Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why in the world would we do this?

How could we not?

Last night, I had a long talk with Kael,about bringing new brothers and sisters home (these talks happen all the time with each one of our kids). All I kept thinking was, what if it was Kael, Elli, Janika, Layne and Gavin waiting in an orphanage, hoping not to be split up, hoping that one day a family would take them in and love them? What if it were your kids?
I'm so thankful that I now have 4 more children to call "my own."

Again, how could we not?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's time!!

I've been called an amazing Mom so many times this week, it would make my spin. I've even been told we're crazy. Who would want more than 5 children? I'm not an amazing Mom, just a Mom who loves children, who doesn't believe that ANY child should live without a Mom and a Dad. I'm a Mom who delights in spending all of my time with my children and my husband, delights (most of the time) with the amount of laundry I have, with the many voices at my dinner table and the quiet whispers in my kids's rooms, as they talk each other to sleep at night. I'm not amazing, just amazingly blessed.

I've copied the following thoughts from Lorraine Patterson's blog. I've followed their family's journey for some time, and spent countless hours praying for them. Please read this in it's entirety. I could have written it, but am thankful that it was written for me to pass on.

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” ~Mother Teresa

I was going to stop with that powerful quote, but there's so much more I want to say.

Basically, I'm tired. I'm not tired of the things you might think...not tired of dishes, laundry, kids...those are all blessings, and I never tire of blessings. I'm tired of people sitting back thinking that theyr'e waiting for some magical moment to step in and make a difference in the life of just 1 child.

Waiting to sponsor that child until they get a larger paycheck.

Waiting for our "own" kids to grow up and move out and then we might consider helping someone else's children.

Waiting for our house to get cleaned up before we think about a home study.

Waiting for more bedrooms before we can possibly add another child into our home.




While we wait for our lives to be perfect before we consider helping another child, guess what?

There's someone else, a helpless child, who is waiting...



for us to get our act together and decide that RIGHT NOW is the time to make a difference. Right now is the time to step up to the plate and say YES. Right now is the time to trust God with our lives, our homes, our finances, instead of relying upon self.

Right now is the time to realize that as we wait for the right time, a child dies of starvation. A child dies of neglect. A child dies of malnutrition. A child is ignored. A child is abused. A child wishes for a clean cup of drinking water. A child is sold into sex slavery. A child aches for a mom and a dad. A child yearns for just one person to tell her that she's special. A child wastes away in a crib in an orphanage, waiting for someone to rescue him.

All of this while we wait at a fast food restaurant, getting angry when it takes longer than 3 minutes to get our food. While we wait for our pocketbook to grow larger, wishing our waists would grow thinner, and hoping our gym memberships will get us in shape so that we'll be in a better position to help others.

When will you decide that RIGHT NOW is the time to make a difference?

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world." ~author unknown

One life matters! There are so many ways to help, to make a difference, to help orphans and live out James 1:27 (to care for orphans and widows in their distress).

Feed 1 child. (through a child feeding sponsorship)

Pray for 1 child. (that he/she would find a home and be kept safe until God unites them)

Foster 1 child. (it's actually get paid to do this)

Adopt 1 child. (yes, adopting 1 child really does make a difference)

If you're ready to commit to making a difference RIGHT NOW, go register to attend the Together for Adoption 2010 Conference to find out how YOU can make a difference in the life of 1 child. Or more. :-) There are SO many ways for you to make a difference. Come find out how. CLICK HERE to register.

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." ~Mother Teresa

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty". ~Mother Teresa

"There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread." ~Mother Teresa

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." ~Mother Teresa

"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved." ~Mother Teresa

Thank you Lorraine. Now is the time. There are children waiting..I've met some of them. They are beautiful..they need the love of a family and the church needs to step up and say "YES!!!"

We have tickets!!

I purchased our tickets this morning, so it's official, we are leaving Monday!! Hopefully, by this time next week, I will have cleared the Embassy and be sitting down to a nice dinner with Elli, Bert, Gabe, Hallie, Micah and Leah.

I've had several people offer financial assistance with our trip and I am thankful for that. We have a paypal account set up which can be accessed on the left hand side of the blog here.

We would love as many prayer warriors holding us up over the next week as possible. We still have quite a few details to get done around the house, homeschool supplies to order, van to purchase, puppy to potty train (yes, we have the most adorable puppy, Dixie- intentionally purchased as a warm, loving lap dog for all of my kids), and rooms to rearrange. Mike's parents will be here on Sunday to stay the week that I am gone (WHEW).

