Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hi Friends!

We are doing well. We received the boys yesterday and they are doing great. They took to us immediately. We had our embassy appointment today. We leave on Thursday night Ethiopian time. Please continue to pray for us and all the families currently in Ethiopia. There have been a few families who have had holdups which could possibly delay their return home.

Gabriel is doing great. He immediately took to Darren and has not let him our of his sight. He is very congested and has a bad cough.

Jacob is also doing great. He is sick as well. We also think he has scabies. He has gained a lot of weight and is looking good.

We love you guys and can't wait to see you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We made it to Ethiopia! We are doing well but are having difficulty with our phone. I will try to post tomorrow. We meet the kids at 10:00a.m.

Love You Guys

Friday, July 25, 2008

The last two days have been exhausting and we haven't even left yet. We traveled to Ohio to take the kids to their grandparents. It is always hard for me to leave the kids so it has been an emotional day.

We had to repack our luggage because we could not get all the donations in our allowed 4 suitcases. So, we went to an army surplus store and bought three of the biggest duffle bags I have ever seen. We are now repacked in 4 pieces of luggage (I hope under the size limit). The house is cleaned, airline tickets confirmed, transportation to the airport confirmed, and I am exhausted. We leave for the airport at 6:30 a.m.

I will try to post from Ethiopia.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ETHAN! Today we celebrated Ethan's 3rd Birthday. We are going to miss his birthday because we will be in Ethiopia so we had his party today.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We have had a busy week here at the Maas household. I have began the task of packing our stuff and the orphanage donations. We have finalized our airline tickets and hotel reservations. We will be staying at the Hilton in Addis Ababa. By the way it is the most expensive hotel I have ever stayed at or will ever stay at again. Here is our schedule:

July 26th Fly out to Washington and then on to Ethiopia
July 27th Arrive in Ethiopia in P.M./Get a good nights rest
July 28th Meet the boys ASAP
July 29th Embassy Appointment
July 30th Sight Seeing
July 31st Leave Ethiopia in P.M. (Jacob's 1st Birthday)
August 1st Arrive home around 6:00 p.m.

We also received an update on the boys. They are both sick with a cough/nasty nose. We were told that Jacob's right hand is very stiff and is not easy to manipulate. They said he does try to communicate. Gabriel is still grieving for his birth mother. They said he is very shy and does not like loud people or crowds. They also said he continues to cry frequently. So if anyone out there has any suggestions on how to make Gabriel's transition a little easier please let me know.

I do have some prayer requests. Satan has really tried to get us down the last couple of weeks. We have been faced with obstacle after obstacle with our travel arrangements. Satan has been trying to put a wedge between Darren & I and our ability to come to an agreement on some issues. First, pray for the health of Jacob and Gabriel. Second, pray for our marriage and agreement in decision making. Third, pray that I have peace while we are away from Miranda, Ethan & Faith. Pray for their safety while they are with grandparents. Also for smooth transition for ALL of our children. Lastly, that we will continue to follow God's guidance for our children's education. Miranda will be in 1st grade and I intend to continue homeschooling. However, we are concerned that having four children age three and under will make it difficult for me to give Miranda all the time she needs in school.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Isaiah 65:24

I love this story! Our pastor read it at church one Sunday and someone just emailed it to me. This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). 'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed.

As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children.

'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes.

I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied.

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Now that we can share pictures of our boys I wanted to show a before and after picture of Jacob. As I shared with you before when we accepted the referral for Jacob there were a lot of unknowns about his health. For some reason he had drastically lost weight and they feared he might not make it. Blessed by the director of our adoption agency Jacob was moved from the orphanage to the transition home in Addis Ababa where he could get medical care. After seeing a doctor in Addis he was prescribed a life saving formula provided by Unicef for severely malnourished children.

Picture on the left taken in March 2008 and picture on right was taken June 2008.

As you can see this formula truly changes the quality of life for these children who are suffering from malnourishment. Due to a shortage of money and the increase in food cost Unicef and World Food Program is struggling to provide for these children. More and more children are being brought into their centers due to the drought and shortage of food. Please consider providing financially to the organizations so that they can help more children like Jacob.