God has blessed us with more than we could ever need. He has not blessed us so we can have the latest iPad, game console or a new car. We have been blessed to be a blessing.

Keep up with our adoption journey and get a peek into the Hollingsworth household.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Necklace Update


Necklace C: colorful without much yellow, pink seed beads

Necklace E: Various colors, somewhat earthy with pink seed beads

Necklace G: colorful with pink seed beads

Necklace H: deep blues and purples, bright blues, greens and oranges, pink seed beads

Necklace J: earthy with red accents and pink seed beads (Valentine's Day, guys!)

Necklace M: bold colors with pink seed beads


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Longer, but Thankful

I received a call about shooting a wedding in of many I'm sure. I didn't know what to do. I thought there was a chance we would be traveling then. So, I contacted our coordinator to find out what our timeline looks like.

Once our dossier hits Ethiopia, it will be 6-7 months for a referral. Last we heard, it was 5. Then, we wait for our court date which is usually 2-3 months after we accept the referral. I thought it was 1. Normally I think this would sort of bum me out. But I am actually grateful that it is taking longer than we thought. I am thankful that I will be able to work during the peak wedding season, after all, we are going to need to buy a bigger car once the little one arrives.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black Friday err... Thursday

I've never really been "Black Friday" shopping. I've been a few times later in the afternoon. I have never been a part of the Mob. This year, I received an invitation from my sister-in-law to go Black Friday shopping with her. I accepted on the terms that I did not have to get up early and that we would not shop at Wal-Mart.

Now it seems that Black Friday has turned into Black Thursday. Pardon my language, but that really ticks me off. I can't believe that people are so money-hungry that they are stripping their employees of a full day and night of Thanksgiving with family and friends.

But what can I do about it? Well, I can NOT shop on Thursday. If no one shopped on Thursday, then next year they will have no choice but to close their stores. So please, join me in this. Think about all the workers that instead of eating turkey and dressing and watching football on Thursday will be sleeping in order to prepare for their night shifts at places like Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, and Old Navy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Secret Church

I've added a link to "Secret Church on my sidebar. Right now I'm listening to "Marriage, Family, Sex and the Gospel." Yeah, when I first heard this season's topic, I was not excited. I did sit in on our church's simulcast for an hour. Then, I didn't want to leave. But I had to be up early the next morning for a bazaar where I sold the paper bead necklaces.

Now I'm listening to the other 5-6 hours on the web. AND IT'S REALLY GOOD! YOU SHOULD TAKE THE TIME TO LISTEN TO IT. I know you may not have 6-7 hours to give right now, but it is divided into one-hour segments. Listen to one at a time for a week. It's worth it!

Here's a quote by David Platt during this sermon:

"Ignorance regarding orphans is Biblically inexcusable."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paper Bead Blitz

I have a separate blog for our adoption and family happenings. This post is worthy to be in both blogs.

If you are new to my blog, I am selling paper bead necklaces to raise money for our adoption.

Necklaces are long and can be worn single, doubled or tripled.

These beads are made in Uganda by women who formerly turned to prostitution as a means of income. Katie Davis heads up a bead group with women from the Karamajong tribe. Each week she drives them to the city where they deposit half of their earnings in a savings account. The other half is enough for them to live on. If Katie finds out they are reverting back to old habits, they are no longer allowed to work for her. She also leads a Bible study with these women. It's a great story of honorable work, and redemption. The profits raised from bead sales here in the States goes back to Katie's organization, Amazima and provides school tuition and food to children in her area, some of which are from the Karamajong So the women and their children get double benefits!

For two weeks, I am offering the following necklaces for sale, with FREE SHIPPING! These make great Christmas presents. You will receive a card telling of the organization 147 Million Orphans, which is an organization Katie sells the necklaces to. Adoptive families are allowed to buy them in bulk and use as fundraisers. So, that's a third cause you will be helping. The card is great to include when you give the necklace as a gift.

This blitz will end on Black Friday at midnight. That's 9 days to get FREE SHIPPING!

You might want to head on over to Leslie's Blog for another great offer.

Necklace A: a nice mixture of colors with light pink seed beads

Necklace B: SOLD!

