Monday, May 31, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Ayers and a Busy Weekend

It's been a busy weekend.  I'll summarize, mainly through pictures to spare people from having to read my endless ramblings of aimless details that just seem to go on and on without any clear direction or purpose (you get my point).

Saturday started with lots of cleaning around the house to get ready for our friends the Ayers.  The Ayers are a family from the Twin Cities who took a half dozen of our youth on a missions trip last summer to Pearlington, MS.  They have since become good friends not only with our family but a number of other families in our church.

They traveled with us to two open houses on Saturday - both of which served a lot of food - of which I at a lot of (no surprise).  Here are some pics of us over at the Beaver's house.  We somehow missed taking pictures at the O's open house.

Here are the girls doing a lot of giggling.  It was pretty much that way all weekend.
(l. to r. Caitey, Alexa, Sunshine, Tessa - with a halo?, Ruthiey, and Lissie)

Here is a pic of their feet (this pic was harvested from Sunshine's camera and I have no idea what it means).  I'll leave it to the reader to figure out whose feet are whose (probably not grammatically correct - could use some help on that one).

After the long day of eating and eating some more, the Ayers spent the night at our house along with Caitey and Ruthiey.  (Caitey and Ruthiey apparently spend enough time with the Ayers to have nearly similar DNA with the family though there is no actual known relation.)  There were a total of 15 in our house and a lot of fun was had.  Tessa and Alexa came over for a while Saturday night too just to add to the noise.....meanwhile the adults went to bed.

Here's a pic of the Ayers clan (minus their oldest Courtney) taken after church.
(l. to r. - Geoffrey - smiling on the inside, Garrett, Gary, Corrie, Gigi, and Caleb)

After church we went to Five Guys to eat lunch with the Ayers and the Sowers - Ben is home from the Air Force Academy for three weeks!

There are no pics of Sunday afternoon because we slept.....for a long time.

Sunday night was perfect for S'mores on the fire in the backyard with the fam.

Today has been a beautiful day for:

 - relaxing by the pool (Eddie Joe's favorite)

 - and a little backyard golf action (The Big Fella always loves some time of sport)

At the end of a very busy weekend, it's good to reflect.  And as I reflect, I am extremely thankful for my family and our family is extremely thankful for great friends.  We are really blessed.  Busy-ness can sometimes drag us down, but can also recharge us as we remember what we're busy with.  God has truly showered our lives with many, many blessings.

After a few moments of quiet blogging, I gotta go.  It's almost time to start grilling.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Video: AGCI Faces of Adoption 2009

Another video from AGCI.  This one highlights many of the children adopted during 2009 through AGCI.  Note the many different AGES and many different COUNTRIES highlighted in this video.

So, if you're older (like we are) and don't feel led to adopt an infant, keep in mind that there are many, many, many children in the 2-15 year old range available for adoption from many different countries.

These kids need homes just like orphaned infants need homes.  And the sad part is that they age out of the system once they hit age 16.  That means they become twice abandoned.  Once by family when they became an orphan and once by the orphan system when they are sent out on their own.

Enjoy the video.  Pray for the children still in orphanages.  Feel the tug of your heart.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Adorable T

Check out this link from the Lucy Lane blog about a waiting child.  They call her Adorable T.  There are many families out there with an available spot for a 7-10 year old girl who has no family.  Maybe you know one??

There are also waiting children listed at our agency's (AGCI) website.  Click here to see.  These are kids who are older and are in great need of a family.  If a home is not found for them, they will age out of the system and be left out on the streets.  Pray for them, that they might find a home that is filled with love and filled with Christ.

More information can be obtained about any of the AGCI's waiting children from the Waiting Child Coordinator, Mindy Anderson at (971) 244-1474 or

Pics of some other waiting kids.....

Go Cardinal Farms!!!!

