Archive | November, 2011

{#3 Mini-Giveaway} 1 Free Tee + 1 Free Mission Trip Entry


{#3 Mini-Giveaway} 1 Free Tee + 1 Free Mission Trip Entry

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Kari Gibson


#23 Lefevre1228
I love Simply Love and how they help adoptive families and orphans all over the world!  I’d love to go on a visiting orphans trip–some day I will!

God has really placed a burden on my heart today to PRAY for those who are really hurting financially and struggling with purchasing a tee. I know there are individuals who desperately wants to enter this One-of-a-kind Mission Trip Giveaway, but flat out don’t have $30 to pay for the tee shirt. What I’ve been praying for specifically is that God whispers in your ear today someone’s name YOU can buy a gift for that has eternal value. What this means- there is someone who has yearned to GO and love orphans, but their money situation is holding them back. My challenge today- if you can afford to purchase a tee shirt and God puts someone on your heart – give it away. Buy the tee shirt in their name and pray that God blesses them richly!!

Here’s the BEST part- with every purchase of a mission trip tee shirt 100% of the proceeds will directly bless an orphan. Regardless if you win the trip or not- you have donated to the greater cause. Someone will WIN a trip of a lifetime to go and serve, love and bless orphans … that is the best gift of all.

Would you pray for this special project the next 24hrs and open your hearts to give one away today to bless a friend. The store is open [online] until Friday 12/2 at noon (CT)


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving, supporting and praying for my crazy project this month!!!!

Love you,

Kari (Mama Kiki)

One of the WINNERS of the 2010 Mission Trip Giveaway!!!

I wanted to throw one more mini-giveaway to help you win the grand prize- FREE Mission Trip on 12/2! I’ve received so many emails this month and a few of you are still feeling afraid to go and serve on a mission trip. Opportunities [like this] to go on a life changing trip, without paying a penny, to live James 1:27 in a radical way- don’t come around often. I want to challenge ALL Men, Gals, High School and College students to GO on a mission trip in 2012 and radically live James 1:27! Let go of your fears and allow God to direct your steps. He has already chosen the winner! If you don’t try, you might miss out on a supernatural blessing!

This is a 2-day mini giveaway- and crazy easy to enter!

How to enter:

  1. Leave a comment. (this makes it official)
  2. Click any of the SHARE IT buttons at the end of the post: “Like”, Facebook, Twitter, etc… help spread the word! I will randomly pick a {mini winner} at the end of the day on Thursday, 12/1.



Grand Prize Winner will be drawn on Friday, December 2, 2011 at our 2nd Annual Visiting Orphans Give2Go event in Nashville, TN. You do not need to be present to win. Winner will be notified by Monday, December 5th.

(Deadline for online purchases are Friday, Dec 2 at 12 noon!) Purchase one of these special tees designed just for this giveaway! You get your name in the drawing for every one of these tees that you purchase. So if you purchase 5 men’s and 5 women’s – you get 10 entries!!!! It’s that easy!


in the world

on a Visiting Orphans missions trip….

Open your hearts to Go, Be, and Love orphans!!

El Salvador, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, China, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India and Ukraine!

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Enter Mission Trip Giveaway Till NOON on Friday 12/2!!!!


Enter Mission Trip Giveaway Till NOON on Friday 12/2!!!!

Posted on 29 November 2011 by Kari Gibson


Thank you so much for all your support for my 2011 Mission Trip Giveaway! Your shout out’s have helped spread the word all over blog land and beyond! We have (as of today) 406 people entered for the grand prize! Let’s break some records and double that number in the next 3 days! I don’t want anyone to miss out on going on a mission trip to love orphans!

Winner will be drawn on Friday, December 2, 2011 at our 2nd Annual Visiting Orphans Give2Go event in Nashville, TN. You do not need to be present to win. Winner will be notified by Monday, December 5th.

(Deadline for online purchases are Friday, Dec 2 at 12 noon!) Purchase one of these special tees designed just for this giveaway! You get your name in the drawing for every one of these tees that you purchase. So if you purchase 5 men’s and 5 women’s – you get 10 entries!!!! It’s that easy.


in the world

on a Visiting Orphans missions trip….

Open your hearts to Go, Be, and Love orphans!!

El Salvador, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, China, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India and Ukraine!

Come back tomorrow [here] to My Crazy Adoption and check out the last chance mini-giveaway!!! Don’t miss out on an opportunity to DO THIS ….

(photo used with permission by Wynne Elder)

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Cyber Monday Deals – My Crazy Adoption Store!!!


Cyber Monday Deals – My Crazy Adoption Store!!!

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

Check out the special 1 DAY ONLY Cyber Monday deals on My Crazy Adoption Store. NO SHIPPING TODAY ONLY!!!!

