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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lots has happened and nothing at all....


If you're in the "adoption world" or know anything about it at all, this statement makes perfect sense.

Thanks so much to all of you who have been praying our daughters home!  For all of you who are brave enough and care enough to ask us how things are going, we thank you.  It means the world to us to have support and "power-prayers" backing us up!

Our girls cases were submitted and were denied on December 3.  They are now requiring more documentation and approvals.  Truthfully, I don't understand it all.  We are told that they want to exhaust every effort to keep children in country.  I get that!  In a perfect world, that would be best for all.  Now, Bethany in Ethiopia, has obtained the necessary papers to prove this and have resubmitted again.  Currently, we are waiting approval and then can proceed with a court date.  This could be weeks or we may get to travel soon.  Looking at this as a huge adventure!  LOL!  It's super exciting actually!  Just wish it would happen!!

We are trying to be positive and keep our chins up, but this is tough.  When I see my amazing husband just aching and anguishing that his daughters are "stuck", it's painful for me.  I keep busy getting their room prepared and dreaming of the trip that will bring us to them.  I'm getting our "donation suit case" ready and have connected with a local group who makes washable feminine hygiene products.  We are purchasing many packages of these to donate while there.  Trying, trying to keep my mind from racing into the "what if's" and "why's" and focusing on the reason we are doing what we are doing.....

"In adoption, we engage a child's broken situation, form a new present reality for them and write a future story of hope for their life.  That's exactly what Jesus did for us."
quote from All IN Orphan Care

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One more step before we can get a court date set.  Yes, we were through all the processes, however, things changed earlier this month and now the Bethany Ethiopian team is scrambling to retrieve the original documents on all papers instead of photo copies. All these, we are told, will be collected and presented to the appropriate people on December 3rd.

OK, our prayer is that all the papers are in fact the correct ones and that it's a simple approval.  We ask God to soften the hearts of those who have authority over the girls cases.  We pray we will hear the results from this soon after and that we are cleared to get a court date set up!

Courts will close in January for a few weeks and if we don't get a court date set before closure, it will be delayed for weeks. 

On a much brighter note.....we got an update on our 2 beautiful girls this afternoon!  Our family recorded a video of all of us explaining who we are and a little greeting for them.  Their social worker showed them the video and while they watched it, they were being recorded for us to see their reactions!  It is priceless!!  Oh my!  They are so sweet and keep asking when we are coming.

Dear Lord,
You alone are in control!  Our hope and faith are in You and we know you can move mountains and care about these girls.  If it be Your will, we ask that you allow the process to be approved soon and allow us to travel before court closure.  Love and watch over these 2 darlings and bring us to them soon.  Amen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Update and Thank You

Just an update; first of all, thanks for all the prayers for Jordan!  We have a visit with her hematologist in 3 days and will hopefully get some more answers.  We pray that her platelets can remain stable, even if low is stable.  She continues to feel well and we are so thankful for that!

Secondly, as you know, the next step in our adoption processes are getting a court date for us to travel.  There have been some additional changes made in this process recently.  Please pray that the paperwork is all easily obtained and we "pass" and get a court date before the end of the year!  With God ALL things are possible and we truly hold this to be true!  We earnestly pray that we are able to travel soon.

We are sincerely amazed when thinking that less than one year ago, we were sensing the call to adopt again.  At that time, not knowing that God was wanting for us to adopt 2 older children.  God has been working at changing our hearts and minds, since adopting an older child was something I said I would never, ever do.  God has a wonderful sense of humor!  I am totally in love with 2 children who I have never met and long to call my own.

When we began this process, we were planning on one child, not two.  Not quite sure how we were going to afford another adoption, but believed that if God wanted this to happen that He would find a way.  Praise The Lord, He certainly has!  

We want to thank each and everyone who has supported us financially for these adoptions!  For those who supported us through the LifeSong account, privately, the grants we received and through the Rada cutlery fund raiser (thanks, Cindy!) God has provided abundantly and has left us truly amazed at how He provides for what He cares about!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Non adoption prayer request

With all of the adoption happenings lately, we honestly have been preoccupied with our daughter Jordan's health.  On September 22, she got diagnosed with Iodiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP).  Basically, this is a condition that we are not sure why is happening but her immune system is destroying her platelets in her blood, leaving her at risk for bleeding.
This appears to be a chronic condition that we will deal with for a long time.  Right now, it is super frustrating, as the correct medicine and treatments are being figured out for her.  The doctors are confident that this is manageable and that she will not live with ITP forever.  However, as parents, it is so hard to see our daughter suffering from medicine side effects, worrying about her platelets crashing and wondering when a medicine will work.

