Archive | Orphan Care

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Guest: Orphan Advocate – It Is Not OK

Posted on 06 February 2013 by Kari Gibson

My Life Is Crazy Too is a series of reader submissions. Your life is a story … this is your opportunity to share your stories about life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. “Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the STORY of your love.” Ps 89:1 If you would like to submit a story to this series, Today’s crazy guest is blogger, Nikki Cochrane, committed to advocating for and supporting children with special needs at home and around the world. Her post below outlines an experience at the orphanage for abandoned, disabled children in India that she supports. Go here to read more about her work, or get your blog designed here and support its continuation.

This is Nikki’s story …

“You are living in a society where it is okay if these kids die.”

That is what was said to me during a volunteer meeting in India this summer, when I was spending one incredible month at Sarah’s Covenant Homes. Hard to stomach, isn’t it? One beautiful girl was abandoned in a cemetery. Another, who is so sweet and funny, but has disfigured hands and feet, was left to die inside a rice bag in a field. The kids come to SCH starving, abused, neglected, and forgotten. When I take a step back and think of their pasts, it makes me so sad. Not enough people are able to look past their special needs to see that beauty. I want to share it with you.

Promise is about thirteen years old. She is blind, has cerebral palsy, scoliosis, and a host of issues related to her kidneys and bladder that leave her catheterized. After my first trip to SCH two years prior, Promise was very, very sick. . It’s nothing short of a miracle that she is still here today.

It is hard to get Promise to smile. Promise is mobile, so one afternoon I took her hand and walked around the Home with her. I rubbed her back and brushed her hair into a little pigtail. I tickled her and gave her kisses, but couldn’t get a smile out of her. We sat down on the bed, and one of the other little girls came and sat on my lap. I told her to go play with the other kids, and sent her down the hall to where the group of girls were sitting. Ginger is an outgoing child who gets tons of attention and love, and I was trying to make Promise feel special. I scooped Promise up on the bed beside me and put her in my lap, and then Ginger starting crying, jealous that Promise had taken the spot on my lap. All my tickles and kisses couldn’t get a smile out of her, but in that moment, Promise started laughing joyfully. Whether it was because I had put her in my lap, or because she thought it was funny that I had sent Ginger away, I am not sure, but it sure made me smile!! (Don’t worry, I was sure to find Ginger later to play with her before I left. I don’t think her feelings were too injured!) Promise has had a really rough life. She has always struggled health-wise and has been sick most of her life. I know my thirty minutes of special attention won’t change that, but I hope I brightened her day, and I know that she brightened mine.

Another day at the Home I painted nails. With my bright pink bottle of nailpolish, I went from little girl to big girl and decorated their fingers and toes. It wasn’t perfect; the girls were squirmy and the polish got everywhere, but it sure was fun. Rhoda, who I never knew very well, was my best buddy after I gave her pink toenails, and she was following me with her arms up, wanting to be walked with. Faith (pictured) who is autistic, was squealing with delight and clapping her hands. Felicia tried so hard to stay still while I painted her toes, and then scooted on her bum across the bed when I was done and we had a nice snuggle. I know when I have nailpolish on, I instantly feel prettier. I hope these girls feel beautiful, because they are.

There are so many other stories that could be shared. There is baby Aloe, who has primordial dwarfism and is teensy tiny, but struts around the Home like she is the Queen of the world! There is Cedar, who is blind and lethargic, but who comes alive when we take him to the beach and let the big waves crash against him.  There is Wendy, the big sister of the home, who gives a kiss on the cheek to everyone she meets, and doesn’t let them leave without pointing out the bracelets around her wrists and the bows in her hair, giggling when she gets told how beautiful she is.

It is not okay if these kids die. It is not okay to me. It is not okay to the volunteers that come or the staff that works with them. They have such a beautiful presence and each one is special, from Faith and her carefree dancing, to beautiful Promise who inspires each person she meets with her strength and ability to overcome. It is not okay.

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You Captured Our Hearts [Haiti Re-Post]

Posted on 10 October 2012 by Kari Gibson

(Post January 2012) This is the story of a baby boy named “Rudy” who captured the hearts of our Simply Love Haiti team. We were all so excited for clinic day at Haiti Home of Hope (HHH). We heard there would be about 60 people that would walk over 15 miles to receive care, food, and baby formula. Almost all the babies on the milk program are there because their moms have died. These babies would most likely die without this lifesaving formula. We also work with nursing moms who are having a hard time nursing. We help the moms with vitamins and food, to improve their nutrition, so they can nurse well. I want to thank those of you who donated formula- Tymm Hoffman’s ministry Brighton Their World. We packed their storage room full of life-saving formula! We were beyond surprised when over 120 people arrived (maybe they heard about 16 crazy Americans being there) and we had the opportunity to love, feed, care, sing, and share the gospel during the 6+ hours in the outdoor waiting room. I want to shout out a special thanks to the Campbell family, missionaries who live and love in Pignon, the past 8 years dedicated to making a difference to the unreached people groups in Haiti. I was simply amazed watching this family in action and fell deeply in love with all 38 of their children!! I want to be YOU when I grow up, !

We had invited several people the day before on our home visits, including a witch doctor named Luckner. This poor man had no idea what he was walking into, but we had an incredible time sharing and praying with him during clinic day. Pignon, Haiti is located 100 miles from Port-au-Prince up in the mountains. It’s a rural, very poor area that desperately needs our help and care. We met many new mothers and caretakers in the milk day program that literally are keeping their babies alive with the donated formula. They were overjoyed and so grateful that we were there helping. One of my favorite memories was when team members, Amanda and Becky started singing. Our team shared a few songs, and then we asked it THEY would sing to us. There were many women who came forward and gave us their gift of song. One in particular was a blind women who had a voice like an angel. We were so touched and blessed with our impromptu sing-a-long.

One of the mothers had a challenging history with HHH. She was abusive to her children and left three years ago (illegally) to live in the Dominican Republic. She came back on clinic day with baby Rudy. He was 2 months old, but weighed barely 5 pounds. Of course, I was immediately back in time holding my baby Zoie with memories flooding in my heart. However, this baby boy was being deliberately starved by his birthmother. Jennifer Campbell rushed the baby inside the clinic and we immediately started giving him urgent care. He was so sick and weak, he couldn’t suck the bottle, so we had to put a NG tube down his nose into his little tummy. I started bawling, because I had to do this with my own premature daughter, Hannah and the emotions overwhelmed my heart! Jennifer requested from Rudy’s mother the choice to allow us to nurse him, literally back to life. She agreed and left HHH for several days. We nursed Rudy around the clock 24/7 and slowly he started growing stronger. There are no words to describe what our team felt caring for Rudy. He was truly our miracle boy. There are a lot of details I won’t share in this story, but I wanted to update you (Monday 2/6) Rudy’s parents showed up this morning and we all went down to Cap Haitian. The parents denied that he tested positive for hiv, so a doctor did another test, which came back positive. The father is having a hard time with this news, and what it means to him. He changed his mind about leaving Rudy in the Cap Haitian orphanage, and decided to take him back to the Dominican and seek medical care there. So we gave them money for transportation, and took them to the bus station. God is still in control of this situation. We know that Rudy’s father loves him very much, and wants to be with him. Because of this, I believe he will find the medical treatment he needs. Please continue to pray for this family. Jennifer. (photo- Parents are pictured below with Rudy.)

