We are so excited to share our Ethiopian adoption adventure, and our CRAZY lives with all of you! Our hope is that it will encourage you to step out in faith to do what God has called you to do! There are FIELDS of fatherless children waiting for someone to care for them, to love them, to tell them of JESUS' love for them...will YOU be the one??

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bah Humbug!!

Throw up, clean up....throw up, clean up....throw up, clean up:(.... That's pretty much how we spent Christmas this year. My six year-old started getting sick on Wednesday with the stomach flu, and my two-year old got an ear infection... Christmas Eve, my six year-old is still sick...by Christmas morning, he was still throwing up..and so was our two-year old!! UGGGGHH!! So we missed every Christmas gathering we were planning on going to...including going to the grandparents...very sad...poor kids...

But, today they're better! Praise God! Mommy was about to lose it:\! I don't do well when my kids are sick, I feel very helpless..and I just want to make it better, you know?

And today, I cleaned like a mad woman!! Did I mention the snow all melted and it rained on Christmas Day!

Okay, adoption related...did you hear about the Northwest flight 253 incident? Did I mention we almost booked with Northwest from Detroit to Amsterdam? Yeah, great, now something else to worry about!!

We're also waiting for our FBI fingerprints to return so we can apostille them and take them with us on our first trip...yes we had to redo..they want new ones if it has been more than 8 months since you had them done...we were right at 8 months:(..also had to do new medicals to take with us also...so, here we are stalking the mailbox yet again!

We have made lists upon lists of things to take with us and I'm just ready to pack and go...but I'll spend the next 3 weeks getting my kids ready for us to go..they have NEVER been away from us at all and I'm worried....but, actually, they're probably looking forward to a little break from us:). I have to say, my hubby and I are looking forward to just being ALONE! We haven't even had a weekend to ourselves in about 10 years!! So, this is the "trip of a lifetime" in more ways than one!

Can't wait to hear about more referrals coming in! Hang on families!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let It Snow!!!

It looks like it's going to be a "white Christmas" here in the midwest and we are loving it!! This week is full of cookies and fudge and pie and turkey(only a Butterball will do!)and dressing and potatoes and biscuits and.....well, you get the picture! We continue to watch every Christmas movie available, but will save our favorite(my husband's favorite), A Christmas Story, for Christmas morning... I love the traditions and smells and hoopla surrounding Christmas, don't you?(EVEN crowded malls...LOVE it!)

But, it's time to slow down and remember why we celebrate Christmas..our Savior's birthday! I'm looking forward to worshiping on Christmas Eve at our church and being with my family...these are my favorite gifts.

About the adoption......we are booked on a flight to Bulgaria and ready to leave tomorrow, but our dates aren't till January:(...so we wait....and while we wait, I obsess about plane crashes, turbulance, missed connections, and pretty much anything that can go wrong on an airplane flight...what holds those birds in the sky anyway:\? You may laugh, but it took me HOURS of obsessing to find just the right airline and flight...and I STILL have to connect in Chicago..do you KNOW what Chicago is like in January????? I try to control everything you see...

I've been quiet about the concerns of the group posts lately, but I want so much to believe that this program in Bulgaria is improving every week! So, I will keep asking the tough questions of my agency, and keep my eyes wide open...because after this adoption...we may be heading right back there again:). There, I said it, it's out...we should have requested two, but my hubby was nervous(and me) about the process and how God was going to provide, but He has shown that He is faithful! So....we are able(even if we're not, HE IS) to adopt another child and I can't NOT adopt another one... I've always had Ethiopia on my heart as well, so maybe it will be there...we're asking questions about it all now...got to make a plan you know! It keeps ringing in my head what someone recently said.."WE are God's plan for the orphan!" I want to be a part of that plan!(I use way too many exclamation points)

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Richard Family-2009

Some of my homemade attempts at taking Christmas pictures:).....

When it rains....

