by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
Weds Nov 6

Babies, babies everywhere in our Mana Gammachuu (Joyful Place) orphanage! The ‘older’ are 12-18 months and the newest ones fresh from heaven all looked healthy and well cared for.

Sengi is our newest little boy who we estimate to be between 6-8 months old.  His mother needed to take a bus to Hawassa but because of an ethnic uprising in the area, the buses weren’t running.  She had nowhere to go, so in the spirit of Ethiopian hospitality, a kind woman named Emabet invited her to stay with her until things calmed down and the buses were running again.  The young mother was grateful for Emabet’s offer and she and her baby boy were welcomed into Emabet’s home.  After the uprising was calmed, Emabet woke to discover the child’s mother gone.  Of course she assumed she would be right back, but day after day passed and no mother.  After a week, Emabet notified the police who searched high and low for this unknown woman.  Failing to find any trace of her, the government organization overseeing women and children decided to give the baby boy to Joyful Place orphanage to care for.  Jason was especially drawn to Sengi because he was so responsive and not afraid of strangers as so many of the toddlers are.

If you would like to be Sengi’s advocate and sponsor, your $50 each month enables us to provide him with formula and loving care while we seek a family who will adopt him.  Sign up here!   

This picture reflects the opinions of two toddlers who did not like strange faces and let their opinions be loudly known.

Of the 12 babies in the orphanage, all but one are boys!  Miss Lalise is the only girl and is, of course, the princess.  She is a sweet, sweet baby who got a lot of holding from me!  Two ladies from a church in Montana made quilts and receiving blankets for the orphanage and it warmed my heart to look around to see them wrapped around babies, keeping them snug.  And because they were so well made, even after many washings they still looked like new!  Thank you, Cora Mae and Janet!

Several Italian families who adopted little ones from Mana Gammachuu pooled their money and bought the orphanage a clothes dryer.  This is so needed!  With so many babies, you can imagine the immense amount of washing that takes place in this care center.

Right now everything is hung outdoors to dry and the courtyard is filled with clothes and diapers flapping in the breeze.  For now this is fine because we are in the dry season, but when the rainy season comes it is nigh impossible to get the clothes dry.  Many thank-yous to our Italian adoptive families for this dryer!  I can tell you it was a Herculean effort on their part to purchase the dryer and get it over to Ethiopia.  One father took the lead and faithfully plowed through the immense amount of paperwork.  God bless you, Marco!

Our goal for each child is to be adopted by a Christian Ethiopian couple.  Ten babies have been adopted over the past several months, and families for the babies we held today are in the process of gathering the necessary paperwork.  Our orphanage director, Ephrem, visits each prospective family and assesses their ability to successfully adopt and parent one of our babies.  If they pass his scrutiny (and he is picky!), then he walks them through the adoption process and celebrates when a family can claim the child who will become theirs.

The orphanage is a sweet place for these babies who have been left abandoned.  The nanny/child ratio is 1:3 and the nurse who oversees the children and nannies is excellent.

Sister Yerusalem (they call nurses ‘sister’) is exceptionally competent and nurturing.  I can leave the babies knowing she is conscientiously looking out for each child.  They are in good hands!

For three years we cared for a young child whose mother was in prison.  Usually children go to prison with their mother, but in this case it was not a safe environment so the little girl was given to Mana Gammachuu.  Mignote’s mother recently was released from prison and Mignote is reunited with her mother.  A sponsor offered to continue supporting her in school as Mignote’s mother is destitute.  We are grateful for this and will make sure she continues in school.

Jason and I had a good time with the tiny babies who love to be held and talked to.  Some of the toddlers, however, avoided us like the plague.  They want only their familiar nannies, and I take this as a good sign of bonding.  I prayed that God would provide the ideal family for each child…. and I know He hears prayers that align perfectly with His heart!