We are grateful for the time we had loving him, feeding him, giving him his first bubble bath, and rocking him as we fed him each hour, every day. My dear friend, Kari Hamilton ended up staying an extra week to help the Campbell family take care of him. Baby Rudy has 21 new adopted aunts, uncles, and a mama Kari in his life watching over him and loving him and praying for him.

(Baby Rudy 2 days after we fed him every hour 24/7)

My personal challenge dealing with Rudy’s mother was not judging her, but having compassion. I had to keep saying 1 Cor. 13:13 over and over in my heart. It was very difficult and several times during our stay, I wanted to judge her angrily with my words and actions for hurting Rudy. God (and my team) kept reminding me that God has a special plan for Rudy and despite the abuse he had to endure from his mother, he was in the care and hands of our heavenly father. I had the opportunity to pray and talk to mom with the help of … sharing the gospel and also my own struggles and mistakes as a mom. I had a heart to heart talk with her and shared about Zoie’s adoption and Hannah’s miracle story. God used MY pain to hopefully encourage this young mother. Please pray for baby Rudy and his parents…. we will keep you updated on his progress.

Life is pitiful, death so familiar, suffering and pain so common, yet I would not be anywhere else. Do not wish me out of this or in any way seek to get me out, for I will not be got out while this trial is on. These are my people, God has given them to me, and I will live or die for Him and His glory. – Gladys Aylward (Live-Dead)

If you enjoyed or learned something from this post … please share it.

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7 Crazy Days in Haiti Changed My Life

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

I just got back from my Visiting Orphans mission trip “Simply Love Haiti” and can’t wait to share with you the incredible stories and photos from the 7 days in Haiti. I love that God turned this trip into a grand adventure … all 16 of my team were extraordinary and just like you …. want to make a difference to the unreached people groups who have never heard about Jesus! On a personal note, God used this trip to rock my heart and taught me that I have so much to learn about sharing the gospel and loving BIG with compassion – not judging the actions of others. I will kick off Haiti Week here starting next Monday through Friday!  God gave me the gift of cheerleading and I pray that the stories will encourage you to GO and DO something to live dead. John 12:24.

I also wanted to thank you for your unswerving support and prayers the past week we were in Haiti. We needed prayer warriors and the comments and Facebook messages you left me made such a difference. We spent 2 days in Port-au-Prince and 5 days up in the mountains of Pignon- living at an orphanage called Haiti Home of Hope with the Campbell family.

Don’t miss the start of my project with Tom Davis and Children’s HopeChest ministry on February 14th …. Valentine’s Day!!!! This project will bless children and YOU with an extreme giveaway you can be a part of!! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!! Love you all!


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Man Up & Go Movie Trailer Preview

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

We are so excited to finally be able to share the Man Up and Go trailer to all my bloggy friends! There is so much to share with you, but for now … enjoy the trailer. We need your help! Help us spread this video and copy the embedded code to share on your blogs, too. The full featured film will debut in theaters nationwide, Summer 2012. Your help will spread the fire to encourage men to love BIG and Go BIG!

Why would an unlikely band of American brothers go on an adventure, a road trip, to the depths of Ethiopia and Uganda and join with African men? To combat the heartbreaking problem of over 7,000,000 orphans suffering. Not dismayed by the staggering numbers, the men literally man up and go to change lives and discover their own lives are most impacted.

This cast of characters is joined by a common passion — to love and care for orphans and hurting people. Many call home Missouri, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Uganda and Ethiopia. Miles apart geographically and worlds apart socially, economically and culturally, this band of American brothers includes a seasoned cop, a retired military man and an architect. Then there is the standout ex-college football player, highly successful businessman, well-known publicist, celebrity athlete and teenage boys. With over 30 adventurers on this rag tag team, most previously have never stepped on African soil.

Focusing on five Americans, the film reveals the unique stories of the men…before the trip even starts. We see them at home, work and play and connect with their unfolding lives. The film’s journey continues as the team come together at an airport in Washington DC — for most, a first time meeting, yet they unite as one.

The American’s are contrasted and compared with the lives of African brothers. Included are harrowing stories of survival through unthinkable situations — one being left for dead on a mountain of bodies and the second once orphaned himself, living in a dump. These stories and others represent shining examples of manhood and the spirit of the adventure.

Strongly drawing attention to the touching lives of orphaned children, the Man Up team travels to hidden children prisons and a dump site, which is home to thousands of orphans. The journey continues to a ministry for street children, a remote village in the middle of Ethiopia and to a multitude of orphanages. The needs of the precious children are revealed by the spirited actions of the Man Up team, entwining strong, common threads of hope, joy, love and the power these have over adversity

In-the-end, the American team travels home to their comfortable lives…but will they ever be the same? Will the choking facade of the American Dream grip them like it used to? The men return with the truth planted that life is not just about them; they are transformed by their African adventure and brothers, and are united with a strong commitment to love big and to be fathers to the fatherless.

Man Up And Go, a documentary motion picture, is being produced to bring significant awareness to viewers regarding the critical needs of the growing number (50,000,000 currently) of orphans in Africa and the desperate, heartbreaking lives that these beautiful children and people are forced to live.

Engaging character driven stories will unfold from the film’s main subjects, a group of men from America and Africa that are part of a team calling themselves Man Up 4 Orphans. With vastly different lives that contrast and compare, the film will illustrate that simple actions taken by normal people like you and me can produce encouraging, powerful change. Instead of focusing the film’s viewers only on the despair and heartache associated with the orphans, Man Up And Go looks to empower, inspire and lift people to act…and one-by-one we can make a difference.

When completed, Man Up And Go will be a feature-length documentary movie (Approximate 90 minutes with an anticipated PG rating). The film is scheduled to be filmed and edited over a one-year period with a release date in summer 2012. Shoot locations will be in the USA, Ethiopia and Uganda.

For more information contact:
Randy Bacon, Producer/Director
Jonathan Murphy, Producer/Senior Editor

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“Be A Super-Hero” Protect, Love, and Defend {Kick Off}

Posted on 22 September 2011 by Kari Gibson

Be A Super Hero!!

Today kicks off “Be A Super-Hero” project on My Crazy Adoption! A few months ago, I was with my best friend, Julie and her adopted son, Cruz who loves loves loves Superman. Cruz was decked out in full costume and zipping around the house, much to his mommy’s delight. He gently tossed his Superman figurine and it smashed with super power against a beautiful glass artwork hanging over the fireplace. The frame KA-POW exploded in a million little pieces, narrowly missing princess Zoie who was mesmerized by the feat. Thankfully, our little super-hero was not hurt, but it planted an idea in my head. Every child needs a super-hero to love. The idea grew into a plan to challenge fathers, mothers, brother, and sisters to be a real-life super hero dedicated to protect, love, and defend the fatherless!

When I was a little girl, my favorite super hero was Wonder Woman. She was a princess with special powers to take care of people and to keep the world safe. She used her golden lasso to make people tell the truth, with magic bracelets to protect her. I can’t imagine the things I could accomplish with her cape and bracelets for children all around the world.

It is NEVER about us … it’s about the children we serve who are desperate for a family. I hope you grasp the crazy idea behind my project …. in NO WAY am I saying we are heroes for loving orphans. They need you, just like Metropolis needs Superman, Gotham needs Batman, to make a real-life, long term commitment to use your special gifts from the Lord to protect, love, and defend!!

