Friday, April 30, 2010

Christian Alliance for Orphans Conference - Day 2

Another full day.  It was full of highlights, full of insights, full of God.

The morning started with worship from a guy named Peder  Eide and then a group named Desperation Band.  The band is from Colorado Springs and have orphan ministry as one of their focuses.  It was great worship - even if it was 8:30 in the morning and one of the ladies told us we couldn't bring our coffee into the sanctuary.  What??? no coffee at 8:30 am in the morning???  BTW - the coffee we drank all weekend was Gobena coffee.  It comes from Ethiopia and is an orphan ministry.  Go buy some coffee at their website at

The morning session also included a beautiful family of 11 giving their testimony of Adoption Sunday - it was The Beavers!  It was cool seeing them all up there.  I took some pics that I'll post when I get back home.  Al Mohler also gave a message along with a fifty something year old former orphan from South Korea.  She had a very powerful message.

We went to two sessions by Dr. Karen Purvis on Attachment Disorders.  She was fascinating to listen to.  We also attended one on Transracial adoptions.  Also very interesting.

Dinner was at Don Pablo's.  Mexican is always good!  We went with the Henns, Jamie Jo, and The Beavers.  Great food, great fellowship.

The night ended with the worship group from Bethlehem Baptist leading a worship time and then two speakers.  The first was a Russian Pastor who has adopted three children inside Russia.  He spoke in Russian and used a translator.  It was cool to hear him talk while sitting with six adopted kids from Russia.  He was very energetic and fun to listen to.  He had a great story of his desire to spread a passion for adoption inside of Russia.  The second speaker was Dr. Piper.  In his unparalleled passion, he spoke about pursuing everything we do, whether it's adoption or anything else, through faith because it all lies in His hands.

We got pictures of Megan from AGCI and of Lisa from Bushel and a Peck.  I'll post those when we get home.  Layne posted some photos on his blog of the photos from last night's Ethiopian meal at Fasika's.

We found out this morning that Sunshine made the color guard at school for next year (that's the flag team if you're old school like me).  Great job girl!

T-bird's baseball team won 12-0 tonight.  Way to go Cardinal Farms!!!

We'll see you tomorrow kiddos!  We love you!!!!!!!!!  We miss you!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christian Alliance for Orphans Conference - Day 1

Wow.  Day 1 at the adoption conference was amazing.  The highlights included:

  • getting to meet the Bushel and a Peck lady.  Her name is Lisa and it was really funny how we ran into her.  She was great to talk to.  I think that she thinks we're kind of creepy since we know so much about her from her blog.  It seemed like wherever we walked during the day, she was there, kind of looking over her shoulder saying to someone near her, "are they still following me?"
  • getting to chat with a couple of the people at the AGCI booth.  It was fun to talk with them about some of the people that we've dealt with at AGCI.  "Definitely.....good question"!
  • going to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner tonight.  It was a fun experience.  We went with the Henns, Jaimee Jo, the Reynolds, and another family that the Henns know - the Olsons.  There were I think 18 of us.  Hard to believe but I was known the uptight guy who wanted to make sure we got back to the concert in time.
  • hearing Mary Beth Chapman speak on their adoptions and the last two years of their lives.  I can't even begin to convey all of that.  It was very moving.
  • hearing and worshiping with Steven Curtis Chapman.  Just him singing with his acoustic guitar and then him singing and playing the piano.  He also shared about their adoptions and the loss of their daughter Maria.  It was a very memorable night.
We were moved by the need for orphan care.  We were moved by what God is doing through many people and through many ministries.  We were moved as were worshiped our great God.  It was a great day.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In Minneapolis!

We made it to Minneapolis tonight - staying at the LaQuinta.  Thank you!

We're attending the Adoption Conference Thursday and Friday.  See info below.  If you can't get a hold of us, we're probably hanging out with Steven Curtis Chapman.  I'm pretty sure he's going to look us up as soon as we get to the Registration table in the morning.  I'm certain he's been looking forward to it ever since we signed up.

Should be a great weekend.  Click here for the Summit VI website.

