Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe it's hear already but we've got the lights up, the tree up and decorated, the presents wrapped and under the tree...I think we're ready. We're going to the Christmas Eve service at church and then back to our place to spend Christmas Eve with the family. I am looking forward to being together and celebrating the birth of our Saviour!

I do find this time of year to be a little bittersweet though too. Around the holidays I always think about our two little ones in heaven that we've never had the pleasure to meet and spend Christmas with. I so wish we could have them here, teaching them about Jesus and watching them open gifts. I know they are at peace, so safe and happy with their Heavenly Father and we will get to see them one day, and oh how I look forward to that. I also know that this time next year we might have our sweet little one home with us from Ethiopia and we'll be enjoying our first Christmas as a family of 3. I am so excited about that and just can't wait! I know our Lord has a plan and is in control working it all out for His glory. We'll never know why our first two babies couldn't be a part of our family here on earth but we are grateful for the short time they were a part of our lives and grateful that we will see them again.

There are several families in Ethiopia right now picking up their babies and several more who are leaving next week for their trip. It's been very exciting keeping up with their journeys and I'm learning a lot about what to expect when we go. All of their babies are so beautiful it's just so amazing. Some of the rules have changed / are changing for 2009 which is casuing some delay in passing court there...we haven't sent in our Dossier yet so we'll have some changes to make to be compliant with the new regulations. We'll do whatever is needed of course so it shouldn't be a problem. Our agency has purchased a bigger Transition House for the kids who have been referred to families so there is now room for more kids at a time...which means more referrals at a time...which hopefully means the waiting list will go faster. :-) There is also a school on site at the Transition House which is really cool. They've hired more nannies since there will be more children and a doctor who comes regularly to check on the kids. There are still more improvements to come!

I hope everyone has a very blessed Christmas and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

War Dance

Hello out there! I have to share with you about a movie we watched recently called War Dance. Maybe you've heard of it or maybe you've even seen it. It's about a tribe of people in Northern Uganda living in a refugee camp because rebels have destroyed their homes, brutally killed members of their families and left many, many children orphaned. I believe they said something like 200,000 children in Uganda are orphans due to the rebel attacks... and this was filmed back in 2005 so I can't even imagine how many more there are now.
The children in this film are in the music program at their school and are preparing for a big competition with other schools from all over Uganda. I won't tell you everything in case you want to watch the movie, and I definitely encourage you to do so, but I will say that it has changed me. Ever since the Lord has called us to begin this adoption journey He's been opening our eyes and hearts more and more to the circumstances that people are living in and the brutality they are experiencing all over the world, but lately in Africa. Some of these kids have seen things and been forced to do things that no one should ever have to experience. The violence that has filled their lives, for most of them it's all they've ever known, is beyond description. It turns my stomach. Little girls being raped and young boys being abducted, forced to join the rebel army and commanded to kill. It sickens me.

We've seen documentaries on Darfur, Rwanda, etc. All of these places in similar situations...Genocide, devastation. The thing that spoke to me in War Dance was the hope that the music and dancing brought to these kids. A hope for a better future. When they were singing and dancing, they were free! Free from the pain and nightmares of war. Free to just be kids and enjoy themselves. When they start to move and the smiles start to come ever their precious faces, it's like you're seeing a transformation from the Lord. It's so sweet, my heart melts.

I am so thankful for those who are able to go to places like that and make these films so we can see what's going on in the world and realize how much need is out there and how screwed up our priorities are here in America. I mean, people are living in make shift tents with one sheet separating them from the family next to them in camps in places like Sudan while we are putting ourselves and our country into deeper debt every day to have the big fancy house and nice car. While I don't think there is anything wrong with having nice things, there comes a point were it's just too much. I could go on for hours about that, but I won't here.

So basically, watch the movie and see if you don't feel the same. :-)



GOD IS SO GOOD! Yesterday we recieved our fingerprint appointment notice in the mail!!!!! We're going Friday morning to get them done. I am SO excited!!!! After we do that we have to wait for them to send us a form that grants us permission to go to Ethiopia and adopt a child. I'm not sure how long it will take for that to come in but hopefully not long at all. Keep the prayers coming!


