Friday, December 28, 2007

fourteen weeks waiting

This was our fourteenth week, otherwise know as 3 1/2 months, of waiting for our referral.
I'm still waiting for a response from our agency's (AWAA) Director of Programs. Because of the Christmas holiday, we were to direct questions to her. I'll let you know what I hear.
We are hoping and praying for good news in the beginning of the new year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

We just made a birthday cake and sang the Happy Birthday song in honor of Jesus' birth. The cake topper, perfect I think, is part of the Fisher Price Little People nativity set. My friend Lisa got it for us. After all of the hooplah is over at your house, take a little time to celebrate the birth of our Saviour. Without him, there is no hooplah.
Thanks, Susan, for the hyperlink instructions. I have arrived! ;)

Frohe Weihnachten, Ya'll!

(That's Deutsch Texan for Merry Christmas One and All!) We are having a quiet day. We got back yesterday from a wonderful trip to Austria. Marshall got to snow board and I got to relax with a stack of books, hot tea, and BBC Prime (can you say What Not to Wear marathon?). So refreshing! Sophie and I played in the snow and I made a snow angel...yes, I'm 30 years old, but when there is that much snow, how can you resist? Pictures to follow.This is how we travel...Sophie on my lap. No kennel for this girl.
There's the world champion snow boarder!
This is our hotel/guesthouse. It was beautiful and comfortable with only 70 rooms. Nice and cozy.
This is me building up the courage to do my snow angel....
Sophie loved the snow...more each time we went out. I think her paws got used to the cold after a while and she ran and jumped and stuck her face in it. Fun to watch. Yes, she's wearing a pink coat. Now, don't think we're "those kind of people". She did not like it at first, but when you live in this climate, a pink heart quilted jacket is a must to go outside for extended periods. It really keeps her warm...thanks Mom! Our friends brought their pug Rambo and he sported a manly argyle sweater. Sophie loves Rambo.
I did it....I dove into the snow and waved my arms and legs....note to self: next time, lay down carefully (and not in jeans) as to not get snow up under my coat which results in a wet bottom....for a few hours.

On the adoption front: We hoped for at least a referral and some pictures of our children by now, but it was not to be. So we're holding on, praying and trying to, dare I say, enjoy the wait. I'm confident that the new year will bring some action our way. Some days it's easy to get frustrated and wonder why in the world we have to wait so long, but then I'm reminded that God is indeed in control. Now don't let that fool you...I am not a super woman without a care in the world. It can be overwhelming to be so in love with children on a different continent and no way to know who they are...yet. I think when all is said and done, we'll be able to look back and see at least some of the details of why we waited.

I'm dreaming of what next Christmas, Lord willing, will be like. No sleeping in for these Coens.

Merry Christmas! And remember....

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 8:11

I'm off to make our birthday cake for Jesus....more photos to come!

Friday, December 21, 2007

thirteen weeks waiting

That's 3 months and 1 week. Or how about 91 days. Whichever you prefer is fine with me.
This week did go by quickly. We had our last Bible study day for PWOC. We'll kick back off in January. It was a wonderful first half of the year.
Lots of referrals in blog world this week too. I spent my share of time reading stories of the "call" and rejoicing for these families from other agencies. I wish I could link you to their blogs, but I'm not that saavy....yet. I need to figure that one out. I've seen a lot of blog entries with hyperlinks and cool stuff like that. Give me a break people! I'm doing the best I can here. But I will work on my blog skills.
I'm also following a few families that are in Ethiopia picking up their children as I type. So much fun!!
I've emailed our agency (AWAA) and asked about our wait time. There is a PCS looming and I hope to get a better idea of the time frame we're looking at. Hopefully I'll get an answer and I'll let you know what that is. We said we would not get nervous about our referral until the New Year came without one. And the New Year without a referral is almost here.
Oh, we did find out where we're moving in May. Fort Bragg, North Carolina, here we come! We are both really excited and think it's going be a wonderful adventure in ministry. I've been picking the brains of friends that have lived there. It's hard to get good information about where to live, etc. from a web site. I have a good friend that lives there too, so I can't wait to be reunited...hi Jammie!!
I must get to bed. Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

