Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Monday, May 30, 2011


This Memorial Day Weekend took a little bit of a different twist. It's been pouring rain, which is not conducive to barbecues and camping. However, this is exactly what we needed to explain what the weekend is all about. We have had such fun (and few tears from Mom and Dad) as we describe the sacrifices of so many men and women to ensure our freedoms and freedom for others in the world.

Freedom takes on a whole new meaning when you've lived in another country, one where you were afraid of your neighbors of a different religion, one where because you were orphaned, you were treated like garbage, or one where you feared not having another meal. To be proud to be an American is an understatement for all of our kids.

We have watched Seargent York - love it- A League of Grateful Sons (vision forum documentary on veterans returning to Iwo Jima to tell the stories of the battle to their children and grandchildren) and another Vision Forum documentary on WWII. We have talked about HONOR and what it means to be an honorable man, who believes in women and children first.

We must not forget the sacrifices of those who have served and are currently serving to keep our country what it is. We must remember what it means to be an honorable man, a courageous man, who believes in God's Providence. Thank you to anyone reading who has served our country. I would count it a great honor if one of our sons followed in their Daddy's footsteps and served in our military.

Thank you Mike for teaching our family...thank you for your service, your love of God and country.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More information

Two days ago, I found out that some of our good friends are dealing with people leaving our homechurch because their daughter has HIV. I am still processing through how anyone in this day of technology can be afraid of a child with HIV. If you happen to fall into this category of people, who think that a child with HIV poses a health risk to you or your children, please do some searching-- start with Project Hopeful. They have a wealth of information on HIV, how it's transmitted, how IT'S NOT TRANSMITTED and just how important it is for us, the CHURCH to embrace the little ones affected by this virus.

Over the past 2 years, we have met so many beautiful children, who contracted HIV from their birth moms. If I didn't know from their families that these children had HIV, I would have no way of knowing. These children are like any other child, fun, joyful, full of love and in NEED of love. These children have experienced more loss than we can ever imagine, often seeing their birth families ostracized in their countries of origin.
In countries, outside the US, most people don't have access to the medicines we do here. I can't imagine a mother's grief of passing this virus on to their child, or in their decision making, while they continue to get sicker themselves, of realizing they need to find their child a new family before they die. You see, this is a decision that isn't taken lightly by birth families or by adoptive families. THE CHILD HAD NO CHOICE IN ANY OF THIS. We, however, as Christians, do have a choice in how we respond when we learn a child has HIV.

HIV is not contracted through casual contact, INCLUDING coughing and sneezing, sharing a pencil or a playground ball...there is no way your child could contract HIV at church or school from a child who has HIV. Imagine how God can use a child who came from darkness and fear and was LOVED by the CHURCH for who that child is in God's eyes!! Walking in the light is the beginning of this process. Please people, don't walk in fear...walk in love.

There are millions of orphans waiting for homes...and there are some who have found homes who need to be loved by those in their communities.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A beautiful child


Clicking on the words links above will take you to my friend, Kristi's blog post. (and if any of you bloggers out there can leave me a comment on how to do this better- I would appreciate it) It will(should) break your heart- take a peek at her beautiful girls from Ethiopia at the top of her blog then imagine if they were your children. Dale and Kristi, thank you for standing up and being bold!! We love you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quick update

I realized this weekend that I had posted a couple of times about one of my children dealing with attachment disorder without any updates on this child's status. I am thrilled to say, that even though we have a ways to go, this child is doing amazingly well and many of our toughest issues have been ironed out. This child is more confident, reaching out to others in appropriate ways and working on our relationship every day.

We had a great weekend with our last official track meet for the biggest 4 kids. It was super fun to hear the announcer say, "Sweeney" over and over again. I bet he was a little confused with so many Sweeneys in the 7th grade of the kids ran faster times than earlier in the season so it was definitely a positive end to a long long season(all but 3 track meets got cancelled because of the weather, so the kids trained from the end of February until this weekend with only 3 official races...that makes for a long season). Gavin is pretty sure he wants to try pole vaulting when he's bigger, after watching our neighbor take first at the meet.

Should be a busy, fun week as we work to wind up school and rearrange the house for a cousin who is coming to live with us for the summer and work for Mike.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bring our Children Home

Love this song by our friend Cindy Foote. Billy and Cindy are waiting for their sweet daughter to come home from Haiti. We also have several friends waiting for their children to come home from Ethiopia. After you hear this song, please pray for these children to come home quickly!

Cindy's new CD releases on May 23! Thanks for using your gift of music to bless orphans everywhere Cindy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Questions answered

I read the following blog post on another Mom's blog and asked her for permission to reprint it here. Our families have walked similar journeys, adopting one child and then returning for 4 more children in Ethiopia. Thank you, Tracy for letting me share this! You are a blessing to me!

Adoption PSA--If you know anyone who is adopted, PLEASE READ

I wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.
Proverbs 8:12

Adopted kids face more challenges than I could even begin to tell you and would never do so on the internet anyway. People are always asking questions about them....their origins?... ...why we went searching for them to graft into our family? did they become orphans? they miss their old country?...and on and on.

There are questions that come up that I've never even thought of to ask. I'm thrilled that people are curious about adoption. I love that you want to know about the suffering in the world, the 163 million souls who long to be cherished and wanted, the reason we sought after them in the first place, how they have adjusted, obstacles that they have overcome.....

Most of the time I welcome these questions because it
opens the door to share about Jesus.
After all it is ALL about Him.

