Thursday, March 24, 2011

Can You Help???

UPDATE: Webit has shown some improvement and doctors are working to determine the exact diagnosis and treatment plan for her. Since Karen sent out the urgent message for prayers and financial support last week, $3,300 has been raised and the power of prayer has been felt! You can read the full update here.

After an afternoon of rejoicing in some great news from Ethiopia (passing court-praise God!), I received some urgent news from Ethiopia from Karen Wistrom (Trees of Glory sponsorship coordinator) requesting prayer for this little girl: Her name is Webit and she is very sick. Her sponsor family had the chance to meet her in January (you can read about their meeting here) and quickly realized that she was in need of immediate medical attention. Because her family is so poor, they had to get paperwork approved that showed that Children's Hope Chest would be able to raise support for her treatment before they would even accept her as a patient. After wading through that process, the diagnosis was grim--cancer--and today, she took a turn for the worst (read Karen's post here for details).

So we now have the opportunity to intercede for this child. She needs our prayers. Please pray that the doctors will have discernment and wisdom and resources to be able to properly treat this precious girl. Pray for her comfort and peace as I'm sure she is scared and hurting. And pray for her family during this difficult time of uncertainty.

You can also help by giving a monetary donation to help cover the cost of her treatment. Remember, EVERY little bit helps and US dollars go a long way in Ethiopia. We can all skip our morning trip to Starbucks or drive thru lunch tomorrow and give even $5. If everyone of you who follow this blog give just $5, that would be over $300 raised! I've personally seen the work that Hopechest does and you can trust that your gifts will get to her.

This is a real child, with a real need, and you can be a part of making a real difference in her life when she needs it the most. Print her picture out, put it on your fridge, bathroom mirror or dashboard and commit to praying for her....and give to her fund.

It's SUPER easy to give, just follow these instructions:

Please go to the Children's HopeChest website at Click on GIVE Under "Choose a Fund", specify DESIGNATED GIFT Enter the 9 digit account code ET2119000 In the notes area, specify MEDICAL Please spread the word to your friends and family so that we can raise these funds immediately. And please pray for Webit Bekele in Ethiopia.

Check in on Karen's blog for further updates.



I'm so excited to introduce our newest daughter
We no longer have to blur her out or call her "R"

We are officially a family of 8!!

Meet our biggest "baby" Rahel Candace

We have a family tradition of giving our kids "C" names. So when we adopted the girls, we gave them each new middle names (Hermela Corrine and Meron Camille) so that they would have a "C" name too. Over the summer (before we ever knew about Rahel), I came across the story in the bible of Phillip and the Ethiopian. In the story, the queen was called "Candace" and I thought to my self, "man, I wish I would have used that "C" name for one of the girls." When we decided to adopt Rahel, I knew that would be her middle name. How cool-a biblical, Ethiopian "C" name. After a little research, I found out that the name actually was a title given to all Ethiopian queens at the time, so it actually means Ethiopian queen.

Here is our "Ethiopian queen" during our visit in February.

Such a happy girl!

I love this picture of her checking me out.

Can't wait for the day we can bring her home (but you know I'm going to have to :-)
I'm pretty sure I'll sleep a little easier tonight!

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

To God Be The Glory

Well, unfortunately, we did NOT pass court again today-still missing that letter from MOWA. I was definitely disappointed-had my little emotional meltdown-and then decided to press on regardless of circumstances.

God is good and completely in control of this whole adoption thing, so I'm just going to have to trust that this is all in His great plan and for His glory.

Want to know what an awesome God we serve? Remember when we started this adoption, we literally had $190 in our savings account. EVERY step of the way, God has provided exactly what we've needed-exactly when we've needed it. We had just enough to book plane tickets and travel last month and all of our fees are paid up to this point. The only thing left is our final travel expenses and a few in country fees due when we go to pick "R" up.
So wouldn't you know, in the midst of my great disappointment about our court hearing that God would provide some encouragement. Right after receiving the news about court, I signed on to our bank account and there it was-the first half of our tax returns-more than twice the amount that we need to bring "R" home-deposited into our accout today!

How great is that? On the day things didn't go as we had hoped and planned, God reassured us that He's got this. He's got this whole thing under control. He asked us to step out and bring this beautiful girl home and He has completely provided every step of the way.

