Children’s HopeChest

A large hunk of my beating heart throbs wildly at a CarePoint in a village called Adacar, in Northern Uganda.  I volunteer with Children’s HopeChest as the sponsorship coordinator for Adacar, and we have about 300 kids there in our sponsorship and development program.  If you really, REALLY love me, you’d sponsor one of my kiddos there.  Just sayin’.

The Story Company

The awesome people at HopeChest have started a company that sells gorgeous clothing and accessories.  These items are handmade by artisans from around the world, and when you buy their stuff, you empower them to use their artistry to earn a fair wage and help them write their own stories.  Gorgeous merch, good prices, fair wages, supporting artists around the world.  Yes please.

Rahab’s Rope

Working in India, this organization rehabilitates women who have been rescued out of the sex trade, providing fair wages for gifts and jewelry that they make.  They have a beautiful online store.

Because Every Mother Matters

These wacky mommas seek to stop orphans before they happen.  Through birth kits, midwife training, and sponsorships for struggling mommas, BEMM partners with mothers in Ethiopia to help them medically and vocationally, enabling them to survive childbirth, get on their feet, and keep their kids.  They sell awesome headbands, Ethiopian coffee bean jewelry, and Ethiopian music.

Sole Hope

I first really noticed these guys cuz they tweet about coffee a lot and seem to love it as much as I do.  Turns out they’re based in Jinja, Uganda, and they help local people make shoes to combat the gross and deadly jigger problem in Uganda (Egg sacs should not be in kids’ feet, right?  Not good.).

Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO)

Sometimes people ask me for adoption agency recommendations and resources.  I always send them to CAFO, where they keep a list of agencies and organizations.  This site is where I started poking around when we began our first adoption back in 2009.

ABBA Fund

Whenever people ask me about ideas for raising money/paying for an adoption, I always send them to ABBA fund.  These guys are so awesome!

I love reading so much that when I was little I used to hide in the bathroom or my closet and stay up all night devouring books.  Here are some of my favorites, either because they inspire me or entertain me:

Nonfiction:

  • Barefoot Church, by Brandon Hatmaker
  • Forgotten God, by Francis Chan
  • Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
  • Follow Me, by David Platt
  • Undaunted, by Christine Caine
  • One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
  • Everything, by Mary DeMuth
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker
  • Radical, by David Platt
  • Crazy Love, by Francis Chan
  • Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper
  • Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds, by Tom Davis
  • Fields of the Fatherless, by Tom Davis
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
  • Scouting the Divine, by Margaret Feinberg
  • The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns
  • When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Biography/Memoir:

  • Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas
  • Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber
  • Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
  • Love Does, by Bob Goff
  • Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker
  • Sparkly Green Earrings, by Melanie Shankle
  • Antelope in the Living Room, by Melanie Shankle
  • Carry On Warrior, by Glennon Melton
  • Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott
  • The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
  • Bruchko, by Bruce Olsen
  • Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Fiction:

  • Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
  • The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
  • Hinds Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard (allegory)
  • Scared, by Tom Davis
  • Priceless, by Tom Davis
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Wench, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  • Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

What Is Modern Day Slavery?

When you think about slavery, what comes to mind?  I used to think of the trans-Atlantic slave trade from 150+ years ago, an abomination ended by William Wilberforce and a group of passionate, determined abolitionists.  When I thought of slavery, I thought of the movie Amazing Grace, I thought of Abraham Lincoln, and I thought it was over.  I thought the world didn’t need abolitionists anymore.  My ignorance, compounded by the the ignorance of everyone else, has allowed slavery to fester and boil…Read Full Post

A Slave-Free Christmas

This Christmas, I’ve challenged myself to shop my entire Christmas list from organizations that are helping people, not hurting people.  Today, 27 million men, women, and children live as someone else’s property.  Slaves are making the items that I’m buying to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior.  Somehow I don’t think He’s blessed by the blood on His birthday presents.  Read Full Post

10 Toy Ideas that Make the Planet Happy

With 27 million men, women, and children living in slavery, many making the toys we give our kids for Christmas, what’s an abolitionmama to do?  Many of our kids are hoping for new toys on Christmas morning, and I don’t want to be the Grinch.  I don’t think there’s one answer for everyone on the issue of toys and how we can celebrate a Slave-Free Christmas, but in an effort to be helpful and un-Grinch-like, I’ll share some of the ways we attempt to navigate this time of the year.  Here are 10 toy ideas that make the planet happy.  Read Full Post

