Compassion equals involvement.

The definition of compassion is about involvement. To be compassionate means to get out of the boat of our current circumstances and get into the boats of those who are suffering. We are called to bear the burdens of those who are in need of our companionship-to "weep with those who weep"(Romans 12:15) ~Tom Davis

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A little history...

WARNING: This post may be a little "graphic" for some. I wanted to give a little history about the reality that the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing. I took this story from another blog entitled 'Saving the Congo Children'. However, I have been reading this everywhere. I do hope that some of you will read further and open your eyes to this tragic reality. It also may explain another reason why my heart is so strongly burdened for the "fatherless". I can no longer remain ignorant to what is happening in our world. Nor can I ignore what God has called our family to do, as well as what he has called every other Christian to do, to look after the orphans in their distress. And although what you are about to read is very sad and disturbing, that fact is, if we keep ignoring it, things like this will keep happening, and they will only get worse.

The Congo War(The Africa World War):

This is the story of the deadliest war since Adolf Hitler's armies marched across Europe-a war that has not ended. But is the story of a trail of blood that leads directly to you: to your remote control, to your mobile phone, to your laptop and to your diamond necklace. In the TV series Lost, a group of plane crash survivors believe they are stranded alone on a desert isle until one day they discover a dense metalic cable leading out into the ocean and the world beyond. The Democratic Republic of Congo is full of those cables, mysterious connections that show how a seemingly an isolated tribal war is in reality something different.
This war has been dismissed as an internal African implosion. ln reality it is a battle for coltan, diamonds, cassiterite and gold destined for sale in London, New York and Paris. lt is a battle for the metals that make our technological society vibrate and ring and bling.
This - the tale of a short journey into the long Congolese war we in the West have fostered, fuelled and funded - is a story about you.

Rapes Within Rapes

It starts with a ward full of women who have been gang-raped and then shot in the vagina. I am standing in a make shift ward in the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, the only hospital that is trying to deal with the bush fire of sexual violence in eastern Congo. Most have wrapped themselves deep in their blankets so I can only see their eyes staring blankly at me. Dr. Denis Mukwege is speaking. "Around 10 percent of the gang-rape victims have had this happen to them," he says softly, his big hands tucked into his white coat." We are trying to reconstruct their vaginas, their anuses, their intestines. lt is a long process."
We walk out into the courtyard and he begins to explain- in the national language, French- the secret history of this hospital. "We started with a catrostrophe and we just couldn't understand," he says softly. One day early in the war, the Unicef medical van he was using was looted. Coincidentally, a few days later, a woman was carried here on her grandmother's back after an eight-hour trek." l had never seen anything like it. She had been gang-raped and then her legs had been shot to pieces. I operated on her on a table with no equipment and no medicine." She was only the first. "We suddenly had so many women coming in with post-rape lesions and injuries I could never had imagined. Our minds couldn't take in what these women had suffered.

321 civilians killed in 2009 massacre in Congo

DAKAR, Senegal – At least 321 civilians were killed in a previously unreported massacre in Congo in late 2009, while villagers that escaped their rebel captors were sent back with their lips and ears cut off as a warning to others of what would happen if they tried to talk, according to an investigation by a human rights group.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in its report released Saturday that at least 250 more people were abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army rebels during the attack in the Makombo area of northeastern Congo, including no less than 80 children.

Human Rights Watch's senior Africa researcher, Anneke Van Woudenberg, called the massacre "one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history."

Yet the killing spree, which occurred from Dec. 14 to 17 in at least 10 villages, had gone unreported for months.

The majority of those killed were men who were tied up, some bound to trees, before being hacked to death with machetes or having their skulls crushed with axes. A 3-year-old girl was burnt to death, according to the report.

The rebels then abducted many of the children and women, who were forced to march to a town over 60 miles (96 kilometers) away. Those that walked too slowly were executed and villagers told the rights group that they found bodies all along the trail from Makombo to the town of Tapili in northern Congo.