T-bird's team won their game tonight.  The final score was 17-6.  They won by the 10-run rule after 4 1/2 innings.  They had 16 hits including two over-the-fence home runs and one inside-the-park home run.  Levi D. pitched a complete game.  It was an overall great team effort with very few errors, very few walks, and great hitting throughout the entire line up (I'm thinking it was likely all due to great coaching).  The night was capped with a stop at Dairy Queen.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh Canada

Traveling this week to Vancouver for work. Spent 18 hours on Tuesday getting here from Sioux City. Flight delayed from Sioux City due to plane problems resulting in a missed connection. It all went downhill from there.

My co-worker and I flew in to Seattle last night and got to see Pike's Place where I took the pic above. He and I had great seafood and then drove up to Vancouver. Lots of trees. The weather is cool here, overcast, and rainy off and on. It sounds like that is pretty normal.

Heather takes the four boys to Adventureland tomorrow. Rye Bread and T-bird are going with the middle school band. Heather is taking The Big Fella and Eddie Joe along also to give them a Day-O-Fun. They should have a great time!

I head back home tomorrow. We're leaving the hotel at 4:30 am. Could be another long travel day.

T-bird's baseball team lost their game tonight 8-6. Sherri kept me up to date with texts since Heather was at The Big Fella's baseball game. The Big Fella's team won 18-12 (Rye Bread did his best to keep track of the many 7-8 year olds crossing the plate during the game).

T-bird's team also lost on Monday night. It was tied 2-2 going into the 6th inning and then the other team scored 10 (yes, 10) to end the game on the 10-run rule. The Big Fella's team won 14-1 (score is not kept, but one of the 7 year olds on his team is certain that was the final score - who can doubt a 7 year old?).

It's been a quick couple of days, but I am definitely ready to get back home. I miss my kids. I miss my wife.

Here are a couple of pics.

The first is a pic of the snow covered mountains taken while driving up I-5 from Seattle to Vancouver.  Very cool.

The second is a pic of the timber being dragged up the river just outside my hotel window here in Vancouver.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another AGCI Adoption Video....YOU WILL BE MOVED!

Here is another adoption video from an AGCI family.  This is the Vogeltanz family.  Their blog is at:

Take the time to watch.  But, once again I send a warning along with the video - YOUR HEART WILL BE MOVED!


Friday, May 21, 2010

FBI Fingerprinting and an Alternate Universe

We successfully completed our FBI fingerprinting this morning at the Department of Homeland Security office in Omaha.  Unlike just about anything else in our adoption process, this was easy.  The DHS office is a beautiful, new facility.  There are competent people running the office.  Everything was running on time.  There were clear instructions.  The staff at the office were friendly and helpful - yes I said friendly and helpful.  The fingerprinting was simple, easy, and quick.  I chit-chatted with the lady taking my fingerprints and she was very personable and seemed to enjoy her job.

I'm pretty sure the whole office exists in some type of alternate universe.  Somehow the government has created a portal through the time-space continuum.  Through this portal, the government was able to create this office which I believe is made completely of anti-matter.  Being an exact opposite of the "typical" government office, it exists merely as an experiment.  This was the ying of the standard yang government office.  I don't think the people were even real, but were holographic images.  A nuclear reactor is likely deep underground at the center of the building providing the necessary power to drive the "good" into a goverment program.  What could be next?  Nice, efficient, friendly people at your local DMV?  I don't think they have perfected the technology to that point yet.

After the puzzling, yet delightful experience of the ying of the DHS, we headed to Panera.  We were done at the DHS by 8:30 am and so had some time to kill.  Heather wanted one of those, as she calls them, "yummy egg things" (must be said while twirling your fingers in small, quick circles) that Panera has.  While we hung out at Panera, we worked on our adoption timeline.  We've been wanting to put together the events that have happened so far along with the dates.  I'll be updating our blog to show our timeline - piecing it together little by little.  I feel like our blog is getting very crowded.  Need to figure out how to reorganize or take out some items.

