Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giving Back to Those that Supported Their Adoption: In the News

Have you had an organization support you in your adoption? Children's Hope family Jeff and Tammy Jerrett have adopted two children with visual impairments and count on Cleveland Sight Center in their lives. Now they are giving back to them, too. See their story on their local news!

Family of adopted girl gives back to Cleveland Sight Center


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Change for the Good in Your Family TV Programming :: "Change of Plans" on Fox This Saturday

This season, Fox is bringing back Family Movie Night and in doing so they are bringing the topic of adoption front and center. This Saturday at 8 p.m. EST, Fox pairs with Walmart and P&G to make a new made-for-TV movie starring Brooke White (of American Idol fame) in a thought provoking and family friendly plot.

When a tragic Peace Corps accident in Africa leaves four children orphaned for the second time, a final will reveals unlikely prospective parents. Sally and her husband Jason are a free-spirited, fast-paced "cool couple" with a life plan. And kids aren't in them. As you can imagine, the introduction of an instant multi-cultural family does indeed create a change of plan.

The kids are special. They remind me of many Children's Hope kids - and for a 90-minute movie, each of them showcases a depth far greater than many adults (while still being kids). The sixteen-year-old is American but raised in Africa with a mind for social justice, her high school brother is from Guatemala. The elementary school aged boy is from Uganda and the youngest girl is adopted from China.

"Change of Plans" strokes ideas of culture (particularly what a shock American culture truly can be), mourning and grief, and also striking the right balance of humility and self-confidence in parenting.

The backbone of this film is that of real world choices, and the ongoing lesson that sacrifice is worth every bit of its pain, and that one of life's most important discoveries is that it is more than simply you and me.

Together we can send a message to producers and advertisers that there is a market for quality programs. 

I recommend watching “Change of Plans” with your family and friends. Use these resources to further enrich this time with your family and make the most of your Saturday night together.

A Focus on the Family "Change of Plans" discussion guide. Explore the deeper lessons and meaning of the movie with your family. Add questions of your own, relevant to their own personal experience.

Immediately following the movie, a 45 minute webcast on adoption and foster care, featuring your live Q&A with National Center for Adoption and an experienced panel.

Fox Schedule and Programming


Melkham Genna and С Рождеством!

It is Christmas in Ethiopia and Russia today!

On Christmas Day in Russia, people commonly sing carols and gather in churches. Churches are decorated with Christmas trees known as 'Yelka', flowers and beautiful colored lights. Families gather for a traditional Christmas dinner today. Children in Russia receive presents from Dedushka Moroz (Grandfather Frost) instead of Santa Claus.

Today in Ethiopia, families are enjoying Christmas feasts in their Sunday best on this great holy day. Ethiopian Christmas gift-giving, if practiced, is often clothes. See smiles from a common game of bocce ball below. Wii and XBOX are not requirements of fun!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ethiopia :: An Optional Tour of the Bright Hope School Garden :: Capture a Glimpse

When traveling for the second trip of your Ethiopian international adoption, be sure to inquire about visiting the Bright Hope School. Children's Hope Partners are doing great aid work in and near Addis Ababa, and a great deal of this work is concentrated on the Bright Hope School Garden. By adding this optional tour, you can get a deeper sense of Ethiopian culture and witness further the needs and also the strengths of this country.

Upon your request, you can view one of the most inspiring Children's Hope aid projects — The Bright Hope School in Ethiopia's Korah Community.
This week a Children's Hope Work Team from Journey Church in Bozeman, Montana is traveling into the Korah Community, building relationships with locals and sharing the burden of Bright Hope's work, which in turn is growing and breaking the volunteers' hearts for this ministry. Work Team volunteer Kelsey posted yesterday to their blog, while visiting a leprosy medical center that shares a wall with the Bright Hope School.

Kelsey and Bridget's words help capture a glimpse of the community culture:

From January 4th -

(From Kelsey) ...This Tuesday I parted from the group for the morning and headed over to ALERT leprosy clinic which shares a wall with Bright Hope School in order to take in the daily routine of this medical facility. ALERT serves lepers spanning the entire continent of Africa giving free care to those who cannot afford it.

After parting from Masti, our translator, I was shown around the compound. One wing of the clinic houses rooms for patients requiring around the clock medical care with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and other serious dermatological conditions. After they hear the words Selamno or Selamnish (boy/girl hello) a smile spreads across their face and they are eager to meet you and learn of what little Amharic you know: Guests are both an exciting and uncommon experience. Like I said before, despite their condition (many are unable to even walk or hold anything due to the nerve damage induced from leprosy), the patients I met today were overwhelmingly grateful. They were thankful for others being attentive and responding to their needs, and were even joyful at something as small as meeting a new friend from the States.

I met up with Dr. Elizabeth Bizuneh, who has been working as a dermatologist at ALERT for the past 23 years. Job shadowing Elizabeth was unlike any physician I have observed in Montana. The greatest difference, aside from the kinds of conditions and their treatments, was the patient demographics. The first patient walked in wearing a pear of jeans and sunglasses. The next was a shepherd wearing a thick robe and shawl, several giant crosses, a bible slung around his shoulder, and a staff journeying nearly 120 kilometers to receive care. Certainly a unique contrast.

After returning for lunch at the school, I rejoined with the team and learned of their adventures. After working at the wall in the morning hours, they had the amazing experience walking the streets of Korah, sharing a month’s supply of Tef with families. They witnessed the overwhelming gratitude these people had that strangers would love them by offering the gift of food.

For the rest of the afternoon we continued hauling rocks. Our relationships with our Ethiopian coworkers and the students of Bright Hope are already growing as we begin to learn names and get to know each other personally through smiles and the occasional “Gobez!” (Good Work!) And all this is despite the fact that we each only know a few words of the other’s language…

We have talked about how our hearts have broken over this place. But simultaneously there are moments when we are overflowing with joy with just how happy these people can be despite their tribulations. They are so thankful. God is doing some amazing things here…

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Culture - found in the heart and smile of a child.

From January 3rd:
(From Bridget) ....Pairs would load rocks, walk, walk and walk then dump them near the foundation where a worker assembled the rocks to build a foundation that cement would then be poured into.

As the hours passed, our little white bodies turned into a lobster-ish coloring. The joy of the work came while the children would have breaks during their school day. We would hears squeals from the top floor of the school buildings and a tiny stampede of little feet would run to our area. Our team would drop our stretchers and battle intense games of thumb war, rock-paper-scissors and patty-cake (who knew they were international games?! Who taught these kids these games WE played at school as kids?!) Goes to show how much more similar the world is than different.
* * *

Journey Church volunteers post daily
from the Ethiopia Bright Hope School Garden

Experience more Ethiopian culture from this Children's Hope Work Team — see the Journey Church Work Team blog.

(Photos and blog excerpts used by permission.)


Monday, January 3, 2011

Did You Know?

Unlike the United States, most organizations in Russia celebrate winter holidays for over two weeks. The majority of individuals go on break before the New Year and extend their vacation well into January. As a result, most of the government agencies, as well as private enterprises do not work during this time. What this means for Children's Hope Russia families is that there will be no travel for court after December 27th, and no first trips after December 15th. This will extend until everyone returns to work on January 10, 2011.

Learn more in your weekly Russia Program Updates!