Sunday, December 15, 2013

Have You Seen This?

Shawn and I watched this the other night. It's in England, so some of the protocol and terms are different. But the underlying theme is identical to foster care scenarios played out across the United States daily. This is a must-see for anyone who has a heart for orphans.

Paperwork Foibles

So, because my excitement got the better of me, I stayed up late the other night to get started on our adoption paperwork. Problem was, I stayed up a little too late.

My eyes blurred.

I forgot our wedding date.

I misspelled my daughter's name.

I gave up.


I'll continue the paperwork when my eyes stop crossing.

(I think it would be in our best interest.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Week of Prayer

In December of each year, our church dedicates one week to prayer. For seven days we meet together, study together,
and pray together. On the last day of the week, Saturday, we give a love offering to God, fast, pray, and praise.

Today my heart is full. I feel like God has given me this week of prayer to draw me closer to Him in preparation for the arrival of our host daughter. God knew I needed the extra strength that only He can give. I just didn't have enough to give her from my meager resources. This week, God has filled me up with His grace and goodness and my cup is overflowing with gratitude.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

And This is Where it Begins...Again!

In January of this year we sent our heart back to Latvia in the form of four beautiful children we had hosted for a month. Our one and only thought was how to get them back into our home as fast as possible. We filled out an application and were ready to mail it in when we received word that our four did not want to be adopted. As our dreams crashed down around us, we tucked our application away in an almost forgotten corner of the house. Life returned to normal and our dream died down to a mere flicker of a flame.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and the time when many adoption agencies drop their application fees. Not really having a definite plan, we decided to take advantage of a $200 savings, dust off our application, and mail it in. Today, we received this ...

It is the first packet in a series of packets to get the ball rolling towards adoption.

Do we know where we are going with it?

No. Nope. Not at all.

We are heading down an open road, trusting that God will lead us exactly where He wants us to go.

Let the paperwork begin!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What is She Thinking?

Today our host daughter braved frigid temperatures and an early morning trip. Along with a carload of other orphans she traveled two-and-a-half hours from her orphanage to the US Embassy to receive her visa to come to America. I so wish I could know for one minute what she is feeling inside.

Is she nervous? Worried? Excited? Or, like me, a combination of all of the above?

I wonder what her expectations are of us and what she wants to gain from this trip. Do her eyes sparkle as she tells all her school friends about her upcoming adventure? Does she bite her lip in nervous anticipation? How often do we cross her mind.

I wonder if she will find us a fun family to be with.

I wonder what her story is and why she was never adopted.

I wonder,

oh, how I wonder,

how to share Jesus with this precious girl.

Because, as much as I wonder about what she is thinking right now. I know what God is thinking about her. He loves her. She is His princess. I want so much for her to understand that.

Please pray with me and for me that while she is here, her heart will be touched with the warmth of God's love.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stepping Blindly

We submitted out adoption application.

And I don't know how to feel right now.

I am not excited.

It is a long and uncertain journey on which we are embarking.

I am not nervous.

God has shown me too many times that NOTHING is impossible for Him.

I am not feeling anything -- which is for me, a very strange way to be.

Or, maybe, it's because I feel perfectly content with however God wants to lead us.

One year ago, I knew exactly where we were going.

We were going to adopt the four children we had hosted from Latvia ...

And live happily ever after.


But then they said no.



Our cart of dreams came to a screeching halt.

We disembarked in some strange new place we'd never visited before and, after stumbling around in a fog for awhile, discovered one stepping stone at a time leading us to yet another unknown destination.

The fog still swirls about our feet, and we sometimes teeter uncertainly on our single step, not knowing where or when the next step will appear. But there are also moments of breathtaking beauty when we catch glimpses of the intricately detailed work God is doing in our hearts and for our situation.

We don't know where this new road is going.

We only know we must follow ... and trust.






Sunday, December 1, 2013

The $10 Bridge Just Got a Little Longer!

I'm doing the happy dance today!

And I'm hopping mad!


First, the good news...

