Thursday, December 16, 2010


There has been a lot going on in my heart and in our adoption journey that I can't share here... mostly because of the fragility of the situation, and the nature of the country we're dealing with. That said, I do want to at least let people know that we covet your prayer right now, as always.

For whatever reason, there has been movement... and things have been accomplished that we did not at all expect anymore. We've always known that the Lord could accomplish this if it was his plan to do so, but we stopped assuming that we knew his plan, and began to accept that we would need to be content wherever and however this ends.

I thought it was "ended" as of several weeks ago, and I can say that I was choosing to be joyful looking toward the future, even without my Kelvin and Hawa here (after wrestling with it, and choosing to let my heart be corrected... certainly, it does not all come in a neat, tidy, perfect package for me...). Then, out of the blue, there is movement.

We are being very cautious about this news. We rejoice that God has allowed it!! I refuse to be so cynical that I can't give glory to God for HUGE obstacles being passed. To do that would be to allow fear of more disappointment to shackle me, and to steal the renown that God deserves in these circumstances. On the other hand, I sense that I need to be in a place of surrender. I need to remain content whether this moves us to a completed adoption or falls through to be nothing, as good news has so many times before.

So, it's a strange place to be. In moments, I'd like to flip out and scream with excitement over the possibilities!! In other moments, I have a deep realization of how fragile this is... how very insecure. But most of the time, I'm taking one moment at a time... thanking God for his goodness, no matter what comes, and asking him to guard my heart and mind unless and until he gives me full freedom to rejoice. If that happens... watch out! There will be a WHOLE lot of happy freaking-out going on!

We had planned to travel to Liberia this winter as a whole family. After much prayer and consideration, we still plan to go and spend a number of weeks serving in whatever ways are needed, and uniting our entire family for the first time. :) No matter what may come of this adoption thing, Anika and Asher deserve to meet the brother and sister of their hearts... and Kelvin and Hawa need to know how loved they really are. We know that if circumstances change, we will need to be flexible and just go with whatever God shows us to do.

Anyway, that's the best I can do. If God brings us to your hearts, please pray for his guidance to be clear to us... that we would walk on his paths, not turning to the right or left. Pray that we would be a blessing in Liberia to the many children and staff with the ACFI ministry. Pray that our time as a family would be sweet and meaningful as we parent through very difficult circumstances; as Anika and Asher experience a whole new culture, extreme weather and conditions, and as they spend time with Kelvin, Hawa, and the MANY kids who will want their love and attention... and as we parent Kelvin and Hawa with great difficulty understanding their words, and desire to love them well and impact their lives as much as we can in the short time that we get to be with them.

Many thanks to those of you who have lifted us up in prayer. We are grateful.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I sat at a Home-going service for a 9 year old girl today.

I couldn't help but to hold Anika and Asher extra close. I couldn't help but put myself in Malia's mother's shoes. I couldn't help but grieve over the pain and struggle Malia endured in her battle with cancer. I couldn't help but wonder why God did not answer the prayers of so many of his people in the way we had hoped.

He healed her though. He healed her more completely and more beautifully than any of us can imagine.

It is God's goodness that has held this family together. It is his grace that continues to carry them and protect them under his wings. It is his faithfulness that pours into them, and back out to those of us watching.

God is good. Malia's struggle is over. Her joy has been made complete.

Monday, December 6, 2010


God has been challenging me to praise him.
...without my own agenda,
...without my own pre-conceived ideas of how life should go, or lists of things I'd like in return,
... just to praise him for who he is and what he has done.

So, for the last several weeks, I've been trying to get my focus off of me and onto him alone.
He brought me to these passages throughout Psalm 66 just a few days ago. I just thought I'd share them since they're on my heart.

Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name."
Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!
He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot-- come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations-- let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Living Simply" - link to another blog post

This was such a great post, I just had to provide a link for you. It expressed how I think and feel, but probably in a gentler way than I might have come across, had I written it myself.
I'm working on that... (smile).

Hope you enjoy... and are challenged by the truth of it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Corn Dogs and Waffles

No husband home to make dinner for tonight. Usually this would be a breakfast-for-dinner kind of night, and the kids and I would be excited to have fried potatoes, french toast, or some such stuff. (Jason's not big on breakfast-for-dinner. He'll eat it, but there's a mental block there for the poor guy. I think that's insane. I mean, what can be more fun than breakfast for dinner, right??)

Don't feel like making potatoes. No bread for french toast. No fruit left in the house. No motivation to make anything whatsoever. So...

...yep, you guessed it. Corn dogs and frozen waffles for dinner. Can we find one trace of anything nutritional or healthy in either of these items? I think not. Did I think about at least trying to feed my children something decent? Yes. Did that go anywhere? Nope.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


OK... It's getting late, and I should take my sick self to bed. But I am video-happy tonight apparently. For someone who knows so little of technology, it's astounding me how many fun things are out there for me to waste my time on! Seriously... waste. But, hey... just in case you are so inclined to waste a little time tonight as well, these are for you.

A VERY cool video... I could watch this again and again!

Morning Elegance from MillyFilms on Vimeo.

One of my favorite songs with video from my all-time favorite TV show. Oh how I miss you, LOST.

My other all-time favorite TV show... "The Cosby Show"... love this clip with their lip sync routine! Oh man, wouldn't it be great if there were something fun and clean like this on TV now? Hopefully you can view this one from the youtube link below...

Book Recommendation: "Radical"

This book was lent to us by some friends. I LOVED it. Really... I loved it. It is not comfortable, it is not easy... but that's why I liked it so much... it's exactly the stuff that God's been teaching our family over the last several years. Seriously, if you're not afraid to be challenged right out of your "American Dream" life & mindset, then it's really worth checking out. As I write this post, it's only $5.oo or so at Amazon on sale.
Here are some videos that sum up the message of the book:

RADICAL from David Platt on Vimeo.

About Radical from David Platt on Vimeo.

Orphan Sunday Videos

I tried to put these videos in the previous post about Orphan Sunday, but I am not a computer nerd. I'm just a plain ol' nerd... with no computer skills whatsoever! :)
But, I finally figured it out... so here they are.
Really... they're worth a watch.

Do Something Now from Children's HopeChest on Vimeo.

Creation Groans from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

True Religion from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orphan Sunday

We had the privilege to be part of something called "Orphan Sunday" in our church just a few days ago. A small group of us really desire to share the need for the church to stand up and obey God when he tells us to care for the orphan and the widow. Thankfully, our church stood behind us and allowed us to use this past Sunday's service to that end. (Many churches were doing the same thing on the same day, which is exciting and encouraging to me.)

