Saturday, July 28, 2012


I cannot believe it has been 7 months TODAY that little Crew has been here with us.  Today it seems like he's always been here.  But every day I look at him and know, he used to be in an orphanage.  He used to have flies all over his sweet face.  He used to not have clean clothes.  And I often wonder if he ate each day.  Probably not.

I can tell you this.....I'm so happy he is here!  Yes, I am more tired than I was before.  But it's worth it.  No, I don't have more time to myself....and that's okay!  I'll have time for myself later....and probably hate it! ha!!  I know that this little boy is now HOME.  He will grow up knowing he is loved.  He will learn about Jesus.  He will not starve, or be put on the streets to find a way to just survive.  He has a family.  He goes to church.  He goes to Target.  He has a bed each night.  And he is tucked in and kissed goodnight.

7.  He made our family of 6 turn into a family of 7.  He completed our family!!

Crew are LOVED.  You are SPECIAL.  You are PRECIOUS to us!!

"Jesus loves the little children.  All the children of the world.  Red and yellow, black and white.  They are precious in his sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world."



Saturday, January 7, 2012

What a TRIP!!!!!

WOW!!  Those were the craziest 4 days of my life.....LITERALLY!!!

I'll rewind just a little and start with....WE CLEARED!!!!!  WHOOP WHOOP!!!  YAY!!!  The US Embassy FINALLY approved Crew for a visa. After receiving the RFE (Request for Further Evidence) while I was in Ethiopia (on the second trip over, hoping to be bringing him home then), and after sending in our RFE response to the USCIS in Rome 3 weeks later, we got the long awaited email telling us we could get our son and bring him home!!  YES!!!  And to top it all off, the lady at the US Embassy that I had talked to in person while I was there in Addis (and many, many emails throughout the past few months between the two of us) said she would clear us in ONE DAY (not the normal 2 day wait).  AMAZING!!!!  Had to be a God thing!  Soooo, just like ANYONE would do (right?), I made flight plans to leave ASAP.....and again leave ASAP!!!  Let me clarify....

So, I left on Christmas Day, flew from Tulsa to DC, from DC to Addis, arrived in Addis at 8am, went straight to pick up Crew and headed right to the US Embassy for our appointment, and of course we left Ethiopia THAT VERY NIGHT at 10pm to head back home!!  YEP!!  We did!!  We got right on that plane that very day and flew from Addis, to Rome, to DC, to Tulsa!!  4 days of travel!  I was one tired momma!  It was sooo cool, though, how God helped me out......I was bumped up to first class on the long flight over to Addis. YAY!  That was such a God thing, because I was able to sleep for about 4 hours straight.  I needed that rest!!!

Having that extra room to actually lay flat was really nice for such a long trip!  Thank you, Lord, for that little extra blessing!!  Not something I would spend money on, but glad HE decided to gift it to me!! :)

When I arrived in Addis, I wasn't too terribly tired!!  I was just sooo excited!  It was December 27th now.  For some of you, this next little bit may just be too much, but I have to tell it.  A few months ago, while we were praying for Crew to be cleared, a friend of mine, Candice, sent me a text and it said, "27".  That was all.  So I sent her a text back and asked if she sent that by mistake.  My phone rang.  It was her.  All she said was, "Don't ask why, just hear me!  While I was praying for Crew, I heard God tell me to tell you "27".  That's all I know!"  Okay, so you can imagine, my mind was all over the place trying to figure out what that could mean.  I finally had to "let it go", as I couldn't figure it out.  Then we got the email....and the Embassy date!  December 27.  WOW!  Cool!!  So, back to that day....when I saw Crew, he was in a traditional Ethiopian outfit that his nanny bought for him (for me) as a gift....a goodbye gift.  Oh goodness, I just love her and appreciate her so much!!  So Crew looked pretty fancy as we went to the US Embassy to get his Visa!!  Precious!!

We had a few hours after our Embassy appointment before we needed to be at the airport, so Crew and I went back to the transition house to visit some of my friends' boys (that they are in the process of adopting) and take them gifts from their new families!!  It was sooo great to get to hug on each of them and remind them that they, too, will be going HOME soon!!!  Then Crew and I went to the guest house (that we stayed at in July for our court date).  It was great, as we were able to relax and spend some time with Yonatan, our dear friend, that we just love so much!!  Crew had fun playing in the small courtyard with 2 other kids that were getting to go home in a few days with their new families!!  What an awesome thing to share such a neat bond with others!!  Instant connection.....very special!!!  We enjoyed the afternoon and getting to visit with friends!!