Then, as a little bonus, when I got in my car to come home (I'd been at work all day) this song came on-the same song that came on in the car the morning we were riding to church and clearly knew that God was calling us to bring home our 6th child (read about that here).

To God Be The Glory
and please continue to pray that our giant (better known as MOWA) will get our letter to the courts sooner than later

Thursday, March 17, 2011

While We Are Sleeping

Tonight, while we're doing this....

...our adoption case will go before the courts a second time.

So, we're doing lots of this:

in hopes that one of these will finally be in it's place

so we can do lots of this:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Three more days to pray for our MOWA letter to be in our file so we can officially become parents for the 6th time. We should know something by Friday afternoon and I'm very hopeful that I'll be posting the good news along with pictures and our new daughter's name.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYER??? We sure do appreciate it and take comfort in knowing that so many people our are praying on our behalf.


Here's one of those photos that you save for your kid's wedding slide show. I love this picture because not only is Colton running around bare bottomed (it was a potty training attempt that never worked out) with a nerf gun and full ammo, but to add to the look, his shirt says, "I'm going to change the world." So here he is, my little world changer with his bullet bag strategically placed to cover his "highness" (yep-that's what he calls it [hinee + penis = highness]-which is now probably way too much info for one post.

In all seriousness, I do pray that he and all of our children will grow up to be world changers-that's what it's all about.

World Changer Tees available from Ordinary Hero here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Februray Fun (a little late)

Fun in the February sun-can't beat it.

We came home from Ethiopia to amazing weather, so I hooked up the sprinkler, dug the bathing suits out of the closet and scooped up some ice cream. The kids loved it!

Later that week, we cruised over to the beach (one really great thing about home schooling-we read books about the beach and ocean and then I surprised them and told them we were going to go to the beach the next day--what a great field trip!).

The water was FREEZING, but the kids swam all day anyway.

We also had some awesome park days.

All the while, we couldn't believe our luck that is was so nice here while most of the country endured record breaking snow fall and icy temperatures. This is the life (at least until July and August hit:)

A Glimpse Into The Future

I found these cute dresses for $8 and they happened to have all of my girls' sizes and I just couldn't resist (I love coordinating outfits and I know my time is limited-right now, the kids, especially the girls love to match). That's about how tall "R" will be standing next to them too. Can't wait to have that fourth dress filled.

my pretty little girls minus one

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Big Family Milestone

We finally have all of our kids out of diapers (well-at least during the day-I'm not ready to risk it at night yet:) Our youngest has proved to be a great defender of the "baby" title. He's definitely the most babied of all of our children-who can blame him? It's his spot and he's quite comfortable there.

The other two times that we've had to potty train were a breeze. Caleb was about 2 1/2 and was so easy and Caroline literally trained herself before her second birthday (she's very determined and wanted to do everything that her big brother did).

Colton is no doubt his own person. He showed absolutely no interest in potty training and for the longest time (up until he was three) I didn't care. To me, it is easier not to mess with it when they're not interested. Well, I was beginning to think we missed our window of opportunity because after a few months of trying (we made it his New Year's resolution to be trained in 2011) we still weren't getting anywhere.

Enter my mom. She decided to take Colton to the store this past weekend and let him pick out a few toys that he could "earn" after several days of going in the potty. Yep-good old fashioned bribery. We don't usually bribe our children, so I think this is why it worked so seamlessly. From the first day we started his potty chart, he knew that if he kept up his end of the deal, a nice prize was waiting at the finish line.

So glad to be past this little hurdle (although that means all my babies are all grown up:(

On to the next stage!!

Monday, March 7, 2011


That's what I've been praying today. As I posted last week, many changes are happening with Ethiopian adoptions right now and it is a pretty uncertain time to say the least.

So, instead of worrying myself to death over all the different scenarios (I did that this weekend-driving me and my husband crazy:) that could take place with our case, I decided to pour over scripture instead (quite a bit more productive than my first plan of attack). Over and over, scripture points to the fact that our God is in the business of miracles and he is able to do all things. I repeatedly came across scripture emphasizing the power of prayer and petition.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Throughout this second adoption process, I've had quite a bit of peace (unexplainable at times). Even when we had our first court date, I prayed about it, but I trusted that everything would work out in God's timing (which I still believe to be true) and I can't say that I "petitioned" for a favorable outcome-although of course that is what we were hoping for. Now, I'm not saying that I didn't pray enough and that's why we didn't pass the first time. I'm just saying that this issue may deserve a little more focused time with the Lord than I was giving it (we are after all in a battle with an enemy that hates adoption).