About 5 of us shared our involvement and experiences with orphan care and adoption, our Pastor shared about the blessing of obedience to the Lord in this area, and we even had worship music that reflected God's heart for the fatherless. My heart was in its element.

I was really nervous to share in front of so many people (and we don't even have an extremely large church!), in fact... I often thought as I prayed about what I should share in the month before, that I would MUCH rather write it all up so people could read it. But the bottom line was that this was important. Much more important than my being nervous. SO, I kept praying for God to lift the anxiousness. He was so faithful. I was still a bit nervous, but I was able to say what was on my heart, and even went so far as to add things not in my notes! That, for me, is incredible... :) So, I KNOW that the Lord was giving me courage and words to share. In fact, some of what I said, I can't even remember!
Jason shared the basics of our journey so far... and what God's been teaching us through it. I loved hearing him share! Here's the gist of what I shared : (And I struggled with my emotion through a good part of it.)
I think that what we have been learning in the past 3 years is that this life is just not about us. It is not about my comfort. It is not about my ease. It's not about my agenda. It's about God's. It's about giving ourselves away. It's simply about seeking Jesus and obeying him.

It's the obedience part that can be tricky.

But we are to take Jesus' name, and love, and light into places that are dark, and hard, and difficult, and dangerous.

That is where orphans abound.

We have experienced that war is being waged over the fatherless... because our God, who is Father to the fatherless, pursues them, and so does his enemy. If we engage in this battle, we're in the middle of the war.

During the year we searched in foster care to adopt children who needed a family, we were stretched in so many instances. The Lord seemed to bring us to so many children who were WAY different than we thought we were open to originally. Each time, he seemed to be saying, "What about these children... would you take them?" And each time, we struggled through our fear and our doubt to get to the point where we said, "Yes, Lord." But each time, God would then shut the door. We pursued a sibling group of four children. Crazy! But, we got willing, and God closed the door. He brought along a little guy who was HIV positive, and I struggled through the very real possibility of having to watch him die. We got to the point where we were willing to let our hearts be broken in that way, and God shut the door. It happened again and again. Many, many kids. I don't pretend to understand all the reasons, but I do know that our hearts were broken over and over again for his children... all sorts of his children. And I'm glad. I don't want that to be different.

We've seen that there is a war over them all. I can stand up and fight for them, act in respond in obedience to Jesus' commands, or I can pretend that he doesn't mind when I look the other way.
But, honestly, it's difficult and risky for me to stand up and fight for people I don't know. So- the Lord has given us the past three years to get to know some orphans. Face to face. He's opened our eyes to what this war is all about.

It's ugly... and frustrating... and heartbreaking at times. It's caused us to depend on the Lord as we've never had to before. It's SO worth it though, because while obedience is painful, God is an incredible rewarder. Our family has experienced true HOPE and PEACE and JOY... even in the midst of some very difficult realities. Our hearts have been broken over his children, but I can now truthfully say that I wouldn't want it any other way.

What a crazy three years it's been. What a refining and reshaping time it's been. We are no where closer to parenting orphaned kids at this point, since we have no idea what will happen in Liberia, but God has certainly developed a heart in us for his children. In fact, it's only because of the many trials and shut doors that our eyes have been opened to the larger need. We are in this for good now. Forever. Just not sure what that means yet. :)

A "Shout Out"

This is a "shout-out" to the amazing home-group of people who have prayed for our family and our adoption for some time now. Art & Carol, please pass on to everyone our deep appreciation for being able to meet with you and fellowship with you. Thank you for listening to our hearts, and most of all, thank you for caring enough to pray faithfully. It blessed us to be able to be with you! I hope you are all doing well! I gave my Dad some pictures that he will pass on to you sometime soon! :)

With Love,



Many fall mornings in Oregon are completely fogged in if you live in the valley. With mountains all around, the heavy damp air settles during the night and can't escape... so it sits in the valley. When you wake up, it can be rather depressing. It's quite gloomy. It's damp and cold and makes you long to curl up inside and nap. The air around you actually seems so thick that sometimes it blocks your view of the beautiful things around. The sun just can't break through until it warms sufficiently in the afternoon and burns off the fog, layer by layer.

The interesting thing is that the sun is shining. It's just way above the valley... above the many layers of heavy fog... above the places where the gloom gets stuck.

We drove out of the fog to visit the sun one morning. At least that's what Jason said we were doing. I had my doubts. I mean, the fog was so thick that we couldn't see ANY trace of the sun anywhere. We drove for 30 minutes up into the base of the mountains. Still foggy. We drove up the roads that lead to the lumber roads. Still foggy. We drove 20 minutes past the point where the lumber roads begin, where nothing else exists except for trees, trees, and some more trees. Still foggy. Although... I have to admit, it's kinda beautiful now... yet still gloomy.

Then a funny thing happened. I saw a sun ray peeking through the branches. It wasn't overly bright, but it was sun. After driving just a few more miles, it was all different. Everything had changed. We pulled over and stopped. It was amazing. The sun was pouring over everything. We could see the tops of the mountains on the other side of the valley. It was warm instead of clammy and damp.

The fog was still there. It was as heavy and as thick as it ever was. It hadn't changed.

We were just above it now.

Now, after toiling up the mountain... we could see that fog from a different viewpoint. And though it looked gloomy and depressing from below, I have to say that it was crazy-beautiful from above. It looked like an ocean surrounded by mountains. It looked like a sun-kissed sea. And you'd never know it, but there were cities and towns and people all hidden underneath.


It's all about how we look at things. How we choose to view something. What angle we give it.

It was the first full day of our trip when we got a call from our adoption coordinator, who has also become a dear friend. More bad news, just weeks after things looked really possible for the first time in a long time. (I'm sorry I can't share details, but it is a protection for Liberia's kids and their chances to get home.) It's not like we haven't been through disappointment before. It's not like we don't know how to deal with it. But this time, I really grieved. I grieved the loss of my kids in my heart. I have said before that this has felt like a miscarriage at times. It does, but worse than my actual experience with miscarriage many years ago when all I really grieved was the loss of the idea or dream of someone. Because we have held Kelvin and Hawa and loved them tangibly, the feelings of loss are greater and wider and deeper.