After Heather completes her shopping here at Village Pointe (I'm blogging from the Paradise Bakery & Coffee), we will travel to Fremont to see Mom and Dad.  Then go back home.  We have to get home for a baseball practice for The Big Fella and a baseball game for T-bird.

Included are some pics of Eddie Joe - just because no one can "out-cute" Eddie Joe.  Actually he no longer wants to be called cute, he wants to be called cool.  So now, no one can "out-cool" Eddie Joe.

I'm also including some pics of the mess we have in our backyard following the septic system replacement.  The landscaping guys came this week so now at least it is seeded.  But it will be awhile until we have a plush, green yard again.  For now, instead of plush it is mush.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baseball, A Visitation, and Fingerprinting

The Big Fella finally got the phone call he's been waiting for.  He's been waiting for Coach Jessie to call.  He knew when Coach Jessie called, he would find out when baseball practice starts.  Coach Jessie called Tuesday night.  The Big Fella was ecstatic.

The Big Fella is 7 and is in coach pitch this year.  No more T-ball for him.  Tonight was his first practice.  He hasn't stopped talking about it for days.  Heather found an old pair of baseball pants of an old pair of cleats from the collection Rye Bread and T-bird have left behind.  He wore them all afternoon and while eating supper, anxiously awaiting practice.  We have some busy weeks ahead with two in two different baseball leagues now.

I attended a visitation at a funeral home tonight for a co-worker who died last weekend under tragic circumstances.  Very sad.  Very sobering.  He was a great guy.  What a reminder of the darkness of death.  The sureness of the passing of this life.  I was at the visitation while Heather took The Big Fella to baseball practice.  After the visitation, I quickly headed home to change and then to help with practice.  What a contrast to leave a visitation where death is so tangible, so present, and then go to a baseball field full of 7 and 8 year olds running around in life and laughter.

Heather and I head to Omaha tomorrow morning to have our fingerprinting done by the FBI for our adoption.  It's been fun to read about others recently getting their FBI fingerprints done (The Gitlins).  And another family who just recently joined our blog as a follower.  They are fellow AGCI'ers who are following a very similar timeline with us.  Accepted by AGCI on nearly the same date, adopting from Ethiopia, and also have their FBI fingerprinting done tomorrow - in Illinois.  They are the Uchereks (check them out at God etched your name on our hearts).  And of course The Beavers and their three oldest are going to be fingerprinted next month. 

After our fingerprinting is complete, I will likely blog tomorrow from some cozy coffee shop at Village Pointe in Omaha while Heather does some crazy clothes shopping - she's got that look in her eye.  But for me, I'll have a scone and some coffee....just need the Hofers there to make it complete!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Contact with the Castaway Kid

After Rob Mitchell posted a comment on our blog, I replied to him with a comment on our blog.  Thinking he would never see the comment, I sent a message to him through his Castaway Kid website expressing thanks and appreciation for him sharing his story through his book.  I was surprised when he emailed back to me this morning.  I was also surprised with the news that he shared:

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 6:50 AM
Subject: Castaway Kid thank you

Our 23yr old son, Luke, is fighting Leukemia.

He is winning but some days are difficult.

So yesterday, in the hospital for massive amounts of chemo, I was just surfing the web under Castaway Kid and found your posting.

Thanks for caring.

And as you feel led, maybe post your thoughts about Castaway Kid on your favorite book buying website, etc..

In Hope,


PS: Emotionally powerful emails from around the world of wounded people finding Hope are being shared at:
So here was someone who had great childhood struggles and yet was preserved by God's hand.  Through the difficult storms of being orphaned, God was there.  Always guiding, always loving.  And ultimately gave him a loving family.

Now he and his family are struggling because his son has leukemia.  These are the hard questions of life. How can a man with such a difficult childhood have a child with leukemia?  These are the questions that Job struggled with (and his friends).  And yet we have an Anchor that is sure, a King that is on the throne, a Father who is always loving His child.  He is our Rock.  To Him alone we cling.  We walk in faith.

