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Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 Featured families #3


This week I'm featuring two families again, Debb and Jeff Marquez and Josh and Tami Rogers.
Debb and Jeff Marquez


Debbie has been married to the man of her dreams, Jeff, for over 3 years. Together, they both aim to seek God first in all that they do, placing their hands in His, and allowing Him to direct their daily paths. Oftentimes this can mean walking in a fog or darkness, not knowing which direction the Lord will lead, while holding on to the Peace that comes from knowing that their Heavenly Father is in control.

God has greatly blessed their marriage, and now, His handprints can be seen all over their journey to parenthood as He blesses them with the precious gift of adoption!  They are currently #3 on the infant boy list, #3 for unrelated children, and #7 on the sibling list, so they are getting CLOSE!

When asked how they chose Ethiopia, they often answer in unison, “Ethiopia chose us!”  As they researched all adoption options, neither one could ignore the magnetic drawing Ethiopia had on their hearts.  They knew that they knew that God was telling them, “This is where your children are.” 

God made it vividly clear that He wanted them to begin their adoption journey in February 2010.  Initially, they put themselves on a wait list for an infant boy.  However, a few weeks later, Debbie had a recurrent dream of a little girl reaching out to both she and Jeff, crying, pleading, “Don’t leave me here!  Take me with you!  Please don’t leave me here!”  Debb shared this dream with Jeff, and, together, they interpreted the dream to indicate that they would be returning to Ethiopia for a daughter one day.   

However, unbeknownst to Jeff, Debb was on her knees with God praying, “Lord, if this dream was to prompt us to bring home two children now, at this time, please put two children on Jeff’s heart.”  She didn’t want to plant the idea on Jeff’s heart.  Instead, she wanted God to clarify that this was, indeed, not just her desire, but GOD’s desire for their family.

Well, within a couple of weeks, Jeff began discussing the idea of TWO CHILDREN with Debb!  No kidding!  She then shared her prayer for God to put this on his heart, if this is what the dream indicated.  They promptly added themselves to the list for two children!  They have been excitedly waiting to receive their referral for 6 months now.

Please follow their journey by visiting their blog, Holding God’s Hand in the Journey. They are fundraising with adult and infant/child shirts, sweatshirts, onsies and water bottles, with a design they created together. To order something from them, click here.








Josh, A, and Tami Rogers



Josh and Tami Rogers are from Ohio. They have been married for six years and have one biological child, A, who was born December 2008. Josh is a Human Resources Manager and Tami is a music teacher to Kindergarten through Fourth grade students.  

When it comes to their adoption story, God has been working on their hearts for a long time.  They talked about adopting before they were ever married and always knew that God was leading them to adopt one day.  In July 2007 they visited Kenya, Africa and their hearts were instantly in love with the people of Africa.  They knew that God was stirring their hearts even more for the entire continent and continued to pray that God would show them when and what that would be.  God used several families from their church who had previously adopted from Ethiopia to give them a passion for Ethiopia.  After much prayer and research, in May 2010, Mother’s Day to be exact, they filled out their application to AWAA to adopt an infant boy from Ethiopia.  They were officially DTE on November 4, 2010. 

They are currently raising money for their referral payment and for travel.  They are selling t-shirts which can be seen below on their blog here for $15 as well as doing the justlovecoffee fundraiser.  

I would like to encourage all of you to help support these two wonderful families by purchasing something off their blogs. It would make their day!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Introducing.....Matiwos!!!!

Tonight Garth and I were sitting on our couch having supper (yes I know...we should be eating at the table) and I was catching up on Facebook when I suddenly saw a picture that took my breath away. It was posted by a FB friend, Kara Vassar, who I have never met in person but we both have a heart for Africa so I feel like I've known her forever. The picture was of Matiwos. Matiwos is a 12-year-old boy who is in the 6th grade. He is living with his uncle because his parents died. His uncle's family has no income. Yes, you read that right, NO INCOME!!!!  Kara volunteers with Yezalalem Minch (YM) and they along with Helps International Ministries (HIM) were trying to find a sponsor for this young man. I showed Garth his picture and asked him if he would possibly want to sponsor him. We contacted Kara to see what all was involved with sponsoring him and she said that we would work directly with YM and HIM. We would get letters from Matiwos about three times a year and we can e-mail him! Even better, Kara is going to be going on a mission trip to Ethiopia soon and she could HAND-DELIVER a care package to him and get some pictures! How awesome is that?