Crazy Deals:

Be someone’s real-life hero for Christmas this year! For a limited time, you can purchase our BEST SELLER Man Up Super-hero tee: Unisex sizes XS-3XL and receive a handmade Ugandan necklace and Whole Wide World coffee mug for only $35.95 (value $49.95) 1 Tee + 1 Necklace + 1 coffee mug = Simply Love.

This special BEST SELLER Man Up tee is perfect for the entire family. Adult sized & matching youth available. Spend $50 and get the youth super hero tee for only $10

Christmas Special ends Dec. 5th to guarantee delivery!


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My Top 5 Most Thankful Blog Moments

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My Top 5 Most Thankful Blog Moments

Posted on 24 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

I’m thankful for faithful bloggers who visit My Crazy Adoption every day! Your generosity, support, and cheers have made a lasting impact in my life. I wanted to share with you my Top 5 Most Thankful blog moments as we celebrate Thanksgiving. I pray your year has been full of God-adventures and embracing the joy of giving love freely- Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1Cor. 13:13)

  1. Taking over 7,000 headbands YOU sent for princesses and princes in Africa!
  2. Providing shoes to hundreds of orphans in Ethiopia- 300 turned into 782!
  3. Watching Hannah hug Taylor Swift.
  4. Sharing with my readers that we are planning long term ministry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012-13!! (I can’t WAIT to share more)

What are you thankful for today?


Here’s how you can get MORE entries into the drawing for the Visiting Orphans Mission Trip Giveaway:

1) Click here to buy a super stylish Simply Love or Man Up tshirt from our online store. 1 shirt = 1 entry and they make great gifts!!!

2) Between now and November 30th, you can get an additional entry into the drawing by first buying a mission trip tee and then spreading the word online to your friends and family about it. You can facebook Share or Tweet about it! that you helped get the word out and we’ll add an extra entry into the drawing for you! It’s that simple. And if you’ve already gotten your mission trip tees  – that’s ok – just spread the word and let us know that you did and we’ll still give you an extra entry!

Somebody IS going to win a free trip to any of our 13 countries. It COULD be YOU!!!!

Mission Trip Winner will be drawn on December 2, 2011 at our Give 2 Go Event in Nashville, TN. You do not need to be present to win.  

We are SO thankful for the thousands of team members who have gone on our trips and loved on precious children in our 13 partner countries. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these. You have planted seeds of the Father’s love and reminded His little ones that they are not forgotten. You have made a difference. On behalf of each and every child that you have met, held, touched, loved and impacted – THANK YOU for being willing to get out of your comfort zone to Go. Be. Love. to orphans around the world.  

If you have enjoyed or learned from this post, please share it:

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Wednesday WOW Recipe – Paula & Sandra’s Crazy Dishes

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Wednesday WOW Recipe – Paula & Sandra’s Crazy Dishes

Posted on 23 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

Yes, I’ll admit it’s slightly crazy that two of my WOW Thanksgiving dishes involve canned cream corn, frozen hash browns, dehydrated potato flakes and french-fried onions. But, I bet that your family will love ‘em so much, you’ll catch them sneaking out before Black Friday to munch on left overs. (thanks April for the yummy recipe ideas)

Paula Deen’s corn casserole

You’ll need:

1 can whole kernel corn (drain)

1 can cream-style corn

1 package corn muffin mix (8 oz.)

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup shredded cheddar

This couldn’t be easier: 1) preheat the oven to 350 degrees 2) mix all ingredients, minus the cheese, together 3) pour into a greased baking dish.

After the casserole has baked for 45 minutes, or is set in the middle and golden brown, sprinkle with cheddar and put it back in the oven. Let the cheese melt, take the casserole out and enjoy this ridiculously buttery, semi-homemade dish.

Sandra’s mashed baked

You’ll need:

4 cups frozen hash browns

2 packages of butter and herb mashed potato mix (if they are 4 oz. each—or 1, 8 oz. package)

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups boiling water

2 cups french-fried onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the hash browns. Let them cook for about 5 minutes and then drain, being sure to keep 2 cups of the boiling water. Mix all ingredients together and then add the boiling water. Put in a greased casserole dish and bake for 35-45 minutes. Sprinkle with the french-fried onions and bake for another 5 minutes.

C’mon .. you know you luv craziness.


Crazy Links I Love:

We are adopting a beautiful baby girl from Ethiopia and are hosting a fundraiser to help raise the funds to bring her home. Our agency told us we would probably have to wait up to a year for the referral of a healthy baby girl even though we were also on the special needs list. So we were unprepared when God started things moving faster and we got our referral after only two months. Now we are hurrying to pull the funds together before we leave for our court trip on December 1st. The fundraiser is called Give Five. We are asking people to donate $5 to help us raise $6,000. At our website you can read our call story, our blog and follow our progress as our airplane graphic flies to Ethiopia and back. We also have a new t-shirt design on our site. Please come take a look.