Sunday, November 30, 2008


Hello everyone!! I know it's been a while since we've posted anything. It's amazing how fast time flies. Friday we received the finalized home study in the mail... praise the Lord! I was just saying the day before that I was going to start sending emails to everyone I could to try and find out where it was and then the very next day there it was in the mail! God is always faithful! Today I mailed a copy of the home study to the USCIS (immigration) as they need that to complete our application. Hopefully that is what they've been waiting on and is the reason they haven't set up our fingerprint appointments yet. I'm going to try and contact them later in the week to make sure they received the home study and see where we are with our fingerprints.

We are going to get background checks done at the local police station this week and write a cover letter for our Dossier and that is it. We'll be done except for the fingerprints. Then we can send everything off and hopefully be on the waiting list by the end of December. Pray, pray, pray that this timeline works out! If it does, then I think that by Thanksgiving next year we'll have our little one. Wow that sounds like such a long time. I'm sure the time will go quickly though, just as it has been so far. :-)

So what have we been up to lately? Well we spent some time with family for Thanksgiving which was lots of fun, put up our Christmas tree and put the lights up on the house and we are just about ready for Christmas. We went to the Parade of Lights downtown last Friday and watched them light the 54' Christmas tree. It was very festive and put us in the holiday spirit. We had a really good time. I just love Christmas! Ben's gearing up to start all of the rehearsals at church for the Christmas Eve service which is supposed to be really great this year. I'm really looking forward to it!

On the adoption front, since the courts opened back up in Ethiopia in October we've seen about 15 - 20 families go over to pick up their babies. It's been such a blessing to watch and read how their journey is going and to see them finally joined with their child they've been praying for for such a long time. It keeps me encouraged just knowing that one day that will be us. I have to say that I am so thankful for my family. For their support and encouragement and prayers. I don't know what I'd do without them. I'm so thankful for our friends and church family too. It's so evident to me that God is right here in the middle of everything; involved and moving in our lives every day through each person that He has strategically placed in our lives for a special purpose. More and more He's showing me what really matters in this world...each and every person, those we've already encountered and those we have yet to meet...forming relationships and loving them they way Christ loves us. Honestly this is not always an easy thing for me, developing relationships, but I know that as long as I stay faithful to His will, God is molding me and making me into the person He needs me to be for His glory. I say I'm a slow learner but it's all in the Lord's time, and His timing is perfect. :-)
So I guess that's it for now. More later!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prayer Request

To those of you out there who read this, please pray for us this week. We are having issues with the immigration office as far as getting an appointment to get our fingerprints done as well as getting our money back that we overpaid by mistake. This adoption process is very expensive and the $80 we overpaid will help towards more upcoming expenses...if we can get it back. We sent in our application and fee to them in August and what seems to be the common practice is that you get your fingerprint appointment within a month of sending in the app. We'll it's been almost three months and we haven't heard anything. I tried to contact them last month, the only way to reach them is by mailing a letter, but have not heard anything back from that letter either. Our social worker is trying to help us find some phone number that we can call but I'm getting worried. We are almost done with our home study...our social worker is putting the finishing touches on it... and then all we have left is to get background checks done, write a cover letter and get our fingerprints and a form back from immigration. Then we can send our dossier to our agency to be certified and authenticated and then sent to Ethiopia. I'm so ready for this baby and I'm feeling nervous that things are going to be held up a lot longer than expected. I know God's in control, I just feel a bit helpless right now, not knowing what to do to find out what's going on with our application. Please pray that I can quiet my own mind and hear my Heavenly Father's voice right now and allow Him guide me.

I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me.
Psalm 120:1

Love, L

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Fun...

Every year at Halloween our church has a festival for the neighborhood kids so they have a safe place to go and play and get candy. Our Life Group runs a booth each year and this year we had the Velcro Wall. It was so much fun watching all of the little kids and big kids (I mean the adults!) get into these scratchy velcro suites and throw themselves against a wall to try and stick!! I laughed pretty much the entire time. I've attached some pictures of Ben trying it out.

We also had to make a sign for the booth so Ben and I volunteered to do that because we thought it would be fun. What we didn't know is that is would be so emotional! We decided to have little people stuck to the letters on the sign to make it look like they were actually on the velcro wall. I found this really cool kit at the store that had little bodies, different colored shirts, pants, shoes and hair pieces. We had fun putting together these little people and decided to make one that looked like each of us. We realized we needed more than just two people on the sign so we decided we'd make another one that would look like our little boy...this is were it got emotional.

