Monday, December 31, 2012

December Numbers!

Today we received our December waitlist numbers from AGCI!
Our new numbers are:
For a girl 0-12 months old
For siblings--a girl 0-12 months old and a birthsister 0-5 years old
We moved 3 spots down on the girls list and 1 spot down on the siblings list!
Overall, we have moved 9 spots down on the girls list and 3 spots down on the siblings list!
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits
and in His word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5
Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.
Psalm 60:5 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Words On Prayer, Love, and Adoption

When you pray, move your feet.
~African proverb
Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
~Mother Teresa

I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally. Absolutely, with all of ourselves, so much that it hurts and then more.
~Katie Davis
We adopt not because we are rescuers, but because we have been rescued.
~David Platt
Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.
~David Platt
When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.
~C.S. Lewis
What happens in the spiritual realm when we pray? It's such a mystery. What words prompt the Spirit to move? What goodness do we join Him on when we pray for peace? How powerful are our prayer words? They are a catalyst for miracles, the impetus for healing. Does God wait for us to pray in His will, primed to move for righteousness? How many relationships is He waiting to mend? How much turmoil is He poised to soothe? How much peace is He ready to administer? Are we withholding the necessary words to trigger God's intervention?
~Jen Hatmaker

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Heart Africa

I have two nieces and a nephew (and also a nephew on the way!) in Washington.
During our visit December 11-17th, my 8-year-old niece Mariesa made me the above bracelet. It is the sweetest gift! Her creation of the bracelet and the act of her giving it to me was completely unprompted by anybody.
She gets it!
Colin and I decided to gift Mariesa, her sister Natalie, and their brother Caleb with presents related to our Ethiopian adoption. We got them an Explore Ethiopia coloring book to share, zebra + monkey puppets, and an Ethiopian doll. It was fun and meaningful teaching them about Ethiopia and adoption.
They are excited for an Ethiopian cousin/s and want her/them here soon!
We do too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

USCIS Fingerprinting

Today, Colin and I drove to Milwaukee to get fingerprinted! This is the second set of fingerprints needed for our adoption, and thankfully, the last thing on our list to do for paperwork. That is, until yearly homestudy updates are needed or other paperwork expires.
We had to go to the USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Services) building. Quick and easy. We will receive paperwork in the mail shortly and then we will have to get a form notarized and sent off to AGCI in Oregon.
Since it is a 2+ hour drive to Milwaukee for us, we had to make the trip worthwhile, so of course we had to have lunch at Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant! It was a lovely time, sharing food of our child/ren's culture together. It will be exciting to bring our child/ren there someday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wisconsin Snow

looking out over our deck
We got our first large snowfall. I always say that we must have snow for Christmas, and God always seems to bless us with it just before.
The trees are beautifully glazed with the white fluff. It is just cold enough (30s) that I think it may stick around rather than melt.
Yesterday, it felt nice to sit back, sip my scrumptious mocha that Colin made me, and listen to classic Christmas songs.
We have been busy little bees, working, fulfilling plenty of Etsy jewelry/ornament orders (praise God!), purchasing Christmas gifts, wrapping, writing cards, etc.
But, now is our time to rest intermittently through the rest of the month. We will still have to work some, but we will be squeezing in a trip to Olympia, Washington to visit Colin's family, and a trip to Spring Valley, WI to visit my family before the month is over.
We are excited to spend time with family. I will be taking a short break from blogging for the rest of the month. I may stop in for a hello or two, but I will be back in full force in January.
It is good to take breaks. Refresh. Reenergize. Focus on Jesus' birth and the purpose of His coming.

He came to give us life, eternal life.
He came to give us grace.
He came to give us a purpose, a future.
And that is to be celebrated!
He also came to LOVE. To SERVE. To TEACH. To EMBRACE.
And that is to be received. And given!
I wish you and yours a very blessed Christmas season!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

