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I had prayed for this day to come for 5 years. Once it came and I sat in it, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Emotions dwelling my being with a sense of confusion. Excitement for the stories that would come after the day was coming to an end. Sadness because the sounds had changed. It was quieter, this certain laughter and silliness was missing.

Five years ago God called me way out of my comfort zone and actually  into something I would have never been courageous enough to do on my own. My lack of confidence in myself, my own selfish desires and the many fears of just messing it all up would have never empowered me to do such a thing.

Sometimes in life God knows, wait let me change that, all the time in life God knows what is best for us. He knows what we are capable of. That is why He takes us to these crazy places and journeys we would never step into ourselves.

Many of you today may be like me 5 years ago stepping into an unknown journey. A journey set before you that quite frankly, fear has crept in waiting to cripple you from ever beginning. Doubt has began to steal your joy. Anger turned to bitterness that affects those around you because, well, this wasn’t your plan. I want to encourage you today in it all, that 5 years from now you will be quite amazed at the person you really are. There is a person inside of all of you that is waiting to be exposed. There is a person you never knew existed just waiting for the big reveal. There is so much more to you, to your person, than you can even imagine. Although many lies are whispering, be like a roaring lion protecting your cubs and jump into the battle claiming the victory within your mission. There is more to you. There is more in you.

Others of you are right where I am today. The day I have prayed for 5 years and are like, now what? I thought I wanted this. But when I began to pray for this 5 years ago I were a different person. Today I am changed because I not only accomplished but excelled along my journey and even came to love it day by day. You do not know what the next hour brings because things are so different. Change has injected your territory and again you may find yourself at a place of wonder. Be encouraged that although one journey has come to an end another one awaits to begin. Remember the past journey and leap into this next season with the confidence you were created to carry each day.

Kiki Post I have been changed forever through our last 5 years together as your mommy but even more so as your teacher. I was given the blessing of being in your presence learning from you daily for the past 1,825 days. Laughing together because neither one of us knew how to answer the problem, praying together for each other, praying for people we knew who were hurting or even friends that would be standing by your side on this very first day, today, having some really tough days and some really great ones as well, celebrating when it finally clicked and you learned the very same thing about yourself that God was teaching me (you can do this, there is more in you), days where we would need to show Grace over and over again. Realizing that we have spent 43,800 hours in these moments leaves me in awe. In awe I stand that HE chose us baby girl for that amazing journey together.

Today as you begin a new journey going to school for the first time in 5 years, since moving to  Ethiopia, I have so many mixed emotions. I am happy that God finally answered our prayers, as we waited not understanding why it was a no again,to getting into school although we had fasted. In that happiness comes a bit of sadness because I am going to miss absolutely everything about you. Yes, even the little messes you leave behind, my little messy princess. I know there will be days when I just wish I had to yell at you to remind you to do something you had quickly forgotten to do. Baby girl I have such a peace on this day knowing that this is exactly where you are supposed to be. I sit here thinking about what you are doing, what have you already lost, who you are laughing with, if you are brave enough to jump into conversations or if you are sitting on the sideline quietly waiting for someone to speak to you first, have you had the chance to go and love on the underdog today, the one that you noticed was made fun of or the one who is carrying a burden you can see? I can not wait for you to get home and just sit and listen to it all.

May our Heavenly Father look down and be pleased with your walk daily as you my brave warrior embrace this new adventure. May The Holy Spirit that dwells inside of you reveal to you so much more about yourself through this opportunity. May our sweet Jesus look down and say Good job my little brave one, good job.

I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

PS the very first thing I did when I got home was just go sit in your bed. Looking at your room, your things, your mess. Theory came in and we played on your bed. It just felt like that was the place we needed to begin our first day without you.

love,

Mommy

Image  —  Posted: August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

EYES, WIDE OPEN

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized
MAKE YOUR MARK

mymministries.org

Imagine a Kit Kat bar with only three bars. These bars are closely and tightly together and it takes you breaking them for them to come apart.

A normal street kid scene of theft would have been a bit louder, and silly to watch. You would have seen the street kid running around with a big grin on their face even in the midst of trouble. You would have seen others chasing him or even police around. Street kids would fight back. This kid was frozen with big brown eyes, stunned, like that of a deer in headlights. This situation was just way to serious.

Back to the Kit Kat, the men in their early 40’s dressed hip, and high off of some type of drug. They were on the outside and this young 13-year-old boy was in between them. In between them tightly knit, as a kit Kat bar. Each man had a hold of the little boys arms. There was no space in between from top to bottom. They were escorting him somewhere while threatening him with their words with each breath.

We had just gotten finished talking to a guard, an older guy that was outside one of the bars. He had seen Danny with us and just could not believe the person he was looking at. He kept grabbing him and drawing him close with great happiness of the new kid he was seeing.

You may wonder how Danny one of our street boys from the Day Center fits in the picture. Well Danny had left the MYM day center a day before to go see his friends on the streets. Danny has been off the streets now for about a month. We met Danny face to face and welcomed him with open arms. His words over and over again were I am sorry, I am sorry. He even wanted to call Trent and hear his voice. The most amazing thing we noticed about Danny was that he was not high. Typically a kid that we would see on the streets day in and day out, high as a kite was not high. God is changing him friends.

Did God possibly allow Danny to venture into the streets for about 18 hours so that we would be right there with Danny at that very specific moment so that the guard would be mesmerized by the new kid he was looking at just so that we would we see these two guys sandwiching in a 13 year old boy? I believe so. Even more magnificent there were a couple other events that kept us from going to do our night light ministry earlier that evening. Our daughter Amilly was late coming home by about 30 minutes and we didn’t want to leave without her. What about the very fact that we were leaving and I had our old Land Rover in reverse, our daughter had the gate open and I was ready to put the car in drive after backing it up and it wouldn’t go. I had to call my husband outside to work on the car so I would be able to put it in drive so we could go along our evening journey of outreach.

God is so into our minute’s friends. He is so into our seconds of every single day. Had we been a few minutes earlier we would not have seen the Kit Kat bar. Had we been seconds late this little boy would have been in a situation where he would have been raped and had his innocence robbed from him.

Each day you are given a breath and are disturbed or aggravated that things didn’t go perfect to your timing, remember that God may very well be intervening to protect you or someone else. Keep them EYES, WIDE OPEN.

His name is Abi and he is 13 years old. That morning Abi had left his mothers home for school. Started off as a normal day until he came home and his mom asked where his schoolbooks were, 2 of them to be exact. Out of fear he lied to his mom and said that his friend had them. Well she sent him off to his friend’s house to get the books. What really had happened is someone at school had stolen his books but he didn’t want his mom to worry. See they are a family living in poverty here in Addis. In standards of such that you would feel a bit uncomfortable even stepping foot into, what they call home, a room probably about the size of your smallest bathroom, if that. I am speaking of a state of poverty that makes American poverty look like a golden ticket. I mean this family would do anything to just be in the midst of your worst day, with all its problems. How could Abi possibly tell his mom that someone had stolen the books that she would have to pay for to replace that would mean that they wouldn’t eat for days, weeks, taking months to ever catch back up on the rent. So he lied and couldn’t go back now.

