John 14:18

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.

About Us

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We started this blog so that our family and friends can follow along on our adoption journey. We are excited about our journey and so thankful that we have so many people who want to be apart of this adventure. Please continue to keep us and J Luke in your prayers. Check back often, we will continue to update as we continue this process.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We have been home for a little over 4 months.  Life is good…great…We  love our J Luke and can’t imagine life without him!
My last post ended with us coming home, cocooning in Seattle and waiting for our pediatrician appointment.  I will start there to catch everyone up.  J Luke’s first appointment went great.  Our doctor was so impressed with how healthy he is due to the pneumonia and bronchitis he fought during the first 4 months of his life.  He had blood work done which was more traumatic for me than him…I cried.  We also had to do the wonderful parasite test…those of you who have had to “scoop” understand how lovely this was.  All the tests came back clear, our doctor gave him a clean bill of health and said that we really won the lottery with him...we told her that we had everyone praying for healing….and with J Luke getting a clean bill of health, 5 days after leaving Ethiopia with him so sick with bronchitis, we know that God healed our sweet little boy!  
The last four month have been busy, transitioning from 2 to 3, a few sleepless nights and then the celebration of sleeping through the night, saying dada…mama,  crawling, rolling over, eating solids, teething… all the moments that make us smile and clap our hands, saying yeah… Gobez…as we rejoice with J Luke.  These moments are all a first for us and oh the fun we are having.  I can’t explain the joy that he has brought into our lives and the overflowing love that we have, that continues to grow deeper each day.

When we got home from Ethiopia (March), we started our cocooning process.  We hung out at home, just the 3 of us and we also took our first family adventure to Lopez Island, a small island in the San Juan Islands.  It was so laid back and relaxing.  One of our Young Life families let us stay at their beautiful home…on the ocean, with amazing views…we were spoiled.  We spent time together, just the three of us…enjoying us…definitely one of our favorite adventures with J Luke.

When Jeff had to go back to work, we began traveling so that we could be with him more…this bringing on more adventures.   J Luke is a little rock star…he gains the attention of everyone and what an amazing little traveler he is!  It is a good thing that he takes after his dad and likes to fly because it took me about 31 years to be okay with flying.  I love that I have a flying buddy and I love that we have the opportunity to travel to be with Jeff so that during this time of attaching and bonding, we can still be together as much as possible.

As I type, J Luke is playing with his toys, shaking his rattle, looking at me with his HUGE brown eyes and my heart melts.  I love being his mom…I love that God chose me for him and him for me.  He is truly an amazing little man that I am so thankful for.   

Monday, March 19, 2012


After 6 weeks of being home, we found out that our case was just submitted to the US Embassy and that processing could take another 5 weeks.  The staff at Hannah's Hope was working hard to make sure that they had every detail of JLukes case, witnesses, phone numbers, personal statements, all in hopes that just maybe it would not be sent to Kenya for further investigation.  We were glad that HH did such a detailed job but we were so discouraged that it could be another 5 weeks.  We just wanted to get back to Ethiopia to bring back our little man!  5 days later, I received an email saying that our case had cleared through the US Embassy.  I called Kierstin - our case manager, asking what this email meant, thinking there was no way everything had cleared so quickly.  She said that it did mean our case cleared and that we could be going back to Ethiopia soon. She said that she had not seen a case clear in 5 days.  Especially with the possibility of abandon cases being sent to Kenya for further investigation.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  Kierstin said she would get back to us in 24 hours to let us know for sure but that the email that I received was something to get excited about. 

24 hours later we got the call from Kierstin..."pack your bags, you need to be in Ethiopia in 4 days!" On March 13th, 2012, we started our trip to Ethiopia...3 days till we got to hold our son and this time, never let him go! We had 2 days of travel ahead of us. I can't explain the excitement and emotions we had. When we got to Ethiopia, we had 1 day before Gotcha Day! We couldn't sleep at all that night, we just wanted to go to HH and love on him!

Gotcha Day!!!!

March 15, 2012...What an exciting day it was!!  We left the hotel at 9:30am and had JLuke in our arms by 10:00am.  We GOT JLuke forever!!!  He currently weighs 13 pounds...what a little piggy.  He was full of smiles, was making great eye contact and interacting with us.  It was like he was saying, "finally you have come back to get me, what took so long?" 

We brought the donations to HH, which they loved and got to hang out a bit while we waited for the doctor.  Due to JLukes pneumonia and bronchitis, he had to be checked out before we could take him.  The doctor cleared him and we took him back to our hotel and settled in until our Embassy appointment.