O Christmas Tree

Colin and I got our Christmas tree on November 18th. Usually we get it the Friday after Thanksgiving, but Colin worked that day and the two days after. So, to ensure we could find the perfect tree, we decided to go to the tree farm early this year. Besides, Christmas is our favorite! Why not decorate early?
the Country Christmas Store

no snow on the ground yet--just a chill in the air

we hiked and hiked to find the most beautiful tree; we ended up back at the beginning and finally found our love

my love, my Colin

here she is all aglow--with Dahlia and Mercedes trying to steal the spotlight

and at the very top--under the angel--our Africa ornament, representing our baby

Sunday, December 2, 2012

One Month Dreaming

We have been on the waitlist to adopt for 1 month today!
Our case manager told us to tune out these first months of waiting, because the wait can get really stressful and even agonizing, especially down the road when we will be closer to our referral.
But, I am finding it difficult.
I want to know when other parents receive their precious referrals.
I want to know about babies coming home to join their forever families.
I want to know about the struggles other families are facing.
I want to know just about everything!
And so I tune in.
And, perhaps it may hurt me in the long run. But, for today, I want to know!
I LOVE being on the waitlist. It makes it more real--having a daughter (or two!).
I DREAM. Of curls. Of chubby arms and legs. Of tiny toes. Of giggles.
I even dream of the messy.
Dreaming of our girl/s takes me to another place. A place of love. A Heavenly place.
And I am SO in love!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November Numbers!


Yesterday, November 30, 2012, we received our November waitlist numbers from AGCI!
 Our new numbers are:
For a girl 0-12 months old
For siblings--a girl 0-12 months old and a birthsister 0-5 years old
We moved 6 spots down on the girls list and 2 spots down on the siblings list!
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
Psalm 133:1
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

All Of Our Days

I am thankful for you this Thanksgiving and all of my days.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Friends Through Adoption Christmas Party

On Saturday, we attended a Christmas party with our Friends Through Adoption support group!
It was a fantastic time. Santa came for a visit! The children were adorable as they took their turns sitting on his lap and telling him what they want for Christmas.
We enjoyed Ethiopian food together--the smells of doro wat, beef tibs, and Ethiopian vegetables permeating the air together is incredible.
The mommas and mommas-to-be exchanged tree ornaments.
And I got to hold a baby girl recently brought home from Ethiopia. She was so sweet. I am pretty sure that when I become a momma, Colin is going to have to wrestle the baby out of my arms, because I am never going to want to let her go. :)
It was just so much fun talking to our friends and playing with children. We are meeting up again in January to celebrate Melkam Gena, Ethiopian Christmas! 
Precious children!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Inside My Week

Inside my home: a vanilla cinnamon candle is glowing.

Inside my kitchen: are the raspberry muffins I baked.

Inside my book basket: is Bullets In the Washing Machine (Melissa Littles), Seven (Jen Hatmaker), The Connected Child (Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine), and too many Food Network magazines.

Inside my playlist: is Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline.

Inside my hopes: are many, many referrals for this month! Several AGCI Ethiopian babies have already been matched with their forever families in November, and I pray for many more.

Inside my weekend: is a Christmas get-together with our Ethiopia adoptive family support group on Saturday, and an early Thanksgiving celebration with Colin on Sunday along with getting our Christmas tree and decorating!

Inside my picture: are two plaques Colin made me that represent our waitlist numbers! The girl plaque has 139 Africas (that I took a really long time cutting out by hand!) and the siblings plaque has 63 Africas. Each month when we get our new waitlist numbers, we will be able to take down a few Africas (God willing!) if referrals have gone out and we move down on the lists.


Peru 2012

Currently, a team of Compassion Bloggers are in Peru to witness firsthand Compassion International’s ministry to children in the highlands near Lima.

I have never been on a missions trip. Oh, how my heart wants to! It will happen. Colin and I both feel called to Ethiopia, but are open to God calling us to other countries in Africa, other continents, or in our American backyard as well.

I love to read about lives changed, people helped, families served. I love to hear of hearts changing--caring selflessly and passionately for our brothers and sisters.

To read the stories and accouts of this trip to Peru, please visit Peru 2012.

Angie Smith, wife of Todd Smith from Selah, is on the trip.  Angie was able to take her 8-year-old twin girls to Peru with her! She wrote a fantastic post about how this trip has been affecting her girls called Love Moves. Here is a picture of her girls loving:

Please pray with me for the physical and emotional health of everyone on this trip. Pray also for more children and families to be rescued from poverty in Jesus' name.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Special Gifts #3

In August, Colin began a sweet tradition of surprising me with a special gift for our baby!
This weekend, I received a bow for our little girl. It has embroidered on it the outline of Ethiopia! It is so precious and I am so excited for the day that I will get to clip it to our girl's curls.

