Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Psalm 82:3

What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?
What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?
(excerpt from The Hole in Our Gospel)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Learning AmhEnglish

The kids and I printed off our first 6 page document of common Amharic phrases. Hopefully we'll learn to say some of the basics...or at least the one below that means "Sorry, I don't understand".

What's AmhEnglish? It's 1/2 Amheric and 1/2 English - Duh :o)

It's our family's cleaver (go-bez) way of trying to say words in another language using the only language we know. We came up with "Chinglish" when MJ came home, and to this day when we can't figure out what she's saying (or doing), we say "Is that Chinglish?" Hopefully our AmhEnglish will be better than our Chinglish for our son's sake!

Want to learn some words with us? Don't worry, there won't be a test (not for you anyhow). Pretty sure our "test" will be a long one, starting this Spring and ending sometime in the next 5 -10 years. Yikes! This is going to be fun...

English – Amharic – Phonetic
Hello – Selam – Se-la-m
Bye/So long – Ciao – Chi-o
Thank you – Ameseginalehu – Ame-segi-na-lew
Coffee – Buna – Boo-na
Food – Megib – M-gi-b
Yes – Awo – Ah-wo
No – Aye – Eye
All gone – yellum – yell-um
Excuse me – Yikerta – Yi-ke-r-ta
I’m sorry, I don’t understand – Aznallo, algo banyem
Come (boy) – nah – naw
Come (girl) – naeye – nay
Done, enough, stop – becka -(or baa–kaw)
Okay? – Isshy – e-she
Sit down (two) kuchu-belu
Sit down (one) kuchu-bay
Good – kahn-joe-no
Pretty – kahn-joe OR cone-joe
Very clever (high compliment) – go-bez

By the way...when I met our son-to-be in May, I was told he was 7 when his uncle brought him to the orphanage and that he'd been there for about a year (if my math is correct, that would mean he would have been about 8ish when I met him, right?). When we got his court date last week, we also got to choose the month and day for his birthday (since they guess-timate those anyhow). The "doctor" over there gets to estimate his age, however. And you know what? "He" is suddenly 11. Yep, he'll turn 12 this Spring - May 10th. Can you believe that? When we signed up for an "older child", we were thinking he'd be closer to Chelsea's age and were really hoping he'd be at least a few months older. Guess our wish came true. We quickly had to do the math, though, because Corey doesn't want to be younger than his new brother! Thankfully, he's still got 5 months on him. Phew...that was a close one! Guess for 7 months of the year we'll sort of have "twins". I always wanted twins (bet you never knew that :o)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Have a Court Date!!!!!!!!!

It won't be wrapped, but we got the Christmas present we asked for...a court date!
Looks like Kyle will be in Ethiopia January 16th for that momentous occasion.

The big question is, of course, when will "he" come home. The about 4 months from our court date.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! I know I should probably write something very spiritually uplifting or inspirational since it's Christmas eve, but that's just not going to happen tonight. Have to put out Santa's key (we don't have a chimney, you know), get his milk and cookies on the table, and Christmas list's in his mailbox.

From our blog to you...Merry Christmas! Now, go kiss the children in your life no matter how naughty they've been this year - and tell them how thankful you are that they are here with you...and not an orphan in some other country. (yes, I'm totally serious)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The first $25 & a $998 scarf/hat

The first $25 is on its way to LifeSong for our matching grant opportunity (a big thank you to a certain Iowa friend who truly "gets" adoption :o). Please read the post below if you missed out on that exciting news...and how your donation will be doubled upon receipt.

Meanwhile, miss Chelsea had her school auction today...the one she was SOOOO looking forward to that she'd saved all of her hard earned "cash" at school and would even go to school this Friday for it - despite her mom telling her she could skip it and start Christmas vacation early. That's how important this auction was to her! Well, the auction was today instead, and when she got to the car after school she could hardly contain her excitement as she told me what she "bought."

