Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Santa Scheme

Thursday night we had the official tree lighting ceremony at school. So we went and enjoyed some holiday music while the kids gathered around the tree waiting for the tree to be lit. Soon after they officially lit the tree, the big guy arrived- Santa. Feromsa and Bereket were REALLY excited about this and all of the boys immediately start scheming. They decide that they should all ask him for an X-Box 360 w/ Kinect to increase their odds of getting it. (Mom and Dad had already said no since we already own a Wii and a ton of games.) Joshua told them he wasn't going to see Santa- after all, he is a big 5th grader. So Feromsa went first (somehow he ended up at the front of the line- I'm sure it was his charm!) He asked Santa for the X-Box 360 w/ Kinect and was feeling good. Bereket finally arrived at the front of the line (after giving the advent calendar that was only given away to the first 50 families to the girl in front of him that didn't get one.) He intently spoke with Santa and finally it was time to go home (12 hours at school is a really long time!) So as we're walking out I asked Bereket "So what did you ask Santa to bring you?" Bereket excitedly responds "Toy Story 3 and Toy Story glasses." Feromsa then shouts "WHAT?!?! YOU WERE SUPPOSE TO ASK FOR AN X-BOX!! WE MADE A PLAN!!"

So much for scheming against Santa. ;o)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Party at Our House

Hannah and I were at Walmart this evening getting a few odds and ends.  I decided that while we were there that I would go ahead and get something for tomorrow night's dinner.  Now tomorrow is Wed. and with having church I always like to make sure that Wed. night dinner is something easy to fix.  So, for tomorrow I decided to simply buy something that was heat and eat.  We went to the frozen foods and I grabbed a thing of Mexican style lasagna.  As I picked it up I said to Hannah, "Look we don't even bother getting the 'family size' anymore.  We go straight for the 'party size.'"  She didn't exactly agree though with my sentiment that, "Without even inviting another soul, every night in our house is a party."

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Noise

Last night I was tired.  I'm always tired on Sunday night.  For me Sunday is a work day and I get tired.  Last night was no exception.  Despite this, I was sitting at the table with my wife, some kids were wrestling, some were arguing with me and mom about, well, I can't even tell you what we were discussing.  I can tell you this, the house was loud.  There was noise coming from everywhere it seemed.  It was sheer chaos and I was tired.  Never the less, there was this little smile on my face.  Never the less, I wasn't going anywhere.  My little house seemed to be just one big crazy loud mess last night and it was wonderful.  Even with everything, even with all the noise, there was peace.  I love my family.  I love my wife.  I love my kids.  And just between you and me, I often joke with my kids about looking forward to them moving out so my house will be quiet, but really I'm going to miss the noise.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Playstation...bringing brothers together.


Passing on Works of Faith

In college I had a professor who said the only real ethical reason to have children is to pass on your faith.  Obviously, I would like to be able to do just that with our own children.  Of course, Scripture teaches us that faith without works is dead and if the discussion that my children were having the other night is any indication of some of the work they are planning than hopefully it is an indication of the faith they have in God to provide them the ability to fulfill that work.  You see, the work they want to do is adopt. 

Somehow a discussion began on how many children they were going to have.  All but Hannah, who said she wasn't having children (which are words of a moody teenager who is just bothered by the fact that she is greatly outnumbered with 4 brothers but who didn't want to leave the babies in the orphanage in Ethiopia), said that they were going to have children and that they were all planning on adopting.  It seems to me that this is a good work of faith to pass on.

With 147 million orphans in the world who need a home, I hope you'll pass it on as well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

To Dance or Not to Dance, That is the Question!

So we have these birds. They are nice birds and we enjoy having them. Now it should be noted that the Daddy bird really likes Momma bird. When he is in, shall we say, a particularly playful mood he begins to do a little dance to get his wife's attention. When he does this, we often make some comment that has led Feromsa to ask why we don't want Daddy Bird to dance. We've told him that dancing leads to babies. And well, you guessed it, Feromsa is now determined never to dance and he becomes very concerned when his Dad ask Mom to dance.

Ah, to dance.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Must Read!

I want to ask everyone to please read the following that was written by some friends that have recently been to Ethiopia and are fellow adoptive parents.  My wife first saw this on facebook and asked if I had read it.  I said no and then she told me about it.  She then said that I needed to read it for myself.  I declined.  I didn't want to read it.  I knew what my reaction would be.  I knew how it would sicken me.  I knew that it would be extremely difficult.  I wanted to do my best to ignore it.  I finally read it because I knew I'd want to share it.  I'm asking you not to ignore this.  Please read.  Please pray.  Please be prepared to do something for these and the millions of children like them.  Here is what Andrea Kidd wrote:

Our first day at our sponsor community called Look Development was amazing. We spent the time handing out care packages from all the families back home who treasure these kids. We, of course could not wait to meet our sponsor children in person. As Isabelle's friend walked through the door, her older sister was holding her hand. This was our introduction to Selam (10) and her sister Abeba (13). As we said hello and began giving Selam her candy and clothes and goodies, we learned what she needed was bigger than anything we could have put in that zip lock bag. They had just lost their only living parent to AIDS, and were living all alone! The 13 year old sister was taking care of them. The look of pain and fear and despair on their faces was indescribable. We knew we would be back in a week, and asked Look Development to help us help them. We left in tears that day hugging the girls and telling them we would see them in 7 days. They asked us to visit their house when we returned.

