Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jacob Walks!!!!

Yesterday while the kids and I were playing Jacob took a few steps. I was holding him up under his arms and Ethan was playing with him. The next thing I knew Jacob was putting one foot in front of the other and trying to walk to Ethan. Granted we have a long way to go seeing that he still can not sit up on his own, not even close to standing on his own. BUT Jacob KNOWS how to walk and we are praying that someday he will.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living in EXCESS

As I think about the past year and look forward to the year to come God has been reminding me not to live in EXCESS!

I have had a hard couple of days as God has been working on me. As you know Friday (day after Christmas) was a big shopping day. I had already set up with my husband to watch all the kids while I went out to look for deals. Then my dear hubby said to me, “What are you shopping for? Do we need anything?” Sadly, I could not come up with anything that we needed. My answer,” There are lots of things on sale tomorrow.” That is when God really started working! Do we need more stuff? When I looked around the house I discovered that it isn’t necessarily more space we needed but less stuff. Granted, it would be nice to have a larger home and not have kids stacked on top of one another. Do I need a Dodge Sprinter or will a plain old Chevrolet Passenger Van work just a well? Do our kids need the newest fad toys? Do we need the latest and greatest in electronics? Do we need 10 different snacks in the cabinet? Do we need to go out to dinner once a week? SO, I did not go shopping on Friday!

Then I started thinking about Ethiopia and Haiti. It almost makes me sick to think about how much money we waste on stuff that we don’t need. I bet I would be appalled if I added up the money I spent last year on things that were not needed. Could that have paid for another adoption? Could we have sponsored a child? Could we have sent more supplies over to the orphanages? Could we have sent Bibles? Could we have sponsored a missionary?

I usually do not make New Year’s Resolutions, frankly, because I never follow through. But, this year I am going to make one. I am not sure of the specifics but it will involve “not living in excess”. I am going to seriously look at where we are putting our resources(time & money). I will let you know what I come up with when I work out the details!


Saturday, December 13, 2008


1. A Chair for Jacob (God has blessed us with one to borrow until his is delivered). YEAH GOD!!!

2. A Dodge Sprinter (Gray)

3. The Haiti government will change their regulations and allow large families to adopt.

4. To be able to finalize Jacob & Gabriel's adoption before the end of the year.

5. A Wonderful Christmas with my family and that we be reminded of the TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS, the birth of JESUS!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I need some advice. Since the boys came home the 1st of August our family has battled with cold/sinus issues. The kids are all sick again!!! Any home remedies for treating and getting rid of this nasty junk.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Today is Faith's 1 yr GOTCHA DAY anniversary! I can't believe it has been a year. I remember every minute of that trip like it was yesterday. Faith is truly a blessing.




Saturday, November 29, 2008


We have had a wonderful relaxing weekend. We have taken this weekend to spend a lot of time talking to our children about thanking God for the blessings He has given us. We have also been talking about giving and serving others. We have had some great teachable moments this weekend. It has been nice to have this unstructured time to just be together as a family. Except for lunch on Thanksgiving we have had no commitments this weekend. Darren has a four day weekend and the kids have enjoyed having Daddy at home.

I wanted to share a picture of the turkey cupcakes my sister made for Thanksgiving. The kids loved it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A question for those with large families. This past weekend we took a family trip to attend a wedding. As I began to search for a hotel I discovered that most hotels will only allow four people to a standard room. We are now a family of seven!!!!! We ended up staying with my parents in their RV, which worked out just fine.

So, what do you do when you take a trip? Do you fork out the bucks for a family suite? Get two rooms? Or, do you just not mention that you have five children hiding around the corner?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jacob loves suckers!!

Jacob gets mad when the sucker is gone!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The last two weeks have been crazy for us. Lots of doctor appointments and therapy appointments. BUT today and tomorrow we have absolutely nothing on our schedule except for school.

Miranda had to have four cavities filled this week. She did great!!!! My mom went to a neurosurgeon for a second opinion this week. We are all much more comfortable with his diagnosis and treatment plan. He is sending her to an endocrinologist for more testing. The three amigos(Faith, Gabriel & Ethan) are doing well. Not much new with them except they are VERY BUSY and love to agitate each other. Jacob is doing well with therapy. He had a swallow study done and everything seems to be working correctly. He also had his eyes checked and his vision seems to be good also. This week he was measured for his chair. Below is a picture of the chair he will be getting. It is called a KidKart.

