Thursday, December 30, 2010


Once again we find ourselves waiting for a referral. I have to say I'm not feeling very patient this time. You would think we would have waiting down after the three year wait we had for Eliza. I remember how hard we thought that was and how we started this adoption thinking that this one would be the "easy" one. Not so... I am finding that I have to learn over, and over again to trust in God's timing and that rarely, if ever, does His timing follow the schedule I think it should.

I have been asking myself, whose timing am I waiting for? Ultimately, I am not waiting for someone to decide to release just the right referral for our family, I am waiting on the Lord's plan for us and our baby. It's not easy. I have moments of frustration, but I don't want anything less than God's timing. More than likely our baby has been born and as much as I want her home, no amount of fretting is going to get her home any sooner. So here we sit, waiting upon the Lord.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power, though the youth grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:28-31

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dear Savannah

Yesterday was Christmas. I bet you had a great time celebrating with the King of Kings. We had a quiet day at home opening gifts, playing, and eating nonstop. We lit a candle when we got up and left it burning all day for you. It was harder than I expected to blow it out last night and go to bed. I miss you baby. God says in Psalm 139 that He knit you together in your mother's womb and I know He knit you in my heart too. Your life was short but meant so much to a lot of people. I read somewhere that 1 in 10 babies die before age 1 from pneumonia in Ethiopia. I want you to know that you are not just another statistic. Do you have any idea how many people love you? Did you know that at least 14 kids will get the vaccinations they need because of you? Did you know that people are opening their hearts and their wallets to make a difference for kids who need a family because of you? I love you, sweet baby. I thank the Lord for giving us you and I would do it again tomorrow just for the chance to love you. Give Jesus a big birthday hug from us. Until we meet in heaven, Mommy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


For those of you who truly are wondering and caring, we are doing well. I can never explain the peace and grace God has bestowed on us this past week. We will always remember our baby girl but I have to say, I never have to worry about her again. She is safe in the arms of the one who loves her deeper than I could ever understand, Jesus. We prayed many times that Savannah would be home before her birthday and she did go home, just not to the one I was thinking of. Now she is waiting for us and what a sweet reunion that will be!

We cannot shake the deep desire and knowing in our hearts we have that there is a baby out there that needs us to bring her home. God is definitely moving our hearts to do just that. Much to our surprise, we feel ready to go ahead with another adoption. Only God could have brought us to this point and we praise Him for it. It is going to be a tough road, fear is going to try to keep us from trying, but God will bring us through it.

I have had a few people make the remark that we "just need to get through the Holidays". I know they mean well and are just expressing their concern but I have to say that the last thing I want to do is "just get through" Christmas. Without Christmas I would not have hope. Jesus, God's only Son, came down at Christmas, grew to be a man, lived without sin, gave His life out of love for me and you, rose on the third day, and saved me! He saved me from my own ugly heart and sinful life and taught me to love. That is the reason we celebrate and I never want to forget it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

There is so much to say

Our worst fears were realized on Wednesday when we found out our sweet girl got sick and passed away in Ethiopia. This baby girl we love completely is not coming home to us but has, for reasons we don't understand, gone home to be with Jesus. I'm not going to lie, our hearts are broken, it hurts more than we could ever imagine. BUT we feel peace in knowing she is with our Lord, we feel blessed to be the ones who get to miss her, and we feel loved by those who have surrounded us in prayer and support. We will be sad but we won't stop loving and thanking our Lord for choosing us for this journey. We are going to take some time to grieve and then, when God makes His timing clear, we are going to put our hearts on the line again and love another little girl just as completely and we will always remember our daughter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Opportunity to Share Some Lovin'

We are leaving in early January to visit with our daughter and go to court. On this first trip we will have LOTS of room in our suitcases for donations to the orphanage. This is where you come in. If you have items you want to donate we would love to take them with us. Here is the latest list of suggested donations if you need some ideas. Please note that clothing, toys, etc. do not need to be brand new. Gently used is fine.

• Please note that medications should not be brought to as a donation.
Topical ointments are okay
• Baby Packs/Slings (for the nannies to carry the babies)
• Clothes and shoes for children aged 5-10.
Please note the clothing for infants is not needed at this time.
• Sippy Cups with lids
• Bottles and nipples
• Sheets for cribs & toddler beds
• Lotion(non floral)
• Hand sanitizer
• Toys for toddlers, preschoolers
• Blocks for stacking
• Stacking cups
• Wooden Puzzles
• Baby dolls
• Activity quilts (with buttons/ zippers etc)
• Plastic Feeding Spoons for toddlers
• Fly Paper
• Baby Powder
• Cloth diapers
• Plastic pants or cloth diaper covers
• Clotrimazole ointment
• Diaper Rash Cream (over the counter)
• Disposable Masks
• Flashlights with batteries
• Baby blankets
• Bottle/Nipple brushes
• Thermometers
• Mosquito nets
• Travel Packs of baby wipes (for the nannies to take
with them when they travel with the babies)
• Anti fungal creams (over the counter)
• Vitamins for infants/toddlers/older children
• Educational and Instructional Items – the staff is setting up a classroom
to teach children in at each care center. Education instructional items,
such as the Alphabet to hang on the walls, numbers, etc…would be greatly

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Court Date!!!

