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??

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas?!?!? OOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Um.  Um. Um.  Hm.  How do I say this. WORST.BLOGGER.EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been two and a half months since my last post, and well, those who follow me on Facebook know....Naomi is HOME!!!!!!!!!!!:)  And we have been BUSY BUSY BUSY!  What with Halloween, 2 rounds of assorted sicknesses, 2 birthdays, and Thanksgiving.....yep, a little busy;).  Anywho.................

Our case was cleared by the Embassy on Oct.4th, and I left the 11th to go and pick her up.  God was SO EXTREMELY faithful to give me peace throughout the whole trip!  Plus, he added a sweet little bonus on the trip there!  At my layover in Washington, I ran into Tim and Tama Gray, a sweet family we met on our court trip, and they were going to pick up their kiddos too!!  THANK YOU JESUS!  We talked, reminisced, and just praised God for His goodness to us in allowing our cases to clear quickly!  SUCH a sweet blessing that was!:)

I spent the week at the transition home, sadly, with a very sick little baby though:(.  Naomi had a horrible stomach virus, with both vomiting and diarrhea, and this Momma was more than a little stressed.  BUT, I was just surrounded by the kindest families, who prayed and helped me out when needed.  I could NOT have asked for more!  There were five  families there, adopting a total of NINE children, including Naomi!  So exciting!!!

By the time we left, Naomi completely turned around and was back to being her happy self!  TOTALLY GOD!  We made the 20+ hour trip home without "incident"(no vomiting OR diarrhea).

Since we've been home, the transition for Naomi has been seamless!  She has fit in SO well, and we are SO COMPLETELY IN LOVE with her!!  The kids fight over her, and love rubbing her hair;).  She is just a JOY!  Annnnnnnnd, are you ready for this?  She is WALKING 95% of the time!!  We think she is only about 9 1/2-10 mos. old...so it's just CRAZY to see her walking!  And she is SO smart!  I will feed her bites of food, and then say "more", do you want more?  And now she "pretends" to hold a piece in her hand, put it in her mouth, and says "mu, mu", when she wants a bite of something!!  When we ask if she wants to play "peek-a-boo", she'll take our hands and cover our eyes with them!  She knows her name and is saying Momma and Da-Da, and "lella"(Bella-our dog)....she babbles constantly!;)  She also holds the phone to her ear and says "lo, lo"...SO STINKIN' CUTE!!!  She prefers me over Daddy still, but is warming up to him more and more....it would help if he were home more...but that's a WHOLE different post;).  She has slept through the night since almost the beginning.  She took a bottle during the night for a week or so, but then she stopped and is sleeping from 8:00pm-7:30am!!

As for her health, she is doing GREAT!  We were able to clear up the giardia with ONE round of Flagyl, and her bloodwork is pretty good...she will need immunizations...  We thought she might have lactic acidosis(?), but her lactate came back normal, so that was a definite praise!  Her carnitine is slightly high, as is her RDW(?) on her CBC panel.....not sure if any of that is significant, but the doctor hasn't made a big deal, so for now, we won't either:).  She HAS had a runny nose and cough for TWO MONTHS, and she IS nearsighted and will need glasses soon....not looking forward to trying to keep those on a toddler!  GEESH!

And now, here we are...it's CHRISTMAS and we are reminded yet again how BLESSED we are.  What a joyous season it is!:)  And YOU are a huge part of that blessing!  All of you who prayed and gave to help us bring her home....we CANNOT thank you enough...but we'll keep trying!:)  You are forever a part of her story, and we will make sure she knows of your sacrifices and generosity!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

And for your viewing pleasure.......our sweet NAOMI!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Adoption Update

And the roller coaster continues....

Last Wednesday we found out that the police officer would agree to speak with the Embassy this Monday(yesterday), after she had a chance to review the case...and last Th/Fri were holy days in Ethiopia, so she wasn't working those days.

So we waited..........

Now it's Tuesday....and we still don't know if that phone call ever took place yesterday.:(

We DID, however, discover that there was a "finder" listed in our paperwork(who found Naomi abandoned), and usually when there is a finder listed, cases clear without being sent on to USCIS in Nairobi.  Especially since the officer SEEMS to be willing to talk with the embassy as well.....but it's been two weeks since she was initially contacted by the embassy, and apparently they tried 3 times to make contact.  Even if they conducted the interview yesterday, they could still wait WEEKS/MONTHS to clear us.  RIDICULOUS!

I'm beginning to stress more and more...  The US Embassy has a TERRIBLE reputation for dragging things out, for no good reason, and generally being a pain to deal with. 

So, what do we do?  We keep emailing them, and asking for updates:)!  I won't sit by while they drag things out(like waiting and waiting and waiting for a phone call), when they could just send it on to Nairobi.

I emailed today specifically about the interview, and whether or not it took place yesterday....they HAVE been good about returning emails, so we should know about that tomorrow.

 Sorry, if this doesn't make much sense....  Needless to say, I will be up in the middle of the night tonight to catch their email, and respond if necessary(by personal email to the consulate officer:)).  

