Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All I really want for Christmas

Every time I hear this song I have visions of all those beautiful children I met in Ethiopia. I pray this year many orphans will get their wish of a family. Now, after listing to this song again, I'm going to go sit in my son's room and praise God for bringing us together as a family this Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas

I can't believe my son has been home for fifteen weeks. I know all parents brag about their children so I am just asking everyone to please forgive me for this but, I think Adonu might be a genious. He turned 2 December 14th. Gladney said his birthday was accurate and I have so much faith in them. Tonight he sang the entire ABC song with me three times. He is saying up to five word sentences in English. He also sings almost all of twinkle twinkle and ba ba black sheep. He is so amazing. The credit goes to the awesome caregivers in the Gladney Foster Center. What amazing women. I am so glad they spent so much time with my son. I just know he will become someone great and make his family in Ethiopia proud.

Here is a copy of our Christmas letter we mailed with our card. Merry Christmas to all my friends!

Merry Christmas 2009

This has been an extraordinary year for our family as we traveled to Ethiopia to bring home our son, Adonu. We feel incredibly privileged to be blessed with the opportunity to raise this boy. He is an adventurous two year old that has completely fit right in with our family. The judge in Mauston couldn’t have said it better when he said, “Sometimes God just drops an angel in your laps.” Adonu is very happy and intelligent. He is picking up language so quickly and makes us laugh daily. We can not imagine our family without him.

Emma and Niah continue to enjoy home school, 4-H, swim club, piano lessons, and church activities. They love to help take care of their new little brother. Jason started school this year and loves it. He learned to ride a two wheel bike. He also braved his way through outpatient surgery for his trigger finger release. Jason is so proud to be a big brother!

As a family we did some camping this year, traveled to St. Louis two times, and went to Mayo Clinic for a medical conference. Brad had a near death experience after a bee sting this summer. We now know he is extremely allergic to Yellow Jackets. He will go through immunotherapy this winter. We wouldn’t want a little bee to slow him down during his biking, camping, running, hunting…….activities!

Our trip to Africa was the highlight of our year. The people of Ethiopia are wonderful and part of our hearts will always remain there. Traveling to a third world country was a life changing experience. We have learned how truly fortunate and wealthy Americans are. At the same time we realize that people around the world are similar in that they value God, family, and friends and can enjoy life without extravagance. Brad and I are praying about how we can continue to help people in need so that they can enjoy all Christ has given them. This experience has taught us to reflect on how much we have, the things that make us happy, and how we can serve others in need.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our own families during the Christmas season. Jesus Christ came to this earth to serve others. He gave his life for you and me so that we can go to heaven. This was a gift, he asked for nothing in return. “For by grace; are ye saved through faith (in Jesus Christ); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8. We ask ourselves, whom have we served? Are we following Christ’s example? Our family prays you choose to accept God’s gift and follow Him this Christmas.

With Love,
Brad, Beth, Emma-9, Niah-7,
Jason-5, & Adonu-2

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Court Hearing

We are so excited to have the final step in completing our adoption done today. The judge was amazing. He commented that he read Adonu's file and was amazed at what he had endured and how far he had come to be here. He then paused and looked at us and said, "Sometimes God just drops a little angel down into your laps!" I had a hard time not crying! It is awesome that he said this as I commented in my last post on how nervous I was to have a toddler put in my lap! I love how God works things out! I also think the court day was important for my older children. It seemed to have given them a real sense of inclusion in the process and provided some closure for them on finalizing Adonu as their forever brother.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Confessions and Court dates

Our family has been tremendously blessed with the addition of Adonu. He is such a sweet little boy. I just can't tell you how much I love him. I have to make a confession that maybe others have felt? I think deep down I'm a little shocked at how easy it has been to love him. Secretly I worried a little that it will be hard to love a toddler just plopped in my lap and that I would favor my biological children. This is so not true. It reminds me of the posts a month or so back where everyone was talking about the love they have for their adopted child/ren and the impact they have had on their lives. I now have a full understanding of the sweet words I read on those blogs and I'm overwhelmed by the capacity to love which God has given us. Sometimes I feel guilty at how easy our transition home has gone and I feel bad posting becuase others have had a difficult time. Know that I'm praying for you all.