Seeing this frightened boy, the Spirit that lives within us told us to approach with boldness. We entered the personal space of this Kit Kat with power. Asking questions about the scene we were, now, involved in. These guys were saying something about they were walking and someone told them that he had stolen some cigarettes or something. We knew this would be a radically different scene if this were true. I went up to the young boy and tried to remove him from one of his predators. He willingly let go. The other guy held his right arm firmly. It wasn’t until this point that I really realized what was about to happen to this boy had we not been attentive and willing to act. I literally had to come in between his grip on this boys arm like a dentist in his patient’s mouth with pliers trying to remove a tooth that is just unwilling to budge.

When he was free I rushed him over to the steps and sat down with him just beginning conversation about what was going on. My team and I have looks that we give where The Spirit just speaks when we are unable to say any words and we act. My daughter Amilly and I sat on the steps with this boy and Danny and engaged to get the truth of the matter while Amy and Lydia pursued generic conversation with the guys and all the now civilian’s that are causing a crowd to see what was going on.

It was time to evacuate the scene. We have to do this quite often because, well, I am a foreigner, in a foreign land, with skin that is colored noticeably different than absolutely everyone around so, I get noticed, quite quickly, evern if I am covered from head to toe, hoody and all with nothing showing but my face. I was observing the guys behaviors and The Spirit confirmed to me that their story was a flat out lie. There was no one around trying to get anything from this lil guy of which he stole, NO ONE. These guys were in the streets looking for a child to take and rape. Abi would have been their victim on that night had we not intervened.

These are the stories that we have heard from time to time from our boys. Rich men coming into the streets or driving by with their cars promising you things to come with them. This case was just a forceful act.

We took Abi safely home to his moms house that night. She was so happy to see her son that she had previously been in the neighborhood and close by streets looking for hours and hours for her son. With tear filled eyes she held him. We described the scenario of what had happened that night to her so that she would understand the magnitude of what situation her son was rescued from. It was beautiful because Danny was able to share his story and his life on the streets for the past 8 years to the newbie. He is still at home with his mom and we are in continued contact with her to check on him.

Lets explore this word fear a bit. FEAR: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. It was Fear that caused Abi to run away from home so that he could protect his mom from the pain of having to pay for something that she didn’t have the money to pay for. It was fear that crippled him into going into an even darker place, the streets. He didn’t even realize where he was when we found him, for he had been wandering the streets for hours. It was fear that took him from a place of truth to a place of deceit.

What is it friends that you are allowing fear to do to you? God has not given us a Spirit of Fear but of POWER, LOVE, & SELF CONTROL. 2 Timothy 1:7 May we as children of the living GOD live our lives fearless.

~carmen post~

We must defend them: iDefend

We must defend them: iDefend

 

You know they say that God uses everything that happens to us for good. Up until this point I still had wondered, questioned and doubted this one particular issue that I had dealt with, going through years of sexual abuse by a woman, my day care worker who did things to me that I know now should only take place between a husband and wife.

 

One early morning when we were taking a street boy named Mikkious (who later became our son) to the bus station to go see his mom after being on the streets for several years,(only to find out she had died sometinme during the period of six years) we decided to go to one of our normal spots to wake up some street kids and take them to breakfast. It was in this gut wrenching moment that I knew the very reason God had possibly allowed the sin of another to intercede with my being as a 6-8 year old little girl.

 

We were at the spot where a group of about 12 street kids were huddled together under any type of material they could find to stay warm, for it was rainy season. We went and stood over them and just looked into their precious sleeping faces peering beyond the torn, stained, bug infested cloth. We anxiously awoke them gently, telling them to come and eat breakfast with us and then it happened, along with the 12 little street kids, they immersed like wallowing giants to my little girl again heart, two grown men. In this very blink of my eyes I knew exactly what had taken place, they were preying on these street kids and had abused them in the midst of their already dark, fearful worlds. This is the exact moment that I heard my Lord whisper “I will use your hurt and pain to bring justice to these very street kids, you must be patient and you must WAIT FOR ME”

 

Here we are a couple years later and I must admit it has been dreadful at times to sit and wait on God to put all the pieces together. Did I mention in that very moment I wanted to just kick their faces into the donkey poo that covered the ground I stood on and maybe just break their jaws while I was at it?

 

Just two weeks ago as I was on a date with my husband, ok so now-a-days we take them when we can even if it is riding in the car to get stuff for ministry just him and I. Romantic I know but even if you are not the romantic kind you will take what you can get. I told him these words “Babe I just don’t know how much longer I can just sit and do nothing.” See I had come to the point of ministry when I was literally drowning with the stories of our boys being raped by other men. My heart hurt and actually bled from the inside out. These were like pains of that of a mother unable to help her child from S-L-O-W-L-Y……… drowning in the middle of the ocean, so far away yet so close that she could see it all happening. I began to lose sleep over each story, each face, each tear and each name of that which He has brought to us.

 

The first cycle of street boys would come and they opened up about the abuse but mentioned it as a far away place, you know happening to all the other boys. The next cycle of street boys came in with more trust and began to pour out situations, names, places, people, groups of people and so forth. This group of boys comes in damaged, hurt and fearful of what may happen next. I go home each and every night and look into my eyes and thank God that they are not the forgotten (NO MORE) street kids that are enduring physical sexual abuse of a grown mans penis’s going into their anus. Boys that are my Gavins age, YOUR KIDS AGE, YOUR GRAND-CHILDRENS AGE, this is happening to and I refuse to sit back and let it happen!

 

God knows our time bombs, you know those minutes when you are about to explode and just react because you can’t freaking wait any longer on the sidelines. You are ready willing and anxious to jump in that game and get a VICTORY for the sake of THESE. Its game time baby and God knew it before I even said the words to my husband.

 

This week HE reacted so I didn’t have to. A huge bust took place that only God could have ordained in the manor that it did. We at Make Your Mark Ethiopia lead police to the predator’s home. They went in at the wee hours of the morning to the predators house and found around 70 street kids in his home, took him to jail and are holding him currently.

 

I try so hard to imagine what this scene was like and even with my experience of drugs (before Christ) and darkness I just can’t get even picture the smallest glimpse of the reality of the terror that was embarked by a shimmer of light. I imagine a drug addict, because that is what these kids are in their captivity of huffing glue lingering like crack addicts at the mercy of this man to just get one more huff so that they do not feel the pain any longer of this life they were given, willing to do whatever it takes to get one more hit, huff, high so that they may escape their reality which wants to keep them in bondage forever destroying their very purpose here on earth. For I know, I have been there.