It was purchased through an Etsy Shop--Girly Girl Bowtique if you are interested.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Ethiopian cooking is built on three building blocks:
INJERA- the local sour, spongy bread that is served with each meal
NIT'IR QIBE- a spiced butter that provides a rich base
BERBERE- a complex blend of chili peppers and spices that gives the cuisine its signature flavors
Berbere is pronounces ber-ber-ee. It is added to Ethipian stews such as doro wett or tibs wett. It can be spicy--if you or your children do not enjoy spice OR if you cannot find dried serrano chilies, I recommend you leave them out of this recipe. I have made this once without this ingredient and once with it. It is fantastic both ways, but the dried serrano chilies are extremely hot. Adjust this recipe and how much you add to other recipes accordingly.
I recently made a batch and put it in an airtight container on my counter. Sometimes I like to open it for a smell. It makes me happy. Transports me to Ethiopia for a moment.
Here is what it will look like:

1 tsp fenugreek
1/2 cup ground dried serrano chilies
1/2 cup paprika
2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Stir together and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
*Recipe was taken from The Soul Of A New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus is Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised. He was adopted as a young boy. He owns four restaurants.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Explanation Of Our Adoption Waitlist

Colin and I have been soaking in the fact that we are on the waitlist.
Typical daily conversation:
Colin: Good morning.
Jess: Good morning.
Colin: Guess what?!?
Jess: What?
Colin: We are on the waitlist!!
I want to take a moment to explain to you how AGCI's Ethiopia program waitlist works. When a family turns in their dossier and it is approved, they are given a waitlist number. AGCI uses three different waitlists: girl, boy, and siblings. It is the adoptive parents' choice which list they would like to be on--they can choose just one, two, or all three. It is also the adoptive parents' choice what age range of child/ren they are open to accepting and what health needs they are open to.
Our first waitlist numbers and age parameters are:
139 for a girl 0-12 months old
 63 for siblings--a girl 0-12 months old and a birthsister 0-5 years old
Each month, AGCI will tell us our new waitlist numbers. Because of the wide range of parameters that parents get to choose, a family doesn't necessarily need to be #1 on the waitlist to receive a referral. If a family is open to an older child or a child with a special need that other families ahead of them are not, they will receive the referral.
If a family is on multiple lists and they receive a referral, they will be taken off of all lists. So, just because we are #139 on the girl's list, does not mean that 138 girls will have to be referred before we receive our referral.
Although our sibling number is a lot lower than our girl number, there are more single child referrals than sibling referrals.
AGCI is telling families to expect to wait at least 2 years for a referral. Honestly, I am preparing my heart to wait longer than this. During the month of October, NO referrals went out. There is no way to predict the future of Ethiopian adoptions--the wait could go up or down.
We know that God placed us on the list at the exact timing to receive our perfect referral.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the waitlist or adoption in general. I would absolutely love to discuss your question with you!

Friday, November 2, 2012

We Are On The Waitlist!!!

Today, November 2nd, 2012, we joined the waitlist for the AGCI Ethiopia program!
Our first waitlist numbers are:
For a girl 0-12 months old
For siblings--a girl 0-12 months old and a birthsister 0-5 years old
We. Are. Excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:9-10
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:7-8

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


It's in the mail! It's in the mail!
We received the last of our paperwork from our social worker yesterday afternoon, and today, we overnighted our dossier to AGCI in Oregon. It will be there tomorrow morning!
To say we are excited and thrilled is an understatement. I talked to our case manager today, and she said that she would likely review our dossier by Friday and give us a call. She will either tell us that there is something we need to fix or that we are on the waitlist.
A glimpse at our load of paperwork before:

After it was packaged and weighed in at almost two pounds!:

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 27, 2012

My brother, Ryan, got married on Saturday!!!
It was a brisk, 40-something degree day here in Wisconsin, and it was an outdoor wedding--but we survived. It was a beautiful day--the wedding, reception, and dance.
Introducing: Ryan and Danielle Nyeggen!
Colin, me, my mom and dad, Danielle, and Ryan:

Hunting is huge in Wisconsin, so the photographer took this picture of the bridesmaids with guns (I am to the right of the bride)....check out the adorable flower girl:

And the boys!:

Colin and I are so excited to welcome Danielle into the family!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Update On Homestudy

It's not a big update. Not yet.
Our homestudy was approved by AGCI last Wednesday, the 17th.
It's 6 1/2 days later....but who's counting....and we have not heard anything from our social worker since the 17th, when she said she received the approval from AGCI.
We have requested that our social worker notify us ASAP when her boss approves it and she gets it notarized, because we are going to drive to pick it up, saving a day or two by not waiting on the mail.
I just want our dossier in the mail to AGCI. That's all.
Our homestudy visits have been completed since August 6th. We are about to enter into our 6th month of starting our education and dossier. We MUST have our dossier mailed to and accepted by AGCI, and be on the waitlist by November 29th, or we have to pay AGCI extra fees each month we go beyond that date.
Please Lord. Soon. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Personalized Names Africa Necklace

Colin, my talented husband, has just started making personalized Africa necklaces!