October has been busy. We took our second trip to St. Louis. It was much different this time as compared to six months ago. A toddler sure changes the dynamics. We took our 15 year old niece to babysit the little ones while we were at the hospital. This was a smart thing to do! After Emma's appointments were done, we enjoyed going to the top of the arch, visiting the science museum, the zoo, and doing some shopping. Adonu was an incredible traveler even when I took a wrong turn on the way home and added two hours to our six our drive!

We have also been enjoying fall fun carving pumpkins, jumping in leaves and eating too much candy! We moved Adonu's bed into Jason's room and they were both super excited. Now I need to transition him to a big boy bed!

We have our court date on Monday. Please pray that it goes smoothly and that Adonu will officially be an American!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adonu's Dedication Day

Adonu is doing amazingly well as are the other children. It seems like he has always been here. We can't believe how much he is talking! He says, "Shut the door" and "I lub you." Super cute! He loves to be sung to and to dance. He is a ball of energy who gets into anything but toys! He was scared of the dogs for about a week but will play fetch with them and pet them now. He eats well, but doesn't like vegtables very much. We have decided to keep his given name with a small change in the spelling to aid in pronunciation. We just love the way he says his own name. It is very fitting.

Very excited for the upcoming court season and seeing more of the beautiful children of Ethiopia finding forever families! Praying for God's will in the lives of those older boys at Kolfe. Keep your hearts open!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

More Random Thougths

More random thoughts about our trip. The top picture is of some markets we passed. These were everywhere. Genet told us people come from the country to sell their produce and handmade items in the markets. Some have shops such as these and others lay their items on blankets on the ground. It was neat to walk around the markets our driver took us to. The workers were very kind and enjoyed showing us their things. We bought some traditional clothing for our children, a flag, and other small gift items. There were often beggers or children selling bubble gum at the markets. We learned that one Birr is enough for them to buy some bread so we started carrying around Birr. I believe one Birr is about 12.5 cents in American dollar. People were so appreciative of our gifts. We also brought friendship bracelets and small airplanes for the kids we saw. So fun to watch their faces with these new treasures. One boy we ran into had a homemade toy as seen in the picture above. He told us how he made it and demonstrated it. It seems that children don't really have store bought toys, they make things from the items around them. How crafty! The children loved having their photos taken and we did this often. I took a lot of photos at the Kolfe boys home, which I will talk more about later. If anyone is traveling to Ethiopia soon, I would like to send the photos of the boys with you. They really wanted me to send pictures back of themselves with their friends to hang by their beds. I have printed many and would love for someone to hand them out. I think they would be so excited to get them. Let me know if this is something you would like to do. Those young men were amazing and I'm not yet ready to talk about that experience. Very emotional for us.

I was shocked at the housing in Ethiopia. The tin wall in the second photo above is what we saw a lot of. There were miles of small houses with this tin for walls and dirt floors. We could look down streets and see people outside their houses washing dishes and doing laundry. Laundry was hanging everywhere! Genet told us that people rent these tin houses. On the opposite side of the street though there were often high rise apartments and beautiful government buildings. We weren't allowed to take photos of the government buildings, but the difference between them and many neighborhoods was astounding. Even in the living conditions, the people were truly content and enjoying life! I feel guilty when I think about the enormity of my house compared to what I saw in Ethiopia and I wish there was more I could do. Honestly though, I keep going back to my own obsession with a clean house and nice stuff and I compare this to the contented lifestyle the people of Ethiopia have. I realize they have it right. Their families are their blessings not their things. If only more Americans could regain this mindset!