Then it was time to take off!!!  We headed to the airport!!  Crew and I, with passports and visas in hand, boarded flight ET 500 for Rome, then to DC, then to Tulsa. It was a long.....long.....long.....long....flight!!!!!  Crew was soo good!!  He slept a lot!!

A whole lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In fact, every time the plane took off, he fell asleep!!  Must have been the pressure!!  Not one tear taking off or landing!!!  I was thankful!!
He enjoyed looking out the window for a little bit......but I don't know if he really understood that he was IN the "autoplane" IN the sky.  It may have just been too much for him to grasp at his age.  He had a few melt downs (3 to be exact) where he just kept saying, "All done!  All done!!"  But each time, he'd fall asleep in a few minutes, so it wasn't bad!!  Bless his heart!!  That's just a long airplane ride for anyone!!  I wanted to do the same thing myself a few times!  ALL DONE!! ALL DONE!!!  haha!!  He really did great!!!

Then we landed in TULSA!!!  December 28th.  Exactly ONE YEAR from when it all the day!!!  Ohhh my goodness, I cannot even tell you how awesome that felt.  Okay, so actually, at that point, I couldn't really feel my body....but my brain was definitely happy!!!  I was just kind of floating at this point!!  Exhausted!!!  BUT THRILLED when I saw my precious family right outside the gate when we walked into the airport.  I was so thankful they were able to be right there to greet us!!  It was so sweet!!  Happy tears were flowing.....precious, precious moment as a family!!!  We all just kind of knelt down at Crew and Kyler's level and just sort of sobbed...and laughed!!!  It was just a really sweet time!!!   And then we walked out towards baggage claim.......

Cassi and Makenzi were holding hands with Crew, while me, Kason, Kyler and Steve followed.  I could not believe my eyes when I saw how many family and friends were there to greet us and meet Crew!!  It was soo amazing!!  I was overwhelmed!!!   I hope I said hello and thank you to each person that was there (so, if I didn't, I apologize!).  I felt so thankful and grateful at that moment!!  It was priceless!!!  So many memories made!!   Then we loaded up in the car and drove home!  When I looked back behind me in the car from the front seat, I was so happy at what I saw looking back at me!!!

My children!!  All FIVE of them!!  My precious, God-given children!!  I couldn't have been happier!!!  We were altogether!!!  THANK YOU, LORD!!!

And since then, we have adjusted to a family of seven so easily, I've almost felt like I must be dreaming!!  It's been wonderful!!  From that first night home, I was tired, but didn't have jet lag.  (That was a positive to doing such a crazy-fast trip!)  Crew started sleeping through the night almost immediately (only woke up the first 2 nights for a short time), and by the third night he has been sleeping from 8 to 8, even with Ethiopia being 9 hours ahead.  He has simply adjusted!!  YAY!!   He is saying so many new words and just loves his family!!  He is always smiling and laughing...big laughs!!!!  He loves bubblegum!!  He loves the trampoline!!  He loves food....he is such a great eater!!  And he says "thank you" anytime we give him anything!  So sweet!

Crew had his first US doctor appointment a few days ago.  The doctor said he is in great shape and such an awesome little boy.  We are having his little "knock-knees" looked at by a specialist, but it doesn't seem serious, and we are just thankful that he is here IF it does turn out to be something that needs to be corrected!!!  Next week we go to the dentist!!  Crew's teeth are so pretty and white and straight!  I think he will get another great report!  We hope to be able to find out if his age seems accurate from his teeth xrays.  It will be interesting!  He loves to brush his teeth, so I don't think he will mind the dentist looking in his mouth....we'll be sure to use bubblegum toothpaste!

Life is good!!  We are so thankful God put this little boy in our hearts and now in our home!!  What a gift he is to us!!  What a precious thing it is to take a child from an orphanage...bring them into our home.....see him thrive on love.....and see us thrive from loving him!!!  He has blessed us so much!!  He has added something I had no idea was missing!!!!  I am so forever thankful God arranged this!   What a trip!!!!

So until next time......thanks for going on this journey with us!!!



Thursday, December 22, 2011


Can you believe it?  In less than a week, Lord willing, Crew and I will be stepping off a plane onto American soil.  CREW WILL BE HOME!!!  Yep, that is right....CREW WILL BE HOME!!!  HE WILL HAVE A HOME!!  HA!  I can't even believe it myself!!  After all the ups and downs of our adoption journey, it's almost over and Crew will finally be a part of our family forever!  It has been a year, exactly!  In fact, a sweet friend of mine reminded me that on December 28, 2010 was my first blog, "Be a part of our Crew; So our journey begins!".  To the day, December 28, 2011, Crew will be in Oklahoma!!  Pretty cool!!  Pretty GOD!

