Monday, April 14, 2014

Do you love coffee?

Hi friends!
Do you love coffee?  
Would you like to try some fabulous new coffee?

Just Love Coffee helps families like ours with the high costs of adoption.  
A portion of EVERY sale goes to help with our adoption travel costs and fees.

Please visit & shop


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Little update

Things have been pretty quiet lately with our adoption process.  Not much has changed over the last few months, we are still hanging out at about #34 on our agencies wait list.  I did hear that a staff member is back in Ethiopia for the next few weeks so I'm praying that some movement might happen when she returns.

I would love more then anything to get "the call" asap, but this wait has also brought me a strange sense of peace.  It's allowed our family time to save and prepare.  It's also allowed all of our kiddos to get that much older and prepare in their own little ways for the new sister we hope to have in our family someday.  Luke's process was very fast and much of the time I felt all consumed by it, even if I wasn't showing it.  This time, day to day life goes on because we just have know idea how long of a wait we may be in for.

As we wait, I am sometimes reminded why we are in process again.  Luke gave me an unexpected reminder this morning.  He was upstairs with Ryan and I when out of the blue he says "mommy why am I brown?"  Then asked again.  I was silent trying to allow him to get all his thoughts out.  I then asked "what do you mean?"  Then he gently touched my shoulder and said, "I want to be like Noah.  Why am I the only one in our family that is brown?"  It broke my heart.  I want him to be proud of his beautiful dark brown skin, so proud.   I know many younger siblings want to be like their older ones, Luke tries to dress like Noah all the time.  Something was telling me this was much more.  Many times he tells me how much he loves his big tummy, strong arms and black curly hair.  Yet I know as he gets older, as he does even at 4 noticed we aren't all the same.  I pray that he will always feel comfortable no matter how old he is, talking to Ryan and I about issues of race, his birth country and birth family.  We want him to always be proud!


Thank you also for all your support to our Lifesong and Village to Village accounts!  We are so blessed by your generosity!!  We still have a long ways to go, but we finally passed the halfway mark for our Village to Village account.  Whooo hoooo!  In addition, if you could please pray for the Hand In Hand matching grant we just applied for.  I know it's a long shot, but as we have witnessed before in this process you just never know what He might have in store for you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The little blue school

A few years ago a friend shared with me the vision a couple of families had of restoring and expanding a tiny little school in the village of Adami Tulu, Ethiopia.  Adami Tulu is a tiny, impoverished village of about 9,000 people, which sits about three hours south of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. 

We knew right away this project would be perfect for our family.   Many young children in Ethiopia are given up by their birth families, because they simply can't provide for their basic needs.  Though our family was in the adoption process (and now is again) we know the very best place for a child is with their birth family unless this is not possible.  Many of the families in the area can't even afford to pay the nominal public school fees.  Those fees I later learned on my Vision Trip to Adami Tulu & Ziway, can be as little as a pack of pencils or single notebook.  When you are struggling to provide food for even just one meal a day for your family, hunger takes precedence over an education.  This leaves many of the children in an impossible cycle of poverty, that is so very hard to break. 

We knew that by expanding this school, which costs a fraction of what it costs here in the states, could completely steer the lives of these children and their families in a new direction.  One filled with a highly sought after education, hope, and the knowledge that Christ loves them.   We were on board.

On our 2nd trip back to Ethiopia, after learning about the project we managed to convince our travel group and driver to let us try to find the tiny "blue school" on our way back to Addis.  We had already been in the van for hours, why not a little detour.  After a few stops, picking up a stranger, annoyed looks from our travel group, walking into a few wrong buildings we found it!  Everyone was thrilled!  The Lord must have been helping us along the way because we even ran into one of the schools' teachers who graciously offered to go with us to the school and tell us all about it.

{Before}


Just a tiny blue building with 2 classrooms and a small office.  
A small garden out back and little swing set.


There was a rickety fence around the property, right off the busy highway.  
A mound of dirt that would soon be a new building ready to serve even more students!


Our family doesn't have a lot of extra to give financially especially while completing our adoptions, but we give what we can.   Most importantly we help advocate for these kids anyway we can with friends, family and at our church when possible. We share their stories, sponsor students, pray for them, fundraise, visit and give what we can.

{Then}


New buildings!


Missing this very special school and kiddos so much!


Would you join us?  You can sponsor a child at one of our schools for just $19 a month.  That $19 is about 1/2 the cost of most sponsorship programs and it all goes directly to the kids!!  Lifesong for Orphans, who manages the project doesn't keep a dime, because 100% of the administration costs have already been paid.  Your sponsorship will give a child in Ethiopia a chance to break the cycle of poverty and a chance for a better future.

{NOW}




Check out the new cafeteria (feeding center) and the new walls. 
Amazing what God can do in just a few short years!


The fabulous Peggy Ifft of Misgana Ministries.
 I hope to be just like her when I grow up!  


This little blue school is quickly becoming the BIG blue school!

Please visit zatproject.com or feel free to contact me about how 
you can become a ZAT Project Advocate!

