Last Fall we found out through the YahooGroup that the babies at KVI orphanage in Ethiopia (one of the orphanages that our daughter may come from) had no diapers. This was the sickening post that we read one morning:
They do not have any diapers. Yes, you read that correctly. An orphanage full
of babies and toddlers, and there are no diapers. They have rags and ripped
pieces of sheets that the wrap around their bottoms, and keep them in place with
onesie t-shirts. Every single baby we held today was soaking wet (or worse),
their entire outfit. They lay on the floor, soaking wet, and get changed on the
floor...where they all crawl around and play with the few toys that they have.
In addition, they had no mattresses in many of the cribs. Babies sleeping on a
the wooden bottom of a crib. I don't know that I would have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes."
This sent all of us into a frenzy of gathering and sending diapers and inspired the huge donation of 1800 diapers we received from Toasty Baby in Fishers and the making of many, many handmade covers. I am so excited to say that for the first time there is confirmation that cloth diapers have made their way to KVI orphanage and are in use!
Our friend Tara who was at KVI just this week says...
"We were just at the orphanages yesterday and they told us they need formula and older kids clothes, like ages 6 and up. Both Kids Care and KVI looked nice and clean yesterday. The babies had cloth diapers on too!"
She told me later that she saw "hundreds" of cloth diapers drying on a clothes line.
Update from family-from-afar.blogspot.com and Childrens HopeChest:
"Sunday Night Update:
We just got an update on Webit from the Hopechest staff in Ethiopia. The details are still sketchy and the email is a bit hard to understand due to the language barrier but this is what we know.
Webit had surgery yesterday and she awoke from anesthesia in the afternoon. She was talking and her voice sounded strong. This morning she was able to sip some tea. Her family is incredbily thankful - the email expresses gratitude to her sponsor family and everyone that is praying for her and helping with the medical fund.
Over and over they praise God and give thanks. They felt like "death was knocking at the door" and that this surgery and medical care were just in time. They are praising God for this intervention and are asking for continued prayers as her little body fights the infection and as she recovers. As soon as we have more information, I will update here.
Please keep Webit and her family in your prayers."
Webit with Emma from her sponsor family. They are the same age.
Following Webit's story this past week has been strange for me. Here is a little girl from a third world country having surgery for a life-threatening cancer. And here is me, preparing for surgery next week, with the best surgeons in the country, with health insurance, with family to help pay my bills, with more offers for help than we will ever use. And yet, I'm still scared.
So how much infinitely more scared must Webit and her family be? How much more valuable is this innocent little seven year old girl than me? I think, as Americans, we sometimes push these children and these stories out of our mind and think, "Oh, they're not like us." So that we can imagine that they don't feel like we would feel.
But, you know what? We are all the same. Webit is just like every other seven year old girl you know.
Angi Cooper works with Hospice and I think her words say everything...
"We are praying for a miracle for her and that she finds comfort at the hospital as well as Christs' love through our donations. As I work daily with Hospice patients I see first hand the value of comfort medicines. I am praying Webit is healed from her cancer, but cancer is mean, it is painful and my heart breaks to think we could ease her pain and don't."
Webit's family has no money for medical care. But through the Herwehe family (her sponsor family) and Childrens HopeChest Webit has been admitted to the hospital in Addis Ababa. They are collecting financial support to continue her care there. So, if you haven't already, please consider helping. The instructions for monetary donations are below, but at the very least please consider spreading her story through your own blogs, facebook, and email. Maybe someone you know would feel moved to help this family.
To donate follow these instructions:
Please go to the Children's HopeChest website at www.hopechest.org
Click on GIVE
Under "Choose a Fund", specify DESIGNATED GIFT
Enter the 9 digit account code ET2119000
In the notes area, specify MEDICAL
"When Laura and Charlie first met Webit, their joy quickly turned to concern as they noticed that Webit was limping and was in considerable pain. Even though Webit was excited and happy to meet her sponsor family, she could not hide her pain and she whimpered and cried during their meeting.
The Herwehe's inquired about her situation and found out that Webit has a leg deformity, but she recently had gotten a sore on her foot that had become infected. It was treated by the witch doctor in her village, which had caused even more inflammation and it seemed the infection was spreading up her leg rendering her barely able to walk. Webit's sister had carried her on her back to the care-point that day, so she could meet her sponsor family.
As soon as Laura and Charlie got home, they contacted me and Children's Hopechest. Since then, Hopechest has been navigating the complex process of getting treatment for Webit's injuries and illness. Because her family is too poor to pay for treatment, Hopechest had to show that they could acquire funding for her care. Webit's family then had to get several stamps and approvals and paperwork to refer her for treatment at a clinic in Addis. Once she was seen there, the doctor diagnosed a type of cancer that had caused the original deformity which made her susceptible to infection. Hopechest and the staff in Ethiopia have been working on getting her admitted to the hospital for treatment - and today Webit took a turn for the worse.
