Monday, September 20, 2010

Answers for Charlotte

May you give some news about Your girls? Don't forget sarah

My girls (all five of them are doing fine). Sarah is 29 weeks pregnant today. She is due December 6. We are giving her a baby shower this Saturday where we expect lots of family and friends to help us celebrate. She is expecting a baby boy that her and Nathan have decided to name Isaiah Stephen. I envision a little boy with a lot of dark hair. Sarah had so much hair when she was born that if she had been a boy she would have needed a haircut.

Here she is at 24 weeks-so five weeks ago.

The other girls are doing well. Addis and Mulu both started soccer. Addis is much more aggressive this year when she goes after the ball. She loves that she's not afriad of contact with another player. Mulu wants to make friends when she plays soccer. She just loves the social aspect of the whole thing, she could care less about getting the ball in the net. If she thought it would make her a friend she would probably put it in the opposing team's net.

They both started their school work a few weeks ago. This year we should really take off in reading. I'm debating on using A Beka's new ASL program for phonics and such for Mulu and maybe Addis. I have to investigate it a little more.

We've moved bedrooms so now Anna & Adah are back together by themselves like they were before Addis & Mulu came, and Addis and Mulu are in their own room together. I had to figure out a way to cut down on the mess that the three younger ones created and I think I found it.

Anna & Adah are cute as buttons. Anna is getting so tall. Her speech needs help. Many times we cannot understand what in the world she is saying. I suspect she had a language before she went into the orphanage, then learned Amharic by hearing (since she was a toddler she wasn't speaking), then English when we got her. Then come Mulu and Addis eight months later who spoke Amharic, and I think here wires are crossed somewhere in regards to her speech.

They are my delight and Anna often mentions she wished she had been in my tummy. I tell her I wish the same thing, but this way she has had two mommmies instead of one. Adah, oh Adah, there are no words. You would just have to know her to know what I'm talking about.

How happen integration for older girls addis and Mulu?

The integration for Addis and Mulu has gone well, extremely well. We are blessed that it has gone as smoothly as it has. Addis does miss her father in Addis. She was a bit older and remembers more. We have the privilege of a friend that is from Debre Zeit where they are from taking pictures and letters to their father for us when she went back to visit her family. Her mother knows the family. How did we find that out? One day at the Red Sea Restaurant Shawit was our waitress. The girls were fairly new to America and she was able to talk to them in Amharic and figured out that they were from the same town. She called her mother that night who still lives there and it turns out she knows the family. Small world. To me that was a GOD moment. Only God could have orchestrated that.

The one who had the hardest time with the adoption of the older two girls was our youngest son. Both girls were supposed to be younger than him and it is very likely that both girls are older, thus disrupting his birth order. We didn't want to do that, but as the girls got home and received nutrition, they blossomed and aged. Addis is probably thirteen or fourteen even though her birth certificate says she is ten and Mulu is probably nine or ten even though hers says she is eight. Addis says, "Only Jesus knows how old we are." So Joel has had to deal with frustation and resentment. He's okay now, but it took awhile. We took him on special outings with just him and us as parents. We were conscious of what happened and what went on and proactively helped him deal with it. That is why we are going younger, younger this time. We don't want to disrupt his birth order again.

Here we are with our Chinese students and the host teacher. Our son Joe is not in the picture.

Thanks for asking Charlotte, and if you have any other questions please ask!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I'll address questions I receive on here to give you an idea of questions people have. I (we) seem to have gone against the "norm" for a very long time so questions don't bother me. There are different reasons people ask questions. I have found that they really are interested in what I'm doing, they're making accusations disguised as questions, or they don't understand and would like to understand where I'm coming from.

When we chucked birth control to the wind we received questions. Most times from Christians when I became pregnant again. Like "Don't you know what causes that?" and "What if God gives you fifteen kids?" Usually I just laugh and blow it off. Those are accusations disguised as questions. Sometimes people come right out and say "Better you than me!" or "I could never do that!"

When we decided to educate at home back in 1988 we went against the flow. Relatives weren't happy with us. Church friends were skeptical of what we were doing. In my ever so humble opinion I was trying to do what was best for my child. He was active, rambunctious, and quite simply-a boy! I didn't want him on Ritalin, which was the popular behavior modification method at that time. He is now a Highway Patrol Officer who protects people like you and me. He chases down criminals, brings out his weapon if he needs to, and has to fill out reports. We didn't do education the way everybody else did it. We did it our way.

Now we're adopting our thirteenth and fourteenth child at fifty and fifty-one years of age. I don't think some people approve of this. Why? What could possibly be the reason that they wouldn't want a child in a family, our family? Children are lifelong commitments, they're needy, they're messy, they want what they want when they want it. They're so worth it. In God's eyes children are a blessing. I believe that. Until I die I will do what I can to show that.