“As children, we look up to heroes. We look to our heroes to be our role models. Heroes “save the day”. They give us a sense of security and wonder. That’s part of the appeal of superheroes. It’s a big world and kids are just little things.” Lawrence Rubin, Ph.D.

I found this great list of 10 Things We Can Learn From Super Heroes. I want you to apply this list specifically to James 1:27. We are all called to protect, love, and defend the fatherless.

#1 We can embrace faith- Superman

#2 We can accept responsibility- Spiderman

#3 We can make a difference- Batman

#4 We can sacrifice for the greater good- The Hulk

#5 We can champion justice- Iron Man

#6 We can overcome prejudice- X Men

#6 We can become more powerful- The Incredibles

#7 We can change human character with compassion- Wonder Woman

#8 We can help others- Aquaman

#9 We are more powerful in Teams- Batman & Robin

#10 We can accomplish huge feats- Hawkman

Taking your super gifts on the mission field:

When I started researching for this post, I found a lot of comparisons to real-life and super heroes. We have the opportunity to go on mission trips and make a real difference in the lives of orphans. I read a post recently about the impact of hurting not helping on a mission trip. I am standing strong (like Wonder Woman) with passion that there IS a place for short term missions.  I’m speaking up and challenging you to gain greater understanding before you make any judgements. If your goal is to GO and simply LOVE one another, you get massive opportunities to do that on a mission trip.  Don’t let fear or doubt keep you from going on a mission trip and serving. I encourage you to pray about it and allow the Lord to guide your steps. [I'll talk more about THIS next week!]

Being a super-hero on a “Simply Love” [Visiting Orphans] Mission Trip – is to awaken the body of Christ to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the 163 million orphans by visiting them, loving them, and sharing the Father’s heart.

  • Superheroes Never Give Up- protect the fatherless at all costs!
  • Superheroes Always Get the Job Done- give 100% of your love, energy, time, resources!
  • Superheroes Are the Best at What They Do- bring your gifts, passions, and talents!
  • Superheroes Are Crystal Clear of their Mission- Go big. Love big.
  • Superheroes Are NOT Flawless- God uses the ordinary for His extraordinary purpose.
  • Superheroes Do Not Seek Glory- We believe that God has blessed His people so that they may be a blessing to all.
  • Superheroes’ True Strength Comes From Their Character- we believe God desires and gives us the ability to live pure and holy lives and defines this as visiting widows and orphans in their trouble and refraining from worldly desire.

Taking the Super Hero Oath:

Will you take the “Be a Super-Hero” oath to protect, love, and defend the fatherless? You can purchase the new Simply Love tees and make a bold statement to others as you live James 1:27.  The two projects I’m raising funds for with the sales of super-hero tees, is formula for Pignon, Haiti and the Pirates Digs A Well event on October 29th to complete the well in the village of Chuko Wayama, Ethiopia.

What is something you are doing to make a difference in the life of an orphan … I want to hear? (really I do)

1 tee = 3 cans of formula

1 tee = contribution to the Pirates Digs A Well event Oct. 29th

BUY HERE – SIMPLY LOVE SHOP (youth sizes too)



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No Tooth Fairy

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

I wanted to introduce you to a very special ministry called Sixty Feet… sharing a few stories from my mission trip that changed my life.  It’s hard to comprehend that children living in Uganda who are orphaned, lost, abandoned, rejected are sent to prison, but it’s the truth of their existence.  I’m still trying to process the things I witnessed at the prisons we visited [code names] M1, M3 and M4.  I hope you will join me in praying for the imprisoned children who desperately need God's miracles in their lives. I saw what I saw.

This is my personal journal entry for June 3rd ....

I wanted to share with you my special happy today at M1. I've been praying that God will give me a blessing to wrap my heart around each day. Today, I was holding a little girl- maybe 5 years old. She was so tiny and really dirty. I held her close and the smell was so overpowering. I asked God to immediately make her smell sweet and I wrapped my arms around her even tighter. She is living in M1 as a lost child. She is Karamonjong. The least of the least in Uganda. She had her fingers in her mouth and I noticed she pulled something out.... it was a tooth!! The VERY first thing I wanted to say was... ohhh sweetie, the tooth fairy will get to come see you tonight. It hit my heart so hard- there would be no tooth fairy or dollar bill under her pillow tonight. It just broke my heart.

This precious little girl threw her tooth on the floor and thought nothing special about it. I held her close and prayed a mommy prayer over her that God would give her a mom and dad.. a family someday that would celebrate all the little things like losing a tooth. I pray that she knew how much I loved her and wishing I could sneak in her room tonight and put money under her pillow. The reality, she has no bed, no pillow... she lives in a prison- just existing.

Sixty Feet is making such a difference in the lives of each child living at M1. I can't wait to share more about this AMAZING ministry here in Uganda!!

Thank you for praying for our team and covering us with your support and encouragement. We are seeing things that we should NEVER have to see- conditions that are out of our control, but now that we see with our eyes can make a real difference. We visited orphans today and received the blessing of LOVE!!

You can sponsor any of the Imprisoned kids through Sixty Feet's website!!! We visit M3 and M4 prisons tomm.

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Important Shipping Info – When will I get my tees (?)

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Kari Gibson

Thank you so much for supporting Man Up Blitz- your tees are helping missions in a big, crazy way…  feeding a community in Korah and provide mattresses for the poor living there.  We will start selling the NEW tees again on July 1st.

Shipping Information:

We ordered ALL the tees in bulk on May 26th to save every penny for missions- allow 2 weeks for delivery.

For the next 7 days, you can purchase this brand new, exclusive Man Up tee with our logo- Man Up. Protect and Love the Fatherless.  We had a contest and this was the winning artwork (way to go Amber Maack!)  The first 20 people who purchase $50 of products or more will receive a FREE hand made Uganda Magazine Bead necklace -my gift to you!

The tees are printed on high quality Next Level brand- color: olive with black ink.  Shirts are cut slightly fitted “athletic style” I suggest ordering up one size for exception fit if you want roomier tee.

Father’s Day Blitz ends at midnight on May 26th!!  We have some sizes in stock, but please allow up to 2 weeks delivery.  All tees delivered by Father’s Day!!

Why Man Up?

What an amazing gift for your dad, hubby, and sons (women too) to Man Up for orphans all over the world.  I challenge you to pass on the message of loving, caring, blessing, visiting, hugging, playing and ministering to the fatherless.  My hubby came up with our logo two years ago and it spread like crazy!  It’s something we can all do- we are ALL called to protect and love orphans.  If you are interested in joining us on a Visiting Orphans mission trip- click here to learn more.


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Crazy May Adoption Family – Good To Be Crazy!

