February 26, 2003

been thinking a lot about friendship lately. it seems to me that being transparent, honest and open with each other is pretty hard to do. the church pretty much ignores this level of relationship so we never get exposed to a model that works this way,well at least it have not. for some reason i have been able to let people inside fairly easily, not that i do it all the time. there is so much we miss in our relationships when we dont expose everything to each other. it is in the sharing of our deepst darkest secrets that GOD appears and opens our hearts to a place and feeling we should all know. i wrote an ode to friendship awhile ago and go back to occasionally. it ends with a quote from frederick buechner's godric "what's friendship, when all's done, but the giving and taking of wounds." if we are to truly experience GOD's grace we must be willing to take the risk in our relationships, it will be painful at times, maybe more than we can bear alone, but thats when the Spirit enters and empowers us to go on, in that supernatural exchange we are able to go and see the joy in our journey toward friendship, the kind of firndship GOD wants everyone to experience.

LORD grant us the courage to enter into transparent and open relationships, give us the grace we need to listen and love.


February 21, 2003

its been a informationless week as far as adoptions go. our advocate is in uganda trying to set another adoption program there. so we have had no news on what happened in court tuesday. this waiting is getting old.

been getting really anxious by the rhetoric coming out of the bush admin. seems they are hell bent on this war even if most of the world is against it. read an article about the goverment planning on creating mini-nukes to use for pre-emptive strikes, why is it ok for us to develop wmds but no one else, treaties will have to be broken if the path to these new weapons is pursued. are the days of empire coming alive again?

Lord bring us peace and clarity in what to do in this world we are creating


February 18, 2003

check out this web site of photographer alan pogue



February 16, 2003

its been a wintery weekend in cincinnati, right now the county we live in has issued a level 3 snow emergency which means no one unless its an emergency is suppose to be out on the roads, we have been in the house for two days with a few walks to the store the only entertainment.

on the adoption front two of our four kids were presented in court friday and pushed back to tuesday the 18th for another round so we are waiting again, so whats new. if they are approved tuesday and the other two wednesday we will not have to travel, which would be a big relief for us. pray please. this has been a real battle and has changed my mind about powers and principalities that we are battling.


February 14, 2003

heard a great story yesterday on morning edition on npr about the church and why no ones listens to its proclamations any more

War Debate Highlights Doubts on Influence of Churches

As the United States contemplates going to war with Iraq, many church leaders are speaking out against military action. But some who believe war may be necessary say the church's influence over the American public is declining. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports.

scroll down the page unitl you get to the story title is the link above


February 10, 2003

well now that one battle is done we are on to the next our kids will be presented in court this friday, not sure if its all four or just two of them who went earlier. we heard last night that we may have to go over and do an independent adoption in the beginning of march. one problem is it will cost us a lot more 1500-2000 for one ticket for one of us and some additional costs for processing things. we have about 4000 right now to pay the 6000 total adoption costs, but if we go independent our agency a new arrival in montana will refund us all they have not spent, which we dont know the amount of yet. this has been a long and harrowing road but it seems there is a small light appearing, but we don't know where we will get the money, but GOD has provided everything we have needed so far thanks to friends and fellow followers. after friday we will know for sure if the kids have been approved. the stressful part is that all adoption have been ended in ethiopia through an agency. it seems our advocate in her fight with the minister who oversees the adoption process for ethiopia uncovered a bit of corruption and graft so the goverment decided to end all adoption except the 29 kids in our group that are currently being processed. what a battle we hope the end is near.


we just got back form sydney's biopsy appointment. when the doc went to start the procedure and took an xray the lump was gone, nada not there after many more tries to find it they could not. the doc told told sydney that it was her lucky day sydney looked at her and said no she had been healed by GOD, PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!! GOD took it away. thanks so much for all the prayer and encouragement. our GOD is an awesome GOD.


February 06, 2003

thanks for the prayer and concern about the post i made yesterday, this online stuff is a community. was listening to jars of clay's much afraid, yesterday something about that cd sooths my wounds two verses from two different songs really struck me, the idea of JESUS holding me through all this crap is very cool and i need it, thank you LORD for holding me always!

sweet JESUS carry me away
from cold of night and dust of day
in ragged hour or salt worn eye
be my desire, my well spring lye
from "hymn"

all of these things
held up in vain
no reason or rhyme
just the scars that remain
of all of these things
i’m so much afraid
scared out of my mind
by the demons i’ve made
sweet JESUS, you never let me go
oh, sweet JESUS, you never let me go
from "much afraid"


