Join us on our adoption journey.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
We are no longer orphans because of what God did for us. With one simple act of obedience our sins were forgiven at the cross. So what are we doing with the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? Our family has decided to take a step of faith and do what He's called us to do, to take care of widows and orphans. Our journey starts with adoption.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Missions Trip, Blessings, & Confessions Part II

Here is part II of our mission adventure.  I'll try to pick up where I left off.  The whole team had an emotional week but the Nanny asking me to take the kids back to the Guest House with me set the tone for my emotions for the rest of the week.

I struggled back and forth all week with all sorts of wrong thoughts.  What kind of a person am I?   Are we doing the right thing?  Is this a mistake?  I'm not cut out for this.   What am I doing?   I was all over the place.  When we came home I talked with Joe about it all and he pointed me right back the WORD of GOD.  Of course we're doing the right thing and just look at the hand of God throughout this entire process, there is no doubt that we are doing the right thing.  Satan found a weak spot and did all he could to discourage me and plant seeds of doubt.  If not for Jesus I would have completely succumbed to the flesh a long time ago.

What this shows me is that God is NOT in the business of using perfect people.  We don't have to have it all together to be used by God.   He uses sinners like me to show that He is great.  All I need to do is follow Him each minute of the day because without Him I am nothing, I have nothing to offer without Jesus and knowing that makes everything possible because it's only in Him that I can do anything.

We had some great days at the orphanage and were able to share the Gospel bead bracelet with the kids and the staff.  In case you don't know what these are here is what each bead on the bracelet means:

The black bead reminds us that our SIN (bad choices and actions) deserves punishment.  That means we cannot have a relationship with God.

But God wants to have a relationship with us!  The red heart bead reminds us of God's great LOVE.  He gave His Son, Jesus, to take our punishment.  Jesus shed His BLOOD and died to take our sin away.

The white bead reminds us that Jesus' FORGIVENESS takes away our sin making us pure-whiter than SNOW.

The Blue bead reminds us that when Jesus rose again and passed through the SKY to heaven, He sent us His HOLY SPIRIT to be our friend, counselor, and helper in this life.  He will never leave us.

The green bead reminds us we need three things to GROW spiritually -
  1. Prayer
  2. Time in God's Word (Bible)
  3. Fellowship with other believers.
The yellow bead reminds us of the "STREETS OF GOLD" - the promise of living with God forever (with no sorrow) in Heaven after we die.

The butterfly tying it together represents the transformation that takes place in our lives when we accept God's forgiveness.  He makes us a NEW CREATION - The ugly caterpillar is transformed into a beautiful butterfly!

The team and our wonderful translators.

We were also able to bring down two Jesus Story Book Bibles in Haitian Creole which were sold out but we were able to get two with expedited shipping which arrived in time for us to take them.  This was truly a God thing because the next publication wasn't going to be available until October 1, we left on September 29!!!  As well as the Story Book Bibles we had two cases of books in Haitian Creole that we were blessed with free of charge that weren't meant to arrive until after we left.  But that's human timing and our God is far greater than time and those also arrived just in time!!!  The two books we took and were able to hand out to many people while we were there are Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Chi-Vi-Jin and Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper.

Because of the Jesus Story Book Bible being in Haitian Creole, the older kids were able to read it to the younger kids and they were captivated by it.  

On one occasion Lisa was reading with a small group of older kids and one of the girls told her she wanted to pray!!!  She accepted the LORD right there and then due to that story book.  Praise the LORD!

Check her out smiling in the back there with Lisa!
We learned how to sing Jesus Loves Me in Haitian Creole which the kids got a kick out of.  They already know it in English so they knew the tune.  That was fun.  We were able to love on the kids each day and hopefully they saw the love of Christ in all we did.

My dear friend went down with ideas in her head of what her week was going to look too and God just rocked her world.  She fell in love with some certain kiddos and she and her family are now in the process of adopting to add a fourth child to their family.  It's so exciting to see them go through this process and I can't wait to meet the newest addition to their family!

As I sit here thinking about my kiddos I'm in awe of how God works and I can't wait to see what He will do with our family.  I am greatly anticipating "that" phone call with the date of our "Gotcha Day" and I trust that God has it all figured out no matter what may come our way.  Again, thank you for praying for us and following along on this emotional roller coaster.

May God richly bless you as you celebrate this Christmas season.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Missions Trip, Blessings, & Confessions

I don't even know where to begin so bear with me this could be a long one...

Not only was I blessed with the opportunity to go on a missions trip with four other people from our church, one of whom is one of my closest girlfriends, but I got to see my kids again!!!

I have so many wonderful stories to share.  I'll start with a followup from our last trip.  In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I didn't feel safe in Haiti and that I didn't find the Haitian people to be all that friendly.  I tend to smile and say Hi to people, all the time, and Haiti was no exception.  Last trip I gave up because I didn't get any response from most people.  This time I decided to give it another go and to my amazement it was totally different.  Almost everyone I waved to or smiled at, either waved or smiled back, gave a head nod, or acknowledged us in some way.  It was a wonderful thing.  I have to wonder if the location had anything to do with it as that was the only thing that was different.  I'm pretty sure we were staying in a MUCH nicer part of town.  That brings me to the Guest House.....

Wow, very nice place and wonderful hosts.  Thanks so much to Tim and Aimme Wilson who made us feel so welcome and taken care of.  Very nice accommodations and amazing views of Haiti.

