As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Twin Tales.....

I haven't updated this blog in awhile.....and it's not because there's a lack of things going on around here. Life is busy and full. Today I want to write down a few Jalen and Jordan stories so that they are recorded in our family scrapbook. Feel free to read along!

1. Every morning, I read my Bible at breakfast. The other day, Jalen thought he had to do the same. Never mind the fact that his Bible is upside down:

2. Yesterday, I had to explain to the twins that they actually meant "brand new" instead of "brown new." They're still catching on to this whole English thing. They've done tremendously well, though!

3. One day, Jalen told me that he couldn't get his "elbow feet" into his shoes. I told him that they were called "heels." Now he's decided they are "high heels." The other day, he couldn't get his high heels into his shoes.

4. The boys were supposed to be eating lunch the other day, when I heard the strains of the Happy Birthday song coming from the kitchen. I turned the corner to see that Jalen had turned his food into a "birthday cake," and Jordan was singing to him.

5. Both boys are doing very well with writing their names:

6. One day, Jordan put this on his head and said, "Mommy, some ladies in Ethiopia wear like this."

7. Almost 2 years later, and they still love this book. The first picture was taken in Ethiopia in July of 2011 before we had met the twins; the second one was taken last week.

8. is a picture that Jalen drew of me. I'm walking upstairs, have 3 toes on one foot and 4 toes on the other, and am wearing a football helmet. This is a great self-esteem booster, right here!

9. Jordan: "Mommy, I'm making this guy with leopard-seed." Pretty sure he meant leprosy.

10. two wonderful little guys.....what would I do without them?

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, everyone! Christ is risen!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Assorted Stuff.....

1. Shana is still selling bracelets for her prayer-buddy project, if anyone is interested. For more info, please see my last post. To order, email her at and let her know your address and what colors you would like. Then, click on the Paypal Donate button on the sidebar over there to submit your payment. Thanks to those of you who ordered some and helped her raise money for our mission trip! Here are some of her most recent bracelet sets:

Red, white and blue - SOLD!

Red, green and yellow (Ethiopian colors!) - SOLD!

Charcoal, gray and yellow - SOLD!

Blue, green and orange - SOLD!

2. We went to the court house yesterday to get Adrian's passport. Yay! One step closer to Ethiopia!

3. We also got some of our travel vaccinations out of the way, although we still need some of our specialty injections and our malaria pills. Another step closer!

4. Shana got some new chicks yesterday! Right now, they are only 2 days old and are cute little balls of yellow fluff, but it won't be long before their feathers start coming in.

5. I have a new niece! Zoey was born 3 days ago to Chris's brother, Fred, and his wife, Kayla.

6. Here's some cuteness for your day - Jalen and cousin Kate!

7. And here is some of Jordan's artwork. This is "a guy riding on a skateboard," in case you couldn't tell. ;)

8. And last but not least, here is a video of my friends Garth and Crystal, who are adopting a child from Ukraine. Please consider supporting them by donating just one dollar. In Crystal's words, "If you haven't seen this yet, check it out! The way this works is that people go to this website and donate a dollar/week to different adoptive families who are adopting from different countries. The Europe page will be about one month old when it is our turn, so SPREAD THE WORD! One dollar. $1. 

We are this week's family, so, skip your McDonald's coffee for the day, get your dollar ready and spread the word anyway that you can think of. Every little bit matters and a dollar multiplied by everyone is a lot of dollars. ;)"
Click here to donate! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Prayer-Buddy Project - by Shana

Hi! My name is Shana and I'm hijacking my mom's blog for a bit to tell you about a really cool project I've been working on. I am going to Ethiopia on a mission trip this summer, and I'm trying to raise money to help pay for my plane ticket and also to buy stuff to donate to the children at the orphanages we visit. First, let me tell you a little about myself. I am 12 years old, and in the 6th grade. I am usually a happy and laid-back person, and I love hugs, friends, and Ethiopia. I went with my parents in 2011 on the first trip for court, when they met my two little brothers, Jalen and Jordan. And I have been wanting to go back ever since. I learned that even though the people of Ethiopia have few possessions, they are very friendly and welcoming. One of my very best friends is from Ethiopia!