So why are we doing this? Did you read the part about his uncle having no income? NONE! More than that, though, these kids need our help...and wouldn't it be better to help people where they are? You may think that's a strange thing for me to say since we are only about a month away from meeting the boys that we will be bringing home with us, but the truth is that this world would be a lot better if families could stay together. I wish that there were no diseases that took the lives of parents, I wish that families wouldn't have to make the decision to either keep their child(ren) and starve or give them up for adoption so they would all have enough to eat. I wish that there were no orphans at all...but we don't live in that world. So until that day comes, I want to do whatever I can to help these children, which is why we decided to sponsor this young man.

Sponsoring a child costs $30 a month...that is $1 a day. The other day a FB friend of mine mentioned that she spent $95 for a pair of shoes. My first thought was "how many children could she have helped with that money?" The answer is at least 3. Three children could have food, clothes, education, medicine, etc. Seriously ask yourself if you getting those great shoes, or going to that movie, or going out to a nice dinner is more important than helping a child with their basic needs? It's a no-brainer to me.

I truly hope that we will be able to meet Matiwos and his uncle when we go to Ethiopia in March. At this point I don't have a lot of information about him, but I will get more info next week. There are two pictures on my FB wall of other children who also need to be sponsored. I would LOVE IT if they would have sponsors by tomorrow night. Will it be you? Just look at this young man. Despite all the trials he has already overcome, he still has that beautiful smile...doesn't it take your breath away too?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The referral drought is OVER!!!!!

OK, so since Garth and I received our referral for our precious boys, there has been a pretty severe drought of referrals.  There have been one or two here and there, but there haven't been several referrals at one time...until THIS WEEK! Yesterday there were three families that we know of who received referrals...one for a 4-month-old baby boy, one for a 4-1/2-month-old boy, and one for a 2-year-old boy. Today we were notified of TWO MORE referrals! One is for a 7-WEEK-OLD baby boy and the other for a 4-year-old girl! We have been hoping and praying for a week like this for what seems like forever. There have been families who were DTE last May who still don't have referrals, so movement like this renews the hope that there WILL be an end to the waiting. The best part is, we still have tomorrow! Will you pray with us that there will be even MORE referrals tomorrow?! THANK YOU LORD!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Featured families #2

This week I'm doing something a little differently...I'm featuring TWO families! When I started doing the featured families again, I e-mailed our AW Yahoo Group to see what families would like to be featured on our blog before we go to Ethiopia and I had more volunteers than I had weeks, so we will double up. 


The first family I'll feature is Bryan and Laura Unruh. Laura is the eldest of 8 children in her family, 5 of whom were adopted at birth domestically and are all African-American. When Laura and Bryan got married, Laura figured that Bryan surely knew that adoption would be how they would grow their family as well (though Bryan told her a few days ago that they had never actually "talked" about it. Oops!). They just felt that if they were going to be Pro-Life, they needed to be Pro-Baby as well...finding homes for ALL babies (not just healthy Caucasian babies)! They birthed two children, Malachi who is 6 and AnnaKay who is 5, and then started their (what is now a longer-than-they-had-ever-anticipated-or-planned) adoption journey! They chose domestic adoption first because they knew there were women in crisis pregnancies who needed a choice. Their hearts have always felt such love and compassion for these women who have so sacrificially chosen to put their baby's needs above their own! Addison was placed with them in November 2007 and then Isaiah in March 2009. At that point, they thought they were DONE. *Their Plan* was 4 kiddos, 2 boys, 2 girls, that's it. But then they read a book by Tom Davis called "Scared"...and they both bawled (yes, even Bryan who is NOT a crybaby) through the entire book! It is a fiction story but based on true situations/stories about what life is really like for an orphaned 9-year-old girl who is HIV+. They knew that God was calling them to adopt...again. They started the process adopting from Rwanda. After their dossier (the stack of gold...I mean papers...that they had worked SO hard at getting just right) had been in Rwanda for six months, God stirred their hearts to something new...and they switched to Ethiopia and are desiring to adopt 2 kiddos aged 3-6 years old who have special needs. They are SO excited to be in this place and so thankful that the Lord has them here! While this journey has never been easy, they know that God is Sovereign and in control. When they started this process they started selling t-shirts to raise funds , which was the first time they had to do that for adoption. The t-shirts have an Ethiopian cross on them with the word "Gutora" which means "to choose" in Kinyarwanda (the language in Rwanda). They are choosing to do this, choosing these kiddos, not because they feel like they HAVE to but because they really WANT to. You can see their t-shirts and follow their story on their blog. One of Laura's favorite quotes is "My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him." Derek Loux 