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

Introducing one big crazy family… Dan and Shelley Owens:

Blog- Good To Be Crazy We are Team Owens. Our family is passionate about Africa, orphan advocacy, overseas mission work, adoption and living simply. We prayed that the Lord would break our hearts for the things that break His – and by His grace, that’s been done. Our family’s heartbeat is for serving and loving “the least of these.” Five years ago, we were the average American family of four. There was a Daddy, a stay-at-home Mommy, a little girl and a baby boy. Life was happy and sweet and our plates were full.  We knew and loved the Lord and we were content in our safe and comfortable Christian lives – we attended church, led Bible studies, gave generously and sometimes served the homeless in our community.  But over time, the Lord began to open our eyes to more. He broke our hearts for Africa, for hurting orphans, for lonely widows and especially for the beautiful country of Uganda. He gave us the courage to step out of our comfort zones, to take risks for the sake of His name and to start storing up treasure in heaven, rather than here on Earth.  As the Lord started to change our hearts, He also brought together a group of friends to rally around Dan and me. He broke their hearts for similar causes and together, we all formed the ministry now known as SixtyFeet. We moved forward in obedience and then stepped back to watch God work. We were not disappointed. Every day, the ministry of SixtyFeet becomes more and more a part of our family’s life. Together, we pray for the work of SixtyFeet and the children we serve. We work as a family to raise money for SixtyFeet through the Cupcake Kids, our national fundraising arm. And in December of 2010, we grew our family through adoption and added Hannah and Joseph – two children from Uganda and former residents of one of the facilities SixtyFeet serves.
Forever we’ll be thankful to the Lord for opening our eyes and giving us the courage to abandon our own plans in order to embrace His. Better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere.
Team Owens is truly blessed. All glory and thanks to God.

The Story

According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 2.5 million orphans in Uganda, over a million of whom are a direct result of AIDS.  Roughly 1 in 6 children in Uganda under the age of 17 is an orphan.  Deep in the bush outside Kampala is a place where some of these abandoned, unloved and neglected children are kept. And this is where our story begins…

Not long ago a woman was on her way out of Kampala and drove past a dilapidated old sign that read “M”: Rehabilitation Center for Children. She was drawn to learn more about the place and so she turned down a long, winding dirt road until she came to the end. To her horror, she found rooms of children locked up, young kids chained to windows, and even a 10 day old, malnourished and living in her own urine. She saw hundreds of children with little food and no supervision.

Sixty Feet was born out of a desire to participate in God’s work at “M”, to come along side those already involved in the lives of the children, to share the love of Jesus Christ in a meaningful way, and to care for orphans that are otherwise treated as common prisoners. In short, Sixty Feet is a response to the Gospel.We are just regular people who responded to a call on our lives. We are submitted to the authority of Christ and to His will for this ministry. We exist for His glory and to serve His purposes as long as He would have us do so.This is our story, and we pray that soon…. it may be your story too.

We have 3 more spots open for my June Uganda Visiting Orphans mission trip- we will serve at both “M” and “M2″ prisons.  Apply today here.

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The Cupcake Kids Are Crazy for Orphans!!

Posted on 13 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

Introducing… The Cupcake Kids

Little People with big CRAZY hearts for God and the imprisoned children of Africa.

They may look small, but these little people represent the fundraising arm of Sixty Feet.  My Visiting Orphans mission team of 32 will be ministering with Sixty Feet at Prison “M” and “M2″.  We will have the incredible opportunity to see with our own eyes the blessings your cupcakes are making in the life of an orphan.  Join the Cupcake Kids and make your own cupcakes to raise awareness for the orphans imprisoned in Uganda.

To register your sale, visit National Cupcake Kids. Their goal is to have a Cupcake Kids Sale in EVERY state in the nation!  All money raised goes to directly to Sixty Feet to help the orphans of Uganda.

Here’s their story…

“In the early spring of 2010, a little 6 year old girl and her 4 year old brother asked their parents how they could help the children of Uganda. They asked their parents if they could sell some cupcakes and lemonade on their street corner one Saturday afternoon and give all the money to SixtyFeet. And The Cupcake Kids were born.

The first Cupcake Kids sale was held at a home in Atlanta in March 2010. The moms and kids made some cute cupcakes and stirred some lemonade and that was about it. The parents told their children they would match all the money they raised and gladly give it all to SixtyFeet – thinking they’d raise about $50 or so.

Little did the parents know, the children would be selling cups of lemonade for $25 and cupcakes for $20!! That morning, the kids raised $260!  After that word spread very quickly and folks around the country were asking if they could help host a Cupcake Sale in their own neighborhoods. The next weekend there were sales all over Georgia and in several other states. An anonymous matching donor stepped up and we raised over $10,000 that weekend.

Since then, The Cupcake Kids have made many special appearances and each time they have been awed by the faithfulness of God! If your children have big hearts for Africa, we pray they’ll join our team.

Visit The Cupcake Kids website for more information on the National Cupcake Kids Sale, taking place in April 16, 2011.

Make your own Cupcakes and register today to help an orphan in Uganda!!

Here’s my favorite cupcake recipe to share- Are you planning on making cupcakes for National Cupcake Kids Sale on Saturday… leave me a comment [here] I want to know!


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (1 ounce) bottle McCormick® Red Food Color
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 (16 ounce) box confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.
  4. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese, softened, butter, sour cream and McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

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DIY Bows and Stuff For Uganda

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

Headbands Round 2

I’m so excited to see what bows you will create for Round 2 for the orphans in Uganda.  I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, but you have inspired me to dig deep and find some great blog posts on making DIY headbands and bows.  If you prefer to purchase brand new bows and headbands, I have added some wonderful links with a purpose to buy for the Headband Project.

Typically, Ugandan girls wear their hair cut very short- I love the beauty of hair all over the world.

This is a special headband project for my Visiting Orphans Uganda mission trip, but I wanted you to know I have a big team of 30 who will bring other gifts and donations for boys and girls!  This is the project God put on my heart and I am grateful for you helping me crown more princesses [and princes] in Kampala and Jinja!

Email me if you have any suggestions or questions.  You can mail your bands & bows to me at: 1482 Lakeshore Drive, Branson, MO 65616 (attn. Bows For Uganda)

Buying Bands:

Because Every Mother Matters – you can purchase Tacky 4 Africa Headbands. “Your purchase blesses the hands who directly make them, our own local economy and helps fund  programs in E. Africa that Because Every Mother Matters supports.All headbands are sold grab bag style- unless you happen to catch us at conventions where they are sold or at select salons around the country.”

If you know a wonderful place to purchase bows or headbands- please leave a comment for readers to find bows & bows.

Making Bands:  Get inspired!

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I Need Bows & Headbands for Uganda Princesses [and Princes]

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

My Crazy Readers, YOU DID THIS…

You sent me over 1,000+ bows, headbands, silk scarves, and flowers for the royalty I met in Ethiopia!!  My team helped me put headbands on hundreds of orphans- we gave every single one of your bows away!!  I have prayed so hard about asking you again to help me, but my heart has been torn.  How can I ask my sister bloggers to dig deep again and spend time, money, and resources to make me more bows & bands?  God has tugged at my heart for weeks to ask you this simple questions- Will you help me AGAIN crown the Princesses and Princes in Uganda?

I will never be able to express to you the joy it was for me to help you love orphans.  Does that make sense?  You made over 1,000 children and older women feel beautiful and loved and blessed by your generosity.  Will you pray about joining me again and sending me headbands of love?

Please send me YOUR headband photos to feature on my blog and facebook.

You did this, too…

How can you help?

I’m heading on my next Visiting Orphans mission trip June 1-12 to Uganda and will be working with hundreds of orphans for 12 days!!!  I will have the incredible opportunity to visit orphans in two children’s prisons and many needy orphanages in Jinja and Kampala.  I want to crown these precious children with beauty.  The children we will minister are desperate for the blessing… they have been orphaned, abused, raped, abandoned, neglected, and unloved.  I want each child to feel the love of Jesus with a special gift of beauty.  I have shared some of my favorite headband photos again for you to look for one common link in each face- pure joy.  The smiles we received crowning the children were priceless!!

Who will receive the bows?