PLEASE PRAY for clearance for our sweet girl!!  She IS already our daughter by law, and this Momma bear is getting frantic about her release!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

6 Weeks

It's been 6 weeks since I last saw my sweet baby girl:(. And I'm starting to stress. Our paperwork is still at the Embassy and they have requested a phone interview with the police officer in our daughter's birth town...he will NOT call them back:(...that was a week ago...annnnnndd we still wait. It's not uncommon for the police to be less than cooperative...but our daughter is WAITING while we sit and wait for the embassy to play phone tag with this guy. You just never know where it's going to go from here....will they just keep trying for weeks/months? Will they clear us without the police interview? Will they send us on to Nairobi? And the biggest question....WHEN? There is no timeframe....they can take as long as they want. PLEASE pray for us as we wait. For peace and for patience. Pray for our daughter...that she is safe and healthy. Pray that the LORD will soften the heart of the officer at the embassy who is in charge of our case, and that he will clear us or send us on to USCIS THIS WEEK!

Cause I can't stand to miss one more minute of this little girl's life!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blogging for Orphans-Lifesong Update

"I was looking for someone to understand me, to love sincerely...I received all this!"  
 -­‐Natasha, 22

As you heard Natasha share in the video, the orphanage took care of her basic needs -­‐-­‐ food, shelter, clothing.  

But she longed for more. 

Belonging. Commitment. Love from a family. Hope for a future.

Because we believe kids like Natasha need much more than their 'basic needs', the staff of Lifesong Ukraine are building relationships inside the orphanage walls to create what we call Constant Christian Presence (CCP). 

The CCP provides mentorship and discipleship, improved living conditions, one-­‐on-­‐ one counseling, group Bible study, job skills training, music lessons, and computer skills training.

Instead of the common trend of orphans creating orphans, Natasha, because of her support through CCP, now desires to help other children who are in orphanages to give them the support she received. Orphans mentoring orphans...a cycle worth striving for!

Child Sponsorship
We are excited to announce that Lifesong Ukraine has recently launched a new child sponsorship program. If you are interested in helping build Constant Christian Presence by sponsoring a child like Natasha, please contact us.

"...He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory." Isaiah 61:3

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kindergarten For Ava

It's official!! Ava is now in Kindergarten!  We decided that she needed WAY more than I could offer her in homeschooling....and retain my sanity in the process;)...so we talked to the principle of our local public school, and we stepped out in faith! 

She has an AMAZING teacher, who, in the first week of school, has already had her evaluated by the school psychologist, and the occupational therapist...WITHOUT my prodding:)!  They are on the ball!!  Love Mrs. Blount!

I've talked with the psychologist, and I'm just so impressed...such a gentle and caring man...and we are all on the same page.  And YAY, I wasn't crazy!!;)  Ava is having trouble with memory, copying basic shapes(i.e. writing), and reasoning skills, etc...  We don't know if it is a "language issue", or delay because of living in an orphanage, or something physically going on in her brain.  The bottom line is, ALL that time we spent last year doing preschool activities has only slightly helped...and she NEEDS intervention to succeed in school.  They are also going to check into ESL services of some sort..haven't heard back about that yet.  And I'm sure an IEP is in her future.

She DOES really like it, and LOVES riding the bus(against my better judgement)...but I can tell she's trying to find a "new normal".  She asks every night if "Daddy's going to wake her up...", and she has be up at 6:00am:(!  She goes to school from 7:30 till 2:30, and then she has to take a nap.  We learned the hard way that this is going to be necessary.  She began to have accidents in the middle of the night because she just couldn't wake up.  She was TOTALLY exhausted!  She doesn't understand why she doesn't go on Saturdays or Sundays...and she gets a little mad about it!

We all would appreciate your prayers as we get used to our new schedule, and for Ava as she adjusts.  We want her to get the help she needs, and at this point feel she is getting that.  I know that our relationship as mother and daughter is going to be much better, because now I can just be "mommy" and she doesn't need to perform for me as a "teacher".  Now I can just support her.  Different, but good for us:).

In other news,  all the other kiddos are going strong in homeschool, and now I have Caleb doing Kindergarten this year as well!  He's a challenge!!  VERY KINESTHETIC learner....having to come up with games daily to keep his interest!;)  He's also going to a local preschool in the afternoon for speech therapy.

So, that's our crazy life....in a not so small nutshell...would again appreciate any and all prayers for great strides to be made this school year for ALL our kiddos!!

God Bless!:)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Case Received by the US Embassy!

 All of our paperwork is now at the US Embassy!  WOO-HOO!  We SHOULD HAVE received the email last week, but they had the WRONG email address for us at the embassy, and our agency thought we received it, etc....but it's ALL GOOD!  We're filed, and that's all that matters!:)

This is where it could get ugly.....

Right now they are in the process of reviewing the paperwork and determining her orphan status.  If the embassy doesn't like what they see in the paperwork(seriously..there are no set rules here, unfortunately), and they decide they want to further investigate whether or not she is truly an orphan, then her case will be sent to Nairobi, Kenya for USCIS(Immigration) to investigate.....sigh.

Because she was found abandoned, we were told upfront that there is a 99% chance they will send it on to Nairobi....

Our prayer right now is that they will QUICKLY determine whether or not to send it on...this first part could take weeks or MONTHS!!  BUT GOD!:)

Once in Nairobi...they usually clear cases in about 2 weeks!:)  YIPPPEEE!

Obviously, we are praying that it is NOT sent to Nairobi....that everything they need is already there and SATISFACTORY to them in order to clear her case quickly, and we ask(plead, beg) for you to pray as well!!!:)

In the mean time, I will be stressing and eating LARGE amounts of chocolate:)!!

In other news, our application to the Abba Fund has been accepted, and we will have all the funds for Trip 2 paid through a no-interest loan!  If you still would like to donate, that's great, as that is less we have to borrow, but we're SO thankful to NOT have to worry about that!

