"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting Children

Every so often when I tell someone about our adoption process, they say something to the effect of "I would love to adopt, but..." fill in the blank. Money is an issue, fear of international travel has been mentioned, many people think they could never get their spouse to agree to it. I can only say that all of those excuses entered my mind at one time or another. It has been my experience, that if you are called to adopt (and you will know - you will feel the desire deep in your heart and it does not go away), through a lot of prayer and a lot of perseverance, it is possible to start the journey.

I want to take this opportunity to share a little information that I just read. I LOVE Kristi's posts at http://www.weloveourlucy.blogspot.com/. She has huge heart for orphans and continues to do amazing work to educate others about the need for orphan care and adoption. If you haven't done so, please take some time to visit her blog. It is amazing! Anyway...last night she posted some information that really touched me...She wrote about many waiting kids that are looking for a forever home. 147 million children wait. About 6 million wait in Ethiopia. If you have any interest in adoption, perhaps a waiting child is something you could consider. Kristi also wrote about African American infants waiting for families right here in the USA. Here is part of what she wrote:

"**I also want to let you know that I contacted two agencies domestically recently to find out MORE about their need for African American Infant adoptions!! Basically this is what I found out: The need is REAL in the U.S. It was said that there are 7,000 waiting parents for every ONE Caucasian baby born and ZERO for every African American baby born!! This just breaks my heart!! This is who I called:
http://www.adoptionassociates.net/ out of Michigan is in desperate need for people to sign up for AA infants!! They have 13 signed pregnant mothers and 3 signed adoptive parents!! I did talk price with them and they are only slightly cheaper than going to Ethiopia, but obviously the travel will be less expensive (and easier)! These are USUALLY semi-open adoptions!! They were GREAT to talk with and very HELPFUL!!
http://www.covenantcareadoptions.com/ They are out of Georgia and were GREAT to talk with as well!! They are also in GREAT need for people to sign for AA infants!! They are also usually semi-open adoptions. Their prices were actually GREAT!! Their entire adoption cost was only slightly over $4,000!! That is a GREAT price in the land of adoption!! They seem to place new- borns VERY QUICKLY and are ready to sign potential, qualifying parents!!"

Our agency (Arise for Children) just launched a new website and very soon they will be featuring waiting children as well. I hope to spread the word about children that are available and wait for a family. Our agency has many little boys waiting for families (especially preschool age). Almost all agencies that we looked at had waiting children. If you are interested in a waiting child, you may also be eligible for special grants to help with adoption costs. Please keep these little ones in your thoughts and prayers.

***More to come about adoption fundraising. I am getting very excited because my big "gold party" is coming up and I can't wait to gather my wonderful friends together to celebrate and fundraise!

***The iPod "giveaway" is still up and running! It's not too late to get your "entries." The odds are still looking good, so grab some "entries" soon...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friends Who "Get It"

Did you ever tell someone that your family has decided to adopt a child from another country and have them look at you like this? There have been a handful of times when I have seen this look from people after I tell them the news about our upcoming adoption. "Huh?" "Really?" "Hmm..." I would usually just smile to myself. After all, I know this is exactly what we have been called to do and it feels great to share the news with others even if they don't get it. I love the effect it can have on others (even if it just makes them say "Huh"). You never really know what an impact we might have on another family's decision to adopt in the future...I love that!

Anyway... I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days this weekend with great friends who "get it." They have never looked at me like this. They have been so supportive of me and my family. They have been listening to me talk about adoption for years and have been full of encouragement and support. One of my friends is an adoptive mom and the other is an adoption social worker...obviously we had no shortage of things to talk about! I am so blessed to have many friends who understand where we are coming from and these are just two of the best of the best!!!

We took some time for a little "girls weekend" and took a trip to Door County. The weather was great, the food was excellent (no shortage of chocolate or wine) and the company was perfect. We spent some time checking blogs, talking about adoption and just plain relaxing.

The weather was so nice that we were able to go for a nice, long walk along Lake Michigan.
I would have to agree with Abraham Lincoln when he said "The better part of one's life consists of his friendships."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

International Adoption Being Questioned...