I encourage you to check out their journal on their son's website.  I encourage you to read his book.  And if you have read his book and were moved, send him an email and let him know at

It has been exciting to meet so many wonderful people since we started to be pursued by adoption.  I can't imagine the people we have yet to meet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Castaway Kid Comment!!!

You gotta see who commented on our "Castaway Kid" post!!!!!

Castaway Kid

I finished a great book last night called Castaway Kid (click here for the Amazon link).  It was given out for free at the Christian Alliance for Orphan conference last month and is published through Focus on the Family.

The book is about a boy named Rob Mitchell who was left at an Illinois orphanage by his mom when he was three years old.  The first chapter is about this initial event and is very moving.  You can Google the book and read the first chapter online.

His initial abandonment occurred in the late 1950's when there was no foster system.  He ended up being raised in the orphanage until he graduated from high school.  This was the last generation of orphanage kids in the U.S.

The story follows his life, his struggles, his painful loneliness, and ultimately his relationship with Christ.  It is his relationship with Christ that finally allows the deep healing to begin.  It is a moving story and is highly recommended.  It helps to paint the picture, from a first-person point of view, of the pain and abandonment that an orphan suffers.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday is Waffle Day and Baseball Day

It's not unusual for The Big Fella to ask whether tomorrow is Saturday.  During the week, he frequently asks, "Dad, do you go to work tomorrow?"  He knows that when it is Saturday, that means that it's waffle day.  And he hopes each waffle day includes a trip with da boyz to the baseball field.  He is really hooked on this.

Well, today did start with waffles.  It takes me a lot of time to prepare the waffles.  Let me share my recipe.  First, I open the freezer.  Second, I place two waffles in the toaster.  Third...well you maybe have the same recipe.

This morning The Big Fella had two and Eddie Joe had two.  Even though Heather slipped some whole grain waffles in the freezer, the boys loved them and devoured them.

We had planned to go to play baseball right after lunch.  (Lunch was PB&J outside on the picnic table.)  But then I found out we had an open house to go to.  After the open house, the O's two youngest came over for the afternoon.  I figured baseball probably wasn't going to happen but knew when The Big Fella realized at the end of the day that he hadn't played baseball, it wasn't going to be pretty.

The six boys played together for a couple of hours and then I could see them starting to get that bored look in their eyes.  It was obvious it was time for some baseball.  So we all loaded up in the 'burb and headed for baseball field near the school.  The teams were Rye Bread, Nolan, and Nathan vs. T-Bird, Carter, and Eddie Joe.  I was all-time pitcher and then became all-time fielder.

The players:  Front - The Big Fella, Nolan, Eddie Joe.  
Back - Carter, Rye Bread, T-bird.

It was a beautiful day.  It was warm.  The sun was out off and on.  I got to spend some great time with my boys.  I am blessed.

Rye Bread`s Random Ramblings

        OK, so I decided to post something. I was determined to blog yesterday, but, I was a bit distracted by school, going to the park in the afternoon with some families we know, including: the Reynolds, Henns, and Drurys, plus  T-bird`s baseball game that night(which was awesome! IT WASN`T COLD!!!). Sunshine didn`t have school yesterday, so it was fun being with her. The park was a lot of fun. We had a kickball game, which is always fun. The score was 6-3. I think we were all pretty confident heading out on the "field" with Janie(from their blog, Unto Him We Live) as our leader. It was quite the game! T-bird`s baseball game was a lot of fun! I think the team was pretty excited about the win. The team is now 2-2-1. I`m sorry if I am boring you. You`ve probably already read about the baseball game in one of the previous posts. I`ll try to persuade my dad to blog about the lawn epidemic. That will probably be a bit more exciting. Well, that`s all for now. Have a great day!!!

                            --Rye Bread

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lifesong for Orphans

Lifesong for Orphans is an organization working to help provide schools and food to orphans.  They also do a number of other items in areas of orphan care and adoption.  I encourage you to look through their website and see some of the things they are doing.

