Thursday, December 27, 2007


Please click on the above flyer to enlarge it so you can get the details of the location and RSVP information. Jerry and I will be flying out to California in a little over a week to share our testimony of the "Forgotten Boys of Kolfe". Our amazing family and friends are rallying around us to care for our children here at home so we can attend this fundraiser. We are praying many will SEE, HEAR, and come to KNOW God and that the donations will be very generous. Please join us if you are in CA, and if not, please join is in prayer or donations.

Our niece Jaclyn will be performing; She is an amazing talent!!

Ryan, Gladney's in-country Ethiopia representative, has asked that the funds raised be used to repair the recent plumbing catastrophe. They have just had major pipes break and now there is sewage seeping all over the campus. They have no money so this has presented a major health hazard. Thank you to all of you who are responding with compassion and help. Please stay tuned as we will be posting more information as we get it.

"And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me." Matt. 25-40

Gotcha Day!!

This is a montage of the actual day we got our babies.

Made by Ellie :)

by Janelle

The morning cold and raining,
dark before the dawn could come
How long in twilight waiting
longing for the rising sun
ohoh ohoh

You came like crashing thunder
breaking through these walls of stone
You came with wide eyed wonder
into all this great unknown
ohoh ohoh

Hush now don't you be afraid
I promise you I'll always stay
I'll never be that far away
I'm right here with you

You're so amazing you shine like the stars
You're so amazing the beauty you are
You came blazing right into my heart
You're so amazing you are...
You are

You came from heaven shining
Breath of God still flows from you
The beating heart inside me
Crumbled at this one so new
ohoh ohoh

No matter where how far you wander
For a thousand years or longer
I will always be there for you
Right here with you

You're so amazing you shine like the stars
You're so amazing the beauty you are
You came blazing right into my heart
You're so amazing you are...

I hope your tears are few and fast
I hope your dreams come true and last
I hope you find love that goes on and on and on and on and on
I hope you wish on every star
I hope you never fall too far
I hope this world can see how wonderful you are

You're so amazing you shine like the stars
You're so amazing the beauty you are
You came blazing right into my heart
You're so amazing...

You're so amazing you shine like the stars
You're so amazing the beauty you are
You came blazing right into my heart
You're so amazing you are...
You are

Monday, December 24, 2007


Little baby on the hay, Soon there'll be another day,
When nails shall pierce Your hands and feet,
As You provide our sin's defeat,
Risen Jesus on the throne, We lift our promise to You alone,
For You're the gift that we receive The moment that our hearts believe. - Roy Lessin

Three More Orphans Rescued -- Congratulations Falchook Family

What a blessing! My dear Sista/girlfriend just got approved for her THREE NEW CHILDREN to come home from Ethiopia. Please go to her blog and be blessed with her video. We were so blessed to visit with these children while in Ethiopia. We delivered a package from their forever family and hugged and kissed on them. They are absolutely precious!! Praise be to God!

A Request For Help From Ethiopia

I just received this note from our Gladney Ethiopia representative Ryan. Please pass the word and see if someone can help this man.

Dear friends,

I was recently approached by one of the young men (or not so young men) at Kolfe and asked if I could find someone to help him out when he moves to the US. He has won the diversity visa, and said he will be moving to the US in a month or so. He is around 30 yrs old, handicapped (he walks with crutches), and probably knows very little English. He is excited about his opportunity to move to the US, but scared at the same time. I just wanted to write you all to ask if you, someone you know, or an organization you know of would be willing to help him. He is looking for a place to stay while he figures out American life, and some help finding a work.


Please leave a comment or contact me via email if you have any information regarding this plea and I will contact Ryan. Thank you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Solomon's Letter Today - December 21, 2007

My heart is aching again as I read the words of this precious young man that is now a part of my life forever. Please continue to pray that God will make a way for us to bring him here to live with us.....some day? This is the response to me telling him that because of his age we could not legally adopt him, but that we are checking into other options. I also asked him what we could send to him that he wants or needs. We are going to sponsor him which is a program Gladney is putting together, however we don't know all the details yet. I am falling in love with my Solomon more and more every day!!

Hi mum how are you? I am read the answer of my question. I am very sad about the governments policy but i am really happy and also lacky God take for me a good mother. I proud because of you. I love you forever mum. I know you tried to happy me i am want to live with you but it is inpossible when God want to meet each other one day it is possible don't worry mum oky. My heart also broken about that do you know mum how i can joyless about this. I am crying when read it but i believe by God done sometiing to me whether it is good or bad for the purpose of better thing.

Mum when you want send for me someting you send for me that you are belived important to me. I don't want to say this because '' mothers are knows what her son needs''.

Mum I hope one day to meet each wther after that i am continue writing for you i promese mum i never forget forever bcause after i was born no one to say me my son except you also I don't to say any one to say my mum except you. I always to pray for you mum.

Do you hear the cry of the orphan??? Do you see his faith in God in spite of his circumstances and disappointment? Why did God bring Solomon into my life? What is His purpose in all of this? What is our future? These are the questions running through my mind as I sit here and picture the beautiful smile and gentle spirit of my SON SOLOMON sitting in the KOLFE ORPHANAGE in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Letter from My Solomon

Hello my dear mum Eileen. mum i haven't a job. I am syuding markating in a diploma program I am scored high mark in the frist yeaar 94 oyt of 100 now i am leaning 2nd year. The campas are hiving for me 20 birr in a month for transportation pourpose but my collage is not far so i used that mony to writting for you.
Mum my future plan is after i will graduate when i will get any kinds of job i want to work and to help poor peoples but in Ethiopia is not easy to get a job when you need to open new buseness the atmosphere is not good because the taxes are very havy, the influntion rate are incrsing day-today because of this many Ethiopian are unemployeement.
Mum after i saw you my dream is to live with you because you are different to others, your smile, advise, generous, respect are attract me. I havn't mothers get mothers love so i am sure i geat that love for you also i haven't sister i get the sister and dad. You know Eileen how much happy when i am get all this but mum when it is diffecult don't worry.
Mum i wont to writting for you day to day but 20 birr is not adequate so when you send me some mony i contact with you day to day and also send me a bible. I have a bifle but i need the english one. Tank you for everythin mum. I would like to say HAPPY X-MAS for you,dad and sister. God bless you forever mum

My heart is breaking today because it was confirmed that we can not adopt Solomon because he is too old. We are looking into the sponsorship program that Gladney is getting started though and we hope to become his sponsors. At least we can communicate via email and send him things through the Gladney families that will be traveling there. There is a family leaving next Wednesday that will bring him the bible and some money to pay for the emails for us. Can you just feel the gentleness and love in this young man? This is really a hard one for me. I am praying that the LORD will do something very special here. Please join me in praying for another miracle.

Monday, December 17, 2007


James 1:5-6
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

James 1:8
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

James 1:14-17
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has not deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good it it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 1:22
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves, Do what it says."

James 1:27
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

SO WHAT NOW? Would you please pray and ask God how he would have you help the FORGOTTEN BOYS at Kolfe Orphanage? Please leave a comment or email us and we would be happy to give you information on how to proceed. You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams should you choose to step out in faith and follow God's heart!!! Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy lives to read along as we follow after God. Blessings to you all!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My New Son at KOLFE

As I mentioned earlier, I fell in love with the young men at Kolfe. I left my email and asked them to keep in touch with me. One young man, Solomon, has been corresponding with me. I would like to share this with you so you can see for yourself how sweet and loving these young men are. Also, I want to share the updated emails I have received from Ryan as another example of how these young men really care for each other.

Solomon on the far right wearing brown sweater with grey.

This is from my new son Solomon who is 17 years old:

"hi Eileen i am solomon bekele i am reading your pleasurable cmail letter. I am reallu happy about that thank you for everything.
Eileen be for you come to us i did not know any one out of the campas when someting happend to me may be it is hard or not i a am trying to solve by my self but now i am very laky because i gaet you. when you take me premission i want to call you my mum.
Eileen my mother was dead when i was one years old. i am the onoy chiled for my mum but i am not saky to saw her but God never forhat me he take me you. i would like to reading a bible bdfore i sleep because i understand how God loves me very much not only me he loves all human beings.
Eileen i told to habtamu to writting for you.he says writting soon. Mum after i will write other letter for you God blessing all of you."