I love this picture. It is a little boy running. He is in Ethiopia. The beautiful scenery and simplicity of the setting are awesome. Unfortunately, many children in Ethiopia, Haiti and throughout our world do not live with simplicity in their lives. When I learned that 147 million (or more) orphans live in our world, I was surprised. Really? That many? I love Proverbs 24:12 - Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.-
With that in mind, I have been thinking a lot about the recent news stories about "missionaries" being arrested in Haiti, reports of corruption with some Ethiopian adoption agencies, etc. In fact, I received several phone calls after CBS aired a "news" story this week about an Ethiopian adoption gone wrong. It breaks my heart that the mistakes of a few can impact so many. Maybe there are people watching these stories that are about to follow their personal call to adopt, and now they are questioning it. Maybe some who are not listening to their heart will continue to ignore it because of the fear and the negative stories they hear about.
Tara Livesay, a missionary who lives in Haiti and has dedicated her life to caring about the Haitian people, had this to say about some recent news coverage of the orphan crisis in our world:
"Last night on AC360 Anderson visited an orphanage outside of Port au Prince.As he interviewed the people overseeing the orphanage they said things and he repeated them in agreement. It was the "let's all agree and not think critically" segment.During the interview one women admitted that most kids were placed in the orphanage as a result of financial hardship in the birth family. She did not claim the children had deceased parents. (Although some of them probably do.) She went on to explain that they would not want to offer adoption as a choice because these children need to stay in their own culture. Anderson did not ask a single hard question and just nodded in agreement. In reality orphanages are a subculture and cannot effectively preserve the culture that they so adamantly claim needs preserving.AC went with the unicef line about how much better it is to be raised in an orphanage in your own country ... preserving your cultural norms and avoiding adoption at all costs. (Meanwhile unicef spokesperson Angelina Jolie adopts children from other cultures and ruins their chances of growing up in an orphanage - yet somehow that is different. You must need to be a celebrity to break unicef rules.)The weird thing is, they stood in an orphanage meant to house 100+ kids at once and literally said "We never want to take these kids from their parents, their parents love them." Yet the kids are LIVING in the orphanage ... do they not count that as taking them from their parents? Basically, you can take them from their parents to raise them in your crowded institution - but you cannot take them and place them in nuclear families abroad ... that is abusive. They sat there saying that the kids were placed mainly due to financial reasons, then tried to say that they must be raised in Haiti to be able to help Haiti some day. One teenage girl spoke on camera, saying something like "If you adopt all the kids out they won't be here to help their people, and that is what we want." It was an odd soundbyte by someone who is likely on a short-term visit to Haiti and has very little big picture perspective.I hardly think anyone is suggesting that we take every.single. child in every.single. orphanage and move them out of Haiti. OF COURSE NOT. As usual, they change the argument into something it is not. ALL children leaving Haiti is a bad idea. An idiot knows that. You cannot remove the entire next generation. But, ALL children staying in Haiti (closing down adoption on the whole) is a really bad idea too.The same thing applies as in every other argument ... it is not a black and white, one size-fits-all argument. Different situations warrant different responses ... there is no hard and fast rule, no one response to the orphan crisis. Keeping hundreds of thousands of orphans (with or without living birth-parents) in institutions and thinking that these institutions will prepare them to "give back to their country" -- is nothing short of totally ignorant. The vast majority of orphanages in Haiti are horribly understaffed and overcrowded. Those conditions don't turn out world leaders.Most orphanages look different on the days that visitors come. They are not wonderful, loving, centers of cultural goodness. 100 kids living in one building was presented as a brilliant idea by Coop last night. I am not exactly sure what he was thinking. Live in an orphanage for three months when there are no cameras around. THEN come tell me how totally awesome it is to stay in your home culture. I don't know why Anderson is generalizing and suggesting one solution for the problem of orphans in Haiti. These one-sided platitudes must be encouraged by unicef or by those ten people that tried to take kids illegally ... but either way they are misguided. I'd love to see Anderson actually report on this issue looking at BOTH sides.Adoption is not warranted in every situation. Of course not. But keeping all orphaned kids from the opportunity to be adopted in order preserve their fabulous (orphan) culture and keep unicef in business, is not a one-size-fits-all solution either."
These words come from someone who doesn't just talk the talk. She (and her family) walks the walk. You can follow her family's story at http://http//www.livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/.
Something to think about...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Super Cute T-shirts!

We are so excited to share a few of our favorite new t-shirts with you! We have partnered with Adoption Bug to sell very cute adoption t-shirts. If you like the shirts as much as we do, you can click on the t-shirt sidebar and you will be taken right to OUR Adoption Bug online store. All shirts ordered through our family's Adoption Bug site help us to raise funds for our travel to Ethiopia. If you visit Adoption Bug without using the quick link to "our" store, just look through "current fundraisers" to find the Marquis Family Adoption section (you will see our family picture as well).

