Monday, August 31, 2009


A few days ago, I blogged about one of our many cool experiences while in Africa. Essentially, Steve and I know now where we are going to give back to the needs this continent. I have been following the organization, Drawn from Water since the beginning of this year and very inspired by their efforts to rescue children from being killed because of tribal superstition.

This past summer, a business man named Levi moved his family to Africa from California to care for these children. He put his career on hold, sold his belongings and made a two year commitment to give these children a better life.

There are 10 children in all. The cost to support the needs of them is very small compared to our standards in the US. However, they are running out of funds!! I logged onto their website yesterday and Levi had just posted - they are in desperate need of funds in order to continue supporting their basic needs!

Currently, Levi and his family are working through the paper work to make the kids be available for adoption.

97% of all the money donated to DFW goes to helping the kids. The 3% covers the cost of processing your credit card.

This is a breakdown of their costs:

Electricity —————————————————-$25 Per month
Water ———————————————————$25 Per month
Food/per child ———————————————–$57 Per month
Nanny 1 ——————————————————-$80 Per month
Nanny 2 ——————————————————-$80 Per month
Cook ———————————————————–$75 Per month
Rent ———————————————————–$270 Per month
Pick up a new child from tribe - Car / Driver————–$500 each trip

Please consider donating today!! They are at dangerously low levels in their funding!!

To donate, click on this link and then click on the "donate" button.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Water Fun and more...

This is Samson's first boat ride:
He's not sure if he is ready to jump right in with the girls.
But he didn't wait too long...

He was brave!!

I took the kids to the beach near our home just for a short bit. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera at the beach but this is his expressionless, tiresome self on the drive home. It was nap time but I thought this was a very sweet picture of him.

All cozy with Avery

He also loves the kiddie pool and slide!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our Homecoming

We didn't have any homecoming pictures on our camera - we just received these from my parents who visited this past weekend. After 30 hours of travel, it was refreshing to be greeted by familiar faces.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One of many cool stories

There is so much to tell about our trip to Ethiopia. I'm hoping to journal more as days go on but I just have to share this one cool experience for now.

Ever since we started the process, Steve and I knew that we would forever have a heart for Ethiopia. When we left Ethiopia, I for one was conflicted because I felt like I left part of my heart there.

We read about the people, the culture, the poverty, the needs. When you see this first hand, it does something even more to you. Your heart longs even more to serve and to help. But where do you begin in a country where the average person lives on $1 a day, a country that is one of the poorest countries in the world; a country where most people do not have access to clean drinking water; a country where there are millions of orphans.

This beautiful country gave us the gift of a son. We can't ever pay that back but we can do
something for our son's country. Throughout our journey, I have come across many organizations offering relief in Ethiopia. I have read so many fascinating stories that have touched my heart. There are numerous opportunities to help. But I always felt the Lord telling me to wait and He will show show me the way.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon an organization called, Drawn from Water. This organization began just this year and serves in Africa, rescuing children from situations where parents are forced to kill their children due to tribal superstitions. Before we left for Africa, I asked God to give me a sign while in Africa how and where He wants us to make a commitment.

Then we were at the airport, waiting in line for boarding passes on our way home. I left the rest of the family to move closer up to check if our flight was on time. From a distance, I saw an American man approach our family and speak with Steve for a few minutes. When I returned to our family, Steve told me that this man approached him because he saw Olivia's U of M sweatshirt and wondered if we were from MN. He was from Michigan. He proceeded to tell Steve that he was spending time in Africa starting an organization in to help rescue children from a tribe that practiced killing children due to superstitions. He was starting the third organization to do this kind of work, one other being Drawn from Water. He had just spent several days with the people from DFW and has followed their story.

We caught up with this middle-aged business man at the gate where we endured together a 5 hour delay for our flight to Amsterdam. He shared with us more about his organization and what he knew about DFW.

This was not by accident that we struck up a conversation with this man regarding an organization that has only been in existence for 8 months. I believe this was a divine appointment and God's way of giving us direction on how to serve in Africa.