.....it POURS! Okay, here we are trying to raise, find, steal(just kidding!) the money necessary to travel when our refrigerator totally DIES last night! AND, my husband may need a root canal asap! So, please pray for us if you think about it today. Praise God, we got him in to see the dentist today(which is a miracle), so we're hoping she can take care of it without breaking the bank for us:).

We are in a constant battle with the enemy aren't we? We try to do good, he tries to keep us from doing it... Thank the Lord He is fighting for us today, because we need it!

Did I mention that at this moment my two-year old is covered on the lower half of his body in Carmex lip balm and red marker(NOT the washable kind)! Blog more later...


Friday, December 4, 2009

Incredible Song-By Third Day

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
And we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
And prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas To Us!

FINALLY, we have our "official" referral and travel dates for our little girl! We will be traveling January 17-23rd for our first trip.....this is a LOOOONNNGGG time away, and I'm trying REALLLLY hard to be positive and not hate holidays at this moment for interrupting my plans!!! Typically the wait to travel after the official papers arrive is 2-3 weeks....mine is SIX WEEKS! Okay, enough "bellyaching". But just wait, those of you who are yet to be matched or yet to request a child, you think THAT waiting is(was) hard? Wait till you see his/her face! You'll be very intolerant of any obstacles that get in your way and keep you from getting to your child too:).

With the official referral, we also got a new picture of her and she looks like she has grown so much. I have to honestly say that I'm kind of grieving the time I didn't have with her as a young baby...I know this is probably normal and will pass once I get to see and hold her, but it's just really difficult to know that the process is still months away from being over. Months that she is going to grow and reach milestones that, once again, I'll miss. UGGH! I think the enemy is trying to rob me of my joy, what do you think?

So, what to do now....? Well, I'm waiting for the travel packet so I can start planning the trip, I need to go Christmas shopping, make some homemade goodies(okay, they're "made in my home"..DON'T JUDGE ME!:)), shop for my new daughter and her caregivers....that's two weeks filled....hmmm, what to do the next 4 weeks...I know...I forgot to worry, fret, obsess, and drive my friends and family crazy! There! Six weeks full of holiday cheer!

More cheer later!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


No, that's not a typo! I was challenged by a friend recently to LIVE a life full of thanks to God...hence, THANKSLIVING!! Here goes..

First and foremost I'm thankful for Jesus Christ..who came into the world, lived a sinless life, and chose to die a horrible death on a cross so that I(YOU) could have life abundant now and eternal life with Him in heaven one day..YES, He loves us that much!!

I'm thankful for my husband, who is the exact and total OPPOSITE of me!! God knows who we need in our lives to balance us out..to grow us...to challenge us..to love us in spite of ourselves!

I'm thankful for my five beautiful kids...they are truly blessings from God...yes, even in the tough times!! They make life FULL and never dull!!

I'm thankful for good health...praying for friends today struggling with cancer...

I'm thankful for those in the armed forces who will spend Thanksgiving in dangerous places so that I can be with family...Praying for all of you!

I'm thankful for Christian friends who lift me up in prayer and listen to me babble on about totally useless things!(Love you Tracy, Laura, and Judy!!)

And I'm thankful for the gift of a precious little girl, who I hope today is healthy and happy as she waits for her Mommy to come get her.

There is so much more...but there is cooking to be done!! Enjoy! And let your life be marked by THANKSLIVING!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Got the call at around 1:45 p.m.......SHE IS OURS!!!! God has heard our cries and poured out His lavish grace yet again....we don't deserve her...yet, we will accept her with pure love and joy!!! WOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO!!! Can't say much else, but may be traveling in early January(obviously hoping/praying for sooner) for first visit!! Praise God! Praise God!!

I'm going to go throw up now...and then cry...and then cry some more...I think I'm in shock:)


Saturday, November 7, 2009


HMMMMM.....yesterday has come and GONE, and we know......NOTHING!!! AAAARRRGGGHHH!! I heard the MOJ did not meet. Still hopeful....for Tuesday?


