Help bring our girls home!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's been just a week since we were in Africa.  Hard to believe that time has come and gone and we're back to our lives here in the U.S.  We talk about our African adventures and look through the picture album regularly since returning.  I had over 500 pictures processed!  We want to remember all we can about Kyah's homeland.  The sights, sounds, smells, people, food, life...just everything we can capture to help us to one day explain to Kyah what life was like in Ethiopia in 2012.  

The adoption process continues and I want to share what's coming next.  Since passing court (praise God!) on August 14th, we finished more forms and now wait to get her birth certificate complete.  This will be her original Ethiopian name, plus her fathers name, Todd, as her new middle name  =)  and Klaasen as her new last name.  She will also have a passport issued and get a travel visa at some point.  We then get submitted to the US Embassy.  From them we either get approved, denied or told they need to get further evidence.  I am trying to not get stressed out with this part of the process.  It's seems to me that since Kyah is legally, from Ethiopia's view, our child, that should complete the adoption process.  But, more is still necessary.  
Please pray that the Embassy views Kyah's adoption as simply as possible and approves this immediately.  That would mean, pending the required documents to travel to the US, we can go get her!

While doing my devotions earlier this week I was awestruck once again by God's timing.  It began with:  Entrust your loved ones to Me; release them into My protective care.  That's it!  Kyah is and always has been a child of God.  She's His.  I may one day be able to be her mom, but she is not mine.  She belongs to God.  "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."  Ephesians 3:20  Dear Jesus, please watch over little Kyah.  Bless her with people to hold her and love her.  Bring us to her soon and unite her with her forever family in the US.  I ask this all in your Holy and Precious Name, Amen.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Amazing Africa!

We had the most blessed time in Africa!  Absolutely everything went better than we ever dreamed.  All 4 of us have unforgettable memories of our time there.  We stayed at a wonderful guesthouse and were treated like royalty.  =)  Our visit with our sponsored World Vision child felt like something from a movie.  We were driven  2 1/2 hours from Addis Ababa to the Adama region, so were able to see the beautiful country .  We drove as far as we could by vehicle and then walked 1 1/2 miles to her village!  We literally walked through a field to the edge of a mountain (seriously, like in a movie!)  We were greeted warmly by her family who, through an interpreter, were told how they could not believe we traveled 1/2 way across the world to visit them.  =)  Our sponsored child prepared a traditional coffee roasting ceremony for us in their 2 room house.  She was very shy, but made eye-contact and smiled often.  It was emotional leaving them after our visit.  Knowing that we'll all be together again as God's chosen people made it easier to accept.

We felt so honored to have so many praying for us during our trip.  I could feel your prayers.  There were times when, normally, I would have felt anxiety or concerned about different situations, and just didn't.  I know we had many praying and could feel God's protection all around.  Oh, how we loved our visit!  It feels strange being back in the U.S.  It was actually difficult leaving Ethiopia.  I just fell in love with the culture and people. 

God willing, we'll be back soon.  Kyah is waiting for her mom and dad to come get her!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Family of 7

We are officially a family of 7!!!!!  We passed court right on the spot today!  Praise God!  We met in a room with about 50 + people and they called us and another couple in to meet with the judge.  She was kind and asked us a few questions and the final question was "you do understand that she will be yours forever?"  And, then she signed the papers!  Making Kyah an official Klaasen!

We met Kyah on Monday and it amazing!  She is so darling! They handed her to me yesteday and it was as if she has always been my child.  It felt so natural and right.  It seemed like she just woke up from a nap and was tired.  She tried really hard for the 1 1/2 hours we met with her to stay awake.  It was cute!  By the end of our visit she was reaching her arms to us to pick her up.  Loved that!  We tried the entire time to get her to smile but she wouldn't do it.  Then, her nanny looked at her from down the hall and she smiled and giggled at her!  It was great and we got a bunch of pictures.  We could then see her 2 top and bottom teeth and her beautiful dimples. 

