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??

Friday, January 29, 2010

Doug's Blog: Special Video Report from Haiti

Doug's Blog: Special Video Report from Haiti

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Home Sweet Home!

We've been home almost a week now, and somehow our trip seems like a dream...like it never really happened! Then I watch our video of our sweet little girl and I can almost smell the orphanage again(a funny combo of ham, potatoes, and mustiness)! I'm ready to go back NOW! But, again we wait........

We got our I800/I864W sent off yesterday(pray it gets into the proper hands) via Fed Ex..and we have local criminal checks to apostille on Monday..then off to TOL with those.. Then...we wait...oh my goodness, I HATE waiting! I have a hard time concentrating on anything else..you know, like homeschooling my kids, housework, cooking, Bible study...all essential things! I must admit, Bible study and spending time in prayer(although I have prayed a LOT) has been sorely lacking the past several weeks. I had planned to catch up while in Bulgaria....yeah, that didn't work... I feel very distant from God(although I am experiencing great blessings!)..and I need to reconnect! Please pray that I'll have the discipline necessary to put HIM first above all else!

What else....hmmm.... Oh yes, please continue to pray for the children of HAITI who are still experiencing lack of food and water and adequate shelter. Our church has a group of doctors and nurses their now, so I would appreciate your prayers for them as well. God IS bringing good out of this earthquake and I think it's been a wake up call to many churches about the plight of orphaned children...I wish it hadn't taken an earthquake...but I pray we heed the call to step up and be a church that obeys God in EVERY area, including caring for orphans! Two families in our church got to bring their children home from Haiti this week, and we are so excited to meet these precious little ones! HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE!!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010


We said goodbye to our little girl yesterday morning around 11:10am to catch a bus back to Sofia, which wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be...although they keep every building, car, bus, etc....HOT inside! They showed us her room where she sleeps and plays with the children in her group. There were about 14 children in there including our daughter. Most were boys, a couple were "rocking"...they were all around 2 years old. There were no toys hardly..in fact they were playing with empty dishsoap bottles..and there were two caregivers there that we had never met..hmmmm... They were dressed well and looked clean(the children)...they were very interested in who we were. One little girl who was rocking when we came in got up, and I waved to her, she smiled back with this huge smile and we waved and blew kisses to each other. She walked over to me and I reached out my hand which she took right away...it was heart breaking...I was holding Ava the whole time because she didn't want to get down(love it!). The sleeping area was drab and dreary..although they did hang pictures of the adopting families over their child's crib. There was one Italian family and one Canadian family's picture on the wall. I'm sure they do their best, but I'll bringing toys for the orphanage with me on the pick-up trip! They do have play "rooms" though...so maybe that's why there weren't so many in this room..... I kept thinking, does my daughter rock like that when I'm not around...when she's bored...when she's tired...when she wants to be held? They only time I saw her do a rocking motion was when she sat down to put her shoes on...it was an "I'm anxious", "let's get on with eating" rock:). They said she does suck her fingers to go to sleep, although I didn't see that either. They did let me leave all the toys I brought to use during our visits, with her...plus some clothes for her(they will be just for her..although I don't care if they share them), and some candy for the kids..so hopefully she'll remember us a little...Oh, and we did leave a photo album with pictures of our kids back home and some of our visit with her as well... They know we are changing her name, so they will prepare her for that as well.

We were told by the director that they did contact the hospital where she was born, and they spoke to the birthmother and asked about alcohol use during pregnancy...she said( and apparently the hospital knows her) she did not use alcohol or cigarretes during the pregnancy...I appreciate their contacting her! Take everything with a grain of salt though!

We didn't cry when we left...just want to get home, get the paperwork started and get BACK to get her!!! Of course, I wish she were with us now...and I wonder if she will begin to exhibit some of those "institutional" behaviors in the meantime...but Jesus is watching over her, and now I just have this urgent determination to get all the paperwork completed as fast as possible!:)

Back in our apartment in Sofia now, and I thought we would do a lot of "sightseeing"....too TIRED! We slept 12 HOURS last night! Plus, it's COLD! We have a wonderful apartment downtown and ate at KFC today! We have eaten other more traditional places too, though....just needed a little reminder of home...what is Coca-Cola LIGHT anyway??? Need DIET Coke!!