Have fun with the kids Grandpa and Grandma.  I hope we left enough Diet Coke in the fridge for the Old Man!  We love you!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Busy Week

    Among the Nordstrom family, I'm the only one who hasn't blogged besides Eddy Joe and Big Fella. So I decided it was time.

This week is a rather busy one. On Sunday, we went to the Symphony concert at Morningside college. It was really good. Great job everyone! Today I was supposed to have a baseball game, but it was canceled, which I was kind of happy about, because I'm still pretty rusty. This week, mom and dad are going to an adoption conference, where some people like Steven Curtis Chapman (mom and dad won't stop going on about how they're having a dinner with him) will be speaking. While they're gone, Grandpa and Grandma are coming over to keep an eye on us. It should be fun. Other than that, there's Bible Study, more baseball, band, piano lessons,
orthodontist appointments, and SCHOOL. I'm so happy that it's almost May, although we will be doing school in the summer to make up for what we're going to miss in the fall.  Rats.  Oh well, it's all DEFINETELY worth it.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Show Hope Video

The video below was put together by Show Hope, the orphan-care ministry of Steven Curtis Chapman.  It is narrated by his daughter Shaohannah.  We are going to see Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife this week at the conference in Minneapolis!

Food for Orphans

I found a map showing hunger statistics worldwide.  The map was listed on the Food for Orphans website.  It is very eye-opening.

Click here to view the map.

Some good information from their website regarding orphans and hunger:

Today there are more than 143 million orphans in the world; and every two seconds another child becomes an orphan.

  • 42,000 new orphans every day
  • 400,000 orphans die every year due to malnutrition
  • 70% say that food is their greatest need
  • 60 million orphans go to bed hungry
Sixty million orphans cry themselves to sleep every night with pain in their empty bellies ... alone, scared, and hungry.

lack of food is the orphan's biggest problem. Every 90 seconds, another orphan dies from malnutrition.

The mission of Food for Orphans is to make sure that as many orphans as possible receive at least one nutritious meal per day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Concerts....

Sunshine had District Music Contest yesterday which meant more concerts.  I think we've been to five concerts in the last week and a half!

She had two performances yesterday for the District Music Contest, which was held at South Sioux City.  One was with the Chamber Choir and one was with the Show Choir.  The Chamber Choir received a "1" rating.  The Show Choir results had not been posted when we left, but they certainly deserved a "1" for that performance too.

Grandma and Grandpa drove up from Fremont for the concert.  It was fun having them here for the afternoon.  They've been great to drive up for lots of activities since they've moved to Fremont.  After the concerts, we had some Little Caesar's pizza and then they headed back home.

The three older ones ended up spending the night with some friends.  That made it extra quiet around here last night and this morning with only two little ones left in the house.  Usually on Friday nights, the older three are just beginning to liven up and looking for Mt. Dew and movies about the time we're going to bed.  There was none of that last night.  Just a quiet house as we went to bed.

The concerts were extra fun for Sunshine yesterday because several of her friends were there.  Included in the gathering were the oldest four girls from Unto Him We Live fame, Natalie, and Alexa.  There was lots of hugging, giggling, etc.  They are great girls!

l. to r.:  Lissie, Alexa, Jaynie, Tessa, Natalie, Cassandra, and Sunshine

Natalie and Sunshine

Friday, April 23, 2010

Between the Beauty & Chaos

Came across a music video from a guy named Aaron Ivey.  He was mentioned in a message I have from the 2009 Together for Adoption conference.  Aaron Ivey's website ( describes his CD titled "Between Beauty & Chaos" as:
The new full-length album centers around God’s faithfulness and beauty, and the church's response to injustice, poverty, and orphans. The 10 song album reflects a heart for the Kingdom of God here and now, between the beauty and the chaos.
He has adopted two kids from Haiti.  They are named Amos & Story.  Enjoy the video.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Bushel and a Peck: Tuesday's Topic

There is a blog that Heather really enjoys.  It's called "A Bushel and a Peck."  Every Tuesday the blog has a feature called Tuesday's Topic.  She posts a random topic and then asks for feedback from her readers.  Last Tuesday she asked her readers, "What led you to adopt?"  There are some amazing answers.

