ethiopian faith journey

(Follow link to the right 'OUR STORY FROM THE BEGINNING' for more of our story)

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

God has been writing our story in His book of life – orchestrating details and making connections for our faith journey to Ethiopia for some time. Here is a glimpse of what God has unfolded for us and the journey He has called us to – God has written the story start to finish, but we are just beginning to receive this blessing. He will unfold His journey for us a little bit every day and we are blessed to have you experience the love of Christ for His children with us. There will be a day when we know the whole story and I pray that we can spend eternity with each of you singing praises of His goodness together!

The above verse from Jeremiah goes on to state, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” (v. 12-14)

We have called upon God and prayed to Him and He was listening. We sought Him with all our hearts and we found Him calling us to Ethiopia.

After we adopted Eliana, God led us to cross paths with many people who were touched by adoption, considering adoption or knew someone adopting. After seeing the way Eliana’s story touched lives, I (Angie) began giving out our phone number to anyone showing interest, praying that God would use our blessing to touch others for adoption. I received a phone call one day from a woman, Jen (& husband, Larry, also in the process of adopting), who expressed several people had given her my name & phone number, from varying circumstances and she felt that God had placed it on her heart to connect with me. They were using the same agency, All God’s Children International, and they actually lived only 3 miles from us – ‘isn’t that a coincidence’ we commented. We kept in touch and I was blessed by watching God at work through their journey to Ethiopia for their beautiful daughter Aleena. By chance, we actually met in person at the Little League field while watching our boys and we shared the joy of their upcoming travel to Ethiopia in crossing at the ball fields! About 4 weeks ago, Jen shared with me with that Aleena has 2 biological brothers that were later relinquished for adoption. After petitioning the Lord and praying for Aleena’s brothers, they felt God was telling them not to adopt them. She was broken and crying out for these boys and the Lord’s provision for them.

Upon receiving the email, something stirred in my heart…the same quiet knock God gave me when He brought Eliana to us. That day, I knelt at my bedside and prayed for these boys that God would bless and protect them and lead them to the family He had already chosen for them. I prayed that God would break our hearts for these boys if I was hearing the knock from Him and not from within my own selfish desires. Joe and I began to pray for these boys and the families that would be approached about them – ‘Lord…let the people hear your heart for them and bless their precious lives.’ Every family contracted with All God’s Children (AGCI) prayed over the placement of these boys and each one received a ‘no’ from God. When there was one family left to contact, we called AGCI and stated that although we were not currently contracted with them, we were praying over them and felt God calling our hearts to them. At this point, our hearts had been broken for these boys and our confirmation from the Lord would be that He stirred every other waiting family’s hearts to say ‘no’. On November 26, 2007, we received a call from AGCI that these boys had not been placed. Joe and I prayed together once more for these precious lives and received clear calling from God that our sons, Muaz (age 7) and Bereket (3 months) were being saved for us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

As of Friday, November 30, we are an officially contracted family with All God’s Children International and are pressing forward at mock speed to bring our sons home! Our adoption process in being done in reverse order since normally the home study and paperwork comes first and placement with your child follows. Well – God is working this miracle for us in reverse, so it is a race to catch up and bring them home. Our second confirmation from God that this was His calling for us is that it is also beyond us financially. God is made strong in our weakness and we are about to experience that in all of His fullness. In the next few weeks, we will be watching God make the miracle of approximately $18,000 happen (and then another $20,000 in the next 3-4 months)! In the past, I struggled with making this need public in order to adopt again, but God has shown us His need for these two boys to be safe, loved and growing in Christ. It is about watching an awesome God work a miracle and giving Him the glory for who He is! It is about leading others to Christ by experiencing His love for His children (our boys) lived out to the fullest measure…

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 The Lord is working in powerful ways and we are excited to see Him work a miracle…

Joey has arrived!

February 28, 2008


We received a very special package today on our front porch - it contained "The Golden Papers" we have been praying & waiting for. The copies of our approved and completed home study are now in our hands!! We will be overnighting them to the CIS office tomorrow and begin petitioning for expedition of federal fingerprinting and processing of our FDL (which is the last piece of paper needed to enter the Ethiopian system for the adoption). Our dossier will now be sent for authentification (1-2 weeks processing) and then it is off to Ethiopia as well! We will also be sending out several grant applications over the weekend that were waiting for our home study to add to them. We are moving forward again!
Please pray for 'M' as he has recently been told he is being adopted and introduced to our family by way of the photo album we made for him. Pray for him as he processes these emotions and pray for God to prepare his heart for us.