Leaving EARLY tomorrow(4:30am) to get to the airport, so I'll say "Good-Bye" from Sofia and see you all back home!:) Thank you all for your prayers....well, don't stop because I still have two plane rides, and a two hour drive to get home:)!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day Three

Today was spent giving gifts to the director of the orphanage, the caregivers, nurses, etc... They were all very appreciative. The director showed us several pictures of her they have taken the last two years and a huge file on her...which we LOVED(the pictures...we get to keep them when we come pick her up, YAY!!). We did ask about the mother consuming any alcohol during pregnancy...but she stated that there, the social workers meet with the mothers and this is not something they ask them. But, she is going to try and find out for us. Not that we see any warning signs, but we have to have eyes wide open!

We also found out that Ava does NOT like cars or new places...they had to take her for a picture for her visa, etc..for later in the process.. They said she screamed the whole way:(...doesn't bode well for the 4 hour trip from her town to Sofia on the pick-up trip. They fly some of the children because of this...

They let us feed her a snack and lunch while we're there and let me tell you, this tiny one can eat! They eat breakfast, then have a morning snack(something like a Little Debbie), then lunch...which consists of soup, a stew with pork/chicken and potatoes, and a fruit for dessert(no drink for lunch...weird). She feeds herself like a little machine and she doesn't leave a CRUMB! It's not like she's starving...they feed them appropriate amounts...but she packs it away...catching up I guess:). She did let me feed her some, but they are so used to doing everything independently and without help..they look like little robots sometimes... But she did let me help feed her, so that's good for bonding, etc...

She doesn't like the bubbles I brought..not impressive and she doesn't like them on her fingers..sticky you know.. She loved playing with some barrettes we brought for her. She spent a long time just taking them off the cardboard thingy and putting them back on. Same with the crayons I brought...she loved dumping them and putting them back in the box. She's not very active(not in front of us anyway)...she was content to sit on my lap for the whole time and look at the stuff we brought. She's very tactile. She did talk some today..she said baby and bear in Bulgarian....they say she can say several words and is just being shy. Oh, and she said "Ciao" when we left.

Tomorrow we get to see her room(and crib), as well as her with the other children, I think(Lord protect my heart!). There are 65 children in this particular orphanage, but we have been confined to the playroom, so we haven't seen any.

I would say the only "institution" type behavior I've seen is how she reacts to the routine as mentioned above. The caregiver comes in, she immediately gets up and goes to get her shoes on(in the same place everytime), or she sits down at the table and begins to eat...very robotic...but after that, she seems like any other little girl.

Tomorrow we go back to Sofia and officially sign our acceptance papers. I'm okay with leaving her, because they really do love her and she is happy to go with them every time...plus, the sooner I go home, the sooner I can get back to get her:)! I have more pics for you if you email me...please keep private, friends!:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day Two

Today was great! We got to spend the whole morning with her, and about an hour this afternoon. The medicals seem to be right on! That is good news for all of you waiting:)! She let me cuddle and tickle and kiss her a LOT today...but still very nervous of daddy..although he got in a tickle or two as long as she was sitting on my lap:). She loves to be tickled and thrown in the air! Which is funny because she is so tiny and quiet and unsure of everyone, but she let me do it! This afternoon when the caregiver brought her in, she walked right over to me with her arms outstretched and of course I scooped her up and she layed her head on my shoulder! I was SOOO excited!

She is attached to her caregivers and routine..all good signs of healthy attachment...I don't think we will have any problems with that one! She weighs about twenty pounds and is thirty-one inches long..so tiny!

Now about Bulgaria...Although we haven't seen much because of the meetings with our daughter and traveling here to her town, etc...I can tell you that this country is only 20 years post-communism, and it shows! Everything is still a wreck, and very unkempt. The people are very nice overall, but the reality is that Sophia is not the vacation spot some may expect it to be...I was shocked, but the fact is this is a country struggling to find it's own identity... Guess I'm not sure what I expected....but it is more than a little depressing to see so much poverty...to see so many struggle... For example, right in front of our apartment, men were going through the trash dumpsters for anything salvageable... It really does NOT look like any travel brochures you might see:)..so don't expect that...be understanding of where they are in their history..and accept it for what it is..

Looking forward to tomorrow!.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We're here...No, we're there..

I apologize to all of you who are waiting to hear from me in Bulgaria. This is without a doubt the most exhausting trip I've ever been on, and very eye-opening. I'll blog more later about that..

