Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love With Abandon Project

Wow! My poor blog has been so neglected!! I am trying to get back to blogging (both here and on the children's blog) because I love to not only share things, but I love the ability to have a record of what was important to me at the time. Hopefully I still have some readers out there in BloggyLand! :)

I wanted to share with you what a dear bloggy friend is doing over on her blog, God laid a very special project on her heart regarding caring for orphans and widows (something she is quite passionate about), and I would love for you to read about it and hopefully help with it. Here is the Love With Abandon Project in Rachael's own words.......


Last February I went on a mission trip.  Our church took a team of about 10 people to Addis Ababa.  We had a dual purpose: training for indigenous church planters and serving with widow & orphan care ministries.
When I went on my first mission trip to Ethiopia in 2010, I was in the middle of our adoption process.  I had never been to a third world country. Truthfully, I had never been on a mission trip anywhere.  I was broken, in a good way, but I can't help but think everything I processed was seen by me, at least in part, through the filter of our adoption.  Of course I was motivated to share the love of Jesus with all those sweet children and to see the face of Jesus in the beautiful people of Ethiopia.   But it was also another layer to our story, to understanding the why of our decision to adopt internationally, seeing first hand the great need, and falling in love with a country that is now a big part of our life.
And I felt confirmed in our decision to adopt, and to adopt from Ethiopia.  I love adoption so much.  I love the gospel so clearly on display.  I love kids without families being fought for, being loved, and being pursued so intensely and sacrificially so they can have a forever home and a forever family. "One less." It didn't seem like much of an impact after witnessing such great need, but it was something.
 Fast forward to last year.  While we were in country on our trip, we found out some news about our own adoption that brought to light that our story was not the story we thought it was.  It forced us to deal with the truth that adoption is a messy business.  Worth the mess, and a wonderful answer to a great need--but it is only ONE answer.  And what hit me hard on that trip last year was, is it the best answer?

Hear me out.  In some cases, yes, it is.  But perhaps in other cases, it's not addressing the systemic problem.  And--here's where it got tough for me personally to swallow--it might even be perpetuating unethical practices because we are so focused on working hard to get kids into our families that we don't even see the opportunity to prevent them from needing to be there in the first place.
I think of all the time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, and CASH poured into bringing Abby home.  Was it worth it?  Would I do it again?  Abso-friggin-lutely!!  In a heartbeat.  She's worth it.  And God is soverign--no doubt in my mind He brought her to our family.
But--here's the rub.  Am I willing to pour as much energy, time, resources, and passion into fighting to keep children with their birth families?  Because I believe--and my eyes were opened to--many situations where mothers and fathers are giving up children for adoption because they do not have the means or ability to meet their basic needs.  No parent should have to make that kind of decision.  It's a harder problem to solve, and often waaayyyy messier to deal with.  But as beautiful a picture as adoption displays of the gospel, isn't equipping a family to stay together and seeing it thrive also a beautiful picture of redemption and restoration? 

Adoption is a great response.  I'm just not sure it should be our first response.

And I am convicted all over again.  I want to be mobilized and advocating for the adoption of true orphans, particularly those who are overlooked or considered unwanted.  And, with the same passion and fervor, I want to fight for kids to stay in their families.  I want to support and advocate for ministries that share the love of Jesus and offer much needed help to women who just need a hand so they can care for their children.  And I want to serve firsthand women facing these kinds of decisions and let them know they are not alone, that someone cares for them and for their children.

And these thoughts and stirrings are what led me to launch the

Last year I raised approx $2500 for my mission trip.  I decided I wanted to raise DOUBLE that amount to give back to orphan care---in all of it's different nuanced areas. 

I have set a goal to raise $6,000 during the month of March so I can give $1,000 each to 6 different needs, each addressing the orphan crisis in a different way. (Originally I planned to raise $5,000, but I'll explain why that changed in just a second.)  Let me share with you first WHO I'm fundraising for, and then tell you HOW I plan to do it!

Levi and Jesse are the awesome couple behind Bring Love In, which works to create new families in Ethiopia by pairing a single mom and her children with other orphans in a home unit, providing a family structure and support for a lifetime.

 Peter and Elizabeth run Compassion Families, which provides drop-in centers for kids who need schooling, and/or after school care, also helping with needs like uniforms and school supplies and clothing and shoes.  Making it a little easier for those families who are struggling to provide basic needs for their children.

 Jerry & Christy Shannon run Embracing Hope, and it was their daughter's genius idea to provide a free day care for single moms so they can go to work without a child strapped to their back.  Providing food each week, and supporting the moms with micro-loans and saving plans so they can look ahead with hope to a future being able to provide for their family without having to beg or prostitute. 

LifeBridge is my local church, and we just moved 6 months ago into a building that's located in the poorest zip code in our county.  We are thrilled to be there, and each day the Lord is guiding us as to new ways to love tour new neighbors.  Our ministries to the broken families in our area are just beginning.
The Waulks are our dear friends and part of our church family.  Josh is our Executive pastor at LifeBridge.  They adopted Karis 2 years ago, and are in the process of adopting domestically again, a baby due this summer. 

The Davis family
When I first decided to do this project, I was going to set out to raise $5000 for the 5 causes above.  My friend Christy happened to be one of the first people I told about my project, and she was so supportive and excited for my efforts.  She has always been the biggest cheerleader and supporter of many of our adoptions, long before they even began their adoption process last year.  They have been waiting to bring a little girl home from Ethiopia.  But just this last week, her husband died tragically,  leaving Christy and three beautiful children behind.  As many of my friends and I grieved, prayed, and served her this last weekend, it dawned on my how close to home it was now---the charge to care for widows and orphans.  Now it's my friend, and now it's her kids.  So it didn't take me long to decide to add their family to my project.
So that's the WHO.  Now for the HOWAnd here's where you come in!

I am launching a store of fun items, and ALL the profits will go towards these ministries and families.  My goal is to be able to raise $1,000 for each.

So it's my own version of March madness! : )  Are you in?!  OK so here's the links you'll need:

  • SHOP* here!! 
  • Donate directly to Bring Love In
  • Donate directly to Compassion Families (PLEASE make a note in donation that it is for Compassion Families--this organization supports other ministries)
  • Donate directly to Embracing Hope
  • Donate directly to LifeBridge Church
  • Donate directly to the Waulk family
  • Donate directly to the Davis family:
    • Paypal a donation to
    • Davis Children Trust, c/o Everbank, 26417 US Highway 19, Clearwater, FL 33761
(If you would prefer to donate by check to any of the above, please email me for information.)

(Please please let me know if you donate directly so I can count it in my total for fundraising!)

*Keep in mind, this is a pre-order, so while I have stock in a few things, most items will not ship until the first part of April.  I appreciate your patience so I can keep my costs as low as possible and give the MOST away possible!!

OK people--let's do this!!