 Check out the foreground as well as 
the background in these two!!!

On our second day in Haiti we were on our way to the Orphanage and were almost there when our truck died in the middle of the road.  Fortunately it started again and we made it to a gas station. we went, or so we thought, it chugged and spluttered again and again it died but this time we pulled off the road.  This happened a number of times and we were praying we would make it and not be stranded.  We were almost to the turn off road to the Orphanage and we decided to pray out loud that we wouldn't break down on that road because our driver on the last trip to Haiti wouldn't allow us to walk that road due to there being a gang that he had heard of living down there somewhere and he didn't know who they were of where they were but he wasn't about to let us walk!  This wasn't a road we wanted to be stuck on.  We prayed and I kid you not, that truck drove us up to the door of the Orphanage and then never started again!!!  Needless to say we had to get alternative transportation home that day.  Our God is Mighty!

 Broken Truck...
New Truck!  (Next day)

This was an emotionally charged trip for me and on Monday when one of the Nannies told me I could take the kids back to the Guest House with me for the week I think I almost had a heart attack, right there on the spot.  She must have seen the look of shear shock and panic written all over my face, I think I sat there looking at here for about 1 full minute before I actually came to my senses and said to the translator "What did she say?"  Gathering my composure I replied, very cool, calm, and collected like, " that even allowed....I mean can I just take them.....???"  "I'll have to check with someone about that.......I want me to take them?"  Well I didn't know what to do.  I was completely taken aback, completely unprepared for such a situation, and to top it all off MY HUSBAND WASN'T THERE!!!!!!!  I was about to freak out.  I should have been excited at the prospect, but I wasn't and I struggled with that.  That night Aimee said don't worry I'll text Michelle and see if she thinks it's okay.  Well Michelle replied back and said, why yes of course you can, if the orphanage approached you, sure you can.  Not what I wanted to hear.  You may be wondering at this point why on earth didn't I want to have my kids with me for the week and you would be right to think that but let me just tell you what I was feeling in that moment of shear shock and panic....

Here I am on a "Mission Trip" to the Orphanage I'm adopting two precious children from (which, by the way I can't wait to bring home) without my husband.  I had ideas of what the week was going to look like and it was a HUGE bonus that I got to spend the days at the Orphanage with my kids.  I've met my kids once, my boy is afraid to even venture out of the safety of his wee room, he keeps getting told this white woman is his Mama, which clearly in his almost two year old mind is just absurd, and our four year old daughter, I can't even begin to imagine what she's thinking about this whole crazy situation.  
So you've got an emotional adopting Mama without her hubby, two kids she doesn't really even know (let alone know how to communicate with) and they don't know her either and now you want me to take them back at the end of an exhausting day?  I didn't bring anything for them to wear, I had no snacks or anything necessary for taking care of kids.  It was something I was completely unprepared for and then at the end of the week what will I say to the kids?  Oh, nice seeing ya, we spent days and nights together but now I'm outta here?  I just wasn't mentally in the right frame of mind to do that.  If Joe had been there, I think it would have been a completely different story but I didn't think I could handle that alone.  Thankfully God didn't either because no one asked me again the entire week.  The next time we go down I'll be prepared for such a situation and I'm waiting with great expectation on the LORD's timing for that day.  

I've just bared my soul to you, I've been transparent with you about some feelings I struggled with because I want you to know that I'm human, I have emotions and sin in my life and I'm not a good person.  I'm a person saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Anything "good" that you see has to be about Jesus and not me, I have nothing to offer without Jesus, this is not something that Joe and I are doing out of the "goodness of our hearts".  I don't have it all together as some may think.  I may look good from the outside, like I have it all together with my three wee kiddies and two on the way, homeschooling, housekeeping, I could go on and on it sounds so lovely doesn't it?  But I'm here to tell you that I don't have it all  I'm broken, weak, and struggling in the battle.  Life is hard, parenting is hard, marriage is hard, and adopting is hard.  BUT I have hope.  I have hope that God knows exactly what He's doing and in trusting Him minute by minute, I will know what to do with each and every day of my life.  So I will follow Him as He leads and I will cry out and ask each day, (multiple times) "LORD what do you want me to do today, now, right this minute", because that's what it means to walk in the Spirit.  Any strength I have comes from Him, if not for the Holy Spirit I would have succumbed to the flesh long ago, I am weak.  There is such freedom in knowing that I don't have to have it all figured out.  I only have to follow God right now in the present, I don't need to concern myself with tomorrow or any other day, other than today.  So join me in the journey, let us follow hard after Jesus, the one to whom all blessing and honour and praise belong for it is He that is Holy and worthy to be praised!

This got way longer than I anticipated and I have so much more to share so...

To be continued.......

!News Flash!

Our Dossier has moved on into the next phase!!!  Is is no longer in MOI (Ministry of Interior).  I really don't know exactly where it is right now but we will soon enter into the passports phase and you all know what that means.....

Whoop Whoooooooooooooop!!!!!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Help Families when they bring their Child Home

Here is a good article for us all.  When the kids come home they are our priority but that doesn't mean we don't still love you all, we do!  I'm trying to get as much info. as possible before the big day arrives so if you come across anything worth while let me know!

Will do another update soon including info. about our exciting mission trip to Haiti in 20 more sleeps!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Presidential Dispensation June 25!

How do I even begin to tell you how it feels to have our paperwork signed by the President of Haiti???  It's just not explainable.....our paperwork has now entered the Haitian court system and the projected home coming date is by Christmas!!!