The $10 bridge from that orphanage in Eastern Europe to Bobby's doorstep in America had a few more stepping stones added to it.

How many stepping stones?

No less than ONE HUNDRED AND TWO ... and a half. :)

Woohoo for 102 (and-a-half) new stepping stones to bring this sweet little boy to his forever home.

At the rate of $10 per stepping stone that means $1025 was raised. Yaaay!

$3475 is still needed to reach the goal for foreign fees.

And now for the reason I'm so mad!

Someone told Bobby he was naive to think this money could be raised.


I bet we can prove this someone WRONG.

Let's give this someone overwhelming evidence of God's love for the orphan - even the special needs orphans.

Let's build that bridge!

Please donate $10 here.

Please share this blog entry and link with all your friends and ask them to donate $10 as well.

Please ask your friends to also share on their blogs or on Facebook.

I donated on Thanksgiving Day and I will donate again.

I want this little boy HOME!!!

Thank you so much for your help!

God bless you!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The $10 Bridge Home

Today is Thanksgiving Day.

It's a day for family and friends to get together to share love and laughter with each other.

It's a day to thank God for all He has blessed us with.

It's a day to share those blessings with those who are less fortunate.

Today, a little boy in Eastern Europe longs for all of the above. His host dad, Bobby, is in the long process of fundraising and working towards adopting him ... but this little guy doesn't know that. He's not allowed to be told yet. Each Saturday, he gets a phone call from Bobby and listens to his loving voice on the phone and cries. Both hearts are breaking.

Bobby has multiple fundraisers going ... trying desperately to raise the necessary funds.

Today's fundraiser is outlined below and I really love it. I donated today. I'm praying many others will also.

In my mind I imagine each $10 donation from all the loving donors paving a bridge, one of those beautifully arched bridges, from Eastern Europe to America. As each donation comes in a new stepping stone is laid and the bridge arches higher and farther until it stretches across Western Europe ... across the vast expanse of the mighty Atlantic Ocean ... and touches down softly on the doorstep of Bobby's house. And then my dream continues as a little boy dashes out of his orphanage and dances across that bridge -- each footstep home lightened by the accumulated love of every $10 donation that built this bridge. Finally, I see that little guy take one huge leap off the last step and fly into Bobby's outstretched arms -- home at last!!!

Do you have $10 to help build a bridge home? Do you have $10 to make this Thanksgiving Day special for a little boy and his waiting Dad?

Read on...

"Thanks-By-Giving" Day!!!

Here's an opportunity to show "Thanks" for all the blessings in your life "By Giving" to help bless a little boy with a forever family.

$10 is all we are asking!

Our goal is by Thanksgiving Day to raise the remaining $4500 needed for the total $6000 foreign fees.

If we can get just 45 people who would be willing to each get 10 people to give at least $10 our goal would be met!

In today's social networking world this is so doable!!

Please pray that if it is God's will we will meet our goal!

Here's how it works…

First – donate at least $10 if you are able.

Second – share this post on your own Facebook page.

Third – private message certain friends and family who you think would be willing to post the message on their Facebook page and/or donate at least $10.

Together, with God's help, we can be part of a true Thanksgiving Day blessing!

JUST CLICK to donate!

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Popping Back for a Quick Hello


Anybody out there still?

I stepped out of blog world for about six months.

Can't believe it's been that long!

Read some old friends' blogs and got all teary-eyed.

Their kids are growing.

Their families are expanding.

They're sharing God's love in powerful ways.

So inspiring!

So wonderful!

Such amazing people!!!

As for us...?

God has been busy with us too.

I had so hoped we would have adopted another child by now - or three or four. I look at our friends' HUGE adoptive families and think to myself, "We've only adopted five? Really? Only five? Our family picture looks so puny compared to others."

Instead, God asked me to start an online Christian academy.

It has been an enormous, mind-boggling amount of work,

but it is growing ...

children are enrolling...

and families are being blessed.

I am also writing a book ... which also happens to be an enormous, mind-boggling amount of work. But, it's coming along too.

And, I landed a job working for my church. Wasn't expecting this one at all! But, ya'know, I wasn't really doing much else at the time...

