Friday, November 21, 2014

Fw: Janet Belleme

Hi!
How are you?
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Janet Belleme

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This is a "guest post" I wrote for my friend Missy's blog, www.itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com. I thought I'd share it here, too, incase anyone still reads this blog! :)

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Missy and I became "internet friends" following her visit to Kebebe Tsehai Government Orphanage. For her post regarding her experience read here:
 
(NOTE: I’m Janet, and I can be found at www.bellemes.blogspot.com, but I’m one of “those moms” who stopped regularly blogging when the baby came home from Ethiopia! And in our case, a second child closely followed the first… Someday I’ll blog again!)

I read Missy's post in the middle of the night one night (I have 2 kids under age 3) and I couldn't sleep the rest of the night. Many of you had the same experience. 72 people commented. Many people shared a link on facebook. People cried. People prayed. Moms looked at their babies and thought or said- what if that was my baby? People asked how they could help. This post is my (very delayed) response to that tragic situation where babies are kept alive but not held. Where babies hopelessly stare at the wall, or lay in pain or in wet diapers without protesting. Where the needs greatly outnumber those who can meet them.

Where to start... Kebebe Tsehai has become a place I think about when I can't sleep, a place I pray for, a place my heart breaks for. My husband and I first visited Kebebe when we were in Ethiopia for a month adopting our daughter in June 2010. Our first visit there was absolutely shocking to me. Believe it or not, the conditions were even worse then, than what Missy described.

I took 10 steps in the door and froze. What I saw broke my heart. Babies lay 2 or 3 to a crib in wet or dirty diapers, with bottles propped up and milk flowing down their tiny necks. The stench of the room almost knocked me over. There were 8 caregivers per 8 hour shift caring for these kids. Get this- there were about 125 kids and babies there at that time. Several cribs were missing bars or even whole sides. One crib was right up against an open window. Babies and toddlers were sleeping in the middle of the day, staring at the ceiling or just crying with no one in sight to help them, change them, feed them. Preschoolers much too old for cribs were sitting or laying in cribs just looking around- waiting for someone to touch them, to pay them some attention, to love them. After a minute of shock, another Mom grabbed my hand and said "We need to pull it together and love these kids!" and that is what we did. We went around hugging, holding, praying, loving. I haven't had many moments in life where I felt so useful, so needed, like I was doing the work of God.

It was also one of the clearest times of my life that I heard God speak. Not audibly, but in my heart. He said "DO SOMETHING!" My husband felt the same. We asked what could be done, and were told that hiring people to care for these kids would be a great start. We asked our friends and family to help by sponsoring caregivers at Kebebe. God provided people willing to partner with us. Within a few weeks, caregivers were hired, and the number of caregivers at Kebebe doubled. We also later did a drive for cloth diapers, as I had been told that the babies (even newborns) were only changed 2x in 24 hours- 4 am and 4 pm.

The caregiver sponsorship program is now being overseen by the Adera Foundation in the US and Ethiopia. It costs $50 a month to hire a caregiver. There are 28 newer caregivers at Kebebe Tsehai (most of them were hired in August 2010). We are currently in serious need of monthly sponsors or one time donations of any amount. It all adds up! We trust that God is able and He will provide for this program. Still, we need your help to help these babies and kids. We believe that their lives are just as valuable as our own children. Clearly this program is not enough to get them everything they need, but it's a start. If you'd like more information or to give a donation, please visit:


 My husband, Joe, visited Kebebe again this April, for the 3rd time. This time a few caregivers approached him and thanked him for their jobs. He was so surprised and so humbled. They interviewed four of the newer caregivers and discovered that many of them had been orphans themselves, were fleeing abusive spouses, or grueling day labor, and this job allowed them to support themselves and their children, and to escape the dangerous life of poverty. Several of the caregivers had “aged out” of the government orphanage for girls- Kechene before being hired here. I was reminded that this program is good for the kids, and good for the caregivers, too. It’s not solving the problem at Kebebe, but it is a start. Even WITH this program, the caregiver to child ratio is still 1:10 or so. But we have to start somewhere! If we can sustain sponsorship for these 28, maybe we can do more! Please join us in making a difference for some of the most vulnerable orphans in Ethiopia!

And if you have any questions, please find me on facebook and ask! I’d put my email here, but I think I’d get spammed for weeks… J

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kebebe Tsehai Government Orphanage Project

NOTE (in case anyone checks this blog anymore): My poor blog has been very neglected... That may have something to do with my two small (and very busy) children! I think I may finally have the energy to update from time to time... No guarantees... :)



BUT I must update about something very exciting! The Bellemes are starting a new venture- Fundraising for caregivers at Kebebe Tsehai Government Orphanage in Ethiopia. I have written about Kebebe here on my blog several times. It's the government orphanage we visited a few times while we were in ET adopting Elyana that we will NEVER forget. Here's how it works, you sponsor a caregiver at Kebebe Tsehai for $50/month ($600/year). They care for and love on babies. That's it! Here's what I love about this project: (1)It allows babies and kids the love and care they NEED and DESERVE AND (2)It gives young women jobs, which will help break the poverty cycle! It's a win-win.