Thursday, November 5, 2009


We should know something tomorrow...whether or not we will be allowed to receive the referral for the child we requested(applied) to adopt. Please keep us in your prayers...and that above all, God would be glorified in and through us no matter the outcome. I think I'm just glad SOMETHING is going to be decided at all!!

Pray also for those traveling in the next six weeks...the swine flu is rampant there, and the Ukraine has closed it's doors to visiting adoptive parents for now...pray, this ends soon so those traveling soon will be able to continue to do so.

Congrats to all those who have received referrals of SN kids!!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Nothing New...

I wish I had something spectacular to post about our adoption...but I don't. We still don't know how it's all going to turn out, we've heard nothing from Bulgaria. I keep asking for updates, but I'm not sure there are any. I feel almost paralyzed by all this....waiting for the hammer to drop. I'm discouraged and frustrated, and not looking forward to another weekend of waiting...plus another week of waiting..plus, who knows.

I AM trying to keep us busy....it's just all over-shadowed by the "situation". I keep pouring over the Psalms of David in the Bible..trying to draw some strength from what he went through....but now I'm just tired...tired of waiting...tired of thinking, "What if "? I'm so impatient!! The thought of this little girl spending one more month in the orphanage than she has to is more than I can bear, yet we wait on.....

WOW! This is depressing!! I'm going to stop now!!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where we are...

Where we are...praying, crying, hoping, longing, waiting...

Waiting for the agency to explain to the MOJ how/who/why someone posted that we had a referral when we didn't...longing to be her parents....hoping they will forgive and allow us to adopt her...crying over such a horrible injustice done to her and us....and praying....praying for God's mercy, His justice, His grace, His will, His blessing... Please continue to pray with us. Decisions will be made this week.

In His Hands,

We love you sweet one..no matter what happens

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Truth!!

Psalm 146:7-9

HE upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but HE WILL frustrate the ways of the wicked.

Psalm 118:5-7

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; He is my helper. I WILL look in triumph on my enemies.

Psalm 83:1-3, 16

O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God be not still. See how your enemies are astir, how your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.....Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O Lord.

Psalm 37:5-6

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Dear Lord,

Let the TRUTH prevail above all else!! In the mighty name of Jesus!! Amen!!

Please Read This Post

We have found out that someone out there has been posting, saying, sharing, etc. that we have a REFERRAL for a little girl from Bulgaria. We DO NOT have a REFERRAL, we only have REQUESTED HER REFERRAL. We may lose this little girl...please, please don't share any other info about our family with ANYONE!! Please pray for us...we're not sure what to do..


Monday, October 5, 2009

Still waiting...

The MOJ is about to pick up again..and it looks like(from our agency's Bulgarian lawyer) this MOJ is even better than the last group(remember there were changes a little while back..?)!! Yay!! I really think all of you who are waiting are going to be surprised at how well adoptions are going to go with this group!!

Just ordered the "Weaver's Craft" book to read(can't remember full title..)..want to be prepared.. also ordered the Bulgarian phrases for children CD to learn a little of the language. We were told that most Bulgarians know enough to understand what you are saying.. Still, it is very polite to be able to say a few things at least.

That's all for now!
God Bless,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I really couldn't think of a title for this post..just a lot of ordinary stuff going on here. We started homeschooling last week and it is going great!! My kids are so much better behaved when they are busy:)..

I don't know about you guys, but do any of you hit "refresh" EVERY time you walk by the computer to see if you have any adoption news from your agency in your inbox...I think I'm a little obsessed!! The wait is going to be REALLY long if I keep this up!!LOL

Anyway, I'm getting more "O.K." with waiting..a little...these next few months will fly by with the holidays, etc...it makes it all bearable...I just keep my eyes focused on Jesus and what he has called me to do NOW(i.e., homeschooling, wife, homemaker...) and try to remain faithful to those things..I feel His peace when I do that..besides, did I mention that I love this job!!?

More later...


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


O.k., I have to admit that instead of writing on our own blog, I've been searching other family's!! Trying to make contacts with others adopting from Bulgaria, etc. It's more fun!!