We have signed up to be a Lifesong Blogger - meaning that they will send us information once a quarter or so for us to post.  So all of the information below comes from them.  I only have to figure out how to post all of the HTML information they sent!

We're excited to share their ministry with the goal of spreading the vision for orphan care.  There are opportunities for everyone to be involved!  Some of their ministries include:  Adopt an Orphanage, Both Hands (one hand helping widows, one hand helping orphans), Becoming an Orphan Advocate (lots of folks who are using their talents and businesses for orphan care), etc.  So here goes our first post for Lifesong.  Check out their ministry.

We found many of the students in the Ziway Lifesong School were coming to school hungry and brought no food for lunch. Teachers complained of lack of attention on the students’ part. Lifesong initiated a school feeding program in November, 2009, for all 300 students at the school.
For breakfast each receives fafa, a porridge-like food that provides the nutrients that each growing child needs. The lunch menu rotates through a cycle of fish soup, the national foods of shiro and injera, vegetable beef soup, and pasta.
Now that the Adami Tulu Nursery School has re-opened, Lifesong has also started a similar breakfast and lunch feeding program there.
The Ziway school feeding program, in which 300 children are fed two meals each day, has been very successful. Caregivers, teachers, and the students themselves report that they are much healthier, more attentive in class, and have more muscle and skin tone.
Sustaining the program of feeding each student a nutritious breakfast and lunch at the Adami Tulu School will take additional funding and special logistics. However, if it is God’s will, we know that He will provide what is necessary for the feeding program. On the first day of the feeding program, all students were measured for their height and weight and this data was recorded. Several children were found to be malnourished. Now that we have this statistical data, we intend to monitor the students’ progress.
In Ethiopia, $3 feeds 1 child for a month!

Go Cardinal Farms

Cardinal Farms won their baseball game tonight.  We beat the Red Sox from Sergeant Bluff 5-4.  Levi D. pitched four stellar innings.  T-bird pitched the final two innings.  The whole team played much better.  They were all very excited to come away with the win.  They were initially up 3-0 until the 4th inning when the Red Sox scored four runs.  Then in the bottom of the 5th, with two men on, Jacob had a great hit to right field and we scored two runs to regain the lead.  We then held them scoreless in a three up, three down top of the sixth.  It was great night (including the weather), one worthy of Dairy Queen after the game.  Our record is now 2-2-1.  We have three games next week.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - all at 8:00 pm.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Number Update - Even Better Than Palladium

Exciting news!

We got an update from Julie at AGCI today.  Heather had asked her how many people were ahead of us who have the same age and health "parameters" (that's the word they always use) that we are requesting.  Here is her answer - with the ever present and always genuine AGCI motto: "great question."

Hi Heather,
This is a great question—it looks like there are three families ahead of you open to adopt a 2-3 year old although there are no other families going all the way up to 5 years old. I hope this is encouraging!  Either way you are somewhat in a category of your own or at least with very few families.
Let me know if you have other questions!

Take Care,

So we are very excited!  With respect to my post yesterday regarding our number and the element Palladium, we now share commonality with Beryllium (atomic number 4) and Hydrogen (atomic number 1).  I'll let others make all the connections between these two elements and our precious little girl.  I wore myself out on yesterday's post!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Number Update - Precious Reflections

We got our number update today from Julie at AGCI (Kiersten is still out of the office but will be back on Monday).  Our new number is 46!  Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "isn't that the same number as the atomic number for Palladium?"  And of course, it is.  So for now, we share a commonality with the metal Palladium.

Palladium is a rare earth metal often called a "precious metal."  The number represents our wait for a "precious" girl from Ethiopia.  A precious girl that God is preparing for us and us for her.

Palladium is used for making jewelry due to its naturally white properties.  Although our daughter won't be naturally white, she will be more valuable than fine jewelry to us.  We look forward to the beauty she will add to our family.

The majority of the world's Palladium is produced from mines located in just a few locations, including South Africa.  In the same way that mining involves much work, it will also take much work for us to bring our little girl home from Africa.  We look forward to going over to Ethiopia to "mine" our prized daughter out of the deep darkness of poverty and abandonment.

