Monday, January 31, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

I continue to be amazed that almost $25,000.00 has been given to the needs that exist on the island where my son and daughter are from. I am in complete awe when I think about each dollar that was given and each event that has taken place all to help those who call Zadecha Island home. Never in my wildest dreams a few months ago would I have thought that this could happen.

As most of you know the greatest need on the island is for clean drinking water. Water Is Life has had a crew on the island and as in everything us Hendersons try to do this is no easy task (You should see the eight of us trying to get out the door to go somewhere together). They have hit rock every time they drill and so for now Water is Life is researching water filtration systems that can be put into place to make the lake water clean. This is a much more expensive way of providing clean drinking water yet it is where we find ourselves. Next Sunday, David Harding who is in charge of Water is Life and a man from Wine to Water (A CNN Hero from 2009- Look this org. up on the web) will travel out to the island to see what is actually needed and to make a final plan to provide the clean water. This system will need solar power, pumps, and many other things not needed for a simple well yet the same results of clean drinking water will be available very soon. This may allow for water irrigation to take place as well which is also a great need for the island and so even if it is not the "easy way" it will end up being the better way in the long run. The cost is much more however there is a possibility of having help with the financial part as well (more to come on this later). These rocks didn't surprise God and as always He has a greater plan than we do!

The second greatest need on the island is for a medical clinic and I am very confident that this is going to be built soon. I am trusting that the finances will be in place soon for a teams to travel to the island to build the most amazing medical clinic in the region! If $25,000 has been given in a few short months I know that all that is needed will shortly be in place-

Tomorrow (Tuesday- Now Friday due to the huge snow storm!) in Nebraska, the Governor of Nebraska will be at a Middle School where they are having Garrett's Heart day- Simply unbelievable that a group of High School students are paying to dress down tomorrow and bringing money to help the Zay People!

In March, our friend JD who cuts our hair is having a day for Garrett's Heart. One Saturday all cuts and products at Hair by JD will be donated to Garrett's Heart- Simply unbelievable!
We are overwhelmed by the generous giving of people who don't even know our family or the Zay people. We are so thankful for our generous friends who care for us and the Zay people more that we could have ever hoped for.............

Thank you from the bottom of Garrett's Heart and MINE!!!!!
Please visit to give online or to find out more about Garrett's Heart

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Sometimes I am almost breathless as I think back to the mountains that God moved to bring Tia and Garrett home to us. There are moments still each and every day day that stop me in my tracks and I praise Him for what He has done. I am not sure why but it still suprises me when I feel this overwhelming sense of emotion of gratitude for all that God has done. It is hard to admit but I expected to fall into a routine of life and I thought that these overwhelming moments of gratitude would subside with time. I am thankful that they haven't and I pray that I will continue to be overwhelmed with His goodness for the rest of my life as I mother Tia and Garrett.

On Tuesday evening, David returned home from work while Garrett was outside playing. I was cooking dinner and so David pulled up a chair and we were talking out our day just as we do most evenings. As we were talking Garrett came in and ran right past David. As soon as he passed him Garrett's face lit up and he stopped, turned, ran and jumped into David's lap as he screamed, "Daddy, I am so glad that you are home!" and covered him with kisses. It was truely a dream come true for me as I flashed back in my mind to the days that we cried out to God in this very kitchen to bring him home. I had dreams of days where not only Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay would welcome David home but two others would join in. Tears streamed down my face and as I realized that my dream had come trueand my prayers answered. As I turned around Jacob was standing there, he hugged me and said, "Mom, I know those are happy tears because of Garrett being here." I nodded and continued to praise God in my heart for all that He has done.

Moments catch me off guard and I go from having a normal day to crying like a baby when I am reminded of our journey. I was in the car yesterday and a song came on that took me back a year ago. The words are.....

And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's going to be alright
And the voice that calmed the raging Sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go

Last year on painful days (which was almost every single day)of waiting, I would read scripture and sing this song over and over again knowing and believing this truth. That my God was in control and that He had the whole world in His hands. On those days all I knew to do was to trust because my hope was gone. I now hope and pray that I never forget the desperate feeling of knowing that I can't but God can. In my very busy life I am so thankful for those daily reminders of who I am and who He is when I look into the faces of my precious twins.

In first Samuel it is recorded that Samuel placed a stone between Mizpah and Shen after the Israelites defeated the Philistines. He named it Ebenezer saying, "Until now the Lord has helped us." He didn't want anyone to forget what God had done. As I am daily reminded to look back at all that God has done, I like Samuel want to raise an Ebenezer so that no one can forget all that the Lord has done to make our family complete!

What about you? Maybe you are where I was a year ago and feel overwhelmed with the task at hand- "Your God has helped you until now!" Maybe like me your life is full of joy at this moment- "Your God has helped you until now!" The arms that hold the Universe are holding you and everything is going to be alright. I think we need more Ebenezers in our lives to remind us of Who He is and who we are.