We went to the US embassy and got JLuke's birth certificate and visa and then came back to the hotel and began our attachment and bonding process......I will say, it is harder than both Jeff and I imagined. :) The first evening he cried for 5 hours straight, that night he was up every hour. He had a blow out up to his armpits at 2 am, which required a bath. So Jeff and I are understanding the lack of sleep that all you parents talk about.  However, when we see his smile and twinkle in his eye, it melts our hearts and the sleepless nights seem to fade away. 

We are now in Seattle, the plane rides and layovers all went great.  JLuke did amazing and caught the eye of...pretty much everyone.  We are loving our time with JLuke!  We decided to do a little cocooning in Seattle while we wait for our international pediatrician appointment.  We are settling in to our new family, the cocooning process is going well and JLuke's sleep is getting better.  Tomorrow JLuke gets checked out by the doctor and then we will take our last plane ride home to Yakima. 

The last 2 1/2 years have brought a rollercoaster of emotions, but as I sit and hold JLuke, play with him, laugh with him, sometimes want to cry with him, love on him and he on me, I know that God's plan was perfect, his timing was perfect and He has given us the perfect gift!  I can't imagine life without him!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our First Trip to Ethiopia

Day 1

We have arrived in Ethiopia!!! We got here last night at midnight after three hours at the airport. Immigration…getting our visa, took so long. Luckily we met a couple who is here for their 2nd trip and they helped us through the in-and-outs of immigration, exchanging money and a bit about what to expect on this trip.

It is 8:45am, January 11. Today we meet J Luke! In about 45 minutes! I can’t tell you how excited we are. We only get to spend 3 hours at Hannah’s Hope today. At 12:30 we come back to the hotel and are here for the rest of the day.

There is also a mission trip going on through AGCI. They are building a new library, basketball court, volleyball court, soccer fields and bathrooms for a local school. We met the team this morning at breakfast and asked if we could help since we would be at the hotel for the rest of today and they said they would love the help so after we meet our little guy, we will be off working with the mission team!

We haven’t seen much of Ethiopia, this will happen later in the week. The people are so nice, so genuine.

Jeff met a couple who leaves today to take their baby to his forever home. I’m so excited for that day!

Day 2

Day 2 in Ethiopia was amazing! First we went to Hannah’s Hope and met JLuke. He is full of smiles. He is such a sweet baby. I don’t know what it is like to have a baby…attaching for 9 months while pregnant, but the love that I have for this little guy is unexplainable. I got to feed him and then he napped in our arms.

We toured Hannah’s Hope, hung out with the kids and special mothers, ate lunch there, and then back to the hotel. We quickly changed and were off to help the mission team. We helped to level rock and lay concrete for the basketball court. You can’t see it in the pictures, but the tools that we were using were trowels and floats made of wood, 1X4’s and sticks. The Ethiopian people worked right alongside of us. It was a really cool experience. Jeff made a good friend named Tjermo. He was his concrete guy. If he needed more concrete, Tjermo would get it and say, Tjermo concrete and then give knuckles (if you look hard, you can see this in the background of the picture that shows the basketball court).

We were working in a school play ground so when the kids had breaks, they would come out to watch. They love to get their pictures taken and then look at the screen to see their picture. They also loved to dance. They know all the “American” dances, like the running man, roger rabbit, moon walk….we had a dance off. It was so fun. They tried to teach me some African dances…they laughed so hard as I tried my best to dance with them.

The connection here is really bad, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As I type, Jeff has been trying to get on for about an hour. So we will try to send daily updates as long as we can get access.

I wish that I could post pictures of J Luke but at this time, I still can't! 

Day 3

We spent most of the morning with JLuke. What a sweet boy he is. We hung out with the special mothers and babies as they sun bathed. It gives them the Vitamin D they need and they also lotion and oil them up during this time. The special mothers sing, hug and love on them during this time and really….this never stops. They are constantly giving them love.

We fed JLuke, changed diapers, changed outfits because he had a blow out, put him asleep…just did what parents do. As he slept in my arms, we would walk around to the other side of Hannah’s Hope and hang out with the older kids…ranging in age from 2 to 5. They love to be held, sit on your lap, play soccer…even though they get so much love from the special mothers and the staff at AGCI; they still just want a mom and dad.

