James 1:27

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Well, I do believe the jet-lag has finally gone! Man it was a tough week. I think you realize that when you NEVER travel, you come back and it takes you twice as long to get your life back to normal. But YES, it was absolutely worth it!!!! WE ARE OFFICIALLY THE PROUD PARENTS OF 4!! We arrived in Addis Ababa on Christmas afternoon. After dropping our luggage off at the guest house we were staying at, we headed to the transition house to pick up our kids! Lets just say the ride over was amazing! We were so intrigued to see cars driving literally 4 inches away from each other! People walking through the streets would get within 1 inch of moving vehicles. We were in love with Addis right away! The city was so alive! Even in the midst of poverty, people were hanging out everywhere. When Ashli told us we were approaching the transition house, I began to sweat and my heart was beating so fast! I couldn't believe that the children that I had so grown to love through their pictures, were about to be in my arms! We pulled up to the gate. As  Rick and I were getting out of the van, the gates swung open and our Abenet's face was the first one we saw! He absolutely took my breath away!!!! I walked right up to him and kneeled to hug him. I was obviously balling! But I never could have imagined what would happen next! WHEN ABENET LOOKED UP HE YELLED

They both began to cry! What an amazing, amazing boy he is! After the emotional introduction, he took us upstairs to go see Hanna! When we walked into her sweet nursery, there she was standing there starring at us!!! With much caution, Rick approached her and picked her up! She started screaming and it lasted all of 20 seconds. Then she was fine. I brought little snacks to give to her for brownie points. Let's just say, that was my in!!! Rick handed her to me and the rest is bliss!!!!!! We had the best 5 days with them! Abenet was so curious about every single thing he came in contact with! He is obsessed with electronics! Every time we turned around, he was taking you picture or listening to you ipod! He couldnt wait to see all the stuff we brought for he and Hanna! We were so amazed just watching him experience so many new things! He was so happy the entire trip. Hanna had a cough and a lot of congestion which made it difficult for her to sleep through the night. However, Abenet slept ALL NIGHT EVERY NIGHT!!! They were both such a joy and the family connection was INSTANT!!!!! What a picture of our relationship with our heavenly Father! From the moment we are adopted in Christ, we feel that connection with God! It was really incredible! Our court process was flawless and we knew within a few hours that our case had passed and that Abenet and Hanna were officially OURS!!!! What a joyous day! We had such a great time with all of the families that stayed with us in our guest house. All the kids loved each other and selfishly, we are excited because 4 of the children we were with, are moving to Nashville!!! Woohoo!! Departure day was very difficult but Abenet understood that we were only coming home for a short time, then we would be bringing them home FOREVER!!!!! Thank you to everyone who prayed for us that week! We felt it! As of right now, we don't know anything about our Embassy date! Please pray that all of our families from our trip will get a quick date! We are hoping for February. Either the 10th or 24th! Again, thank you for all your support and we love you all!!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010