Not much to report here. The new family code goes into effect in Bulgaria on Oct. 1st, 2009, which hopefully is good news for all of us!! Lately I've been struggling with waiting...

At home, we're trying to get ready for school which begins next week...but I'm afraid not much is getting done!! I'm not working now, but somehow the days slip away without getting much accomplished!! I am usually a pretty good organizer, but I've been slacking lately....

Once again, it is so good to see so many families adopting from Bulgaria! I love watching your journeys unfold and will pray with you as you travel this road of faith!!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Praise God!!

I can't believe it's already August!! Not much of a summer here in Ohio, but one month closer to meeting our little girl!! Great news on the job front..I know I complained a little in the last post, but the Lord has answered our prayers about me coming home again full-time. Ben got a part-time job, which actually pays more than mine..so, I can quit!! Yea!! I knew that August was going to be a big month for us, and so far it is turning out to be just that!!

Nothing else to report..getting ready for the new homeschool year and eagerly anticipating our county fair!! It's huge, and a lot of fun!!

Praise God for his mighty works!!


Monday, July 13, 2009

A Miracle!!

This past week we received a $4000 grant from ShowHope!! We feel very blessed and affirmed that the Lord is providing, and will continue to do so.

Now, lest you think this process is all roses....let me set you straight...I have had to take a part-time job, and for the past eight months have been juggling homeschooling/caring for 5 children, and working 3-5 nights per week...this has been for the most part, miserable!! We knew that we needed the extra income for the adoption, so I said I would do it...God provided Kohl's...I jumped and......I have felt so attacked by the enemy, that I can't even explain it all...... I have felt depressed a lot...wondering whether or not we're doing the right thing...why is this so hard..etc.... Let's just say that I am soooo thankful to be a stay-at-home mom!! And I can't wait to come home!! I'm a terrible working mother!!! I am grateful for the extra money for the adoption, but the enemy is doing all he can to beat me up in this process..

So, why do we go through all of this..it's not necessary you know... Because somewhere in Eastern Europe, in a tiny country called Bulgaria, is a tiny little girl waiting for us to come for her...and we can't do that without paying the cost..and traveling this road we're on... We can't give up now, we're too close!!

They key is staying close to the Savior...in His word...in His presence...among His people!! Lord may I surrender to being in your presence more often!! Give me strength for the day, and keep our daughter safe as she waits for us.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Let's Rewind....

Today I'm going to give you some info about adopting in general...just in case you want to know...

There are 143 million orphans and waiting children around the world...500,000 in the U.S.(I think..)alone.

A relatively high number of couples consider international adoption, but don't go through with it because of the cost...it costs about the same to adopt domestically as internationally..

There is a tax credit of over $11,000 from the federal government for every completed adoption, domestic or international. That means you get a dollar for dollar tax credit up to $11,000, for any adoption related expenses. There are MANY grants, no-interest loans, fundraising ideas, etc. available to adopting couples to help with costs.

There are reduced fees for those open to adopting a child with some special needs(even mild-moderate ones).

It is FREE(virtually) to adopt from the foster care system...although the process can be difficult and emotional...O.K., this is true for every adoption, just in varying degrees..

So....why did we choose international... Well, it's simple...it is what God placed on my heart.. We considered all options actually, but for us(with 5 children already), the domestic route would have been impossible(approximately 30-40 couples wait for every 1 newborn..most are childless). We considered foster-adoption, but would have to adopt out of birth order and felt that wasn't wise... We really felt the greatest needs were in other countries....where children languish(is that the right word) in poorly run orphanages(very few countries have foster care systems), with little attention, or hope for a family to come for them...where children with special needs are put in mental institutions with little hope for living to the age of 10!! It was something I just couldn't ignore...