Click here to read the post:  A Bushel and a Peck

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We're On The Waiting List!!!

We got a call from Brandy today at AGCI.  She received our updated dossier documents and said everything looked great.  She informed us that we are officially ON THE WAITING LIST!  Now that we are done with our dossier/homestudy documents, we won't be working with Brandy anymore - we will be back with Kiersten.  Brandy told us that Kiersten would be calling us either later today or tomorrow to tell us our number!   We'll update this post as soon as we find something out.  BTW - if we had Brandy's pic to post, we would.  She's been great to work with.

UPDATE:  We got the call from Kiersten with our number.  Don't have time to get into the details now since we have to run out the door for a choir concert (Rye Bread and T-bird's choir).  We will update later.

I do have a moment to say that Kiersten and the folks at AGCI have to be the nicest people in the world!  Always helpful, always knowledgeable - they speak to you as though you are the only person they are talking to all day long.  Thanks Kiersten!  Here's a pic of her again.....
UPDATE:  Let me say first of all, the concert was fantastic.  It was the homeschool choir and they have improved substantially over the last several years.  It was fun to watch the all of the kids sing.

Back to the phone conversation with Kiersten.  She was calling specifically to give us our number (and to answer any and all questions - all questions are definitely good questions).  I was wondering how we would be grouped since we are looking to adopt a toddler and most people are looking to adopt an infant.  So, I was hoping for a low number.  When she started to tell me the number, I heard her start to say, "fif-" and I was hoping for fifteen - but instead it was "fifty-two."  I was initially a little surprised.  She said we are in line with everyone waiting for a girl (of any age). 

Kiersten said the time for a referral for people waiting for an infant girl is about 8-10 months.  She told me that we could possibly wait 4-5 months....or it could happen much more quickly.  I also found out that even though we are #52 on the list, there are "certainly less than ten and maybe even less than five" families ahead of us with our age parameters.  So it is a possibility it could be a wait until the fall, but it could also come sooner.  We are praying for the "sooner" option.  Kiersten also provided answers to questions regarding the timing of things once the referral happens and other travel information.  As always, it was an informative phone call.

Please pray that the timing of the trips would not coincide with our August plant shut down.  I cannot travel during that month and would need to defer travel until after the shut down. 

Praise God that we are done with the major paperwork portion of our adoption.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dinner and Concerts

        Tonight my mom and dad are going to a dinner with friends and the missionary family from a previous post. We kids are staying home and eating by ourselves. Scary, right? Haha. We are all hoping that there will be no Nordstrom incident at the dinner tonight! And also, if you`re wondering, this is Rye Bread. On Thursday last week, T-Bird and I had a band/jazz band concert. It was a lot of fun playing and watching the audience`s faces. Also, tonight, Sunshine has a choir concert that we will all be going to so it should be fun. Well, as you know, we are having supper alone tonight so I had better go help with that. Thanks for reading!!! I hope I didn`t bore you.

                                                                -Rye Bread

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Amazing Adoption Research Paper!!

I am very happy to say that my research paper is almost complete!! It's about adoption and the rough draft is complete. (finally!) After three weeks, five and a half hand-written pages are ready to type tomorrow and hand in on Thursday. My English teacher warned me to choose a topic that I would enjoy writing about because I would be working on it for an excruciatingly long time!! She was excruciatingly right :( Although I love the topic of adoption it has been a long journey. Someday maybe you all will read it for I plan to be a world famous author (SARCASM!!!!!) I absolutely despise writing papers!! Thank you very much for reading my post. I'm hoping it's the first of many. Please let me know if I bore you and, of course, I won't post anymore :) Good-bye!!


No, She Just Fell on Her Crockpot

We had an international dinner at church last night in honor of a missionary family that was back visiting.  This missionary family has spent most of the last 10 years in countries in Central Asia that end in "stan."  There was a tragic event involving them last November and they have been back in the US since.  They have a contagious love for Jesus and a passion to spread the gospel.  We love having them visit.

 Pic of the kids eating mangos, injera bread, and wat (Ethiopian staples!)

