Tag Archive | "Visiting Orphans"

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We. Are. Family.

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Kari Gibson

I honestly thought I would blog every single day in Africa. I promise there has been action packed mission adventure and miracles every day, but not enough free time to write. I spent the first 2 weeks with an incredible Visiting Orphans Simply Love team in Uganda and Ethiopia … the rest of our days have been full of activity in Korah, Fistula Hospital, exploring Addis Ababa’s delicious restaurants, and spending time relaxing at our wonderful guest house (EGH) The other day, one of the staff asked us if we ever sit down. Honestly, we have enjoyed every single second here loving and serving in Ethiopia. I’m sure you want a honest reflection of our time and that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We. Love. Ethiopia.

We love the ministries who have graciously allowed us to show up every day and be happy helpers. Thank you Ethiopia Guest Home and Mission Ethiopia and Project 61 and Great Hope Ministry and and Fistula Hospital. You have welcomed our family as part of your big family. Can you imagine the joy in my heart when we drive down the streets of Korah and kids scream out my name … “Mama Kiki!!!!!!!!” They have no idea what they do to my heart! They have trusted and loved our family unconditionally. Most of the kids have stopped asking me for, “Kiki Candy?” because I ran out of yummy candy a long time ago. We have the honor of handing out hugs and kisses to the community children and most of all, spending quality time with our “adopted-from-the-heart” P61 kids. Today, I took a van full of 8 teens, Zoie, a new friend, Eric from EGH, and our driver, Dougu to the Fistula Hopsital. I had a meeting with social worker, Hannah about Senait and baby Benaiah… who were former patients at Fistula. One of the staff looked at all the boys and looked back at me with a big question mark in her eyes. I introduced them and told her they had all adopted ME… I was their mom. I loved the big smile and understanding she gave back to us.

One of the sweetest blessings the past 3 months has been the daily fellowship with our dear friend, Wynne Elder. She is an adoptive mom who has been courageous and fearless living here solo in Addis Ababa waiting fervently for their US Embassy appointment… loving and bonding with her babies. She and her hubby, Stephen are adopting 2 beautiful children and due to some paperwork issues, will be leaving us on Tuesday to return back to the states to wait a little longer for a new appointment. She has taught me soooo many amazing things like: photography tips, wonder-woman patience, wearing cool headbands, mission-fashion-layering-hair-nail-southern-talking-magic. She’s 28 and I’m 40 ish … she makes me feel so young just hanging around her. She loved our super-nanny and adopted my 2 daughters … loving us all like family. Tonight when she told me the news that she would be leaving, we both put our heads on poor Sentayehu’s shoulder and bawled. He had to hug 2 really sad friends stuck in the middle, but what a sweetheart. Wynne-Baby, you have been a JOY to our family and we will miss being with you every single day. You have not only grown as a new mommy, but you rocked as a missionary too! (Wynne took the stunning pic of Zoie & me with my best friend)

We have been in Africa for 80 days and leave for the states to take care of Mercy’s medical needs in 11 days. It will be a bittersweet journey until we can come back to our beloved Ethiopia… prayerfully, returning in February, living in Addis Ababa through summer 2013. We are VERY excited about our 2 month mission adventure in Haiti starting in November. But today, I’m holding on to the promise that God will take care of all the family we love in Korah and take care of all their needs… after we are gone. I have to entrust my loved ones to Jesus, releasing them into His protective care. They are much safer with Him than in my clinging hands. (Jesus Calling)

We. Are. Family.

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Baby Julie Needs Your Urgent Prayers {Haiti}

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Baby Julie Needs Your Urgent Prayers {Haiti}

Posted on 16 February 2012 by Kari Gibson

One of my favorite days in Pignon, Haiti was meeting Baby Julie and her family. They live 15 miles from Haiti Home of Hope and walk every Wednesday to clinic day for formula and food and care. Baby Julie has some special needs and her family loves her very much. Life is so hard in rural Pignon, it was difficult for me to wrap my heart around how very difficult it was for this family to care for her needs. The entire family are followers of Jesus and greeted us with such warmth and kindness to their home. We had brought several gifts for the family, as well as bottles for Julie to help her drink easier without effort. Thank you again everyone who sent monetary donations for formula and bottles for Julie. It was so fun to go shopping with my mom the night before I left for Haiti and bought Julie two adorable outfits. I will never forget Julie’s mommy’s face when she opened up her gift- pure joy!

I was so touched holding this precious baby and knowing God was taking care of all her needs. Our team has helped organized her surgery for cleft palate repair and can’t wait to see her grow and thrive.