We don't know exactly when we will be traveling to Africa and the thought of leaving her here on 2 separate occasions, is a great fear for us.  We have been obviously looking forward to this for a long, long time now and the timing of this has really taken the wind out of our sails.  Quite honestly, we are trying to live day by day.  The thought of major travels to the other side of the world isn't even that exciting when our daughter is home dealing with this.

Would you please pray for Jordan.  That the right treatment would be found quickly and that her platelets would maintain a healthy level. Also pray for peace for Todd and I as parents.  We know that God is in control and His plan and timing are perfect.  We are overwhelmed and we covet you prayers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early morning email from the US Embassy

Woohoo!!  Todd woke me at 4:42 this morning to tell me we got an email from the US Embassy in Ethiopia stating:  NOTICE OF COMPLETED I-604 INVESTIGATION
Woohoo!!  This means that one final paper we have been waiting for has not only surfaced, but has been submitted to the Embassy!

It's still early and the significance of this hasn't completely hit me.  Can't believe things are finally progressing. :)

At this point, if I'm understanding these final processes correctly, we will receive confirmation that we have completed the PAIR process (pre adoption immigration review) and that notification is our authorization to set up a court date for us to travel!  Yes, I said we are getting this close to our travel date for court!!

Thanks so very much for all the continued prayers.  If we can be specific about what we would see as a wonderful time for all of this to happen, it would be over the long Thanksgiving break.  :) I know Gods timing is better than what I plan, but as a mom of 5 and growing, it would be really nice to travel while Gabe is home from MSU and the other kiddos don't have to think about schedules much.  Is that too much to ask!?!  

Praying today for our girls to have peace about all the changes they are about to experience.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birth Family Court!

There are many parts and steps to an International adoption.  Dealing with 2 countries (the US and Ethiopia, in our case) there are different processes and requirements for both.  

We are close to finishing the PAIR process with the US Embassy.  Once that is complete, we move forward to setting an adoptive parent court (assuming the Birth Parent Court is complete and finalized).

And, there are 2 steps in completing the Ethiopian process.  The first is the Birth Family court, the 2nd is the adoptive parent court.  The Birth Parent Court is set for Wednesday, October 22!  This coming Wednesday!  

We ask you to pray for this process scheduled to take place in just a couple of days.  That those needed for court will arrive promptly and that there will be no issues that arise with our girls cases.  

Thanks to those of you who pray for these adoptions!  May you be blessed because you care about orphans!

Just have to say a big prayer of praise that our good friends recently received their referral for a beautiful little 2 year old Ethiopian boy!  He is absolutely adorable and we give God all the praise for his little life and matching him with this family!  Another friend received good news this past week about a step achieved in bringing home their little girl from Haiti!  AND, friends from church just told me this morning about a match with a foster child!  God is working in SO many lives on behalf of His children who need families!  To God be the glory, forever and ever!  Amen!!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2 Years HOME!!

Today marks 2 years having Kyah HOME!  Can't believe this little honey has been with us for this length of time and can't imagine life without her!  

She turned 3 in June, 
  *seriously talks all the time (Solomon has a hard time keeping up!)
  *loves country music and watching their videos
  *always, always puts her shoes on the correct feet =)
  *pretends to text and talk on the phone all the time
  *loves macaroni & cheese and could eat it for all 3 meals a day!
  *wants coffee with hazelnut syrup every morning
  *loves to dance to fast paced music
  *wants to wear Jordan's hot pink lipstick and mascara
  *likes to pretend she's a Dr and makes us take deep breaths, looks in our
    ears, eyes and mouth, pushes on our bellies and wears a stethoscope 
    around her neck
  *or pretends she's a Phlebotomist and "draws blood" wearing gloves, she
   looks for our veins, taps on them and uses a syringe.  HA!
  *always likes her nails painted
  *prays to get her sisters "T" and "B" home everyday in an urgent way.