We learned later in the week that their house was in shambles and was not safe. They had no mattress, no blankets and no food. The window and door to their hut was broken, we agreed to pay for all these things and would deliver them when we returned. Prayers and prayers were lifted up for them and for our hearts to be prepared for what we would see. Nothing could have prepared us, and only Jesus, holding all our hands and holding me up could have gotten us through our next meeting.

At Look, we were shown all the supplies that had been purchased for Selam and Abeba, but there was a problem, anything that had been given to them was stolen. We could not even bring them the basic things they needed, because what they needed was even more basic! PROTECTION.

We left to go see them and where they lived. We drove and drove, down long muddy roads, until we were told we had to start walking. We walked down a thick path that led to their hut. They came running out and I saw smiles from both of them for the first time. You could see they could not believe we had come. Walking up to their house was surreal, part of my mind begged to not have to enter the door, to run away and to never look back. My flesh screamed..... my spirit walked me through their door reassuring me that this was part of our purpose and God was with us.

We stepped into a dark square of a mud hut. All that we could see was an old wire bed frame, covered in clothing.......the clothing of their deceased father and mother. This is what they slept on. Did it bring them comfort? Could they still smell their parents when they slept? On the wall, was a poster of Jesus, and there was a Mesobi (for eating and coking) in the corner. Also a very dirty yellow jug for water.....where did they even get far did they need to walk.....was it even clean? My mind was racing as the sweat began to drip down my forehead, and I watched a huge spider crawling inches from my face. I glanced at my 2 oldest, for a brief moment wandering if they were o.k......they were, but the looks on their faces I will never forget, as a work was being done right in front of my eyes.

Our representatives from Look were talking with Abeba and asking them how they were. I went weak as they described the nightly scene of drunk men coming to their house and banging on the window to get in. I pictured these 2 beautiful girls huddled together fearing that these men would break in and steal the only things they had, or even worse, steal from their innocent bodies. We told them we would pay for them to move into a new place closer to the Look Development office so they could be safe. They did not want to give up their house, it is the only memory and only thing left from their mother and father. They feared the government would take it away from them. We told them we would fix their window and door and gate, so they would be more protected......I could see Abeba's face changing, she was mustering up courage, she was so sweet and so quiet, but her face told me something was coming........I knew in my heart what is was, and I was paralyzed. She looked at us and asked to be adopted.  They want a FAMILY and to be protected and loved. Pete and I barely caught each others eyes, as we had no idea how to respond. Both of us wanted to grab them and run and bring them home and never look back. Pete only said it was a very difficult and long process, and we would do what we could to help them.

We stood outside their house and hugged and prayed over them. I held each of them tight until they cried. They needed a mother's love and protection and the feel of safety, if only for a moment. I kissed them all over their faces and told them I loved them and we would see them again, and help them in the meantime. Isabelle and Johnny begged to give them all the food we had in the van, so we asked them to walk back with us. We walked down that path to the van, praying the whole way. I didn't know until later that night after looking at the pictures that we were all holding hands. Isabelle and Johnny love these girls too, and their hearts were broken and changed that day too.

As we said goodbye and drove away, I prayed to God to show me what to do. It was no accident that we were led here, that we were to see these girls and to learn their story. As I licked my lips I could taste Selam and Abeba. Anyone who has visited orphans knows that salty, dirty smell that the kids have. You look past it, because you care more about giving them love than the dirt or smell they carry. For the first time that taste was so sweet and I didn't want it to go away.

My prayer, is that these girls will be protected, that YOU will be touched by this story, moved to action of some sort, that SOMEONE may see their daughters in these two girls. Last night God told me to write this story and to share it, I pray that I was sent to these two for one of you.

Thank you for reading, looking into the dark and hard places that Jesus sees and begs us to walk with him. I thank you for passing this along to anyone and everyone, and for any step you take to help us help these girls.
I am uploading an album called" Selam and Abeba", please look at their faces and pray for them, and pass this along.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Long Overdue Update

Our last blog post told you that we were waiting for a court date, well, we got one.  Truth be told, we have had our court date.  It's actually been a couple of weeks ago that we had our court date.  We flew to Ethiopia on July 18th.  We met our son on the 20th and on the 21st a very nice judge met with us for all of about one minute and then said, "That's it."  We had to ask to confirm, but apparently "That's it" means, "Congratulations!  You passed court!  You are now the parents of Abel Raymer!" 