It was difficult leaving her, I'm not going to lie.  But I have to think logically and not emotionally.  I know this is part of this process and this is what we need to do in order to return and get her.  We were told in the next 3-5 weeks, if all goes well, we should have all the paper work in order for her to travel home.  Yes, home!  Her forever home!!

We are here until late Friday night.  On Thursday we plan on meeting our World Vision child.  They are taking very good care of us here!  Things are going well.  The guesthouse we are staying at is beautiful!  It's chilly here right now and we're glad we brought warm clothes.  Food is great!  Gabe and Jordan seem to be enjoying themselves.  =)  Jordan is on her iPod and Gabe's playing Uno with a bunch of other adopting families and their darlings. 

Please pray for our health.  We are all doing well so far and pray the food continues to agree with us and that the high altitude doesn't bother us.  Pray that our travel time visiting our WV child goes safe and well.  Traveling here is interesting!  =) far we've survived it!   We are listening to Carrie Underwood and a little boy playing cards with Gabe is checking out Gabe's muscles!  Everyone is laughing!  Love this place!

God is good....all the time!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We leave today!

Our flight out of GR leaves at 3:25pm TODAY!  It's hard to believe the day has finally arrived for us to fly to Africa and see our daughter for the first time!  The excitement over here is contagious!  We just praise God over and over for His perfect timing in all of this!  Even now, I can look back at that very long wait we endured and see how things are "fitting into place" for this moment.  Amazing.  Something only God could put together.

We may not be able to get internet connection easily so may not be able to update until we return home on the 18th.  I do hope we're able to get word to Jesse and Solomon that we made it there and at least hear their voices a time or 2.  Pray that they do well while we're gone.  I miss them already!  

We will travel for around 22 hours before we arrive in Ethiopia.  We should arrive at 1:20 pm our time on Sunday the 12th.  Please pray for safety as we travel.  That our flights over and back will be problem free.  That we'll we able to adjust to their time zone and culture.  That we won't have any health issues while there.

We will probably meet Kyah on Monday the 13th. We got our referral for her on July 13th and now will get to meet her exactly one month later!  Our court date is August 14th.  Please pray that we get a compassionate judge.  Pray for our nerves while going through this process.  Pray that all the paper work is in order and that we "pass court" right on the spot!  Oh, that would be so wonderful!  That would make Kyah an official "Klaasen" right then and there!

On Thursday we will meet with our sponsored World Vision child.  Pray that our travel to get to her is safe.  It's Ethiopia's rainy season and transportation into remote areas can be difficult.  We pray that she will be comfortable meeting with us and that our time together will be unforgettably sweet!

As you know, we need to make 2 trips to Ethiopia to adopt Kyah.  This first trip is to legally adopt her and do their countries court processes.  Once we pass court, Bethany Christian Services will get her birth certificate, pass port and visa and notify us she's ready.  The time frame between visits is around 1 - 1 1/2 months.   I have tried not to focus on the fact that we aren't coming home with her this trip.  It's just too hard to think about.  I need to be rational and know this is just part of the process in order to bring  her home.  It will be emotional leaving her.  I know that.  I also know that God sustained me for over 21 months of waiting to see her picture and will continue to do so.   But, your prayers are very welcome here!

Just a little over 48 hours until we hold our precious Kyah.   


Thursday, August 9, 2012

We just finalized our visit with our sponsored World Vision child!  We are so excited to be able to meet her and her family on Aug 16!  What an amazing trip this is going to be!  Not only do we get to finally meet Kyah, but now we get to meet our sponsored child, too!  World Vision has gone above and beyond to get this all put together so quickly and we couldn't be happier.  Our sponsored child is almost 14, so about the same age as Jordan.  What an experience for all 4 of us, but especially for Gabe and Jordan who get to visit with someone their own age and see what life in a different country is like for them!  Can't even imagine the adventures we're about to go on!  

I'm getting things pretty organized at home.  I've got the fridge and cupboards stocked, emergency contacts in place, and Jesse & Solomon instructed to not brake any bones, require stitches, or get any ear infections while we're gone!  To Grandma A, Grandma Linny, Elena, Rachel, Cindy and our back-up, MaryBeth...we thank you SO much!!   Knowing our boys are being taken care of by you while we're away is a great comfort.  I know they'll be spoiled and have a great time with you all!!