My prayer is that we never, ever, ever,ever forget His goodness, His power and His love for us as we travel this journey He has put before us-
1 Samuel 7

Sunday, January 9, 2011


We have taught our children from a very early age that the word "MINE" is not a word that you use if you are part of our family. We have always let them know that everything we have is a gift for us to share with others around us. David and I have always lived by this and we have always known that our home, cars, finances, time, family and everything else that we have been blessed with are gifts from God for us to share with others. However after this past year I think that each of our children would say that they now have something that is theirs- Memories and experiences that will shape their lives for eternity.

As their mom, I am so thankful for this past year in each of their young lives. They have experienced so many things that many will never experience in a lifetime. Never in a million years when we started the adoption process did I think that our family would spend an entire summer living in Ethiopia. I probably would have reconsidered if someone would have told me that the eight of us would need to live in two rooms for six weeks in order to adopt. Thankfully God only reveals a little of His plan at a time to me and it is just enough to keep me trusting completely in Him as I move forward.
The past few days I have reflected back on this past year and what stands out to me the most is the life change that has taken place in each of our six children. Two lives have changed in very obvious ways and four lives have changed in ways that I would have never imagined. To think that my children played with orphans, visited the sick, made friends with street kids, loved on former street girls, visited their Compassion child, stood in the hut where their youngest siblings were born and the list could go on and on.

When I think of Lindsay at six years old traveling half way around the world to a place that is so different from home it still amazes me. How she handled herself so well and took everything in. It was so sweet to watch her love on the babies everywhere we would go. The photo above of Lindsay is at The House of Hope in Langano where dad's can bring their babies if their mom died during childbirth. There is no way for the babies to survive without their mom to provide milk for them and so this home will keep the babies for the first year of life and provide for the babies basic needs. Lindsay loved the time we spent there and played with each of the babies that were in the home that day.

I loved watching Jacob make friends with so many kids while we were in Ethiopia. He would be the first one to want to go over and take left over food to the shoe shiner boys who would clean shoes across the street from our guest house. He would walk over with containers of food grinning from ear to ear knowing how excited these boys his age would be to have something to eat. I can only imagine what Jacob would be thinking as he would watch them out the window. For him to see all of these street boys shining shoes each day impacted him in ways that we will not know for years to come. Memories of him hand and hand with children who were in such great need flood my mind and tears stream down my face thinking of the impact those six weeks made on my sons heart.

One of the highlights of the trip was the day that Megan and Kaylee got to visit with their Compassion child, Bontu (see photo above). The girls have sponsored Bontu for a while and never dreamed that they would actually get to visit with her. We drove about an hour out to her village where we spent several hours with her and her family. We loaded her and her father up in the van and took them to purchase Teff flour, fruits and vegetables (clearly more food than they had ever had at one time). It was fun to see Megan and Kaylee place a cross necklace around Bontu's neck as she stood smiling and looking up at both of them. To watch my teenage daughters love on this very poor and needy child I wept. To think that a group of teenagers that I know provide for her basic needs each day was overwhelming. For my girls to be standing on a mud floor (not dirt but mud!) where Bontu sleeps each night had to impact their lives. When I heard Bontu's dad tell of what the money that is sent each month provides and how thankful he as her father is for what is provided again tears were flowing down my cheeks. I am so thankful for the beautiful baskets that will be in our home forever that Bontu's mom made for us.

I remember praying before we went to Ethiopia for Kaylee's heart to be protected. Kaylee has a very big heart and she cares deeply for people. I am thankful that Eskel's van had curtains in the windows that I think God put there for Kaylee to be able to close. On many occasions she would close her curtain and say, "I don't think I can take any more." I know that the sights at times were overwhelming as young moms with starving babies on their backs would beg by our windows, crippled would be trying to cross the road, or girls her age would be carrying sticks or water for what she knew would be miles. God working on Kaylee's heart little by little and as painful as it was for her He was doing a great work.

Megan continues to miss Ethiopia and talks about returning there as soon as she can. To watch her as we would go into the orphanges was such a joy. She would use her limited Amharic to try to talk to the kids and I would have so much fun watching her. I will never forget the day that we met Eli Rhodes for the first time. Eli we knew would be coming home to a family in our church and so we were all so excited to meet him. He was so full of energy and I remember Megan keeping up with him and loving on him while we visited his orphanage with a huge smile on her face. All of Eli's friends were climbing all over Megan and you could see the joy on her face as she played with them.

Megan, Kaylee, Jacob and Lindsay have been taught in very real ways this year that what we have is ours to share and they have seen first hand what great needs there are in this world. They now share their rooms, toys, favorite seats in the car, mom, dad and their family with Tia and Garrett. What they can call "MINE" are not material, earthly things but experiences and memories that will never allow them to be the same. I can't wait to see how God continues to shape and use these six precious gifts that have been entrusted to us to share with those around us!