"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, December 28, 2007

Moses, Gideon and Mary

The following post is from Rob and Elissa who are in Ethiopia right now picking up their kids. Elissa sent me an email this morning telling us how great our kids are. When I was reading her blog, I found this... she very eloquently put my feelings into words! Enjoy!

God tells Moses to go and lead his people out of Egypt right. Moses responds "Who am I?" then "What if they do not believe me?" and, "I have never been eloquent... I am slow of speech." (Exodus 3:11, 4:1 & 10) I find my self so often in Moses' shoes, I know God wants me to act but I begin laying out all the reasons I am not "qualified" for the task. I can go through the list, and I can come up with more than Moses did too!

Now take Gideon, Judges 6:14 "The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?'" Gideon replies "My clan is the weakest" followed by "Give me a sign" THREE TIMES! (6:17 & 36 &39!) Oh how I can relate! I know what I am to do, I hear God's voice, I see his leading, but yet I resist! I am afraid, weak, and unfaithful.

Then there is Mary, "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38) Oh how I pray for a heart of faith like Mary's! To know that what God's asks will cost, but to trust. This has been my meditation this week, God give me a heart of faith like Mary.

I am uncertain, afraid, and I do not know the outcome of what you ask; but I believe that your hand will not lead me where your grace can not keep me.


Thursday, December 27, 2007


What am I doing awake??? Well, Addy woke up at 2:00 (she hates having a stuffy nose) and then woke up every 20 minutes for an hour... at 3 she was asleep and now, here I am. I am just so excited!

We sent our DOSSIER TO CWA TODAY!!!!

On the way to see National Treasure we stopped at PostNet and mailed the copies to our case worker! She will make sure everything is correct and then will send us new letters to send with our originals to DC. It is so exciting to have that done. A bit scary too. That was so much work and now it is out of my hands and into the hands of another. EEEEKKKKK! What if it is all wrong? So now, I sit up planning, worrying, and thinking. Here is my list.
  • I need to build (OK, Ben, his Dad, someone, anyone...) shelves for the kids rooms.
  • We need to buy comforters for the boys rooms - easier said then done.
  • I need to figure out some organizational systems for a family of 8 (but I secretly love this part)
  • I need to figure out a laundry system (I know they won't be here for another 8 weeks at least - but it is 4AM)

I have put off my National Boards until the dossier was complete. Now I have got to get to work! I have 2 1/2 more sections to do - which is at least 100 hours of work. So, why am I sitting here? Why did I sign up for National Boards, you ask?? We committed to it last June, back when I had NO IDEA I would be a mother of 6 by the following June. I received a scholarship for 1/2 the fees and must submit 4 "scoreable entries" or pay back the $1700. So, off to work I go... well, tomorrow.

I am remembering that PERFECT PEACE comes from my Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for that and praying for a few extra measures of PEACE! :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you for reading my blog and following our family on our most wonderful journey to becoming

The Schuldheisz Bunch

We wish you all a wonderful Christmas filled with the peace that only comes from knowing Jesus.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Birth Certificate Has Arrived

Hooray!!!! My birth certificate arrived in the mail today - what a perfect Christmas gift.

Forgotten Christmas

With both the girls birthdays right around Christmas... this story made me think.

Forgotten At Christmas
Alan Riley
My father was born on this day- December 22. For his entire life, he was always getting “combination” presents - birthday and Christmas. Every year on his birthday, there weren’t balloons and birthday streamers. His birthday decorations were Christmas trees, Christmas lights and Santa Claus stuff. When he did get a separate present for Christmas, chances are it would be wrapped with… you guessed it- Christmas paper.

I remember him telling me how as a child he couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. People were so busy celebrating Christmas that his birthday got overlooked.

A couple of years ago, I saw a cartoon in the Atlanta paper that really touched my heart and made me think. It was drawn by Mike Luckovich, the Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. It showed a little girl with a birthday hat on standing in the middle of a sea of gaudy Christmas decorations. The dejected looking little girl says, “You know, when your birthday comes at Christmas time, people just forget all about it.”