Two children’s prisons “M” and “M2″, Canaan’s Childrens Home, Return Ministries, Karamajong children with Katie Davis ministry, Amani Baby Cottage, and community ministry in Kampala and Jinja.  We are praying for the extraordinary- 4,000 bows & headbands for Uganda.  View video and the children at “M” you will help crown here-

Will you help me again?

If you are willing to help make or buy NEW headbands or bows for the fatherless in Uganda, please mail them to:

Headbands For Uganda

1482 Lakeshore Drive

Branson, MO 65616

Due Date for Headbands- May 20th, so I can pack them up for my mission trip!!

Here are some great links for head band ideas:

This was the original HEADBANDS FOR KORAH post I wrote months ago to ask for your help.  Your creativity, big monster flowers, wide stretchy bands, and funky designs rocked the world of headbands… the bigger and crazier bows the better!!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for praying and ministering with me to the fatherless!

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

Can you find the band that Emerson made below?

Please invite your friends to participate in {Headbands for Uganda} parties.  If you are making headbands, please email me if you have any questions. I can accept headbands up to May 14th.

Feel free to show the Bows & Bows & Bows Video to inspire your friends to help you spread some crazy love in Uganda.

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Giving the Blessing to the Fatherless

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Kari Gibson

I received the blessing from my parents and I’m eternally grateful.  My dad wrote a book called in 1990 with Dr. John Trent, that shared 5 key blessings you can give your children, family, and friends.  My parents lavished me and my brothers with this incredible gift of love.  The book is still a top seller, due to the simple message of the importance of blessing one another.  The 5 Blessings: Meaningful touch, spoken words, expressing high value, picturing a special future and an active commitment.  Roger and I shared with our mission team how to give the life changing gift of the blessing to the fatherless and effective methods to heal broken hearts.  We visited hundreds of orphans throughout the 12 days in Ethiopia and constantly had the opportunity to apply what we learned, but had no idea we would meet a young boy who was going to need all 5 blessings at the same time.  The fatherless have no hope of receiving the blessing without having an earthly father, so the importance of going on a mission trip to give the blessing, hope, and love is changing the life of an orphan.

Roger and I met this young street boy “B” at the Post Office three years ago when we adopted Zoie and traveled to Addis Ababa.  The Post Office is an open market, definitely a hot spot for tourists and adoption families wanting to shop for inexpensive trinkets.  B was being sponsored by one of our team members and came to our guest home to see his sponsor mom.  We knew he was battling in his heart the choice of going to back to school or living on the streets begging for money.  We asked B, as a team, if we could pray for him.  We sat him down on the couch and circled him in love to pray a special blessing over his life.

We poured the blessing over this precious boy as we laid hands on him, and prayed for his future.  It was such an emotional experience, knowing he could possibly make the choice to go back to the old life he lived on the streets.  We gave him a Simply Love tee shirt and signed the back with each of our names as a symbol that we were wrapping our hearts around him 24/7. We will continue to pray for him as an active commitment.  His story is yet to be written, regardless of the challenges he faced during our time in Ethiopia.  He was offered a life-changing gift to earn an education at a boarding school, through his sponsored family, but he made the choice to go in a different direction.  It broke the heart of his American mama, but understanding the life of a street child is beyond our comprehension.  Our compassion and love can make a radical change, but it is a gift that must be accepted. This precious child of God has a long road ahead to healing.  Please pray for B that God will use the pain and difficulties in his life to let go and let God change his life.  If you would like to learn more about future Visiting Orphans mission trips, please email me.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

The Blessing


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The {Other} Boy That Changed My Life

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Kari Gibson

The (Other) Boy That Changed My Life
Guest Blogger-

I want to tell you a story that I try to tell as many people as possible since my trip to Ethiopia in July.

When I departed for Ethiopia to pick up Tedi, I had no clue what lie ahead of me.  Due to work obligations, my wife Natalie could not travel with me.  I had been warned by our blog friend, Amy Post, to “be prepared for poverty on a scale you cannot imagine.”  Well, Amy was 100% right.  The things I saw while in Addis Ababa would fill your heart with despair and your eyes with tears.

Our second day in Ethiopia (a Monday) was the most exhilarating day of my life.  It was the day when I met Tedi and got to wrap him in my arms.  Besides all the emotion that accompanied that event, Monday left another, almost as inedible mark on my life.

After being at KVI Orphanage for a few hours, the nannies told us it was the kids’ nap time.  Not wanting to mess with their routines, we agreed that the adults would leave and do some shopping while the little ones slept.  When we arrived at the market, we were definitely on an emotional high.  I needed to get some shopping done without the responsibility of watching a three year old, however, I was counting down the minutes until we could go back and get Tedi.  We had waited so long to get him (8 months of the adoption process and 15 months of infertility before that).

In Addis Ababa, there is a conglomerate of shops where foreigners go to look for trinkets and souvenirs.  Naturally, this is great place for the less-fortunate to congregate and beg for money.  As to not disrupt business, the shop owners hire security guards to keep the street kids out of their shops.  They walk around with long broomsticks and “shoo” away any kid that gets too close to a tourist.  Although I understand the perspective of the business owners, I hated this practice because I wanted to interact with as many Ethiopians as I could.  Also, I hated the idea that it appeared we were better than them in some way and could not be bothered with their presence.  While meandering in and out of shops, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  It was a t-shirt with a Western Kentucky University Hilltopper logo on it!  For those of you who do not know us, Natalie and I both graduated from WKU.  It is where we met and I worked on the basketball staff there.  To see this familiar logo on a young boy’s shirt was amazing.  I knew this was no coincidence and that God had orchestrated this event.  I ran up to the boy who was around twelve.  I am sure he thought I was a complete psycho.  I kept pointing at his shirt and saying, “That’s my school.  Go Tops!”  He politely smiled and shook his head nervously.  I tried to converse with him but his English was very broken.  I gathered that his name was Selam.  Here is a picture of Selam and me:
Being a street kid, Selam did not have many earthly possessions.  My friend, Keith, gave him and some of his friends a new soccer ball which made them the envy of their group.  He was wearing a very ragged pair of sweat pants and shoes that you and I would be ashamed to wear.  The shirt was a little big for him but I am sure it is the only shirt he owns.  He was wearing a small plastic cross around his neck that was fashioned with a cheap black string.  To my knowledge, this cross was the only earthly possession Selam had to his name that was not an essential item.  I took a few pictures and videos of him, chatted to him and his friends the best we could and was on my way.  I thought this was a very cool story that I could tell my WKU friends about when I got home.

Boy, was I wrong.

We ended up back at the same shops a few days later.   As I was walking around, I heard a voice from the crowd that had gathered.  “Friend.  Friend.  My friend!”  I looked up and it was Selam (still wearing the WKU shirt) and his friends.  I went out to where he was and brought Ayele, our driver, so he could interpret for us.  As we were talking, I noticed that one of Selam’s friends had hit what must have been the jackpot for these poor children.  He had stumbled upon some half eaten food that had been thrown in the trash at a restaurant.  The sight of this broke my heart in two.  To see the joy in this boy’s face at finding trash was indescribable.  I took a quick inventory of my life and all the blessings I have been given and how I do not appreciate so many of them.  As our time to depart was growing near, I told Selam we must be leaving.  He told me, through Ayele that he had something he wanted to give me.  He reached underneath his shirt and pulled the cross out and started to take it off his neck.  I stopped him.  I politely told Ayele to convey to him there was no way I was taking that cross with me.  He told Ayele that we were friends and this is what friends do.  He told me to keep it as a memento from Ethiopia.