February 05, 2003

sydney's doctor visit was not what we wanted. the doc recommended a stereotatic biopsy. yesterday was very stressful all kinds of thoughts racing through our heads, kids crying and acting out becuz sydney and i were totally spent. so sydney is scheduling the procedure today which will tell us if the spot on the xrays is benign or malignant.

to go along with this our oldest unloaded a ton of frustration with our lives. it seems he feels he is taking an undue amount of sacrfice for the choices we have made about adpoting, seminary etc. he was in pain as he tried to tell us that the choices we have made have affected him in very real ways. it brought home to me the cost of the choices we have made. we feel we are following GOD in this journey and i had been aware that we had ask our kids to sacrifice in many ways. right now things really suck, we are broke, cash flow with work is terrible. we have barely enuf to buy groceries right now and it will be a few weeks until i get some invoices paid. so my oldest who just started a job at starbucks needs some clothes for the job and i cant buy them right now and he is upset about it. the sacrifice for them is very real. we have never gone a day without food or housing, yet there is usually a shortage of cash for anything other than basic stuff, we do have enuf and i am not trying to complain, but this week has shown me how much we have sacrificed to follow our GOD. i wouldnt change a thing but at times it gets overwhelming. last night i found myslef slamming my fist against the wall and screaming on the verge of a breakdown i think, but after we talked with the four older kids and prayed i felt a little peace. i know we will get through all this but in the midst of this crap it seems dark at times, yet i know there is a way out and i will find it with GOD's help

lord bring your refreshing upon us.


February 04, 2003

i had a colonoscopy yesterday, my dad has had colon cancer and i needed to get checked. that along with the scrip i have for zocor to manage my elevated cholestoral levels had me a little spooked, the colonoscopy was clear nothing there that wasnt suppose to be, cool. the whole experience made me ponder a few things. it is amazing how you feel like a piece of meat in the outpatient area. we were lined up in the hall waiting our turn to get probed. people walking by as if you werent there. the nurses in pre op and recovery tried to be pleasant but they were always rushed, its so obvious they are under staffed to an extreme. people need to know they are valued and no wonder we usually put off medical care when the experience devalues us as people so much. another was the effect one of the drugs has, it causes amnesia temporarly, who would want to remember a colonoscopy anyway. but i went through yesterday feeling like i was detached and distant and today i am trying to recall things i know happened and can't, maybe thats what hell is like, knowing something is being missed but never being able to remember what. and today sydney goes in for her third mammogram in a month, they found a small spot and want to check again to see if its anything to worry about, our friend who is a radiologist looked at the films and said nothing to worry about but sydney's doc wants another opinion. we are both feeling very mortal these days.


February 03, 2003

alan crecch just posted some photos from the allelon gathering thanks alan photos


February 01, 2003

got an email form our advocatre in ethiopia (below) that put the columbia crash in perspective. so many people especially kids die each day who have no choice about it. not trying to diminish the tragedy of the families lose of the columbia crew but they had a choice to risk their lives so many others don't

email starts here The news here is worse than you are hearing or reading in the newspapers. In the last 2 weeks I have been in the north assisting the famine victims. It was not my intention when I traveled there, but how can you walk away with it staring you in the face?

I traveled to Adigrat with the UNMEE Human Rights Officer. This was my first trip to this area since May 1999. At that time the displaced children and if still alive their families were living in caves. At this time a town pre war of 25,000 is still hosting 125,000 people. Nothing new has been developed to assist these extra residents, No housing, water sources or schools.

20 minutes south of Adigrat is the village of Endaga Hamus. No one knows the exact populations of this village as the residents are spread far and wide. Few girls attend school and orphans are hopefully cared for by someone. I had the privilege of assisting a Nun who was an RN in her medical clinic. When I say RN understand that my medical training was far more extensive than hers. I spent part of the week urging her to wear gloves while treating skin infections, but she says “I don't have any”. This woman alone treats @29,000 people a year. She and an older sister are the only ones who work in the house.

On Thursday is the baby clinic for pregnant women, nursing mothers and their children up to age 3. We weighed 64 children that morning and all except 1 had lost at least one kilo. These 2 1/2 year old children averaged 6 kilo each. Their skin is hanging in folds. One has kwashaquor which is the final stage of wet malnutrition. He will not be alive to be weighed next month. Most will not. There was only one child at age 3 who weighed 8 kilo, the rest less. I kept asking why???? The answer is simple. All must work to receive relief food and these women are too weak. They were all still nursing and their milk supply was either too little or dried up all together. The mothers are starving so the babies are starving. I kept asking WHY? Always the same answer. Too sick or weak to work so they don’t get relief food. No money, no food.