The Lord's Resistance Army is considered one of Africa's most brutal rebel armies, and its leaders are the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant. Originally based in Uganda, the rebels were pushed into the area straddling the northern Congolese border with Central African Republic. The 2009 massacre is only the most recent of a pattern of atrocities.

Exactly a year earlier, after the governments of the region attacked an LRA position, the rebels retaliated by killing at least 865 civilians during the Christmas 2008 holiday season, according to Human Rights Watch.

The attack three months ago was especially horrific. Children abducted by the rebels were forced to execute other children who had disobeyed the rebels. In several instances documented by the rights group, the children were ordered to form a circle around their victim and take turns hitting the child on the head with a heavy object until the child died.

Adults were mutilated and sent back to their villages to act as a visual warning to those that might have considered alerting authorities.

In one instance the rebels cut off the lips and an ear of six victims who were sent back "with a chilling warning to others that anyone who heard or spoke about the LRA would be similarly punished," says the report.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lots of exciting changes!!

I don't have alot of time to write a long post right now, but I wanted to update everyone on the recent changes that are happening.

As of my last blog we were reconsidering our decision with Ethiopia due to changes in the traveling. Since then, we have began researching other countries to see which one would be the best fit for us, as well as maintain our mission and calling of reaching those that are in the greatest need.

Well, we have officially chosen another country. We will be adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo! This is a large country in the center of Africa. There is a HUGE need in this country! There are over 5 million orphans who are in need of homes! I would like to share more about the state of the country right now, but I am pressed for time. I will save that for my next blog post.

We also had to switch agencies because the agency that we were with does not work with Congo. We found a very small but reputable agency that we are now working with. We just mailed in our application along with the application fee. Our homestudy is being scheduled for the second week of May and should be completed by the end of May. After that, our wait time will begin. The adoption process in Congo is VERY fast! Although the country is rapidly gaining momentum, we are expecting that our child will be coming home by no later than December. Although, alot of unexpected things can come up with adoption. So the time frame could be shorter or longer. The estimated wait time right now with this agency is 4-7 months from beginning to end! I am praying that our child will be home before the holidays!!

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are more boys available than girls. And since we are fully open to the possibility of a boy, this will decrease our wait time and mean that we will VERY likely receive a boy! We are planning to adopt a 2-3 year old. Our agency works with an orphanage that does not allow parents to adopt an infant unless they are "childless". We are completely fine with adopting a slightly older child. But the oldest that the child will be is 3.

We have started researching alot about the country as well as what we need to be prepared for in regards to adopting a slightly older child.

Needless to say, we are VERY excited and can't wait to meet our little boy soon!

Please pray for our family, and specifically for our daughter. I want to make sure that she is prepared for the changes that are about to happen. Also, please pray that God will provide the finances when they are needed for this adoption. The cost to adopt from Congo is roughly $17,000. It is a lot less than the other countries that we have researched, which is a blessing. But $17,000 is still a LOT of money that we need to come up with.

I will try to post another blog soon to keep everyone posted. This adoption will be moving faster than we anticipated, which we are thrilled about. But we are still a little nervous. We want to make sure that God will bring in the finances and that we will be fully prepared.

Until then.....


Monday, March 15, 2010

Adoption is not for the faint of heart....

This is what I keep hearing over and over again...."Adoption is not for the faint of heart." In the past week, I have been able to catch a glimpse of this.

Last week we had some interesting news from our adoption agency that has caused us to rethink some of the decisions that we have made thus far. We have been told that Ethiopia will soon be requiring families to travel TWICE in order to pick up their child. The reason for this is that some families have traveled to Ethiopia and decided that they did not want the child that they were matched with. It is very unfortunate and heartbreaking that this has happened. I understand completely why traveling two times will now very shortly be required. I know that along with us, this has saddened, worried and devestated families who are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. This will add extra travel costs and unexpected/lengthened wait times. I pray that everything will work out according to God's plan for all of these families. I have read some blogs and it is nice to see though that families are trying to stay positive and optimistic about this change. I spoke to our social worker today. She said that they have not received any "official" word from the Ethiopian goverment, but she is anticipating that what is being said is indeed true.