February 27, 2008


Just a quick update on Baby 'B' - not much news except he had a follow-up appointment yesterday and is healing nicely. Here is the voice of love from our case manager who is in Ethiopia for a few more days - "I played with him today while he was getting ready for a nap and he was all smiles when I was holding him. He laughs and it sounds like a squeaky toy--I love that little guy! :)"


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Today, as part of our homeschool day, we started a unit study of Ethiopia. Ethan & Aiden were very interested in their new brothers country and culture. They enjoyed making Ethiopian flags and thoughtfully hung them next to baby 'B' and 'M's beds 'to help them feel comfortable when they come home'. But the most priceless moment occurred when they began to learn of the poverty, hunger & sickness the Ethiopian people have been plagued with. The above verse from Deuteronomy comes to life for me when I see my young children loving the Lord by loving a people (God's people) they have never met and developing a passion to save the lost and rescue the needy. They saw a picture of a child near death from malnutrition and the questions of... why don't they have food? we have food...why can't we give them our food? what can we do to help them? is he going to die? All I could tell them was to never, ever lose their passion for God's people. Ethan decided we needed to pray for the Ethiopian people, so we did in that moment and 3 other times tonight. We also prayed that they (each of our children) would grow to be powerful men of God with a passion for God's people and a heart for the needy (whether in Ethiopia or next door).
I have been asked, "what will you do if your adopted children want to go back to their birth countries when they are grown?" Without hesitation I assured them that if God calls any of the children He has gifted me with to serve Him, I pray they will have the courage to go to the ends of the earth with Him. Where will my children's feet walk? I pray it is always with the Lord...

February 26, 2008


Happy 7th Birthday Ethan!

Ethan's 7th birthday was Saturday and he was excited to have a crowd of family fans at his Upward basketball game and they followed us home for an 'All-Sports Party'. Our children are so fortunate to have 3 great-grandparents to share their lives with. There are 4 generations of Joe's family (mom's side) pictured above. Great-grandma & great-papa are pictured above in the center of Ethan's group birthday picture - what a blessing! We praise God for the growth we have seen in Ethan this year both physically (...which is a bit painful on the clothing budget!) and spiritually as His heart and depth of understanding and reliance on God have grown. There is nothing more gratifying than to watch your children grow in Christ. Thank you Jesus for the gift of Ethan...

February 21, 2008


"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18
This verse is a powerful reminder for us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus - not on the trials, temptations or even joys of the world that will be temporary and then pass with time. Jesus is eternal and he never changes - He is waiting to be the constant source of peace in each of our lives. May each of us fix our eyes on Jesus & receive eternal peace both in this life & into eternity.
Baby 'B' has returned to the orphanage after his surgery and 11 day hospital stay for his eyes. We are told he is recovering comfortably back 'home' with his special moms. We are grateful he is now where 'M' is able to see him as well.
Our home study is approved and complete, so we are excited to receive copies of it in the next few days so we can press forward with grant applications and our CIS approval. Praise God for this answered prayer and for the hard work of the social worker to complete it quickly for us - she is a blessing.

February 20, 2008


"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:14
We are praising the Lord for His protection and provision for our boys in Ethiopia. We are also so very thankful to the angels He has sent to roam this earth and minister to our boys with abundant love right where they are. Yesterday, God sent an angel from Portland (our country case manager from AGCI is in Ethiopia right now) to spend time with 'M' and play soccer with him. She states, "I have had a wonderful time with your two boys here in Ethiopia . I have played football (soccer) with 'M' and he is very good. He is shy although opens up with time. Very sweet though!" Amidst her busy schedule there, she took time to love 'M'.
Baby 'B' is still in the hospital and will be staying there through Thursday (at least) for follow-up care from his glaucoma surgery. There is a precious woman of God with him at the hospital that we will forever hold in our hearts for her tireless outpouring of love to our 'B'. Upon visiting 'B' at the hospital, our case worker states, "I was able to see the love and dedication of 'Ms. M', his special mom from the orphanage. She has been with him the last week and a half—only having one long break for roughly 24 hours." We lift praises to God for her faithfulness to 'B'!
We share the priceless smiles of our boys with you and rejoice in the words of Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Thank you Jesus for protecting our boys and for sending angels on this earth to be our hands and feet across the waters pouring love and nurture into their hearts. Lord, there is none like you...

February 15, 2008


We received an update on baby 'B' and he did have surgery today (Friday) in Ethiopia. It was revealed that he has congenital glaucoma in both eyes (the left greater than the right). This confirms the prompting God placed on my heart that both eyes were affected. The nurse reported that they do feel there was nerve damage which will affect his vision, to what degree we will not know until he is home with us and receiving follow up treatment here. Our contact person from AGCI (on the US side) is in Ethiopia right now and visited him at the hospital today. She states, "this little boy is very special and very loved here, continue to pray for him as he is resting and recovering." They are told he will be in the hospital through Monday and then will be able to return to HH (orphanage) to recover with his beloved caregivers and special mothers there. Thank you for praying for our precious baby 'B' - please continue to petition on his behalf while he is recovering.

