Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kids helping kids in Ethiopia

Have you ever had a time in your life when you knew you had reached a turning point? Where you knew things were going to be different- that YOU were going to be different. That is what happened to me when I was 9 years old.

My name is Addisyn and I am about to turn 15 years old. This is my moms blog but she asked me to share part of my story with you.

When I was 9 years old we adopted my sister, Aleigha, from Guatemala. My parents had asked my brothers and I how we felt about adopting a baby and we were all on board. What I didn't know though at the time was how adopting a child would change my entire family- and my entire life.

When you are 9 years old it's pretty important to you that you are like every one else. It's pretty important to you that you fit in. I remember wanting to dress like my friends, talk like my friends and do the same thing as my friends. Adopting my baby sister changed my being like everyone else. When she entered our family we no long 'looked' like everyone else. When we went out in public people stared at us or asked questions. We were no longer just an ordinary family- we were now a multi racial, adoptive family with five children (who many people considered a large family). It was sort of hard for me to pretend I was just like everyone else anymore- because God had called our family to be different.

What I didn't know then was how God would use this experience to mold me into becoming who I am today. What I didn't know was that God would use our experience to create a passion for the least of these. What I didn't know then was how glad I would be that He did.

Going against the norm isn't always an easy thing to do. Actually sometimes it's downright hard. While God has blessed me with many supportive friends- we still do things differently than a lot of other families. Different isn't bad- it's just different and most kids my age just want to fit in. I'm okay with not fitting in. I'm okay with just being who I am. I may not win any popularity contests- but at least I definitley don't struggle with trying to figure out who I am .

Because of our adoptions, I have had the opportunity to go to Guatemala and work at Eagles Nest Orphanage and also travel to Ethiopia this past March to bring home my baby sister, Havyn. I loved Ethiopia before I even set foot there and that love only doubled when I did. My favorite part of being in Ethiopia was getting to spend the day with missionaries Gary and Peggy Ifft. Gary took us to Adami Tulu Preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia and I am pretty sure I left a piece of my heart there. I have a quote hanging on my bedroom wall that reads "When you walk with God, you always reach your destination."
I had reached mine.

Being at the preschool that day also made me realize how much I had been taking for granted. I no longer wanted to just claim to be a Christian- I wanted to LIVE as a Christian. Instead of just memorizing the verses in the bible- I wanted to put them into action. I knew that I couldn't return home and go on with my life the way it had been. I couldn't open my closet door and see 12 pairs of shoes in there without thinking about those left behind with none. I couldn't go into the mall with friends and spent $15 on yet another t-shirt knowing that $15 would have fed 5 children at the preschool for a month. I couldn't just be a regular American teenage girl anymore- I was different.
And different, I am realizing, is a good thing.

Last Tuesday families in Ziway, Ethiopia lined up to sign their children up for preschool. Over 50 children came- and there were only 30 openings. Such a huge need! Each child enrolled will need a school uniform. The cost for boys is $6.20- which includes pants, shirt, a vest, their book bag and supplies. The cost for girls is $5.83 which includes a skirt, shirt, vest, their book bag and supplies. The monthly fee for a child to attend is 25 Birr ($1.84). Yes, you read that right- $1.84 A MONTH is all it cost. You and I probably spend more than that on chewing gum and yet some children are too poor to even pay that.

Soon, children all over America will go 'school shopping' with their parents. Shoes, clothes, socks, and supplies will be thrown into their carts without much thought. And one thing I can guarantee you is that it will cost you far more than $6.20.

My challenge for you is to talk to your child. Tell them. Teach them. They won't know unless you do- I didn't. Teach them something far more important than what they will learn the entire year at school. Challenge them to go without one of those items thrown into your cart and instead send that money to Lifesong for Orphans and for Adami Tulu preschool. Show them how to think of others. Help them develop a heart for giving. Show them how to think outside of their own wants. Teach them to make their lives count. Develop in them an awareness for others. Teach them how to care.

More than anything in this world I would love to sit in my desk at school this year, love for your child to sit at their desk this year, knowing across the world, in Ethiopia, another child is getting the same privilege as we are because you and I chose to care enough to do something about it.

Will you please help me? Will you please help your child help another? Even if you can just give enough for one child to have a uniform and a book bag, that is huge to that one child.

Today, you can choose to live a life that is bigger than you. Today you can reach far beyond your ordinary existence. Help educate a child. Give them a chance. Change their life.

