Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

God is so faithful

Short update- EVERYONE is doing really well. Our God is so faithful when we step out in faith and do something the world would say is crazy...

Monday, September 27, 2010

First ER visit in Williston

I just got back from the ER with Micah. We had a wonderful afternoon of soccer playing with our friends- great fun- then started doing some relay races. As soon as Micah started to do a crab walk, he collapsed, because his shoulder hurt so badly. When we got home, his left A/C joint was pretty swollen and extremely sore to the touch, so to the ER we went (my boy is very brave, so telling us he hurt made us know that he really was in a lot of pain).

After a LONG wait, we had several x-rays taken and it looks like it'll heal up quickly. He has to wear a sling for a few days (up to 10) and then we'll revisit if it is still hurting him. The radiologist will give his films a second read tomorrow to make sure nothing got missed.

We'd appreciate prayers for a rapid healing for him. It's his writing hand and he LOVES schoolwork and using the computer.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This girl

We've been fighting a bug that had Elli, then Mike pretty sick. Then yesterday, Layne got it. My Layne doesn't have the ability to throw up- thanks to a much needed corrective surgery when she was an infant- most of the time it's a great thing, except when she's sick. It's the saddest thing ever, as her little body says it needs to vomit and she's not able. It hurts, she hurts and then we all feel so horrible for her, as we watch her struggle. This morning was one of those mornings. Her tummy HURT and so we made the decision for me to stay home with her instead of watching the kids run in Glasgow today...

THEN, my sweet Leah didn't eat breakfast- you see she was sick too, but is so SWEET, she didn't want to take anything away from Layne. After the runners left, I crawled back in bed for awhile and my two L girls snuggled on the couch for a movie. When I came in the room, Leah flashed me this huge smile. Did she feel better? NO- she has a fever, headache and tummy ache, BUT, she has a Mom who loves her and takes care of her. She has a home where she can rest comfortably in when she's sick and she has a new little sister who adores her.

The picture above shows Leah smiling like she always does. It doesn't matter what she's doing, she smiles. She told me, "Leah don't know sad or mad. Leah is so happy." AND SHE IS!!

However, these words didn't describe Leah even a few short weeks ago. Whenever someone met her in Ethiopia, they would report back at how sad she looked. They would tell us she was kind and extremely shy. Well, she is still kind, but there is not a shy bone in her body. My girl will walk up to anyone (smiling), stick out her hand and say, "My name is Leah." What a difference a month makes. What a difference a family makes. Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "When Love Takes you in" is so true..."When love takes you in and says you belong..everything changes."

Now I wait for the phone to ring to tell me how the runners did....

Friday, September 24, 2010

what works

This post will probably be boring for those outside of the adoption community, but I know many people who are adopting, read the blog and so this post is for them.

We are all learning everyday little things that make our home run more smoothly and that produce more smiles than frowns. Homeschooling continues to be a great option for our family, especially with the great tutors and helpers who come in during the day. I honestly can't imagine sending the new kids to school right away when they got home. THEY NEED US so much on a minute to minute basis. They need to feel the safety and security of home. They need the routine, they need the chores, they need the ability to be around siblings all day long and work together to live together in peace. They need constant reassurance and constant love.

Laundry used to be overwhelming, BUT thanks to my husband, is working smoothly now. We created cubbies for everyone, with names clearly written. The kids bring their laundry down every other day. E, J, K and M help me keep things running between washer and dryer and then it's brought out to fold and put in everyone's cubby. Twice/day (once after breakfast and then again before bed), the kids clean out their cubbies and are responsible for putting their own clothes if we could the socks to match themselves...

We've had to be quite creative with our discipline, as our kids have traumatic pasts and have come from really hard places. We also have a huge language barrier to deal with. Here are some ideas that have worked well:

1. writing sentences about the desired behaviors (this helps with handwriting as well-ha ha)
2. scooping poop- self- explanatory here-there really is nothing better than a few minutes by yourself scooping that glorious dog poo.

3. Sticker chart- the kids would rather do just about anything than lose a sticker and have developed great servant attitudes when they are able to earn a sticker for great behaviors. Three kids are getting to go to Wal-mart tonight for their reward, which should be a lot of fun.

4. Taking away a favorite activity. Knowing that they may lose an afternoon on the "cycle" is the best way to stop any undesired behavior- a behavior that has been used self-defense after years in an institutional setting.

5. The glue stick method- thank you Aldrin Family...when someone acts outside what we want, they get to be glued to Mike or me--Mike even got a two day out of town trip with one child..the difference was like night and day.

6. Using an English/Amharic Bible- this has been an incredible gift- when we have something we want to say, but don't have the right words, God's word, in their native language, speaks volumes. I need to get one for everyone. It is a cherished posession.

7. Charades- this is our best tool for showing the kids what we expect. It helps to have other kids involved who understand what you're trying to get across.

8. A sense of humor-- used all of the time.

9. Exercise- we have the kids exercise quite a bit, several times/day. Bicycles, trampoline and running are the best,but when the weather is uncooperative, Tae Bo and the Biggest Loser DVDs work well. We can tell when we haven't done this enough. It also works for the Mom and Dad- we're so excited for the new elliptical.