                                             LOVE this girl!

 
     

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PRICELESS!!

OUR GIRLS KNOW THEY HAVE A FAMILY!  After waiting for 12 anguishing days to hear about their responses (I know 12 days isn't that long...but we were so excited!) we received 3 videos and their social, physical and educational updates yesterday!  Along with a bunch more pictures!  

I would love to be able to post pics and videos, but can not yet at this point.  Let me just give you a written explanation of the amazing videos of the girls being told:

Both girls are sitting on a bed with their social worker in between them.  It's mostly all in Ahmaric, so we are guessing what is being said.  The social worker talks and then hands each girl the photo books I made them with pictures of our family!  There is literally a 2 second pause and "T" whips her head up and you can tell she processes this and begins asking questions!  Then announces "we have family!" clearly in English!

"B" just starts screaming and bouncing on the bed!  Then they both laugh and giggle for the rest of the video!  The next video they are punching the air shouting "we have family! We have big family!"  And then "B" starts laughing and bouncing so hard she rolls to the floor!  

We are told they kept asking the social worker "if this is real and that they were really going to go together and be in the same family".  Priceless.

We have pictures of each of them holding the photo album I sent.  It is an 
awesome thing to behold and made the wait since being matched with them in March, totally worth it!!

These videos are cherished by our family and are truly priceless!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

God makes me smile!

Although nothing has changed with the details of the "one missing paper and signature" situation that we found out about yesterday....Wow! today is amazing!!

Just got a call from our social worker in GR and she said the team in Ethiopia contacted her this morning. They want our permission to tell the girls about us today!!   I'm literally screaming and crying over here!  This is such great news since we originally were told that they couldn't tell the girls about us until we completed this PAIR process (you know, the one with the missing paper and signature!)  Anyway, I'm reassured that the social workers in Ethiopia feel it's appropriate timing to tell them and that time is TODAY.

My first question is that since we are not through with PAIR and it could now take much longer to complete, is it good to tell them and have them wait for us now that they know we exist.  My social worker said "we are fighting tooth and nail to get this process finalized!"

I just want to say that adopting is far more emotional for me than any pregnancy I've ever experienced!!

And, God has such an amazing presence.  Yesterday's news was tough.  Today, look at what He did!  He surprised 2 darlings with the news that they have a family! 

Thanks so each of you who lifted this up in prayer.  YOU make a huge difference!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crushed....

I feel crushed right now.  We had heard that things went well with the parent/guardian interview 2 weeks ago and I inquired with the US Embassy as to when we would get our official clearance.  Well, we got an email from them this morning stating that they are unable to move forward at this point and are need ONE additional paper signed.  Big deal, right!?  Well, apparently it is a big deal to obtain.  

The Ethiopian team has known about this particular form for months and have been trying to get it and get it signed by the appropriate authority.  It's from a difficult place to travel to and the person who needs to sign it isn't always available or even there.  Our social worker said it's "literally one signature that is keeping us from moving forward."

Oh, why does Satan do this!?  Well, I guess I do know why!  He is trying with all his might to keep these girls from being in a loving Christian family.  God has proved over and over through these adoption processes that HE alone is in control!  Right now, I need to focus on the fact that my God is a lot more powerful than one signature on a piece of paper!  He can do this and I have a big feeling He will amaze me as He always does!!

I would ask you to join in praying that this form we are waiting for is obtained, signed and we can move along smoothly and quickly into the next step!  Thanks for your continued prayers and support.  It means so much and especially to 2 beautiful girls who need a mom and dad!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

HUGE step!

We found out today that the parent/guardian interview took place as scheduled on 9/4/14.  Both of the girls parents/guardian's arrived and the word is that it "went well"!  HOORAY!!  This is a huge step.  Nothing official, just a portal message at this point.  Waiting for the legal papers from the US immigration, then it's onto court!

Thanking God for His continued faithfulness...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

P.A.I.R process nearly complete!

The P.A.I.R Process (pre-adoption immigration review) is coming down to the final step.  I am asking for prayers on Thursday, September 4 at 7:30 am Ethiopia time, that's 12:30am our time.  Our girls parent/guardian interview is scheduled with the US Embassy in Ethiopia.  Both girls cases will be heard that morning.  When this is complete, we are basically finished with the pre-processes.  