Her medical card had just been appoved and she has now been admitted to the Black Lion Medical Hospital in Ethiopia and will be seen by her original doctor tomorrow.
Your urgent, intercessory prayer is needed for healing and comfort for this precious little girl and her family. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for her doctor as he makes decisions for her immediate treatment. I wish we had more details about her condition, her treatment and her prognosis. I will keep you informed as we get information from Ethiopia.
In addition to your prayers, Webit's family is in need of funds to pay for her hospitalization and treatment. We have set up a fund at Children's Hopechest and have asked the hospital to provide for her care and treatment - having faith that the funds would be available when they are needed."
During our adoption, I've heard so many times, "We'd love to help these children, but we just don't know how..."
This is a real and urgent call for help. Children's HopeChest is a legitimate way to deliver funds to this child's family. According to a recent update on www.familyfromafar.blogspot.com so far donations for Webit's medical care have only reached $895.
Please consider helping Webit and her family in one of these two ways:
1. Go to the Children's HopeChest website at www.hopechest.org
Click on GIVE
Under "Choose a Fund", specify DESIGNATED GIFT
Enter the 9 digit account code ET2119000
In the notes area, specify MEDICAL
2. Spread the word through your own blogs, email and facebook. The more the story spreads... the more help she may receive.
I will continue to share updates on Webit as they become available.
Charlie and Laura Herwehe, our friends from Indianapolis, sponsor a young Ethiopian girl named Webit through Trees of Glory. They had the opportunity to meet her on January 20th of this year while they were in Ethiopia adopting their son. Please read their original blog post about that first meeting...
"When we arrived at Trees of Glory, we were met by the most amazing woman, Simret. Simret is the founder of Trees of Glory and is truly the hands and feet of Jesus, loving and caring for over 100 orphaned and impoverished children each day. We had stopped along the way at a produce stand and bought hundreds of bananas and mangoes to donate as well as the 100 goody bags we had put together for each of the children at the care center. The love and gratitude from Simret and her staff was so overwhelming to us. We met for a few minutes longer, discussing the history and vision of Trees of Glory, and then she asked if we wanted to meet some of the children. (Because we were visiting in the afternoon, most of the children had already gone home for the day. The only ones who remained were the 11 permanent orphans who live there full time and our sweet sponsor child, Webit, and her sister.) We have been sponsoring Webit for about six months now. We have her picture hanging up, we've exchanged letters with her, we've sent her a care package, and we pray for her daily. We love this little girl as if she were a member of our own family, and we couldn't wait to meet her!
The children were led out of one of the buildings in a single file line to meet us, and Simret mentioned that our precious, little Webit was the first one in line. I was so excited to know that she was there and that we were about to meet face-to-face, that it took me a minute to realize that she was disabled and limping toward us. None of that mattered in that instant as I sunk down to her level to hug her, but I quickly realized how tiny and frail she was, probably more the size of our four-year-old instead of the seven-year-old she is. Simret was explaining to me as I was still embracing her that she is very sick. She said that Webit was almost too sick to make it today to meet us and that she had been carried on the back of her older sister all the way from their village to the care center. One of the other staff members explained that her leg injury had started as one small sore on her foot and had now spread to the point that her entire leg was lame. As the other children gathered around us to receive their goody bags and treats, Webit sat on the ground, unable to stand and in considerable pain. At one point, Charlie noticed her shoes were on the wrong feet and he gently knelt down to switch them for her, but she began to wince and cry, and so did I. It was truly heart-breaking, and I couldn't contain my tears for this sweet girl whom we love so much. It absolutely wrecked me to see her in so much pain.
The staff members explained to us that Webit comes from a witch-craft village and that the original sore had spread into this leg deformity because of the witch-craft that had been done on her. They also explained that this type of illness/deformity is seen as evil and that some members in her village had wanted to kill her. This sweet, darling, precious girl is the same age as our daughter and all of this was just too much for my heart to take in. I was completely broken and could not stop crying for her. We quickly asked about getting her into a hospital, but were told that we would have to contact Children's Hopechest back in the States to get this arranged, although they did feel hopeful that since Webit's parents had seen that the witch-craft hadn't worked, that they would likely be open to the idea of medical treatment for her.
After a traditional coffee ceremony, we said our good-byes to Webit and her sister, and later to Simret and the staff at Trees of Glory. I am absolutely positive that God brought our family together with Webit as her sponsors, knowing that we would be the ones to be there with her in person to see her need. I am confident He orchestrated this long before we ever considered child sponsorship, and I am incredibly grateful to be used by Him. On our way back to Addis, I told Him that He had broken my heart, and now I needed Him to show me what to do in order to help this sweet girl.
