Friday, December 21, 2007

Choir Performance

Last Friday night, one week ago, the kids performed with the adult choir in our annual church musical. Maddie and Jillian did not perform at this time because they are in the older choir which had a complete musical on Sunday night. Here are a couple pictures of the girls dresses my friend Michele helped make (she did all of the sewing!) without the pinafores. Elaina loves to where her dress like a night gown and twirl in it all over the house. The boys were dressed handsomely as well!

After the program, we were able to get a picture of all 10 children in front of the Christmas tree - Alyson too!


Tonight the girls had their ballet performance of the Nutcracker. It was so fun to watch all six of them on stage at once. Jillian is taking ballet for a school credit this year and was not thrilled about dancing on stage, but her teacher said she was needed to help with the little girls. We were proud of Jillian for being willing to put her own feelings aside to assist where needed. She danced beautifully! Maddie was very excited to participate and did so well. Eska is one of the youngest in her class and she was able to complete every step. Haddie Hope was so confident that she took center stage of her own initiative! Bethlehem and Elaina looked sweet and danced very well. Thanks for the extras who came - Lera, Danielle and Alyson!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Adoption Financial Aid

Many of you have inquired about the financial aid we received for our second adoption.  We applied to three places for our first adoption and did not receive any aid.  Our second adoption we applied to Shaohannah's Hope, Hadassah's Hope and A Child Waits.  We were awarded money from all three places.  You don't typically apply for aid until you have completed your homestudy process.  The grant process takes a 2-4 months to complete.  A Child Waits is a grant that your case manager helps you apply for during the last part of your adoption.  We are here to testify that when God calls you to adopt He provides the funds needed.  Waiting on God's timing is the hardest part.  Psalm 27 is a Psalm I go back to often during such times.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hair and Prayer

Tonight Maddie was able to get her hair straightened for the first time in a long while.  She is very excited to be able to comb through it without pain.  Maddie and Bethlehem have very thick hair and it is impossible to comb unless it is wet.  Eska and Haddie's hair is thinner and easier to style.  A typical Saturday night can take up to 5 hours to complete everyone's hair before Sunday (5 girls).  We have learned how to work around this by getting the little girls hair braided and Maddie's straightened when there is extra money!  December as been an easy hair month and I am very thankful.  Sometimes Elaina asks when her yellow hair can have braids like her sisters.  Her sisters ask when they can have yellow hair and no braids!  

Tonight's prayer highlight:
Elaina -  That Cleo and Buford would get married and have baby chicks. (one of our hens and our rooster) We would have 91 horses.  She also prayed for people to know the gospel and for our Christmas Cards and Mr. Dales back.

Tamu - Thank you for food and Spiderman.  We don't know where the Spiderman thing came from?  When we picked up the kids in Ethiopia they were obsessed with Spiderman.  What does an Ethiopian Spiderman look like

Its the most wonderful time of the year...

A Word from Lawson

This is speech I wrote for speech class about adoption. What my sister Jillian wrote inspired me and I had to write a persuasive speech. Lawson

Does your family make you mad sometimes? Do you have a brother or sister that annoys you? Do you wish you had a bigger bedroom and more toys to go in your room? Are you always thinking about your self and the next thing your parents can buy you to make you happy?


I never really wanted to adopt until one night my mom brought in some DVDs Christian World Adoption had sent us. They sent us the DVD because there were over 200 children in need of homes at that time. My mom and I stayed up very late like 1:00, 2:00 in the morning watching all of the children; we couldn’t stop. That DVD just touched my heart and I told my mom we need to adopt some more kids. I watched many, many children my age and your age that were very poor and needed a home. They would sing and smile on the DVD even though they knew this meant they would leave all they had ever known behind. My mom, dad and I prayed and read scripture. These are some of the verses that we liked…… James 1:27 “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” And Romans 8:15-16 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out,”Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God! One of the reasons that adopting is a good thing is because there is over 150 MILLION ORPHANS in the world. I think that is a lot. One thing that pains me is that If we are Christians, Have we forgotten that we are selves are adopted!!!!! When we become Christians God “ADOPTS” us into His family and we become children of God. My family and I picked out kids to adopt from the same DVD that my mom and I watched. Their names were Maddie, Eska, Haddie, and Yordy.