Necklace C: colorful without much yellow, pink seed beads

Necklace D: SOLD!

Necklace E: Various colors, somewhat earthy with pink seed beads

Necklace F: earthy, but with an Americana feel, light blue seed beads

Necklace G: colorful with pink seed beads

Necklace H: deep blues and purples, bright blues, greens and oranges, pink seed beads

Necklace I: SOLD!

Necklace J: earthy with red accents and pink seed beads (Valentine's Day, guys!)

Necklace K: SOLD!

Necklace L: SOLD!

Necklace M: bold colors with pink seed beads

Necklace Letter

Thanks for looking! Remember free shipping ends on Black Friday at midnight!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tears of Joy

I wrote an email to our social worker asking if she had mailed our finalized home study. She replied that she has. I then wrote back thanking her for all she has done. Now I have tears. There are days this adoption is just something we are doing almost robotic-like, I guess. Then, every once in a while, when another step is complete I get emotional.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Touch God

Raine has had a bad cough for 8 days now. She has been asking difficult questions like, "Why has God let me be sick this long?" and, "Why won't God heal me?" The only answers I could come up with that are child-appropriate were, "Bad things sometimes happen. We have to look for the good in those things. Maybe God is using this as time for us to have extra snuggle time. Look at how much we've slept together this week!" She smile and said, "Oh! OK!"

Then, tonight I told the kids the story of the lady that was sick for 12 years, and used all her money by seeing various doctors. I tell you, I did not choose that story because Raine has been sick. I told it because that was the lesson for the Kindergarten Bible Study this morning, which I taught while my dear friend Leslie was camping with her Boy Scout. The story was fresh on my mind. As I began telling it, I quickly realized I should not include the part of the little girl getting sick and dying. That would just scare her.

We got to the end of the story... you know, the lady touches Jesus' clothes and immediately was well. I explained about how Jesus felt her touch more than that of anyone else who rubbed elbows or brushed shoulders with him. She was amazed that Jesus' power went into the woman. She asked, "How did his power go into her?" I said, "because she had faith."


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Status Update

If I were still on Facebook or used Twitter my current status would be, "Just downloaded the USCIS for I-600A, which is the 'Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition.' In other words, we are asking our government permission to adopt a child from a non-Hague country."

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful that when my daughter's cough gets so bad she vomits, I can drive to Wal-Mart at 3:00 a.m. to purchase Johnson & Johnson's Vapor Bath and Vicks Waterless Vaporizer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Orphan Sunday Speech

Today is Orphan Sunday. I asked our pastor last week if I could speak at church today. I wasn't extremely excited about it. However, Jonathan and I hope to pave the way for more families to adopt. If one of us didn't speak, who would?

I didn't prepare a typical Orphan Sunday speech, pleading others to adopt. I'll leave that up to the Holy Spirit. I focused more on facts about orphans, the causes of the orphan crisis and other ways to tackle the crisis.

Why don't I just let you read it?


When we began our adoption journey over a year ago, we saw adoption as a beautiful way to build a family. We saw adoption as providing a home for an orphan. We saw adoption as a way to reflect the love of God.

But we were naive.

While adoption encompasses all of those good things, there is also the ugly side to adoption that we did not realize existed.

Adoption starts with loss. Some children sit by and watch as their parents die of HIV. Others witness their parents killed in war. Sadly, many of them experience abandonment because their father left the family and their mother cannot afford to care for them. As part of our home study, we were required to read books in order to become educated on how these circumstances may affect our child.

We have also learned that adoption is not as easy as choosing a country and bringing home a healthy infant. Millions of older children are in need of homes. Millions of unhealthy children are also in need of homes. Each country has its own unique orphan crisis. As we researched adoption in various countries, we learned that children with severe special needs are literally wasting away in orphanages in Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine and China. More often than not, these children do not get one on one time with an adult caretaker. Instead, they are simply left in their beds all day everyday with no stimulation, no affectionate touch, and no human eye contact. Some are even tied to their beds.

When Jonathan and I first KNEW we were called to adopt, we began looking into Eastern European countries. I had just read a book titled “Tortured for Christ,” written by Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Jewish convert who was arrested and beaten numerous times for proclaiming the Gospel and speaking out against Communism. My heart broke for what the people of those countries had endured.

During our research we found that there are over one million orphans in Russia, the majority of which are not truly orphans, but whose parents are unable or unwilling to care for them. We wrestled with the Lord, and ourselves for over a year… trying to make sense of spending $50K to adopt a child from Russia, the only country in Europe that was still on our adoption radar. We knew if our child was in Russia, God would provide the finances. Finally, we rested on the idea that God was using the enormous, outrageous Russian adoption fee as a road-block. He then led us to Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia there are approximately 4.6 million children missing one or both parents.

1 in 10 children die before their first birthday.

1 in 6 children die before age 5.

Our hearts now break for Ethiopia as well.

Jesus says in Matthew 25:35-40
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

I recently read a book by Katie Davis called, Kisses from Katie. Upon graduating high school, she traveled to Uganda for a 10 month commitment to teach kindergarten at an orphanage. As she walked her students home from school, she was shocked to see how many more children were wandering the streets, searching for food instead of learning how to read and write. She learned there were very few affordable public schools in Uganda, and none in the area where she was working.
Eventually God lead Katie to begin a child sponsorship program. She named it Amazima, which means “truth” in Lugandan. The ministry provides school tuition, school supplies, and meals for hundreds of children in her village…. similar to Compassion International.

One day, Katie made her way into a dangerous village where the people had been ostracized by other Ugandans and forced to live on government land. Unable to continue their farming lifestyle, the women turned to prostitution for income.
Eventually, Katie made friends with the Karamajong people and taught a group of women how to make paper-bead necklaces. Amazima pays the women a fair wage, then sells the necklaces in the States. A portion of the profits then go back into Amazima which, in turn, sponsors some of the Karamajong children.
Katie says she did not start out on a mission to live in Uganda indefinitely, to start a sponsorship program or to adopt 13 girls. She started by answering God’s call, one at a time. He opened her eyes to the problems around her, and she responded.

Each week, Katie drives the women of the bead group into the city where they deposit half of their earnings into savings accounts. The other half is enough to provide for their families. And more importantly, their families are staying together.
I share this story with you to show that adoption is not the direct solution to the orphan crisis. I love adoption. I suppose I will be an adoption advocate until the day I die. And if any of you feel called to adopt, Jonathan and I will be there to support you and will help you raise the funds, should you need it.

Today is Orphan Sunday. Yes, there are millions of children out there RIGHT NOW who need families. You may have actually heard that the number is 147 million. That count comes from UNICEF which defines an orphan as a child who has lost one or both parents. Not necessarily a child who is adoptable. However, that count does not include children who have been abandoned, such as the millions of girls abandoned in China, nor does it include children taken from unfit parents as is the story of many children in the U.S. foster care system. It also does not include the count from non-reporting countries such as those of the Middle East.

Whatever the count is, there are far too many. For those already in the count, adoption may be their only hope. Adoption is a beautiful picture of what God has done for us through His son. However, if we want a long term solution to the orphan crisis, we need more than adoption.

Amazima Ministires and Compassion International are just two organizations that focus on eradicating poverty, which in my opinion is the most senseless contributor to the orphan crisis. Our church is currently sponsoring 50 children through Compassion International and some families are sponsoring additional children. But we can still do more.

The word Christian comes from the Greek word christianos meaning, “follower of Christ.” Not just a friend of Christ, not an admirer of Christ, but follower of Christ. 70-80% of Americans claim to be Christians. What would the world look like if that many people who have been blessed by God with tremendous wealth and resources actually followed Christ instead of just reading about him?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dossier (pronoucned dos yay)

It's French for "a bundle of papers."

Our "bundle of papers" to send to Ethiopia is ready pending the home study. When my husband arrives home from work, we will do a triple check and then send them to our coordinator. I'm ready to get them out of my hands!

What's in our "bundle of papers?"

*birth certificates
*marriage certificates
*tax returns
*proof of life insurance
*proof of health insurance
*medical form
*power of attorney
*letter from our local police department stating they have never had to come to our house because of a domestic dispute (or other crime) yes, I am serious
*a few other minor papers, but you get the idea