So for now, the number 46 represents the number of protons in the Palladium atom and our number in line as we wait for our little girl.  There are 45 other families ahead of us in line with our agency.  Most are waiting for infants, and therefore we will slide ahead of many of them.  We don't know how many of these people are also waiting for toddlers.  So for now we wait, not knowing how long our wait will be, but knowing the wait will be worth it when we hold our precious African jewel.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

T-bird had a baseball game tonight and they lost 26-6.  We gave up about 30 walks, oh and also 3 hit batsmen.  That's no joke.  I know that because I was keeping the scorebook.  I almost needed another pencil from coloring in all of those runs for the other team.  Oh well, our team actually out hit the other team.  I think we had six hits and they only had two or three - hard to remember at this point.  T-bird had two hits and scored two runs.  He also had a put out at third base.  Other than that, he and the rest of his team just said, "hey batter, batter" a lot.

We also froze.  I think it was about 45 deg outside.  There should be a minimum temperature in the Little League rule book.  We have another game tomorrow night but I think it's going to rain.  The Cardinal Farms team is now 1-2-1.

Sunshine got home Monday night.  It's great to have her home again.  We missed her a lot.  They left Sea World-San Antonio Sunday night at 8 pm and then drove all night to get back to the school at around 4 pm.  They looked pretty rough as they got off the bus.  I can't imagine the smells that must have been inside the bus!

Here's a picture of Sunshine on the Riverwalk in San Antonio

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I bought one of those nets that you use for pitching.  The kind that when you throw the ball at it, the ball comes springing back at you - assuming a properly thrown ball, one that doesn't miss the net entirely and go into your neighbor's yard, the ones who are mad at you for mowing a portion of their yard because your septic people removed a tree from their yard that they never liked and left big ruts in their yard and now you're mowing it because they complained about the big ruts that were left in their yard and they have a bad back and so you're mowing it until your lawn people can come and smooth out the ruts and seed the area where the tree was removed. (that last part is for another day's blog - and for some reason I had patience with them, by grace).

I bought the net at Target and I had two options.  The $19.99 model was for Level I - Beginners.  The $29.99 model was for Level II - Intermediate.  They didn't have the Level III - Professional and I probably didn't want to know how much it cost.

So since I knew we clearly were not Beginners, I bought the Level II - Intermediate model.  We got home and first had to mow the yard (that's when the incident with the neighbor behind us happened - again, saved for another day).  Once the boys and I were done mowing, we proceeded to put the Level II - Intermediate net together.  You can imagine the type of assembly required, poles that are supposed to fit into other poles and bungie-corded hooks that are supposed to hold the net in place.  A net which appeared to be about two sizes too small as we attempted to stretch it into place.  Once constructed, the entire assembly is to be held to the ground by hooks which are slid into the ground

Well the poles didn't hold together well and the hooks did not hold the contraption in the ground.  I don't know if it's the throwing power of 13 year old boys or just a cheap Level II - Intermediate net.  Most likely it has to do with the level of talent of the 13 year old boys (even though The Big Fella could knock it over too).

So I decided to "Aldenize" it.  It's important that I explain the term "Aldenize."  To Aldenize is to take various parts from around the house and "fix" an item.  It's important that various sized screws, miscellaneous pieces of wood, and other items such as rubber bands are used.  They must be surplus items, items you did not purchase, and must not look as though they were meant to be together in any single constructed project.  The word is taken from my mom's dad whose name was Alden and was a legend for Aldenizing many items in his house.  In fact, the table that holds the computer that I am blogging on right now is an Aldenized creation.  My wife can attest to its beauty functionality.

I took several boards, screws, nuts and bolts and proceeded to afix the net to become a single firm structure, capable of withstanding the pitches of 13 year olds who are probably worthy of a Level III - Professional net.

