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What You Can DO: A Follow-up Post

Copied from . This post was written as a follow-up to Tesney Davis’ recent post.
I finished a book back in October called Love Does by Bob Goff. In a nutshell, it talks about love being an action word. You can’t love others without DOING. So after reading my last post about Russian adoptions, many of you who believe love is an action word have asked what you can DO to help. I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to help and add your voice those who support U.S. adoptions continuing in Russia. If you do everything listed below, it will take a total of about thirty minutes. Some of them take a matter of seconds, some take a few minutes and the cost of a stamp. My point is, most of these things are fast, easy, and inexpensive. Please, I’m begging you, on behalf of Kirill and the 700,000 children who reside in orphanages in Russia, love actively and DO these things.

1. Contact your Representatives and Senators. You can find your elected officials on this website:


When you talk with someone in their office please say something to this effect:
“Hello, my name is _____ and I live in _____. I am calling on behalf of my (friends or family members…if you don’t know of anyone, you may use the name Jenni and Josh Johnston, who are dear friends of mine…you can see their interview with CNN HERE) who are in the process of adoption from Russia. They have already met their child and signed a letter of intent to adopt her. I ask that Congressman or Senator ______ contact Secretary of State Clinton and other members of the State Department to talk to them about […]

Adopting from Russia: The Davis Family Story

A Guest Post by Tesney Davis~

Two and a half years ago, my husband, Greg, and I began praying for God to do whatever he wanted with our lives. Adoption became something that he was showing us he wanted for our family. We began to pray about adopting a child with special needs. Greg and I have a lot of experience with children who have special needs. It seemed like a natural fit for our family. As we prayed, God opened our eyes to children with disabilities in orphanages across the ocean in Russia. We started our adoption journey of a child with Down syndrome. We were given a referral for a child in Russia and awaited our invitation to go meet him.

Eight months later, as we neared the finish line of our adoption, one of the family members in Russia stepped forward to adopt the child for which we had been given a referral. We were devastated when we received the news that the child we had planned to bring into our family was no longer available for adoption. We grieved hard. Although heartbroken for our own loss, but God showed us that we were following him, and his ways are perfect. We knew we still wanted to adopt.

Shortly after losing our original referral, we received a new referral for a four-year-old boy with Down syndrome named Kirill. We were more guarded with our emotions this time, but we had no doubts that we should commit to this child. We had to re-file a lot of our paperwork because of the change in referrals and regions of Russia, but our commitment to this child was not something we took lightly and we gladly did whatever it […]

I slept with a girl…..and I didn’t catch HIV.

A guest post, by Jenny Clark

She is four years old. Her name is Leah Grace and she is the daughter of my friend Deb (the one I just went to Africa with). She contracted HIV through no fault of her own. She takes her meds every day like a good girl. Because of those meds, and the love of her family, she is a perfectly healthy normal little girl.

While in Uganda, I wiped her snot, drank after her, shared food with her, helped her in the bathroom….all of the things I would do with my own daughter. About halfway through the week we had some friends come and stay with us for a few nights, which caused us to have to do a little shuffle of the sleeping arrangements. I am no stranger to having children in my bed and all up in my business while I sleep, so I didn’t think twice when Leah Grace wanted to bunk with me.

But then right before I fell asleep, 1987 came back to haunt me ……for a split second.

What if she has a stomach virus and throws up on me during the night?
Is HIV present in urine? What if she wets the bed?
She got a cut on her nose today…what if it opens up while she is asleep?

The truth is sometimes ugly, and I really don’t want to admit it…..especially since I am on staff with Project Hopeful, and our whole objective is to shine light on the facts about HIV and to advocate for children who live with it.

But then I realized, that if I KNOW the facts, and 1987 still crept in to my mind for a split second, how would my friends react in the same […]

On Disclosure…

A guest post by Suzanne MayernickJosie will turn SEVEN in February.  It is so hard to believe.  We will forever be dealing with the stigma that is attached to HIV/AIDS.  There have been many children with HIV adopted through Josie’s story.  While it brings a smile to my face, it also fills my heart with sadness.  Many of the families that have gone to bring these children home are not willing to disclose that their children are positive.  While I COMPLETELY understand the fear that accompanies what your child might endure because of the virus ( I feel the fear also, thankfully, Christ carries that burden on my behalf)  If we are not willing to walk the journey and bring light to the darkness that accompanies it, then Christ is not glorified in the capacity that HE could be.  Which in the end, just adds more stigma.  This is a VERY controversial subject, one that I really struggle with deep down.  The past several years I have encouraged these adoptions and maybe haven’t done my due diligence in preparing hearts on how to deal with life and not fear once you get these children home.  It saddens my heart.  It makes life harder with Josie because there are MANY “positive” children in the US now, sitting in the infectious disease doctors offices all over the nation, not willing to take a bold stand on behalf of these children and educate  others on the virus.  If their parents are not willing to educate, encourage, and enable then who will be their advocates?  Why not just hand it over to Christ and walk in the light?  No lies, no secrets, just living out your faith walk that […]