Also, the adoption agency contacted us to let us know that Gabriel's sister is being adopted by a family in Ohio. I am so relieved that she will be close and they can maintain contact as they get older.

Not much else to report.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


It has been a tough week for our family. Yesterday we found out that my mother has been diagnosed with a Pituitary Adenoma(brain tumor). We have been told that in 95% of cases it is nonmalignant. We don't have a lot of details yet as they are still running test.

AND if our day had not been hard enough the brakes went out in Darren's truck on his way home from work.

Please keep my mom and our family in your prayers. The "unknown" is a scary place to be sometimes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

WOW, time sure passes quickly. We will be having our 1 year post placement meeting for Faith next week. I can't believe it has almost been one year since this beautiful girl entered our hearts. Here is a then and now photo.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Jacob continues to amaze us everyday. During therapy last week Faith was serving Jacob tea. Of course, a proper gentleman always knows how to drink tea. Jacob put the cup to his mouth like he was drinking. He continued to do this everytime someone pretended to pour tea in his cup.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. I have no excuse except for laziness! Everyone is doing great. We did receive a bit of interesting news the other day. The adoption agency contacted us to let us know that Gabriel's sister has been brought to the orphanage. This is his only biological sibling. She is approximately 7 years old and beautiful. I am torn to say the least. Our van will not hold another person and our house is already crowded. Darren & I both agreed that we would not put a limit on our family and let God guide us. However, right now the finances for another adoption is just not there. Not to mention a new vehicle and larger house. So please pray that either God will move mountains or that I will have peace. Here are some pictures of the kids, ENJOY! Ethan helping Daddy in the yard Ethan changing the oil in his truck Faith & Counsin Sydney Jacob & Grandpa Gabriel, Faith & Ethan

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This weekend we took the kids camping with their Granny & Poppy. We had a wonderful time relaxing with family and enjoying the kids.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I have not had the opportunity to share with you another blessing God has bestowed upon our family. The week before we left to pick up the boys we received notice that we had been given a grant through Shaohannah's Hope. It was such a blessing because it covered the amount of our airline tickets.

After receiving a grant the staff at Shaohannah's Hope gives us the opportunity to share our Adoption Story with others. The following is our story . . .

Why are we adopting??? In James 1:27 we are called to “look after orphans and widows in their distress”. Our family has felt God’s calling to care for the orphans. God had placed in both of our hearts the desire to care for orphaned children long before we ever met. After our second biological child was born we made the decision to expand our family through adoption. We began the paperwork trail three months after our son’s birth.

We officially began our adoption journey in February 2006 when we mailed our dossier to China. At that time, the estimated wait to be matched with a child was between six and nine months. One day in March 2006 I was standing in the kitchen, I think I was fixing lunch. I got cold chills and God said, “Your daughter was born today”. Well, I thought that was really cool and starting counting the days of how old she would be when we got our referral. As the wait got longer and longer I began to think that day in March was just wishful thinking. If she was born on that day she would be two or older before we finally got her and we had specifically requested a child younger than nine months of age. OK, skip forward to September 2007. We had decided several months ago that we felt God leading us to apply for a child with a special medical need. We had already applied for two children but were not matched with them. Of course we were very discouraged because we really felt we were following God’s lead. A new list of waiting children was released on September 11, 2007. I immediately scanned the list and found two children that fit into our age range and the type of medical need we were approved for. I printed their information out to review it with Darren but I still wasn’t content. I kept going back and looking at the picture of “Angela”. She was much older than what were had originally said we would adopt, but she kept tugging at my heart. I had to print her papers out. We did apply for three girls, including “Angela”. I couldn’t sleep at night without dreaming about her. Finally, on October 4, 2007 we got THE CALL from our adoption agency. We had been matched with “Angela”. I just fell to my knees and cried like a baby. At the time I did not make the connection back to that day in March 2006. A few days later we were on our way home from church and suddenly it all clicked. “Angela” was born on March 20, 2006. She was the little girl God told me was born in China that day in March 2006. WOW!!! Our daughter, Faith Fu Xiang was 20 months old on our “Gotcha Day” December 9, 2007. Faith has a repaired CL/CP and Rickets. She is an absolute joy!