FAMILY #2 -The Bice Family

Polly and Shawn Bice are from Birmingham, Alabama and have 7 biological children who Polly home schools. Their journey began last January when they felt the Lord leading them to adopt and on January 17, 2010 they knew that they were going to adopt from Ethiopia. At that time their youngest son was still an infant and so they had to wait until he was 6 months old before they could apply. On May 3, they sent the application to AW for the Ethiopia program and were approved on May 20! Of course they then started their dossier and worked on it all summer and fall until they were DTE on December 17, 2010! They are officially requesting a baby girl age 0-12 months and have been waiting for a little over a month! For a fundraiser, they have t-shirts to sell! The shirts are gray and on the front they say "BREAK OUR HEARTS FOR WHAT BREAKS YOURS" in red with the outline of the world in black. The number of orphans is listed on every continent. On the back are the names of many children who are no longer orphans because a mommy and daddy adopted them and then in red is the verse John 14:18: "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you". They have adult sizes small to 2X and youth sizes S, M, and L. The adult shirts are being sold for $20 with $4.95 S&H and the youth sizes are $15 with $4.95 S&H. They need to sell about 100 shirts so order them today! Check out their blog and follow as well!



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why Ethiopia?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Did you  know that January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month? To be honest, I didn't, but I am glad that there is a month designated for this very important cause. Worldwide, human trafficking is a $9 billion a year business...the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today. I don't know about you, but that disturbs me greatly. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the 2nd largest criminal industry in the world. Around the world, as many as 820,000 people lose their freedom due to human trafficking each year. Most victims get entangled on false pretenses of promises of a better life and upon arrival are held against their will. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery usually involving forced commercial sex or forced labor of victims. 80% of the victims are women and more than 50% are children. So what can you do to help? Well one thing is pray...pray for the rescue of these women and children...pray for the capture and prosecution of those involved in human trafficking...pray that those who are rescued from the sex trade will be successfully rehabilitated so they can lead normal lives with an education, jobs, etc. You can also support groups financially and spread the word. Tell people you know about human trafficking and how they can get involved. The more people involved, the more lives will be saved.

One group that we personally support financially is the Indian Rescue Mission. I recently got an e-mail from them on how people can partner with them to help save these women and children and catch the bad guys. They have several ways that you can sponsor as well that I will outline below. I would encourage you to pray about whether the Lord is asking you to help them financially as well.

Rescue Project: 
Sponsor one day of investigations - $35 covers food and accommodation of the field team for one day of investigations.

Sponsor an investigator for one month - $100 covers the salary of one investigator for one month of investigations.

Restoration Project:
Sponsor meals for one girl - $25 covers food for one rescued girl in the aftercare program for a month.

Sponsor one girl for a month - $75 takes care of all the basic needs of one girl in the aftercare program for one month.

Justice Project: 
Sponsor a lawyer for one day - $20 covers the legal fees of one lawyer for one full day.

Sponsor testimony preparations for one counselor and one rescued girl - $50 covers the salary, travel, and other expenses for one day of legal counseling with a rescued girl.

Expansion Project:
Expansion to new field offices is not merely adding to their current work, it is multiplying the work! They have identified several strategic, large cities in India with little to no anti-sex trafficking presence, and they are ready to rescue girls in those areas. Your "Expansion Project" donation of any amount will set the stage for opening a new office in a new location.

Give Monthly:
Their greatest financial need is consistent, monthly donors. We can play a key role in sustaining our work by becoming a monthly partner. Equip Nepal here in the US accepts funds for IRM. You can send checks or money orders to EquipNepal by including a note that it is for the Indian Rescue Mission. Their address is EquipNepal, 2632 Ranchette Road, Billings, MT, 59105. You can also give online at www.EquipNepal.org. Donors will receive a tax receipt the following year.

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me. Mark 9:37

May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy. Psalm 72:4

He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. 2 Samuel 22:48-49

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:6, 16-19

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Melkam Timket

Today in Ethiopia is Melkam Timket...the day that they celebrate the baptism of Jesus. It is celebrated with singing, dancing, and general merriment (as you will see in the video) and a bigger holiday than Gena (Christmas). Timket is celebrated 2 weeks after Ethiopian Christmas. From what I read about it, it's actually a 3-day affair preceded by the eve of Timket when the dramatic processions take place through a night of fasting, to the great day itself, and the commemoration of Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. On the eve of Timket, the priests of the Orthodox Church bring out the Tabots, replicas of the two tablets of laws given to Moses, which are normally housed inside the altar symbolizing the Ark of the Covenant. Priests bless the water of the pool or river where the next day's celebration will take place. The next day they fill the streets, many dressed in the national colors, and celebrate. At the end, it is capped by a water drenching ceremony symbolizing the baptism of Jesus Christ. Make sure you pause the music at the bottom of this page before playing the video.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Featured Family blogs have returned....2011 family #1 is the Davis family!

I know it's been quite a while since I have featured a family but I am starting them up again...until we go to Ethiopia. After that, I don't think I'll have time to feature families, but maybe I'll start them up again once we get back...time will tell.