Standing behind the little girl, looking equally sad, is Jesus.

“Tell me about it,” he says.

Just like the little girl in the cartoon - and my dad in real life - Jesus’ birthday is all too often forgotten about because of Christmas. How ironic! What started out as an observance of His birth has somehow morphed into gaudy decorations, parties, shopping, songs about decking halls and jingling bells, and some vague acknowledgment of peace on earth and good will among men.

The real Christmas is remembering the greatest and most costly gift we will ever be given. It is when we stop to take in the awe of the only child Who ever chose to be born. It is when we stop to remember this child would soon also choose to give His life up. For you. For me.

Let’s purpose in our hearts that this year we won’t get so caught up in Christmas that we forget Jesus’ birthday.

~found at Streaming Faith

Friday, December 21, 2007

1st Corinthians 13 ~ The Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly

with plaid bows,strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,

but do not show love to my family,

I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,

baking dozens of Christmas cookies,

preparing gourmet meals

and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:

I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,

carol in the nursing home,

and give all that I have to charity;

but do not show love to my family,

it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels

and crocheted snowflakes,

attend a myriad of holiday parties

and sing in the choir's cantata

but do not focus on Christ,

I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love does not envy another's home

that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,

but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return;

but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

and endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break,

pearl necklaces will be lost,

golf clubs will rust,

but giving the gift of love will endure.

--Author Unknown


Ben's cousin Amy and her family have had a successful court date and are now the proud parents of 15-year-old Alex! He is currently in an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and they will go get him soon. Alex is the older biological sibling of their other two Ethiopian children - what a wonderful reunion they will have this January! We are so excited that Adissu will have a cousin his own age. Who knows how well they will get along, but I am pretty sure that it will be wonderful to have someone to talk to who is in a similar situation now! What a creative God we serve to bring our family together in this way! Praise God!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A new group of families will be traveling at the end of December and they have offered to take presents and pictures to our kids. We sent things just a couple of weeks ago, but decided to send them another SMALL package. It is a very fine line... our gifts (mostly from the dollar store) are enormous blessings to the kids - and they may think that we are very wealthy if we send things too often. So what is worse, sending goodies to kids we love and them having notions that we are rich... or not sending anything so that they wonder if we are really coming. Obviously, we send stuff - we can clear up misconceptions later. We scaled back this Christmas, a lot. And yet, what Danny, Lilly, and Addy will receive is 100 times more than A, M, and E have gotten in their whole lives combined. So, we sent the packages and soon we will get pictures back of our kids opening their packages... I hope they like their treasures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Vacation

I am officially on Christmas Vacation! The relaxation mode is hitting hard and I am loving it! Lilly has been going through a particularly rough patch - not wanting to leave my side at any time... it is wonderful to be able to be home with her! I am also getting a couple of things done, or will get them done in the next few days! I can't wait! We have been anxiously waiting for new pictures of the kids. I am hoping they will come in the next day or two.

One of Ben's friends from work gave us 6 snowmen ornaments that have a spot for each child's name. We will wait until next year so that the decisions of what name they will use and the correct spelling can be made by the kids and us together.

Names are such a personal thing... some families feel very strongly that you keep the child's Ethiopian name, regardless. Others feel that with a new family, comes a new name. Ben and I are somewhere in the middle of those two camps. With the age of our kids, that makes keeping their names even more of an issue. We just found out that Adissu is really pronounced AddySue. Hmmm... that sure would make things interesting in our house. Our plan is to talk with them while we are still in Ethiopia and let him, and the other two, know that they can choose their name. We do have a couple picked out - but will offer those only as an option. If they do decide they want American first names, we will surely keep their Ethiopian name as a middle name... Decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The latest news

Here is our latest message from Ethiopia...