On the plane ride home from China I told my husband, “You know we still have a son in Africa”. He laughed and said maybe in a couple of years. Well, God had different plans for our family. Two short months after we returned home from picking up Faith God placed on my heart to begin looking for our son. We had already decided if we adopted again we would want to adopt a “waiting child”. So I secretly began to review waiting child list from various agencies. After about a week of looking I saw the face of our son, Gabriel. Early that Saturday morning I told my husband in passing, “I found our son last night and his name is Gabriel”. His response was, “Oh, really”. We sat down together and reviewed his paperwork and crunched some numbers and by mid afternoon we had accepted his referral. If you knew my husband you would know that he is not spontaneous, especially when it comes to our finances. This was a huge leap of faith for our family since we had just completed the adoption of our daughter. Finances were really tight so we agreed that we would have to apply for several grants in order to finance Gabriel’s adoption. As we began the adoption paperwork for Gabriel God continued to whisper, “you can do more”.

There was a baby boy on the waiting child list who had several unknown health issues. I had been drawn to this little guy since we decided to adopt Gabriel but I knew Darren would think I was crazy. I approached Darren and said I think we need to adopt another little boy. Of course, he did think I was crazy, at first! His response was if God provides the finances than we will consider it. Well, he should know that you should never set a challenge before God or me. That Sunday I approached our class at church with our desire to adopt this little guy and the need for the finances. Needless to say God worked miracles that last week and provided us with the amount necessary to pay the adoption fees and his travel cost. There are so many stories to tell.... Eli who I think is 4 years old told his mom that he would do extra chores to earn money to help baby Jacob come home. A dear friend was out running errands one day and she came by with a check and said God just told me I needed to come give this to you. Another family stepped out in faith and said “we want to make sure this happens, how much money do you still need?”

The adoption of Gabriel Lema and Jacob Josiah was completed on June 23, 2008. We traveled to Ethiopia to pick them up in July 2008. Jacob was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy during the process of his adoption. We are currently having test done here in the US to confirm his diagnosis. They are the happiest two boys I have ever met. Their smiles can light up a room!

We have been asked on several occasions if we are done now. Honestly, we have no idea. We have prayed over our family and have decided that we are going to leave our hearts and our resources open to God’s prompting. God has been faithful to provide the finances each time a payment was due for the adoption. God has blessed our family through friends and agencies such as Shaohannah’s Hope. There are so many stories I could tell about God’s provisions and His providing us with the right people to encourage us each step of the way.

Right now our minivan is full, but I think we will start looking for a passenger van soon!

Darren, Rebecca, Miranda, Ethan, Faith, Gabriel & Jacob

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Everyone is probably wondering how we are doing???? The kids have adjusted beautifully however, I am still adjusting to having all of these kids. Here are some pictures to keep you going until I have time to sit down and blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hi Friends!

We are doing well. We received the boys yesterday and they are doing great. They took to us immediately. We had our embassy appointment today. We leave on Thursday night Ethiopian time. Please continue to pray for us and all the families currently in Ethiopia. There have been a few families who have had holdups which could possibly delay their return home.

Gabriel is doing great. He immediately took to Darren and has not let him our of his sight. He is very congested and has a bad cough.

Jacob is also doing great. He is sick as well. We also think he has scabies. He has gained a lot of weight and is looking good.

We love you guys and can't wait to see you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We made it to Ethiopia! We are doing well but are having difficulty with our phone. I will try to post tomorrow. We meet the kids at 10:00a.m.

Love You Guys

Friday, July 25, 2008

The last two days have been exhausting and we haven't even left yet. We traveled to Ohio to take the kids to their grandparents. It is always hard for me to leave the kids so it has been an emotional day.

We had to repack our luggage because we could not get all the donations in our allowed 4 suitcases. So, we went to an army surplus store and bought three of the biggest duffle bags I have ever seen. We are now repacked in 4 pieces of luggage (I hope under the size limit). The house is cleaned, airline tickets confirmed, transportation to the airport confirmed, and I am exhausted. We leave for the airport at 6:30 a.m.

I will try to post from Ethiopia.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ETHAN! Today we celebrated Ethan's 3rd Birthday. We are going to miss his birthday because we will be in Ethiopia so we had his party today.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We have had a busy week here at the Maas household. I have began the task of packing our stuff and the orphanage donations. We have finalized our airline tickets and hotel reservations. We will be staying at the Hilton in Addis Ababa. By the way it is the most expensive hotel I have ever stayed at or will ever stay at again. Here is our schedule:

July 26th Fly out to Washington and then on to Ethiopia
July 27th Arrive in Ethiopia in P.M./Get a good nights rest
July 28th Meet the boys ASAP
July 29th Embassy Appointment
July 30th Sight Seeing
July 31st Leave Ethiopia in P.M. (Jacob's 1st Birthday)
August 1st Arrive home around 6:00 p.m.