jingle all the way

We got up early this morning and ran our community's Jingle Bell Jog. It was cold, but had to be done. I ran it the first year we were here, but Marshall was gone. Last year we did it together and this year I convinced him to run ahead of me (he's fast, I'm slow, but he's sweet enough to jog with me) and I ran with my friend Lisa Marie. She is in the picture with me below. Go Lisa Marie!! This was her first 5K and she did GREAT!
That's all for now. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

twelve weeks waiting

Twelve weeks ago today, our dossier was mailed to Ethiopia. I can't believe that was 3 months ago! In some ways it has slowly inched by and in other ways it has flown by.
Yesterday we received news that four of the five families in the 3 Oct batch of referrals made it through court. Hopefully this means court dates for the 19 Oct referral group and new referrals to come soon.
I put in our tee shirt order last week, so those of you who ordered, they should be here in a few weeks. I'll promptly hand deliver to you or put them in the mail. I heard from the couple that is helping us with the venture and they are in Oklahoma...covered literally in ice. So it may add a week to the production of the tees. It's hard to print shirts with no electricity! Thanks for waiting so patiently!
So...twelve weeks closer to our children. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

new look for the ark

You're at the right place...we just have a new look.

Ya'll I have to be honest.....I'm getting discouraged.....I've been getting discouraged. Feeling like there is no end in sight where the adoption is concerned. Just being honest. If I can't be honest on my own blog, where can I be?

I'm impatient and I admit it. I know God's timing is perfect. I really do. I just want to know who our children are and I want to get started being their mom. I feel like we're soooo close but sooooo far away from a referral and then a court date (lately the courts are backed up and many are having trouble getting through) and then an embassy date and then a travel date.

Lord, You are in charge of this journey...I want to enjoy it with You!

So in the midst of my pity party, I thought I'd be constructive and make over the blog. Hope you like it!

Ok, enough about me. Let's talk about the Lord and me.

I can't have a public pity party without also sharing how good God has been this year. He has kept me so close to Him, throughout each step we've taken. He's taken me to new levels in Him and I am grateful. I will always look back on 2007 as a year of such mercy, growth and change. May next year be even more exciting as we continue this journey together, me striving to be more like Jesus, and the Lord loving me just as much as He always has....even in the midst of an ugly pity party.

Friday, December 7, 2007

eleven weeks waiting

Eleven weeks under our belts and not sure how many more.

Praying today that the court appointments for the first group of 5 families went well. I'll update when I know.

We are now #9 on the main list as a family accepted a referral for a waiting group of 3 siblings. Praise the Lord for bringing this family together! Isn't this adoption stuff exciting?! I sure think so. I feel really privileged that God has called us on this journey.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Help stop this terrible disease!

Wow! We have so much! Stuff that is. I was talking with a good friend today about simplifying and then I came across this video.

Since returning from my missions trip to Ethiopia this summer, I find it hard to forget the everyday amenities and conveniences I enjoy. Brushing my teeth with clear, running water, directly from a faucet. Taking showers (without flip flops) that last entirely too long because the water is so wonderfully hot and clean. Walking barefoot in my home, not scared of what's on the floors. One towel for my head and one for my body. More food than two people can eat yet I find myself at the grocery store a lot because we have no food in the house (what?). Too many pairs of shoes to choose from every day. Standing in front of a closet jammed pack with clothes, saying that I have nothing to wear. Dusting a bookshelf with an entire shelf full of Bibles....what translation do you need? Carrying big sacks of plastic bottles out the the recycle bin because I've had a lot of fresh bottled water to drink, as if the water from the tap isn't good enough. Medical and dental care within walking distance. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

We are so blessed with so much. So many don't have the very basics that we sometimes take for granted. Six months after the missions trip, I'm still trying to figure out what to do with that experience, with what I saw, heard, smelled and tasted. Praying the Lord will show me a tangible way to do SOMETHING meaningful for Him for His people.