Here is a picture of me holding one of my brothers at the orphanage not quite 2 years ago.

I had so much fun playing with the children there. I loved giving out candy, making necklaces with the children, and painting the girls' fingernails and toenails!

Anyway, back to my post. A friend gave me the idea for the project I've been working on, and I would like to share it with you. I am making and selling chevron bracelet sets. When you buy a set, I will send one bracelet to you. I will then take the matching bracelet and give it to a child in Ethiopia. Wherever possible, I will take a photo of the child (or at least try to get their name and age), and when I return home I will send the photo/information back to you. Then, you will have your own little prayer buddy over in Ethiopia that you can pray for each day. Every time you wear or look at your bracelet, you will be reminded to pray for the person across the world who has a matching bracelet. I am selling these for $20 a set (includes shipping), and below are photos of the ones I have already made. If you see a set that you would like to purchase, please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post stating the number of the bracelet set you would like. Also, send me an email at that includes your shipping address. Then, click on the PayPal Donate button over at the top of the sidebar to submit your payment. These are first-come, first-serve, but if you would like to order specific colors, please email me at and I will custom make some for you. You can pay for these by clicking on the Donate button on my mom's blog as well. I will try to mark the following items as "sold" when they are purchased, but if you would like a set in some of the same colors as below, just email me.

Chevron set #1 - Yellow, green, and purple - SOLD!

Chevron set #2 - Blue, orange, and fuchsia - SOLD!

Chevron set #3 - Purple, violet, and pink - SOLD!

Chevron set #4 - Cream, gray, spa blue, and brown - SOLD!

Chevron set #5 - Charcoal, yellow, and gray - SOLD!

Chevron set #6 - Blue, pink, and yellow

Chevron set #7 - Orange, yellow, and spring green - SOLD!

Chevron set #8 - Blue, pale green, and white - SOLD!

Chevron set #9 - Pale blue, light coral, and cream

Chevron set #10 - Mint, pink and white

Thank you all very much! I will try to post more photos as I get more bracelets made, and I may throw in a few more projects at some point, too. Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love Big!

450 moms were present at the Created For Care retreat this past weekend. Snapshots of their families can be seen in this video, which was played at the beginning of the retreat. I love seeing all the beautiful faces of the children who have come home through adoption! What an awesome reminder of God's faithfulness.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Weekend Away and Some Other Stuff.....

This past weekend, I drove down to Atlanta with my sister-in-law, Casey, and my friend, Crystal, for the Created For Care retreat. It was so nice to be able to get away and spend time with 450 other mommas who share a passion for adoption, foster care, and orphan care! The retreat was held at the Lake Lanier Resort, and the beautiful scenery and refreshment was exactly what I needed. One of my favorite parts, though? Coming home to my kiddos, who were so excited to see me and enveloped me in huge hugs. :)

Some of my fellow AGCI mommas. Back = Laura, Amanda, Larisa, me, Ginny, Tricia, Lauren. Front = Andrea, Amber, Mindy. It was great to see them all!

My sis and me:

Yikealo, me, Casey, Larisa, Sintayehu. Larisa brought along her hubby and boys, and it was great to see them!

Larisa, me, Casey, and Crystal:


We booked our tickets to Ethiopia! Chris, Shana, Adrian, and I have our schedule and tickets figured out for this July. And today, Shana ordered a parachute and 6 playground balls to give to the kiddos at the orphanage. It makes the trip seem more real, somehow..... :)


He's had them for awhile, but I have not posted any photos yet. Here's Ashton with his new glasses! Doesn't he look spiffy?


These little guys have changed my world for sure:


And one more. Jalen is very proud of his new mustache:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Our Next Big Adventure.....

We have some exciting news to share......we are going back to Africa!

 This summer, we will be going to Ethiopia for about a week and a half on a mission trip. We will be visiting Gambella, the region that Jalen and Jordan were born in, along with their birth town and the first orphanage they lived at. The rehabilitation center in Addis Ababa that we visited on our last trip is also part of our itinerary. As we figure out how many and which kiddos to take with us, purchase our tickets, get all of our travel vaccinations, and once again prepare to travel across the world to serve others, we would appreciate your prayerful support.