We picked out the hair piece and clothes and Ben went to work gluing it all together. Now at first I thought the smell of the glue was getting to him and that's why his eyes were tearing up but then I realized it was because he was thinking about our baby!! We placed all three figures - the two of us and the baby - side by side so that it looked like they were holding hands...and I know this probably sounds silly but we both started tearing up! Seeing the image of the three of us, even though they were foam cut outs, it was just really neat. They say that having kids makes you more emotional but we don't even have our little one yet! It really was the sweetest thing though. It makes me so excited to know that my wonderful husband is ready for this baby as much as I am. :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Great Music and Fun Times

We went to an awesome concert last Thursday with my cousins and a group of their friends. Jess bought something like 25 lawn seats and then our cousin, who plays the guitar in the band Switchfoot, called and said hey I got you guys eight seats and backstage passes! We hung out on the lawn for a while but when Switchfoot came on we went down front to the good seats so we could be up close. The line up was Red, Robert Randolph, Jars of Clay, Switchfoot and Third Day. After Switchfoot played we went backstage to meet the band, take pictures and get autographs! They are such nice guys and they really put on a great show! Third Day had an awesome show too!! It was so nice to get out and go do something fun since we've been so consumed with work, life and home study stuff lately and haven't really had a lot of time to just relax and have some fun. Thanks Jess for inviting us!!!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wedding Cakes, Home Study Visits and No Sleep

I'm pretty exhausted. We had a crazy busy weekend and I'm still trying to recover.

Friday night after life group I got busy making my second wedding cake for a friends wedding that was at 9AM Saturday morning. I think it turned out pretty good in spite of the fact that I was up until 4AM working on it!I wouldn't recommend that to anyone... it's really exhausting. Ben stayed up with me to help me lift the layers onto each other because I haven't figured out how to do that by myself. Cake can be surprisingly very heavy. I think he also stayed up to make sure I didn't fall asleep in the middle of it! I can just see me falling asleep as I'm decorating it and my head go crashing into it like you see in those videos of kids falling asleep while eating (not that I was eating it of course ;-)). That would not be good. :-) We finally went to sleep at 4:15 and I got back up at 6AM to get ready.

When we got to the reception location to set up the cake we realized that nothing had really been organized so I set to work getting everything set up. Tables and chairs, tablecloths, decorations, food,etc. Thankfully Ben was there to help and a couple of the grooms friends came with us to help. I don't know what we would have done without them! We were there from 9 to 1 and going non stop the entire time. When we got home we sat down on the couch and I was out like a light. I slept for a couple of hours and for those of you who know me, you know that I don't sleep during the day. Exhausted doesn't even come close. It was a nice reception though and I did have fun doing the wedding coordinator thing so it was worth it. Ben said he even had a good time!!

After sleeping for a couple of hours we got up to go an open house at the Norwood's salon so we could see our friends who just came back from Ethiopia for a short time. We told them about our adoption and they were very excited and encouraging. We are going to try to get together with them before they go back so we can talk and get advise from someone who's been there and can tell us more about the country, the orphanages, the kids... kind of what to expect.

Sunday after church we raced home to prepare (clean) the house for our first home study meeting. It went pretty well I think. Our social worker was here for two hours and asked a bunch of questions and looked around the house. She was really nice and encouraging through the whole meeting. Thank you SO much to all who prayed for us,you are amazing. Now we have our individual meetings with her Saturday morning. They are going to be pretty in depth and intense so please keep those prayer coming!

So of course after staying up till all hours of the night Friday and Saturday, Sunday night I couldn't get to sleep so I was pretty much a zombie the first part of the day at work on Monday. I'm happy to say that I'm functioning today so that's a definite improvement!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Forward Motion

Last night we got the call from our social worker to set up our Home Study Visits!!! Ben and I had actually been talking that morning about needing some contact from them to feel better about the wait and Ben said we just need to be still and know that He is God, so I prayed that the Lord would help me remember that throughout the day...and then that evening she calls. I get chills just thinking about it. Once again God is gracious and gives us what we need just when we need it. He is SO good!!!

Our first meeting will be this Sunday afternoon. I'm really excited and just a little nervous. Then we'll have our individual meetings with her the following Saturday and one last meeting most likely that Sunday. After all of the meetings are complete she'll compile her report, send it to the appropriate people to get it finalized and send back to us to put in our dossier. She says this process will take about a month. A month sounds like a long time but I'm sure that will fly by.