If you have enjoyed or learned from this post, please share it:

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Mission Story: You’re Never Too Young


Mission Story: You’re Never Too Young

Posted on 22 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

Last February, I had the honor of having Jake on our mission team. He was the same age as my son (17) and I was thrilled to have a few amazing teenagers to simply love in Ethiopia! One of my favorite memories was watching Jake teach team member, Helen (70) rap on our 4 hour drive to Awassa. The trip made such an impact in his life – he was back in Addis Ababa a few months later. Wait till you read his story… I’m so proud of you, !!

You’re Never Too Young-

Over the course of our lives we long to accomplish something that is greater than ourselves. We strive for that one moment in our young lives that enables us to be independent and content with ourselves. That one moment for me came when I was given the unique opportunity to travel to Ethiopia. At first, I was unsure in my decision to travel to a foreign country with people I had never met, but I chose to seize this life changing opportunity. That unsure feeling quickly diminished when I was united with my team; all people from different places and different backgrounds; people that share the same common purpose as me: to serve the needs of others and to become greater than themselves. I had no idea that those same people would suddenly become my friends for a life time. When i arrived in Ethiopia, my mind could not process all that it was taking in, the view, the people, and the culture, it was all so new and exciting! That first moment I landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is something I will remember forever. Over the course of those next few weeks, my life drastically transformed. Everything I thought I knew was suddenly gone. I had a new outlook on life: I realized first hand how important and precious human life really is. You will be confronted with heartache, and feelings of doubt, but those emotions have led me to become a better and more compassionate individual. I quickly fell in love with the people of Ethiopia, and have planted friendships, that I will have forever. There is just something so gratifying and rewarding being in the presence of people who show great humility, and gratitude from a simple smile. My short term missions trip has led me to expand my opportunities, and travel back to Ethiopia to pursue a lifetime commitment of serving the needs of the people who live there. The time is now to seize the great opportunity of going on a short term missions trip, and making a positive difference in the lives of others, and also your own.

You are never too young to go and serve and love! If you have enjoyed or learned from this post, please share it.


Special Christmas Package- limited time only!! Be someone’s real life hero for Christmas!! 1 tee + 1 necklace + 1 coffee mug = Simply Love.

Be someone’s real-life hero for Christmas this year! For a limited time, you can purchase our BEST SELLER Man Up Super-hero tee: Unisex sizes XS-3XL and receive a handmade Ugandan necklace and Whole Wide World coffee mug for only $35.95 (value $49.95) 1 Tee + 1 Necklace + 1 coffee mug = Simply Love.

Christmas Special ends Dec. 5th to guarantee delivery!

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You Are That One


You Are That One

Posted on 21 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

The message is simple.  The message is clear.

It starts with One.”

A mission trip can radically change someone’s life in so many ways.  Whether it be signing up for a future trip, inspiring others to go on a trip, starting a new ministry, interning in or moving to a foreign country, or adopting—lives are being effected because ONE person responded to James 1:27 and then said, “Yes.”

You are that One.

And we would love share your story.  Because you have taken that step to JOIN ANOTHER TRIP, ADOPT, AND START A MINISTRY, because you have said YES, we want to share your testimony at our Give2Go event on December 2nd.  We want to share as many stories as we can of how ONE trip has changed a life and how important it is to GO.  We will be printing the bio’s of people like yourself and featuring your picture on our Wall of Glory for others to read.  For others to be inspired.

We’d be honored to have you.

If this is something you’d like to share, please send us your story by Wednesday, November 25th.   A one page bio would be great! Please send us a high res photo.

Amanda Herdina, Executive Assistant

We can’t thank you enough for taking the first step and we’d love for your help in inspiring maybe just ONE more. Join us for a night filled with inspiring testimonies and amazing performances. PLUS – we’ll be drawing a winner for our Mission Trip Giveaway that night. You don’t want to miss it!

Visiting Orphans 2nd Annual Give2Go- Nashville, TN
Jeff Slaughter
as MC
and performances by Johnnyswim, Christa Black and Chris McClarney
Friday, December 2, 2011
Doors open at 6pm
Concert starts at 7 pm
at Rocketown
Nashville, TN

($10 suggested donation)


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I Survived Mama Kiki’s Mission Trip … Barely!


I Survived Mama Kiki’s Mission Trip … Barely!

Posted on 18 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

Last year, I was sitting at a women’s conference at my church, minding my own business, when the Lord directly impressed upon my heart to invite the red head singing with the worship ministry … that he needed to go to Africa. I remember clearly thinking, but wait, Lord, I don’t even know his name… are you sure? Trust me, He was sure. For weeks, every Sunday I saw him singing on stage, the Lord reminded me. I finally told a friend, I was supposed to invite (pointing to the man 3rd to the left) on my mission trip. “Oh, that’s Trevor Birch,” she whispered. Great, now the mystery man had a name and the pressure was on.