Story Company

The Story Company is one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen.  Of course, it’s not surprising, since some of my favorite brains at Children’s HopeChest are behind this company.  It makes sense that people within my favorite organization that champions the lives of orphans have developed a company that champions the lives of artists and helps them earn fair wages for their wares.  A team of business and fashion people have partnered with artists around the world to get their stories out and give them a platform to sell their amazing products with dignity and hope.  Read Full Post

Sole Hope

I first paid attention to Sole Hope because I heard that they work in Uganda.  Ooh!  Me too!  Yay Uganda!!!  I really sat up and took notice because whoever tweets for them tweets about coffee all. the. time.  Every morning as I’m sucking down my own cup of fair trade joe, the Sole Hope tweeps post something about their own coffee addiction.  Shoes for babies, shoes for Ugandan kiddos, and a bunch of coffee addicts in charge of it all.  Where do I sign up?  Read Full Post

Upcycled Skirts from The Open Arms Shop

The Open Arms Shop is based in Austin, Texas, and employs refugees who have been relocated to the U.S.  They receive a fair wage and create gorgeous skirts made from recycled teeshirts!  They also make scarves.  Let me get this straight:  made in the U.S.A., by refugees earning a good wage, you’re upcycling old teeshirts at the same time, AND they look totally cute?  Yes please!  Read Full Post

soleRebels coZEEs Boots

I love boots, and I love Ethiopia.  My daughter is from Ethiopia, and this beautiful country continues to bless me.  soleRebels shoes are artisan-crafted in Ethiopia.  They’re fair trade, the soles are made with recycled tires, and the fabrics are organic and artisan-loomed.  Bethlehem Alemu started soleRebels to bring jobs to her area of Addis Ababa where there were none.  Her shoes are now distributed to over 30 countries worldwide!  Read Full Post

Toto Knits Shop

Toto Knits employs working single mamas in Kenya.  Um, I really don’t need to say anymore about why I like it, right?  These moms get paid by the piece, so that they can work as much or as little as they need to and put their kids first.  They use organic yarns, and they’re the cutest sweaters I’ve ever seen.  Read Full Post

Theo Chocolate

Theo describes itself as “the only Organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life certified Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory in North America.”  You can go to the website and learn allllll about how and where they source their beans, with maps and lots and lots of details, as well as a ton of information about the health benefits of chocolate (and of course, I’m always looking for more excuses to eat chocolate).  Read Full Post

Rahab’s Rope

I met some of the Rahab’s Rope people at the Together for Adoption conference this year.  We are in the process of adopting from India, so I made like a bee and buzz-lined over to their table, where I heard about their work with women who are at risk or have been in the commercial sex trade in India.  They provide a safe and loving environment where the women can grow mentally and spiritually, as well as education and vocational training.  They have an online shop selling the products made by these courageous women.  Read Full Post

Laugh Brand Jeans

They give 30% of their profits to fight child-trafficking.  Their website has an animated graphic illustrating the frequency of child trafficking in the world.  It’s chilling.  And makes me want to buy their jeans.  While Laurie was working on the first batch of jeans, she tweeted photos of them being distressed, folded, etc.  It was neat to watch the jeans coming together, and seeing them made right in front of my eyes on Twitter, rather than hidden in a sweatshop somewhere.  Read Full Post

Pure Charity

These guys have partnered with a ton of retailers, like Apple, Macys, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, to help you earn a percentage off your purchases that you can use to fund charitable projects of your choice.  Seriously, if you’re talking all big and bad with the fair tradey stuff but secretly know you’re going to buy a new laptop, stop what you’re doing now and get a Pure Charity account.  It’s FREE MONEY for charity.  You’re already spending it, so make sure the money is also helping people.  Read Full Post

Charity Pot Lush Lotion

Lush has a product called Charity Pot that contains fair trade organic cocoa butter.  With the exception of sales tax, every penny that you spend on this product goes to to fund grassroots charities around the world.  Slather it on and enjoy!  Read Full Post

