September 30, 2009
Dear family and friends,
In April of 2006, we made the decision to undertake an international adoption. We learned a lot about faith, God's timing, true love, true need, desperate circumstances, Ethiopia (Africa), and how easy it is to love an orphan. The end result of our adoption from Ethiopia is a very special addition to our family ten months ago – Daniel Fitsum. Many people point out how blessed he is to have us. We respond how blessed we are to have him in our family. We can't thank God enough for how much this journey has changed our lives.
While in Ethiopia we experienced the Ethiopian culture and people; they are wonderful. While there, we also saw the impact of the AIDS crisis, the food shortage, the lack of health care, and poverty unlike most of us have ever seen. Spending time in Ethiopia: around town, the orphanages, transition home, and spending time with our guide, who shared with us what life is like in Ethiopia, fundamentally changed us. We left a piece of our heart in Ethiopia. We came back knowing that we would be going back and that we needed to help in a bigger way.
That brings us to the next phase of our journey.
We have decided to adopt again, and to join with others to identify ways to work in Ethiopia to affect the larger issues faced there. Tom will be traveling on a mission trip from November 29th to December 9. He will be traveling to Addis Ababa where we were last year, and then traveling another three to four hours from the capital city. He is traveling with a group of fellow adoptive parents from our agency, along with Tom Davis with Children's HopeChest Ministries. This is a vision trip to check out seven to eight orphanages and see how they need help; could be a well to give 5,000 people clean water to drink, could be mattresses so the children in the orphanages aren't sleeping on the floor, or even nets to protect the kids from mosquitoes at night. They will be making long term plans and devising ways to build support here in the United States..
There are an estimated 4.8 million orphans in Ethiopia. We are called to take care of the widows and orphans. Most people that adopt want to adopt infants or young toddlers. For this reason, we are requesting an older child. We are requesting a girl between the ages of four and six. We are very excited to see who God has picked for our family.
If you are interested in learning more about Africa, we recommend that you read Scared by Tom Davis or It's Not OK With Me by Janine Maxwell. They are both very difficult books to read, but let you get a glimpse at the life of many in Africa. There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene provides a historical perspective that explains some of the reasons the continent has reached its current state of affairs.
We are asking our family and friends to support us on this journey to make a difference. We ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation to help with the expenses of giving a home to an orphan, the mission trip, and the support for the orphanages in Ethiopia. We have created an adoption t-shirt. Anyone making a minimum of a $25 donation will receive a t-shirt as a “Thank You” from our family. The shirts come in adult sizes; small, medium, large, and extra large. Please let us know what size and how many you would like. We will post information about the adoption and the mission trip to our blog (http://laughners.blogspot.com). Most of all we are asking for your prayers as we step out of our comfort zone and away from the safety of the United States.
Please keep our family in your prayers, along with the little girl on the other side of the world that God has chosen to join our family in his time.
We greatly appreciate the role that each of you play in our lives. We are thankful for each and everyone of you! Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.
Tom and Lori Laughner