Please keep us in your prayers that the meetings go well, that we can feel calm and confident as the Lord carries us through this step and that everything turns out a-okay!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday

Ben turned 30 last week! We had such great fun at his party...thanks so much to everyone who came, I can tell you he felt so special!! He's actually feeling pretty good about turning the big 3-0 which I was surprised about. Maybe men handle it differently than woman. I wouldn't know cause I'm not there yet... haha! Anyway here's a couple of pictures of him blowing out the candles and being surrounded by the kiddos. Awww, so sweet!
Happy Birthday Love!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Monday we mailed off the Home Study paperwork!!! I emailed our social worker and told her that it was on the way...mostly because I was hoping that she would get it and start working on it faster (I don't think it really works that way, but hey, it doesn't hurt to try!) and I wanted to find out how long it would be before our first home visit. She said that once they get the paperwork and look it over to make sure everything is correct, they'll do a background check on us. After that is done she'll call us to schedule the first visit. It sounded like it might take about two weeks or so. I can live with that. :-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Here's a pic of Ben really focusing on getting his autobiography done! I thought it was cute so I wanted to share. He's been working very hard and tonight he got it all done!! Now all we have left is to get the pets up to date on their shots - which I'll be doing first thing Saturday morning - and then we can mail out the home study paperwork. Woo Hoo!!!! I'm so excited... it still seems so surreal that we are actually doing this but I think that when we finally meet with our social worker face to face it will hit me that hey, this is really happening. Please pray with us that the home study meeting process doesn't take too long. We still have to send in our dossier packet after the home study is complete and I'm so ready to have our names on the waiting list. I'm putting my trust in Christ because I know He's in control and His timing is perfect. All the glory is yours Lord!!


Monday, August 18, 2008

New Background

Let us know what you think of the new background design! To leave a comment click the link at the bottom of this post.


We're still here!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to give you an update on where we are and what we are up to. We are still working on our's not going as quickly as I'd hoped but we're getting there. Ben is starting his bio...he tries to reassure me by saying it's all in his head already so it won't take long to put it on paper, I hope he's right. :-) We still have to draw a floor plan of our house and take pictures of each room as well as the front and back yards. We have to put together photo pages of our family life, I guess basically a picture story of what our life is like. We still have to send in the form to immigration to get approval to bring a child home from Africa and get our fingerprints done and have background checks done. We also have eight hours each of online courses we have to take... I forgot about this until a couple of days ago, guess we should get on that! I'm hoping we can get all of this done by the end of August...I'm putting it on the prayer list for sure since I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment typing this.

We've started baby proofing the house as we have to have certain things in place before the social worker comes for our home studies.I'm still not used to the child locks on the cabinets...I'm sure I'm going to pull the door off as it makes this loud banging sound when the lock catches. It scares me every time! Ben and I both struggle (break fingernails) when we try to take out one of the outlet covers to plug something in...can you tell we are new at this?!

Our passports should be coming this week, please pray that they do since we didn't do the expedited service because the lady at the post office told us that with the regular service they've been coming back in about two weeks instead of four. Today was the two week mark so I'm praying they come in by Friday.

I'm preparing to make another wedding cake, this one is for a friend at work, next month. They've asked for a white chocolate flavored cake with raspberry filling. I'm practicing the reciepes so I can get them just right before it gets too close to the date. I'm excited about it and am praying it turns out good for them. I still haven't gotten a picture back from the last wedding cake I made but I'm sure I will soon. I'll post it when I do. I'm hoping that this cake making thing turns into something, not just a once in a while thing. We'll see what God had in store!

Well that's about it for now. More later!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yea Families!