This is just one of the pictures that is on the post that I have linked to below. Check them all out!

My first featured family for the new year is....Blake and Christina Davis! They are from Brownsville, Texas and have a son, Camden age 8, and a daughter, Hope age 6. Blake is a worship and youth pastor and Christina is a stay-at-home mom and home schools their children. Last September, God moved on their hearts and they knew that they were being called to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. They knew that it cost way more than they could even think of affording but God has confirmed Himself to them over and over again. They know that He is going to provide for them because He loves orphans, He loves them, and He always provides for His plan when we step out in faith and obedience. They are still paper chasing, but are nearing the end, having their biometrics appointment this coming Friday! As exciting as it is to be almost done with their dossier, they are still short about $5000 that they will need to get before they can send in their dossier. One way they are trying to raise money is by selling the t-shirts shown below. They have child size 6/8 all the way up to XXL. The shirts are $18 including shipping. If you would like to order a t-shirt (or several t-shirts) click here for details. They also have a Just Love Coffee store. Click here to order DELICIOUS coffee that will be delivered to your door! Also, don't forget to check out their blog here to follow their story! If you like family photos, check out this post here for some really AWESOME pictures! They have such a beautiful family!

Aren't these great t-shirts? You can order them for $18

Adoption Shower!

I have to admit...I LOVE parties, especially parties that involve presents. I love getting together with friends and family, seeing everyone again, and catching up. But even more than that, I love opening presents. Now I know that it is better to give than to receive and I do LOVE to give presents as well, but I also really like getting them. I am almost 38 years old and I still get excited about exchanging gifts on Christmas. I love to see the faces and hear the expressions of my family when I managed to pick out the right thing to give someone AND to see what new treasures are coming my way. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got an e-mail from my dear friend Troi Ellis (after she had read our court date announcement) saying that we needed to plan a shower. I'm especially excited about this party because not only will Garth and I get to open presents, but it means we are that much closer to having our boys! The details haven't all been worked out yet, but the shower will be sometime in February and men are welcome to come as well.

So today after church, Garth and I decided to go register at Target and Wal-Mart for "baby" gifts. We first went to Target and at one point the young man (he was probably in high school) asked if we knew where the newborn items were. I told him that we didn't need newborn stuff because our kids were 3 and 4 years old. I wish I would have had my camera because he just looked at me like I had lost my mind. I just about started laughing, but managed to tell him that we were adopting two children from Ethiopia. He slowly recovered and then congratulated us. It was hilarious! My only regret is that Garth didn't hear this exchange because he was getting a cart. Anyway, we found several things at Target and had a very enjoyable experience there. We then went to Wal-Mart. I went in by myself at first because Garth had another errand to run. When I got back to the jewelry department (where the registry computers are located), I got everything set up and then handed the receipt to the sales clerk so she could give me the scanner. She asked me for my ID and keys. HUH? I gave her my ID but told her that I couldn't give her my keys because I didn't have them...and why did they need them anyway? She said that those were kept so no one would steal their scanner. Apparently this is a big problem in Fremont, Nebraska? Shortly after I started scanning items we wanted/needed, Garth showed up. The scanner wasn't working the best so I was getting somewhat annoyed, but kept going. We had been there for about 45 minutes or so when I realized that I when I would scan something, it said "item not found." I tried another item and the same thing happened. So then I looked at the list of items that had successfully scanned and the last thing that was listed was something that we had scanned about 30 minutes before. Garth was very annoyed at this point and went to sit down. I took the scanner back to the lady and after messing with it for about 15 minutes she finally got it fixed. Apparently I had overloaded it or something (even though at that time there were only about 10 items on it). I then started backtracking to re-scan everything that we had already scanned. After doing this a couple times I decided to check the list again and to my delight, I saw that all those items that I didn't think had scanned actually had, so I didn't have to backtrack at all. After about another 20 minutes or so, I was finally tired of looking around so I took the scanner back. When I got back there, I told the gal that I couldn't understand why ANYONE would want to steal that scanner. She just looked at me and didn't say anything. Then we got to go home.

As annoyed as I was at Wal-Mart, the best thing about registries is that I can check them to see what people have already purchased for me (I mean US)! It's like Christmas twice...I can see what has been purchased online and then before we open them, I can try to guess who got us what! Of course, there will be things purchased that aren't on our registries, and that is fine, because then there will be some true surprises!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas in Ethiopia

Hey friends! I wanted to share a blog post with you from America World regarding Christmas in Ethiopia. AW staff planned a party for our kids with singing, playing games, and a Christmas drama. Check out the blog here from AW's website.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pampered Chef

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have recently become a Pampered Chef (PC) consultant. I have been praying about doing this for quite a while and finally at the end of December it felt like the right time to start. So, with Garth's full support and encouragement, I did it. So what does it involve? Well, I basically have parties. These parties can be for newly engaged people, people who would like to get FREE products from PC by hosting, fundraising parties, catalog parties, etc., etc., etc. Even if I don't live close enough to you to come have a party at your house, I could always do catalog parties for you!