Next step, we will receive a confirmation via email from the USCIS (immigration) that we've passed and will be allowed to set up a court date.  That means sometime after mid-October our girls parent/guardians will travel for Ethiopian court and complete their part of relinquishing the girls.  Then, we will get a court date to travel!  Typically this is 3-5 weeks after parent/guardian court, but because courts are closed right now, we are told there will be a backup.

So.....we are seeing some amazing progress!  This PAIR process used to take 4 months now just a couple.  Praise to God!

Please pray that there are no issues that arise, errors in paper work found or more translation difficulties on the morning of 9/4/14.  That's less than 2 days away!  I'd be lying if I didn't say it is a bit unnerving because it is always possible that their parent/guardian could change their minds.  They absolutely have that right.  

My selfish side wants them (the parents and guardians) to show up, sign off and be done.  Deep down, however, I know it would be best for both girls to remain with family, remain in Ethiopia and never have known hurt.  Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.  There is sin, there is pain, there is loss, there is suffering.  No child should have to be without a mommy and daddy.  God willing we are going to take 2 beautiful little girls out of that scenario and show them what a family's love looks like.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14

I'm giggling even thinking about how crazy this must sound, but I have to say it...
You know how people have favorite colors, favorite ice cream flavors, favorite shirts, favorite restaurants.  Well, I have a favorite day.  It's August 14.  It has been for years!  I know, weird.  I really don't know why.  My favorite number is 14, August is summer, I don't know, it is just my favorite.  August 14 makes me happy.

Well, 2 years ago, on August 14, we were in Ethiopia for our court date.  We met with the Ethiopian Judge in her office, on August 14, and she signed our official Ethiopian adoption papers and made Kyah our legal daughter, on August 14.

We got some amazing news today about our adoption, that I will post about in the future.  But for now, all I can say is that August 14 ROCKS!!  God is good, all the time!!

Today, August 14, is our sweet "B's" birthday!  Coincidence?  I think not!  Nothing is by chance.  My sweet daughter on the other side of the world just turned a year older, today, August 14.  God willing, this will be the last birthday she ever experiences as an orphan!  

I can't explain how it feels to be so in love with someone (actually 2 someones!) who I've never met.  To think that they don't know that I am here for them, loving them and planning for them from afar.  So, we are going out for ice cream tonight as a family.  Celebrating her birthday in our hearts.

All I know is that next year we are going to PARTY all together, in person, on August 14!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mega pictures and P.A.I.R.

  
Sol & Kyah just chillin' in the hammock
Family photo is currently missing 2
Jesse, Solomon & Kyah having fun on the first warm day this summer.
Kyah enjoys our pygmy goat, "Billy"
Fun in our pool!
Kyah needed to get out of the pool and listen to music on the iphone
Posing by our calves  =)
Kyah is getting braver by the day with our calves
Playing in the sandbox
Solomon found a great way to pick cherries from our tree  =)
Jordan by our new pasture
Todd took a day off from work and we enjoyed a family bike ride
stopped to check out a creak then back to our house for an afternoon at the pool.
Gabe joined us at Peach Wave for some yummy goodness!
I discovered "divide and enjoy" bowl separators.  Amazing idea!!  =)
"Gramma La", as Kyah calls her, helped decorate a princess cake for Kyah's birthday party.
She was so excited for her birthday!   Couldn't wait for everyone to arrive, sing to her and, of course, open up her birthday presents!
Grandpa Lee & Gramma A. gave Kyah a princess doll.  Perfect choice and she loves it!
She smiled the entire party and even sang along while we all sang "happy birthday" to her!  Ha!
Trying on her new strawberry lip gloss.
Then, out for a Chinese lunch with Aunt Lisa and cousin Lily
Putting lip gloss on Jesse....what a good big brother!
Uncle Kirk is the best!
Another party with Grampa Jack & Gramma La
Our big 3 year old!!  Love her so very much!!
Apparently Kyah takes after her big brother Jesse.  She was on the monkey bars at our house, fell and hit her head and ended up with 4 staples in the back of her head.  She was a trooper when getting the staples put in (although drugs helped a lot!)  She sluggishly told the doctor and nurse "ok guys, enough!" over and over!