Here is the Scripture I took away from Ethiopia:

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? James 2:5

And here is something for us to wrestle with:

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If 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? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:15-17

And and:

"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." Matthew 24:40

I believe the Bible makes it clear that we are called to tangible ministry to others. Hope you'll chew on this with me....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

ANY news? We'll take it!

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

So we did get some news last week. Sounds like we shouldn't jump every time the phone rings for a while. I'm not totally complaining because I said before that any news would be good, as long as we knew something about what was going on. So...

Two sets of familes (5 each) got referrals in October. The first set has a court date on 7 December. The agency won't ask for a court date for the second group until the first group successfully goes through court. They won't be giving any more referrals until both groups get through court.

At least we know, that's all I keep thinking. Sure, I'd love to see my kids' faces before Christmas and jump on a plane to meet them. But we can relax and trust the Lord that our time is coming.

Let's pray for the families that do have pictures of their children and want so badly to get through this last step. I hope December 7 is a day of rejoicing and another court date will be quickly set for the next group.

Also pray for the families that are soooo close to referrals, as well as those who feel so far away from their glorious phone call.

We're number 10 on the list (but there are several "lines": single child, siblings, unrelated, unspecified gender, etc). We feel so very close to seeing those sweet faces.

My heart is a little sick, but I know this wait it worth it. And the way the Lord is piecing this all together will just get Him more glory. I'm all for that!

As always, we ask you to pray for the Coen kids and their parents who are waiting expectantly to love them with all of their hearts.....and then some.

Friday, November 30, 2007

ten weeks waiting....

We have completed 10 weeks of waiting now. It doesn't feel like there is an end in sight. Not trying to be negative (those that know me know that I'm usually quite positive), but I think we'll be waiting a while. I'm trying to be ok with that. Don't have much of a choice, do I? :)

Speaking of the number 10.....we need ten more teeshirts to complete our order! So, Christmas shopping anyone? You can order to the right of the screen and let me know the specifics of your order through email.

The fifteen shirts already ordered (and those that ordered them) would appreciate the company. :) And we always appreciate the support and are excited over the awareness of adoption and Ethiopia they will bring.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Be still my heart...

they do still make 'em!

A precious person (I don't know who) left a comment on my post mentioning the trap door pajamas. I wish I knew what sizes to get.....

Here's the link:

Thanks pijill!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Healthy Guatemalan Baby Girl....

is ready for her forever family! Her name is Esther.
Our home study agency, Adopt Abroad, Inc., also an adoption agency, has an international program in Guatemala. I was looking at their site today, finding some information for a friend interested in adoption. I clicked on the Guatemala page and this is what I found: (please check it out)

Here's the thing....this is time sensitive! They are looking for a family who are "paper ready", meaning home study complete at least. Because of changing rules in Guatemala, the process must begin immediately.

Also, if no adoptive family is found soon, the baby will have to be turned back over to the birth family.

Search your hearts, pass this on. Who has their paperwork ready to go and wants to give this precious baby a forever family? Contact me and I will put you in contact with our social worker.

Above all, pray that the right family will get the word and find this beautiful girl!

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families....Ps 68:5-6a

Friday, November 23, 2007

nine weeks waiting

and nine weeks closer to our boys!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving ya'll!

So much to be thankful for...I could go on and on. And that's another thing to be thankful have so much to be thankful for. See, that's why I'm not going to even attempt a list here. :)

Praying this is our last Thanksgiving without our little ones. Only the Lord knows when that referral will come. Is it bad that I wish He would tell me? If He tells me, I won't tell anybody, except for Marshall. Please, Lord?!? And Marshall won't tell because of all that confidentiality stuff he's sworn to.

Just teasing...but I was a little discouraged today. I so wanted to know something by now. I'm dreaming of little boys in footed Christmas know, the ones with the trap door and skid-proof feet. Do they even make those anymore?

Turkey day is over in the Coen house and the Christmas decorations are up. What fun!!

We pray that this day found you well, warm and with plenty to be thankful for.

Gobble, gobble,
the coens

Monday, November 19, 2007


I just realized I could change the settings for "comments". Now you don't have to register to leave a comment. Yeah!! Much easier on you. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

eight weeks waiting

So eight weeks of waiting down and an unknown amount to go. :) This was a good week; I stayed super busy so that keeps me from being anxious about the time. Though when I do get a little impatient, the Lord reminds me that He is in control.

