Monday, March 28, 2011

The Challenge is ON!!!

Hey folks!

Just this morning I challenged my hubby to a necklace sales war! :) I needed to motivate my salesman of a hubby to sell; of course I have a lead already, but if he is the true salesman I know he is I will need help to win!

So I am now asking everyone again if you will help support, not only our adoption, but Ugandan women feed their families and stay off the streets. I can’t tell you how huge it is for these women to have a trade where they make these beautiful necklaces and can now feed their families, and stop selling their bodies! So important! There is also our adoption of the orphan too that I am asking you to help with. The orphans, the poor, the widowed are the heart of our Lord and he wants us to care for them; period.

So the challenge…it may not sound like a big deal to you, but I get a 15 minute shoulder/back rub people! This is huge stuff in my world, I never get this.. the hubby and I are selfish in this dept. I really do not care to scratch his back so he holds out on the back rubs…so help a working mommy out folks because I really do not want to scratch his back… :) (Disclaimer: this is so irrelative in the actual cause and purpose of selling the necklaces, but is a great motivator for me to become a pushy saleswoman! :) )

Thursday is the last day to order.

Leave a comment to order, or send me an e-mail at

Also here are some more pictures of the necklaces that gives you a closer look at their beauty.

You can see my original posts a few posts back on this fundraiser.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It would be easier to say I am pregnant.....

Lately, especially with the start of our third adoption, I have had this in my head a lot. It would be so much easier, and so much more accepted by others, if I was exclaiming the news that I am pregnant instead of telling you (excitedly by the way) that we are adopting again.

If I told you I was pregnant maybe you wouldn’t be so quick to tell me that adopting more kids is going to cost more, and be harder to care for. (I am a somewhat responsible adult, and I do actually know this.)

If I told you I was pregnant I wouldn’t be questioned on where we are adopting from, and being asked or told where you think we should adopt from.

If I told you I was pregnant maybe you wouldn’t tell me that I already have two (one of each gender) what do I need more for; I should just take care of the ones I have.

If I told you I was pregnant you would more than likely ask me how the morning sickness is, and as my belly gets bigger how I am doing, but a lot of you wouldn’t ask me how the adoption process is going and how we are handling things, and what happens next.

I don’t tell you this so you feel sorry for me, or to make you feel bad, but I tell you this in order to educate you on some things whether you completely understand them or not. Often in my blogs I have frequently quoted scripture that command all Christians to care for the orphans of the world, so why would you question our desire to do that?

We are adopting and folks it is an exciting, scary thing all wrapped up into the fact it is God’s Will for our family.

We are adopting not just to make a family for ourselves, but because God is commanding us to do so.

We are adopting from Ethiopia because it is God’s will.

We are adopting even though we are fearful. Every one of our adoptions has had a great amount of fear along with the excitement. With our EJ fear the country would stop adoptions before we could bring her home, and fear of the unknown about a child that did not grow in my tummy but my heart. With the adoption of our Mo I had fear of the unknowns in that process and just traveling to Africa! My life is forever changed with both of these experiences. And now with our third adoption that we have only just begun, there is the fear of being able to handle 1 or 2 more children physically, emotionally and financially, fear of raising the money to get this adoption done, fear of changes in the process as we wait for the child or children God has planned for our family.

We are adopting because we are willing to face that fear head on because it is God’s will and he wants us to trust him.

We are adopting because God doesn't promise us easy, but he promises us forever with him, and asks us to trust him completely and give glory to him here on earth.

We are adopting because it is the most joyous thing we have done with our family, and it is true unconditional love we are living out with the children the Lord has blessed us with.


When a family says they are adopting be supportive. Even if you don’t understand what they are going through, and it is hard to unless you have been through it yourself, give them loving support.

When a family says they are adopting, be EXCITED for them.

When a family says they are adopting, ask them how you can pray, and pray for them.

When a family says they are adopting ask God to show you how you can help them.

When a family says they are adopting ask God what your role is in the lives of the least of these.

(P.S. Don't forget to order your Ugandan Necklaces...details HERE)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WOW GOD & Necklaces

So I have to share this Wow God Blessing that happened....

A lovely woman read my post that I linked on Linny's Blog, and left me a comment that she was praying, and then said her word verification to leave the comment was BLESS! She had been praying about whom she should bless with support and God made sure it was loud and clear to her through word verification!

I am just in awe of that...God took the Internet and word verification to make it clear whom he wanted his servant S.A. to bless and she did. In all the comments I leave on blogs I never, ever, remember getting an actual word for the verification, NEVER.

God is so good and continually reminds me that this is our path and he wants us to continue on it. He's got it in his hands!

Thank You so much S.A.!!

Don't forget to order your necklaces, my post is HERE about that.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Hey Everyone!