I was just going about my daily business, actually that's a lie, I wasn't going about my daily business at all I was doing the grocery shopping with my kids, which I very rarely do so it wasn't daily business for us, it's just so much easier without them but we really needed food and I wanted to spend the evening with my family instead of filling my trolley with food (do you get the irony here? filling my trolley with food....anyway I digress) I had just purchased five new pillows for our five kids and was about to head on over to Walmart for one last errand before Woodman's (I know, I said grocery shopping but that means errands as well!) when my phone rang.  It was Joe, no big deal right, my hubby was wondering where the heck we were cause we weren't at home.  

Joe:  "Our kids are out of IBRD!!!"
Me: mind couldn't quite process what was being said (actually shouted down the phone with a lot of excitement) "Our kids..." well our kids are in the van with me, my heart was skipping some beats so I checked to see if in fact my kids were in the van with me, yep they were, right were I left them last, "...are out of IBRD", what the heck is IBRD???  OH I GET IT!!!!  Our Haitian babies paperwork had been signed and was now out of IBESR.  "What!?!?!??!"   (I had worked it out by this stage but my mouth hadn't quite caught up to my brain at that point and I said what!)
Joe:  "Michelle called and our kids are out of IBRD!!!"
Me:  "Whooooooooooo, Whoooooooooo,  Whoop Whoop!!!  Seriously???  Our paperwork is signed?  That's such great news, I can't believe it, actually I can, God is soooooo good!  Whooooooo! do you know?"
Joe:  "Michelle called me at work and left a message because you weren't at home."

And on it goes, with a bunch for whoo hooos and shouting and questions that Joe couldn't answer because it was just a message he listened to and I just couldn't wait to get home and call Michelle!  It was the fastest shopping trip ever and I'm pretty sure the kids think I'm crazy.  The kids that were in the van with me that is.  

So that's where we're at as of right now.  I can't wait to wrap my arms around those two babies again, our October mission trip just can't come quick enough.  As far as the rest of the process it looks like the paperwork goes through the courts pretty quickly but then it goes into MOI (Ministry of the Interior) which has a bit of a backlog right now which is holding things up.  After that it looks like the kids get their passports and 6-8 weeks from getting their passports we go get 'em!  The kids that is and their passports!

Thanks for praying and journeying with us.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

God is good!

Well I have a few updates to give.  First off the spaghetti dinner was wonderful, thank you so much to all the people involved in putting that together for us we felt truly blessed.  There were so many people that helped, donated, served, and we can't thank you all enough MBC church family and friends!  The dinner itself raised $1,600!!!!!  After everyone who couldn't make it but wanted to contribute had given to us, the grand total was over $2,000!  That's incredible!!!

We also have a wonderful friend from our church who did a cookie drive for us and sold cookies to raise money for our adoption.  What a blessing.  And these weren't your ordinary cookies they were the best cookies I've ever eaten and I don't even care that much for cookies but they were so good I went back for seconds immediately upon finishing my first!  Yep that's right I and I could have eaten two more!  And then there was the bake sale at our Church's annual Stuff Exchange which a number of people baked for and many people contributed to.  Wow!  I just wrote a note to someone saying that just when I think my God is so great He does something that shows me that I really have no idea just how great He really is!!!  And He continues to do it.  Even in my sinful state the God of the universe still loves and blesses me.  It's mind boggling.  The cost of this adoption is nothing to my Heavenly Father and that is none too apparent in this adoption journey.  He has shown us over and over again that it is HE who puts the fatherless into homes and I can't wait to see the blessed day when this adoption is completed and our babies are united with their forever family!

So when will they be united with their forever family?  I've asked myself that question many times and while God knows, He's still not telling so I'm going about my business and trying not to focus in on the things which I do not know.  Our paperwork is still awaiting Presidential dispensation in Haiti and once that's done our paperwork will move into the court system.  I believe that's a three to six month process but don't quote me, so we've still got quite a wait ahead of us.  Please pray that the paperwork would be signed soon so it can get moving along.  On the bright side, Haiti could have stopped adoptions all together while they go through the Hague process but they chose to think about the children and keep pushing adoptions through even though it's slow.  I'll take it!

BUT I have a wonderful distraction right now and that's the mission trip we are planning to take to the orphanage in October!!!  A team of six people including myself are going to go and help out at the orphanage for a week.  Joe will stay home with the State side kiddos and I'll get to love on the Haiti kiddos while we're there.  It will have been seven months since the kids have seen us and while our wee man may not remember me I'm pretty sure our girly will.  We have some fun things planned for the kids and hope to be able to help out with some manual labour about the property while we're there too.  If you're interested in joining us it's not too late we don't leave until September 29 so let me know!

So that's about it for now, thanks for praying and joining us on our journey.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spaghetti Dinner Benefit

Thanks to our dear friends and church family for going over and above to serve our LORD by assisting us in helping financially to bring our kids home from Haiti!
May God receive the glory in this.

Lemonade Stand out West!

From the heart of a child...

We have such a wonderful church family it's not hard to understand why we endure these terribly cold Wisconsin winters.  I couldn't imagine leaving them.

