"'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, October 31, 2008

Answered Prayers

I got 2 exciting emails this morning the first one said that our package made it to Sodo and a nun who runs one of the orphanages will be getting it to Mesalech. I am so excited that she will soon have letters, pictures, and Christmas presents for the boys.

This is the other email from one of Ben's aunts...

I need to share a story with you. I journal regularly. I was reading through one of my devotional journals the other morning during my quiet time and came across the prayer requests in my journal for October 26, 1999. I include in a section called “At Your Feet” the prayer requests of that day. Written there were your names, Ben and Brooke, with the following request: “bless them with comfort and many children.” I had to smile. God indeed answers prayers. I don’t remember all the things that you were going through in 1999 but we can truly celebrate the faithfulness of God. And how!

I know what was going on. We had just had the first of MANY miscarriages and we were having a hard time. I was angry. Ben was quiet. We were both really angry and really sad. I was thinking the other day about how when bad things happen we always talk about it in terms of "Gods plan" and how He has better things for us. At the time I was too sad to think about the beautiful plan God had... But now I can see that our miscarriages have been used to help others who are going through the same thing. I can also see that God had 2 cute little African kiddos who would need a new mommy a couple years later. I wonder what they were doing while I sat in the hospital crying? God also knew that I would someday carry 3 more adorable kids and while I was nearing my due date with Danny, Mesalech was celebrating her pregnancy with Jacob. NOW I can see that HIS plan for our life truly has been better than anything I could have imagined. And for that, I am truly thankful.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Fun

I love Fall.  I love the leaves, the smells, the colors, the crisp air, wearing my warm pj’s… I really love it!  What I don’t love is trying to convince Jacob to wear a coat.  Marti and Joseph have quickly gotten used to wearing warm clothes and bringing a sweatshirt wherever they go… Jacob replies, “I fine.  I not cold.”   When I ask him to wear a coat.  Seriously, where did this kid come from?  He’s got to be cold.  He has NO body fat.  None!  He sometimes makes me cold just to look at him.  J  I suppose when it gets down to 30 degrees during the day I will really start to worry! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ethiopia, Phone Home

Right now I am listening to the kids call home. They are talking to Mesalech and it is cracking me up. They are laughing and sound so happy. And somehow I am not jealous at all. It's just making me so happy too. We never have called at night before but there is a group traveling to their hometown who is taking letters, pictures and a small gift. I wish you all could hear Marti right now. I am picking up every 50th word... but that's OK. Jacob is patiently waiting his turn, we had to go wake him up.

Will you pray that our package get to Mesalech this time? The last one got lost and I really, really want her to see their smiling faces. I know I would feel better if I could see that!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The New Normal

Each day seems to get better.  The hard days get easier and the kids seem happier.  Dinner time is probably my favorite part of the day.  The laughter, reminders to keep elbows off the table and the silly stories about each kids day is enough to make my head spin.  In a good way!  J 


We have been home for 6 ½ months and the “new normal” is really good.  When I used to hear that term “new normal” (referring to what it was like as a family adjusts to more people) I didn’t understand what that meant.  I think there was a huge part of me that thought it meant that everyone was happy and things were similar to the way they had been before.  They’re not.  Our lives are very different nearly 7 months later.  But it’s OK and we are all liking our new normal.  Our new normal means we eat at home a lot more.  Our new normal means there is always homework to be done.  Our new normal means that there is something going on EVERYDAY of the week!  Our new normal means you are never lonely.  Our new normal means that the number of hugs and kisses we get each day has multiplied exponentially.  J


There are days when the simplicity of life without any kids seems wonderful.  But mostly I just wonder what we did and what we talked about. 


So, the new and improved normal at our house is going well. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

These boys need a forever family

When we were leaving the orphanage for the last time their was a boy sobbing while waving goodbye to Joseph. He was handsome and sweet and Joseph's best friend. They had been friends in Wolaita and were together again at the orphange. We wanted to keep in touch and asked everyone of our Ethiopian adoptee families if they knew who was bringing them home. I recently found out that no one is bringing them home. Their adoption fell through and they are waiting. I have a picture of the oldest boy. He is handsome... he is about 12 and his brother is around 8. They are from a nice family. His brother has recently been diagnosed as having partial hearing loss and diabetes. Because of their age and the younger ones medical issues there are additional funds grants that are available to subsidize their adoption. It won't pay for it all - probably not even half, but it will help.

