Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bite Back

Every two or three months we receive an update on J from the orphanage.  As you can imagine, it’s always received with a ton of excitement!  Last month, however, when we got the update on J, they told us he had just gotten over malaria.  While it made us sad, and made us wish we could be the ones to nurse him through it, we felt so thankful because we knew he received great care.  Apparently the malaria will be in his system for about the next five years and it will rear its’ ugly head again, but he is safe because he was treated right away.  Obviously, not every child is so privileged.  We’ve dealt with and thought about malaria in the past.  We have given money to Compassion International to help buy mosquito nets for folks in Africa.  We have taken malaria pills  when we went to Uganda years ago.  We certainly knew enough to know we didn't want to get it, but to be honest we had never really researched it.  From my safe place here in America I understood that kids and adults die from it but honestly that fact never really moved me too much because I had never been touched by it.  I hate to admit that.  I hate to admit that I am mostly indifferent to other people's kids and their problems.  But I have been in the past and I am still guilty of that right now.  Thankfully God has been working on me and opening my eyes to some things I need to work on!  So when I found out J had malaria I did some research.  In his book The Hole in Our Gospel, Richard Stearns, the CEO of World Vision, described the impact of malaria on the body:

 The one celled parasites that transmit the disease, known as plasmodia, are carried by mosquitos of the genus Anopheles.  Just one drop of water the size of the period at the end of this sentence can contain as many as fifty thousand plasmodia-yet it takes just one to kill a person.  That's because once in the body, a single plasmodium can multiply into the billions.  These "storm troopers" invade the blood stream, entering and destroying red blood cells.  The body's temperature then rises sharply in an attempt to "cook" the parasites to death, and the victim suffers headaches, muscle pain, and extreme cycles of fever and chills.  In the worst cases, the parasites manage to invade the brain-cerebral malaria- causing it to swell and pushing the victim into a coma. As brain cells die, the body begins to shut down.  Once too many red blood cells have been destroyed, the blood supply to vital organs is disrupted, the lungs can no longer get enough oxygen, and the heart struggles to pump.  The weakest and most vulnerable victims, usually children, succumb, as their little bodies can no longer fight the disease. ...Those who survive their bout with malaria may suffer brain damage and diminished capacity and will most likely have recurring episodes of the disease several times a year if they live in a malarial region.

Did you know:
- One million Union Army casualities in the U.S. Civil War are attributed to malaria
-George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant all suffered from malaria
-in the Pacific theater of World War 2 casualities from the disease exceeded those from combat
-malaria was wiped out in the U.S. in the 1950s by spraying DDT in swamps and homes

- 350-500 million cases of malaria appear each year
- more than 1 million people die from malaria each year
- 750,000 of those deaths are children in Africa...that is one kid every 30 seconds

- in Uganda it is estimated that 12 million people become sick with malaria every year
- in Uganda 70,000-100,000 kids die from malaria each year

 Those statistics are unbelievable because this disease is totally preventable and can be eradicated in the rest of the world just like we did it in this country.  Why do I go overboard when my kids get sick but don't do anything to stop another Mom's child from dying? 

Compassion International has an incredible program called Bite Back and for 10 dollars you can help a Mom put her son or daughter to bed each night under a safe mosquito net.  The money will buy a treated net and provide education and malaria medicine for a family. In honor of our children, we are going to make a commitment to help fight malaria...will you, too?    

  "The first reason to work to eradicate malaria is an ethical reason-the simple human cost.  Every life has equal worth.  Sickness and death in Africa are just as awful as sickness and death in America.  In Africa and other areas of the developing world, malaria keeps adults from going to work, students from going to school, and children from growing up.  Any goal short of eradicating malaria is accepting malaria; it's making peace with malaria; it's rich countries saying: "We don't need to eradicate malaria around the world as long as we've eliminated malaria in our own countries." That is just unacceptable."  - Melinda Gates


Monday, August 29, 2011

Yep, we are missing something...

 We wish there was a little boy in between Jake and Elyse in each of these pics. We are really missing him and we wish that he was here... but he is not.

 We are asking you to pray today.  Would you take five minutes and pray for us and the Holt families waiting along with us?  We are still trusting in God. There are always so many factors that go into the adoption process and we are at a point where we need focused prayers (we always need prayers)!  Without getting into specifics would you pray specifically for paperwork to move and to be signed. 

We wait in hope for the Lord.
      He helps us. He is like a shield that keeps us safe.
Our hearts are full of joy because of him.
      We trust in him, because he is holy.
Lord, may your faithful love rest on us.
      We put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:20-22


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This was grace

Ann Voskamp posted this video on her blog today.  I am completely humbled by their story and testimony!

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.  Psalm 31:3


Overnight Coffee Cake

I love coffe cake and I love being able to make a recipe for breakfast the night before and just pop it in the oven.  When I saw  this recipe I knew I had to try it.  It comes from The Anderson House Inn in Heber Springs, AR.   It is yummy!

Overnight Coffee Cake
3/4 cup of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Cream butter in a large bowl, gradually add 1 cup sugar beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add sour cream mixing well.  Combine flour and next four ingredients.  Add to creamed mixture, mixing well.

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon, stirring well.  Spread 1/2 the batter into a well greased and floured tube or bundt pan, sprinkle nut mixture on top evenly. Carefully spread remaining mixture on top of nut mix.

Cover and chill eight hours (overnight).  Uncover and bake at 250 for 65 minutes or until cake pulls away from side of pan.  Cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove and serve warm.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

23 Months!

Happy 23 months, J!  I can't believe that another month has passed us by!  On one hand time is flying by and on one hand it is crawling by.  We miss him everyday and cannot wait to be with him!  We have adoption friends though, who are about to leave for Ug at the end of this month and I know that they will love on our sweet boy and that just does my heart good!