When we got home from Ethiopia, this was one of the first stories I shared with my parents. The following day, my dad felt a very spontaneous prompting while he was preaching to mention it in his sermon. He and my mom have since been approached by several of the members in their congregation wanting to help Webit. It looks like there will be many donations given to help get Webit into the hospital. Praise the Lord for moving His people into action for this girl! We contacted Children's Hopechest right away, and they immediately went to work getting in touch with the staff at Trees of Glory to help get Webit the medical attention she so desperately needs. The staff in Ethiopia met last week with Webit's parents and they gave their permission for her to be treated! On Monday (January 31), one of the Trees of Glory staff members will pick her up and take her into the hospital. We will be updated on her prognosis and treatment while she is there. Please join us in praying for her healing and for wisdom for the doctors treating her."
Webit - Part Two coming tomorrow...
I recently mentioned that we were able to send some of our diapers and covers to Uganda. Megan Miller posted about it under the Adoption tab here on her blog.
We sent her diapers from Toasty Baby and factory-made covers that we got from Christy a couple of months ago. It's amazing to me how one person helping another person, helping another person can get so much done. This was the chain of events:
1) Toasty Baby donates 1800 diapers to me.
2) About the same time Christy in Indianapolis gets a donation for 1400 diaper covers from another company.
3)Through blogging I discovered that I wasn't the only one trying to collect diapers and found Christy.
3) She and I swap some diapers and covers via my sister at work in Bloomington.
4) Michelle, a friend of Megan Millers posts on our AWAA Yahoo Group that she is looking for diapers to take to Uganda.
5) I respond and offer ours to her.
6) Angi packages them.
7) Logan ships them.
No one person did an extraordinary amount of work... but we accomplished something together. It makes me wonder what more we can accomplish when we work together?
I also wanted to give an update on the headbands post I did back in February. My Crazy Adoption was collecting headbands to pass out to women and children in Ethiopia. My mother-in-law and I sent about 17, I think. Maybe some of you made a donation. Here is her post on passing them out while she was there.
Look at this. I could totally get used to this. For the past several days, every time we get the mail, there is a card in it for me. Today, Logan came home from work with a whole apple crisp from his mom. My sister-in-law gave me a very heartfelt gift last week. I've gotten sweet emails and phone calls. I mean, seriously, if everyone keeps this up you aren't going to be able to handle me by the time I get home. Every time we get the mail now I'm like, "hmmm... what's in there for me?"
At this rate, by mid-April I probably won't accept visitors who aren't bearing gifts.
Seriously though, every single kind gesture, no matter how big or small (or how many calories) helps. It's really awesome to know that I'm not alone. That people haven't forgotten about me. And that so many, many, many people are praying for me. I would most definitely rather not be in a situation that would warrant this kind of attention... but it is nice to have.
Much like any country, there are borders within Ethiopia. The country has 9 regions and 2 chartered cities. The regions are broken up by ethnic group and are listed as follows:
1.) Addis Ababa (city)
5.) Dire Dawa (city)
10.) Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region
The largest of the regions (by population and area) is the Oromiya Region (labelled "8" on the map). It's home to nearly 27 million people.
NCFA Issues Statement Regarding Ethiopia Adoptions
At the end of February 2011, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWA) issued an unexpected directive indicating a dramatic reduction in the number of intercountry adoption cases to be processed by the Ministry. This directive is scheduled to go into effect by Wednesday, March 10, 2011.
In 2010, more than 2,500 Ethiopian children were adopted by American families. Should MOWA implement the recent directive as indicated, the number of adoptions from Ethiopia could fall as much as 90%, although the full impact of MOWA’s decision is unknown and cannot be predicted at this time.
This ruling follows a year of significant progress in improving and increasing transparency in the Ethiopian adoption process. Following several safeguards enacted last year, NCFA’s confidence in the Ethiopian adoption system has grown significantly. Additional protective measures may still be necessary, however, to increase global confidence in the process. MOWA’s recent decision appears to have surprised many Ethiopian government officials, as well as the Central Adoption Authorities in the U.S., Italy, and Spain. Many within the adoption community, including the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), members of Congress, child welfare officials in many countries, and the National Council For Adoption (NCFA), have criticized the MOWA directive as unfair, unnecessary, and harmful to children in Ethiopian orphanages who await permanent families.
NCFA is grateful for the swift action taken by the U.S. Department of State, led by Special Advisor Ambassador Susan Jacobs, to communicate with Ethiopian adoption officials in an effort to reach a favorable resolution that will serve the best interests of abandoned and orphaned children in Ethiopia.
“We are encouraged by the advocacy taking place behind the scenes and hopeful that these collective efforts will bring clarity and an immediate adjustment to this unjust and unnecessary ruling, which has the potential to negatively impact so many vulnerable children,” said NCFA president and CEO Chuck Johnson.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that personnel changes within MOWA have resulted from the rogue handling of this decision, and because of this, NCFA is hopeful that new leadership will offer opportunities for better communication and a swift resolution to this looming crisis. NCFA respectfully calls on MOWA to amend its recent harmful directive and ensure that subsequent reforms reflect a comprehensive child welfare policy that retains the option of intercountry adoption for Ethiopian orphans while ensuring policies and procedures that serve the best interests of children.