Oh, yeah, and I'm still teaching part-time.

(On second thought, it's probably a good thing we haven't adopted anyone. We'd probably lose them or something.)

Last year at this time we were preparing to host a sibling set of four from Latvia. We wanted to adopt them but they said no. It's been a roller-coaster ride with them since then, which I can't really share the details of publicly.

This December we are planning to host a young lady from Ukraine. She is too old to be adopted, but we hope to be her long-distance family and be there for her as much as we can for as long as we can. Yup! We make long-term commitments with every child that walks through our doors -- just not always on paper.

So, this is where my crazy life is as of this moment. We're still walking by faith and not by sight! Still trusting that God knows what He's doing, even when everything to us looks so upside down. Still believing that God is good, even when everything seems so wrong!!!

Friday, June 28, 2013


Grinning from ear to ear, he gripped the boldly marked welcome sign. “KOLYA!” it read it large, bold letters. Surrounding him in the photo was his host family, also grinning broadly. My eyes welled with tears. Too old to be adopted, Kolya wanted desperately to be a part of a family this summer. But not just any family. Kolya recently accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He wanted to be a part of a Christian family, even if it was just a visit, so he could learn and experience the joy of living with Christ in the home.

I had prayed and advocated so hard for this young man. I would even wake up at night and plead with God to find someone to take Kolya. I took his picture to church and told his story. And then God gave me a special gift. On my birthday, I logged on to the New Horizons’ website and discovered that Kolya had been hosted. God surprised me with the perfect birthday gift.

Wiping my eyes I skimmed to the next picture in the line-up of recent New Horizons' hosted kids arriving in America and my heart jumped when I recognized another green-shirted boy as one I had prayed for before the winter hosting program. “Praise God!” I smiled as tears slipped down my cheeks. This young man was ready to age out of his orphanage. Obviously a favorite, his orphanage director begged New Horizons to find him a forever family. At 15, he finally had a family to call his own.

I flipped through the other photos of smiling families holding large welcome signs and a thought began to form in my mind. These children live the most special part of their lives on the edge of society – not included, not remembered, not wanted. Suddenly, they arrive in a new country and are met with the sounds of people shouting their names and clapping. Host parents, who have sacrificed and prayed, strain to catch a glimpse of “their” child. Cameras flash and welcome signs are hoisted high so children can see their own names written in big, bold letters with the word “WELCOME” next to it. After living so long on the sidelines of society, they are suddenly wanted! How must that make them feel?!

My imagination carried me off to a distant place in time where another grand welcoming reception would be played out. I thought of Jesus, who has sacrificed and prayed for each of one of His redeemed, placing a crown on my head, looking lovingly into my eyes, and saying, “Welcome home, my child! You are wanted here.”

Yes, indeed! Adoption is a very real example of salvation.

New Horizons for Children will be having their next hosting session in December. You can find more information here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Mommy!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there.

This is for YOU!

Thank you for all you do!

You might also like:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Curious Case of the Professor and his Hot Pink Suitcase

You may have noticed my friend. Tall and distinguished, he’s a commanding presence at any gathering. As the keynote speaker at numerous dental conferences around the world, he attends a lot of gatherings. And, since he speaks a lot, he naturally spends a lot of time in airports. Come to think of it, that’s where I think you may have bumped into him once or twice. If you have, you may have raised an eyebrow as he passed by with his long-legged stride. He looks normal enough with his neatly clipped mustache and business casual attire. It’s that hot pink suitcase he carries that garners the curiosity of fellow passengers.

Norbert’s name has a string of titles behind it—Doctor of Dentistry, PhD, Master of Science, Director of the Aachen Dental Laser Center, President of the German Society for Laser Dentistry, Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Federation for Laser Dentistry, and the list goes on. He’s pioneered research in laser dentistry and is quite famous in the dental community for his developments. But there’s more.