We also received an update on the boys. They are both sick with a cough/nasty nose. We were told that Jacob's right hand is very stiff and is not easy to manipulate. They said he does try to communicate. Gabriel is still grieving for his birth mother. They said he is very shy and does not like loud people or crowds. They also said he continues to cry frequently. So if anyone out there has any suggestions on how to make Gabriel's transition a little easier please let me know.

I do have some prayer requests. Satan has really tried to get us down the last couple of weeks. We have been faced with obstacle after obstacle with our travel arrangements. Satan has been trying to put a wedge between Darren & I and our ability to come to an agreement on some issues. First, pray for the health of Jacob and Gabriel. Second, pray for our marriage and agreement in decision making. Third, pray that I have peace while we are away from Miranda, Ethan & Faith. Pray for their safety while they are with grandparents. Also for smooth transition for ALL of our children. Lastly, that we will continue to follow God's guidance for our children's education. Miranda will be in 1st grade and I intend to continue homeschooling. However, we are concerned that having four children age three and under will make it difficult for me to give Miranda all the time she needs in school.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Isaiah 65:24

I love this story! Our pastor read it at church one Sunday and someone just emailed it to me. This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). 'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed.

As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children.

'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes.

I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied.

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Now that we can share pictures of our boys I wanted to show a before and after picture of Jacob. As I shared with you before when we accepted the referral for Jacob there were a lot of unknowns about his health. For some reason he had drastically lost weight and they feared he might not make it. Blessed by the director of our adoption agency Jacob was moved from the orphanage to the transition home in Addis Ababa where he could get medical care. After seeing a doctor in Addis he was prescribed a life saving formula provided by Unicef for severely malnourished children.

Picture on the left taken in March 2008 and picture on right was taken June 2008.

As you can see this formula truly changes the quality of life for these children who are suffering from malnourishment. Due to a shortage of money and the increase in food cost Unicef and World Food Program is struggling to provide for these children. More and more children are being brought into their centers due to the drought and shortage of food. Please consider providing financially to the organizations so that they can help more children like Jacob.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Well, today we received word that we can start making travel arrangements. We are expecting an Embassy appointment for July 29th. So we plan to catch a plane on July 26th to Ethiopia to be united with two very beautiful little boys.

For all of our family and friends we will be collecting donations for the orphanage between now and our travel date. Please see the list on the left for what items are needed.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

So many of you are probably wondering, "When are we bringing our babies home?" Well, we are wondering the same thing. Why is it the good news is always followed by bad news. Just a few days after receiving the news that we passed court we were told that because of power outages our papers will be delayed. Basically after we pass court new birth certificates and court documents need to be printed and taken to the US Embassy to request an appointment to get their immigration approval. So we are waiting again????????????? We are hoping to receive news on Monday that our papers have been filed and we have an Embassy appointment. My fear is that because of the delay in the paper processing we could get an Embassy appointment as far off as sometime in August. Jacob's 1st birthday is on July 31st and I was hoping to have him home for a big birthday celebration. I am trying to remind myself that God's timing is perfect but it's sooooo hard to wait!


Monday, June 23, 2008

We are excited to annouce that we are officially the parents of Gabriel Lemi Maas and Jacob Josiah Maas. There was a little confusion and we thought court was tomorrow but it was today(last night).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Well this is a big week for our family. Tuesday our case goes to court in Ethiopia. That is Tuesday Ethiopia time which for us is during the night Monday. I am a big ball of nerves. There are so many things that could happen to delay court. I am also thinking about the birth mothers a lot. I know this is a big decision for them and I am sure very difficult. They have to travel 14 hours under difficult circumstances in sometimes not safe territories.

My prayer for the next few days is for safe travel for the mothers and orphanage staff. Also that the birth mothers have peace that we will love their boys always. I have also been praying that someone will cross the path of these women and share the good news of Jesus Christ with them.

If we pass court on Tuesday then I will be able to share pictures of our beautiful boys. We are hoping to travel about four weeks after we pass court. I hope to post wonderful news on Tuesday so make sure and check back then.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We received more great news today. I received an email this morning saying that Gabriel had arrived in the city. That means he and Jacob are together at last. I am not sure why he was moved but I am glad to know he has made it to Addis safely.