So why am I doing this? Well, my ultimate goal is to be able to quit my full time job to raise our boys (and any other kids that may come our way) and still be able to contribute financially. In addition to the great products that PC has, I really liked their mission statement as well that says: "We are committed to providing opportunities for individuals to develop their God-given talents and skills to their fullest potential for the benefit of themselves, their families, our customers, and the company. We are dedicated to enhancing the quality of family life by providing kitchen products supported by service and information for our Consultants and customers." As some of you know, one of my God-given talents is being able to talk and Garth says my cooking is pretty good too. So, I am going to be hosting a Grand Opening show at my house on Saturday, January 22 at 11:00 a.m. and I would like to invite all of you to come. I will have food to eat, products that you can try out, and catalogs to peruse. Let me know if you can come!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Travel packing list


So I said on the blog announcing our court date that I would list the items that we will need to take with us. I have divided these items up in different categories. In addition to taking what we will need for ourselves, we will also be taking donations for the transition homes and orphanages and gifts for the children, nannies, drivers, AWAA workers, and guest home staff. The orphanages and transition homes really depend on these donations to help them care for the children to the best of their ability. Some items are very hard to get in Ethiopia or very expensive. Therefore we are very happy to help them with different items.

Gifts
o   Gifts for the nannies       
o   Chocolate bars for AWAA and guesthouse staff
o   Enfamil or Similac lactose free formula (Parent’s Choice from Wal-Mart, Target’s generic formula, and Kirkland formula from Costco are OK as well)
o   Children’s vitamins, OTC medicines, cough medicine
o   Children’s clothing (used is OK as long as they aren’t worn or stained)
o   Children’s shoes
o   Stickers
o   Chap stick for older kids
o   Toothbrushes
o   Suckers
o   Unscented baby wipes
o   Diapers for up to 30 lbs.
o   Granola bars (to give away to street kids as well as kids in orphanages)
o   A & D Diaper rash ointment
o   Toys to stimulate babies
o   Baby nose saline spray
o   Neosporin
o   Paper towels
o   Gum packets for older kids

Clothes
o   6 outfits each for J & S
o   5 outfits for me
o   3 outfits for Garth
o   2 sets of pajamas for me, J, and S
o   2 pairs of shoes each
o   Rain coats for the boys
o   Umbrella
o   Socks for the boys
o   Underwear for J
o   3 sweatshirts for me, J, and S, 2 for Garth

Food
o   Oatmeal packets
o   Ramen noodles
o   Healthy Choice steamer meals
o   Instant macaroni and cheese
o   Trail mix
o   Granola bars
o   Wheatables/crackers
o   Goldfish crackers
o   Peanut butter
o   Honey
o   Crystal light packets
o   Kool-Aid packets
o   Gu
o   Fruit cups
o   Applesauce
o   Microwave popcorn

Toiletries
o   Shampoo/Conditioner
o   Body wash
o   Loofah
o   Powder
o   Toothbrush/Toothpaste
o   Razor
o   Tweezers
o   Tissues
o   Pik/Brush
o   Lotion
o   Glasses
o   Ponytail holders
o   Feminine hygiene products
o   Chap stick
o   Antibacterial hand sanitizer
o   Small packets of tissues to take with me everywhere
o   Antibacterial wipes
o   Washcloths
o   Nail clippers
o   Travel size toilet paper (several rolls of these)

Medications for Garth and me
o   Antibiotics
o   Pepto-Bismol
o   Imodium AD
o   OTC yeast infection medicine
o   Ibuprofen
o   Benadryl
o   Band-Aids
o   Neosporin
o   Hydrocortisone cream
o   Tums
o   Airborne
o   Cough drops
o   Sleeping pill to take on plane

Medications for J & S
o   Children’s Tylenol
o   Children’s Benadryl
o   Butt Paste
o   Mylicon
o   Scabies medication
o   Children’s cough syrup
o   Band-Aids

Toys for J & S
o   Books
o   Cars
o   Coloring book and colors
o   Play-Doh
o   Little People toys

