Posts filed under adoption

a little bit helps

if there's one thing i've learned, it's that every little bit helps. this past week, i launched a fundraiser with noonday on our adoption blog. through monday, 10% of all purchases made online will go to baby ramirez - there's even a new ethiopian line they recently launched.

would you consider helping? the product available is incredible - we just finished our local trunk show and i can tell you so much of what's available is beautiful, well-crafted and worth every penny. for instance - i bought a pair of earrings from the ethiopian line, raven & lily. these earrings are made out of weapons from conflict and now used to create jewelry. the women who make the jewelry are ostracized from the stigma of living with AIDS. but now, they have hope. now, they have a trade where they are taking some that use to destroy and turning it into something that breeds life.

that, my friends, is incredible.

there are a couple of ways you can help:

1. buy something online. i'm serious when i say it's pretty tough to decide.

2. go crazy and throw an online trunk show for us - jessica, the owner, is absolutely a breeze to work with and she's so talented at what she does. she's also going through an adoption herself, and so proceeds don't just help our adoption. they help bring her son home from rwanda as well.

3. spread the word by posting this on your facebook wall or twitter account.

4. write a weekend blog post [i know. crazy!] sharing our story & sending people in noonday's direction.

and whatever you do, thank you. no really. regardless of how small or insignificant you feel the help may be, i guarantee you it's more than we could ever do alone.

OH. and i'm also hosting a giveaway through noonday on our adoption blog. take a look - the necklace offered is beautiful! feel free to enter before MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. :)

Posted on February 12, 2011 and filed under adoption.

a letter from us.

There have been a handful of moments in our marriage where we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, God was behind the events unfolding around us. One was our trip to Kenya this past summer. While there, we fell in love with the people of Kibera - a slum that makes up a little over a square mile. In this tiny area of Nairobi, 1.5 million people call home. Leaving those who showed us true joy was heartbreaking -  before the plane even landed in Houston, we knew the land of Africa grew deep in our bones - we’d be going back. Skip forward a few months, and you’ll see Russ and me in Starbucks, heads bent low and talking feverishly. It’s November 5, 2010. We’ve just decided to start the adoption process. “I don’t care where we adopt from  - as long as we’re doing it,” Russ says. And for some reason, my hearts leans towards Ethiopia. We jump head first and immediately begin to see God provide - and the enemy come against us. Within weeks of our decision, we meet some friends at a restaurant. Before we even order our meal, our friend looks at us and asks, “would you guys be interested in taking a trip to the Horn of Africa in March?”

I felt the tears form as I looked at Russ. For those of you who don’t know, the Horn of Africa makes up the countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda, Kenya and Djibuti - for the second time within a year, we were going back to Africa - and to the very area of our future child. Dumbfounded, we let our friends know about our decision to adopt and their own eyes filled with tears. It wasn’t until recently our friend told us he didn’t even know to ask until he pulled in the parking lot with his wife. Once again, God revealed to us His goodness. The moment we felt surrounded and overwhelmed with obstacles concerning adoption, He came in and reminded us of His purpose.

While in the Horn, we’ll be assisting a partner of the Austin Stone who currently serves through medical assistance, fitness, and women’s development. We will also be visiting an orphanage that recently opened. Although we may not know specifics, we’re anxious to see what God has and the connections we will build with the people. Our desire is to build relationships that will provide a firm foundation for future trips through Austin Stone and return home with a better idea of how we can fit the Horn of Africa into the current mission of ministering to unreached people groups.

There are a few ways you can join us on this trip. First and foremost, we request prayer. We will be gone a week: March 11-20. We need prayers for health, safety, wisdom, and provision and for the Lord to use us. We are building a team of at least 20 people to pray for our team every day we are there. If you would like to join our prayer team, we'd be incredibly grateful.

Also, this trip will cost approximately 5000 dollars. We need this money by March 1. We believe, from personal experience, God will provide. We never anticipated returning to Africa so quickly, but we feel led and can’t wait to see what God has for us while there. If you want to join with us by supporting us financially, please contact me and I'll send you donation cards via e-mail.

In Ephesians, it says “God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Sprit deeply and gently within us.” [3:20]. There have been countless moments within the past few months where Russ and I distinctly feel His Spirit gently and deeply within us - moving us to a place far beyond anything we ever anticipated. Please continue to pray for our hearts, that we’d be pliable and open to His leading. More than anything, this is what we aim for - and we can’t wait to see Him bend our hearts closer to Him through this trip.

