Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kolfe Orphanage, Addis Ababa

Tom Davis' most recent blog post is about Kolfe Orphanage in Addis Ababa, home to about 130 boys .  Many families adopting through Gladney visit orphanages while in Ethiopia and I have heard this particular orphanage mentioned several times.  However, I had no idea the extent of poverty that these young men experience daily.  Please read more about Kolfe and their immediate needs on Tom's blog.

In addition, I found this video with a few more pictures of Kolfe.

Nachos Anyone?

Hey, Madison here. When you saw the pictures you were probably thinking what the heck do they do with that thing, plow the fields !?!? Ha Ha Ha Just kidding :)  Our neighbors own the donkey that lives in the pasture across the road. Her name is Nacho.  We're not sure where her name came from, but my two year old cousin seems to like it.  My cousin can't quite pronounce her words right sometimes and when she says Nacho it comes out "Na-noche.''  It is pretty funny.  Nacho will come up to the fence and start braying until someone hears her and comes to give her a treat.  Luckily I saw her tonight before she started that honkin noise of hers. So I just went inside and got some carrots for her. One thing that is really weird about Nacho is that she LOVES bread.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Red Letters

Dustin and I recently read Red Letters by Tom Davis. Powerful book. One of the quotes that I underlined in the book is from an eighteenth-century English philosopher named Edmund Burke. He said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing."  I hope to read his book Fields of the Fatherless next.  (My current read is The Connected Child.)

Amy Bottomly's recent post gives information about the opportunity to sponsor kids in Ethiopia through Tom Davis' organization Children's Hope Chest.  Tom recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia where they were assessing orphanages to see where they can come alongside and support the orphanages and the orphans individually.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Amazing Song, Amazing Singer

This video makes me smile and I hope it does the same for you! Dustin's aunt sang this song at our wedding 16 years ago. I loved it then and I love it now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekend Dinner at the Queen

Over the weekend we ate dinner at the Queen of Sheba with Dustin's sister, brother-in-law and their four great kids.  Sage was so pleased when the owner, Mimi, recognized him from our last visit.  Mimi said she remembered him because of how well he ate.  The lamb dish is his favorite.  Madison is still coming around to the injera.  She likes it but she doesn't love it.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Dossier Authenticated

Kate from KBS Dossiers sent an email today saying that our dossier has been authenticated.  All we are waiting on is our CIS fingerprint appointment on October 28th and then the hallowed I-171.  With the approval of CIS, we will officially be placed on the waiting list.  

Madison and Sage both prayed for their brother or sister tonight, that they would sleep well and wake up to a beautiful morning.  How reassuring to know that God has the exact child/ren in mind for our family!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


7 Random and/or Weird facts about us:

1. Our first date was on 12/30/88. Our second date was on 12/31/88 with a first kiss at midnight. (We don't want our kids kissing on their second date!  Maybe we just won't let them date.  Yeah, that's it.  We won't let them date.)

2. We've owned 11 dogs (I think) since we've been married. We currently have three that we live with (Dustin would say tolerate.) We've had way too many cats to count and currently have two that live in a barn.  Don't worry, we haven't actually killed any dogs.  They just die of natural causes around here.  Natural causes i.e. country roads, fast drivers.  Get the picture? 

3. Two concerts Nikki attended in high school were Bon Jovi and ZZ Top. Two concerts Dustin attended in high school were Van Halen and Motley Crue (does anyone really need to know this!?)

4. We've lived on a farm for 13 years, which is funny because Dustin's dreams were to move to Vail, CO, to be a ski instructor while Nikki's dreams were to move to Austin, TX, to be a school teacher.

5. Nikki has always wanted to travel to Australia. Dustin has always wanted to visit NYC for a very extended vacation.  Think months.

6. We are avid Dave Ramsey fans. We visited his office in Nashville, TN a few years ago, and sat with him in the studio during a live radio show. He was so cool! We loved how he circled up some of his office staff prior to the show and asked for someone to pray for him. Dave looked at Dustin and asked him to do it. Dustin's favorite Dave quote is, "Live like no one else so that later, you can live like no one else." Our kids have heard it a million times!

7. Nikki's always wanted a tattoo but is too chicken to get one. Dustin has always wanted a Yamaha YZ250.

So in return, I am tagging:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bread of Life

(I wrote this post two days ago, obviously in quite a reflective mood.  Today, I re-read it and it's a little deep and I am tempted to delete it.  But maybe a year or two from now, I will be glad I put it in writing.  Read on if you like, but don't feel that you must.  -NS)

I was reading a lesson this morning about the hungry crowd in John 6.  Jesus provided for a tremendous crowd with a little boy's lunch of five loaves and two fish.  Common story, heard it as a child, studied it as a teenager, taught it to kids at VBS.  (I remember wondering as a kid how God multiplied the lunch.  Did he keep replacing fish in the bottom of the basket and every time the disciples reached in, there was always plenty?  I have also wondered if the phenomenon was noticeable or did the new fish and bread just appear quietly?  Hmm.)  This time reading through the scripture, it was through the lens of adoption.  