Well, since things change daily in Liberia, we heard a week later that President Sirleaf dismissed all of her cabinet except for one person, making it altogether possible to get a different answer about the future of adoptions than we got before. So, I guess I am supposed to be glad.

The thing is that I am not glad. I'm not anything. I really dealt with the hopeless thing again. I really questioned God's goodness. I found it difficult to talk to him for several days... and that's tragic because he's my best friend. Thankfully, as he always does, he draws me back to himself with tenderness. He causes me to remember the many, many, many times in the past that he has shown himself faithful and worthy to be trusted. He lets me ask my questions, feel my pain, and have my bad attitude. Then he asks me to stand up and be a big girl. He asks me to trust his goodness, to keep going, to be humble and know that he is God, and to know that His ways are most certainly higher and better than mine.

I don't know where things will end up, or where my kids will end up, or where I will end up when all is said and done. But, I'm choosing to have a different perspective.

It feels gloomy and dark and depressing sometimes. I'd like to curl up and shut my eyes and avoid going out in it. I'd like to give in to the illusion that there is nothing around me but this void. But here's the great thing about knowing Jesus... I can tell a lie from the truth now. I can give in to the fog of discouragement and despair, or I can recall the way things really are, and remember the beauty around me... even when I can't see it anymore. I can choose to take that long and hard and sometimes doubtful journey to the place where the perspective changes... where there is light and sun... purpose and hope. I can trust God enough to lift me out of my fog and to trust that one day, not only will I really enjoy the view, I'll also understand the beauty on the other side of the fog. In fact, maybe it's all the more amazing because the fog was there in the first place.


We've returned from our adventures in Oregon.

Can I just say that (and pause with each comma to really appreciate the following list on my behalf...)~

oceans, redwoods, mountains, rivers and craters...

geese in the field on a brisk misty morning...

watching my kids running after the geese in Grandma and Grandpa's HUGE rubber boots on a brisk misty morning...

coffee talks with my Mom, bear hugs from my Dad, heart-to-hearts with my sister as we snuggle in my old room...

Oma's belly laugh, beautiful heart, and glowing skin as she laughs... all at age ninety...

Seeing all of the older generations of Germans get together to celebrate life, even though I know that I may never have the chance to be a part of something like this again before heaven...

Playing at my favorite childhood park with my cousin's beautiful family, and the weight of baby Levi falling asleep in my arms...

being able to take work and school "on the road" to enable us to be with my parents for a nice long time...

crimson fall leaves brilliant in the late afternoon sun...

Jason holding me in his arms as we gaze out at the world from the top of a mountain or as we stand alongside the vast ocean, and knowing that's just who he is... the one who holds me through it all...

... makes me appreciate life in a tangible way and gives me joy.

It was a good trip. It's a good life. I am thankful.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lately in Liberia

Obviously, I haven't updated about adoption stuff in a really long time. Here's the re-cap:

July 16th - Scheduled meeting in Liberia called by the Minister of Justice (MOJ), who is second in command in the country, to discuss adoptions. Many people, including Georgia, were to be there to be able to fill the MOJ in on the last two years and the things that have and have not taken place. People even flew in from other countries to attend and represent adoptive families like ours who have been waiting for years for their children.

- Meeting postponed to be 3 days later.

- Meeting postponed again.

July. 29th - small meeting held, but larger meeting postponed again, this time to August 6th.

Aug. 6th - Meeting postponed again, this time to August 17th.

Aug. 17th. The meeting actually took place. Granted, anyone who had flown in to attend the original meeting (and represent adoptive families) one entire month before, is by now, gone home. Sigh. BUT... the good news is:
" It was a hopeful meeting for the future of adoptions in Liberia. A lot will need to happen still, but it was clear at the meeting that the GOL (Government of Liberia) wants to get a better adoption policy in place and once that happens, they intend to lift the moratorium. What is most encouraging is there are some folks now involved who I believe will really follow through and make sure a new policy is put in place. Even better, this is being led by Liberians, not Americans. Even better than that, there are high level officials involved who simply want what is best for Liberia's children. Let's be praying for them. There are no specifics at this point for what the new policy will be, so none of us can venture to guess about timeframes, adoptability of children, agency accreditation, etc. " ~Angel Rutledge

Sept. 1 - Angel's post:
Liberia Adoption Update
"For those who are wondering what became of the meeting that was held in mid-August about adoptions in Liberia, the plan is still to form a new committee to write an adoption policy and then lift the moratorium once the policy is in place. The official who will chair the committee has been traveling since right after the meeting took place but should be back tomorrow. Anything could change, but I do believe this new committee will get the job done and does care about the children of Liberia above power and money. Still no timeframes or answers about what will be in the policy. Let's pray together that is would be one that has the best interests of the children, birth parents and adoptive families as its focus. "

Sept. 9th - The UN will extend its peacekeeping mission in Liberia for another year, at the least. Good news to my heart, as I often wonder about the stability of the country. It would be all too easy for it to become a free-for-all again, and for their bloody 14 year long Civil War to be repeated. The thought of warlords roaming the streets where my children live (and where many more people I now know and love reside) just about kills me. The thought of "armies" of little boys who've been ripped from their families and forced to do atrocious things, high on drugs, sporting automatic weapons, just makes me ill. It happened before, and it wasn't so long ago.
So I'm thankful that the UN recognizes that where there is no law... no punishment for offenders, and no protection for those who heed rules... there is no peace. I, for one, see their helicopters, white jeeps, and guns as a happy thing in Liberia right now, though I pray for the day that they are no longer needed.

Currently - Angel posted this article about those running for President right now in Liberia. President Sirleaf is up for re-election. A soccer star and a former warlord will race against her. Read it; you'll be amazed that a man who was party (on VIDEO!) to butchering a former President is a candidate.

So- nothing concrete on the future of our adoption of Kelvin and Hawa.
Ooooh, I don't think I've shared this with most people yet, but we found out the day before we were to leave Liberia this past June that Kelvin and Hawa are not brother and sister. They are not related at all. Oh, and that they are not orphans as we had always believed. They each have two living birth parents. The woman who brought them to the orphanage lied. She made up last names, relationships, and birth dates. None of it was the truth. Swallow that when you have less than 24 hours left with your children, and no way of knowing if adoption is even possible for them now. It was incredibly hard to learn this just before having to say goodbye to the kids. Fast forward 4 days and amazingly {and I do mean AMAZINGLY... as in miraculous} Georgia had already located 2 of the 4 parents. They are unable to care for their kids (evidenced by the fact that the kids have not been with them for over 2 years... and they never inquired about them or indicated that they wanted to parent them) and want them to be adopted. The other 2 parents abandoned the children long ago, and one of those needs to be found in order to sign paperwork. This is a big deal, and we are praying that this parent is located and able to understand what is happening in her child's life.