In the car on the way back to the orphanage, I was an emotional wreck.  What was God trying to tell me?  At the time, I questioned why God had put so much emotional baggage on my plate at one time.

After some separation, I now know what God was telling me when He introduced Selam and I.  He was telling me not to forget what I had seen.  Orphan care is not only about the children like Tedi who are fortunate enough to be adopted.  Orphan care does not end when we step off the plane in the US with our children.  Orphan care DOES NOT END.  Orphan care is about kids like Selam.  Kids who have not been shown the earthly love they deserve.  Thankfully, Selam has been redeemed by his Heavenly Father.  I cannot forget Selam.  I must not forget Selam.  We must not forget Selam.  We must never forget all of them.

I sit here tonight in a house that has so much stuff we have run out of places to put it.  I can honestly say that this green plastic cross is the one physical item I would grab if I had to get out in a hurry.

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Teach Him How To Fish

Posted on 03 February 2011 by Kari Gibson

Let me first say how excited I am to be a guest blogger on My Crazy Adoption. I met Kari through my blog design business, Blogs for a Cause- I design blogs to raise money for different charities, and for my humanitarian aid work, and Kari was an early customer shortly after her adoption of Zoie, and again when she switched to this new blog. I have been following her story ever since, and love watching her advocate for adoption and orphan care. It is an honour to be able to share my own thoughts on a blog that is so widely read and respected.

I figure I should tell you a bit about myself, before I go further into this post. My name is Nikki and I am a 21-year old working for a global NGO in Toronto that focuses on education. I graduated with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and landed this job shortly after my graduation, and a summer volunteering in India. Since I was 17, I have traveled and volunteered in the DR, Haiti, Ethiopia, Thailand, India, and most recently, Kenya. You can read about my experiences at my blog, Most recently, since beginning a University certification in International Development, and working for an NGO, I have been thinking a lot about humanitarian aid and the concept of giving a hand up vs. a hand out, and that is what I want to write about today.

We all know the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” How many of us actually put this into practice?

In the summer of 2009, I lived in the Dominican Republic, working with both Haitians and Dominicans on education projects in the poorest slum areas.  Every day, as I stood in front of a school that the kids attended, I would see a big truckload of well-meaning tourists drive by throwing candies out the window at the kids, who would drop their books and run to catch them. Like animals in a zoo, the tourists snapped photos of these kids through the bars of their truck, pushing others out of the way to catch a photo of the poorest child with ragged clothes and bare feet. I cringed at the exploitation of these kids, and cringed knowing how I used to be one of those people.

Earlier in 2009 I went on a trip to Ethiopia. I had the extreme privilege of meeting Tsehay, my sponsor child, and worked teaching English to students through a Community Center. One day, I took a day off of my work and travelled to the capital to visit a well-known orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS. I had been strictly told, before arrival, not to hand out gifts to the kids. In an orphanage setting, or in any setting that involves some kids having more than others, it only leads to jealousy and hurt feelings. I stuffed my bag with beanie babies, stickers, hair ties, and other meaningless trinkets with the hopes of taking a walk around the community afterwards and handing it out. As soon as the kids woke up from their naps, one dug his hand into my bag, broke out a sticker, and all Hell broke loose. Whatever hopes I had of teaching English, playing, and building meaningful relationships with the children was gone as the jealousy and hurt feelings rose to the surface, just as I had been warned. I felt horrible, but had learned a valuable lesson. Never again will I bring items like this to a developing country to give as gifts. It gives the “volunteer” a bad name within humanitarian circles, and leads to dependency on the hand out.

My focus now is on sustainable giving. I am creating Education Funds for students I have connected with, and am starting with a young girl named Andrielis from the Dominican Republic- She is 14-years old, and has lived a difficult life, which you can read about on the blog. I am putting her through private English lessons, and when the next school year begins, she will be registered in the best private school in the city. Education is the only and best way to truly give people the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. That said, I want Andrielis to take ownership over this opportunity, rather than me just handing it to her. In order to keep this opportunity, Andrielis will need to work for it. She will have to spend time each week teaching her brothers all that she is learning at school, and I am planning an opportunity for her to begin volunteering her time in the paediatrics wing of the local hospital, which serves many Haitian people who struggle deeply under the bad conditions of the services.

Humanitarian aid is failing in some countries, like Haiti, and being very successful in others. I write this post as a challenge to you. Next time you give, and I hope that it is soon, consider giving in a sustainable way. Give to a project that provides tools and opportunities for students to learn and lift themselves out of poverty. Let’s not continue handing out fish… let’s teach them how to fish and see promising and lasting change!


Visit my blog at

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Guest Blogger – Awake and Alive

Posted on 24 January 2011 by Kari Gibson

For several years now really God has been stirring my heart. He’s telling me that, as my blog friend Heidi says, my life is not my own. Well, I guess Jesus actually said it first (sorry, Heidi). For a long time after this began, I was educating myself: reading amazing books, inspiring blogs, having meaningful conversations…immersing myself in the topic of social justice–a topic that was close to God’s heart. How do you know that, you may ask? Well, God mentions it over 2,100 in His Main Book, for one. For another, even when it’s not mentioned specifically, His character REEKS of it. So, I can say with confidence that God cares about justice. And compassion. And generosity. And so this is where I stayed for a long time. In some ways, I would say far too long. But I trust God. I trust that he knew me. He knew that I still needed to be broken a lot more in order to better understand broken people. I needed to understand desperation and not making it on my own. I needed to understand the hope and love that comes from the Body of Christ stepping in and providing for my family’s needs when we couldn’t. So even though I feel a little sad and ashamed about time lost, I know that this is better. His plan is always better.

Fast forward to about a month ago. My precious friend Jolene and I were talking and brainstorming about what we could actually do to start living out our heart and passion for people in need (while our Ethiopian cuties played all around us). That quickly developed into a meeting with our husbands to talk about starting a non-profit to better fulfill that dream. Being that Jolene’s husband does this kind of stuff for his job, he volunteered to start the paperwork process….and Awake and Alive was born!
Another meeting and several conversations later things are beginning to crystallize. While we don’t have an official mission statement yet, we know that our deepest desire is two-fold. First, we desire to help African families (and orphans) both here and abroad. Stateside, we desire to help ease the transition for families (or individuals) coming over from various African nations by plugging them in to services available, driving them around, helping kids enroll in school, connecting them to other Africans in the area, and offering friendship and love by welcoming them into our families. Abroad, we are exploring possibilities with existing NGOs and churches as well as thinking through “adopting a village” by providing various kinds of support to Africans in need. Second, we desire to help educate and provide experiences (see above) to wake up the church to God’s heart towards the “orphan, widow, and foreigner.” Realizing that we have been blessed to bless, we want to encourage Christ followers to stop learning and start doing. Stop hoarding and start giving. For it is when we refresh others that we will be truly refreshed. And more than that–LIVES ARE AT STAKE!!!
We would love to have conversations with you about this vision that is moving from our hearts to our hands. We would love to begin raising up a team of people who have a heart of generosity towards the people of Africa. We are passionate and excited! Let’s dream about it together.
What if everyone cared?

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Guest Blogger – Adventures to Latvia!!