Please continue to pray for little Kyah.  Pray that our times together will be positive, that she'll connect with us and that she continues to thrive while in the orphanage.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting Ready

The court went well today for the biological parent part.  We're thankful it went OK today and the next part of court is US!  Our court date is set for Tuesday, August 14 and we need to be in-country on Aug. 12th.

All our flights are booked and we leave this Saturday, August 11 out of GR at 3:25 pm.  Fly to Detroit, to Amsterdam and then on to Addis where we will be staying.  We received our e-tickets today and it shows us landing in Ethiopia at 8:05pm on Sunday.  Which is 1:05 pm our time on Sunday.  Lots of traveling ahead, but I think we're set!  Between all the snacks, movies and ambien, we should be great!

We also got our confirmation to be staying at the Morning Coffee Guesthouse!  It just sounds good, doesn't it!  We know many people who have stayed here and the manager, Birtukan, is a compassionate, motherly and a beautiful person inside and out.  I'm anxious to meet her in person and be part of her mission.  We are very thankful to get the opportunity to stay with her during our time in Addis.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012


God's timing is simply amazing!  So many things have happened recently and we can see His hand at work with this adoption.  The fact that courts have remained open this late of a date in August is abnormal.  The fact that we were submitted to court so quickly is crazy.  The fact that we received a court date is unbelievable!  The August date means that Gabe and Jordan won't have to miss school, which is great!  Since it's summer break, we've had many offers from friends to help watch Jesse and Solomon while we're away.  Again, great timing.  Things here with our calf business are going to be much simpler to run since Todd has been preparing by installing automated feeding systems.  He was thinking ahead for fall with all of this, but so thankful it's all up and running right now!  We were able to secure some good prices on flights even with short notice.  Gabe and Jordan still needed to get a couple shots from the health dept. before traveling and we were able to get them in quickly (thank you, Julie!).  The list goes on and on...

Ethiopia is 7 hours ahead of us.  So, as I'm typing this, it's already Monday, the day that Kyah's biological parent/s have their court appointment.  Please pray that this all proceeds smoothly and there will be no issues that cause delays.  Someone from our Bethany staff will be present and let us know the outcome.
Please pray for her biological parent/s.  The choices they have had to make I can not even fathom.  I am humbled and grateful beyond words for them and the fact that they chose to give her life!

When we received Kyah's referral, we were given her medical history, her personal history and photo's.  We have decided to not disclose any of her personal history.  We plan on sharing this information with her at appropriate ages.  And when that time comes, we're going to let her decide if she wants to keep details private or share them. 

We received word on Friday evening that we were approved to visit our child we sponsor with World Vision!  Can not believe it!  They have worked quickly to pull all of this together for us.  We have one little glitch.  They would like us to travel to see her on our first full day in Ethiopia, which will be impossible.  So, I need to get in touch with the appropriate people in Ethiopia to change the date.  Please pray that I'll be able to change the date without difficulty.   We are so looking forward to meeting her!  She's almost 14, which is the same age as Jordan.  I think it would be a life changing event for Gabe and Jordan (Todd and I, too!)  to meet her and her family!  Thank you Bette, for the beautiful gifts we get to bring to her and her family!  =)

6 more days until we travel.  God willing, 8 more days until we see Kyah for the first time.  God is so faithful!  Thank you all for your continued prayers!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Little Africa

We went out to celebrate getting our referral and court date tonight at an Ethiopian Restaurant in GR call Little Africa.  Having never eaten Ethiopian food before we were all excited to try it!  We ordered a variety type platter which offered a taste of everything.  It's served on injera which is Ethiopian bread.  We used no utensils or plates.  You scoop up the food using the pieces of the injera.

                                              Jesse is NOT a fan of beets!   ha!

The kids liked using their fingers to eat with and they gave us little bowls to wash off our hands when we were finished.  It was a fun experience.  Makes me dream about what it will be like when we really are in Ethiopia just a few days from now.