So, what is like in Bulgaria?? Well, for the Roma(gypsy) children(over 80% of orphans are Roma), it is pretty hopeless...they are considered no better than dogs by the Bulgarians(although not all feel this way I'm sure). In fact, our program coordinator went to pick up her son several years ago, and while sightseeing, was basically asked by someone why she would adopt a "dog". They are a minority and are not usually adopted by Bulgarians.. Children over 8 are put in orphanages with older kids up to 18..their childhood is pretty much over at that point. It is changing though...the new Ministry of Justice lived in an orphanage till the age of 5, so she understands the plight of these children and is doing a tremendous job in making sure orphanages are better supervised and that adoptions from international adopting families continue!!! We feel blessed to be in this process with her as a leader in our adopting country!!

So, are we on a quest to change the world and make grand social changes to the childcare systems in foreign countries?? Yes, and No....We are following God's commands to care for orphans, and we have chosen to do that through adoption. We could just send money, and that IS GREATLY needed, but what they ultimately need is a family to love them and teach them about Jesus (changing the world...). We are PRAYING for government officials in these countries who are ethical and care about these children, not selling them to the highest bidder...as well as keeping up with important legislation that makes adoption more "friendly"(grand social change..). We are encouraging every Christian family we know to be involved in orphan care, no matter what form that takes(grand social change...). Through all these things, we pray for God to work on their behalf, in mighty ways, and for him to be glorified through us..we are willing to be used...that's all...

Phew!! It's EXHAUSTING to try and explain what's going on in your heart!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


O.K., it has been a while, I know....but it's finally happened..we are officially registered with the government of Bulgaria to adopt a little girl!! We are praising God and praying for grace to wait...O.K., and a miracle or two to help pay for everything!! For He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than all I could ask or think according to HIS power...Renae's paraphrase..I'm leaning hard on this verse now...

It's so different than being pregnant...you know she's in your tummy, growing..and you bond with her even then...but now we just wait and trust that even though we can't necessarily feel it, God is filling us with all the love we will need to bond with and love her.

Please pray with us for Baby Ava's safety, health, and specifically for someone in the orphanage to give her all the cuddles and kisses that we can't yet...and also, please pray for a quick process that is blessed by God!!


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Our I800A approval came this past week!! Yea!! And it only took a little over a month! So, to all of you waiting..it won't be long!! Now we have to do one more set of fingerprints(a repeat) and that should only take a couple weeks at the most. Then we're off to notarize/certify everything. It has taken us five months to get this far..I used to wonder why it took families so long during this phase of the adoption..now I know..you spend most of your time waiting on other people!!

My daughter prays every night for her baby sister...and she always wants to buy her stuff(she is so much like me!!). She has questions like, "Will her mommy be sad when we take her?" She thinks about this so much deeper than the boys. I hope through all of this that my children understand that they are so loved by God.. and that one day He is coming to take us home..just like one day(hopefully soon) we are going to bring Ava home, to her forever family. We love you already baby Ava and we know that Jesus is holding you tight!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I'm so excited to start this blog! I have been reading so many others and we all have a story to tell. Right now we are in the process of adopting a little girl from Bulgaria(her name will be Ava). We are waiting for our I800A approval(which will be soon..they are really processing quickly these days!), and then we are off to be notarized/certified..well, not us, just the documents, hee hee!

We actually began this process over a year ago..the praying part..then we signed with our agency November 29, 2008. I can't tell you how scary, exciting, overwhelming, etc. this is for us. You see, we are not risk-takers, but when faced with the question of whether or not we would have another child..adoption was what God placed on my heart!! The burden for these children has become so strong that I know I will forever be in the world of orphan care and adoption...somehow.

We started this process knowing that these children are not only on our hearts, but the very heart of God..that's what keeps us going when timelines aren't met,etc. We wondered how we would pay for the adoption(and still do), but we also know that God "owns the cattle on a thousand hills"(Ps 50:10) and He can surely provide for us. For us it is about paying a ransom..Jesus Christ paid ours in full, with His own blood, to bring us, His orphaned children home..how could WE NOT pay the ransom for this precious orphaned child!!! Is there any price too high for a child's life and hopeful salvation?

Okay, now I'm preaching!! But, we want for you to read this and be encouraged that if you choose to follow the call to care for ophans in this way...HE will provide!!(Phil 4:19)