My kids genuinely do have a broken heart for those left behind and they do want them ALL to have families.
Sometimes I just want to ask the curious questioner---
"Do you really want to be educated, or are you just wanting to share your uninformed opinion with me, their mom."
But, even worse, is when the curious questioner approaches the children without my covering and speaks to them directly. I'm not at all questioning anyone's motives, just informing them that, in their ignorance, they are being used as a tool of Satan to plant doubt and mistrust into the mind of a child.

"but whoever causes one of theses little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6

Orphans are serious to God--those who have been redeemed have an incredible call and purpose in their lives and the enemy is continually out to cause them to stumble.
So, since we all have questions---
Here is a small dose of enlightenment---simple facts that can shine light on some of the wonderings about adopted kids, mine are from Africa, but it could apply to anywhere:

1. They do not know when they were born. Our attorney in Ethiopia doesn't even have a birth certificate and therefore, is uncertain of his exact age. Before leaving Ethiopia the child is examined by a doctor, a birthdate is chosen and a birth certificate is issued. When children arrive home, their parents take them to the pediatrician and the dentist to determine their exact year of birth. Dental x-rays and bone scans aid in setting the year of birth.

When a child who has suffered from extreme malnutrition all his life is given consistent nutrition, if that child is anywhere near adolescence in age, then their bodies are jump started into puberty. This is sad because we all know that when a child enters puberty too early, it means that their bodies will soon cease to grow in height, thereby failing to reach their genetically predetermined height. Ethiopians are designed by God to be tall people--..."from a people tall and smooth-skinned..." Isaiah 18:7

This is yet another tragedy of the effects of poverty on human potential.
Please keep this in mind before you say to a child,"You look way too tall to be ____ years old!" or consequently, "Are you sure you're old enough to go to kindergarten?" Those are the nicest comments that I can print. Do not ever question a child's birthday.

2. They do not see things through the same lens as a child born into the affluence and ease of America. They hear and see most things in the negative sense. It is simply a survival skill.

3. They have eyes on the back of their heads and supersonic hearing.

4. They are tough as nails physically, and delicate as a butterfly emotionally.

5. It is essential that they understand that they are equal in relation to every other child in their family. So--- please--- if you want to know which ones are "blood related" please understand that everyone in our family has the same blood type---Alpha-Omega!

6. They do not want to entertain you by speaking in their native language.

7. If you are a teacher, Sunday school teacher, coach, etc., please do not ask them about their lives in Ethiopia. They don't want to talk about it, especially in front of the class or team.

8. If you want to know why they run fast, ask me-- just not in front of the kids.

9. They didn't all play soccer in Africa.

10. They are not "lucky to be here" --this is their destiny.

Thank you, thank you for understanding. In addition, please understand that THESE ARE MY CHILDREN!!! I'm not doing them a favor by being their mother. There seems to be a temptation to compare adopted children to someone you helped once down at the shelter, or somehow being an option for you to serve as part of community service work for school credit. This is not the case. I'm so very thankful for everyone who helps anyone in anyway, and maybe adoptive families have contributed to that idea by raising money for adoptions and championing the huge need. It is a double-edged sword. But, the aforementioned attitude is destructive to adoptive families.

"They will not toil in vain, or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, and their descendants with them. "

Isaiah 65:23

Friday, May 6, 2011

A funny story

Last night, during dinner, one of my boys said, "I'm going to find someone to marry me that doesn't like to kiss. We'll just shake hands. I'll have the pastor say, "Now you may shake the hand of your wife." Then, we'll go to Ethiopia and adopt our kids."

Apparently, he knows more about the birds and the bees than I thought.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Some storm pictures

I wanted to share a couple of pictures from last weekend's storm. It's hard to believe it will be 65 degrees today- just a few days after this hit. The downed fence allowed my dogs to
have a grand adventure in the middle of the blizzard.

Please continue to pray for our community. Several of our friends still have flooding issues in their basements. There were over 300 downed power lines (some we saw snapped in half) leading into Williston and it is a muddy mess to get to them to fix them. The local Albertsons lost over $80,000 worth of milk and meat products. It is so sad to watch the employees pull out cart after cart of ruined products to be dumped.

We are so thankful that none of our friends were hurt.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Finally- we have power

Today, was a great day!! We were finally able to finalize the kids's adoptions. It was a real treat to drive over to Minot for the court hearing, because we have been living without power since 4 a.m. Saturday morning. We arrived home from Minot and had power about 2 hours later.

Apparently, the blizzard we had Friday night through Saturday night didn't make the national news but it certainly disrupted life her in Northwest North Dakota. The wind Friday night blew so hard that I couldn't sleep in our upstairs room. About 4 am Saturday I woke up when the power went out. We began bailing out our sump pump about 1/2 hour later. Thankfully, we received a generator by about 6 a.m. and it began running full time until 8 tonight. It was so nice to not worry about flooding, like a lot of Williston did. We did have to contend with a downed fence (in four spots) and roofing materials flying all over (we had just had a contractor start a roofing project on the house- winter should have been over, right?) As the storm cleared and we were able to walk around, we saw family after family bringing wet carpet out of their basements. I believe only one gas station was open today and the line was unreal..The grocery stores, which were closed for 2 days, began to reopen as well.

We had a great time sharing meals with out next door neighbors. If you want to see some pictures before I can post them, check out the Williston Herald online addition and please keep our community in your prayers as it gets back to work.