Thursday, December 31, 2009

APPROVAL TO TRAVEL

We have received notice that we can now go pick up our girls in Ethiopia. WOOHOO!!

I am set to leave next Saturday, January 9th. We have been a very busy family this week; making hotel and airline reservations, packing, and repacking. Darren will be holding down the fort here at home while I travel to pick up the girls. Grandma will be coming to help out while mommy is gone.

Here is our schedule:

Jan 9th Off to Ethiopia
Jan 11th Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Jan 12th Meet the girls in the afternoon
Jan 14th Embassy appointment
Jan 15th Leave Ethiopia
Jan 16th Arrive back in the USA

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pre-Christmas Festivities
Christmas Trees & Cookies









Although the girls did not make it for Christmas
they were not forgotten






Everyone with their loot on Christmas morning





Thursday, December 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Follow the link below to hear the wonderful story of the first Christmas read by Matthew West.

Christmas Story

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here is a video of our Grace singing in the car with a bunch of girls from the orphanage.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Many of you know that I am very passionate about orphan care. I have found a wonderful orphan care organization called HopeChest. I have decided to feature the work that HopeChest is doing on my blog. So periodically I will be posting information about their work and how we can help.

A Letter From HopeChest Partners:

As you read this letter there are over 2 million children forced into prostitution and sex slavery.

This can be prevented and we can do something about it. These girls need our help and there isn’t time to waste.

Right now, pimps and prostitution rings are targeting our precious, young girls. They wait for them to leave the protection of the orphanage, and then offer them a "job."

Many of the girls simply disappear: never heard from again by their friends. But sometimes you glimpse this horror.

Like the girl who was flung from the cab of a truck once her "client" was finished with her. She was paralyzed, never to walk again.

Or the young woman the police found in a ditch on the side of a busy road. Killed at the truck stop where she worked as a prostitute.

These were kids that could have been helped by our programs.

One of these stories is too many...2 million children is unfathomable. This is a direct result of evil having its way on the earth.

As Peter tells us, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8

We can’t let him continue to destroy lives. You can stop this, and help reclaim a child's future.

HopeChest stops sex trafficking before it starts. In Russia, we are taking girls into residential living centers and community centers to actively protect them from the commercial sex trade. We identify girls early, while still in the orphanage.

Our staff form meaningful relationships to role model what successful living looks like. And when that girl leaves the orphanage, she knows exactly where to go for help--to HopeChest. She is not alone.

Amongst our girls, there is no sex trafficking. In fact, our transitional living homes have a 90%+ rate of helping girls find true independent life. This is the reality of God’s Kingdom in action.

Right now these girls need you. Please go to HopeChest Partners and click the GIVE button to make a gift today.

You can make a gift in honor of a special person this Christmas. Perhaps you will honor someone who mentored you as we are helping these young women?

Help us stop sex trafficking now by reaching more girls in Russia today and into 2010.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Picture for Today

Today and tomorrow are wonderfully busy days so for today I have just a picture.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

HAPPY ADOPTION ANNIVERSARY FAITH


Two years ago today Faith Fu Xiang joined our family. On Dec 9th we met Faith for the first time and on today, Dec 10th we finalized her adoption.

If you would like to look back at our journey to pick up Faith check out our travel blog. http://travelingtofaithinchina.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A little more about Grace . . .


We have been told that Grace is 7 or 8 years old. However, I would guess her to be a few years older. It is hard to be certain her age as most of the villages do not have medical facilities or calendars. Grace was born in a very rural area of Ethiopia. To our knowledge her father is deceased and her mother disappeared a few years ago. She is really tall at 4'6" and very thin. We have been told that since being brought to the city she has learned some English. We are not sure if she has ever been to school. I know that I am biased but I think she is absolutely beautiful!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The WHOLE Story . . .

We are still waiting to get more information about our daughter, Grace. I can’t wait to learn more about her so that I can share with you. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the WHOLE story behind our current adoption. We have shared bits and pieces but decided to wait until the adoption was final before we gave full disclosure.

We began this adoption in March 2009 when we accepted the referral of two unrelated girls who were ages 3 & 7. At the time we were unaware of some issues with our home study which did not approve us to adopt unrelated children. This is a long story in itself and I will not rehash it again. Because of the way our home study was written we had to give up the referrals of these two girls.

We prayed about what we should do from there and felt lead to accept the referral of a 7 year old girl who was HIV+. After a month went by we thought that we would be ready to be submitted to court. BUT after several conversations with our adoption agency (who has been wonderful through all of this) we discovered that the girl’s mother had decided that she just could not let her go. Initially, the mother had brought her daughter to the orphanage to be adopted because she, too, was sick. The mother has AIDS and had been very ill. She wanted to find her daughter a family before she passed away but when it actually came time to say goodbye she could not. Although we grieved the loss of this little girl, we could not be happier that she will continue to have the love and support of her mother. We think of them often and keep them in our prayers.