I used to get mad over little things. I used to not like my brothers and sisters as much. I used to hate working and doing chores. I liked my bedroom because I was the only one in the room and it contained all of my stuff. All of that has changed since we have adopted and so has my heart. I still get mad, but not over little things, I enjoy playing with my brothers and sisters. Since they have come, I have really learned that working is good. When they came to America all they did was work, work, work. Now, I enjoy working. I share my bedroom with two little boys…Tamu and Yordy. I like sharing my bedroom with them because every morning I can teach them how to be a godly man by reading the Bible and doing a devotion with them. This is the story about my little brother Tamu. When we pray in our bedroom I have them get on their knees. One Wednesday we were in church and Pastor Carl said “Let’s pray” and immediately Tamu got on his knees and folding his hands just like I taught him in our bedroom. Hopefully, Yordy can catch on that quickly also.

The girls we have adopted have been a blessing to me…

Haddie Hope: I enjoy playing with her because she is athletic and fun.
Maddie: God answered my prayer for a best friend when he gave us Maddie…she and I have a lot fun together because she loves soccer and we have great conversations…she is also a Christian.
Eska: She has a wonderful smile and is very funny
Bethlehem: she can speak English well and is very nice and giving.

Reasons you should adopt:

God has first adopted you
You become more Christ like and less selfish
You will be blessed


Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas Performance and Prayer

Monday, December 17, 2007
Last night on the way home from the Church Christmas party and the High School Choir Christmas Musical we were once again piled in the van, each child fighting to get their Christmas song request in before the other, when Maddie (13) all of a sudden spoke up. "I sad, I happy, I cry...Christmas Ethiopia Orthodox, come to America, Christian and Jesus Birthday. I cry happy." She was able to sing with the choir since she arrived in the states and was fervently praying that her voice would be praiseworthy during the concert. This was her dream to sing in a church choir! What a joy to be the proud parents drinking in her Excitment as she sang! Jillian (16) also performed wonderfully as she sang and acted during the performance. Earlier on Friday night we attended the Church Christmas Musical and as we sat in anticipation we looked over the Christmas Musical Program and viewed five Mansells, (Lawson (10), Eska (9), Haddie Hope (6), Bethlehem (6), Yordanos (4) in print. They, too, performed admirably, with each of their choirs. Lawson is playing basketball this season and the girls are doing a little part of the Nutcracker Friday night.

We couldn't be prouder or more delighted with the transition and growth of our newest Mansell members. A drive down a bumpy curvy road is like a Disneyland ride and passing a house with any Christmas lights is like viewing the Grand Finale on the 4th of July. It is such sweet music listening to the OOHHHHHS and AAHHHHHS as we travel.

Our newest members have re-taught us the practice of being on our knees when we pray. Most nights we all gather in the living room and everyone takes a turn. How amazing it was as our Ethiopian children began to understand English and pray in our language!

Here are some recent prayerful highlights:

Yordy: "Thank you God that Habtamu is going poo-poo in the potty!"
Habtamu (3): "Thank you God that I am going poo-poo in the potty!"
Elaina: "Dear God, please bless us with 91 horses!"
Haddie Hope: "God, Mommy say clean kitchen and I no clean kitchen, God...Sorry."
Eska: "Please bless CWA children and nannies."
Bethlehem: "Thank you that momma made pizza tonight!"
Maddie: "Dad say smile for picture, I no smile, sorry Dad, sorry God."

How refreshing and how appropriate their many confessions during prayer time. The night time nannies at CWA in Addis certainly trained our children well in prayer.