P.A.I.R. is the process we are about to begin with our adoptions.  It stands for Pre-Adoption Immigration Review and basically is the US Embassy reviewing our girls cases to make sure all is in order (that it's Ethical, that they fit the US guidelines as orphans, etc).  We have been waiting for months to begin this part of the adoption process.  It is a lot of legal paper work (around 40 documents for each one) and we have been waiting for a couple that have been difficult to collect.  And, I am happy to say it is all finished and sent in today!!  We should hear in a couple of weeks that they have received it and then we are told that it takes between 3 - 4 months to complete.  That time seems long, but 3 - 4 months slips by quickly.  (I'm trying hard to remain positive, can you tell!?!)  Once that is done, Ethiopia schedules the parent/guardian court and then WE GO!  

Each step we conquer seems huge when waiting, so today feels great!  

Specific prayer requests:  

*for the I600 forms that were sent in today, to arrive complete and thorough. 

*that no further investigating will be necessary and this will simply be approved.

*for "T" and "B".  Our 2 precious girls who desperately need a family to call their own.

*that during this time of waiting, God will work in all our lives and grow us in wondrous ways.

To Him be all the glory!!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

What will they think?.

Our girls don't know we exist.  I feel like I am on the edge of my seat waiting to find out that they have been told.  Because they are of age to understand what adoption means, the social workers in Ethiopia feel that it is best to wait to let them know until the time gets closer for us to come get them.  At first I was thinking "tell them!  Don't wait!" Now, however, I'm realizing why they choose to wait to let them know.

The process will take many months yet and if they know about us now, and we wait months and months to come get them, they will begin to loose trust in us already.  So...we wait to tell them.  Seems like the word "wait" appears often in adoption processes.  But, I totally understand this.  I have asked, if it seems appropriate, to video the social worker letting them know that they have a family and have been chosen! That someone loves them and wants them to be a part of their lives!  

How will they react?  Excited?  Scared?  Confused?  Probably all of the above. We've been told that all children at the orphanage see strangers arrive and take their friends and they know that those kids will now have families.  And, that every child wants it to be "their turn".  Although they don't know what all of this will exactly look like, they all want it to be for them.  

In our April update of the girls, "B" actually asked her social worker if they thought that someone would adopt "T" and herself together?  ....interesting question from her.  =)  Makes me wonder if they do know more than what we think they do.

I'm just so excited for both of them to have hope.  I see pictures of smiles on their faces and they seem to really being taken care of well.  However, at the end of the day, they are still in an orphanage.  I want them to have the hope of a future with a family that will love them forever.  I can not wait to look into their eyes, cup their face with my hands and say "YOU are now mine!"       

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our Sweeties

It has already been 2 months since we've been matched with our girls!  I realize we have months on wait ahead of us, but this seems to be going really fast.  Praying that our time apart continues to feel this same way.

I want so badly to post pictures of them and share details, we are, however, not allowed to do that at this point.  We can not share names or ages, but I will tell you that we are adopting out of birth order with both of them and I will refer to them as "T" and "B".  =) 

When we got their referrals, we were literally bombarded with all of their history.  Another thing I love about working with Bethany, they research and investigate all the children in their care.  Therefore, we have their history!  I received multiple 40+ page reports on each.  Literally hundreds of email update reports, pictures and videos.  I admit I scanned the writings and went straight to the pictures and videos!  Now, I have a chance to sit back and review our children's stories, look over medical reports, dream about what I'm told their personalities are like, etc.  I am falling so in love with these 2!!

For "T", English is her 3rd language.  She recently "ranked 2nd out of 45 students" at her school!  And is a "very smart student"!  She was awarded a diary for her accomplishments.  I am so proud of her!

"B" apparently is a chatter-box.  =)   She likes to be the center of attention.  Her friends have a nickname for her which means talkative and they say that "she will talk to a stone some day if there is no one around".  LOL!! Solomon is gonna have some competition over here!!
  
Both girls like to play with dolls, are social, are athletic and respectful.  LOVE hearing and reading about them.  Realizing that this will likely be full of challenges in every way, I am still super ready to travel to Ethiopia and bring them both home.  And, especially to give them a family, which every child on this planet deserves!  

God has lead us to them and we leave it all in His Mighty Authority about what lies ahead for all of us. 

