Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Both Hands

Today's post is special because I have the chance to advocate for the Fenske's, one of the waiting families, and an amazing project that they are undertaking.  As you may remember, once the families were accepted by Altynai's Fund and Lifesong for Orphans, they were given their own individual accounts where they could raise targeted donations for their individual adoptions.  Although, I have continued to raise  money for the general fund, many of the grant recipients have been doing their own fundraising.  In fact, amoungst the eleven families that Altynai's Fund is helping, they have raised a total of $36,200, which is addition to the $24,000 that Altynai's Fund has raised.  Wow!!!  Isn't that amazing?  $60,000 has been raised in the last nine months, all of which is going to bring home some special orphans from Kyrgyzstan.

Of the waiting families, the Fenske's story is the one that humbles me the most.  What they have done and the challenges that they have faced over the last five years,  is amazing.  And what they are still trying to accomplish leaves me awestruck.  So it is with great honor that I have the opportunity to try to help them spread of the new's of their latest endeavor.  First, let me re-introduce them.
Kevin, Shannon, Hiwot, Bamlak, Marissa and Esan 

In 2007 the Fenske's adopted their first child, Esan, from Kyrgyzstan.  In the summer of 2008, they received their second referral from Kyrgyzstan and you know the rest of that story.  They have been waiting almost four years to bring Kamila home and now that adoptions are being processed in Kyrgyzstan, they are closer than ever to being re-united with her.  In August, Shannon wrote the following blog post to introduce us to Kamila, the little girl that they are waiting to adopt:  (If the link isn't working, you can read the Fenskes' and Kamila's story on the Waiting Children page of this blog. )  Unfortunately,  they have a significant financial challenge ahead of them.

In the midst of their wait for Kamila they have adopted 3 other children; Marissa, Hiwot and Bamlak, all of which have significant medical needs.   Marissa is an ex-preemie with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and a severe seizure disorder and Hiwot and Bamlak both are HIV positive.  Kevin and Shannon had always planned on having a large family but the timing of these adoptions has not gone as expected.  Due to delays in not only Kamila's adoption but also,  Hiwot and Bam's, they are all "serendipitously" coming to completion within a few months of each other which leads them to their current financial challenge.  Hiwot and Bam's adoption were just finalized in March 2012 with a final cost of $51,000 and although they have been actively working to raise/save money for Kamila's adoption they are still facing a $16,000 deficit ( Fact:  The Fenske's have already spent $130K over the last 5 years to adopt their children.)  Who amongst us wouldn't be in the same predicament?  In spite of that obstacle, they refuse to give up on their second child.  The child that they have been waiting for almost 4 years to bring home.  It isn't their fault or Kamila's fault that the governments of both Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan got their act together at the same time.

In order to raise additional money for Kamila's adoption, they are doing so by helping a friend who was recently widowed, and her two young sons, through a Both Hand's project.  Both Hands is an amazing organization, who is partnered with Lifesong for Orphans.  They help families fund their adoptions by asking the family to reach out and help a widow within their own communities.  They do this by having the adoptive family build a team of supporters that is willing to help the widow with some home improvement projects.  The adoptive family then solicits donations for the supplies through local businesses, contractors, ect... Then their team of supporters ask for pledges (no different than asking for pledges if you are doing a walk/run for charity) but 100% of those donations go through Both Hands and Lifesong for Orphans to help with the family's pending adoption costs.  As with any donation given through Lifesong, they are all tax deductible and 100% of the donations goes toward the adoption.  It allows a prospective adoptive family to do something tangible within their home town, and yet, in return, earn financial support for their adoption.  It is the perfect example of what God asks us to do - to help those less fortunate than us, specifically orphans and widows.
      *****  Be kind to widows, orphans, fatherless children and strangers.  Share whatever you have with them.  Deuteronomy 24: 17-21


On May 19th, they will be helping their widowed friend and mother, Jennifer.  They have grand plans which include re-decorating a bathroom and her young boys' room.  They will also be doing some outdoor landscaping, planting a garden, power washing the house, plus doing some good old fashioned repair work which as you can imagine will help Jennifer tremendously.

Here is their link to their Both Hands page: .  It includes instructions on how to make donations to their project.  Please give this some prayerful consideration.  Raising additional funds is going to be a monumental task for the Fenske's and yet, they refuse to do anything other than move forward.  It is the only option they have.  Kamila deserves a family and the Fenske's can't imagine theirs' without her.  Thanks!!!

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