Just a quick update to let you know that we received our court date! We will be going to Ethiopia in January to meet our daughter and attend court. Unfortunately, Savannah won't be coming home with us this trip but we are praying that our second trip will be soon after our court trip.

Harvest Time at Our House

In the midst of our excitement about our new daughter, harvest time has once again come and gone at our house. I love this time of year! The colors displayed in the trees, the crisp air, and the pumpkin patch are some of my favorite things. It is especially sweet to know that next year we will be able to take Savannah on our traditional trip to the pumpkin patch. Eliza has already talked about teaching her little sister how to pick a pumpkin. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our harvest celebration.

Picking the perfect pumpkin

Eliza & Ethan chatting in the pumpkin patch

Eliza dressed as a Zookeeper and holding her animals, Woo-woo & Pandy

The kids all dressed up--or at least three of them are dressed up

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's a Girl!!!!

Yesterday was one of those days your hang onto forever. Why? We got the call of a lifetime! We have been matched with a stunningly gorgeous 8 month old baby girl!

Let me start by saying that God could not have orchestrated our referral day any better. I had spent the morning at the pumpkin patch with the kids and came home to find my husband had not made it to work yet. We were expecting a call any time to pick up our dogs from the groomer so when the phone rang I didn't even budge. That's when Toby walked over and said, "It's Holt. I'm not touching it!" He is so sweet! He knew how badly I wanted to be the one to answer the phone. We had thought the call would come while he was at work and I would then wait for him to come home to open the email with her information in it. Thankfully, the Lord had a better plan and we were able to open it right away! I'm so glad because I was not sure I would have the endurance to wait for Toby.

We can't post her photo online and are choosing not to email it out either but trust me when I say this girl is BEAUTIFUL!!!! So many things about her made it clear to us right away that she is the daughter the Lord chose for us. We honestly did not expect to get a girl so we did a little scrambling to come up with a name and found one that we think fits her perfectly. We are praying that the Lord will see fit to bring little Savannah home before her first birthday. If not, we trust His timing is perfect and she will come home right on time.

Celebrating with sparkling cider

Friday, September 10, 2010

Has It Been A Month Already?

I can't believe it has been a month since my last post. I really did intend to update much more often but I have found myself wonderfully busy with some of my favorite people. For those of you who are checking in to see how things have progressed with the adoption, we have now moved up to #8 on the wait list for a referral! We really could get the call any time now. It's a good thing we are busy or I might just go crazy waiting:-).

Today the kids and I had the privilege of greeting some friends who returned home from Ethiopia with their kiddos. What a sweet memory and so fun to be on the greeting end of a homecoming. I always feel nostalgic when I go to the international arrival gate at the airport. Not long ago we were blessed to come through that gate with Eliza. It's almost like visiting the room you gave birth in. I am eagerly awaiting the day we get to come through that gate with "Baby Africa". Who knew airports could be so special?

We have had a few adventures in the last month. We were able to meet up with Uncle Dale at the air show and see his airplane, we made our annual beach trip, and we were able to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday. Huge praise--Eliza, who has had some sensory issues since coming home from China, played in the sand and water at the beach! No tears and she didn't even complain about being dirty!

We started school and it has been great. We are settling into a schedule and even joined a co-op. Eliza started preschool and dance this past week and amazed me with her ability to adjust to her new activities. She has really loved both so far. It is hard to believe she is ready for all of this. These adjustments are much harder on me than her.

Blessings! Hopefully our next post will be about a referral. Just a warning, we are not allowed to post photos or even our child's given name on the Internet. We will be able to give some basics like the age and gender of our baby.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer is Winding Down

Ready, set, go!

It's amazing how quickly Summer has passed us by. We managed to make some great memories. I am actually really thankful for how quick it passed because we are that much closer to getting our baby home. We still have not received our referral but as of today we are #16 on the wait list. It could be any time or it could be another few months. Either way we are closer than we were yesterday!

