Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Must-See Video!

The Strobels (adopting through our agency AGCI) traveled to Ethiopia in July to meet their new baby girl.  Watch the video below as they meet her for the first time.  We were moved by the video but were especially moved because at around the 5:15 point of the video several little girls are shown.  Is one of them Peaches???  God knows.

The Strobels' blog can be found at:  http://thestrobelfamily.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the video....and, as always, prepare to be moved. 

Meeting Ava Ethiopia Trip July 2010 from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Op-Ed on International Adoption from the Washington Post

There is an excellent post on the Christian Alliance for Orphans website about an Op-Ed from the Washington Post on the topic of international adoption.  If you've ever had questions about the ethics of international adoption - specifically, bringing an orphan out of his/her culture to America - this article makes some great points toward the realities of the life these children are coming from.  It also points out what a great nation we live in, a nation that has at its core the notion that race and ethnicity are of lessor importance than the person living inside the skin.  We are a nation that declares itself the "melting pot."  A nation which has taken in immigrants for several centuries from all over the world.  International adoption is a small picture of our country's rich heritage of openness toward receiving those in need.

Here's one excerpt from the Washington Post article written by Mike Gerson:
International adoption has its critics, who allege a kind of imperialism that robs children of their identity. Simon responds, "We have adopted real, modern little girls, not mere vessels of a culture." Ethnicity is an abstraction -- often an admirable abstraction, but not comparable to the needs of a child living in an orphanage or begging in roving bands. Adopted Chinese girls are refugees from a terrible oppression -- a one-child policy that Simon calls "one of the great crimes of history." Every culture or race is outweighed when the life of a child is placed on the other side of the balance.
To read the Christian Alliance Post, click here.  To connect directly to the Washington Post Op-Ed article, click here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

She's our little girl, though we haven't met her yet

As we continue to wait for our referral, we think daily about the fact that there is a little girl out there that is our little girl, even though we haven't met her yet.

She's Our Little Girl
~written by & humbly posted by Russ

She's our little girl
Though we haven't met her yet
Her face still unseen
Her hand still untouched
A distance still between us
Keeps our lives apart
But through this distance now a love
Grows within our hearts

She's our little girl
We pray for her each day
That God would be her Father
While we're still away
That He would love and comfort her
And rain upon her soul
His lovingkindness and His grace
To heal and make her whole

She's our little girl
Some day we'll bring her home
From pain and fear to love and care
Never again to be alone
We'll welcome her with loving arms
To help the hurt to heal
To be with us, to be one of us
To be a family.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary Bo!

Today we celebrate 22 years of marriage.  Together, we've been through many things.  Some good, some not so good.  Yet, the great part of it all is the "together" part.  I'm thankful today for God's hand upon our marriage, keeping us together, keeping our eyes on Him.  I'm thankful for His grace upon our lives.

Together these 22 years we've grown in many ways.  We have rejoiced in welcoming into the world five beautiful children - and now anxiously await bringing another into our tribe.  We have grown together spiritually.  We have grown together to know each other more deeply - sometimes that's good, sometimes not so good!

I'm thankful for her love for God, her love for our kids, and her love for me.  There is no one I'd rather be together with.  She has been and always will be my best friend. 

Thanks for a great 22 years!

Happy Anniversary Bo!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First a story then some pictures

Well, I got supper in the oven and now I get to finish my blogging.  (two things that I don't like to do - cook & write!)  Although while I was cooking supper - all these thoughts were flooding my mind that I wanted to blog about.  About our adoption story - that's still being written!  It started with Eddie Joe's bday - I'm going to post some pics after I'm done writing here.

  Our story began with wanting to have children after we were married.  I had a hard time getting pregnant.  After a couple of years of "trying" - the thoughts of adoption came to my mind - but I really didn't know if I would be able to truly love a child that wasn't biological.  Eventually, God gave us "Sunshine" through in-vitro fertilization.  Then 3 years later, God gave us twin boys - also using fertility treatments.  Another 6 years went by and God gave us a big surprise - the Big Fella.  We thought we weren't going to have any more children - but God gave us this gift without any medical intervention.  All three of those pregnancies were tough and I had to be on bed rest for the last trimester.  Sunshine was born 7 weeks early, the twins 3 wks.  When the Big Fella was 10 mths old - "surprise" I got pregnant with Eddie Joe (EJ).  Big Daddy & I were NOT happy!  Pregancy & I didn't mix very well! :-)  It took a while for us to "get over it" and rejoice in the blessing of God's perfect plan.  The day after we brought EJ home from the hospital - I dove down into the pit of despair.  Post-partum depression.  Not just the baby blues - it was the REAL DEAL!  I won't go into the details now - but I was VERY sick!  Friends of ours even had to take EJ and care for him for several weeks - because I couldn't.  (talk about humbling!!)  BUT God healed me - hallelujah! 