I want to challenge you to wrap your heart around Haiti … please!! There are many organizations that you can sponsor a child from Haiti, as well as go and minister! If you can love big, give hugs, pass out food, organize crafts, pound a hammer, hold hands, bring hope, pray, sing, and dare to try new things, you are EXACTLY what Haiti needs! I promise, your heart will never be the same.

We received an update today on Julie and she needs our fervent prayers! Julie and her mother are both in the hospital with cholera. This is SO SERIOUS … please pray for God’s protection and healing!

Please share this with your blog friends … spread the word to pray for Julie!





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What Happens If You Win The Mission Trip {Giveaway}

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What Happens If You Win The Mission Trip {Giveaway}

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Kari Gibson

I’ve had so much fun re-reading all my posts last year from the first mission trip giveaway. I remember being so nervous to share my crazy dream with you. I couldn’t even imagine what God had in store for me and the trip winners and especially what He would do in their lives! I always enjoy reading your comments. I found this comment on Oct. 15th 2010 from Lori Smith, who had no idea she would be one of the winners! Here’s what she said on the day we launched the giveaway (I love this!)

Lori Smith Says: October 19th, 2010 at 1:43 PM e

You are so much fun! People can get swallowed up by the vastness of the need. YOU inspire people to act and live life fully in the midst of it all. THANK YOU!
I have spent time today blogging and posting and sharing your passion for this missions trip….what a delight. (And my husband will be thrilled with the Man Up shirt I secretly ordered for him….and IF we win the trip – he can stay with the kids and proudly wear that shirt…while I jet off to love on orphans!~)

So, what happens if you WIN the mission trip? On December, 2nd at the Give To Go Event in Nashville, TN we will announce the winner of the trip giveaway. You can purchase tees until Friday, Dec 2 at 12 noon online. If your name is picked from the hundreds (maybe thousands) of entries you will get to pick a special mission trip from these 13 countries: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, China, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, India and Ukraine! Your life will never be the same going on a mission trip. I shared last week about the impact you can make on a short term mission trip here and the power of serving and loving orphans IS life changing. If you enter to win this giveaway, get ready to have your heart rocked in a crazy way! It’s your opportunity to GO, BE, LOVE orphans and share God’s love just like He says in I Cor. 13:13 “Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

I went on my first mission trip when I turned 42 years old. I will never forget my excitement when I got off the plane in Haiti. I remember the smells and sounds of being in a foreign country made everything feel so surreal. I bunked with my best friend, Juju and laughed for an hour after watching her jump on top of her bed when a large bug crawled leaped at her shoes, collapsing the cot in a heap on the floor. We religiously sprayed our bodies with Avon’s Skin So Soft to keep the bugs at bay. We visited hundreds of children during our week in Cap Haitien and had a blast making up skits of our favorite Bible stories. I knew in my heart that visiting orphans was my purpose and passion for the rest of my life!

If you normally don’t leave a comment, I want to ask you to share with me what winning this mission trip would mean to you.


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Check Out The 2 Winning Tees You Voted For!


Check Out The 2 Winning Tees You Voted For!

Posted on 17 October 2011 by Kari Gibson

Thank you for voting for your favorite Visiting Orphans + Simply Love tees! You made it so fun for the team all week long reading your comments! I hand counted each and every one of your votes (whew!) We are so thrilled to share the 2 winning tees that will kick off a very exciting project! I will announce the NEW project on November 1st, so stay tuned to the craziness coming soon right here on My Crazy Adoption blog!

The 2 Winning Tees:

With 105 votes…

With 57 votes….

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My ‘Motion Of Mercy’ Journey

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My ‘Motion Of Mercy’ Journey

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Kari Gibson

Francesca Battistelli has a beautiful song called Motion of Mercy and every time I hear it, I feel like she is singing to me.  About 10 years ago I was completely poor, weak, and bankrupt spiritually.  I was selfish and unsatisfied with my life.  I loved being a wife and mother, but there was no purpose or passion for ministry.  It was important for me to keep my life simple and comfortable- really only choosing to do things that were convenient to my needs.  I had no idea what it meant to give myself away. In all honestly, I wasted so much time, energy and money on things that have no purpose or meaning.  It makes me [sniff] right now thinking about the lost years.

