Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Psalm 82:3

What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?
What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?
(excerpt from The Hole in Our Gospel)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Learning AmhEnglish

The kids and I printed off our first 6 page document of common Amharic phrases. Hopefully we'll learn to say some of the basics...or at least the one below that means "Sorry, I don't understand".

What's AmhEnglish? It's 1/2 Amheric and 1/2 English - Duh :o)

It's our family's cleaver (go-bez) way of trying to say words in another language using the only language we know. We came up with "Chinglish" when MJ came home, and to this day when we can't figure out what she's saying (or doing), we say "Is that Chinglish?" Hopefully our AmhEnglish will be better than our Chinglish for our son's sake!

Want to learn some words with us? Don't worry, there won't be a test (not for you anyhow). Pretty sure our "test" will be a long one, starting this Spring and ending sometime in the next 5 -10 years. Yikes! This is going to be fun...

English – Amharic – Phonetic
Hello – Selam – Se-la-m
Bye/So long – Ciao – Chi-o
Thank you – Ameseginalehu – Ame-segi-na-lew
Coffee – Buna – Boo-na
Food – Megib – M-gi-b
Yes – Awo – Ah-wo
No – Aye – Eye
All gone – yellum – yell-um
Excuse me – Yikerta – Yi-ke-r-ta
I’m sorry, I don’t understand – Aznallo, algo banyem
Come (boy) – nah – naw
Come (girl) – naeye – nay
Done, enough, stop – becka -(or baa–kaw)
Okay? – Isshy – e-she
Sit down (two) kuchu-belu
Sit down (one) kuchu-bay
Good – kahn-joe-no
Pretty – kahn-joe OR cone-joe
Very clever (high compliment) – go-bez

By the way...when I met our son-to-be in May, I was told he was 7 when his uncle brought him to the orphanage and that he'd been there for about a year (if my math is correct, that would mean he would have been about 8ish when I met him, right?). When we got his court date last week, we also got to choose the month and day for his birthday (since they guess-timate those anyhow). The "doctor" over there gets to estimate his age, however. And you know what? "He" is suddenly 11. Yep, he'll turn 12 this Spring - May 10th. Can you believe that? When we signed up for an "older child", we were thinking he'd be closer to Chelsea's age and were really hoping he'd be at least a few months older. Guess our wish came true. We quickly had to do the math, though, because Corey doesn't want to be younger than his new brother! Thankfully, he's still got 5 months on him. Phew...that was a close one! Guess for 7 months of the year we'll sort of have "twins". I always wanted twins (bet you never knew that :o)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Have a Court Date!!!!!!!!!

It won't be wrapped, but we got the Christmas present we asked for...a court date!
Looks like Kyle will be in Ethiopia January 16th for that momentous occasion.

The big question is, of course, when will "he" come home. The about 4 months from our court date.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! I know I should probably write something very spiritually uplifting or inspirational since it's Christmas eve, but that's just not going to happen tonight. Have to put out Santa's key (we don't have a chimney, you know), get his milk and cookies on the table, and Christmas list's in his mailbox.

From our blog to you...Merry Christmas! Now, go kiss the children in your life no matter how naughty they've been this year - and tell them how thankful you are that they are here with you...and not an orphan in some other country. (yes, I'm totally serious)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The first $25 & a $998 scarf/hat

The first $25 is on its way to LifeSong for our matching grant opportunity (a big thank you to a certain Iowa friend who truly "gets" adoption :o). Please read the post below if you missed out on that exciting news...and how your donation will be doubled upon receipt.

Meanwhile, miss Chelsea had her school auction today...the one she was SOOOO looking forward to that she'd saved all of her hard earned "cash" at school and would even go to school this Friday for it - despite her mom telling her she could skip it and start Christmas vacation early. That's how important this auction was to her! Well, the auction was today instead, and when she got to the car after school she could hardly contain her excitement as she told me what she "bought."

Not a typical "girl" prize, eh? Well, it's not for her. Apparently she had initially participated in an auction for "the biggest bottle of bubbles you've ever seen - the one with the most giant bubble wand ever made" (her words). As the bidding progressed to the $500's, she finally blurted out "$998!" That was everything she had. Well, nobody wanted to outbid her on those bubbles...and she won. A little while later a boy in her class was telling her how he'd never had big bubbles before and how he was hoping he had enough money to win them...but didn't. He then showed her the camouflage hat and scarf he won. Chels said "Mom, I decided that since I had big bubbles before, I should give them to my friend and take his prize for my new brother since "he" will need a hat and scarf anyway."

This girl saved her "money" since school started in August...and this is what she bought. She truly gets what ransom means...I just know it!