Honestly, I kinda felt like a stalker every time church ended trying to hunt down Trevor. I never had the opportunity to “bump” into him, so I finally told the Lord that He would have to introduce us…

Trevor’s Story (it’s all true)

One year ago, this month, I did not have a trip to Africa on my radar. I had been telling my friends that I really wanted to go on a missions trip someday but I wasn’t planning on going anytime soon. A friend of mine saw Kari Gibson’s Mission’s Trip Give Away and suggested that I enter. I didn’t win the free trip, however, God had some cool things in store for me.

A few weeks later, I met Kari (aka Mama Kiki) for the first time at a restaurant and she approached me (attacked me…no joke) about going with her on a missions trip to Ethiopia. We immediately clicked and she encouraged me to step out in faith and trust the Lord to provide the finances. I took a step of faith and signed up for the trip. Over the next several months, God miraculously provided all the finances I needed for the trip.

My experience in Ethiopia was unlike anything I could have imagined. From getting the dreaded diarrhea with no American-style toilet for over a hundred miles, to the slaughtering of goats for a BBQ. Needless to say, it was quite the experience. Despite all of that, one of my greatest joys was being able to share the love of God to orphans through music and also by simply spending time with them. God really taught me a lot about love on this trip. We encountered so many orphans who were desperate for love. At times, their situation was overwhelming but you could feel how special it made a child feel by simply spending quality time with them. My heart was so full of love for these kids, and it reminded me that God loves these kids and me more that I could imagine. I wondered if I was really making a significant impact because the need was so great. However, my prayer is that God will use that time there to remind those children how special they are to God that He would send a group of thirty individuals halfway across the world to simply love on them.

Trevor was such a blessing on our mission trip using his gift of music to bless hundreds of beautiful orphans we met throughout Ethiopia… God wanted to bring the best to his children. Don’t ever miss out on the God-ordained opportunities. I think back on how easy it would have been to ignore the Lord’s prompting and chose not to stalk hunt down Trevor. He could have been freaked out having a crazy lady pounce on him at the restaurant, but thankfully both of us listened to our hearts. The best part, a year after the mission trip, Trevor is such a dear friend of my family. Check out his cool website here.

So, here’s what I want to challenge you today … listen to your heart. If you have always dreamed of going on a mission trip, but the money fear keeps you from moving forward, this opportunity to WIN A MISSION TRIP is right here in front of you to grab. Buy your tee shirt today and see what God has in store for your life. The challenge is on …. now it’s up to you!

What is holding you back from joining a mission trip- I’d love to pray for you!



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#2 Mini-Giveaway – 1 Tee + 1 Free Mission Trip Entry


#2 Mini-Giveaway – 1 Tee + 1 Free Mission Trip Entry

Posted on 17 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

{UPDATED WITH WINNER} True Random Number Generator- 29

#29 Fies Says: November 17th, 2011 at 1:44 PM e I love the black Tee and would love to be sporting it on the man up trip this summer in Ethiopia & Uganda!


For the past two weeks, I’ve loved reading all your comments, tweets, and Facebook shout outs sharing my crazy mission trip giveaway! I don’t want anyone to miss out on going on a mission trip to love BIG and serve the fatherless in a radical way… especially winning a mission trip.

Today, I’m throwing my 2nd mini-giveaway!! You have the chance to WIN a Visiting Orphans mission trip to ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD- 13 countries to pick from: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, China, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India, and Ukraine. The Grand Prize Giveaway announced 12/2!

This is a one day only mini giveaway!! I’m giving away 1 new tee shirt (you pick) + 1 Free Missions Trip entry.  This is huge… someone could win a mission trip just participating in the mini giveaway fun today!!!

Here’s what you need to do to enter: (you pick 1)

  1. Add My Crazy Adoption blog on your permanent blog roll.
  2. Shout out on FB, Twitter or your blogs and share the Missions Trip Giveaway to your friends!
  3. Share with me where you will pick (if you win) to go on the mission trip to simply love.

Now, leave me a comment how you entered the Mini Giveaway today.  I will randomly select a winner from the blog comments and announce here on Friday (11/18). Please leave only 1 comment. Stay tuned for final mini coming soon!

(Visiting Orphans Team Uganda 2011)

Q- Who can enter the mini giveaway?

Everybody- men, women & teens!!!! If you have already purchased a tee and entered the BIG giveaway, you can still win the mini! I will randomly pick a winner and post here tomorrow the winner  Get ready, get set, goooooo!!

Q- What do I win?

You win 1 giveaway tee and 1 FREE entry to win the grand prize.

Thanks for all your cheers, support and prayers for the missions project!



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Bring Love In


Bring Love In

Posted on 15 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

 I’m so excited to introduce this amazing adoption family to my crazy blogger friends. I met them last year on my Ethiopia mission trip and visited their incredible orphanage! It’s an honor to share their story with you to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month! I pray their story inspires you and encourages you to live James 1:27 in a radical way.