I feel like maybe in an effort to be really relaxed about our adoption this time that I may have been depending more on my own patient spirit than on the holy spirit. As with all of life's trials, they are designed to teach and this is just another opportunity for me to die to myself and follow more fervently after the Lord.

So, as I read today, I noticed a couple of things that kept coming up.

First, I need to be diligent in my prayer and ask specifically for my heart's desire. I'm praying with a renewed passion that we will pass court even before our court date on March 18th (miracle working God-remember-it could happen). I'm also praying for a miraculously fast assignment of a final court decree and for all of our embassy paperwork to be in order when it is submitted to the embassy so that we may be assigned a timely pick up date (embassy appointments have taken as long as 15 weeks to be assigned lately, so I'm praying that "R" will not have to wait that long after we pass court to be given clearance to come home).

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

I also am going to try to take delight in the LORD, instead of our circumstances. Psalms 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord (in other words, seek your happiness in the Lord) and he will give you the desires of your heart." He knows that it is the desire of our family's heart is to have our daughter home as soon as possible, but it is even more desirable that I find my happiness, my joy, and my contentment in Him first.

LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. Psalms 84:12

We have several friends that are also caught up in the process of getting their kids home, so I am praying for God to move mountains in their cases as well and for us all to pray with renewed intensity and without doubt that we serve a God who has a heart for the fatherless and a God that is able to overcome any obstacle that is delaying our children's home comings.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22

Friday, March 4, 2011


We made an unexpected trip to another Hopechest care point, actually an orphanage, on our way back from TOG. Nick had been there on his last trip and asked Fikre about how things were going with the kids there. Because we'd be passing right by it again on the way back to Addis, Fikre said, "we should stop by." I'm so glad we did. As we got out of the van, every single (and I mean every single) child hugged us-all 60 of them. They had just returned from school and were so excited to have visitors.

Nick took the picture above of this apple tree. It's only about 3 feet tall and when he visited Hope for the Hopeless in September, there wasn't any fruit on the trees and he didn't think they stood a chance of growing any. This little orchard is just like the kids at Hope for the Hopeless. They didn't stand much of a chance out on the streets fending for themselves, but with a little love and care, they're blooming like the apple trees that they so lovingly care for.

We also brought a little banana snack-which they loved (such joy from something so simple)

The director tossed up the final banana (all the kids had already had 1 and a half) for a little fun.

The kids grabbed our hands right away and led us around the property.

They have a chicken coop full of chickens-they eat some of the eggs and sell the rest (I think they said they eat eggs 2 days a week).
These women were hard at work pouring a concrete slab-Ethiopian style- for the new on site school.
The kids were so excited to show us their new puppies.

This group of girls really remembered Nick. They actually drew pictures that he brought home to our kids last time he was there.

The whole crew-just before we left.
When it was time to go, they once again hugged us. Then they asked, "Will you come back tomorrow?" I wish I could have said yes, but it was our last day in Ethiopia before we left for home. I look forward to visiting them again soon though (the sooner the better).

Thursday, March 3, 2011


We had the special privilege of meeting some kids that have been on my fridge since this summer. One of the best parts about sponsorship is that it's contagious. Once we signed up with Children's Hopechest, we couldn't stop talking about sponsorship and the difference it can make for one child. It's true, we can't solve the orphan crisis or eliminate poverty on our own, but we can change to world for one child through sponsorship and once we knew this to be true, we spread the word. Thankfully, several family members and friends of ours now sponsor kids at Trees of Glory. I love it that we all have kids at the same care point.

So when we decided to go to TOG, we offered to take care packages to the kids of our friends and family. We were also hoping to meet our own sponsor child, Meseret, but unfortunately she was not there that day (second trip and still we haven't met her--we're hoping that the third time will be the charm:). I was also hoping to meet my mom and dad's sponsor child Zewditu and my aunt's new little girl, but they were also absent. Hopefully, we'll get to meet them all next time.

Although we were disappointed about Meseret, we were delighted to meet these next few kids.

Here is me meeting my friend Heidi's little girl Tigist. Her little face just lit up when she saw pictures of her sponsor family. She is a beautiful girl and has changed so much from her initial sponsorship picture.

Here Fikre showed her how to use markers and explained what some of the other things in her bag were (remember this is rural Ethiopia and a lot of these kids have never had things like coloring books and markers).