Also, it looks like I will be traveling ALONE to pick up Naomi:(.  It's just been too hard to find someone to watch our children, and now with school(Kindergarten) for Ava, driving Caleb to preschool in the afternoons, and homeschooling, it would just be easier for one of us to stay home with the kids.

I'm EXTREMELY nervous about this...mainly because of just the logistics of getting a baby through the airports and LONG flights with possible giardia...just concerned how I'm going to do that.  Just pray...I'm sure I'll be fine, and my prayer is that there are OTHER adoptive families traveling the same route with us who can help if needed;)!

SO much going on, and appreciate you all so much!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

From The Heart

Today I need to talk to you from my heart.... Mainly about what I expected to happen when I set foot in Ethiopia.

You see, I've been praying for some time about WHERE God wants to use our family to help the orphan...OTHER than adoption...cause let's face it...SO MANY will never be adopted....SO MANY need to hear that their lives matter to GOD...that they ARE precious..that they are NOT forgotten...that they have a purpose...

So, I prayed..."Lord, if you want us to BE(live) in Ethiopia and serve the orphans there....make it clear while we're there".  I expected to step off that plane in Addis and hear Him say, "This is it...you're home!"...but I didn't...  I also didn't have the culture shock I expected to have though...it was all very surreal..

And then the ONE day we were supposed to visit the children in the orphanage in Nazret, I was too sick to go....

I was SO sad....I NEEDED to GO!!  I NEEDED to hold them and tell them Jesus loves them...  I NEEDED them to know....!

And then I held the most precious 4 yr. old(ish) little girl at the transition home...she was SO quiet...  She walked up to my husband one day and just touched his leg...she didn't smile or try to talk to him...she just touched him.  I immediately scooped her up and began to sing "Jesus Loves YOU" to her and her face LIT UP!!!  She either recognized the tune, or something...because she didn't stop smiling!!  She melted my heart on the spot!!!  Thank you Jesus!  What a precious moment(a gift to me) to just whisper Truth to her heart, even if she couldn't understand the words...  PURE sweetness!!:) 

God has given me such a hunger to spread the gospel to/care for the orphan...and the uttermost parts of the world, and I don't know where or HOW it's going to happen...and it may still be in Ethiopia...or it may be elsewhere...  But I left there more determined than ever(although a little humbled...cause God's got His own timing/ways ya know;)) to be used!

I DON'T believe you have to move a million miles away and live in a hut to make a difference, because, man, I LOVE ELECTRICITY and clean water...and access to doctors....but I also don't want to hold those things so tightly that I hinder God's work in me...  I LIKE being there...TOUCHING them...HOLDING them...  It's hard for me to come home and feel like I can make a difference from here....although I KNOW many who do!!!!!!!!!!  We have 7 kids for heaven's sake!!  They are our FIRST mission field.... 

So, I keep praying...."Lord, we're here...ready to serve the orphan...ready to GO if necessary...send us!"..  And I guess we'll see where He leads:).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lifesong For Orphans

Please enjoy this video produced by Plan Escalon students featuring graduates in 'Life after Plan Escalon'...

Isn't it beautiful to see former students like Elmer, Marvin, Santos and Doris 'change their nation' by the education and spiritual discipleship they received from Plan Escalon/Lifesong Honduras?  

Honduras has a 30% national employment rate, yet Plan Escalon students have achieved more than twice that reaching 70% employment rate after graduation.
Praise God for finishing what He has started in the lives of these four young men and women and may He continue to work in the hearts of the current students.
To see another 'Life after Plan Escalon' story, click here or to learn more about how you can become involved in helping Plan Escalon's new building project, click here.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."  Philippians 1:6

Monday, August 20, 2012


What a WHIRLWIND this past week and a half has been!  Sometimes I just have to stop and breathe, and ask myself if it really happened at ALL!;)

We arrived in Addis on Friday night about 8:30..and after about an hour of lines, visas, etc..we were on our way to the West Sands Guest House/Transition Home.  It was cool and rainy and MUDDY...EVERYWHERE...  When we got there, the staff had prepared DINNER for us...really?!  At 10:00pm?  They were SO sweet and kind!

We were so tired and went straight to bed, and can I say I was so glad I brought ear plugs because our room was on the side where the road was, and it was NOISY!

The next morning we met another family who is adopting 16 month old TWINS(boy and a girl), had breakfast, and turned around to see them bringing our daughter in!!!  I didn't even know if she was there yet!!! 

She came to me pretty easily and I got to feed her and rock her until she fell asleep:).  Oh.my.word!!  She is beyond precious and sweet!!  She was very coy and quiet...a little serious...but we got a few smiles out of her.  She was NOT feeling well and had a horrible cough...I felt so sorry for her:(.

We got to keep her with us as much as we wanted, and we could even take her to our room if we chose..but we stayed in the living room area most of the time.  We took her back to the nannies for her naps, so we could rest a little too, but then we got her and kept her till bedtime every day.

The other family left that first day, and after that we were alone....I wish we had had other families there...we were lonely;)!!!  Ben slept pretty much wherever he landed...chair, couch, table, bed...;)...so he was no company!

Saturday night our director, Woudneh, took us to the Abyssinian(?)...it's a beautiful restaurant with Ethiopian dancing.  We enjoyed it VERY much!  We tried most of the local dishes, and I discovered I don't like berbere;).   I'm a cayenne pepper kinda girl;)!  I did like the injera and mild dora wat, as well as a few other things I can't even describe...because they just looked like mush to me, LOL!

