Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Got Our Referral!!!!!

I am very, very, very excited to announce............... We have a four-month-old son!!!!!!! I wish that I could share his picture because he is absolutely precious. He has a big smile and bright, shining eyes. They are so dark brown and beautiful. His skin is "caramel latte" color and his hair looks black and silky. I could go on and on.... Can you tell I am excited? I have made prints of the three photos that they sent us, and we have them posted everywhere around our house. My love for him is growing by the hour.

We got the phone call on Tuesday. Daniel was able to come home from work so that we could be together when we heard about him and saw his picture for the first time. We spent that day just taking it in, reflecting, praying. Yesterday we started calling and emailing all of our family and friends. Today I am ready to shout it to the whole world! We have a baby boy!

My heart is full, and I just want to head to the airport right now to go and get him. Unfortunately, the best case scenario is that we will be able to travel in late February or early March. For now we have to wait: first to be given a court date, then for our court date to arrive, then to be given our travel date, then for our travel date to arrive. At the least, this will take two months.

I didn't know how I would feel after we found out the details about our little boy. I thought that possibly I would feel even more restless and anxious than I did before we got our referral. But that hasn't been the case. I have slept so well the past couple of nights. I know now that he is well taken care of at our adoption agency's transition home. He is no longer in the rural orphanage where he was initially abandoned, where they possibly had no electricity, no formula, and far too few staff members. He is in a safe, clean place with great nannies and a doctor on staff. His smile is so bright and alive in the photo that they sent us. It helps me to feel peace that he is OK.

I do feel desperate to find out as much information about him as possible. We have so little. All we know is that he is from a small village in the southwest of Ethiopia, his mom was 22, and she did not list a father when she relinquished him at the orphanage. I don't know if he died or if he is just not in her life. I do not know what her situation was - sick, poor, or just otherwise incapable of caring for him. The meaning of his name is "Miracle" so I trust that she loved him from the day that he was born and did all that she could to make sure that he was going to be OK even if she was not. I don't really even know how to go about getting more information. But I am going to do all that I can to find out more about his short life story.

I wish that I could leave you with a photo that would definitely make you smile, but that has to wait until after we pass court and he is officially our son. Until then, just trust me - he's cute! :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Begins

We have had a weekend full of Christmas festivities. Here are a few photos of the fun:

My sis and brother-in-law came in from Georgia on Friday and had dinner at our house along with Daniel's sister. Yes, Madeline eats in just her diaper when we are at home. :)

Saturday night was cousin Annie's first birthday party. She LOVED her cake. The pink icing was everywhere!

Madeline gets SO excited to see her Aunt Rachel (Ka-Kel is how she says it). Aunts and uncles are always good for some rambunctious play time.

Here's M showing off her somersault skills. She is very proud of this new trick that her daddy taught her.

"Christmas Day" for our family was on Sunday. Here's my sister Rachel, her husband Charlie, and sweet, 4-month-old Abigail.

Daniel and me

Abigail and Santa, I mean, my dad

Rachel, Charlie, and cousins Andrew and Becca

Cousin Hope and Annie

Madeline is absolutely in love with Abigail and hovers over her all the time. She kisses and pats her and loves to lay on her play mat with her. I am thinking that she is going to be a great big sister in a few months.

Abigail makes a great centerpiece.

This is our attempt at a family photo at a big family Christmas party on Monday night.

We gave up after two tries...

And... I couldn't resist sharing... I got the best Christmas gift ever from Daniel: Fleece footie pajamas with matching ones for Madeline! Seriously, I LOVE them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Songs

I have a couple of new favorite Christmas songs. Through the blogs of friends I found these two adoption-themed Christmas songs. I am warning you - they are both major tear-jerkers if you are an adoptive mom. Click on the links below to listen to the words. Have your kleenex ready.