Lastly for today: Entoto mountain. I was sick the day we took this trip so I don't remember very much of the museum and church tour. My husband loved seeing this church which was the first ever in Ethiopia. He also enjoyed the museum and all the history. I believe it was 30 Birr per person. Again, I was ill so it is foggy. Speaking of ill-if you go anywhere make sure you use the bathroom before you leave the guest house. It seems toilets are rare in Ethiopia. If you like camping in remote areas you will be fine with the bathroom situation. If you are not an avid outdoors person, this might be a little awkward for you. I'm not saying it is bad, just very different than what we are used to. Also, bring a travel pack of kleenex in case you really need to use the facility. I didn't see toilet paper very much. On the way down the mountain, we saw a lot of donkeys, goats and woman carrying firewood, as in the photo above, grain, or water. The woman and children we saw going up and down the mountain are tremendously strong and hardworking. As a side, it smelled very good up there. It was nice having a break from the diesel smell from all the blue vans in the city!
My children are needing to be redirected back to school. More later:)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Life has been full of fun new adventures in the last week at home. I haven't taken the time to blog because I'm just enjoying Adanu and my family. I'm hoping to get some things down over the next few days though. Above is a picture of our first meeting with Adanu. He was a little nervous at first, but warmed right up as you can see in his smiley picture at our guest house. Adanu is a very spirited, active, happy boy. He is such a blessing to us.
We stayed at the Bejoe house. This guest house is beautiful as you can see from the photo. The staff is amazing and I am forever changed by all the things they shared with me. I would recommend anyone staying there. If you are traveling soon, tell Genet hi from us. She is a wonderful addition there and helpful beyond measure! My favorite part of staying at the guest house was watching the staff interact with Adanu. His face just lit up when they spoke Amharic and he interacted so well. I was able to learn some words that we are still using. They taught me dog, open, car, spoon, come, look and many other words. I will be sad when Adanu looses his Amharic but I'm glad I caught his interactions on video for his future! I pray we are able to pass his culture on to him.
I also posted a picture of the church that Belay took us on a tour of. What an emotional tour that was rich with history and faith. Amazing. I am so thankful to Belay for sharing all the historical information about his family and his roots in Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia are a very loyal and loving group. I am so proud to say that my son is an Ethiopian. Thanks to Belay for giving us this view of his wonderful country.
We went to an Ethiopian restaurant one night. I tried injera for the first time. I actually liked it. Some of the food was a little spicy for my taste, but mostly it was delicious! The dancing was way cool. We ended up buying a CD with traditional music and Adanu loves it. He dances to it and even tries to sing a little.
I'm tired, my spelling is falling apart and I need to prep for school! So more later. Chow!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My boy!

I wanted to show you the newest picture of our boy. We will be there soon baby!

August happenings

We have been busy this month taking a trip to Rochester MN for a medical conference, participating in the county fair for 4-H and then camping with our family. In the pictures above Emma is showing our dog, Maddie, for obedience and her cat, Tiger, for show. Below are the kids with their cousins. Emma and Niah were wearing their new cowgirl boots they have been so excited to get.
On the adoption front, we are preparing for our trip to Ethiopia. I am past my nervousness of traveling half way around the world and am now getting down to business packing and preparing to meet my new son. I'm not quite sure how to do that last point, but I am praying that God prepares us all for the meeting. My butterflies remind me of how I felt the night before my wedding. I realize this will be a huge life changing event for us all. I am excited to get on with the show!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moving to Africa!

Borrowed this from another blog. Definitely worth looking at.

I want to share with you two families that are moving to Africa this month...the Kennedys and Michael, Jana and Ruthie.The Kennedys have four children under the age of five. Their youngest, Addis, was adopted from Ethiopia through our agency. They will be living in Malawi, home of more than one million orphans, for two months. Their mission is to help Esther's House, a new orphanage, get up and running. What an awesome experience!! A camera crew is filming their journey for a reality show set to air in 2010. They are raising money for Esther's House through donations and t-shirt sells. All profits of the t-shirts go the Esther's House. Their button is on the right side of this blog.

The other family is moving to Addis Ababa to work with Gladney adoptive families. They adopted their little girl, Ruthie, from Ethiopia earlier this year. I think working with adoptive families and children waiting for their forever families has to be the best jobs in the world...next to being a mommy :o) You can follow their journey here: http://www.eyestowardethipia.blogspot.com/ Pretty perfect blog name, don't you think?Will you join me in covering these two precious families in prayer? I am just so excited to follow their journeys. What faithful servants of God!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Introducing Adanu

We are so excited to introduce Adanu (Ah-dawn-oo) to you! I wish I was great with words and I had something amazing to say, but with a huge lump in my throat all I can get out is that I love this boy so much already and God is so good!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Neighbor Referral!

