Thursday, December 31, 2009


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


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


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.

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