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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jordan's New Look.....

So...Jordan is missing something these days. Actually, Jordan is missing two somethings. Last week, he was being chased through the house by one of his siblings (why do they always act crazy when I'm on the phone?), when he tripped over a blanket he was carrying, fell, and smashed his two front teeth into a door hinge. Ouch. He busted his lips open, and I could tell right away that something was wrong with his teeth. They were angled backward in a very distressing fashion, and have been loose and wiggly ever since. Today, the dentist did some x-rays and found that one of the teeth was broken off at the root. He decided to take both of them out. Jordan was a brave little guy, though! He says that his mouth feels weird, and I'm sure it will take a little time to get used to no front teeth. Hopefully his permanent ones will come in soon, and in the meantime, I'll enjoy the cute little lisp that he makes when he talks!

Monday, August 26, 2013


Eleven years ago today, a big, bouncing, baby boy with Elvis hair came into our world. Although the doctor asked us if we would consider moving into his school district so that our boy could play on the right football team, we politely declined. And Adrian has been keeping us active ever since!

Happy birthday, Adie!! We love you so much, and hope you have a great year! XOXOXOXO

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

As of Late.....

.....we've been getting ready for school to start in a few days. It's hard to believe that the summer is almost over!

.....Shana has been busy running with the cross-country team.

.....we've been seeing lots of little Ethiopian soccer players:

.....I asked the twins what they want to be when they grow up. Jordan quickly answered, "Sixteen!" And Jalen responded, "I want to be forty!" We have high ambitions around here, folks. of my children was singing that old song, "The Best of Friends" from The Fox and the Hound. Except that I had never heard it sung quite like this:
"When you're the best of friends
Having so much fun together,
You're not even aware
You're in your underwear,
'Cause you're the best of friends."

Yep. We like to keep it classy around here.

.....we've been enjoying last-minute summer kinds of things:

.....the twins have been loving the little green frogs that they've been spotting outside. Jordan checks the side of our garage (where one of them likes to hang out) nightly for "his froggy," whom he has affectionately named Pipsqueak.

.....the kids were discussing why men in the Bible had long hair. "They didn't have hair-cutters back then," said Ashton. Malia's response? "Well, they could have used a chainsaw!" Ouch. And like that was invented yet.

.....I've been making red raspberry jam:

.....Malia was playing house with her kids, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Not sure why she didn't choose to call them Ruth, Malachi, John, or Peter instead.....

.....We've been attending lots of meetings for various projects that we are or will be involved in. Stay tuned for more information about our Hope For Haiti sale that will be held locally this fall!

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An Orphan No More!

Yesterday, we had the privilege of going to the airport and watching a little boy walk into the arms of his forever family. The Sponsellers welcomed home their fourth child, 8 year-old Daniel from Ukraine, and it brought tears to my eyes to see them all together at last!

Please join me in praying for the Sponseller family as they adjust to life as a family of 6! And to Garth, Crystal, and kiddos.....Congratulations! We are so happy and excited for you! May you feel God's nearness each day, and may your transition go as smoothly as possible. 

God sets the lonely in families!!!! Psalm 68:6

Monday, August 5, 2013

Our Trip to Ethiopia, Day 10.....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The flight to Turkey went well, although again, I got little sleep. We arrived in Istanbul at about 6:30 in the morning, and had a seven hour layover. After standing in line for awhile to get our passports checked, we headed to the food court.

Adrian enjoyed eating a real burger again!

After walking around the airport for a bit, we found some chairs to camp out on. Shana and Adrian took naps:

Finally it was time to fly to Chicago! Yay! The flight was LONG, but eventually we were in the good old USA again. Once we went through customs and collected our bags, we headed outside to wait on our shuttle back to the hotel. It was 45 minutes late, and we were SO tired! But the Marriott gave us a $50 voucher to use for dinner because of the delay.

It was so good to be back! We collapsed in our room, called the kids, and finally got up the energy to shower before we headed to dinner. Once again, I was reminded of how much we take for granted. We no longer had to worry about keeping our mouths tightly closed in the shower, using bottled water to brush our teeth, carefully choosing something from the menu that wouldn't make us sick, etc. And even though we stayed in what was just a regular hotel suite according to American standards, I couldn't help but compare it to the Baro hotel. We are so blessed.

We crashed into bed once we got back to our room after dinner. Tomorrow, we'll be home! And we get to see our kiddos after 11 days! Yay! Ethiopia has taught us so much again, though, and we have an even deeper love for our boys' birth country. Somehow, I feel like our work there isn't complete yet; and I can't wait to go back again someday.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Our Trip to Ethiopia, Day 9.....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Today I woke up feeling ill. I think I picked up some sort of Gambella bug. We got ready, ate another of Alem's delicious breakfasts, and then headed to the community center at Lebu. Lebu is a poor community very close to Hannah's Hope, but it took us awhile to get there because of the very muddy, extremely bumpy streets.