9. Last but not least, prayer, prayer, prayer.

We have been rewarding good behavior like crazy. I don't think the kids had heard, "thank you" or "please" from anyone for the past two years.

We have seen mountains moved this past week. Thank you all who have been praying specifically for different difficulties we've had. It's amazing to look back over the past few weeks and see what God is has done in all of our hearts. He really is binding us as a family.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Two days ago, our dogs killed a squirrel in the backyard. After working for about 5 minutes to separate said dogs from squirrel, I took out a garbage sack to dispose of the squirrel. One of my new daughters chased after me, "Mom, no garbage...Cook, Eat, GOOD." I guess we are pretty wasteful, here, but I just couldn't bring myself to skin the squirrel for supper. We did all have a good laugh, though.

Happy Thursday.

Monday, September 20, 2010


This post is not about my son Micah. Instead, it deals with the Book Micah, in the Old Testament. Janika, Elli and Kael and I are reading through it as part of their home school. Janika's Bible gives a brief overview of each book. Micah's overview states, "God cares for poor and helpless people. God will judge rich people who are mean to poor people."

"Micah tells people to turn to God. He says that they must love God. Only love for God will make people do what is right."

Please pray for us to continue to show God's love to our children.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Children of God...

I know this is long- but the music was so good, we had to add lots of pictures!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kind hearts and Trees of Glory

A team of 16 people will be heading to Ethiopia in November to minister to the children at both Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory carepoints. This trip is very important to our family because of our ties to Ethiopia, our sponsored child at Kind Hearts and because our good friends from Sheridan are traveling to do construction projects at both care points.

The need is real. Most of the children being helped at these two carepoints are orphans. At Trees of Glory, many of the children have been sold for $12/year to work as sheep and goat herders. These could have been our kids. Gavin started tending sheep at the age of 3- can you imagine being out all day with only a stick for protection in an area with several kinds of big cats? As we toured the Minot Zoo yesterday, this became a reality to me,as I watched my son look at the lions behind the cage bars. Young children in Ethiopia have no bars to protect them from the wild animals as they work all day without food or water.

My friends from Sheridan will be doing construction projects at both care points. They will be helping construct classroooms, get clean water wells and anything else to make the facilities safer for the children they minister to. Would you join us in helping provide funding for these projects? Look at Gavin's picture at the top of my blog and try to invision him out tending sheep by himself...and then give.

If you want to find out more about the kids at Kind Hearts, click on the button on the left hand side of my blog.

If you're interested in helping with finances with this trip, go to, click on GIVE, enter the dollar amount and specify ET101101T-PROJECTS. Please leave me a comment to tell me that you donated and I will let the team know. Again, the need is real. These kids need our help and the people traveling in November are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

one month home

I just finished filling out our one month post placement report. I can't believe we've had the kids home for a month. We are still working on our daily shedule and expectations, but overall things are going remarkably well. We are so thankful for our preparation for this adoption. We're thankful for bloggy friends who have been honest in their postings about adopting older children because we honestly had a good idea of what to expect. (every worse case scenario).

Still, it's hard to watch a child devour food like they're not going to get anymore, to the point of getting sick. It's so hard to know that a child wants to tell you something, yet doesn't have the words yet. It's heartbreaking to see the tears come, when they feel safe enough to start sharing their stories. Friends, please pray for my children. They have been through so much in their little lives. As they feel safe, they are starting to share these details. No child should ever live in fear.

Friends, please pray for Mike and I through this transition time,as we try to parent with love, patience and compassion. We have failed on many accounts and pray that God's grace covers our shortcomings. Please pray for English language acquisition to be amazingly quick for all 4 kids so we can easily talk through these times.

We are excited about what God is doing in all of us.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

working on a video

I know people are wanting pictures and more pictures. It seems like when we have time to get them posted, something else comes up. Elli is working on a video, that we should be able to post in the next day or two...

Everything continues to go well here. We are into a routine with school, with one more tutor coming on board next week, to help the bigger kids catch up to their peers a little more. I am so impressed with their desire to learn and their willingness to try things....However, I must order different math curriculum next week, since the one I ordered (and love) has WAY TOO MUCH ENGLISH in it.

We still covet prayer support, as we negotiate this road with all of our kids. We have fewer and fewer speed bumps and more and more laughter each day. We also celebrate firsts every day which is fun. 3 out of the 4 can ride a bike now. They are all getting much stronger physically, both with strength and endurance. Finally, none of the kids have CAVITIES!! That is a huge praise since they haven't ever seen a dentist before yesterday. The new dentist we went to was fantastic- great with the kids and with me explaining what he saw. From the looks of Hallie's back teeth, she had lots of fevers when she was an infant. I can't imagine how scary that must have been for her parents, knowing that many babies die from fever in Ethiopia.

We are half way through the cross country season and LOVING our kids' introduction to junior high sports. The coaches are positive, push the kids hard and know how to have fun at the same time--I am thrilled. Tomorrow we travel to Minot for a meet.

On another note, our good friends, the Webers, are close to sending their dossier in for their second trip to ET. Their son is from the same village as Gavin and we met them last March. We'll be praying for you Weber Family! Thanks for continuing to bring hope to more children!!!