There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
And we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
And prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas


Woman: Joy to the world
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing

Toby Mac:Now Johny never got his wish on December 25
That's what he said when he left the orphanage
9 years old, but Johny was an old soul
Gonna spend his first Christmas in a real home
Showed me a picture that he drew the night before
Was a picture of a man standin' outside a door
I asked him who it was and he said someone I only
see in dreams
Comforts me when I cry myself to sleep

Woman:Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
This Christmas

Toby Mac:Believe in angels?
Johny asked me starin' at the sky
I said I do and saw a sparkle in his eye
Big brother for the weekend respondin' to the season
Took the chance that givin's better than recievin'
Two nights, a new family, some holiday cheer
We laughed and sang
Came on a midnight clear
We gave, recieved, and as we headed to close
We looked to the heavens and it started to snow
Down blessings

Woman: Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
(Toby Mac:You ain't livin' til you choose to give love and joy and
peace to one of His)
Father let us not forget
The children who are all alone this Christmas
(Toby Mac:You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til
You choose to give)

(James 1:27)
Little Boy: Religion that God our Father
Accepts as pure and faultless is this
To look after orphans and widows in their distress
Merry Christmas everyone

Woman:Joy to the world
The Lord is come
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing
Let heaven and nature sing

Toby Mac:Believe in angels Jonnie asked me starin' at the sky
I said I do and saw a sparkle in his eye
9 years old, but Jonnie was an old soul
Gonna spend is next Christmas in a real home

Woman: Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
(Toby Mac:You ain't livin' til you choose to give love and joy and
peace to one of His)
Father let us not forget
The children who are all alone this Christmas
(Toby Mac:You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til
You choose to give)
Father of the fatherless
Be with your sons and daughters this Christmas
Let Heaven and nature sing
Let Heaven and nature sing
Father let us not forget
The children who are all alone this Christmas
(Toby Mac:You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til
You choose to give)

Toby Mac: You ain't livin'
You ain't livin'
You ain't livin'

Woman: Let Heaven and Nature sing
Let Heaven and nature sing
(Toby Mac:You ain't livin' til you choose to give, you ain't livin' til
You choose to give)
Don't leave me all alone
This Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Beauty

Am I blessed to have a husband who is a professional photographer or what?

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

African Angel

I have been doing some really fun shopping lately. While we were raising money for our adoption, we would often see the fundraisers that other adoptive families were holding and wish that we could help them out and buy their stuff. But money was just too tight to be buying T-shirts and ornaments. We kept telling each other that it was going to be so much fun when we finally had all of our money raised because we could start supporting all of the fundraisers that other families were doing.

Well, I am thankful that we now have the freedom to do just that! We have done almost all of our Christmas shopping from adoptive families and awesome ministries that benefit Africa. It has been a blast! And in the meantime, a few items just for US have found their way into our Etsy shopping cart.

One of those is this precious African angel ornament made by Amy Smith, a mom raising money to adopt from Ethiopia.

Check out her Etsy site to buy one yourself!

This artistic lady is also selling custom caricatures of families, that I just love! She sells these watercolor portraits for only $25 each! Aren't they cute?! I am picturing one of these on Little Brother's wall later on...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Order T-shirts for Christmas Now!

If you would like to receive your Go. Seek. Love. T-shirts before Christmas, please place your orders now! The deadline is Monday evening December 14th at 10 pm. All T-shirts ordered by then will be shipped on Saturday the 19th.

Thank you and merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Few Recommendations

Last weekend Daniel and I watched the movie Live and Become. Have I mentioned before that I LOVE Netflix? :) Wow. The movie follows the story of an 8-year-old Ethiopian boy who is sent alone to the country of Israel during the 1980's. Apparently during that time, thousand of Ethiopian Jews were welcomed into Israel because of the famine in Ethiopia. The story follows the boy as he is adopted by an Israeli family and grows up and tries to figure out who he is in this world. I enthusiastically recommend this for every adoptive family.

