Help bring our girls home!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One YEAR ago today!!!!!

Amazing to entire year has gone by since we brought our precious little Ethiopian home forever!  As I write this and exactly one year ago and at this exact time, we were in the GR airport awaiting our welcome home from our dearest of family & friends!  When I think back to all the emotions of that day, it's still overwhelms me.  We waited for this little gift-of-a-girl for a long time and finally all of our prayers were answered as we welcomed the newest member into her awaiting family.  What a wonderful celebration of a day that was!  
Kyah was instantly "one of the family" in every way.  She has grown so much in so many ways.  She surprises us with her growth and intelligence when we think of her beginning; living for almost a year in an orphanage, being malnourished, giardia (more than likely!), no momma or pappa to call her own and most damaging, no one shared Christ with her.  
Today....this little curly-haired cutie is surrounded by those who absolutely adore her!  Her personality is shining through in wonderful ways and her vocabulary is enormous (is she trying to keep up with Solomon!?!)   

Some fun things about Kyah:
 * She claps and yells "yah!" every time the Chick-fil-A cow "moo's"
 * She is clunky!  She will put her arms gently up and tell herself to "slow down" ....usually after spilling    =)
 * Is an expert on the I-Pad.  She can unlock it, find Siri, and we have found her "talking" into it asking for it to find Luke Bryan!   lol
 * Yes, she still loves all of Luke Bryan's songs
 * Grampa Jack is about one of her favorite people
 * Will eat almost anything if she thinks it has cheese in it
 * Sings along with the Biggby Coffee advertisement
 * Recognized our street!  Even from a few miles down, when we turn onto it, she will announce "Kyah's road!" 
 * Gets crazy happy when Gabe comes home from college
 * Is always asking if we are going to church (where she finds Bo!)
 * Loves babies!  She will get a high pitched voice and say "oh, cute! A baby!, Pretty eyes"  (Especially baby Paige!)
 * Thanks God for everything.  Like when I gave her a donut she said "Oh, donut!  God made!  Thank You God!"
 * Counts like this...... 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 (the 7 sounds like: nigh-nighn)
 * Loves Ethiopia and Africa!  She recognizes the shape of the African continent and proclaims "Kyah, born, Africa, Airplane, Get Kyah home!"   

I talk about Africa and adoption with her all the time.  =)  I know she truly has no idea, but I want her to love Africa and Ethiopia.  I do!  And, I often think about what her bio-Ethiopian family is missing out by not being in her life.  It's hard to contemplate all of this.  Knowing that this is how God planned it,helps make it easier to accept.  Oh, how I love being momma to this little angel!  She is, as her name suggests, my diamond in the sky!!

First family vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge
Lovin' on her pappa!
Carrying her babydoll, Lulu, in her doll sling   =)
Dancing in Lake Michigan with big sister
Klaasen Girls
Solomon 7 1/2, Jesse 11 1/2, Kyah 2, Gabe 18 & Jordan 15
Subway picnic
Moving Gabe into dorm @ MSU

Kyah & big brother, Gabe
Playing with her friend, Luke    =)
Kyah's "Big Girl" chart for using the bathroom
Hanging out with Luke
Kyah riding shot-gun with Solomon

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This week is about remembering.....

August 11, 2012, one year ago today, we were on our way to Ethiopia with great anticipation of all that God planned out for us!  Gabe, Jordan, Todd and I were so excited to leave GR and begin our 26 hours of travel to Addis Abbaba where we would meet our families newest member!  Our family has been reliving this time, talking about what a fantastic trip it was, looking through the photo albums and reading the journal that I wrote.  

I know you're not supposed to wish time away and that living in the past isn't good either...but oh how I wish I could relive what we experienced a year ago!  Having never traveled out of the country (except to Hawaii and the Caribbean) it was an anxious and yet exciting time for me.  I am not gonna pretend that my stomach wasn't in knots a few times or that I didn't pray many times for protection, and I still am humbled how God proved Himself faithful over and over.  

We met so many wonderful people in Ethiopia!  We keep up with them through email when we can and talk of getting together one day again.  I truly fell in love with Ethiopia and dream of going back one day.  

This past week, Jordan and I stepped outside to the smell of smoke from a fire.  Jordan immediately said "Oh, I smell Ethiopia!"  It has such a unique smoky smell that you never forget and that we learned to just love.  I smelled it immediately and just teared up.  Although it was more than likely someone burning their trash, it was a sensory flashback that gave me chills.  ...someday...

Not sure I shared this before, but this the referral picture that we received of Kyah on July 13, 2012.   Just one month to the day later, she was in my arms!

This is Dongite (her Ethiopian name) at one year old.  She weighed 17 pounds and was 29 inches long.  She was malnourished for the first year of her life.  When moved to a "nicer" orphanage, she ate corn porage, mushed carrots and sweet potatoes, lots of noodles and was on formula.  She had absolutely no protein foods at all.  When we had initial labs taken on her back in the US, she was very anemic (no doubt with that diet!)  And eventually were referred to a pediatric hematologist at DeVos Hospital for further testing.  Thankfully, as her diet improved, so did her hemoglobin!  I can't imagine where her iron levels would be had she not been given eggs, ham, chicken, and good ol' Klaasen beef!  I am so thankful that she has this opportunity to flourish! 


Which brings me to this topic....we in America have it made!  We may at times not think so, but comparatively, we absolutely do!!  Even the poor here in the US will be able to go to a food pantry, soup kitchen, get welfare, food stamps, WIC cards, Bridge cards, free health care, live at a mission, etc, etc....  Most places in the world, if you're poor, you're poor.  It's as simple (or complicated) as that!  Perhaps if you are fortunate enough to live in a place where World Vision, Compassion International, or the like, are available, you are able to receive daily necessities.   I found this following information staggerding:

If your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84 percent of the world. If it's $50,000 or more a year, you make more than 99 percent of the world. (taken from Oregon Live in August of 2012).