See why I love children? They don't think of the dollar value when making a purchase or an exchange. They think of their needs - or someone else's...and this mama couldn't be more proud of her 3rd grader.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paying the Ransom

**(see the end of my post for info. about this photo)
I've been thinking a lot about adoption expenses lately. I've decided that every dollar our family has spent on adoption fees has gone to pay the ransom for a child - our child - to come home. Is this "ransom" high? Yes. Does it mean sacrifice? Constantly. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

Jesus paid a ransom for me, and for you, many years ago. It was costly, to say the least! And you know what? The Bible tells us that Jesus did this willingly.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28)

So on that note, I bring you to a HUGE answered prayer. We learned Friday that our family was approved for a $2000 matching grant through Lifesong. This means that for every dollar someone contributes towards the "ransom" of our son, they will match it dollar for dollar up to $2,000 (That means a potential $4,000 we don't have to come up with). Praise God!

Here's the letter we received:

December 9, 2011

Dear church, family, and friends of Kyle and Angie Hendren,

Lifesong for Orphans ( is a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to help meet the needs of orphan children around the world, and obey God’s call to “visit the fatherless…in their affliction” (James 1:27). The number of children worldwide without families to love and care for them is astounding… there are over 5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone!

God tells us in His word He has heard the cry of the orphaned and abandoned children (Psalm 10:17, 18) and He has made a
way for them to be cared for – through adoption. As believers, He adopted us into His family through Jesus Christ, and did not leave us as spiritual orphans!

We believe adoption at its core is evangelism--a vital part of the Great Commission is bringing the mission field home. God desires orphans from all nations to be adopted into Christ-honoring families so they may ultimately be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ. God calls us to fulfill James 1:27, “visit the fatherless…” but not all are called to adopt. Some are called to pray, some to give financially, some to go
on mission trips, and some to adopt.

Kyle and Angie have sensed God’s call . . . and have joyfully stepped out in faith and obedience to adopt a young man from Ethiopia. As you may already kno
w, international adoption can cost around $25,000 and prevents many godly families from adopting. Lifesong believes God has raised up the Hendren family “for such a time as this…” and we have committed an Adoption Matching Grant of $2,000 to help raise the funds necessary to complete the adoption of this child.

This means Lifesong for Orphans will match “dollar-for-dollar” everything the Hendren's raise from their church, family, and friends between now and January 30, 2012 up to $2,000. We invite you to support them financially to make this adoption possible. As a 501(c)3 organization, your gift is tax ded
uctible. *100% of all funds raised will go directly to cover adoption costs--nothing will be taken out for Lifesong for Orphans administrative costs.

Will you invest financially in the life of this child? It will be an investment with eternal return.

God bless you for laying your treasures up in Heaven,

Andy Lehman
Vice President

p.s. I trust God will do great and mighty things throu
gh this, and all for His Glory!

Please make checks payable to:
Life Song for Orphans
P.O. Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
*On the memo of your check,
please note Hendren Family # 2317

Thank you for considering making a donation (helping pay our son's "ransom") - especially at this time of the year. Just remember the January 30th deadline, if you'd like your donation to double :o)

Well, that's my way of asking my friends and family to help us with some of the financial piece of this adoption - to let Andy Lehman do it for me. Thanks for the letter, Mr. Lehman, and for doing my dirty work :o)

Now, for some more exciting news:

Ugandan's Orphans Choir
The Ugandan's Orphan's Choir will be performing at our church on the evening of March 18, 2012. Here are the kids that will be touring...and staying in host homes (yep, we get to be one of those homes :o)

Chelsea has been praying for orphans for a few years now, and if you ask her why we're adopting a boy from Ethiopia, she'll likely tell you it's because she prayed that her dad would say yes...again, and God answered her prayer. Well, this next year, not only will she be getting the African brother she's been praying for, but she's also having a special birthday, as the Orphans Choir will be singing on her birthday, and spending the weekend at her house. I'm excited about this...but she's EXCITED about this. God truly loves to hear the prayers of a child, and one of our children is particularly excited lately how God answered her prayers (again) to help her "be able to take care of orphans, too."

**The photo at the top of this post is a picture of a painting we have in our living room. It's been hanging in our living room since 2001 - Sunday, May 13 (Mother's Day), to be exact. It was one of those impulse buys that a certain grieving mother made out of desperation trying to find something meaningful - something she could hold onto - something to give her comfort when she needed it most.

What I didn't realize, however, until this very moment when
I Googled the date of Mother's Day in 2001, was that May 13th, 2011 (10 years later) was the day I was in Ethiopia and plans to go to Uganda were cancelled at the last minute...thus allowing me to spend extra days at a certain orphanage in Addis Abba, with a little boy whose mother died a long time ago.

I'm telling you, Kyle and I don't know how to do the family planning thing - at all! We gave that up years ago, and all we know now is that God's plans for our fami
ly are better than anything we could have come up with on our own.

PS) A little more info. about our son:

He is the youngest of 7 children. He lost both his parents - his father 3 years ago, and his mother 8 years ago (we don't know the cause of death, but we should know someday soon). His uncle placed him in the orphanage a year ago, and at that time his paperwork indicated he was 7 years old. He has 6 siblings: 9 and 11 year old sisters, and 13, 15, 15 and 18 year old brothers. They are accounted for, living in "other areas", some working and some not. The girls are working as maids and the boys as shoe shines.