We are hoping that the meeting truly will lead to movement to lift the moratorium, but are always tempered in our hearts with the experience of the past... we've heard good news before. We don't want to allow "good news" to shift our trust and hope to a place where it was never intended to be. Trust and hope can only be in the Lord... he's the only dependable, faithful, unchanging one. Our joy comes from him, not in the latest news. News can bring disappointment, but the Lord brings peace... no matter what.

So, we have all our paperwork updated and ready in case anything changes, and we're pressing in to pray for our Kelvin and Hawa-girl to be able to be in our arms again.

"No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. " Psalm 33:16-22

It's Been A While

So, yes... it's been a while since I've posted anything meaningful. Here is my list of random goings-on to catch you up a bit. And, no... I'm not promising it will be meaningful, so don't get your hopes up.

~Surgery recoop is done, I'm all empty of my fibriod and back to normal.

~I've started school again with the kids, and I'm remembering why I love it. Went on a fieldtrip yesterday and learned all about the role of Minnesotans in the civil war. Here's a quote from a woman who was acting as a nurse on the battlefield, "You may have had a little whiskey to pour on your wound, but when they had to saw off a limb... it still hurt." {Waving of a hand-saw for effect.} Uh, yeah. Can't imagine. And really don't want to.

~I gave in and decided yesterday that fall has officially come, even though I fought it for the last several weeks of crummy weather. {Don't misunderstand, I LOVE fall.. I just ABHOR 6 month-long winters that follow.}

~I gave myself a home-spun french manicure for the 3rd time in my life, and it didn't look terrible. By the way, I have never had a pedicure, and have had a manicure only once when I was in a friend's wedding. Some of my girlfriends are aghast at this. I don't know... I just don't care that much, and I'm way too cheap.

~I've committed to not eat sugar for a month with my sister-in-law, and I'm almost two weeks into it. Well, we have one dessert a week, and we're not CRAZY... we eat carbs... just not dessert-y, blatantly sugary things. I am doing it, but I have to say that it is not enjoyable to me. I really like sugar. Really. A lot. Therein lies the problem. I don't want anything to have mastery over me. I desire to have self-control and make wise choices. If it were meth I was addicted to, I'd be in some serious trouble. Since it's sugar, it's easy to downplay and justify. Anyway, that's new. Not happy, but new.

~I'm looking forward to some time with family that I rarely get to see. Really looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to hugs from my parents, time with my sis, crisp air and great sunsets, rivers and oceans and redwoods with my man, great conversations with my cousins, making memories with my kids, celebrating Oma's 90th birthday, leaf piles to let the kids jump into, 25 cent phosphates at the Pharmacy, Abby's pizza, and oh so many other things.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Post- Surgery

I am now 2 weeks post-surgery. The lump of muscle affectionately known as "pampelmuse" {meaning grapefruit in German} is history. :)

I just have to share this cool God thing... The morning had my surgery, a beautiful young black woman was my nurse. Not overly warm & friendly, but is was 5:30 am. ;). Anyway, just when I could have started to feel bit nervous for the fact that I was going to have robotic arms shoved into regions that I'd rather leave alone, I noticed she had an accent. I asked where she was from originally. You know when you know the answer before you hear it? It was like that. Yep, you guessed it... Liberia!! So, I was all excited and told her we were just there in June and she just lit right up! She hugged Jason later when she met him, and spent all her spare time talking with us. She's been here for 6 years, and was in Liberia for most of the war. Anyway, so amazing how God makes those connections for us... and also totally got my mind off of the fact that I was having surgery! I was really grateful for her being there... she made my day!

The procedure was a success. I have pictures... everyone loves pictures of internal organs, right? There sits my little fist-sized uterus all sewn up and next to it sits my gigantaur fibroid, 2.5 times the size of my uterus itself. Kinda glad it gone. For the first time in many, many years, I don't feel like I look pregnant.

The first week was more brutal than I had imagined. I was very uncomfortable, and the air they pumped into my abdomen was the cause of just as much pain as the actual incisions. After that, I felt I was healing well, but I continued to have a very consistent feeling of light-headedness, like I could pass out at any moment. Also, breathing was laboured, and it felt hard to get a deep breath. So... my Doc wanted me to go in and have tests run to rule out a blood clot or bleeding in my abdomen. Jason and I spent a lovely 4 hours in the ER to find out that I was fine. I just had a large pocket of that air from the surgery lodged below my diaphragm, making it hard to breathe... and maybe causing the light-headed feeling. Anyway, money... toilets flushing... you get the idea. But, peace of mind knowing that I wasn't likely going to keel over in the middle of the night from a blood clot... priceless. (I guess.)

The second week has been better. I feel stronger every day, and am finally able to drive again. I tire ridiculously easy (easily?). I now have a much deeper empathy for people who have surgery, and hope I will be more helpful to them! I am so grateful to my friends/family who helped out! People who gave rides, meals, called to see if I needed anything, watched my kids... HUGE blessing to me - thank you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All 4 kids in One Spot!

I've been meaning to get this done since we got home from seeing Kelvin and Hawa... to put all four kids in one spot! It's the closest we can come to seeing them altogether for now... but we certainly hope that changes! We desire to see all four of our amazing kids in ONE photo! I can just imagine the giggles, the scuffles over who-sits-where, the joyful and sly smiles... can't wait for the day it really happens! For now, we'll settle for this... :)

Also- I realize I don't write much regarding Anika and Asher. I think of this blog as the place to update about the adoption, and it also has been therapeutic in processing stuff coming home from Liberia. There may be a little caution in me to keep their lives private as well, and to respect the fact that they may not want details about them out there for just anyone to read. BUT... you should know that they are my JOY!!!!!!!!!! They blow me away every day. I hate to sound like one of those annoying moms who portray her kids as perfect little angels, but seriously... they're pretty amazing in my book! It wasn't always so... certainly, we've had hard parenting seasons where I thought I'd tear every last hair out of my head! But we've tried to be consistent and loving and to be genuine up-close examples of Jesus to them, and somehow, despite our many flaws and selfish tendencies, they're turning out to be amazing little people.