On Friday my heart finally broke. Brought into the clinic was a week old baby boy. He weighed exactly one kilo. At first we thought he was a preemie, but upon closer inspection we realized he had been starved inurtero. He had been put out into the village edge to die as he couldn’t suck. The grandparents found him and brought him to the sister to see if she could help. This child’s mother was so weak that the merchronium had never been washed off him since his birth. Stuck to this was the filth of his living conditions.

He came into the clinic at 9am. I used a syringe to drop milk into his mouth. After painstakingly doing this he would vomit the milk back up. Finally I tried to wash him and then got permission to take him to Adigrat to the hospital. I placed him next to my skin inside my shirt and headed out.

On the way I decided to bring him into the UNMEE camp as I knew the Doctor there and hoped she could help. She was shocked as was her staff. She as well thought this was a full term baby. This doctor thought this baby would live if we could get the right care for him. I went then to Adigrat Hospital to see if they would admit him. At the hospital I met the doctor that I had brought a patient to the day before. He said that if we left the baby there he would surely die as no one was available to care for him properly. I offered to hire someone to care for him and they said there was no one. I was asked to tour the hospital and see that the wards are full of dying AIDS patients at this time and no one to care for them. He offered to put a feeding tube in place, but the one he brought out was for an adult, rigid and longer than the baby. He said that was all they had. He told me that if I left him there he would be sent to Mekelle and if he survived placed for adoption. I said no. This child has parents who want him. They are alive and trusted me to get him help. They don’t seem to understand or care that there are over 1.5 million orphans without people to raise them and it is wrong to take from a family a child with parents, simply because they are too poor. I left the hospital with him.

Next stop was my hotel where I bathed him and prepared the formula I had purchased. After experimenting I found he could be fed 5cc per 20 minutes and it would stay down. I went back to the UNMEE camp where the men from the medical unit made a cocoon out of cotton to carry him in so I could get him out of my shirt. The doctor and I discussed his future and we left camp intending to place him into an orphanage for 2 weeks at which time he should be strong enough to suckle. The plan was to return him to his family after the 2 week period. To my surprise there was no place to put him. No orphanage exists north of Mekelle which is 150 km away over an unpaved winding mountain road. We asked the other 2 Catholic schools, the Don Bosco priests and social services. Not only was there no place at the inn-No inn existed to assist a child such as this. Not one place in this area is helping the orphaned, abandoned and sick children. Not one.

The Human Rights Officer from UNMEE met us and we discussed alternatives. We ended up loading the car with enough formula, sterile water, antibiotic for the infections on his body, eye drops, vitamins, and syringes and left again for Endaga Hamus to meet with his family. One of the people in the group seemed to understand better than the others so in a rock strewn field I gave an hour lesson with an interpreter about hygiene. The family left with this precious baby wrapped in my sweater. His chance of survival dropped from 60 percent to 10 percent, but I felt there was no other ethical choice. With the HRO from UNMEE we felt that to take a child from his parents is never is justified without their permission and they were not willing to give this child away. We respected them and their decision. I cried all night as I know this child would have lived if only there had been a place we could have helped nurture him for a couple of weeks.

On Saturday I returned to Mekelle and started my quest to see why if there was relief food available as these women were starving. The Social Affairs head told me that the population who are under 5, pregnant and nursing mothers and the elderly are exempt from the work for food rule. Somewhere the line of communication is broken in that area. He assured me they would help.

Now it is Friday and still no food a week later. I am asking everyone I know to help. I have given away all of my money to these people and need help. The sister will let me use their land to start an emergency foster home for these children. The gov. will assess the food shortage this week and hopefully all the children who were weighed this week will still be alive to be weighed next week.

Here in Addis we see no starving people, just the usual beggars. No more than normal. It is easy to get busy with our lives and forget, but I can’t. We need to help save these 64 children. Their time is running out. Can you please help or put me in touch with someone who is willing to do so? Every day more children are dying. There is no time to wait and evaluate. The need is now.


well it looks like the kids are back in court on feb 14th, not really the kids but their cases, so again we wait and see what happens. we got an email today that said everything is in order for the hearing as far as documents. so it up to the judge to come through and not succumb to the pressure to delay these adoptions. both sydney and i are at a point where we know we must not give in/up, but we also can't get to excited, we have been through too many this is the day things with this adoption. so as soon as we hear something i will post an update until then we wait and pray.