It's the law in Ethiopia for siblings to be adopted tog
ether (if they are in an orphanage - which in our case, his are not). When we found out how many siblings he had, I'm pretty sure Kyle had to pick his heart, and other vital organs, off the floor!

When I think about our son's siblings, my heart breaks - again. His sisters are maids! His brothers (if they're working) are shoe shines! They're not in school, they aren't having sleep-overs with their friends, they're not being t
ucked in at night or listening to a bed-time story. Who watches out for them at night?

I wonder if our son-to-be remembers them. I wonder if he ever lived with them. Does he remember his father? These and a hundred more qu
estions fill my mind sometimes, and someday I hope we can help him fill in the blanks of his life. For now, though, I trust that God has a plan for him and I'm honored to be part of that plan.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas in Ethiopia

From Utah with Love
The someone from the post entitled "Mother, that's my mother!" is going back to Ethiopia next week. He offered to bring another care package for our son-to-be. We hope that this time EVERYTHING will make it, including my friend's personal belongings - he wasn't so lucky last time :o(

We took the waiting siblings out Christmas shopping for smallish items for their future brother, and this is what they ended up with. We plan to wrap each item up individually and put the kids' school pictures on the gifts, so "he" knows who got him what. What I'd really like, though, would be for my friend to be able to tell him WHEN his dad will show up for court! Still waiting on that same signature - the one we've been waiting on for about a month now.

So we wait....and we wait...and we wait...

because we know God is working on things we aren't able to see, and we know it will be worth it!

I can't imagine what it must be like for "him" to wait for us to come and bring him home. I read one blog very recently where the parents-to-be went to court (trip #1), spent a week with their son and then had to come home until their Embassy appointment (trip #2). The teenage boy sobbed as he held his future father, wondering why he couldn't just go home with him now. It was heart-wrenching to read. What would I think if I were that teenage boy? I'd probably wonder if it was too good to be true. I'd wonder if they were really coming back for me. I might even wonder if I was 'good enough' for them - or if they might go home and change their minds.

So I pray. And I pray. And I pray. But not for me or for my family necessarily - for "him". For our son-to-be to know that we're coming no matter what. That when we get there for trip #1, he knows that this is only the beginning and not the end. That when he waits...and waits...and waits...he will feel loved, wanted and safe knowing that the Father is preparing a place for him not only in Heaven someday, but in Utah - with a family who already loves and wants him.

I wonder what these kids are praying for?

Whatever it is...God is surely listening.

"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Mark 9:37

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adoption Update, Creative Christmas Shopping and some Holy Discontent

We learned today that the last document for our son-to-be's file is in the right hands. We also learned today that one signature is now required before we can move forward (which means head to court in Ethiopia). I won't go into details here, but this isn't as easy as it sounds. If you're following our blog, please pray that "she" will sign what "she" needs to and give her approval. Pray that once this signature is in place, "she" will be out of the loop from here on out, and that all the pieces will fall into place from here on out for not only our child, but for others who are still hanging in the balance.

And, since I'm blogging, I may as well offer an idea for holiday shopping. It starts next week, you know. If you want to avoid long lines, stress and sleeplessness, here's an idea to consider.

Click on the Gift:
By the way...I'm officially a Lifesong for Orphans blogger (thus the gift you see above). See the link at the top right? Well, it will take you to other information on the site and maybe, just maybe, you'll find something there that will speak to you.

PS) What is your holy discontent? What is that one thing that MOVES you to action - the thing that shakes you at your core and keeps you awake at night? More importantly, what will YOU do about your holy discontent this coming year?

"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." - Isaiah 1:17

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What have WE come to?

Company "A" reported net sales of over $22 BILLION this year. There are 41,000 employees at company "A" who worked hard to make the company financially successful. There are NO adoption benefits of any kind for any of the 41,000 employees because "That's just not something we want to provide at this time." Who is "we" ?

Conclusion #1: Company "A" doesn't want to help one single family pursuing adoption despite the fact that they would receive a significant tax break from the federal government for doing so.

Conclusion #2: A $22 BILLION income is more important than the life of a child.

Conclusion #3: A very small portion of a $22 BILLION income shouldn't be shared with an employee pursuing adoption, despite his/her role in contributing to the $22 BILLION sales figure.

What have WE come to? I'm ashamed to be an American some days - this is one of those days...