We are gearing up to start school next Monday (the 16th). Toby and I decided it would be best to start early so that when we travel to Ethiopia the kids can just hang out with their grandparents and not worry about school until their jet-lagged teacher gets home. :-)

We were blessed this past month to be able to celebrate Faith's birthday, go to two Holt picnics, spend time at the county fair with family, and enjoy some great fellowship with friends. Here are some pictures from the great times we had. Blessings to you all!!!

At the Zoo with new and dear friends.

At the Goonie House with some of our bestest friends ever!!!

Our nephews Blake & Jaden at the fair.

Toby's parents with all of their grandchildren. (so far)

Eliza & Shani at the Holt picnic.

Eliza and my Mom--two beautiful girls!

Faith blowing out the candles on her 10th birthday cake.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Books with Boo

It's time for another book recommendation from "Boo". There is one book that is brought to me the most often, that she knows so well she can practically read it herself, and whose main character is full of fun and mischief much like Eliza. This great book is called "Olivia" by Ian Falconer. This book is all about an amazing pig who can master anything she puts her mind to. It is definitely one of our favorites. Take a look for yourself!

Monday, July 12, 2010

July Happenings

July is already half over and we have had some busy and fun times. First of all we enjoyed the annual 4th of July parade with dear friends and the yearly trip to Grandma & Grandpa B.'s for BBQ and fireworks. We are eagerly anticipating sharing these traditions with our next baby when God chooses to bring them home.
Eliza really enjoyed the parade!
Emma told Eliza that if she smiled, waved, and looked cute people would give her.....
My mom has this gargoyle and a bear statue in her yard. I have a picture of Ethan kissing the bear when he was around Eliza's age. When I tried to get a shot of Eliza kissing the bear she decided to kiss the gargoyle instead.

Last week we went in for our fingerprinting at INS. This is part of the process that will eventually grant us permission to bring a baby home. Hopefully that paperwork will come in the next few weeks.

The kids and I also made a day of a trip to Seaside. Eliza eventually played in the sand with her sisters which was a huge answer to prayer. She has never been too fond of the stuff. Then again, neither is her brother!
Ethan is on the blanket trying to avoid the sand and Eliza is on Ethan doing the same thing. These two are so much alike sometimes it's scary!

Eliza running through the sand with Emma

Other than that we have managed to do a little hiking, bargain shopping at various yard sales, and planning for next school year. The Summer is flying by quickly and we are enjoying making memories together. I will try to post more soon. For now, enjoy the pictures!

Faith got her birthday present early so that she could enjoy it through the Summer. This is her first "new" bike that was not handed down to her.
Eliza stopped to examine the flowers on our hike.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dossier in Ethiopia!!

Today we found out our dossier has now made it to Ethiopia!! We are one step closer to our "Baby Africa"! So exciting!!! This gets me all the more motivated to set up our garage sale fundraiser--believe me, I need the motivation! We have been very blessed with donations and are eager to see what the Lord is going to do. We are also, after months of cold and rain, looking forward to great weather for our sale. When I told the kids that the US advanced to round two of the World Cup, not to much of a reply. When I told them our dossier was in Ethiopia we heard a "whoop!" from them. You can see where our priorities are =)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Books with Boo

It's time for another installment of "Books with Boo". This last few weeks we have been preparing for our big garage sale and Faith donated a book that was once her favorite, "Elizabeti's Doll" by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. I rescued the book and it has quickly become one of Eliza's favorites. In the book Elizabeti, who lives in Africa, watches her mom take care of her baby brother and decides she needs a baby too. There are no dolls around for her to play with so she makes a rock her baby. It is a sweet story about taking care of "baby" like mom and it does a great job of showing what it's like to live in Elizabeti's village. The illustrations by Christy Hale are beautiful and add a lot to the story. I can't help but dream about reading it to our "baby Africa" and Eliza someday soon. Here is a link so that you can check it out too!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Treasured Memories

In this past week, I have found myself in the midst of some pretty amazing moments. The kind of moments you want to hold on to and never forget. A little over two years ago we signed papers in China that made Eliza's adoption final. When we got home we had the option to "readopt" her in the U.S.A. which would give her an American birth certificate. It is not something required in our state but we did decide to fill out the necessary paperwork and have a ceremony at the county court house. The ceremony was this past Thursday. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal emotionally since her adoption was already final but I was wrong. Having the judge decree, in perfect English, that she is forever ours touched our hearts and left us slightly emotional. It was also a really fun experience. The judge explained a lot about court proceedings to the kids and let them sit at her bench.

Since our parents were able to all be here for the court proceeding and Eliza's birthday was only a few days away, we had a little early birthday celebration for her that afternoon. It was really fun to see her get excited about her presents and tear into them! I think my favorite moment of the afternoon was watching her play with Grandma Becker, Grandpa Zimmerman, and her new Buzz Lightyear car in the kitchen. There was so much joy and laughter!

