Help bring our girls home!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kyah is officially Kyah!  We received her Michigan Birth Certificate last week and it's neat to see it in writing and on official documents with her name change.  We're finding out as we go what paper work is still needed and how we are to go about getting it.  Once in a while I'll say her Ethiopian name to her and she looks at me and laughs.  She still knows it but apparently thinks it's funny that I would call her that.   =)

She is such a little smartie!  When I think it's been almost 9 weeks that she has been around the English language and how many words she can say and what she obviously understands, I am amazed!  I've talked to her since day one as if she should understand me and rarely does it even seem like she doesn't.  We are pretty sure that English is now her 3rd language that she's been exposed to.  She can say about 20 + words and seems to say something new every day.  I love this age when the "wheels are turning" and new things are learned daily!

Her siblings are amazing with her.  They love her so much!  Each of them take time with her and their love for her is obvious.  They watch over where she is, what she's doing or eating, make sure she's safe and having fun.  They are so good with her.  Jesse is already sure he wants to adopt some day.  So, if there are any 10 year old little girls thinking the same way...look him up!  It's just such a wonderful thing for our children to be exposed to adoption.  It's what God calls us to do and these 4 see first hand how following God's will can be a blessing.  We have been able to learn and teach them about the Ethiopian culture and how to except people of different races and backgrounds.  They love their little sister.  And, as Solomon puts it:  "She's just so cute!  I would even kiss her with mud in her mouth!"
The 5 Klaasen kiddo's
Looking cute in her pink camo!
Wearing an outfit we bought for her in Ethiopia.
Still fits into her traditional Ethiopian dress she wore at her ceremony.
Feeding her baby-doll.
Our Christmas beauty! 

Please join us in praying for our friends Robin, Kerri and Carmen (and their spouses and families) as they are in process of adopting their children from Ethiopia.  It's a long, sometimes very stressful and discouraging process, that is worth every single minute of it!!  Pray that the process goes smooth for them and that they can be united with their new additions one day real soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

5 Weeks with Kyah home!

It's been 5 weeks with Kyah home with us.  In many ways, it feels like she's always been here.  She fits in with our family perfectly...just as God planned.  Her personality shines brighter each day and we are amazed at what she has accomplished!  She seems to understand us so well and follows simple instructions.  Her vocabulary consists of; momma, poppa, Gabe,  hot, hi and poop.  (She plugs her nose to let us know she has a dirty diapers!  ha!)  She gives hugs and kisses, knows how to blow kisses, is ticklish, likes being outside, waves to our cows, climb up steps (thank you Gabe!), loves playing with her siblings, plays peek-a-boo, likes dropping food to our dog, Bree, and enjoys being the center of attention!   ...a very well deserved place for a little girl who just became part of a family!

I am so thankful to our family and friends who have accepted her and love on her.  I watched our extended family with her on Thanksgiving and it just warmed my heart.  Cousins were laughing with her, carrying her, playing with her and just welcoming her into our family.  What a fun life to suddenly have 10 cousins!  Adoption is not a new thing for our family, but it was incredibly sweet to see Aunts, Uncles, cousins and grandparents loving their new little Ethiopian relative.  
Helping me sweep the floor
First ride on our lawn mower
Kyah loves to hear Grampa Jack sing
Good Morning hugs from Jesse
Sharing a latte' with big sister   =)
Playing with her friend, Grace
Solomon helping her ride her bike
Looking at herself in the mirror wearing her tankini   =)

We are having SO much fun having this little one around!! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life with Kyah

Kyah and a nanny ready for the orphanage "goodbye" ceremony
With our new little daughter finally in our arms again.....
We joyfully leave her orphanage!!!!!!
Kyah at home and in her new crib.
LOVES to look at herself in the mirror!  =)
Checking out her new baby-dolls.
How could I ever say no to those big, brown eyes!!?!
Enjoying her first Zeeland Bakery donut!   yummmm
Bree and Kyah are buds!
She loves music, dancing and playing our piano.
Kyah is usually found her chair...eating!  She has gained an entire pound in 3 weeks!
Trick-or-treating with Jesse and Solomon!
She fits in her toy shopping cart which her brothers push her around in.  =)
All cleaned up after her bath and ready for the day.

