Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I've decided to start this thread. We can archive it later to have it be ongoing through this journey...

Dear God,

We are so grateful of the many blessings You have given us. We pray for the children that You are about to bless us with. We pray that You will guide their steps and give them a sense of peace and comfort knowing that they will be taken to another family that loves them dearly. We pray that You will heal their wounded or grieving hearts. If their parents are still alive we pray that they can know that they have made a wise decision for their children. We pray that joy fills the hearts of these children and any of their family members in Ethiopia. We pray for the agency AAI that they will be able to continue to have the means, support, finances and staff to continue to take care of their children at LAYLA HOUSE, AHOPE and all of their centers. Give the agency Godly wisdom in placing all the children with the families You have ordained. And God we pray for our children currently in our home that they will rejoice and bond with their brother and sister (or brother and brother)...We thank you Lord that you do place the scattered children into their homes ....We pray that more families will come forward to adopt...and mostly we pray that in time there will be no more suffering , disease or hunger so that in the future this world can be a place where children would never have to say goodbye or grieve the loss of their parents..amen..

Life is Good!

So, my house is a mess because we are cleaning out our storage space (looks like the entire house was shook). Or as my mother loved to say "this place looks like a cyclone hit it." But we are very happy to be clearing out and getting rid of alot of old stuff we don't need and making room for all of the wonderful new stuff adventures and people in our lives. Again, I am so impressed with my family. They are all so enthusiastic and supportive and that warms our hearts. Last week I sent in applications for the agency and for USCIS clearance (that takes up to 120 days), we got our local fingerprinting done. And in a couple of days we will send in our homestudy update application. My greatest joy is that God has given us a confidence and strength in knowing that this is what he wants for us. Many times we can be confronted with so much fear etc..but we have addressed those issues and for the time being are standing on faith....

on a superficial note..I am blonder today having gone to the hairdresser. I found a new clothing store in our town...didn't buy anything but had fun looking..and we find it ironic that the foundation of our house is finally built. We walked through our basement yesterday.....YAY!

Anyhow,,,,,this is probably a boring update but just wanted to keep y'all informed.

Deanna banana

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What a Great DAY..Thanks to my amazing family...

What a great day. I spent the day cleaning the house and calling sisters and my mom. Last night before I went to bed I had to chuckle because I realized I was more afraid of breaking this news to my mother than I was at actually going to Ethiopia, bringing the kids home etc. I don't know why that the past several years I believe I have constantly shown my mother how I can shock her at any given moment. AND she always takes it as a trouper. And I am the youngest of the 4 gals who have completely challenged her and stepped out on faith before...So, my mom is very happy and supportive. I am sure she is also worried but mostly happy. And Barney (my step dad) was super sweet to me on the phone.....he seems to completely get our motivation...He said something like this..."I am in know we give $20 here and there for charity but you are giving your lives to these kids." Then he quoted a bible scripture. My sisters are wonderful and i think will all make excellent aunts....I am just elated at having this support from my family. Each and everyone of them is so special and I thank God that I have been blessed with such a great family (which is growing as we speak)...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Letter tonight to my family!!!!!

Dear Mom and Sisters,

We have big news and I called D tonight and left mom a message but then chickened out to call again. Then thought it was too late to call the other sisters. I am so excited but know that some of you may think that Mark and I are out of our minds.... BUT...MOm remember I am happily married, not a drug addict and have a very good business. I also have converted back to christianity which should make you very happy...(HA!) but that isn't the news.. Mark is also a christian ..but that isn't the news just the buffer to give you some perspective. all seriousness, God has put it strongly on our hearts to adopt again...DRUM ROLL PLEASE ....this time a sibling group (2 kids) Between ages of 2-9 from ETHIOPIA....I hope you haven't fainted...anyhow...check out our blog for more info...

I know that when you think of things from American perspectives the following fears come in: 5 kids and a crazy lifestyle...How do they pay for college? What about the racial issue? Will the kids have AIDS (all will be tested several times prior to getting a VISA for a negative status).....But all I keep thinking is what it must be like for 2010 there will be 40 MILLION orphans globally...only one hundreth of one percent are adopted...most of those are below the age of 2...Most orphans in Africa are complete orphans..neither parent is around...they are DEAD...I think about the mother whose final wishes and prayers are for someone to come to find their children...I think of the kids who are lucky enough to be placed in an orphanage only to wonder everynight if they will ever be in a family again and if they will be able to grow up with their sister or brother or separated....I think about the ones on the street who may end up in the hands of people who want to use them as slaves in their own country. We can live with one less starbucks coffee everyday, with fewer visits out to restaurants, with buying generic foods...we can do it as a family. We have support of many friends here including some that are from Ethiopia. We know that God's hand in this....I just want you to look at it not from a place of fear...concern but from realizing the miraculous blessing that is about to come into all of our lives.
Check out the blog and especially Journeyman's (hubby) comments under NAYSAYERS...have to click on the little icon on the bottom. Look at the video link that is there...and also read about LAYLA house which is where are future children will most likely be....