I love that God pours His mercy on the most hungry and thirsty of His children.  He created a purpose for me and I just needed to open my heart and listen to His calling.  His mercies saved my life.  I had no idea what God had in store when we made the decision to adopt Zoie.  He had a plan already made and was waiting [ever so patiently] for us to set things in motion.  He knew our speed would be super slow, but He never stopped pouring mercy on our family.  Adoption changed our lives, but the next part of His plan – caring for the fatherless was the missing link in my life.  I will be forever grateful to Him for connecting me with Visiting Orphans ministry.  The ministry He has waiting for me has radically changed my life.  The words … I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion now take on a whole new meaning.  God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that’s coming soonThat’s the motion of mercy … Changing the way and the why we are. That’s the motion of mercy … Moving my heart.  I went on my first mission trip when I was 41 years old and I pray I can dedicate the next 41+ years to serving and living for the lost and loving ‘til it hurts … No matter what the cost.

I’d really love to hear how God has started the “Motion of Mercy” in your life?  I pray we can continue to support and encourage each other in blog land to keep loving Him big!!

This is a personal video I took sitting next to the Nile River in Uganda alone- just me and God.  It’s emotional for me to listen again to my prayer and thankfulness how God changed the way and why in my life.


“Motion Of Mercy”

I was poor I was weak
I was the definition of the spiritually
Bankrupt condition
So in need of help

I was unsatisfied
Hungry and thirsty
When You rushed to my side
So unworthy
Still You gave yourself away…

That’s the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That’s the motion of mercy
Moving my heart

Now I’m filled by a love
That calls me to action
I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

Living for the lost
Loving ‘til it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like You loved me first
That’s the motion of mercy

God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that’s coming soon

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Join Me in Ethiopia/Uganda or Haiti in 2012 (!!)

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Join Me in Ethiopia/Uganda or Haiti in 2012 (!!)

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Kari Gibson

My crazy readers- are you ready for an adventure?  I have TWO new trips to share with you… join me in 2012 making a difference in the life of an orphan.  Are you longing to visit orphans in Haiti or Ethiopia and Uganda?

I want to know what you love most about missions or what is holding you back from going on a mission trip.  Help me learn more about how to encourage YOU to go on a missions trip.  Leave me a comment today (don’t be shy) and let’s chat!  If you have questions- email me!

Follow me on Facebook- just click “like” on the sidebar.

Trip 1:

I love Haiti!!  I’m so thrilled to lead a trip with Visiting Orphans in 2012 to Port-au-Prince and Pignon, Haiti!!  This trip will be an adventure for 10 days with my dear friend, Steve Ijames aka Jack Bauer! Wait till you hear more about my new co-leader!!  His expertise and connections in PAP are like rock star status – God has used this man in a mighty way in Haiti.  Together, we will lead our team safely through this incredible country to minister and visit orphans!  Steve and I have traveled 2 times together to Haiti, but he has lead trips for years all over Haiti.  Let’s max out this trip and give hope in Haiti 2012!  FYI- you can apply now!

Apply Now!

“Hope in Haiti” 10 Day Trip
January 20-30, 2012
Leader: Kari Gibson & Steve Ijames
Location: Port-au-Prince & Pignon, Haiti
Team Size: 20 persons max
Cost: $2400-$2700 (trip total varies depending on flight and travel insurance costs) Details:

Join My Crazy Adoption blogger, Kari Gibson celebrating her 45th birthday on a 10 day missions adventure to Haiti. I’m thrilled to have Steve Ijames (aka Jack Bauer) co-leading with me to Haiti.

Port-Au-Prince portion:

This team will spend the first few days visiting 2 orphanage partners in PAP. Children Household of Tomorrow Orphanage is located right in the heart of PAP and is home to 44 children. This orphanage more than doubled in size after the earthquake and is in desperate need of assistance. Well Being Orphanage is located just outside the city in an area called Croix de Bouquette and is home to 30 children. These children are currently living in large tent on the property that is owned by the family members of the woman who cares for these kids – they have been living there since the earthquake destroyed the original orphanage.  We will also minister to the children, as well as bring supplies needed to care for them.

Orphanage Haiti Home of Hope portion:

We will venture out of the city, up to the mountainous village of Pignon where we will live and minister for five days with Kari’s good friends, Bill and Jennifer Campbell at their orphanage, Haiti Home of Hope (HHH) The children range in age from 2 to 17 years old with special needs, children who were former slaves, those who were abused, one who is terminal, and those that almost died from simple starvation. They are all beautiful and loving princesses and princes!  They enjoy crafts, games, and being loved on. We have a projector, and can have a big movie night, under the stars, with popcorn and the works! Our goal at HHH is to bring up children in a Godly manner, and stop the cycle of ignorance, abuse, and poverty.

