Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Home Study

Boy, was that an ordeal! I had a few calls in to adoption agencies to ask if they could do a home study for us and how much it would cost. Out of 6 places (in the whole state!), only 2 would do our "independent" home study. I learned so much about Arkansas law and how things work when you don't work with an international adoption agency who is certified to do their own home studies. We need an "independent" home study since we're not going through an agency, the rules are quite a bit different.

We've had some pledges come in during the last few days, once the money arrives we can start paying the required fees and turn in our paperwork. Thank you to those who have pledged money thus far! If we can't get the dossier together by the trip in September, we can send it via DHL to Africa when we are ready and have the funds.

After the dossier is received in Africa, the documents start to be processed and when everything is completed, the children are legally ours! It is after this point that we can communicate with our kids! Some people call the orphanage and speak directly to their children. What a day that will be! We are so excited to be traveling down this road and so blessed to hold these Liberian children in our hearts.

In this short time, Hubby and I are starting to see the fruit of having humble hearts. People have been so generous with their kind words and encouragement. Thank you to those of you who have encouraged us!

Please continue to pray for our family and for our Liberian children.
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Children's Bible School song

Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world,
red, and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in his sight.

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.
Matthew 18:5

Monday, May 29, 2006

Red Palm Oil

I've recently learned about Red Palm Oil, the "king of all oils." I'm trying to learn more about the African diet and what our children might enjoy to eat once they come home. Here's a little info on red palm oil. One single tablespoon of red palm oil contains 10,000 IU of immunity boosting vitamin A which is enough to eliminate the risk of the common cold and the 'flu by 67 %. This oil is incredibly beautiful. It has a rich orange color when cool and a deep red hue when melted. The color comes from its richness in natural carotenoids, tocoplerols and tocotrienols which are powerful super antioxidants.

This oil is naturally rich in vitamin A for a properly functioning immune system. It contains no cholesterol and actually raises your HDL, your "good" cholesterol level while simultaneously lowering your LDL, the "bad" kind. It is naturally rich in vitamin E for a healthy heart. The antioxidants in red palm oil act as scavengers. They prevent and eat up the free radicals that are the instigators of most of our modern diseases-Alzheimer's, senility, rheumatism, heart attacks, arthritis, asthma, Parkinson's disease, cancer, spinal muscular atrophy, macular degeneration, and stroke.

This wonderful oil also makes you slender! It can trim body fat by 27%. Reasearch shows it can melt off those stubborn pounds. "The secret is palmolein, a compound in red palm oil that helps your liver break down sugar for energy before it can be stored as fat," explains nutrition researcher, K.C. Hayes, Ph.D.

You can also heat this oil and use it in cooking/your favorite recipes (substitute for butter). Palm oil is stable for cooking and is protected by its high levels of vitamin E, antioxidants and has a natural resistance to oxidation and rancidity. It is resistant to rancidity. Most olive oils sold in clear jars are already rancid when you purchase them as oils are very easily oxidized by light. Always purchase olive oil in dark glass or tins. Rancid oils cause free radicals in the body.

Here's one example recipe using red palm oil.
Safari Sunshine Dream Smoothy (for entire family)
5-6 fresh bananas
5 Tbs. Safari Red Palm Oil
2 handfuls of flax seed
3 generous handfuls or Tbs. of coconut
2 heaped Tbs. raw honey
Juice of 3 big lemons
1 c. water or water of 1 coconut
3 generous handfuls of ice cubes
-Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Our African children might like to enjoy this oil on their rice, toast, in African meals, or on smoothies, desserts, etc.
If you would like to order some Red Palm Oil or donate a jar to our family, here is the info:
Safari Red Palm Oil
100% natural, virgin and organic!
Not refined, bleached or deodorized.
Order from:
Tel: 1-866-846-0661
Fax: (716) 832-7533

Please email me for our mailing address if you would like to donate some oil to our family:

Have a wonderful day, happy eating!
*all information copied in part from Above Rubies magazine, issue #66

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ribs or Rice?

Tonight we had a special dinner and celebrated Memorial Day. As we sat at the dinner table and enjoyed our BBQ ribs (hot off the grill!), mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, homemade bread and full glasses of ice cold milk- we remembered our children in the Liberian orphanage. We are told that for breakfast they eat plain white rice, for lunch they eat a plate of rice with maybe a "vegetable"(usually mashed greens), and for dinner they get a "donut" (actually a fried piece of dough). How much do we eat every day? How many snacks do we indulge ourselves to? How many times do we indulge our children to icecream treats or other unnecessary foods? Our Liberian children are greatful for the food they receive each day. To them, they are not starving. They have food in their stomachs. They are growing and are healthy. Children who do not live in the orphanages are dying every day because they have no food or water. Thank you, God, for our blessings and our great fortunes.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Our decision...

