Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Shepherd's Crook

Recently, WORLD Magazine did an article on The Shepherd's Crook Ministry. TSC specializes in helping children with special needs find adoptive homes. Since we were adopting four children at once, this was termed a special needs adoption and TSC came along side us with encouragement and a place for friends to donate, tax-free, to our adoption fund. Since then, we've received several emails from them highlighting a specific child with the desperate need to find a home.

Elli and I love to find children on waiting children's lists to pray for and we've seen miraculous things happen when people pray for children. Yesterday, we were on TSC's website, looking at the WCL and found a boy in Uganda who deperately needs a home. Please take a minute and look up TSC, the WCL and this precious child who needs God to send him a family. We are praying diligently here- the boy is Layne's age and reminds us of our Gavin. Please join us in praying a family for this boy and QUICKLY so he can receive the medical care he so desperately needs.

Finally, please leave me a comment to let me know you're willing to join us in praying for this boy- I believe a little accountability helps us remember to do what we say we will!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sanctity of Life

We watched an amazing video on Sanctity of Life Sunday. Every time I see a movie like it, showing the stages of a fetus's development, I'm brought to tears because of our Creator's gift of life and how intricate it is. I'm a passionate pro-life supporter!! I love that THE CHURCH embraces this topic, and people sign their names to support LIFE. I love the work done by places like Legacy Crisis Pregnancy Center, in our hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming. It's an easy cause to get passionate about. I mean, who really would believe that killing an unborn child is okay?
What I don't understand though, is that if we as Christians view this miracle of life as something worth fighting for and voting for, why don't we all embrace those little miracles that are all over the world waiting for homes? Why is it okay to let little ones DIE due to lack of clean water, lack of mosquito netting , lack of food and lack of good health habits? Why are children languishing in orphanages or in foster care here and around the world?

How is it any different? Why isn't THE CHURCH standing or rallying behind these issues too? Why aren't there signatures in every local paper stating who in their town are behind orphan care?

My sister sent me the following statistics (thanks, Brenda):

What is the equivalent of all the people killed by Hitler plus all the people killed by Stalin TIMES TWO???

All the abortions (over 50 million) performed since Roe v. Wade.

Now, how about these statistics?

There are an estimated 147-160 million orphans in the world, due to no fault of their own. Their lives are as holy in God's eyes as those unborn children we work so tirelessly to protect.

I am so thankful for the faithful warriors that we've met along our adoption road, those warriors who have seen and not been afraid to act, the warriors who are going again and again because LIFE IS WORTH IT.

I saw a t-shirt once that read if ABORTION and the B was crossed out and replaced with a D, the R crossed out and replaced with a P. hmmm I wonder if more women would choose life if more Christians chose ADOPTION, not just as a Plan B, but as a beautiful Plan A, because it's the right thing to do.

I wonder what would happen if the defining cry of a political party or church was not only unborn LIFE but any LIFE.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Catherine Hamlin


My friend Kristi wrote a great post on her blog for her birthday- Happy Birthday Kristi and thanks for this great read!!! I love seeing stories of people who are passionate about using their giftings for the benefit of others.

To read Kristi's post, click on the colored letters above. While you're on her blog, check out the cute boy at the top with her husband, Dale. That is our sweet sponsor son in Ethiopia at Kind Hearts. We all love seeing how happy and healthy he looks after almost a year of sponsorship.

healing up..

It's been a long two weeks for several of my kids. Some unknown virus has run through many- mimicking mono. Good thing we homeschool because most days I had at least 3 kids needing a 2 hour nap each afternoon. I say that it mimics mono, because the mono spot is negative on the two that we tested. Fortunately, the color is starting to return to some cheeks and a LITTLE bit of energy returned today. Thankfully, the sun made a surprise appearance and motivated the kids to get outside to play or at least sit in the bay window and soak it up..

