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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Be the Change For Children

Hi! This is Shana, and I'm taking over my mom's blog again to ask for your help. It seems like I never post anything until I have a project to fundraise for, but you all did such a great job last year during my Prayer Buddy project that I thought I would ask for your assistance again! This time, my project is called "Be the Change For Children," and I am doing a coin drive to raise money for children in Ethiopia. Do you have spare change just sitting around? If so, would you be willing to donate it to this very worthy cause? 100% of the funds raised will go toward children in Ethiopia. I am hoping to go back to Ethiopia with my parents next summer, and want to do my part to help children across the world who do not have as much as I do. If you are interested in helping out, send me an email at I will be collecting coins for the next several months, so you have plenty of time.

Thank you so much! I appreciate your support, and children in Ethiopia will be blessed because of your kindness!

Friday, June 27, 2014


This week, our kids attended Vacation Bible School at church. They had so much fun! To record their class pics for our family scrapbook, here we go:

Jalen and Jordan's class:

Malia's class:

 Ashton's class:

 Adrian's class:

And that's all for now! Have a great Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Please Support CHIFF! (Video)

Hollen Frazier, AGCI's Executive Director, shows support for the CHIFF bill below in a video on how CHIFF can make all the difference in the lives of orphans around the world. Time is running out to get the CHIFF bill to senate. We have until the end of this week to spread the word. Please watch it and forward this to your family and friends today.

Children Need Families - Support CHIFF from Videos for AGCI on Vimeo.

Welcome Home, Kuchman!

Last Saturday, we drove down to Columbus and had the privilege of welcoming Nick and Val Steyer and their new son, Kuchman, home from Ethiopia! The Steyers started their adoption process because of V, the little Ukrainian orphan boy we hosted a year and a half ago. It has been such a blessing to watch the Steyer's journey unfold, and we were so excited to meet Kuchman a couple of weeks ago while we were in Ethiopia on our mission trip! It is extra special that Kuchman is the same age, is from the same tribe, and lived in the same remote village of Ethiopia as did our twins! Now they will live only 1/2 an hour from each other on the other side of the world from where they came. And one more thing...Kuchman arrived home the same week that V comes back to America for the summer. God is in all the details.

Waiting for the plane to land:

Here they come!

Kuchman meeting his siblings for the first time:

Kuchman recognized Ashton right away, and gave him a big hug! These two played together in Ethiopia a couple of weeks ago.

I love how Ashton is wearing an Ethiopian jersey while Kuchman is decked out in USA clothes!

Meredith and Gabe were there as well...they have 2 sons/brothers at Hannah's Hope, and are waiting to travel to meet them.

Family of 6!

The cuteness of these 3 Gambella boys is almost more than I can take. They all look so much alike, and are exactly the same size.

Welcome home, Steyer family! And welcome to the USA and your forever family, Kuchman! We are so thankful that you're all together at last, and wish you God's richest blessings as you adjust to your new life. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Birthday Party Fun...

Last Friday, Malia had some friends over to help her celebrate her 8th birthday.

Hope you have a great year being 8, Malia!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Children in Families First

There are approximately 200 million children in the world who find themselves on the street, in orphanages, or in refugee camps. These children do not have a voice. Today, the US government does not have any law that supports these children growing up in a family. They need to have resources to help them get reunited with their immediate family, find a place in their extended family, get adopted domestically, or find an adopted family in another country.

The Children In Families First (CHIFF) bill takes a small portion of the $2 billion in funds already being spent on child programs to give these children a voice. CHIFF establishes a bureau in the Department of State that will become the much needed foreign policy and diplomatic hub on international child welfare to fill the gap in leadership. CHIFF strengthens inter-country adoption by streamlining the process through USCIS. CHIFF focuses US foreign investment by establishing a center of excellence with USAID and creates a Senior Coordinator for Children in Adversity to implement programs in target countries. CHIFF brings the need for ethical, transparent and accountable child welfare systems to the forefront.

This week, we need families to campaign to get CHIFF moving through Congress. Time is running out on this is stuck in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so we need your help to get it out to the Senate floor and beyond. To see if your members of congress are involved please go to

There are 6 actions we need you to take in order to help:

1      1. Spread the word to as many people as you can.
2      2. Sign the CHIFF petition.
3      3. Call your members of Congress
4      4. Connect online with your members of Congress
5      5. Visit your member of Congress
6      6. Email a letter to Congress

Actions 2-6 can be completed by going to

Sunday, June 22, 2014

3 Years!!!

3 years ago today, after God blessed us with a double rainbow, we got a phone call that changed our lives forever. Shortly afterward, we received the most important email in the history of emails that included the photos we had been waiting so long to see. We had been matched with a set of 2 1/2 year old Ethiopian twins, and on that day, we looked upon the faces of our boys for the first time!