Anyway I digress, getting to the point.  Two kiddos just back from a western vacation told me of their very own fundraising efforts to help bring our children home from Haiti.  I was informed that whilst in the hot sunny part of the country they made some yummy lemonade in which their parents said "rocks".  Well this got the kiddos to thinking and the gears started turning and they came up with the idea of a Lemonade Stand.  They sold lemonade to whomever they could and raised a whooping $23 to go towards our fund.  That's 92 cups of lemonade at .25c a cup.  (Well not including donations but it's still impressive!).  Pretty darn impressive if you ask me.  The lady of the operation, only 8 years old, was turning flips in the front yard in order to attract customers.  They were doing some serious business out there.  My heart is full to bursting, I have no words to convey how much their gesture means to me and my family.  And there are two kiddos in Haiti who will not have to wait due to finances.  We sure do serve a MIGHTY GOD!!!  May all the glory and honour be given to HIM.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So what's going on.....

We knew this would be a long process going in.  We were told it would take 18-24 months from the time we started our paperwork until the time we would bring our kids home.  We were ready for it.  Yes we were ready!  So for the first six months we gathered paperwork, we traveled to Milwaukee, we paid lots of money, yes we were getting things done, it felt good.  I thought to myself:

 "Boy once this part is done and out of my hands (because I'm in control right!?!?! Just in case you don't know me I say that tongue in cheek!) I can sit back and watch what God does!"

Yes what a wonderful day it was when we sent in ALL of our paperwork......

Okay so now what?

Well, I thought I was going to sit back and watch what God did.  The ball was back in His court right!?!?!  Well yes it's always in His court but now about that sitting back and watching what God does.....that part, the part I thought would be the best, the easiest, turns out to be the hardest, most awful wait I've ever had to endure, and by my calculations we have approximately, well let me see, umm....hmmmmm...well I have no stinkin' idea how long to wait!  Nobody really knows, (well God does but He's not telling) and I just have to learn how to trust all over again.  I thought I trusted God already but it turns out I go through these phases where I just don't, I think I do but then I find myself sitting in my room rocking back and forth and thinking:

...what if the Haitian government stops adoptions from Haiti???
...what if the kids go back whence they came???
...what if something happens??? (???)
...what if...
...what if...
...what if... does that sound like a women who trusts that God has it all worked out??????

And do you know what the worst part for me is?  It's the fact that I went there, I held those babies in my arms and told them I love them.  What must they be thinking when they see other kids white folks come in to see them or worse take them HOME and they are still there waiting for their white folks to come back for them.  I can't begin to imagine how they must feel.  I know they are young and probably won't remember any of this (so please don't tell me that again) but what about RIGHT NOW.  This is when I need to stop rocking and cry out to my God for His comfort and His strength to endure this seemingly unbearable wait.  He not only holds me in the palm of His hand but He also holds our babies too.  And as one great preacher told us once, while we have to say goodbye, God doesn't, He is with us all, all the time and there is a lot of comfort in that.  The God who is here with me, right now, is there in Haiti with my kids too, right now.  And what better presence to be in than the One who created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

As it turns out, adoption isn't just about care for orphans, while that's a key component of the equation, it's not all there is to it.  God uses what we've messed up to shape us into what He wants us to become.  So while I wait I WILL trust God, I'll go back to what I said I would do at the beginning and I'll take it one day at a time.  Just for today LORD I will trust YOU.  I will wait with joy and with a cheerful heart.  I will laugh at the beginning of each new day.

Side note about the laughing:  I read somewhere that if you laugh before you get out of bed, even if it's a forced laugh it really helps set the tone for the day.  So I've been trying it and it works.  My first day was great, I laughed out loud Ha Ha Ha (real corny like) and sure enough I sounded so ridiculous I laughed for real.  What a treat Joe will have to wake up to on the weekends aye?

Anyway, I will enjoy my family of five before we become a family of seven (YIKES....) because there is no time like today.  I will rejoice for this is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spaghetti Dinner Benefit

Some very dear friends of ours from right here in Wisconsin have taken it upon themselves to be a really big part of our adoption fundraising efforts.  Words cannot begin to describe how much it means to us to see our church family rally around us and our family as we follow the LORD's call on our lives.  Thank you for joining us in this journey.  As a result they will be hosting and organizing a Spaghetti Dinner Benefit at our Church (Memorial Baptist Church in Verona) on April 27 at 5pm.  Please stay tuned more details to follow.

Bracelet Update

What an overwhelming response to the bracelet fundraising we've had.  Thanks so much to so many people for purchasing bracelets, telling friends about bracelets, and selling bracelets for us.  We have sold roughly 100 bracelets!!!  It's not just our adoption fund that is impacted by your generosity it's the many Haitian artisans that have spent countless hours working on those bracelets so that they can earn a living to make a better live for themselves and their families amidst a poverty stricken nation.  On behalf of the many Haitian artisans who brought us their handy work and the Koper Family:


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You are not the authour.

I read this quote on someones blog recently which sums up adoption quite nicely.

"Adoption is a story.  You are not the authour."

This is so true and I must remind myself of it often.  I'm always trying to control things and all that does is cause stress, strife, and disappointment.  If only I would learn that I'M JUST NOT IN CONTROL!  We serve such a mighty God and all I have to do is follow His lead.  He won't lead me somewhere and then just leave me.  He's always by my side and like He tells us in His word numerous times, He will never leave us nor forsake us.