Clinic of Pignon portion:

The team will also serve at the clinic with Family VBS- devotions, prayer, and singing. “We have had a number of voodoo practicing families come to know Christ, after hearing the Word in clinic, and the change in their lives is amazing- HHH” We will prepare a big meal for all the clinic families, and serve them and minister to them… providing seed packets, formula, and diapers!

Village of Pignon portion:

We will have the opportunity to minister to the village of Pignon! Home visits are a great way to find out specific needs and specific ways to help individuals. The Campbells have finished building houses for widows, put roofs homes to keep the rain out, passed out medicines, saved children from slavery, prevented children from becoming slaves, found sick and injured and taken them to hospitals. Making home visits is vital for HHH.

(Johnny Fig and me in Haiti- he was injured in the earthquake!)

Trip 2:

Julie and I have dreamed of leading a trip together to Ethiopia!  We have been friends for over 13 years and both have adopted children from Addis Ababa!  We can’t wait to visit orphans all over this beautiful country with a Visiting Orphans team ready to man up 4 the fatherless!  You can apply now for this amazing trip!

Apply Now!

“Simply Love Ethiopia and Uganda” 14 Day Trip
Dates: June 7-20, 2012
Leaders: Kari Gibson & Julie Neal
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jijna and Kampala, Uganda
Team Size: 30 persons max
Cost: $3200 – $3400 (trip total varies depending on flight and travel insurance costs)


Join My Crazy Adoption blogger, Kari Gibson and her best friend, Julie Neal on a 12 day missions adventure to Africa.  Together, they are leading a team to minister in Ethiopia and will make sure your time is both powerful for the orphans and immeasurably life-changing for you!

The team will be working for several days in Addis Ababa with Project 61 for extreme needy children living in the Korah city dump… VBS, community BBQ, Home Makeovers, Leper Hospital, and more.  We will have a special outreach at Baer Essentials (rural Dahley) outside the city, as well as an excursion to Negash Lodge to see the beauty of rural Ethiopia. We will have the incredible opportunity to celebrate the inauguration of the Dig Deep Well in Chucko Weyama (Neal Family Project) with A Glimmer of Hope. We will visit the community and share in their joy of living with clean water!  The team will also minister at two Govt Orphanages [ages infants to teens] as well as visit Fistula Hospital for an exclusive tour of the center and the courageous women featured in the movie “A Walk To Beautiful.”  Just for fun- donkey races and bowling! [Itinerary subject to change]


We will work with Sixty Feet ministry and live at Canaan’s Children’s Home.  The relationships and ministry opportunities will be life-changing!!  More details to come!

We are looking for men, women, and teens who want to Man Up 4 orphans!
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is LOVE. (1 Cor. 13:13)

Videos to View:

Dig Deep Project

Village of Korah

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Crazy May Adoption Family – Good To Be Crazy!

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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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Why Should You Let Your Man Go?

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Why Should You Let Your Man Go?

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

Mission News: We have only 5 spots left for the Man Up missions trip.  Don’t miss out and sign up today!

Simply Love Tote Project:

You can purchase my brand new totes with a purpose.  Each bag will help my son, Michael go to Ethiopia and Uganda in August with Man Up Trip with Visiting Orphans. Together we are raising his support and everything above and beyond will bless orphans in Ethiopia and Uganda on his trip.  Michael has helped raise $10,000 for the well project in Chucko, Ethiopia and can’t wait to visit, in person, the working well and see with his own eyes the miracles God has done for a rural village in Ethiopia.


The Man Up Trip:

Why should you let your man go on a missions trip?

This is a triple adventure all wrapped up in one mission trip!!  We have prayed for an opportunity to spread our Man Up 4 Orphans mission in a powerful way and Visiting Orphans has customized an itinerary to not only love orphans, but to visit a well digging project in progress, as well as Go Big with the Dude Perfect guys and help them make basketball history in Africa!!

If you have been praying for something extraordinary for your man … this is the mission trip to send him on!  We are calling men [and women] to Man Up and 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.

Here’s what one husband and dad emailed me about going on a Visiting Orphans mission trip []


I want to take a minute to say thank you for what you do for the cause of orphans and following a call God put in your heart!! My wife ran across Zoie’s gotcha day video almost a year ago. This eventually led us to your blog and ultimately me going on a trip to Uganda with Visiting Orphans last week where I got to install ‘high-speed’ internet for Pastor Isaac and the children at Canaan’s, give computers, a projector and lots of clothes and shoes to Pastor Samuel at Return Uganda, feed kids and play soccer at Katie’s, give a laptop to and just fall in love with the work Rebecca is doing at Royal Hope Academy. As I’m sure you are well aware, I can’t tell you how much it forever changed my life. As you can imagine, I can’t wait to get back to do more to help the children of Uganda.

