Mission: Protecting Baby Bums

Throughout our adoption process, we’ve connected with several other adoptive families through the blog world. They are from all over the U.S., are adopting from various countries, and using various adoption agencies; but all of them share our heart for the orphan. One couple who is with our agency and adopting from Ethiopia recently returned from their first trip to Ethiopia and are responding to a need in a very tangible way. They have a goal to collect and raise funds to purchase 1,000 cloth diapers to take back to Ethiopia with them on their next trip.

Please consider joining us as we help them meet this goal!

How to help:
- If you’re on facebook, please “like” their page called 1,000 Cloth Diapers for Ethiopian Orphans
- Send cloth diapers to: 5018 Lower James Street ~ Montgomery, Alabama 36116
- Send money for diapers (every penny will be spent on the diapers) via PayPal at cemerson@faulkner.edu

Here is a bit more information about their experience: 
While on their trip, they visited a government-run orphanage called Bethzatha Children's Home Association. (NOTE: for those of us with AGCI as our agency, your child lives at a transition home called Hannah’s Hope until you bring him/her home. Hannah’s Hope is very different from an orphanage, so AGCI gives you the opportunity to visit a true orphanage while you’re in Ethiopia.) This couple was particularly overwhelmed with the shortage of supplies—namely, diapers. Since the orphanage has access to running water and even large washing machines, cloth diapers are the perfect solution for them.

Here is the excerpt from their facebook page:
Betsy and I recently returned from our first of two adoption trips to Ethiopia. In addition to meeting our 5 month old daughter, we also met many wonderful people who are helping the orphans in Ethiopia.

Despite their hard work though, some supplies remain desperately short in number. One of the biggest needs is cloth diapers. Some orphan homes were so short that they had to reuse disposable diapers or not use diapers at all. While we can't meet every need, we can supply cloth diapers for these wonderful children.

Will you help us meet our goal of taking back 1,000 cloth diapers to Ethiopia on our next trip? It's very simple: just email me through Facebook if you have extra cloth diapers, want to purchase cloth diapers for the cause, or want to donate money for their purchase.

After I receive your email, we'll send you the very easy instructions for helping out. Every diaper will go to improve the life and health of an orphan in Ethiopia.

Will you join us?

Other AGCI families working toward the same goal:
This family also traveled to Ethiopia and visited Bethzatha Children's Home and documented their experience here

This is another family with AGCI who is working toward the same goal--and they are making the cloth diapers to donate.  Click here to see how (looks like a fairly simple pattern using things like fleece blankets and kitchen towels).

What about Team Huss?
Several of you have asked if we will be taking donations to bring to Ethiopia on our trip (thank you—y’all are SO generous!). We recently spoke to our case manager about this and confirmed that yes, we can bring donations that will go to Hannah’s Hope (where Eden is staying). Ongoing needs are related to infant care (diapers, wipes, diaper cream, etc.); however, she noted that the cost of diapers has recently increased in Ethiopia, so she recommended that families focus donations on that.

So, after we help this family reach their goal of 1,000 cloth diapers, we will begin taking donations as well. We're all working together toward the same goal--to protect these little baby bums

Showered with LOVE!

Last Saturday, our small group friends threw us a shower.  I knew that it would be a great shower because those girls are SO creative and they love us, but what they did was beyond amazing!  In what way, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you...

They spent a lot of time researching all about Ethiopia, orphans, and our adoption process.  They used their research to create a fun trivia game for the guests.  We love it because it raised awareness of the orphan crisis and also helped everyone learn more about our daughter's home country. 

They also tied in the decorations and food in to the Ethiopian theme.  All of the food was labeled with an Ethiopian name and the corresponding name of what it would be called in the U.S.  SO creative and special!

They even tied it in to the favors (which were, by the way, homemade by one of the hostesses and absolutely delicious!)...

They bought us an awesome present for little Eden...(by the way, the "EDEN" sign in the back and the cute "e" corsage that I'm wearing were hand-crafted by one of the hostesses--SO cute!)

And they all purchased one of our fundraiser shirts and wore them to the shower...

Seriously, we are SO blessed!  And we are SO grateful and feel SO special to have them put so much time and effort into the shower.  Thank you Aubre, Carie, Christy, Debra, Ginger, Kim, and Shannon!

Now, more pics from the shower...

One of the cutest onesies we received (from my co-worker, Kerrie).  It's the answer for when folks ask "why Ethiopia?"...it says "...because that's where I was!"  So cute!

I have to show you the zebra outfit with ruffled leggings (and zebra bib) that my nieces Abby and Alex picked out for Eden!  Eden will be stylin' for sure!

Some of my sweet 7th grade small group girls (plus our high school student leader) came to the shower...aren't they so beautiful!

The excited grandmas!  My mom ("Nina" to her grandchildren) and Ben's mom (will be "Grandma" to her grandchildren)

My sister-in-laws, Sarah and Traci

My sister, Kim and my Mom

Friends from KPMG, Kerrie and Lisa

One of my college friends, Mimi (who is also one of my sorority "little sisters"--so fun!)

My friend, Jessica, who has such a deep love for Africa after serving in Kenya last year

Modeling my handmade diaper bag from Debbie Brack (and Aubre is giving me the "stink eye" in the background--haha!)

Ben came up to the shower at the very end to thank everyone and help load the car (teehee!).  We had him re-open this gift from the Ritchey bunch (Ben works part-time for the Texans, so this was extra-special to him!)...

Then we had the "man shower" when we got home and he re-opened all of the gifts with my nephews, Timothy and Trey...