And here is the background story:

A couple of months ago, I learned that All God's Children, our adoption agency, was planning a mission trip to Gambella, Ethiopia in April and May. I really wanted to go; ever since we brought the twins home, we have had a desire to travel to the region in which they were born. We prayed about it, but did not feel like God was giving us the go-ahead. It just didn't feel right to Chris, and he pretty much decided that we would not be going. I continued to watch the trip posting, though, which remained open for quite awhile. They still had several spots left on the trip, and I continued to pray for God to reveal if they were to be filled by us. Then one day, I noticed that the trip was full. I was disappointed, but knew it was not meant to be. God had not clearly shown us that we were to go.

Two days later, I received an email from my friend, Ginny - the same friend with whom we traveled to Ethiopia on both of our other trips. She mentioned that her family was planning a mission trip to Ethiopia in July, and wondered if we wanted to join them. Right away, I was excited, and it just felt right. Just two days before, the door had been closed; now, here it was open again. I prayed, and then opened the Bible to the following verses:

"And this I do for the gospel's sake...Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." 1 Corinthians 9:23-24.

"...Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee...after that they shall come forth, and serve me in this place." Acts 7:3&7.

"And he said unto them, Go." Matthew 8:32

"Wherefore now return, and go in peace..." 1 Samuel 29:7

I then opened to John, chapter 20, where it says "Peace be unto you" three times in red - words that Jesus spoke. This chapter has meant a lot to me over the years, and has given me peace about other decisions in my life as well. And I did have a peace about this.

I called Chris to tell him, and he seemed very excited and on-board. That surprised me a little, since he had not been thrilled about the trip in April/May. He thought this one felt right, too, and wanted to look into it. That same day, we received a paper from World Relief that talked about serving others and sending laborers forth: "...the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few."

Sunday in church, the morning service was all about helping others and putting their needs ahead of our own. If we serve others, we will always walk away with a blessing. (Luke 22) After the service, I opened the Bible to "Let us pass over unto the other side." (Mark 4)

A few days later, I was doubting and wondering how we were going to come up with the finances for such a trip, especially if we took 2 or 3 of the kids. Then I received an email from my brother-in-law, with a poem entitled "Let Us Go." And one Wednesday night in church, I was questioning God again. After all, it is a big deal to leave 3 or 4 kids home for that length of time; it is a big deal to spend that amount of money on one trip - we could use that money for a lot of different things that we need (verrry selfish of me, I know. We don't need anything). And, were we planning this trip just because we love Ethiopia and want to go back someday, or were we really going to be making a difference in someone's life? What were our motives? I then opened the Bible, and these four verses stood out in red on the page:

"...Arise, and go...and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do." Acts 22:10

"...Make haste, and get thee quickly out..." Acts 22:18

" ...Depart, for I will send thee far hence..." Acts 22:21

"...Be of good cheer...for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome." Acts 23:11

Then, the minister opened the Bible to read in Acts 16. Verse 26 talks about the great earthquake that shook the prison where Paul and Silas were being held. The doors were opened, and everyone's chains were loosed. This reminded me of Isaiah 61:1 - "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." (Which also happens to be part of a group of verses that I sent to the twins' birth mother.) The account also reminded me of Isaiah 45:2-3 - "I will go before thee, and make crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." And I felt my bands of resistance being loosed. Once again, I felt God was telling us to go. And not to worry about the little things, like money - "I will give thee hidden riches of secret places, the treasures of darkness."

I flipped back to the chapter we were reading and said, "Ok, God, if we're really supposed to go, let the minister read the word 'peace.'" I looked ahead in the chapter, but didn't see the word. All of a sudden, there it was at the end of the reading - and it was not just the word "peace" said, "Go in peace." And I just knew. I was filled with peace. The minister went on to say that we need to follow God and listen to his call. We need to be willing to share the gospel with others that may not have a chance to hear it otherwise.

So.....we are very much looking forward to our journey back to here:

And that's all for now, folks! Have a great day!