We have recently partnered with Adera Foundation, who's goal is to improve lives of people in Ethiopia. Our part is to find sponsors for caregivers at Kebebe! You can read more and get involved at Adera's Website: http://aderafoundation.org/programs/kebebe-tsehai-orphanage-project/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are a few pics of my cuties this morning, right before we delivered a mocha to Daddy at work! Ely was "reading" her book to Titus, who was very interested in following along! They are so cute, and love each other so much...






Here's big sister, Elyana- Age 2 years 2 months (almost)






And here's our tiny baby boy, Titus- Age 7 months
(Really, he's tiny! He's wearing 3-6 month clothes here, and they are HUGE on him!)








I sure am a lucky Mama!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Update on Kebebe Tsehai- Caregivers and Diapers!

CAREGIVERS
In August 2010, we started the Caregiver Sponsorship program at Kebebe Tsehai Government Orphanage in Ethiopia after our visit there in July 2010 (when we adopted Ely). You can read about that HERE and an update HERE. Within 10 days of starting this project, somewhere around 24 new caregivers had been sponsored! Praise the Lord- this helps those babies SO much and was SO needed! Many of those caregivers were hired out of the girls government orphange in Addis- Kechene, meaning those girls had aged out of the orphanage and were looking for a job, which can be very hard for a young homeless orphaned girl to find!

Recently, I asked Sara, our caseworker at Gladney how this fund was holding up. She said it was running low! So I'm asking again- will you help? Can you sponsor a caregiver at Kebebe Tsehai Orphanage in Ethiopia for only $35/month? (Note for families who have given before- I believe it was originally thought that it would be $70/month- If you paid that, which many families did, you paid for 2 years, which would be up this coming August).

Here's how- Send a check (tax deductable) to:
The Gladney Center for Adoption
ATTN: Sara Cox
6300 John Ryan Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76132

It can be any amount, but to sponsor 1 caregiver for a year, it costs $420. Write "Kebebe Tsehai" in the subject field. This is an ongoing project that you can donate any amount to at any time.



DIAPERS
After Joe's trip to Ethiopia in November, he said "Something has to be done about the diaper situation at Kebebe Tsehai." The 75 babies At Kebebe are only changed twice in 24 hours- 4AM and 4PM regardless of the condition of their diaper (full, wet, dirty). If they are leaking- Oh well, have to wait until 4:00. Most of the babies (including several under a month old) had soaking wet diapers and terrible diaper rash! So very sad...

So I started researching diapers. The problem is that disposable diapers always run out! Especially with 75 babies using them! 10 (or so) per day- that makes 750 diapers A DAY! Even their 2 per day plan= 150 diapers a day! My contact in Ethiopia suggested I find re-usable/washable diapers, and assured me they would be able to wash them daily. So I began searching. Within days, I got connected with another adoptive Mom who had organized diaper donations in the past, and The Little Bee Company, a cloth diaper company who's mission is to donate diapers to orphanages around the world. To make a long story short, Christie happens to be going to Ethiopia in MARCH to do a "Diaper Drop" (where they deliver diapers and teach staff how to use them) through The Little Bee Company, and the orphanage she was planning on delivering them to had fallen through! So she switched to Kebebe Tsehai! Great timing, God!

How can you help?
*If you buy cloth diapers, buy them from the Little Bee Company! (They are REALLY cute, too!) For each one a customer buys, one is donated to Kebebe Tsehai (Buy one, Give one). Sidenote: I'm told cloth diapers make good swim diapers, too, which are really expensive! Maybe try one out for that purpose! I think I'll do this!
*If you DON'T buy cloth diapers, but want to help, you can buy one and TWO are donated to Kebebe Tsehai (Give one, Give one!). Just write "donate" in the comment field of check-out! They are roughly $20 each! Check out the link, consider buying one (or more!), and spread the word to friends/family! The goal is 275 diapers by March!


Check out these cute little diapers and buy some for Kebebe Tsehai HERE:
The Little Bee Company

Friday, January 6, 2012

Big Sister

I really was worried at one point that Elyana would never learn to love her little brother. Afterall, she was the "only baby" before he so rudely came along! :)


Here's a hilarious (to me) picture from the hospital just after he was born.




There were many more Ely crying photos in the first few months... And all those times she said "All done baby!" or "Baby fwing!" (Suggesting I put him in his swing so I could hold her).





BUT I am happy (and relieved) to say, that after only 6 months, Ely now loves her baby brother.


She asks for him every morning when she wakes up.


She calls him "Tytee boo" and "Tytee boy."


She talks to him and sings to him.


She can make him smile and laugh like noone else can!


She tries to hold him, burp him, and wants to know where he is at all times!



But getting a good picture of the two of them is totally rediculous... Oh well... Maybe in a year! :)