By this time we were getting close to time for the court closure for the rainy season. We accepted the referral of another 7 year old girl. As we continued waiting through the two months of court closure I feel in love with a little girl on our agency’s waiting list. But, if you remember back to our first lost referrals we were not approved to adopt two unrelated girls. I will be honest this part is ALL GOD!! I contacted our home study agency director through email and just laid out my heart. She emailed me back a short time later saying that she would approve us for two unrelated girls. That is when we accepted the referral of our little Sera.

When courts opened back up in November we were to be submitted to court immediately. Everyone’s papers were ready to go!! This is where the story gets fuzzy and I wish I had more details. Apparently, just days before our papers were to be submitted to court the agency representative found out that there was an issue with the older girl’s situation which would make it impossible for her case to pass through court. Sadly, we had to let her go, not knowing what the future will hold for her.

Well, as you can imagine by this time our family was a little gun shy. Many of you are probably unaware that we lost the most recent referral. We made the decision that it was in the best interest of our family and our children to wait until our adoption was final before we disclosed this most recent loss. This leads us to Grace, our daughter. After we lost our most recent referral an older girl was brought to the orphanage. We accepted her referral and decided to name her Grace.

So that is the WHOLE story! It has been a wild and crazy ride. While we don’t understand why we had to take this ride we know that God does. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do through this adoption.

Thanks for taking this ride with us.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A little more about Sera . . .


Sera's birth name is Yabsera which means "work of God". We believe Sera is somewhere between the age of 15-24 months. She is small and developmentally delayed so we chose to make her on the younger end. We have chosen a birth date of June 28, 2008, which is Darren's birthday.


Sera was born with Polydactyl of her hands and feet. She has seven fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Sera also has Nystagmus, which is an eye disorder. It causes her eyes to wiggle and float. We are not sure to what extend this affects her vision. According to the adoption agency it does appear as though she can see. We will not know any other information or whether these birth defects are part of a syndrome until she has further testing once she is home. I can tell you one thing though . . . she has a smile that lights up a room!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Again, this is a time when I do not have the words to describe what God is speaking in my heart. Fortunately, there are some wonderful Christian women whom God has given the gift of speaking(blogging). Please read these post and allow God to speak to your heart . . .

A Place Called Simplicity

Building the Blocks

Kisses From Katie

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Jacob


This is my sweet Jacob. He looks like a healthy two year old but Jacob actually has significant needs. Jacob has Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. He is nonverbal(has started making some sounds) and has limited control of his arms and legs. He is unable to sit unassisted but has gained pretty good head control.

Jacob is an absolute joy to be around. He is always happy and laughs with his whole body. Jacob is very intelligent for a child with his significant needs. Jacob came home about a year and a half ago and I have never been away from over night.

I will be leaving to pick up our two new daughters in the next 6-8 weeks, I hope. I don't even know how to begin to prepare Jacob for me being gone for a whole week. If anyone out there has any advice or suggestions for preparing a special child for being apart the first time I would appreciate any assistance. Another concern I have is how Jacob will respond when I return home. Anyone have experience in this area?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Update

I said I would do better about posting BUT I have not!! So, here are some fall pictures.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We had an AWESOME weekend!! Saturday was our Both Hands/Lifesong work day. If you have not read about our Both Hands/Lifesong Fundraiser follow this link to find out more.

Here are some BEFORE pictures of Mrs. Fuller's home.










Here is a rundown from the days work . . .

We met at Ms. Fuller’s home at 10:00a.m., got organized, and went straight to work. We were able to clean up the massive amount of leaves, mow the lawn, and add new landscaping to her yard. We also put a fresh coat of paint on her patio, front door and mailbox. There were a few items around Ms. Fuller’s home that needed to be replaced. A garage door was hung and storm door was replaced in the garage. There will be someone coming out this week to replace some broken storm windows and gutters. Inside her home we were also able to do some repairs to her refrigerator and add a remote to her ceiling fan. The joy on Ms. Fuller’s face was priceless!

We were so grateful to have the Lexington Herald-Leader come out and do an article about our project. You can read the article at Lexington Herald-Leader.

There is still time to donate to the adoption fund. You can follow the directions on the fundraising letter you were sent or to donate electronically follow this link and look for the Maas Family's donate button.