Welcome to Corporate America:

Special note to Adoption Friendly Companies: Thank you for helping your employees grow their families in a most miraculous way. Thank you for taking time to fill out the forms so your employees can receive the financial support they need. Thank you for realizing that children who need a mom and dad are more important than the bottom line. And thank you for caring about the people you hire and for seeing them as men, women, mothers and fathers. The Lord will surely bless you, as you have blessed your employees.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Something to consider

While we wait for 1 piece of paper to get cleared up with our son-to-be's file in Ethiopia, we are trying to promote the cause of the orphan. Need something to keep us busy, right? Some people may tire of hearing about it, but I don't think people talk about it nearly enough. And, since November is Adoption Awareness Month and this is MY blog containing MY thoughts, I thought I'd share some of them with whomever is brave enough to read them :o)

30 Reasons why Kyle and I should NOT be adopting right now.
(Strange list to post on an adoption blog, don't you think?)

1) We have 4 children already (5 including our baby girl in Heaven)

2) Two of them are eating & growing like you wouldn't believe

3) Two of them need at least 1 surgery in the next 6 months (maybe more)

4) Our washer broke (today actually), and our dryer has been sick

5) We just repaired a leak in a bathroom

6) We're always on-the-go as it is

7) We're busy with ministry at church

8) We both have jobs
that demand our time & attention

9) We only have 4 bedrooms (and they aren't very big)

10) We can seat 6 comfortably around our dining room table; not 7

11) Our kitchen is NOT made for 3 or 4 people...much less 7

12) There are repairs we "should" make to our home

13) We would need another bicycle for another child

14) We'd need more clothes and shoes for another child

15) Taking 7 people on vacation is expensive - if ever we could afford to go

16) Kyle's dad is very sick right now and we need to focus on him

17) Getting check-ups, dental exams, parent/teacher conferences for 4 is plenty

18) Our son-to-be might not like it here

19) Our kids might have a hard time with a "stranger" in the house

20) He won't speak English

21) He's never been in school, so we will probably need to home school and/or do private school

22) I'm not a home school mom.

23) Private school is expensive (MJ is in one already, can we afford another one?)

24) Our savings will be used up - again

25) We won't finalize in 2011 - our adoption tax credit won't be refundable

26) What if he comes home and he has medical issues they didn't know about?

27) If our van is out of commission, our car only seats 5

28) He'll need a dresser...or closet space...we have neither - and no room for either

29) He'll probably want his own "stuff" - but what?

30) What if he doesn't bond with us...or us with him

31) Etc.....

Why we are choosing to grow our family - again:
1) Because God told us our son is waiting for us
2) Because of the previous post entitled "Mother, that's my mother!"
3) Because we already love him...and worry about him...and think about him...
4) Because we want to
5) Because it's the right thing to do (so says the 6 of us)

I read a post on someone else's blog recently entitled "How to be the village." The adoptive mom wrote all the supportive things friends and family have done to help her...and then she boldly wrote about all the things people have said and done (or not done) that wouldn't qualify as helpful. It was the most honest thing I've read in a long time - loved it! I bet you can guess what's coming next...can't you?

If you want to bless the socks off of an adoptive family, keep these 15 things in mind:

1) It will take a while for the process to don't ask them EVERY week "Where are you at with your adoption?" Especially at the beginning.

2) If you want to know where they are at, read their blog! They didn't create it, tell you about it and send you the link for no reason. Their blog posts will keep you updated...and it makes them feel good when you say "I read your blog about..."

3) Make comments on their blog. Give them encouragement, tell them how you felt reading it, say you love them

4) Offer to help with fundraising - Be a blessing and give them NICE things to sell. If you REALLY want to be a BLESSING, though, sell your own stuff, at your own yard sale and walk the money to their house. They're busy with paperwork and living life (see above post). Having a yard sale FOR them actually takes the stress OFF them. If they are fundraising, that means they aren't doing something else that needs their attention (again, see above post).

5) Don't assume that if they are fundraising it means they don't have enough money and they shouldn't be adopting. In actuality, most everyone you and I know could probably financially afford to care for another child should he/she show up on the doorstep without a "price tag". It's the adoption fees to get him/her to the porch that they need help with. Ask yourself: "Would I be able to come up with an extra $25-$30k in less than 12 months?" If so...well, you know what you could do with it :o)

6) Don't think of monetary donations you make the the family as a gift FOR the family. Think of it going directly to the child they are bringing home - because that's what they are spending it on. They're not keeping it, they're not buying a car or a big screen T.V. with it - promise!

7) If a family does have a fundraiser - please show up. If you don't, at least send something acknowledging that you care about the fundraising part of the process. Financial barriers are, after all, the #1 reason families site for not adopting.

8) Pray for them. And when you tell them you are praying, actually do it. Not a 1 sentence "Hail Mary" in the shower when you happen to have their name run through your head (though showering & praying can be done at the same time). Actually spend time in prayer for their particular adoption. Pray God will open the doors to the right agency, the right contacts, that the money they will need will come in, that their waiting child (wherever he or she is) is safe and being protected, that God will send someone to that child in the meantime to provide for his or her basic needs, that the anxiety and worry during the adoption process will be minimal for the family, that their current family will be protected emotionally, physically and spiritually during the process, that the paperwork necessary on both sides will be handled properly and timely....etc. etc. etc.