One thing that we have found with JLuke being at Hannah’s Hope with so many kids is that he sleeps through anything. At first when he would fall asleep, I would try to be quiet but I soon found out that there was no need for this. The older kids would come around the corner playing and laughing, the babies would cry, the special mothers would sing…Hannah’s Hope is so full of life, laughter and love…it is not a quiet place which made it nice because as he napped in our arms, we could still be in the middle of it all, taking it all in.

The afternoon was spent at the hotel for lunch and rest and then dinner with the mission team. Our trip is a bit different than most. Usually there are other adoptive families here but this week, we are the only ones. With the mission team being here, the schedule is different for us because they are trying to coordinate so many things. We haven’t minded a bit because we have been able to be a part of some of the things that team is doing. Being able to spend time with the mission team has made us realize how much we look forward to being a part of mission work…just another thing that God has orchestrated.

Dinner was at an Italian Restaurant….with the best focaccia bread we have ever had! It was a fun time. Dan Wilson….retired mariner’s catcher…is the mission team leader, they have also adopted 2 children from AGCI, so it has been really cool to talk with them about their experiences. The executive director of AGCI was also here, and hearing her story about how AGCI came about is awesome…her parents started AGCI.
We also got to hang out with Almaz, the director of Hannah's Hope in Ethiopia.  She has so much love for the children of Ethiopia and this shows in EVERYTHING at Hannah's Hope

Day 4

Court day!!! We went to Court with Hefla the AGCI family coordinator. Court was an experience. We met in a room with other adoptive families from other agencies and mothers who were relinquishing their rights…talk about emotional. We were at court for about 3 hours. The waiting took the longest part. The actual appearance before the judge was all of 5 minutes. Jeff, I and Hefla were called into a room, with the judge and asked if we had met our baby, understood the importance of teaching about their culture and interlacing that into his life as he grows up and asked if for sure we wanted to go through with this because if we decided against it after today, he would never be able to be adopted. We said yes to everything. So now the case goes to MOWA and then to Kenya….yes Kenya??? The newest change in this process is that now they are sending all abandoned children’s cases to Kenya for further investigation…why this is happening…no one knows. This could make our wait a bit longer so our prayer is that our case with go through with speed!!!

After court we went to the market and purchased some Ethiopian items, all hand made from Ethiopia. We also got an Amharic bible and lots of Ethiopian Coffee!!! We got some awesome pictures and toys for JLuke’s room and some Ethiopian gifts for our family…so that they too can have a little piece of Ethiopia.

We got to go back to Hannah’s Hope in the afternoon and hung with our little man. What a day today was….play time, feeding, rocking, sleeping, more feeding. Jeff got his first experience with throw up. He was rocking JLuke and JLuke started coughing, Jeff leaned down to make sure he was okay, and the next thing I saw was throw up down Jeff’s leg and about 4 oz on the floor. Jeff’s face was priceless. It was a great experience for him.

I know so many have been praying for JLuke’s health and he is doing awesome. He is a bit congested still but even from the first day we held him, he is sounding better. He is not on any medication, he is growing and he is a strong little guy. He can hold his head up even though he is still so tiny. He is in newborn to 3 month clothes…every brand fit a bit different. He did swim in most of the three month so you can imagine what he looked like in 6 month. I don’t think they have very many 0-3 mo sizes and right now there are 4 or 5 small babies. He is a happy little guy, full of smiles….and we gave him so many hugs…for all of you too.

This evening was our traditional meal. Wass took us, ordered a traditional meal…injera, which is a pancake like bread with traditional spices blended with beans, soy and veggies. It was good. We also experienced cultural dancing and singing. Wass explained to us the different songs and dances and what nations they represent…there are like 40 different nations (tribes). This was an awesome experience…we have tons of video!

Day 5

Today was a hard day…sad but also joyous. We went to Hannah’s Hope this morning to spend the morning with our little guy. We fed, played, rocked, walked around with him in the ergo (baby carrier) and enjoyed our time with him. Today was my day to get spit up (I think he had a bit of a tummy ache) and pee’d on. I changed his diaper and obviously wasn’t fast enough with the new diaper…there was pee everywhere, running down my arm, soaked the changing table, on the table next to us, in the wipes. One of the special mothers ran over and said “Gobez, Gobez….meaning brilliant – wonderful and then proceeded to help me clean up JLuke, myself and the area around us. As our time was coming to an end, we gave one of the special moms his family photo album and gave hugs to all of his special moms. This was really hard. We gave him hugs and kisses, took a few more pictures and then had to leave. I didn’t do so hot, but I was able to hold most of it in until we went out the gate. Our case manager said that we needed to control our emotions when saying good bye. It is hard on the special mothers and kids to see the new mom and dad’s cry. Jeff was my rock…telling me, you are doing good. I wasn’t doing so good though!