And this about sums it up!

Booked 'Em!

Our flights are booked!  We leave Houston on Sunday, March 13th and head for our daughter's home country!  It's hard to explain, but having those plane tickets is such a big deal!  We are beyond excited!

A sweet (& generous) friend gifted us with the flights, so that's one more way that God has totally provided for this adoption.  We are very humbled and grateful.  Another adoptive mom whose blog I follow says it this way: God will fund what He favors!  And it's no secret that He favors adoption!  We feel so blessed to be on this journey!

So what are YOUR plans for St. Patrick’s Day?

Because WE’RE going to be in court!  That’s right—we got our court date—and it’s March 17th!

We’re working on travel arrangements now and will keep you posted on our final plans.  Here’s our tentative itinerary given to us by our agency:

Sunday, March 13th – leave Houston in the morning
Monday, March 14th – arrive in Addis Ababa in the evening
Tuesday, March 15th – meet Eden!! (we get to hang out with her at Hannah’s Hope during visitor hours—we’re told it will be 3 or so hours a day)
Wednesday, March 16th – hang out with Eden some more!!
Thursday, March 17th – court appointment (we’re told this is going to be a very full and emotional day)
Friday, March 18th – fly out of Addis Ababa in the evening

Once the judge gives his final approval of our adoption, then the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia begins their review of our adoption (I think that's how it works).  It can take up to 8 weeks for them to finalize everything.  Then we will have our final appointment and bring Eden home!

We are SO excited!  Please pray for travel plans to fall into place smoothly and for us as we prepare to meet our daughter (and potentially  her birth mother)!

Follow Who?

It’s hard to live in this world, but not be of this world.  When we’re choosing who or what to follow, it’s MUCH easier to just “go with the flow” and do what everyone else does.   And it comes down to who we’re trying to please.  

It’s part of human nature to want approval from others, but too often we put man’s approval over God’s approval.  Because, let’s face it, even in today’s society where being “weird” is apparently cool, nobody really wants to stand out from the crowd and be the “radical” one.

BUT, sometimes following God means that we will look really weird in the eyes of man.  They don’t “get” us.  They might even reject us.  BUT, as Christ-followers, we need to care about following God’s plan for our lives—weirdness and all!

This Chris Tomlin song is our prayer for Team Huss.  That we will go where God goes, we will stay where God stays, we will move when God moves, we will love who God loves, we will serve how God serves, and no matter what--even if we lose our life--we will follow HIM.

Chris Tomlin
I Will Follow You

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve, I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there's joy, unending joy
and I will follow

The BEST Christmas Present EVER!

We have some very exciting news to share...we got matched with a baby GIRL! She's approximately 3 months old and she's a BEAUTY! We are calling her Eden (a variation of the name given to her by her birth mother). We got the call from our agency on Wednesday, December 22nd and we shared the news with our immediate families when we were with them for Christmas. We are SO incredibly thankful for God's perfect timing and that He allowed us to have this awesome news for Christmas!

(If you want to see more details of the dates, check out the tab titled "The Timeline")

We are proud parents who would love to be able to share more details with you, but please understand that we cannot. Although she is our daughter, she is still not legally ours. Therefore, we cannot post any pictures of her or share any identifiable information (her full name, her birth region, her birthday, etc.). Also, please understand that her story is hers to share. Until she is old enough to decide for herself who she would like to share it with, we will not share her personal story of beauty, pain, love, redemption, and hope.

It’s amazing to see how we have bonded even closer as a couple just through being matched with Eden. We know that God has some cool things in store for Team Huss in 2011 and we can’t wait!

In an effort to answer some of your questions, we’ve compiled some FAQs…

Where is Eden now, and who is taking care of her?
She is in the very capable hands of the staff of Hannah’s Hope in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One of the reasons that we selected AGCI as our adoption agency is that they have Hannah’s Hope, the place where Eden will stay until we bring her home. They have “special mothers” who take care of the children, as well as a nurse and a doctor on staff. As you can imagine, that is a big weight off of our shoulders as parents—knowing that she is in that environment rather than a less-than-ideal orphanage.

What’s next?
Our agency is working on scheduling our court date (when we appear before an Ethiopian judge). They anticipate that it will be scheduled for sometime in March. They should be able to tell us the date by the end of January, so we should have a couple of months to prepare to travel to Ethiopia.

Do you get to spend time with Eden while you’re in Ethiopia?
Yes.  For the time that we are in Addis Ababa for our appointment (about a week or less), we will get to spend 2-3 hours a day with Eden at Hannah’s Hope.

When do you get to bring her home?
After that first appointment is finished, there is another waiting period for our U.S. Embassy appointment (also in Ethiopia). One estimate we’ve been given is 6-8 weeks between appointments, but that can fluctuate based on any heightened investigations that the U.S. Embassy may decide to do on adoptions. We get to bring her home after that last appointment, so we’re praying for a short timeframe between appointments! If all goes smoothly, we should be home with her by May.

What specifically can I pray for?
Thanks for asking!  Please pray for Eden’s birth mother. Pray for the “special mothers”, nurse, and doctor who are taking care of Eden at Hannah’s Hope. Pray for Eden’s health and development. Pray for swift appointments. Pray that the U.S. Embassy decides NOT to do any more heightened investigations of adoptions. Pray for our worries to subside (if you’re a parent, I’m sure you totally understand the worry aspect!). Pray that we continue to strengthen as a couple so that we can be the best parents to Eden that we can possibly be.

Thanks SO much for sharing this journey with us!