Posted on 19 January 2011 by Kari Gibson

My ministry started on a July 2009 missions trip to Jelgava, Latvija (say: Lot-vee-ah) through Mission:Hope, my church’s orphan care ministry in Hartland, Wisconsin ( I will tell you that I have promised myself that I would never get on an airplane, for my fear of heights. Obviously God had other plans, and I am so grateful for that!

Latvija is a country in eastern-europe, sharing borders with Russia, Estonia, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea. They were occupied for many years by the USSR and re-gained independence in 1991. Alcoholism, split families, poverty, prostitution, and hunger are huge problems in Latvija. It is estimated that 50% of girls who age out of orphanages will turn to prostitution, 40% of boys will become incarcerated, and 40% of kids will commit suicide within two years, mostly young men. It is a hurting country. The children in the orphanages are mostly “social orphans”, which means that they may have one or more living parents or relatives, but these people cannot take care of them. Many parents are too poor to care for their kids, while others are removed from the home due to drinking or abuse. Other single-moms leave the country looking for work elsewhere in the EU, and do not want the burden of a child to bring with them. Children who would go into foster care in the US are placed in orphanages in Latvija. There are also “true orphans”, meaning that the kids have no living parent and are available for adoption.

I have now been to Jelgava, Latvija twice (July 2009, June 2010) and I will be leaving for my third trip on December 25th. This trip will focus on connecting with kids at five more orphanages in different areas, as well as talking with the directors or caregivers. It is also a chance for me to see more of the country, as well as experience their winter to give me an idea of what living there will be like in winter time!

Currently I have one year of highschool left to complete, and then I will be attending a 2-year Bible school and training programme. I feel called to full time missions in Latvija, working with girls who “age-out” of the orphanage, as well as young mothers. I cannot wait until I am living full time in Latvija. I have the opportunity of a third trip to Jelgava, in June/July 2011. Would you please pray for me? Please pray for all the children who I know and love in Latvija, and those that I will continue to meet. Please pray that they have open hearts to hear about Jesus. Please pray for the girls who I will be working with in the future, God knows each and every one of them. I cannot wait for the day I get to meet them! Please also pray for my ministry supporters. As many of us know, with the current economy, my support has dropped off and it is essential to find people who will continue to support my ministry.

God has put me on a wonderful journey and I look forward to seeing where all He is going to take me. If you would like to know more about my ministry, please check out my blog at, or email me at:

Jenn Anderson

Follow my adventures to Latvia!
Luke 1:37 “For NOTHING is impossible with God”

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Funky Fish {Giveaway} 1.5 Day Only!

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Kari Gibson

We have a winner!!  Congrats Rebecca!!!

email me your mailing address!!  {Winner # selected on}

  1. Rebecca Says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 1:46 AM 

I’m throwing a Funky Fish Giveaway today- 1.5 day only to win this stunning bracelet.   I will randomly select the winner tomorrow morning (since I was late posting) and announce your name here on the post.  Dawn Patterson is the founder of Funky Fish and ALL the cool kids on the block are wearing them!  She travels Friday to Africa and continues her mission to train women how to make Funky Fish jewelry.  I’m so proud to call Dawn my friend and fellow advocator for women in crisis all over the world.

Charm bracelets are Funky Fish newest addition to her Tesfa jewelry collection.  The profits from Tesfa jewelry collection benefit the orphans in Zeway, Ethiopia as part of the Hope in Ethiopia partnership.  One bracelet will feed a child for one month.  One necklace will feed, clothe, house & educate a child for one month.  Our new charm bracelets will do all of that plus provide medical care for one month.

How do I win?

It’s easy, just leave me a comment on my blog and let me know why you want this Funky Fish bracelet.  Also- pick 1 of the following:

  1. Go to Funky Fish Blog and be a new follower. (don’t forget to say hi to Dawn)
  2. Add the new Funky Fish button on your blog.
  3. Shout out about Funky Fish on your blog or Facebook.

How this Funky Fish journey began…..
In 2003, as a brand new Christian, Funky Fish was born.  I knew two things…I loved making jewelry and I loved my God.  I had no idea the adventures that would be in store for my little business.  Many times I thought it was time to hang up the beading pliers but God always said “No”.
It wasn’t until May of 2009 that I really began to see what God would have me do with the gift He had given me.  He wanted me to give back.  It started with making jewelry for causes…cancer awareness, autism awareness, etc.  Then I found out about a village in Zeway, Ethiopia.  I asked God if there was anything I could do with the hands he had given me to help the sweet orphans in Zeway.  Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to paper beads by my dear friends mom.  The wheels started to spin.  I envisioned a necklace with paper beads and a pendant with Africa on it.
People talk about humble beginnings.  It’s safe to say that we started on our knees.  Literally.  We crawled around on the floor and picked up scraps of sterling silver from my jewelry business (yes, I am that messy) to sell on Ebay to get supplies. In November 2009, I sat down with my dear friend Cathy and we played with these beads.  We priced the items to meet “needs”…one bracelet would feed a child for a month, a necklace would feed, clothe, house & educate a child for a month.  We sold our first necklace on December 31st, 2009 and were beyond thrilled.  We scheduled beading days.  We joked and said we would “bead till we bleed” for these orphans.  We fantasized about how if we made and sold 50 bracelets a week, we could raise $25,000.  We were dreaming big.
As of last week, we have sold $23,685 worth of “The Hope in Ethiopia” jewelry.  I believe God will take us past $25,000.  There are no words to describe this journey God has allowed us to be on.
There are few joys in this life greater than giving.  He gave me these hands and as long as He will allow me to use them, I will continue to give.  Some of my favorite ministries are Project Hopeful & Because Every Mother Matters.  I’ve been blessed to be able to make jewelry for them to help raise money & awareness.
To God be the Glory….always!

Funky Fish Blog- click here

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Mail Your Korah Headbands by Valentine’s Day!!

Posted on 10 January 2011 by Kari Gibson

Headbands for Korah!!

We are celebrating our beautiful daughter’s birthday today and in honor of Princess Z we want to ask you a big, crazy request?  Will you help us bring 200 400 Headbands for Korah Girls ages 2-13!!  I leave for Ethiopia Feb. 15th on my mission trip with Visiting Orphans and want to bring beauty to the girls living on the dump and orphanages we visit.

I’m simply blown away by all the headbands pouring in the mail from all over the country!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!  Every Princess I meet in Ethiopia will get a gift of love from you!  I love you crazy bloggers!

I want to show you a few bands that we hand made- Hannah and my niece, Maddy created bands that are so colorful and fun.  There are no patterns necessary, just make them from your heart.  I love the bright flowers, too!!  My crazy readers, go a little crazy and allow me to put love on the head of every Princess I meet in Ethiopia – a handmade or store bought headband from you.

Here are some great links for head band ideas:

You can also purchase headbands here at Because Every Mother Matters for my collection for Korah girls. Starting today, for every “adult” headband they sell, they are donating 1 headband for my project.  1 for 1!!!  Thank you BEMM!!

Samantha Davidson and her blogger mom made these stunning headbands for the girls.

Please invite your friends to participate in {Headbands for Korah} parties.  If you are making headbands, please email me if you have any questions. I can accept headbands up to Feb. 15th.

Thank you Emerson!!

Mail headbands & bows to:

My Crazy Adoption Blog

1482 Lakeshore Drive

Branson, MO 65616

I will update here on my blog and let you know how many we are collecting and who is making them!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart! We have them coming all the way from Australia- seriously!! WOW

1/12 update: we have raised over 500 bands in 4 days!!