With all of that being said, we are now looking in to the possibility of changing countries. I am VERY sad about this decision because I have grown attached to Ethiopia. However, we have not made a final decision yet and will continue to pray about this.

When we decided to adopt, we did not have a specific country in mind. We have a heart for orphans, regardless of what country they are from. We agreed that we wanted to chose a country where the greatest need was. Unfortunately not every country allows adoption though. So, we decided to chose a country based on what we felt best fit our criteria. The major criterias that we were looking for were cost, wait time, and amount/length of time traveling. Ethiopia seemed to fit all of the major criterias that we had....until now. We felt that we could be flexible in the cost and the wait time. After all, you HAVE to be flexible and prepared for any change to occur when it comes to adoption. Unfortunately, the only determining factor that we could NOT be flexible with was traveling. Due to the fact that we have a small child at home and that my husband has a job that does not always allow for flexibility or paid time off, traveling twice or for lengthy periods of time would be a major issue for us. I realize that some families are able to handle traveling twice, but we do not feel that we can comfortably do that at this time.

The other issue that we are facing right now is in regards to our current adoption agency. Although, so far, we have only completed the formal application, there is a possibility that our agency will not allow us to switch to another country. Our social worker is checking in to this for us and will let us know sometime this week. If we are not able to switch countries, we may be forced to chose another agency as well. This is not something that I want to do, but if we feel called to another country, we may have no other choice but to work with another agency. I am praying that God will continue to open and close doors for us and that the answers will be very clear to us.

We have another country in mind that we are researching, but I would rather not discuss it in detail until we have made our final decision about the country, as well as the agency that we are going to work with.

If you remember, please pray for us. Please pray that God will make it clear to us about what country and agency to chose. Right now things are very confusing. We want clarity. Also, please pray that God will provide us with the finances to be able to afford this adoption. The other country that we are considering will cost roughly $29,000. This is slightly overwhelming, but NOT impossible for God!

No one ever said that adoption was easy. But, we trust God and whatever He has planned for our family. I am confident that God has already placed us with the perfect child for our family. We just need to take the right steps to get there.

Also, because we may be switching countries, I have changed the address of my blog to

I will keep you all posted on what happens next and what decisions we have made.

Love, Holly

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fields of the Fatherless

Rather than write a review on this book, I thought it would be much better to point out some parts of this book that stand out to me. Things that I felt that God really wanted me to see. I would strongly encourage everyone to read this book, regardless of whether you are considering adoption or not.

"In this world you are an orphan-
eagerly anticipating your adoption as God's child.
In this world you are a widow-
longing for reunion with your Bridegroom.
In this world you are a stranger-
a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven."

And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the stranger, and the widow.

Fields of the Fatherless is a journey that brings you back to what Christianity is really about:

Giving yourself to others. Being Christ to a hurting world and living for the one that comes next.


I think alot of us have a very limited concept of joy - we tie it to what makes us feel happy. But real joy goes even deeper, and it's not always in obvious places. Instead, it hides in corners, waiting to be discovered when we sacrifice our desires for God's desires.

For a long time, I missed the kind of joy I'm talking about. Then I stumbled into some fields filled with treasure: the Fields of the Fatherless. There I discovered what was really on God's heart, and I was stunned. It changed my life forever.


If you searched the Bible from front to back, you'd find many issues close to God's heart. But you'd also notice three groups of people coming up again and again. They appear so many times, in fact, you have to conclude that God mentions them purposely to make sure they are at the top of the priority list.

Scripture mentions the importance of caring for these individuals more than sixty times! Clearly, the protection and well-being of the group are one of God's great and constant concerns. So much so, in fact, He actually defines Who He is by His promises to them.

Consider His promise to provide:

"A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity.
(Psalm 68:5-6)


When you think about God's church, it is extrememly important not to picture it as an institution surrounded by walls. The church consists of people who represent the physical body of Christ on the earth. We put flesh to His words and make Him alive to those who are desperate to know He is real.

