Monday, November 28, 2011

You Keep on Going

Today I had a lot of work to do with Hug Away. I couldn't wait to get to the office and get
started! Our office is small. It would fit in our bedroom. Actually, 2 of them could easily fit in our bedroom! It also has no windows. One could call it a large closet :) The point is it is our office, it's not fancy but it meets our need.
So I sat there attempting to knock the list out. When you are the President and the only employee it can be a bit overwhelming at times. After a few hours I looked at the piles and felt like I really hadn't accomplished much at all. I felt defeated. It didn't help that on Wednesday I have to give our notice that we will not be renewing our office lease. We just don't have the money for it. I wanted to cry. Not about the office, but the fact we have over 70 kids who still need sponsors, families who need food, a school that needs so much work, sponsors unable to pay. Yeah, I was feeling a little stressed and like a failure.
I put my head in my hands and said "Lord, what do am I suppose to do?" After a few minutes I looked up and saw this precious work of art hanging on the wall. On the first day I was at the school in 2010 I saw this button picture of Africa and fell in love with it. A young teacher at the school had made it. He was so pleased that I liked it.
As I sat there in my office looking at that beautiful picture and I felt God say " You keep going, that is what you do."

I smiled to myself and remembered my last day at the school when the children presented me with this beautiful button picture of Africa. It was priceless. The love, the hugs, the gratitude, the words "We love you mama Laney" all these memories came back to me and reminded me

that this is why not just myself, but my family, prayer warriors, sponsors, donors and volunteers have to keep on going. For them. We are servants and God will never give us more than we can handle


Below are pictures of my Ethiopian babies that I sponsor. The little one to my left is my friends baby. Oh yeah and my Korean baby! She loves this country and the children as much as I do. See the little boy? Last year when Adanech brought him to me he ws so dirty and his clothes were torn. He lived alone because his mom had died and his dad left him alone often. I had bought him new clothes while I was there and he was so happy. When I got home I had wrote him a letter telling him how important it was for him to go to school and get his education and do his very best. A few months ago before I went back to Ethiopia I received a letter from him telling me he was doing what I asked and was studying hard. What God has called us to do is working!

So when your feeling a little overwhelmed, stressed and like a big failure, take a moment and have a conversation with God. You may be surprised at what He will use to remind you why you must keep on going!

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We should thank God every day for something. Family, friends, food, health, our homes, our freedom, the fact that we woke up today.
I began doing this a long time ago and it keeps me grounded. If I want to go into a pity party I think of something, anything that I can give thanks to God and it makes the need for that pity party to go away.
Today I am grateful that I had all my kids together. I know as the years pass this will not always be the case. So for today, for this moment in time I will embrace this gift of family. And for that I am truly thankful.

"As we pause to thank Him for the blessings of the past year, we must not forget to thank Him for the lessons we have learned through our difficult times. We are not to be thankful for just the pleasant, easy things, but ALL things." Millie Stamm

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adoption Haters

I know that every person has a right to their opinion. I get that. Of course I don't agree with a lot of opinions and a lot of people don't agree with mine. That's fine. BUT today I read something that totally broke my heart and I just don't understand. Here are a few things I read.
"Women adopt so they won't ruin their bodies with a pregnency."
"Adoption is nothing more than buying babies."
"Why fundraise to take a child from their mother."
"Birthmothers are manipulated into giving away their child."
"Adoption hurts babies."
"Adoption is unethical"
There was so much more. So I found several of these statements on a "anti adoption blog" It thrills me to note that this blog written by a atheist seems to have began in 2006 and there have been no post since 2009. Friends, when you spew hate the majority of people are going to turn away.
So in reading this I gather this person thinks it's better to leave a child alone in the world. Never to know the feeling of family or to have someone tell them they are loved or to feel safe. Does this person think it would be better to leave a helpless child who for whatever reason is a orphan, vulvnerable, or a victim of sex trafficking, abuse, starvatiion and death. All these things are better than being part of a family who will love that child more than life itself. Really?
I would love to tell this person, yes it would be great if there were no orphans in the world. That all children could stay with their birth family. It would be great if the major reasons children are orphaned unplanned pregnancies, war, disease, drugs & abuse didn't exist. But reality bites. All these things and more exist and children are left alone. If someone in the world wants to love them, care for them and protect them then why not.
Is every adoption perfect? no. But neither is every birth. Do adopted children have issues? Some do but so do biological kids. It doesn't matter if your children are biological or adopted. That is a part of life. It's how you deal with it that matters. I
I am a mom to six wonderful kids. I tell people I have six kids three are adopted but I forget which three. How they arrived in our family doesn't matter, what matters is they arrived! I love each of them the same and I thank God for these six blessings.
The point is if there were no people in the world called to adopt then who would love these precious children? No one. Most would be on the streets or doing drugs or become prostitutes because they would grow up not knowing love, compassion and feeling safe and that they mattered. And here is the biggie. Adoption is biblical.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

They Don't Ask for Much

This past weekend I attended Women of Faith in Oklahoma City. As always I come away so inspired! WOF has always sponsored World Vision. This year they shared more about kids needing sponsors than usual. I love WV. I have sponsored two children with them for over five years along with three that I sponsor through our foundation Hug Away. After they would share stories or a video women would swarm the tables looking through all the pictures to pick out a child to sponsor. I was happy not only for the children but also the sponsors. It's a blessing to be a blessing!
Kalkidan excited about our matching rings!

My babies! Kalkidan, I'm holding Eyerus, Kalkidan sister (she is sponsored by a friend, Berhru & their sister Jordan!