We did receive some good news this week from our agency. The transitional home in Addis is up and running with trained nannies and necessary equipment. The first 13 referred children were moved there this week. That is where our children will go after they are referred to us and that is where we will go pick them up. I'd like to just go move in now. :)

It was so uplifting to get the news of the transitional home's opening. Sometimes is frustrating (in my flesh) when I can't know everything that's going on behind the scenes. I KNOW the Lord is at work, so it was a blessing to get word of evidence of that.

Boys, we are faithfully waiting to be united with you. When this part of our journey is over, I hope that you will be proud of our dedication to you. We are steadfast in our pursuit of you....both of you special little guys! We love you like crazy!!

Lord, lead us in our wait. Thank You for what You are constantly doing in our lives and for giving us a glimpse into behind the scenes. Protect our little ones and give them Your peace, deep in their hearts. We love You like crazy too!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

seven weeks waiting

We completed seven weeks of waiting. I was at a conference all week, so week seven sped by for me.
At the conference, I took a class called "God's Waiting Room". It was just what I needed. The teacher reminded us that every time God has us waiting for something, if we are faithful and wait on Him, He makes it more than worth it....He does more than we expect or could imagine every time. Throughout the Bible, those that weren't faithful in their wait (i.e., the Israelites not waiting on Moses to come down from the mountain and making an idol to worship, Abraham having a child with his servant instead of waiting on the Lord to provide Isaac with Sarah, etc.) never experience good results. When we insert our own will into God's it just doesn't work. His will is good and perfect; our plans are so human. He can still use our bad choices, but His original plan is better.
Just imagine those faithful souls waiting in the upper room like Jesus instructed them to in Acts. Probably some lost heart and went on home. Those 120 that stuck it out got more than they could have imagined. They received the Holy Spirit!
Praying for our boys and trusting the Lord for them. Thanks for checking in with us!

This picture is in honor of my precious husband and his love for football. ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ethiopia Adoption Tees are IN!!

Our friends Lisa, Lucas and Madeline model our Ethiopia Adoption tees. (Madeline is showing you what the back of the tee looks like.)

We need 15 more shirts ordered before we can turn in the next order.

It's not too late to order yours!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Six weeks

Our official wait is six weeks today. (Thanks to Sesame Street for the pic.) Been praying a lot for the in country representative, Girmachew. He is the man that will find our children and has Power of Attorney to go to court and adopt them for us. Earlier in the process, the part about the dossier being sent to Ethiopia, translated and then someone finding our children, was a little scary and intimidating. Though we know that God is in control, who was this guy matching us with our kids?! Would he really be able to get to know us through that stack of paperwork?

Well....then I went on the missions trip in June. What a blessing to spend 2 weeks with Girmachew! All uneasiness went out of the mini-bus window. He is a great man doing great work for the Lord and families. So, anyone out there reading this, if Girmachew is your guy, rest assured. He is professional and precious.

Lord, I pray that you would watch over Girmachew. Protect him, keep him grounded in You. I thank You for the work You are doing through him. Lead him, guide him and bless him.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

treasu(RED) & ado(RED)

Our boys are truly treasured and adored, that's for sure. They are treasured and adored by Jesus and Mom and Dad! And lots of others too.

Thanks to another family, I got the heads up that Gap had some of their Product RED clothing on sale. Half of profits of each Product RED product go to helping women and children affected by AIDS in Africa. A concept after my own heart.

So I ordered a few things....hard because we don't what size our little guys will be just yet. Let's just say if you invite me to your baby shower, your baby might be getting a RED product. ;)

Several companies have joined in like, Gap, Converse, Hallmark and Apple.

Go here to find out more:

I say if you're gonna shop, shop RED!


I have seen this on some other blogs and decided to copy.

We have been waiting for our boys' referral for 5 weeks now. In the grand scheme of things, this is no time at all. But don't get me wrong....we're ready. :)

The time has moved pretty quickly considering all of the action for other families in our agency, two out of the last three weeks.