After the dinner and a brief update from the missionary family, we were getting ready to leave.  Suddenly, one of the kids came in the church and said that Heather had fallen outside and was bleeding.  Not sure of the seriousness of the situation, I headed outside.  I immediately saw Heather laying on the ground in the parking lot with Scott, our missionary friend, leaning over her.  As I ran up to her, I saw that Scott was holding her wrists tightly and could see there was blood.  She had been carrying the crock pot back out to the car, slipped and fell right on top of the crock pot.  It had shattered and she had landed on the broken glass.  She was in pain and very scared.

As a side note:  Scott and his family had stayed with us a year and a half ago and one of our kids threw up all over the kitchen floor.  Before we knew it Scott was cleaning it up.  He always seems to be near when a biohazard event surfaces in our family.  I'm sure he was thinking, "what's wrong with these people?"

There was a sudden hurried rush as people began to come outside to see what was happening.  Sunshine ran to get towels just as Layner was coming out with some.  We carefully looked at the wounds to determine the severity and realized we needed to get her to the hospital - not a 911, call the ambulance type of emergency, but we still needed to get moving.  We applied pressure again to the cuts and headed for the suburban.

Trying to figure out how I was going to keep pressure on the cuts and also drive, I started to look for someone who could help.  My mind was racing.  I looked at Tanya three times and thought she could come, but realized three separate times, "oh yeah, she's pregnant."  Sherri came running out - I thought she'd be good because she's basically like a large-animal  veterinarian.  If any foaming of the mouth occurred, she'd know what to do - she can handle anything.  Besides, if I started to buckle under the pressure, she we just tell me to get a hold of myself and deal with it.  Sherri took one wrist and before I knew it Pat had grabbed the other wrist and off we went.

We headed for Mercy Hospital and went straight to the ER.  It was quite a sight as we walked into the ER.  I went in first and right behind me was Heather walking in with two bloody wrists and two people holding the wrists tightly.  The eyes of the ER folks opened widely to what appeared to them to be a botched suicide attempt.  We explained that, no, she didn't try and cut her wrists, she just tripped and fell on top of her crock pot in our church parking lot.  We could see a combined sense of relief and disbelief at our story.  The thought of how things must look and how our story must sound lightened the mood of everyone.

The ER crew at Mercy was wonderful.  We were in and out in no time.  The ER doctor and ER nurse that worked with us were very kind.  Heather ended up getting 13 (she thinks it's 14) stitches in three different locations - two on her left wrist and one on her right wrist.  We were exhausted as we headed back to church to get the kids and head home.

As we got home, we were thankful on many levels.  We were thankful that the cuts were not deeper and that the bleeding was not more severe.  We were thankful that there were people there immediately to help her after she fell.  We were thankful that there were people willing to come with us to the ER.  We were thankful that there were people willing to stay at the church with our kids (Thanks Sandy!) while we headed off to the ER.  We were thankful the ER was not busy.  We were thankful the doctor and nurse were so kind.  We were thankful that God holds us in His hand - that nothing escapes His notice - that everything is in His control.  He mercifully and lovingly watched over us last night just as He does every moment of every day.  His our Healer and our Protector.

Heather's doing well today.  She was able to sing in our worship group this morning.  She's very tired and resting now.  I'm thankful that my girl is OK.

Friday, April 16, 2010

So Why?

As the major portion of our paperwork phase for the adoption is winding down, my mind begins to sift through the many reasons of why we are doing this.  It is not uncommon to get a puzzled look from others as we tell them what we're doing - as they pause with a struggled look and say, "well that's nice."  Inwardly we can see the inward mental struggle as they try to categorize what we're doing - it's understandable, sometimes we have that same mental struggle.

It began for us last November when our church joined the nationwide observance of Orphan Sunday.  There was an intentioned theme throughout that Sunday morning to focus on the need of the fatherless and God's love for them.  The morning included some moving videos (some of which weren't streaming very well so they stopped every 10 or 20 seconds!).  But through all of what was presented, God stirred up within both of us a desire to adopt.  If Heather could have flown somewhere in the world that day and picked up a child, she would have.  We both realized, we needed to do something - we wanted to do something.  There was an excitement that we had been given.  But what was it that we should do?