Yes, that's my little girl dressed like Buzz Lightyear. She is not at all interested in dressing up like a princess but she loves Toy Story and Buzz is one of her favorites.

We have a lot to do around here since the weather is finally getting nice. Our yard is in dire need of attention and our cars had not been washed in who knows how long. Saturday we washed our cars with help from the kids. Eliza discovered the sprayer and that if you spray it at your brother and sisters they will run screaming. It's the simple things that are truly the most fun!

Today we had a quiet family celebration for Eliza's 3rd birthday. I think she really enjoyed it. She was able to open up more presents, have birthday brownies, spend some time in the sun, and go to Red Robin for dinner.


Nothing like a little sunbathing on your birthday.
Getting sung to at Red Robin.

This week has been full of wonderful memories and precious reminders that God has blessed us beyond measure. "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down form the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." James 1:17

Monday, June 7, 2010

Books with Boo

One of the nicknames we have for Eliza is "Baby Boo". She was so into peek-a-boo when she first came home that the name just seemed to fit. Hence the title of this post, "Books with Boo". Bedtimes rituals have changed around our house as Boo has gotten older. Lately we do some book reading, a Bible story, and a prayer time. We all love books and if you spend any time at all with Boo you will find that she loves to be read to. I am going to start posting some book recommendations for all of you out there who may or may not want them. Consider this my first one.

One of my favorite books for adopted kids is called "I Don't Have Your Eyes", by Carrie A. Kitze. I love it because it goes through physical characteristics that we don't have in common and then reminds us of the things about ourselves that are the same. We have seen this with Boo. She may not look like us but she does have our sense of humor, our love of family, our hearty laugh, and so much more.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon so that you can see for yourself what a great book it is.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Our Dossier is In!!!

Yesterday was a busy day for our family but was a day where we reached a big milestone in our adoption. We all piled in the car, went to Salem and had our home study certified, piled back in the car, drove down to Eugene, and turned in our dossier. The dossier is a compilation of documents we have gathered that lets Ethiopia know about our family and our desire to adopt. It is such a good feeling to have this done. This means that we are now on the wait list for a referral! One of the most amazing things about all of this is that we will most likely only have to wait 3-6 months for a referral. That seems like nothing compared to the 3 years we waited for Eliza. It's surreal to think that somewhere in Ethiopia is a baby either born or soon to be born that will join our family. We are praying daily for "baby Africa" (a nickname given by Eliza), baby's health, and the transitions to come.

The kids posing in front of Governor Straub's portrait. My parents live in one of his old houses.

One of the cutest things growing in the garden at the capital.

The next thing we are waiting on is our fingerprint appointments for immigration. Once that is approved we will have everything we need to schedule a court date after our referral is received. Once that court day is scheduled we will be off on our first trip to Ethiopia.

In other news, we are finishing up our curriculum this week! I don't know who is more excited, me or the kids. Finishing our second year of home schooling all three of our older kids is a huge accomplishment. Not only did we finish, we had fun, and we actually want to do it again next year. Granted, bringing home the baby will keep it from being dull, but we are up for the challenge.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's the Little Things.......

Last week we had the chance to take the kids to Seattle for the day. We rode Amtrak up, spent 5 hours in the city, and then rode the train back home. It was a fun trip. Pike Street Market was a hit for me. I think that is where I fell in love with Seattle. They had vegan chocolate chip cookies!!!! Three of the six of us have found we are allergic to dairy so buying a cookie from a bakery has been one luxury we have had to go without. Eliza really enjoyed the street band outside the Space Needle. I gave her a few dollars to put in their donation case. It's a good thing she is so cute because she tried to take some of the coins with her when she was done. Of all the things we did while there, the older kids enjoyed the bumper cars at the Space Needle the most. Little things can mean so much.

We are VERY close to having our dossier off to Ethiopia. It's amazing how quickly things are progressing this time around. As of now we have seen the draft of our home study and are expecting the approved home study any day. Once we receive that we can have it state certified and send off our dossier. At that point we will be on the wait list for a referral. We have no idea how long we will have to wait for a referral but we do know it will not be three years like our first adoption. Just for the record, though, I would wait that long again just for the chance to parent our sweet baby.

Today God reminded me once again that he pays attention to the details. Sometimes you need those reminders. When we started the adoption I knew I wanted to buy the baby crib bedding with African animals on it but everything I saw was pretty spendy. Today I took the kids to a sale of used kid items and found an African animal bedding set! I was so excited! On the way home I called one of my closest friends to share my excitement and she informed me that she had bought us a crib sheet with African animals on it. The sheet matched! I took it as a sweet reminder of God's care about the details.