I could write entire books on each of them... their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, our hopes and dreams for each of them., and how we SO look forward to seeing the world-changing things that the Lord will do with their willing hearts. I have seen maturity in them that I am able to learn from... forgiveness, obedience, desire to please their Father, patience and perseverance to seek the Lord for their brother and sister's adoption... some of the same things that the Lord is trying to hammer into my own thick skull! It's really pretty amazing to be able to be learning these things together!

With kiddos like this, you can see that we are convinced that children truly are a blessing... and at least one of the reasons we seek to fill our house with more! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I will have surgery to remove the large fibroid that has formed in my uterine wall on Aug. 12th. I am happy to have a doctor who is very experienced with the DaVinci robotic device that will actually do the work inside me. It's very sci-fi, but kinda cool. The Doc sits 5-10 feet away in his console and directs the robotic arms by way of the apparatus that his fingers are in. Anyway, the procedure will be happening around 7:30 am on Thursday, August 12th.

If you want to pray for health and protection for me, I'd very much appreciate it! I'm excited to get this grapefruit out of me! :)


"Feeling" Liberia

It's supposed to be 90 degrees today... and crazy humid too. I used to hate these days. I used to stay in my house in the air conditioned bliss, or run errands in my air conditioned car to avoid the uncomfortable sensation of breathing in liquid air. But today, for the first time EVER, I found myself loving it. It's as close to feeling like I'm in Liberia as I can physically feel. It brings back memories of my children sitting in my lap as we rode in the van to the mission schools, with the wind {and the car exhaust} blowing in our faces. It reminds me of stepping off of the plane into Liberian air for the first time ever... and swallowing the thickness of the air in gulps. It takes me back to a knowledge that there is more than this. So, I ran errands this morning with my windows open... and I smiled like a fool who has some secret.
I'll probably be inside in my air conditioning a fair part of today, I mean, let's face it... I'm a wuss. But, I can promise you that I will make a point of sitting outside and remembering and thinking, and most of all, dreaming of when I will feel Liberia next.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Death Crawl

OK, so I just watched "Facing the Giants" with the kids. I hadn't seen it in several years, and yeah, there are some cheesy parts... but wow... so much truth. I love the parallels that exist within the story to my own life, my own struggles, and my own choices.

I'm certainly no football fan. Well, that's actually a HUGE understatement. I know nothing of football... there, that's more accurate. BUT... there's a scene that I identify with in a very real way. In one of the football practices, the guys have to do "death crawls" where they carry another player on their backs as they crawl 30 yards or so down the field... without allowing their knees to touch the ground. Just a { little } bit tough, I imagine. Then, the coach challenges one player. "Will you do a death crawl to the 50 yard line... but giving me your absolute best?"
The player responds that he will... and the coach then pulls out a blindfold. He figures if his player can't see where the 50 yard line is... maybe, just maybe, he'll not focus on the simple goal, but focus on giving it all he has, without holding back.

So this big sweaty dude starts his death crawl. He goes and goes, and then goes some more.... but then it gets harder... he starts wondering out loud if he's there yet. Keep in mind, he's blindfolded, so he has no idea where he's even headed unless the coach tells him to go right or left. He's not seeing the end of the road here. The coach just keeps yelling at him to just give it his all... until he can't go anymore (in that oh so gentle way that coaches do). The coach tells him he can do it, he tells him he can do more, he tells him to keep on going, to NOT QUIT. The big sweaty dude is now almost spent. I mean, the poor guy is beyond exhausted. He's not liking this much. In fact, he's not liking the coach either, I have a feeling.

"Just two more yards..." says the coach. And then, he's made it. Big sweaty dude drops. Nothing left, nothing more he could have given. He wonders if he's made it to the 50 yard line, and why it was so incredibly hard to do.

... and then the coach tells him to look up. He realizes that he's all the way across the field... he went the entire way. He did more than he even knew he was capable of.
So much more than he ever thought possible.

As I watched the strength and energy that it took to cross that field blindfolded, the toil and the sweat and grit... the times, over and over again, where he had to choose to not give up... I felt like I'd been there. I feel like I am there now. I am in the middle of a journey which I do not understand or know the ending. I've been called by the Lord to give my all to him, to leave nothing behind. And I am blindfolded as to where it will all lead. I struggle to do what I must, to push on toward the goal, to persevere, to NOT QUIT. All along, I hear a voice beside me (and in me, and all around me)... encouraging me, testing my faith, asking me to do things that I am not capable of on my own.
Is there such a thing as spiritual sweat? Cuz if there is, I've been covered in it in the last 3 years. There are times I'm so tired, I want to lay down and call it quits. But then that voice speaks to me that I am not alone, that I am strong when I am weak, that his strength is sufficient for me. So, I keep pressing on, still blindfolded, still having to rely on God to show me when to turn to the right or the left.
I'd love to be able to write that I've made it... that I've completed my death crawl and I've collapsed in victory in seeing the long, long way I've come. But, I have a feeling that's a long way off. And that's OK with me, I guess. I'm in the midst of this thing, and I can't see where the Lord is taking me, but the thing is, I trust him. I trust his voice and I trust his plans, even though they are hard. Even though I'm sweaty and exhausted many times. Believe me - I wish I could take the blindfold off and SEE where I am, and what I'm crawling toward...!!!! But, that kind of defeats the point, now doesn't it? I have to rely on him for everything while I can't see ahead, and that's the beauty of it. That circumstance of having no ability of my own causes me to decide; lay down and die, or lay it all out before him... no holding back.

For me, the crawl is toward my children... not knowing if they will ever legally be as they already are in my heart... it's about trusting the Lord to show us what comes next for us in Liberia... it's about hanging on to him when all human hope is lost. For you, it could be a million different scenarios. We all have our death crawl. When this one is done, another practice begins, and the spiritual exercise of a new death crawl will begin. So, what are you gonna do... lay down and die, or trust the coach and head to the end zone?
(Whoa... seriously, Jason's gonna be so impressed that I knew to write "end zone" there. :)

Rev 3:8
"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."

Isa 30:21
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"

Heb 12:1
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Isa 40:28-31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Jos 1:7
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"I Saw What I Saw"

I just found this song... and I can't even explain how much this was my experience in Liberia. I looked for the faces I've come to know, even though I knew they wouldn't be there...