 We leave in 4 days to go meet our kids for the first time!!!!! We will arrive in Addis on Christmas Day at 11:25 am!!!! It still doesn't seem real! My sister Ashli was able to meet our kids 2 weeks ago. The visit was incredible! Our son absolutely understood that she was his Aunt and he immediately loved her!!!!!!! We have pictures of Ashli kissing his face and him kissing her back!!!! What an amazing thing! Our baby girl took a little bit longer to warm up!! LOL! She is at the age where strangers are not ok!!!! However, over the course of a few hours, Ashli was able to lay in front of her on the floor, play with her, and eventually kiss her cheek!! So she will be absolutely fine!!
 Something that really struck us about the visit she had with them, was how excited our son was that he was going to have a new brother! When Ashli showed him a picture of Devyn on her phone, he ran over to his bed and grabbed his scrapbook that we had sent to him 1 month ago! He ran up to her and showed her another picture of devyn and said "BROTHER"!!!! He continued to look at his picture and smile for quite a while!!!! We have been told that he had an older brother that was KILLED! Unfortunately, we don't have any details about that yet. I look at this and all I can do is cry and say "Thank you Lord for your redemption! Thank you for giving back what was taken away!" This is what God does through adoption! That is why it is so important that families answer this call!!!! Many of us have not experienced this incredible sense of loss at such an early age, so we just read things like this and move on with our day!!! THIS IS WHY THERE ARE SO MANY ORPHANS!!!!! Anyone who says that THEY ARE NOT CALLED TO ADOPT needs to reconsider what Jesus did on the cross for us so that WE COULD BE ADOPTED!!! So now, I will get off the soap box!! I'm just a little bit passionate right now.
  We want to say again, how thankful we are for all the donations!! You donated ALL the funds for our first trip within 3 days of us putting the word out!!! We would not be this far down the road if it were not for each and everyone of you! Thank you also to ALL of our prayer partners! Please be praying that all of our families on this trip will have favor in court on December 27th!!!! We will be posting pics after we PASS!  We love you all!!!!!!!!! HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Today our family has so very much to be thankful for! What a joyous year it has been! We have experienced so many new things this year and our family is so strong because of it! God is so faithful and loves to blow our mind when we allow him! I never expected that this would be the last Thanksgiving that we would be a family of FOUR! This time next year, we will be a family of SIX!!!!! WOW!!! Rick and I are truly reflecting on this and enjoying spending quality time with Devyn and Taelor! We leave in exactly four weeks to go love on our new additions!!!!! What a Christmas this will be!!!! We are so blessed! "Thank you Lord for loving us!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We Are Going To Ethiopia For Christmas!!!!!!!!

The past two weeks have been extremely eventful! We are now at the half-way point of our fundraising! THAT'S RIGHT, YOU HAVE GIVEN $17,000.00!!!!!!  No words can express the gratitude in our hearts! We received an email two weeks ago that our paperwork had been submitted to court and that we would probably be notified of a court date in November. Less than 1 week later, this past Friday morning, Amanda received an email that our COURT DATE IS DECEMBER 27th!!!!!! WE WILL BE IN ETHIOPIA FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!! Even more amazing, Amanda's friend in Texas that has 2 little princesses at the same transition home as our babies tells us that their court date is the same day!!!! We had talked about how amazing it would be if we got to go at the same time but knew that the odds were very slim!!!! God's favor through this whole adoption has been so hard to comprehend! Our faith has grown more in 3 months that in our whole marriage! Our children will BE HOME BY VALENTINES DAY!!!! We are in the process now of looking at our 1st trip expenses. Our plane tickets are going to cost around $ 4000.00 and our room and board will be about $500.00. We are kicking off our $20 TO TRAVEL CAMPAIGN!!! We are asking everyone who can to donate$20.00 to our travel expenses! We love you all and can't wait to give you the next update! Thank you for walking this journey with us!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time Is Of The Essence!!!!!

Over the past several weeks, there has been SO MUCH PROGRESS with our adoption journey!!!! All of our paperwork is in Ethiopia!!! Once our paperwork has been translated, they let us know when we will be taking our first trip for court!!! It will more than likely be December or early January when we travel!!! We sent a care package for our sweet babies last week! We made a scrapbook for our son who is 8 or 9, full of pictures of his new family and introducing all of us. The last page had a picture of our whole family and said: WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND WILL BE THERE SOON TO BRING YOU HOME!!! It doesn't even seem real!!! This past week, we painted the girls room and set it up with the new decor! Needless to say, Taelor is beyond excited. They boys room is next! Devyn is so excited to see TWO BEDS in his room!!!! He has been writing notes to his brother and it is so sweet!!! Yesterday, we received recent video footage of our babies and it was absolutely amazing!!! Our baby girl is crawling so well and loves balls!! We got to see our son in action playing soccer! He is a lefty!!! God is so good and we are so blessed to have these beautiful children coming to be with us. We have raised about $6000.00 so far!!! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated!  We wouldn't be this far down the road without your prayer and financial support!!! Our yard sale two weeks ago, made us $700.00. The next fee we have to knock out is our in-country fee. This is by far the largest expense of the adoption. The total for two children is $17,000.00. This pays for all the medical screenings, court paperwork, and for the orphanage to care for them and give them what they need until we arrive! We need people to continue to partner with us in order to fulfill this obligation! There are several ways you can do this. As usual, there is a DONATE tab at the top of this page where donations go directly into our paypal account. Another option is to participate by getting your fall and holiday pictures done with 7 Lights Photography. The majority of the proceeds will go to our adoption! If you are in to itunes, you can download Cole's Lullaby by Kristi Neumann! This song is so amazing and she is donating ALL the proceeds to our adoption!  Please continue to consider helping us bring our babies home!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Few Steps Closer