Relying on my Heavenly Father in all things....that's a pretty great place to be! 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Tulip Time Fun

Posing for pictures during Tulip Time 2014.
Kyah really enjoyed wearing her Dutch costume this year.  Especially the wooden shoes!  
Love this girl!  She asks me to come see her baby-dolls that she set up.  Then, I notice one with a toy hand gun!  I removed it and she quickly put it back and said she was going bird hunting!  She's a girly-girl with a big splash of tom-boy!


We are at the wonderful part in the adoption journey called WAITING.  Things are in process and there's really nothing new to report.  We are in the part of the process when the US Embassy reviews our girls cases and basically makes sure everything about these adoptions are ethical.  Love working with Bethany Christian Services for this fact!  They have a great reputation with the Ethiopian government and make sure things are done properly and with the best interest of the children.

The absolute most asked question is:  "When will you bring them home?"  Well, I wish we knew!  We are told the process we are in is typically between 2 1/2 months to 4 months to complete.  Then, the parent/guardian court date a month from that, then our court date.  We will make 2 trips to Africa, just like for Kyah's adoption.  The 2nd trip should come quicker (less time in between the trips) due to the US Embassy reviewing the cases now, rather than in between the 2 trips.  I really don't like to put a time-frame on this since things in the adoption world change constantly.  God willing, there will be no hold-ups with paperwork, parent/guardian reviews, or more government slow-downs and we can get those cuties home!

Friday, May 2, 2014

DTE!!!!!

To all you adoptive parents, you know what this means!  For you others, it means Dossier To Ethiopia!  Ironically we received an email that all our papers are being sent to Ethiopia today while we were in Chicago at the Christian Alliance for Orphans summit.  

Another step closer to bringing our girlies home!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

So, here it goes...


     As we shared before, we felt God prompting us to adopt again.  The questions facing us were; from where and how old.  As we began talking to God about it, He narrowed the options and made our path very clear that it would be from Ethiopia again.  Looking back on Kyah's adoption, we were very "safe".  We wanted young, less issues to deal with and not to disrupt our birth order.  For this adoption, we both felt we needed to completely place it all in God's hands.

     We are working with Bethany Christian Services again (in our opinion they are the best!) and they have what's called a "400 Campaign" which is basically 400 children who are waiting to be adopted.  They are children from all over the world and as we began looking at these children, God began to work.  These children are so beautiful, vulnerable, alone, and could be mine.  We felt any excuse we came up with was completely selfish.  It is not these children's fault they are orphaned and if we had faith that God was calling us to do this, than we needed to trust Him and leave it all to Him.

     Faith was needed here and a lot of it.  This could get real uncomfortable and messy.  Eventually we conceded and told God we would do whatever He asked and  wanted us to do.  By then, we had our eye on a girl from this waiting child list and began to think about how she would fit into our family and fell in love with her.  In several of her pictures, we  noticed  her with a specific friend.  When we looked at this friends profile, who was also in this "400 Campaign",  we would see "our" child in her pictures.  This began to really bother us.  How could we separate them?  We decided to ask about the other girl and were told from our social worker that because they were not biological siblings, their policy was that it needed to be 2 separate adoptions.  They would, however, check with the team in Ethiopia who knows these girls.

     We felt so strongly, right from the beginning, that they were to be together somehow, we began to pray about this situation.  If we couldn't adopt them together, we would pray someone from West Michigan would or we would get one child home and immediately begin the process of getting the other one home.  About a month went by and we heard nothing and decided that we would stick to our plan on getting one girl home and going back for the other.  Once again, God had other ideas.  I got a call from our social worker saying that it was recommended that the girls stay together and be adopted as "psychological siblings"!  Unbelievable.  Well, not really when God's in charge!  We are still a bit in shock and are humbled that God would call us to do this.


     Knowing with God that all things are possible, (such as this rare event of adopting non-bio siblings at the same time, getting a referral for 2 children so quickly, paper work going smoothly, changing immigration status from 1 to 2 children, etc., etc., ) I simply have confidence that God knows best and knows how to care for us and what each of us needs (which I admit I'm praying now that He doesn't think I need to drive a 15 passenger van!)