Right now you want to know about our little girl, right? Well, we drove to her town this morning(4 hours from Sofia, but we didn't get to see her until 4:30 this afternoon, and only for 45 minutes:(. She is SOOOO tiny and was very quiet at first..I didn't cry...I just wanted to hold her, but I took it slow, and in a few minutes she was smiling a little and even giggled once for me.. She wanted nothing to do with my husband, but she didn't cry, just backed away a little. We played peek-a-boo and I tickled her feet(very tiny feet too), and rolled a ball with her...I think we bonded a little even today...It's all very surreal and different than I imagined it would be...and your story will be different as well..I think I glamorized it in a way in my mind, somehow(how do you glamorize an orphanage/international adoption)...reality is very different..I can't really explain it.

The orphanage was VERY depressing and dreary, and it's raining/snowing here...just makes their situation look so much more bleak:(. BLAH!

More later.........

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Okay, I'm not feeling so good after traveling on the "puddle jumper" from Detroit to Chicago..please pray I don't throw up on the LONG flight! I took Dramamine..but we'll see...what a bummer of a day so far! Can I say my husband left 3 of my children's clothing in OUR van that is now parked in Detroit:(. So much for packing their clothes...won't let him live that one down:).. Gotta go, very tired...

We're On Our Way...almost!

Leaving today...will post from...wherever, later:)...thanks for al the prayers, please keep them coming...I'm very tired and exhausted today...not the way to start what promises to be an emotional journey anyway! UGGH!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


We currently have three families in our church adopting from an orphanage in Haiti that was damaged last night by the earthquake that hit. The children are all safe, but they had to stay outside last night because of the damage..in addition, the security wall that surrounds the orphanage is damaged, which makes it even more dangerous for them. Please consider donating and praying for the children at His Home for Children in Haiti, it is owned by our associate pastor's brother-in-law...the website is hishomeforchildren.com, and you can donate by paypal there. They were in the middle of a formula drive and I'm sure they lost a lot... I'm asking everyone I know to step up and help if at all possible:)! All orphanages in Haiti are run by private organizations and depend on donors for support, not the government.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Counting The Days....(LITERALLY!)

We are excitedly counting the days until we see our little girl! I spent all weekend catching up on laundry and packing the kids clothes. They will be split between Grandma's house and my best friend Laura's....so far, I haven't freaked out too much about leaving them, although it is there in my mind waiting to surface at any moment!

Surprisingly, I am totally ready for this trip(almost)..usually I run around like a wild woman at the last minute trying to remember everything..I guess the week's not over though:)..

I do have fears though..beyond just the plane ride:)..what if the medicals don't match what we see? What if she screams bloody murder at the very sight of us? What if one of us gets sick while there? What if something happens to one of my kids back home? What if.....the list goes on and on.. But, we have friends and church family praying for us, for our kids, and for our visit with our sweet little girl...so, I think we're good to go, don't you?

If you had told me a year ago that we would be on our way to Bulgaria to adopt a daughter this year..I probably would've doubted that..we knew the wait for a healthy girl was at least 18 months...but I'm so glad God opened our hearts to this little girl...!! Her special need is SOOO mild, and I can't imagine NOT wanting her! I want her more than words can say:)! It's hard to love her while at the same time "holding back", because nothing is certain yet... You almost try to not feel anything...but, then we look at her picture...and the first words out of my husband's mouth are, "Aww, Daddy's little girl!"......let's just say, I melt all over the floor!

And to all still waiting, please hold on! God has a plan...and it's hardly ever OUR plan...but it's perfect, and beautiful, and right on time! I'm with you 100% in prayer and support anytime you need me!

Now, IS IT SATURDAY YET!!!!??????
(By the way, those of you who follow soontobemomof9...we get to travel on the same flight to Bulgaria!! Surely I can pick her out of the 200+ people on the plane;).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Quick Prayer Post

Okay, we only have 11 days till we leave for Bulgaria on our first visit to see our little girl, and we have two prayer requests:

1) All seven of us have had a stomach bug in the past week, please pray we will heal completely and have no further sickness...at least until we get back from Bulgaria.

2) We had to re-do our FBI fingerprints and take a "no record" letter with us on our first trip...well, we sent them USPS overnight on Dec. 14th and they still haven't been put in the FBI system yet...we don't even know if they made it to West Virginia or not...we lost the tracking number:(!

I'm sure I'll have other requests, but for now these are the immediate concerns.

Thank you friends for praying for our family!