Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I've been hesitating to say anything about our upcoming trip because it seems so frivolous in light of so many children needing a family and so many families needing money to adopt said children.

But the fact remains that Kevin and I are planning to head to the beautiful island of Jamaica right after Thanksgiving! -- which if you look at the calendar is just next week! The story starts over 21 years ago when I was approached by Erick and Joyce Kaiser who were then Assemblies of God missionaries to Jamaica (and LONG-time friends of our family.) Circumstances had arisen that would leave them as the only A/G missionaries on the field for a period of time and they were looking for someone to assist with some of the bookkeeping duties. And it seems like I would be needed in something like 2 or 3 weeks!! Well, I was young(er) and single and loved adventure and had a missionary heart --so hey, let's go. The only catch was that the bookkeeping was computerized and I had basically zero computer experience. (Honest to goodness, my ONLY experience at all had been on a machine my brother had--I believe it was called a Commodore 64. He had a book where you could type in all these commands and make a little ball bounce across the screen, for example.) So I was given 3 big manuals--Lotus 1-2-3, D-base and Word Perfect which I think at that time were pretty much the top-of-the-line--and access to the computer at our denomination's district headquarters for practicing on my own. Also I had one evening of real instruction at someone's house. So I spent a year in Kingston, Jamaica as part of our church's MAPS program and even experienced Hurricane Gilbert very up-close and personal in Sept of 1988.

So just a few months ago I got another phone call from Joyce Kaiser saying that New Life church in Kingston (the church they founded) was celebrating it's 25th anniversary and Pastor Robb was hoping lots of the MAPS people could be there, too, for the big day! I just kind of passed it off thinking such a trip impossible after just returning from Ukraine but when I mentioned it to Kevin, he thought it was do-able. I had wanted to take Kevin to Jamaica sometime but just didn't think 'sometime' was now. Without checking out each other's plans we found out that we are scheduled for the same return flight to Miami as are the Kaisers--and also some of the same days set aside to visit Ocho Rios! That makes it even more fun.

Our church has a couple children's homes in Jamaica--each called City of Refuge-- headed up by missionary Steve Puffpaff. I would really love to visit at least one of them while there. Out of curiosity I looked up Jamaican adoption on the Internet. It seems to be an open program but only thirty-some children adopted internationally from there last year--and I got the idea that most of those were relative adoptions. I just thought it would be cool that if any of the children with DS were available for adoption that I could hook them up with Reece's Rainbow. I met so many gorgeous and adorable children in Jamaica before.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Ruslan

Today is Ruslan's 7th birthday without a mommy and daddy and likely his 7th birthday without any celebration :( Please help me pray that it will be the last one he spends alone.

Things That Need to be Invented-Smile

As a parent, have you ever faced a situation and thought 'someone needs to invent _________'

Well over the years, I've thought of a few.

First off, I think that the floor under my dining room table needs to be cement and should slope down toward a central under-the table drain complete with in-floor garbage disposal. After dinner you'd just turn on a handy hose, wash down all the food particles and crumbs, grind them up and voila! no mess in the dining room!

Secondly, our oldest son is a habitual loser of his glasses. I think kids' glasses (mine, too) should have a little device implanted in the frames that would beep--even light up--when you press a button that could be kept on your key ring.

Thirdly, that same son is a habitual loser of his toothbrush. I think there should be some kind of a bungee cord that you could hang from your ceiling over your sink to which the toothbrush could be attached. After breakfast and at bedtime the child would go over, stretch the toothbrush down to his mouth, brush for the prescribed two minutes, rinse and then let go. The toothbrush would boing back up to remain suspended there just over your head until next time to brush.

I hope you got a kick out of these gems. I would love to hear your ideas, too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lera needs a mommy and daddy right away

Beautiful 4 year old Lera is in St. Petersburg, Russia and is facing transfer from the baby house where she is now living within the next few days. Once transferred to this institution she will no longer be available for adoption. She needs someone who is able to commit to her and sign a contract with the agency handling her adoption immediately. Lera has blond hair and blue eyes. She has Down syndrome and is described as quite high functioning. She has flat feet and a systolic murmur but no major heart conditions. She is with a regular class so she is living and learning with typical peers. Please contact Andrea at for more details.

Monday, November 9, 2009

On KMVT News

This is the link to the news report on our Orphan/Adoption Awareness Workshop.