After leaving HH, we went to the mission site. This was the teams last day. We helped with clean up and odds and ends. The basketball court was finished and the hoops went up. Jeff played bumped with the guys and helped to teach the Ethiopians how to play. They loved it and loved getting high fives. Their shooting technique is a bit different and it was so fun to watch. When all was finished, the mission team gave away their boots and some clothes to those that helped them…the Ethiopians came to work in concrete and use pick axes with bare feet or sandals. They had holey jeans and T-shirts that they wore in layers so that one layer of holes would cover the next.

We are now at the hotel, hanging out, getting ready to pack up and head out. We have about 6 hours of down time. We are on the same flight out as some of the team so that will be fun. We have made new friends and have truly loved the interaction that we have had with the Ethiopian people.

Our goal is to learn Amharic so that we can teach JLuke and also understand the language better so that when we come back, we can communicate…right now…it is a lot of hand motions and three words….Gobez which means brilliant or wonderful, e-shi – ok and amesegnadlu - thank you.

Hannah’s Hope, the mission team, the special mothers, the love….everything. AGCI is an awesome organization, who truly loves these people and shows it in so many ways. We are thankful for all they do, for the love that they give the children and the love they give the Ethiopian community.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Amazing Outpouring of Prayer and Love…

On December 6th we found out that JLuke had pneumonia, we sent out a mass text and ask for prayer and healing for his little body. On December 17th we found out that his little body wasn’t responding to the medicine, so they started IV antibiotics, and again, we sent out a mass text, asking for prayer. The response we got still brings me to tears. We had friends and family praying, placing him on prayer chains, small groups praying for him, people coming to me saying, “I have a friend who knows you and they told me about JLuke and we are praying for him”, connections made with a doctor in Ethiopia to see if he could help our little man….and the stories go on and on. It touches my heart to know the outpouring of prayer from people we know and from those we don’t. At a time where I just wanted to be over in Ethiopia holding our little baby, comforting him and loving him…but couldn’t. God sent His prayer warriors and with this I was held, comforted and loved.

We got an update last week that JLuke is responding to the medicine and he is doing so much better. When we pray, with one heart, one voice, one mind….GREAT things happen!

Today we got our court date and travel dates for our first trip. As Jeff talked to our case worker and repeated what she was saying, I jumped up and down in the kitchen with tears…happy tears. It’s actually happening; we finally get to hold our little man. This journey has been quite the rollercoaster but in two weeks, we will be in Ethiopia! So again…I sent out a text:

We have a court date! We will be in Ethiopia Jan 10-14. We will be meeting JLuke Jan 11 and going to court of Jan 13. Exciting times! I can’t believe it is finally here! Lots of jumping up and down in our house! Plus some tears from me…. I can’t help it!

The texts in return again showed me just how much support we have in our journey. The excitement of others, the jumping up and down that was not only happening in my kitchen but in other homes and again the outpouring of prayer for this portion of our journey.

This post is not only to update everyone on our journey, but also to say THANK YOU for the prayers from everyone, whether you know us or not. You will never know how much it has touched my life and how God has used you to be His tool!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tears...Healing...and Excitement

I have exciting news, we have a new referral.  Some of you may be thinking, wait...what about the last referral.  In September, we lost our first referral.  The Ethiopian Government put a hold on all adoptions from the southern region and our first little guy was from that region.  This hold turned into a sort of recall, the government took back children from that region and we lost our first referral.  This was a sad day... week... we tried to sort out and understand what was going on in Ethiopia and wrap our emotions around losing our first referral and preparing for the future.  I don't understand why things happen the way they do but I have to keep telling myself that God is in control, he knows the bigger picture and has the best plan for our life.

So back to our exciting news.  Our new little man was found abandoned in a vehicle driving training course on November 7, the day he was born. His mom could have left him anywhere, but in leaving him at this facility, he was sure to be found.  He was taken into care at Hannah’s Hope on November 11, 2011.

On November 14 he was examined by a Hannah’s Hope physician. He weighs 5 pounds and is 19 ½ inches long. He is malnourished and has low iron, but those are really the only concerns that both the Hannah’s Hope physician and our international adoption physician have. Hannah’s Hope is also beefing him up on multi-vitamins to help with the deficiencies.