Not a typical "girl" prize, eh? Well, it's not for her. Apparently she had initially participated in an auction for "the biggest bottle of bubbles you've ever seen - the one with the most giant bubble wand ever made" (her words). As the bidding progressed to the $500's, she finally blurted out "$998!" That was everything she had. Well, nobody wanted to outbid her on those bubbles...and she won. A little while later a boy in her class was telling her how he'd never had big bubbles before and how he was hoping he had enough money to win them...but didn't. He then showed her the camouflage hat and scarf he won. Chels said "Mom, I decided that since I had big bubbles before, I should give them to my friend and take his prize for my new brother since "he" will need a hat and scarf anyway."

This girl saved her "money" since school started in August...and this is what she bought. She truly gets what ransom means...I just know it!

See why I love children? They don't think of the dollar value when making a purchase or an exchange. They think of their needs - or someone else's...and this mama couldn't be more proud of her 3rd grader.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paying the Ransom

**(see the end of my post for info. about this photo)
I've been thinking a lot about adoption expenses lately. I've decided that every dollar our family has spent on adoption fees has gone to pay the ransom for a child - our child - to come home. Is this "ransom" high? Yes. Does it mean sacrifice? Constantly. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

Jesus paid a ransom for me, and for you, many years ago. It was costly, to say the least! And you know what? The Bible tells us that Jesus did this willingly.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28)

So on that note, I bring you to a HUGE answered prayer. We learned Friday that our family was approved for a $2000 matching grant through Lifesong. This means that for every dollar someone contributes towards the "ransom" of our son, they will match it dollar for dollar up to $2,000 (That means a potential $4,000 we don't have to come up with). Praise God!

Here's the letter we received:

December 9, 2011

Dear church, family, and friends of Kyle and Angie Hendren,

Lifesong for Orphans ( is a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to help meet the needs of orphan children around the world, and obey God’s call to “visit the fatherless…in their affliction” (James 1:27). The number of children worldwide without families to love and care for them is astounding… there are over 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone!

God tells us in His word He has heard the cry of the orphaned and abandoned children (Psalm 10:17, 18) and He has made a
way for them to be cared for – through adoption. As believers, He adopted us into His family through Jesus Christ, and did not leave us as spiritual orphans!

We believe adoption at its core is evangelism--a vital part of the Great Commission is bringing the mission field home. God desires orphans from all nations to be adopted into Christ-honoring families so they may ultimately be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ. God calls us to fulfill James 1:27, “visit the fatherless…” but not all are called to adopt. Some are called to pray, some to give financially, some to go
on mission trips, and some to adopt.

Kyle and Angie have sensed God’s call . . . and have joyfully stepped out in faith and obedience to adopt a young man from Ethiopia. As you may already kno
w, international adoption can cost around $25,000 and prevents many godly families from adopting. Lifesong believes God has raised up the Hendren family “for such a time as this…” and we have committed an Adoption Matching Grant of $2,000 to help raise the funds necessary to complete the adoption of this child.

This means Lifesong for Orphans will match “dollar-for-dollar” everything the Hendren's raise from their church, family, and friends between now and January 30, 2012 up to $2,000. We invite you to support them financially to make this adoption possible. As a 501(c)3 organization, your gift is tax ded
uctible. *100% of all funds raised will go directly to cover adoption costs--nothing will be taken out for Lifesong for Orphans administrative costs.

Will you invest financially in the life of this child? It will be an investment with eternal return.

God bless you for laying your treasures up in Heaven,

Andy Lehman
Vice President

p.s. I trust God will do great and mighty things throu
gh this, and all for His Glory!

Please make checks payable to:
Life Song for Orphans
P.O. Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
*On the memo of your check,
please note Hendren Family # 2317

Thank you for considering making a donation (helping pay our son's "ransom") - especially at this time of the year. Just remember the January 30th deadline, if you'd like your donation to double :o)

Well, that's my way of asking my friends and family to help us with some of the financial piece of this adoption - to let Andy Lehman do it for me. Thanks for the letter, Mr. Lehman, and for doing my dirty work :o)

Now, for some more exciting news:

Ugandan's Orphans Choir
The Ugandan's Orphan's Choir will be performing at our church on the evening of March 18, 2012. Here are the kids that will be touring...and staying in host homes (yep, we get to be one of those homes :o)

Chelsea has been praying for orphans for a few years now, and if you ask her why we're adopting a boy from Ethiopia, she'll likely tell you it's because she prayed that her dad would say yes...again, and God answered her prayer. Well, this next year, not only will she be getting the African brother she's been praying for, but she's also having a special birthday, as the Orphans Choir will be singing on her birthday, and spending the weekend at her house. I'm excited about this...but she's EXCITED about this. God truly loves to hear the prayers of a child, and one of our children is particularly excited lately how God answered her prayers (again) to help her "be able to take care of orphans, too."