February 14, 2008


We received an update on baby 'B' today. Our information is sketchy, but we are grateful for any tiny ray of light shed in the darkness of waiting for information. He is still in the hospital and he was evaluated under anesthesia today (maybe yesterday...confusing...). We don't know what that examination revealed but we believe they are proceeding with surgery (we don't know when). The orphanage director has not been allowed to speak with the doctors directly. She states, "please pray for us to continue to have the strengths and the wisdom to do what is best for 'B' and just please pray for HIS will to be done."
We are thankful to have our Lord to lean hard on when we are otherwise helpless. As I stole a moment with Jesus this afternoon, He led me to this verse in Psalm 18:28, "You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." We are so in love with this precious little boy and would desire nothing more than to be in total control of his care right now, safely at home with us and everything that is familiar & safe to us. But, God has called us to trust His light in this darkness - and He is all 'B' needs right now. Please pray for us to continue to hold fast to God's promises and pray for the Lord's hand to be working through 'B's doctors and this pending surgery...
p.s. Happy Valentine's Day from the Asperger family! May the love of Jesus fill your hearts to the fullest measure with His goodness!

February 11, 2008


We received a message that baby 'B' was at the hospital all day Monday waiting to be seen by the doctor (hopefully the glaucoma specialist), who never made it in to see him. They admitted him into the hospital and are hoping he will get to see the doctor tomorrow. So next time I take one of our kids to the doctor and think the wait is long, I will count my blessings that we are not waiting for days in hopes that we will be seen!
The orphanage director stated, "Please pray and pray. We need breakthrough and most importantly the hands over this doctor when he makes it to 'B'." His favorite "special mother" (caregiver from orphanage) stayed with him overnight at the hospital and we are grateful for the love she is pouring into him right now.


Today I was blessed to eat breakfast with a super hero, a princess and a professional basketball player! I got to watch the super hero save the day (by graciously cleaning up his big brother's cereal spill for him at breakfast). Then I was served pizza by a kind pirate with spy glasses! I got to watch a professional basketball game (in the basement 'court' with the 'over-the-door hoop' and inflatable Tigger ball!) and then an olympic acrobatic show (on the mini trampoline). Another treasured moment was seeing big brother Ethan scoop Eli up onto his lap so he could hold her while he did his math work. This is a day in the life God has blessed me with. There is a familiar verse in Proverbs, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (22:6) that reminds me of my purpose as a homeschooling mom. Our training extends beyond academics and into character building, love for one another, joy in the Lord and admonition for the Lord. I am so blessed!


Last week was a busy week for baby 'B'. He went to several appointments and had many tests performed in order to clear him for evaluation under anesthesia. His beloved care giver (the director of the orphanage) has been serving him with all her heart and doing everything she can to get him the very best of care available. Please lift her in prayer as she devotes her life to providing love to God's fatherless children. He now has a glaucoma specialist, which is another testimony to God's provision for him (we did not think that would be possible). The doctor had him get an ultrasound of his eye last Friday and he is scheduled to undergo evaluation under anesthesia Monday. It is 12:30 a.m. our time right now, but 8:30 a.m. Ethiopia time, so I have the priviledge of praying for him before his procedure this morning. The doctor was hoping to get several pieces of detailed information from this procedure to determine whether they feel the urgency to proceed with surgery there.

February 7, 2008


"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." Isaiah 1:18
I love this word picture painted by the Lord in Isaiah. It is humbling to remember that Jesus fulfilled this promise to us by his death on the cross. This morning we have a perfect visual of God's grace, mercy and forgiveness right outside our windows. It is an absolutely beautiful morning in MI today - we had near blizzard conditions for hours through the afternoon and evening yesterday and today we are completely covered in a fresh bed of white snow. Thank you Jesus for covering our sins and making them white as snow...
As soon as daddy arrived home last night, the boys rushed him with the question, "Will you take us outside?! Can we help with the driveway?!" They love to help daddy shovel snow and stand in the path of the snowblower so they can get blasted with the snow! Of course they finished their work and topped off the wonderfully snowy night with snow wrestling and snow ball fights. Good times! Thank you Lord for reminding us that every moment counts and family memories are priceless.
Adoption Update: We are expecting to have our written home study report in hand (hopefully) by next week and then we can press forward with CIS approval and more grant applications.
Baby 'B' was scheduled to undergo evaluation under anesthesia yesterday to attempt to give us a clear diagnosis for his eye, so we are awaiting a report on that. He continues to be healing well from his meningitis - thank you Jesus!
We made photo albums for both 'M' and 'B' this week, which was a labor of love for everyone. All of the kids drew pictures, wrote them notes and it was a masterpiece made with love when we were finished. We sent them off to Portland and they will be sent to the boys soon. We prayed that God would help us to put everything in them the boys would need to see and hear about us to prepare them for us. It is precious to hear the kids (@ home) pray for the boys "Lord, please protect & heal 'B's eye, heal his meningitis, & prepare their hearts to be in our family". God is faithful and he is working in each of our hearts...all the time.


"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son."