I responded to this note by telling Solomon I would be honored and privileged to be his MUM. I asked him to tell me more about his childhood. I want to grow our relationship and plan to help him as we find out what the procedures are. He is too old to be adopted by US law. This is the next email I received from him:

"hello my dear mum. I was writinig for you for my mother to day i am writing for you about my life when i was chiledhood.
Mum after my mother died my father take the responsibility to protect me and he callanged mant problems because of me he treated me like a mother and father. Always he tried to happy me. He told me that study hard but i don't know why alwys he told me this in that time. Iremeber when i was 8 years old i was asked him why alwys say to me study hard. He told me that i said always this because of one thing when someting happend to me one day how you can lead your life you know that wi are poor therefore the only chance to live a better life for future is when you study hard. I understand every thing that time we are not any man to help us. After two years latter, when i was ten years old one day night at 1:00pm my father is very sick the next day he goes to clinic and geat medical care the doctors are tring to save his life but they can't. When the doctors told me that i can't controll myself i am really sad because i lose one man 9i have. After he died i was alone. After two weeks ago one man he knows my father came to me and i told him everything after that he finished all process to came to me orphan campas finally i came the campas when i was 10 years old. I have been lived in this campas for 6 years now. Shortly my history like this.
Mum i don't have computer access. Iam send you the message by using momputer center services. When i used the computer to 1 minite i pay 20 cents, 1 hour 12 birr. It is very difficult to me but i promise i write for you two or three times in a week.
Mum Mike and his son are coming today to us. I meet with them. They also visit the library give for us candy pen and candy also ball. I am really enjoied with them.
Mum i think about you i can't tolerat your love. I MISSED YOU SO MUCH. I pray to God to meet with you mum. GOD BLESS YOU FOREVER MUM"

OK, so now you have a glimpse of what a blessing I have received while visiting Kolfe. I am thinking about these boys all the time. For some reason, Solomon and Hoptamu are the most special to me because they stayed by my side the entire time we were there, which was several hours. They have a special place in my heart.

When Jerry and I saw the conditions of this orphanage, we decided we would do something to help them. In lieu of paying our hotel bill, we gave our cash to Ryan at Gladney to buy blankets for them. I was so cold every night and I was at the HILTON! They live in this place with broken windows so I thought this would be a great thing for them. Well, I just received this email from Ryan.

"Hey Eileen,
Glad to hear things are going well.
I went back to Kolfe to let them know you had left money for blankets, and the older guys all said they didn't need blankets and decided the money would be best spent on shoes for the younger boys. I thought it was pretty sweet that they wanted to spend the money on the younger guys. I hope you are okay with the money being spent that way, let me know if you are not okay with it.

Also, about the fund raiser... there is a plumbing problem that needs to be fixed. The pipes from 2 of the bathrooms are leaking, and the sewage is seeping up through the ground. I would like this to be the next project, so could we use some of the money from the fund raiser to repair this problem?

The boys at Kolfe and I are truly grateful that you did not forget what you saw or how it made you feel.


Do you see the thoughtfulness of these young men? Instead of getting new warm blankets, they want the money we left to buy shoes for the younger boys. There are currently 180 young men in this orphanage. Remember I told you how they explained to me that they are family and they love and respect each other? Well now we all see it in this situation. The fundraiser Ryan is referring to is the Benefit Concert my niece and sister-in-law are putting on in California, January 6, 2008. Please see our earlier post about this and if you live in the area would you please attend this concert? Jerry and I are hoping to also be there, Lord willing. Or, you can send a tax deductible gift to Gladney and write Kolfe Orphanage/Mestas Ministry on the memo line.



Well, we are finally getting well in our house. We have all been sick since we got home from Ethiopia and Jerry was out of town all of this past week. I was feeling really poochie and never had the energy or time to post. But before Jerry left for CA, we all got dressed, sick and all, and went downtown to take our Christmas picture. Melissa set up her tripod and we spent a lovely afternoon posing. We look pretty good considering our health status. So, this is our new family and an update.

We are all on the rise back to good health. My dad is feeling better. The doctors wanted him admitted to the hospital but he said he would rather stay home and ride this out. So, he has been sleeping a lot and tonight when I visited with him he looked and felt better.

I want to send a special "THANK YOU" to all of you who have been praying for us. Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to follow our amazing journey and to leave us comments. It is sooooooo encouraging to get your comments and know that we are being lifted up. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.

According to the counter on this blog we have had almost 20,000 views which absolutely blows my mind. The reason we started this blog is because the LORD told me to "TELL HIS STORY" for the purpose of encouraging others. If you have read our story from the beginning, you will remember this all started when God spoke to me through HIS word in JOB 42. I sat at the kitchen table and asked God for direction on whether or not we were to pursue adoption, which I basically thought was out of the question, but I really expected him to give us direction on how to start an adoption ministry in our church and community. Well, as the story has unfolded you see HE did tell us to pursue adoption again. When we left for Ethiopia several weeks ago, I thought it was just to go bring our new children home. I now realize that this journey has just begun and that actually GOD did both. He gave us new children and an adoption ministry in our church and community.

Over the past several weeks we have heard from several people that have been reading our story and have said as a result, the LORD has impressed upon them to also adopt. They have been encouraged by our journey and have decided to step out in faith and also pursue adoption. We have been blessed beyond measure as they have shared some amazing testimonies with us. Jerry and I have been transformed by this amazing and miraculous journey and we will never be the same again. We are passionate about adoption, and about our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ as we have come to KNOW HIM, to SEE HIM, to HEAR HIM and to LOVE HIM in such a new, real and greater depth.
We are so excited to share the faithfulness of God when we are about HIS BUSINESS.

When I began this journey and had my first conversation with God, I specifically said, "GOD, I am begging you to please speak to me right now and let me know if we should continue to pursue adoption or just start up an adoption ministry. We are too old to adopt now, we have absolutely no money and I don't want to keep Ellie hoping that we will adopt again. So please, I want to open your word and I am asking you to speak directly to my request. Give me your wisdom on what you want us to do. And this is how he responded to me: Job 42:1-6 " Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that you can do all things; no plan of your can be thwarted. You asked, "Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?" Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You Said, listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
...10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice s much as he had before....12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. and he had three daughters...the second Keziah and the third Keren...Now where in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

Well, as I sit here with my three precious new children asleep upstairs and with an exciting new adoption ministry starting up in our lives, I read over this passage again and I am in absolute awe!! My LORD had these wonderful experiences planned for me and THESE THINGS THAT WERE TOO WONDERFUL FOR ME TO KNOW. MY EARS HAD HEARD OF HIM, NOW THEY HEAR HIM, MY EYES HAVE SEEN HIS MIRACLES, SEEN HIM work out all of the details, the plans, the papers, the money, the safe travel, the children and our family have been born again!! I DO REPENT IN DUST & ASHES as I think back on where I was before this journey began and I PRAISE HIM for where I am today in my faith and love for HIM. I had my God in such a small box compared to where HE IS TODAY IN MY LIFE. Nothing is impossible with HIM, HE CAN DO ALL THINGS, NO PLAN OF HIS WILL BE THWARTED! WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED IN THE LATER PART OF OUR LIFE MORE THAN THE FIRST.
We are now the proud parents of eight children (so far) and we are in absolute awe of how GOD has worked out HIS PLAN for our lives. We are praying about another adoption from Ethiopia. You see, we had three children in our younger years and so to be blessed twice as much we need to have another child, six in our latter years. But honestly, we are praying for the LORD to send us as many as HE sees fit. We are open to HIS plan and purpose for our lives. We are also praying for a bigger house just for the record.

We are currently putting together a slide show of our adoption journey to Ethiopia and of the KOLFE ORPHANAGE. So please stay tuned, we will have them posted this week.
And a note to all of our dear friends and family following this journey, please leave us a comment if you haven't as yet. We would love to hear from all of you! May you be blessed as we celebrate this CHRISTmas season. May you see JESUS like never before as you follow this journey and SEE HIM WORK OUT HIS PLAN. Blessings to you all!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Today is just an addition to yesterdays post. I am asking for all of you to pray for my dad. My parents live with us in the basement house. Today we found out that he has pneumonia. "Old Blue Eyes", my Popo, is 74 years old with multiple illnesses. On an earlier post I told you we started hospice 'Quality of Life Care Program" for him several weeks ago. Well with all of us getting this cold bug, which I started today myself, he must have caught it from us. He has emphysema, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Diabetes, and several other serious illnesses. He has been very ill and I am concerned that this is too much for his immune system to handle. When I visited with him tonight I asked if he was ready to meet Jesus. He responded with "YES I AM". I tried to encourage him to think about his future, the real life we should all be living for is to be in heaven with no pain, no bills, no illness or sadness. To think upon these things brings hope. He told me he definitely thinks this is his last Christmas. He has been suffering for quite a while with a lot of pain and deterioration, some due to normal aging, but most of all depression. He is not going to get better according to the Dr's. So, may I please ask any one reading this tonight to pray for my Popo. I love him with all of my heart!! He has been a wonderful father, father in law, and grandpa to his 13 grandchildren and soon to be first great grandchild. He has said for years he didn't want to die until he saw his great grandchildren. He is struggling very much with breathing more than anything. I would also ask that your specific prayer would be for God to pour His peace, His presence and HIS LOVE into his heart, mind, and soul. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Psalm 29:11


I heard Anne Graham Lotz speak on the radio about this verse and I knew this is exactly what I am experiencing. With everything that is going on in my life I can honestly say that I feel so much of the Lord's presence in my heart and mind that I feel rested and peaceful in spite of it all. Here's a little recap on the last few days since we arrived home from Ethiopia:

Arrived home from a 24 hour travel journey with approx. 1 hour sleep Nov.27.