Some questions I've received

Why are we adopting again?

We have the ability to parent two more children. We have room in our home.

Since we're 50 and 51, what if we have rebellious teenagers? How are we going to handle that in our 60's?

I've never lived for What If's. As I have gotten older I have found the more you nurture the better the results. Jesus and His love turn people around in unexpected ways. I am but an extension of Him and I am willing to use my hands and my heart to care for children made in His image.

If you have questions please feel free to ask I'll answer.

We've been approved to adopt again!

We received a phone call on Thursday that we're approved to adopt again! This time we're using America World Adoption. Both Steve and I are older, of course, and they allow older parents to adopt younger children. We're open to either gender ages 0-6.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Coin boxes

I have little coin boxes available for those who are interested in helping us with our adoption by collecting their spare change. I'm keeping one in each of my vehicles so when I have a dime, nickel, or a few pennies I can pop it in there. Every little bit helps! I'll add a picture tomorrow. If you're not local and you're interested in helping please email me your address and I'll send you one. My email is
Thank you!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recycler-Trash lady-You know the one

The lady you always avoid that goes through the trash looking for recyclables? Well that is now me. I figure I can take a grocery bag and look for cash (I mean water bottles and cans) in trash cans. I'm not above that. My kids? Some look the other way and some help. If you have any cans or bottles you want to donate to our fund give me a ring. I'll be right over.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Girl I Used To Be

She came tonight as I sat alone,
The girl I used to be...
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully:
Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame,
All the wonderful things to do?
Where is the mansion of stately height
With all of its garden rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?
And as she spoke, I was very sad
For I wanted her pleased with me...
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl I used to be.
So gently rising I took her hand,
And guided her up the stair.
Where peacefully sleeping my babies lay
Innocent, sweet, and fair.
And I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me:
That silken robe is my motherhood
of costly simplicity.
And my mansion of stately height is love,
And the only career I know,
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls
For the dear ones who come and go.
And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw that the woman that I am now
Pleased the girl I used to be.
Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

School started today

We started our twenty-second year of home schooling today. I started off the day very differently than the others. I took Joe to school, he goes to a charter school that we absolutely love, and I went to exercise. I have loosened up since those beginning days so long ago.

We're using a mix of those big books you can buy from Walmart or any bookstore, Spectrum books, A Beka, Bob Jones, etc... I tend to do lesson planning as we go along.

I make up notebooks for each of the kids and add nine weeks worth of lesson planning pages. I add the dates and subjects and then cross off any holidays or Class Days. This helps me keep track of what we've done over the quarter. When it's time for grades I know what lessons we've covered on what day.

I also made up individual notebooks instead of one common book for information. It has a 100's counting chart, multiplication table, alphabet, or any other info they need. I put the papers in page protectors and they can add to the notebook throughout the year.

I'm positive that my two Ethiopian girls will take off in reading this year. Their English is good enough that they should be successful!

Now that our school day is done I'm planning our U.S. Presidents & States class for Class Day. We have eighteen days that we meet together. With help from my friend we decided to do the states the first half of the year and the Presidents the second half of the year. We're covering six states or five Presidents each time we meet. We'll play games, sing songs, do some crafts, and have fun learning about our United States.

Hope you all are having a great school year too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

justlove coffeeroasters

Welcome friends! Today I'm excited to tell you about our first fundraiser. We have a storefront with justlove coffeeroasters. Our store url is Just Love uses proceeds to help an Ethiopian orphanage and families adopting not just in Ethiopia but anywhere in the world. All of their coffees are 100% Fair Trade which means the farmers who labor to bring them the finest hand picked beans are being paid a guaranteed minimum sustainable wage.

The coffee beans are roasted in small batches to order by their Roast Master. They buy their green coffees from small farms and roast them with skill and craft. The coffees are all 100% USDA organic.

We are proud to offer Fair and Direct Trade coffees from Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Uganda, Honduras, Guatemala, Sumatra, Rwanda, Mexico and Peru. Tyrus Morgan, an adoptive dad, musician and a facebook friend of mind also has a coffee & CD he offers on the site. Just Love also sells a tote bag, hat, t-shirts, coffee mug, coffee scoop, or an expresso maker to make all those delicious coffees in.

Steve was telling me last night that the best coffee he has ever had was the coffee we bought in Ethiopia when we went for Addis and Mulu. You can have some too! Just order the Ethiopian Harrar

By entering through our link we earn $5.00 a bag towards our adoption expenses, and $3.00 an item from the non-coffee items. Please shop and enjoy your selection! Thank you for browsing and shopping and helping us bring orphaned children into a family.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Adopting Again!

