heart some good the moment they land in my inbox. I'm so anxious to see how they've grown in the past few months. These precious pictures will have to hold me over until I can lay my eyes on them in person. Wow. We're finally getting to meet our babies...not just in prayers, not just in daydreams, but for real. 20 days cannot come fast enough!

More details to come later, right now I'm going to get our suitcases out of the closet, I might even start packing! :)