This whole experience has brought my entire family closer to God.  It has truly given us new eyes to see.....we look for opportunity to help those in need and to look less at ourselves!  It has truly given us new ears to many are crying out, yet so many just listen to themselves and never really listen to others!  It has truly given us new always try to encourage and lift up others, because you never know what someone is going through!  It has truly given us new many people just want to be loved, so we, the body of Christ, are the ones to do that!!!  When I started seeing these changes in my kids, I was amazed!  I never knew we would be the ones changed by this adoption!  I knew we were bringing a homeless child into a world he would never have otherwise, but I didn't expect it to actually make US different!  But God has molded us through this; and I see more of Him in my home.  I am thankful!!  I am grateful!!  To be more like Christ is the ultimate goal.  That is who I want to be like!  That is who I want my kids to be like!  "For I have no greater joy than to know that my children are walking in the Truth!" 3 John 1:4 

So, on Christmas day, I will get on a plane.  When I land in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I will go get my little son!   Then, we will get on a plane together and fly HOME. We will be home SOON!  I don't know if Crew Dawit Coder is ready for us, but we are ready for him!!!!  WELCOME HOME, CREW!!!!  And THANK YOU, LITTLE BUDDY!!  Because of YOU, we are better!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No matter what's all good!

Truly....I mean that!!  No matter what happens this matter what their reply is to our plea for Crew to be cleared for a visa.....I KNOW GOD WILL MAKE GOOD COME FROM THIS!!  He already has!!

Already, we have fallen in love with a little boy that had no one.  NO ONE!  That is one less orphan in the world!  Now he has us, no matter what!!  That is good!!

Already, 2 other families that we know have chosen to adopt...not one, but TWO boys each!!  That is 4 less orphans in the world.  Both of those families have already passed court in Ethiopia and will bring those boys home to forever families soon!!  That is good!!

Already, both my girls, college age, have decided to go on not just one....not just two....but THREE mission trips to show the love of Christ to children that do not have anything!  My girls have seen how important it is to truly demonstrate the love of God to others; not by merely saying they do, but by showing they do!  They have both said they do not want a penny from us for these trips.  They know we have had many expenses with the adoption fees and the travel, etc.  They are using their own money that they have saved, they are both working jobs to raise money, and they both are sending out support letters asking if anyone wants to partner with them in financial support and prayer.  They want to share God's love in a tangible way!  They know God will provide! That is good!!

Already, my 5 year old wants to teach Crew how to build legos, play ball and jump on the trampoline!!  He already talks about "When Crew is here....".  He already sees that color doesn't matter.  It's the heart!!  That is good!!

Already, all of my kids have said, "Mom, we do not need a big Christmas!  We are fine!  We have plenty!"  Enough said!  That is good!!

Already, we have made some lifetime friendships through the adoption community!  Friends that we would have never met had we not taken this step of faith!  Friends that I just cannot imagine not having in my life now.  And even some of the friendships I had before have grown stronger through this bond we now share in our hearts!!   That is good!!

Already, my faith is stronger!!  Even when things have not gone the way I would want them to go....I trust God!!  I believe satan is trying to stop adoption!  It is the very picture of how Christ adopted us, so satan hates it!  But God promises good will come!  And it has!!  And it will continue!!  That is good!!

PLEASE PRAY!!  We were given an RFE a few weeks ago.  This means REQUEST FOR FURTHER EVIDENCE.  We have to PROVE that Crew is an orphan!  I know...seems ridiculous....but it is what it is and we just had to take more steps!!  We have submitted our response to the USCIS.  It should arrive in the morning (Rome time), which is about anytime now!  We are asking for PRAYER for FAVOR..... For SOFTENED HEARTS....  That satan will NOT have his way.... That Crew will be allowed to get a visa from the US Government and COME HOME!!!

Did I ever think I would have to FIGHT for this orphan?  Not in a million years!!  Would I do it all over again?  YES!!!!  He is worth it to me!!  Just like any one of my other 4 kids, I would do anything to save them!!  Crew deserves a family!!  I love that kid!!  The shepherd left the 99 to go get the one....Crew is that one!!!   We will not stop until he is home!!!


It's all good!!!  God sees us!  God hears us!! God holds us!!!



Saturday, November 19, 2011

A day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Well, to get you caught up.....I came to Addis Ababa HOPING to be able to take Crew home!!  That isn't the way this trip is going to turn out.  I am very sad about that!!  I don't think I have ever cried this much before!!  I really couldn't even function very well the day I found out they were furthering the investigation of his "orphan status".  More evidence is needed!!  BUT, I have realized (after a full day of sulking!!) that it is still a blessing for me to be here with this precious little boy!!!  I do not understand what our government is doing and why they are making this so hard, and honestly....I am mad about it!!!  But I still know that God will make it all good!!  He will take care of Crew and every one of the little orphans until they are HOME!!!