I just found out that 4 families with America World passed their court dates and are on their way to pick up their little ones in Ethiopia! They leave on August 9th! How exciting, I can't wait to see pictures and hear their stories. I get all tingly inside just thinking about it! It makes me want to push forward faster and get all of our paperwork done so we can be put on the waiting list and well, wait! At least we know what we're waiting for and that the wait won't be forever. Woo Hoo!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Anniversary Dinner - Ethiopian Style

As our anniversary came near this year we decided what better way to celebrate than go try an Ethiopian restaurant! We had a blast!! Our waitress, Merona, was so sweet and funny. She could tell it was our first time there and laughed at our deep concentration on the menus. She explained what everything was to us and how we were to eat (you use your right hand and don't use any silverware!)and recommended some dishes for us to try. We put our trust in her and went for it! We had Ethiopian spiced tea with our meal, Sambusa, which is spiced beef and lentils in a crispy wrapper for an appetizer (so good!) and Doro Wott which is spicy, slow cooked chicken with a variety of veggies for dinner. It's served family style on a piece of injera (spongy, sourdough flat bread)and they give you extra rolls of injera to scoop the food with. The spices were different, not something we're used to eating, but really pretty good. My favorites were the chicken, lentils and zucchini. Yumm! And of course we had to try their Ethiopian coffee for dessert. I loved it! The flavor reminded me of wassel that we drink at Christmas time. Sort of a sweet, fruity taste. They serve it in these tiny little mugs, so cute!
It was such a neat cultural experience, I'd love to go back again and take our family along so they can experience it as well. We told Merona we would be going to Ethiopia next year to bring home our child and she was so excited and said she was going to be there next year too. She said she would teach us phrases in Amharic if we wanted when we come back! She did teach us how to say "thank you" before we left. "Ameseginalehu" (Ame-segi-na-lew) to Merona for making our experience such a great one!!

Friday, July 11, 2008


For those of you who might be interested in the details of what all is involved in the international adoption process here is where we are currently in the process: The Dossier. The dossier is the packet of documents that once all gathered, is sent to the state and then to Washington to be certified and authenticated so it can be sent to Ethiopia for approval.
I was a little intimidated at first by this process of gathering and sending just because I've heard so often that it's a lot of work, but so far it really hasn't been that bad at all. Granted, we've only just started and haven't even gotten to the home study part yet, but still, I'm thankful that it's going pretty smoothly so far. We've gone into it with the mindset of tackling one piece at a time and I think that's really helped.
Some of the things we have to have for the dossier to be complete are certified copies or our birth certificates and marriage license, physical exam reports, letters of employment, letters of reference, background checks, fingerprints done by the FBI, a financial statement and several other forms that will have to be completed by our agency among other things. As we check things off the list I get more excited that we're one step closer to bringing home our child. Thank you Lord for this amazing opportunity!!

Monday, July 7, 2008


I came across these statistics about Ethiopia and had to share...they are devastating. It breaks my heart that these kids (and adults) are living in a country with so little opportunity for a future. It is encouraging to know however that people and organizations are trying to make a difference and bring hope to these people with aid and adoption. Just this past month our agency alone had 10 families receive referrals for children in Ethiopia. That's just one of many agencies, we can all help in one way or another, one child at a time.

  • One in six children die before their fifth birthday

  • 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under the age of 15

  • 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition

  • The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years

  • 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)

  • 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia

  • Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa

  • In the 90's the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)

  • Drought struck the country from 00 -02; first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals

  • Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school, 88% will never attend secondary school

  • Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1:24,000

  • Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) fell 40% - 60% from 98 - 02

  • In 93, after 30 years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation, leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yes, Lord

I've always been amazed to see the direction God has had for my life over the years. Most of the time it has been a path I never expected, so when God put adoption on my heart 3 years ago, needless to say I was once again amazed and in awe of the idea that God would choose us to start our family in that way. I talked to my husband and he was not really ready to go down that path yet so I let it go and gave it to God. If it really was what He wanted for us, then He would make it happen when the time was right. Well, that time has come! Ben came home from rehearsal at church one evening about six months ago and told me about a conversation he'd had with someone about adoption and that he felt sure that God was speaking to him through that conversation that this was what He wanted us to do. I immediately got chills and knew the Lord was calling us to move forward.
So we started looking at adoption agencies, went to some meetings and prayed like crazy about which was the right one and what kind of adoption He wanted us to pursue. When we felt God calling us to Ethiopia we were so surprised but also very excited. How awesome it is to think that our child will be born in another country on the other side of the world and miraculously God will bring us together to become a family! It's beyond my wildest dreams and I feel so blessed.
We've begun the process of collecting all of the documents for our dossier and as they say in the world of adoption, we are "paper pregnant"! Please keep us in your prayers as we say "Yes, Lord" and begin this incredible journey.