An Update

Well...okay...we are not a very good "bloggers". Sharon had the intention of keeping up with this site and let time get away. So, we have recommitted to this site with the recent mailing of our Christmas Cards! Our intention is to give you an insight into all that God is doing in our lives. We also want to give Him the praise and glory for the finances and physical needs He provided during our two adoptions! He brought over $55,000 in the last two years to save the lives of six children and bless the lives of those they will encounter over their lifetime. A brief note on why we began adopting...

In 2002, Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer and under went surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She has been in remission for four years...PRAISE GOD! Upon the completion of her treatment she was unable to have more children biologically. God accomplished many things in our family due to cancer. We became closer as a family and made a very difficult church change. The church change was hard because we loved the people at our church, but knew God was calling us to follow Him above all. Cancer gave us the courage to do what God was calling us and He has blessed our family immeasurably due to our obedience. So, Sharon was cancer free, life was going along and then we each felt the reality of no more children. It was then we talked about adoption. Adoption was something we had talked about during our married life, but never in a serious way until we were infertile. We sought much wise counsel and prayed wanting to know if this was our will or God's will. The answer came in the finances. Many meetings and much prayer took place and then we received word that someone was wanting to help a family adopt financially at our church, Community Bible Church. They did not know we were trying to adopt; they just knew God was calling them to give financially. This is how the majority of the money came for our first adoption!

We traveled to Ethiopia in April 2006 and brought home Bethlehem age five and Habtamu age 2 (See Bethie and Tamu's Story for the details). We had our first two children home from Ethiopia for approximately five months when we received a dvd in the mail from Christian World Adoption. There were over 200 children on the dvd that needed homes. Lawson and Sharon sat and watched the dvd and Lawson said, "Mom, we have to get some of those kids." Sharon was struck by a group of children all wearing jean jackets, but decided that surely they were no longer available. I watched the dvd and without knowing Sharon's thoughts, was struck by a sibling group of four all wearing jean jackets. We reached out to many families in our church asking them to consider adoption and a couple did, some are still praying! Well, we prayed and I told Sharon to call and check into what it would take to adopt again from Ethiopia. Sharon called and spoke with Michelle Gardner who was in charge of the program. After talking with Sharon a little while she asked, "Do you have a sibling group in mind." Sharon responded, "No." It was then Michelle said, "I have one in mind for your family. Did you see the children on the video wearing the jean jackets?" It was then we knew the Lord was calling us to adopt this sibling group. SCARED is the word that comes to mind. We were thinking, $33,000 God, we need a bigger home, we need a bigger vehicle etc...all along we knew He would provide. Below are the details of His provision:

1. We sent a video out and letter campaign to friends and family and received $1700.
2. God brought checks in the mail for various items like "Overpayment of a bill" etc..
3. We received three grants: Shaohannah's Hope ($5,000), Hadassah's Hope ($1,000) and A Child Waits ($5,000)
4. An anonymous donor gave us $9,000 for expenses we incurred.
5. $1000 from our pest control guy.
6. A 15 passenger van the week before we flew to Ethiopia that was in our price range.
7. 5 acres of land and a HUGE double-wide. Yes, we are so thankful for our new home. We knew that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to purchase land in Beaufort. We also knew with ten children we would need plenty of chores. Thankfulness comea as the kids have room to run, chickens provide our eggs and goats, coming in January, will provide our milk. We also hope God will bless our garden efforts this spring for our veggies.

the above list does not begin to explain how God weaved each gift and its timing perfectly. He also continued to encourage us to "Press On" when discouraging words came our way.

So, that is a brief narrative of how we got to today. Sharon is going to try and keep this updated. She has blogging insecurities and a perfectionist attitude towards writing! Please ignore all grammatical errors and she will be fine. Our goal is simply to point others to Christ as He blesses our lives.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Funny Video

This video made us laugh!  Especially since we have the white 15 passenger van.  Enjoy!