Our 3 weeks with Kyah home have been so much fun!  She is such a little sweetie and has a wonderful sense of humor.  She sleeps through the night and eats through the day.  LOL!  She gained an entire pound since she's been home (that's a lot for her little body!)  She's now on the charts at 2.67% in weight and 0.05% in height.  Hooray that she's on them now!

Makes me think of all the little ones who remain in orphanages and don't have good nutrition and will never make it on "the charts".  How is this fair?  My heart rejoices for Kyah and that she can eat whatever and whenever she desires.  There was a time (just 31 days ago) that Kyah could not.  She was given a specific amount at each meal and had to eat quickly while she had the nanny's attention.

What about all those that don't eat until their tummies are full? 
What about those that don't have their nanny's attention or don't have anyone's attention?

Oh, thank you God for giving Kyah a family and hope in life!  Thank You, Father, that You chose us to be that family for her and teach her about the hope that can only be found in You!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Following God's plan for my life has placed me in a mountain-top experience!  As I watch this little 16 month old wobble around our home, I just thank God for all we've been through to get her home.
When we started our paper-work with Bethany Christian Services about 28 months ago, Kyah was not even conceived yet!  Just to think that we had this idea of adding to our family through the blessed gift of adoption and God was just creating her half a world away!  AMAZING!  That her biological parents had to go through some major sacrifices and unfathomable experiences for us to parent her just boggles my mind.  So many things had to work out so perfectly for all this to happen.  And, God did just that!  He, only He, worked in our hearts so that we could hear His calling for us to adopt.  He has made it so clear that this tiny little child needs to be raised in our home.  I don't think I've ever felt more sure of anything else than I have going through this adoption process.
Yes, it took a very long time for it to happen.  Looking back, that's just what I needed.  Not wanted, but needed.  My reliance on God and the growth of my faith during this journey have blossomed.  I know that I couldn't have done this without Him.  
Both Todd and I are humbled that God chose us to be Kyah's parents.  It is an honor and we are so privileged to do so! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kyah is SO much fun!  We are blessed to have her in our family and are thankful that God chose her for our new little girl!
Now that we are finally able to put pictures of Kyah on-line, I'm gonna take advantage of doing so!

Sunday afternoon fun in the swing

Outside fun with grampa Jack, one of her favorite people!

Jesse and Kyah checking out our cows.
She loves watching all our animals and 
likes to wave to them.  =)


Kyah made easy friends with our dog, Bree.
She drops food ...  Bree cleans up!

  Love this girl!!

                                    Wonderful to have our little angel home!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


We are thrilled to have her home with us and it's been a great week of getting to know one another!

She did amazing on all our flights home.  Prayer is a powerful thing!

She liked watching TV and eating cheerios and crackers while traveling home.  =)
She also received her "Delta Wings" from the pilot!


     Todd cuddling Kyah at our guesthouse in Ethiopia and loving every minute of it!!

      Enjoying the sights and our time    together in Ethiopia!

 A lovely home-coming welcome at the airport with excited siblings and grandparents.

Home at last!

We want to thank those of you who helped welcome us home at the air port!  It was a wonderful celebration and you helped make the day even more special!  We are truly blessed with all your friendships!  

"For this child we have prayed and the Lord has granted us what we have asked of Him."
1 Samuel 1:27    

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 15, 2010 AND 2012

We're coming home!  Can't believe our 10 days in Africa is almost done.  God has brought us through this amazing adoption of Kyah and we've experienced so much!

We ate breakfast with Sarah Z, our social worker from Holland!  She, and Jill, are doing training in Ghana and Ethiopia and happened to stay at our Morning Coffee Guesthouse last night!  

We will return to Grand Rapids on Monday, October 15....our 2 year DTE date!!  (Dossier To Ethiopia).  The date we officially get to the US is the same date that our Dossier was sent to Ethiopia 2 years prior!!  2 years!  ...well, plus 5 months of home study, paper work, etc... but I think it's pretty cool it's exactly 2 years later.  October 15 will always be a favorite!