 

My emotions are a freaking disaster; I can become unplugged from conversations in a split second because my mind is always wandering back. My desire is to see these kids begin the healing process, you know that relief that comes when you realize you are no longer a prisoner to yourself or someone else’s control. The fear begins to creep in whispering “you know you are in a country filled with corruption and I will do everything possible to set him free so that he can finish what he has begun in destroying these kids lives.” Then another whisper interrupts reminding me that “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there should be no fear; only hope and redemption., for it is who I AM.”

 

I am literally in a war zone between reality of what is taking place and finding a peace in realizing who God is and what He can do THE BROKEN, THE HURT, THE LITTLE BOYS BEING RAPED BY MEN just as HE did me, a little girl being robbed of my innocence from a woman that I am sure, that was only doing to me what was done to her. DAMN IT we must brake these chains and rebuild these kids, rebuild this system that was put in place to protect them and those who are silently sitting in places of despair because they know a dirt little secret and are doing nothing, or they themselves are being victimized.

 

Lord I know I am supposed to pray for this piece of crap here on earth that he may come to know you but I just can’t right now, not in this moment. I hear your truth, I promise. Please allow me time to process and actually see the healing and power of your blood in each of these boys lives and then I will submit and pray for him that will be captured and unable to hurt YOUR little street kids that you have prepared for greatness. Rise those precious little ones sweet Jesus just as you yourself rose from death to life for the Gospel to be REAL.

 

I give my life to you JESUS for this purpose no matter where in the world you take me, to be a voice. ……………Can you hear me???????

 

~carmen post~

founder & executive director

Literally the pile of kids I am referring to

Literally the pile of kids I am referring to

 

 

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http://www.mymministries.org/#!ourteam/cyg

 

MAKE YOUR MARK

MAKE YOUR MARK

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Have you ever been in the midst of God and he just does something you never even thought of, something immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. That is where I found myself today with Abdul and his mom.

 

We all ventured off to meet the Doctors to see if they would be able to do surgery on Abdul’s face. This has been a request of his for the past 4 years. This has been a prayer I have prayed for the past 4 years. This is a prayer that many of you have prayed with us along this AllOut journey.

 

Waiting for hours and hours, five to be exact, to see the doctors could have been the most precious time that Abdul and his mom experienced. We arrived to the center where patients who had surgery previously awaited to be checked out from the Doctors and prospect patients like us that sat in wonder of what the answer would be.

 

I watched Abdul react to the others and was so curious to all that he was thinking in that brain of his. His head shook, his mouthed moved as he spoke to himself in disbelief of what he was seeing. Abdul hid his face but this time it wasn’t to hide his face because of fear of what someone thought of him, instead he hid his face to hide his reaction to the many that walked by him looking unlike anything he had seen before. Much more different than his very own disfigured face that he wishes was normal like everyone else’s.

 

We saw faces that were missing noses, teeth that went on the outside of your face structure instead of behind the closed doors of our lips and mouth. Faces that were missing half of itself, faces that had dropped square structures that went down to the chest, faces, faces that were swollen and elongated looking as if it had been at war with thousands of wasps. Faces that were missing chins, faces that had to be what looked like a third eye that was growing dimensionally, faces that had been restructured so that the they could chew, swallow and speak, faces hidden behind scarves scared to reveal what the world would view as frightening.

 

Abdul went to meet with the team of different surgeons. We prayed, we shook, and we waited with anticipation of what the answer would be. One thing we knew was that we trusted that God’s will would be done above all else. He came out and the first thing he mentioned was that he didn’t have fat on his belly lifting up his shirt to show us his shallow stomach. We were a bit confused so we waited to speak with the surgeons directly.

 

Due to each having a specialty we got a few different answers. The fat Abdul was referring to was: that one option would be that they could take fat and put it into his cheeks to raise them. Another’s opinion was that it wouldn’t be permanent and would go back to normal. The cranium surgeon that would be bale to take the bone from either his skull or ribs to put into his face had an emergency surgery two days before the trip and was unable to make it. After hearing all this we talked with Abdul and told him all the above and that the surgery wasn’t going to be able to take place this time and we would come back again in January. Then I connected eyes with the surgeon behind the person I was speaking with. I watched his lips say do not give false hope. That was al I needed to hear. All of the confusion had been nipped in the bud. I went to him and begin to ask for bold answers from him.

 

By his response I told Abdul that surgery just wasn’t the best option for him period at this time. With shaking hands, great disappointment and tears slowly creeping down his missing cheeks, we all felt his pain within our veins trembling through our bodies. We sat for a while before leaving and processed all that we had saw and what took place inside of us that would change us forever.

 

It wasn’t Abduls face that god changed it was something much more precious and world changing, his heart. He shared with us about how he looked at all the people that were there with us realizing that they had it worse off than he did. Then he said it……….”I am the normal one. “ All this lil guy has wanted in his whole entire life was to be normal and today he felt that for the very first time in the deepest most inner parts of his soul.

 

Today we ended our long emotional day all praising God. We went back to the original truth we spoke to Abdul 4 years ago when he gave his heart to Jesus.

 

Psalms 139 13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

17How precious are your thoughts about me,O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18I can’t even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

 

God is into changing hearts more than He is faces. Thank you for all who have prayed for this special moment. It was more than perfect and left an indention in this families heart that empowers them to be courageous and fearless. A mom who abandoned her son at birth because of his deformity was called to the simplest form with her child today and is so proud to say he is beautiful. A son who has always wanted to have a normal face realizing for the first time that THIS IS HIS NORMAL.

Pray for Abdul

Posted: October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Many of you have been following our journey with this precious guy for the past four years. For those who are new to his story here is a quick overview.  Abdul was born to a Muslim family. Due to his disfigurement he was given away for his grandmother to raise. He grew up thinking his grandmother was his mom. When Abdul was 12 his grandmother died revealing a whole new secret, he had a family and the mother that had nurtured him, loved him and cared for him although the rest of his community looked down upon was really his grandmother. Abdul moved up from the countryside to live with his family. A mother, a father, and 5 siblings. His heart was confused and hurt and now living in the city he would come in contact with many new people that would look, stare, point and avoid. Soon his father would die leaving his mother a widow with 6 children.

Fours years ago is when God crossed our paths with this guy. As soon as I saw him tucking his head in between his shoulders, wishing to vanish at the pure existence of his being, I was drawn to HIM. The Holy Spirit called me to go and love on him. It was rainy season and my boots were muddy so they could use a good cleaning by this bashful shoe shiner. The moment I sat down you could tell he was uncomfortable. I just sat and smiled at his beauty for what seemed a lifetime. Beginning to ask questions I learned a bit about my new friend. I went into his world and began to build a relationship with him.