Penda,

Russ & Elora

Posted on January 23, 2011 and filed under adoption, africa.

haiti.

i still remember. i still remember rushing inside from the cold, wishing we'd thought ahead of the front moving across the city.

i still remember collapsing on my couch - satisfied and yet wanting - knowing there's always something i haven't yet found. i spent that night dreaming and planning, talking of story and speaking things into the silence, hoping for one thing to catch.

i still remember the news. the confusion. the drop in the pit of my stomach and the tears flowing unwillingly from my eyes. glancing up at my sister, we drew in the pain and prayed. how easy it is to disconnect from your heart.

i still remember the pictures. majestic buildings belittled and tiny hands reaching for home. i still remember the ache in my heart that lasted for days, the desire to return to find my missing pieces, knowing those had long been buried in the red dirt of the jungle.

i still remember, because it caused me to look forward. the day the earth shook, something in my soul shifted. a sleeping part of my heart woke and wouldn't let me go - the brown eyes looking back at me from pictures and the stories coming to life before me begged for attention. there was no mistaking it was His hand that gently held my chin so i couldn't look away.

i still remember because in that moment, i realized there would be one waiting on my obedience. and just like the beautiful scenes of redemption and rescue playing themselves out in front of me  - just like the beaming boy with hands raised high in jubilee - my heart was rescued from unbelief.

i still remember the day the earth shook my heart into submission. and though it still pains me to see the devastation and disease, i know Hope rings true even today.

Posted on January 12, 2011 and filed under adoption.

my entitled laughter

i wish i could tell you i jumped feet first into this whole adoption thing. i wish i could tell you as soon as i recognized the whispers of my heart i nodded my head, pushed back my shoulders, and jumped. but i didn’t.

instead of esther, i acted more like sarah – laughing at the promises of God. it wasn’t finances i feared. russ & i know from past experiences His provision comes with no delay. i laughed with entitlement.

“i like our life the way it is, thankyouverymuch

but, God has a funny way of getting his point across. over those next few weeks, i could not get away from this vision – this calling. our series at church focused on following through in faith & trust – not hesitating like Lot or prostituting yourself like Gomer. every sunday, my heart would swell – recognizing the fissure and bracing for impact. every sunday, i’d walk away – teary eyed and introspective.

this lasted for almost a month.

to read the rest of the post, check out our new adoption website, a year of jubilee. we've posted some entries these past few months, so take a look around!

Posted on January 3, 2011 and filed under adoption.

one word.

right after russ & i decided to proceed with adoption, i drove down to new braunfels for a cousin's bridal shower. on my way, i prayed for God to give me something - anything - to cling to during the process of paperwork and waiting. without any hesitation, a word latched on to my heart and wouldn't let go. jubilee.

tears came to my eyes as i thought about the beauty behind the word. the thought of debts being paid and celebration and fresh starts...it was perfect.

i told my two sisters that day. i told them we started the process the night before and how i prayed on the way to the house about what God wanted us to focus on and how he gave me the word jubilee. one of my sisters looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "oh elora. it's the year of jubilee. it's your year of jubilee."

adoption has always carried a tremendous piece of our hearts. particularly because of the realization of our own adoption - how Christ came and found us, orphaned and alone - dirty and left out - and still loved us. it's an incredible picture of grace in the midst of hopelessness. and what's more beautiful: once we accept this completely free gift of adoption as sons & daughters of Christ, we owe nothing.

the debt has already been paid.

so, when my friend alece mentioned she was doing her one word for 2011 and invited us to do the same, i immediately knew what mine was going to be - there was no other choice, really.

jubilee.

i'm hanging on to this word for all it's worth this year.

this morning, i was reminded of the price of jubilee during worship. as i stood singing Jesus paid it all, tears flowed down my cheeks when i realized the significance.

oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this heart up from the dead.

this year, i aim to focus on His jubilee: through our process of adopting from Ethiopia and through experiencing more of his grace in my own life.

what's your one word for 2011?

In short, the Spirit is upon me to declare that now is the time; this is the jubilee season of the Eternal One’s grace. [Luke 4]

Posted on January 2, 2011 and filed under adoption, jubilee.