Why is it that God plants you, where He plants you?  I have come to the conclusion that God has put me here in the affluent United States of America to see what I can accomplish for His Kingdom.  Not that I can make everything all better, but that I can use my gifts and my heart to help where I can.  Todd and I have sponsored kids through World Vision since the day we married. (over 22 years of being sponsors!)  It is something that we see as a privilege and are honored to do so.  We are raising our children to have hearts for others who need help and I see them jumping to causes that they are able to in order to help others.  Gabe, Jordan and Jesse each have their own children whom they sponsor.  We didn't tell them to do it, they each, on their own, did it!  We are fortunate that we have a small business in which they each can work at and make their own money.  And, they are using their money to help others!  Each of them have a really cool, unique story, but I have to say that Jesse's is tops!  I don't want to publish his "story" in this blog, so if you see me sometime and ask about it, I'll be glad to share it. It'll put a tear in your eye.

What can YOU do for what the world considers garbage, unwanted and useless?  Each person created was created for a purpose and in God's own image.  Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to help.  Christians should get it.  But, many just don't.  It's really sad to me!  Orphans are people.  Many are all alone.  No hope.  No chance.  No future.  No purpose.  Is God calling you to make a difference in just one little life? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kyah turned 2!

We had a great time celebrating Kyah's 2nd birthday the end of June!  She would sing "happy to you" all day with a smile on her face.  =)  It truly was a special time being with her on her birthday this year!  

wasn't so sure what to do with everyone singing and looking at her!

Didn't take her long to figure out what to do with her birthday cupcake!
Our family creating a ceiling tile at Africa's Child, for adopting a child from Africa!
(It's right up front by the check-out, take a look!)
Picking up Jesse after Camp sweet!
Summer family picture
Klaasen grandchildren with grampa & grama (and one is missing!)
the 2013 Klaasen gang!
picnic time at Timber Town
Fun time playing!
Todd's parents went on a hot air balloon ride (their 3rd time!) for their 52nd Anniversary and his mom's 80th birthday!!
This is THE best!!
Kyah really likes the pool!  She's brave and jumps long as not too much water splashes on her face.  If it does, she yells "towel!"
Yes, Jesse is rip-sticking holding Kyah.  He's really coordinated or I would never let this happen!
Kyah and her friend Joseph relaxing in our hammock
Lots of fun pool days! Our friend Kelli and her 2 boys, Charlie & Joseph, from TN, came for a visit and we spend a day together which involved LOTS of swimming!
Kyah decided that she no longer needed to be carried while we jumped on the trampoline!
Finishing Todd's Big Gulp while getting more trampoline time.  Good multi-tasker!
Luke is home!!!  These are our friends, Brett & Robin, whom I have been asking you to pray for!  They returned home on 7/20/13 with their newest addition!  He is precious and it was a WONDERFUL airport welcome!  Thanks for all your prayers on bringing this little honey into the arms of his forever family!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time to update!!

Gonna update with photo's:

Little Ethiopian-Dutch girl
Future Luke Bryan keyboard player
Walking with papa & momma

playground fun!
My happy-grocery-store-helper
picnic time at Centennial Park
Uncle Kirk & Kyah
Lunch with gramp, gram & Kirk
Ready for Gabe's Graduation Open House/18th B-day Party!
Having fun with Bo-Friend

Gabe at HHS Graduation with Jordan
Loves being outside, especially helping papa Todd on the bobcat
Styling and ready to mow lawn with mom!
Kyah brushing Jordan's hair.  Jordan says this is the sister she always wanted!
John Ball Park Zoo day with Gramma Linny
Kyah loves her Jesse
fell asleep during lunch  =)
Playing with our new kittens.
Grace & Kyah playing with a cell phone....who can talk the most????
Kyah and her friend Gavin who we just happen to run into at the ice cream shop...often!!

Our Summer is going great!  Gabe is working and filling his bank account for upcoming MSU.  Jordan got her driving permit and I'm being chauffeured everywhere these days.  Jesse is at Camp Geneva and recently decided that he's ready to make profession of faith!  He'll begin meeting with his mentor soon.  Solomon is busy (as I type!) making crafts.  I can hear tape being used and he's usually making some sort of Iron Man costumes.   =)  Kyah just turned 2 this past Saturday!  Pictures of that special day to come in the near future.

Since I updated last, we rejoice with our friends Brett & Robin who have traveled to Ethiopia with their 3 kids for Ethiopian court!  It was a great trip for them and they officially adopted little "T" and are submitted to Embassy and should be traveling back to bring him home in the next few weeks!  Thanks to all of you who prayed for them and please continue to do so!  And for my friends, Lisa, Kerri and Carmen, remember them as their wait continues.

We have friends whose little boy, Erick, was recently diagnosed with leukemia.  Please pray for him as he has been and will remain hospitalized for weeks.  Pray that a bone-marrow match will happen quickly and that he will remain strong and healthy during chemo, upcoming surgery and recovery time.  

**Although it's only been a day since I posted this, much has happened!!!

Brett & Robin got an email from the US Embassy this morning inviting them to set a date and come get their little boy!!!!!!!!!!!!  Plans are being set for a date in the next 2 weeks.  Praise to God!!!

AND, Erick's oldest sister is a match for being a bone-marrow donor!  Can you believe it!?!  They were told there was only a 25% chance of a sibling being a match and, Praise to God!, she is!  Lots of things about to happen for this family.  Thankfully they are at a fantastic hospital and in the best place God's Almighty Hands!!