Abdul began to come to our house to get a basic need met, hunger.  His trips became more often, leading up to this Muslim boy coming to our bible studies. Always always hiding behind his hands I recognized my new friends shame. We began to share Gods truth with him about how he is perfectly and wonderfully made. It was beautiful to watch the glimmers of hope  become real inside the twinkle of his eye. His hands began to slither down to his sides revealing he was comfortable and trusted us to love him just the way he was. He soon would give his life to Jesus. Normally this would be an exciting time for the individual but for Abdul it was very scary because the rest of his family followed Alla.  Never did we expect this timid one to go home and immediately share that he gave his life to Jesus. The result of him sharing became a threat to being a part of his family. His mother threatened to kick him out and said that he could not follow Jesus. Since then it has been a peaceful roller coaster so to speak. His mom later changed her mind saying it was ok to follow Jesus but not to influence the family in that way. Mom has allowed us share the bible to her littles. We assured her we would only focus on the common ground of what was common in the bible and Koran.

Over the years the pressure from the Muslim community watching this young boy walk into a church began to stir up some concerns. So Abdul began to be a pleaser for the sake of his family and theirs and his safety. He began going back to the Mosk, meeting for prayer times only this time something ha changed, his heart. He is secretly doing all these things worshipping his sweet Jesus. He often goes through time of fear, doubt, and the unknown like any baby believer. through all of this God gave us vision early in our time with our friend. That we should pursue seeking a Doctor that could do surgery on his face. SO for the past 4 years we have prayed and sought as much as we could from 8,000 miles away from American territory. We have had a couple friends give suggestions and even did some footwork but it was always a no to the capacity of what we could do being so far away.

So the purpose of this blog is to share some exciting news that we need covered in full prayer: So God does crazy things right?  We have prayed for 4 years for God to open a door for Abdul to get surgery. Do you hear me??? 4 years we have prayed and taught Abdul to pray and keep asking for Jesus to do this for him. I had posted in an fb group here in Addis seeking a private clinic for one of our girls because the care we had been receiving over the past 2 years was pathetic and I was at my wits end. A man that saw my post sent me a message to my inbox on facebook. Due to the fact we were not friends it went to my outbox and I didn’t get it for a month. Once I saw it we began to communicate about our love  for Ethiopia and what we each did in this country. Well he is the founder of an organization called Facing Africa http://www.facingafrica.org/ that comes to Ethiopia twice a year to do surgery on kids faces with Noma.

Noma (cancrum oris) is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face. The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of 6, caught in a vicious circle of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition.

 

So I mentioned Abdul to him. I sent hime pictures and he sent them to his cranium surgeon who identified Abduls disease as Treacher Collins Syndrome.

Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS), also known as Treacher Collins–Franceschetti syndrome,[1] or mandibulofacial dysostosis,[2] is a rareautosomal dominant congenital disorder characterized by craniofacial deformities, such as absent cheekbones.[3]:577 Treacher Collins syndrome is found in about 1 in 50,000[4] births. The typical physical features include downward-slanting eyes, micrognathia (a small lower jaw), conductive hearing loss, underdeveloped zygoma, drooping part of the lateral lower eyelids, and malformed or absent ears.

And guess what, at the time the team of surgeons, dr’s, and nurses would be arriving in Addis in 2 weeks. Well today we are just 2 days away from our meeting time with them. On Saturday we along with Abdul’s mom will take him to meet the surgeons face to face and see if they will be able to do the surgery here in Addis Ababa. It would be a very complex surgery and could be 6-8 hours possibly. If they are able to do the surgery they would take bone from his skull, or his ribs and put them into his face for cheek bones.

From the beginning when we met Abdul we had a vision of him getting surgery, his family recognizing Jesus as the source of making this happen and turning straight to Him giving Him all the praise. We also saw a Muslim community that knew Abdul in his disfigurement and standing in awe of what was now before them. In time we saw Abdul being brave enough to tell all who opened this great door of opportunity.

We do not know what will happen when we go to meet the doctors on Saturday. It could be a yes or it could be a no. But what i do know is that God is the only one who could write a story of this magnitude. If they say yes Abdul will have one day to return and get operated on. He would stay at the facility until he was free from infection and healing was in process. So pray with us friends. We are walking through this open door with so much excitement at what could happen. If its Gods will pray that it happens. If it is not the will of God pray that He closes this door as soon as we step foot in. We are freaking out in so many exciting and nervous ways. We can’t wait to share with you what happens.

~carmen~

 

 

Be the long term solution to a big problem.

Its super easy for us to see a shoe with parts of it missing and holes in it and respond, “How can I get this kid a pair of shoes?” That’s a quick fix. We can be in and out with no commitment and pat ourselves on the back and think that we have done something great for the world. That’s great and all and we are glad that you have that instant gratitude in helping an immediate need. However we at Make Your Mark have a different solution to this hole in the shoe.

We at Make Your Mark are not about quick fixes. For when you simply put a band aid on the problem its only a matter of time before it oozes with goo again waiting for another band aid that may or may not be available. When we throw quick solutions like buying another pair of shoes for the kid.. See it will not be long before that street kids shoe gets another hole in it. He steps on some metal that cuts his foot, which begins that gooey, bloody process all over again.

That new pair of shoes was great and looked good for a few days at most with a street kid, however that instant I feel good about myself because I have new shoes with no holes vanishes in the blink of an eye. It takes so much more work to really help a street kid. It takes time, energy, prayer, commitment and money. That’s what we at Make Your Mark do with each kid HE brings to us. We do not do this to feel good and more than feel good moments, we have shedding tears moments at the fight the enemy has going for this very kids soul, not sole.

So as we are grateful for your interest in fixing this problem with a kid who wonders around the street at night with a piece of his shoe missing, but we would much rather have you along for the journey, the long emotional, going to cost you a little more journey. We would love to have you cry with us, laugh with us and pray with us for each and every kid we serve. We challenge you to sacrifice with us and go deep instead of wide.

Please consider going deep with us by sacrificing a monthly donation. Some of you may feel the hurt financially and say I have no idea how I could even spare another penny. Guess what if you choose to give to build these kids DADDY will take care of you in crazy All-OUT ways. Because most of us can give up a few bucks a month so that a street kid can be fed twice a day and so much more, and so a family can keep their kid in their home with them where they belong instead of having no choice but to send them to the streets because they are too much of a burden to provide for. Then there are those of us who wouldn’t miss the dollars given monthly, we wouldn’t even notice I say. So how can we not give? How can we not?

Please consider partnering with Make Your Mark Ethiopia for the sake of the street kids and the families that want to keep their kids with them but may be on the edge of losing them due to their poverty status. Its not because they are not working, I promise, every single one of our Keeping Kids Home families work and do all that they can to earn what you and I would surely die from if in this position. TOGETHER we can do more than we can ever do alone.