So, here I am in Ethiopia.... and today was a great day!!  Driving outside the city was amazing!!  I saw PURE BEAUTY.....and PURE POVERTY!!  I am simply dumbfounded at how poor it is here!!  We went to the store before we left the city and bought crackers and cheese and we passed them out to the kids on the side of the road (most of them carrying large loads).  To see their smiles like it was Christmas morning....OH MY!!!  I cannot describe how I felt.  Crew had a blast!!  He LOVES to be in the "peepee" (car).   I wish I had a van full of crackers to pass out!!  I could do this everyday!!  We passed a very old man carrying a HUGE load and I asked the driver to stop.  We backed up and I reached out the window to give him my full bottle of water.  His smile about killed me!!  PRECIOUS!!  His eyes said thank you and his smile said I love you!!  I love him, too!!  A bond was made right there!!  I said "I care" and he said "I know!"  AMAZING beyond words!!!

We went to dinner tonight so I could treat Yonatan and Solomon to a nice meal since they drove me all around while I've been here. We went to a nice buffet.  It was delicious!!  Crew loves both these guys very much and enjoys being with them!  I call Yonaton my other son!  If only he were not 25...I would adopt him, too!!  He told Solomon I am like his second mother!!  Dang!  I wanted him to say big sister!! haha!!  Anyway, Crew fell asleep on the way home so he is now in the hotel bed out for the night!! We will have breakfast and take our time in the morning getting ready....then I will take him back to the transition house.  I fly out tomorrow night!!

Something else we did today was go to FashionABLE.  This is the place where they make the scarves (by woman who have decided to make a living and be discipled, rather than make money in other ways such as prostitution).  I got each of the nannies at the transition house/orphanage a scarf from FashionABLE, so I will give those to them tomorrow. They are all so sweet and just LOVE the kids! I will be sad to leave Crew, but I am okay again....disappointed, but okay, because they truly do love him and take very good care of the children there!  They are like a family!!

OH!! We passed a wreck on the way home from the countryside, where a person died (so sad!!), and then within minutes we came upon an accident where a truck hit a woman walking on the side of the road. Solomon thought she was dead. We stopped and they asked if we could take her to the hospital. I couldn't look from the minute Solomon said DEAD. But when they put her in the van, she groaned, and he said she wasn't nearly as bad as he thought. I turned around to look and she was a teenager with blood on her and seemed to be in and out of conscieneness. The man that hit her held her and we drove her to Addis. I am sure she will be fine, and praying she did not have any internal injuries. It was just wild. I couldn't believe what was happening!!  All I could do was say JESUS and pray!!

For those of you who have never been to a Third World Country...GO!!  Look at your neighbor and see what you can do for them!!   They need you!!

For those of you who have been to a Third World Country....REMEMBER!!!  Remember what you saw and never think you need MORE!  We do not need more!!  We do not need bigger houses, or better cars, or more jeans, or more shoes or more purses!!  These people live in MUD HUTS if they are lucky! They work harder than anyone I've ever seen (from young children to very old), yet have very little to nothing!!  The Bible says to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS!!  Are we doing that?  Or do we just say a little prayer for them before we fall asleep on our tempurpedics and then forget about them the next day?  What is wrong with us?  Why do we think so highly of ourselves that we continue to drown in material things, yet people are starving?  Why do we have the "right" to MUCH....even extravagance....when these people struggle to feed their families each day? If we are Christians, how do we live so selfishly?  Do we really care?

Jesus was not treated as a king on this should we live as if we are?

"Whatever you do for the least of did for ME!!" ~ Jesus

Something for all of us to think about!!!

I will post ALL the pictures when I get home!!  UN.BE.LIEV.ABLE!!!  Just wait til you see!!



Monday, November 7, 2011

Could this be THE WEEK?

A lot has been happening lately!!  It's been busy!!  Each thing, each activity, each day...makes me think of Crew!!  Even little things!  For instance, when Kyler is playing he will often say, "When Crew gets here, we can do this together!  I can teach him how!"  Okay!!  Precious!!  Kyler is 5 and already has such a heart for Crew!!  Then this past weekend we went to OU to visit Cassidi and Makenzi at college.  Our family went to watch Makenzi's University Sing performance and during the show I looked over at Kason and Kyler smiling and enjoying the acts and I thought, "Aww, Crew would have liked this, too!"  Even something as simple as the Christmas lights being put on the house this past week, I thought, "Wow!  What will Crew think when he finally gets here and sees all this!!"  He is already a part of us....our family!!