Our flight info is:

Delta flight 6141 in GR on October 15th at 4:50pm

We have about 26 hours of travel.  Yes, 26 hours with a 15 month old...please pray she tolerates it well (and that we do, too!)  We have lay-overs in both Amsterdam and Detroit to re-group.  You know how it is when you're finished with a trip and you just want to get home...we'd love prayers for patience, safe and on-time flights and for our emotional entry home with Kyah.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kyah Gracelin Marie

Kyah is feeling SO much better!  Thanks to everyone for praying for her!  Her antibiotic and Motrin are helping.  I have actually had her get off my lap and we're seeing glimpses of her silly personality.  She's eating and drinking pretty well now and sleeping great at night.  Praise to God!  Although none of this is fun to deal with, it's especially difficult in a foreign country with a 15 month old who can't understand our language.  ha!  God has been our guide through all of this and we feel privileged to parent her!

Things about Kyah:
Her favorite toy is an orange matchbox truck  (against Jordan's approval)
Enjoys looking at herself in the mirror
Feeds Todd cheerios
Likes to kiss us
Sticks her tongue out
Is fussy about her sippy cup (we've tried several!) 
She's so tiny that her leggings are like sweat pants

Today (Saturday) we visited a place called Yezelalem Minch, which is a ministry that provides care for about 1300 children.  We have had many opportunities while in Ethiopia  and this was a high-light!  We were there when they feed the children, most of which do not have any living parents.  These children who literally have nothing, were some of the happiest little people I've ever seen!  They patiently waited in a line of well over 150 children for their food without complaining.  Then literally went and sat on rocks and in the dirt to eat their lunch.  Again, with smiling faces.  

Tonight will be our last night here.  I write this with tears in my eyes.  We have had an amazing time in Ethiopia and it's bitter-sweet to leave.  This place will forever be special to our family and we have enjoyed our time here immensely! But, our time is coming to an end. We can not WAIT to have all 7 of us all together!  Oh, how I miss Gabe, Jordan, Jesse & Solomon!!  I can't wait to see them at the airport!

Thanks so very much for all your encouragement and prayers.  We have felt them on the other side of the world, with God graciously carrying us every step! 

p.s.  Does anyone have a pack-n-play or something similar that we could borrow?  email us @ 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Embassy went well on Wednesday and we'll pick up her visa, official birth certificate and other documents on Friday and then technically we're free to leave.  We were unable to get flights out on Friday so our flight home will be on Sunday evening.  

We got Kyah on Monday afternoon and could tell right away that she didn't feel well.  She's been fussing, clingy, eating fair and even though we don't yet know what "normal" is, we can tell she's not.  On Wednesday after Embassy we could tell she had a real bad stomach ache and this morning she woke up with a fever.  We were able to bring her in to a hospital today and after seeing a Dr. (thankfully it's the one that is employed with Bethany and has seen Kyah before), getting a finger prick & stool specimen, she was diagnosed with a bacterial intestinal infection.  We got an antibiotic and told that it should work within 48 hours.  Praise God that we were able to get her there as it was quite an adventure!!

God works in amazing ways.  As I reflect about our current situation, I am so thankful that we were able to get her this week!  I don't know if the orphanage would have been able to identify that she isn't feeling well and get her the treatment that she needs.  Todd and I are able to comfort her and be her advocate and be the ones to hold her when she's feeling yucky.  I was upset that we couldn't leave on Friday night, and now, I'm relieved that we're not leaving.  God willing, she'll begin to feel well and we can connect with the real Kyah before coming home.  We'll have the chance to let the antibiotic do it's thing before our 24 travel back to the states.  Whew! 