Sunday we again stayed at the guest house and played with our daughter...I wanted so much to go out and play with the other kiddos too, but every time I had a moment they were inside doing other things or it was raining..we got to get some pics later though.:)

Monday was our day to go to Nazret to tour the orphanage(Yoseph), but by the time we got there(a good hour and a half drive, in the rain...and potholes...and fumes...and crazy drivers) I was SICK!  We took our director to the West Sands school for a meeting and went on to tour around a new "resort"...Ben fed the baboons...I tried not to puke...  When we left, I decided to not go to the orphanage and head back to the guest house:(...TOTALLY BUMMED!!!!  I slept for a couple of hours and I was fine, then spent the rest of the night with the baby:).

Tuesday was our court date and we were there by 9:00am SHARP!  There were already lots of families there from other agencies...most white people I had seen in ET up until that point;p!  We waited for about an hour for our turn...even though there is a "list", sometimes the judge chooses out of order...and then she called us.

She asked a few questions, like do we know other families with Ethiopian children, are we learning about the culture, taken our adoption classes, how long were we in process, how many kids do we have/are they excited?...etc....  It was just a room with two long tables..very empty..NOT overwhelming at all, but my heart was pounding!!  She then stated that ALL the paperwork was there, she was legally our daughter and nothing could change that!!  HALLELUJAH!!!!:)  It took all of 5 minutes and it was DONE..SHE'S OURS!  AMAZING!!

We spent the rest of the day loving our new baby girl and dreading leaving her behind:(!

Later that night she had a HUGE blowout and my husband had to carry her airplane style back to the nanny, as she dripped all along the way, and he gagged with every step!!  SO STINKIN' FUNNY!!!  And that's how we said goodbye to our sweet baby!

We left early the next morning....eager to see our kiddos back home, but with heavy hearts as well. 

Now we wait for the court decree, birth certificate, and US Embassy dates...we were warned that because she was abandoned, her case will most likely be sent to Nairobi by the USE.....they will try to contact the Sheriff who found her/signed the police report..ask him for info he doesn't always have, and just basically delay my daughter coming home.  I TOTALLY understand investigating suspicious adoptions...but abandonment occurs SO FREQUENTLY, and mothers do NOT come forward later when the police try to search for them, because it's ILLEGAL to abandon your child and they will be thrown in jail!!!!  It's pointless and it just wastes precious time that a child COULD be with their family...  That said, we will wait...and pray she gets through Embassy without being sent to Nairobi!:)

Now, without further delay...intoducing NAOMI BETELHEM!!:)  Isn't she beautiful?!?!?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Minute Inside My Mind

Please read at a somewhat fast pace to get a real "feel" for what it's like inside my head today....here goes...:)

48 hours till we leave.Not enough time!Where is my list?Did I call the day care back?Will they lose Caleb?Do I have batteries for the cameras?Why does my arm hurt?Oh yeah, I got a shot today, duh.Clothes washed.Caleb needs new underwear.Where's my list?I wish I could lose 3 more pounds before we leave.Do I REALLY need malaria meds?No, let's skip those.Donations.I wanted to take donations.Maybe next trip.Why are my kids' feet always black?I wonder if the cat will die while we're gone since he licked the Frontline spot on his back?Great!My house is going to smell like dead cat when we get home!WHY are we in the LAST ROW of the plane on the flight to Frankfurt?And SEPARATED!That has to change.I'll puke for sure.Jesus help me!Hate United!Planes flown by intoxicated 12 year-olds!Why are the seats SO CLOSE TOGETHER?Makes me claustrophobic!Who am I going to sleep on?Or squeeze, as we hit the "turbulence" that the pilot CANNOT explain for some reason?Or talk to about the suspicious guy next to me who has NO luggage other than a small shopping bag that says "Yemen"?Terrorist for sure.Do we have a flashlight?Why are we taking duct tape?Awww, she's SO cute!Focus, Renae!Why didn't I get a haircut?Oh yeah, it's the rainy season in Ethiopia.What's the point.Noah needs a haircut.Too bad.No time for that.School starts in 3 weeks.Still need school supplies.They'll have to wait.48 hours to hug and kiss and stare endlessly at my sweet kiddos.HATE leaving them!HORRIBLE!I think I'm sick.Do I really have to show up at court?Look at those chubby TOES!MUST.KISS.THEM.Yep, I have to go.Where's Ben?Why isn't he home yet?Oh yeah, the dogs are getting shots too.Can we board the cat too?Then he can die there and won't stink my house up.I hope he doesn't die.He's sooo cute.I love him.I need a nap.And an Excedrin.And a diet coke.And CHOCOLATE.How will make it in Africa without chocolate?Where's my LIST?Oh, found it.TOO MUCH TOO REMEMBER!..................................................................

But, in spite of the chaos in my brain(and house), we are EXCITED to meet our newest daughter.  Now if only I could get there another way other than flying!!;)

And if you feel so led, please pray about our seating situation.  I DO get airsick(I'll be taking meds), and the back is the WORST place for me.  I'll be calling United tomorrow:).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

COURT DATE!!! AUGUST 14TH!!!!!!!!!

We have a COURT DATE!!  YIPPPPPEEEEE!  God heard our prayers and POURED His grace on us yet again!  Thank you JESUS!

So, here's how this goes down.  There's a hearing on August 7th, which is when the orphanage, West Sands, and the police department who found our little girl will submit their paperwork, etc.  IF the police report and any efforts made to find the birth mother are NOT there, then OUR court hearing on the 14th(which is the one we WILL attend) will only be to give our consent for the adoption.  It will not be FINAL until that police report is there.  There are times they've had to wait on this, so we're asking for prayers that all paperwork is there and accounted for on the 7th!!  Our in-country director will still be able to continue processing our paperwork etc., but we NEED that paperwork before she is officially ours and we can be submitted to the US Embassy.