So there you have it, we are the parents of a wonderful young 15 year old boy.  He is ever the gentleman who is intelligent, kind, and very compassionate.  We had the privileged of spending most of the week with Abel.  It was a true joy getting to know him.  He like his Father (remember, that's me!) enjoys history and he played our tour guide as he took us to some of Ethiopia's museums.  Although, this was our second trip to Ethiopia, it was amazing to see this beautiful country, with it's rich history (by the way, there is much more to Ethiopia than just the famine of the 80's) through my son's eyes. 

Our time in Ethiopia was wonderful and we left with only one regret - we couldn't bring Abel home.  We have to wait for the US Embassy to finish their paperwork and then we will go back to Ethiopia for just a few days.  This time though Abel will be coming home with us.  Which is a very good thing.  I don't believe Dottie or I want to go through another day like the last one when were in Ethiopia.  At one time or another, knowing that we would have to leave our son for another month or so, we both broke down. 

We are hoping to be back in Ethiopia in just a couple of weeks.  Of course, this does mean one big thing - money.  Yes, we still need money to finish all of this.  I know that it seems that we are asking but it's the only way to bring our son home.  I'd like to take this opportunity to again ask, if you are able to give anything at all to help with the enormous cost of this adoption, to help us bring our son home, please give now.  Again, you can send a donation through the mail using the address to the left or you can give online using the "ChipIn."  Thank you for your help and God bless you.

Outside the church on Entoto Mt.
Abel's first ever bite of pizza!

Outside the Natural History Museum

Our Son!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Waiting on a Court Date

Last Friday, our adoption agency submitted our paperwork to the Ethiopian courts. We expect to hear this week or next our exact court date. I'm guessing July 15th but John is less certain. As excited as we are to finally get there, we are also worried about money. We need approximately $9,500 for this leg of our journey. However, God has shown throughout this adoption that we have no need to worry. He is a big God and He has provided throughout this adoption. The most amazing thing to me is the number of times the money has come from complete strangers. We are in Florida visiting with the grandparents. We are staying with my parents in Chiefland for a few days. This morning, my mom decided to take the boys to the park to get them out of the house for a bit. After wards they decided to stop by Hardees for a milk shake. When they were done, Feromsa went to throw his trash away. A man sitting nearby struck up a conversation with Feromsa asking him about school, etc. Feromsa was quickly joined by Bereket, followed by Joshua and my mom. Mom mentioned how hard the boys had worked, especially since Feromsa and Bereket didn't know any English 2 years ago and she mentioned that they had been adopted and that our family was adopting again. The man quickly gets up, yells to one of the workers. "Sister Rita, I need a witness" and then promptly walked out to his car. At this point, Mom wasn't sure what to do. Before she could decide, the man returned and handed her $55. He said that he was here from California conducting a revival and that they had a concert last night. During the concert they collected an offering for widows and orphans. So he decided to give us a portion of that offering for our adoption.

Now come on people, what are the odds? A man from California just happens to be in Chiefland, FL. He just happens to be holding a revival where they just happen to collect an offering for widows and orphans. The next day he just happens to be in Hardees. My kids just happen to be there even though my kids had voted for McDonalds. My mom just happened to insist on Hardees (even though she never goes against what the kids want.) Then this man just happens to strike up a conversation with Feromsa. Coincidence? I don't think so!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Our adoption is nearing its final stages. We wait to hear about our court date and to make our plans to travel to Ethiopia.  Now a court date means paying to travel to Ethiopia and that takes money - more money than we have.  Dottie and I were starting to worry because we have yet to hear if we received any grants and fundraising has come to a halt (there are only so many times you can beg people for money). 

As our worries mounted we were surprised Saturday to receive an unexpected donation from a family who has not only already donated considerably, but has also done a tremendous amount of work to help us in our fundraising efforts. 

Then this evening there was a knock on the door by a family who were looking for the pastor of the church next door.  Now if you are a pastor living in the parsonage next door to the church and someone comes knocking on a Sunday night looking for you, well, you begin to worry.  It turns out that this was a family who are friends of another family who heard about our adoption. These people, that we had never met, dropped by to hand us a check to help out with our adoption.

Sometimes, I even amaze myself that I worry at all.  Let me just say it, God is good.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Timeshare Points

A while ago we told everyone about timeshare points that my aunt is selling in order to raise money for our adoption.  The points are now listed on a timeshare selling site.  If you are interested, or know someone who may be interested, you can go to  In the search area simply put in 064951 for our ad.  Please help us get the word out on this great deal. 

Thank you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

He has our approval.