The thing that kept going through our minds was the thought that we have so much.  We have so much love in our house, so much joy in our hearts, so much togetherness in our family, so much in the sense of material possessions, so much in the sense of spiritual possessions - we knew we had "room for more."  We wanted to share what we have, to share what God has given us with someone who has nothing.  We wanted to share the love of Christ in a tangible way, to share the Gospel - His good news - with someone who has nothing.  In the same sense that we were orphaned by sin and adopted by Grace, we wanted to adopt a little one into our lives so that that child could be one of us - and could taste the love of God through a family.

God has continued to fan that flame and breathe into us a joy and excitement for chasing after this.  He has stirred us so that we continue on.  He has kept us moving, helped us gather paperwork, given us wisdom when phone calls were necessary, given us strength when we're tired.  It's been an exciting time....and we're really only just beginning.  I'm thankful for the joy that God has given us.  I'm thankful that He has revealed more of Himself to us.

So why then?  It is because we have so much, it is because we have God, it is because we have room for more.

Two Revisions

Brandi at AGCI worked through our dossier and home study today and found two minor items that need correction.  In one of our application letters we stated a 2-4 year old girl, but in our home study we stated a 2-5 year old girl.  And in one of the reference letters, written by one of our friends (nicknamed Rusty because he looks like Brad Pitt), it didn't specifically state that we were adopting from Ethiopia.  So his letter has to be revised.  Of course, both revised documents need to be notarized so we will head off to see Nancy at Siouxland Federal Credit Union....again!  Here's a picture of Nancy - Thanks for all your help!

We will then mail the two revised documents on Monday and we will then be on the waiting list!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Blog!

Friends of ours started a blog today.  They should have started it about 20 years ago since they have so much wisdom and life experiences to share.  (I guess they couldn't have started a blog 20 years ago since that was before Al Gore invented the internet.)

You can check out their blog at:

Please go check out their blog and pray for them.  They are in the midst of the all of the events currently surrounding adoptions in Russia.  They are being pulled back and forth each day with ever changing news regarding their pending Russian adoptions.  They are currently in the process of adopting three non-siblings from Russia - adding to a family of nine kids.  This is a feat beyond the capacity of normal human beings.  But God continues to show His strength and limitlessness through their lives as He displays His compassion and mercy for orphans.  They are indeed a beautiful family.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I-600A Form - In the Mail!!!

Today we mailed the I-600A form to the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).  The form is mailed to "The Lockbox" (whatever that is) in Dallas, TX.  In case you're wondering what the I-600A form is, I'll give you the clear guidance straight from the USCIS website.  Listed under the "purpose" of the form, it says (and I'm not making this up):
For adjudicating the qualifications of the applicant(s) as prospective adoptive parents
 I don't think they could have been any clearer on the purpose of the form.  The government has it's way of ensuring even a simple thing, such as a form "purpose," is confusing.  In everyday English, the form serves as a pre-approval to adoptive parents to bring an adopted child from a specific foreign country back to the US.  A copy of the home study and, of course, money accompany the I-600A.  Then we will get an appointment to be fingerprinted by the FBI.

Once we get approved by the FBI, they will signal their approval by sending us the form called:
  • I-171H - Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition

I don't know what happens after that. I guess I'll have to consult the clear guidance given on the USCIS website.

On other fronts, the septic tank work is done! I don't think they spared a single blade of grass in the backyard. That's OK though, it's done!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Home Study and Dossier - In The Mail!!!

It's officially in the mail!  Months of document searching, copying, notarizing, and signing came to an end today when Heather dropped off our home study and dossier at FedEx headed for AGCI in Oregon.  This ends a big chapter in our journey toward adoption. 

What is a home study and what is a dossier, you ask?  Good question (as our friends at AGCI say).