PLEASE pray this is all in order....we want nothing but an HONEST adoption of a truly orphaned child, and our agency has an excellent reputation so we trust them implicitly, but this is all scary! 

Now, here at home....ummmm....STRESSSSSS!!;)  I spent FOREVER trying to book tickets online yesterday..and after FOUR attempts to purchase tickets that were apparently "sold out"(UGGGGGHHH!), we hit the jackpot:)!  Okay, they were still $2000 EACH, but the flights are pretty "easy", ONE-STOP flights, so I'm happy with them.  Oh, except that we're flying United for a couple, and after our last experience, I'm pretty sure the planes are manned by a couple of intoxicated, twelve year-olds!!;)  So, needless to say, I'm a little nervous about those:).

We have a place for each of our kids, except our little Caleb:(...BUT, I'm thinking we're going to send him to preschool during the day, and then Grandma can watch him at night.  That will be a new experience for him, but one that will keep him busy and entertained during the day, which he DEFINITELY will need!;)  He can be a "stinker";)  LOVE HIM!  Although, that will add some expense, I think it will be best.  You can pray about that too...that we'll find a good fit for him.

So, we're leaving in 5 DAYS..did I mention that?!  This week will be spent getting malaria meds, purchasing snacks and extras for the trip, washing clothes, packing, getting funds in order, etc., etc., etc.,

So, here's the prayer list:

1.)  That peace would reign in our hearts as we go through this very hectic five days before travel.
2.)  That we find a good place for Caleb.(Cause this Momma's heart can't handle leaving a scared and fearful child!)
3.)  That our kids will not be nervous or afraid, but will be excited and ready when it's time to leave.
4.)  For the court hearing to go PERFECTLY this week!
5.)  For our little Ethiopian love's health and well-being.
6.)  For good health for all of us while we're separated.
7.)  For peace in MY heart, cause I HATE HATE HATE leaving my kiddos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8.)  For the flights...hate to fly...'nuff said.

I'm sure I'll have more updates this week, so THANK YOU for taking the time to pray and love on our family this way!:)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Down To The Wire...

Okay ya'll, I'm hearing all kinds of rumors about when court is closing for the rainy season in Ethiopia!  Some say the 22nd, but I just heard the 15th from someone else...that I trust..

That means to SQUEEZE in before the 15th, we need a MIRACLE! 

This is SO important to me...mainly because I don't want to have to worry/deal with sending all the school supplies for each kid, and worry about who will take and pick up Ava from school every day, etc., etc.

It would just be so much easier to go during summer break...especially for those who will be watching our kids!!  I don't want to be a burden on anyone more than I have to be, ya know?

SO, just asking...if you think of us today, please send a prayer on our behalf!

Hopefully, I'll hear something today or tomorrow either way.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012


LOOK AT THE CHIP-IN!!  Go ahead....I'll wait...;).  Did you SEE what God did OVERNIGHT through people we've NEVER even met?!?!  We stand utterly amazed at the blessings you have lavishly poured out on us!!  THANK YOU just doesn't seem like enough, but THANK YOU anyway:)!  We LOVE and appreciate you all, and pray God gives it back to you 1000 fold!!  JUST WOW!! 

Adoption can be a very "lonely" undertaking as a family....not many understand.  But you all "get it"!!  Your prayers and support are what hold us together and BUILD our faith in the Lord even stronger!  Our CHILDREN'S faith has grown because of you!  They SEE God at work through you!  They SEE the answers to our prayers!  They SEE the miracles!  THANK YOU for loving our family in this way!!  We are SO humbled and blessed by you!!

Phew!  Now what...Oh, I KNOW....COME ON COURT DATE!!:) 

And here's a song to share our feelings on this VERY GOOD MORNING!;)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Are You Tired of Hearing About Money Yet;p!?

I know you're probably tired of me talking about money...BUT...I kinda feel like I owe it to those who've donated to let them know where their donations are going exactly.:)  So, bear with me folks!

Here is what we've paid out/put aside so far for Trip 1 to Ethiopia:  THESE ARE COVERED!:)

1.)  Final Processing Fee to West Sands-$1200

2.)  Guest House/Meals(to West Sands)- $480-this is approximate since we don't know exactly how long we'll stay.

3.)  Transportation Fee (In-Country)-$350 approximately

4.)  Immunizations(poor Hubby;))- $435

That will leave plane tickets($3800approx.-INSANELY expensive right now!!), and the $230 Visa fee(for Baby B, due on first trip)

We're still thinking we need to raise about $2500+ to cover the above "leftovers".  *SIGH*

Still waiting on a court date.  I don't wait so well;)!  It DOES help to check those costs off the list thought!!:)

This is tough stuff ya'll!   Just trying to remember that "God doesn't always call the equipped, but He DOES ALWAYS equip the called"-financially and otherwise!  PRAISE GOD!

Keep praying friends!

Oh, and I can't believe I didn't post a little taste of our SCRUMPTIOUS baby girl!!  So here ya go:)!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Was just having a discussion with another adoptive family about Paypal, and decided to give you another option for donating, so we don't "lose" some of your donation to Paypal fees!:)

If you have a Paypal account, you can click on "send money" and choose the "personal" option at the bottom of the page, then choose "gift".  That way you're not charged a fee, and we receive ALL the donation you send.:)

Our Paypal address is richardfamily@embarqmail.com if you would like to choose this method of donating.