The past two weeks have been nothing short of amazing! We have had over $3000.00 donated, putting us several steps closer to bringing our babies home! This past Friday we recieved the OFFICIAL copy of our homestudy and had our dossier authenticated at the Secretary Of State's office. Our paperwork is now in DC where the Ethiopian Embassy will review it. Once they sign off on the dossier, it will be sent to Ethiopia for translation. Then we wait for a court date!!!! It is all happening so quickly we are in absolute amazement. God has blessed us abundantly through this whole process. Just yesterday, our kids made the 2 hour journey into the city. They are now at the transition home where they will await our arrival! We are so genuinely grateful to everyone who has either partnered in prayer or in giving! Without your help, our process would not have progressed this quickly. Our next pressing need is our $10,000 child referral fee. We need this ASAP. At this point, we have applied for a grant, but will not know whether or not we qualify for at least 3 months. We have been told that we may be on our way to Ethiopia as early as December for our court date. That is just around the corner. We will also have to have funds to travel. This will include 2 round trip airfare tickets, hotel, and accomodations. Again, we urge everyone to prayerfully consider a donation, big or small, to help us unite these 2 children with their (FOREVER FAMILY)!!!!!!!! Thank you for all the support.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Will you help bring them home?????

Please read this very accurate account about a day in the life of our babies!

The day started like any other day but by it's end, nothing would ever be the same. I could hear my baby sister breathing softly as she slept. Mama must have gone to find food for us so I rolled up the blanket we slept under and went to the door to look outside. Rain.....again. This is the rainy season so the streets will be muddy for a long time. The smell of someone baking injera makes my tummy rumble. I hope Mama gets home soon.
"Oh, good morning, baby! Mama has gone to get food so I will hold and play with you until she gets back."
But Mama didn't come back.....not that day, not the next, or the next. Where did she go? Did something happen to her? Will she come back? What should I do? How will I take care of the baby? Some of the churches help with food. I will go there.
The people were nice and didn't ask questions. I was glad because I was afraid they would take the baby and send me away. I cannot leave her. I am all she has now. Every day is spent walking the streets and looking for food....and hoping I will see Mama. Days have turned to weeks and now it has been two months since she went away. I hope she is safe. I miss her.
"Hello, young man. Where are you going?" asks a policeman.
"To the church, sir, to get food."
"Where is your mother?"
Suddenly, the sting of hot tears wet my face. My heart is pounding as I hold the baby close. "Please sir. My mother is gone. We are alone."

My sister and I are two of almost 1.3 million orphans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The orphanage we are in will try to keep us together but because of the number of years between us, it may mean that neither of us will ever be adopted. I am nine years old. My sister, only eight months. Could there be a family somewhere for us? Is there hope for our future?

YES!!!! Across the ocean, on another continent, in the United States of America, in Franklin, Tennessee, WE are that family!!!!!! We believe these children have a HOPE AND A FUTURE! Will you help us help them?

We have completed our homestudy and our agency application has been approved. Our dossier documents are being reviewed and will soon be sent to Ethiopia for approval. We are thrilled to announce that the medical reports on our babies have come back favorable and they will soon be moved from the orphanage to the transition home to wait for us!!!!!

We need $30,000.00 to bring these children home! This is a very overwhelming number but we know with God "All things are possible!" We have already had over $2000.00 donated and we want to say thank you to everyone who has joined this lifechanging journey with us. Please prayerfully consider a donation to HELP US HELP THEM!!!!!