So - now do you see the miracle that God has done in my (our) hearts to want to adopt?!  All by God's amazing grace!!  I don't have any notions that adoption is going to be easy or that I won't go through any sort of "depression" after we bring our girl home.  But I do know that I have a BIG God and that He is faithful and will give us the strength we need to get through the trials ahead.

On to the birthday pics:
We had family gift time on bday eve
Sweet times w/ youngest & oldest
Fav. present - Woody!  Hard time telling them apart...
Then, on his actual bday - we had some dear friends over to celebrate!
Gum!!!  EJ's favorite!

Would you like some spit with your cake?
The women listening intently to Ta talk abt something VERY important..
While the men play with Pat's new phone!  I'm just sayin...

Me holding the Henns precious baby girl "Giggles"
EJ with one of his best buddies Megan!
School starts tomorrow for Sunshine!  She will be a junior at the public high school.  I have already started my homeschooling of the other four kiddos.  We wanted to get a jump start with (Lord willing) a few big breaks ahead with travel to ET and transition time with "Peaches".  Oh Lord - please bring her to us soon!

~ Bo  (Big Daddy's nickname for me for as long as I can remember)

More Construction & Birthday Fun

Ok - here we go - this is my (Bo) 1st post on this blog.  It won't be nearly as creative as when Big Daddy posts - but we want to update everyone and he is just too busy with work right now to mess with the computer.  Every other summer the plant where he works has what is called "Turnaround."  They do major maintenance projects that require him to work 12 hr days/7 days a week for about a month.  He still gets home at a decent time - 6:30ish but he is VERY tired and ready for bed by 9! 
Here are some photos of the construction that has been happening on our house addition.

Cement truck fixin to park on the front lawn and stretch out its crane 
Truck left HUGE ruts in the yard - its SO heavy!

Quite an amazing sight to see this going over the house!

Yes, they pipe the cement over the house & squeeze it out this thingy.

pic of the hole now with lite form framing it

        Another view - what a mess!!   
Now on to Eddie Joe's Birthday:
(I'm going to have to get to this a little later - having a 6 & 7 yr. old conflict that I need to tend to plus I should start supper!)  Big Daddy would have had this cranked out in about 5 minutes - but I am slow & am constantly asking for tech. help from my big 3 kiddos!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eddie Joe`s Birthday!!

Today is Eddie Joe`s birthday. It`s the big 6. He`s been talking about his birthday ALL year. He would always ask how many more days it was and finally the big day is here. Post a comment and wish Eddie Joe a happy birthday!!!!

    --Rye Bread

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Maybe she's in these pics?

Jeannie from allofusonline sent us some pics that she took at the Bethzatha orphanage where many of the children adopted through AGCI are received from (see yesterday's post).  It is very possible that our girl is one of these in the pictures shown below.  (Although we're hopeful that she's already at Hannah's Hope awaiting final testing before being referred to us!)

But, whether she is in these pics or not, we still are praying for these beautiful children.  That they would be cared for, protected, and would be adopted soon by a loving family that can shower God's love upon their lives.

Looking through the pics, there are maybe only 15 or 20 children shown.  Each of these kids have been abandoned or relinquished by their parents.  They are lost and without security of a mom or dad holding them, loving them, providing for them.  They each have a story.  It is remarkable to look into each of their eyes and think of the hurt that they have already known - well before the time that their little hearts were ready to endure such pain.

And to think that these pics only show a dozen or more children at a single orphanage, and yet there are more than 4,000,000 orphans in Ethiopia alone.  To think how many pictures it would take to include all of them - to show each of their expectant faces.

Our favorite is the one where they are all praying with their hands over their faces at the table before eating.  Wow!

(You should be able to click on the pics to enlarge them.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Maybe she saw our girl?

We received an email today through our AGCI email group from Jeannie Olivas (click here for her blog). The Olivas' were just in Ethiopia to pick up their 3 year old daughter (they are also adopting through AGCI). Jeannie also visited the Bethzatha orphanage where many of the AGCI children come from. When we read her email, we both got goosebumps thinking that maybe she saw our little girl, our little Peaches.

The closer we get to a referral, the more it really feels like our daughter is over in Ethiopia. Not just a little orphan girl for whom we feel connected on an emotional level. It really feels like this little girl, who we have neither met nor seen, is our daughter. The connection is growing deeper and deeper and our hearts are completely captivated.