Or chap stick

This is another one of my friend's girl Hiwot-she's one of the true orphans and lives at TOG

Nick has friends that he grew up with that just got assigned this sweet boy Musse, also a TOG resident. This first picture shows him listening intently to Girma reading him his very first letter from his sponsor family.

His eyes widened and the sweetest smile you've ever witnessed spread across his face as Girma showed him pictures of his sponsor family and named them one by one. Remember, he is a true orphan and he now knows that there is a family out there that is dedicated to supporting and loving him (even if it is from a distance)-just priceless.

sporting his new shirt and sandals (along with his pajama pants:)

And here is Nick's "little brother" Mitiku" who is sponsored by his parents. They sent him a backpack full of love-which he definitely cherished.

If you've ever wondered if $34 can really make a difference, the picture below should answer that question for you. Mitiku swung his arm around Nick as if they'd always know each other and when we were finished giving him his gifts, he said those amazing words again, "God bless you." Such wisdom and faith from these sweet children.

For more information specifically about Trees of Glory, contact Karen Wistrom at and for information about Ethiopian sponsorship in general, contact Children's Hopechest at


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This is Fikre-one of Hopechest's in country staff members who guided us around and translated for us. Nick met him on his mission trip last September, so it was nice to meet up with an old friend.

His words "tell them to come" really stuck with me. We were talking about sponsorship and Hopechest and he said, "It's not just about the money. People think it is too far to come all the way here. But it means so much more when you actually show up and spend your time. The children understand your presence more than the money. It shows them that you really care."

Wow! That was pretty powerful. So I told him I would pass that on. I know my life has never been the same since my first trip to Ethiopia and I would recommend going to everyone. After speaking with Fikre, I know even more how important it is that we "VISIT orphans and widows in their distress."

If you've ever thought of going on a misison trip or visiting your sponsor child, GO-you'll never regret it. If you've never thought about--I pray that you would. It could very well change your life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Before leaving for Ethiopia, my two most eager helpers helped me sort and stuff letters for about 60 of the kids at TOG who didn't get personal letters from their sponsor families. I received about 40 letters from across the country filled with love and pictures from sponsor families and we wanted to make sure that all the kids whose sponsors weren't able to send a letter would at least know that they were loved by us and of course by their heavenly father.

My aunt who has a new little cutey at TOG donated mentos for the whole crew-which the kids absolutely loved. She and another sponsor family also generously donated cash that we used to buy bananas and bread for all the kids at TOG. We even had enough to purchase bananas for another Hopechest orphanage that we visited on our way back from TOG (more on that in another post).

Each child received mentos, a pen, stickers and scripture.

Our banana and bread stop was a great experience. The government has made several positive changes since the new administration took office last year. One of these is a cap on banana prices. Bananas are to be sold for no more than 5 birr per kilogram. That's about 16 US cents for every 2.2 lbs of bananas-or 8 cents per pound. Like I've said before-it takes so little--such small "sacrifices" on our part to make a big difference for others around the world. That's why I love sponsorship and what Children's Hopechest does.

Now for the most fun part of the whole TOG trip--meeting the kids and staff. The thing I want you to notice most in these pictures is the JOY. This place is filled with JOY and it was awesome to be around. I love seeing how happy Simret is for these kids to receive letters from their sponsor families. She has so much love for them and it is so evident how much she and the other staff members care for them.

Fikre was our trusty tour guide and translator-awesome guy and friend.

Girma is seen here in the background helping this sweet girl fly an airplane lovingly constructed by her sponsor family. I just love this picture-check out his intensity!

Joy and the love-what a gift!!!

Looking at a picture of his sponsor family-his face just lit up!

Sweet siblings


Loving his mentos!

Aren't they great? One after another, these kids came in to receive their letters from "home." It really makes a difference for them to hear words of encouragement and to know that someone is rooting for them and praying for them.

One after one, they spoke these words, "God bless you." "God bless you."

God bless me? I'm already so blessed-blessed to just be around the beautiful hearts of children with a faith stronger than most. Blessed to be able to witness unexplainable joy and contentment in conditions and circumstances that most of us can't even imagine. Blessed to be in the presence of people who've devoted their lives to living out the gospel.

Yes, we were blessed beyond words to spend time with our friends in Ethiopia.

To them I say, "You are the true blessing."