We feel so blessed to be a small part of this amazing project and team.  God is doing some amazing things in Adami Tulu & Ziway, Ethiopia through so many people.  What once was just a little blue building has now transformed the lives of hundreds of children and our families heart.  Nowhere else do I feel God's presence more powerfully then when I am in this beautiful place.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thoughts on all those adoption questions

Q. Why are you guys adopting again?  Are you sure you want to do this?


A.  I find comments like this annoying and at times offensive.  Here is why, do you know how many days, months and years our family has been praying and researching about this?  Did I ever tell you not to get pregnant with one of your children?  Comments like the one. above feel a lot like that.   Do we get anxious and nervous about the unknown...of course!  Just like a did with my first two pregnancies which if you knew me back then I was probably much more anxious.  Our faith has grown so much!  We can't live life in fear for then we will never be able to fully see His work and blessings in our lives.


Q.  You want to adopt an older child that might have special needs?  Why would you do that?  You already have 3 kids!

A.  I know what you are thinking "crazy lady!"  I understand your intentions might be caring, I get that but here is the thing.... you aren't me.  You don't live in my house with my family.  We all love and care for our families the best we know how.  Some of us have husbands who travel a lot, some have husbands that are in town more.  Some of us have children who need more attention and others that love to be independent.  Some of us have family close by and others do not.  Some of us work outside the home others work in the home.  Some of us find great joy in filling our days with activities and people while others prefer to be home or something in the middle.  It's all ok!   No two families are alike and what each one of us is capable of is up to our Lord.  Only He knows the plans He has for each of us.

In addition, "special needs" doesn't always mean what many might think it means when you are adopting internationally.  It can be as simple as being over the age of 3.  The sad fact is most people still want tiny healthy babies when they adopt, even internationally so many precious kiddos wait many months or years for a family if they are over age 2.  It can also mean they have a minor hearing problem, need glasses or aren't quiet developmentally on target.  Yes, it can also mean very major health or emotional issues but what we are able to deal with is between our family and our social worker. 


Q.  Is your house big enough?

A.  For some reason this one hit me hard when I was asked this.  I suppose that depends on your perspective.  No, each of our children will not have their own bedrooms.  Neither did I as a young child.  Did this harm me, or cause me permeant damage, no.   Someday if we are financially able to I'd love to have a home with one more bedroom but right now it's not a priority.  I have walked into to many of the homes in Ethiopia with loving beautiful families living in homes smaller then the size of our master bathroom. Our society is so caught up in consumption and having more it really saddens me we spend so much time and money on material items rather then those in need.  Don't get me wrong I am guilty of that too!  But after our first trip to Ethiopia our hearts broke.   A dear friend told me while we were driving miles up north in Ethiopia as we watched women and girls carrying large sticks on their backs, no shoes, no water, walking miles up hill to sell at market .......these are our sisters and brothers in Christ how can we not help just like we would our own sister and brother.  Tears streamed down my face and I will never forget that moment.  They are our sisters and brothers.  It is so very true!  Our family doesn't want the square footage of our home to stop allowing God the chance to grow our family and help others.


Q.  You know it's going to be WAY harder then when you adopted Luke.

A.  Yes, going from 3 kids to 4 will have it's challenges.  I have already been briefed by our social worker on this and ways to help ease the transition.  We have attended national conferences, read books, talked to social workers, friends and other families.  It will be hard, most likely very hard but we will be ok.  It's also good to remember we won't know what challenges will face our little girl until she is here and we know that.  We have a "idea" of what to prepare for in regards to transitions and the enormous loss she has faced.  So when the time does come your encouraging words and prayers of support will be very much appreciated.  Just like you would for any parent with a new child.


Q.  Do you have a name picked out?

A.  Nope.  She already has a name, and depending on who gave that to her and her age it maybe her first name or middle name.  I'm really feeling the pull to keep her given Ethiopian name so we will just have to wait and see.    I do have one favorite but I haven't even told Ryan so I won't post it here!


Q.  Will you meet her birth family?

A.  Probably not.  If we are able to though, it will be our daughters story and that information kept for her.  Adoptions in Ethiopia have changed a lot since we brought Luke home.   


Q.  How long is this going to take?

A.  You have know idea how much I wish I knew the answer to this but none of us do.  So we will keep praying and waiting and hoping our little girl is safe and being cared for.  Praying also that her birth family is getting the care they need too.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

thank you

{My newest project}


I'm not sure why I love making curtains so much these days, maybe it's because I love discovering new fabrics.  Maybe it's all the day dreaming I get to do when it's just me, my sewing machine and Pandora.  Maybe it's the fact that each time I sit and sew something new, it's my tiny way of using the gifts God has given me to help contribute to our family.....my little way of helping our family get that much closer to our little girl.  

Nesting, daydreaming, praying, creating and sharing...whatever the reason I love it.

The Lord blessed our family big time with our matching grant with Lifesong for Orphans this past week.  So many friends gave so generously.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Big or small, the love and generosity shown by so many is such an incredible blessing.  God has sure surrounded our family with some very talented and giving friends and family.




Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!   
I wish I could come give you all a big hug and tell you in person how thankful we are!


Here is a peek at some of the new fabrics I just love!   
I have the top left fabric in my dining room and love it.