Also, on Friday, Elli really hurt her shoulder. She was running the vaccuum with her left hand, pulled it back and heard a "pop". All of her symtpoms point to an injured rotator cuff, which we're keeping immobilized and under ice. Hopefully, it'll start feeling a lot better tomorrow so we won't need to take her in.

The only reason I write about this, is it continually amazes me what kids go through when they're sick. My kids that just came home in August talk about not being able to rest when they were sick or WORSE yet, not being allowed to go to the bathroom when they had diarrhea if it was at night...Each time they're sick, they eat up the loving that we give them...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Take Care of my lambs

I asked Karen Wistrom if I could copy her post. I ran this video a few weeks back, but with her explanation of the video, I'm going to run it again. .

There's a powerful and compelling video that's been circulating on the web for a few months now. It's startling ... and convicting ... and compelling because it makes you consider the plight of orphans in a completely different light - in the glaring, revealing light of "what if that starving, scared, sick and desperate child was your son or daughter?"

The title of the video is "Depraved Indifference". It was only when I googled the title in order to email a link to a friend, that the definition hit me. Depraved Indifference is a legal term ...

To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

The legal definition struck a cord in me because there was a time when I could watch a video like this or hear first-hand accounts and it would disturb me for a moment ... but within minutes (if not seconds) it was relegated to a seldom visited corner of my mind and my heart. That's indifference. And my lack of concern and action can have a direct impact on the life (or death) of that child.

When we adopted our two orphaned sons from Ethiopia, two years ago, I could no longer watch a video like this or hear first-hand accounts without being deeply, deeply disturbed - not for a few moments, but for days and weeks and months.

You see ... it's different now.

I can't look at those faces and not see the faces of my sons. I can't look at those faces and not see the faces of my daughters and think ... what if? What if something happened to me and to my extended family ... would somebody protect them and care for them and love them and provide for them?

In John 21:15-18 (after the resurrection) when Jesus spoke to Peter, who had denied him three times before his crucifixion, the Lord asked Peter three times to affirm his love for him.

"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Peter, "Do you truly love me more than these?"

"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Again Jesus said, "Do you truly love me?"

He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

The third time he said to him, "Do you love me?" Peter was hurt, because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"

He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

if you want information on how to help feed some of these children, click on the button that says, I sponsor a child at Kind Hearts. We just received a letter from our little guy yesterday-- sponsorship (and adoption) really do make a difference.

Prayers needed-- not for us

Friends, we live in the hottest oil play in the nation. With that, brings hundreds if not thousands of men living here to work. Some of these men, including some that work for us, are living in camper trailers or slide out campers from the back of the pick-up trucks with no hook-ups in the winter- can you imagine using a port-a-potty at 25 below? ( There is very little, if not any housing available for all of the workers needed in the area). Tonight, we have a weather advisory for up to -40 to -50 --yep, that's right, 40 to 50 below zero. Please pray for protection for all the people working in the Bakken Oil Fields. So many men and women are out there right now, working hard, so that they might provide national oil to our nation. I can't even describe how cold it is out there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Great opportunity

Project HOPEFUL and Univeristy of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital Adoption Clinic are hosting a parent forum open to prospective adoptive parents AND their extended family members who would benefit from expert medical knowledge on HIV/AIDS. Experienced adoptive families will be there to help answer all your questions about day-to-day life parenting kids with HIV and the adoption process. The UC medical staff will answer your specific medical questions as well.

This forum is a WONDERFUL resource for families with extended members who are very reluctant about considering adoptions of children with HIV as it is designed to equip them with all the facts and address their specific concerns.

The cost is only $10/family (no matter how large your group). For more info about how to register

Martin Luther King Junior Day

"I HAVE A DREAM that my children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. "

"I HAVE A DREAM.....that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." Martin Luther King, Jr August 28th, 1963 Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

That dream is being fulfilled in our home everyday...I'm so thankful for that dream.. I pray God gives us all dreams to change the world.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Home for 5 months..

The kids's pictures from our agency's waiting child list.