Specific Prayer Requests:
1. For Layne's heart- as she is a Mommy's girl through and through- that she will feel well loved when I am away (thank you Grandma Sweeney, Janika and DIXIE).
2. For Gavin's heart- that he wouldn't be fearful of me flying.
3. For good health for Elli as she travels with me to help the kids and I get to know each other.
4. For Kael and Janika as they help hold down the fort here and help nurture Layne and Gavin.
5. For Mike as he continues to burn the midnight oil with our business, in preparation for helping me homeschool this year. He is such an amazing man- I am truly blessed.
6. For Micah, Leah, Gabe and Hallie as they prepare to leave their familiar setting and join us here. Please especially pray for them as they leave the nannies that they've grown to love over the past two years.
7. That we would pass our Embassy appointment next Weds.
8. Finally, that our transition time will be as smooth as possible, once we're home.

We are so thankful for the children God has blessed us with. Our God is an awesome God!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


We got the call this morning- We have cleared the Embassy investigation stage of our adoption and have an Embassy appointment next Weds in Addis. So, in the past 3 hours, we've been scouring for plane tickets. This time around, they are even more expensive than last time..ugh...Elli, Bert and I will leave Monday, arriving in Addis Tuesday night. We will pick up the kids Weds morning and head to the Embassy. Then, we just get to hang out in Addis, with the kids, until we leave again Sunday morning. This adoption ride is so incredibly crazy-lots of waiting and then hurry, hurry, hurry. BUT, our kids are worth it.

The pictures above were taken last week, when they received another care package from us.

In less than 2 weeks, all Sweeneys will be on the same continent--WHEW!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Tonight, as we sleep, our agency should be submitting our paperwork to our Embassy. We will then be assigned an Embassy date. The first possible Embassy date is August 4 and then every other week after that. Our hope is to bring our kids home in August, so we can have a couple of weeks before we start school.

We just heard from two traveling families that our kids are doing really well. One family calls them "golden" because they have such fun personalities. Another family is taking a care package to each one this next week. Our prayer is that they know we are thinking about them and praying for them continually. They are not forgotten....

As we wait, we are having one last week at our cabin with my sister and family. We have had a great week of horseback riding, playing in the lakes, hikes, card games and tie dying shirts (We all have one , including Mike)..Tomorrow night we're heading to the Rodeo ( I love Rodeo time) and then Mike and I have a class reunion Friday and Saturday..I look forward to sharing these adventures with Micah, Leah, Gabe and Hallie. I saw a shirt that read "Why should we live like kings and queens when they have nothing at all?" As I spend time in the mountains, with my family, I am reminded that I do live like a queen, and there are millions of children out there with nothing at all.. Lord, please let us all make these precious children feel like the kings and queens they are...

Pictures posted tomorrow.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The blessing

Last Friday, before our court hearing, we had the opportunity to meet with our children's uncle. He testified in court that he was happy to relinquish them to us and then we were able to sit with him for over an hour at a small cafe and hear him pour out his heart about our children. This proved to be the highlight of the week for me, as we sat there and learned about our children's history, the love of their father and mother and mostly, the love of their Uncle, as he continually thanked us for taking them into our family. These children have been well loved and it is such an honor to receive the blessing of their Uncle as we start our lives together.

Monday, July 5, 2010

We're home!

Mike and I each got home this afternoon. It's been an incredibly emotional week, from travel delays, to meeting our kids, to missing our kids at home and then having to leave our new children in Ethiopia. We understand the importance of the new two trip rule, but for children who have already suffered a great deal of loss, saying good-bye to their new family is almost unbearable. We hope our time will be very short before I am able to go back and bring them home.

Thank you to all of you who covered us with prayer this week. We definitely felt your prayers for us and our children. Please continue to pray for Micah, Leah, Gabe and Hallie, as they prepare to come here. They want to be here now. They have felt what it is like to have a family, they have received hugs and laughs. We have shared meals and prayed together. We are blessed to be their parents.

I'll post more pictures and thoughts from the trip this week, after we get rested up and have some playtime here..

Saturday, July 3, 2010

these are the kids.

all these pictures came from our may update.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

All day with the kids!

My mom and Dad are keeping us posted. They spent all of today with the kids, playing, finger painting, and talking to us on the phone.Tonight they will be going to an Ethiopian meal(no forks or spoons).Please keep praying for safe travels and a single time to court.

Meeting the kids!

They met the kids today! They said they were as wonderful as everyone has told them. The girls loved there knew dolls, and the boys laughed and giggled at all their new things. They all are very excited about getting new names. More updates will be emailed to me tomorrow.

Please pray for Layne and Gavin, they have never been away from our parents for this long.

update from Ethiopia.

They sent this to me this, this afternoon. They are so excited!!!

We made it to Addis late last night, after Mike's plane had to turn around and fly back to Frankfurt for a computer malfunction. We got to the Guest House about midnight. We meet the kids today after lunch and will spend the afternoon with them.

Please pray for Mike, as he has a terrible head cold. He feels pretty miserable, but is trying hard to enjoy his time here.