We will be posting a video of the work day very soon. So stay tuned!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fundraising

Hi to all my blogger friends! Sorry we have been so quite recently. Trust me it is not quite at our house!

We are in serious fundraising mode for our adoption. There are a few opportunities for you to get involved and help us raise the remaining funds needed to pick up our girls.

1. This coming Saturday we will be completing our Both Hands Fundraising project. We, along with our friends, will be spending the day working on a local widow's home. She is a wonderful Christian lady and also an adoptive mom. We are asking friends and family to sponsor us as we spend the day working(same concept as a walk-a-thon). If you would like to know more about this project follow the link on the left sidebar.

2. Also on the left sidebar is a link to our Just Love Coffee Store. This organization sets families up with an online coffee shop. $5.00 of each purchase will go to our adoption fund. Lots of great international coffees which would be great Christmas presents!

Hope you had a great weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Adoption Fair

Southland Christian Church, Building F, Room 116 A (The Atrium)

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009, 1-4pm.

Southland's Adoptive Families Support group is hosting an Adoption Fair with adoption professionals, financial institutions, and Orphan Care groups.
We will see you there!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Coming for ONE night only on November 4th. Follow this link to see where it is playing near you. Hillsong United: We're all in this together

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The flu bug has hit us hard. It is slowly filtering through the family.

Faith says, "Mommy, I am not happy anymore. I am sad."

Mommy says,"Faith why are you sad?"

Faith says, "Mommy I am sick."


Monday, October 12, 2009

Bad News/Good News

As with all adoptions there is a rollercoaster of emotions and today was no different.

BAD NEWS
We had been anticipating the opening of Ethiopian courts today. Well, it did not happen. Not sure why but the courts did not open. Praying they open tomorrow so cases can start moving again.

GOOD NEWS
Just a few short hours after learning courts did not open we did receive some good news. Our case is finally ready to be submitted to court! So when courts do open back up, hopefully tomorrow, our case will be submitted for a court date.

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

Monday, October 5, 2009

We are still here!! I am sure all "10" of my regular readers have been concerned about my whereabouts! The last month has been a time for reflection and reorganization. As I have disclosed previously our current adoption has been a growing experience for our family, especially me. I have spent the last month processing the ups and downs of international adoption and coming to terms with the realization that I am still not in control. It was time to let God take over completely. That along with rearranging our daily/weekly schedule, including therapy appointments, I have felt a little out of sorts. BUT I am back and feeling reorganized and rejuvenated!

I think it is time to give a little more information about our girls. I believe that we are finally ready to be submitted to court, as soon as it opens again. The oldest is 7 years old and is described as articulate and mature. We recently sent her a package which included some hair clips, jewelry, photo album of us, and a barbie. We received pictures and a video of her getting the package and she never let go of that barbie. I think she and Miranda are going to have lots of fun playing together. The younger girl is approximately 15-18 months old. She has polydactyl of the hands and feet. She also has what is called Nystagmus, which causes involuntary eye movement. Our agency sent us the cutest video of her laughing. Stay tuned for more info . . . .

Now, what else has been going on. I have come up with a monthly menu schedule with grocery lists. I believe I am almost done with it. This really helps with budgeting and time preparing for meals.

We had Jacob's annual therapy re-evaluation. I can't believe the boys have been home for over a year. Unfortunately, I had to rework his therapy schedule which took some time to figure out. He sees four different therapist weekly/biweekly. Trying to do his schedule, school schedule, doctor's appointments, and Faith's speech therapy is crazy to figure out. Plus I try to schedule in some fun time!! I think we finally have everything back on track and I feel much better knowing what is going on when.

Miranda, Ethan, Faith & Gabriel are doing really well. They are just blossoming! Sometimes they say something and I think, "wow, I did not know you knew that". They are like sponges and soak up everything they hear and see. We are in our third year homeschooling Miranda and I think we are really starting to feel comfortable. I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to love and teach every one of our children. GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why We Chose Adoption

Sorry it's been so long. Here is something I wrote a few months ago about why we have chosen adoption.

Four years ago God began impressing upon us the frugality of trying to live the “American Dream”. We had built a large home and filled it with nice furniture. We were a two income family with two children and a dog. While I was pregnant with our second child we began to think about our future and what that would look like. Honestly, we did not like what we saw. I never wanted to work full time but I would need to work to pay for our comfortable lifestyle. So we began to make drastic changes in our lifestyles. We sold our large home and bought a smaller one that we could afford on one income. After our son was born I did not return to work but stayed home to raise our family. A few months after our son was born we began the adoption process in China. God began working in our hearts and what began as “us” saving one child from a life of poverty became a love affair with our Father God.