As time ticks by my desire for those kiddos gets stronger and stronger and the wait gets harder and harder.  I have no idea when my kids will come home, no idea what stage of the process my paperwork is in, and no idea how this is all going to turn out.  All I know is that we serve a God whose plans and ways are greater than mine.  A God who already knows how it's going to turn out and a God who knows how hard it is to wait.  So I'll try to sit back and wait patiently (because really that's all I can do) and I'll live for today, enjoying the many gifts God has already given to me.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Fun times on the roof.  On the left is one of our wonderful translators!

On the way to the orphanage.

One of our favourite nannies.

Boys just love to wrestle.....

Another of our wonderful translators.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Heading for Home

While waiting to board the plane at the airport in Port-au-Prince there was an announcement over the loudspeaker.  "We have an overbooking situation if anyone is willing to give up their seats and fly out on the next flight tomorrow morning please come to the ticket counter.  We are offering a $700 travel voucher."  I'm all about saving a buck (OR $700!!!), so I look at Joe and say "That's our tickets back here to pick up the kiddos paid for!!!"  Joe looks like he's pondering it and then looks at me and says, "And what do you suggest we do when we step out of this airport?  Our drivers gone, and where pray tell do you suggest we spend the night?"  Okay he didn't quite say it like that but I like the way that sounds and it pretty much conveys exactly what he said to me!

Not fifteen minutes later the same lady gets on the loudspeaker again and gives the same announcement only the travel voucher has gone up to $800!  Again I look at Joe and again he seems to be pondering and suggests that maybe we stay at the airport for the night but in that same split second of pondering he changes his mind thinking that doesn't really sound like a very good idea either and he adds (just for effect I'm sure) and I'm not staying here for one more night!

Maybe ten minutes later and still we have an overbooking situation and no one seems to want to stay another night.  It's up to $850 now.  I don't say anything this time.  Who am I kidding, yes I did but now I think Joe's getting tired of me!

We finally start to board the plane and we find our seats and Joe immediately buckles up.  (I'm pretty sure he was trying to tell me something...)  The plane is almost full and yep you guessed it we still have an overbooking situation.  We still need three people to give up their seats and now we'll give you a $1,000 travel voucher.  Okay that's it!  Joe are you serious, we're not going to stay for one more night to get our flights back here for FREE and then some!?!?!?!?!?!  Joe looked at me, looked down at his seat belt, pulled it as tight as he could (again just for effect!) and said, "We're not staying here for another night, we're going home!"  Enough said I realize Joe's right and we're going home so I decided to give it up and buckle my own seat belt as well.  US here we come!  It really wouldn't have been a good idea to stay for another night even the people behind me were making jokes about the travel voucher and how there's no way they would take it either!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Show Hope

This is one of the Tee Shirts we are selling as part of our fundraising.  Joe wears his a lot.  I was taking pictures of him and our girlie and didn't even notice that she was pointing to his shirt.  I don't think I could have gotten a better picture if I'd planned it!  I'll show you the whole shot when she comes home!
Underneath is says "A Movement To Care For Orphans" in case you were wondering!

Joe spends a lot of time on lying on his back these days and each time he did he would have kids all over him, (much like at home really) unless.....our daughter was around and then she would shoo all the other kiddos away so this was a nice time to take pictures of the two of them.  I have a great shot of Joe wrestling with a wee boy I'll have to post for you all to see.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I have a lot of pictures to share with you all but group shots without any identifying info. is all I'll be posting until our babies are home with us.  I hope you enjoy the glimpse I'll be showing you within the next few weeks.

Oh come here and give me a hug already......
Okay so this isn't a group shot but it's only half a face!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Market/Grocery Store

We went to the market a few times while we were in Haiti.  The market is a very small (by US standards) grocery store.  The last time we went it was just Joe and I and our translator.  We selected our purchases and went to check out.  The lady rang us up and said $70.  $70!!!  Really???  Joe only had $60 cash and that should have easily covered it.  Our translator was hurriedly doing a currency conversion on his phone.  In the meantime Joe had given the money changer his money to convert to the Haitin gourde and was scrounging around in his money belt for some more change.  Jonas (translator) asked Joe how much he had given her.  Joe said $60 and Jonas gestured for Joe to stop looking for more.  Fishy.....   The lady took the Haitian money ($60 US) and then handed Joe some change!  I guess she rang us up every day and just said $70 every time!!!  Cheeky buggers.

It would probably pay to have Haitian money the next time we go so it will be easier to see if we're being ripped off or not!  Thanks to God we had wonderful translators who had our best interests in mind.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


So while waiting for Michelle to do her photocopying (at the second copy shop) and we were waiting for a long time (this is the bathroom wait I talked about, you know, the one where Joe insisted I drink an entire energy drink before we left for the day...) we started to bake inside the truck.  Some of us stepped outside for a bit of fresh air.  Not me, I stayed right where I was inside the truck, not that that was any safer than standing outside but it felt like it was.  Anyway, as we were waiting, a half naked woman ran down the street acting really rather strange.  We just blew it off and one of our translators said (very matter of factly I might add) "She's possessed by demons."  Well that just took on a whole new meaning.  Here in the US, if we saw that, we'd say "She's crazy."  But there they say it like it really is.  I mean what is crazy anyway?  I'm not talking about people that do silly (crazy?) things to get a rise out of people or a laugh, I'm talking about the people that are really messed up.  We give them a label and the doc. puts them on meds.  In Haiti they probably send them to the Vodoo Priest.  Which is kind of the right idea, just the wrong place for healing.  Maybe if we didn't try to leave God out of the picture in so many instances we'd be going to the right place for healing and not see so many "crazy" people!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chickens and transport

When we want chicken for dinner we simply go to the store and pick up a fresh or frozen chicken.  Plucked, cleaned and without giblets.  Ready to cook and eat.  In Haiti you buy a live chicken off the street and prepare it yourself!  Hands up who thinks I'd survive in Haiti!?!?!  We saw so many people with live chickens or turkeys hanging from their heads or being held upside down from their legs.  We saw chickens being carried about on motorcycles and vehicles all over the place.  Chicken for dinner?