Oh my! I didn't realize it sounded like anyone wanting to adopt or do foster care, please call me!!! Well, I do love to talk about adoption but please rest assured I will steer them toward a professional. :)

Orphan Sunday

Here are Caleb and Steven all dressed up for their dedication this morning. I thought they looked so cute. Sorry for so many of Caleb and only one of Steven alone--Caleb is so wiggly that I didn't think I had gotten a decent one until the last one. Steven stood still the first time :) I figured I'd better get some close up shots in Sunday School since you probably wouldn't be able to tell what they had on in the group picture at the actual dedication.
Below they are sporting their crown with "jewels" We were studying how David had a willing heart and was anointed by Samuel to be the new king. (Lucky boys--they have me for a teacher both in Sunday School and in Rainbows)

Here's our whole family (including my parents) on the platform with our pastor in the center. We purposely chose Orphan Sunday as the day to dedicate Caleb and Steven to the Lord. No longer orphans, they are part of our own family and our church family and are learning how to be a part of God's family through accepting the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Our pastor read from Psalm 127 (starting with "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who try to build it" and ending with "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man: so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." ) and James 1:27. It was a precious sermonette, not only for us but also advocating for orphans around the world.
Later in the service our pastor's wife got up in front of the congregation and shared her adoption story--they adopted a sibling group of three several years ago. She then made an impassioned plea for the 143 million orphans and called for our church to be involved in supporting people who are adopting or have adopted or are doing foster care. It was just beautiful.

After church we decided to celebrate the dedication by going out to eat at Sizzler. Our girls rode with Poppa and Grandma so I grabbed a photo of 'the guys'--including Caleb in his Daddy's suit jacket.

Then to top off the day I got a phone call from some people who are interested in adopting and I was able to give their phone number to our caseworker so she could get in touch with them.
What a great Orphan Sunday.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Orphan/Adoption Awareness Workshop

Here's the wonderful (and BIG!) magnet on the back of the GMC suburban that I drive, advertising the ministry of Reece's Rainbow.

Here's the Orphan Adoption Workshop poster --that our 3 oldest helped majorly to decorate--taped on the railings in front of our church's fellowship hall.

Well today was the big day. Our workshop was scheduled from 9:45 am to 12:00 noon with a light lunch to be served for those who wished to stay, ask questions and/or just chat. I had sent invitations to about 25 pastors/churches. We advertised on Christian radio (thank you KTSY) and on TV (thanks, Jay) plus put up posters. So I was pretty bummed when the day got closer and closer and we still had no RSVP's. Thanks to the encouragement of friends and family--and what I felt God was speaking to my own heart--I eventually came to believe that if the only people who showed up were our own children and my parents then I would just go right ahead and do everything as planned anyway.

As it turned out, we truly did not have a great turnout but the people who came seemed to enjoy the workshop and said they learned a lot. Our pastor's wife said she'd like us to do something like this again in the future. The caseworker from A New Beginning Adoption Agency --Dixie Tate--who helped us with both our international home studies was very encouraging and informative--and you could just see her personal passion for adoption.

The big surprise was that our local TV station--KMVT--sent Reporter Brittany over (again, thanks Jay), interviewed me, took some adorable footage of Caleb and Steven hugging, and aired a very nice ditty for the 10:00 news tonight. So even though so few were physically present, a lot of people got to hear about the 143,000,000 orphans world-wide and their need for a family of their very own. I pray that someone is encouraged to adopt because of it.

If you haven't checked out the resources at please do so. I believe you will be touched. Sponsored by both Cry of the Orphan and Christian Alliance for Orphans, November 8 has been designated as Orphan Sunday.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our Boys/Warrioring for Ruslan

Here are Steven and Caleb on our old swing set. Kevin is trying to fix it so it's usable.

Here's my idea for raising awareness for Ruslan. I put his pictures on a Word document, made four side-by-side copies, and wrote "Pray for Ruslan . . he needs a family" on each one.

On the back I printed both the email and mailing addresses for Reece's Rainbow. This way people can contribute to the "older boys" fund and thus improve the chances for Ruslan to be adopted.

I cut the strips apart and laminated them using clear Contac paper--making a nice durable bookmark. Next I used a hole punch to make a hole in the end of each bookmark, doubled the bookmark over with Ruslan's picture turned outward and put red, white, or green Christmas ribbon through the hole. Then I tied the pictures to branches of the little scraggly Christmas tree I bought at WinCo for $2.95

I added miniature red velvet bows from the Dollar Tree and topped the whole thing off with a lacy Angel purchased at the Mustard Seed for 25 cents.