Here is their story ….

First off, I need to say thank you to Kari for all the incredible work she does here on this Crazy Adoption Blog.  As a fellow blogger, I can assure you– this kind of work takes a lot of effort, and she does an amazing job!  I am honored to have this special platform today.  Thank you!

Our adoption story is more of a cautionary tale than simply a beautiful story about how one family grew. As I sit here, thinking through our journey, there’s a word I keep scribbling on the page, circling over and over: “wrecked.”

I’m amazed when I look back and realize that almost everything we once knew about who we were is no longer true. I’m even more amazed when I see how this strange, beautiful, tragic, ever-twisting journey my family is on can be traced back to a simple conversation nearly 6 years ago.

“Are you sure you’re ready to do this?”  I cautiously asked Jessie, as we sat on the couch one evening after our two kids were tucked in bed.

“I mean– really, really sure?” I asked again, searching her eyes for clues, wishing I could climb inside her head and know for myself what she was thinking.

“Yes,” She assured me confidently.  “I’m really sure”

I smiled and grabbed her hand, squeezing tightly. We were excited and hopeful, yet so far from grasping the reality of what we’d just agreed to do, and completely unable to see how different things would be once we journeyed down this road.

The next day, we walked through a squeaky door in the back corner of a small Sacramento office suite in an aging, green building on Howe Avenue and made our way to the receptionist desk.

“Hello, we’re Levi and Jessie Benkert. We called earlier about adoption,” I said, my voice  shaking as the words escaped my mouth.

“Great! Have a seat over there, and someone will be with you shortly,” the receptionist said in a cheery voice as she motioned us toward a frumpy, brown couch behind a small coffee table piled with heavily worn children’s books.

After we made our way across the room, I looked around at the faint crayon markings on the walls, the frayed carpet, while my fingers moved across a hole in the arm of the couch. Jessie smiled. There was something about this place, something about the way things resonated inside us: The rips and scratches spoke volumes. Each blemish was a sign of good work, of those who’d helped and offered hope.

“That is how I want to be!” I said to Jessie enthusiastically as we sat that evening on our own perfect and unblemished couch, talking late into the night about all we’d learned that day.  “I want our family to be a used-up tool for Him on this earth.”

“I’m so ready for more!”  Jessie said, nearly jumping from her seat with excitement.

The truth was, our house looked nothing like that office. Our lives were not at all worn-out examples of God’s love. In contrast, we were very comfortable. We had a beautiful house, two nice cars and a business that was making good money. Our lawn was cut, our neighborhood was safe, everything about our life was near-perfect.

Sure, we did the occasional good deed, gave to our church and served when and where we could.  But, now, we were feeling a prompting, a new horizon opening up, and we were both ready to move forward.  Although we understood little about what it was we were going to do, or where exactly we were headed, we began to ask God to change us, to use us.

It’s been nearly six years since that day. We no longer own a house. We make horrible money. We live in Ethiopia in a home on a street strewn with trash. Our savings is gone. Our lives are wrecked.

And we love it!

With each step into the world of orphans, into a world of terrible needs, we learned the joy of giving. We found a better life once we gave ours away.  At first we struggled to open our eyes, nearly blinded by the overwhelming needs. Then, we quickly closed them tight again, frustrated by our inability to change more than the lives of a few. However, over time, we’ve learned our responsibility is simple: to give to those God places in front of us and to constantly seek Him for what to do next.

In a way, it’s like entering a series of rooms, each filled with needs. At first, we feel overwhelmed, but we find, in the end, God always provides.  He takes us places for a reason. He shows us what to do. He bring us people to help.

I now firmly believe our calling as Christians is to show His love to those around us.   God is truly love!  And we are the way He shows His love to the world.

For our family, adoption was just the first step. It was the first room He wanted us to enter with eyes wide open. From there, He’s never stopped revealing needs and giving us the provision to meet those needs—one at a time.

Today, our family heads a project in Ethiopia called Bring Love In. In Addis Ababa, we’re building a program to take children from government orphanages, coupling them with widows. Together, they will become a new family, while we offer provision.

We are just a few weeks from getting final government approval for our project, and then we can open our doors to accept children into the homes– children who have been forgotten, abandoned and left alone in this world because their families, for one reason or another, could not take care of them.

All of this feels like a million miles from the life we once lived–as far as possible from who we were on this earth. Yet, we can, now, see this is what we were created for, this kind of wrecked life is what He always intended.

We may have little, but we’ve learned to love much!  We still fail. We still hurt, and at times we get frustrated with how little we’re able to accomplish, but we’re learning to trust Him with everything.  We’re beginning to grasp our calling: to help the poor and needy find light in the darkness. His light.

We didn’t plan to go down this path. But the journey of adoption has opened our eyes to the responsibility we have as Christians to constantly ask him for more responsibility, to daily ask him to reveal the needs that He put us here to meet, and in turn we found our lives ruined for the cause. And we’re grateful.

