Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What we're learning

My big kids are studying Ancient Civilizations, this year. It is great timing (God's timing) that we would be reading so many great books about Ancient Egypt and the other ancient civilizations. Why? Well, we're all learning that many of the Pharoahs were from the land of Nubia/Kush (Ethiopia and Sudan). It's fascinating, that this country, that we've come to love, once ruled the ancient world. We're currently reading, "The God King," about Taharka, a young Nubian Pharoah (who happens to also be mentioned in the Bible). Gavin gets so excited when we tell him that this King probably looked a lot like him. It's also fun for us then to look at movies, depicting Ancient Egypt and see that the actors are all white and their slaves were black-- WRONG PEOPLE!! Anyway, God has truly opened our eyes in so many ways this year, and is now using our Sonlight books to bring us closer to the country of our son's heritage.

If you've adopted from Ethiopia and want to encourage your children with this history, we are using Sonlight Core 6. You can leave a comment if you have some questions for us.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My passions- keeping my kids healthy and orphan care

As a Mom of several kids with allergies and asthma, I'm always looking for new prodcuts to help them improve their health. About one month ago, I was introduced to Shaklee products. (They're not new, Mike said his Mom has used the products since he was little). After a little more research and test-driving some of the cleaning products I became hooked. The products are completely safe, non-toxic, economical and work really well. The best part about them is: I don't have to worry about Elli having an asthma attack after I've CLEANED the house-- have you read the warnings on the back of some of your cleaning products? You're actually supposed to wear a mask when using them-- I know because when I didn't, I would cough...hmmmm

So, I KNOW you're wondering how this helps with orphan care. Let me fill you in.
As a distributor with Shaklee, I can help non-profit organizations set up their own website. It's free and the non-profit then makes the money off of all products sold from their website-- It's a win-win: people switch from using common cleaning products (or supplements- as Shaklee has amazing supplements), purchase their products from the non-profit and then the non-profit is able to fundraise without much work. I'm hoping that those of you who have non-profit orphan ministries will sign up to give your organization a much needed boost in this economy!!

Finally, the girls and I are planning to return to Africa within the next 1-2 years on the first of many orphan care missions trips. The money we raise personally, from being distributors for Shaklee will help defray the cost of these trips--BENEFITTING ORPHANS again.

Please visit: If you have any questions please shoot them my way. If you're working with a non-profit to help fund your adoptions, I'd love to visit with you more.

Friday, October 23, 2009

He's coming home!!!

Thank you prayer warriors! Sweet Kasheku passed court and will be coming home soon!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tonight's the night!

If you've followed our blog for awhile, you'll remember us asking for prayers for a wonderful little boy K***, who was Gavin's best friend at the Transition Home. We met him while we were there and ached to bring him home with us. Tonight, while we sleep, his case will be before a judge in Ethiopia. PLEASE PLEASE pray that this little boy will pass court and be united with his forever family soon!!! Karen and John Mark, we are praying for you too!

Hope to be posting great news tomorrow--you may hear us scream all the way from North Dakota if he passes!!

The area that Gavin comes from is being hit by a SEVERE drought. This is reality and many, many families can't feed their children. His village is in SW Ethiopia, right by the Kenyan border. He has often told me, "Mommy, in Benchi, I so, so so hungry." Keep that in mind, when you read the following article and look at the map in the article:

We, as a church, can be doing so much to bless these people!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hot Sauce

We had a glorious first full weekend in Williston. We're in a great neighborhood, with lots of kids--most of whom ended up playing in our driveway yesterday. The big kids got to go to a Hay maze with a local youth group and then we tried out a new church this morning. People, overall, are VERY friendly and welcoming. We also love that we are 5 minutes from everything again.

Now to the hot sauce-- I had read on another adoptive Mom's blog that her daughter loved to pour hot sauce on everything. Ethiopian food is extremely spicey (Sweeney food is not). Gavin had eaten almost everything we put in front of him, but now that he has his own jar of hot sauce sitting next to his place-- He eats at least twice as much!!! He wasn't enjoying the tomato soup for lunch today--so, we had him pour some hot sauce in it and got the desired, "UM, Mommy this is yummy!" We've done hot sauce on potatoes, sandwiches, eggs, you name- it's been hot sauced!

