Monday, February 28, 2011


We got a little bit of unsettling news today about court in Ethiopia. Our agency confirmed rumors that the one judge in Ethiopia that hears adoption cases will now only hear 5 cases a day, instead of the 40 she has been hearing each day.

While we have technically passed court, our file is still missing a letter from the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) that is necessary to close our case so we can proceed to bring "R" home. While I have no doubt that this will eventually all go through, I'd love for anyone who reads this blog to be praying along with us for our second hearing on March 18th.

We've been reassured that if you already have passed court or have a court date (which we do)that your case will not be affected by this change. My concern is that because the MOWA is already so behind that the MOWA letter that we need for the 18th still might not be there. In that case, who knows how long it would take to reset a new court hearing.

So, my prayer is that the paper will be there on the 18th (or on the 1st :) and we will not get caught up in this potentially long delay. Please pray along with us for the paper to arrive in our file soon and for our hearing to take place without any additional delays.

Pray especially for "R" as she waits alone (well, with friends, but not her family). For us, our wait is filled with our usual busyness. For her, the wait is abstract and indefinite and I hate it for her.

At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting--it will happen! Habakuk 2:3

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5
Back to Trees of Glory tomorrow

Saturday, February 26, 2011


It is an awesome opportunity for us to be able to work with Children's Hopechest through Trees of Glory and to see what a difference sponsorship makes. Since Nick's trip in September, much progress has been made at TOG.

We got to see all of this great progress first hand. We of course were delighted to see that they were able to completely construct a barn to house livestock. As you may remember from this past December, over $5,000 was raised to help build this barn and purchase the cows needed to "occupy" the land and meet the land requirements that allowed TOG to protect this piece of property.

Currently, they have two mommy cows and two new baby cows that now call TOG home.

They've started a large garden down by the creek and a small one up by the kitchen-which is now a brand new covered kitchen area (Karen's team built it in November) so they no longer have to cook for all of these kids outside (which couldn't have been too much fun during the rainy season).

There is a new playground with swings, a slide, parallel bars, and a merry-go-round (totally wouldn't meet safety protocol in the US, but looks like lots of fun:)

They've also got a soccer field now, new paint in the school rooms, some desks, chalk boards and school supplies (still pretty primitive-but much improved from September).
(The green building is the schoolhouse)

In addition to all of this, two of the buildings have been turned into dormitories for the orphan children and staff to live in.

That's pretty awesome change in just 5 months--especially in Ethiopia were things can often progress at a snails pass (especially adoption proceedings these days:-) :-) :-)

Next up, I'll introduce you to the best part of the whole trip--THE KIDS!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't Forget Me

Those were some of the last words that the director at Trees of Glory, Simret, said to me as we were leaving Trees of Glory. I'd like to think that she shouldn't have to say those words, but the fact is, it is very easy to get swept up in our daily routines (even after being in Ethiopia and seeing it all first hand) of taking care of our own kids, cleaning our own houses, carting kids around to sports practices, schooling, grocery shopping, laundry, bible studies, birthday parties, holidays.........And before you know it, the reality that across the world so many are suffering, so many are in need, and so many are working so hard to beat the odds starts to fade. I pray that I will never forget her or any of the other wonderful people that we've met in Ethiopia-IT IS SO VITAL THAT WE REMEMBER.

Not only did she say, "don't forget me." She more importantly said, "don't forget to pray for me." Simret is an amazing person. She has given up a relatively good life and easy existence in Addis for a much less comfortable one in the mountain side (how many of us would give up a good job and a decent living to live modestly-I'd actually say it's roughing it-and devote our lives to caring for orphaned and destitute children?).

Trees of Glory is located in a rural outlying area (beautiful area-but definitely like travelling back in time) about 2 hours outside of Addis Ababa.

As we travelled there, the sites were amazing-donkeys and people alike hauling huge loads on their backs down the mountain to sell. .

Little children (I mean little like 6 or 7 year olds) herding large herds of livestock in the big open hillsides. Poverty of course and very few resources.

Simret now lives on a compound were there is no electricity and no running water. They make DAILY trips up the mountain to retrieve water which they carry back down by mule

Although this is a difficult life, she has chosen it because she saw a need and decided to act. She now has 11 children living full time in her care at Trees of Glory who would otherwise not have a home along with 88 other kids that "drop in" at the care point. She radiates joy and is such an inspiration. She is doing God's work first hand and we have the privilege of partnering with her to make her job easier and to provide her with the resources that she and the other staff members need to continue doing this great work.