Colin carved the circle and Africa, along with the cut-out heart by hand. It is made out of wood. He then hand-burned the names into the circle.
The necklace shown above has the names of our three sponsored children on it!

The necklace is available for purchase in our Etsy shop! All proceeds from our shop go toward our adoption. It would make a beautiful Christmas gift for an adoptive mother or a sponsor mother.
Please let us know if you have any questions!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Special Gifts #2

In August, Colin began a sweet tradition of surprising me with a special gift for our baby!
My sweetheart knows that sometimes I feel disconnected from our child/ren with our long adoption process. So he decided that from time to time, he would surpise me with a gift for our little one.
Last week, he picked out some adorable pajamas and a sweet dress! Colin is a great shopper. Our girl is going to have a full closet by the time she arrives!
It is very difficult picking out clothing for a little girl who you have no solid idea of what age she will be when she arrives home, let alone what size she will be. We are going to start with buying clothing we think will be too big for her, and then we can always add smaller clothing when we receive our referral and have a better idea.
Are you ready to see the gifts?!?
Here they are:
Two sets of pajamas (one with a ballerina elephant and the other with hearts)

 Pretty dress!

I can picture our beauty in her pajamas before bedtime. I imagine her in the dress during a cool Wisconsin fall, playing in leaves.
Someday, you may see a picture of our little girl wearing one of these outfits!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Harvest Party

Yesterday, Colin and I attended a Harvest Party that we were invited to through our Friends through Adoption group.
We gathered to celebrate the fall season. The children all dressed up in costumes. They were so adorable. I wonder what our children's first costumes will be?
The children searched for hidden candy in a pile of straw! So fun!

Then they decorated pumpkins with stickers. It is always enjoyable seeing children so excited over activities such as these. There was definitely a lot of energy floating around!
On our drive home, Colin said to me, "I'm ready for us to have our own (children)."
And we are.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Waiting For The Wait

I can't wait to wait.
That's right. I am waiting IMpatiently for the moment that Colin and I are on the waitlist and officially waiting for a referral.
I have waited for a long time to begin our estimated 2+ years of waiting for our blessed referral.
It is great to be a little bit crazy.
This is my mind waiting for the wait:
We have tried to complete our education and dossier quickly, and now all we can do is wait on other people to do their portion. And wait. And wait. And wait.
I get a little angry about the said wait.
Are we not the most important family in their caseload?
(insert smile because I know this is not true, but I surely wish that it was!)
I witness beautiful Ethiopian babies coming home to their forever families.
It feels impossible that God has called ME to adopt.
It feels impossible that God is going to entrust ME with a baby!
Is two years enough time to prepare for parenting an adopted child?
I research books and blogs and studies about attachment, cocooning, hair, food, and everything else.
But will it be enough?
What if my baby doesn't attach to me?
What if I do not attach to my baby?
What if, what if, what if.
My husband gifts me with baby gifts to help me connect my heart with the reality that at the end of all this waiting there will be a child/ren that God chose for me to mother.
Seeing and feeling the precious tiny baby clothes and shoes, I get a little weepy about my baby/ies....are they born? Where are they? Are they being fed? Are they clothed? Are they safe?
Are they LOVED???
I love them. I pray for them. I daydream about them.
And all of this waiting?
It is God telling me that I WILL be a mother.
It is God saying that He has the strength I need.
It is hope, faith, and love.
It is He alone who gives rest.
And I rest in knowing that this journey is real.
This life of mine has a purpose.
My God is an Awesome God who has a perfect plan of love and redemption.
And He included me in His plan.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

God's Chisel

Happy Sunday to you all.
I wanted to simply share with you a video I experienced in church a while ago. God's Chisel. It is a short skit about God chiseling out the dead weight from a man. This process of chiseling can be painful, but it creates a clean heart, motivation to become like Christ, and a deeper love for the God who created us. Give this inspirational video a watch!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: No Greater Love