I'll keep the Paypal address in the sidebar as well, for future reference.

AGAIN...THANK YOU to all who are supporting our family through prayer, sharing the need, and donating!  We are blessed by YOU!:)

Friday, July 27, 2012

The "Lull"

Well, it's Friday and we're in a bit of a "lull"...we've packed a little this week, Ben got his travel immunizations, we had our "travel webinar" with West Sands to go over travel do's and don'ts, etc....and now we wait. 

We're still selling some of the yard sale items via Craigslist, so that's AWESOME!:)  And we've had two more generous donations this week, so our little ticker over there is moving on up!  YIPPPEEE!

On the downside, we learned that there is a $50 per day transportation fee while we're there, so that will be an added expense..

Also, we still need to find a home for two of our boys while we're gone.  Everyone is busy this time of year, etc..and we're just having a hard time.  So, would appreciate your prayers in that matter...although it might help GREATLY if we had an actual TRAVEL DATE so we can tell people when we would need help;)!  Um..hoping that's TODAY, by the way:)!

We also talked with an Abba Fund rep. and she agreed to go over our app. asap, since we are expecting travel soon...but we haven't heard back...not sure if that's good :\.

So, that's where we are today....waiting....trusting...HOPING for good news today!

PLEASE keep praying for us!!  God IS faithful!:)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Laying It ALL Out

WOW!  It's been an exhausting couple of days!  Exciting, but exhausting!:)  Our yard sale brought in about $700!  YAY!  Praise God...because over 1/2 of that came in as we were CLEANING UP the yard sale!LOL!

I would be lying if I said the fears haven't started to sink in...the what if's...the we can't's....the impossibilities...

But, we are going to just keep walking out our faith.  We're going to do a little packing in the next couple of days(because we know it's going to happen quickly), and we're going to purchase all of our "extra" stuff...you know, like duct tape, and 100% Deet;).

We're just going to TRUST.  It's all we can do.  That and PRAY of course:)!

It's helps me to lay it all out, and see EXACTLY what money is going where, so bear with me. Also, if you would like to give to SPECIFIC areas, this will be right up your alley;)!

Immunizations: $435

Plane Tickets: $3200-$3700-2 people, round trip

Last Program Fee: $1200

Visa:  $200

Hotel(1 week):  $350

Food(1 week):  $150

Total: $5535-$6035



Now we have only $2029-$2509 to go!  COOL!

If you would like to help in ANY way, whether it's through posting on your own blogs, FB, giving directly, or PRAYING, PLEASE do so!

You can also choose to shop at one of the online stores on the right/left sidebar, use the chip-in, or send gifts directly to our agency(click the button in top right corner), which will be anonymous.

But PLEASE don't stop praying!  LOVE YOU ALL!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


We got the call TODAY!!!! We have a beautiful new BABY GIRL!!!!!!! She is approximately 3 months old and precious! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK! We're SO excited and a ridiculous mess since we will most likely travel in about 2 or 3 weeks and we are still short about $4000!!!!!!! Today is our yard sale as well(how appropriate;)), and we have sold only about $2 worth of stuff!LOL!! BUT, we have a BIG GOD who knows us and WILL provide!! Please pray with us for His provision to come quickly. We have a grant app. out there with One Less Ministries, and a no-interest loan app. with Abba Fund pending, so just pray that if it is His will, that we would have success through those two opportunities as well. SO, SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!:)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lifesong-Blogging For Orphans

"The blessings go way beyond any financial support because the family is just knowing that the church cares."
-­‐-­‐ Dave Blaske, His Kids-­‐Our Homes Adoption Fund Director

Listen in as His Kids-­‐Our Homes Adoption Fund share about their partnership with Lifesong for Orphans...

It has been exciting for us as a ministry to have a front-­‐row view in what God is doing through our 210 active and intentional Church Fund Partners.  In the past six months alone, we have seen the generosity of these churches provide over $627,650 to 193 adoptive families in the form of grants and loans.
The refreshing joy of serving families, blessing orphans, and ultimately glorifying God is at the core of each church fund that we partner with.  We celebrate the work that God is doing through each of them as He places the lonely into families (Psalm 68:6). 

For more stories about how a church fund can bless adoptive families, we invite you to watch the Quine & Stewart family adoption videos.
To learn more about Lifesong Church Funds, please visit our website or contact Rich Metcalfe (309.747.4528, rich@lifesongfororphans.org)

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." Hebrews 10:24  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Half-Way There!

We're SO excited!!!!!  God has blessed us through some very generous donors and we are half-way to our goal for TRIP 1!!!!  YIPPPEEEE!  SO very thankful!:)

This weekend, we are having a yard sale to benefit our adoption as well, so PLEASE PRAY that we sell EVERYTHING!!  Hoping to bring in over $1000 with this sale!!:)

On another note...we would love to get a referral THIS WEEK(I mean who wouldn't, right?;))...because this is probably the last week that we could get a referral and still MAYBE get in to court before it closes down for the rainy season(until October).  In addition, my friend who would watch half our "zoo" while we're gone, goes back to work the third week of August, and I really don't want to spread my kids out all over the place if I don't have to.  Uggggh:(! 

Also, school starts for us at the end of August as well, so it would be one less headache if we could get through court BEFORE I start homeschooling again...especially because Ava will be in a traditional Kindergarten setting(so someone would have to get her there and back) and Caleb will be attending preschool in the afternoons....Uggggh:(!