FIG Awassa, Ethiopia: Day 3

From our FIG Awassa Director, Greg Knight – Day 3 of his visit:
Today we began at Ajuuja meeting with Eyasu and three of the four active board members of Ajuuja Children’s Home. They expressed great gratitude for all the support that Project HOPEFUL Awassa has sent so far and prayed blessings upon our family and all the donors involved and Project HOPEFUL. All four men are well spoken and confident men of God that not only serve on the board but are active in the hands on portion of the ministry. They asked that we tell the donors, Charisa and Project HOPEFUL that “without you we can not do this.” We talked for a while and board member Pastor Aklilu closed the meeting with prayer.

While we were meeting Rebekah spent time playing with the children and getting some more great photos! A few of the girls gave her a special hairdo and she enjoyed the time laughing and playing with them. She also had a chance to try her hand at making injera! The ladies said she did a great job so…..I’m expecting some fresh injera when we get home.

Afterwards we took a few minutes to head to Haile Resort which is owned by Ethiopian Olympic runner Haile Gebresellasie. Joel, Rebekah and I took a small boat into Lake Awassa hoping to catch a glimpse of the lake’s resident hippos. It was a pleasant ride and our guide drove us straight to a group of hippos in the water cooling off from the midday sun. Rebekah said it was the fourth scariest event of her life! The ride back was nice and we enjoyed the magnificent scenery that God created around Lake Awassa complete with […]

F.I.G. Awassa Ethiopia Visit: October 10th

We’re so glad to bring another update from Greg Knight, Director of FIG Awassa:
We began the day at 7:30 by visiting the local fish market. They were using cast nets that reminded me of the way that Peter was probably fishing when Jesus called him.The boats were small and made by hand and the men were hard at work cleaning their nets from the days catch. Large birds were waiting for anything the fishermen left while monkeys played in the trees behind us. There were many people around, some cleaning fish, some buying fish, young boys trying to do anything that might get them a tip and we “ferenjis” just watching. We went to an area where people were eating the small cut pieces raw. A young man approached Joel and began speaking to him just to let him know that he thought Rebekah was pretty. I would agree!

After that we headed to Ajuuja and had the privilege of meeting all but one of the sponsored children and their families! We were able to sit for a few minutes with each family and ask questions, talk to them and just experience who they are. I took a lot of notes and I hope to be able to share details with their FIG families very soon. There were so many people, all of which were so grateful not just for care packages but that people they didn’t even know that live so far away cared enough about them to find a way to help by sponsoring their children.

One lady in particular really got to me. I did not see her until her child’s name was called. I looked up and she approached in a wheel […]

F.I.G. Awassa Ethiopia Visit – Greg Knight

Director of the F.I.G. Awassa Ethiopia Program, Greg Knight is in Ethiopia with his daughter visiting our contacts there and building relationships. We wanted to share with you what he is doing by posting his updates and some pictures as he is able to send them to us and this is the first of them. We trust you will enjoy this ‘fly on the wall’ perspective.
“Today we began at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast that was interestingly different. Bekah passed and I ate lightly, both of which proved to be good decisions!

Askale (Eyasu’s wife and partner at Ajuuja) and a driver picked us up in a 4 wheel drive shortly after 7:00 and we picked up Ajuuja Social Worker Tashoma on the way out of Awassa. Afer about 20 minutes of paved roads we began the dirt road/off road part of the three hour drive. About an hour in we had to stop for Fekadu who was carsick and regretting breakfast! He was in the back on the vehicle and the road was very rough and filled with turns, ruts, people, livestock and all manner of transportation both with 4 legs and motorized. The driver didn’t slow much for these instead he cut in and weaved around everything in our path.

After passing through village after village and seeing some the most beautiful landscape and people on Earth we reached our destination, the town of Yaye.