Happy Birthday Video from Zoie!!

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Guest Blogger – Both Ends Burning {Korah}

Posted on 29 December 2010 by Kari Gibson

You can see Keith’s work at
his film production company
and his non-profit film company

In March, 2010, Sam Nuttmann and I traveled to Ethiopia to do work for Ethiopia Reads. Ethiopia Reads ( is a non-profit that builds libraries in schools throughout Ethiopia, they also set up donkey mobile libraries to bring books to kids in more rural villages, and they publish books in local languages. While we were there, we stayed at Ethiopia Guest Homes (, a group of homes set up for adopting parents to say at while they are in Ethiopia during the adoption process. The homes were set up as an alternative to staying at a hotel, which can feel very intimidating to both the parents and especially the children. The guest homes provide transportation, a translator, a cook, a nanny, and many other services (including massages) to make the adoption process more comfortable.

While at the Guest Home, we met Sammy, who works with the Guest Home. Sammy spent the majority of his childhood struggling to get the food he and his family needed from the garbage dump in Korah. When he was 12 years old, he and some of his friends decided to go and join the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea – simply because the army provided meals. They were sick and tired of always fighting for the leftovers that could sometimes be found in the garbage dump. On the way to register for the army, they crossed the compound where Young Life started the ministry. They saw a lot of the U.S. Young Life Leaders hanging out with the kids from the Korah community. He ended up joining them and decided not to join the army. Since then, Sammy has dedicated his life to helping those in Korah.

One of they days where we were not filming for Ethiopia Reads, Sammy offered to take us to Korah and the garbage dump next to Korah, where many residents search for food. We grabbed our gear and happily piled into the van, not knowing what to expect. On my travels I have visited garbage dump cities in Egypt, and been to slum villages in India – but I was very unprepared for the eyeopening, humbling, and heartwarming experience about to follow.

We arrived at the dump and the second we were out of the van we were greeted by 5 grinning boys. They all said hello and gave us the customary greeting in Ethiopia of a handshake with a shoulder bump. They then led us to the main part of the dump. Here, the garbage trucks arrive and dump their load of trash. The people there, ranging from infants to the elderly, then sort through all the trash using their hands, or medal hooks. Some of the garbage is saved for recycling or to resell, but a majority is eaten on the spot. It was really difficult watching kids suck the last bit of salad dressing out of an opened packet or drinking the last few drops of water left in a water bottle. There is very little regulation out here, and we were told stories of medical waste showing up at the dump as well as other highly dangerous items. Throughout our time there, however, we were received with open arms. Although, at times shy, everyone was all smiles – and held on to a firm belief that things will get better.

And I am happy to say, that I found out a few weeks ago, that through organizations like Project 61 (, and with the help of our film – 250 of the kids who live in the dump and Korah, were given scholarships to a school that provides room, 3 meals, clothes and schooling.

After visiting the garbage dump, we drove into the Village of Korah. The village of Korah is a small village just outside Addis Ababa, the capitol city of Ethiopia. The village was founded over seventy five years ago by people inflicted with leprosy, seeking treatment in Addis. Three generations later, over 100,000 people live in Korah, most of whom have leprosy, HIV/AIDS, are widows or orphans. Their extreme poverty has forced many of the villagers to forage through the local trash dump to find enough food to survive each day.

When Sam Nuttmann and I arrived in Ethiopia we had never heard of Korah. And as we talked to people while we were in Ethiopia, a lot of them had never heard of it – even though they lived only a few miles away. So, we were amazed to see such a huge village. The people in the village live in very small, mostly mud and wood huts/houses. A huge problem Korah faces is that when it rains, there is no way to keep the water out of the houses. And while we were there it started pouring. To see the water freely flow in and through people homes, was very hard to see. But… everywhere we went, we were very warmly greeted. Even with so little, everyone proudly invited us in and showed us their home. One of the women we met (I feature her photo on my web site, and the image recently won 3rd place in a photo competition), had a very common story from Korah – She has 3 children and after her neighbor also passed away a few months ago because of HIV, she now takes care of her 2 children and makes a living by spending time finding food and things she can sell at the nearby garbage dump.

We felt so honored to be invited to both Korah and the garbage dump. The images and faces I saw there will forever be ingrained in my mind. I am returning to Ethiopia in January 2011 to work on a feature length film about adoption and Korah. The new project is called Both Ends Burning.

For more information about Korah, visit:

To our guide Samuel Liben and all the people of Korah who opened their homes and hearts to us, trusting our intentions with the footage and stories we collected there. They will not be forgotten and our work for them has only just begun.To Patrick Watson and Secret City Records for granting permission to use the track “Man Like You” in this video.

MUSICPatrick Watson”Man Like You” from the album Wooden

Producer / Director / Cinematography: Sam Nuttmann and Keith Bolling
Editor / Sound Design / Motion Graphics: Sam Nuttmann


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Orphan Sunday

Posted on 07 November 2010 by Kari Gibson

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction … James 1:27

“Having an Orphan Sunday is a great way for the Church to be focused one Sunday a year on an issue close to God’s heart. As we gather together in worship we recognize that Christ has not left us as spiritual orphans (John 14:18) and we can corporately remember those among us who are orphaned and in need of a family.” Brian Luwis, CEO, America World Adoption

You can win a missions trip ANYWHERE in the world- purchase a Pure Religion tee and enter to win and simply love orphans!!!  Click here

What is Orphan Sunday?


On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan . We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress.

From many sources, one voice. Hundreds of events across America and beyond, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well.

Each as they are led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan…and what we can do in response.

Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.


Many churches and organizations have hosted “Orphan Sundays” over the years. With a nationwide Orphan Sunday, the Christian Alliance for Orphans and the Cry of the Orphan partners seek to add a unified voice and coordinated effort to the many worthy efforts that preceded this year.

The seeds of this united Orphan Sunday come especially as a gift from the Church in Africa. While attending a church service in Zambia, an American visitor was struck by the pastor’s passionate call to care for orphans in the local community, which had been ravaged by AIDS and poverty. Members of the church faced deep need themselves. But as the service ended, one after another stepped forward with money, food and other goods-some even taking off their own shoes and placing them in the offering for orphans.

The visitor, Gary Schneider, was so impacted that he began to help Zambian leaders coordinate Orphan Sunday efforts across Zambia. These efforts spread to the U.S. in 2003 with help from Every Orphan’s Hope and other organizations. (Orphan Sunday is licensed to the Christian Alliance for Orphans as a registered trademark of Every Orphan’s Hope).

The Christian Alliance for Orphans honors the church in Zambia for the gift of Orphan Sunday. We pray the Church in America may be as faithful to reflect God’s heart for the orphan, both near and far.

Friday, November 5, 2010 –7:00 PM MTN

Worship with The Desperation Band, meet orphans around the globe, and hear
how students are showing the world God’s heart in service to orphans.

There are 3 ways to join this event:

  1. LIVE ON THE WEB:  The concert will be webcast in high-speed, high quality format.  This medium is appropriate for small audiences viewing on a computer or TV monitor.  Click here to view the live feed!
  2. LIVE VIA SATELLITE:  The concert will be broadcast via satellite.  This medium is appropriate for larger audiences in venues with satellite viewing capability and larger screens.  (See Satellite information below.)
  3. LIVE BROADCAST:   The NRB Network will be broadcasting the concert live on DirecTV’s channel 378 and SkyAngel, channel 126.

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