Finally I took the tree down to our church to be displayed at our Orphan/Adoption Awareness Workshop. The idea is for all the participants to pray for Ruslan collectively and then for each one to take a bookmark home to remind them to continue to pray until we hear he has a family.

As Ruslan's prayer warrior, I have the great opportunity to advocate for him: Someone, somewhere out there in Blogland--please consider adding this sweet little boy to your family. He is listed with Reece's Rainbow under Older Boys. He turns 7 this month. This little guy has a special place in my heart. I first heard about him when we traveled in Jan 2008 to adopt Caleb. Honestly at that time I was frightened away by his Hep B diagnosis. Then when we traveled in Dec 2008 for Steven's SDA appointment, I got to meet Ruslan--he was in the same group as Steven and I was told they had both been transferred to the institution at the same time and were friends. Steven's worker encouraged us to adopt Ruslan as well. At the time, I don't think I responded with much more than a laugh and a question about his Hep B status. I did get to look at pictures in a book with this little darling and he seemed to really eat up the attention. Unfortunately I never got permission to photograph him. Well, as more and more time lapsed between the SDA appointment and our adoption hearing I began to wonder if maybe we could go ahead and grab Ruslan as well. After all we did have USCIS and home study approval for 2. However, when I asked our case worker about an amendment to our home study to accommodate Ruslan's age, she didn't want to do it. She felt it best to get Steven's adoption finished and get him settled into our home first--before adding another child to the mix. And many of you well remember just how wild and crazy our visits with Steven were. I really cannot imagine how we would have managed TWO little boys when Steven was so intent on spending the whole time running away, throwing toys out the window, hiding, knocking things on the floor, etc. Besides that, my husband had never really wanted to adopt 2 at a time--we had gotten approved for 2 that time without even asking!

So obviously Ruslan still needs a Mommy and Daddy of his own. And he desperately needs people to contribute to the "Older boys" fund at Because of the high cost of international adoption, children with higher grants have much more chance of being adopted.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baa Baa White Sheep

Here are my two little lambs in Sunday School this morning. We were studying David the shepherd boy.

Halloween Pictures

Kevin, the Mountain Man, ready to escort his two daughters to the Junior High Halloween party. He even bought them roses when he asked them to accompany him--ahhhhh!

Here are our resident tricksters on an absolutely beautiful Halloween Day.

The hug was their idea and I thought it was so cute.

The kids did an unusually good job carving their pumpkins this year and I failed to get the picture. Here's the poor pitiful remains by Halloween--saggy and soft, black and moldy inside, wrinkled up on the outside. A couple had already met the garbage can.

Here we are in the Kmart parking lot--Caleb and Steven getting to ride first class.

We had the nicest Halloween weather that I EVER remember. We actually enjoyed a family picnic and the eight of us played kickball. I even tossed a football with my older sons--I doubt that any sports scouts would worry that I'd missed my true calling but I had a great time.

Then it was FINALLY time to don the costumes (our oldest had been waiting impatiently since he got out of bed)--B, 15, was a Ninja complete with double swords; S, 13, had an adorable Eskimo costume; T, 13,was dressed as an American Indian; J, 11, was Captain Cody from Star Wars; Caleb was delighted to be Buzz Lightyear and Steven was dressed as Woody. We'd heard about this great Trick or Treat opportunity at K-Mart to do Trunk or Treating at all these camper trailers in their parking lot between 4:00 and 6:00. Oh my goodness--that parking lot looked like the day after Thanksgiving. I was ready to turn around and go home when we saw the unbelievably long line but T REALLY wanted lots of candy so . . . we stood in line. We're talking 51 minutes from the time we got in line to the time the first candy was plopped in our sacks. The kids had the great idea of playing the ABC game with costumes--spotting a costume that started with the letter A, the letter B, etc. That took up a lot of time and made the line much more bearable. J of course--being a true Star Wars fanatic--struck up a quick friendship with the kid behind us who was dressed as Captain Somebody-or-Another and they chatted with everyone they passed who was dressed similarly--and pretended war with all Darth Vader's, etc. Early on we grabbed a shopping cart for Caleb and Steven which made everything much easier as well.

Our church did a trunk or treat in the front parking lot and we had nine cars and around 85 or so kids who stopped by for candy, Gospels of John, invitations to various church kid/youth activities, pencils, spiders, key chains, etc. Much better turn-out than last year which was encouraging.