Monday, April 30, 2007

A gift...

Yesterday was such a gorgeous day, and we had just returned late Saturday night, so we were spending some time working in the yard. I had to mow and there were many other tedious jobs to be done. Isaac was out with me most of the time and it was very hot. 93 degrees is what i heard. Around 7:30ish, it was a little cooler and kids were playing on the swing set. Tanya had cleaned up the grill and we needed a new grill cover and a few other things, so I decided to take the kids and make a little wal-mart run. Isaac was rummaging around in his room and came to me and said, "Dad, can you help me find my billfold? It's really important!" Well, I was wanting to get going and just said "Don't worry about it, it'll turn up, you need to find your flip-flops so we can get going." But what I got was "Dad, I really need to find it, it's really important!" So I helped him find it, while asking what was so important. He said, "I want to give something to mommy and it is REEAAALLY important!"
He found his billfold underneath his bed and proceeded to take out a $50 bill (His Christmas money that he has been hanging onto for something special) "YES!" he pronounced as he left me in the room and made a dead sprint through the house and out the back door for mommy, who was sitting on the back porch, still scrubbing down the grill. When I caught up to him, this is what I heard.
"Momma" he said "I want to give this to you, to bring my brothers home faster." The look on his face was a serious joy like I'd never seen. Tanya just melted and gave him a huge hug and he fell limp in her arms. She grabbed his little face and proceeded to tell him how much his gift means and how much it will help in bringing them home. After the hug, he ran back to his room and grabbed out another $10 (the rest of his Christmas money) and sprinted back to his mommy and said "I just want you to have all my big bills." and he smiled and got another big hug!
I just had to write this story down, because I don't ever want to forget how special it was. The kids are always asking about what time it is in Ethiopia and what Geremu and Habtamu might be doing right now.
The kids read a book today called A Family from Ethiopia that they got at the library. There was a page that talked about how one family had an 8 year old girl, whose primary job in the family was to look after the baby. Kaylee said "Momma, do you think Habtamu will love me, because he's used to having a sister that looks after him?" It is just amazing to hear the questions they ask and comments they make, and so encouraging to hear them pray, at every meal, and bedtime, without fail, for their new brothers.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Map of Care Center

This is really cool.
We just got a newsletter from CHSFS (agency) and it had this satellite photo in it of the care center. If you click on the picture at the right, it will enlarge so you can read where things are. The Care Center is the orphanage, the guest house is where we will stay when we go. The big greenish area just south of the guest house is a Home Depot.
We just got back from Minneapolis. It was so good to see the kids again. the were all bathed and smellin' so sweet and it is late, so they were very snuggly and ready to hit the hay. I'm so glad bopie and bompa kept them up, so we could luv'on 'em!
Many thanks go up
to God for the family who were caring for our babies this weekend. Fireman Ed, The Davidsons, Uncle Bob, Aunt Rae and Cuzin' Nate, Memah and Bumpa K.K. and Bopie and Bompa! They had so much fun and it makes the opportunity to go to the conference even sweeter.
2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, family, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
As our family is growing, our faith is growing abundantly and our love for our family is also increasing. What a great promise and blessing from the Lord!

Agency visit

It was so great to visit the agency today.
The person we talked with is actually going to the care center in Addis in 2 weeks and will be able to hand deliver the stuff we took to her today. We asked her to give them big hugs for us and she said she would give us updates while she's there. That is so exciting and amazing.
We also got to see a video from the care center and footage from the villages in the south. We had a million questions and learned more about what the boys may have experienced up until now.
here's a link to the pictures that are in the baggies we sent: Click Here
The conference is great. We loved hearing Wayne Grudem today and CJ mahaney tonight.
We will be getting audio of everything at the conference and sharing with the Sunday School teachers. It is really good stuff! We are so thankful to our church for sending us.
T went to a really good seminar on new things to add to the sunday school curriculum. I went to a seminar on worship with kids.
Tomorrow after the conference, we are going to try to make it to an Ethiopian market to get some flour called Teff, so Tanya can learn how to make Injera bread.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Tanya and I went together on Monday and got Yellow fever and Hep A shots at the Community Health Center. Neither of us got sick, just a little bit of a sore arm We are in Minneapolis for the Children Desiring God Conference and may get to visit CHSFS on Friday. We are sending pictures and voice recordings of ourselves to Habtamu and Geremu. We get to send a gallon size ziploc to each little guy. There are also little toys and books in there. I can't believe the emotional roller coaster that I feel I've been on. This week has been really strange that way, that I'll be really excited for a time and just enjoying this time in our lives and for our family and then I'll be really sad and wondering about the boys and what their day is like and how they are adjusting to the changes they are experiencing. We pray for them and it is so neat to hear how Kaylee, Isaac and even Erin pray for them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday

Monday April 16, 2007 started out as a pretty typical day..........Kiddos to feed, chores to do and supervise, laundry, and school lessons to teach. School was such a priority today that I decided to not even attempt to answer the phone and just let the machine get it. Whew, I had no idea the call I was going to miss around 10:30 am. The Lord was bringing about a moment in time I could only begin to imagine. The call that would change our lives forever and reveal to us the child/ children that would join our family. Oh how I had dreamed of this day, but had not even let myself hope it would really happen until the middle of May. (Ok, maybe it was in the back of my mind quite a
After teaching Kaylee her lessons and Isaac his math and reading, I decided to check my email. As I opened up my email, I noticed a message from Janette our social worker from Lutheran Family Services in Iowa. She expressed a desire to speak with us. My mind instantly began spinning and wondering, could this be a referral?????? Yes, Lord, please let this be the day. I send the kids outside to play and with shaky hands I dial her number. Busy....... Next my cell phone rings and my sister Lea tries to decipher her older sister's words on the other end. In haste, I promise to call her when I know anything.
All of a sudden my thoughts stop cold turkey. OH no, I think I know what this call is about. The week before I had emailed our worker at Children's Home Society (our adoption agency) to tell her of our desire to change the age limit from 2yrs to 4-5 years for a sibling group. This would make our options even more broad. (infant boy, infant twins, or a sibling group of two with an infant and a sibling up to age 4-5) Surely, Janette is calling because she will have to update our home study yet again. ( We had a typo to correct in Jan) I am sure this has to be the reason for her call. However, I then remembered her message included the statement that she wanted to reach us today. Paper work can always wait, right?! But a referral would definitely warrant a comment like this. My hopes are sky high again.
I dial for the 3rd time and YES! It is ringing........ Now my throat begins to feel thick and my eyes are starting to burn with that "I think I may cry any moment" feeling and my heart is racing. Lord, is this the day? Please let this be the day! Janette answers in her cheerful voice and I immediately identify myself and weakly try to squeak out my question. "Janette, please just tell me yes or no right away. Do you have a referral for us or not. If not I will be fine but I just need to right off the bat." She giggles and says I am taking away her fun. She wanted to begin the conversation by explaining that Children's Home had called her and wanted us to get some more paperwork completed to update our file for an older sibling.
Her next words would cause a flood of tears to burst out and a indescribable sense of joy to overtake my body. She says she does have a referral for our family. As I begin to cry with joy, I quickly call Kaylee, Isaac and Erin in from outside by screaming we have a referral. Come quick and listen. Why I decided to put her on speaker phone is now beyond me. Of course this is the moment Erin begins to whine and complain at Isaac for doing something and he is trying to defend himself. Instantly I turn off the speaker phone and announce it is Iowa Public television time. Yippeeee for the younger two an peace and quiet for Kaylee and I.
Janette first says she has a sibling group. I am sobbing at this point, because all along a desire of my heart was to have a more than one. Kaylee has been praying for two and telling others to pray the same. (smile) Dear Kaylee is crying and giggling at the same time as I scramble for a paper and pencil. Janette assured me that she would forward all this info on email, but for some reason I just kept writing and writing not wanting to miss a detail. The older, Geremu just turned 4 and his baby brother, Habtamu, had just turned one. What happened next totally caught me off guard. I was overcome with a deep sorrow and sadness for the birth family of these precious boys. By giving them up, they hoped to give them life.

Dear precious Father, as I type this memory of this day, I am reminded of the abundant life you give Layne and I as we trust you as our Lord and Savior. Without your grace and leading, we would never have begun this adoption walk on our own. You have blessed us with a renewed faith in the ability to trust in your Sovereignty. You continue to remind us that you will provide the grace we need to get through each new day. In this moment of I am humbled by your power and control over all things. It is evident that You have ordained little Geremu and Habtamu to be a part of our family forever and it is our prayer that we will be able to love them with the love of Christ in hopes that one day they will call you their Lord and Savior. Please grant us the grace to wait patiently for their paperwork to get through the Ethiopian courts. I wonder what they are doing all the way on the other side of the world. My heart aches for them. They have to be missing their family and siblings so much, especially Geremu. Oh how I long to hold them in my arms and pick apart every detail of their faces, and kiss them and become familiar of the smell of their skin. Lord, keep them safe. Provide someone to love them until their mommy and daddy from Iowa can bring them home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Referral, Referral, Referral

It's true!! The news is out! Now it is on the web. We found out April, 16th at around noon.
Two, that's right, 2, brothers. Geremu (GARE-uh-moo) just turned four and Habtamu (OBB-tah-moo) just turned one. They are adorable and we will be posting pictures soon!
So many questions and I don't have many answers, but I know this is all in God's hands!
For example...
All along, Tanya has had on her heart and in her mind a little 4 yr. old boy. I have always been the hold-out. A while back, you may remember we had a little issue with the Immigration services paperwork and God gave us the opportunity and prompted us to change our age range on an older sibling up to 3. A few weeks later, I was at a school working with a teacher and met a little boy and God used him to change my heart to move it up again. That was right before we left for Chicago on Easter wknd. We chatted and prayed about it on the 8hr ride there and the 10 hour ride home. When we returned home, Tanya just emailed the agency to see what it would take to up the age on our paperwork to four. We got some information back and were prayerfully considering it and then WHAM-O, God drops these boys in. His perfect timing and providence at work!

When are we going? (This seems to be the most common question) Could be up 12 weeks before we travel (were hoping for 8 weeks, but would leave tomorrow if we could)
How long will we be gone? Don't know for sure, but we would like to travel to south to meet birth family, so it could be up to 10 days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More Pictures from Chicago 07

We had such a great mini-vaca to visit the Taylor's in Chicago. We had a full itinerary, and yet were able to soak up the moments spent with each other and the kids.
Below are some more pics from the trip. To the right is a view from the train on the way into the big city!
Easter Basket hunt!
Easter Morning before Church
Fun at the Farm
Visit the Ramsey's on the way home!

Monday, April 02, 2007


The Bench Seat is almost done. Saturday, my friend who is an industrial arts teacher, built with me this bench seat. The tops are off, being painted in the garage. The top will be hinged so Tanya will have more storage in there. You can also see the vent. I had to bring that through from the wall. This is such a blessing, because it will allow us to have all of our family around the table in the kitchen at the same time! There are room for 6 little bottoms on the benches! I'll post another photo of the finished product.