As I was working on assembling the contraption (that word itself is an Aldenized word of which my mom's side of the family could talk for hours), my youngest, Eddie Joe, came in the shed.  He asked if he could help.  I told him, "sure." 

I asked him to place the washers onto the screws that I was using to attached the net assembly to its new base.  As he worked on sliding the screw into the washer, the threads on the screw kept catching on the washer.  He kept working on it and I could see his eyes start to move toward mine.  As he noticed that I was quietly waiting for the next assembled screw and washer he continued to his task, working diligently to slide the screw into the washer.  Finally, he stopped and looked at me and said, "Dad, you're being very patient."  I was at first amused at his comment.  Then I realized that he was noting a different response from me than normal.  He was expecting my normal response of "hurry up, let's go."  He was expecting my impatience.  In that moment, it was good to enjoy a time where I actually showed patience and enjoyed a quiet, slow moment with one of my kids.  It was also in that moment that I was shown, yet again, my need for patience.  Once again, I realized how my normal response is to be focused on events and schedules that I think are important, rather than the needs of people.  I have a long way to go.

I am thankful that my Heavenly Father exhibits perfect and complete and unwavering patience toward me, never saying, "hurry up, let's go."

As a follow-up, when I took the picture at the top of the blog, I noticed that it now has two big holes in the net.  More clear indication that my boys are not Level II - Intermediate type talent, but rather are Level III - Professional type talent.

Here's a picture of Eddie Joe.  This was taken when he was working his day job of being a super hero.  The world is safe when he is on the job.  How could anyone be impatient with a wonderful super hero like him?

Friday, May 7, 2010

John Piper's Message on Serving the Fatherless

The message Dr. Piper gave on orphan care at the Christian Alliance for Orphan Summit VI is now posted on the Desiring God Ministries website.  The message takes a look at the reality that whatever we do, including serving the needs of the fatherless, there may be suffering involved - we are not guaranteed success.  Our hope is in Him, not in the comfort of this world (that is much easier to type than to live!).

Here's a quote from the message:
The great challenge of adoption and orphan care ministry is to cultivate a death-defying passion for God above all things. A faith that rests in him whether living or dying, whether comfortable or miserable, whether successful in our orphan care or not. Our aim is to cultivate and spread the unshakable confidence that God is better than what life can give us and what death can take from us.
Here's the link to the message on the DGM website:  What Does It Mean to Live by Faith in the Service of the Fatherless?  DGM makes all of these available for free.  You can listen, watch, or download the message.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sunshine in San Antonio

Our Sunshine headed to San Antonio today for her High School choir trip.  They are riding on buses all night and then arriving tomorrow in San Antonio.  They plan to hit the Alamo soon after they check into their hotel.  On Saturday, they will sing at Six Flags in the morning and then spend the day at the park.  Sunday they will go to Sea World.  After a full day at Sea World, they will leave straight from the park and drive overnight to get back home.  They arrive home some time on Monday afternoon.  What a trip!  I cannot imagine how tired the adults traveling with the kids will be.

We miss her much.  It was very quiet at the supper table tonight!  Hmmmmm, I wonder why that was??  Send Sunshine a text and tell her you miss her!  We love you girl!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

FBI Fingerprinting Appointment

We received our appointment notice in the mail today for our FBI fingerprinting.  The fingerprinting is required as part of the immigration process and is done through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The fingerprinting is done at the FBI office in Omaha.

Fingerprinting of prospective adoptive parents is requested by filing form I-600A with the government.  Of course, when they receive your paperwork, they don't just call and say, "come on down."  They have to return a form back to you called Form I-797C, "Notice of Action, ASC Appointment Notice" from The United States of America.  It is all very formal sounding.  The Form I-797C tells you that you have an appointment, when the appointment is, where to go, and what to bring.  Of course, it is all done in a very cold and sterile manner using mainly sentences written in ALL CAPS and/or BOLD.  (Technically it is not a fingerprinting appointment, but rather the form states that it is an appointment for them to "capture our biometrics.")  Wow.  I don't think I've had my biometrics captured before.