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Today we let some friends know about our adoption news. It was exciting to hear mostly positive enthusiastic responses. But also some people surprised me. There are some that I expected to hear support from that fell into the "you are sure to ruin your life" comments. And if I am being positive I will say that those comments still probably mostly come from a place of love...but it isn't from a place of faith and courage. I believe that the more you practice faith the more courageous you become. I believe this is because when you are suspended by faith into the unknown that is when God can reveal Himself to you. But I forget that many people have never been out there past the ledge and into the air waiting for God to catch them....So, I chose to just nod my head...let them speak but say to myself...'too bad they haven't learned how to fly in God's arms"......My faith has grown from taking many steps..not of blind faith but of thought and prayer and patience waiting for God to tell me when to jump. POINT IS: I am not going to let fear talk me out of doing what God is telling us we can do.... I may not be able to convince everybody of that but there isn't a doubt in my mind. Yes..there will be grief for our new children to fly through, a language barrier, a racial barrier...but I believe the view from up there is going to be beautiful

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

YES ...we are adopting again!

Some of you may be shocked..that with 3 kids, busy career etc..that we will be taking on adopting 2 more kids from Ethiopia. I know it sounds crazy! But that being said ,please believe me when I tell you we know that this is God's will for our family. I just can't imagine saying NO to God on this one. And while we are scared, we are also really excited. When God puts a heavy burden on your heart to DO something for Him, we can chose to sit still , plug our ears and ignore Him or take a leap of faith. We are taking the leap. I just don't want to have to answer to Him when He says "I gave you a heavy burden to adopt MY children and you ignored me." So, here we go again, taking the leap of faith, believing it is something that pleases Him.

James; 2, 14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

I ask all of you (our friends and family) to pray for us. Pray for our children to adjust, to accept and love eachother, and all stay healthy. Pray for the children in Africa and in this world that have no one and cry out every night for someone/anyone. Pray for the mothers who have to die not knowing if anyone will come to hug their children after they are gone. Pray that we will continue to hear God's voice and be led to the children God is bringing to our family. Pray for our new children in Ethiopia now as God is making a way for their new family to come to them and for their prayers to be answered.

And mostly celebrate and praise God with us as we start an adventure and journey that is going to be challenging, rewarding, incredible, amazing, life changing, life altering and a huge blessing to all of us....we love you all ...

What God says about adoption/orphans and widows!

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.”

Psalm 68:5,6b – A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.

Psalm 82:3 – Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.

Matt. 25:40 – The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

John 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Adoption Advocates International and Layla House!

Here is a description of Layla House from the Adoption Advocates Website. This is the agency we are using

Layla House and Adoption from Ethiopia

Layla House is a child care facility operated by Adoption Advocates International, an agency licensed in Washington State and an NGO with authority from the Ethiopian government to arrange adoptions of orphan children with qualified and loving American parents. Located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Layla House is a compound composed of four smaller compounds, situated on a hill side in a nice residential area of the city, with lots of space for outdoor play for the children.

Babies and young children are cared for in the upper compound, The buildings form a U shape with a court yard in the center where little ones can play safely. In the morning on nice days, the babies are brought outside into the courtyard as well. There are several sleeping rooms and during much of the day babies are in the main room watching the activity and being held for each feeding. Children, ages three to six, attend preschool classes each day where they sing, play games, do crafts and begin learning their ABC’s. There is plenty of staff to meet the needs of each child. One person weighs and measures the babies on a regular basis and assures that they get to their medical appointments for immunizations and check-ups as needed. Older children may visit younger siblings and some older kids like to come and play with the babies and small children.

The AAI office is also located in this area. Records are kept on the children and early stages of the processing of adoptive family’s dossiers takes place in this office, as well as bookkeeping and other office tasks.

In the lower part of this area is the kitchen, which is a traditional Ethiopian kitchen in many ways but boasts a few innovations such as screen doors, vents over the stove, and a stainless steel sink. Children receive a balanced diet and they are allowed to eat as much as they want, a luxury in this country.

Below this area there are sleeping, bathing, and dining areas for the older children. Children sleep in bunks in small groups with a housemother near by at night. Each child has possessions of his own and a place to keep them. He is responsible for making his own bed and keeping things tidy. Again, buildings are arranged in a U shape with a garden area in the center. This is the place for quiet outdoor play. The dining room can be used for play during rainy weather and there is a TV and VCR for the children in the dining room. They watch American children’s videos. Children often gather in the dining room to play games and sing as well.

Next to this compound it the soccer field and space for active play. Also children enjoy playing basket ball and other active games, and this is where the P.E. classes are held.

The lower compound has the temporary school house. This is a house that had most of the interior rooms removed to create larger classrooms. It is adequate but not ideal and there are plans to build a new school house once funds are available. Here children have classes in math, science, English, Amharic, and geography.