Jeannie's email brought this all to a new level thinking that she quite possibly saw our little girl, which causes us to sense an even greater grasp of her reality.

Check out her email.....

From: Jeannie Olivas
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 1:10 AM
Subject: Re: [agci-ethiopia] referrals, o please?!!


When we were at the Bethzatha Children’s Home on July 29th we saw a ton of boys and girls ages 2-5, but very few infants. I’m thinking that your time is coming.
As a side note: when we were there, the children were being fed their lunch. Watching them pray was a heart-warming sight. Your daughter was probably one of those children.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Korah is a community outside of Addis Ababa where the outcasts of society live.  (Read more about Korah by clicking here.)  Korah is located at the Addis trash dump.  The outcasts who live there are the lepers, the poor, the orphans, and the widows.  When you stop to think of what a trash dump must be like in a 3rd world country, it is staggering.  And to think of people living there, trying to have their physical needs met by what they can scavenge day after day, it is difficult to contemplate. 

The videos included below are both about Korah.  They both show the sobering need among these people.  They also raise a lot of questions.  How can we meet the needs of so many people?  What about their spiritual needs too?  Do we just try and meet their physical needs first, then work towards meeting their spiritual needs?   How do we balance all of this?  What would Jesus do?  What does Jesus want us to do?  These are the questions that roll around in our minds.

Ordinary Hero~ A day in the trash dump in Ethiopia from Kelly Putty on Vimeo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rain, Mud, and Really Big Holes

      Last week, a Bobcat arrived in our backyard. It dug an eight foot hole where a third of our yard had been before.

    That is the basement part of the addition. Still a long ways to go. But God is in control. Now we have a giant hole in our backyard, and a couple days ago, our greatest fear was rain. There just happened to be a huge storm last night. Wind, lightning, thunder, and pouring buckets of rain. An awesome display of God`s power.

    However, the hole just seemed to be a magnet for water. The water was streaming in from all directions. Dad was trying to build some sort of a dam to protect the hole. It was quite dramatic. The hole was filled with water. One and a half inches of rain in one hour. That`s a lot of rain. So, we called over Mr. Davidson and Mr. O`Halloran. We were so thankful for their help. And, by the way, sorry for the lack of pictures.

       So, T-bird and I went out with the dads and helped as best we could. Mr. O brought his Shop Vac (it had something to do with getting the water out). After building many "steel walls" made of dirt and dumping water out with beach buckets, the basement was saved from flooding, and everyone lived happily ever after (once we all took showers.).

    --Rye Bread

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another Number, Another Psalm

Our new number is 32.   I love reflecting on the Psalms.  They always apply very intimately to our situation.  God is good to flow His word into our hearts and  mold us to His image.

Psalm 32

You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

I pray these verses for our "Peaches."  I pray that He will be her hiding place, that He will preserve her from trouble, that He will surround her with SHOUTS OF DELIVERANCE!  He is so good to shower us with His presence.

And I pray for our family as we continue through this adoption (and home addition, and starting school again, and current 7 days/week work schedule), that He would instruct and teach us in the way we should go and that He would counsel us with His EYE upon us. 

What a great reflection.  What a great reminder.  What a great God!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Info on Timing of 2nd Trip....

We read on another family's blog today (http://thisisagreatadventure.blogspot.com/) that the timing between the 1st and 2nd trip is much shorter than we had originally heard - at least it is for them.  The two trip policy is new so there is very little actual information out there with regard to timing of the two trips.  They are one of the 1st two-tripper families, so we've all been watching their timing to help answer our own thousands of questions.

The left on their 1st trip around 7/24/10.  They just received word today that they're scheduled to make their 2nd trip on 8/23/10.  So basically a one month wait between trips - it's actually closer to just a three week wait for them since the 1st trip lasts almost a full week.  We had been told previously that the time between the 1st and 2nd trips could be 3 or 4 months.

We realize that their timing could change, and our timing could be completely different, and that the program could completely change again.  Nothing is sure in the world of adoption until you land on U.S. soil with your child. 

But, even though we know that nothing is sure in the world of adoption, we know that everything is sure in Christ.  We stand in Him, we wait on Him, we rest in Him.  As surely as He has brought us 5 beautiful biological children with perfect timing for each birth, He can just as easily bring our little girl from Ethiopia in His time.  Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Funny Worship Video

Check out this video found on Bob Kauflin's blog, Worship Matters.  It's a spoof on modern worship services that points the finger back at us worship leaders and says, "what's my true motivation, what's my focus?"


(double click the video to take it to full screen)

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.