No Greater Love: One man's radical journey through the heart of Ethiopia is a book written by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand. Levi was a young California entrepreneur, owning a real estate development company. Him and his wife, Jessie, had three children, Nickoli, Luella, and Ruth.
Levi was asked by a friend to fly to Ethiopia to help organize an orphanage for children destined to be murdered as part of a tribal superstition known as "mingi killings."
A child could be declared mingi for three reasons: if the parents are not married, if the parents do not announce to the elders in an elaborate ceremony that they intend to conceive, or if the child's top teeth come in before the bottom teeth. Once the infants or children are labeled mingi, they are murdered (often by placing dirt in their mouths and being left to suffocate) to protect the village from evil spirits. The elders teach that if the killings don't happen, the whole tribe will be harmed. It will not rain. Crops will fail. People will die. It is estimated that 1,000 children in Ethiopia were declared mingi every single year.
Moved by his friend's story, Levi flew to Ethiopia for a two-week trip to help his friend. The trip changed Levi. He came back to California, and within 6 weeks, he left his business, sold his home and belongings, and moved to Ethiopia with his wife and three children. They thought there had to be more to life than living the "American Dream".
The story goes on to share Levi's experiences in Ethiopia--rescuing mingi children, working with tribal leaders, running an orphanage, and finding adoptive homes for the children. Levi and Jessie adopt a baby girl, Everly (Edalawit).
I thought the book was an honest depiction of a selfless family that moves to a foreign country. It tells not only of triumphs and blessings, but it is often times a darker read, portraying the struggles each of them encounter--from adjusting to a new culture, to lack of food and water, to missing family and friends.
It is difficult to understand that child killings such as these are going on in our world today. It is easy to live our lives in a bubble of comfort and simplicity. But when the truth is exposed--when our eyes are opened--it is a lot more difficult to simply sit back, untouched.
If Levi's story is intriguing to you--buy the book. It is on sale at Amazon for $10. Beware: God will break your heart for what breaks His, and you may even consider doing something about it.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Letter From a Sponsored Child

*I am a Compassion blogger! This will be my fourth and last post for Compassion Blog Month. Then I will be given a topic to write about approximately once every month. This week's writing challenge is to write a letter as if you were a sponsored child. God did tell us to become like little children.
Dear Friend,
Hi! I'm Grace from Ethiopia. I'm 9. I live with my mama, 2 brothers, and 1 sister. I love my family so much. I am the oldest and hold many responsibilities to care for my younger brothers and sister. My mama is a street vendor, so I watch my brothers and sister all day. I help with cooking when we have food and carrying water. My favorite food is injera and doro wat. 
I love to play soccer with my friends. I love to sing and attend church. My favorite bible story is any about little children!
Let me tell you about where I live. I have a home made of mud walls, a tin roof, and a dirt floor. I share a bed with my mama, brothers, and sister. My most prized possession is a jump rope that an American visitor brought me. Along with my pretty dress and shoes. My first pair of shoes. I am so thankful to God. He is so good to me!
My life changed when I got sponsored. I was waiting for months and months. I was worried I would never get sponsored--that I wasn't pretty enough, or wasn't a good girl. The most beautiful woman sponsored me. She writes me letters! She sends me paper dolls, stickers, and pictures. She tells me she loves me and that she is proud of how I am doing in school. She makes me happy. 
My sponsor makes me feel important. I wish for my friends to all get sponsors too, so they can feel important and loved. I am sad for them. They can't go to school until they are sponsored. Some of them are sick. Will you sponsor one of my friends? Please?
Because of my sponsor, I can now go to school and learn all kinds of things. There are books at school! I hope to be a teacher. I just know that one day, I want to grow up to be a sponsor!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Over the Weekend

Last weekend, Colin and I travelled to Spring Valley to stay with my parents for the weekend. It is a little bit over a 3 hour drive. We were visiting because it was the weekend of my brother's fiance's wedding shower and bachelorette party, and my brother's bachelor party. They are getting married next month: October 27th. Colin is a groomsman and I am a bridesmaid.
Saturday morning was the wedding shower. After that, a bunch of us ladies headed out for the bachelorette party. We went to Chateau St. Croix Winery. We participated in wine tasting, along with cheeses and crackers. Then we took a tour of the winery. I found it interesting learning about how the winery came to be, and how wine is made.