     As reality begins to set in, we are faced with challenges that go with this.  The adoption for one child is about $35,000  This is a bit of a stretch for us financially.   Now, with this amazing news of 2 children, the cost will be about $52,000.  Additionally, we will need to buy a larger vehicle (NO 15 passenger van please. ha!)  We know God will provide and He has so far.  We have applied for grants and are willing to borrow money to make this happen.  Since becoming debt free 4 years ago, borrowing money goes against everything we believe in, but will do whatever it takes to get these girls home and with our family!

     Living among this community of believers and having a strong sense that Todd and I need to do something about the global orphan crisis, I wanted to share all these details with everyone so you can get a better feel of all that God is doing here and all that still needs to be done.


  We are asking for your prayers with our adoption.  We know there are going to be many challenges ahead, so we covet your prayers!  We are getting as prepared and educated as we are able.  And, we want these girls home soon so they can leave the orphanage, have hope and join our forever family!  Join us in praying home our girls and our friends babies.  For Kerri, Carmen & Lisa who are desperately wanting their babies home and trusting  God will see this through.  Also, for those darlings still waiting on the "400 Campaign".

    Again, stepping out of our comfort zone, we are asking for help from whomever is willing and able.  Maybe your role isn't to adopt, but you can surround us while we do!   The cause of the orphan should be a priority.  God expects action from us, especially where orphans and widows are concerned.  What are we going to do about it?  I personally would love to be surrounded by the body of Christ and be supported in helping bring these 2 children into my family where they can belong.  We humbly ask you to help us with our adoption.  We are joining with a non-profit organization called Lifesong who has set up an account for us.

There are a couple ways to donate towards our adoption.  You can send a check, written out to "Lifesong" and 100% of what you send in will go directly into our account.  Send your check to:
                   
                     Lifesong for Orphans
                     PO Box 40
                     Gridley, IL  61744

* in the memo, please write:  Klaasen # 4410

Your gifts are tax-deductible and you may ask for a receipt for your taxes.  Lifesong is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization.

Or, you may simply click the "PayPal" button on the top of this page.  Again, using "Klaasen #4410"  There is an administration fee of 2.9% that will be taken out of the donation when using PayPal.

                    Fund Raising Goal date is May 26, 2014.

Please consider this as part of your tax deductions for 2014.  It would really mean a lot to 2 girls who need a family.

Words can not express our gratitude to God and our friends for the support and prayers we have received and we humbly thank you!
  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Double the BLESSINGS!!

God has been working overtime on our adoption.  I will post all the details in future updates, but for today I want to share what God has been up to.  Many, many details are things that typically do not happen.  Many, many details are things that I would never have even dreamed of.  Many, many details are proving, once again that I am loved and a chosen child of my Heavenly Father.

On March 18 @ 10:10 a.m., I received a call, THE call, with a referral!  And, not just one referral...we received a referral for TWO girls from Ethiopia!  Oh, they are so beautiful and my heart is so full of joy!  Still trying to grasp the fact that we are chosen to raise 2 more precious children of God!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Verses and Quotes

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2:14 - 17.

These were the verses focused on Sunday night at our Revolution service and they are hard to hear.  What are we doing in life if we don't ACT!?  We might say what others want to hear and make it all sound so sweet and good.  If we don't get up and even possibly out of our comfort zone and do something about it, we are dead.  I want to be the woman who both talks the talk AND walks the walk!!  Thank you Cory for making that so clear Sunday.


Live simply so others may simply live.  Mother Teresa


Simple and to the point, right?  And, complicated beyond anything that any of us can even imagine!  Check out these stats from 5/2013:


World Hunger Statistics
Total number of children that die every year from hunger1.5 million
Percent of world population considered to be starving33%
Time between deaths of people who die from hunger3.6 seconds
Total number of people in the world who suffer from hunger and malnutrition800 million
Total number of people who do not have enough to eat936 million people
Total percentage who do not have enough to eat who live in developing countries98%
Total percentage of world’s hungry that live in 7 countries65%
Number of people who died of hunger today20,864
Total number of people who will die of hunger this year7,615,360
Total percentage of U.S. households that are at risk of hunger11%

People, wake up!!  These are real people.  Real hurting people!  The majority of them children.  Children who didn't choose this kind of living situation or conditions, but find themselves in them.  Think about the children who find themselves in all alone and dealing with this.   