Over the weekend I read The Strength of Mercy by Jan Beazely. Jan's family began the international adoption agency All God's Children International. The book chronicles their story of adopting a child from Romania in the 90's, the courage it took, and all that they learned along the way. It is a quick read, and I highly recommend it.

I have recently discovered a gold mine for families adopting from Ethiopia: They offer books for kids and for adults about Ethiopia and about adoption. They even have cookbooks, calendars with photos of Ethiopia, and books fables from Ethiopian culture. I have put about half of what they offer on their website on my Christmas list this year! I love their cool jewelry made from coffee beans by women with AIDS in Ethiopia, too. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Third Stocking

We are now officially a three-stocking family! Madeline's stocking is now finished, and I am so happy. I picked up the part with her name on it yesterday, and I finished piecing it together this afternoon.

I copy-catted a Pottery Barn Kids design when I made her stocking, and I made it out of red corduroy.

This is the reason that having a unique, hand-made stocking for each family member is such a big deal for me:

When Daniel and I were dating in college, I started this cross-stitch stocking for him. We started dating our freshman year and knew pretty quickly that we wanted to get married. We had to wait a LONG time (3 1/2 years to be exact) until we finally graduated and were able to wed. That gave me ample time to work on the thousands of stitches in this crazy-intricate design.

I knew that there was no way that I could create such a time-consuming stocking for myself, so I decided that I would make each family member's stocking completely unique, with no attempt to make them match at all. So after we got married I made this stocking for myself:

I pieced together patchwork of several red and green fabrics to make this one. The hardest was attaching the tiny gold beads that I used to write my name at the top. ( They don't show up very well in this photo.)

I am already planning the design for Little Brother's stocking for next year.... :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Love Christmas!

I love to bake. I especially love to bake sweet things. The Christmas season gives me a great excuse each year to go all out trying new yummy recipes. This weekend was designated Christmas Baking Weekend. I spent all day (literally) in the kitchen on Saturday. Here is what I made:

  • Caramel corn
  • Ultimate brownies (brownie on bottom, marshmallow cream in the middle, and chocolate, peanut butter, and rice krispies on top!)
  • Gingerbread men (I ran out of steam before these got decorated)
  • Buttery oatmeal crisp cookies, half dipped in chocolate
  • Turtles
  • Peppermint fudge
And Monday was the even more fun part: I took my grandmother to deliver 8 plates of homemade goodies to her friends! That was my Christmas present to her this year, and she loved it!

While I am on the subject of Christmas, I thought I would share a few photos of our home sweet home decorated for the season. I love Christmas decorations!!!!! (Disclaimer: Our house only looked this way for about 3 minutes. As soon as I finished taking the pictures, the clutter and toys and dirty dishes started to accumulate again. :) )

Yes, there are still only two stockings on the mantel. Although I am not the craftiest person in the world, I have made all of our Christmas stockings. Last year I made M's stocking, only to end up not being able to find anyone with one of those fancy sewing machines to embroider her name at the top. Christmas came and went, and of course, it got put on the back burner. I am pleased to say that I found someone to add her name to it, and it should be ready any day.

The piano with the poinsettias I found for 99 cents at Lowe's!

Our kitchen. This is where I spend A LOT of time. We have a cozy, 1500-square-foot house, and we were commenting the other day that we really USE every square inch of it. I am glad for that. By the way, Daniel made our beautiful, cherry kitchen table (as well as most of the furniture in our house.) He is such a talented guy!

Daniel made this writing desk too with walnut from my grandparents backyard. I love my Willow Tree nativity scene.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Heart is Hurting

The anticipated time for our referral is getting closer, and I am grieving. My heart feels heavy. I know that the referral of a child to us means that a tragedy has taken place. Parents have died. Or a mother feels hopeless about her son's future, powerless to provide for him, and abandons him to an orphanage. Or she becomes terribly ill and can no longer care for him..... That is what's going on on the other side of the world as we excitedly wait for our referral phone call to come.