I have been given special pricing on these necklaces until March 31st and so for $20 you can have one of these beautiful necklaces or give them as a gift (Mother's Day is around the corner...hint hint) and not only will you help our adoption, but you will help these beautiful women support their families in Uganda. Please read more below.

I also want to give a huge shout out to 147 for there beautiful hearts and awesome fundraising opportunities for families like mine. I hope to sell some of their shirts later, we have a lot of them floating around our family, but for now necklaces.

If you would like to order one of these please e-mail me ( by March 30, 2011 with how many and we can work out payment then. Thanks so much!

Go HERE for more info.

Ugandan Necklaces

147 Million Orphans is honored to share the story of our sisters in Uganda who hand make these necklaces from recycled paper. They roll the beads by hand, dip them in varnish, and thread them onto the string. Prior to learning how to make these beads, most of the women "picked trash" or turned to prostitution to provide for their children.

By purchasing these necklaces, you help a mother earn make a sustainable income to provide for her family. We are also proud to donate to Amazima Ministries' feeding program from the profits of these necklaces. The feeding program, run by Katie Davis, provides food to children and their families in the same area of Uganda. It is a beautiful, full circle story of the body of Christ.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

God's Plan, God's Hands

Good Day,

I am linking up on Linny's blog and it is one of the reason's why I am posting this sooner rather than later...

When I first heard the news that Ethiopia was contemplating some major changes my heart just sank and I felt like the world ended for a day or so, and then slowly but surely my HOPE starting coming back. I KNOW that God placed Ethiopia on our hearts to adopt from again, and I quit letting the fear of the unknown consume and disappoint me and started to let God have control of this adoption again...because he knows how it's going to work out and how it is going to end and I don't have to worry about that! He is pretty awesome like that.

So this morning before the kiddos woke up I was having my time in the Bible and I read what I had planned to, and then switched over to another book I am reading called Radical, by David Platt. I stopped, I prayed, and the entire time I kept feeling this nudging to open my bible back up and here is what I read:

Philippians 4: 6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Friends I can't tell you how much I needed to be reminded of that, and it just confirmed what my heart has been feeling. We are going to proceed with adopting our treasure(s) from Ethiopia, and I know God is going to provide along the way.

Please keep praying for Ethiopia, families waiting to bring treasures home, families like us starting the process again for the third time and whom are trying to raise the funds, and all the orphans of the world.

God Bless.

If you would like to donate to our adoption please use the chip in on the side.


Latest - Good News-Keep Praying

Ethiopia Program Update

Hello Families,

Happy St. Patricks' Day! We hope this email finds you well and finding rest in God’s peace and plans for your family and your Ethiopia adoption journey!
As you know, over the past week AGCI has been working in collaboration with Joint Council, other licensed Adoption Service Providers in Ethiopia and the US Department of State to get clarity on the proposed changes instigated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs that would have drastically reduced the number of adoptions processed by their office.

We have spent the entirety of this week and last connecting with our own Foreign Staff, participating in caucus calls led by Joint Council and the US Department of State, and independently collaborating with other Adoption Service Providers to get clear and accurate information concerning this matter. Your grace and patience has been so appreciated during this time! What we know as facts are:

MOWA posted a notice indicating as of March 10th they would be reducing the number of adoptions processed through their office to 5 cases a day.

Within days of this announcement, the director of MOWA and several other staff members from the ministry have been terminated.

Today we want to update you on the feedback we received yesterday from our foreign staff in Ethiopia, which was confirmed in a discussion with our adoption colleagues in a Joint Council caucus call later in the day.

At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.

We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia. This plan was acknowledged in the recent posting by the US State Department this morning at We understand the US Department of State cannot issue a formal statement without MOWA issuing a retraction. Based on the information we are receiving, MOWA is concentrating on processing the current adoptions and the new staff is not focused on numbers, but doing their jobs.

AGCI and our trusted colleagues look forward to collaborating to ensure adoptions move forward with the highest level of transparency possible. It is our commitment to carefully, ethically, and mindfully complete the adoption process on every level for orphaned children. Our hope is that as we do this in collaboration with other licensed agencies, we can also help to eliminate future concerns by MOWA and continue to build trust between their office and the adoption community at large.

Despite all this talk and discussion about proposed changes, we want to share with you some highlights from just the past two weeks in our program. Even in the midst of all these proposed changes we have seen things move in positive directions:

7 children were referred to their forever families (wait time for a referral for our most recently placed families was approximately 10 months for an infant boy and for an infant girl)

9 families and children were issued their first official court date

3 families and children were approved at a rescheduled court appointment

1 family and child was approved on their first scheduled court appointment

9 families and 10 children were cleared by the US Embassy and invited to travel to Ethiopia to complete their final immigration visa appointment and bring their children.