This one brings me to tears and I hope it does you too. 

The need is real and the need is urgent!  You can make up all the excuses you can think of.  In the meantime, children are dying. Don't think you could help? I guarantee if you could sponsor, foster or adopt a child in need that the blessings God will pour over you will be way more abundant than what you ever dreamed.


God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called! 
Step up and ask God to use you.  You will amazed at what door He opens and what He can accomplish if you just say "Yes" to Him!!

We live in the affluent USA and basically have and get anything we desire.  If I want a tall, double shot, french vanilla latte with whip cream, I simply go get one.  When I want my family to get new clothes for Easter, I buy them.  When I don't feel like cooking dinner, I pick up something.  I am completely spoiled!  While 20,864 die every day from the basic necessity of food and clean water.  What would happen if I save the $ I would have spent on my latte, clothing and a dinner out, and donate it to World Vision, Compassion International or the like?  Or, what would happen if I actually get up, get going and do something about it and ACT!!

*Side Note:  Watch to see what Jordan & Jesse wear on Easter.  They came up with this all my themselves and I LOVE the idea!!!

Lord God, I thank you for the Holy Spirit that is working in my life and helping me to be aware of the work that needs to be done. 


And now the quote helps me realize why I am doing what I do:

"I always questioned if I was ready to adopt and then I realized - No child was ready to be an orphan".
Author Unknown


Tags:

world hunger statistics ? how many people suffer from hunger or starvation ? how many people will die from hunger every day ? how many people are malnourished or hungry?, what percentage of americans are at risk of starvation?, what portion of the world is at most risk for death from starvation ? how many children are starving ? what percent of world population is starving ?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What's happening in 2014...

It's beyond time to update this blog!  Time has really gone quickly since the last entry.  I have been thinking about what and how to update and thought I'd pull my better-half in on this one! 

Things are going well with our kiddo's. Gabe is doing well @ MSU, he text's often and comes home most weekends.  Jordan is now 15 1/2 and anxious to get her license... and date.  =)  Jesse is stepping up to the responsibilities of Middle School and doing Gabe's old job in our barn.  Solomon remains creative and chatty.  He's always coming up with new craft ideas and I have to hide the tape from him or it's always gone.  Kyah is now 2 1/2 and doesn't miss a beat!  We are amazed to see how God continues to "peel back the layers" as she blossoms into a crazy-little Klaasen.  


Kyah with baby-dolls: LuLu, Shawna & Florida-Georgia Line  =)  LOL
It's all about pink, baby-dolls and good hair
She loves the iPhone and is a genius using it
Her new princess dress!  Again, it's all about pink & good hair  =)

Todd wasn't excited about me starting a blog.  He didn't want everyone to know all the details in our lives and made it very clear that when our adoption with Kyah was complete, that I would discontinue the blog.  However, Todd now admits that when I started this blog, within a month of people knowing our adoption story and specific prayer requests, we got our referral!  Realizing now that it was the prayers of all you great people that helped.  Todd says "I was wrong".  

We have enjoyed settling in with Kyah, getting used to being a family of 7 and enjoying the moment.  A big thing that we learned from taking classes with Bethany Christian Services was to step back and learn what it's like to be a family as a bonding time with Kyah.  This has proved to be the BEST thing for our family!  We have decided to try to keep it this way.  We do not fill up our calendar and have become better at saying no.  Knowing that this is all for the better of our family life.  And, it's working and is a huge blessing!

The adoption of Kyah has made an incredible impact on our children!  Even after having her home for 16 months, the "newness" of having her here hasn't wore off.  They all love her so much and help her any way they can. They have learned to love someone who is not a biological sibling and realize that all orphans desperately need a family.  We are so thankful that God has moved in such an incredible way for ours. 

It is so important to have a God-based goal for your life and for your family. And we would challenge all families to prayerfully consider what God is calling your family to do.

This past summer, we both had a sense of Holy discontent.  Things were good, but a sense that God wanted more from us.  We were preoccupied with Gabe beginning college and what adjustments that would mean for us.  Are you noticing a trend here?  It's all about "US".  Nothing about what GOD wants.  We were tied up and constantly thinking about our own concerns and transitions.

After much discussion and prayer, we now know we are being called, once again, to ADOPT!

Stay tuned..........