Things like that are happening all the time in this world, I know. But this time it will be happening to our son. And to the precious woman that I will probably never have the honor to meet, his birthmother.

This is on my mind all of the time: the heartbreak, the poverty, the disease that are the reality of my son's life. My heart is breaking because my boy is losing his first mama right about now. And she is losing him. As the time for our referral is drawing near, tragedy is striking.

I often wonder - are we doing the right thing? What if we just sent the thousands that we have raised for the adoption to help families in Ethiopia instead of spending it all on the adoption of one? How many families might be able to stay together because of the medical care they could receive, the improved nutrition, the opportunity to make a living for their children? All that money would go so far to help so many.

I don't know... But I do know that there are many, many who have already been orphaned or abandoned and need a mommy and daddy. I know that we are called as followers of Christ to "look after orphans in their distress." I know that God has led us down the path that we are walking. I also know that the path doesn't end here, with the adoption of one child. God is teaching us so much through this experience. He is opening our eyes to suffering in the world that we had never before taken the time to learn about. Now it is personal. This is just the beginning of our family's involvement with the people of Ethiopia.

I think the answer is: Do both.

I am thankful for all that God is teaching us on this journey. But oh, my heart hurts for my baby.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


We had a great time with family over Thanksgiving. Wednesday, Madeline and I got to spend the day with my sister Rachel, her hubby, and baby Abigail. Madeline was so excited to see them, she could hardly contain herself. She just kept dancing around. We took the two girls to have their picture made with Santa, and it was pretty much a bust. Madeline was not a fan. I felt really bad afterward for making her do that.

Baby Abigail and me

We spent Thursday and Friday with Daniel's family in Kentucky. At his parents' house, 21 people gathered from 4 states and Germany (his aunt and uncle are stationed overseas with the Air Force). They are such a fun group, and we always have a great time with them. I love it that Madeline is now old enough to enjoy the holidays. Unfortunately, I couldn't find my camera while we were there, and so we have no pictures from Thanksgiving this year. :(

The T-shirt business has been booming lately. We have had orders coming in from near and far. It is such fun to see this little non-profit "business" grow. It can be a bit time consuming, though. We print them by hand, and then each one has to be heat set individually for 5 minutes. When you are printing 40-50 shirts, that takes a while... But when I got an email with this picture yesterday, it made every bit worth it.

The Dixons' extended family decided to surprise them by all ordering Go Seek Love shirts to wear to their Thanksgiving gathering this year. (This is the family who is now receiving the profits from the T-shirt sales.) They were totally surprised and blessed to feel the support of all of their family. I wish I could have been there to see their faces. I had been looking forward to this surprise so much!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

- Psalm 100:4-5

Madeline's handprint on our Thanksgiving card

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Little Singer

20-month-old Madeline is quite the little talker these days. Often I wonder where this big girl came from who seems to have replaced my baby overnight. Her vocabulary has exploded, and she even speaks in sentences now. She's constantly repeating everything we say, even long phrases. She's just like a little parrot. The funniest thing is when she imitates our gestures and inflections. She has us laughing all the time these days. I absolutely love this age.

She LOVES to sing. Her ability to carry a tune impresses me. Her repertoire includes: the ABC's, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Jesus loves Me, The B-I-B-L-E, This Little Light of Mine, The Wheels on the Bus, and of course, Elmo's Song.

Here she is performing a couple of her faves. Love the Pigtails! (The very beginning is cut off of both of the videos...)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For the Love of Lentils

I have gradually become more healthy in my eating habits and cooking over the past several years. I have read a couple of books about nutrition that opened my eyes about the effects of trans-fats, excess sugar, preservatives and chemicals in the foods we eat, etc. Having a child brings a lot of motivation to make better lifestyle choices. I want the very best for Madeline, and I must model the behavior that I want her to adopt someday. I don't want her to eat sweets and drink soda all the time or to live off of fast food. I want her to eat food that nourishes and blesses her body, that gives her energy, strengthens her immunity, and helps her to have a healthy, lean body.