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Street Kids are real.

Street Kids are real. Here is a pile of them sleeping in the wee hours of the morning.

Nothing could have prepared my heart for what I witnessed last night during our Night Light Ministry. This is where we go in the spiritually dark streets to build relationships with street kids, trusting that God will lead us to His chosen ones for us to build up through Make Your Mark Ethiopia. You would think by now with all that I have seen and experienced I would have seen it all but last night proved that to be incorrect.

As we began our journey we met with the officers to let them know that we, MYM were here. Hoping that they would be less violent to the kids when we are around. Our goal is to partner with them and actually shine a glimpse of hope in their eyes for the street kids so that they can see that they too can be used to love, encourage and help Their street kids, instead of the other routes that they choose.

As we get to one of our regular meeting spots I immediately am surrounded by many street kids, greeting me with hand shakes, hugs, smiles, and some is dazes from huffing the glue. Others giggled as they practiced their English and I practiced my Amharic. I couldn’t help but keep looking to my left. It was dark so I really couldn’t see if what I thought I was seeing really was.

Imagine this with me please. There are about 4 dogs gathered around, I could easily see that the dogs were biting this 2 foot skeletal back bone of some sort of animal possibly a goat or cow. There was very little meat left on this fresh bone. In the middle of these dogs squatted a little boy with a dark hooded jacket covering his head so all you could see was his silhouette. My curiosity wondered what this kid was doing. Then I saw it, with all of his weakened strength he had some type of sharp object in his right hand, probably a rock, while holding the bone with his left sawing away at the bone scavenging for a sliver of meat; a child eating with the dogs, on a bone of another animal in the dark, dirty streets.

I grabbed my daughter Amilly and with disbelief asked her to bring him to me. We talked to him and got his story. This kid that is eating with the dogs has a name, its T. He is tall, very slender with a contagious smile and beautiful lashes stretched to his eyebrows, you know the kind that every woman would love to have.

When we began to talk to T I could not believe that the same boy that was in the streets eating raw meat off a bone with the dogs was able to have such an intelligent conversation with us. The two were no match for sure. I have seen street boys bond with dogs but never quite like this, Normally the boys will let the dogs nibble the bugs out off their scalps for them or be cuddled up close to them as they sleep together at night in the dark, cold streets as if they were best friends, protecting one another but never have I seen a child eating with the dogs, on a gnawed bone.

T grew up with his mother and father and the family was good, his father was a Christian he tells us. But things took a quick turn when his father died. His mom began to worship the evil one. She practices witchcraft in the evilest of ways. She began to beat him and abuse him in many different ways. Others that would be around would abuse this kid in unthinkable ways. So he ran away to the streets a couple times actually. Each time coming to the streets begging saving his money and taking it to his mom in hopes that she would be proud of him, want him or even love him. Each time the abuse grew deeper and deeper. So deep that he would think about going to live with other people. The words he spoke next pierced our beings to a new understanding of our new friend. “If my very own mom will do the things that she has done to me then surely anyone else would too”.

T is scared of the whole human race because of what the people have done to him. Of course the kid was hungry and that is why he was trying to get just a sliver of raw meat off that bone to fill his bare tummy. But here is another observation. He was down there eating dinner with the dogs because he trusts them, they will not hurt him.

When going into the streets you cannot just feed the street kids. If you were to do this you would be met with a chaotic stampede that would leave many wounded. So secretly our son Belay took this hungry child and fed him. Upon his return I spent the next few hours watching this little one. His interaction with these dogs was so pleasant. He played chase with them up and down the streets. He gave them piggyback rides on his back; he held their legs up as if to dance the night away. It was quite disturbing in its magnificence. Please know that this kid was not high like most of the kids that you would expectedly see acting in such a manner.

As I pondered through all of this I came up with two conclusions. One is that this severely abused, mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually almost 13 year old boy found a peace in the streets among the dogs because they simply would not hurt him. He was safer with them than he had been in a very long time with any human species. Seeing how smart this kid was I also noticed the huge difference in the boy that was eating off a bone, that glanced up at me when I was tearfully watching him act as an animal, looking up at me with no shame and continued on with the dogs to be quite different than the boy we were communicating with. Is this a spiritual thing where his demon-worshipping mother cast her demons on him or was it just a mental issue? My spirit inside me tells me its demonic because the two were so drastically different. When our son Belay communicated with him about eating off the bone with the dogs it was almost as if there was no remembrance of this very event.

Even though mentally this is too much for my human mind to comprehend I am glad that God brought us to this boy in just the time to see what He had planned for us to see. We will continue to meet with T and see if there is anything we can do to love him, serve him and build him. Please pray for him with us.

~carmen~

Here is how you can help us help T and many more street kids like him. Partner with us financially at Make Your Mark Ethiopia by becoming a stability partner (monthly donor) or with a one-time gift . Read below to see some of what we do.

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  • Make Your Mark House (Drop-in Center): The big idea here is creating an environment where the children build a desire within themselves to want to change. We do this through providing two healthy meals, showers, basic needs, washing their clothes, basic education, play therapy through sports-art -games, counseling, life skill trainings and more. Currently we are serving 15 boys 5 days a week. We keep these numbers small because we believe in going a mile deep instead of mile wide. To bring a street kid to the Day Center about $100.00 a month
  • Placing the Lonely in Families – PLF (family base care for street/orphaned children) : These homes are a place of continuing rehabilitation, which have an Ethiopian husband & wife ,being dad & mom to boys from the street. The boys will have first shown they’re ready by their efforts in the drop-in center. The purpose of the home is prepare the boys for family living, whether that be reintegration with their families or adopted/foster care with an Ethiopian Family or just growing up in this home. The purpose of a dad & mom is to show these boys how God has designed family and to give them an example of what their future family can be like. We currently have one home open with 4 boys and hope to open another in the next couple months. Sept.-Oct. 2014 Our goal is to open 2-3 of these a year. To sponsor a home is around $800.00 a month.
  • Keeping Kids Home –KKH (orphan/street kid prevention): Most children become orphans or are in the streets because the family was so poor. We come beside families living in extremely materially poor conditions to help keep their children home. We initially provide educational needs, tutoring, and family counseling and for the most malnourished some food supplements are provided. The Make Your Mark House is also used on Saturday’s and after school for tutoring and library work. Our long-term goal for each family is to become self-sustainable materially, relationally and spiritually. We are currently serving 85 children with their families. This cost us 50.00 a month per child.

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Posted: June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

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As my team and I prepared to go on our Night Light visits my soul began to creep into the reality of what these visits do to me. They shake me, they break me and the empower me to be a voice for the forgotten ones of the world. I had a friend once say “Carmen you guys are always asking for money.” After nights like the one I experienced last night, the ones before that and the ones to come, I will always ask for money to help them.  After each day I know that some of our boys at the center are ready to be placed in our next step which is a transition home and we have to send them back to the streets because we have no place for them to go because of money I will always ask for them.