Will you join us?

You can read more about our journey as broken people trying to share the love of a perfect God in Ethiopia, failures, frustrations, and the occasional victory at

Levi Benkert

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Our Adoption Miracle

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Our Adoption Miracle

Posted on 14 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

This month on My Crazy Adoption we are celebrating Adoption Awareness Month. I love posting adoption stories from guest bloggers. If you are interested in sharing your adoption story at any phase of the process, please email me.

Today, I wanted to share our adoption story.

When we adopted Zoie Senait, and held her for the very first time, my heart fell deeply in love at first sight.  I know that this phenomenon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it did for me.  I looked into her deep brown eyes and every love song in existence hit my heart instantaneously!!  I was madly in love!!  I write often in my blog about adoption, but I have never fully shared Zoie’s adoption story.  There are some parts of Zoie’s life story that are for our family exclusively… precious things that should be saved only for our daughter.  They are her treasures to share.  However, there are some things that are meant to be shared of God’s miracles, faithfulness, grace, hope, and love.

I have prayed since returning from Ethiopia in July about sharing on my blog the miracle God gave our family.  He planned it step by step and somehow in the craziness of leading a missions trip with 30 extraordinary people, God allowed me to walk into a miraculous adventure.  Honestly, it has taken me a very long time to process the things I saw and touched and smelled and heard and tasted, but now, the time is right to share with you the story of Zoie’s adoption miracle.

On my very first day back in Ethiopia, July 26, 2010, I hired a driver and guide from my agency to help me find the three keys we had in our adoption paperwork.  I had in my hands, Zoie’s birthmother’s name, the police station where she was relinquished, and the area of employment (no address).  It really felt like a mission!!  I was prepared that day to visit the two most important places in my daughter’s life. I thought a few photos would be amazing and special to keep tucked away in her baby book. I wanted to give Zoie something tangible to touch someday if she wanted information about her life in Ethiopia.

I had no idea that my day would embark on the supernatural, cracking open secrets that were inside Zoie’s paperwork that we did not know existed.  My guide, was like an Ethiopian James Bond with the spirit and energy to match the secret spy.  The ultimate goal was to dig up enough information in the few hours I had- perhaps even finding Zoie’s birthmother.  I dreamed and longed to meet the precious woman who gave birth to our beautiful daughter.  I had no idea what I would actually do if we found her, but I had prayed to God the past two years for an adoption miracle.

The information we have on Zoie’s birthmother is limited, but enough to know that she was strong, courageous, smart, savvy, survivor, gifted, and loving at 17 years old when she relinquished her rights.  We received a letter from birthmother that was bittersweet.  She explained in great detail how much she loved her daughter, but also why she was not able to care for her.  I have NEVER doubted her reasons, but often played the scene over and over in my head about the day she had to say goodbye to her daughter, Senait.  I have actually prayed that God would show her in dreams that Zoie Senait is safe, loved, cared for, beautiful and happy.  I want her heart to be at peace.

Our James Bond guide took me and a few of my team to the first location- a clinic to check out details he had found in the paperwork.  I had noooo idea that there was a clinic on our route, but he pointed at a few words in Amharic that were very good “clues.”  At that moment, I realized it was a real possibility that we might actually find Zoie’s birthmother.

He rushed inside and we sat in the van waiting and praying.  He came back very excited about what he found out.  He again, pointed to parts of the adoption paperwork and said enthusiastically, “I think I know where your daughter was born!”  Whatttt??? You think you know where Zoie was born, I repeated loudly.  Where is that in the paperwork? We raced off in the van to a small clinic that our guide thought was the spot.  We were all giddy with anticipation and the entire time I kept thinking, Ohhhh noooo Hubby should be here seeing all this with me! The secret spy took off and we were left alone at the clinic gates.  My instincts kicked in and we decided to explore inside with our cameras!  This is what I saw:



I was speechless.  I didn’t understand why I was at this clinic… could this really have been where Zoie was born?  My heart was thumping so fast I could hardly breath.  I noticed two women sitting outside the building so I stopped and held out my hand to say hello.  They told me in broken English that this was a very special place.  The new mom shared that this was a clinic that took in very poor people in the community and helped them.  I was so moved by her words that I started to cry.  I thanked her and asked her if this was the building where she had her baby.  She smiled and nodded yes.   I decided to go inside the door marked “Delivery.”  I could barely stumble through the door- but immediately felt this calmness come over me.  I felt peace … everything just made sense in my heart.  The hallway was dimly lit, but I could hear voices.  I walked down a few doors and peeked inside a tiny room.  There was a screen up and obviously someone was having a baby.  I immediately turned to leave, but a woman asked me what I was doing.  Ahhhh the sense of being caught, flooded my face I’m sure.  She motioned for me to come inside and I was embarrassed due to the people inside helping with the delivery.  I bowed slightly and apologized for being there, but they all looked at me with puzzled faces.  I gulped and said as quickly as I could, the truth- “I adopted a beautiful baby girl two years ago from Addis Ababa and I believe she may have been born here at your clinic.”  Well, at that moment, the staff burst with excitement and started asking me many questions.  I was weeping and trying to answer all their questions when the mid-wife hugged me and thanked me for adopting a child from here and she started crying.  I was a mess!!  The hospital staff rushed me into another tiny room and opened a big, thick book of names and dates.  Was I dreaming?  Was this really happening?  They asked me the name of the mother and the date of birth.  My heart was pounding as they poured over the book.  Meanwhile, the rest of the group was trying to find our spy guide- who had completely disappeared for over an hour.