I’ve never considered myself to be overly loving or even very patient towards children other than my own daughter. Most of the mission trips I have been on I always volunteered for the ‘construction projects’ where I was most comfortable, versus really spending time with or loving on kids. That was all before God broke my heart for the fatherless. I’ll have to admit, my first reaction to God’s calling was…. no way, loving on kids is what women/mom’s do. I thought children won’t be as receptive to men as they are women. There is nothing like a mother’s love and care, but then God spoke to me and said, “did I specify women when I wrote James 1:27?” OK God, I gotcha…I’m in…I don’t know how or what I really have to offer, and I will probably be the only man on this trip that is not there with his spouse to ‘help me through this process’, but I’m gonna go, I’m not only gonna do it afraid, I’m gonna do it terrified. When I arrived in Uganda, God used some precious children to show me that I may not be their earthly father, but I can be an example of their heavenly father, who loves them unconditionally, and knows each of them them by name. I also realized these kids are typically taken care of by aunties, which is great, but they desperately need more Godly men in their lives who unashamedly will be the hands and feet of Christ.

Only God knows why He led me to your site, and His ultimate calling on my life to have a heart for orphans. As I reflect on the process of how God led me to Uganda, I’m overwhelmed with His faithfulness to His children when we are obedient to His call and surrender to His will. This entire journey has perfectly demonstrated how God can and will use all of us, women and men.

Apply today for the experience of a lifetime!!

42 million  (reasons to go)

There are over 42 million orphans in the continent of Africa, one-third of them are due to AIDS.  Visiting Orphans sends out mission teams all year long to Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda. We offer trips which are twelve to fourteen days long and our trips range from visiting orphans in one country in Africa, to customized trips which incorporate missions in two different countries like Uganda and Ethiopia.

The hearts of our staff at Visiting Orphans are particularly broken for the orphans in Africa.  Through amazing partnerships with ministries and orphanages in Africa our teams are significantly impacted on these trips and the lives they reach while ministering in Africa are forever changed as well.

Dates: July 31 – August 14, 2011

Location: Ethiopia & Uganda

Details: This is a one of a kind mission trip with a triple killer itinerary to Love and Protect the Fatherless.  If you want to Man Up (women included) with Visiting Orphans and make a difference … this is your trip!!  Man Up 4 Orphans leader: Roger Gibson, Dig Deep leader: Rob Neal, and Dude Perfect leader: Cory Cotton will lead this team on an extraordinary adventure to Africa. We will visit the Dig Deep Well Project in Chuko Weyama, Ethiopia and minister to the precious community receiving a Water and Sanitation system through A Glimmer of Hope.  The team will Man Up and minister to orphans in Ethiopia and Uganda.

“Some people think small. Some people live small. And while that may work for others, that’s not exactly our style. We are Dude Perfect-6 insanely competitive college guys – and we Go Big. Since our beginning only a year and a half ago, we have been on a crazy ride. And to say the least, we feel very blessed.” Dude Perfect has a crazy compassion for loving orphans and hopes you’ll join us in dreaming big, going big and making a big impact on this world.

Your Leaders:

Cost: $3400  (cost varies dependent on flight costs)

Sign Up Today- Apply Here

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One Day Without Shoes

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One Day Without Shoes

Posted on 05 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

Zoie and I went to look for spring shoes today, despite the freezing rain.  I have no idea why I wore my flip flops, but the pain in my toes reminded me of my next blessing I want to share with you from the mission trip.  I’ve only been home 10 days, so my heart is still raw from processing everything we did in Ethiopia.  I have warned my teams pre-trip that joining me will not be for the faint of heart or body.  We work hard on mission trips.  You have to go big, love big, and work big- sun up to sun down.  Roger and I still chuckle when we think about our own kids begging us to go back to the hotel on our vacation to Disneyland a few years ago.  They know the rule about sneaking back too early from an adventure.  We stay until the park closes.

We woke the team up very early on our special day to a tiny rural village outside the skirts of Addis Ababa.  The anticipation of putting shoes on hundreds of children’s feet made all of us a little giddy.  We had our box lunch packed, bottled water, and headed out for a real adventure- a shoe distribution.  I have been asked not to share where we went or exactly how many shoes we distributed, but I will say… it was a whole lotta shoes!!