We eat meat for dinner two or three times a week usually. But lately I have been experimenting with more vegetarian cooking. A couple of our favorite recipes that I have discovered recently are made with lentils. I was a skeptic before trying them, but we have found that we love them. You really don't miss the meat in either of these recipes. Really! :)

Lentil Loaf (Think meatloaf without the meat....)

1 can vegetable broth (or chicken)
3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 & 3/4 cups shredded carrots (I use my food processor)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped fresh mushroom
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbs parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (Italian blend or mozzarella)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Ketchup for top

In a saucepan, bring broth and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until tender and most of liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook brown rice as directed.

Meanwhile, saute onion, carrots, and mushrooms in oil for 10 minutes or until tender. Add basil and parsley; saute 5 minutes longer.

In a large bowl, combine the carrot mixture, cooked lentils, cheese, rice, egg, egg white, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Transfer to a 9x5 inch loaf pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Spread ketchup over top if desired. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

NOTE: I have found that this freezes very well. I triple this recipe and freeze two of them in freezer bags. When you are ready to use it just let it thaw, place in a loaf pan, and bake.

Lentil Taco Filling

3/4 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup dry brown rice
4 cups water
4 beef bouillon cubes
4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Dump everything in a medium pot and cook on high until it boils. Cover and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Stir every 5-10 minutes. Use just like regular taco filling for soft or hard tacos.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lord, Help Us to Hurt

Katie is 21 years old and the mother of 14 beautiful Ugandan children. She provides food and medical care for countless others, and she teaches them about Jesus. She teaches me about Jesus too. I have been following her blog for a year now, and I have been challenged tremendously by Katie's passionate love for "the least of these."

Please take a moment to read Katie's last blog post. And take a moment to DO SOMETHING for the children of God who are suffering in this world. Love without action is not really love.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kinda Freaking Out

I follow our adoption agency's blog to keep up with news about the Ethiopia program. America World posts a monthly update on the number of referrals that have been processed that month for various age groups. Yesterday they announced that already during the month of November SEVEN referrals for infant males have been sent to families. That is a lot. And the wait time for an infant male referral has been reduced to 4-6 months. (It used to be 7-9, then was reduced to 5-7, and just keeps getting shorter!)

Whoa! Hang on a second! Four months??? Our DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) date was 8/19. Four months means that it is feasible that we could receive our referral in as little as a month from now. Oh. My. Goodness.

Don't get me wrong... That is exciting news, indeed. But it's kinda like thinking that you are only in your second trimester of pregnancy then unexpectedly finding out that you are actually in your third. The baby is coming much sooner that you had anticipated.

I am overwhelmed by how much we have to do. We need to get moving on plans for Little Brother's bedroom and get Madeline ready to move up into a big girl room. I've got to figure out what we are going to do with all the STUFF in the spare bedroom. I need to starting thinking about what baby things I am going to need. And oh-so-important things like cleaning the carpets and weeding my overgrown garden. Oh yeah, and a name. We still need a name for him. Oh dear me...

But really, none of this stuff matters. If we got a call today, I would be out-of-my-mind delighted. (Well, after I got over the initial shock anyway.) I know that we have a community of friends and family who would help us with every need. It's not a picture-perfect nursery and a weed-free garden that is important. All that matters is bringing home our little boy as soon as possible from the orphanage that he will be in. But we had probably get to work on the name thing. I don't think we can put "Little Brother" on his adoption certificate.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

T-shirt Order Time

We will be placing a T-shirt order on Monday evening 11/9. The shirts will ship on 11/16. Everyone who has ordered in the last several weeks will be included in this shipment. If you haven't ordered yet, do it a.s.a.p. to get in on this one!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I just couldn't resist sharing. I was able to put real pigtails in Madeline's hair for the first time yesterday. She looks like such a big girl!