The community center at Lebu. The AGCI mission group that was here a couple of weeks ago did a lot of painting in the center.

The library:

The books here seemed to be old and irrelevant. Our hope is to get more books and resources to these kids.

We toured the library, the game area, the auditorium, the computer lab, the classroom, and the MOWA official's office, where a huge stack of letters waited to be signed and stamped. How well I remember waiting for one of those documents when we were in our adoption process!

Shana handed out some of the friendship bracelets that she made and sold for her Prayer Buddy Project, so we got to meet a lot of the kids who were hanging around the community center today. The very first boy we met was the one whose mother asked us if we would adopt him because she could no longer take care of him and his brother. Heartbreaking!!!

We headed back to Hannah's Hope, and then Chris, Shana, Wass and I drove to the Africa Orphanage down the street. We gave bracelets and beanie babies to the children there, and it was so nice to meet all of them!

Me and my little friend (soon to be a fellow Buckeye!) at Hannah's Hope:

Africa Orphanage:

After picking up the rest of the group back at HH, we headed to the children's rehabilitation center. It absolutely POURED on the way, and we drove through some pretty good-sized lakes in the middle of the streets. Once there, we tromped through the mud to the dining center, where we went around the room and shook the kids' hands. There were probably 125 to 150 kids....a lot of them are imprisoned for stealing shoes or food. So our team decided to buy each of the kids there a brand new pair of shoes, and pass out some food as well. As we met the children, I noticed that some were barefoot and had no shoes at all, and others, like a teenage boy that helped us get organized, wore a pair of women's pink sandals that were way too small. Many of the boys' heels hung several inches off the backs of the shoes. Shoes here are a big deal...sort of a status symbol, so they will wear whatever they can find.

We handed out the new shoes, along with a banana and candy to each of the kids. They were thrilled! It brought tears to my eyes when two of the boys stood up and gave us a thank-you speech. One of them, who was barefoot, told us that he had been a little bit happy before, but now he was very happy and had hope for his future. All because of a pair of shoes! And how many pairs of shoes do I have in my closet at home that never even get worn???

We weren't allowed to take photos of the children, but we got a few iPhone pics of our team: 

Afterward, the boys gave the men a tour of their dorms, while we went with the girls to their building. Shana and Paige painted their fingernails, and it was good to visit with them a little. It was so sad to see their cold cement floors and walls, and cold metal bunk beds. I'm so glad the team is coming back next week to paint the girls' dorm and spruce it up a bit!

Our team of girls outside the girls' dorm: Azeb, Kiersten, me, Kim, Ginny, Shana, Paige, Bailey, Emma, and Brooklyn:

It was so fun to see the girls' shy smiles as they inspected their newly polished nails. I think it boosted their confidence a little!

Girls' bunks:

 Inside the boys' dorm:

When we left the juvenile detention center, Danny took the men and boys shopping for new power tools for HH while Wass took us women and girls back to the transition home. On the way, he jerked the bus to a stop in the middle of the street and jumped out. Right outside my window, a man was trying to beat another man with a piece of metal rebar. Wass jumped into the middle, grabbed the man with the weapon, and tried to settle things down. Azeb got scared, jumped out, and tried to pull Wass back into the bus. Things got pretty interesting for seems that the men were fighting over a vehicle and each one said that the other stole it. Finally, Wass took the car keys and the men's ID's, gave them to a passerby, and told him to give them to the police and let them figure the mess out. 

Back at HH, Almaz asked me if I would help her cook dinner again, so we made pasta, cheesy garlic bread, brussel sprouts and taco soup, some of which we had brought from Ohio with us. Mathewos and some of the other workers ate with us, too. 

After dinner, we packed up our luggage (including 43 bags of coffee that Johannes had picked up for us!), took showers, and visited for awhile. Then Tomea came in to the guest house with some corn that he had roasted for us. It was so good! Shana spent time in the kids' house with the special mothers, and got her hair braided again for the trip home.  I really can't believe how fast their hands move....Shana's whole head was done in about 10-15 minutes!

Wass, the Ethiopian cowboy:

Lots of buna to take home:

All too soon, it was time to leave, so we hugged everyone goodbye. Danny drove us back to the airport at about 10:00 pm or so, and gave us another round of hugs. We went through security, got our boarding passes, went through customs, and did a little shopping before we headed to our gate. Then, we settled in to wait for our 1:00 am flight to Istanbul.