God has called us to add to our family again! We don't know who, how many (not more than two), or what gender yet. We're in the very beginning part of the process; filling out the adoption agency application form. We're hoping to adopt two younger children. Hopefully one or two younger than Anna and Adah or one younger than them and one older than them, yet younger than Joel and Mulu.

It has been two years since we brought home Addis and Mulu and three years since we brought home Adah Derartu and Anna Mihret. We've had two children marry and start their own families in that time. We would love to use our hands, home and hearts of love to bring more children to a forever family.

Please pray for us as we start the process. We need your help and God's guidance in all of this.

We will be selling coffee, t-shirts, ebay items, anything we can to help us with the fees. I've already been selling items on ebay this past summer to help with little Adah's dental bill. Now we'll clear off even more items off the shelves to start the homestudy process. If you have books, curriculum, clothing, kitchen items, anything you think we could use please let me know. We're hoping to have a rummage sale or go to the swap meet and sell. We're also tossing around the idea of a babyswap meet, where we charge a low cost to sell and the sellers keep their own profit. If you have any ideas please let me know that too! I have a friend who wanted to buy a Bosch mixer, and I realized I had one in my cupboard that I haven't used in over five years. With the money from that and a donation made from a friend we have enough to start the application process.

Thank you ahead of time for your support, encouragement, and prayer in all of this. Bringing children home from another country to join our family who don't know us is life changing and hard work, but we know with God all things are possible.

More pics

Us with Nick
Steve and Nick
Vikki and Nick

Most of us (Joe is missing)-this was taken when we had the three girls.

The class down at the bay with some of the host families.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pics of our Chinese Students

The students singing for the host families.
Violin doing a dance. She was one of the girls who stayed with us.
The teacher-Mr. Phan
Bob teaching James how to use chopsticks.
Real Chinese food
Homemade Chinese noodles
Chinese broccoli and chicken

Our Chinese Students

About a month ago there was an announcement in our church bulletin that host families were needed for junior high students from China. We have previously had Japanese students but never Chinese students. Steve warned the representative that I would be by and please not to let me have more than two. I met her and I left with the information for three, two boys and a girl.

The whole time leading up to them actually being here was really rather confusing. One day I was told I had five, another day I was told I had three, but not the two boys and girl that I thought I had agreed to, but three boys. It was explained to me that three was really against their policy, but........Oh, and by the way...can you take three girls for four days until their host family gets home from vacation? Ummmm....wait a minute!!! I'm only supposed to have two according to your rules, and I'm not supposed to have both genders in the same house, but I can have six? What? Three boys and three girls? Oh my.

I, of course, agreed to host these kids who had no say in where they were being housed. I didn't provide anything fancy, but they did have a bed to lay on. All day that Monday I was like a mad woman cleaning my house, making it acceptable enough to house six people who lived completely on the other side of the world. Whatever. I started in Sage's room, Sage is my daughter-in-law who was living us while her husband, my son, was a boot camp. She had a double/queen in there plus a twin mattress from when my niece was here. I robbed Joe of his mattress (thanks Joe!) and I put two futon mattresses together, bought two pillows for each kid, which they didn't use. Who knew? So that room had four girls in there, my daughter-in-law plus the three Chinese girls.

After completely cleaning that room, because you see poor Sage was in the middle of a move. All her things were in complete disarray because she'd been packing. So not only was I cleaning but now I had to figure out how to move and where to move all her boxes that she was sending, which by the way turned out to be thirty-four. Ask me how I know? I helped her cart them to the UPS store. What are moms for anyway, if not to pack their 15 passenger van completely full of boxes at the last minute and unload them?

We got the girls' room figured out, organized, and cleaned. Now it was the boys turn. I kicked Joel and John out of their room and put the three Chinese boys in their room. There were two twin beds plus our friends loaned us a camp cot that somehow fit into the room. (by the way, the boy who got the cot, he won the prize to sleep in the big bed when they switched rooms later that week) Now I had the boys room figured out. I had to do so much laundry to make sure that six beds were clean and acceptable for someone other than our family. Then four days later turned around and did it again when the girls went to their host family home and our boys moved back into their room.

We had a great time with these kids. Two of the six spoke English very well. We took them to youth group several times a week, they came to church with us, to the bay, and anything that we did as a family they did it too. The boys made us dinner one night. Do you know that they laughed when they found out that we put salt and pepper on our tomatoes? They marinate theirs in sugar and honey. Either way the tomatoes were still yummy.

