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May 26, 2008

Sami's 9th Birthday Party

My Internet has been out for most of the last week. It has been completely down since Friday. Not a good thing for someone who LOVES to read other people's blogs. I am at my in-laws house for a day, so I will try to catch up a little bit, while they sleep.

Sami's "real" birth date will always be a mystery to us, but it is legally in March. She had her birthday while she was in Ethiopia, but she wanted to celebrate it here too. We felt that we needed to put off having the party until she had been home for a while. When she first came home she was very quiet in group situations and didn't have a lot of fun being the center of attention in new settings. I know that it might seem weird to start her in soccer 2 days after she arrived home, but wait two months for a simple party. I can't really explain why, but it was definitely the right thing for this child.

One of the many reasons that we waited was that we wanted her to more fully understand what what "normal" life was in our family. Giving her a lot of gifts as soon as she arrived could give her a very wrong impression of what she can expect in America. An added bonus to waiting was that we could give her some of the things that we knew that she would like, instead of guessing.
Sami LOVED her party, even though it was a small family party. She was excited about it all~ balloons, streamers, cake and of course the gifts. She wanted to wear her Ethiopian dress to the party and she looked beautiful in it. Sami is fearless on the soccer field, but so girlie at other times. She LOVES playing with Barbies and has spent hours playing with all of her new things. I don't know how she does it with a 2 year old brother and a 3 year old sister, who like to "play" with her, but she has kept all of the little pieces together and organized. She is incredible.

Sami, when she first saw the gifts.

Landis loved the chocolate cake and ice cream. That boy can eat sweets. One good thing about having so many brothers and sister is that we have a lot of parties.

Garrett and Abby had fun watching Sami open her gifts. Abby had a few moments of jealously when she saw girl gifts that were not for her, but part of growing up is learning to celebrate when someone else has a special day. Hmmm where to start...........
Sami loves to play with dolls. Maybe, just maybe with all of the new dolls, she will take a little break from playing dress-up with her baby brother. I would post the pictures of some of the outfits that she has put on the boy, but I don't think that Daddy would think it was as funny as I do.
This is one of first attempts at cornrows. Sami has been so sweet about letting me practice.

I am not the most artistic person, so I have had to spend a lot of time to get to this point. I love her hair, but to be honest, it has been hard for me to learn to style it. We are blessed that God has lead us to a very sweet hairdresser, who has patiently taught me how to braid and care for her hair. I have friends that can help us too, but it has been hard to find a block of time when we can work on her hair, uninterrupted.

May 20, 2008

Would you please pray?

A child (11 yrs old) who is being adopted by a family who met her while traveling 6 months ago, is missing from her orphanage. This family is asking for prayer that her daughter be found safe soon! Please pray with us for this family and for their daughter. You can read more about her at

Thanks for praying.

May 16, 2008

Fav Foto Friday

This a picture of Samrawit in her favorite Ethiopian dress. She loves showing it off.

May 13, 2008

Red Letters Campaign

Spending time in Guatemala and in Ethiopia has changed me forever. I loved the people that I met and long to be able to do something that will make there lives better. I hate it that so many people are living without basic food, clean water, education and medical care. I can't even imagine living in these conditions as an adult. To think of children living in extreme poverty, orphaned and alone breaks my heart. As a christian I am commanded to care for the orphans, widows and the poor, but it is so hard to know where to start and how to help.

Yes, my family can adopt a few more orphans, but we can't adopt millions of them.

Yes, we can give money to the poor, but we can't feed millions of people.

We have been searching for a way that our family can make a difference. A way that we can truly help the people who are suffering. The Red Letter Campaign was started by people that I know and trust. I am so excited about what they are doing. They are bringing together people who have a heart to help and teaching them how to make a difference.

Below is some information that I copied from

We at the Red Letters Campaign (RLC) believe that YOU have the power to reduce extreme poverty, fight preventable disease and connect orphans with loving families. Our mission is to provide you the tools and a network of partners and like-minded people that enable you to be an active part of the solution - the way you want to participate. RLC is a different kind of non-profit designed to support you in your passions - not the other way around. Whether your passion focuses on the HIV epidemic in Africa, providing safe drinking water to Central America or finding homes for children without families in India, we can connect you to people and resources that help you make a difference in the way that you desire.

Whether you’ve just recently become aware of the challenges faced by the orphaned, widowed and extreme poor or have already rolled up your sleeves and joined the front line, the Red Letters Campaign will connect you with the people and resources you need to turn passion into action. The Red Letter Campaign will officially launch in June, but there are somethings that you can do to help them prepare.

Visit the RLC site and get familiar with it.

  1. If you have an adoption blog, they would love to add a link to your blog onto the RLC site. There are many families who have the heart for orphans and the heart to adopt, but they don't know how to it. By helping them connect to families who either have adopted or are in the process of adopting, they can learn how to do it and see that they are not alone in their desire to care for orphans. To become a RLC Journalist just click here and follow the instructions..

    . .

    Here are the RLC Blogger Journalists we have right now


  2. There will be a conference call on Thursday the 15th that will talk specifically about the new Ethiopian campaign. You can get information about participating at

May 2, 2008

a painful blessing

For a month now Sami has been talking about getting her ears pierced. In typical preteen fashion, she would bring it up every 9:00 at night, after the mall closed. :-) At 9 PM she was VERY sure that she wanted them pierced, but when she woke up the next morning she of course had changed her mind. For the last week she has said that she wanted them pierced, without wavering, so I took her to the mall. She brought her favorite big brother, Garrett, to hold her hand and she wanted Abby, her three year old sister to come too. Garrett was great with her and Abby said "ohhhhhhhhhhhh my sister Sami is hurting" at all the appropriate times. Those girls have fun with their dramas.

This is a typical pose if I forget to tell her that I will send the picture to her friends. :-)

before picture

This is a picture of Sami getting instructions from technician. It was one of those moments when she wished that she hadn't learned so much English. :-)

Sami was excited about the earrings, but nervous too. Sami is hilarious so much of the time. When she is playing it up because of nerves, she will have you laughing until you cry. It is such a blessing that we were able to laugh before they started, because after they began we didn't feel like laughing anymore. The first ear was pierced without having any problems, but the gun malfunctioned when they were piercing the second ear. The earring didn't go all of the way through her ear. They gave her the option of taking the earring out and coming back tomorrow to repierce it or letting them push it through with their hands. The earring was close to coming through the back, so I let her decide. She without hesitation chose for them to push it through by hand. She was uncomfortable, but handled it beautifully.

It was one of those moments when things don't go the way that you wish that they would, but in the end turn out to be a blessing. I would never want her to hurt, but God taught me a lot about my daughter in those few moments. First it was so neat to know that I could explain the options to her and have her truly understand what I was trying to tell her. In the past, we have had an interpreter explain things that were important for her to fully comprehend. It is so nice to know that the language challenge is getting a little easier. Second of all, I learned that my daughter is willing to choose to face a painful situation head on and not procrastinate. So many times the things that God calls us to do aren't easy, but they are for the best. If Samrawit has the character to face the pain head on and not try to avoid it at 9 years old, she is well on her way to learning to follow God no matter where He leads her.

This is Sami looking at her earrings for the first time.

After we were done Abby wanted to ride on one of the kid rides. Abby loved it and Sami played along because her sister was excited. Sami is a GREAT big sister.