When talking with our adoption case worker, she said that our first trip to Ethiopia could be as soon as January. Seems to all be coming together!

Please be praying that this little guy will stay healthy and that we will be able to bring him home quickly.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Praying JLuke home

I want to give everyone an update on the adoption because PRAYER is needed!

Last week we got an email from our agency that informed us on closures to some of the state ran orphanages in the southern areas of Ethiopia. The reason given for the closure was poor living conditions for children. When a child is given up for adoption, they are placed in a state ran home before going to the orphanage that they will be adopted from. A few days later our social worker called and told us that JLuke is from one of the southern orphanages that closed and at this point, they are investigating to see if any illegal matters were taking place. She told me that it shouldn’t have an effect on our case but that she wanted us to be aware. I asked a lot of questions, like what kind of illegal matters, but she didn’t have any other information. On Monday she called and told me that this issue is bigger than they thought and the southern government would like to see all children who originally came from the southern orphanages to be replaced in state ran homes and for all adoptions to be postponed, if not terminated. On Tuesday, she called explaining that they may be able to place the children whose families have already made the first trip but because we have not made that trip yet, that doesn’t include us.

Jeff and I know that God is in control. We don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but we know that His plan is better than our plan and that we will continue to trust Him through this. It is hard to look at the pictures of this little guy, thinking that he is ours and then not knowing what will happen to him.

I know that our prayers are bigger than the Ethiopian government, so today, please take time to say a little prayer for JLuke and for the government officials who are making all of these decisions. In the email from our social worker there is a quote from Almaz (she runs Hannah’s Hope Orphanage) stating the meaning of JLuke’s Ethiopian name (Mintesnot). Mintesnot means God is there, there is nothing that God cannot do. There is truly NOTHING that God cannot do and I pray that He will make a way for us to bring our little guy home.

Thank you for praying and supporting us through all of these challenges.

Praying JLuke home!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exciting News!!!!

We have some exciting news!!!!
Ya’ll know the year that we have had, with me finishing my masters and Jeff away at pilot training.  All of this while waiting patiently (at least trying) for a referral.  As we look back, we understand God’s timing and we know that we couldn’t have accomplished all that we did if things would have happened according to our plan. 

Jeff and I haven’t been together for more than a week in the last 6 months.  When I came to Jacksonville for this trip, I didn’t know what I was going to do with all of my free time….with Jeff still in the RJ program (school for 10 hours a day) and then finishing up his last week of work.  I love the sun and the beach, but there is only so much of that you can do by yourself for 2 weeks.  I looked into getting a 2 week job but no one hires for 2 weeks and even volunteer work was not available.  Like always, God had a bigger plan!
While in Florida, we got a call…this call was different than any other call we have received from AGCI.  Her voice was excited and as she told me to look on my email for a possible referral, I felt her excitement…I also felt overwhelmed, scared, not ready….what am I saying…not ready….of course we are ready, it just felt so un-real!  As I went through all the information, medical records, court documents, legal paperwork from AGCI, it was explained to me that before any decision was made, we needed to talk with an international doctor and find out any medical issues.  I started to get all our ducks in a row and meetings were set for this week.  When Jeff got back to the hotel, I had the picture of this little guy up on the computer and explained everything to him.  We prayed and gave him to God, asking God to direct and guide us in our decision making.  We sat in our hotel room and looked at each other, realizing that this could be our JLuke and then thinking, this could not have come at a better time.

Today we talked with our international adoption doctor from Seattle, via cell phone. J  He told us that given the circumstances he is in relatively good health.  He said that the information that we have is some of the most detailed that he has seen and that he has heard very good things about Hannah’s Hope (orphanage).  This is what we needed to hear to go forward with this process.  
So we have a referral!  He is a between 4-6mo…not sure of his actual birth date because information gets lost in translation and the Ethiopian calendar is different than ours.  Between now and when we go to Ethiopia for the final trip, his birth mother can still change her mind.  We are trusting in God’s plan, knowing that any changes made are made for a reason, but also praying and hoping that this in fact is our son. 

So with all of my free time while in Florida, I completed the paperwork (pages and pages) so that the process could move forward.  We will not know when our first trip date will be...most likely some time in October...we wait (we are good at this).

Please continue praying for this journey that we are on.  We can’t wait to bring him home to his forever home so that everyone can meet him face to face!