Transport down there was very different too.  Most people use public transport called Tap Taps which are colourfully painted trucks, buses, or pick ups.  People just wave them down and jump on board.  There doesn't seem to be any road rules down there and everyone honks to let others know that they are about to pass them.  On many occasions one would have thought we were going to have a head on collision with the on coming vehicle!!!  They zip in and out all over the place, on the road, off the road, on the shoulders, and the other side of the road and if you think that's bad we drove through the dried up river bed which was the bumpiest, off road drive I've ever been on and in my church clothes!  So if you thought that the Illinois roads were bad you ought to see the roads in Haiti!  You could barely drive a mile without having to slow to almost a stop to go over a bunch of potholes.  They are creative down there too.  Not only do they fill up the Tap Taps 'til they are overflowing with people they fill up the motorcycles too.  The most I saw on one motorcycle was a whopping FIVE!!!  Two adults and three kiddos.  And all without helmets.

I realize that as I write these posts I'm saying "Haiti" in general.  Please know that we only went to one part of Haiti and I have no idea what it's like outside of the area we were in.  We were in Croix-des-Bouquet which is very close to the capital city, Port-au-Prince. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fundraising Opportunity

We have a wonderful fundraising opportunity.  
Today in my mail arrived a box......

  It's from the Apparent Project

And here's what inside!


 ...lots and lots of bracelets.

 Each one hand made out of paper... the Haitian artisan shown in the pictures on each bracelet.

 All with a unique story.

 All working hard to make a living.

For every bracelet sold a percentage goes directly to the artisan in Haiti who made the bracelet.  When we sell the bracelets for what the Apparent Project recommends we get to keep a portion of the proceeds for our adoption.  How cool is that?!  We help the people in Haiti and raise funds to bring our babies home!

When the box arrived today I was about as excited as a kid in a candy shop who was just told they could pick out as much candy as their wee hands could hold.  I could barely make the dinner...until Joe came home and told me how hungry he was and then I thought I'd better come on back down to earth.  I have to remember to take it one day at a time, but it's just so hard, I'm just so excitable!!!

So, now I need your help.  Help me get the word out about the bracelets, help us sell them, and perhaps buy one for yourself.  They are $8 each and 100% of the proceeds get split between the artisan who made the bracelet and our adoption fund.  If you have any great ideas for me as to how we can get these things sold I'm open to suggestions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Okay....I guess it's time for an update.  What a trip, I don't really know where to begin.  There were so many emotions crammed into one week it makes my mind spin just thinking about it.

Just the walk from the airport terminal to the car (we had a private driver and two translators) was a journey.  There were so many people just looking to make a buck by carrying our bags for us, I would have been penny-less before we even got in to the car, in fact I probably wouldn't have made it to the car because I kept stopping to talk to people!  Really, Carleigh?!?!?.......I can't even speak Creole!!!  That's why Joe is such a perfect match for me.  And I had a translator gently pushing me along and telling me to stay in front of him.  It was also a good thing Michelle had prepped us before hand but I still probably wouldn't make it on my own!

You may remember a post a while back about us missing the December 11 embassy appointment and me being really disappointed about it.  Well Michelle didn't go on that trip and the two families that went were essentially on their own.  They still had a private driver and translators but Michelle wasn't there with them.  Michelle has been traveling to Haiti for two years now and if we didn't have her with us I think I would have been a basket case (yes I could have been worse!) and I'm pretty sure Joe appreciated her being there too. 

We checked in at the Jumecourt Inn in Croix du Bouqeut where we were staying, got changed and then headed to the orphanage.  Side note: the Inn is under 24 hour security which means; barbed wire on top of the walls and security guards with shotguns in two watch towers and others with shotguns constantly patrolling the property!  Nice.....

So...on the way to the orphanage Michelle told us that our boy was really big, not fat but big, and he doesn't seem to like white people!  Perfect.  I don't think a person could get any whiter than me!  We got out of the car and were immediately greeted by friendly little smiles, hands, and hugs.  What a delight.  We made it to our sons room and I was greeted with a beautiful wee man who wanted nothing at all to do with this white woman who was claiming to be his Mama.  He screamed, cried, and threw his head back, the whole bit, what a great start...I handed him to Joe (yes with tears in my eyes) and he seemed to calm down a bit.  Next thing you know he's smiling!  Okay so it's not that bad after all, he likes Joe!!!  I can't wait to share the photos with you all.  He warmed up to me too as the day went on so that was a blessing!  And no I'm not just making that up he really did.  Our little girl is adorable.  They had brought her down to the same room and she was a little overwhelmed, the dear wee soul.  She wasn't too sure what to think but as the day wore on she too had warmed up to us both and was pushing other children away from us.  She had become quite possessive.  She had seen other families come in and love on their children and now her people were here and she wasn't about to share!  She also cried when we left for the evening.  This was going to be a hard week. 