One of my hopes this year was to find a sponsor for all of our children still waiting around 85 at last count and sponsors for families about 30 still waiting. It doesn't look like it will happen and that breaks my heart.

People ask me how can I sponsor five kids. Easy. Since traveling to Ethiopia and seeing the faces if kids and families waiting to go to school and waiting to eat, I know a lot of things I can spend $20 or $30 easily. Just more stuff. I'd rather my money went to a child or family so they can eat or go to school. These kids and their families are so grateful. They take nothing for granted. They don't wake up worrying about tomorrow, their goal is to make it through this day.

They don't ask for much. They just want to know someone cares.

I know times are tough. Trust me I get it. About six years ago I was sitting in our livingroom with my daughters Jordan and Cameron watching a World Vision special. They were showing picutres of kids that needed sponsors. Of course my girls were "oh mom, we should sponsor one of those kids." Jordan was 10 and Cameron was 6. I said "Yes we should." Cameron said "then call momma!" I told her I would later. She handed me the phone and said "If you don't do it now momma, you won't do it." From the mouth of a child.

So maybe you have thought about sponsoring a child or family. Maybe you have had it in your heart to make a difference and your not sure how. All of us are not called to travel to other countries, many are called to stay and help others go or give money to help somebody, somewhere. If you have thought about helping a child please go to our site Look at the pictures and choose a child to sponsor. You will be blessed!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Marriage, Love & Looking Ahead

What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Tiny Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes God will use the most unlikely places or situations to teach you something about yourself. This is what happened to me in Ethiopia. I hadn't planned on sharing this but God laid it on my heart so here goes.

So I'm in Ethiopia focused on what God has sent me to do. After about four days I am thinking about my husband. Of course I missed him and the kids but this was a gnawing feeling and it wouldn't go away. Each day the "missing" him grows stronger. I am not understanding this. I have gone away before for much longer and have never had this happen.

Love doesn't commit suicide. We have to kill it. Though, it often simply dies of your neglect. Diane Sollee
One night as I lay in bed God speaks to my heart "Elaine it's not missing him that you are feeling it is what you have missed." Huh? I pray to understand. We still have a couple of days left in Ethiopia and I am still focused on our mission but underneath the focus I feel this sense of loss. Again I pray and tell God " I don't understand. Is something bad going to happen?" Now I can't wait to get home and see my husband.

The night before we are to leave I get it! God shows me what He wants me to know. That for the past few years Mike and I have taken the focus off of one another and made kids, church, the foundation and jobs a priority. Not good.

When Mike and I married we made a vow to one another that we would always work on our relationship. Yes, marriage takes a lot of work. We both had relationships before and had been burned but we chose not to focus on those relationships but to focus on us and make it work. We had a lot going against us. A lot. Most people thought we wouldn't last a year. I'm not going to lie, the first three years were tough. Extremely tough. I had a lot of trust issues and to be honest thought this guy was to good to be true!

A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers. Ruth Graham

We began going to church and our lives changed for the better. Oh, there were still arguments but they were fair arguments. Sometimes very loud, passionate arguments but fair.

Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side. Zig Ziglar

Then we got busy with life, kids, church and jobs. Our relationship would be tested over and over and at times in the eyes of the worlds we were prime divorce material. Sadly, we ignored the problems because we were to busy to take the time and work on them. Not any more!
I couldn't wait to get home,and tell Mike!

The day after I returned home I asked Mike if he wanted to go and get some coffee. As I sat and told him what God had laid on my heart he just looked at me. I mean he never took his eyes off me. I thought I had something on my face! I made my case passionate, short, sweet and to the point. When I was finished he smiled and said "You know what babe? God has been saying the same thing to me." I sat there thanking God. He was working on both of our hearts at the same time and we listened. Miracles do happen!

For wherever you go, I will go: And wherever you stay, I will stay, Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. Ruth 1:15

If you have never read the 5 Love Languages you need to. My husband is not romantic or very good with words. Mikes love language is acts of service. When he fixes something , makes dinner, buys groceries or builds something for me that is his way of showing his love for me. Once I understood that every guy is not Mr. romance it made me appreciate what he does even more. My love language is words of affirmation. This works out for the both of us. He does nice things and I let him know how much I appreciate it!

I know I have one of the good guys and I know anymore they are a rare find. I am so grateful that God brought us together.

I tell my kids "you must love the person more than you dislike their faults." No one is perfect and if you are looking for perfect you will be very disappointed. Only the Father above is perfect.

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I nver have to live without you. Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

$30 dollars a month does make a difference!

To anyone who thinks that $30 a month doesn't make a difference I will tell them they are wrong. I have had a gentleman tell me that to make a difference we need to provide ways for people to make a living so they can provide for themselves and their families and that $30 a month is a temporary fix.
I understand what he is saying and I agree. It is wonderful when we can train people in a vocation so they can provide for their families but wouldn't it be easier if they could read or write?
When we reach a child who is living in poverty, who is unable to go to school and has no food and find them a sponsor who says"I want to change a child's life" I say amen and sign them up! That sponsorship will provide a child a uniform, school supplies, food and minor medical needs met until they are 18.
They will go to school and learn to read and write. The will learn about math and so much more. Take that child when they graduate from high school and for all we know they will come up with ways for their families to work! They will be the ones to invest in their community. And all because someone was willing to part with $30 a month. It is a investment into a child's life so they can grow up and make a difference in the lives of their community or maybe the world.
$30 a month does make a difference.

Looking at faces filled with hope!