This picture was sent to us by a friend who visited Kids Care to bring her daughter home last year. We had just started the process to bring the kids home and she lovingly spent some extra time with them at the orphanage for us. The look on Leah's face is the same look we saw over and over in the pictures we received from traveling families.

Now look at them!

We've been home now for over 5 months. All I can say is, THANK YOU LORD!! Please, if you've ever considered older child adoption, follow through. You will be blessed!! Oh, and Micah's shirt is wet because his sister discovered the water sprayer on the kitchen sink--

Leah is 12!!

Our sweet Leah got to celebrate her birthday today. It was a great day, from start to finish. While my curly headed kids worked with Grandma Bert and Clara, J,K and E decorated her cake. Since it was their first foray into fondant, it took awhile but Leah was thrilled with the results- a three tiered cake with all of her favorite colors.

We went out to eat at the local Mexican restaurant (her favorite), where they sang Happy Birthday to her, sombrero and all. She had a look of utter delight on her face while they were singing... I think Mike and I had the same look when we were told that someone in the restaurant paid our family's tab...we were blown away..

Next, we came home to presents. Again, it was so fun to shower her with affection. Our daughter is so well loved in this house. Everyone is crazy about her. Her smile is amazing and ever present..As I look at her smiling and laughing, I think back to all of the emails we received from traveling families last year, who checked in on the kids before they knew we were pursuing their adoption. All of them reported back how sweet, yet sad Leah was. We received tons of pictures from these families and very few of them showed a smile. Now, all she does is smile.

Leah is a gift to us and one that we hope others get to meet. Joy radiates from her. Thank you, Lord for bringing her into our home.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Some stats on Ethiopia

I don't know who made this video- but it speaks volumes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Power of Prayer and God's love for the orphan

I could go on and on about how God has answered prayers during our adoption journey. Yesterday, we received an email about a boy in Latvia that desperately needed an adoptive family ASAP. He was about to age out of the system, meaning he was almost 16. At 16, in Latvia, orphans must leave the orphanage that they are in (in other countries the age is much younger- our kids faced this in Ethiopia..thankfully, the director of their orphanage had plans to keep them there to help her if they didn't find a family). Once an orphan ages out of the system, they face almost sure failure. For girls, this means often results in drug addiction or suicide. Well, this sweet boy in Latvia needed a family to come forward, already homestudy approved, by January 23rd, the day he turns 16...and guess what???? He has a family!! This young man is an orphan no more..he will have the love of a family and will not have to face life alone. God answers prayers- he answered them from a young 15 year old boy half a world away and he answered them for all of the people here who went to HIM to petition for the boy yesterday.

I wish I could describe the changes in our kids since coming home-- they are amazing-- you see, God answered their prayers and our' we pray for those left behind and left behind in other countries. There is so much more to be done.

Jessica's Hope: The Power of Words

I usually devote this blog to adoption and homeschooling, but found a blog that speaks about our witness in all things. As you pray for Jessica, remember that your words are important. click on the orange words below to go to their blog.

Jessica's Hope: The Power of Words: "'Dr. B' took Dr. A's place for the next week. He is a very nice and quiet man who seems to struggle to express himself in words. On his last..."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


We have just started doing family devotions at night with everybody..they all got new Bibles for Christmas and have been dying to get into is an amazing thing, all 9 of our kids racing around the house to get ready to study the WORD together..

I usually stand amazed at how far the newest 4 have come and how fast they are learning. Last night, Mike challenged them to memorize the Books of the Bible... They knew there was a New Testament and an OLD MEXICAN (not joking)...There was the book of ROOT and the book of 1st SMELL.. and 2nd SMELL. I guess we have a little more work to do on pronunciation..

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Great movie ..