Then Max Lucado smacked me with this question, "What can we learn from Philip's response?  What was the larger obstacle for Philip:  the lack of food or the costs involved in feeding such a large crowd?"

I couldn't help but ask myself the same question rephrased, "What is the larger obstacle:  the great number of orphans or the costs in providing for so many children?"


"What is the larger obstacle:  the situation itself, or the fear that Jesus will not provide for the situation?"

Some situations seem so impossible, so out of reach.  Some days as a mom I question myself if I will be a good mom to three or four kids when I struggle with two at times.  Jesus knew He would provide lunch for the crowd even before He asked Philip about it.  Jesus knows we will face obstacles that appear to have no solutions and Jesus wants to provide.

When we were contemplating adoption and the equation kept coming up short in timing and resources, Jesus knew and He wanted to provide.  I look back at all that we struggled with to come to the decision to adopt.  At times we were looking to ourselves to provide for an adoption, much like Philip.  And yet God provided in His perfect time, giving a greater amount of glory to Him than if we had attempted this on our own strength and resources.  His glory is our prayer.  

From Max's book In the Eye of the Storm he writes about this passage in John:

"Don't miss the contrasting views.  When Jesus saw the people, he saw an opportunity to love and affirm value.  When the disciples saw the people they saw thousands of problems.

Also, don't miss the irony.  In the midst of a bakery --- in the presence of the Eternal Baker --- they tell the "Bread of Life" that there is no bread.

How silly we must appear to God.

Here's where Jesus should have given up.  This is the point in the pressure-packed day where Jesus should have exploded.  The sorrow, the life threats, the exuberance, the crowds, the interruptions, the demands, and now this.  His own disciples can't do what he asks them.  In front of five thousand men, they let him down.

"Beam me up, Father," should have been Jesus' next words.  But they aren't.  Instead he inquires, "How many loaves do you have?"

The disciples bring him a little boy's lunch.  A lunch pail becomes a banquet, and all are fed.  No word of reprimand is given.  No furrowed brow of anger is seen.  No "I-told-you-so" speech is delivered.  The same compassion Jesus extends to the crowd is extended to his friends." 

Forgive me, Jesus, when I tell you through my thoughts and actions that there is no bread and yet you are preparing a banquet.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Adoption Video and a Loving Mother

This is one of the first adoption videos I found last summer when Dustin and I were in the decision process.  It is a video of the McConnell family adopting three boys, two are brothers and then another unrelated boy.  Tears flow every time I watch it...  the boy's mother in Ethiopia, her smiles for her sons and then when one of them looks up at her, as if to ask, "Is this o.k.?"... I lose it.  I really cannot imagine what it would be like to sit with your mother and look at a picture album of your new family.  If you have a chance to watch it, you'll know what I am talking about.

Family Photo

Dustin's parents recently gathered everyone together for a family photo session.  This is the four of us with Dustin's mom and dad, Butch and Jolene.  I purchased the copyright for this one image to have Christmas cards made for our family business.   I wish I had all of the other pictures on disc to share, including Dustin's sister and her family!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

A huge birthday shout out to my sweet mom, Anna.  I know,  we don't look much alike.  Never would have guessed we were related, right!?  Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you.

Their Walk by Faith

Wanted to share about a family with three biological children and adopted twins that came home from Ethiopia in April.

Their August 14th post is a shocking reality check and a hard read, but ends with hope and promise.  Isn't that what adoption is all about?   Whether it is orphans in a foreign country, orphans in the U.S. or any of us as followers of Christ who were orphans at one time and by grace have been given a home in Jesus?!  Hope and promise.

Their big decision was posted on their blog yesterday.  But please feel free to read their posts in between!

Why Adopt?

Why adopt?  A few reasons pictured here:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Interview with Belay and Yordee

Belay Tafesse is one of Gladney's in-country representatives.  He and others from Gladney and the Ethiopian government are traveling in the U.S.  We were so sad that we were unable to attend a dinner at Gladney's Fort Worth office last night where Belay and other guests shared a traditional Ethiopian meal with adoptive families.  A channel in north Texas aired an interview this morning with Belay and Yordee Brown.  Yordee was adopted from Ethiopia when she was seven.