While at the Layla House, the children are prepared for life with their new adoptive families. Learning conversational English is emphasized and the children learn to sing songs in English as well as to count, name the colors, and recognize letters of the alphabet. Children like to study the map of the U.S. to see where their new families are located and where their friends are going to live. They have their first experience with crafts, and puzzles. Volunteers and visiting adoptive parents are encouraged to spend time with them playing games and reading to improve their skills in English. They learn Western table manners and how to eat with a knife and fork. A young man comes to teach sports and they play soccer and other organized games. During free time they like to play basketball, hopscotch, jump rope, and marbles, just like kids anywhere.

The children have chores to do and they earn that in American families they will be expected to help in the kitchen, with cleaning and laundry. They go on field trips and they have experienced horse back riding, bowling, eating in a restaurant, and even camping. A special treat is a visit to the shoe shop for new shoes and a stop for ice cream on the return trip.

Meanwhile, adoptive families are sought for the children. Staff from Adoption Advocates International visits the children and takes video and photos. Medical information is gathered. The Ethiopian social worker meets with the child and often makes visits to the extended family and neighbors to obtain information on the child. All available information is shared with prospective families. When a family makes a commitment to a particular child, they prepare a Welcome Bag for the child containing a T-shirt, small gifts and a photo album to acquaint the child with the new home and family. This is a happy day indeed for each child as they eagerly examine the family photo album, check the toys, and wear the new shirt from their new family with pride.

For the families, the adoption process usually goes quite smoothly. The requirements for adoptive parents are few. Singles women or couples, with children or without, are accepted. The fees are some of the lowest for international adoption.

Each adoptive family must have a homestudy done by a licensed agency or social worker and must apply to the Bureau of Homeland Security for a visa for the child. Families must agree to spend time learning about Ethiopia and its rich history and culture. They must commit to participating in the post-placement services of their agency or social worker and they must agree to send letters and photos annually until the child reaches the age of eighteen years. Families must prepare a dossier of documents with the help of Merelene of Adoption Advocates International and this dossier must be stamped at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC before being sent to Ethiopia. Once in Ethiopia, the dossier is translated and submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, children’s department, for their review and approval.

When permission is given for the child to be adopted by the family, the files are submitted to the court. After the adoption decree is given, the adopting parents may travel to Ethiopia to apply for the visa and take their child home or the adoption decree can be sent to the U.S. for visa approval and the child escorted home by AAI staff or escorts. Total time varies, and usually ranges from four to six months from the time the dossier reaches Ethiopia.

All children are tested for HIV at the clinic recommend by the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia as they come into the Layla House. They are tested again just before leaving Ethiopia. All children are tested for Hepatitis B and venereal disease and they are screened for TB. They are given routine medical exams and immunizations.

Adoption Advocates International, a U.S. licensed adoption agency, has worked in the area of foreign adoption since 1983. AAI has been approved by the Ethiopian government to arrange adoptions since 1997.

Ethiopian adoption is less expensive than adoption from some countries, the process is well defined, and the children are basically healthy emotionally and physically. Another thing many families who have adopted from Ethiopia enjoy is the sense of community they form with other families with Ethiopian children. An email group is open only to families adopting from Ethiopia through AAI. Families share the joys, challenges, tips, and stories.

If you would like to receive further information including a fee schedule and application, please send your mailing address to and request an Ethiopian adoption packet. Once you have sent your application, you can request a copy of the video of available children, which is updated regularly, you may order it by email at the same address. You will be billed $10 to cover the cost of copying and shipping. One adoptive mother’s comment on the video recently was, "The videos of the waiting Ethiopian children are strikingly different from the videos one sees of the institutionalized children in Russia and the former Soviet bloc countries: they are running on a lawn together, playing soccer, petting a dog, or putting on a Christmas pageant with costumes, props, and memorized lines. As a waiting parent, I have gotten art-work, including a Mother's Day card, from the little girl whom we're adopting! I've was able to send her gifts and then I get back photos of her opening her gifts. I get reports of her having gone on field trips to experience bowling, horseback riding, and the American hotel's indoor swimming pool. She is taking English lessons and she has a P.E. teacher. Having adopted previously from Eastern Europe, I can tell you truly how astonishingly different it is. The biggest difference: virtually all these children started out as treasured members of their birth-families, were orphaned by war or AIDS, are themselves healthy, and retain the joyful start in life they were given by their late parents and grandparents."

If you cannot adopt an Ethiopia child but you would like to help AAI continue to provide care for these youngsters or to provide care for an orphan who is able to remain with extended family if they have a small amount of financial support, please request information on how you can sponsor a child.

The needs of children in Ethiopia are great. It is a country rich in history and tradition but an orphan child, without relatives to care for him, is not likely to survive to adulthood. Can you make room for one of these beautiful children in your family?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What does the title mean?

Injera is the mainstay food in Ethiopia, Guacamole is what I ate so much of by the pool when adopting our little one from Guatemala, AND Hotdog's are as all american as baseball and apple pie...similar to our two oldest kids. SO the perfect food for our family as we head into adopting from Ethiopia would be a hotdog with guacamole on top wrapped in INJERA...

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Okay, I'll bite; what's "Injera Guacamole"?