We are so excited to announce that our friends down the street just received a referral for an 11 month old boy from Ethiopia. Now "A" will have a friend near his age from his birth country! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I love how people post about their nesting experience while waiting for a court date. We have something similar going on around here. It mostly involves silly ways to pass the time. Here is a photo from the other night when Brad helped me color my hair. Yes, I do color my hair everyone! I'm trying to convince Brad to color his for fun. I have never seen Brad with this much hair!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Round Two!

Just got the call with a new court date for this Friday, July 31. I'm excited to see other families have also been moved to that day! I love seeing God answer prayer. My brother preached last night about how to have a more effective prayer life. I am amazed at the timing of this message and am now dedicated to getting more serious about my prayer life! God is mighty and good things will happen this week!

Brad and his brother competed in their triathlon Saturday. Brad finished 51 out of 358 with a time of 1:22:22. Brian finished 69 out of 358 with a time of 1:25:59. Nice job guys. Here is the cheer I heard from the kids: Swim, bike, and run, Daddy's number one! Grandpa bud, age 92, came for the event. It was his first triathlon experienced and he loved it! Maybe he will compete next year!

After the triathlon, we participated in a local parade with our 4-H club. A fun filled weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Court Date Cancelled

When mountains rise before us, we seek the Lord. He will help us overcome this new hurdle.

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me" (Jeremiah 32:27)?

We are sad, but know that "A" and all the other children affected by today's cancellations are happy and healthy in the hands of their caregivers. When the time is right, we will bring them home. Until then we ask for prayer for continued health and joy and for new court dates for all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Triathlons and missionaries

This is a picture of Brian, Brad's brother, (left) and Brad (right) at their last triathlon. They did this as a team. Brian ran, Brad biked and the guy in the middle swam. They took second place. Brian and Brad have become very competitive lately. On July 25, they are competing in a local triathlon. They are in the same heat so it should be exciting. May the best man win! Good luck guys!
We were blessed to have this family stay with us this weekend. They are the Rains family and have been missionaries to Kenya since 1997. They adopted their daughter, Winnie, from Kenya. You can view their blog at sites.google.com/site/mtrainsandfamily to learn more about their mission work and prayer requests. It was so wonderful to visit with people who have lived and served in Africa. They also gave us information about others in our area who have adopted from Ethiopia. Their home church has many adopted children. I'm so excited about the new friends we've made through our adoption.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Adoption Anxiety

Ten days until our court date and I'm beginning to feel a little anxious. I know in my mind that God's way is perfect, but my heart is being stripped and exposed. How is it that I have a son half way around the world and my ability to bring him home is based on a decision to be made in ten days. I feel like I've been waiting for this moment forever and it has only been a few weeks today. Time is standing still. I ache for an update, a little information to give me insight into his personality. I yearn to kiss and hug on him. OK, I'm sappy and whiny. I feel so sad for those families who are affected by MOWA's closing because I know you are all feeling as I do and are now waiting again. This process does get harder as it progresses and I know my faith is growing stronger as I put my trust in God and his plan. How I am feeling reminds we of the verse that talks about how the trying of our faith worketh patience. I am trying to be quiet, to be patient, to take in these glorious moments as I wait to officially become a mom for the fourth time. I am also rejoicing in the blessings God has given our family. I want to thank all my local friends and family who have already contacted us about donating humanitarian items for us to take to Ethiopia. I have had many people ask what they can give. Brad and I are overjoyed with the outpouring of love and support. We so appreciate you all.

I am leaving you with some pictures of the last few weeks.

Our children with their Critchfield cousins.
Brad's foot and ankle after a small bee bite. I am scared of what might happen next time!

Here is the big catch of the day! LOL!

Emma's fish may have been a hair longer!

Niah is always up for a hike in the woods. She loves to discover new things. Robin-don't laugh at the socks and sandals it was so cold the week we camped!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Court Date

Praising the Lord today as we received our court date-July24. My seven year told me that she has been asking for prayer for a court date every Wednesday night in children's prayer meeting. I can't think of a better way to show her how God does answer prayer. Thanks to all who have been praying. Our next prayer request is to pass court, not only for our family, but for all who have upcoming court dates as we near the rainy season.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Care Package

