So, most of you who read my blog also know that I serve as the Senior Texas Associate for America World Adoption Agency.
I serve in that capacity for three reasons ... 1.) I believe in the heart of the agency that is serving the Lord's orphans and working to place them in Christian families, one child at a time 2.) James 1:27 tells me to look after the orphans and the widows! and lastly 3.) When I look into the eyes of my beautiful Maliah, I am daily reminded that the Lord thought enough of me (for some crazy reason), to choose me to parent her. It is an honor that he felt I could take on the task and I am humbled because I know how important the orphan is to him. Truly .... he has entrusted me with so much that I felt that the only way I know to daily praise him for all he done is to serve him wherever he calls me ....and give him all the Glory in every detail of what I do!
So, recently the Lord has put it on my heart to see what our area can do to help AWAA raise the million dollars they are hoping to raise to accomplish some awesome goals which in turn would impact the lives of thousands of children.
While visiting with the Development Director of AWAA, we began to dream up the idea of putting together a banquet/dinner or Gala all in the name of orphans. It seemed like a daunting task ... still does, however, I pitched the idea to an Adoption Fellowship Group that I lead and the response was OVERWHELMING! My group was so excited about the possibilities and the ideas were bouncing all over the room. Don't you just love it when you know the Lord is orchestrating something?
SO ... I have contacted my "host church" and we are working on setting up a meeting. When I briefly pitched the idea their way the immediate response was this "sounds so exciting and something needed ... when can we meet to discuss it". SO, I am blogging here to solicit prayers from all of you. We need prayer over every detail. We are thinking big and being bold here.
Their are now several other states and associates who are interested in doing the same thing in their area. On Thursday of this week we will be having a conference call with the Director over Program Development and this entire campaign to begin to think out loud so to speak. Pray for that call, that the Lord would show the five of us what these evenings for him are supposed to look like and entail.
SO ... you may be wondering what the money will go to that is raised. I have put the brief description below for you to read through. Just know that AWAA has a heart for all orphans and the desire to see that children are placed in homes that Love the Lord!
------------------------------ORPHANS TICKET HOME ---------------
America World Adoption is proud of its many accomplishments since its first adoption in 1994. Along with over a thousand adoption placements, we've also sent numerous mission teams to volunteer in orphanages and worked on development projects to help orphans all around the world.
China was initially the only country America World worked in; today we're in six countries and we continue to launch new efforts to help build families through adoption.
Launching initiatives in new countries is a daunting task, but with millions of orphans in the world, it's a task we take seriously. America World is committed to researching and developing new adoption programs and we need your help to bring these programs to reality.
Identity for Orphans in China & El Salvador
3,780 children given the opportunity for a "home"
One of the greatest challenges orphans face is they do not have the necessary paperwork in order to be adopted. With your support, America World is undertaking a new initiative to make children "paper-ready" in countries such as China and El Salvador. Through this program, we hope to provide the necessary legal services and documentation to help orphaned children overcome this problem and become eligible for adoption. What's more, documentation for children is crucial for those who will not be adopted as well. Simple basic documents, such as a birth certificate, provide children a ticket to a better education and health care. Purchasing one ticket provides identity papers for one child in El Salvador and up to four children in China.
Opening America World Adoption programs in Bolivia, Brazil, India, Rwanda, and Vietnam
585 children given the opportunity for a "home"
Opening America World adoption programs in new countries is a priority of the America World development staff. Researching and developing these programs is a slow and expensive process. Your help will provide families more options in deciding where to adopt as well as provide new homes to countless more children. With your gift, many more children will have the opportunity to grow up in a home and not an institution.
America World Transitional Homes in Ethiopia
405 children given the opportunity for a "home"
Part of America World's work in Ethiopia is to implement development projects for orphans and vulnerable children. One of those projects in rural Ethiopia is to help rebuild a children's home that receives abandoned children from the government. Supporting this project will help these children have an opportunity to find permanent families in both Ethiopia and abroad. Your support will provide basic needs such as daily nutrition, medical treatment, clothes, toys, and 24 hour a day nanny care.
Older Children's Cultural Exchange Program in Ukraine and Russia
459 children given the opportunity for a "home"
America World Adoption is developing a program to bring older orphans, between the ages of 5 and 12, to the U.S. to stay with an America World family like yours. This new hosting program will provide older children in Ukraine (and soon other countries like Russia, Ethiopia, and China) the opportunity to spend two weeks with a prospective adoptive family. Your support can provide an orphan with the opportunity to find a place to call home.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Posted by Cristie at 11:11 AM
Friday, April 18, 2008
You can read my post below. Today is Friday. We've only been home like four days and yet I feel like it's has been an eternity since my days of walking on Powell Street. The mad rush of every day life with a few added events this week has us running in circles... The Lord of the Dance with Dakota on Wednesday night (awesome by the way!), Canyon's baseball game on Tuesday night, and tonight we have our adoption fellowship group to which I believe Doug and I may have two couples join us and the rest have other plans. Bummer! Just seems like one chaotic week and really all I want to do is be at home with my family in one place. Oh well ... responsibilities to uphold and I am always thankful when I leave my little group for all the great pearls of wisdom that each family brings. Just thought in all the chaos, I'd take a few moments to reflect and remember and savior my sweet memories! I hope my hubby can do the same ... he's had a yucko week with work and just needs a breather!