I love the books we got for J this month.  One of my favorite children's  books is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  I have such great memories of reading it to Jake and Elyse.  Their copy has long since been destroyed so we needed a new one.

We also bought him the book A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza.  It is the story of a little bird who lives all alone and  is looking for a mother.  It is a sweet story about the journey he goes on to find a mother!

Please continue to pray for this process and for speed!   Waiting is just not easy and we know God is  in control. It is good to be reminded of that sometimes....


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

African cookbook

 Another adoptive momma brought home with her from UG some African cookbooks. These cookbooks were made by a Ugandan momma.  She has put her best recipes together in a cookbook and sells them to help pay for her children's schooling.   J's favorite food right now is rice and gravy.  I  know I don't need a cookbook for that dish but I want to be able to make boiled matooke,beans and posho and spiced Ugandan tea for him and us and I definitely need an African cookbook to make those recipes.  I also love that by buying this book we are helping them pay for their school fees!  She sells her cookbooks through

 The cookbook is wonderful.  There are so many great recipes to choose from but Jake and Elyse's favorite right now is Banana Tea Muffins  but we haven't tried the African Soya Donut recipe yet. Of course it is the dessert recipes that are the favorite in our home! :)

Banana Tea Muffins
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup of butter
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup of mashed banana

Mix and sift flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Beat butter until fluffy.  Add sugar gradually and continue beating until light and fluffy.  Add egg and mashed banana and beat well.  Add flour mixture alternately with banana mixture, mixing until batter is smooth.  Fill the muffin pans 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Makes 16-20 small muffins.
Harriet Ssanyu Namutebi


Friday, August 5, 2011

Our album


A thousand years of darkness in her face,
She turns at last from out the centurys' blight
Of labored moan and dull oppression's might,
To slowly mount the rugged path and trace
Her measured step unto her ancient place.
And upward, ever upward towards the light
She strains, seeing afar the day when right
Shall rule the world and justice leaven the race.

Now bare her swarthy arm and firm her sword,
She stands where Universal Freedom bleeds,
And slays in holy wrath to save the word
Of nations and their puny, boasting creeds.
Sear with the truth, O God, each doubting heart,
Of mankind's need and Afric's gloried part.
Joseph Seamon Cotter

 Today was one of those days that I needed to pull out the album from our time in UG.  It has been 15 years since we were there but there are days when looking at these pictures helps to bridge the distance between us and  little J!  Some days are harder than others and this was one of those days!   I think Africa is one the most beautiful places on the earth!

I look at this picture of Jason and I standing on this hill outside of Kampala and to think at that time we had no idea  the next time we visited Kampala would be to meet our son!  I love the way God works!  Some friends of ours who were with us on this trip said how they love the way God has brought us full circle back to UG! Me too!  His plan is perfect and his timing is perfect!  Please continue to pray for J and the process!  We cannot wait to meet him and have him home! 

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you
   The days of my life all prepared
      before I'd even lived one day.
Psalm 139:15-16, The Message


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thoughts from an adult adoptee

It wasn't until we went to an adoption class that was part of our process to be able to adopt J  that I realized I am called an adult adoptee!  My whole life I have tried to potray adoption as a wonderful thing. I have been so proud of being adopted...I wear it as a badge of honor because of the incredible way I have been blessed through adoption!  Of course I think everyone should adopt but I know that won't happen!  The statistic that is floating around is that 34% of Christians consider adoption but only 1% actually adopt!

I was adopted at the age of three months.  I spent the first three months of my life in a foster home. My foster  family actually wanted to adopt me but the state of  Massachusetts wouldn't allow them to  because they already had other adopted kiddos in the family. Couples without any children were given a priority at that time!  So I became a Barry and  my story of redemption began!  I am now a follower of Christ because of my physical adoption into a family that followed Christ.  My parents were fulfilling the Great Commission when they adopted me.  Do you see... it is so much bigger than just placing children in is giving them Christ! It is about making disciples!

I have always loved to talk about my adoption and adoption in general.  But in my life there have  been plenty of offensive comments made about adoption but I have never had a problem with hearing those comments or responding to people when they made comments about things that they had no idea about.  I have always enjoyed being able to share my story!  But now it is no longer just me... it is one of my children!!  I somehow can handle comments when they are directed towards me but now I have a child who is joining our family through adoption and it is a whole different ballgame! I am now finding that my defenses raise up when I hear or read comments about adoption that are totally wrong!  But I am also realizing it is not my job to fix people's view of adoption...I need to give that over to God! I need to advocate and be an example but I cannot change opinions! I am praying though for the ability to give grace and love when I come face to face with comments that are hurtful and just flat out wrong!  Please pray for me! :)

 I just finished a book Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore.  It is a must read for every disciple of Christ even if you are not in the process of adopting or ever plan to adopt... because he so skillfully weaves into physical adoption the story of our adoption by God!  We are all adopted!  It gives such a clear understanding of exactly what  adoption is and how God views it and how the church should view adoption and orphans!

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

One way to care for orphans is to diaper them!!  My friend, Megan, is going to be traveling to UG very soon to meet their son for the first time.  Our sons are at the same orphanage and they don't have very many diapers.  This means that disease can easily be spread so Megan's plan is to bring over as many cloth diapers as she possibly can.  She has had an awesome response so far and if you have given...THANK YOU and I wish I could hug you!!!   If you haven't... would you consider giving a pack of diapers or  diaper covers to the kiddos? Not only are you blessing our son you are blessing so many others!  You can go to her blog and donate with the paypal link or go to her Amazon wishlist and pick something to donate! Thank you!