We are passionate about adoption because of God's passion for orphans in 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." It is that simple! We have had no difficulty having birth children but have chosen to leave a legacy through the ministry of caring for orphans. Each one of our children has brought so much joy to our lives. We can also see small seeds being planted by our children in the lives of those around us. Yes, we are an unconventional family and we get lots of stares when we go out. BUT, it also gives us
wonderful opportunities to share with others what God is doing in our family.

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What are you doing with your extra square footage?

Sometimes I wonder "who needs a house that big"? Tonight I was doing a home search just because I like to look at pictures of houses and wish upon a star and here is what I found.

Just in our county alone there were 88 homes for sale with the criteria of . .
1. at least 4 bedrooms
2. a garage
3. a basement

Now for the shocking part ................................... of those 88 homes only 11 had less than 3,000 sq ft. and only 6 were under $200,000. Several of these homes had 7,000-9,000 sq ft.

and even more SHOCKING was that most of these homes did NOT show any signs of children living there. So my question is what are they doing with all that wasted space??????????


NOW for my reality:

We live in a home with a little more than 1,600 sq ft. We have 4 small bedrooms and two bathrooms. Soon we will have NINE people living in this house. One of those children in a wheelchair. Our home is also NOT handicap acessible. We will have SEVEN children using ONE bathroom. We don't even have enough room in our kitchen for a table that seats our entire family.

BUT you know what????
There is a lot of love in our home and I would not trade that for anything!!


My advice for all of those with oversized homes . . . . . . . . . .


START ADOPTING OR FOSTERING CHILDREN
(You need a little more love to fill your home)
OR
Give me your house so I have space for more kids
(just kidding!!)
What are you doing with your extra square footage?
filling it with "things" or filling it with "love"??

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Do you want to know what "crazy love" is? This is "IT"!!!!! Check out this family.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just for fun!

Miranda lost another tooth this week. When I was reviewing pictures of our new daughter Tigi I noticed she had lost the same tooth.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Well, time for an adoption update! Our house has been a flurry of activity recently but that will have to wait for another post later this week.

As you know a month ago ago we were notified that Elshadaye was no longer available for adoption. We have now accepted two new referrals. At the end of July we accepted the referral of a 7 year old girl and just last night we accepted the referral of a little girl who is about 12-18 months old. We are still waiting to be submitted for a court date. We are hoping to have a court date in October and then travel to pick up the girls in November.

More info coming soon . . . .

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I am not usually a reader but I have come across two books that I just could not put down. In fact, they have changed my life! Well, actually GOD has changed my life but HE used these books to open my eyes. I challenge you to read them and then be prepared for GOD to refocus your life.




Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This is a busy week for our family. Four years ago yesterday Ethan dramatically entered our family. He gave us quite a scare with his small 5pound 5oz bluish limp body. Praise God he was healthy but just had a hard time during birth.


AND one year ago today Gabriel & Jacob were placed into our arms. I will forever remember how it felt to hold them for the first time, to kiss their little faces, and to tell them that their mommy loves them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adoption Update

I haven't written much about our adoption because quite frankly I haven't known what to say. We have been waiting for the last couple of months to find out if our adoption of Elshadaye would proceed. I will not go into details but due to circumstances beyond our control Elshadaye is no longer available for adoption. Elshadaye and her mother will continue to be in our prayers and will always be a part of our family.

So, where does that leave us? First, we are in the process of trying to decide which waiting child/children God has for our family. Please be praying for Darren & I as we make this decision. There are two sibling groups of sisters as well as a single girl whom we can consider. Sadly, one of the major deciding factors will be finances. The fees paid up to now have been for the adoption of one child if we decide to adopt a sibling group we would need to come up with $5,000 to proceed. As always, we are leaving the financial aspect in God's hands.

Secondly, as soon as we make a decision our adoption can proceed which means travel could occur in as early as 2-3 months from now. Which leads us to our second prayer request, travel expenses. We have not worried about travel expenses since we have been on hold for the last couple of months. Depending on airline cost and the number of people traveling cost could be anywhere from $5,000-8,000.

I have lots of people ask what they can do to help. Adoption is not the only way a person can minister to orphans. If you know a family adopting being a support to that family and to their children is also a part of ministering to orphans. I can think of three very important ways you can minister to families who are adopting. First, be a prayer warrior for that family. Satan is always trying to discourage or place obstacles in the path of families who are caring for orphans. Second, support the family physically. Watch the kids so they can have a date night. Send a note of encouragement or take time to listen. Be a mentor to a formally orphaned child. Lastly, be a financial support. Unfortunately adoption is expensive and many families cannot pursue the adoption of orphans due to the incredible expense. Part of caring for orphans is providing the financial support necessary for a family to physically care for orphans.