Yesterday we received some pictures and videos of our new son.  We would love to share them with everyone but we aren't allowed to do that yet.  The pictures and video were shot by some friends who took over to Ethiopia a care package for him.  The videos were particularly interesting.  In one he was opening a birthday card we had sent.  It was one of those cards that plays music when you open it.  His face when the music started playing (Celebrate by Kool and the Gang) was simply priceless.  The second video was him talking to us (through a translator).  I found it amusing that in the short time he had to say something to us he chose to say that 1) he thinks about us much, and 2) that he knows I'm a pastor and that he knows much about God.  It was almost as if he was trying to get my approval.  Now I'm glad he knows much about God (well, that really depends on what he knows) but I hope he will know that we love him regardless of what he knows.  He already has our approval.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It is finally on its way to AWAA!

After much delay for reasons still unclear, we have finally sent off our dossier to AWAA.   Unfortunately, it will be delayed in getting to AWAA because of it being Memorial Day weekend.  Never the less, we are very happy to finally have it out of our hands.  One thing about adoptions, there are always unforeseen obstacles along the way and you just have to learn to deal with them.  In the end though, all the work, all the prayer, and yes, all the money is well worth it.

Here is praying for a speedy court date (oh, and the rest of the money to bring our son home).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hannah's Nightmare

Hannah had a nightmare last night. She dreamed that John had decided to become a Rabbi and he was moving us all to Israel.  In the dream she was so mad at him for wanting to move us to Israel that she decided to run away. Here comes the nightmare. She was packing and couldn't get all her books to fit in her suitcase and she couldn't stand to leave any behind.

I love my girl and all her books.

Working for a Living and Timeshare News

Well, I've [John] been working this week in Charlottesville, VA at my friend's bookstore buying back used text books from weary and poor college students who are thrilled to be done with exams.  By the way, for the parents who initially paid for those text books it seems that most of your children are planning on NOT giving you the money for selling those books (most will be buying beer).  Anyway, I've already received my first paycheck for this new, albeit, temporary job.  I'm missing my family and not sleeping well at the hotel (pillows here are worthless) but it is money and you do what you got to do bring your son home.  And I should say, that I am grateful for the opportunity to raise the extra money.  Oh, and if you are in the Charlottesville area, stop by the Budget Inn on Emmet Street between 10 and 4.  I'll be glad to meet you.  If you have college kids here tell them to take their textbooks down to the guy at the Budget Inn (not to the guy at the Marathon gas station).

On another fundraising front, I just got word from one of my aunts that she is giving us some timeshare points to sell.  I'm still gathering all the required information on this but I do know that it is a good number of points that can be used at many different awesome places.  I'll have more on this later as I get more details.

It just seems that everyday, there is something more to amaze me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yes- the thermometer is at $0 again.

Normally people must pay the fees associated with their dossier at this point. However, since we received our referral before our dossier was complete, we had to pay those fees first. We took the amount in our account and applied it to the referral fees. So now, we need the $7700 for the dossier. We have the end date as May 31st but we are likely to send off our dossier next week.

Radio, Money, and a New Job

Yesterday was one of those interesting days where good stuff just keeps happening.  The day started off with me going on a local radio show to be interviewed.  The interview itself was primarily about being someone who had moved into Rockingham County.  However, mid-way through the interview the topic changed to adoption.  I was very pleased with this turn of events and took the opportunity to encourage others to adopt.  Having this opportunity set the tone for the rest of the day.  And it was a good day.

Later in the day we received an unexpected donation toward our adoption.  We have truly been blessed with the number of people who continue to give.  We know that without these generous donations we would never be able to bring our son home.

To make the day even that much better, I got a new job!  Well, sort of.  For one week in May I'll be working at a bookstore owned by a friend of mine.  He needs a temporary position filled and has offered it to me (with generous pay I might add) in order to help with the adoption. 

Yep, yesterday was a good day.  Now let's see what happens today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, we have officially received our referral.  So what does this mean?  Well, it means that once we have our immigration paperwork (which should be anytime now) we can get our paperwork sent to Ethiopia and request a court date.  It means that shortly after that we should be traveling to Ethiopia for our court date and then a couple of months after that we will be traveling again to pick up our son.  This also means we can now let our son know that we are coming.  That he has a family waiting for him.

Of course this also means we need money.  With most adoptions, the money is paid in increments. For most families at this point in the process, they would only need to pay the amount for submitting their dossier. For us that would be about $7500.00.  Then they would wait for several months in which time they could raise the money that they would need we they accept their referral.  For us that is about $4400.00.  Then the family would wait a couple of months before they would need travel money which is going to be (for both trips) around $11,000.00.  Well, because we have done this in a expedited fashion we basically need $4400.00 today, $7500.00 next week, and $5000.00 about a month later, with another $6000.00 just after that.  Bottom line:  we need to raise some major money and need to do it now.  So, please help.  If you've been thinking about helping but were thinking you had time to do so, well, time is running out.  Remember that no amount is too small and your gift is giving a young man a family.  Thank you and God bless.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Homestudy, etc