2 children have returned home with their forever families.

As you can see from above, our attention over the past week and this week has been not only on gathering information on this issue but also on processing adoptions for many of the children at Hannah’s Hope. We will be calling each of you to check in for your monthly updates, paperwork calls, and to connect with those of you who are already referred and in the court process. For those of you in the paperwork process, Julie Salwasser will also be continuing to step in to provide support and answer questions. Thank you for your ongoing patience!

We want to encourage you all and to share that Ethiopia is still an active adoption program! We are so blessed to be looking back at all these wonderful moments and see God’s hand at work in the stories and lives of these children He loves. Thank you for your continued passion and dedication. We look forward to all the wonderful moments yet to come as we continue to serve in Ethiopia!
Kiersten, Brandi & Toni

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


First off let me just say that I am SO sorry it has taken me so long to do this; really truly sorry!

With that said.....

Winner #1 for the $25 Tom's gift card is Whitney Pratt!

Winner #2 is Jill B. for the $50 Tom's Gift Card.

Please e-mail me at to let me know where to send them! Thanks guys!

All the congrats, support, and donations are greatly appreciated.

** I hope to have more updates soon on the adoption front, and hopefully more fundraisers to come! Please stay tuned and keep praying for Ethiopia....

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Latest

Below is the latest update sent to us by AGCI. Please also read my post from yesterday,if you haven't already, and take a very important minute to sign the petition. Thanks!

Update: March 10, 2011

A Couple of Things

I want to quickly update you all on the petition. As of right now there are close to 28,000 signatures that have been received! That is over 20,000 more than when we came into work yesterday. Great job everyone--keep up the good work!
Also, Kiersten, Brandi and Toni are working to connect with everyone and answer the many questions that are coming in. Thank you for your patience as they return calls and emails. It is their goal to connect with everyone; however, this will take a little time. We do want to share that our primary goal continues to be facilitating all of your adoptions and the great news is that we have had wonderful news to share with some families this week!

This wonderful news of movement has been a fresh reminder that no matter what is going on God is good and children are coming home to their forever families!
Below we have posted a note from Tom DiFilipo, the Executive Director of JCICS. I know we have shared many posts the last few days. We do feel that this one is valuable to read and a good reminder of why we are working so hard for these children.

Thank you all! Have a wonderful evening! Also, if you think of it please be praying for the call with the US Department of State tomorrow morning. We will all be participating in this call and therefore unavailable by phone the early start to the day. Thanks for your understanding!

Post from Tom DiFilipo, Executive Director of JCICS
March 9, 2011
Statement on Children and Family Services in Ethiopia

The work of Joint Council on International Children’s Services includes the development and implementation of the highest standards and ethical practices, the support of children living outside of family care and advocacy for permanency. As a leader in the international child welfare community, we are deeply concerned about the well-being of Ethiopian children and the integrity of the intercountry adoption process. Respecting Ethiopian culture and sovereignty, we offer the following for consideration as we collectively serve Ethiopian children and families and partner with others in supporting the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia.

Children need families – Who we are as human beings is largely influenced by our genes and our environment. The attention, affection, responsiveness, consistency, communication and interaction of a family have profound effects on all aspects of human development especially in the earliest stages of life. No institution, regardless of how well organized and funded it may be, can replace the nurturing, safety and guidance of a family.

Birth families need accessible, efficient and well-funded alternatives – Relinquishing a child is a painful decision for any birth parent or extended family member. This is especially true in remote and rural areas where few alternatives exist. If intercountry adoption is to decrease over time, birth families need accessible and reliable social service programs to support them. To date, many adoption service providers and other NGOs, are filling this gap in Ethiopia. Joint Council partner-members are contributing over 16 million per year to family preservation and community development programs that strive to keep vulnerable children and families together. They are assisting 1.2 million vulnerable individuals per year that otherwise would not receive these services.

Institutionalization can hurt children – Quotas and other drastic measures mean that children currently living in orphanages will reside in an institution longer. Sixty years of multinational human development research on institutionalized children, such as the Bucharest Early Intervention Study, indicates that the longer a child is in an orphanage the progressively worse their social, language, fine motor and gross motor skills become. Any change to the intercountry adoption process needs to carefully consider its effects on all children currently in orphanage care and the length of time newly institutionalized children will reside in the orphanage to complete their adoption process.

There are nearly 5 million orphaned children – This is nearly 13 percent of the child population in Ethiopia. These children need a family for love and support so they grow into productive adult members of our global community and retain their inherent human rights. There need to be support services for vulnerable children including adoption. At present, intercountry adoption only serves .001 percent of all orphaned children in Ethiopia. This fraction of a percentage, while rising, is not disproportionate to the number of children in need.