Miscellaneous
o   Laptop and cord
o   Camera, batteries, and USB cord
o   Flip camera
o   Electrical converter
o   Pens
o   Bible
o   Books
o   Ethiopia travel book
o   Flashlight and batteries
o   Eye mask
o   Neck pillows
o   Bug spray with DEET
o   Sunscreen
o   Plastic pitcher for holding boiled water and/or Kool-Aid
o   Pre-addressed labels for letters/postcards
o   Money belt
o   Blanket to sit on when at transition home
o   Care packages for 5 families
o   Photo release forms (so I can take pictures/videos of other kids waiting for their family)
o   Passport
o   Plane tickets
o   I-171H form (needed to bring the boys home)

Money
o   $20 for Garth’s Visa
o   $800 for J & S Visa’s
o   $3000 to $5000 cash for entire stay

I may be missing some items that I might want to bring, but that is what I have thought of so far thanks to tips from AW as well as families who have gone before us. While I am there I will attempt to update our blog with updates. I am hoping that all the paperwork will be at the court hearing the first time so we can pass court and hopefully have an Embassy appointment 4-5 weeks later. If you would like to help supply some of the items listed above, please feel free to send them to us. I will begin putting everything we will be taking with us in our downstairs bedroom in an attempt to stay organized. Thanks for all your assistance!

On January 3, 2011...


Monday, January 3 at approximately 12:45 p.m., a fellow adoptive parent posted on the Yahoo Group that she had gotten a call from Kristen saying that the judge was on vacation and they shouldn’t expect to hear anything regarding their court date until the following week. I was bummed. :-( So, I immediately e-mailed Garth, my parents, and my two brothers letting them know that news. At approximately 12:53 p.m., about 30 seconds after I pressed “send” on the e-mail to my parents and brothers, the phone rang and the caller ID had that 703 area code that I had been waiting to see since we got the referral. I didn't even get excited because of what was just posted on the YG. When Kristen introduced herself she said that she was calling because WE HAVE A COURT DATE! I immediately started crying. I was glad I was sitting down or I might have fainted. Our court date is March 10! I was just so overcome with happiness, excitement, nervousness, and also sadness for the other families who have to wait longer to hear of their court date. There were four other families who got the call that their court date was March 10 also, so we will all be there together. I am also excited to report that there will be another adoptive mommy who will stay in Ethiopia through Embassy so I am hopeful that we will be able to stay in the same Guest House for the duration.

So you may be asking yourself why we waited until now to break the news. Well, this past weekend, the Kelley side of our family was getting together for our Christmas celebration and Garth and I decided that it would be fun to tell them all in person. Let me tell you, it was HARD not to tell them our news. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! But, I wanted to see their faces when they heard the news more. So, I was able to keep the secret until Saturday morning when we broke the news. Mom and Dad started crying and everyone else was excited for us. I, of course, started crying again. My niece, Rebecca, had asked the day before if we would bring the boys home in 12 days. :-)

So what happens next? Well, Garth and I did already arrange our flights with Susan Parr travel agency for $1241.29 each which includes taxes and the agency fees. For the return trip, the boys' tickets will be $853.59 each, so the airfare total is $4189.76. We will also start gathering items that we need to take with us. To avoid having this blog be outrageously long, I will give you a list of the items we need to take with us on another post. We will also need to get some things to ready our home for the boys. Some things that I have thought of are: diapers for S*** (I will be using cloth diapers), a double stroller, baby monitors, child medications, thermometer, diaper rash cream, a dresser for their room, sheets, clothes, etc., etc., etc. I will also be trying to live more “green” in various ways including making my own baby wipes, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. We have less than 2 months to get ready, so we’ll be busy! YEAH!!!!!  I will keep you updated as we get closer to our trip. Thanks again for your prayers!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Melkam Gena

Melkam Gena everyone! Today is Christmas in Ethiopia and I am hoping that our boys are having the opportunity to celebrate it in some way. Of course, I wish I was there celebrating it with them, but I just know that I will be there in God's perfect timing. So Melkam Gena Jeremiah and S*** and I'm SO GLAD that you will be with us next Christmas!

Indian Rescue Mission

This morning I got an e-mail from a gentleman named James Varghese...an e-mail that brough unspeakable joy to my heart. The e-mail said that 2 minor girls were successfully rescued at around 7:30 p.m. local time today from a brothel in Pune, Maharastra in India. The brothel keeper was also arrested. PRAISE THE LORD!

As we all know, human trafficking is a serious problem. Every day minor girls and boys are trafficked for the sex industry or child labor. In India, there are thousands of these children living in inhumane conditions. Many have lost their parents and have nowhere to go. That is where IRM steps in. IRM was started in 2009 to offer help and support for these young children. Their goal is to rescue these children from the hellish lives they are enduring in hopes of providing them a safe place to lay their heads and hope for the future. After they are rescued, they then provide rehabilitation and counseling, education, health exams, and whatever other support they need. If you would like to receive these wonderful updates like I do, send James an e-mail at IndianRescueMission@gmail.com. Please also check out their website here.  To sign a petition to end child prostitution in India, go here. I have also added a web badge on the right side of our blog you can click to get to their website from ours. Also, please search your hearts about supporting this ministry financially. They truly are saving the lives of these children and need as much financial help as they can get. Your money will literally save a life.