We received our homestudy in the mail today. That means copies will be made tonight and grants will be sent out tomorrow! We should receive our official referral soon. There is just a bit more paperwork that the in country staff is working on. Although I am excited to receive the referral, it's also a bit stressful. Normally when you send your dossier in, you send in a large chunk of money. Then when you receive your referral several months later, you send in another large amount. Well we are essentially doing these two steps at the same time. That means that we need another $12,000 in the next few weeks. That's a lot of money that we currently do not have. However, I completely believe that God called us to this adoption and that He will provide. This adoption has been a big step of faith for us and we are grateful for the many things God has shown us. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue on this journey. We serve a big God and I know that $12,000 is nothing for Him.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Today we had our fingerprint appointment. Here is the sign for the building. Not too exciting is it?
Just like before, we took a picture of ourselves in the car. (You can't take pics in the building.) John said the pictures took longer than the fingerprints!

Here we are in January 2008-

Here we are, just 2 years later. Think there will be another picture in 2012?

This is what should happen next:
  • Rebecca will send our homestudy to USCIS.
  • USCIS will review our fingerprints & homestudy. Then they will send our clearance- the coveted I171H.
  • John will take a trip to Raleigh to get all notarized papers authenticated.
  • Then our dossier will be sent to AWAA in VA.
  • They will look over it and send it to the US Secretary of State for authentication.
  • It is then sent to Ethiopia!
  • Once there it is translated and a court date will be requested. YEAH!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lemonade for Adoption

This is Carlie.  Carlie is a friend of the family who upon hearing about our adoption decided she wanted to help.  So, Carlie went out and set up a lemonade stand.  Being a smart business girl, she set up near a country club golf course.  At this point she has raised a little over $140.00 and is hoping to raise more.

It is things like this, when you see people who go out of their way to help, who go above and beyond, that truly makes us humble.  We are just amazed at what Carlie has done and her lemonade stand has blessed us in many more ways than just the money.  Her heart and her efforts are a true inspiration to us all.

Thank you, Carlie.

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs 
the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 19:14

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In case you're wondering why our thermometer above went down......

When we started our homestudy, we had to pay for it upfront. At the time we didn't have the money so we charged it. We hated to do that because there is a service charge you have to pay with that, but we knew the money would be coming from our tax return soon. Well, the charge never showed up on our card. Since we now had money from the yard sale, etc. we went ahead and used that to pay for the homestudy. Since we still don't have our tax return, we decided to take that amount off until Uncle Sam finally gets that money in our bank. I know- you're probably thinking, "Why is she telling me all this?" It's just because when people are giving you money, I feel you should be very transparent with how it is being used. Hopefully the tax return will come in soon so that amount can go back up.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Flip Video Camera

We are having a drawing for anyone that donates to our adoption between now and April 13th. You may donate on the ChipIn or you can send a check (see address to the left.) Just be sure that if you write a check, it gets here by the 13th. Thanks so much for your help. We're getting close!

If you are wondering where we are in the process, here's a rundown of what is happening next.
  • We have our final homestudy visit this Saturday.
  • We have our fingerprint appointment with USCIS on April 13th.
  • We will receive our approval from USCIS 1-6 weeks after our appointment. (We're hoping for closer to 1.)
  • If we have all the money that is needed once we recieve our approval, our dossier (all the official paperwork) will get sent to Ethiopia.
  • Once there, it will be translated and a court date will be requested. Once we get to this point, I will update you on what would happen next.
Thanks again for all your help!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Law

So yesterday afternoon, we were exhausted from  2 days of nonstop yard sale/stew. As we were packing up, one of the men from the church had a trailer hooked up to his truck that he hauled the gigantic stew pot cooker thingy in. Feromsa decided he wanted to ride home in the trailer. I of course said no. There was a bit of whining, please Mommy, etc. After he finally got in the van, he asked why he couldn't ride in the trailer. I simply told him that it was against the law. Feromsa wanted to know who made the law. Since I was completely exhausted and did not want to go into an extensive government lesson I said, "The police." There was silence in the car for approximately 30 seconds when Joshua decided to pipe in with this. "Actually laws come from the House of Representatives. Then it is passed through the Senate."

Thank you Joshua.

Gotta love that boy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Humble Motivation

As we continue to go through the fundraising process for our adoption I find myself thinking about the people who give.  It seems inevitable that you begin to consider the various people within your circle of influence.  Some people you just know are going to give.  Some people you know won't.  Some people are a definite maybe and if they do give you aren't surprised.  Some people you are pretty positive won't give but never the less you are hopeful that something you say or do will pull at their heart to give.  And then there are people who you don't expect to give and you really aren't looking to try and get them to. 

What is interesting though, is how many times your assumptions are wrong.  You just don't know who will give and to what amount.  This week Dottie and I received a very nice, and very unexpected donation.  It was one of those donations that causes you to sit down and be in awe for a moment.  What I have since found to be most remarkable about this donation is not only how humble we are in accepting it but also how it has motivated us.  One day, when this adoption is all said and done and we aren't digging in every hole for every penny we can find, we pray that we will be able to supply a similar surprise moment to someone else. 