Praying for more activity this week! And for the families in the new waiting stage for court appointments and travel plans.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

T-shirts will be here soon!

Yeah! I just found out that our t-shirts should be here soon. For those who ordered with the first batch, I'll either deliver them or get them in the mail ASAP.

We are still taking orders. Let me know if you'd like in on THE t-shirt of the season. It's getting cold, you say? Well, layer that bad boy up! That's very IN, you know!? ;)

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another good week for our agency!

Just read the "Weekly Update" and it said that 5 families received referrals (six children).

It's amazing how happy I feel for these families I have never even laid eyes on. How am I going to act when we get our referral?

Hopefully I can let you know soon. ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Adoption is option God chose for us

This is the title of the "Guest Sermon" in the Killeen Daily Herald (TX), 6 October edition. It came in the mail today from my parents. I HAVE to share this, written by Brian Thom, an elder at Killeen Bible Church. I love this so much that I am willing to retype the thing, word for word for you. Bear with's worth it!

"Dad - just wanted you to know - we've decided not to put any racial limits on the adoption..."

In a calm voice on the phone earlier this spring, my youngest son was telling me that he and his wife simply could not restrict their adoption to "white kids only." They were willing to adopt any race.

I have to say that I took a deep breath. What were they thinking? What could possibly have motivated them to face a lifetime of strange looks and unasked questions from unthoughtful people? Why would they be willing to face the possible rejection of two cultures while trying to provide a loving Christian home to one child? Didn't they know the risks?

Of course, I didn't say anything to betray my true feelings - it just might have revealed something very ugly within me...and I knew it. Instead, I just mumbled some supportive comments, while selfishly wondering what lay ahead for all of us.

My son (an engineer, not a pastor) then proceeded to give me a theological lesson that I will never forget. He patiently reminded me of the extraordinary thing God has done in His adoption of His own children.

Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us that "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..." (NASB).

There are several important things about God's adoption of us here. First, His choice is "free." No one coerced Him into adopting us - He did it because He chose to (Eph 1:4). Second, His adoption of us was "purposeful." He adopted us in accordance with "the kind intention of His will" (Eph 1:5). Third, His adoption is "permanent." There are no strings attached - once God adopts, the child is forever His. It's part of His will and purpose. Finally, His adoption was "prior"; that is, using Bible words, God "predestined us to adoption." This means that He did this before creation, before we ever chose Him.

Much of this is true with human adoption, as well. Adoptive parents freely initiate the legal arrangements, they have their own purpose in making this happen, and their decision is permanent. Unlike God, however, adoptive parents can't know much about their adoptive child beforehand. In contrast, God knew us completely when He made His choice - and He adopted us anyway!

This is what God did for us, and my son and his wife understood what they had to do in response. Talk about being humbled...through this two-pronged example of adoptive love, God showed me the wickedness of my own self-centered heart. How can we withhold love from potential adoptive kids when God has not withheld His love from us?

May God move couples desiring children and birth mothers considering abortion to unselfishly give the gift of life through adoption, regardless of race. We are grateful that this is what the birth mother of our newest grandchild, Joshua David, did on June 12, 2007...this is real love!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Look at the birds of the air....

they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Matt 6:26

This verse was written on a note enclosed with a monetary gift we received this week. The Lord is truly blessing us through the generosity of others.

On this journey, we have to wait on a lot of things. One thing I can't wait to do with the boys is tell them how loved they are. They are loved by God, their Mom and Dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, people we have never met, and the list goes on and on.

These two little ones, coming from a land that most of our community will never visit, have already captured the hearts of many. Mostly mine.

No news on the adoption. The activity of referrals for those five families and the hiring of two personnel and a transition home was so encouraging.

I emailed our family coordinator EVERY SINGLE phone number we have, written as you would dial it from the US and told her not to worry about the time of day that she called. We'll be ready. Thanks Laurel, for putting up with us. :)

Teeshirts should be coming soon. We are steadily building up and order for batch number 2.

That's all for now. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Great week for our agency!