We found Zoie’s birthmother’s name and Zoie’s three dates of immunization- real, living tangible proof that she had been there.  We will never know 100% if she gave birth at this clinic, but the midwives explained to me that typically the place mothers bring their children for immunizations, is the place they delivered the child.  When I touched her name in the book, God gave me overwhelming peace that He had a reason for me being there that day.  I will never be able to thank the incredible clinic staff that day that helped me piece together a mystery of love.  They allowed me to take a photograph of a young mother holding her baby for the immunization… I was weeping (the ugly cry) knowing this was the very chair our birthmother sat in holding Zoie Senait.  This was a real place, with real people, helping others in their time of need.

My team literally had to pick me up and help me back to the van.  I was a wreck.  I could not wrap my brain around the things I had witnessed at the clinic.  Ourguide pointed at one more word in the adoption paperwork- spelled KORE.  I had looked at that word before but had no clue what it meant.  He told me that our birthmother lived in Kore and he would take us to the church to see if anyone recognized her name.  It was almost too much for my heart, but we plunged ahead to see if we could find someone who knew our birthmother.  The van bounced down the narrow streets- worst I have ever seen and finally stopped in front of a beautiful church.  He shared that if a mother was in trouble, this is where she would come for help.  He showed several locals the photo of Zoie and mother’s name, then took off running with several women and men.  There was a real excitement in the air.. they recognized something!!  We were instantly surrounded by locals… I was so nervous, but didn’t really realize that we were left alone.

The guide came back, but had disappointing news… they met two mothers who had given up their children at the same time, but they were not my birthmother. I was so happy to have found this place and had such an overwhelming sense of peace in my heart knowing the things I found out today.  It was time for us to go, but had no clue that more miracles were coming in the morning!!

You might have read blogs from people that have traveled to Addis Ababa and ministered with Project 61 at the Korah Dump.  I read those same blogs too and watched the videos, weeping over the poverty and filth that I saw in the faces of the people living on the dump.  I had no idea that God was going to give me a different view of the dump and a miracle for our daughter, Zoie.  This is a living testimony of God’s mercy and goodness and glory all wrapped up in a place called Korah.

The next morning, my missions team headed to Project 61… as we bounced down the streets in our big bus to the dump, I glanced out the window and thought- this place looks really familiar.  As we jostled farther down the narrow dirt streets, I kept starring outside and my mouth literally dropped open.  I was back in Kore!!  Was my daughter’s Kore- Korah???  I had no clue where we were, but everything looked familiar.  We pulled up to this little building and the sign said Project 61.  I was completely shocked that I was back where my daughter was born and the morning was a blur of activity.  I really have no idea how to express to you what was going on in my heart.  When I walked out on the dump- you can’t see where it ends.  It’s just endless hills of trash.  But, I saw Korah with different eyes- I looked at every face and tried to find Zoie’s face.  I looked at their smiles, hair, teeth, eyes… trying to find my daughter.  I saw her every place I looked.  This was her home, this was her people, this was my daughter’s community.  I fell deeply in love at first sight.  I know that this phenomenon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it did for me.  I looked into the heart of Kore and every love song in existence hit my heart instantaneously!!  I was madly in love!!

Isn’t it amazing that God CAN change our lives with one word.  For me, it was Kore.

I pray that you will look at the faces of Korah with beauty, and dignity, and respect, and love.  God has used our beautiful daughter, Zoie to grow a powerful love in our hearts for this community.  My family will give our time and effort and life to simply love the people of Kore.  I want to personally thank Sumer Yates and her family, Samuel Liben and the Great Hope staff, Alicia Jordan, and P61 for loving Kore with all your hearts.  We are thrilled to hold your hands and serve the beautiful people of Ethiopia! (special note- I can’t wait to share what our family will be doing in 2012 with the men of Korah- stay tuned!)

My Crazy Adoption is GIVING AWAY a mission trip and I want to challenge you to come with me and serve the fatherless. Please continue to spread the giveaway news on your blogs, FB, and Twitter. Together we can make a difference in the life of a child who desperately needs to hear God’s love for them.