Really, it is the least that we can do.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Need to Learn to Cook

As most of you know, I've been sick the past few days. Well I stayed home from church today. After the boys got home from church, I dragged myself out of bed and started cooking lunch.Upon seeing me Feromsa struck up this conversation:

Feromsa- "Mommy, you can't cook. You're sick. You should go to bed."
Me- "You guys need lunch and daddy is still at church."
Feromsa- "Let me help you."

So Feromsa begins helping me cook lunch. He helped me drain the meat.
Feromsa "This is good for me to learn."

He stirred in the spices.
Feromsa "I learn so I can cook for my children."

He added the cheese.
Feromsa " I so glad you teach me."

It had to simmer for 5 minutes while we stirred occasionally. Feromsa did the stirring and set the timer.

Three minutes into the simmer....
Feromsa "This is hard. Maybe my wife cook for me. I just come and sit down and eat."

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Friends, family, and blog readers,

Yesterday we received the news that Ethiopia has changed their policies on adoption.  The change that has occurred now states that a family will have to travel to Ethiopia twice in order to complete the adoption.  This means that there is now an increase in cost of another six to seven thousand.  Our total cost now will be somewhere around $32,000.00. 

Needless to say, on a small church pastor and public school teacher's salary we do not have this money.  So I am writing to you once again asking for your help.  Your assistance will not just add to our family but will literally save the life of the child we hope to adopt. 

As I have mentioned before, due to our son's age this adoption must happen quickly.  We simply do not have the luxury of raising a little bit of money here and a little bit there.  Our greatest fear at this point is that the adoption will be stalled (and worse, stopped altogether) merely for a lack of funding. 

As always, any donation is greatly appreciated but I would like to say that I know that there are those in this world who could drop a thousand dollars or more without even thinking about it.  I am asking that you read this, pray, deliberate, whatever you must do to find it in your heart to give to save this child.   Obviously, not everyone can give a thousand and we just ask that you give according to your means and according to how you feel led. 

I wish I could think of something else to say.  Something else to describe our feeling of desperation.  Something else to describe our appreciation to everyone who helps bring our son home. 

Thank you and God bless you.

In His grace, for His glory,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Can't Take It

Tonight the boys were watching tv in the living room while John and I were watching tv in our room. After a little bit, Bereket comes in our room.

Bereket- "I just can't take it."
Us- "You can't take it?"
Bereket- "I can't take it."
Us- "You can't take what?"
Bereket- "Sitting"
Us- "You can't take sitting? Are your brothers taking up all the room on the couch?"
Bereket- "I just can't take it."
Us- "So what do you want?"
Bereket- "Popcorn"

He makes me laugh.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


So I am on the other side of the house when I begin to hear "Mom" repeatedly. After the 2nd or 3rd time I assume that someone is in the bathroom and they are in need of toilet paper. So being the awesome mom that I am I simply yell back "What?" The only response I get is the repeated "Mom." I finally go to see what all the commotion is about to find my youngest lounging on the couch all cuddled up in a blanket. When he sees me there he looks at me and says "Can I have a donut?"


"No- you can't have a donut."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Well, it's that time of year again when I get to contemplate my life.  You see next Monday (March 8th) is my birthday.  I get to think about the things I'd like to do and, of course, the things I didn't do but probably should have.  This year I turn 37.  Wow, I'm nearing 40.  This could get ugly.

However, there is something that could make this birthday really great.  Now I don't normally like to make too much fuss about my birthday, nor do I generally ask for anything.  However, this year I'm asking for gifts toward our adoption.  Any money for my birthday will go toward this great cause.  I'm hoping that this will be a birthday to remember. 

Thank you and God bless.

In His grace for His glory,

Monday, February 22, 2010

The boys will pay.

Our adoption requires us to have two sets of fingerprints and background checks.  One set is for immigration that cost $830.00 (your donations paid for this - thank you).  The other set is for the state criminal background check and Feromsa says that this set of fingerprints cost $30.00.  I'm not sure if that's accurate but he seems pretty confident.  Anyway, this morning he told his mother that he and the other boys would pay for that.  His plan is that they would each give $10.00.  Not sure if he discussed this with his brothers but we certainly appreciate his willingness to give and to volunteer others to give. 

It's Urgent!

Earlier today I received an email asking me if receiving the money for the adoption was urgent or if we had some time before the money was needed.  My first reaction was to simply say, "No, it isn't urgent."  Then I began to think a little more.  You see, the reality is that, no, it isn't urgent and yet it is.  When you adopt, particularly when it is an international adoption, there are many fees that you have to pay.  There is the immigration/fingerprinting fees, the agency fees, the country's fees from where you are adopting, the shipping fees, the fees to have your paperwork authenticated, the fees to order the numerous certificates (birth, marriage, etc.), and so on and so forth.  These fees all come at different times and different stages of the adoption process.  This is why, in our latest fundraising efforts we focused on the $830.00 that was needed for the immigration paperwork and fingerprinting (which, by the way, we did receive).  Now we have to get ready to pay for our homestudy which will be $1800.00.  Plus there are physicals for everyone in the family, TB test, state authentication of paperwork, and so on.  As you can see it begins to add up.