I am really proud of my daughter who designed a couple of the shirts herself. She has a heart for Africa and happens to love all things with "peace" signs. Check out this great shirt she came up with which features a wonderful quote from Gandhi - "Be the change you wish to see in the world" :

I absolutely love the shirts that we are selling that feature Ethiopia. The "Adoption Rocks" shirt is a personal favorite...it can be done with a solid heart or a heart which includes the Ethiopian flag.

And there are even shirts that have both English and Amharic writing on them!

We hope you like the shirts as much as we do. If you have any questions about them, please feel free to email us or leave a comment. Hopefully I will post some pictures of our family and friends wearing the shirts soon! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our New African Friends

We have a two new friends from Africa! They just happen to be amphibians. It all started with "Swimmy" our son's Beta fish (a Christmas present) (he is not the most creative pet namer). Well, as you can see, Swimmy started out with a nice little tank. Swimmy was our son's favorite Christmas gift. I thought Swimmy might enjoy a nicer tank (once I realized that he was going to be a hit and lasted a few weeks). I bought a tank with a little filter, etc. We transferred Swimmy to his new home and went to bed. The next morning Swimmy was not exactly swimming. He seemed to be stuck to the filter (good job buying a tank with a filter too strong for little Swimmy Mom...) It looked as though he might not make it through the day. We promised our little guy that we would go to the pet store to get a new fish. After a few tears he agreed and we decided it was time to "flush" Swimmy. When we went to "move" Swimmy, my husband noticed that he was still alive and was moving a little...to make a long story short, Swimmy is still with us and we kept our promise to go to the pet store to get a new fish (just in case). We ended up getting two African Dwarf Frogs! How cool...African pets! They are really cute! They are tiny and never come out of the water. They just swim around and stay under water all the time. They are super easy to take care of too. And guess what my creative son named his new pets? Hopper and Swimmer (maybe we need to work on his creativity a bit).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

iPod Touch Giveaway!!!

OK...so the blog is starting to look a little "busy." We are going to push hard on a few fundraising projects for the next month, and then get back to a nice, clean blog layout. It is so very humbling to do fundraising...When we started the adoption process I noticed so many raffles, contests, etc. on other blogs. People have done so many creative things to raise funds. I thought it was so creative and cool. It does, however, feel a little akward when it is being done on our blog. That said, if we are going to honor this call to adopt, we need to do our part to work on some fundraising...so here goes:

We are starting a big giveaway. Notice the terminology? I am not allowed to make this seem like gamb*ing or a ra*fle contest. I hear that Paypal will kick us right off their site if we use the wrong terms. So...we are having a "giveaway." We have a brand new, 3rd generation (newest version), 8gb ipod touch to give away. If you choose to make a "donation" to our adoption account, your name will be entered in our "giveaway." For a $5 donation, you will receive one "entry." For a $10 donation, you will receive three "entries." If you mention our "giveaway" on your blog or Facebook page and link others to our blog, you will get a bonus entry (just leave a comment on our blog so we know you did this).

So, let the (games) "giveaway" begin. We will select the lucky (winner) "recipient" of the iPod touch on March 14th. That gives us a month to see what we can do! Best of luck and thanks for helping out!!!

If this is the first time you ever visited our blog, you my want to read a little about our adoption process... check out our first post to get a better understanding of where we are coming from:

http://teammarquis.blogspot.com/2009/12/dossier-is-done.html . Thanks again for visiting!

Monday, February 8, 2010

We're Number One! We're Number One!

It is getting exciting now... We got word last week that we are next in line for a referral of a little girl in our age range (2-4). While this news is super exciting (and a little scary), it could still be a while longer before we get "the call" with the big news. It could be days, weeks, or even months, but I know in my heart that she has already been chosen for our family and we will just have to wait for her to be revealed to us. We will keep you posted as soon as we have more to share.

In the meantime...look for upcoming raffles, fundraisers and cool t-shirts (even one designed by our daughter). More to come soon! Thanks for following our journey to Ethiopia - what an exciting ride it is!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mother Daughter Book Club

Have I ever wrote about how awesome my daughter is? She is truly the sweetest girl on the planet. I am so blessed to be her mom. I am also blessed that she has some of the nicest friends around. When she was finishing 2nd grade, we decided to start a mother daughter book club with four other moms and their daughters. We have enjoyed it so much! After all this time (about five years) we still meet every month to discuss a book, have some treats, and catch up with one another. We take turns hosting the group. The girls are really strong readers and they are totally in charge of facilitating our meetings. It is also great to see the other moms (who are very cool as well) and compare notes about what is going on in middle school. We even have a book club blog that lists all of the books we have read. We've read almost 40 books together. Check out our book club blog for more info... Bookclub Girlz