Here are a few of my favorite Korah posts from blog friends that I love:

Melanie Strobel – My Child of Korah

Emily- Korah

Big Nanny- Love Stinks.

Sumer Yates- Project 61

Korah video:

Comments (11)

Who Wants To Win A Free Mission Trip?


Who Wants To Win A Free Mission Trip?

Posted on 11 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

Comments (1)

My Crazy Mission Trip GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!


My Crazy Mission Trip GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

Posted on 10 November 2011 by Kari Gibson


Do you remember my crazy dream last year to give away a mission trip? I just spoke at a college class and shared what does it mean to Simply Love. After I was done sharing, so many of the students came up to me with questions. I could see their excitement to go serve BIG, but I could also see the #1 fear creeping into their heads that holds so many people back from a radical adventure  … the COST. If you need more inspiration to “Man Up and Go” click here.

Last year you helped My Crazy Adoption give away THREE trips!! It was the biggest, craziest project I have ever been a part of!! Your excitement to go and serve on a mission trip was contagious and life changing for the giveaway winners! The most exciting part for me was knowing the life change that all three winners experienced since our February 2011 Simply Love trip. All three have returned to Africa to serve and even to adopt. THAT is my vision for the giveaway. I know some of you have been praying for the opportunity to go and serve and some of you know of others that are dreaming of going on a mission trip. Just think, God all along has planned on providing your way just by you simply purchasing a tee. Are you ready? Do you know of someone who is ready? (What a great Christmas gift that would be!) I want you go on a radical crazy loving mission trip and make a difference in the life of a child who desperately needs God’s love.

The Giveaway Winners on their mission trip to Ethiopia!

(Me & the three winners on our “Simply Love” mission trip to Ethiopia Feb. 2011)

LET’S DO IT AGAIN! My Crazy Adoption and Visiting Orphans is giving away a mission trip! 13 countries and over 50 trips to choose from – somebody is going to GO free of charge. It could be you!! The entire month of November until noon on 12/2, you can purchase our new Giveaway tees and enter to win!

WIN A Free Mission Trip To Simply Love Orphans!!!!!!!

It’s SIMPLE to enter … purchase the sweet looking Simply Love and/or the funky Man Up tee to win! Every purchase gives you one entry into the drawing. Buy ten tees get ten entries. Go Big & Love Big!


in the world

on a Visiting Orphans missions trip….

Open your hearts to Go, Be, and Love orphans!!

El Salvador, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, China, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India and Ukraine!

I want to know where you would pick if you win the mission trip giveaway! Can you leave me a comment today and share where you want to go and simply love the fatherless. Be on the lookout for crazy mini-giveaways here on my blog throughout the month! I’m soooo excited to see WHO WILL WIN a mission trip!!!

If you “Like” this giveaway- come join me on Facebook!

1 tee shirt = 1 entry to win the GRAND PRIZE HERE!


Comments (24)

{Mini-Giveaway} 1 Free Tee + 1 Free Entry To Win Mission Trip

Tags: ,

{Mini-Giveaway} 1 Free Tee + 1 Free Entry To Win Mission Trip

Posted on 10 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

{UPDATED WITH WINNER} True Random Number Generator 21

# 21. Katelyn Says:
November 10th, 2011 at 1:50 PM e Posted on twitter. I want to win because I want to go back and see the precious kids I met last summer.

Congratulations Katelyn for winning the Mini-Giveaway!!


Hello crazy bloggers, if you are new to My Crazy Adoption blog, I want to welcome you!  In case you’re wondering if you heard the rumors correctly – YES YES YES I’m giving away a mission trip with Visiting Orphans Ministry. Well, in honor of my son’s 18th birthday TODAY I’m throwing a mini-giveaway party!

(Happy 18th Michael- we love you!)

This is a Mini Giveaway! I will give away 1 mission trip tee shirt (you pick) and 1 Free Mission Trip entry. This is huge… someone could WIN a mission trip just participating in the mini giveaway fun! Even if you have already purchased a Simply Love/Man Up tee, you can still play the mini!! Please limit to 1 comment only

Here’s what you need to do to enter the mini: (you pick 1)

1.  Add MY CRAZY ADOPTION button on your blog located on the right side column. Just copy & past code.

2.  Shout out on FB, Twitter, or an email blast and share the Mission Trip Giveaway to your friends!

3.  Write a blog post about the Mission Trip Giveaway craziness and inspire your readers to enter the contest!! (you can use any of my posts & pics)

4.  Share with me why you want to win this mission trip giveaway.

Now, leave in the comments how you entered to play the Mini Giveaway today.  I will randomly select a winner and update post [here] on Monday, November 14th. Get ready, get set, goooooo!! Please limit to only 1 comment.

Q- What do I win?

You win 1 mission trip giveaway tee shirt (you pick) and 1 FREE entry to WIN the mission trip!

You can purchase mission trip GIVEAWAY tees here.


Comments (83)

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