I want us all to remember Simret's words and not forget these precious people-in our prayers, in our giving, in the way we spend "our" time and resources. Please, let us not forget.

More to come........

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Court Trip-Awaiting MOWA

Anyone in the adoption world will know those infamous initials. The Ministry of Women's Affairs is responsible for several steps in the Ethiopian adoption process. One of which is a three sentence paragraph that must be present in your file at the time of the court hearing. Well, it seems of late it is missing more often than not. Ours falls into the missing category, so we now await a second court hearing on March 18th. Hopefully, it will be there by then and everything will be finalized so we can start the process of bringing our sixth child home.

Our trip went very well. "R" as I will continue to refer to her until we pass court was delightful. Such a little lady. Very smart and happy and seemed to warm up nicely to us. It is so strange to go to Ethiopia, meet your child and then leave them there. It was definitely a different experience. I especially felt strange at the airport as we were surrounded by other adoptive families who were bringing there kids home. Next time.

So, for now we continue to wait (the common theme in adoption) for court to hopefully pass through on March 18th (pray for us) and for a speedy embassy date (taking 8-12 weeks these days and sometimes longer). We were thinking "R" would be home in April, but now we're hoping for May and expecting June. We rest in knowing it is all in God's timing and pray for our girl who waits.

Here is a picture from when we first meet "R" (showing her pictures of her new family).

Another one of our sweet girl (she has great hair).

Monday, February 7, 2011

This Week

Lots going on in our house this week. We are busy preparing for our upcoming trip back to Ethiopia-I can't wait to get back. I'm excited of course to meet our sweet new girl, but we are also on another mission to deliver love letters (appropriate for the Valentine season:) to over 100 kids at Trees of Glory. I'm praying that all the kids will be there on the day we visit (last time Nick was there, it was a school holiday and the kids weren't there-talk about a bummer). This time, they know that we are coming and we'll be bringing letters and pictures from across the country. All month, I've been receiving letters from sponsor families from California, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida....

and soon I will be placing them into the sweet little hands of their sponsor children. We will also hopefully meet our sponsor child Meseret!

My little Lou (aka Caroline) is the best helper around. She's also pretty smart and gets her school work done so fast I can hardly keep up with her. Here she is a couple of days ago making PB&J for me after finishing up her school work and asking me, "mom, what else can I do?" She did a great job!

We've also just embarked on a new phase in our lives. We are now a multi-sport family. All three girls are starting soccer and tonight was Hermela's first practice. She could have lit up the sky with her beaming smile as she put on her gear and headed out to practice. We're hoping to get the kids Ethiopian soccer jerseys on our next trip. She loved every minute of it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Last summer, I felt compelled to start advocating for three kids that had been waiting with our agency for a very long time. They are older kids and they've been waiting for nearly 2 years for their forever families to find them. Thankfully, one of those special kids should be home with her new family in a few weeks. But for the brother and sister pair, their wait continues.

You can read more about them in my previous posts here and here.

Nick and I actually met them last January. We found them to be happy, playful and active kids who soaked up every bit of attention paid to them. They are in desperate need of the love and attention and healing that only a family can give. They wait because of their age. K is said to be 11 and M about 9. There aren't too many families out there looking for older kids. There aren't too many families willing to take these kids on. Another reason their wait has been so long is because they're waiting for a special family that is equipped to nurture and guide them. I don't know their whole story, I just know that a family with experience adopting older kids would be helpful as well as one in which K and M would be the only children or the youngest children in the home.

I can only imagine the heart ache that they must feel as day after day and month after month and now, year after year they wait for someone to "choose" them as they watch babies and toddlers and other children come and go as they continue to wait and wait for a family to love them.

These children no longer have an agency fee or any foreign fees--- that's ZERO agency and foreign fees. The only costs involved would be home study fees (about $1200-$2000), immigrations fees (about $900), travel fees (depends on airfare) and a few in country fees (about $1500). I hate to talk about money and needy kids in the same post, but unfortunately, it is the bottom line that often holds people back from stepping out on the journey of adoption. We can personally testify that if that is the only road block, God will take care of the finances and it's not going to take much to get these kids home.

While they may come with some challenges and like all adoptions, their share of trials, every child is a gift from the Lord and these kids need to know that love and the love of a family that they can call there own.

Join me in prayer for these two orphans who wait tonight for that special family.

God sets the lonely in families...Psalms 68:6