Michelle had told us that this would be an emotional day and that it was.  She said if you find yourself crying uncontrollably go sit in the truck or somewhere quite and pull yourself together and then come back and join us.  Well you can be darn skippy I wasn't going to go to no truck to pull myself together.  I wasn't about to miss a minute of time with those babies.  So as soon as I felt that uncontrollable sense of sobbing rising up in my soul I prayed and prayed hard.  Thanks be to God I didn't find myself hiding away as I pulled myself together.  Thanks for the heads up Michelle, a little preparation goes a long way!

Day one was almost over.  We went back to the Inn, had dinner and then talked into the night with Michelle, Rich, and Christina.  Rich and Christina are also adopting through American World.  Rich and his wife already had their embassy appointment and this was Rich's second trip to visit his precious ones.  Christina and her husband have also had their embassy appointment and Christina was on her sixth trip to be with her babies.  We were with seasoned pros and it was wonderful to pick their brains.

We only had two meals a day.  The children only have two meals a day and we spent the lunch hour at the orphanage so we didn't eat lunch either but it really wasn't that difficult.  With that said, while we were there we all chipped in and provided lunch for all the kids in the orphanage while we were there.  What a blessing that was.  A little American money goes a long way down there.

We spent all day, everyday at the orphanage with the kids except for Tuesday morning which was our embassy appointment day.  We had to wear "church clothes" to the appointment including closed toe shoes.  Oh what fun that was wearing heals (because of course that's the only closed toe church shoes I own!) in a third world country on dirt roads.  If we didn't already look out of place (which I'm sure you already know, we did!) we sure did dressed like that.  The US Embassy in Haiti is much like a US building in the US.  It was in stark constant to what was just outside the doors.  I would have felt like we were in the US apart from the fact that we were the minority.  Our appointment went just as planned and without a hitch.  The kids behaved beautifully.  Maybe because they were scared out of their wits!  We made it back to the Inn, got changed and headed back to the orphanage.  Again our beautiful little girl cried and screamed upon our departure.  It's a hard thing to do when you can't communicate, I'm so thankful for the translators.

We had a wonderful week full of emotions and experiences that I've never had before.  There are so many children that need a loving home I wish I could bring them all home.  If you have ever thought about adopting and feel that perhaps this is something God is calling you to, start praying and don't squelch the Spirit.  It's a hard but amazing journey and you won't regret being in the middle of God's will for your life. 

We got to the orphanage really early today which made for a really long day.  It can be exhausting.  We loved on our kids some more and all the other kids that we had constantly at our sides.  Joe played soccer with the older boys, rough housed on the patio a little, (which always brings smiles to little boys faces which is completely foreign to me and beyond my comprehension.  Being socked in the ribs isn't something that brings a smile to my face but little boys seem to just soak it all up.  Strange little creatures.....), we took lots more pictures and talked a lot about another little girl that we had both fallen in love with.

Yes you will fall in love with kids other than your own and want to bring them home too.  You will try your best to find out how you can add them to your current dossier and then start planning your new family with three more kids instead of two and then you may be disappointed to find out that that's not what God has planned for that child and then wonder why in the heck you both felt such a strong connection to another child and be willing to give up everything you have and fight to the death to get them all home!  Emotional...yes...confusing...just a little...heartbreaking...absolutely...glad be in God's will anyway...wouldn't want it any other way!  So we will pray for that child and please would you add her to your prayer lists too, God knows who she is.

We left the orphanage with the same farewell as the other days only with a little more intensity today.  We had screaming, crying, kicking, pulling away and an all out tantrum from our daughter...the nanny practically had to rip her from my arms, talk about hitting a nerve, it took everything within me not to have a right royal melt down myself!  And I could still hear her when we were outside!

So about safety, were we safe? Well we made it back but like I said we were in God's will, taking precautions and following instructions, so were we actually safe?  That's a loaded question and I'll do my best to answer it.  There is no doubt in my mind that we had the hand of God on us the entire trip.  All your prayers were needed and coveted.  I was never afraid for my safety, if that makes any sense, but I never felt safe when we were going from one place to another.  I felt out of place, looked down upon, judged, get the picture.  I like to be friendly, I like to smile and say Hi to people but in Haiti that wasn't received well by strangers.  They just stared at me, some people would give me a half smile a very small handful would say Hi but for the most part I just got cold, hard stares.  Ouch....I don't know what the people think, I don't know why we didn't feel welcome or safe, what our translators told us is contrary to what we felt but maybe we were just in a particularly bad part of town.  There was a time when we were waiting for Michelle to do some photocopying and our driver ended up going in, checking it out and saying we're going.  Michelle didn't miss a beat, she just turned around and followed him out the door do find another copy shop.  We have no idea what was being said (because we are ignorant and only know one language, kudos to all you who know more than English!) or why he felt the need to leave the area immediately all we know is that it wasn't safe and we had to go.  There was another time we were in the market buying lunch for the kids and I really had to go.  Just so you know I have a REALLY strong bladder and I can usually wait but I'd already been waiting hours and Joe had insisted that I drink an entire energy drink before starting the day (yeah thanks for that Joe!).  So I asked our translator to ask if there was a bathroom I could use.  As a side note there was an armed gunman just inside the door of the market!  Sure enough there was, phew great news for me.  So off we went and off we went, and went and went until finally we arrived at the bathroom.  (through a door, up some stairs, around a corner, through a storage room, down a hallway, yikes, and then finally to the padlocked bathroom door.)  You know it's a good thing Joe had just decided to come along with me, it was quite out of the way!  THEN there was the time we were coming home from the orphanage on our last day there and up ahead on the road was a dead man just lying there.  So did we feel safe? absolutely not.  Were we safe, YES we were because as our drivers truck window proclaims "God is my protection."  We truly have no idea what God is protecting us from in both the physical and the spiritual realms.  Praise the LORD may He receive all the glory!