Ben and Brooke~Your oldest son is very nearly a man. He is so gentle and kind and loving. I told him all the things you said to tell him and he just said thank you, thank you. He told his little brother what I said, and they were so happy. They both hugged me and kissed me.Your daughter is model-gorgeous. Seriously, you will be shocked by her beauty. She cried when I told her what you said, and kissed me on both cheeks saying thank you thank you. This was the most emotional visit for me.

So, I sit here crying... I will post more later.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Message From Ethiopia

We received this message a few minutes ago - it is from Jacque who just returned from Ethiopia with their 18 month old.

Brooke-- I did get a few pictures of your kids. They are wonderful and so cute!!! What a sweet, sweet girl M is. She wanted me to tell you (your family) that she loves you. She must have given me a few dozen kisses -- she really is a doll. She's quite tall too, as is A . A is sooo handsome! You'll have a heartbreaker on your hands. E is so cute too -- he looks like he's quite a ham. I'll try to get you the pictures sometime soon. We've just moved into our new house, so we don't have our computer that we download our pictures on set up yet. The kids didn't want to open their gifts in front of us, not sure if they didn't want the other kids to feel bad or if they were embarrassed or what. So I just have picts of them holding them.


I am smitten! Is that the right word? I am so excited to hear they are wonderful and sweet and cute! I am glad to hear they are excited to meet us too, because sometimes I worry they will not want to come to America. We have another friend who is in Ethiopia today and passed along a message for us. We asked her to tell the kids that we love them already, and that they get to stay together when they get here and that we can't wait to meet them. We asked her to tell them that their new brother and sisters can't wait either and that we all pray for them often.

These days must be surreal for the kids. Seeing pictures of your new family, watching your friends leave the care center and wanting it to be your turn. Knowing what your new family looks like, but having no idea what all of that means. I can't imagine what their thoughts are like these days...

Friday, December 14, 2007


I have officially started "nesting". I have had this list in my head for weeks of things that MUST get done before the kids get home. Of course, (this will come as no surprise to those of you who know me) this means that it all must be done today or maybe tomorrow. So, this week we have hung up new coat hooks, cleaned out the family room, reorganized our office into a homework area, cleaned the garage, added a small shelf in the laundry room, and organized Addy's closet. Some of these things have been done during the day - but others have been done when the kids are sleeping (including cleaning Addy's room). There is still quite a list of things to be done... build shelves for baskets in the kid's rooms, finish the bunkbeds (thanks, Grandpa), buy some benches for the kitchen table, and clean out closets to make sure we have room for everything. This is all doable... but I feel anxious all the same.

Here is our beautiful new coat hooks - which are now completely full, by the way...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We received this email this morning:

Dear ones,
Thank you very much. The S family has got some pictures of your children.

In Him,

I was so excited to know that pictures will be here by this time next week. I am also nervous... I have heard that getting new pictures after all this time is like getting new kids. They will have changed so much! I think about Danny and Lilly and Addy a year ago and they look almost like different kids now! I can't wait to pour over these new photos, memorize them, talk to them (just a little), teach Addy to point and say their names, and put them up in my classroom and here at home. I can't wait to hear what the kids said about their goody bags... did they love them? What if they were disapointed? This is their first impression of us, it's important! :)

Please be praying that my birth certificate gets here soon. We cannot do anything until it gets here! It was processed 2 weeks ago, so we are hoping it is soon!

EEEKKK Christmas is 12 days away - I have got to get some shopping done!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fingerprints and Christmas Shopping

We went to Yakima today to have our fingerprints taken by an "Official Government Employee". We were there for less than 30 minutes and had the whole day off from work. It was so quick and easy! We spent an hour or so doing some Christmas and birthday shopping and then enjoyed a lovely lunch at Olive Garden. It was a wonderful day and we spent most of it discussing important things like the kids names, baptisms, school, and Christmas presents for our homegrown kiddos. It was so fun and super relaxing - we needed that! When we got home, we were interviewed for the TriCity Herald... I am really not good at interviews! Oh well, look for it in the paper over the weekend! :)

The kids should have gotten presents today - we are really hoping for pictures at the end of this week! Please pray for the kids this week, that their hearts are being prepared for the enormous changes ahead...