For all you soon to be adoptive parents out there-- GET SOME HOT SAUCE!! It will make everything so much easier- now, if we could only get him to like chocolate!

Monday, October 12, 2009

We made it!!!

We made it to ND in really good shape..had lots of help from people at home and Mike's crew here. Layne got pretty sick Saturday, but is doing much better--Praise the Lord!!

Before we left, we had our first family photos taken by Alissa Ferullo. She did an incredible job, was so fun to work with and turned our session into great pictures. If you want to see them, check out her blog: She just posted our pictures to her blog.

We get internet at home tomorrow!!!! Thanks for your prayers with regards to our move.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Benchi song and thoughts on heaven

Gavin finally sang us a song in Benchi last night. He said they sang it while they played, but doesn't remember what it means. He told me it's very hard to remember Benchi words when he talks with us all the time in English...We capture as much on video as possible for him to see when he's older.

Last night, we continued our conversations on being scared at night. We told Gavin he could pray to God if he was scared and God would hear him. This is a pretty big concept to him, thinking God can hear him and at the same time hear his relatives in Ethiopia. It then led to a discussion on heaven that went a bit like this: Mommy: "In heaven, there's no tears or owies."
Gavin: "Is there food?"
Mommy: "Yes, lots of food!"
Gavin: "People happy?
Mommy: "Yes, very happy."
Gavin: "Then, no cleaning in heaven."

Apparently, my son is tired of packing and cleaning and is also VERY FUNNY!!

"I love him so much" and things going bump in the night

Had to share some stories for anyone who has ever wondered how adoption affects the other kids in your family.

Gavin was riding his bike and took a tumble (training wheels are GONE). Layne said, "I'm glad you didn't get hurt because if you did, I'd start crying because I love you so much."

Kael told me over and over this week how much fun Gavin is and how much he loves having a brother. They have a great time chasing each other round and round, being LOUD!! (something Kael has missed out on until now).

Elli and Janika have told me that they can't imagine not having Gavin here.

Our kids constantly amaze us and their ability to love surpasses our own. If you're considering adopting, and reading this, I would say, "Go for it." You will all be blessed in the process.

Nighttime is a tough time for Gavin. The first 3 nights at home, he loved having his own bed, but then got scared one night and moved into Layne's big bed. He will sleep in his own bed when Kael's in the room, but last night Kael was at a sleep-over. Gavin drug his feet to go to bed and finally told me, "Mommy, I'm scared." (He also hates the idea of having his own room in the new house).
He then proceeded to tell us about "something" in Benchi that would attack at night, eating neighbors' cows, horses and sometimes trying to get into their houses. He can't tell me what the "something" is, but it's not a lion. His description sounds like another big cat of some sort. He also described the sides of the "house" as being very weak and falling in if something bumped it. He lived in a mud hut with a grass roof and one of the other huts nearby burned down one night..that's a lot for a young boy to think about as he's falling asleep.

So, he and Layne will be sharing a room in our new house.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First SNOW and another prayer request

After days and days of disappointment in our weatherman's predictions, we finally awoke to snow this morning. Gavin LOVED it and stayed outside a long time. Fortunately, we have plenty of warm gear for him. All of my kids love the snow, thankfully, since I think we'll get our fill in North Dakota.

Another prayer requests

K***'s court date will need to be rescheduled, as Ethiopian courts aren't opening yet. (The courts close for 2 months every year). We will continue to pray this little boy home.

Finally, we're down to the last 3 days of packing. Mike gave us a HUGE headstart this weekend and now we're down to the "little stuff." We also had family pictures taken, which was a ton of fun...thanks, Alissa! When they're available for viewing, I'll let you know.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Okay Prayer Warriors

In less than one week, Oct. 8, Gavin's best friend, K***'s case will be in front of the courts in Ethiopia. Please join me in praying for him, his parents and the judge involved. We are praying for them to pass on the first time!!! If they do pass, they will travel to Ethiopia at the end of the month and possibly even to the village where the boys are from.
K *** (I can't reveal his name until after he passes court) arrived at the Transition Home at the same time as Gavin and has been waiting for his family to come. We LOVE this little boy and are so excited to have him join his forever family!!

Also- we will be loading up and driving out of Sheridan next Friday!!! We will be packing up and organizing all weekend...exciting times..