Here we are blowing bubbles out in the yard last night. Madeline had just eaten a homemade chocolate pudding popsicle and LOVED it. Can you tell?

And here she is kissing Baby Abigail, her cousin. She gives Abigail's birth announcement a kiss at least ten times a day. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have bronchitis. I have had one cold after another for a couple of months now. I normally have a very strong immune system, and I rarely get sick. It has probably been 10 years since I have taken antibiotics. I think that the stress of the past months is catching up with me.

My illness has reminded me of how thankful I am to live in America. A quick call to my doctor’s office, and I had an appointment for 24 hours later. I traveled 25 minutes in my car to the office. After a quick visit with her, I had my diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics. After another quick trip to the pharmacy, I had the medicine that I need, paying only my small co-pay. I feel crummy now, but within 48 hours I should be much better and I will be able to put my illness behind me.

There is one doctor for every 390 people that live in America. By contrast, in Ethiopia there is one doctor for every 31,000 people. The vast majority of those doctors are located within three urban areas, far, far from the 85% of the population that live in rural areas. Many of those have no access to a vehicle to transport them to a medical facility. Not to mention, no funds to cover medical bills when a doctor’s help is needed.

In the past months I have thought about this every time we have dealt with an illness in our family: every ear infection, sinus infection, and case of bronchitis. Until recently I have always taken for granted our access to medical professionals, medicine, and the health insurance and wealth that we have to pay for it. What if I had no way to get the medicine that Madeline needed for an ear infection, and she ended up losing her hearing? What if my bronchitis turned into pneumonia and I had no access to treatment? For far too many people in the world, this is the reality that they live with. I

n Ethiopia 49% of the population is under the age of 15. AIDS is partly to blame for the deaths of so many in the older generation. But ordinary communicable diseases cause far too many deaths as well. Preventable and treatable diseases. But the people cannot access the doctors and the medicine that they need.

This is so unfair that it makes me cry. Why did God allow me to be born in America? I have done nothing to deserve the privileges that are mine just because of where I live. I do know this – he didn’t give me those privileges because he loves me more than the people of Ethiopia (and the rest of Africa). And he didn’t give them to me just so that I can kick back and enjoy my life of ease and comfort. I have responsibility to help, love, and pray for those whose lives are much more difficult. I still don’t know all the things that will entail for our family. But the adoption of one child is a stepping stone in the path that we are walking. Our eyes have been opened.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fundraising Fun

Adoptive families can certainly be creative. We have several friends who are raising money for adoptions from Ethiopia who have had some great ideas for fundraisers. Consider doing some of your Christmas shopping from one of these families. You will not only get to enjoy giving gifts to your friends and family, you will also get to bless an orphaned child at the same time!

The Short family is raising money by offering photography sessions for families. This would be a great way to get your Christmas card photo done this year. Mark Short writes:

What: Professionally capture your memories.
Why: I’m passionate about family and photography. I want to use photography to bless others and possibly raise some money to help with the adoption.
Cost: Donations are greatly appreciated, but are not required.
Where: Any location convenient to you in Middle TN.
When: Any evening or weekend. Appointments are appreciated.
How: I’ll bring my photography equipment. Work with you on the setting and focus. Capture, post process, and provide a CD/DVD of your pics and/or upload them to a secure web gallery for your viewing and sharing.

You can glimpse my work at:

Email Mark: to set up an appointment.

The Franklin family is receiving some help in their fundraising from a friend who runs a business selling personalized stationery. Jo Franklin writes:

From Oct. 25-Nov.7 the proceeds from all orders will go towards our adoption. Check out her website at to see examples of her personalized notecards, notepads, photo Christmas cards, baby announcements, bag tags, and gift cards. You can also email her at and she will email send you an online catalog. Just let her know when you order that you want to help out the Franklin family!

The Watson family is selling some really cool Africa T-shirts that Amy has handmade using bleach. You can choose your color and your fit – standard or fitted (for women) They are available with or without a heart shape in the center of the design. Just email Amy at to let her know what you want.