9) Sacrifice something of yours...for them. Giving an adoptive family something you already have laying around that you don't need (like an old bed, crib or clothes) is a nice gesture, but seriously ask yourself if you could do more. Make it a family affair. Maybe DON'T go out to dinner 5x in the next 2 months, and put the money you normally spend in the mail to the adoptive family with a note saying what you are joyfully giving up. DON'T see the new releases of the next 5 movies that come out and wait for them to hit Redbox instead. Send the money you would have spent at Cinemark to the adoptive family with a note about what you are joyfully giving up. If you receive a bonus at work, ask God if maybe your bonus was meant for someone else. If the family has children and they need to get paperwork done (or housework / car repairs done because paperwork has taken time away from housework / car repairs), treat their children to a movie, or ice cream, or invite them to your house for a sleep-over. Their current children are sacrificing - guaranteed - in order for their sibling to come home! Maybe you could, too?

10) Ask questions about the process. Ask how the home study is coming. Learn how contact between birth parents and adoptive parents happens (or doesn't). Learn something about the country they are adopting from; ask them what they are learning. It's like asking a pregnant mother "how is the baby?" or "how are you feeling these days", or has your due date changed?"

11) Admit ignorance. If you don't know why adoption is so expensive, for example - ask! Don't assume "someone" is "making money" on this. And don't talk about how corrupt "other governments" are. Adoptive families (particularly those adopting internationally) already know there are risks. Adoptive families are willing to take these risks. If you talk about these things negatively (and ignorantly), you're actually insinuating that the adoptive family is making a big mistake...or a bad investment. It's not a mistake, and this isn't some kind of investment for a portfolio. This is their child. They are investing in their child's life, and they are going to do whatever is necessary to bring their child home. This means paying all necessary and appropriate fees; foreign and/or domestic. I guess what mom says is true after all: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."

12) Stop educating yourself about adoption by what you see on T.V. or in a movie! Media has a way of reporting the 2% that is absolutely horrible about any given topic. If you don't believe me, watch the news for 1 week and ask yourself what the first 5 minutes of any given newscast was about. Instead, educate yourself by learning from those who've been there or who work in the field. Read adoptive family blogs (they're everywhere). Ask the adoptive family questions. Call an agency yourself and ask questions. But ask...don't assume.

13) Say something. Say, "I don't know what to say". Say, "That's awesome you're adopting, I have no idea how that process works." By saying nothing to a waiting adoptive family is like saying nothing to your 9 month pregnant sister about the baby so obviously growing inside her tummy. Adoptive families are "pregnant" too - it's called being paper pregnant.

14) Don't tell the family how wonderful they are for "doing something like this." Do you tell couples who are pregnant "so glad you got 'together' 9 months ago and made one of those cute babies?" Adoption isn't charity. Adoption is one way to grow a family, and for some couples, the only way. Keep in mind that Adoption is Plan A too! After all, God invented it and Jesus was adopted.

15) If the family is adopting from another country, don't assume the child will love their new country and family so much better. There will be sadness. There will be tears. There will be a time of transition.
There will be questions later in life. And there will be a need to keep one's origins in tact - lovingly. Birth families are priceless no matter what country they are from, how they lived (or how they died), and if it weren't for them, the adoptive family wouldn't be excitedly "expecting."

There are many, many more things, I'm sure. But for now, this is my little "awareness raising" or "adoption education according to me" for the day. Admittedly, this post started weeks ago...but I was busy, living life (see above post yet again), like all adoptive families do. And it took a while to make time for this, too. Hopefully someday, something here will make someone say "AH! I never thought of that." And someday, maybe YOU'LL be the one writing about adoption on your new blog (yes, this means you)!

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Mother, that's my mother!"

I got an AWESOME phone call today that resulted in me being reminded that all the trials, the stress, the paperwork and the waiting will all be worth it (I know this...I truly do...but sometimes I think I'm more than a little nuts to think adding another child to what already seems like chaos is a good idea).

One of my former VO team members called to tell me he just returned from Ethiopia. He visited our little boy-to-be's orphanage (thanks, Andy!). We'd sent a photo album and some other smallish things to him, and Andy called to tell me what our little boy's reaction was.

According to Andy, when "he" looked at the first picture of him and I together, he excitedly said "Mother, that's my mother!" A girl working there helped with translation, I guess, and he flipped through the album looking at pictures of his dad, brothers and sisters to-be. When he got to pictures of them playing in snow, it sounds like he wasn't sure what to think of it! At the end of the photo album we'd put a picture of the front of our home - his future home. I hear his jaw just dropped.

When I heard "he" said, "Mother, that's my mother!", I could just picture him saying it. Why? Because when I was there in May, that's what all the other older kids who had families pursuing them said as they excitedly showed me their albums. Guess it's "his" turn now!