This week could be a week of GOOD NEWS for us and many other families!!  A team from the USCIS (immigration) in Kenya arrived in Ethiopia to review the cases at the US Embassy that have not been cleared yet!  These cases are the ones that are wayyyy overdue to be cleared!!  Our "case" (Crew) is in that group.  There is a very good chance that we will hear this week that they have finally cleared him!!  Today was their first day working there.  I woke up and the first thing I did was check my email.  It's something I've done each day for the past few months....about 50 times a day!  "Just MAYBE today they will clear us!!  Miracles do happen!!" has been my mindset for the past few months!!  FINALLY, this week could really be the miracle week!  They are there...right now!  They are going over the cases...right now!!   This has to be the week of hearing "COME GET HIM!"   Please, Lord!! PLEASE!!!

Yesterday was Orphan Sunday!  I wore one of my adoption t-shirts (I love them and wear them all the time!!).  I prayed for all the orphans that need a home...and food....and a family!  I prayed for eyes to be opened!  For hearts to melt when they see the faces of these precious little children who have nothing!!  For people to be blessed by being a part of adoption and to see it for what it really is!!!  If you haven't ever or in a while watched the video that inspired our family to adopt, watch it.  It's on my blog!  It's called "Depraved Indifference" by Eric Ludy!  It is life changing!

For those thinking and praying about adoption.....don't let anything stop you!!  If you wonder if you are called to are!!  It's biblical!!  Really!!  If it's money?  You have enough to feed and clothe another child.  You do!  Yes, you do!!  If paying for the adoption fees is stopping you....I'll help you with a fundraiser!!  We did that!  Adoption is expensive, especially when you have kids in college and driving!  But it's possible!!  Trust me...that's where we are!!  Does the process scare you?  The paperwork?  Well, there is a lot of paperwork, but it's one piece of paper at a time!  Is it hard?  Yes, it can be!  But so is pregnancy and labor!  That's part of it!!  It just makes it sweeter when it's all done and you have that new child to bless and be blessed!!!

Please join me today and each day and PRAY that this is the week these cases (children) are cleared and can finally be HOME with their new FOREVER FAMILY!!  Please also pray for the many orphans around the world that need someone to say, "I pick YOU!"  Change a life forever!!!  What is stopping you?



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I want to see the big picture!

I'm trying to see the big picture.  I'll be honest here.....I've gone back and forth with feeling sad, mad, both at the same time....frustrated!!  I am angry!!  I think it is righteous anger.  I'm mad at "them".  But then I am reminded to love my enemies and to pray for them!  Okay, I can do that!!  "God, please let them be struck by lightning!"  OOPS!!  Not what God intended when he said to pray for them. Okay, I'll try again later!!

Right now I am really trying to understand why we can't bring home this little orphan boy, who has lived his entire life in an orphanage, without a family, without a name, without a momma!  Why isn't this easy?  It should be easy!!  He should be here now!!!  We filled out the papers, we paid the fees, we even made the t-shirts!!!  Why do we have these road blocks?  Is there a lesson here for me?  For my family?  For the people around us?  What does God want me to see?

Just a little bit ago when I was driving home from taking Kyler to preschool this came to me!  I see this:  Crew is an orphan that I want to bring here and give a home!  A new life!  A family!  A bed!  Clothing and food and shelter!!  LOVE!!  All these good things!!  But there is a "distraction" that is stopping Crew from getting here, even though this would be better!!  This would be so much better for him!!  I see this.....God sent His Son to die for me.  For you.  Each one of us.  Even if you were the only one....He still would do it!  He wants to give us a home!  New life!  LOVE!  I see that we get distracted by things of this world, sometimes by people, or influences that turn our hearts and minds away from God, or the love of stuff or fame, or sometimes just so we can have "fun"......and by choosing to set our hearts on those things, those "distractions", there is a chance of missing God and his abundant plan for us, and for some, it may mean missing out on eternal LIFE with God, even though that is BETTER!!  I see the big picture.  I see how Christ adopted could I not respond to that?  Why would I not want what is better?  How can you not respond to that?  Is it better to remain an orphan?  You decide!!

Don't stay in the orphanage, people!!!  Go to the One who LOVES you and will give you ETERNAL LIFE and a FOREVER FAMILY!!!  You have a choice!!  Crew doesn't!!  Please pray with us that God will remove the road blocks and bring our son home!!  He is our son!!  We are gonna fight for him!!  Afterall,  his name is CREW DAWIT CODER.