We all sat down last night and watched Change of Plans. Kudos to Wal-mart and Proctor and Gamble for doing a movie that shows the positive side to adoption. Watching the movie as a family was a gift, as it allowed a lot of converstation that we hadn't had before. It was very hard for our kids, who have had parents die, to watch the scenes where Jordan described what a great father she had had and the tears that flowed. I know they felt the stares that were directed at the kids when they went to school for the first day (even though our kids are homeschooled, the first time they went to their sister's basketball game, you could have heard a pin-drop when we all walked into the gym and it certainly felt like every eye in the room was on them).
It was surreal to watch this family exist together, side by side, trying to create a new normal, while God put love for each other in their hearts--we've been there, loving by doing until that day when God melted our hearts for our kids.

We were able to watch the positive outcome of the movie and know that we are living that too. The prayers that followed were heartfelt and filled with "Thank you for my family." These words weren't just spoken by our curly headed kids- they were spoken by all.

The movie is set to show this afternoon too- check time and listings and then is available to purchase at Wal-mart March 22.

~~until they all have a home.....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Slogan at our house

Last night, Janika and I read on another person's blog that 1% of the orphans in Ethiopia get adopted- 1% is such a crazy, insane, LOW number. To think that my 5 kids from Ethiopia represent only 1% of orphans who get adopted from their birth country breaks my heart. Janika kind of got mad, saying "And we call ourselves a Christian nation?" It was a great opportunity to say to her, "So, in your lifetime, what are you going to do about it?"

That is our new family slogan-- In our lifetime, what are we going to do about the orphan crisis? What are we going to do about those living in extreme poverty? What are we going to do about reaching those who have never heard the Gospel? What are we going to do about the moral decline in our country?

With the orphan crisis around the globe if only 7% of Christian families adopted, there would be no more orphans...

This is from a friend's Christmas letter: "The Magi traveled thousands of miles to see the King of the Jews, and responded with joy and gifts when they found Him. This is quite different from the response people often take today. We frequently expect God to come looking for us, to explain Himself, and give us gifts. But when we step back to ponder HIS greatness, our worship for Him comes from Who HE is, and not what we can get from Him."

In response to HIM, what are we going to do?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Big Fun!!

We are back from our mini-vacation and working through the mountain of laundry. The trip couldn't have gone better- The staff at Camp Bethel made Micah and Leah feel SO WELCOMED at their first Christian camp. Everytime we take the kids to Camp Bethel, I return so thankful for the young men and women who speak TRUTH into our kids. All 5 of our kids that went had a wonderful time, grew closer together (and Olivia, our girls' best friend) and grew closer to the Lord. Isn't it just like God to have another girl from Africa at the camp at the same time? They commented on the way home how they would love to be counselors there someday.

The littles and Mike and I had a blast snowmachining (even at -4 degrees), sledding and hanging out together (thanks, Eldridges for the fun time). I can't wait to see Gavin on skis or snowboard, because he rides the sled like a professional snowboarder- so fun to watch. The Wyoming sun came out on our last day there and the mountain couldn't have been more beautiful. I commented to Gavin that his Mommy loves the mountain because my Mommy loved the mountain. He said, "I love the mountain because you do, Mom.."

After seeing a picture of herself as a baby at my Dad's house, Layne commented that we needed another baby in our house..I love that our kids see babies and other kids as blessings-- not burdens, like they heard from SO MANY people almost everywhere we went. It makes me so sad to hear someone say to us, "Raising 2 was bad enough." I'm learning to smile and just say, "I'm so thankful they are all mine"..and I truly am. And yes, if God decided to bring another baby to our home, it would be well loved by all. For those of you who know my sweet 5 year old, she now wants to be known as Layne (one syllable), not Lay nee as we've called her since birth. I think this request goes hand in hand with wanting another baby in the house- my baby here is growing up and oh what fun she is.

Finally, I wish I had a camera to capture Leah yelling, "BIG FUN!" as she came out of the water slide Weds night. I've never seen her smile so big or see her move so fast as she hopped out to run back up the stairs to do it again..those firsts are fun, no matter what age.