Unfortunately, ministering in the fields of the fatherless hasn't been as much of a priority to the church in recent years as it has been throughout history. Today, many well-intentioned believers have lost sight of what God cares about most. The fact is, we put most of our energy into improving what is inside the four walls of our churches rather than bringing in the harvest that is outside.

A good friend once said to me. "If the fields are white for harvest, why do we spend all of our money on painting the barn?"

Ministry to Christ's body is important, but when we don't balance it with legitimate attempt to care for the fatherless in our communities and around our world, something has gone dreadfully wrong.

A 2001 Barna Research Group poll revealed a telling statistic: evangelical Christians are less likely to give money and assistance to AIDS-related causes. Only 3 percent of evangelicals say they plan to help with AIDS internationally as opposed to 8 percent non-Christians.


God promises that if we take care of the needs of the fatherless, whatever we put our hand to will be blessed: our work, the home we build, and the relationships we hold, even the families we lead. When we pay attention to the treasures of God's heart, we put ourselves in a position of blessing.


God always provides when we desire to help! Proverbs promises that "he who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given." Proverbs 19:17


The truth might surprise you. You see, God doesn't consider our caring response to the plight of the needy as optional or as a nice gesture. In fact, He sees a loving response to this group as a complete and pre-ordained human right-a legal right backed not by an earthly court but by the very halls of heaven!

So to deprive the fatherless of justice doesn't simply mean that you deny them a proper hearing in court. It means not welcoming them in to your home, not helping them when they are cold and hungry, not listening when they cry out. In other words, the sure way to deprive the poor of the justice due them is to do nothing!

The apostle John goes so far as to suggest doing nothing is proof that God's love doesn't abide in us:

"But whoever has this world's goods , and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" 1 John 3:16-17


Compassion equals involvement.

The definition of compassion is about involvement. To be compassionate means to get out of the boat of our current circumstances and get into the boats of those who are suffering. We are called to bear the burdens of those who are in need of our companionship-to "weep with those who weep"(Romans 12:15).


We are afraid of changing what we've always done. Our lives have become comfortable and manageable. If loving the stranger, the widow, and the poor have never been a part of our lives in the past-even if we know it should be-it's much easier to keep on living the way we always have.


I am reminded of a parable where Jesus asks us to: "Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14:23


What is it that fear may be robbing from you? What kind of adventures in the kingdom of God could you be experiencing right now?

It could be that you don't have the money-or maybe it's time you don't have to spare? It doesn't matter what the reason is, it's still fear that keeps you from being who God wants you to be. The most important question you have to ask yourself is: Am I fulfilling the life I know I am called to live? Am I living my destiny?


Because you saw the face of Jesus in the face of the lost and lonely, God will see His Son in your eyes.

Because you cared most about what He cares most about-God will recognize you as His faithful partner.

And because you made every effort to express in simple ways the Father's love, the smallest deeds you did for the least of these will count greatly for all eternity.~

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There is No Me Without You...

So, lately I have been reading a book by Melissa Fay Greene titled 'There is No Me Without You'. Although I am less than halfway through this book, I am continuing to contemplate what the right age would be to adopt. The reason that I say "I" is because Alex hasn't read this book yet. I have mainly been summarizing it for him. So, in a state of deep thought, I am just going to say what is on my heart.

When applying for an adoption from Ethiopia, an infant is considered 0-24 months of age. So, you could be matched with a 5 week old or a 21 month old. With the agency we are going with, there is an internal preference form where you can be more specific on an age (0-12 months). However, the wait time can be longer when you are more specific in regards to age and gender. Since we are unable to pick the gender if it was our biological child, we have elected not to chose the gender.

I will admit that there is an element of being impatient. The thought of having to wait for an infant for approx. 18-24 months is like eternity to me. On the other hand, adopting a small child such as a 2-3 year old is roughly 6-8 months. We want to be open to what God has for us. But we also don't want us to take on more than what we can handle.