All that said, we KNOW God's got this, and whenever we get a referral, He'll take care of the details.  I just like to have my ducks in a row...and for it NOT to be "messy" I guess;)! 

Keep praying friends, we're almost there!:)


Sunday, July 8, 2012


Today, I am filled with fear and uncertainty:(.  As we sat and went over all the things we have yet to pay for in our adoption, it just kept adding up and adding up and adding up...things we didn't expect to cost so much...like IMMUNIZATIONS(almost $800 for both of us), and plane tickets(HOLY MOLY!!)..and we realize we are MUCH further behind than expected.  NOT, where you want to be when you're expecting that call any day.  $13,000 short.:(

So...I worry... 

It was easy in the beginning. We had enough money to start with, and we could see where the rest could come from down the road...then my hubby lost a little income...and Sarah ended up in the hospital last summer...and Caleb got hit by a tractor this summer...and I had heart issues that needed to checked out.. And last Friday a storm came through our town and knocked out our power for 4 DAYS, and ripped sections of our roofing off(praying insurance covers most of this, but....) All unexpected things that had to come from savings...our adoption savings...  But still we trusted that He who called is FAITHFUL...

But, still I worry....

HOW is this going to work out?  WHEN? 

So, we keep working and doing our part and TRUSTING that although, RARELY does international adoption run smoothly....in ANY aspect of it... we are doing what God has called us to do..

And I take comfort that what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34 is JUST as true for us today, as it was for His followers in "New Testament" times.

Matthew 6

25."Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about you body, what you will wear.  Is not life more imprtant than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes?  see how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in a ll his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will given to you as well. 34 Therefore not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

God has this...we know that...

Will you continue to pray that in these last few steps of the process, we will just be BLOWN AWAY by HIS FAITHFULNESS?!?!?!  We want HIM to get the glory for the provision and NOT us...this is NOT about us...IS NOT!

Rambling over:).

Love you friends!:)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Village of Hope Guatemala-Giveaway!!

Check out TWO of my favorite families, and support special needs orphans at Village of Hope in Guatemala!  They are following hard after God's own heart and NEED us to share, share, share the need with the body of Christ!  PLUS, you can win cool stuff!:)  NO.BRAINER.

Who can resist this face anyway;)!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Adoption Update

We're SO close now!!  We're NUMBER 1 and should have a referral VERY soon and we are ramping up our fundraising once again!  We've been so blessed by donations from other adoptive families, extra income when needed, etc., yet we are still SO short on funds for this adoption! AAAAAHHHHH! 

So, we will begin with, of course, Trip One to Ethiopia!:)  We are about $3500-$4000 short for TRIP ONE...which will be about 6 weeks AFTER REFERRAL...AAAAAAHHHHH!  We originally had not planned that we BOTH would travel for the court date, since that was an option, but with the continuing scrutiny over international adoptions by the Ethiopian govt., we really don't want to give them any cause for "concern".  So, now we have to hustle to get things in order!;) AAAAAHHHHH! 

We know the Lord will provide EVERY penny, but it still makes me nervous;)!  I've basically ignored the need until now, but we can't any longer!  WE NEED YOU!

We still have several shops you can shop from that we are raising money through.  Those are located on the LEFT and RIGHT sidebars.  If you would like to make a direct donation, please CLICK the ChipIn button at the top RIGHT sidebar.  And most of all PRAY!  Pray for the remaining funds to come in, and for the Lord to be glorified always through it all!

Also, if you would like to donate items(locally) for our Adoption Sale on July 7th, please email me!:)

Exciting times are a-coming!;)  AAAAAAHHHHHH!

In Him,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Update On the Moghadam Family

This just in from www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com

Sol and Christine have been released from prison on bail.  Their biological children have also been released.   Their bio children were released to the US Embassy custody, but at least they are together.

Please pray for their emotional healing from the last 40 hours of trauma.

This has only happened because of Almighty God's movement on behalf of those on bended knee for Sol and Christine.

The children they went to adopt in Ghana are still in the orphanage.

There is still much prayer needed.  Please don't stop!

But for tonight, we rejoice at the faithfulness of God! 



Most recent update on Chris and Sol:

It looks like Sol and Chris will be released from jail soon and will be reunited with their bio kids! Their adopted children however will NOT be released from the children's home. PLEASE continue to pray that the Lord would move every mountain and that these precious ones will soon be back with their "forever" family and heading back to the U.S. as soon as possible! Thank you!

AND,  from someone directly involved IN Accra, Ghana: The charges against the family are bogus..they have all the adoption paperwork, but since they were "copies", not "originals", this is considered a problem. The US Embassy is ALL OVER it now!:)


Keep it up friends!:)


PRAY For The Release of The Moghadam Family!!

Friends, I can't tell you how burdened I am right now!  Last night I learned of a fellow adoptive family, who is in Ghana completing their adoption of four precious kiddos, and have been wrongly ARRESTED for child-trafficking!!  They had court papers with them, but they were arrested anyway and their 6 CHILDREN, 2 of them AMERICAN children(age 4 and 6), were taken away to a HORRIBLE orphanage!

This is what I know so far. "All we know at this point is that someone called the police to make this (completely unfounded) claim. Next thing you know they were in the back of a police van, all 8 of them, with sirens wailing and headed to child trafficking HQ. After that the children were remanded to a government orphanage (which is NOT a good orphanage) including the bio kids (who are VERY young) and the parents were put in jail. After that her cell phone battery died, so nobody's heard from her since."

The US Embassy is refusing to do ANYTHING until MONDAY morning, and that is NOT acceptable!!