A home study is completed by a licensed social worker that reviews your lives in detail to determine if you and your family are fit for adoption.  Everything that you are is laid bare in sterile black and white as if to say this is it, this is all you are.  They look at your personality, your income, your debt level, your marriage, your kids, your house, your neighborhood, your childhood, and so on.  This is done through a series of interviews together as spouses, meeting separately, and - the way they find out how things really work in our house - meeting separately with our kids.  It also documents our many hours of training.  Then everything is summarized in a document that states whether or not we are fit for adoption.  The standards must be pretty low, because we passed!

The dossier is a series of documents verifying a number of things.  Here is our dossier checklist:

1.   Two Power of Attorney Forms (one must be state certified)
2.   Application Letter
3.   2 Passport photos each parent
4.   Photographs of the family
5.   Photographs of the family’s home
6.   Home Study of family
7.   Employment Verification (father)
8.   Employment Verification (mother)
9.   Financial Statement
10. Birth Certificate for father
11. Birth Certificate for mother
12. Certificate of Marriage
13. Medical Form for father
14. Medical Form for mother
15. Criminal Check for father
16. Criminal Check for mother
17. Two Letters of Recommendation
18. Post-Adoption Commitment Letter
19. Two Complete Copies
20. Applicable Fees (See Fee Schedule)

Needless to say, we are extremely glad to end this chapter and move on to the next.  Each day we are one day closer.  It's seeming more and more real all the time.
Thanks for everyone's prayer and support.  This is not a journey that we take on our own - it's too hard and too difficult.  We certainly feel everyone alongside us.  God has led the way, and we are thankful for that.  

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Septic System and an Old Apple Tree

Installing a new septic system is really, really cool if you're a kid. To have a backhoe and men working all day in your backyard is quite fascinating. They dig holes and even create huge piles of dirt for you to play in. It really makes for a great week. If you're an adult, most of the above doesn't quite trigger the same reaction. In fact, as an adult, you generally view each of the above as negatives rather than positives. Men digging with backhoes piling up dirt in your backyard does not create the same sense of glee that Eddie Joe and the Big Fella are experiencing right now as they play outside. That's a clear difference between kids and adults. They enjoy change, we don't.

The only thing as good as playing in the dirt is climbing the favorite apple tree.  It's the most popular tree in the neighborhood.
Here's a picture of Sunshine, T-bird, and Rye Bread climbing that same tree about five years ago....
Thanks for planting that tree Dennis!  Not only does it produce great apples, it produces happy kids!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Home Study Done!!!

Email from Cindy today:

Hi Russ and Heather,

Your home study is now completed and is ready to be mailed.  I will drop it off by the post office on my way home.  This has been a long haul.  Thank you for being patient.


Thank you Cindy!  We're getting closer to seeing the sunrise in Africa!  God is good.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A-maze-ing News

We have been struggling to get the child abuse background check info back from Georgia.  It has been locked up in the hollows of government bureaucracy.  It has seemed that the supposed person working on our child abuse check is located in some parallel universe existing in a completely different time and space continuum.  Similar to something from Star Trek.  And to go beyond that, it has seemed that there have been purposeful barricades erected in order to prevent any outsider from reaching anyone on the inside that has any actual, meaningful knowledge or ability to change the course of the required paperwork.  A seemingly endless maze through which we've been walking, not knowing whether there was really any cheese at the end or not.

We tried to get the contact information from our social worker, but she was reluctant to have us push also, not wanting to apply too much pressure for fear our request might go to the bottom of the pile.  Understandable concern.  But we nonetheless started to walk through the maze - an attempt to find the single person in Georgia who is handling our child abuse background check.

First we found out that these checks are done by the Department of Health and Services (DHS) in Georgia.  To give you an idea of just how big this department is, their website (which mysteriously lists no meaningful phone numbers) states that 25% of all children in the state of Georgia have a file with the DHS!  What a web they have created.  They do have a place on their website where you can submit an email.  I did that and received a prompt, generic email reply that said they may be able to answer my email in 5-7 business days!  Arghh!  The other option I pursued was the generic 1-800-GEORGIA (I'm not making this up) phone number on the web page.  After navigating through a number of menus and entertaining "on hold" music, I reached a person who directed me to various phone numbers and departments all of which had one of two results:  (1) no answer after ringing many, many times, or (2) the person who answered the phone had no ability to answer my question and would then forward my call to another location where result #1 would happen.  The deflector system to prevent any intruder from getting to meaningful information was fully in place and operational.  Their shields were up.  However, after going through office after office, I finally got to the Department of Family and Child Services (DFCS) office in Richmond County (the county where we lived when we were in Augusta, GA).  I had partially penetrated the bureaucracy!  I could hear the "red alert" sirens in the background.