The son of a missionary, Norbert spent most of his childhood in Africa. His blonde head could be spotted bobbing through the bush together with the dark curls of his African playmates. Although his German lineage can be traced back nearly five hundred years… although he works and lives in Germany… although German is his native tongue, his heart remains decidedly African. Even his dental students have asked, “Prof, we know you are German, but where are you really from?” The answer is Africa. And it is to Africa, Norbert returns every year.

Nearly twenty years ago, Norbert learned of the plight of young girls in Kenya. Poverty, rape, and AIDS claim their innocence and rob them of a future. Norbert took it upon himself to establish a Christian boarding school near the shores of Lake Victoria. Named the German Education Board, it now houses 200 girls in grades 9 – 12. The girls learn practical skills like gardening, cooking, and sewing. They also tackle subjects many African girls never get the opportunity to learn – chemistry, biology, physics, algebra, and the like.

His school has climbed to third highest in the nation of Kenya and frequently receives high-ranking visitors. People are curious to meet this distinguished German man with the warm African heart and see the work he has done with “his” children, as he likes to refer to the students there. Balancing intellectual, spiritual, and physical education, he graduates well-rounded young women prepared to excel in University studies and life.

But what about that pink suitcase?

Ah, yes!

That pink suitcase.

In 1995, Norbert and his wife—a talented and beautiful nurse—were the proud parents of a bright and vivacious little girl. She charmed her grandparents and had her daddy wrapped around her finger from the first moment he held her in his arms. Not surprisingly, Norbert and his wife were thrilled to discover they were expecting a second child.

The time for delivery soon arrived and another little girl was born to them. But there was something vastly different about this second child. She had Down’s Syndrome. It was a difficult time for them. Remembering the experience of the Israelites who drank the bitter water later made sweet (Exodus 15:22-27), they named their daughter Marah, trusting that God would also turn their bitter disappointment into a sweet experience.

Fast forward sixteen years…

Norbert is packing his clothes to travel to America. He will visit, meet with our church’s medical missionary board, and serve as keynote speaker at dental conferences in the Los Angeles area. Marah sees him packing and hurries to offer her suitcase. He smiles, folds his clothing into her pink bag, and she is satisfied. Without a second thought as to what others might think, Norbert is off to the airport, hot pink suitcase and all.

President, PhD, keynote speaker, pioneer in the field of laser dentistry, professor, philanthropist, Norbert is all of these. But his most important role is that of a daddy. And he takes that role very seriously. In his meetings with top-notch leaders around the world, Norbert is not ashamed to arrive carrying his sweet daughter’s hot pink suitcase while his colleagues cart designer luggage. He knows that the important things in life don’t have numbers or letters attached to them. They aren’t measured by dollar signs or degrees. The important things in life have hearts that need to be cherished and protected.

The next time you’re standing in an airport somewhere and you glimpse a tall, dignified man with a neatly clipped mustache, wearing business casual, and toting a hot pink suitcase, pat him on the shoulder and tell him, “Thanks for remembering what’s important in life.” He’ll give you a warm smile...

glance at the suitcase...

and know exactly what you’re talking about.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-8.

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Tough Meeting Family!

My daughter has dipped her toe into the vast ocean of her birth relatives. It's a scary sail! The tides of uncertainty pull her under. The currents of truth and falsehoods are murky and difficult to navigate. Emotions are tossed high upon the crests of waves and then pummeled into oblivion by simple misunderstandings. Her elation is still there, but there is a hint of caution in her voice as well.

When a family has been disrupted through neglect and the need for foster care and adoption, there is a lot of reckoning to do at reunification. Forgiveness is noble, but never reckless. There are reasons for the events in her past and they are being laid painfully bare for her now. It is an intense time for her of questioning, evaluating, and healing.

I am especially thankful for two people at this time, one of my daughter's older biological brothers and her older biological sister. Just as they had cared for her physical needs when she was a baby, they have now come alongside her to protect her emotional well-being as well. They are truly special people and we are blessed to have met them.

There is a romantic side of reunification the media loves to portray. There is also the reality, which is often tougher than it looks, but is, in the end, well worth the effort.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Birthfamily FOUND!