The question remains, is there an urgent need?  Well again, adoption is a process of steps and they have to be done in order and they have to be paid for along the way.  This means that our son will continue to wait in an orphanage in Ethiopia until we have everything here done and paid for.  In addition there is the matter of his age and his limited time left in order to be eligible for adoption.  In realistic terms we have about a year to complete this.  In realistic terms it takes about a year to complete this - if you have the money to pay for everything to get it completed.

So is there an urgency to this?  Yes and no.  As a father who desires to bring his son home, it is the most urgent thing in my world.  As a often too proud man who hates asking for help, I'm begging for it now.  I wish I could tell you more of the young boy we long to adopt.  I wish I could show you a picture of his wonderful face with his bright eyes that reflect such hope and such joy.  Then you too would fall in love.  Thank you for your help and God bless.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fundraising News

A friend of ours has made the following offer to help with our fundraising efforts for our adoption:


Donate by clicking on the "ChipIn."  Thank you.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On our way...

I just saw that we got our first donation to help bring our son home.  I know that many people may look at say, "$20 isn't quite $25,000."  This may be true, but it is a start.  For now that puts us $20 closer to our first goal of $830 for the immigration paperwork and fingerprinting. 

For the person who gave, thank you.  For those who are thinking of giving, thank you.  For those who don't have a clue what I'm talking about read our previous post...oh, and thank you too.

God bless,

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Cost of Adoption

Well friends, as you all know we are adopting again.  As you may also know (or perhaps you don't), adoptions are expensive.  When it is all said and done the whole process cost around $25,000.00.  So, let me just come right out and say it, we need your help!  During the next few months we will be doing some fundraising through a yard sale, a benefit concert, and perhaps a raffle. Of course, we are also simply cutting back on our own expenses.  Obviously we are praying that this will all be helpful.  However, when it comes right down to it what we need is for people to simply give.

As I wrote in my previous post, we are trying to adopt an older child and time is of the essence.  We really don't have the time to try and get a little here and a little there.  The child we wish to adopt is hopeful he will be adopted.  At this time, because of legal reasons he can not be told that there is a family wanting to adopt him.   For now he is still simply hoping.  He has no idea that thousands of miles away, in a little town that he has never heard of, there is a family who loves him and longs to bring him home.  At this time, he simply is holding on to a fading hope - a hope that fades each day.  Like all the older children in an orphanage knows, his chances for adoption are slim and with each day, as he gets older, his chances become even more slim.   As his hope for adoption fades, so does the hope he has for his very future.  I wish I could tell you more of what this young man has already faced in his young life but legalities prevent me from doing so.  I can tell you that like every young man, he has dreams.  Dreams of a loving family.  Dreams of a better life.  Dreams of being able to serve others with the love and compassion that he has already proven to do.

Now I will tell you that we are applying for many, many grants.   However, we know from our previous adoption that you simply can not rely on getting these grants especially within the time frame that we are facing.  Our last adoption we did very little, if any, fundraising.  We simply paid as we went along and when there was nothing left we borrowed and used credit.  We are really hoping not to have to do this but are willing to do whatever it takes.

If you would like to help, you may do so by clicking on the "ChipIn" at the left of this blog.  Of course, you may also send a donation through mail.  Just email us if you need our address.

We want you to know that we greatly appreciate every donation made.  I'm sorry to say that with your donation you will  not be receiving a t-shirt, a tote bag, coffee or a cd.  What you will get is the knowledge that through your gift you will have a hand in forever changing the life of a child.  You will be helping to give this child not just a future that he would otherwise not have but you will be helping to give him hope.  You will be giving him a family who will forever love him.  You will be giving us the wonderful opportunity to share our love with another beautiful son.  For this we can never thank you enough.

God bless you,

John and Dottie

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Big Announcement Several Months in the Making

  Many of you may recall my blog post several months ago in which I discussed my disgust at the idea that because of the expense of adoption, a child faced the very real possibility of not only staying in an orphanage but, perhaps even worse, the child would soon age out of the orphanage and be released to fend for himself with little hope for his future. Of course, merely lamenting the problems of the world does not change anything. For things to change, people must be willing to act. To that end, after months of prayer (and a great deal of struggling with just how much I'm willing to live by the faith I preach), Dottie and I have decided to act on behalf of at least one orphan in the sea of orphans. We are going to adopt the child who I posted about earlier. 

  I realize that many may have questions about his decision so let me anticipate and to answer them now. Most likely the 2 most frequent questions will be along these lines: Do you really need another child? (For those who are counting this will make 5.) & How are you going to afford this?  