After a number of calls to the Richmond County DFCS, I was now down to three ladies that I was told would have the answer to my question.  After many calls to these three ladies with no answers, I was finally directed to another lady, Miss Bryant (must be spoken in a southern drawl).  I called and left a voice mail with her and was shocked when she called me back.  I explained, for what seemed the one hundredth time, my situation and asked her if she could help me or send me to the right person who could help me.  I was once again shocked when she said she was the right person!  She took my information, which included my social worker's information, and told me she would get back with me.  Within ten minutes, she called back, said our record was clean, and said she had contacted our social worker!  Jenkies.....done!  Their shields were down, I had completed my mission, I had successfully reached another time and space continuum.  It was like I was Luke Skywalker shooting that last laser that goes in through the mysterious ventilation hole and destroys the death star.  I thanked her endlessly letting her know that today she had made a difference in the life of an orphan girl waiting to be adopted.  I told her that she probably doesn't get thanked very often but today she was getting thanked.  She was very appreciative, though she will probably get demoted for giving an outsider meaningful and productive information in a prompt manner - clearly violating her department rules of engagement.

So now we only await the official letter from her that our social worker will receive and put in our file.  Then Cindy can complete, notarize, and mail our home study to us.  Maybe by next week.

God directed us through a frustratingly endless maze - all in His time, under His control.  He will continue to lead and direct us in through the next maze we encounter, whatever that may be (I'm certain they are currently rebuilding the death star to be bigger and better!).  Although we put enormous effort forth to work through the mazes, He is the one that holds the key to it all.  Thank you God!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Anderson had a day-o-fun today. He has been planning a baseball game for today the entire week. Every day he has asked how many days until Saturday - because he knows I am off work and that we can do something fun.

The planning has included every detail: who would be on each team, batting order, who pitches, how many runs it takes to win, who is bringing the snacks, what the snacks are going to be, what are team names are, etc.  Each night he has wanted to discuss the details to make sure we weren't missing anything.  When sports are involved, his mind is in full gear....his mother can attest to the fact that it is not that way with schoolwork!

He ended up having his favorite Saturday breakfast (waffles - he went with three this morning) and his favorite lunch (tacos) and will have his favorite supper tonight (pizza). He's living large. No, it's not his birthday or any other special day, just a day he has planned and planned and planned and has been very excited about.  Don and George Stokely did a great job of going along with the whole deal.  They are great big brothers.

We headed off to Cardinal Park at about 1:00. We had bats, gloves, baseballs, snacks, drinks, baseball tee (for Big Mac), and camera. The teams were Don and George Stokely against Anderson, Big Mac, and me. We were supposed to play to 15 (Anderson's rule).  Anderson's team won - he was the official scorekeeper.  We had a great time and have included a few pics to show the funness that was had by all.



Big Mac - Ready to play

Here's the players

 Anderson - ready for the big swing

Big Mac - giving it a powerful swing

 Snack time after the big game
(choice of chocolate covered granola bar or fruit snack and a bottle of Propel)

Time for play at Cardinal Park - aka, "the red park" - Big Mac's favorite!

What a day!

Adoption Video

Another moving video of a family bringing FOUR kids home from Ethiopia - yes, FOUR.  This is the family that adopted a boy from Ethiopia several years ago which inspired Lucy Lane's family to adopt her (included in an earlier post).  You can see the Lucy Lane video by clicking here and their blog by clicking here.

Enjoy the video of the Mihnovich's. Be warned - you will be moved!

I also want to congratulate the Gitlins as they have a court date in Ethiopia and will likely not have to make the two trips - just beat the deadline - God is good.  You can catch up with them at their blog.