Care to share?
Posted by Cristie at 10:27 AM
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
We're home! Doug and I left last Wednesday at dark thirty for our trip to California. We flew into San Francisco and rented a car first thing. We arrived that morning at 10:30 ... just in time to be worried about the olympic torch protests going on on the Golden Gate Bridge to which we were driving right over to get to Napa. However, by the time we got to the bridge, there was little activity as the torch was literally "in hiding". There were a few protesters still straggling but all in all ... it was business as usual! Of course, the bridge is and was amazing and the view back to the city is incredible!
We headed to Napa that day making a few stops in a few cute areas along the way for lunch and just to see the sights. We stayed two nights in Napa where I might say is BEAU -T- FUL! It is so quaint and the wineries and vineyards are just superb. Having never been a huge wine drinker, however, I wasn't sure if this would be my thing. The first night Doug and I decided to get our feet wet with the tasting at a local Napa winery called the "Bounty Hunter". It was fun getting our feet wet and by the nights end we were ready for the coming day. The next day we got up early and had a wonderful breakfast in our hotel that was situated on a river. The outside was very lovely and so we sat on the patio and drank our coffee and relaxed in perfect 70 degree, sunshine weather. By 9:45 we were off for the day. We made our way through a few wineries just to see them and take some pictures. Though they hoped we'd stop for some tasting, we didn't. We then headed to the most adorable town called "Yountville". It's not a far drive outside Napa and it is just precious. There we stumbled upon a winery called "Jessup's Cellar". We went in and we knew right away we were in for a good time. As we made our way up to the little bar, a guy by the name of Zeke welcomed us in. We were also greeted by the wineries manager and the others. It was an extremely friendly place and there were just a few couples with us. Zeke walked us through everything you can imagine. We tasted everything they had to offer and he gave us the entire education on wine. We learned about the fruit, wood and earth portions of the wine and where they will be tasted on your tongue. We learned to "chomp" the wine and get a true appreciation for the art of it all. By the time we left we had made a shipment order and let's just say we'll be drinking wine at home for some time. It was SO fun and Zeke and Jessup's Cellar was a fabulous host to us novice tasters. Jessup's Cellars is a local winery and the only place you can buy their wine is there. Too bad ... we loved it, hence the reason for our shipment. HAHA
We then headed to a famous restaurant in the area called "Mustard's". I'd love to say it tasted wonderful, however, after all the wine I'm not sure I could remember what it tasted like. I realized upon leaving Jessup's Cellar that I wasn't someone who drank very often. Not to say I was completely toast or anything lude but I would say ... that my cheeks were a little flush and the world was a little better. haha. We spent the next few hours shopping around Yountville before making our way to the next winery that many know and love called "Robert Mondavi". We had a tour of the winery and saw how they produce and make the wine from the vineyards to the barrell's to the bottle. You can purchase Mondavi just about anywhere so it was fun to hear the history behind the winery and see the majestic place that had a Vineyard as far as my eye could see. Truly it was beautiful! At the end we had a wonderful tasting of four of Mondavi's best wines. HMMMMM good! I think I'm starting to appreciate why our biblical friends took such pleasure in a glass of wine from time to time. It was very relaxing and I think Doug and I both learned to appreciate the fine art of making wine and what it entails to have something so fine.
We spent two nights in Napa before heading out on Friday morning. We were headed to the Muir Woods forest when I saw a sign ahead that read "UC Berkeley". I asked Doug if it was "the" Berkeley campus. We plugged in the name into our handy Nuvi and made our way to the campus. We spent about 3 hours walking around and seeing the sights. While the campus is beautiful and the trees that line it are majestic, I will say as an Aggie grad ... our campus tops Berkeley any day. Doug and I were pleasantly surprised to find on the student services area (Fellow ags you know this as the MSC) a large collection of students and some that "looked" as conservative as we did. I say "looked". We stumbled upon all sorts of tables set up with advertising the local student organizations and clubs as you walked through the main area of the center. From tables advertising "Zionism, Hinduism, Muslim and more". Their was also groups for the Chinese American Association and the local democrats society. My favorite and the one I was so surprised to see was "The College of Republicans". Hey .... us conservatives exist ...even at Berkeley.
From Berkeley we headed to the Muir Woods forest to see the majestic Giant Red Woods. We spent the rest of the afternoon on a wonderful hike before heading into San Fran that evening.