  I'd answer the first question just by simply saying that this is not about our "need" to have another child. This is about a child in need that we are called to help. We are not called to adopt every child in the world but we know that we are to follow through with this adoption. As with most any calling, we don't have all the answers. We simply have to be obedient to what we know that God has called us to do.

   To the second question: well, we don't know exactly. However, let me give you this analogy. Say that a child of yours finds themselves in the middle of an emergency. They are in desperate need of your help. What would you do? Would you sit around and simply say, "Well when we have all our finances together and we can help you with no sacrifice on our part, then we'll get back to you." Or would you do all that you can to help your child? I'm not suggesting that you would neglect your other responsibilities, but you would make it a priority to find a way to help your child. Right away I know there are those who would say, "But he isn't really your child. He is a child you are just wanting to adopt." Here is where I must vehemently disagree. Again, this is something we are called to do. God had placed it on our hearts that this is our son. Our son is facing an emergency. His life is facing a crisis and as responsible parents we must do all that we can to help him and bring him home. We are doing this by faith that our Father in heaven will provide by whatever means He chooses.  

   Finally, I would like to say that this has personally been a challenge to my faith. But as I have become obedient to His call I have found the peace that has come with every major life decision that I knew He was calling me to. We go into this journey admittedly with some, I wouldn't exactly say fear, but with wonder as to how it will all work out. We also go into this journey with great joy. It is an amazing blessing to follow the Lord in his command to care for the orphan. We are in love with our new child and long to bring him home.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sometimes I forget but we must never do that.

Last night we received a picture that was taken in January, 2008 at the Kid's Care Orphanage in Ethiopia.  In the picture, sitting side by side, were 2 boys who in 6 months would become brothers and would become our sons.   Seeing the picture struck me with overwhelming force.  In January of 2008, I didn't know that these 2 boys were alive and they certainly had no idea about me or Dottie.  In January of 2008 they were just 2 more forgotten orphans in a sea of orphans.  In January of 2008 they were just 2 boys wondering what would happen next?  Would they be in the orphanage forever?  Would they have a family?  Is there any hope?  In July of 2008 everything changed for those 2 little boys.  They were no longer in the orphanage.  They now had a family.  They now had hope.

I sometimes forget that my 2 boys were ever in an orphanage facing a future of great uncertainty.  I often forget, except in a very abstract way, that there are still little boys and little girls who are sitting in orphanages today, just like my 2 boys were in January of 2008.  Sometimes I forget but I, make that we, must never do that.  But simply remembering does no good if it does not move us to act.  Let us not have a child waiting in the orphanage.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dream Home

Some friends of ours just bought their "dream" home.  This got me to thinking about my dream home.  Over the years I've pictured different dream homes.  Often a room with a pool table was involved.  Often lots of land with the view of the mountains in Wyoming, Colorado, or Montana was an important part of the dream.  When I was much, much younger I often said that my dream home would have nice guest house that my parents would live in - this has not been part of the dream home scenario for a LONG time.  Today, my dream home would be very simple: one large room with one large kitchen, off this main room would be one hall way going in one direction and one hallway going in the other direction, down each hallway would be rooms - many rooms, obviously throw in a several bathrooms and a good size laundry room with 2 washers and 2 dryers (both of which would most likely always be going), and NO carpet to have stuff spilled on.

So, if you put just a little bit of thought into it you may understand why this is my dream home and why we would need so many bedrooms as well as such a large laundry room.  And if you understand why this is my dream home and if you know of one that is available (oh yea, available for virtually no cost) then just let me know.

Thanks - John.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

For Kendyl

Twice during church it was urgent that Bereket tell me something.

      First time- "Mommy, I soooo hungwee" (That happens every week.)
     Second time- "I miss Kendyl."

I sure will be glad when he can see Kendyl again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Good Answer!

This week has been an interesting week.   All 3 boys have been grounded from the TV and video games.

Joshua has been grounded from both television and video games lately because he has still has yet to learn his multiplication tables.  Now, understand that this is the same boy who can read a bunch of cheat codes for a video game and remember them all.  You see, the reason he doesn't know his multiplication tables is not because they are too hard but because he hasn't actually sat down to learn them. 

Anyway, tonight he was practicing them and every five minutes or so he would come and say, "test me."  I'd ask a couple of questions and he would miss one.  With it being Friday night (the night the boys get to stay up and watch TV) he, as well as the other 2 boys, were very anxious to get ungrounded.  We told the boys that if Joshua learned his multiplication tables then they would all be free to watch TV.  Feromsa went right to work on this very important task. 

After a little while of Feromsa quizzing Joshua they asked me to test him again.  Their exact words were, "Ask him any question."  So I asked, "What is the meaning of life?"

Joshua, without any hesitation answered, "To praise God and bring Him glory."

Needless to say, the boys are now watching TV.