Monday, December 10, 2007


We have a picture of our kids in Soddo that was taken last April, they are standing with about 20 other kids who are also waiting to be adopted. One of the girls Marta is standing next to has been adopted by a family living here in our town! That is another one of those amazing "god-incidences"... I love it!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Outside the snow is falling...

And our friends are amazing... yahoo. Can you hear the song in your head. I have said the word "amazing" more than 100 times just today - are you sick of it yet? :) I am still just "amazed" by what is happening. I still cannot believe that we raised almost $9,000 on Friday. The night was perfect! We had the perfect amount of people (we are guessing between 250 and 280), the perfect amount of sauce, a lot of extra noodles, the perfect volunteers, great kids activities, and a wonderful selection of auction items. I keep thinking about the scrap book I am putting together for the kids about what it was like while we were waiting for them... I wonder if they will ever understand the beauty of that night. The people that came both friends and strangers - we are so touched by their presence. When we tell them the story of that night (and how their parents were hoping they would make $3,000) I hope they understand how many people are praying for them and can't wait to meet them. Ben and I keep talking too, about the friends we have who work so hard to afford their day to day expenses and how they were there and sharing what they had with us. We are humbled by everyone's generosity. So now, I am sitting here, watching the snow fall and praising God for the provisions he has blessed us with so that we can do what He is asking. He certainly didn't ask us to do this and then leave it to us to work out the details.

Well, enough of my rambling... Ben is on his way to go hunting and I am going to bake something warm and yummy and start praying for a 2 hour delay for tomorrow :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday is finally here!

Now all glory to God, who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more
than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20

We have been waiting for this day for weeks... I have been dreading the night before the auction because I have been worried that we will be up all night cooking, organizing - doing something. Instead, we took Ben's grandma out to dinner (Papa would have been 93 today) and cleaned the house. We packed 2 cars full of auction donations and read stories to the kids. We are ready for tomorrow - how is that possible? I know that God has given an extra measure of energy, patience, perseverance, and enthusiasm to all those who have been working hard to make this night possible. I am certain that this group of mom's would never have agreed to this, had they known what was coming - and yet here they are (smiling, no less). Thank you Anna, Lisa, Suzanne, Sara, Sarah, Sue, Kimberly, Wilma, Jan and all the husbands who are so wonderful to help their wives with each project! Thank you!

On another note... Ben just came down to tell me that he had this conversation with Danny and Lilly.
Danny: Dad, I have a question, but I think only God can answer it. I've been thinking about this for a long time now... I've been wondering, is Santa real?
Lilly: I've been wondering too, like for 2 weeks.
Ben: We'll talk about it tomorrow.

I would like to point out that Ben is gone early each morning which means I will be the one having to finish this conversation... EEEKKK! :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It Feels Real

Today we got a call for someone official at the INS office saying that everything is ready and we just need to go get our fingerprints taken and our I600A will be ready to go... So on Tuesday, we will drive to Yakima, pay $830 (I really thought I had already sent them a check, but they can't find it) and be 1 step closer to bringing them home.

Our dinner and auction is coming along well! Our friend Jason made a movie of the kids - I will post it here after the dinner, it is wonderful! A friend of Ben's brought by 2 gorgeous baskets today with all sorts of fun things and Ben went to pick up some things from a friend from church - his dad is drooling over the rototiller! :) I am wowed by the generosity of friends and strangers.

I spent the evening at LWML (Lutheran Women's Missionary League), they had decided to donate to Operation Ethiopian Homecoming for their November Mission project - what a wonderful group of woman... and they are great singers too!

Do you like the new logo - Chris designed it, and every time I look at it I am amazed that he could do that... I love it! We are having shirts made up for us and the kids... I can't wait to get mine!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Auction Update

Here is the new and improved auction list... can you believe all the wonderful things???? Make sure you check out RCI for information on the 1 week condo rental - anywhere in the world!!! Also, we have a Drew Bledsoe autographed football, yummy pies, fishing trips, gorgeous jewelry and over 100 other fun things!