The bride (in white) and her bridesmaids posing by dozens of oak barrels that held aging wine:

I am the back left girl. :)
Then we had dinner at a restaurant on a lake. It was a beautiful view.
The boys went four-wheeling all afternoon. Then we all met up later that night for a bonfire at my brother's house.
The next day, Colin and I went to Como Zoo in Minnesota with my parents. It was a lot of fun! Zoo visits twice in one month = a fantastic month for me!
We stopped at the gift shop at the zoo before we left to go home, and I have some amazing Christmas presents to unwrap in three months from my parents! There was an area of the gift shop that had products made in Africa! Being that I am a music therapist, they bought for me a variety of African-made instruments. After I open them on Christmas, I will have to post a photo. I am so excited to incorporate them into my sessions, and use them with my child/ren!
Colin bought Baby Mumford her first stuffed animal: a giraffe.
What are your plans for this coming weekend? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Sponsored Child Pinterest Contest

Compassion International is holding a My Sponsored Child Pinterest Contest!
To receive all of the information, please visit the link above. But basically, this is how it works:
1. Create a Pinterest board titled "My Sponsored Child."
2. On the board you create, pin the image as seen on the link above.
3. Pin either a photo of you and your sponsored child together, a photo of you with a letter from your sponsored child, or a photo of you holding a photo of your sponsored child.
Once you have created your board, share the URL with Compassion by visiting the above link.
You can also enter the contest by sponsoring a Compassion child.
Ten sponsors will win a $25 gift for their sponsored child.
Five sponsors will win a $100 gift for their sponsored child's family.
This contest ends September 23rd!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Home Study En Route!

We got a call today from our homestudy agency social worker saying that the rough draft of our homestudy is on its way to All God's Children International in Oregon!
This is news to celebrate! God honors bold prayers!
Now we wait for AGCI to receive it, look it over, and make corrections. We also have a copy of it to make corrections on. Then AGCI will send it back to our social worker, she'll make the needed corrections, and then give the finalized copy to us.
And THEN, we can fill out our application to U.S. Customs and mail our completed dossier to AGCI. And pray for no changes needed to be made to our dossier documents.
Once AGCI approves of our dossier, we will be put on the waiting list!
Excitement is creeping in............

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bold and Confident

Isn't this picture so adorable? They are praying so hard! I wonder what they are praying for. And I wonder what would happen if I prayed this hard--with full assurance that God would answer my prayers. I want to pray big, bold, confident prayers!
Colin and I had a relaxing weekend off together. We had some brief errands to run and spent quite a bit of time creating jewelry for our Etsy shop and Z's, the bakery in town that sells our jewelry.
We also went on a refreshing hike! There is a state park near us that went to. It was beautiful and to hike along the lake and in the woods. I am a country girl at heart, and this hike reminded me that I want to own a home in the country someday. Peaceful. Fresh air. Sounds of nature.
Besides our application to U.S. Customs, which cannot yet be sent in, we are just waiting on our social worker to finish writing up our home study. That's all!
We are in a weird spot. We have nothing to do but wait. I don't like it.
I feel like I need to be doing something to speed up the process of getting on the waitlist, but I can't. I need to have patience, and focus on the blessing that will come after all of this hard work and waiting.
And I think waiting is hard work, too! I know I am going to have to work hard to not go crazy. :)
What is a bold and confident prayer you are praying for?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear God

Dear God,
From Burkina Faso to Sri Lanka
El Salvador to Peru
Hunger aches like a beast
No clean water
No doctors or nurses, classes or
Families that love them
Hurt for them
Are desperate for them
Help me
Help us
Be the change
For one
Help us to live 
Because you died
Living is breathing life into others
Spraying a light into the world
Living is sacrificing
Enjoying the suffering as Paul did
Living is courage
Battling for Your Kingdom
Loving unconditionally
Fighting for lives
Lives of our brothers and sisters
Lord, let there be a revival in our hearts
Let children be sponsored
One by one by one
Oh Lord, wreck us.
Break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Happy Enkutatash!