3 years later:

Happy referral-versary, Jalen and Jordan! We love you with all of our might, and are so thankful God blessed our lives with you. We have enjoyed the journey of the last 3 years, and can't wait to experience the rest of forever with you! 

"A father of the fatherless, God setteth the solitary in families..." Psalms 68:5,6

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Our Trip to Ethiopia, Days 9 and 10

Monday and Tuesday, June 2-3, 2014

We got ready for the day, and then headed outside to play with the kids for awhile. In the photo below, Ashton is hugging little K, who is coming home to his family in Ohio soon! He will live near us, is the same age as our twins, and all 3 boys are from the same tribe and remote village in Africa! I'm so excited about that!

Chris and Wass hanging out:

Richard and Ashton played soccer with the kids:

I began to walk around and take photos of Hannah's Hope. They are moving to a new and smaller facility soon, as adoptions have slowed so much in Ethiopia that it makes it too costly to operate such a large compound with fewer children and families involved. I will certainly miss the current HH, as we have so many memories attached to it. HH has been a safe and loving haven for so many children over the years, and this is the place where we met 2 of our sons!! It is sad to think that we won't ever be coming back here, but I am happy that AGCI is being a good financial steward. The new HH is very nice as well, and will hold great memories too, I'm sure.

The guesthouse:

Alem cooked us one last breakfast:

Ashton collected pop bottle caps all week, and decided to share some with the boys at HH. 

We also handed out a pair of shoes to each of the special mothers:

 Soon, Chris, Larisa, Azeb and I walked to the new Hannah's Hope to take a tour. AGCI's director, Hollen, wanted us to take photos of the building and email them back to her so she could include them in today's announcement to all the adoptive families about the upcoming move.

The new HH:

The building was still under construction, but the workmen let us take a tour.

The street to the left of the new HH:

The street to the right:

The street straight ahead:

An Ethiopian Coke truck:

The old HH:

 When we got back, Danny was there! Chris gave him one of the Africa shirts we had made.

Chris and Tom:

 Wass took the rest of the team to pick up all the coffee we had ordered and then on to visit the rehabilitation center, where AGCI has another project planned for next year. They stopped on the way to buy 2 goats to donate to the rehab center. Meanwhile, Chris, Larisa, and I stayed back at HH to visit with Almaz, who came to see us. It was so good to see and catch up with her again!

 Almaz and Mathewos, the former and current directors of HH:

After Almaz left, we visited with Mathewos for quite awhile about the projects that need completed next year. Chris and I have offered to lead another mission team next summer, so he filled us in on some of the details.

When the rest of the team got back, we played with the kids for a little bit before loading up and heading to the market to do some shopping.

Staci, Geb, and Wass:

Everyone enjoyed checking out the different shops, and we compared our purchases on the way back to HH.

Back at HH, we showered and flew into packing mode as we soon had to be back at the airport. Mathewos called me downstairs and handed me a little cloth bag. "This is for Shana," he said. "It's a necklace. I think she will like it." I thanked him and gave him a hug. It was so sweet! 

We finished packing, hugged the staff and kids goodbye, took some last photos, and shed some more tears.

Ashton gave Tom his watch, some pop, and some snacks, and they hugged for a long time. Ashton told him that he is his best friend in the world, and cried so hard when it was time to leave. 

Wass took us back to the airport, and there were more hugs all around. It took a long time for us all to check in, and we got through final security not long before our flight boarded.

 We stopped in Rome to refuel on the way home.

This is what Ashton looked like for much of the flight.

We finally arrived into Washington D.C, where I bought myself a big salad. Ah, fresh food! We parted ways with Larisa, and then boarded our flight to Indianapolis.

Almost there!

Home! It was so good to see the kids again, take a nice, warm, clean shower, and sleep in our own bed. And of course, the kids had decorated the house with "welcome home" posters for us.

Ashton and the twins model their new traditional Ethiopian outfits:

And one last photo...we were, of course, so jet-lagged. But that didn't stop Ashton from getting up (before everyone else!) the next morning and making pancakes for all of us! :-)

It was a wonderful trip, and we're already looking forward to next year! Goodbye, Ethiopia! Until next time...