Auction Donations

1. Anna-Tastefully Simple gift basket
2. Sims – Pie a month
3. Some Bagels – gift certificates for bagels
4. Kimo’s Sports Bar
5. EntrĂ©e’s Made easy – 2 dinners
6. Plate of Cookies – Suzanne Sims
7. Macduff – basket of homemade goodies
8. Wine Basket – Minnich
9. Pepper Jelly gift basket
10. $50 in Cousins gift certificates (2 - $25 gift certs)
13. Tropical Kitchen and Coffee Basket
14. Gourmet Dinner for 6 By Earle and Adina
15. Atomic Ale and Pizza Certificate, tee shirt and beer glasses
16. Kitchen Goodies Basket
18. Home Made Pie
19. Home Made Pie
20. Homemade candy
21. Spaghetti Establishment
22. Spaghetti Establishment
23. Apple Crisp – Suzanne Sims
24. Chocolate Fudge filled Bundt Cake on Pedestal – Norma
25. Jackson’s Sports Bar- gift certificate-
26. Olive Garden
27. Olympic Blue- dinner for 2
28. Rattlesnake Brewery-
29. Home Made Pie
30. Wine Basket
31. Terra Blanca Wine – Angelo Cortes

Female focus
1. Suzanne Suyama- Trifle Bowl decorated up for holidays
2. Tracy Hunter (Uppercase Living) - Giraffe Vinyl Wall Art (for tracking kids height)
3. Essence – canvas print
4. Kathy Deloye (NW Pilates) - Massage Gift Certificate
5. Quilting books
6. Mirror – Judi Cortes
8. Manicure Certificate -
9. Homemade Jewelry –
10. Advent Calendar – Amy Paulsen
11. Kristin - $100 gift certificate and basket of products
12. Hand Crafted Jewelry
13. Home Made Stockings
14. Scrap Book Basket-
15. Scrap booking Basket-
16. Hummingbird Mirror
17. Pamper Yourself Basket
18. Snowman Purse – denim
19. Snowman Purse – black
20. Kate Spade Imposter Purse-
21. Mary Kay Basket – Meng Markille
22. Mary Kay Shower Goodies Basket – Sheila Losey
23. Wooden Earrings
24. Christmas Candles and Candle Holders
25. Longaberger Basket + bath items – Betsy Kohan
26. Longaberger Basket Holiday Theme – Betsy Kohan
27. Ivory Decorative Iron Work-over the door – Judi Cortes
yellow wire basket – Judi Cortes
28. Pampered Chef Basket – Jeanne Murphy
29. Christmas Wreath – Amy Paulsen
30. Christmas Scrapbook – Amy Paulsen
31. Decorative Branch with Wreaths – Amy Paulsen
32. Silver, Turquoise, & Onyx Necklace
33. Clover Creek Candle Basket
34. Grapevine Christmas Wreath – Amy Paulsen

Male focus
1. Pat Kinney – salmon trip for 3 between 9/20 and 10/10/2008
2. Pasco Golf Land – 2 rounds of golf
3. Columbia Point – Golf Certificate for 2 and cart rental Monday - Thursday
4. Canyon Lakes – 50% off green fees and cart
5. Matt and Alyssa – yard care
6. Bob Adkinson – Bass Trip for 3
7. Signed football – drew Bledsoe
8. Seahawks tickets
9. Tool box and tools
10. Weight Bench – Hulvey Family
11. Exercise Bike
12. Faith Fold Wallet with Bible inside – Tyler Borders
12. Faith Fold Wallet with Bible inside – Tyler Borders
14. Faith Fold Wallet with Bible inside – Tyler Borders