Krochet Kids

Krochet Kids started with three guys teaching people living in camps in Northern Uganda how to crochet hats.  Their goal is sustainable economic development.  They teach people how to crochet, give them a job, educate and mentor them in personal budgeting, saving and loaning, and business development.  They help people who are sick of living off of the government and aid organizations to become self sufficient.  I LOVE what these guys are doing, because it’s similar to what I’m working with HopeChest to do in Adacar, Uganda.  Read Full Post

Established Signs/Feed an Orphan in Uganda

My friend Karla is one of those crafty moms.  Chances are, when you’re over at her house, you’ll see something that you love, ask about it, and hear offhandedly, “Oh, I made it.”  She had this sign over her kitchen window that everyone loved, and she realized that she could start making signs for other people.  And my favorite part: Karla and her husband, Donnie, are Adacar sponsors.  In fact, Donnie’s been to Adacar, Uganda with me, and he and Karla have been huge supporters and advocates from early on in our partnership with Children’s HopeChest.  Each sign that Karla sells feeds a child in Adacar for a month.  Read Full Post

Noonday Collection

Noonday was started by an adoptive family.  Adoptive families can host trunk shows and receive 10% of the profit for their adoptions.  The products are fair trade, with artisans receiving a fair living wage, a good working condition, and a reasonable path out of poverty.  They even go beyond fair trade standards, as some of the artisans aren’t just receiving a fair wage, they are part owners of their companies.  They want to provide jobs for people in poverty to help keep children in families.  I love that.  Read Full Post

Hopetions: Hope+Options

Hopetions is Baby Safe International’s micro-business in South Africa.  Baby Safe works to prevent baby dumping, intervening with abandoned babies and supporting pregnant mothers in crisis.  One banner bunting provides one day’s wages for a mother in South Africa. The products are made by mothers in the “Motherhood is Beautiful” program, which is a holistic program that incorporates health, nutrition, and performing arts, with micro-business and spiritual transformation.  Read Full Post

Handcrafting Justice

Handcrafting Justice empowers women to overcome social and economic injustice by providing fair wages and a support network.  The artisans set the prices for their goods themselves, and they work in safe, clean worksites in twenty countries around the world.  Read Full Post

Suti Sana Handmade Christmas Cards

Suti Sana seeks to provide emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual restoration for women leaving brothels in Bolivia. I love how their website explains its name: “Suti is an indigenous Aymaran word meaning “name,” and sana means “healed” in Spanish.  As the women leave their broken lives in the brothels to begin the long process of restoration, they leave behind the names they worked under.  Within caring community, women can finally experience healing of names and identities.”  Read Full Post

Because Every Mother Matters

Because Every Mother Matters works to stop orphans from happening in Ethiopia, by partnering with the mamas and helping them keep their kids.  They provide sponsorships and medical and vocational assistance to the mothers, and when they help one mom, all of her kids benefit.  Helping one mom helps a whole family.  Read Full Post

Senda Soccer Balls

Senda soccer balls are ethically made in Pakistan and are Fair Trade certified.  Senda provides fair wages and safe working conditions to the people making the products, and they work to increase access to sports around the world and use soccer as a means for social development.  They partner with nonprofits and provide fair trade sports equipment to youth and adults, from the homeless to people with physical disabilities.  Read Full Post

Junk Posse Jewelry

I love Junk Posse jewelry so very much, and the two necklaces that I own hold very special meaning for me.  Junk Posse also partnered with Children’s HopeChest a couple of years ago to give necklaces to the women in the young mothers’ program in Russia.  Tracy, the artist, calls her designs “Passion with a Purpose.”  Through her jewelry business, she supports several nonprofits, including Water for Christmas, The Adoption Exchange, and 147 Million Orphans, and she also helps fund adoptions.  Read Full Post

Nativities from Servv

Serrv’s mission is to end poverty.  They’ve been working on this for over 60 years, partnering with artisans and farmers from around the world.  They are founding members of both the World Fair Trade Organization and the Fair Trade Federation.  They sell everything from home decor and kitchen items to accessories and food.  They have a large selection of Christmas nativities from around the world.  Read Full Post

Sseko Sandals

One of the students whom we sponsor in Uganda is sixteen, super smart, a born leader, and I’m praying for God to use Esther to do amazing things in His name.  I love this company, because it partners with young women like my Esther.  Sseko employs young women in Uganda during the nine-month gap between high school and university, helping them earn money for school, which is accrued in a savings account until their tuition is due.  Read Full Post