It was getting a little discouraging for the families in our agency. There were no referrals....all was quiet. This week, 5 families got referrals for 6 children, it was announced that a transition home in Addis Ababa was secured (referred children will be moved there until their parents can come pick them up), as well as two more staff for the work in Ethiopia were hired. We figured some action was going on behind the scenes, but we did not know what that was until yesterday when the "Weekly Update" came out.

The not knowing was a great lesson for me.

Thank You Lord, that You are working. We can't always see what You are doing, but you are ALWAYS at work.

Five families will welcome home six of Your precious children. How that must make You smile!

Lord, watch over our children. Let them know, deep in their little hearts, that their mommy and daddy are ready for them. We have been preparing a place for them like You are preparing a place for us. We don't have a house with many rooms :), like Your Father's house does, but we have a safe place full of love for them to call home. We do not want our hearts to be troubled, but we desire to trust in You. (See John 14:1-4)

Your timing is perfect. Your plan is perfect. Sustain us Lord! Protect our little ones, that are first and foremost Yours.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I love the FedEx tracker!

Because it told me that our dossier was picked up this morning by the in-country representative for our agency.

What does that mean?

Our dossier is in the right hands and we can be matched with our children.

How long will it take?

I wish we knew. Please pray for us as we wait.

Now we knuckle down and draw closer to our faithful God who is in complete control.

Thanks for your prayers!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

First TeeShirt Batch Ordered

Well, ya'll are awesome! We just put in the first order for tee-shirts. 41 of them!!

We have some wonderful friends, family and strangers. :)

If anyone else wants to order, I'm starting a new spreadsheet. I love me some spreadsheets!

Thank you and I'll keep you posted...

And nothing new, adoption related. Our dossier is in Ethiopia, but still at the FedEx office. That's understandable though....just running over to the FedEx office in Addis is not an easy task.

Please continue to pray in the wait!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Paper Baby is in Ethiopia!

The paper baby, weighing in at 9 lbs 9 oz, has arrived in Ethiopia. I love this FedEx tracker!

We should be able to tell when Girmachew, the in country representative, picks it up.

I think I'll print this page for the baby's and the big brother's books.

A note on the t-shirts...thanks to the PayPal button to the right, we have the money in for the first 12 shirts. As soon as the payments for the next 12 come (I know some are on their way, via mail) we will put in the order. Thanks for all of the support! I know I've said that a lot, but I want to keep saying it. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Paper Baby on Its Way to ET!

Our dossier, aka "paper baby" it on its way to Ethiopia, via FedEx!!!! Praise the Lord! I'll keep you posted on its journey.

Also, thank you so much for your response to the T-shirt fundraiser! I added a PayPal button to the right where you can pay for them instantly and email us your order. We have to have the money for at least 24 shirts before we can put in our order. Hopefully that will be very soon!

As much as the t-shirts will help us financially, our hope it that as you wear them in your communities, it will bring more awareness to adoption and the need in Ethiopia. Thanks!

That's all for now......ciao!

ETA: I just looked at the FedEx tracker. Paper Baby made it to Frankfurt!! Got there this's sort of back home. It is now in transit. Keep going, baby, you're almost there!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Let's Raise Some Moo-Lah! (And look stylish!)

Hello! As we have now entered the Great Wait stage of our adoption, we are looking for ways to stay busy and raise funds toward the rest of our adoption expenses. The Lord is so faithful and has already provided abundantly.

Because of the response to the previous post, we've decided to go for it with the Ethiopia Adoption T-shirt fundraiser. The front of the shirt says Mission Threads: Ethiopia Adoption Project and the back includes John 14:18, 'I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. The artwork is on the previous post below.

We are asking for a minimum donation of $20 per shirt.

Let us know the size you would like as well as Mens, Womens or Childrens. The ladies shirts are a little slimmer cut with a shorter sleeve then a regular mens' tee. The mens' shirts are the regular t-shirt cut.

So please, tell your friends and neighbors that you know a family that has been called by God to adopt two precious boys from Ethiopia, Africa. And you have a way to help them bring those boys home! We especially appreciate your prayers even if a t-shirt is not your cup of tea (and if it is!).