Adoption is hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be. More wonderful too.

So, if you think you would like more information, email me or post a comment of the blog and I will send you what I know and the contact information for the case worker handeling their adoption.

The rest of you... will you join me in praying for a family for the boys? No child should ever have to go to bed at night wondering.

Food Shortages

People in Ethiopia are starving, again.  Woliayta (the region where our kids are from) is one of the hardest hit areas.  It breaks my heart to think that Mesalech and the boys are there… hungry.  Here is one of the articles I found:


Number of hungry in Ethiopia jumps to 6.4 million

10 Oct 2008 00:01:09 GMT

Source: Reuters

ADDIS ABABA, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The number of Ethiopians needing emergency food assistance has jumped to 6.4 million from 4.6 million in June, the aid agency Oxfam said on Friday.

Drought and high food prices have both contributed to the worsening crisis in Ethiopia and other parts of the Horn of Africa like Somalia and north Kenya, aid workers say.

Oxfam, citing U.N. figures, said there was a $260 million shortfall for agencies trying to address Ethiopia's crisis.

"Compared with the funds going to shore up the global financial system, the aid needed to save lives in Ethiopia is a drop in the ocean," Oxfam's country director Waleed Rauf said.

While government figures showed 6.4 million people needed emergency assistance, more than 13.5 million were in need of some sort of aid, Oxfam said. "The number of those suffering severe hunger and destitution has spiraled," Rauf said. (Reporting by Barry Malone, editing by Tim Pearce)



Sometimes it feels hopeless.  And it is really hard to feel hopeless about “family”.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Readoption Complete

Our last hurdle is done. The kids are officially ours and Marta no longer has Benjamin as her middle name! :) At the time of adoption all children are given their fathers first name as their middle name... it was fine with the boys but Marta definitely needed something more feminine... Hooray!

We met with the judge at 8:30 Friday morning to finalize our adoption - it was easy and SO WONDERFUL to have finished! I don't totally understand the adoption finalization process or why it was necessary but $1000 later it is done and now the kids are American citizens.

It feels really good to have this done! Really, really good!

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Happy Birthday to the best husband in the world! Thank you for being a great dad and a great husband! Here is a list of the 36 things we love about you!
  1. You make us laugh
  2. You take us hunting
  3. You sing us Christmas songs all year long
  4. You take good care of us
  5. You take us to football games
  6. You read with us
  7. You pray with us
  8. You teach us about God
  9. You like my (Brooke's) cooking
  10. You have a great memory
  11. You love us so much
  12. You take us on fun adventures
  13. You take us fishing
  14. You coach us
  15. You take us for smoodies (smoothies)
  16. You make delicious pancakes
  17. You make delicious doro wat
  18. You take us to church
  19. You work hard for us
  20. You let us mow the lawn
  21. You play songs for us on the piano and guitar
  22. You teach us to ride bikes
  23. You do laundry
  24. You help us with homework
  25. You drive us to our games
  26. You come to all our games
  27. You teach us to be good
  28. You teach us
  29. You are silly with us
  30. You tickle us
  31. You make up funny songs and then sing them all day long
  32. You help us carve pumpkins
  33. You buy us pop
  34. You let us stay up late and watch Mariner's games
  35. You kiss Mommy
  36. You are the best dad in the world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Deer Hunting

Happy Birthday, Ben...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fishing With Grandpa


Volleyball in Portland

I am a bit late getting these pictures posted but here it goes!  Marti and the BL Eagles played well and placed 3rd at the tournament.  It was so much fun to watch the girls get better each game.  We enjoyed an Ethiopian lunch with Aunt Rebecca, Uncle Jesse, Denis and Weise.  It was a great weekend.

Jacob's Big Day

I love birthday!  REALLY, REALLY love them.  My kids love them too.  Jacob maybe most of all!  Watching him on his birthday brought tears to my eyes.  He loved every minute of his special day.  At one point I panicked because I realized that I had forgotten to tell him what to do if he received a present that he didn’t like.  I shouldn’t have worried.  He loved EVERYTHING!