"I Saw What I Saw" - Sara Groves

I saw what I saw and I can't forget it
I heard what I heard and i can't go back
I know what I know and I can't deny it

something on the road, cut me to the soul

your pain has changed me
your dream inspires
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I'm afraid of
and what I know of love

we've done what we've done and we can't erase it
we are what we are and it's more than enough
we have what we have but it's no substitution

something on the road, cut me to the soul

I say what I say with no hesitation
I have what I have but I'm giving it up
I do what I do with deep conviction

something on the road, cut me to the soul

your courage asks me what I’m afraid of
your courage asks me what I am made of
your courage asks me what I’m afraid of
and what I know of love
and what I know of god

Monday, July 12, 2010


I realize that Liberia is "our thing"... and that God calls each of us to do different, equally important things for his name. So, please know that I am fully understanding of that fact.

But here's the thing... I can't return from my time in Africa and not give others the opportunity to be a part of something that really matters to the heart of God. I must tell you that if you are so led by the Lord, your support will literally put food into the mouths of children in need. I know that now. It does not go toward overhead costs like advertising or a more modern set of speakers for a church building... it buys rice. It buys medicine. It buys malaria-preventing nets and screens.

And it buys it for children that I know personally now. For the children I could list one after another (but I'm not allowed to). For the children I've held and loved, and count it a privilege to know. is the site that will allow you to see just some of the children that we met in Liberia, and to choose to be their sponsor. I stood there and took all their photos... urging them to smile, saying, "show me your teeth!" I met each one. They have a name. They have a story. They are precious. If the Lord tugs on you, you can sponsor a child for $40 a month right from the site. I happen to have great suggestions for specific kids to sponsor if you are so inclined. :) You'd have to go through me in that case though, as the sponsorship site limits the number of children you can see, for privacy reasons. Boys and girls, deaf and hearing, usually aged 4 up to age 18 or so. I'm telling you, YOU will be the one to be blessed...

Jason and I have been thinking of the kids as we have our third meal for the day... when we notice that we have about three thousand options for what we'd like to eat... when we lay down in our comfortable {CLEAN}, mildew and mold-free bed at night... when we see Anika and Asher healthy and strong, not lacking in height and weight from malnutrition. We have decided to sponsor two of the sweet girls that we fell in love with. (One of them has a SWEET 4 year old sister that is available for sponsorship, by the way... :) We are excited to assist the staff of the homes to be able to buy rice and basic needs for the kids. We can get updates on "our girls" and send them letters and pictures and small items when we have the chance. We've decided we will challenge ourselves to save the money from our existing budget. Certainly, our family can do without doritos and ice cream bars and eating out as much... I can pass by those garage sale signs even when I know I might be missing the deal of the century... I simply don't need MORE of anything. Although Jason says he is not willing (yet) to part with his chips and salsa. If you know him, you understand. (Good thing we make our own salsa... he won't have to give that up anytime soon!) We just figure it isn't terribly hard to shave some each month from our abundance to provide for those with none. And if it were to cause us some sacrifice, then so be it.

Our Liberia team has been challenged to represent these children to others, and we are praying that sponsors for 30 children would be raised up in the coming months. I know times are tough. I know that money is scare for many, may people. But I also know that we are rich... even the poorest of us are so very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. If you'd love to sponsor a child, but $40 each month is just something you don't have... then maybe consider splitting a sponsorship with some friends, or your bible study! How fun to pray for a child with a group, and send them letters a couple times a year! Maybe that way, each person pitches in $10 instead of a full $40. Just an idea...

If you didn't stop reading this the moment you realized it might affect your pocketbook ... thank you. If you are already investing in God's heart for the orphan in another way... thank you. If you will pray with us that God will raise up financial support for these children... thank you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

12 Days Post-Liberia

I find myself trying not to think about Liberia sometimes. On one hand, I can't keep it out of my thoughts. Each day I work on something to do with the trip... pictures, video, posts, paperwork for sponsorship, evaluations for what we did at the homes. I even dream about something to do with Africa each night (with maybe one exception) since we got home. But sometimes I actually try not to think about it. It plain ol' just makes me sad to not be there in moments. Funny, because in several ways, I was relieved to leave Liberia. I am so fickle.

I was relieved to leave the humidity and the sweat.
the filth
the exhaustion
the chaos
the 20 people to a van
and I was even a little relieved to leave my sobbing kids as they called out "Mama... Papa" while we left. Yes, relieved because it tore me open, in a way that I can't describe, to see and hear them, and to not be able to hold them and make it better. To not know what the future holds, and when I might see them again. I found it hard to breathe as I cried. I have never known that kind of grief and sorrow.

That's one reason I try not to think of Liberia sometimes, because I can see them. And whether my heart pictures them crying like that, or singing or playing soccer, or babbling away in their sweet voices... it's all pretty painful. It's wonderful too though. What a confusing thing! So precious to me are those moments of remembrance, but so raw and searing as well. It is hard even to write it out, but this has become my way to think it through and force myself to deal with it instead of burying it. Others can read this, or they can not... I don't really care... I just need to get it out so it doesn't suffocate me.

Some things are too tender even for this forum though, and I have to work through those things, as I do all the rest, with God. He knew it would be painful. He prepared Jason and I for it, and he is so faithful to hold us through it all. But this burden we carry is not without consequences on our hearts. Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I guess it all becomes heavy when we pick our burdens up and try to carry them on our own. We struggle under the weight, we stumble and trip ourselves up. When I ask him and allow him to carry the burdens for me is when I find rest. Rest and peace... and yet it is not pain free. I do have peace and rest, and I do believe that I am allowing him to carry my burdens for me regarding Kelvin and Hawa... not trying to wrestle them back from his arms to carry myself. And yet even in the midst of the joy and peace he gives me, I still deal with the sorrow of what the Lord has asked us to walk through.

I would love it to be easy in moments. I would love it to work out as we always hoped. I would love my heart not to feel as if it were "butter spread over too much bread" (as Bilbo Baggins would say)... spread over half the world to reach the children that my heart loves. But I always come back to the refining and completing work that God has done in me during the hardships... when he forces me to let go of my trust in anything but his own power and goodness. I don't want to know him differently that that. I don't want to know him in a lesser way. So- I will choose to rejoice in and be grateful for the road that he has led us on... maybe I'll cry as I walk forward at times, but I will certainly keep on walking.