Just in recent days, DFW has post a blog entry that they are looking for funding for a place to house them and get them paper ready for adoption. They are also looking for families to adopt these children. You can read more about their plans on the blog posted August 21st.

Now we wait some more because our next step is not clear. We are not ready to make any commitments but we will be following DFW's story closely.
"Strength will rise if we wait upon the Lord"

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We are all doing well. We have been home only one week but the jet lag has subsided and our bodies are feeling more normal.
Samson is such a fun little boy. We are in love! He has picked up on many English words such as "up" when he wants to be held or is walking upstairs; "peek-a-boo", "I see you" are also some of his favorites.
Our favorite words he says are "mommy" and "daddy", "Oloffia" (for Olivia), "L0-in (for Lauren) and "Avry". He also says "ma ta ta lo" but we don't know what this means.

Yesterday Steve called from work and I said, "Samson, daddy's on the phone!" He grabbed the phone from me, put it to his ear and with excitement in his BIG eyes, he said, "daddy?!" How precious is that?
We have also trained him to say "I love you", which comes out as "I looovvva YOU". Too cute!

Say "cheese"!

Trampoline fun!

If you give a 2 year old an umbrella, you will not get it back. Lesson learned - don't give your 2 year old an umbrella right before nap time or you are asking for a tantrum.

If you give your 2 year old a bath, you may not get him to come out!

The first time we tried bath time, he didn't want anything to do with the bathtub. The second time, he didn't want to come out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And more random pictures!

On our trip to Hosanna, most homes were grass huts. This hut is similar to the one Samson spent the first two years of his life, surrounded by banana and coffee trees. Due to lack of rain, the coffee trees did not produce enough coffee beans this season, so families crush the leaves of the coffee trees to make coffee.

This is the gymnasium of the school our agency built in Addis.

A ladder outside one of our guest room windows. Ladders and scaffolding were constructed in a similar manner all over Addis.

Traditional Ethiopian food. The bread rolled up along the edge and underneath the food samples is an Ethiopian bread called injera. You use injera to scoop up the food to eat it.

Three legged goat

Our agency is in the process of building this school in Hosanna. It will open for students this fall.

A fruit stand in Addis

The inside of a traditional hut. The fence posts are for the families cows. It's very common for the cows to reside inside the family home as a way to protect them from outside predators.

Another beautiful grass hut home taken from the bus window

A market street in Addis

A view of the Care Center from our guest house. This was Samson's home the past 2 months.

This is an unfinished structure taken from our guest house. Very common to see unfinished buildings like this all around Addis.

Driving through Addis, we saw this pickup hauling a huge load of mattresses. Many times you will see people riding in the beds of pickups, holding the contents down. Hopefully this truck doesn't have too much further to travel.

Our guest house was surrounded by a tall stone wall. We had a guard at the gate 24/7. This is our neighbor just on the other side of our stone wall. They were a very friendly family with 2 boys about Lauren and Olivia's ages. This style home, with corrugated medal siding was very common around Addis.

Samson's favorite toy at the guest house.

This hill of goats was very near our guest house. Each goat had a colored marking on its back to identify the owner. It was not uncommon to see slaughtered goat remains in this area as well.

Samson at the guest house cautiously checking it all out.

We were able to tour the old orphanage in Hosanna. They changed locations just before Samson arrived but it looks like they still do the laundry at this location. It is all hand washed and hung to dry.

The countryside along our drive south to Hosanna looked like this.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pictures for now...

We are all doing well and having a blast with our new son!! Here are some pictures from our trip:

Waiting for our flight to Amsterdam at the MPLS airport

Addis Ababa

A market in Addis

Samson playing with the balls at the guest house.

The care center where Samson lived since the middle of June
Samson's first night with us

In our arms forever - last time leaving the care center

An evening out of dining and traditional dancing

Saying our last good-byes as we board the bus for the airport

Our family in Hosanna

Samson's first visit to the guest house

The children of Hosanna

The family who opened up their beautiful hut to us for a tour

Hosanna entrustment ceremony

A traditional hut we toured on our way home from Hosanna

Coffee ceremony in Hosanna

The team who took care of Samson: his social worker, journalist, doctor and nanny.

Our guest house balcony