We ask that you pray that Kyah begins to feel better, eats and drinks well and that the antibiotic agrees with her and works!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Kyah is many things, but precious fits her best!  We picked Kyah up yesterday after going to a prep at Bethany's head quarters in Ethiopia and lunch.  It was wonderful returning to her orphanage and knowing we were leaving with her this time!  We were there with one other couple from the US who are adopting 3 children (ages 14, 11 & 7)  The orphanage makes a big deal out of their kids leaving so they have a ceremony for everyone.  A big handful of kids from the orphanage attend and the nannies lead our children down the big steps to us.  The kids being adopted wear traditional Ethiopian clothing.  Kyah had a long white dress with blue stripes and matching head band.  Her hair was braided with colorful bands.  =)   She didn't like the ceremony at all and cried the whole time!  ha!  They make a video of it for us and my guess is all we'll hear is her cries.  LOL

She is such a little honey!  She is changing right before our eyes!  She would sit with her hands at her side and not try to reach for anything or do much at first.  Now, (just 18 hours after getting her) she figured out how to reach her hand inside the cheerio bag!  She can walk, which looks so darling since she's so tiny!  Last night we couldn't get her to eat or drink much and we were getting concerned.  She's making up for it today!

Todd just commented on the fact that God sped up the process at the end knowing that Kyah needed to be with her family soon!  She has just begun to "come alive" in the past few hours!  It's amazing!  She seems real shy and we haven't really heard her voice, except for the cries at yesterday's ceremony.

It's such a blessing to have this one-on-one time with her this week.  Right now, Todd is asleep on the couch with Kyah sleeping on his chest.   

She is such a precious blessing from God!


Monday, October 8, 2012

We're back in Ethiopia!!

We're back at our beautiful Morning Coffee Guesthouse in Ethiopia!!  Todd and I keep saying to each other that we can't believe we're here again!  It's 9:15 in the morning and the sun is shinning, doors are open (no bugs!) and we just had a wonderful homemade breakfast.  Ethiopian coffee ROCKS!  

We will get picked up in one hour and taken to Bethany's head quarters where we'll meet with other families who are adopting to get prepped for Embassy on Wed.  We'll then go for lunch together in the city and then......go to the orphanage to pick up Kyah!!!  

We have a little crib set up in our room and a baby-doll waiting for her.   =)  How things are about to change!  We're so excited to see what she's like, how she responds to us, what it will be like with her around.  Yesterday, while walking through the air port in Amsterdam, Todd says "I hope she likes us!"  Never really thought of that before.  I hope she does to!  

We are at the mercy of God.  Good place to be!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One more hour

Today's the day!  We leave for the airport in exactly one hour.  What an overwhelming day of emotions, for all of us.  I keep thinking of what it will be like to walk through Detroit airport with her.  Her having just become a US citizen!  Amazing moment!
Ah, and then the rush at the GR airport.  Seeing our family and friends welcoming the newest little member into our family!

It's been quite a day.  We ask that you continue to pray for the adoption process ahead of us.  We pray for safety in traveling and connection of flights.  Pray for health for us in Ethiopia and for Gabe, Jordan, Jesse & Solomon at home.  That all at home goes well while we're away.

Be with little Kyah.  She's about the leave her "home" and begin a new life.  She won't understand.  Can't understand our language.  We look, smell, talk, act and are different to her.  Pray for an easy transition for her....and us.
We are looking so forward to Todd, Kyah and myself just being together!  We may never have this time again.  

We would encourage people to greet us on arrival at the airport in GR.  We arrive on Monday, October 15 at 4:50pm.
The Klaasen family will be going into seclusion for a time of bonding with Kyah.  We want her to know who her family is.  If she sees a lot of new people she will be overwhelmed and confused.  I don't want to keep any of you away since I can't wait to show her off.  However, Bethany Christian Services strongly recommends this when we return home.  So, if you'd like to see her, come to the airport and check this blog.  =)  We still covet your prayers, support, meals, etc....thank you very much!

Hoping to be able to update again while in Ethiopia. we come!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Here we go!!

We leave on Saturday (tomorrow!) October 6 out of GR at 3:45pm!  We have our Embassy appointment set for Wednesday and are very anxious to see her again!  We will arrive in Ethiopia on Sunday night and after some prepping on Monday....we get her!  FOREVER!!  I can't even imagine what it will be like to leave the orphanage with her.  I pray she's not too scared.  Todd and I will have the entire week with her and can't wait to get to know her little personality.  