If you would like to help us minister to orphans you can make a donation through this website Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministry. In the designation box just put Darren & Rebecca Maas.

We can't wait to meet the child/children God is placing into our family. We are excited to see what God has in store for us and our children.

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

Friday, July 17, 2009

Act NOW on Behalf of Orphaned and Adopted Children

EACH is pleased to announce the introduction of the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (S.1359 and H.R. 3110) and the Families for Orphans Act (S.1458 and H.R. 3070), both of which are a result of EACH's collaborative involvement in the Families for Orphans Coalition.** Both proposed acts represent a potential victory for millions of vulnerable children from around the world who need a permanent family and a major step forward in providing internationally adopted children the same citizenship rights as foreign born biological children of American citizens.

Spearheaded by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) and Representatives Diane Watson (D-CA) and John Boozman (R-AR), the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (The Face Act) simplifies the acquisition of citizenship for internationally adopted children and removes these children of American citizens from the immigration process.

The Families for Orphans Act (FFO Act) was also introduced by Senators Landrieu and Inhofe and Representatives Boozman and Watson. The FFO Act would establish the Office of Orphan Policy, Diplomacy and Development within the Department of State which would have the responsibility for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy advocating for permanent parental care for orphans including the preservation of families and other permanency options such as domestic and international adoption.

More information about the FACE Act and the FFO Act can be found at: http://www.equalityforadoptedchildren.org/legislation/legislation.html

How can you advocate for these children and passage of these bills?

We are asking all of you to become actively engaged with your U.S. Congressional Representative and Senators by urging them to support the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act and the Families for Orphans Act. Your telephone call, letter or e-mail can make a difference in the life of a child who is desperately in need of a permanent, loving family and help improve the acquisition of citizenship rights for internationally adopted children.

1. Sign the online petitions in support of these two bills. These petitions will be delivered to Congress.

The FACE Act: http://gopetition.com/petitions/face-act-of-2009.html

The FFO Act: http://gopetition.com/petitions/families-for-orphans.html

2. Call your Senators and Representatives! In coordination with the National Council for Adoption and Joint Council on International Children's Services, we are suggesting a 72-hour sustained telephone effort by asking you to call Congress on July 28, 29, or 30 and urge your three Members of Congress (two in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives) to become a Co-sponsor of the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act and the Families For Orphans Act. Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff and tell them that as a constituent you are requesting their boss' support by becoming a co-sponsor of these bills. Provide them with both the names of the two bills and their corresponding bill numbers (the FACE Act is S.1359 in the Senate and H.R. 3110 in the House and the FFO Act is S. 1458 and H.R. 3070 in the House.) You can direct the staffer to contact the offices of Senators Landrieu and Inhofe or Representatives Watson and Boozman for information on becoming a co-sponsor. For contact information on your Representative please visit http://www.house.gov/ and for information on your Senators please visit http://www.senate.gov/.

3. In addition to contacting your own members of Congress, please contact members who sit on the four Congressional committees who will be the first to vote on these bills. The FACE Act will be considered by the House and Senate Judiciary Committee and also by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The FFO Act will be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Following is contact information for these committees

In the House:

House Committee on Foreign Affairs:
Phone: 202-225-5021 (Democrats) or 202-226-8467 (Republicans)
Email: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/contact.asp
Members on the Committee who need to know of your support for these bills:
http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/members.asp

House Judiciary Committee:
Phone: 202-225-3951 (Democrats) or 202-225-6906 (Republicans)
Members on the Committee who need to know of your support for the FACE Act:
http://judiciary.house.gov/about/members.html

In the Senate:

Senate Judiciary Committee:
Phone: 202-224-7703 (Democrats) or 202-224-5225 (Republicans)
Members on the Committee who need to know of your support for the FACE Act:
http://judiciary.senate.gov/about/members.cfm

Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Phone: 202-224-4651 (Democrats) or 202-224-6707 (Republicans)
Members on the Committee who need to know of your support for the FFO Act: http://www.foreign.senate.gov/about.html

4. Get the word out. Send this email to friends and family. Post it to your Facebook, My Space, and Twitter accounts, your blog, and personal Web site.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009



Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Lyrics from Brandon Heath - Give Your Eyes

Sunday, June 28, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST DADDY EVER!!!!!!!!!






AND THE HOTTEST HUSBAND EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

NAME MY RIDE

It's a long story but the short version is our van died. SOOOOO I have a new ride!!! We are taking a poll to name my new ride. Look for the poll on the left sidebar!