The letter (Form I-797C) states, "PLEASE APPEAR AT THE BELOW APPLICATION SUPPORT CENTER AT THE DATE AND TIME SPECIFIED.  IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AS SCHEDULED, YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE CONSIDERED ABANDONED."  It is interesting that they used that last word in the context of someone who is applying through the USCIS for the purposes of adoption.

It is exciting to have received word of this appointment being scheduled.  It is really the last loose-end remaining in this country.  The rest will be handled in Ethiopia.

No further update on our waiting list status.  We expect to hear from Kiersten tomorrow or Wednesday on an update.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coffee anyone?

We were introduced to Gobena coffee at the Minneapolis conference.  The coffee comes from Ethiopia, Colombia, and Guatemala.  100% of the proceeds go back to various forms of orphan care.  You can purchase coffee to be delivered to your home directly from their website.  (Click here for their website or you can click the button on the side of the blog page.)  They have a great story.  Here's an excerpt from the Gobena website:

About Us
In the summer of 2007, we traveled to Ethiopia to adopt our little girl, Eva. When we were there, the contrast in cultures was amazing. Most Ethiopians were not wealthy, but were rich in their sense of community and closeness of their relationships.
Gobena, was 71 years old, when he found a baby girl placed in the yard near his home. "Because she is God's soul," Gobena and his wife, Mulunesh, took care of the baby girl for 20 days. Then they placed her for adoption to be in a family who can take care of her long-term. This little girl is now a permanent part of our family. She is truly a blessing from God, and always will be a reminder that there is always hope, as long as there are people who care enough.
Their sense of community and caring for others has inspired us to start this ministry where 100% of the net profits are reinvested in the lives of orphan children throughout the world. Each time you purchase a bag of coffee, you are providing hope and life to children who do not have parents caring for them.
So, invite some friends over for some coffee and feel good about the fact you're making a difference by choosing Gobena Coffee.

Here are a couple of videos from the website also:

Gobena Coffee Story from Danae Lehman on Vimeo.

Gobena Coffee Video from Danae Lehman on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pics from the CAO Conference

Here's a few pics from the conference.

I stole these from the Laynemeister's Hennhouse Happenings blog.  We're at Fasika's eating Ethiopian food.

Here is a pic of the entire Beaver family standing in front of over 1000 people talking about the Orphan Sunday service that we held at our church last November.  That was the service that God used to move our hearts toward adoption.  It was great to see their entire family up there as a picture of God's ability to overcome circumstances that man sees as impossible.

Next is a pic of Megan from AGCI.  Since Kiersten from AGCI has been pictured in our blog twice, and great fortune has come her way since those postings, I wanted to include a pic of Megan.  She was great to talk to at the conference.  Like all of the other AGCI girls, she is passionate about adoption and has a contagious joy about her work.  If anyone is looking for an agency, put them on your list!

The last pic is a pic of Heather with Lisa from A Bushel and a Peck.  We were walking through the area with all of the booths, and we almost ran directly into someone.  We quickly darted around her and then both stopped in our tracks and said to each other, "she looks familiar."  Heather said that she saw her name badge said Lisa and that she was sure that it was the lady from A Bushel and a Peck.  She was going to go over to find out and I told her there was no way she would actually go over and talk to her.  I dared her to go over several times, and just before I double-dog dared her, she went over.  She told Lisa that she looked familiar.  Lisa responded that she lives in northern Idaho and used to live in Colorado and......writes a blog called A Bushel and a Peck.  Heather squealed and gave her a hug.  It was a lot of fun to talk with her.  Her family has adopted four beautiful kids from Ethiopia and has been very transparent with some of the issues that they've faced.  She is as genuine and real in person as she is on her blog.

I don't have any pics of the long nights we spent drinking coffee with the Chapmans and the Pipers.  There apparently are some type of copyright laws that prohibit me from posting all of the photos with them.