She did it! Andriana posted this picture, got people to share it, and is, at this very moment, talking for the first time with her older sister who hasn't seen Andriana since she was a baby, but has been looking for her.

There are five other siblings and a mother to try to contact.

We're opening a new chapter.

Oh, the emotions!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Me, the Proud Auntie

I am a teacher and I have been blessed to have been able to teach four out of five of my children. I have also been blessed to teach six of my twelve nieces and nephews.

In my Bible class I asked my students to write a thank you letter to God. I got the usual results. Thank you for my cat. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my mom and dad.

But then, my eyes fell upon a different sort of letter. It stopped me and made me focus intently on the words penciled on the page before me. By the time I got to the end, I had tears in my eyes. Curious, I flipped the page over to see who had written this beautiful prayer. And, I must confess, I got all goose-bumpy when I saw my sweet thirteen-year-old niece's name printed at the top!

This was her letter....

Our loving Father, which art in Heaven, thank you for a family that loves me and helps me in times of trouble. Thank you for the school which I am in. Thank you for a chance to further my education. I especially want to thank you for the loving kindness You've shown to a sinner like me. I don't deserve it. Thank You, God, for being the greatest Father I've ever known, the greatest Friend I've ever met, and the greatest Help in trouble. Thank You so much for the good friends You've given me. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Thank You, God, for just being You. Amen!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reeling and Writing

I have to be honest. The news that our Latvian kids didn't want to be adopted by us really sent us into a tailspin. I kind of went into mourning. It felt like someone had died in our family. It was, and still is, so incredibly difficult to wrap my mind around this whole thing. So many questions plague me. What happened? What went wrong? Why?

I am learning some things now that are answering some of those questions, but the hole in my heart remains. The hopeful part of me still prays for a miracle. The logical part of me tells me to move on. The realist part of me says to sit still and wait for God's leading. The I-can't-sit-still-and-wait part of me jumps into action with a new project.

Writing has always been cathartic for me. During this time of waiting and praying, I've decided to get started on something I've always wanted to do, but never seemed to have the time for. I really don't have time for it now, but creativity helps me heal.

So ...

I'm writing a book!

It's entitled "Marie: Woman of Beauty, Mother of Courage" and is about my grandmother. I'm posting the first chapter here in the hopes that I'll get honest feedback and some motivation to continue.


Chapter 1 - Escape!

Stealthily they crept like shadows through the gathering darkness, dodging Nazi soldiers dashing madly about, and slipping between trucks bearing the swastika symbol. The rumble of military jeeps filled the air, nearly drowning out the urgent commands barked left and right. The five figures paused in the midst of the commotion to peer through the smoky haze in an anxious search for the correct vehicle. It had to be the right one!

“Over there!” Marie pointed and the frightened group pressed onward towards the back of a truck carrying ammunition. The young driver gave a grim nod and a quick jerk with his thumb towards the bed, then bent back towards his work of duct taping the headlights, allowing on a sliver of light to shine through. Fourteen-year-old Henry clambered over the bed’s rails, then leaned down to help his twelve-year-old sister, Ester. “Hurry!” Marie directed as she and her sister, Anne, climbed aboard. Last up was Anne’s husband, Rolf.

Marie settled herself onto the cold steel and pulled her coat a little tighter. She would not let herself think of the memories they were leaving behind. She watched as her son, Henry, observed the activity unfolding around them. He was the mirror image of her husband. Athletic and strong, he was becoming a man now and needed a future he could look forward to. Marie’s gaze shifted to Ester, her daughter. Quiet and pretty, she loved to read and learn. Marie adjusted the small suitcase containing all she could take with her as the truck jerked to a start. Reviewing the dark events of the last few years, Marie reminded herself once again that she was making the right decision.

The Nazi caravan lumbered into motion as vehicle after vehicle fell into line in the direction of Estonia’s southern border. The Nazi occupation of Estonia was over at last, but there would be no victory celebrations on this night. At that moment a new occupier was crossing Estonia’s eastern border. Russia, with its Communist fury and vision of a massive Soviet Union, was quickly claiming ownership of Estonia’s blood-soaked soil.