The night before, we had been briefed on the protocol of a distribution.  The team was very organized and even had some Oromo words we had to memorize.  I finally managed to remember how to say “hello” and “wait” in Oromo.  I was the door greeter and welcomed in each child to receive a brand new pair of yellow, customized for their environment, economically wonderful shoes!  One of the rules for teams, you sit on the floor and take off the old pair of shoes and put the new pair of shoes on each child.  I was so humbled.  It felt like we were part of a Bible story washing the feet of the fatherless.  Most children, didn’t have on shoes and the sores, cuts, and bumps resonated to each of us how much they needed their first pair of new shoes.

My favorite blessing was helping a very old, blind woman walk into the classroom and sit down with joy waiting for her pair of shoes.  We also welcomed in the village children, as well as their elders.  When I held her foot in my hands, I realized I had no idea where she had walked the past 80 years.  Her feet were worn and dirty, but she had walked strong and courageous through her life in rural Ethiopia.  Again, I was humbled.  She placed her hand on my face and her appreciation poured out through her smile.  Thank you Jesus for the chance to simply love with the gift of our time, energy, and resources.  We distributed shoes for hours that day and had the opportunity to share shoes with the entire community, however we knew there were still so many around who desperately needed shoes.  The best part of the distribution- the children get to come back in six months and receive another new pair of shoes!!  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!!

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go. – Mother Theresa

If you are interested in going on a Visiting Orphans mission trip, check out their upcoming trips on their website- visitingorphans.org

Thank you to those who made it possible for us to be a part of something so incredible and life changing!

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My Son’s Big Crazy Heart + Video

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My Son’s Big Crazy Heart + Video

Posted on 05 April 2011 by Kari Gibson

My son, Michael has been a joy every second of his life.  He’s funny, talkative, sensitive, big hearted, and ambitious!  He brings a spirit of adventure to our family…. his two sisters adore him!  Zoie loves her french fry dates with her big brother.  I’m so proud of him for helping his High School raise over $10,000 to dig a well in Ethiopia with A Glimmer of Hope!  He’s preparing to go on his very 1st mission trip this summer with his dad [Man Up Visiting Orphans] and is working hard to raise his support- $3,400 to travel to Ethiopia and Uganda.

One of my favorite stories to share (with permission) happened when we told Michael we were going to adopt a baby from Ethiopia.  I will never forget the look on his face and his honest response- “Are you two whacked?”  He was 13 years old and had no idea that life was going to get a little bumpy for the next few years, but I knew his big crazy heart would get the best of him.  We really wanted him to be real about his feelings on adoption… I prayed so hard that he would come to understand the big picture.  A year later after telling us we were “whacked” he bought me a Christmas gift- a book on Ethiopia, with a card inside.  He shared that he loved his family and was on board 100% for our adoption.  I still have his card in my Bible to remind me of the power of prayer and love.

Michael traveled with us to Ethiopia in 2008 to bring home Zoie.  He got really sick from drinking water at a coffee ceremony and God used his illness to inspire my son to help dig a well in Ethiopia!  God has used his gifts, passions, and talents to make a real difference in Chucko Weyama.

I’m helping Michael out for the next 2 weeks with my Simply Love Tote Project- blitz ends April 18th!!  We are praying that we can raise above and beyond to bless the ministries he will visit: Project 61, Canaan’s Children’s Home, and many more!  I wanted you to hear [in his own words] why this trip means so much to him.  Please pray for Michael during the next four months as God prepares his heart for missions!

How can you help my son go on his 1st mission trip?

  • You can purchase a Simply Love Tote bag {exclusive design with a purpose} Click on the store button here. My Crazy Adoption store closes on April 18th, so don’t miss out!
  • Follow Man Up 4 Orphans
  • Pray for his mission trip!

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Join a God Adventure!

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Join a God Adventure!

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Kari Gibson

Simply Love Fundraising Program for Adoption Families {update}

I have a BIG SURPRISE for you! I spent 10 hours revising the Simply Love Kit, 10 NEW updated designs, and 10 Top Selling wholesale products for you to sell!  It’s all up and ready to go- email me for a new packet on the blog– includes wholesale prices and 10 updated Simply Love Graphics!  I have revised the information to help eliminate any stress raising funds for your adoption.  If you are interested in fundraising with Simply Love – this is it!  We want to help you w/ 23 countries celebrated!


My Crazy Adoption partnered with Visiting Orphans in 2010 and I’m thrilled to let my crazy readers know hot off the press mission news!  Here are two new God Adventures available for you to join.  You can travel to beautiful El Salvador and Honduras this summer to minister to orphans!  Read more about these two incredible opportunities to simply love and radically change your life.