So, on that note, here are some things that I want to remember about Liberia:

The way the children care for you and take care of you:
~Hawa tucking my "fla awa" (fly away) hairs behind my ears as we rode in the van
~Kelvin seeing sand on my leg and tenderly wiping it off for me
~ the children at the homes standing in the midst of the fire ants, while they wiped them from my feet
~kids who wanted to close my camera bag, put my lens back on, carry my fanny-pack and my supplies

The way we loved others and were loved in return:
~ teaching Kelvin and Hawa what zerberts are... and getting them in return
~ having at least 5 chidren attatched to my body in some form or fashion almost everywhere I went
~ receiving a bracelet from a beautiful girl who owned next to nothing in this world
~ holding "my" Sarah and Rebecca... and knowing that their hearts were full, as was mine
~ Washing sand out of Hawa's eyes, and holding her tightly so that she felt better

The joy:
~ watching my children do their african dances and sing their songs
~ hearing all the children sing {LOUDLY!} ... smiling the whole time
~ listening to Hawa call her brother a "cat-feesh" to insult him in fun.
~ holding my children with their arms wrapped around my neck

My Team:
~ knowing they loved every moment as much as I did, no matter the cost
~ hearing Matt's hilarious comments about "road safety week" and other such things :)
~ watching Vandora and Becky L. sign and communicate with the children at the deaf home
~ spilling my guts to Tori in her room one night
~ seeing how hard Angel works despite what she's up against... loving her for every bit of it
~ hearing Dora belly laugh at what the kids were saying in the van :)
~ Becky P's comforting of me when all I could do was cry as we pulled away
~ seeing Tommy with his son, Prince - and watching him dance in church w/ the Liberians
~ knowing Jason was right there, in this with me... all the way

Little Things:
~ pineapple and Liberian donuts
~ watching Kelvin and Hawa brush their teeth
~ the feel of a fan when you've been so sweaty that you don't remember what it is to be dry anymore
~ the beautiful outfits that the Liberian women wear to church
~ Oretha's scrumptious Liberian food!
~ watching the kids share their gum at the homes... many children enjoyed just one piece

The strange things:
~watching my kids eat their chicken, bones and all. Yes... bones...
~ the fact that I wasn't in the least concerned about the large cockroach in our room
~ driving, ALL of it ... 'nuf said.
~ realizing that the kids at the mission were playing with a rat
~ the generator for the church that drowned out the abilty to hear the people speak... and the rain that was even louder than that!
~ trying to find things in our room without lights

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Falling in Love

So, I've been in love with my man for a long time... I'd say about 15 years or so. Married for over 12, and I can honestly say that I cannot imagine a better husband, even if I ever wanted to try. He is as steady as a rock, he is kind and gentle, he's patient with my faults {and there are many...}, he's a man after God's own heart, he is helpful and thoughtful, he is an excellent communicater and listener, he's a consistent, involved and loving father to our kids, he forgives me, hears me, loves me, and desires me... my heart trusts him. I have no idea why the Lord would bless me with such a man in a world where so many people struggle in their marriages, but I am deeply thankful.

Certainly, we have our moments. We are two imperfect people trying to live together... who doesn't struggle? But throughout the years, God has replaced some of our filthy, stinky selfishness with the desire to serve one another and to pursue greater causes than our own gain. Wow... SO glad.

Marriage is one of our "things"... we just each have a heart for seeing God bring health and joy to marriages. Parenting is another. Adoption is one more. What's funny is that when we got married, we really didn't have all that much in common. He liked sports, I liked to read. He loved being outdoors, I preferred being cozy inside. He claimed to not have a creative bone in his body, I liked to scrapbook and do almost anything that required artsy-fartsy genes. Now we find that those differences don't matter much. The really beautiful, cool, and incredible thing is that God has brought both of us together in our excitement about the same things now. It hasn't always happened at the same time, but God has always brought unity in the issues and things that mattered most. It is so awesome to know that we love each other now more than ever.

My whole point is this... I have been falling in love with him even more since our time in Liberia.

I love...

... to watch him as he holds Hawa in his arms, and parents Kelvin with patience and love...

... to see him surrounded by children, making funny faces and laughing...

... to hear his heart when he talks about how empty American life can feel after being able to truly serve others all day long...

... that his heart breaks over orphans the same way mine does...

... that he wants to find a way to get back to Liberia...

... that he so desperately wants to communicate love to the deaf children that he wants us all to learn some sign language, and even taught us the alphabet via the internet last night...

... that he is captured by God's love, and ruined for this earthly life forever... he has bigger goals in mind.
How could I not fall in love with that?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Liberia Part 7: Praises

I need you to understand that everything good and beautiful that happened before or on this trip took place because my God is trustworthy and faithful. He is good and he is just. He asks much, but he is a rewarder of much. The heartache that we have experienced over the last few years, and the deeper heartache of saying goodbye to our Liberian children, are things that are refining us and bringing us ever closer to the understanding that we are nothing without HIM.
We can do nothing on our own or in our own power. We are weak, but he is strong. We are empty, but he fills us. We are tired and broken, but he breathes life and hope. If you don't know him, you need to ask him to reveal himself to you. I cannot imagine walking this life, with all of it's deep, dark sadnesses and hurts, alone. He sustains me. He dries my tears. He gives me joy in place of sorrow... and sometimes right along with it.
I am never alone.
I am never alone.
I am never alone.
I cannot praise him enough for that. This is real life, abundant life, life that rests in peacefulness in the midst of the storms. I would not know the power and might of my God if these storms did not rage around me... and if I were not protected under his wings as the wind raged on. Thank you God for these hard things... I am broken by them, I am deeply saddened by them, but I am sure of who you are because of them. Keep me depending on you... always.

"But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints." Ps. 52:8-9

"Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things..."
Ps. 119:35-37

"When I called you, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted." Ps. 138:3

"Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. ... Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Ps 112: 1, 4-7

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust'. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Ps.91:1-2, 4

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..." Ps 68:5-6

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..." Ps 37:4-7

Liberia Part 6: Beauty

Liberia is beautiful, but the people are stunning. Yes, physically, they are just incredible, but I'm referring to their hearts. We had so little time to get to know those around us because of the things we needed to get done, the time spent in transit, and the fact that we were also parenting our sweet kids. We needed more time! But... we still were able to see the hope and joy that so many Liberian people have to offer. They could teach us a thing or two... or ten. Many have stories of the war; scars both literal and emotional. They have little to put hope in, so guess where they place it? In the Lord... wholly and fully. They thank him each and every day that they are alive. Do you pray that? I don't, I have never even thought of thanking the Lord that I am alive and able to wake in the morning. I hope I remember to do that. They praise him like they mean it, because they do. They give offerings joyfully during their church service... literally dancing up to the front to put their money in the basket. Like I said, we could learn a thing or two. I'm thinking of so many names and faces right now... and it brings me great joy to have come to know them.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Liberia Part 6: Projects

Many of you will remember the "Lovin' Liberia Boutique" that was held to raise funds for projects that needed to be done in Liberia. Many of you were involved in that effort, and again, I THANK YOU!! Some of you gave to that fund on your own, and I wanted to make sure you got to hear about what was done!