They are with Dillon International, and since Ghana is a pilot program, they don't have a lot of contacts in Ghana, so we need to stand in the gap and PRAY, CALL, EMAIL congressman John Campbell.  We need you to contact the US Embassy in Ghana.  And also the Department of State.  Contact ANYONE you think can help!  This family is from California, so representatives from that state are best.  I will have links at the bottom of this post for these.

Here is a short video of the Moghadam family.


Here is the FB page for the US Embassy in Ghana:  https://www.facebook.com/USEmbassyGhana

Here is the FB page for Congressman Campbell: https://www.facebook.com/JohnCampbell

Here is the citizens services dept. of the Department of State: 1-888-407-4747

Here is the link for other reps in California:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/#state_ca

Here is the link of the adoptive family who originally posted this.  They will get new info the soonest: www.nogreaterjoymom.com

Here is the Moghadam family blog: http://themoghadamsjourneytoafrica.blogspot.com/

PLEASE remember that this is very SENSITIVE, so be gracious in your emails and calls.  FIRM(that this is unacceptable), but kind in your speech!  We DO NOT want to make the situation worse in our zeal to help.  COVER them in prayer.  SHARE this on your blog and FB page!  

We MUST stand for them and WITH them on this! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lifesong India Update!!

We invite you to listen in with Bob and Siromani Stoll, Lifesong India, as they share their hearts on "Continuing the Work" in India...

Bob and Siromani praise their "kids" in India...
It is always a rewarding experience to interact with children who are obedient, respectful of authority and wonderfully outgoing. They are studious and have a strong, active faith in prayer.
Lifesong for Orphans is blessed to serve these children and plan to 'continue the work' that has been started so faithfully in India thanks to our many supporters.  We are praying that it will continue to bring glory and honor to our Father God!

To hear more from Bob and Siromani Stoll and their testimony of faithfulness in Indiaclick here

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ava Update-Kindergarten

It's been a long time coming huh?;)

Well, we took Ava in March for Kindergarten screening(she will be 5 on June 25th) and got the results today....

Verbal processing percentile rank        16
Perceptual processing percentile rank  25
Auditory processing percentile rank      1(not sure this is accurate...REALLY..1?)

"high" percentile rank score is 76 or higher
"average" percentile rank score is 25-75
"low" percentile rank score is 24 or lower

Hmmmmm.  This almost made me laugh, because back in Sept. she "aced" the preschool screening and tested as an "average" 4 year old AMERICAN kid would, but I KNEW that couldn't be right!!!  Therefore, she did NOT qualify for any "therapies" with the local school district....

In addition, the letter from the school included activities to help in these areas...which if she COULD do them in the first place, she would have scored HIGHER..DUH! Frustrated.

I've been working with her on letters and numbers this year and she CAN memorize some facts, but it takes A LONG TIME to retain it...if she retains at all.  She's working on copying simple shapes(writing), but it's VERY hard for her...  She knows her colors and the names of the shapes(mostly). 

More importantly, she has real trouble carrying on conversations that are NOT about food, clothes, toys, etc...  She can't understand "why" or "how" questions...I get blank stares and then she just makes something up to answer me. sigh.

I will be calling the school on Monday, and she will definitely be going to Kindergarten at our local public school, and hopefully get some kind of help.  I knew all along that I could not teach her effectively at home..that there was something else going on with her, which we need to find out...This just affirmed what I was thinking/feeling even though others kept saying give it time.  And this has definitely NOT helped our attachment issues...:(

This has been a VERY frustrating time for me and for her, and we would appreciate your prayers as we try to figure out what her educational/cognitive needs actually are.

Oh, and I'm open to ANY and ALL suggestions you may have:).

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Holding Pattern

Yep, that's where we are..in a "holding pattern" with our adoption.  We are currently number 2..or 3...still.....sigh. 

We know there are little ones waiting...but their paperwork is being done, and that is requiring extras from the ET side of things now, so it just takes longer now to get a referral(no one said it would be easy, right?).

Then there is court closure for the summer..maybe August?  For two months.  Sigh.

So what do we do in the meantime? 

We've finished school and testing.  So now we head into a summer filled with day camps and extra curricular activities for the kiddos, but my heart is heavy...

This adoption has been so different in that I haven't obsessed about timing, etc...until NOW;)!

Somewhere in Ethiopia is a little boy or girl that will be ours.....and today I LONG to know who he/she is..

YET.  I KNOW WHO holds that child in the palm of His hand and I will wait for His perfect timing....and try to distract myself...EVERY.SECOND.OF.THE.DAY.:)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lifesong For Orphans

Would your church youth group or college campus ministry be willing to spend ONE day to live out James 1:27...literally? 

Knowing that God is already at work in your church or campus ministry, Both Hands Foundation & Lifesong for Orphans invite you to roll up your sleeves (and maybe get your hands dirty!) by creatively serving the widow and the orphan at the same time!

Colorado Big Build--volunteers form Ellerslie Bible College 

Students + Widows = Orphan Care   

To find out how your youth group or college campus ministry can get involved, please contact Keith McAfee (keith@lifesongfororphans.org or 423.402.0248) or Rich Metcalfe (rich@lifesongfororphans.org or 309.747.4528).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Project Snack Bag!!!

PA-LLEEEAAASSSEE check out this link and find out how YOU can do something so SIMPLE to impact the life of a child in Uganda!!  We're doing it as a family, but you can do it with ANY group!!  COME ON!!  One person/family CAN make a difference!!:)