I have lots of questions zooming in and out of my brain. If we adopt a 2 year old, will they ever bond with us? Will they be too emotionally scarred to ever recover? Will this create too much turmoil in our family? Can I still rock my 2 year old to sleep at night? Will we be too heartbroken that we missed some of their "first moments"? How much has this child experienced and seen in his/her first few years of life? Do they remember their birth parents?

We want to be able to experience the same moments with this child as we have with our daughter. It's a privelage and something that we will forever carry in our hearts....such as the first day that our daughter said "Mama" and "Daddy". The first time she crawled. The first time she laughed and smiled at us. The quiet and intimate night time feedings.

But a 2-3 year old needs a home just as much as an infant does. Today I was sitting in the library waiting for my daughter to get done with her storytime group. I was reading "There is No Me Without You'. There was a section of this book that really touched my heart. Melissa(the author/journalist/adoptive mother of Ethiopian children) was in Ethiopia on a quest to find out more about a woman who has been taking orphans in to her home. Some may refer to this woman as a "Mother Teresa" figure.

Anyways, Melissa stepped outside of this woman's house and noticed a young girl who was playing. Here is how she describes that moment in the book:

"A pretty little girl caught my eye: she flounced about barefoot in gray sweatpants under a frilly, puffy pink dress and, on top of the dress, a too small boy's winter coat. I watched her seat herself upon a flat stone with her queenly petticoats arrayed around her. She showed great pride of ownership and was reaching around as best she could in her winter parka to smooth the stiff tulle. I saw her cast her soft eyes around to see if anyone was noticing how pretty she was today.

I noticed. I stepped over and stroked her warm little head, her hard, dried little braids, and murmered an incomprehensible compliment in English. I startled her, but then she understood: her lips turned down in a pleased, flustered smile.

I didn't know who took care of this little girl in pink-maybe a grandparent, maybe a not-so-much older sister or brother-but I saw that she remembered being mothered. A longtime orphan would not expect anyone to compliment her pretty dress."

In that very moment while sitting in the library reading this, my heart stopped when reading over and over again "she remembered being mothered". Will my Ethiopian miracle remember being mothered? Will they let ME be their mother?

Not all orphans grow up in an Orphanage. Some are raised by mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings. How will I ever replace the longing and remembrance that an older child will have of their life in Ethiopia and of their family?

THIS is the reason that we are trying to decide on an age range. EVERY child needs a home, regardless of the age. I have a peace knowing that God is in control. But we have to remind ourselves to be "open" to what God has for us.

Tomorrow we have our first meeting with the Social Worker. I wish that I could say that she could answer this for us. But she can't. This is an answer that only God can give us.

In closing, I have caught only a glimpse of 'There is No Me Without You'. However, I am finally coming to understand this more. But here is my question. Who is the "Me" and who is the "You"? Is there no "Me" without this "Child"? Or, Is there no "Child" without "Me"?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Reviews

One of my goals for 2010 is to educate myself more. I want to gather as much information as I possibly can about orphans, other countries, cultures, statistics, poverty, religion, history, and the list goes on. So, I ordered some books from Amazon back at the beginning of January and I have finally gotten them in the mail. I have decided that I am going to do some book reviews and write a post about them. All of these books pertain to adoption...some of them are specific to Africa/Ethiopia.

Okay, here's the line-up:

-Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis (I have already read this book and will be blogging about it soon)

-From Ashes to Africa by Josh and Amy Bottomly

-There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene

-Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds by Tom Davis

Once I have read all of these books, I will move on to whatever is calling for my attention next.

Also, if you have not officially signed up to be a follower on my blog, please do so. I will be announcing some giveaways at the end of this week. In order for your name to be entered in the drawing, you MUST be an official follower of my blog. Please remember to put your e-mail address in your profile so that I can contact you in order to verify your mailing address. Some of you live in other states, so I will need to mail the prize to you.

Until then....Love, Holly

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To learn more on how to donate to the earthquake victims of Haiti, please visit


The story of charity: water - The 2009 September Campaign Trailer from charity: water on Vimeo.