Took Keziah to ER with swollen glands and high fever. Spent 2 days in hospital.

Jerry and kids on the way to pick us up were rear ended by a truck. Thank God no one was hurt but the van has some issues.

Washing machine broke down. I have approx. 20 loads of dirty laundry. Sears repairman declared it too expensive to repair, time to replace. After performing a routine maintenance on my one year old dryer, it too is now not working. Had to order a new part and will not be in until Dec. 15. Bought a new washing machine that was not in the budget right now. Oh well!!

Everyone in the house is sick with coughs, ear infections, cold or sore throat. Spent in excess of $600 for RX's. Ins. won't kick in for about a week so it's all out of pocket for now.

Bj's truck out of commission and back in the shop today. Won't start again!!

Just found out today...Jerry was not paid from his job for the last two weeks. They told him he could take the time to go to Ethiopia no problem. They never mentioned it would be with no pay. No pay check and the bills are due????

Jerry leaves town for a week on Monday. Josiah is so attached to him and I am not looking forward to him crying for PAPA!! Josiah will not go to bed without Papa. This is going to be fun?????

As I was reflecting on all of these things I thought about how the LORD started this journey through the book of JOB 42. I am beginning to feel a bit like JOB today as the pressure of "LIFE" is happening. I literally had to laugh today. We have to keep a sense of humor in all of this. I believe Satan is trying to rob me of the JOY that is abundantly flowing through my heart. But he will not succeed. God is so good, HE is in total control and we are so blessed! As we are in the Christmas celebration season commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I am overwhelmed with the Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope that are the blessings that HE brings when we know, love and trust HIM Alone!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

SAVE THE DATE............JANUARY 6TH!! Concert Dinner for the Kolfe Orphanage

This is a letter that Jerry's sister Maria in California sent out to our extended family and friends in response to our post about the "Forgotten Boys". Her daughter Jackie is a gifted opera singer studying at the Manhattan School of Music.

I realize this is a difficult time of year for all of you to donate your time and money. However after reading Jerry & Eileen's journal of their trip to Ethiopia, I was compelled to act immediately to try to help the "Forgotten Boys" in the Kolfe Orphanage. We are planning a Concert Dinner Fundraiser for these boys on January 6th at Caffe Opera in Monrovia. Jackie will be performing and hopefully some of her local singer friends will contribute their talent as well. If we fill up the place we can provide all 185 boys new beds and blankets and more. Please help us invite your friends!!! Please read their blog at for first hand information about Jerry, Eileen's and Ellie's emotional experience when they visited this place. In addition, we are trying to get used soccer gear, uniforms, cleats, shingards, balls, for these boys. The boys range from 12 years of age to 18. I am contacting my local AYSO's to ask for their help. I encourage you to do the same. Please gather the TROOPS! WE NEED YOUR HELP !!

Monday, December 3, 2007


We got up early, ordered breakfast via room service and packed up all of our suitcases. We then met with Ryan and Abby for our final lunch and coffee date. We had a great time of fellowship again. Ryan asked if we would be interested in going to the Kechene orphanage, the older girls orphanage before we left. We tentatively set up to meet because he said the Director of this one is a very difficult man. He may not allow us to visit and he doesn't allow photos, but he would call and ask. We agreed to go and when we got there the Director said we had to first report to his office for an interview. Ryan and Abby were very nervous and leery about whether or not we were going to get in.

We walked into his office where he motioned us to sit at a conference table that extended from the front of his desk. Everyone was very nervous and sat at the far end of the table. I chose to sit in the chair directly in front of his desk, the closest one to him. He was very serious and intimidating as he spoke in a firm and professional sounding voice saying, "Please have a seat, I would like to ask you some questions". I smiled at him and said sure! I leaned forward and looked right at him. He asked, "Why are you Americans suddenly coming to my country to adopt our children? For years you have been going to China and Russia why are you now coming here?" Everyone looked at each other and I said, "Can I answer that?" Everyone gladly gave me the floor.

For a few seconds my mind raced with the following thoughts. If I tell him what I really think, he may get angry and offended and throw us out of here....If I don't tell him, I will regret it and fear that God will be angry with me....God has told me to "TELL HIS STORY" ever since this journey began...What's the worst that could happen? I'm leaving in a few hours anyway... And then it was as if the HOLY SPIRIT just poured over me.

I leaned forward, looked him right in the eyes and with great confidence I began to speak. "Do you really want to know why? I am going to tell you what I believe with all of my heart. GOD IS SENDING HIS PEOPLE HERE TO RESCUE THE ORPHAN! You see, God created every single one of these children here. He knows exactly how many hairs are on each of their heads. He created each and every one of them and regardless of the tragedies that have brought them here and the difficulties your country is experiencing, God loves each of them, God loves you, He loves your country and HE IS AT WORK HERE!!! His eyes got big, his mouth opened and he looked like he couldn't believe what I was saying. I figured I better just say my piece and deal with the consequences later. So I then told him the story of how I prayed and asked God if we should pursue adoption and told him how I opened the Bible and God spoke to me through JOB 42. I told him the whole story, about the names that revealed Ethiopia and that he had performed many miracles to get us here. He had a strange look on his face as he looked at everyone else in the room like "Is she for real?" He seemed to be very puzzled and surprised. Then he asked a second question. "I have heard that your government gives you money to adopt children. Is this why you are coming, to benefit get money?" We all looked at each other in surprise and then several people tried to answer. I spoke up again and said, "Our government gives an $11K tax credit to encourage us to adopt children so that they are not a burden to the government or society. The government does not pay us. This tax credit reduces the tax we owe. Statistically it will cost us an excess of $100,000 to raise one child so $11K is not going to get us rich if we adopt. It's not about getting rich or making money. It is a very small gesture to help encourage people and help us. You see, there are many people in America that have room in their hearts, in their homes and GOD is calling us to care for the orphan. The Bible teaches us that pure religion is to care for the orphan. This is all GOD AT WORK and we are just walking in obedience to HIM. In fact, Ryan & Abby and Travis & Joanna are here working to help your children get adopted because GOD HIMSELF has told them to. He has called them out of their lives in America to come here and help these children find loving families that will take care of them, clothe, feed, love, educate and spend all of their hard earned money to raise them. No one is getting rich here. We are obeying GOD!!! In fact, you are in that chair because God has put you there to also take care of these children. He has given you a great responsibility to care for HIS Children and you will one day answer to HIM for each one of the children he has entrusted to you. He has given you a great responsibility and he will hold you accountable for how you treat them, what happens to them and how you run this place."

He sat there with a very surprised and puzzled look on his face. He kept looking around at every one to see their reactions. I never took my eyes off of him so I really don't know what everyone else was communicating to him. He then looked at me, smiled and said, "Thank you, I understand better now about this tax credit. I need to know the truth, I guess what I heard was a rumor. You know, I do know God. I don't know him the way you do though. I have a different way to know God. You have made me think, I think I could have more questions about your GOD. I must do some research and learn more of these things you are saying. You have said some interesting things" To which I responded. "O.K. I will be happy to answer more questions. What would you like to know?" I pulled my chair closer and looked him right in the eyes. He got shy, his face turned red and he looked at everyone saying,"Wow, this lady likes to talk about this, She likes questions doesn't she?" He then said, I think you must go now it is getting late, go take pictures and do what ever you want. It is getting late. Thank you for your time." He smiled and stood up, bowing his head and dismissing us. Jerry stood up and said, "Sir, if you ask us questions, you are going to get answers. She will stay here all day with you if necessary but we have a plane to catch. Come on lets go Eileen."

I stood up and again felt the HOLY SPIRIT guiding me. I walked around his desk, I put out my hand and he too extended his. I held his hand very tightly, looked in his eyes and said, "Mr. Lucas, you are standing here looking at me, looking into my eyes and touching my hand because GOD HIMSELF SENT ME HERE. HE wants me to tell you that HE loves you and HE wants you to know him..To know the truth ...HE is the truth.... I then literally put my hand on top of his bald head and said,"I am going to continue to pray for you when I am in America, I am going to pray that God will open your eyes, your ears and your heart. That you will come to know him as your Saviour. To know the truth...The truth that sets you free!" He literally bowed down, his shoulders slouched down like a bashful little boy. His whole countenance changed. HE said, "O.K. I will like to know more about your GOD." He smiled and it was a real genuine smile, and he shook my hand and said to go now it's getting late. We all left the room that was very different from when we entered.

We proceeded to go visit with the children, tour the facility and take pictures!! It was another amazing day. The children were delightful and it again broke my heart to see how they live. Broken windows, old run down facility and conditions. But, they seemed happy and well cared for. As we were leaving and heading back up to the parking lot, I saw Mr. Lucas leaving is office. He was obviously leaving for the day. I walked back over to him and wanted to see him one last time. I walked up to him and extended my hand. He shook and said "Thank you for coming today. It was a pleasure talking to you and you helped me to understand some things." I again got close to his face, looked into his eyes and said, "Remember, you are responsible for all of these precious children that really matter to God. HE is watching you...He knows everything and HE wants you to help them." He responded. "I love these children, I am their father, they love me." I said, "You are their caretaker here, but God is their father and HE has a plan for each one of them. Please help Ryan & Abby and the rest of the people that God will send here to rescue them. HE wants you to do all things for HIM. He then told me all about his academic achievements and that he really cared for these children. He even has a dream to open another private orphanage in his own name to better have control to help them. I said that was a great goal to have and to know that I will be praying for him. We smiled, I hugged him goodbye, thanked him for this visit and said goodbye.

I plan to keep in touch with him and send him a bible. Please join me in praying for this man LUCAS as he expressed himself that he does not know the Lord Jesus, but now has verbalized an interest in getting to know more about him. Also, please pray that he will continue to be open to Ryan & Abby coming to his facility to learn about the children and find forever families for them.

Praise be to God for this anointed meeting today and may we rejoice in the hope that He will come to know His Saviour!!

After our visit we rushed back to the hotel where Tafasse and his cousin Yasu packed up all of our luggage (8 suitcases & 4 carry ons)into two cars. They got us to the airport on time and when we got to the point of no entrance for them we had to say goodbye. Taffy hugged me so tight I literally lost my breath. Ellie said he was teary eyed and choked up. We really felt like he became a brother and we are so greatful to have had this wonderful man take care of us for these two weeks. He was absolutely wonderful. He was our translator, chauffer, tour guide, personal shopper, security guard, and most of all, he became our brother and dear friend. For those of you on your way to Ethiopia, if you are blessed to have Tafesse as your driver, please give him a hug and greeting from the MESTAS family.


Remember in a previous post I told you we went to a Bazaar at the church in Ethiopia? Well, I didn't mention that while walking around, Jerry saw a man wearing a shirt that said "Santa Barbara" on it. Being Jerry, he walked up to him and asked if he was from Santa Barbara. He said yes and they talked for quite a while. He & his wife used to live there in Addis, but now they are back in California. They come to Addis regularly now to work with AIDS orphans and they absolutely love it. Jerry met his wife and they exchanged information for Jerry to visit with him when he travels to California. He was invited to meet with them on his next trip. We thought it was amazing that here we are in Africa, and we meet someone from home. Well, that's not all!

A couple of days ago, Gaby called Jerry all excited and in amazement. It turns out, she and her husband were visiting with her stepson and his daughter.(their granddaughter) The maternal grandparents to this daughter were there also, and started talking about their recent trip to Ethiopia. The stepson tells him that Gaby's brother was also just there to adopt three children. He says: "Really, I met a man at a Bazaar named Jerry Mestas who was adopting 3 children." To which he responded, You are kidding! That's Gaby's brother!" You guessed it! The man he met at the Bazaar is the grandfather to his sister Gaby's granddaughter. Can you believe this one? There we are in Africa and people are recognizing Ellie from her blog and we meet a distant a city with more than 4.5 million people?? What are the odds of this??? God is so amazing!

What was also funny was that while we were in Ethiopia, Jerry's sister Gaby had called Melissa to tell her that she knew someone who was going to be traveling to Addis the same time we were and wondered if we could meet up. For some reason, we never did get the information. Is that funny or what?

Sunday, December 2, 2007


What an adventure this has been! I'm going to share the latest update and then I have to go back and share about our last day in Ethiopia.

As noted in the last post, Keziah started to run a fever and her face swelled up on the right side, gland area. She was absolutely fine all morning, I put her down for a nap and when I woke her up for a feeding, she was warm and her face was definately swollen. I immediately called my dear Pediatrician (I love Dr. Sevilla) and he told me to get her to ER right away. He was concerned the swelling could block her airway. So off we went to the ER. As Jerry and I were driving down the road, he said "Can you believe we are doing this again, babies on the way to the hospital?" We were both amazed that while we were facing a serious situation, we both felt such peace and calmness. After traveling this journey with the LORD for the past several months, I have come to a place of really understanding that God is in total control of everything in my life. I even said, "If God is going to take her home, I know He still has a plan in all of this." We prayed He would not of course, but we were both very much at peace as we walked this latest adventure.

Well, Keziah and I are home today. She has an infection in the right side of her face, the gland, that they can not specifically diagnose. The doctor said it could be a virus, bacteria etc., that she could have gotten during our travels. She could have gotten it from Ellie,(her sore throat) the other kids that have a cold and cough, or it could be an allergic reaction to something, or who knows what. They are all at a loss. They did several blood tests and so far nothing confirmed or conclusive. After having the IV antibiotics in her system for two days now,the fever has gone and the swelling is going down. He wanted to keep her in the hospital another day, which would have brought us home today instead of yesterday afternoon. But, when I explained that my husband was home with four children under age 4 that were all sick with coughs and colds, he said, "Compassion has won me over, you may go home today". So, he wrote two RX's and said to keep Keziah on close watch. We have to give her antibiotics 6 times a day. If she has fever again or swells up to get back to hospital right away. He said the swelling could block her airway so don't delay. She is still swollen and it feels like a rock is in her neck. He said it could still swell up and we may need to have it surgically drained if it does not go away. Time will tell but, so far, so good, she is back to her smiling precious self, eating good and sleeping a lot.

So, there we were at 12:00 noon, packed up and waiting for Jerry to pick us up. He had to pack up all the kids in the van, but of course first get them all ready, feed them, run a few errands etc. At approx. 1:30 my son Jonathan called and said "Mom, we we won't be there to pick you up for a while longer. We were on our way there and we just got in a car accident. All the traffic in front of us came to a stop so I had to stop suddenly and the truck behind me didn't. He plowed into us, I saw him coming and reared to the right. He pushed us off the road and thankfully not into the cars in front of us. Don't worry though, we are all OK. Ruby(our poodle/baby)who usually goes everywhere with us, was thrown to the front of the van but she seems to be OK. Everyone else was in seat belts and are all OK. The babies were crying, the boys were very excited and worried but no one was hurt bad except for Papa having been jerked a bit and having a sore neck. The back of the van is dented pretty bad but the doors still open."

So, there I sat for the next two hours, holding Keziah and talking with the LORD. "OK, so, why is all of this happening? Thank you Lord that everyone is not hurt and they are not coming here in an ambulance! But, what do you have for us in this, what are you teaching and why are you allowing all of this to happen?" Here is what I got. "Do you still love me? Do you still trust me Eileen, even when things are not going smoothly?" "OH, YES LORD!!! I LOVE YOU MORE THAN EVER!!"I have learned that so many times we have the mountain top experiences and everything is going so well and then bam!!!! Things take another turn. There are many prosperity preachers out there that teach false doctrine saying if we do things right everything will always be great and we won't have problems or difficulties. Well, the truth is, everything is great even "WHEN" difficulties or tragedies come. They will always come, but the difference is, if we really love and trust the LORD we can walk through them with JOY and PEACE! The gifts of the spirit that only come when we have the assurance of Salvation through Jesus Christ. I sat with Keziah rejoicing in the LORD as I waited to see my family in our dented up van. When they arrived, the doors opened and there were the precious faces of the blessings the Lord has given me. They were all so excited to see Keziah and me. Josiah yelled out "MAMA, SELAM" and reached out with both arms to kiss and hug us as did everyone else. He was so excited to see us and it was obvious, he is one of us already!

I am amazed at how well they have adjusted and bonded with us. The twins are absolutely precious. They are so helpful and are really loving on them. They are sharing, showing Josiah the ropes and they keep kissing and hugging the twinettes. Josiah likes to put his arms around them and hold hands with them. They are getting along better than I ever dreamed. All of our prepping, talking and hanging his pictures everywhere really helped. We had his picture hung over each of their beds so they saw him every morning and night as we prayed for him. I would have them say good morning and goodnight to him as preparation for him someday living in their room. It really paid off. They seem to be so comfortable with him and really excited that he is finally home.

So, on top of my house being an absolute diaster with luggage everywhere because we haven't had time to unpack and organize everything, I discovered today that my washing machine has decided not to spin after the rinse cycle!!! I only have about 20 loads of laundry to do and I need a broken washing machine like hole in the head! I literally had to laugh out loud. The Lord really has a sense of humor to allow this one! I was overcome with joy as I immediately thought about how I used to react to situations like this. The "old me" would have gotten all upset, started yelling and feeling that aweful pain in my gut. But today, I picked up the phone, called Sears repair and said, "Sure, Wednesday will be fine for the serviceman to arrive". Thank God I can go downstairs to Mom's house and use her machine in the meantime. Just another day in the life of the crazy Mestas house!

I do want to take this opportunity to also thank all of my wonderful "sisters in Christ," dear dear friends, who have been bringing meals since our arrival home. I can't tell you what a blessing this has been especially with all of chaos going on here. My family is being abundantly blessed with yummy food and desserts. I've been told this is going on for at least three weeks. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

And finally, Melissa is now sick with the cold and cough. She is five months pregnant and feeling really yucky. So please pray for her. In spite of this, she baked a special yummy cake and we celebrated Randy's 25th Birthday today. We are blessed beyond all measure to have our RANDY VADEN! HE too has been unbelieveably helpful with all of the littles and the chaos. He brought me lunch at the hospital and then later brought me a backpack with my personal supplies for staying at the hospital. He is truly a blessing and joy in our lives! I couldn't ask for a better son-in-law. Thank you LORD for your blessings in my life!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Please Pray for Keziah Selam

We arrived home at Raleigh Durham Airport on Wednesday to a wonderful reception of over 25 friends and family members. It felt so great to be home. We were exhausted from the long trip; not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Our lives will never ever be the same for what we experienced in Ethiopia. God has truly blessed us for allowing us to go there. The kids were real troupers on the plane ride and although tired, seemed to relish all the attention. Josiah Abel was a little overwhelmed at first but got into the swing of things after awhile. We had meant to post when we first got home but knew that we were pretty wiped out. On Thursday, I got up with the kids and started to get things going because Eileen was in bed with an excruciating headache. It was an interesting morning to say the least. I made myself some Ethiopian coffee and I knew that despite all the chaos, it was going to be a good day. My friend Don stopped by and we visited for awhile. We went through the day with a lot of activity because neighbors and friends stopped by bearing gifts and congratulations. Our friends the Moores brought us a delicious dinner. About Midday Eileen felt better and she came downstairs to join in on all the fun. By the time she came downstairs the kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it. The kids were all doing great.

But sometime in the afternoon, Keziah had a fever and we gave her some Motrin. It seemed to help but later the right side of her face and neck became swollen and tender to the touch. We called the doctor to get his advice. He suggested we take her to to the ER to get her checked out. We left the house for WakeMed at 10 pm. The doctors and staff at WakeMed are always wonderful. They took great care of our Keziah and felt terrible when they had to put an IV in her little arm. The nurse felt especially terrible when it took her a couple of tries to finally get it going. They drew blood for testing and even gave her a CT Scan. At 2 a.m. they decided that given some of the unknowns about her possible exposure to diseases, they decided to admit her. They had found that she had some type of infection, but were unsure just what it was. Her fever had come back and was 102.4 at one point. They gave her motrin and it helped reduce the fever for a while, but it kept coming back. They gave her an antibiotic through her IV. The doctors seemed to think that they would be able to isolate the cause and she would be home today.

I left Eileen and Keziah at the hospital because we had a scheduled appointment for the other kids with our pediatrician at 10 am. When I arrived home Josiah had been downstairs looking for me. Randy, who along with Melissa, was staying at our house, had just finished feeding Keren, when he found him in my office. Poor little guy..
I took him upstairs and crawled into his bed with him.

At 8:30 we were all up again, getting ready for the doctor appointment. It was pretty amazing. Grandma and Melissa helped with breakfast, I had my Ethiopian coffee and off we went. Four kids in carseats, Ellie, Melissa and me. The doctor was supposed to see Keren and Josiah, but also got to examine Ellie, who was getting over a sore throat, Jimmy, who has had a cold for a few days, and Jeremiah, who just started one. By the time we were done I felt like the guy in the Mr. Mom song. It was sensory overload. Thank God Melissa was there to capture all the info the doctor was telling us.

I called Eileen after that and learned Kez was not going to be released until at least tomorrow (Saturday). They still had more tests to run. Maybe I am getting cynical, but I can't help getting the impression that our little Kezzie makes for interesting training for some of these young interns who rarely get to see a patient two days after entering this country from a third world country such as Ethiopia.

Anyway, I am very thankful for the pediatric staff at WakeMed. Over the years with our other children, they have bent over backwards for us.

We'll hopefully post more tomorrow, but please keep Keziah in your prayers. Pray that God will give the doctors wisdom to find exactly what is wrong and to treat it properly. She is a precious little smiling angel, and we all want her home.


Monday, November 26, 2007


Today is our last full day here. We got up early and had breakfast by room service.
Then we went to the Gladney office to meet with Tigist again. She greeted us with a great big smile, a traditional Ethiopian greeting and kiss, and she seemed to be very much at peace. She gave us the only photo she has of their birth father. They scanned it for us in the office so we could give it right back to her. He was a very handsome man. We spent about half an hour talking and I asked if she had any questions for me. She told the translator that she is so happy, more than she ever dreamed. She thanked us again for the meeting the other day and showed me she was carrying the purse we gave her. She was at such peace and she never even shed a tear. She kissed me & Ellie and the girls and told us to kiss & hug Josiah for her. We opted not to bring him today because it was very hard on him every time he said goodbye to her over the last several months. She understood and was in agreement. She wished us a very safe travel and we exchanged addresses and made arrangements to keep in touch with each other. This was an amazing day. To be able to look each other in the eyes, hug and kiss and be forever bonded in love, in the unity of loving these beautiful children. She walked out of the courtyard with a smile on her face and peace in her heart. It doesn't get much better!

We went to exchange some money and then headed off to a blanket factory. We want to buy 100 blankets for the Kolfe Boys. While there, it was suggested that it may be better to have Gladney purchase them to get the tax exempt discount which means we could get a few more blankets. So, we have to finalize that tomorrow before we leave. With the discount the blankets will be 8.33 each. We also went and bought 10 soccer balls and a pump and then headed back for another visit with the boys. They were very surprised to see us again and we had another great time of fellowship. We took lots of video this time and I asked the boys what they would like "MY FRIENDS" who are coming from America to bring them. This is what they told me: BOOKS, Lots of books. Especially Dictionary - English as a second language college level was suggested by Ryan. At least 4-5 of them. Pencils, pens, notebooks, DVD movies, comedies. They like Jim Carrey movies. Basketballs, and table tennis are also their desire. I suggested socks, shirts, etc. and they said that would be great but they don't think it is possible. They get distributions of socks only once a year so they can't even imagine getting these things. They need them though.

If anyone would like to help with these boys, you can send a tax deductible donation to Gladney and just write in the memo to direct this to the Kolfe Boys Orphanage. Mr. Scott Brown (Ryan's Dad) will see to it that all the money goes directly to them. They currently have several projects on their list, a new kitchen and supplies, new soccer goal posts and a sponsor program to help these young men go to college. They are just beginning their work so they really need our support. After speaking with Ryan today it was so encouraging to see and hear about his passion for these boys as well. They really need us to come alongside them to help accomplish many projects for these forgotten boys. I would also like to replace every single pad on their beds. The blanket factory today had nice mattress pads for about $10.50 each. There are currently 185 young men there. We will post pictures of their beds when we get home and you can see for yourselves the need is great. Please pray about helping with this as well. Just take a moment tonight, when you lay in your nice comfortable bed to remember these boys sleeping on a flat pad with chunks of foam missing, that sits on a cold piece of metal. How can we not be compelled to help them?

As I was composing this list with the boys today, they kept insisting that it was extremely difficult for them to get anything and they were trying to let me know that I should not get my hopes up for them. They said they are given one pen per man and one writing book as a reward system. So, for them to think of getting anything on their wish list is really impossible. I explained to them that GOD is very powerful and that there are other families coming from America that will visit them soon. If the Lord wills and if they will listen to my requests, they will bring some of these items for them. They got wide-eyed and looked very surprised. They said, "OK if God will allow we would very much like this!" So, if you are scheduled to go to Addis in the near future, would you please contact me so I can send you some things to take to them for me as well? If we all work together, we can truly bless these young men. Remember, if we do it for the least of these we do it for Jesus Christ.

We confirmed our flights, got the children's visas from the embassy and we are ready to go home now. I had Tafesse explain to Josiah that he is going on the plane to America. We took him to the airline office where he saw a model plane and we hope he understood. I want him to understand everything so that this will be a positive experience for him. We will be packing up tomorrow and saying goodbye to the wonderful staff here at Gladney. This truly has been an unforgettable and life changing journey for all of us. Please pray for a safe journey home and especially for our sweet Ellie who has a really bad sore throat right now. She can't even talk. We will probably post again after we get home so thank you to those who have prayed for us and followed along on our journey. May you each be blessed beyond measure and may God get all the Glory for all that has happened here. In His Timing & Care.....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Day of Rest


Today we started out by attending a Bazaar at the International Evangelical Church. This was a fundraiser event and it was really fun. We got several souvenirs. I bought a beautiful sweater that was hand knit by the blind and all of the items were made by various people here. We then went to lunch with the usual gang and then off to more shops in the town. We came back to the hotel where the twinettes and I rested while Jerry, Ellie and Josiah went in the pool. He is a real little fish. Jerry bought him some swimmies and he can almost swim already. We ordered dinner by room service and called it an early night. This has been such an emotional roller coaster ride that we really needed a day to just chill.


Today was the Great Ethiopian Run right here in town which meant all the roads were closed to traffic. There were 30,000 people in this 7th Annual run and they were from all over the world. So, needless to say, we couldn't leave the hotel to go to church. Our new friends, the McConomys and we decided to have our own church service together. We met at the poolside, in this absolutely beautiful weather with our bibles, a bottle of water, and a roll, and we had an absolutley wonderful 2 hour service together. We read from the book of Isaiah and shared how the LORD has been revealing himself to each of us through the scriptures and then shared communion bread and water. Bill said remember Jesus turned the water into wine in his first miracle, so the water was just fine. We had an absolutely delightful service and feel so blessed that the Lord brought us together to encourage each other and share this amazing adoption journey together. It was so sweet.

Tafasse then picked us up and took us for a ride up the mountian Entoto, to get a view of the city. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was so nice. We have lots of pictures but can't load them until we get home. There was a man there from Holland who has been traveling the world by car for the past five years. There were people from Italy and Israel as well. It is such an interesting place, people from all over the world are here. We did a little more Christmas shopping in the local shops and then came back to the hotel to rest some more. Jerry and Ellie took Josiah back to the pool for a while and he loves swimming. I fed the babies, bathed them and put them to bed. We are really getting homesick, tired and Ellie & I are feeling a sore throat coming on. She is worse, her throat lookes infected.

As far as the children, they are doing absolutely fantastic. The girls just hang on me & Ellie in the snugglies all day. They are so happy, well behaved and eat like crazy. We are giving them bottles, rice cereal and started them on fruit and veggies. Keren eats more than Keziah and her cheeks are chubbier. She also is a tighter fit in the snuggly. They are so content with us it is like we have had them forever. Josiah is really getting attached to Papa. He only wants him to hold him and take him to potty. He is calling us all by name, he has started to show affection by giving kisses, caressing faces, and holding hands. He adores his sisters, talks to them, kisses them and smiles at them all the time. He is obviously very attached to them. He is adjusting so much better than I anticipated. God is so good to answer my prayers. He too is getting a cough though. I think it may be from riding in the car so much breathing in fumes and dirt. He is eating very well, too. Their diarrhea has also gotten better! We fed them bananas, and Josiah pasta, bread and bottled water. He seems to be feeling better.

Well, that's all for today. We are ready to wind down now. It is getting so much harder to be away from the rest of the kids at home.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Forgotten Boys

Today we decided to slow down and sleep in a bit. We wanted to take Josiah to the playground at the Hotel and just try to absorb what all is happening to us. Jerry has been having the most difficulty with the jet lag so he really needed some rest this morning. We even missed the breakfast service at the restaurant so we had to order lunch or a croissant and coffee. We are all trying to learn Amharic and I tried to order water by saying "WAHOO". The man that was sweeping the floor next to us could not contain himself. He started to laugh out loud, looked at me and then tried to politely redeem himself by bowing and nodding obviously biting his lip to hold it in. He was so sweet. The proper pronunciation is "WUHA". At least I'm trying, but Ellie and Jerry are doing great. My excuse is that they are not using their brain cells to prepare bottles, diaper bags, goody bags for Josiah and such all day like I am. Plus, God is really doing something in my heart and mind that I have never experienced in my life. While we were eating the Maitre'd was watching us with our Josiah as he was eating and talking and we were obviously working on communication with him. He came over and talked with him and translated some for us. They talked for quite a while and then the man stood up with a big smile on his face. He said, "Do you know what, I just told him that they like you, and he asked him if he was happy and if he liked you, his new family? He said he likes you very much" . The people here are amazing. They all care so much for these children. It's so true that complete strangers come up and kiss these children, get right down on their knee to be eye level and talk to them with joyful sounding voices. Grown men in business suits, the guards, security, people just walking by, all of them smile and greet these children and us. It is absolutely delightful!

After this we went to the playground where Josiah really had a great time. By the way he responded, we think it was his first time on the swings. He was nervous at first but then he started to laugh and like it. Yesterday afternoon we took him into the pool that is filled by a hot spring. Jerry and Ellie played with him in the pool while I sat on the lounge with both girls on me in snugglies. Josiah is a fish. He absolutely loved it. He was screaming, laughing and kept wanting to jump into the water. After I noticed he really had NO FEAR of the water, I told Jerry to let him jump in but not to catch him right away. He needed to learn some healthy fear as a safety precaution. After about 3 times, he seemed to slow down and think differently about just jumping in any more. He started to notice where the shallow part ended and then called to "PAPA" or "ELLIE" to catch him. Before that he was pushing them away not wanting them in his way. We spent about 2 hours there with him and it was a joy!

Next we were picked up by Tafesse's cousin, Yasu because his car had to go into the shop. We met Ryan, Travis, Joanna, Avery and Silas for lunch at the Top View Restaurant where we overlooked the city. It reminded me so much of Los Angeles. It was very good and another sweet time of fellowship. Travis and Joanna are house hunting and getting settled into their new life here. A big difference from their life in Texas. After lunch, Ryan took us to the KOLFE older boys orphanage. This is where the boys over 12 years old go. This is also the place where Ellie raised $1200 for their library to be built thanks to the Franklin Academy Charter School and my friend Jennifer Hoffert. After today, I CAN NEVER FORGET THESE BOYS!!!!

We pulled into the facility that gave me the first impression of a very run down old prison campus or something like I have seen in the pictures of Germany during the Holocaust. Very depressed and unmaintained. We were greeted immediately by smiling faces and warm welcomes as numerous young men came out to see who was in the white car that just arrived. I was very nervous because I fully expected these young men to be cold and unsociable. On the drive there I was even thinking I would rather not go there at all and was having a conversation in my head that I would rather have gone souvenir shopping this afternoon. We want to get some gifts to bring home to the special people that helped us get here. Well isn't it just like God to show me again that He always knows better and has a plan for everything. Today I met some of the most DELIGHTFUL, HAPPY, SOCIABLE, LOVING, RESPECTFUL AND WELL MANNERED young men in my life!!!! (Teenagers as our society calls them) I AM AMAZED AGAIN! I must have been personally greeted by 30-40 young men ranging in ages from 12 to 18. They all had genuine smiles and either spoke fairly good English or were learning. They all put their hands out to shake, give their names and smile. Within about 5 minutes, my heart was melting again as I could feel myself falling in love with these boys. As Ryan started to give us the tour, they gathered along side and with "pride" started to explain what each building was. They were obviously excited to have visitors. I was so impressed with how well groomed and clean they were. They take pride in their appearance as well, wearing old tattered clothes, but still having a sense of style and dignity. They all asked questions about us, about America, about our adoption etc. They would all take turns asking questions and as some stayed with me continually as I walked. They very politely and in a very gentlemanly manner helped me walk along the very dangerous broken-up cement, big holes, rocks, puddles, etc. on the ground. You really have to look down because nothing is well groomed or smooth on the landscape. There were buildings with broken windows, sheets or fabric on them as window treatments. They looked like they haven't been painted in 20 years. Yet these young men pointed them out to me with pride and joy! I was so absorbed by their joy that I was smiling so big my face hurt. I was complimenting them on how they obviously worked hard because in spite of the run down condition it still displayed a sense of beauty. They had a vegetable garden planted among the rocks and they even have a flower garden. They were particularly proud of their kitchen that has a window that opens into the next room which serves as the dining room and theater. Hoptamu, the young man that was by my side the entire time and spoke English very well, was particularly interested in asking me how I liked everything as he showed me. He said they enjoy the movie room very much. He then wanted me to see their sleeping building. There were rows of bunk beds as far as the eye could see. It was like a barracks on a military campus. My immediate surprise was how neat, organized and well maintained it was. "PRIDE" everywhere. Then it was off to the soccer field where there was a game going on. The field was just a big dirt area full of rocks. It had no marked lines and the goals were made of the same Eucalyptus poles we see so much here. The netting was shredded and falling apart. It seemed to serve no purpose as any scored goals would go right through them. Even the ball was old and tattered. This facility holds up to 180 young men. There were a great number of them there but I don't have the exact number yet. While two teams of boys played, a great number of others watched and waited on the sidelines. Once one of the teams scored two goals, another team would get to run on the field to replace the losing team. We get so used to seeing boys in America play with the proper equipment, i.e, shoes, pads, uniforms. These boys had none of that. They played in beat up tennis shoes, no pads, no matching uniforms. Some only wore one sock. We watched for about 30 minutes, or I should say we talked with a great number of them on the side lines. I felt like I was in such an unusual situation. I can't really describe it.. The place was so depressing, sad, run down, and yet there was such a spirit of joy that it was contagious. As many of you know about me, I don't do superficial. I believe I was there for the purpose of loving on these young men, to encourage them and to let them know that they matter to me and to God. I asked questions of them like, "What do you want to be when you grow up? The answers were: doctors, electrician, carpenter, teacher, go to America, etc. They have dreams and aspirations, desires and goals to be a positive influence and contributors to society. They love to study. They told us they only play soccer on weekends because the rest of the time they study. It is obvious because they too had great questions for us and I was amazed at how well they spoke English.

There were three conversations I had that impacted me the most. I asked if they have a lot of physical fights among them. They all sincerely looked at me with a sense of surprise and almost disgust. Several of them shouted out the following answers: "No, never!" ; "We love each other."; "We respect each other." "We use our minds to settle problems, as he pointed to his temple area." "We are a family here." We witnessed an example of this as Jerry noticed in the distance one of the older boys who was wearing shoes had accidentally stepped on the foot of another. They both respectfully treated each other with compassion and respect.

The second, a older young man about 16 yrs old told me, "This facility is about 30 years old and the government does not maintain it. He said many people come to visit, take lots of pictures but they never come back and they never do anything to help us." He was not angry or resentful at all, he spoke very softly and like it was just a fact of life. He was very joyful even as he told me this.

The third was, "Are there compounds like this in America where boys don't have a mother or a father?". This one crushed my spirit and heart. I told him we did have some children in America that have not parents too. I was immediately struck with the fact that I could not say we had compounds like this. Later, when we drove away Ellie said this was the time she too fought hard to hold back the tears.

These young men even treated Ellie with great respect, honor and genuinely asked her lots of questions. At the soccer game when I was surrounded by about 20 young men, I told them how Ellie raised $1200, (or about $11,000 Birr) to help fund their soon-to-be library. They all looked very surprised, eyebrows raised, eyes opened wide, and a very sincere thank you was expressed to her. They bowed their heads and said "thank you very much". Again those of you who know me and Jerry would understand that we would never feel comfortable taking her into a compound full of young men. She is absolutely beautiful and such a sweet personality that we always have a huge hedge of protection around her. At first we were both right by her side. But I can't efficiently express how safe she was and how respectful they were toward her. It was unbelievable!

So here is what was etched in my mind that has caused me to know I can NEVER walk away from here and be one of those people that never come back and never do anything to help them. Their beds are very old metal, the "pads on them", not mattresses, are also about 30 years old. They have holes in them, they are absolutely trash dump quality. The blankets and pillows etc. are the same. They cannot possibly keep them warm. Remember, I told you there are absolutely no heating systems in Ethiopia and it gets down in the 30's at night. The windows are broken and in desperate need of replacement. The kitchen was like something out of an old Gothic run-down castle. It was all stone walls, floor and no windows or light.It looked like a dungeon. We have photos that can only explain it because I can't even find the words. Their dining room and theatre was a run down building that had old tables that looked at least 30 years old. We didn't see any chairs so I wonder if they stand? The theater was an old 26 inch TV on a shelf with a couple of old benches in front of it. They looked like old bleacher benches from elementary school when I was a child. They are the most uncomfortable things to sit on. We literally had walk with caution throughout the entire compound because the steps everywhere are broken and the ground is all uneven and full of rocks etc.

I have not stopped crying since last night. These are the forgotten boys. No one wants them. I have to admit that until today, I was the most guilty of never wanting or even considering adopting one of these boys. I had all these preconceived ideas about how bad, dangerous and evil they must be and they did not really matter to ME. OH GOD, PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!!! I AM SO ASHAMED!!! I WAS SO WRONG!!! I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN! I know I must do something!

I spent this afternoon with some of the most respectful, well mannered, joyful, content, happy, sincere, genuine and goal-oriented young men that I ever knew existed. As we wrapped up our visit, Jerry literally had to come pull me by the arm and drag me across the compound. I was pulling away from him and all the boys started laughing. I told them I didn't want to leave yet because I was enjoying them so much. Jerry said we had to be considerate of our driver, he had to get home. I honestly could have stayed there all night. As we got to the car, the boys were following us asking if we could come back tomorrow. Some of them shouted out "DON"T FORGET US!" "PLEASE COME BACK!" I literally pulled away from Jerry, stood in front of them and said "OK, I WANT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU TO PLEASE COME GIVE ME A BIG KISS AND HUG. AND I MEAN EVERYONE!! I held my arms open wide and stood there as they looked around with puzzled faces. They looked at each other, and at Ryan like "Is she serious?" Ryan shouted out that I was MAMA to all of them. I stood there with Keziah in my snuggly as a line formed and I hugged, kissed squeezed and asked God to bless each and every one of them. They were laughing and honestly thought I must be crazy. Josiah was in Jerry's arms and was laughing out loud as he watched this whole thing. He then started to kiss Jerry's cheek repeatedly as to mimic what he was watching. As the line diminished I looked around and saw some shy ones that were not in the line. I walked up to each one of them and made sure they got a hug and kiss too, whether they wanted it or not. Then some other came running from another direction as if someone had gone to tell them what was going on. They said," I did not get a turn". Then a few of them came back for seconds. The young man who told me he wanted to be doctor for babies came back and I gave him four more kisses not just one. I stood there and waited until it was obvious there were no more in waiting. Even some of the older men that looked at least 18 or older came out to greet me and get a hug and kiss. I was so surprised! One of them held my hand for a long time and was speaking in Amharic, He did not speak English. When I asked Hoptamu to translate, he said, "He wants you to help him get out of here!" THIS WAS MY LAST CONVERSATION WITH ONE OF THEM!

Over the last several years the LORD has been impressing on us that pure religion is to care for the orphan. James 1:22, 27. We have been on this adoption journey for several years and have so far, adopted five children. We are now going to pursue adopting a few of these older boys if the LORD will allow and provide. But, for the first time, I now have a passion to care for the orphan in a new way. While I very sadly have to admit that I cannot adopt all of these children, and believe me I want to, I MUST DO SOMETHING to help make a difference and impact them in a some way. My heart and mind have been transformed! GOD HELP ME TO HELP THESE FORGOTTEN BOYS OF KOLFE. We are going to meet with whoever we can before we leave to find out what we have to do to get permission to adopt KOLFE and start a campaign when we get home. My mind is racing with ideas, dreams, hopes and my heart is experiencing something I can't really describe. It is hurting, heavy and yet full of love and joy after having been blessed by the boys of KOLFE! I pray that my heavenly Father will go before me and prepare the hearts of those who will be blessed beyond all measure to join us in this journey. Please, Please, Please, kneel before Him and ask if you may be one of those people. Many people want babies, many people talk of saving the girls from a life of prostitution, but who will speak for the boys that are the future leaders of our world!!! May GOD forgive me and help me to make a difference!!! I can't thank God enough for the experience he has blessed me with today!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Today started out with a buffet breakfast here at the Hilton. While waiting in line to pay our bill, two families walked in with adopted children. While standing there we looked at each other and smiled and then this lady says "ARE YOU ELLIE?" Again, we were shocked as she told us she reads her blog and loves it. Then the ladies with her said, "OH, is this the young lady that writes that blog we read?" One was from Georgia and the other from West Virginia. We talked for a while and were blessed to see a total of four more orphans rescued! Praise the LORD!!

Then it was off to the Gladney office to meet Tigist! Our babies birth mother. I started to shake as we walked into the meeting room. We got all the chairs in a circle, got the cameras ready and rolling and took a deep breath. The social worker Yibra walked in with a beautiful young lady wearing a beautiful red scarf around her shoulders. She had her head down and a very somber look on her face. She immediately began crying when she greeted and kissed Josiah and the girls. She sat down and I sat right next to her. I gave the translator a letter I wrote to her and asked her to read it to her. As the translator read it in English to prepare to translate, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said WOW, this is beautiful. She proceeded to read the entire letter to my sweet Tigist. She sat with her head down and on several occasions broke down into tears. She wiped them with her scarf as I sat next to her with my hands on her arm, stroking her back and face gently. I too was crying tears of sorrow as I watched her face the entire time.. She did not look at me, just at the floor. I wiped tears from her face with a tissue and I just felt my heart melting as I was falling in love with her. She is beautiful! She is humble and precious! Ryan worked the video camera and Joanna took pictures the entire time. (With her permission of course) I explained that this video and photos were going to be for the children when they get older. I want them to see her, to hear her, and to know for themselves that this is about having "TWO GOD-GIVEN MOTHERS THAT LOVE THEM VERY MUCH". After the letter, Yibra said to me in English, look at her, her countenance has changed. Tigist then stood up and kissed me and said "Thank you so very much, I am so happy now because I see that you love GOD and that my children are in the hands of God." We then began to go over the questions I had written from the perspective of what the children will ask me when they are older. I really tried to put myself in their shoes and get as much information as possible. Tigist was very happy and cooperative to answer every one of them. (4 pages) What a glorious and miraculous occasion. This was such an answer to my prayer. It went better than my wildest expectation or dream. We also gave her our personal history, stories and told her about our children, family etc. We talked about many things like her dream for each of them, her childhood, her advice to them when they are older and her story. We told her the story of how God called us and brought us to Ethiopia. We asked about why she chose their names and their meanings to her and we explained the names that will be added to those and how GOD himself chose them. She was amazed and overjoyed. We spent 3 hours together. After the questions the entire room was full of love, joy, and even laughter! We then presented her with these special gifts. Warm Flannel PJ's and slippers with a matching very soft and warm robe. All matching shades of pink and white. This is to represent that we want her to be wrapped in our love, and to be warm on the cold nights here. (There is no heat at all in Addis) Then a sterling silver necklace with a cross in a circle that says "Faith". This is to remind her that God has a plan for her, he cares for her and he will take care of her and her children. To never lose "Faith", Then there was a purse with some lotion, lip gloss, toiletries and an umbrella to shelter her in the rainy season. The purse has a special pocket for the umbrella. And then finally I told her the story of the "Prayer Quilt" that was made with so much love and prayers. When I held it up for eyes to see, she melted in tears again. One of the questions I asked earlier was what her favorite color was. How our God cares so much and intentionally works on details. Her favorite is "Pink", everything we gave her was themed in pink!

We started this meeting as strangers, scared and nervous. Yibra, the social worker that has been with Tigist from day one was absolutely wonderful. She said this was the absolute best "meeting" she had ever seen and she wants to use this as a tool for future use. She said she felt like she had just gone to school and learned something amazing. She was amazed at how much Tigist was filled with peace, joy, love and happiness. It was an amazing transformation. She has never seen her so happy. This is what Tigist said, "Because of meeting you today, hearing all of this and seeing how much God has been involved, I will never worry again about my children. I have more faith in God than I have ever had in my life. I see him so clearly and now I know he will take care of my children and me. I thank you with all of my heart. This has turned out even better than I could have ever dreamed or hoped for. I thank God my children have such a good mother, father and family who love God and will love my children. You are more than I dreamed for them.I never expected this!" She was now looking me right in the eyes, we kissed each other on the lips, hugged, and cried in each others arms. There was such a feeling of the Agape Love and the spirit of the LORD was with us all. IT WAS GLORIOUS AND AMAZING. I really feel like she is another daughter to me. She asked if we could keep in touch, if she could write letters to the children and get pictures regularly. We made arrangements to meet again on Monday to receive pictures of their birth father and to give her copies of the pictures from today. Josiah, Keziah and Keren are DOUBLY blessed to have TWO mothers that love them with all of their hearts. As we celebrate THANKSGIVING today, my heart is full of abundant gratitude for having been blessed again with my new daughter Tigist!

We ended this glorious day with an elegant Thanksgiving Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel with the families of Ryan & Abby, Travis & Joanna, and Bill and Michelle McConomy. (They are our new friends that we met at DC airport coming here. They have adopted a precious little girl and I hope to get permission to share their miracle adoption story on a future blog). We had a wonderful time of fellowship and even met some more Americans who work with orphans in Ethiopia.

May the King of Kings and lover of our souls be glorified today as we thank him for His abundant blessings in our lives!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007



We started our day with baby baths and bottles for the first time in years. The girls got up once in the night for a feeding and went right back to sleep. What a blessing that they already come trained on a schedule. Taffy picked us up and took us to exchange some money into Birr. Ellie and I sat in the car just observing the people and sights. We noticed a lot of men walking hand in hand, arms around each other, as well as women and all of the children getting out of school and walking are hand in hand. It is rare to see them walking alone. We watched countless people walking and greeting each other constantly. The men shake hands, tap each other opposite shoulder to shoulder and kiss both cheeks twice. The women just hold hands and kiss each others cheeks numerous times. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is constantly going on. So when Taffy got back in the car, we asked about this. He explained that this is normal behavior and it is tradition. People here are so affectionate and sociable. I honestly have never seen anything like it. The way they talk to each other is also so polite and respectful. As we were walking down the street a man stopped next to us and saluted, put his hand to his forehead, smiled a huge smile, raised his eyebrows and said "I LOVE YOU". He was referring to us having these three children. He was expressing his gratitude to us for caring for his people. Again, we were congratulated all day long and greeted with big smiles.

We first went to the traditional coffee ceremony at the Gladney baby house. This custom is all about fellowship. There is a young lady who has a special carpet/mat on the floor and a little oven. She puts fresh coffee beans right off the tree into a pan kind of like a wok and proceeds to roast them over a flame, constantly stirring so they don't burn. After about 30 minutes they were black and roasted. Then she mashed them in a stone mortar and put it in hot water. She then served all of us in small cups and a big basket of popcorn. The entire time she is doing this, the guest just sit around and talk. This is an intentional ceremony that just makes everyone get together to talk and visit.

While we did this, Ellie spent the entire time upstairs with the babies taking pictures, hugging, kissing, and holding every one of them. She was visiting with all of the ladies and getting to know them. Many of them speak some english. She is so knowledgeable about these babies because of this blogging world we have joined. She knows their names and whose family they are joining. She is remarkable. She has such passion for all of them. She talks with Ryan & Abby about all of this stuff like she is a Gladney employee. Even Ryan said he doesn't remember all the family names, just the babies. Ellie was giving him the run down on everybody. She is such a trip. While standing at the elevator this morning, an American family was standing there with their new five children. They got twins w/ three siblings all over 8ish. So, we are standing there and the women looks over at us and says, "Aren't you Ellie from the blog?" Ellie was shocked, as we were, and the lady said she knew all about us and she loved her blog. She is getting famous.

So, while at the babies house, we also got to meet her "mama caregiver" who was on duty today. She ran to greet us and grabbed the girls to kiss, hug them and cry like she was their mama. She told me she considered them her own daughters and she cared for them from day one. She was so genuine and the girls jumped for joy when they saw her. It was obvious they were all in love with each other. What a joy and privilege to meet her. We took lots of pictures with her and all of the ladies. Ellie gave each of them a bracelet that tells the gospel story by the color of beads and charms on them. They were all very appreciative and gave us hugs and kisses.

Then it was off to lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant. We had to eat fast and we went off to the Embassy appointment. We stood in front of a window, answered some questions and were told the final papers will be ready Friday. So, after about 5 minutes we were done. Then we went to Rico's Italian Cafe for coffee, cookies and cake. While getting out of the car we had to make bottles for the twinettes while I changed diapers. We are using the dropins which are absolutely wonderful. Jerry had all the stuff on the roof of the car, he removed the previous dropin that was still half full with formula in it and set it down on the curb temporarily. As he and Ryan were standing there fixing bottles, this man came right up to them, picked up the dropin from the curb and drank it really fast. He looked at them and said in his heavy Amharic accent "That was really good lemonade"! He walked away smiling with formula dripping down the side of his chin. They looked at each other in complete shock and then bust out laughing. They said he appeared to be drunk or something. We all got such a laugh out of this and said, at least it was healthy and nutricious! Then Travis was standing there with his children Silas and Avery and a man came up to them selling jump ropes and stuff. He wanted to help the guy out so he bought two jump ropes and some candy. He arrived just this week also so he hasn't gotten the money exchange thing down yet. When he asked the price the man said 25 and Travis gave him the birr. The man was soooooooo happy and kept thanking him for buying it. After we got inside he talked with Ryan and realized he paid too much money, he paid 250 birr. Ever since then he said he owns the most expensive jump ropes ever made. He said he is learning how to speak some Amharic words about being rude, thief and not giving change back for the next time he goes back there. That guy must have thought, oh this American, I'll never see him again. Ha, this place is one of Ryan's favorites so this guy is in for a surprise. We got such a laugh again. We got such great entertainment today!!!!

Our next stop was the Kebetsesay orphanage where we spent about 2 hours talking with some of the most adorable children. Again, they ran up to us with hands out to shake and ask "What is your name". We asked them right back and intentionally hugged and touched each of them. There were at least 74 children there of all ages. Several of them were so proud as they told us they were going to new homes in Texas, Oklahoma, and NY. These kids were part of the Bright Futures Summer Camp program. Then there were the children that don't yet have forever families. I heard stories like the little girl approx. 8 yrs, with beautiful eyes and huge dimples that was found on the side of the road just crying and all alone. Another young lady I spent most of the time with is all alone because her family has died of AIDS. She has such a sweet dispositon and while she smiled a lot there was such a look in her eyes that said "Can you please help me?" She is approx. 13 and as sweet as can be. She was like a real mother hen to the little ones. She spoke very good english and told me how she loves children. Then we got to present Deborah with her package sent by the Kincaid family. She is absolutely adorable!!! (Yes we have pictures for you and we will send them as soon as we get back) She was so excited as a large group of children gathered around her to watch. It amazed me that they were all so happy for her and cheered for her. There was one child that was grabbing at her goody bag to see what was in it and a boy about 11 years old immediately came to her defense. He was speaking firmly to this boy and you could tell he was telling him to leave her alone. He was being so sweet but very firm. This child just put his head down and obeyed. They really look out for each other. They hug, hold hands, carry the little ones and laugh while playing on the play ground. Again, Ellie was surrounded and taking pictures of them showing the camera to them so they could see themselves. She was swarmed and I think she got every one of them. I can't tell you how my heart is aching to bring more of these children home with me. We are begging the LORD again to please let us have more.They all need a mommy and daddy, a safe and loving home and they will survive and thrive. Again I am going to plead on their behalf...... please come rescue them. They are older but they are not like the stereotype we hear about in the USA. These kids are so different and they need YOU!!!!! When we were leaving Josiah had his first crying tantrum because he did not want to leave. He was having so much fun on the big slide as the older kids were helping him and playing with him. Of course, we were in tears as we drove out of the driveway watching all their precious faces waving goodbye to us. How my heart is aching for them..........

This was the end to our day, we went back to the hotel, ordered room service and went to bed!