The Dixon family has set up an Etsy store to sell Jenny’s creative photo greeting card designs. They write:

Jenny has set up an online shop named Easy as 127 (after James 1:27) to sell custom photo cards. These are great-looking and affordable cards Christmas, birthdays, birth announcements, moving announcements, etc. Customers send personal photos to her and she supplies a jpeg that is print-ready. The design work to create your custom photo card costs only $10-12, and then you can take the file to the photo processor of your choice to have all of the prints made that you desire.

I could go on and on. There are so many families who are raising money for adoptions, who are working hard and sacrificing, and who NEED YOUR HELP. Please considering blessing their hard work and encouraging their families with an order. From personal experience I know how exciting it is when someone who does not even know you places an order and partners with you to bring home your child. Thank you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eternal Purpose

Having reached our fundraising goal, we are aware in hindsight just how frenzied the past months have been. We didn’t realize how heavy the weight on our shoulders was until we were free of it.

I know that the burden was the Lord’s to carry all along. I know that he wants us to cast our cares upon him and to let the peace that passes understanding guard our hearts. We do. But it’s hard, you know. It’s hard to really let go of every little bit.

It’s not that we were worried, really. The burden was one of busyness, a constant awareness of just how much we had to do. We knew that God expected us to work while we were trusting him and not just sit and wait for the money to be delivered in the mail.

The busyness had purpose. We were working to raise money, not just for our own son, but for all the orphans of all the world. It is the calling of all Christians: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

Bringing Little Brother home is about way more than just expanding our family or giving a single orphan a forever family. My number one desire is to have a heart more like my Father. And his heart is with the vulnerable: the orphan, the widow, the distressed. And the fundraising is part of that. We were investing in the Kingdom of God by loving those that he loves. Every T-shirt printed, every blog post written, every yard sale item tagged had eternal purpose.

It has been extremely fulfilling to live with such purpose. But the purpose does not end just because we are done raising money. It does not end when we bring our son home.

I hope and pray that many, many children will be given families and homes because of Little Brother. I pray that others will love him, be reminded of the millions that he represents, and be moved to do something to reach out to the orphans of the world. And my heart’s desire is that our family will be forever changed in a profound way by what we see when we are in Ethiopia.

I do not know what God has planned for our family, but I can’t wait to find out.

He has opened our eyes and opened our hearts in amazing ways since the beginning of the year. 2009 has been a year of tremendous growth and change for our family.

So I thank him for the busyness and I thank him for the opportunity to work with eternal purpose. It's just the beginning....

A Photo Update

It's been a while since I have posted family photos. So, Grandma and Grandpa, here you go:

A couple of weeks ago Daniel and I left Madeline at her grandparents for the weekend and went to Land Between the Lakes, just the two of us. We had kinda fallen behind in our relationship during the era of fundraising. Life was all business for a while there. We didn't take as much time as we usually do to talk and to play. There was just too much to do...

So it was wonderful to get away for a couple of days. We went fishing on Kentucky Lake and caught enough blue gill for a wonderful fish dinner!

Here I am with my big catch. I love how holding the fish WAY out in front of me affects the perspective...

Last week, my sister visited with her 8-week-old bundle of joy. (She has become more of a true bundle of joy since her mama stopped eating dairy products...) We had a great time visiting and letting the cousins become better acquainted.

My mom doing what she most loves to do - reading to the little ones

Madeline doing what she most loves to do - reading her Bible. (Yes, this is STILL her favorite!)

We all went to visit Pap - my dad's dad.

Looking very studious...

Last weekend we had big fun carving a pumpkin with Madeline for the first time.

Madeline thought the pumpkin "guts" were pretty cool.

Daniel gave M her first taste of hot chocolate on a chilly evening this week. She couldn't get enough of it.

Madeline and Dad with their Vandy hats.

So there's a little peek into our family life. The Lord has been good to us.....