We called San Francisco home for three nights and almost three full days. We toured it all .... Fisherman's Warf, Alcatraz, North Beach, China Town, Lombardi Street and the Crooked Street, Golden Gate Park, Union Square, Guiradelli Square and more. It was wonderful. The weather was out of character for San Francisco. A true blessing I think from the Lord. It was absolutely crystal clear ...not a cloud in the sky and hot. It wasn't until late Sunday afternoon and Monday that we experienced the chilly San Fran and the wind/fog that I remember embarks on the city. Like I said, it couldn't have been any better! We sat and got to know a few of the local folks and I even exchanged an e-mail address with a man whose wife works for Gov. Swartzenager. Big deal ... well, she is from China and speaks mandarin. During our visit with our new friend Alexander we learned that "Izabella" is of the "Ming family" dynasty of China. Her ancestry line is truly matriarch. She came to the states after graduating #1 at Peking University to attend Harvard. She graduated #1 from there as well we learned. Anyways, we hoped to meet Izabella as she was going to be joining Alexander shortly but our time was running out. Alexander was happy to give us her contact information as he said she'd love to hear from us. He was very interested in Maliah and our China adoption and knew she would as well.
So, Doug and I had a FABULOUS tenth anniversary trip. San Francisco and the Napa Valley are beautiful and we loved getting to see it all. The homes were impressive and the Valley was even more impressive but truly ... we are glad to be home and back to our kiddos!
I'll attach a few pictures for your enjoyment!
Posted by Cristie at 10:42 AM
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Well, first, let me tell you how grateful I am for all of your prayers for my Dakota! This world wide web thing rocks the house. To think that in a moment we can send out a prayer request all over the country is truly amazing. In saying that, my Dakota is doing so much better. She's back in school. She still gets pretty tired and in fact right now is taking a nap on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. I'm actually thinking ... she's the smart one of the group! Anyways, thank you for praying my warriors!
Well, with all of that going on with Dakota I never took a moment to post a few pictures of Easter. We had a great time that day getting to go to church and celebrate our Risen Christ! From there we went to Doug's sisters house for lunch and an Easter egg hunt. The kids all had a great time, the weather turned out beautiful and the day was wonderful!
Posted by Cristie at 1:38 PM
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Well, today I sent Dakota back to school after a second round of pneumonia. Three weeks ago she was home and very ill with pneumonia. She had had the flu the week prior and on a Friday the school nurse called and said Dakota was in the nurse's office doubled over in tummy pains. I went and picked her up and she looked not so good. That evening she spiked a pretty high fever and by Saturday I was headed to the Urgent Care with my baby girl who seemed to be wasting away before my eyes in only a few short hours. After urine cultures, blood work and a chest x-ray, it came back that my poor little girl had pneumonia. No cough, no wheezing but a huge mass of pneumonia in her chest (they call this a "round" of pneumonia and yes ... that tummy ache is a tell tale sign). They gave her two anti-biotic injections there at the office and sent us home with a prescription for another 10 days. Fast forward through spring break. Last Thursday when Dakota awoke her eyes seemed heavy and something in my spirit told me she wasn't well. She wasn't running fever and there was nothing to say she needed to stay home so I sent her off to school. When I picked her up she looked very tired and the sign that she wasn't well was when everyone went outside to play and she asked to lay down and take a rest (you know that doesn't happen!). I took her temperature and it read 102.6. Great I thought .. here we go again! What now?
The next day I took Dakota back to the Dr. Since she had just battled with pneumonia, I didn't want to chance her having it again and not knowing. The pediatrician looked her over, listened to her chest and sent us on her way. She did say that if she continued with the cough and fever that "she wanted her back" but thought maybe she had just picked up a virus. That was 2:00 in the afternoon and by the next day, our Dakota had nose dived into yet another desperate state. She wouldn't eat, didn't want to drink anything and had had a few bouts of throwing up to add to the mix. She looked so horrible! By night my instinct told me that she needed to go back to the Dr. So, at 8:00 at night when I was dressing her for bed I decided that she had to go back. I picked her up and told Doug she had to go to the Dr. He said "right now". I said "right now". This is where I say trust your gut Mommy's - God gave you that discernment! After yet another ex-ray of her chest, they discovered that once again she had pneumonia. Either the crummy stuff hadn't totally healed the first time or it had returned .. either way, this was the culprit for making my baby feel so bad! So, after another round of antibiotics and 5 days home from school, Dakota is on her way back today to the petri dish laboratory they call "school".
I say all that as a pre-face ... please pray for my sweet baby! This girl needs a hedge of protection to cover her as she continues to heal and be made whole. If your out there reading, would you please lift her up as I do. When two or more are gathered he is present and while the situation isn't a dire one ... I don't know if my heart can see my little girl so sick again right now (and for sure my pocket book can't).
Posted by Cristie at 5:09 AM