There was a time this summer when we really didn't know if she would be home for her first birthday.  So it made it even more special for us to have her home for over two months, to be so much more adjusted now, and to be able to celebrate her birthday up right.  If the party had been the month we came home, it would have had a completely different feel.  

This really just felt like a party for our daughter.  But we did want to celebrate her entire first year, so we tried to make it as much of a celebration of her whole crazy first year of life as we could.  
I made a banner of pictures in chronological order.  From the newborn picture we took on the wall of Abenezer, to her referral picture, our court trip, embassy trip, coming home and everything in between.

We also sat around stacks of pictures of her early days, our two trips, and everything since we've been home.  

But mostly, it was just a really fun party for the girl we all love.  It was a really good day.  
We are so excited to support Love is... Ethiopia this year, because this pioneering family is from... Indianapolis! 
Christie and I found each other through our mutual desire to send cloth diapers to Ethiopia.  We've traded diapers and covers more than once over the past two years.  

Next year, she and her husband Adam and their four children will be moving to Ethiopia to create a day care center for children of single mothers in the slums of Addis Ababa at no cost.

Mothers who typical survive by begging and digging through trash to feed their children will have safe and free place to leave their children while they work through the day.  While the mothers find jobs and work, the children will be given nutritious meals, clothing and love.  And the best part is, the children will be back in their mothers arms at the end of the day.  

This is huge step in the way of keeping families together and preventing children from becoming orphans.  

Christie and Adam are currently working to raise the huge amount of money needed to move their family to Ethiopia and start-up this new program.  I hope that after this weekend we're able to move them a little closer to their goal.

Love is... Ethiopia has a great online store and we will be selling some cute stickers and necklaces for them.  

Adoptive families out there- These items are very small and I would be happy to ship any of these to you for free!  Just leave a comment or send me an email at BrandyDWade (at) gmail (dot) com with your order and pay through our paypal button on the right side.  These are all very cute and would be great to pass out to the friends and family supporting your adoption! 
Almost every child we saw in Ethiopia was sporting this style of necklace!  These are only $3.50!  
These small 3 x 2 inch stickers are only 50 cents!
Bumper Stickers only $1!!  
The third organization we will be fundraising for is Because Every Mother Matters.  After our huge success for them last year, we couldn't leave them out this year!  
This year we hope to raise money for their newest project: Sada House.  

From their site:
In March of 2012 we launched a therapeutic safe house for girls and women who were/are at risk of being sexually exploited. Individuals identified for enrollment into Sada's house have been referred the program by local authorities and partners.

At Sada's house these girls and women can be given a safe environment where they can grow to be healthy and happy young ladies. Each individual will undergo a health assessment and be entered into appropriate medical care, including HIV treatment. Those of school age will be given the opportunity to attend school and the girls will participate together in learning basic household skills.  After completion of the program, the young women will be transitioned into either foster care or the Momma sponsorship program (if appropriate).

Time at Sada's house allows these young women to heal, learn skills, be a part of a "family" and most important to be girls, women.... The beautiful spirits that they were created to be.  To have fun, laugh, be nurtured and live a life without fear.

The mother that Logan and I sponsor, Ayalenesh, recently spent some time at Sada House.  

Last week Steffany said,  "Sada House currently houses five girls ages 7 - 16 who were living on the street being sexually exploited to survive."  It takes $1,100 a month to fund the home.  

Visit their new website:
We have followed the Block family's blog from the time before we even started our own adoption.  We followed them last year when they packed up their big family, sold everything, and moved to Guatemala as missionaries.  And now we are following their story as they start an orphanage of their own.  An orphanage for only HIV+ Guatemalan orphans.
They currently need to raise an extraordinary amount of money to pay for the facility, to build the homes, to finish several construction projects, to purchase appliances and furniture, as well as to provide for the needs of all of the children who will be coming.  They hope to open their doors for the children in January.

The children, all living with HIV, are in desperate need of a safe home.  So we will be fundraising for them, in hopes that we'll be able to send them a big ol' check to help move them along.  

For more on this project click here.  For the Block family blog click here.  
We are so excited to support Bring Love In with our festival fundraising.  
Levi and Jessie Benkert live in Ethiopia with their four children.  They are working to create permanent homes in Ethiopia for orphaned children.  Specifically orphans who are currently living in the dreaded government orphanage I'm always talking about.  

They are creating families by joining a widowed Ethiopian woman with 6 - 8 orphaned children to raise in a home as her own.  

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  -James 1:27 

Bring Love In needs $625 a month for each home to provide for the needs of the mother and the children- including food, education, clothing, everything that a regular families needs in a month.  They even have "aunties" who can babysit and give the mother a break on the weekends. 
Logan and I actually visited their home, office (in the photo above) and their guest house while we were in Ethiopia in July.  I have no photos of the children or the homes, because they did not allow us to take pictures.  They want the children to feel comfortable and safe in their homes, and a long line of white travelers with cameras doesn't make a child feel comfortable or safe.  

The Ethiopian Government is willing to give Bring Love In more children than they currently have funding to house.  

It is so simple.  To remove 6 - 8 more children from the horror of the government orphanage it only takes 25 people willing to give $25 a month.  Or one person, organization, church or business willing to give $625 a month.  Or one big donation of $5,500 to prepare a new home with furniture, a stocked kitchen, and rent for six months.  

There is a simple, tangible way to remove children from this: 
Into a real, permanent family with a mother, siblings, a clean bed of their own, meals, school and a future.

With the money it would take to buy two pizzas for your family, you could give these children a family.  Please take some time to consider sponsoring a home.  For information on sponsoring click here.  

Other ways you can help Bring Love In: 

  • Shop at their online store here.  
  • Purchase a ticket for their iPad Raffle here.
  • If you are traveling to Ethiopia, they have a beautiful guest house for you to stay in for a reasonable rate.  I have tons of photos if you are interested.
  • Spend a lot of money at our booth at the Apple Festival in Bloomfield this weekend!  Friday and Saturday October 5th and 6th.  
  • If you are interested in purchasing Levi's book No Greater Love for $15 and you live in our area, I would be happy to deliver it to you!  I have a case of books to sell!!  Please, buy one!  
At the festival we'll be selling these bags made in Burkina Faso, Africa of wax coated material, sewn by Gerry Dalrymple.  If you would like to purchase one of these bags before the festival, please let me know!  I only have eight of them.
Seriously.  Please.  Buy a book from me!