One of our students was especially fond of history and politics. He talked to anyone who would talk with him. He was a sponge soaking up any information he could find. He was amazed at our book collection. I told him he could look through my books and if he found some he liked he could take them out and put them aside. I would look at them later and see if it was okay for him to keep them. One day he brought me a pile of books and asked me if I would go through them so I did. When I told him he could keep all of them he literally jumped up and down. He was so happy!!! He even left clothes, shoes, and personal belongings behind so that he could take his books home instead. Amazing.

Someone presented the idea to us of giving them Bibles. On the day before they were leaving I managed to go to a Bible bookstore and they had two Chinese-English Bibles. Perfect!!! Two of them needed that help, but Nick was content with an English only Bible. After receiving his Bob just sat and read. They've heard Bible stories, but have never had a Bible.

One thing I thought of and acted upon was that I bought them the book The Little Woman by Gladys Alward. She was a missionary to China in the 1930's or 40's. Gladys converted the mandarin of her province, stopped a riot in a men's prison, guided a hundred or so children through the Chinese mountains and numerous other feats. I thought maybe just maybe this story about this woman who gave her life to the people of China because of her Lord would mean something to them. I can only hope that they would appreciate what Gladys did for their people.

I do have a fifteen passenger van as I mentioned before. Whenever we go anywhere and I am the driver I take roll call. While they were here I would say, "Three Chinese girls, three Chinese boys, four Ethiopian girls, four American boys, one mom. Okay! We're good to go!!! and off we went.

I would encourage you to open your home. Open your life. You might just meet some wonderful people along the way that you otherwise never would have met. We gave them a glimpse into American life and they gave us a glimpse into Chinese life. And you know what? We're not really that different.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer is almost over

Looking back over our summer which in some ways seemed too long and in other ways not long enough, I thought I would share with you how we kept busy. We started summer off with our running shoes on and haven't slowed down since.

In June we had a going away party for Jesse before he left for boot camp. He left June 18th for Navy basic training aka boot camp. He excelled there and became a division leader over seventy-five-eighty guys. We were most proud of him when he marched his squad in at graduation. He did write me a letter and thanked us for raising him the way we did; for not allowing him to be lazy and non-productive.

Even though Jesse was gone his new bride continued to live us while he was away. The girls had a great time with Sage and she was greatly missed when she left in August to eventually join him in Florida. In that time my niece Kylie came to visit from Florida. She had a super fun time with Sage. Kylie is fifteen and hadn't been out here for a very long time. She and Sage became fast friends.

At the end of June we went camping at KQ Ranch with our friends the Hunt family. We had a great time just relaxing under the pine trees. The kids fished sometimes until midnight and were up bright and early to continue their quest the next morning. I lounged at the pool and hung out with the little girls. They keep me busy as you can imagine.

In July Joel and John went to Indian Hills Camp for the week. They had a wonderful time except for the boy who had a potty mouth. Joel tried to use one of the words, and well....I literally stopped where I was, didn't take another step, whirled around and let him know in no uncertain terms that we would NOT be using that word. It really helped when our friend Mr. Kit who was there to pick up his son explained to the boys how no one wants to hang out with kids who have a foul mouth and how it certainly doesn't glorify Christ or please Him.

The next week Joe went to Hume Lake with our youth group from church and had a fantastic time, purple tights, fake mustaches, and a sombrero. Good clean fun.

The last week of July we had VBS. I even dressed up as an Egyptian woman much to the amusement of my husband and older boys.

We hosted Chinese junior high students for two weeks. For four days I had six of them!! Three girls and three boys, but the pace slowed when the girls went with their host family who had been on vacation. That left us with our three boys who we really enjoyed. They cooked for us and were quite astonished to find that we put salt and pepper on our tomatoes. They marinate theirs in sugar!!!!

In August Steve and I went to Chicago for Jesse's graduation. I loved Chicago. I love their hot dogs. I love their green. We dipped our feet in Lake Michigan where I'm pretty sure I have placed them before, but about forty-five years ago when I lived in Michigan. I was privileged to drive, although unexpectedly, by Moody Church. We went to Wrigley Field and Steve got go into Soldier Field. We had a fantastic few days driving around with Jesse and Sage, except for the movie Jesse took us to that we all left. Some Scott Pilgrim movie-don't waste your money.

Some of the kids went to volleyball camp through our homeschool group. Addis has decided that she really doesn't like to play it though so she decided not to go out for the volleyball team. James would like to play but his team wouldn't play until the spring.

We've also had bay nights on Friday with good old bonfires and s'mores. Beach days once a week.

School is starting next week and with that comes Awana, soccer games, daily school, and Class days. So although one season is winding down another is ramping up.