Happy Ethiopian New Year!
On Sunday we were invited to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year with several Ethiopian adoptive families. It is such a blessing to be involved in a group like this, and it will be particularly important once our child/ren are home. It will be vital for their identity to have connections with other children born in Ethiopia.
Most of the families at the group already had their children home. It was beautiful seeing them all play together. Everyone brought an Ethiopian dish to share. It was interesting to notice how the children who were adopted at an older age really connected with the food from Ethiopia--injera, beef tibs, and doro wat--and the berbere seasoning.
We both had so much fun and learned so much from the other families. Most important advice: God has a plan. Have patience in the wait. When your child/ren are home, none of these difficult times will matter.
Explanation of Enkutatash as found on Paradise Ethiopia:
Literally meaning ‘a finger jewel gift’, Enkutatash recalls the gifts given to the eminent Queen of Sheba when she was welcomed home after visiting King Solomon. The festival has been celebrated as the rains come to an abrupt end since very early times and dancing and singing can be heard in every village across the green countryside.
The Ethiopian New Year falls on September 11th, just as the sun begins to shine all day again. The atmosphere is one of dazzling clarity and freshness and the highlands turn to gold as the Meskel flowers burst into bloom. Children, dressed up in their new clothes, sing and dance through the villages and give bouquets of flowers and painted drawings to each household which convey the spring-time message of a renewed life.

Enkutatash can be celebrated in Addis, Gondar, Axum or Mekele, but it is a splendid occasion in every town and village across the country.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Milwaukee Zoo and Ethiopian Cottage

On Friday, Colin and I drove to Milwaukee to finish up our dossier documents--we visited a friend who wrote one of our recommendation letters. We went with her to get the document notarized.
Other than our USCIS favorable determination letter and fingerprinting (which can't be done until we have a copy of our homestudy and no longer needs to be done before we can get onto the waitlist), we are done with paperwork! Unless, of course, a mistake is found on one of our completed documents. We are just waiting for Colin's Washington state background check to be completed and our homestudy will be done--then we can start gathering all our documents and mailing them to AGCI!
My heart is bursting! I am finding it so difficult to not put a timeframe on when we will be put on the waiting list. Not mine, but God's timing.
After we met with our friend, Colin took me on a date to the Milwaukee County Zoo! We had a blast. It rained through half of our visit, but cuddling under an umbrella made it sweet. Here are some pictures of our favorite animals:
Gorilla Eating Cardboard

Orangutan Showing Off

Bear Sleeping In Hammock

Beautiful Giraffes

My Favorite Of The Day, Hilarious Elephants


After the zoo, Colin and I went to the restaurant Ethiopian Cottage in Milwaukee. This was our second visit. The smells of the spices as soon as you open the door were so comforting to me. Along with the smell of diesel, I have heard this is what you smell when you get off the plane in Ethiopia!
We decided to try Buna (Ethiopian coffee). The restaurant brings in the beans unprocessed, and roasts and grinds them fresh every day. Coffee is served in a clay Jebbena pot to help you experience the complex flavors. It is a ritual in Ethiopia to have coffee and popcorn after a meal.
It was a lovely day, filled with some of my favorite things. I thought about our child/ren often and what it will be like when we can bring them to the zoo or to an Ethiopian restauant.
Beautiful daydreaming.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Compassion International

I am teaming up with Compassion International for the month of September as an advocate for children in poverty! Every week in September, I will be blogging on a topic they give me. After September, I will continue to be a Compassion blogger and be given new blogging assignments once or twice a month. I am honored to be able to write for Compassion, as I have a passion for doing all that I can to help break the cycle of poverty.
Taken from the Compassion website:
Compassion International, founded in 1952, exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Today, Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries!
Sponsorship. Is. Awesome.
I have written posts in the past about our three children: Dominic from Kenya, Eyouel from Ethiopia, and Mugwaneza from Rwanda.
Sponsorship provides:
Clean water
Medical care
Educational opportunities
A Bible in his or her native language
Life skills training
 But, most importantly, sponsorship provides children with a hope and a purpose. And extra love.
I write letters as often as I like to my children! I send coloring pages, pictures, and lots of stickers. And, I get letters and drawings back! It is a beautiful relationship. I pray for my children and their families and care centers daily. Compassion leads trips for sponsor families to meet their children--I hope to do this one day!
Will you do something for me?
Go to the Sponsor a Child page at Compassion and pray over the children. Pray for sponsorship, pray for them to know Jesus, pray for God to protect them.
Spend some time asking God to reveal His heart for the poor to you.
Sit down with your children to view the page and turn it into a learning opportunity about other children around the world.
Pray about sponsoring a child.
Let me know if you have any questions about Compassion or child sponsorship. I would be more than happy to talk to you! My e-mail address is: .