Suddenly the caravan came to an abrupt stop. Doors flew open as officers and soldiers fled into the forests. The dull roar of an airplane could be heard overhead. Was it Soviet aircraft? Marie and her family scrambled off the truck and raced beneath the protective cover of Estonia’s vast forests. It would not be the only time on this journey that Marie would whisper desperate prayers for the safety of her family.

The unidentified plane disappeared in the night sky without incident and the caravan resumed its homeward voyage down through Latvia and into Lithuania. These Baltic countries would soon fall, as Estonia had, into the iron clutches of Soviet control. Reeling from the carnage of Hitler’s rampage, Western Europe was catching its first breath of freedom. Eastern Europe, however, could feel the cold breath of Soviet oppression breathing down their necks. It would be a many years before the fires of freedom would thaw Russia’s icy grip on Estonia and her Baltic neighbors.

Perched atop an ammunition pile on the back of a Nazi truck carrying her far away from her beloved homeland, Marie could not think of Estonia’s future. She could only focus on providing the opportunity for freedom for herself and her children. The farther she could distance her family from the evil clutches of Communism, the safer she would feel.

Friday, February 8, 2013


It's a word that is only two letters long but it can bring your world to an abrupt standstill.

It did for us.

Our four Latvian kids have said "No" to our adoption request.


End of story.


I don't understand why. I don't like it. I don't want it to be this way.

But the answer remains...


And I feel like this big chunk of my heart just curled up and died.

I hurt.

I rage.

I beg God for ...




I don't want to accept it.


The word can be as final and devestating as death.


The word echoes throughout my soul and reverberates through my thoughts.


And yet, through the tears...

there is an Almighty arm I lean on and trust in everything.

And He promises...

That He will bring something good ...

out of every ...


Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Quit -- But God Didn't

It's hard to believe it's only been two short weeks since we kissed our Latvian sweeties good-bye. It seems so much longer. The days have just crawled by.

This whole experience has been like a dream -- a good dream that I don't want to wake up from. And, yet, I'm sobered by the thought that it almost didn't happen.

Three weeks into our frantic fundraising journey, my faith crumbled. I am ashamed to admit it, but I began looking at the numbers and the dollar signs and became completely overwhelmed. "I can't do it!" I sighed. (My husband wasn't completely on board with the hosting idea at that point, so he wasn't much encouragement either.) It was just a crazy dream I had that was completely devoid of logic. I decided I should be responsible and call New Horizons to tell them we just couldn't do it. I would quit, so someone else could host them. The more I thought about, the more sure I became of my plan.

There was just one problem...

I hadn't prayed about it yet.

All good Christians should pray about things, even if they "know" what to do, so I did my Christian duty and shot a prayer off to God. In the process, I felt impressed to ask for a sign.

I had recently set up the fundraising website that is still in the left column of this blog and had received several donations on it. But nothing had come in in some time. "Father." I prayed, "If I even get a $20 donation before I call New Horizons, I will take it as a sign that we should continue to move forward with hosting these kids." My prayer finished, I hurried off to school determined to make the phone call at the 10:00 recess.

When 10:00 rolled around, I made the sudden discovery that in my haste to leave for school, I had left my phone at home. I borrowed a phone and called my husband, asking him to bring me my phone. For some reason, it took him awhile to get it to me. By the time I could make the call, it was well past lunch.

Phone in hand, I checked our fundraising account for any recent donations. Had a $20 donation come in? Did God want me to stop? What was His will for us?

Tears formed as the donation total showed a $100 increase. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Five times as much as I had asked for! It was too much. I bowed my head and thanked God for showing me so clearly His will for us regarding these children.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Does God care about orphans?

More than we can imagine!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saying Good-Bye

I can't say I've ever excelled at saying good-bye. There's always an ache in my heart and the dark thoughts that swirl through my mind about whether or not I will ever see them again.

Saying good-bye to our Latvian kids was all of the above times one hundred. In fact it's taken me a whole week to be able to even blog about it without breaking down and crying while I write. Yes, it hurts that much.