Questions and Answers....

My husband and I read the Bible. We believe what the scriptures say. However, there are some scriptures that pierce us to the innermost core. Several of those pertain to God's heart for the fatherless. My husband and I can no longer ignore these scriptures, or the urgent and pressing need to do what our Father has called all of us to do....take care of the orphans and widows in their distress.

Many people have asked us why we have chosen to adopt. I have to shrug off some of the nasty comments or puzzling looks that I get from people who truly don't understand the heart of God.

Today, I felt like I needed to address and answer some of these questions. If you would like to ask more questions that I have not mentioned in this post, please feel free to leave me a comment below.

Question: Why are you adopting?
Answer: Why NOT?!?! There are roughly 143 million orphans living in the world today. It is hard to grasp such large numbers, so picture being on a very long road trip. If you had these orphans hold hands in a line, you would see over 1,700 orphans per mile. If you were to follow that line of orphans holding hands, driving 60 mph, you could drive 24 hours a day seeing 1,700 orphans every mile, hour after hour, day after day without stopping for over two months, and you would still see orphans holding hands. Get the picture?

Question: Can you still have children of your own?
Answer: First of all, any child that we adopt WOULD be our "OWN" child. Doesn't that count as having your "own" child?? And yes, we are still able to have our "own" children. As far as we know, we are still very fertile. However, there is a burning conviction in me to make these orphans a priority. My womb is no longer tugging at me...but rather my heart.

Question: Are you adopting domestically or internationally?
Answer: Internationally. Although there are countless foster children who need loving homes in the United States, we feel that we want to start with those who are suffering from EXTREME poverty and starvation. We are open to the possibility of adopting domestically someday, but we are starting with international.

Question: What country are you adopting from, and why?
Answer: Ethiopia. There are several countries in need of children to be adopted, but unfortunately, not every country is open for adoption. We have chosen Ethiopia as a STARTING point. Yes, this is just the beginning. We do plan to adopt more orphans someday. Alot of things can change and our prayer is that someday more countries will be open for adoption. As of right now, we don't know when or where our next adoption will be.

Question: If you are adopting from Ethiopia, are you concerned about bringing a child of a different race in to your home?
Answer: No, we are not concerened, but rather "aware". Our daugther Madelyn has thus far never noticed a difference in race...nor will we point it out either. We have educated ourselves on the potential issues that may arise. However, this will never prevent us from adopting a child who desperately needs and deserves justice. Regardless of how God has created us, we will ALL suffer from some form of persecution.

Question: Adoption is expensive. How much does it cost? How can you afford it?
Answer: Yes, adoption is indeed expensive, but well worth it. The cost to adopt from Ethiopia is roughly $25,000. As of this very moment, we are taking this one step at a time. There are grants available that we will apply for. But there are no guarantees that they will be awarded to us. There are also fundraising ideas. We are praying for ideas that God may give us in order to raise money. And last but certainly not least, there is our income. God has greatly blessed my husband with a terrific job. Although Alex is self-employed, God has never left us in need. So with all of that being said, we will continue to pray for God to provide.

I hope that I have answered some of your questions and revealed a little more of our hearts towards adoption. Once again, feel free to comment with any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.

Stayed tuned for tomorrow's post....

Love, Holly

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I did it!!! And all by MYSELF...might I add!

First off, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Holly. I have been married for 5 1/2 years now to a wonderful and godly man named Alex. We have a 4 year old daughter named Madelyn. I am a stay at home mom and I love it! Some days are tough....but I still love it! My husband is the owner of a personal training company. And as of recently, he has been dabbling in real estate.

God is the center of our universe. He is the reason my husband and I are married and have been able to experience the amazing blessing of parenthood. He is also the reason we are choosing to adopt.

I invite you to share in this exciting journey with us as we start the process of adoption. I will be posting "fairly" regular blogs about any updates that we receive on adoption, as well as our everyday life.

Stayed tuned for tomorrow, as I will be sharing more about our life, adoption, and why we chose to adopt. Love, Holly