I have so much more to share but this is a really long post and I need a breather.  I'll post more in the days ahead and try to make them shorter.

Please pray for the people of Haiti, they need God more than anything.  Pray for our children and for all the other children in the orphanages, those who have families coming for them and those that don't.  Pray that somehow God would show YOU what you can do to be a part of bringing these children home.

Thanks for being a part of this journey with us.  We truly couldn't do it without all your support.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I know you are waiting for an update and I'm working on it.  I've needed some time to process everything that we experienced down there.  I've started the post and will try to get it done soon so you can all hear about our wonderful adventures in Haiti meeting our kids.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Packed, praying, and ready to go.  It's been a crazy week filled with all sorts of trials and tests but we've made it this far and God will see the rest of the way.  I feel the prayers of our family, friends, and Church family, please continue to cover us in prayer.  We leave for Miami at 1pm tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Six more sleeps...

I know I missed a few days on here but I've been feeling a little bit anxious.  Anxiety is NOT from the LORD, please pray for me as I trust God in this.  When I started the countdown the days were going so slow, now they are speeding away on me and I want them to slow down.  I'm anxious about leaving my kids here and going to a third world country for seven days.  I know they will be well cared for, they will have their two Granny's here spoiling them rotten (oh maybe that's why I'm anxious!!!) but I've never been away from them for more than two days and I've certainly never left them in one country and gone to another.  I was also reminded today in Church that the hand of God is on our family and that when God calls you to do something, you do it.  As a dear friend put it "It's safer to be in God's will than anywhere else."  Thanks dear friend.  So I'll focus on what we've been called to do and whatever happens will be okay because God is in control not me!

Thank you for praying for us, for supporting us, for wrapping your arms around our family and encouraging us.  Thank you Church family for being the hands and feet of Christ and for being an example to those who are lost and dying.  We truly do need each other and I'm so thankful to God for placing us in such a wonderful Church family.

We've had so many outpourings of love I can't even begin to name them all.
  • All the donations for the Orphanage have been a blessing to our family and I know will be a blessing to the Orphanage also. 
  • The prayers that are going up for us.  Thank you Pastor Nick for today!
  • The offers for any help that we need before and while we're gone.
  • For the day off last week so I could get some things done.  You know who you are and how much you mean to me!
  • For dinner and prayer tomorrow night.
  • For all your interest and support, it means a lot.
Again, I can't name all the blessings here but know that we love you all and need and appreciate your prayer support.

Trusting in Him because He is the all sufficient and sovereign God of the universe.

Just for fun.

 I guess this is what I get for trying to have the kids smile at a camera sitting on a stool!

Fun times sledding.  
If Papa wasn't there we wouldn't have stayed but 20mins!  Brrrrr.....
Hey but at least I'm smiling!


So I've started packing all the wonderful donations that we received to take to the orphanage with us.  Thanks so much to everyone who has been a part of this opportunity.  In blessing the orphanage you have blessed us too!  I have space saver bags and a travel scale (thanks so much for the loan of those) and it would appear that I don't have a space issue but rather a weight issue!  Yes I'm about 65lbs over weight if I take everything that I want to take but that's not even all of it!  What a great problem aye?  Four suitcases which is 200lbs of allowed weight and I have excess....  Joe and I are sharing the smallest of the four (and you can be sure I'm going to try to fill that with donations too!) which means three large suitcases are filled to the weight limit. I've been trying to cram more in and repack it but I can't seem to be able to trick the scales.

Of course you know there's a lesson in here for me, right?  Adoption will do that, create many situations in which you can learn more about the heart of God and more about the sin in our own hearts.  So we had a dear friend over for dinner the other night and I was telling her of my dilemma.  I told her that I had prayed about the packing of all this stuff and so when I went to pack it all and I couldn't I was like "Okay God I prayed about this so what gives?  It doesn't all fit."  Well she just looked at me and wham I realized what I was doing, sure I wanted to take it all down there with us now but the thing is I can't save the world (or even one orphanage for that matter) with a bunch of stuff, in fact I can't save the world at all....that's not what it's all about it.  It's about spreading the Gospel message and telling people about a God who would send His only Son to die on cross for our sin because He loves us so much.  He is the provider not me, I'm a tool in the work shed, privileged that He even chooses to use me in His plan and so I'll let it go, I'll pack what I can and not worry about the rest and in doing so I'll be a part of a much bigger picture, a picture of a church family, family members, and dear friends embracing our family and showing the love of God by supporting an orphanage in a third world country in a small yet tangible way and in doing so show that it's God that saves, He is the provider and we are the tools.  Yes my heart was in the right place and this is a good thing, I want to bless them with a little of what we have, and we have a lot, but just taking "stuff" down there isn't all they need.  What we all really need is God and His Son Jesus Christ and that's what I hope to share in this blessing.

OH and one more thing, something I already know but need reminding of, God's not my magic genie who grants my every wish just because I think it's right and because I prayed for it.  Okay, enough said, lesson learned, I'm going to meet my kids!!!!!!