Various manners to combat corruption – Corruption is deplorable in all its forms especially when children’s lives are at stake. There are numerous manners to prevent, discourage, and punish corruption without punishing children, families of birth and adoptive families. A gardener who wants to beautify a landscape does not cut the weeds in his garden by a certain percent. Rather, he mindfully detects the weeds and eliminates them from the root up. A quota, no matter how small, will not eliminate corruption. It simply reduces the quantity of ethical violations that can occur in an environment. In fact corruption, like a weed, can actually grow in a restricted environment if it is allowed to exist.

Children with special needs deserve special consideration – Children with special needs require care and resources that are not easily given in an orphanage setting. According to research conducted by Joint Council, 40% of children adopted from Ethiopia are considered special needs. When contemplating new policies or procedures, children with special needs deserve expedited processes or exemptions whenever possible.

Intercountry adoption is one of many solutions that can successfully assist vulnerable children. Forty years of outcomes research indicates that intercountry adoption is a positive solution for most children. While there are several other programmatic alternatives that can be designed over time, it is one of the few permanent solutions currently available that situates children in the optimal environment to reach their full potential as human beings – a family.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where to Start!

As you all know there is some talk and possible changes that are to take place in Ethiopia for adoptions. This change, if it goes in affect, is drastic and will most likely cause adoptions to take YEARS. This is not good for the orphaned children in Ethiopia. There are already more than 5 million orphans in Ethiopia, and this would be detrimental to them.

That being said, if you haven't already, PLEASE take 1 minute to sign this petition today by clicking HERE. This is very important. At current there are around 23,800 signatures. To make a big impact JCIS needs about 250k. So please sign today!

Now some of you may be wondering what this means for us and our next adoption and I am going to tell you I don't know.

What I do know is this; God is clearly telling Kent and I that we are to grow our family again through adoption; CLEARLY. God has also placed Ethiopia heavily on our hearts. My hope is that Ethiopia does not make these changes and we can proceed because my heart is there.

What if the changes happen? We will be adopting, if it is not Ethiopia then we will be in prayer about where. If our next adoption is not in Ethiopia we will still be doing something there. I am 100% sure about this.

My husband and I have long talked about a non-profit organization and we are in the beginning stages of creating that. So as things take shape and we see what is going to happen in this country we will be doing big things there and in hopefully in Guatemala. I can't tell you for sure what exactly that will be at this point, but it will be.

So if you have read this all please stick with me a little bit yet. We ask for prayer for Ethiopia and their adoption system, we ask for prayer for our next adoption, and we ask for prayer as we figure out what our non profit will be doing where, and when.

And Lastly.....


1. I am so sorry for keeping you all in limbo on the contest as well. All the things happening with Ethiopia right now has consumed my heart. I will tell you that I will be drawing winners hopefully soon. I am SO sorry to make you wait.

2. I will also tell you that my husband does know of my surprise and he was very appreciative. Some day I will get him to write on here about his heart for adoption and the orphan.

3. So far we have raised $900.00!!!!! Yeah God, and thank you so much to all who have donated so far and are praying for us. It means the world!

4. I am not smart enough to know how to update the old chip in I was using so I have created a new one that reflects the $900 given and also a little reduction in the initial fees I thought we would owe. So that will stay up there and praying we are going to Ethiopia again; if not I will let you know where else God intended.

God Bless!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Chip In

I have had some who have had problems using the chip in because of the deadline. I hope to have that fixed by tomorrow. Many Thanks and God Bless.

Please join in tomorrow for a day of fasting and praying for the "possible" changes in Ethiopia adoptions too!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little Update

Okay so I am extending the surprise a day or so yet because I didn't consider how busy we were going to be when I set the deadline. EJ turns 4 today, and her party was yesterday, and some other appointments and things we have makes it a busy beginning of the may be Wed. before I can update everything.

I have received a few donations other than on the chip in and may be getting one more so I am excited. The Lord is good and I know that his hand is in this.

God Bless and thanks to all who have not only provided financially, but committed to prayer for us as well. It means the world!

P.S. I do need to tell the hubby soon because he keeps wondering how all these people know we are adopting again... He He

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's All YOURS GOD, and 6 More Days!

This song by Steven Curtis Chapman came on this morning while I was driving to work, and boy did it hit me today! I had it cranked and there was quite the concert going on in my van today! This song is touching for so many reasons. The Chapman's are a beautiful family who has adopted and lost their youngest, and they are a true example of living out beauty from ashes. Take the time to listen to this if you can.

Also, 6 more days to try and pull off a surprise to my hubby. It's a little difficult since I cannot post it on my own blog right now, but we are at 1% and that is pretty exciting. Thank you all for your prayers, and please prayerfully consider supporting us. God Bless!