Kid focus – for adult auction
1. Mid Columbia Gymnastics – 1 month free-
2. Garland’s Gymnastics - ½ off birthday party fees
3. Cat in the hat basket – Kimsey
4. DQ Grill and Chill – and Family Game Night Basket-
5. Care Bear Basket Kimsey
6. Winnie the Pooh Basket-
7. Star Wars Basket Kimsey
8. Wheel Heel Skates-
9. American Girl Doll $
10. Princess Basket -
11. Spiderman Basket -
12. Birthday Party Basket – Bounce House Rental, party favors, plates and napkins
13. Model Airlplane and Car Kit
14. Model Airplane or Car
15. Model Airplane or Car
16. Model Airplane or Car
17. Model Airplane or Car

Gender neutral focus
1. Sara - snowboard/skateboard equipment
2. Paint By Number Kit
3. metal sunshine,
4. 1 Week at RCI Resort $700 if it is domestic $1700 international
5. Hotel – Hilton Garden 1 Night, Tri city American’s Tickets & Autographed picture of Taylor P. and Applebee’s
6. Movie Certificate and Babysitting – Ben and Brooke
7. Meadow Hills Doggie Basket (5 days dog care & toys)
8. 3 Month Tri City Court Club Certificate
9. Christmas Shopping Babysitter – Ben and Brooke
10. Dad – child’s electric guitar
11. Dad – electric guitar
12. Family Night Out – Movie Certificates and Dairy Queen $25
13. Antique Boat Cruise and Dinner at Anthony’s
14. Paint By Number Kit
15. Thomas Kincaid Print
16. Thomas Kincaid Print

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Happy Birthday

2 years ago today I was in labor! I was 8 months pregnant and had spent the day timing contractions. When Ben got home from work I told him that I wanted to go into the hospital just to be sure Addy was handling the contractions well, since she wasn't due for another month. I told him to stay home with the kids but he insisted on coming with me... We dropped Danny and Lilly off with the grandparents and I vividly remember Jan standing there with a goofy grin (you know the one that Grandma's get when they are about to have new grandbabies...). I assured her that we would be back in a few hours and that this was not it!!!! Well, I was wrong! A couple hours after I got to the hospital the doctor decided to do the c-section that night. If I hadn't eaten popcorn at 2pm, I would have had her earlier... but she ended up coming around 9:00. She was beautiful and she still is.

Now she is 2 - although she insists that she is 5! She is sweet and adorable and opinionated and has a quick temper and we love her dearly!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Good News

I have been checking my bank statement online 3 or 4 times a day, everyday, for the last few weeks. Not because of money but because that was the only way to tell when my birth certificate was being processed! I sent the request in on October 7th - the day we decided to adopt the kids... Hip! Hip! Hooray! The check cleared my account 2 days ago - so now my birth certificate should be arriving shortly. The birth certificate was the big hang-up for getting our dossier sent. So now, we just have to wait for that, collect a few more papers, have EVERYTHING notarized and we will be one step closer to bringing the kids home!

Most exciting news... we got 2 videos of the kids yesterday. Each of the videos are more than a year old but they were wonderful. On one, Marta is speaking English and she has the sweetest voice - oh!!! In another the boys are so sweet. Adisu is adorable and so good with the litte one and Esrael has one of the cutest smiles I have ever seen. Their mom is on the video too - when she doesn't think anyone is watching, you can see her sobbing in the background. It is so obvious that she loves her kids dearly. Our world cannot make sense of the sacrifice she is making... my "mom view" is unable to wrap my head and heart around what she is doing. I don't know how to understand it, but I know my job is to tell the kids how much she loved them and that I love them too. In one scene she is talking with the kids and they are so excited about the camera and she is trying to be excited but you can see that there is a part of her that wants to die. It was so hard to watch, and yet I am so thankful to know that these children know what it is to be loved dearly. Michelle, who has met the mom on several occasions, shared that she was so thankful to know that there was someone to care for the kids - that she can die peacefully knowing that they would be cared for and loved. At one point, their mom fell on the ground praising Jesus because she had been told that there was a family for the children. In the kids initial medical reports the mom said:
To CWA and the family thank you and God bless you for giving this opportunity.