Melange Collection

Melange works with community-based organizations in developing countries to bring us handmade, fair trade products.  They insure that the artisans receive fair, living wages, safe work environments, and that their cultural traditions are respected and upheld.  Read Full Post

Priya

Priya sells accessories made by women rescued from human trafficking and forced prostitution in Kolkata’s red-light district.  The women receive rehabilitation, a safe work environment, training in business skills, and healthcare.  Through the hope of a new life and steady income, these young women are able to have their dignity restored.  Read Full Post

Beza Threads Scarves

WinSouls is an Ethiopian non-profit that rescues child slaves from the streets of Addis Ababa and provides them with a one-year program of education, counseling, and love.  Beza Threads buys the scarves made by these children at a fair wage and sells them, returning the revenue from the scarves back to the children and the WinSouls program.  Read Full Post

I Walk For Water

I’m completely proud of this combo gift idea for the kiddos on your list.  My friend, Lindsey, has written an incredible children’s book called “I Walk For Water.”  The illustrations are beautiful, and the story introduces our kids to their peers in Africa who walk many kilometers every day to find clean water.  So first, buy Lindsey’s book. Then, buy a stainless steel, toxin-free, 100% recyclable water bottle from MiiR.  MiiR has partnered with charity: water and One Day’s Wages to help build wells in Southeast Asia and Africa.  Every water bottle that MiiR sells buys one year of clean water for a child in need.  Clean water for all!  Read Full Post

Altered Story Handmade Goods

Christi, the artist, is a lover-of-orange – ME TOO!!! – and calls herself an “abolitionist-in-training.”  Me, too.  She gives 10% of the profits from her Etsy site to organizations working to free slaves, and since she’s been to Moldova and has blogged about her heart for the victims of human trafficking there, I want to be her friend.  God broke off a small piece of my heart and wedged it into Moldova a couple of years ago, and I’m excited that Christi is using her beautiful gifts to shine light into that country.  Read Full Post

Joyn Clutches

Joyn utilizes as many pairs of hands as possible per item.  More hands mean more jobs, so Joyn seeks to make everything as handmade as possible.  It takes 14 sets of hands to make one of their items.  Everything is hand-picked (organic cotton), handwoven, hand block printed, hand stitched.  These hands live in northern India, where they receive a good work environment, education for their kids, vocational training, and medical coverage for their families.  Read Full Post    

Just Love Coffee

Their coffee comes from fair trade, direct trade, shade-grown, and organic sources.  They are committed to sustainability and ethical practices.  In the first two years of business, they gave over $200,000 to adopting families, nonprofits, and the arts.  A portion of every cup of coffee that they sell goes to helping someone.  Oh, and the coffee is excellent.  Ethiopian is my favorite, and they sell several different varieties.  Read Full Post

Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange cares a lot about farmers.  They partner with farmer co-ops to bring us fairly traded and organic products.  Many of their products are vegan and kosher as well.  If you’re planning a fundraiser or want to provide coffee at your church or school, they sell wholesale and equip you to re-sell their products.  Read Full Post

Ornaments4Orphans

I like Ornaments4Orphans for three reasons.  First, these guys employ local artisans from impoverished communities.  They prevent orphans by supplying families with a steady income from which they can buy food, keep their kids in school, and purchase medicines to treat disease.  Second, the funds raised by the sale of the ornaments go to Pearl Ministries, which operates in Uganda, providing holistic care for orphans and vulnerable children.  Through the program, they receive medical care, spiritual support, and educational and vocational training.  Third, ornaments rock.  Read Full Post

Freeset

Freeset isn’t just a business.  These guys are located in the largest red light district of Kolkata, India, and they offer jobs to women trapped in the sex trade.  The women in their employ receive fair wages, health care, and pension plans.  They enter the job with little or no skills, and Freeset provides job training and a community where they have access to child care, literacy classes, and budgeting and debt management classes.  Our purchases from Freeset support the 160+ women employed there, making lasting changes for their children and families, as well as the farmers growing the fair trade, organic cotton for the bags and shirts.  Read Full Post

  • http://www.stillplayinghouse.com/ Jessie

    Oh, how I wish I had found your site BEFORE walking down the road of international adoption. But I’m so glad to have found it now. :)

Oh hey! Been here long?

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