Fasting

Earlier this week, one of my AWAA Ethiopia Yahoo Group friends suggested that we all fast and pray this Sunday for Ethiopia. For the past several weeks there has not been very much movement because of paperwork not getting done, referrals being retracted due to previously unknown circumstances, families not passing court because MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) hadn't written their letter that is required, etc. So, many of us on the YG are going to be fasting and praying especially on Sunday. I was originally going to fast food which is what most people think of when you mention a fast, and I will fast food once we leave my parent's house on Sunday, but in addition to that I will be fasting from the internet from 5:00 tonight until Monday morning at 8:00. I can tell you that this will NOT be an easy fast for me, especially since I might get pictures of our boys this weekend from the last person to take a care package. However, after this weekend of prayer and fasting, we are expecting to hear GREAT THINGS next week in regards to referrals, families passing court, court date appointments, and Embassy appointments. Please, if you are led, pray with us this weekend that everything that is needed will be completed so this process can move on. Next week I am expecting to be able to write a blog with GOOD NEWS!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kidney stones, stents, and EKGs

Right now i am sitting in room 528 at Fremont Area Medical Center (FAMC) in Fremont, Nebraska. Why am I here? It all started on New Year's Day. I can't remember when on that Saturday Garth mentioned that he had a pain in his right lower quadrant and pretty much rested all day. Sunday night it was worse so he decided to go to the emergency room in Oakland where they did an abdominopelvic x-ray. The ER doctor thought  there might be a kidney stone, but he wasn't positive. He gave him some pain medications and Garth called me to come pick him up (which is about a half block away, I might add). The medications did wonders and so he went to work on Monday and worked a full day. Tuesday the pain came back but he went to work anyway and came home around 3:30. I had made another doctor's appointment for him at the Oakland Mercy Clinic. Dr. Martin saw him and said that she was pretty sure he had a kidney stone. She gave him some pain medications and told him that if he didn't feel a lot better the next day to call and they would do a CT scan. So Wednesday morning he was still in pain so he called and got an appointment to get the CT scan right away. I had planned to go to Fremont that morning so I could Fed Ex my Visa application and while I was in the Fed Ex office, Garth called and said that he did have a kidney stone and they wanted him to see a specialist in Fremont to have a cystoscopy and stent placement. I got home around 11:30 and found out that he would need to go to the ER at FAMC. So I worked for a couple hours and then we both drove to Fremont together. Since cystoscopy patients usually go home the same day, we didn't bring anything with us except for a couple books.

The urologist wanted him to be admitted to the hospital and if everything went well we'd be able to go home later that night. Well the cystoscopy went very well. Garth had quite a bit of infection in that kidney because it had been blocked for quite a while so it was good that they got the stent in there to help that kidney drain. We came back up in the room and Garth was recovering from his anesthesia. When the night nurse came in she was asking how he was feeling and he said fine, but that he had had a brief moment of some chest pressure. So, we got to stay overnight. Since we hadn't brought Garth's CPAP machine with us, I got to go home again, got the CPAP, my laptop, put on some comfy clothes, and headed to Fremont for the 3rd time that day.

Overnight, he had 3 EKGs, 3 sets of cardiac enzymes (lab draws), and several sets of vital signs taken since he had just had surgery. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep. I "slept" in the recliner next to his bed.

This morning, the cardiologist's PA-C came in to talk to us and we found out that Garth had a T-wave inversion in lead 3 and early repolarization. If any of my doctor friends would like to translate that into layman's terms, please feel free to leave a comment. :-) They wanted to do a few more lab tests (CBC, BMP, and lipid panel), another EKG, and an echocardiogram (ECG). The ECG was actually pretty neat to watch and I got a video of it that I will try to post on here later. She told us to expect to be here until supper time. She also said that once the test results come back the cardiologist, Dr. Guy, would come talk to us as well. To our surprise, he just came in while I was typing this blog post and said that everything looked OK. He said that Garth probably needed to lose about 20 lbs. (don't we all?), get more exercise, and eat right. He still wants to do a stress test later that will be done on the same day that his stent gets removed (next Friday), but he expects it to be fine. So, I am hopeful that we will be able to get out of here within the next 2 hours! Yeah!

Thank you all for your prayers. They mean a lot to us.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Puzzle is FINISHED!