They changed mine, now it's time for me to do the same for them.

Please feel free to post this on your blogs, facebook, or yell it from the rooftop of your child's school. ;0) Thank you so much for spreading the word.

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Chantelle said...

Addisyn... you inspire me. I can't wait to share this post with my kids...and to put this into ACTION. (((((hug))))

Anonymous said...

Oh Addie are precious! Love you and thank you for standing up for those precious children around the world. What an awesome testimony you have!


Jill Dupras said...

addisyn, i have a daughter addie who is 3 years old and i can only pray that someday she will have the perspective of the world and God's love that you just wrote about. thank you for sharing, thank you for willing to be different.

Deena said...

I love this post!!!! We have three kids that will be going school shopping soon and we will be making sure to help Lifesong with some of our school supply money! Thank you for the inspiration. We also just brought home our little girl from Ethiopia-she would be almost preschool age and I am sure she would not have had a chance to go to school...we will be remembering all of the beautiful children we saw in Ethiopia during our trip and I promise we will remember them during our "back to school" shopping. I would also love to share your post with others on our blog...Thanks Addisyn!

Beth said...

I am reading this TONIGHT and challenging my children to do something!
I hope that this entry ends up plastered everywhere, that hearts are changed, and that people are inspired.
Don't ever lose that fire Addyisyn! You are amazing!

Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed said...

Amen, Addisyn! You're following in your momma's footsteps, Addie, and what beautiful feet those are!!! They're feet created in His image, to walk His path, and oh how glorious it is to see another generation being raised up to carry the torch and fan the flames for orphan awareness!!! Love your heart, Addisyn. Way to go, girlfriend!!! Love y'all! :-)
PS I will gladly post and help you spread the word.

Christi said...

Addisyn, i can't wait to see how you change the world for Christ girl!

And your momma... she's doing a GREAT job!

Love you all to pieces!

Laurel said...

Hi Addisyn,

LOVE it! LOVE your heart! So glad that your trip to Ethiopia was everything you'd dreamed it would be ... and more.

You have the heart of a missionary, just as my daughters do. I loved it when you and Carissa met last fall, and chatted about missions. As you know, Carissa has been living in Argentina for over 2 years ... because God placed a call on her life while she was still young.

Keep walking with Him. Keep seeking His face on your journey. Keep stepping out when He calls you to do something "different" for Him.

Love this challenge to moms who are buying all of their children's school clothes and supplies. wow! (My children don't get school clothes ... we homeschool in our old, raggedy, hand-me-down play clothes.)

Be BLESSED! Hope to see you on our upcoming Road Trip through TX.

Laurel & the gang :)

Kimmie said...

Hi Addisyn;

What a beautiful heart felt post. May God continue to grab your heart and move you to great heights of action for His Kingdom.

May your voice also move others to be stirred to action.

thank you for sharing.

mama to 8
one homemade and 7 adopted

Unknown said...

Addie - this post sounds just like something Lexi has been saying since her first time to Guatemala 5 yrs ago. But God truly touched her life this summer on her missions trip there.

Your heart is sweetly aligned with God's! I will be praying you continue to allow Him to shape and mold it so closely to His!

Love and blessings,

Carin said...

This is great!! You inspire to continue doing what I do with my 20 month old (I volunteer at a food pantry and take her with even though it is not always an easy task)so that I can make sure to instill these same feelings in her when she gets to be your age! Way to be the blessing you were created to be girl!

Kim said...

Oh Addisyn. I love how your heart breaks for the very things that break His. I cannot wait to share you beautiful post with my teenager!
Love & Blessings,

Kim said...

Oh Addisyn. I love how your heart breaks for the very things that break His. I cannot wait to share you beautiful post with my teenager!
Love & Blessings,

Kristin said...

Thank you sweet girl for being a voice. I have a 6 year old and a 5 year old who will be hearing your words from their momma. Be the change indeed!

Jessie B said...

Great great post! Are you sure you are only going to be 15?!
My son is 4 1/2 and I am starting to teach Mission Friends at church in the fall and I will be sure to incorporate something like this for them. And we are going to help at home to! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Anonymous said...

Addisyn, I think we just might share the same heart! That's exactly how I feel. I love you and can't wait to get together again. You are amazing, and I can't believe you're almost 15! The point is:LOVED THIS POST!!!
Mattie Patterson

Rebekah said...

Addisyn, Praise the LORD!! What a beautiful work He is doing in your life, for His glory and His kingdom! Thank you for sharing your precious heart. I will post this on my blog and facebook.

Rebekah said...

Addisyn, Praise the LORD!! What a beautiful work He is doing in your life, for His glory and His kingdom! Thank you for sharing your precious heart. I will post this on my blog and facebook.

Engendo said...

Addisyn - you are a brilliant blessing this morning! do you have a blog? if so please share the link or email it to me at

Addie Talley, Photographer said...

I really like your name (mine is Addie).... and love this post - I can see your heart and it is beautiful.

Thank you for letting me know about this opportunity - I donated what I could.

Elle J said...

Fantastic, Addisyn! I came via a link from another blog ~ the word is spreading. Blessings to you.

Mandy said...

This is so beautiful!

We are becoming foster parents, and one of my biggest worries is how it might effect my children that are 9, 6, and 3. Reading how it's touched your life inspires me to push forward with confidence!

Lexi said...

This is an awesome post Addisyn! I agree whole heartedly with everything you said. I bet you had an amazing awakening in Africa and keep sharing all that God taught you!

As you said, being different for Christ is a good thing. I came back from Guatemala 3 weeks ago and everything the world does for fun just seems so pointless. What we do daily is anything but reality for the millions of people all over the world who are homeless, hungry, and forgotten. Sure does make you think!

Keep doing what you are doing! I'm praying for you!

Kristen said...


Addisyn, I am so lucky that God put you into my life. I am glad that we are close friends. :) Even if you are younger than me, I look up to you!

Love you girl!

Kristen Maxwell

Liz said...

Addisyn, I would like to share this with my 6 and 3yo. They are very visual. Along with reading this post, I would like for them to see more faces of the children that you met. Is there a website or do you have any more images of these children's faces that I could share with my kids. Thanks, Liz

Leah Maya Benjamin said...

Addyson thank you so much for posting on your mom's blog. It was a wonderful heartfelt post. Even adults I don't think can grasp another country if you havne't been there. We send donations of toys, toothbrushes, etc to Guatemala and send a little girl to school. Even though I talk to my daughter (adopted from Guatemala) she is only 3 1/2 years old. She can tell me that they don't ahve toys can't go to schooland so on, but like you its hard to really understand until you see it. What a wonderful way you are choosing to live and what a wonderful person you are becoming.

Jodi Widhalm said...

Addisyn, What a wonderful spirit you have! I just shared this with my 8 yr old...and it was so touching to both of us. We are looking into adopting a sibling group from Sierra Leone, West Africa, and it is quite a leap of faith for our kiddos. It was a blessing to hear your families story from your perspective. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm reposting on my blog I love it so much!

Blessed said...

Addisyn, thank you so much for sharing this on your mom's blog. Your writing is eloquent and passionate. And I used to teach college writing, so I know what I am talking about! : ) I am going to share this on my blog this week, and hope it inspires my readers as it did me.


Savannah said...

My name is Savannah, I'm 13. I have commented on your blog one other time. I just went on my first mission trip this summer to an orphanage in Ensenada Mexico.

Addisyn, you have been an inspiration to me to keep going further in what I love.I hope I can someday do as much as you have done and have as big a voice as you! Thank you so much!

Amy Clemons said...

Its a small niece was at EN.

Unknown said...


Your and your families' works are inspiring. We sent a donation today.

Dale and Debbie

erica said...

Wow! Very inspiring! My family is in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, and we plan to take our 9-year-old daughter with us as well. I hope she comes away with as much wisdom as you have! Also, I thought this was interesting - we know Gary and Peggy. They are from the same church denomination as we are, and work through Loving Shepherd Ministries, who helped us out tremendously when we first decided to adopt. It's a small world! Thanks for sharing your amazing heart for those in need, and may God continue to richly bless you always!

Beyond Awesome!!! said...

addisyn,you are the greatest cousin anyone could have!!i hope to be like you when im your age!!!keep doing what your doing!!!!

~Maddie B.

Maddie said...

Addisyn you are the greatist couisin anybody could ever have!!i hope to be like you one day when im your age!!!keep doing what your doing!!!!


Marla Taviano said...

Bless you, Addisyn. You're a beautiful girl with a beautiful heart.