We arrived at the airport at 5:00 a.m. The kids were all blurry-eyed as we drove through the dark morning hours. They dozed all the way to the airport, but sprang into action as soon as we hit the bright lights of the airport. We got them checked in (all under the 50 pound limit) and then joined the other families clustered in little groups at the designated waiting place.

The kids were happy and cheerful while they munched on snacks and played a few games on Andie's IPAD that we borrowed for the occasion. At one point Samanta sat next to me and leaned her head on my shoulder. I patted her cheek and told her she would always be my baby. She smiled softly and said, "Yes."

Liga climbed onto my lap for some more last-minute snuggles. She took my face in her hands and said, "You. Me. Latvia." I shook my head sadly. She thought for a moment, then said. "You. Me. Here." Again I had to shake my head. She sighed and went quiet for a little while, content to just be held for the time being.

And then all to soon, the moment we had all dreaded arrived.

The chaperone called out, "Valerija! Samanta! Liga! Eltons!" And something in my heart just snapped. This was it! After one month of loving and giving and giving and loving, how do you just stop?

Elton stiffened. His head dropped down and his arms hung limply at his sides. His sisters tried to get him to hug us, but he was not able to. I kissed his little cheeks and my tears fell on his face. Valerija did not cry nor did she smile. She had a look in her eyes that told of too much hurt and disappointment. She went through the motions of hugging us and saying good-bye because she is so polite and proper. Samanta also stiffened up. She hugged us, but it was not with the usual warmth or enthusiasm as before. And little Liga, clung to Samanta's hand after her good-bye was over.

Shawn and I joined the other host parents at the railing. You would have thought we were at a funeral. The somber silence that hung over our group was interrupted only by more good-byes as subsequent kids parted from their host parents, the flash of last minute photos, and the muffled sniffs of broken-hearted people wiping their eyes and noses. No, it was not easy.

This week the hosting organization asked us what our intent was regarding these four. That was one of the easiest questions I have EVER answered. What is our intent? To get them back home as fast as possible!!!! This broken-hearted mama is on a mission to get her babies back home to stay home FOREVER!!! So help me, God!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One Week Left

It's the story of my life.

Always wondering...

Where time went.

At this time next Sunday our house will be down to six people instead of ten.

Our four Latvian sweeties will be heading home.

Our future with them is,

at best,


In the midst of crossing all our t's and dotting our i's in making sure everything gets done that is supposed to get done for the hosting agency, I find myself wanting to hang on to them a little longer.

I catch myself watching them play,

smiling at their laughter,

hugging them often.

I know they feel it too.

Valerija and Samanta told Shawn the other day, "Seven days and we go home. We no want go home. We like stay here."

Eltons handed Shawn a note yesterday that had three words on it:



Tetis ("Daddy" in Latvian)

I like how he sandwiched himself in between mommy and daddy.

Liga colored a picture for me and wrote, "Latviski mammai no Ligas." (Translation: Latvian mother of Liga). As she handed me the picture she pointed to the words and then pointed to me. I'm not exactly sure what she was trying to tell me with that phrase, but a week prior to that she had hugged me and said, in English, "You my mommy."

We are not allowed to talk about adoption with the kids and we haven't. But it's hard not to act like their parents. Initially, we introduced ourselves as Shawn and Margie. The kids opted for Daddy and Mommy.

For now we will complete our responsibilities with them as host parents. When they leave, we will begin our home study. We are not rich and don't even know if we will qualify with the US government to bring four kids from a foreign country into our home. But, if this is God's will, it will happen -- one way or another.

So, we will pray and walk through every door that opens, trusting that God will work all things out for His honor and glory and for the good of us and our Latvian loves.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Miles of Smiles

I must say that nothing gives me more joy than to see our kids smiling.

Our recent trip to Florida was filled with miles of smiles. I was lucky enough to capture some of the best while the kids were swimming.

And now to endure the grumpy aftermath of too many late nights and sugary treats. Sigh. Glad I have the pictures to carry me through.