Pray requests for safe travels.  That flights are on time and there are no complications.  Health while traveling and in country.  Our bonding time with Kyah.  For our 4 kiddo's who I already miss like crazy.  For grandparents taking care of them at home.  For Kyah's transition.  

Thanks so much for all your encouragement and kind words through this adoption process!  We are so excited to add Kyah to our family and can't wait to introduce her to the world!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Praising God!

I am in awe of God's goodness and ...making travel plans!  Praise God for amazing news this morning via an email from the US Embassy!  They are requesting that we "schedule an interview".....that means they accepted everything and there's no need to further investigate and we can BRING OUR DAUGHTER HOME!!!! 

It's hard to believe I'm finally able to type those words and it is all because of God's great goodness and care for this little child of His! We are requesting to go ASAP (obviously!)  and I've already contacted our travel agent.  We will hopefully get our appointment date confirmed on Thursday and then can get exact information to our agent.  

Our kids are ecstatic!  They were always wanting me to go to their school and get them out of class when we got our referral.  Since that happened in July, I thought I'd get them today!  I went to the kids elementary school and had Jesse and Solomon come to the office to see me.  Gabe is a teacher's assistant there this year and showed up at the same time!  I had all 3 of my boys standing in front of me and got to tell them "we are going to get your new sister!"  I'm guessing you could hear their yells!  ha!  Then, I picked up a latte and headed over to the high school to surprise Jordan.  She was guessing it when she got called out of class.  =)   She had a ton of questions and was smiling through her teary eyes.  It was SO much fun to tell all of them!
Todd flew to the Dairy Expo in Wisconsin for the day, so I've been talking to him when he has a signal on his phone.  It'll be a long day for him.

When we went on our Court Trip in August, we met a couple at the same stage in the process that we are in and our girls are at the same orphanage and about the same age.  We were hoping to travel back with them.  I got an email from her today and they are needing their case to be further investigated.  This breaks my heart!  Please pray for them and that their situation gets resolved quickly and without much more complication!  

There are over 5 millions orphans in Ethiopia.  5 million in only Ethiopia!  The orphan crisis is staggering.  Imagine all these children with no one to call mom and dad.  No one to teach them, read to them, hug them, feed them, call them their own.  
No one to teach them about Jesus.  

God will be one less real soon!

Monday, October 1, 2012


I am officially "nesting".  I have been for the past week, but today was especially so!  My mom came over and helped me clean out all of my kitchen cupboards and drawers.  Thank you, mom!!  I have been ahead of getting the kids warmer clothing out, organizing our papers and receipts for our business, replacing things I've been meaning to for ages, keeping the garage swept and yard mowed, making a list and buying things for our next trip to Africa, and of course, buying things for Kyah!

Todd came home last week, saw what I had been up to and announced that "mom is nesting"!  It's pretty obvious.  Thinking of adding that little bundle to our family soon is something I can't stop thinking about!  Dreaming of what it will be like to arrive at her orphanage and get to take her with us this time!  Can't even imagine!  Can't wait to see if she recognizes us from her photo book.  Wondering if I remember how to make a bottle.  ha!  Oh, I just can't wait for all of it!  

We haven't had any updates, so I thought I'd show you my nesting successes:

Gifts for the nannies at Kyah's orphanage
Some of the items we'll take along for Kyah.  Check out the awesome bottle I found, Sherri!!
Her crib fully supplied with baby-dolls and soft blankets.  Thanks Jen & Robin!
Some of the toys that I saved from Kyah's brothers and sister

A few of Kyah's new things including hair care products, fuzzy pink slippers, a wonderful book from Auntie Di, and even a tankini (you just never know when she may need it!)  
My nest is looking pretty set, just missing the very main important little reason for all of this!  God willing, it won't be too much longer.  All of us are so very ready to get her home and start becoming her family!  Please pray with us that things begin to move along and that we'll get a travel date quickly.  

Hoping to update this blog again real soon. 
And remembering that God is good...all the time!