Covered as much as I could be besides covering my face I was clothed in disguise. My hooded sweatshirt hiding my locks and my hands in my pockets trying to make that I was a white girl not as obvious to those who would be looking wondering why we have stopped to talk to “those kids.” Every single time I stop and talk to a street kid it attracts attention even to the one who is looking from behind and can’t tell the color of my skin. There is something mysterious about these children to the locals yet something frightening as well that keeps them from being the ones to stop and getting to know their names, their stories and why they call the streets home.

It never fails we always get some drunk guy that just loves to shout and scream drawing more attention to us. Last night there was a group of 6 of us. The one guy just kept on and on. While I was squatting down talking to these two boys my team was radically engaging in conversation with this drunk man trying to occupy his mind while we were learning who these two precious kids were.  As the conversations above me continued to get heated and louder I decided to remove myself from this group and let our son Belay take over in conversation with these boys.

I walked away with our daughter Amilly and it wasn’t long and a little about 7-8 year old boy came running saying “Carmen, Carmen.” I recognized him from the time I spend in the streets getting to know them, feeding them, praying with them and encouraging them. A lot of the kids have wondered where I have been because they have not seen me in a while. Once I got pregnant I was extremely sick and obviously couldn’t hide my hippopotamus belly so it has been a long while since I have been to see my friends, HIS children, THE ONES He loves and has so much purpose for.

It felt good to be back in the streets using my God given gifts to LOVE All-OUT. Please do not confuse the feeling of good as easy or accepted. It wouldn’t take long and the comments would be yelled from the windows “You white girl, why are you here?” “You can’t help these kids you are wasting your time.”  My response to them is always the same I stand and boldly ask “Would you like to help us help them?” The answer is always the same “NO.”

These were just a couple of the comments that I could understand because they were in English. I can’t even imagine the things that were being yelled at me that were in Amharic. The very thing that God has called you to just because you love it does not mean that you will not hurt; it does not mean that it will not be painful and wreck you every single time. However what it does mean is that He will do a great work through you if you are willing. Thank you God for making me, well me for your purpose and plan for the street kids of the world specifically in this moment Addis Ababa Ethiopia, thank you for always being my strength in my very weakness that strengthens me stronger than ever before in moments where I want to just cave in and crumble to pieces.

I heard my daughter Amilly’s voice “Carmen do you see him, it is him, it is Abraham.” I turned around and here was our boy walking up the street I could not believe it. Even with my glasses on I still could not believe this was him. He had grown so much since our last encounter. He stood at least 5”5 now, that same BIG beautiful smile, no shoes, and a very over sized faded green sweatshirt that was stretched badly probably from a fight or a getaway of some sort. His clothes were filthy and you could hardly recognize that they once were a color. He had a long cape like material draped over himself that reminds me so much of the mentally ill street adults that walk around the streets helpless with no clue of anything that is going on around them. We ran towards each other and just held each other for what seemed like minutes in my heart. ( There is so much history here, To read about our journey with Abraham please read previous written blogs) Our boy has chosen to live a life on the streets and ran away from home for the last time almost a year ago. Although it hurts like crazy I love when God specifically crosses our paths. I know He is not yet done with Abraham.  We are praying that when we are able to bring in our next cycle of street boys that he is ready to be one of them.

During the time in this specific area that probably makes hell look a little more warming I had to defend the street kids we were with. Each cop that would walk by would have their billy stick ready to hit and attack the kids. Not knowing who I was I would turn around and step in front of the kids. Pleading to the cops that there was no problem with them and thanking them for not hurting them. This happened at least three times had I not stepped in front the kids would have gotten beaten right there out in front of everyone. This is why we have to defend them.  iDefend.

We continued to move on because you really can’t stay in one place for long or some very powerful forces from the dark side will join in and try to take over. They are really scary situations that by the power and protection of Jesus we seem to make it through safely each time. You feel the Holy Spirit nudge you when it is time to move. This is why we have follow up visits and begin building relationships. Our Night Light visits are simply to be a light in the darkness to his chosen ones. We had a follow up visit today from one of the boys we met last night. His name is Roba please begin to pray for him by name.

As we are walking we see this huge fire in the middle of the roundabout. It wouldn’t be long before we realized why it was there. The next group of street kids we stopped to talk to let us know that the police had just taken all their belongings and burnt them. Not that they had much but a dirty smelly bug infested blanket at night to keep you somewhat warm in the cold rainy night is worth gold to them. And now they had nothing it was gone all because of what?

We had two of our Make Your Mark  street boys with us Abi and Santayo. It was beautiful to see Santayo talking to some of the street kids and explaining what it was that was different in his life. Even though these boys still live in the streets there is something different in them and it is visible to the others. Since coming to the day center one of them has given his life to Jesus and the other is not far from it. Change is taking place and we are in awe of our Father in heaven for who He is and what He is doing.

The absolute hardest part of this night was when it was time to leave. We were now at another location with about 20 boys huddled up together under the bus stop. We had to leave Abi and Santayo behind. When I met these boys 2-2/12 years ago they were just like the ones we had seen throughout the night, all of them. But not tonight, tonight they were different. They do not belong on the streets anymore. After being with us at the day center these boys are ready to be taken off the streets and yet I had to drive away holding back tears as I waved and blew them kisses goodbye.

The reason why they are still on the streets is because we are waiting for funding for our first transition home. This will be a home where the boys who we feel are ready for the next step and truly desire change in their lives will come off the streets and live with an Ethiopian husband and wife. This couple will be mom and dad to these boys. Each boy will have a special need that we will meet uniquely. Some boys will be going to school in the fall, some will learn a trait that they can begin working and save money to get their own place to live, some will be receiving counseling and being prepared to be reunified with their families. Ones that are truly orphans will be prepared to become part of a family learning through our transition home how a family functions then prayerfully will be adopted.

The monthly amount needed for our transition home is $772.00 This will include the rent of the home, food, water , electric, all school fees for kids and uniforms,  medical care for the kids, salary for one of the parents while the other continues to go to their job, any outings, hygiene materials, counseling and training. This is for about 8 boys and house parents. There will also be a one-time set up cost to get the things needed for the home that will be around $3,158.62.

So here I am again you know the one who is always asking for money asking YES again. These boys have needs and deserve and have shown us and our staff that they are ready to come off the streets. Will it be perfect absolutely not but we know it will be good, His plan with these children to love them, teach them who He is to them and build them up for great purposes and use them to change their country and possibly the world if they are willing. As long as my Heavenly Father has me in a position to be an advocate for the orphaned and street kids of the world I will always ask. Please do not get tired of me asking but yet grateful to be a part of what DADDY is doing in and through your sacrificial giving.

iDefend

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Together weDefend

~carmen~

 

Both Abi & Santayo are being sent to the streets every night until we can open our transition home.

Help us get these boys off the streets. They are ready.

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While the international adoption world here in Ethiopia has become unstable, uncertain and its future unclear. There are many families left waiting, worrying, trusting and hoping for God speed that the walls would come down. During these times we tend to lean towards blaming governments, systems, big name organizations and much more; but let me bring another view from the dark side of adoption.

Before I begin let me say I highly support international adoption as it is a small part of the solution for the worldwide orphan crisis. I am a forever dad to a beautiful 11 yr. old Ethiopian princess. I live in Ethiopia rehabilitating street children and training local families for domestic adoption. Adoption gives the watching world the clearest real life picture of what Christ did on the cross for us and that is why our enemy attacks it so.

We have an enemy that cannot create, that is God’s job; he can only distort what has already been written into place. Let us remember that he does disguise himself as an angel of light, good and pure at the beginning. And that is just what he’s done to many mothers, fathers and families here in Ethiopia and all over the world. Let me share my experiences over the last couple of days to bring light into the darkness and hopefully more peace and patience into your adoption process.

Make Your Mark Ethiopia works toward rehabilitating street children and then reunifying them with bio-family or into a local Ethiopian family. We also have a preventative action plan which is “Keeping Kids Home”, where we come alongside the poorest of the poor families to provide what is needed for their children to stay home and not be on the streets begging. I’ve sat in some of the most distressed homes during our home visits, in which we evaluate each families need. While they are living in some of the poorest conditions in the world, they highly value family and life.

This week we met 12 of our families to gather information and take photos of the children for office purposes. When it came time for one of the mothers to sign the paper that was  just stating the information she gave was true, she stopped and lifted her pen from the paper. Her next statement pierced my heart and opened my eyes, she said; “I’m not giving my son away, he’s not going to be taken from me!”…………………………………………………. We assured her this wasn’t the case, but this messed me up for the next couple of days.

Then two days later came the time to show our first expression of God’s love towards them by providing them with about half of their monthly food needs. As they walked in they all had this distressed look upon their faces, but I thought it’s just normal for this culture and poverty environment. As we informed them of what all the bags of food and oil were for, they all praised God and gave blessing and thanks to us. It was an encouraging & joyful moment for us until the next response came out. These 6 mothers express their relief as they thought our end goal was to take their children from them to a faraway place. My tears of joy turned quickly to tears of pain, hurt and anger as I realized what millions of moms all over the world have lost. Once again we reassured them that the best place for their children is with them and the best love for the children is their LOVE not some else.

While adoption/orphan care is powerful and biblical, there is an evil lurking to kill and destroy. There are those who intentionally prey on these vulnerable children and families. They feed upon innocents, weakness, the uneducated and the desperate; they convince, bride, lie, cheat and steal to make a dollar off these children, actually millions of dollars.   There is also those who unintentionally feed this monster, as they push and demand for their children to come home or for faster placements because the wait is just killing them. The latter of these two has good intentions and does this with a heart of love, but unknowingly motivates more activity from the first.

I’ll close with this, while I know it’s tremendously hard to wait for your forever child or even waiting months upon months into years just to get a placement. Know that measures are being taken to make sure mothers don’t lose the ones they love. There are so many mothers and families in this world who never wanted their baby’s to leave. Just this morning I laid in the bed holding my new gift from God, a precious 1 month old boy. I thought about how what if he was taken from me and I never saw him again. My heart hurts for the ones who had them slyly slipped out of their arms and into a pool of profit and gain. So, as you wait, please don’t rant, rave and demand from your agency as this only throws fuel on the fire of evil profiteers looking to meet the demand. Turn your waiting into prayer for the moms who unwilling miss pieces of their hearts and pray for effective systems to be put into place that guards against such evil acts. And through it all, just WAIT………………………………………..

DSC_0040A picture speaks 1,000 words….. This was taken right at the beginning, before we informed them of what we were doing.

And then after…..

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Wait, Pray and Trust!

A Grateful Father of 3 + 9

Remembering the very first moment I heard that I was adopted and that the one I thought was my “real mom” wasn’t left me devastated. I was just a little 8 year old that had just had her world turned upside down due to the events that had taken place the week before and now these words would change my life forever.

What you are about to read is from our unfinished yet overdue book of our lives.

It was late at night and everyone was asleep.  Mom and my brother were in the bed and I was just down the hall; I had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room.  The intruder crept around quietly knowing all details of our home.  Every night I would usually get up and get some water from the faucet in the kitchen sink.  My mom must have heard a noise because she began to say my name “Carmen is that you”?   Not a sound came from the kitchen.  Again in a very sleepy voice she said “Carmen honey, are you getting water”?   Still nothing she must have just had a feeling that someone was in there.

Having that gut wrenching feeling that moms always have when they know that something is going on that shouldn’t be; she got out of bed and walked quietly and slowly in the kitchen.  It was so quiet that she could actually hear her own heart beating as if it would pop out of her chest at any moment.  What she saw next sent her into a deep desperate fear.

There he stood standing in our kitchen.  My dad had broken into our home through the window in my little brother’s room.  We had changed the locks earlier so we knew he did not have a key.  I had been oblivious to what was going on while my little mind was fast asleep.  Due to the fears that had been imbedded in my heart as a child I was a very light sleeper.  I woke up slightly with my eyes squinting not wanting to look like I was awake.  I watched as my dad carried my mother over his shoulders out of the house.  Was I dreaming, how could this be?? I began shaking as if I were outside naked in the North Pole.

I began to hear my mom’s precious voice pleading with him.  His voice began to get loud and I could hear the tears dripping down my mom’s face through the sadness in her voice.  I got up from the couch and walked into the small little sunroom that you had to walk through to exit our home.  To the right it was lined with beautiful flowers.  At the time there was nothing beautiful about the place I found myself standing.   My heart began racing as I got up enough courage to open the screen door that separated just inches between me, my mom and my dad.

As I carefully cracked the door opened not wanting anyone to know I was there I saw my mom lying on her back in the flower bed.  My dad’s gorilla sized body over top of her with a knife cutting her throat.  My sweet innocent mom must have heard me and looked my way with weak desperate eyes.  Saying in a low courageous voice “Carmen go inside please everything will be okay”.

Not knowing what to do I listened to my mom.  I cautiously allowed the screen door to close.  I ran up the hall as fast as I possibly could grabbing the phone off the wall.  Breathing heavily and crying I called 911.   All I could do was scream out “My dad just killed my mom please help” I remember the operator asking me my address. In that moment time froze.  My mom had been teaching me my address since I could talk now all of the sudden nothing would come out of my mouth. I began to mumble numbers but they just weren’t making since.   I could not remember my address from my zip code.   I was getting them mixed up.  This was a time before your information instantly popped up on a screen.  Panicking I hung up the phone; I had a thought I could call my mom’s best friend down the street.  I could definitely remember her number.  I dialed the number, the phone began to ring and then I heard him coming.

My heart literally stopped beating.  I was frightened, I was trembling and I was just a little girl that had no idea what to do next.  I hung up the phone and ran directly into my mom’s bed and hid under the covers.  Scared that he would see me moving I remember vividly trying not to breath.  He was standing in the same room as I was.  I heard him get something and pick up the phone.  He had called my uncle Kenny and said “I just killed Luray, I am going to take her to a dump yard and then I am going to kill the kids and myself”.

He hung up the phone leaving my uncle no time to convince him otherwise.  As he walked down the hall I woke up my little brother and said “I think daddy just killed mommy be still”.  I remember holding him tightly and just crying trying to be the brave big 8 year old sister.  He was 5 at this time so I am not sure how much of what I was saying that he understood.  His small tiny little voice would often say “can we go get mommy”?  “No not yet just wait a little while longer and we will get her” I promised.

What my dad had done was slit my mom’s throat from her left ear to the middle of her neck.  Throwing her in the back of his blazer then running in the house to make the call would be the last time he would be able to ever hurt my mom again.  While he was in house my mom got out of the back blazer that had big ole red neck tires on it.  With her neck dangling to right she somehow crawled up our very steep driveway and to the front door of our neighbors house.  Knocking on the door desperately for help my mom never gave up.

Most people would have been defeated through this all but not my mom.  I think it is very possible that GOD sent HIS angels and they lifted her to a place of safety until the ambulance and police could get to her.  There is no way physically possible that she could have lifted her body up out of that oversized blazer.  How does a woman with her neck dangling off her body crawl up a steep hill after losing all that blood.  How does she do it in a perfect amount of time that just saves her from death?

While mom was in the hospital fighting for her life; I remember living with my grandparents.  They went ALL-OUT to make sure that life was somewhat normal for my brother and I.  We weren’t able to visit my mom for what seemed eternity.  She wasn’t in good shape and I guess they thought it was better if we did not see her this way.  My paw-paw would bring home notes that mom had written.  She was unable to speak for a while.  I would get so excited to see that notes where she had asked how I was doing and that she loved me.  I love hearing anything about my mom but more than anything in the whole world I just wanted to be with her.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse; I was down the street playing with one of my childhood friends when she spoke words to me that would radically change my feelings towards anyone I was suppose to trust; forever.  “Carmen you are adopted, your mom is not your real mother”.  She was just a couple of years older than me and was just repeating a conversation that she must have overheard her mom talking about.

I wanted so badly for this not to be true.  With tears streaming down my face I ran from her swing set up a small hill leading to the road.  With no shoes on I ran down this long gravel road until I reached my Granny’s house.  Out of breath from my mind being overwhelmed at the very words that had just been spoken to me I jumped into her arms and wailed.  Her soft touch comforted me enough that I was able to speak.  “Shannon told me I was adopted and that my mom was not my real mom” I softly spoke looking into her eyes with mine just begging her to say that this was not true.  Instead she said the exact opposite.  “Carmen you are adopted but that doesn’t mean that Luray is not your real mom” she said.

Life in a matter of weeks had rapidly turned into something I was not sure that I liked too much.  I watched my dad slit my mother’s throat, I had been sexually abused and now my mom wasn’t my real mom.  My whole life had become a lie in just a matter of seconds.

Fast forward to today in this very moment where I am right now. Have you ever as a child wanted something so badly then when you get it, its like way different than you expected? I waited 26 years for this and it happened today, I saw her face.

 I had a message in my inbox from a name I did not know. Her name is Molly. As I read her message I began to get chills. She is my cousin. She is the daughter of one of my biological mother’s sisters. Could this really be happening?? I have waited for so long to be connected to my biological family in some tiny way. I have always wondered what my biological mom looked like. Did I look like her were we in any way shape or form similar?

As I messaged my cousin back surprisingly she was still up. We are 8 hours ahead of where she lives. We began to talk and share a little bit of information with each other. Then they started to come, pictures. Oh my gosh she had pictures of the people I had heard about. She had pictures of the ones MY MOM tried to connect me back with to bring comfort and belonging to her teenage adopted daughter’s heart so many years ago. 

Then came the picture I had wondered about my whole life since learning I was adopted. It was her, the one God had chosen to give birth to me but yet I had no connection with her. WOW there she was a picture of this woman who I had always been so curious about. A woman whom had abandoned me and left this emptiness in my heart, a woman that I thought I would recognize but didn’t. I had envisioned seeing her the first time and having these overwhelming streams of attaching emotions but there were none. In this moment when I see her face the emotions that the enemy had lead to ruin my life were really of unimportance. She was human just like me.

My heart aches for her. I know only a few small parts of her story. Parts that are similar to those of my very own. Her mother abandoned her when she was a small child but not by choice. She died in her thirties of breast cancer. Her and her siblings had to go to an orphanage. The lies the enemy whispers to us as children to destroy any hope in our future,  I can’t imagine what she felt like.  I know that she was married to my biological dad and from reading above you know he had issues of his own that he needed to deal with.

Then marrying a man and having his children and starting this whole new life. A life that would have many secrets, one of them being my existence and what about the brother before me that you also abandoned and left behind. I have yet to meet him but I know he exist. The man she created this life with has just recently died of cancer and never knew about her other children.

My heart aches not at the fact that he did not know me but my heart is in deep pain for my biological mother that she has been living a lie for so many years. I know the enemy and I know his schemes and I hurt physically within the depths of my being creating such sadness that I just can’t shake. The enemy is a liar and wants to keep us in bondage. I want this woman to be free. I want her to experience a peace in her heart. I want her to know that she is loved and she is forgiven for everything and that Jesus Christ is the only one who can give her this.

I can’t even begin to say that I know what she has been through because I have no idea. I only have a few stories that I have held onto since I was a child. All I can express right now is the sadness I have in my heart for her.

Lord this isn’t the way I thought it would be at all but I know that your plans and experiences are far greater than anything I can put together. Please Lord seek my heart expose to her the truths of your love for her. I may never meet her and I may never speak to her  but I know you will Lord . I know you can. Reach her Father, love her, care for her and fill her being with the very hope you have given me. Teach her who you are as a Father since she grew up knowing no such thing. Teach her your forgiveness and expose her to her very own ability to forgive herself. Teach her to trust you like she has never trusted anyone before. Change her Lord from the inside out. You know her and I don’t; do all that needs to take place so that she may know you sweet Jesus and have eternity in Heaven and peace here on earth.

God I thank you for this connection with my biological family. I look forward to building relationships with my cousins and my aunts Lord and if it’s your will one day meeting her face to face. If not I am grateful that on this very day you have given me a visual of the one you chose to create me.