We'll keep you posted through this blog. Thank you for your support!! Feel free to forward this on. Send requests/orders to . We can give you our address to send payment after you make an order. Don't forget to give us your address too, so we can ship those cool shirts right to your door.

Love in Christ,marshall & jill

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poll Time!

OK, now we're throwing fundraising ideas around for this adoption while we wait for the referral. Because, let's face it, it's expensive. The Lord has provided abundantly for us and will continue...we know that. We have scrimped and saved and will continue, but it would be nice to have some savings left when this is finished.

Recently another adoptive family has shared an idea that has worked well for them and will allow us to use that same idea.....T-shirts! My question is, how many of you would enjoy a fundraiser like this? The shirts would be really cool...the same ones we used for our missions trip this summer and would go for a minimun donation of $20.
We just want to make sure it would go over well before we commit to it. So, would you like a t-shirt? Here is a picture of the back of the shirt:

The verse is John 14:16, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
And this is the front of the shirt:We would really like to hear from you. Please send us an e-mail so we can get a feel for whether or not this is the way we should go.

The other thing we have done is set up an account with our adoption agency that allows people to give directly to our adoption through them so you can get a tax receipt and claim your gift on your taxes. That works out well for everyone. We are limited in the amount we can raise through that account. Any overflow goes to other families in need. We can raise up to $4000 more through that avenue (that would benefit our family), so if you're interested in that, let us know too through the same email. Easy squeezy!

Most of all, we appreciate your prayers through this journey. We continue to need them as we wait and our boys continue to need them as they are not home yet. Thank you for your love and support!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

No news

Hello faithful readers! Not much to update, but I had to give you something new. I emailed our family coordinator on Friday and she said that our dossier should be authenticated this week and then sent on to Ethiopia. The machine that prints their checks was broken, thus the delay.

So, nothing really exciting around here.

Several people have asked how long we will wait now that we are officially waiting. That answer varies. It could be a couple of months or several months. We are praying that it is before Christmas that our boys come home. Will you pray with us?

All I want for Christmas is my two sweet boys....I may have to write a little song....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Safe and Sound

Just wanted to let you know that "paper baby" made it to our agency today. Thanks for your prayers!

Our dossier will be couriered next week for authentication. Our family coordinator said that it usually takes the embassy a couple of days to process and then she will let us know when it's on it's way to Ethiopia.

As soon as I have more news, I'll let you know! :) Please continue to pray for us as we wait.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Paper Baby

I have dreamed of this day for 7 months. The day I could tell you that we mailed off our entire dossier, otherwise known as the paper baby, to our adoption agency. Here's how it went down:

These are the contents of our dossier spread out on the bed. This is minus the homestudy and another form, which are already at the agency:
This is the paper baby asleep in the crib:
This is the paper baby riding to the post office. I know, no car seat, but that would be completely ridiculous. ;)
This is me and the paper baby outside of the post office.
It should be in Virginia on Wednesday. Please pray that the paper baby has a safe trip so our real babies can come home soon!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tell of His glory...

....among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. 1 Chronicles 16:24-25

It came, it came, praise be to God, that "one last piece of paper" came today!

Here she is........
Here's how it went down: We finally got an email from the consulate. They must have grown weary of our emails greeting them each morning. The lady emailed us a copy of the form and said that the hard copy would be sent to our German address, which is much faster.

I forwarded that email with the attachment to our family coordinator at the adoption agency to let her know we were one step closer. She was excited for us and said that actually we could print off the emailed I171-H and have that notarized. (Actually we will keep the original and take it to Ethiopia with us. The notarized document will be a copy of the original.) I got so excited and screamed and leaped around so much that Sophie tucked her tail and jumped into Marshall's lap. Poor thing.

So, Lord willing, we will have that copy notarized in the morning and mail the dossier off to the agency on Monday.

Thank you for your prayers. Please don't stop! The Lord hears our prayers and He always loves to hear from us.

My head hurts from all of the excitement....

Monday, August 20, 2007

3 months

Three months of waiting for that "one more piece of paper." You've all heard us say that over and over again.