El Salvador [read more]

Dates: August 6 – 13, 2011
Leader: Casi Mattox
Location: El Salvador
Cost: $2000 – $2300 (varies depending on flight & individual travel insurance costs)
Details: Visiting Orphans is sending this team to work with a variety of ministries which may include Remar Orphanage in El Sunzal, CIPI orphanage working with babies, toddlers, pregnant teen moms, younger boys and older girls (about 130 total), CISNA all boys center with approximately 50 boys, Center at San Martin Aids Center, and Cuidad de Los Ninos orphanage located near the Pacific ocean, approximately 1 hour from San Salvador where the team may do a work project one day. There will also be a sightseeing day which may include lunch on the mountain, zip lining, San Salvador volcano or souvenir shopping.

Honduras [read more]

Dates: June 10-17, 2011
Leader: Casi Mattox
Location: Siguatepeque, Honduras

Cost: $2100-$2300

Details: Visiting Orphans is excited to partner with Providence World Ministries to serve the least of these in Honduras.
This team will visit and work with La Providencia Orphanage as well as widows and orphans in the surrounding Siquatepeque community. In furtherance of James 1:27, La Providencia focuses on providing housing, food, clothing, education and medical care through providing loving families for 96 boys and girls in the Aguas del Padre community outside of Siguatepeque, Honduras (approximately 1.5 hours from San Pedro and 2 hours from Tegucigalpa). They also provide housing, food, clothing, education, and medical care for 96 other at-risk children from the local community. These children are given a family environment, spiritual nurturing, high-quality education, and practical training to enable them to live spiritually fruitful lives and take their place as leaders in Honduran society.

This team will also have 1 sightseeing day to explore the beauty of Honduras and do some local shopping.


Here’s 3 Crazy Reasons why you should go on a missions trip:
  1. Orphans desperately need you to come and simply love them- BASICALLY Haiti is happening to children all over this world….the media is just not covering it.  They lose their parents suddenly to HIV, malaria, malnutrition, starvation and other horrific ends to a life.  Or, they are traumatized as they are just abandoned and left with a feeling of worthlessness, feeling forgotten and not knowing the consistent love of a parent or anyone else.  Some orphans never even get to see outside of the building of their orphanage.  Orphans in this world, unless visited by God’s people, will not know their Savior as their Abba Daddy.  He is their Father and He is the only one who in our absence can give them the consistent love they were created to receive.  If we don’t go…who will go for us?
  2. Lose some weight - Are you loaded down with the weight of mommyhood?  The busyness of your life as a mom- the comfortable, conveniences of structure, play dates, Target runs, carpools, sports events… well, mission trips do a great job at shaking things up and forcing you to let go and serve out of your comfort zone.  Traveling to a foreign country can be really scary, but being immersed in a different culture allows you to see and smell and touch and taste and hear things that will literally change your life.  Leave your busyness at home (it will be there when you return) and open your hearts wide to crazy love orphans.
  3. Be part of a God-Inspired Adventure- this means doing something radical, out of the normal, daily routine we get stuck in as moms.  You get to see God work in others lives and in your own life on a mission trip.  Plan on something going really crazy- this is all part of the adventure.  I encourage you to super-size your joy and patience and understanding and compassion and affection on a mission trip.  If you have set expectations, I guarantee you will be turned upside down.  Leave your expectations at home and allow God to guide your steps through Honduras and El Salvador.


Fill out the VO Application HERE to start your adventure today!


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Dangerous Surrender Is Crazy!

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Dangerous Surrender Is Crazy!

Posted on 28 March 2011 by Kari Gibson

To want to serve God in some conditions, but not others, is to serve Him in your own way. But to put no limits on your submission to God is truly dying to yourself. This is how to worship God. Open yourself to God without measure. Let His life flow through you like a torrent. Fear NOTHING on the road you are walking. God will lead you by the hand. Let your love for Him cast out the fear you feel for yourself.  (Dangerous Surrender – Quote Francois Fenelon.)

After returning from Africa last month, I’ve been reading the book, Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren.  For some strange reason it brings my heart comfort knowing I’m not really crazy!  I always tell my teams that it’s normal to feel sad after returning from a mission trip due to seeing with your own eyes the difficult conditions of the orphan crisis … the problem seems overwhelming.  The quote above reminds me that I want to serve God in all conditions.  I want to worship God in all conditions and allow Him to lead me by the hand.  I’m so grateful to Visiting Orphans for allowing me to walk down a road of ministry and service in Ethiopia and Uganda.  Leading my 1st mission trip was a dangerous surrender of my fears and God has changed my life forever.