(a darkened photo...since I'm not allowed to post his face - yet)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something good is coming...

Beauty arises out of ashes. I believe that. I've seen it. I've lived it. Right now my house isn't on fire, but my spirit seems to be. I know that there is a plan and a purpose for everything- even the trials of life - and right now there seem to many. Some are mine (and my family's). Some are trials my close friends are dealing with. Being available for my friends and family is right where I want to be, but it's exhausting. If only I could push the "stop" button on the things that need to be done, yet seem to trivial in comparison (grocery shopping, laundry, homework, adoption fundraising).

My prayer...maybe yours too?
Lord, thank you for the trials you have given me. Thank you for trusting me to do the right thing, no matter how hard it might be to do. Thank you for showing me love and mercy that I seem to find an abundance of during the difficult times I'm facing. Please, God, help me show others your love, too, so they will want to know you; truly know you. Help me, who lives in abundance, to give freely instead of wanting to find ways to make my life easier. It's not about me, after all. Help me be able to communicate my sense of urgency for 'the least of these' to those who don't get it, or think they don't have the time, energy or resources to get it. Pour out your love and compassion on those who want to learn and do more. Protect them as they venture into what might be unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory. Show them you are there, walking beside them every step of the way, and bless them in ways they can't even imagine when they do step out in faith. Let us all ask the question, "What would life be like if Jesus was alive in me?" Amen

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DTE, Court, Fingerprints & Music

We have a DTE date: Dossier To Ethiopia = 9/1/11. Next week we are being presented in court. If all goes well (meaning our documents and our son-to-be's documents are found to be in order), we'll get a court date. THIS is when Kyle will go to Ethiopia (and me, if by some miracle we can pull that one off). Sometimes things aren't "in order" and have to be please pray with us that everything is done properly (and that the gov't doesn't change it's mind about something on a whim - which can happen). If you're wondering why we can't post pictures yet - it's because we can't post pictures legally yet. I've been getting some from other VO teams and OH teams, so once we're "legal" we'll have a posting party...and be able to tell you his name.

Meanwhile, we got our fingerprints done today for USCIS. As we left our appointment I told Kyle I couldn't believe we were back here - doing fingerprints - for another I600-A. I told him "You know, I can't promise that this will be the last time..." He just smiled and then sort of chuckled out loud. Then he kissed me. Guess he knows that it's not me who makes his life crazy all the time - sometimes it's God wanting us to "love like crazy". And Kyle - I truly love you like crazy! You're still the best thing God has ever given me :o)

For you country fans out there, do you know the song Love Like Crazy? Well, when one jumps into adoption - international adoption nonetheless, that song takes on a whole new meaning!

One Less...

Friday, September 16, 2011

A week of Ups and Downs

I keep up with the happenings at one orphanage in particular (I'm sure you can all guess the one). Today, I am ready to share another heart-wrenching story from our son-to-be's orphanage. My heart is completely broken (again) for this far away place called Ethiopia and all the children who live there...and die there.

click here to read Ashli's story

My post isn't all bad today, though. My "up of the week" is that very good friend's of ours have decided they have room for one more too. I'll be blog-linking with them once they're up and running (and once their little secret is out). So, even though one more child will never have an Earthly forever family...another child is about too!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

T-Shirt / Awareness Fundraiser $

(the Just Love Coffee link to the left is also up and running...we earn $5 per bag if you purchase from our "store". Just click the link. It's fair trade, very yummy and proceeds go to support orphans)

Adoption isn't about me. It isn't about my family. It's about the millions of orphans around the world without a family to call their own - yet. Yes, our family will make a few $ for each t-shirt we sell for our adoption, but our hearts are really for ALL children who have yet to find their forever families. If we wear our shirts, and you wear yours, others out there might just be encouraged or inspired to do something to help one of them too.

Adult Navy/White Baseball T $35
(+$5 for priority mail if we're sending it to you)
Adult Sizes S,M,L,XL

Adult Navy T $20
(+$5 for priority mail if we're sending it to you)
Adult Sizes S,M,L,XL,XXL,XXXL

Youth Grey T $20
(+$5 for priority mail if we're sending it to you)

Youth Sizes: XS (2-4), S(4-6)
M(6-8), L(10-12), XL(14-16)

Adult Green/White Baseball T $35
(+$5 for priority mail)
Adult Sizes S,M,L,XL

Green T Reads: 147 Million Orphans
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

dline for Pre-Orders: September 25

Click the PayPal link

Purchase on-line by sending a payment through PayPal to When sending money, be sure click the Personal tab (not the purchase tab), then select Gift (so tax is not charged). In the Personal Message field, enter what shirt(s) you want, shirt size(s), quantity and your address if we're mailing them to you.

Send us a CHECK in the mail with your order information and your phone number.