I've emailed the Consulate multiple times to try to figure out where the I171-H is. They said it was mailed on 6 August. That was 3 weeks ago today. Now I can't get anyone to respond to my e-mails. Frustrating.

If you sense a little discouragement in my voice, you're right. But I'm holding on and trusting that this is all part of God's plan for us and our boys.

Hopefully, soon I'll be able to tell you that that "one more piece of paper" came in the mail and we are mailing out our dossier. Please continue to pray for us!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Quilt

Well, I did it! I made my very first certifiable quilt! My mother-in-law gave me a kit for a rail fence baby quilt. She walked me through the steps while they were here. I think I'm going to attempt a bigger one for big brother's bed. Here she is.....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

V-Ball, Birthday and Braids!

I played hours of volleyball with these girls at the Kitchne Center, the after school program. They really warmed up the second day we were there.

I turned the big 3-0 while in Awassa. What a way to turn 30! Thanks ya'll for making it so special!
I got my hair braided too. My hair is so fine, it didn't last long, but these sweet girls did a great job. They were excited about the yellow hair! I received a letter from Helen, the girl in the flowered shirt. I can't wait to write her back.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

In the mail....

Update: Got an email this morning that the I171-H is in the mail.
Let's pray it in, ya'll!

Edited to add: Email from the consulate this morning said that the document was mailed on Monday.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Proof is in the Pictures!

Remember how I asked you to pray especially for me on the day during the missions trip that we were riding a donkey/small horse/pony/whatever to the top of a mountain in Lalibella?

Well, your prayers were answered, as well as mine, and I did it! And survived!

Here is some proof: the smile in the first picture was for the sake of the camera....never let 'em see you sweat!
that's me in the middle with my PWOC backpack on.....representin' in Ethiopia! :) A literal mountain top experience! We were standing in a cloud. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Please pray!

We heard last week that our I171-H (last document) should be on its way. This will complete our dossier. Our family coordinator is in Ethiopia for 2 weeks, so we should wait until she is almost back in the office to mail it off so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle while she's away.

Takes some pressure off.

We do need your prayers. We should know more when our family coordinator gets back, but as of now our agency has changed a rule that could affect our request for 2 unrelated children. Ultimately God is in control and we will adopt the boys He wants us to adopt. There is such comfort in that. Please pray for clear guidance in decisions being made, that they will benefit the children of Ethiopia....that is most important.

I am praying without ceasing the my desires would be God's desires and I know the Lord is preparing our hearts and our children's hearts for our union as a forever family.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes 5:16-18

I typing this verse, I just realized that I should, because it's God's will for me, be giving thanks in the turmoil. Forgive me Lord! I do give thanks! Which brings me to Psalm 94:11: When my anxious thought multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.

And Isaiah 55:8, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

All this to say, God is in control and I just want to be closer to Him with each step.

Who knew He would speak to me through a blogger post. We serve a creative God!!!

I hope this speaks to you too. Have a great day and open that will take you places. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

must have childrens' books?

Since we don't know their ages/sizes, we are on hold with buying clothes and gadgets for our kids. Not so with books. What are some must have books for babies and toddlers? Give me some classics and the new hits.....I'm out of the loop!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dear Federal Bureau of Investigations,

Please send our background check reports to the USCIS at the American Consulate in Frankfurt as soon as possible. We would really like to move on with this adoption......

We took a little trip up to the Consulate today. Found out that our file is all in order, just waiting on the FBI background check to clear us. Apparently they sent off our fingerprints to the FBI and the results never came back. They were going to re-send them through Fed-Ex today. We are praying that all will go smoothly and we can proceed. God's timing and His will are what we want. If he uses the FBI to orchestrate the rest of our story, we are fine with that!

After the Consulate we headed up to Giessen. It was like stepping back into the 1950's when Marshall's dad lived there as a boy. We found it all.....their old stairwell apartment, bowling alley, chapel, movie theater and gymnasium. The post is almost closed now, so it was empty. It really felt like we had stepped back in time.
the old apartment....Ken's bedroom window
the place behind their building where he and his dad threw the baseball
the chapel
in front of the chapel sign