I wanted to show all my blogging friends this blanket I'm sending to "A". A friend of mine made it. She has a website business called sew adorable. The blanket has "A's" name in the corner folded down. The brown material has textured little bumps for him to feel and the edging is silk. If you want you can have a verse, saying, message put around the edging. I have ordered larger blankets for friends who have had babies with all their birth information and a verse. I just love them. I think this little one will be a perfect lovey for him to have while we are waiting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Details and Extras

I was folding laundry when the phone rang at 1:31. When I saw the 817 area code my heart skipped a few beats. It was so funny how I tried to answer the phone with a normal voice. I even said, "Hi Jessica, how are you?" When Jessica said she had a referral ready I literally started shaking and told her I would have to get a hold of Brad. I'm glad she had me write her return number down because in my state of mind I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to find her direct number. I called Brad and he says, "I wasn't ready for this and I have patients back to back all day. I can't come home!" Luckily, he had a break in his schedule at 2:20 and we decided it would be best if I went there. I quickly called her back and she said that would be fine. I kept thinking in X minutes I will see my child. I had promised Brad I would not ask any questions. I was absolutely dying to know how old he was! So we jumped in the car and rushed to Brad's clinic in Elroy. This is about 15 minutes away from us. I was shaking the whole way and my youngest son was so oblivious pointing out cows along the way. Below is a picture of my kids waiting for Daddy to finish with a patient. I was pacing back and forth. His nurse must think I'm nuts! We called Jessica back at 2:31. The first question I asked was how old is he? I was so shocked when she said 18 months. I was so sure we would get a referral for a 3ish age child. All I kept thinking is that he is a baby! I mean 18 months is still diapers and a crib! I was stunned into complete silence. Then the pictures popped up and I think my throat swelled shut and my eyes welled up. I'm not sure if other people scream or cry or what, but I was silent except I remember saying, "Look at that button nose". He was so small compared to what I was expecting. All I could think was that I just wanted to scoop him up and snuggle him! Then I remembered back to when we were waiting for our homestudy and it seemed to take so long. I was trying so hard to remember that it is all in God's timing. Now I can see the whole picture. "A" was 18 months and two days old on our referral day. We were only requesting down to 18 months. Had our process happened any different, we wouldn't have received his referral. So, for everyone still waiting, I know the timing will work out perfect for you with the child God has planned. Hang in there the moment is absolutely worth it! I am still not down from my mountain top of excitement. He is so precious and I can't even explain to you how much I have fallen in love already.

Below are a few more pictures of what we have been up to in the past few weeks.

We finished helping out with a neighborhood house painting project.

We had our home school end of the year program and graduation.

We celebrated Dad's birthday with a bow hunting cake!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Referral for a beautiful 18 month old boy. We were very surprised as it is only week 7! Our caseworker told us that no matter when we got the call, we wouldn't have been prepared. Chatty me was literally speechless. I feel so honored to be his Mom. Praise God for answered prayers!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

We enjoyed spending time with our cousins from Ohio and their two little girls. I must say these two little girls are so precious. We always wish we lived closer after spending time with them. There are just some people who you really connect well with. I feel this way about this family. We so appreciate their efforts to visit each year and feel so blessed to have them in our family.
My pictures are a little out of order. The middle two are from our church service Sunday evening. Emma, Niah and a friend named Annie sang "Trust and Obey" as a special. They did wonderfully and I could hear them all the way in the back without a microphone. It was an emotional service as we said goodbye to our youth/assistant pastor and his family. They have been called to serve in Tennessee. We will miss them and their little boys. They have had a huge impact on our family as we have grown in Christ during the last three years. We are excited to see how the Lord will use them as they continue to serve Him.
I checked the FBI list today and am excited about new referrals and court dates for all the Gladney families. I noticed that the Fournet family has a court date tomorrow and urge everyone to pray. This family has been waiting so long. I admire their faith through these difficult times. During our service Sunday our Pastor referenced Isaiah 41:10. I thought this verse was encouraging as we wait during all stages of this process. It says, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." I also really appreciated 2 Tim. 3, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." As Christians we are reminded that through our suffering comes far greater rewards. I'm sure this is similar to what my husband and his brother are going through with training for their triathlon this Sunday. It takes a lot of painful training to win! Maybe adoption is like a triathlon with three stages, paper chase, waiting, passing court. Well Fournet's you are nearing the finish line and God is at your side! May tomorrow be the day! To Brad and Brian-Good Luck!