 
I wanted to share that we have had all our puzzle pieces sponsored! There were a total of 528 pieces in this puzzle. I did deviate from our original plan, however. In the beginning I said that I would write the names of the people on the back of the piece that they sponsored. I actually started it on a couple pieces, but between my handwriting and the small pieces, I was making a mess of it so I decided to number the pieces instead. I have created a document that we will frame and hang up next to the puzzle with the names of those who sponsored pieces and the number range that they sponsored.


This was a really fun fundraiser and we would like to thank the following people who sponsored these pieces: Ned and Linelle Kelley, Betty Schmeichel, Cherry Lovett, Paul Tompkins, Ron and Maria Cochran, Patti Herbolsheimer, Rita Smith-Ott, Ted and Esther Druckenmiller, Art and Tina Druckenmiller, Neil and Ruth Tompkins, Rick and Ellie Klassen, Roger and Barb Tompkins, Janet Scott, Allen and Donna Tompkins, Marge Clements, Lorraine Miller, Dennis and Sharon Schluntz, Suzanne Devine, Marc and Christine Tompkins, Betty Shepherd, Stan and Troi Ellis, David Ellis, Isaac Ellis, Jonathan Ellis, Timothy Ellis, Gus and Nikki Ray, and Paul and Janet Druckenmiller.

Christmas Jar

Today was a very good mail day. As I stated in the previous post, Garth and I got a check for $1000 from an aunt and uncle on Garth's side which was obviously very exciting, but that wasn't the only exciting thing in the mail. Today, December 31, 2010, our sons got their very first package in the mail! I wasn't sure if I should open it, but my curiosity got the better of me. :-) When I first opened the box, we thought it was all bubble wrap...

...but we soon found the present! It was a Christmas Jar full of money, a book called Christmas Jars, and a letter that said:

Dear Jeremiah and S***,

Welcome to America! We cannot wait to meet you! No matter what time of year you arrive in the U.S., we want to wish you a Merry Christmas!!! You were in our thoughts and prayers Christmas 2010, and your mommy and daddy are so excited to have you in your new home for the next Christmas! The money in this Christmas jar is for the 2 of you to share. The book is for your parents. Maybe when you get a little older and easily understand the English language, they will read the book to you. It's one of our family's favorite Christmas traditions. We hope it will become an annual tradition in the Druckenmiller home.

The way it works is that you begin today, by getting an empty jar with a lid. Write Christmas Jar, or CJ, on the jar. Each night when Daddy gets home from work he puts his change in the CJ. You and mommy also put your extra coins in the CJ, and then in early December, you begin asking the Holy Spirit who He wants you to give the CJ away too. It will be someone in need. It may be someone who is being adopted, but it might not be. I'll tell you a secret; you don't have to wait until Christmas. If you want, or God shows you a need, you can give a Christmas jar away at any time. It's so much fun! Merry Christmas!


In the jar was $83.26 which we plan on putting into a savings account for the boys as soon as we can open one. In the meantime, we will keep it in the jar and thank the Lord for this wonderful gift.  The letter wasn't signed so we don't know exactly who this gift is from, but if you are reading this blog, thank you so much. We will definitely begin doing this and we look forward to carrying on this tradition.

Referral fee thermometer

I am very excited to share that we have met our referral acceptance fee of $9885! Over Christmas, Garth and I didn't go anywhere so I was able to work overtime on Saturday, get holiday pay, as well as extra pay for working on the weekend.  On December 27, I was updating our thermometer and I noticed that we were only $300 away from our goal, so I was really hoping that my overtime would cover that. Guess what...IT DID! Garth checked our bank account today and this paycheck was $333 more than last paycheck. Praise the Lord! So now that we have met that goal, our FINAL thermometer has been added! This thermometer will be for all our travel fees. I outlined the fees that we will have to pay next on our one-month referral-versary post and you can see them here. One difference from that post is that we have decided that I WILL be staying in Ethiopia following court until our Embassy appointment, so my Visa fee is $95 and of course there will be the cost to stay there from 4-12 weeks. Since I'll be staying in Ethiopia, I have made our travel fee goal $14,000, which is in the middle of cost ranges. You will also see that we already have $1000 raised toward that goal, thanks to an uncle and aunt on Garth's side of the family. You know who you are!

I am believing that we will have a court date in March, so I'll be excited to see how the Lord provides the funds so we can see that thermometer go up, up, up! Thanks for all the assistance we have received from everyone so far. It means more to us than we can ever say!

Today I Kissed an Angel

Today I kissed an angel. I knew it from the start. The first time my angel smiled at me; I gave away my heart.

Today I kissed an angel; This angel child of mine. Though not of my creation, My child by God's design.

Today I kissed an angel. My heart is dancing wild; Our family, by a miracle; Blessed by our angel child.

All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman