Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Baby Shower!!

My sweet sister in Christ, Theresa Haven, has so graciously offered to host a baby shower for us at her beautiful home. It is scheduled for Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 2:30 p.m. We are registered at Baby's R Us and Target for the few things that we need. The most needed items would be the 3 car seats and the double stroller. We are also hoping to set up Josiah's bed ensemble and then of course we will be needing lots of diapers and wipes. The babies are currently 14 lbs., 6 mos. old, Josiah is 28 lbs. and turns 3 yrs. on Sept. 10, 2007.

If you are local and would like to join us in this celebration and time of prayer, please respond by leaving a comment with your name, email address and telephone number (We promise we won't publish it!) or simply send an email to We would absolutely LOVE to have you join us in this amazing celebration.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Answer

This is a beautiful poem that we just had to share with you.

"The Answer"

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart - but in it
---Fleur Conkling Heyliger

When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman is one of our absolute favorite artists. He and his wife MaryBeth have 3 biological children and 3 adopted children. They have an awesome testimony of their journey. Check out his website noted at the end of the video. They have founded Shaohannah's Hope Ministry to help others afford adoption. We have applied to them for a grant to help us with our funds. We have been following this ministry for several years now and absolutely love it. His music truly speaks from the heart. They too have been called by the LORD to care for the orphan. Please listen to this beautiful song that really reflects what happens when we step out in faith to pursue adoption. Also, listen to the the other songs when you click on menu on this video. You will be richly blessed! May the LORD bless you today!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Sunday was an especially worshipful day for me! It is one that is going down in my special book. It was the day we got to reveal the rest of the story to our congregation. We were scheduled to share the latest update on our adoption and show the pictures of our precious new children on the big screen. I stood in awe from the moment our worship began and the tears never stopped streaming down my face. Every single song we sang to LORD truly spoke from my heart as I stand AMAZED at what HE is doing in my life. I felt as if no one else was in the room and I was pouring my heart out with gratitude, with pure love and joy to MY HEAVENLY FATHER! My arms were raised high, my heart was wide open and my eyes flowing with tears of joy! At one point I opened my eyes just to check on the boys and to my surprise, they were standing at my feet with both of their arms raised high and waving as if they were worshipping as well. They have NEVER done that before. I didn't say a word to them, they just stood there as serious as could be, with their hands raised up during the praise songs as if they knew exactly what they were doing. This brought even more joy to my soul.

It was also a special day because John Paul Taylor was home from Iraq. He is a young Marine in our church who had just returned from his second tour in Iraq. My boys have faithfully prayed for him since he left. There was one night when we got home late and I was rushing them off to bed. I turned out the light and they both yelled out, "Mama, we have to pray for John Paul in Iwak!" I was so convicted that I forgot about him but they did not. They pray for him at every meal, sometimes in the middle of the day and at bedtime. I have been amazed at how they are so little, and yet they have minds of their own and think of John Paul without any prompting from me. The boys could not wait to get to church to see John Paul. We knew he was going to be there and we brought a big cake to celebrate his homecoming. The boys ran up to him and gave him a big hug. I could not hold back the tears as I saw the joy in their little faces and the reality of them knowing their prayers had been answered and the LORD brought him home safely. It was wonderful to have him home and to be able to hug and kiss on him!

One song that was especially meaningful to me this day was:

How Great You Are

A thousand sparkling stars
Upon a midnight summer sky
The majesty and wonder of
The ocean's endless tide
And the more I see
The more I can't explain
How the one who set
The world in place
Could even know my name
And I'm amazed I'm so amazed!

How great you are how small I am
How awesome is Your mighty hand
And I am captured
By the wonder of it all
And I will offer all my praise
With all my heart for all my days
How Great You Are, How Great You Are
How Great You Are!

A million snowflakes gently fall
Yet no two are the same
The colors fill the canvas of
The seasons as they change
And ev'rywhere I look
I see your hand
Why you would love
Someone like me
I'll never understand
And I'm amazed, I'm so amazed!

How great You are, how small I am
How awesome is Your mighty hand
And I am captured
By the wonder of it all
And I will offer all my praise
With all my heart for all my days
How great You are, How great You are
How great You are!

So as we stood before the church sharing our story, with the pictures of my precious children on the big screen behind me, I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of this whole thing. As I looked out at the faces of everyone I realized they all had a role in these children being on this screen. Little seven year old Anna had gone around her house, lifting furniture cushions and collecting coins to give us $6.00 toward our adoption. The young family who had a yard sale and gave us all the money they made, the great sacrifices of everyone who gave us a total of $5000. This was done within two weeks of starting this process.

Everyone came together, sacrificed and joined us on this journey of faith to step out and pursue this adoption. And in five short months there they are, looking at their sweet faces. How AMAZING. As we were sharing our latest update, we considered telling them we still need approximately $10K to complete this adoption. We decided not say anything about it. We had prayed just the night before for the LORD to reveal how we should go about getting the rest of the money. We just decided to wait and trust HIM. When we finished speaking, a precious family came to me and handed me a check. They said, "We have wanted to help you guys all along but we just never felt peace about what to give. Well, God just spoke to us while you were sharing and HE even told us the exact amount to give you". We later discovered it was a LARGE amount of money. I AM SO AMAZED!!! What a sacrifice! What a joy to see God's people come together, to care for the do HIS WORK. I pray as you read this blog today, that you are encouraged, that you know that GOD loves you, and HE has a plan for YOUR LIFE, and He will provide everything we need when we are in HIS WILL, doing HIS WORK! May HE bless you today!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Time to Get Ready

WOW, it is so hard to find the words to fully describe what my heart and mind are experiencing. I am in a state of shock and awe at this unexpected and miraculous revelation of our precious babies, Josiah, Keziah and Keren. I was so not expecting to have a referral for several months. We were told there was a 3-5 month waiting period from point of getting on the waiting list. I really thought that was for people waiting for one baby and since Mary had explained that they did not have twins, or a sibling group of three available back in May, I surely thought our wait would be even longer. So, to say the least, I was totally taken by surprise when she called on Friday with this wonderful news.

I am the honored MAMA of three more beautiful babies. It is amazing how quickly I have fallen in LOVE with them. My heart is yearning to embrace them and kiss them. We have their pictures posted all over and we are carrying one in our possession at all times. The twins are even looking at them all day. We want to be very ready for them to come home. The boys are the first ones to grab the pictures out of my purse and show people as we have been out and about this weekend. They are so excited.

Several weeks ago, I felt the LORD impress upon me that while I was excited, happy and filled with great joy and anticipation, on the other side of the world was a Mama who was experiencing the worst tragedy of her life. This really put me in a state of quiet meditation and prayer, and even sadness. It humbled me and I have often broke down in tears as I have thought about and prayed for my family in Ethiopia. I have had a new revelation and deeper understanding of just how important adoption is. It is the perfect picture of what salvation is all about. I realized and meditated on the fact that a mother and father were out there right now in the process of giving up their precious children, experiencing the most painful and desperate of circumstances and most likely even death, in order that I might
receive the blessing of receiving new life and purpose. I saw the perfect picture of Christ also having to die, to suffer the absolute worst circumstances so that I can receive new life, new birth, purpose and everlasting life in Heaven. This is why the scriptures say, "Pure religion is to care for the orphan......" James 1:27

It is the perfect picture of salvation. Jesus suffered and died for us so that we could be adopted, bought with a price of great sacrifice and love, so that our Heavenly Father can be our forever Father. He turns the ashes of tragedy and our sin into beautiful restoration, gives us a new life,a new hope, a new language, traditions, perspective, goals and a new future. I am in such awe and humility to know that He has done this in my life, to draw me into a deeper love, relationship and understanding of what my life and purpose really is all about. It is about HIM!! What a privilege and honor to serve my Heavenly Father. To walk in faith, in His presence, in His will, to follow His call and to be blessed beyond my wildest magination.

Oh, how I yearn to see HIS face and thank HIM for this LOVE. There are no words to accurately describe how my heart is bursting with joy and awe. I am so humbled and I am so unworthy to receive what I am experiencing in HIM. Today, I am walking on new ground, with new eyes to see Him and hears to ear, and my heart is deeper in Love with HIM than ever before.

I have already been nesting like crazy for several weeks and now I am really getting excited. Ellie and I have been buying a few things this weekend and tomorrow we are going to register at Baby's R Us and Target. My dear sweet sister Theresa is planning a baby shower for us to be held sometime in Sept.(TBA) It is really different to be planning for two babies and a 3 year old at the same time. Josiah is only a few pounds and inches smaller than than Jeremiah and James so it is going to be like having triplets and twins. We started preps for their rooms this weekend. I would like to put the word out that we are in need of two cribs ASAP (preferably white but anything will do). When we got the twins four years ago, we used our faithful crib from all of our children and a friend gave us a second one. Since then, we gave away the second and I just realized the now 25 year old crib has seen better days. So, it's time to get new ones. If you have one you can donate, or lend us for a couple of years we would greatly appreciate it.Please call us today! We have a twin bed for Josiah that we will be moving into the twins room (Note: the boys are now the twins and my girls are the twinettes, so as not to be confused about which twins we are talking about). We also need two high chairs, two car seats,
a new double side-by-side stroller, as well as several other things.

Yesterday, as the twins were riding their tricycles around the driveway, I realized I need a tricycle for Josiah too! It's weird to want a tricycle for your new baby right from the start. I don't want him to be left out, or feel like everything belongs to the twins. So we have some catching up to do! The twins bought him some toy cars today and are making a list of what they want him to have.

With all this excitement I have only gotten about 8 hours sleep since Friday. I really need to get some sleep, but my brain just won't shut down. I want to get everything done and ready within the next four weeks and then I told Jerry I want to take a pill to sleep for a solid week before we head off to get our babies -"Bye bye George, see ya next Thursday!" (quote from Father of the Bride-just kidding).

Anyway, THANK YOU to all of you who have been sending comments and blessings to us. It is so encouraging to be lifted up in prayer and to be thought of by all of you. It is so wonderful to be making new friends that are also on this James 1:27 journey of the "Calling to Adopt". Please keep us in your prayers, keep in touch, and know that we are also praying for all of you that are on this same road. May all the glory, honor and praise be to our Heavenly Father and our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ! Selah!

Our Celebration Dinner

Friday, August 10, 2007

Aren't They Beautiful?

What a Day!!

The scream from the kitchen shattered the silence of the hot and steamy afternoon.

"Jerry! Come here! Come here quickly!"

Oh no, What happened? This definitely did not sound good. Eileen was screaming into the phone and I thought for sure somebody died, or at least got hurt really bad.

"It's Mary from Gladney! We got our referral!"

"What?" "Are you serious? " I asked.

Eileen was screaming and shouting at a rapid-fire pace,

"We have to get Ellie back here! She just left to go ice skating!"

"She has to be here for this! Call her quick! and Call Melissa!"

Jeremiah and James were scared to death. They could not figure out what was going on.

"Your baby sisters, your baby sisters"! she told them.

All this before we even heard what Mary had to tell us. Jonathan seemed to be the only one in control. He tried calling Ellie, but could not reach her. We were yelling at him to call Melissa. He calmly called Randy, who happened to be home, and asked him if he and Melissa could swing by the skating rink and grab Ellie.

Against the backdrop of the emotional upheaval on which she was thrust, Mary calmly proceeded to tell us that God is so good, and that she was truly humbled to be a part of this miracle. She went on to say that she had the great joy in announcing that they found our babies. She told us she had three children for us. Twin girls 5 1/2 months old, and an older brother 2 years and 11 months old. Eileen and I were simply overwhelmed.

"Wait a minute", Eileen said, "Ellie dreamed about this last night."

"She sure did," I said, "We were just talking about it at lunch !"

Ellie told us that she had a dream last night that she had gone to spend the night at her friend Amanda's, and when she got home, we had been to Ethiopia and back and had our babies. She went on to say that instead of the three girls that we felt God was going to give us, we had 2 year-old twin girls and a 5 month old baby boy. In her dream, she was so angry that we went to Ethiopia without her that she vowed not to spend the night at Amanda's until we get our referral. 15 minutes later, Amanda called and invited Ellie to go ice skating. Well, we have been in the midst of a tremendous triple-digit heat wave that cooling off at an ice rink was just too good to pass up. She could not have been gone 10 minutes when Mary called.

It was truly amazing. We were running and rambling and grabbing phones and calling Grandma and Grandpa, wanting so bad to pull up the email that Mary had just sent us, but knowing that we had all agreed we would all be here when we finally got to this day when we would pull up the pictures of the children God sent to us. It is like being a witness to a live birth. You just can't play "rewind" and get the same effect. You have to be there!

So Melissa and Randy showed up with Ellie. Melissa took pictures and Jonathan took video. Grandma and Grandpa were absolutely dumbfounded as they saw a miracle unfold before their very eyes. And miracle of miracles, all of our NC family was here to witness this great event. We are so rarely ever all together, especially on a Friday afternoon! Only an awesome God that has each of our hairs numbered could have orchestrated such a scene.

As Mary told us the history of the children and described each of them, we laughed and realized how well they were going to fit into our family. We saw their pictures and immediately began falling in love with them. Even the little guys got into it.

"This is exciting, God is happy", said Jeremiah.

"This is amazing", said James.

Our new son is 2 years, 11 months old. His given name is Abel(ah-BELL).
We will name him Josiah Abel.

His younger sisters were born on February 15th, two days after we started the process with Gladney!

The first is Selam(se-LAHM)which means peace. We will name her Keziah Selam.

The second is Fikir (FIH-kir)which means love in Amharic. We will name her Keren Fikir.

Aren't they all beautiful?

We are still in shock. We did not expect this call today. We should not have been surprised, given all the wonders God has performed in our lives, but it simply amazes me how God works. Even putting the boy into the mix. We had always felt that God wanted us to rescue three girls. God had other plans. 2 girls and their big brother. Only the other day, I was telling Eileen that 1 boy and twin girls would be nice. This way we could have 4 boys and 4 girls. It would even make the room situation easier to deal with.

So when do we pick up these babies? Since the government offices in Addis Ababa will be closed for the rainy season until September 25, we will most likely travel in October. This is going to be difficult, knowing our babies are there and we are not.

I don't know if I will be able to sleep tonight. If you know me, you will know that I never say that. I never say that because I will fall asleep at the drop of a hat. You can be talking to me and I will nod off. I am so wound up right now and so jazzed that sleep is not even on the radar.

We serve an awesome God that is faithful and so worthy to be praised. If you do not believe that with God all things are possible, then you do not know the God that we know and love. Thank you God! You are so amazing!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

We're Going to Be Grandparents!!

Well we came home from church and I was so exhausted that I went right to the couch to take a nap. I didn't even go to my room to change out of my church clothes. Just as I was going into that delicious land of "duerme dulce" (sweet dreams) Jerry annoyingly woke me up, dragged me by the hand and said I had to go with him to see something. Since my family is great about letting me nap when I need to, my heart began to feel heavy as I thought, this must be something bad for him to wake me up so soon. So as he dragged me upstairs, I really began to ask the Lord not to let this be so bad, please LORD, nothing bad?? To my great surprise, he led me to our baƱo. As I pushed the doors open, written on the mirror was "SHHHH, What do you think about becoming grandparents in April??" I stood there for a second and realized our daughter Melissa had written this and then I said "Where is she, did she just write this on our mirror and leave??" Just then she and her darling husband jumped out of the closet beaming with joy and that's when I LOST IT!! I screamed so loud, grabbed her in my arms and began to jump up and down with her in my arms continuing to scream....right in her ear.. I didn't mean to but I could not contain myself. Then of course I began to shed tears and grab my Randy Vaden and kiss and hug the both of them. I am so excited and happy and ready to be a Grandma!! This was a surprise and what a JOY to know that the LORD is growing our family again. One of our all time favorite movies is Father of the Bride with Steve Martin. Every time we'd watch it I'd tell Melissa, "Wouldn't it be awesome if we were pregnant together?" to which she would respond "NO, MAMA!" Well, check it out, we are pregnant together!! Only I don't have to feel sick and get fat. OH, How amazing is our God and how exciting for me and my Lissy to be expecting together. The bad part about this is that now she will definitely not be able to join us in Ethiopia. We had just started considering the possibility of her joining us to photojournal our adoption(she is a professional photographer). Oh well, I'd rather she be healthy and get the rest she needs to make sure my grandbaby is growing and thriving. Also, she will be taking care of the twins while we are gone, the LORD willing. Hallelujah!!

As for our adoption status, we are just waiting, praying and trying not to be too anxious. I am nesting like crazy! Cleaning everything, organizing, purging, painting,preparing our new high school year, teaching the boys preschool, resigning as the church secretary, and preparing to fit three more precious babies into my already fun filled packed days. I honestly don't know how I am going to do it, but I know the LORD does. I am feeling so needy, and thirsting to sit at the feet of Jesus, feed on HIS Word and beg Him to prepare me, help me to glorify HIM in this process and to be ready to take on this next adventure. It's like the calm before the storm. We are getting all of our immunizations, buying supplies, etc. We are also in need of additional fund raising. This is also going to have to be a miracle. We don't have all the funds yet. I am trusting the LORD to provide as HE has miraculously done so far. Anyway, stay tuned as our amazing journey continues. I'm going to be a Mama and Grandma within the next year. How exciting is that!! Praise be to God. Please keep us in your prayers and keep in touch! Thank you.