Even though the conditions are overwhelming, they are NOT overwhelming for Him.  It is my responsibility to allow His life to flow through my life a crazy torrent.  I want to surrender completely to God.

Do it afraid!

I have a new on the right side bar – just click that you “like” and you are there to hang out with me and have some crazy daily discussions about love, life, and mommyhood!

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Giving the Blessing to the Fatherless

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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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Zoie’s Crossroad Miracle


Zoie’s Crossroad Miracle

Posted on 17 March 2011 by Kari Gibson

I waited to share my final blessing of the mission trip, because I’m still processing the miracle God orchestrated for Roger and me.  The desire to meet Zoie’s birthmother has never diminished in our hearts and we knew being in Ethiopia together, we would make every effort to reunite.  It was thrilling for me to take Roger back to the clinic Zoie received her immunizations with her birthmother.  I watched my hubby weep with emotion holding the book with her name and information.  He was able to witness with his own eyes the single word “Kore” the only tangible information we had locating where Zoie was born.  (Kore- Korah community living on the trash dump)  We believe it is not a coincidence that God allowed our daughter’s birth home to be in the very same spot Visiting Orphans ministers to the fatherless.  It was His plan all along to bring us together.  We are so honored to lead mission trips with Visiting Orphans and work directly with Project 61 in Korah… our brothers and sisters.

During our 12 days in Ethiopia, Roger and I hired a driver and visited the three places we had that Zoie’s birthmother documented on our adoption paperwork.  We visited the clinic, Felewah- area where she worked, and the police station she relinquished her baby, Senait.  God had something big prepared for us that day and we are forever grateful.  Our dear friend, Bisrat Fantahun “Bissy” joined us to help with translation and God used him in a mighty way.  Bissy called the police sergeant that was listed on our document.  We were beyond disbelief when he actually answered the phone and agreed to meet with us.  He told our friend that he remembered every detail of the interaction with our birthmother.  He worked helping the fatherless for 15 years.

We met the police sergeant on Wednesday and I will never forget the details as long as I live.  I want to honor our daughter, Zoie and keep some of the details private, but also want to give hope to other adoptive families searching for your child’s history – it’s worth everything!  I understand that this might be a controversial statement in the adoption world, but in my opinion, the experience is priceless.  We will have something tangible to give Zoie if our daughter wants to learn information about her birthmother.

We sat down at Kaldi’s Coffeehouse and shook hands with the sergeant.  I immediately started crying because his face was so kind.  I knew instantly that this precious man was the last key to finding information on our daughter’s birthmother.  Bissy explained to him our story and we had the paperwork for him to look over.  He told us that he remembered every detail of that day meeting birthmother.  He told us what happened, what she looked like, smelled like, emotions she expressed, and every detail leading up to the relinquishment of her precious baby girl.  His memory was our gift from the Lord.  I showed him several recent photographs of Zoie Senait and he carefully looked through each one.  Finally, he stopped and told us that Zoie’s birthmother looked exactly like…

He told us that the photo was a perfect match.  We were overcome with emotion, but he patiently waited for us to ask him a few more questions.  The most important question I wanted to ask the sergeant was what happened at the end.  This is the part of the story I have asked myself a million times.  It’s a scene I replay over and over in my heart.  What does a mother do when she hands over her baby?  He told us solemly that once her statement was documented, beautiful birthmother handed him her baby and walked away sobbing with tears.  My heart breaks in a million pieces to even comprehend what she must have been feeling.  She gave her baby girl a new life, a new chance, a new beginning… but had to say goodbye forever.

The next statement the police sergeant asked us was life-changing and beyond our wildest dreams.  He told us he would take us to the spot he met Zoie’s birthmother.  He knew the exact location and was willing to show us personally.  We drove to an area that is one of the poorest in Addis Ababa.  Unbelieveably, it’s located directly behind the luxurious Sheraton hotel.  He walked us to a narrow alleyway and stopped under a large tree.  He pointed down to a cement curb and said this was where he found her sitting, crying and holding her baby.  He told us that he wore plain clothes so he would not frighten the mother.  She sat on the curb and explained to him why she was unable to keep her baby girl.  He validated her and helped her walk to safety.

This was Zoie’s crossroad.  Her birthmother sacrificed everything in order for Zoie to have life.  In a perfect world, we wish with all our hearts she could have stayed with her mother and lived a healthy, thriving life in Ethiopia.  But, God had a different plan and it all started here.  There are no words to express our gratefulness to the man who gave us a glimpse into the story of Zoie.  We may never meet the woman who gave birth, protection, and safety to our daughter, but we have a priceless gift of information from the man who gave her hope.

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