After much prayer and discussion, Hubby and I have decided to do an international adoption from Liberia. After our decision was made, I contacted the woman from the seminar and asked for her help to start the process. Our first step is to have the homestudy completed. We have a call in to a local adoption agency who can help us with that.

For us, it is a monumental move to step out in faith that the money can be raised for these children. We have some fundraising ideas and are starting to get things together to put these ideas in motion. I'm gathering information and recipes to start writing a cookbook as part of our fundraising. There are so many things we could do, it's hard to choose what would work for our family. You all know I love to cook~ a cookbook only seems fitting... :)

We thought we would ask for a younger boy (around Kaleb's age). When 'the woman' spoke at the Above Rubies conference, she really made a case for the older children as well. She explained to us that Liberia has a 90-95% unemployment rate. If these "young adults" could even find employment, meeting their basic needs would still be difficult. Imagine being a young adult(age 16 in Liberia) and on your own in a country that is in extreme poverty. Not a pretty thought. When I was 16 years old, I was worried about what to wear to school, getting my driver's license and what the latest hair style was. I was fed, had water and I had a roof over my head (and many other luxuries). This is not the case for the majority of Liberians.

We've been in contact with a particular group of people helping us and have chosen our children. I hope to attach pictures of them in the next post. Most children, once adopted, are given new names. This is something we will have to think about.
I'll post more later with their pictures. Have a great day!

About Liberia

Located on the West coast of Africa, Liberia is a small country between Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. Originally purchased by the American Colonization Society, it was to be home for the freed slaves of America who wished to return to Africa. (Liberia is Latin for "free land.") The first group of freed slaves arrived in 1812, and fighting began then. The newcomers from America wanted to rule, and those who had always lived there resented someone coming in and taking their space. Despite the difficulties, in 1838 the Commonwealth of Liberia was formed. The American blacks held all the important government positions, and it is even reported that some of them owned slaves, and treated them much like the black slaves were treated in the United States. In 1920 the Firestone Rubber company from the America leased large plots of land from the Liberian government, bringing much needed money into the struggling nation, and the economy improved.

With the economic growth, the standard of living also went up. Electrical plants generated power for the cities, and roads were built to accomodate the growing number of cars and trucks. Tourists came on safaris to hunt and explore this beautiful country.

In 1971, William Tolbert became president. Under his rule, the gap between the richer American-Liberian descendants and the natives became wider. Rubber prices dropped, and rice prices increased. Unrest set in amongst the poorer native Liberians, as they became envious of the American-Liberians, who now comprised only 5% of the population. In 1980 men from the military overthrew the government, and Samuel Doe became president. The American-Liberians were no longer the people in power. Samuel Doe had many of the former officials killed and imprisoned.

In 1989 an all-out civil war began. Three groups were at war, two rebel groups fought against Doe's soldiers and against each other. Each group represented one or two ethnic tribes. The entire country was caught up in the conflict as tribal loyalties separated the people. Samuel Doe was killed by one of the rebel groups in 1990, but the fighting did not stop. West African peacekeeping forces came into the country, to help bring about the much desired peace to the war-torn nation. Charles Taylor, head of the rebel group INPFL (Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia) was declared president in 1990. The other rebel group (NPFL) still roamed the land, terrorizing village inhabitants. Anyone from a different ethnic tribe was in great danger. Many fled to neighboring countries, seeking to escape the horrors of war.

Orphaned, abandoned and neglected, they wandered from place to place, struggling to stay alive.

The major cities were destroyed. Power plants no longer operated, and sanitation problems increased. Poor people wandered about, seeking food and shelter. Hundreds of families were torn apart, and the children suffered the most. Orphaned, abandoned and neglected, they wandered from place to place, struggling to stay alive. Many became ill and died. Orphanages were established by compassionate people and International organizations. Many children found refuge in these homes. But the war was not finished. Between the rebels in the bush, and the cruel reign of Charles Taylor, peace still evaded the Liberian people. And the number of orphans and suffering children increased.

In 2003, Charles Taylor was deported, and the people of Liberia are, once again, looking for peace and liberty. The fighting has died down, and the rebels have surrendered their arms to peacekeeping forces, who now have control of most of the country.

In January 2006 Liberia celebrated the inauguration of the first woman president in all of Africa, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson. Mrs. Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice attended the inauguration. The people of Liberia are hopeful for reform and the opportunity to rebuild their shattered nation under this new administration. It will be many hard years before the country can stand again.

And the children? They are still waiting. Not for elections, or new leaders, but for homes and families. Some of them are in orphanages waiting, and some are still waiting to come into the orphanages. And this is where we hope to make a difference, to help the suffering Liberian people, starting with the children.

Taken from, "About Liberia"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The 5 of us

Here is the 5 of us. This picture was taken Christmas 2005-before our adoption journey began.
And now for the rest of the story...