If you know you'll eventually be buying one, we hope you will consider doing it NOW. The courts in Ethiopia open in October and before Kyle can go for court for our son-to-be, we have another $4k due. So far we're into this adoption twice that much without asking any one for donations. And, since we're going about this adoption backwards (finding a child & then pursuing him instead of waiting for the whole referral and acceptance process) we are truly on the fast track - which means we need to come up with our money in a much shorter time frame. We know that God will work out the financial details of this...all we have to do is step out in faith - again.

We hope you join our family in spreading the word about orphan care &/or adoption by ordering your 147 Million apparel. There are orphans in every country (even ours). Each one has a name and a story to tell. And Jesus loves every single one of them. I thinking we all could too :o)

It's hard not to think about the victims of 9/11 as the 10 year anniversary is approaching. A 2008 article in The Sunday Times reported this statistic: "Nearly 3,000 children under the age of 18 lost a parent during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The average age of the “9/11 kids” when the twin towers fell was 9, but some were babies or in their mothers' wombs."

3,000 is a big number and I remember crying for them. 147 million is a big number - but for most of these children, nobody hears them cry.

Sweet faces I met in May...

PS) As I was putting this post together, I received an e-mail with this quote from Craig Groeschel:

"To reach people no one else is reaching, we must do the things no one else is doing."

(Thanks Pastor Cory)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our dossier has landed

The Dossier:

Just heard today that our dossier arrived in Ethiopia last week safe and sound. Courts open up next month (they close for two months during the rainy season), so we should be getting a court date in the next few weeks.

For those who have no clue how Ethiopia adoptions work (and might like too), families have to get their dossier to Ethiopia before they can be scheduled for a court date. If they "pass" court, then an Embassy date is set 2-3 months later. The Embassy date is when you get to finalize the adoption and bring your child home.

As of now, Kyle will probably go it alone in October/November-ish for court. I've "seen the child", so technically I can skip this step (though I wish I didn't have too!). Depending on how our fundraising goes will determine if both of us go for the Embassy date or just me.

Jared, however, applied for a passport this weekend, and WILL be going for the Embassy date. He admitted he was a little nervous, but is also excited to be doing something none of his friends have ever done before...guess he will get to cross that one off his "bucket list"!

This would be what I REALLY looked like putting together our dossier. It was EASY compared to the one we did for China. That said, I bet you can just imagine what I looked like then!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our little secret is out

This picture says it all. Looks like we'll be making room for one more....


Thursday, August 4, 2011

More Happenings on the Horizon

In case there are still blog readers out there...more Ethiopia news is a coming.
Not sure when or how this news will be posted, but we're working on it!

(Let's see how many comments I get to this post, shall we? Then I'll know IF anyone is still reading this).

For many people, my trip is over. I get that. But for me and my family...our journey is just beginning. God's funny that way, you know. When you think you have it all figured out - BAM! - He plants this seed in your heart...and you're off again.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Made it home; final thoughts and pics

I've been home for two days now - my luggage for 1 1/2. I slept through most of the first day and today I think I'm starting to feel a little more normal again. There are many pics I cannot post because of adoption laws. Therefore, if you truly want to see other endearing pictures (and there are many!) you'll have to invite yourselves over to see them :)

I don't think I'll ever be able to truly put everything I saw, heard, smelled, touched and loved into words. I do know that I will go back...someday. I also know that some of the emotions I felt were only the tip of the iceberg of what God must feel for these children. Despite the conditions they live in, every single child I met smiled. Every single child I met had hope. Every single child I met was thankful for what very, very little they had. And every child I met had a name and an incredible story to tell. I enjoyed every hard-to-breathe, hard-to-fathom, hard-to-describe, moment. And, as much as I hate to cry, there were many times I had to will myself not to.

As I re-read the posts that Kyle had to make for me, I noticed a few type-o's. Oh well! Not going to fix them. It took a lot of effort on his part to retrieve them from e-mail and then re-type everything after a long day at work and being a "single dad." (note to Kyle - you did a great job managing everything and having you post for me made me feel like you were there with me - I love You!)

I will end this little adventure with a few more photos that can be shared. I hope you will not only look at them, but will allow these images to remind you to pray for children 1/2 way around the world. Children I met, children I held, children who captured my heart. And, mostly, I hope you will DO someday...whatever it is God calls you to DO.

African Proverb: Pray...but when you pray, move your feet!

"Moving you feet" may cost you something...vacation time, a paycheck, time away from something you love, etc. But nothing you or I sacrifice will ever compare to what Christ sacrificed for us.

Our VO Team in Korah.

Summer & Cory and their three boys.
They sold everything they had to move to Addis and start P61.
The girl on the right is Ashley. She lives in Addis now too. She oversees the orphanage we did a "make-over" for and works with Summer.

This would be the hands of a 13 year old boy praying for me after I prayed for him. He wants to be a Pastor someday. How sweet is that?

A random photo of somewhere in Addis.

Goats on their way to market. No kidding; 100+ goats were squished in there!