We were escorted into a small government building where 5 families that had been identified as the poorest of the poor who could benefit the most from the donation of a sheep were waiting for us along with local social workers. They all expressed deep gratitude for the work of Ajuuja […]

Meet Tesney Davis, Director of Education for Project HOPEFUL

Deanna Jones of YouParent met up with Tesney at the Together for Adoption Conference 2012. Get to know her heart for Special Needs Adoptions and Project HOPEFUL’s vision of educating, encouraging and enabling families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with a wide range of Special Needs.

Update: Project HOPEFUL’s FIG Awassa, Ethiopia Program

By Charisa Knight

Hello Project HOPEFUL friends!! We are over here in Virginia being amazed at what God can do through people with generous and compassionate hearts. This program was started about 6 weeks ago after talking and praying with some of the Project HOPEFUL team. We thought we’d start small and see how it goes….Well, God had different things in store!

(to read the beginning of this journey go here:

We currently have FIGs (family in the gap) for all of the 18 children that are eligible for sponsorship at the orphanage in Awassa. This is fantastic!

These FIGs will have the great reward of making sure these children have the things that the need, invest in them spiritually through prayer, sending them care packages and letters, and going on mission trips to meet them! We are so thankful for these families that have jumped in with us by faith from the beginning!

We also are taking part of the orphanage’s community sponsorship program. This is something that is already in place and we are stepping in to help them make sure they have the funds for this program and provide support for micro-enterprise programs and other needs. This program helps families stay together and have their daily needs met. Currently we have 10 of these children with FIGs and have 8 more children that need someone to stand in the gap for them!

We have already provided boxes of desperately need cloth diapers and a month of needed supplies. As I type more formula and diapers are on their way as well as 6 needed walkers.

Greg is taking a trip over October 6 to meet with our representatives in country and the orphanage director. Together they will […]

THANK YOU, Cultivate Wines!

By Deb Steiner
A few months back, I emailed Project HOPEFUL Executive Director, Carolyn Twietmeyer, and asked whether I could sign up Project HOPEFUL in a contest run by Cultivate Wines.  We were familiar with the competition because, among other ways, we had advocated for other much-loved organizations in the same contest in previous quarters of voting.  Carolyn agreed that we could give it a try.  Our thought was that if we didn’t succeed in receiving a grant, at least we would have the opportunity to educate people about Project HOPEFUL and waiting children around the world.  Little did we know…..

Prior to the kick off of the Cultivate Wines voting, we strategized and brainstormed; prayed and strategized some more.  We didn’t really know what we were doing, but we were good at appearing as if we did!  We developed a staff schedule for posting about the vote, which promptly went out the window when voting began.  We circulated and re-circulated the rules, determined not to blow it, even inadvertently.

For two months – 61 days – we begged, cajoled, pleaded, and stomped for the vote.  We were relentless.  We were irritating.  We lost friends.  We gained supporters.  And, low and behold, we won.  Or better said, the children WON.  Project HOPEFUL was awarded the $50,000 grant.  Thank you, Jesus!  But that was only the beginning.

Throughout our conversations with Cultivate Wines, something became very obvious to us:  They get it.  They really, really get it.  Not only are they giving away 10% of their revenue to organizations like Project HOPEFUL, they aren’t even profitable yet.  Not only do they really care about issues affecting our world, they are doing something about it.  Not only have they been encouraging to […]

Cultivate Wines 2012 Q2 Give $50,000 Winner: Project HOPEFUL, NFP


An Important Message from our Founder, Carolyn Twietmeyer:


I am sure you are tiring of the begging that has taken place over the last 8 weeks to VOTE FOR PROJECT HOPEFUL through the CULIVATE WINES big grant giveaway!! But, as we always say, “NO SHAME IN OUR GAME”.

I am SHAMELESSLY begging for you to VOTE and keep Project HOPEFUL in FIRST PLACE for this $50,000. LIFE GIVING, FAMILY MAKING, STIGMA SLAYING gift opportunity!! All we need to do is stay in first place for 4 more days and we WIN!! PLEASE SHARE this with YOUR friends and help us to continue EDUCATING, ENCOURAGING AND ENABLING people to adopt the most overlooked children for adoption in the world AND help HIV+ mothers KEEP their children and expand to bring LIFE to children in places like Guatemala, where treatment is currently unavailable!! Lock arms with us through the finish line!!!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!!! We can’t finish this without you!


All for ONE!