**The photo at the top of this post is a picture of a painting we have in our living room. It's been hanging in our living room since 2001 - Sunday, May 13 (Mother's Day), to be exact. It was one of those impulse buys that a certain grieving mother made out of desperation trying to find something meaningful - something she could hold onto - something to give her comfort when she needed it most.

What I didn't realize, however, until this very moment when
I Googled the date of Mother's Day in 2001, was that May 13th, 2011 (10 years later) was the day I was in Ethiopia and plans to go to Uganda were cancelled at the last minute...thus allowing me to spend extra days at a certain orphanage in Addis Abba, with a little boy whose mother died a long time ago.

I'm telling you, Kyle and I don't know how to do the family planning thing - at all! We gave that up years ago, and all we know now is that God's plans for our fami
ly are better than anything we could have come up with on our own.

PS) A little more info. about our son:

He is the youngest of 7 children. He lost both his parents - his father 3 years ago, and his mother 8 years ago (we don't know the cause of death, but we should know someday soon). His uncle placed him in the orphanage a year ago, and at that time his paperwork indicated he was 7 years old. He has 6 siblings: 9 and 11 year old sisters, and 13, 15, 15 and 18 year old brothers. They are accounted for, living in "other areas", some working and some not. The girls are working as maids and the boys as shoe shines.

It's the law in Ethiopia for siblings to be adopted tog
ether (if they are in an orphanage - which in our case, his are not). When we found out how many siblings he had, I'm pretty sure Kyle had to pick his heart, and other vital organs, off the floor!

When I think about our son's siblings, my heart breaks - again. His sisters are maids! His brothers (if they're working) are shoe shines! They're not in school, they aren't having sleep-overs with their friends, they're not being t
ucked in at night or listening to a bed-time story. Who watches out for them at night?

I wonder if our son-to-be remembers them. I wonder if he ever lived with them. Does he remember his father? These and a hundred more qu
estions fill my mind sometimes, and someday I hope we can help him fill in the blanks of his life. For now, though, I trust that God has a plan for him and I'm honored to be part of that plan.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas in Ethiopia

From Utah with Love
The someone from the post entitled "Mother, that's my mother!" is going back to Ethiopia next week. He offered to bring another care package for our son-to-be. We hope that this time EVERYTHING will make it, including my friend's personal belongings - he wasn't so lucky last time :o(

We took the waiting siblings out Christmas shopping for smallish items for their future brother, and this is what they ended up with. We plan to wrap each item up individually and put the kids' school pictures on the gifts, so "he" knows who got him what. What I'd really like, though, would be for my friend to be able to tell him WHEN his dad will show up for court! Still waiting on that same signature - the one we've been waiting on for about a month now.

So we wait....and we wait...and we wait...

because we know God is working on things we aren't able to see, and we know it will be worth it!

I can't imagine what it must be like for "him" to wait for us to come and bring him home. I read one blog very recently where the parents-to-be went to court (trip #1), spent a week with their son and then had to come home until their Embassy appointment (trip #2). The teenage boy sobbed as he held his future father, wondering why he couldn't just go home with him now. It was heart-wrenching to read. What would I think if I were that teenage boy? I'd probably wonder if it was too good to be true. I'd wonder if they were really coming back for me. I might even wonder if I was 'good enough' for them - or if they might go home and change their minds.

So I pray. And I pray. And I pray. But not for me or for my family necessarily - for "him". For our son-to-be to know that we're coming no matter what. That when we get there for trip #1, he knows that this is only the beginning and not the end. That when he waits...and waits...and waits...he will feel loved, wanted and safe knowing that the Father is preparing a place for him not only in Heaven someday, but in Utah - with a family who already loves and wants him.

I wonder what these kids are praying for?

Whatever it is...God is surely listening.

"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Mark 9:37