The biggest priorities were:

1. Running water for the Daniel Hoover Children's Village (home with approx. 150 kids) This was an $8,500.00 expense... and it is almost finished now. Yeah! This will be BIG DEAL for the kids and staff! I cannot tell you the difference this will make in their everyday lives!

2. Bunk Beds for the Deaf Mission to get the mattresses up off the floor so that they do not mildew and mold so quickly, new mattresses covered in vinyl where needed, bedding, and mosquito nets for every child

3. Food!!!!!! Especially for the Deaf Mission that has been quite low on their supplies for some time

Liberia Part 5: Adoption News

Angel had meetings in Liberia yet again to try to see where adoptions are headed. The news is not good... in fact, it's downright discouraging if God is not the only one you put your hope in. I'll just reference her blog because there's no use me repeating the info that she does such a clear job at writing.

To be honest, after being in Liberia and seeing how things really happen, I find it almost humanly impossible to see adoptions taking place there. I am thankful to know that with God, all things are possible.

So... we are really no closer to being able to bring Kelvin and Hawa home. It has always been out of our hands, and it remains so... good thing God has a purpose and a plan that he's working out. We know that no matter what, if they come home to us or if they must stay in Liberia, God's ways are good and we will trust him. We wonder at times if he has used Kelvin and Hawa to bring our hearts to Liberia, quite literally... and that he has plans he will unfold in his time that are bigger than what we could have seen with our tunnel vision. Well, we don't wonder anymore... we know that is what is happening... we just don't know what it all means as of yet.

Keep praying though... we will not give up, we will not lose heart... we are in love with our children, and we desire to have them in our arms everyday.

Liberia Part 4: Initiaitives

To read about and see some of the projects we worked side-by-side on with our Liberian brothers and sisters, follow the link to Angel's blog, here.

Wow, take note. That's the shortest post you'll ever see from the likes of me! :)

Liberia: Images of our Time

Slightly out of order, but this is how you haul luggage in Liberia... strapped to the roof of the van... I seriously thought we'd lose it, but ahhhh... I had so much yet to learn about letting go of the "norm". :)

Matt and Tori on the plane from Brussels to Monrovia

Matt, Tori and Angel in line to be officially let into Liberia

Us... in that same line

Becky P, Vandora, Dora and I at the airport.. finally in Liberia!

(Yeah, so we had a Corrie & a Tori, a Dora & a Vandora, and 2 Beckys. Hmmm.)

Dora (2nd from right) was back in Liberia after having been adopted 6 years ago from the DHCV by Becky P (the one on the far left)... awesome!

I for got to mention that Brett Favre came with us... oh wait, no... that's Tommy

Trying to balance being a Papa (just met the kids an hour before), and a much anticipated visitor to the kids at the DHCV

Arrival at DHCV

Matt... swarmed with smiling children upon arriving at DHCV

Ahhh, be still my beating heart.

Jason and Co.

me and my posse

meeting with leaders before we began our work at DHCV

Tommy eating with the kids

Becky P. with my girlie

Us being silly! :)

Oretha ("Orita") - our AMAZING cook!

Our team at the start of our trip minus Becky L. (who lost her passport and got stuck in D.C for a bit) and Jason, who's behind the camera

The 3 guys on the team... all at least 6'4" I might add. A little strange... didn't know that was a pre-requisite.

My boys

Hawa with Ma Georgia... see how she loves my kids?

Jason and friends during a service at DHCV

Tori and her posse

Amazing food at the Guest House! Oretha's banana bread is Uh-MAZE-ING. Seriously, their pineapple and their bananas are like nothing you've ever tasted.

Tori filling out sponsorship forms and letters with the kids

How Liberian mamas carry their babies... American babies would never be allowed in such a contraption with their heads lolling back, but let me tell you... it works quite well, and the babies don't complain. :)

Vandora getting height and weight for the children's forms

laundry drying at DHCV... yep, on the dirt. It's as good a place as any.

One of the dorm moms doing laundry in tubs

Don't know where the bike came from, it's the one and only time I saw it... but Kelvin certainly enjoyed riding it!

Liberian children can sleep anywhere!

I told you... anywhere!

playing "lapa"

More scrumptious food at the Guest house

Vandora with her sweeties at the Deaf Mission

Dora holding a baby... she LOVED holding the babies!

Soccer at the Deaf Mission... these guys are SERIOUSLY talented. The World Cup was on all of their minds that week!

A sweet friend of mine drawing pictures for me on the whiteboard at the deaf home... what a great way to communicate for those of us who didn't know sign!

Same as above... talking through the written words!

Well at Deaf Mission

little friends

how all our meals were prepared; outside over a fire!

Vandora helping the boys to fill out their letters and sponsorship forms

Kelvin and his great smile!

Becky and Vandora signing the bible story at the Deaf Mission

Having conversations with the kiddos!

Preparing the land & planting Moringa trees at the Deaf Mission

stunts! Who needs a skateboard?

Tommy and friends

The older girls working on making beads

Angel helping to hand out clothes, goodies, and flip flops

Jason with someone we fell in love with

Instruments from the vendors

Hawa and her sweet friend

Jason with Opelo (spelling??) - staff at the Guest House

I want to learn to do this.

Me and my sweet girl!

Mealtime at the Deaf Mission

Playing paper, rock, scissiors with the deaf kiddos

The kids made bracelets one day... loved it!

Me and another girl we fell in love with

Everyone wants you to "Ta ma picha!" (Take my picture)

Liberia sights

Furniture store

Only 17 or so people in there... that's nothin', 20 was our record.

Monrovia sights

Ma Georgia... Kelvin and Hawa's foster Mom, and the adoption coordinator for ACFI. She had a baby girl just 4 days after we left! No one keeps track of when they're due, so we all assumed she had plenty of time left... um, nope! :)