Entodo Mountain- a view from above.
These women walked to the top of the mountain to gather their firewood and were heading back down. I've never seen such strong women in my life...and there were many of them making the trek!

An entry way into a home in Korah.

The kids at New Hope know Jesus. They sing to him every day and loved the little projects we brought for them to make. Of course they wanted us to keep them (but we ended up talking them into keeping them - finally!)

A little boy thrilled with his "Jesus"
A street in Korah...they are filled with children.

One of the "Extremem Make-Over Orphanage Edition" rooms we painted.

When all the kids saw their new rooms they were kissing our knees! No joke. They were so happy to have such a fun place to call their own.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Packing up & Heading Home

Well, we were back at Ashley's orphanage today. I changed diapers, played with older kids, fed babies & played with older kids again. The orphanage has been without water since last Sunday (when we landed). Can you believe that? They are bringing in water somehow, but babies have not been bathed since we did that last Sunday night. Older kids are somehow scrubbing up with whatever water they can pour on themselves. Bottled water is there, but staff is busy trying to keep it stocked. Overall, though, that place looks 100% better. Nannies loved having us there. So much was done - like an extreme make-over orphanage edition!! You won't believe the pictures. The kids seem happier, the staff definitely seems happier and most of the babies bottom's are no longer raw and bleeding (that was a HUGE problem when we got there!).

I'm glad to be heading home. However, I feel like I am leaving a little piece of my heart behind. I guess when you get to know the kids personally (not just show up once, do a project and leave), you start to feel connected to them. Again we got hugs and kisses galore and it took us 20 minutes to get out of the gate.

Looking forward to seeing my family...I wonder how sleep deprived I'll be by the time I get home?

I'm sure I'll have some final thoughts about this little adventure, but right now, I can't seem to sum it up. So, for now, let's just say it's been amazing, beautiful, depressing, wonderful, terrible, heartbreaking and fabulous all at the same time. I am so thankful for this experience and the husband who supported this crazy idea from the beginning. I Love You!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feeding a Thousand

We fed 1,000 homeless people today. Holy Cow! That was an experience! The food was definitely "interesting" and it was terribly sad to see the "soup" people took home in plastic bags for family members. I won't go into the gory details or anything, but at least they get food every day thanks to someone who started this feeding program. It takes $60 USD to feed 1,000 people one meal a day. Can you believe that? [Kyle's perspective, advertisers will spend $100-200 to reach 1,000 people, advertising in industry-specific publications.]

One of our translators hooked us up with this for the day - he volunteers there, too. I tell you, our guides and translators are very well connected and have a servant's heart if ever I saw one!

Then we went to the orphanage. This is the first orphanage that we have sort of adopted this trip and keep going back. We are going to fix up rooms for the 4 "kids" (the twenty-somethings) that are staying behind for a couple of months. Their room is so great! All the rooms there are painted now, all the kids have clothes now, all the bathrooms are clean now, all the babies have diapers and food now, it's been totally transformed! Ashley even brought hospital disinfectant cleaner and the place was cleaned down from top to bottom for probably the first time ever!

I will tell you the boring details later, but I have to go wash who-knows-what off me now before we head out to dinner.

By the way, There are only a couple of us who are not sick, not recovering from being sick, or starting to get sick. I was only a little congested this morning, but DayQuill took care of that. Keep praying for me to stay healthy, please! And the rest of our team could use some divine healing before our flight tomorrow night. One is really sick and can't sit up for more than five minutes at a time. If you could pray for Denise, especially that would be great! She was my roomie in D.C.

I'll be home soon!


News from the homefront.

Sunday went pretty well. We got up on time to make it 6 minutes late to the first service! After church Chelsea and I baked a desert for the church BBQ that afternoon.

Luckily it wasn't too windy at the BBQ or there would have been food flying all over the place. Wait, I meant to say, I wish it wasn't so windy at the BBQ. There was food flying everywhere. Only 1 kid of mine got injured. That's a pretty good ratio of injuries to kids for as many as I brought. Of course, that one kid got injured 3 times. But whose counting? Corey wandered off with Scott for the whole afternoon. I think I saw him eat a cupcake and a cookie. Hopefully there was a hotdog in between the two. MJ was at the park with Abbey. Jared, Chelsea and I played football. We danced, we kissed, we schoozed, we carried on, we went home happy. Afterwards, I got everyone home in one piece and into bed at a respectable hour. It was a school night you know.

Here is MJ tearing off one more day closer to mom coming home.

Corey doing his reading Monday night.

And, finally a picture of Jared...schooling the high-schoolers in the game of basketball. The shot I missed on camera was the one where he had just stolen the ball and pulled up for a jumper inside the 3-point line and swished it. Instead, I got this rebound, action-shot. Stupid camera.

Only two more wake-ups before mom is MJ calls it. Yeah!

Oh, and Angie, if you are reading this before you leave, it was 55 degrees today...brrr! It won't get above 60 all this week, and mostly rain! Welcome back to Utah!