Monday, December 30, 2013

Roadblock - Prayers Needed

Recent happenings throughout the Ethiopian government, concerning international adoption have our hearts breaking. We are requesting that you pray with us. Please pray for God to sway hearts of the Ethiopian government officials. Pray that positive adoption PR will flood Ethiopia. Pray God's will be done for these children without families and consequently, without hope.

This news article came from AllAfrica just one day after Christmas:

"The House of Peoples' Representatives and the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth urged stakeholders and the public to undertake integrated work to totally stop adoption of Ethiopian children by foreign families.
In a press conference, House Speaker Abadula Gemeda and the Minister Zenebu Tadesse told journalists that stakeholders should work closely to end foreign adoption.
Abadula urged the importance to give priority to use local means to raise orphaned children rather than giving them away to foreign families.
He suggested the importance to establish and support local NGOs which raise orphaned children with the close collaboration of the public.
He urged stakeholders and the public to support these initiatives and protect children from any kind of abuse.
The Minister Zenebu on her part said the government is working hard to end foreign adoption and facilitate situations to raise the children within their community.
Over 9,000 children were adopted by foreign families during the previous years, in a yearly basis, she said.
Through various activities carried out over the past years, number of children adopted by foreign families reduced to less than 1,000 in 2005EC.
She attributed the success to implementation of various laws and increasing knowledge of the public."

We were informed through EthioStork, an agency founded by Duni Zenaye, a native Ethiopian, that walks families through the adoption process and beyond, providing information about the Ethiopian culture, the adoption process as a whole, and assist families through the many challenges of trans-racial adoptions, of some follow-up information concerning a meeting held with parliament. 

Duni writes "I just spoke to folks back home. They have informed me that the meeting of the adoption network with parliament didn't go well. The minister of federal MOWCYA, Minister Zenebu had declared she wants to shut down adoption in the coming weeks. It was very political, "we have controlled the spread of AIDS, we have dared to build a dam at the Nile, surly we can put a stop to adoption as well". The speaker of Parliament agreed with her. The meeting was adjourned with the plan to create a committee that will present a "plan of action to end adoption" not poverty or orphaning, mind you, within 10 days. If this gets accepted by parliament then next will be getting the prime minister to sign it. Let's hope that doesn't happen."

We currently wait ten of the longest days since starting our adoption journey. We hope to hear positive news soon. Positive news would consist of adoption reform, new standards, new laws that do not include the shut off of international adoption. Protection of these precious children from child trafficking, abuse cases such as those like Hana Williams and more and financial corruption on the part of orphanages and even government, is so vitally important to the future of all orphans. Adoption can become a very politically and even culturally charged subject. The first priority that we share with many adoptive families INTACT. The primary family unit is of the highest importance. When that is no longer an option, children being kept in their own culture, raised by members of their native land would be preferred. In many cases this is not a viable option either. Many areas with concentrated numbers of orphans are many times areas that are extremely poverty stricken. Here is where opinions begin to differ. These children can be kept in their cultural land and be raised by various members of local villages or be raised in orphanages. We feel this is not ideal. The children never form attachments to parents that are their OWN. They do not develop trust and intimate relationships with adult figures. And so, we find ourselves at the mercy of the government, parliament, adoption advocates, local orphanage personnel, and the Prime Minister to make the right decision.

We have faith in the fact that our great God, Creator of all, knew this was coming. He knows the outcome as well. Please pray that He will intervene on behalf of the children of Ethiopia and those waiting to provide families to these little ones.

Five: Officially a Big Kid

Our curly haired, eccentric Eva Lou has reached the coveted milestone of becoming one of the "bigs". She turned FIVE YEARS OLD o December 30th! We had our own private celebration at home, complete with a pink, puppy cake! She is such a treasure. Her quirkiness brings a smile to our faces each and every day. She is kind, compassionate and very easily embarrassed. She loves to perform, but ONLY for us! We are very proud of our little lady!

We love you, Curly Shirley!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Advent - the coming or arrival, especially one which is awaited

We began this Advent season just like we always do, opening our Jesse Tree devotional beginning on December first. We celebrate the Christmas season, and we do so with purpose as to not morph into what is so common in western culture...even christian culture. I hate the materialism that surrounds Christmas. Our family chooses to celebrate Christ and His first coming to earth as Savior of the world. We choose to give Christmas meaning for our children. One way we do this is to take our bibles out each night a read scripture rich with meaning behind the Christmas story. While the typical Luke 2 account of the birth of Christ is priceless, there is so much more to behold through His word. It is absolutely amazing how Christ's coming was foreshadowed as far back as Creation. Our children have enjoyed in recent years, being able to partake in the actual reading of the scripture. Hearing my children recite God-breathed words is one of the most precious things ever. All of them participate in some way, listening, reading, hanging ornaments etc. It is precious time with the Word and simply time when we can all be still, together. When everyone is sleeping, Lila has even been involved in some Jesse tree activity. We have learned this year that leaving our tree in an easily accessible location will result in a few , seemingly specific, ornaments will go missing. Her favorites are the earth and Jacob's ladder!! We have now located the tree on the high bookshelf, which has worked this season!

Each night we read a special devotion together, pray and one child gets the privilege of hanging a handmade ornament on our tiny Jesse tree. Each ornament is symbolic of the biblical truth behind the devotion, which helps tremendously with memory recall, for our children. We look most forward to hanging the symbolic ornament that represents the birth of our Savior. Each year the kids love to be the one who gets to hang the ornament on Christmas morning before a gift is ever touched. This year the way the cards fell, Abe got the treat of hanging the ornament that holds the greatest meaning. Our Savior came! And, we shall celebrate His birth.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

NINE years old!

December is an amazingly busy month for the West family. We are scurrying to finish up home school so that we may enjoy a winter break. We also celebrate 3 births!! The greatest and most extensive celebration is of Christ's birth, but we are also so very grateful for two blessed gifts that arrived in our family during this month. Our very first child, Marcus Elijah West (better known as Eli) was born December 12th! What a sweet Sunday evening indeed, the first day I tasted motherhood. This year he turned nine. He is growing up. BITTERSWEET! We celebrated together with family on his actual birthday. We also allowed him to celebrate with some time with friends, while us girls had an afternoon date. I baked him his requested cake. This year was a Star Wars theme, which is currently his "thing". 

Truly blessed this sweet young man!