Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Aiden's Liver Numbers are Normal!

Praise the Lord! I received a phone call yesterday from our pediatrician's office that Aiden's liver numbers are normal! We still don't really know what made them so high for so long, but it doesn't really matter now! Our doctor believes it was a result of the Hep-A taking a little longer than normal to cycle through his system.

We took a "gamble" last month by not going to see the specialist. To be quite honest we were just sick of all the doctor visits and medical bills that have been piling up. We knew that going to the specialist would cost more money and they would probably do the same tests that we have already done. Our pediatrician told us that because Aiden's numbers were on a downward cycle he felt like we could test him once more before going to the specialist. Thankfully his last test was on Wednesday of last week and no additional testing will need to be done.

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for this situation. We have seen God faithfully answer so many of our prayers in regards to our family. In my Bible reading yesterday God reminded me that no matter how crazy our life seems He has truly blessed us. There have been days that I just want to quit, but I know that God's plan for our family is going to be wonderful.

Psalm 16:5-6
"The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We Passed Court...Again!

Yesterday we had our final court case in our adoption. According to US law, we had to re-adopt the boys in order for them to be full US citizens. The boys came home on an I-4 visa, which means that they were permanent residents. Once the re-adoption goes through the boys become our children, as if we had them biologically but birthed them in a foreign country. They will even receive KY birth certificates.

Our court case passed yesterday morning and our boys officially became Adoniram Andrew and Asa Charles, citizens of the United States of America. The next few steps are pretty easy, as we will only need to file some paper work to get birth certificates and new social security cards. The paper work side of our adoption is almost complete! Last night I realized that our case here passed exactly 6 months from the date that we got off the plane with Aiden and Asa. God is definitely in the details!

I look back over the last 6 months and it is hard to believe all the changes that have taken place in my life. I am a different person. I can see how God has used these circumstances to refine me and show me just how much I need Him. I am in desperate need of His salvation and grace and the last 6 months have certainly proved that to be true! Yesterday in my devotions I was reading a passage out of psalms according to my "psalm reading schedule." It just so happened to be a passage that the Lord has put on my heart many times throughout the adoption (there are no coincidences when it comes to God's timing and His Word).

Psalm 126
When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad. Restore our captivity, O LORD, As the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Although there has been lots of weeping, yesterday was a day of joyful shouting! PRAISE THE LORD! HE IS ALWAYS GOOD.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Help is On the Way

"Help is on the way," the evaluated assured me. Yesterday morning we had someone come to evaluate Asa's behavior. I was afraid he would be a perfect angel while she was at our house, but thankfully he acted normal, well, Asa's normal. She got to see his head banging, his wild temper tantrums, and his random screaming. She also witnessed the constant motion. After asking me a few questions she asked if I had ever heard of sensory disorders. I said that I had done a little research after talking with a few moms about Asa's behavior.

The evaluator believes Asa has a sensory disorder which is basically a way of saying that his nervous system is not processing sensory information the way it should. Thus, his need for constant motion, constant banging, very loud screaming, etc. She is going to recommend that we see an occupational therapist once a week to help Asa regulate and calm down. I am not exactly sure all the therapy that is going to be involved, but I have been assured that it really helps. The evaluator said that with the occupational therapy we should start to see him become less frustrated, and thus we will be less frustrated. There is hope!

Asa also scored below normal in a few other categories of development, especially communication. However, I believe that this is a result of his inability to sit still and pay attention to what others are saying, etc. He is in his own little world most of the time and does not really focus on what anyone is doing around him. Once we get some of the sensory issues regulated, his communication should come right along.

Some time next week we will probably be talking with the intake coordinator from First Steps to figure out a plan for Asa. I am really looking forward to it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Asa is Getting Evaluated

After a few months of struggling with Asa's behavior, I finally contacted First Steps to get Asa re-evaluated. This time for his crazy behavior! We had waited because when we described his behavior to most people they just said, "He is just being one!" Kenneth and I knew better, but we wanted to see if we could suck it up and manage. In the last few weeks, we have reached the point where we could not handle it. I called First Steps at the beginning of last week, and already on Friday the intake coordinator came by our house. Within about five to ten minutes of watching Asa she suggested that he might have some sensory issues. I have been thinking the same thing for about a month, but I wanted her to come to her own conclusions. Asa has already pre-qualified for a lengthy evaluation based on his communication and fine motor skills, and now for his behavior. We are praying that we can have him evaluated the week after Thanksgiving. If he does qualify for services, we can begin some occupational therapy right away. I am praising God that prayers have worked thus far, and there is some hope for sanity! I am sure that Asa will be thrilled to get any help he can with whatever is going on in his little body and mind.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Aiden's Surgery

Aiden had his surgery yesterday. He was not feeling good at all when he came home, but this morning he seems to be doing much better. He is walking around very tenderly and is not talking much but he is at least keeping medications down. We continue to pray for a speedy recovery, with as few days on the couch as possible. We are already on our 6th showing of the movie, "Cars" and there was a little "Toy Story" mixed in with that. I am so thankful that my parents are keeping Noah and Asa so that we can just focus on Aiden and Nathan as Aiden is recovering.

Aiden also just started preschool at the Early Learning Village last week. He has only been two days but he seems to really like it. He is already wanting to know when he can ride the school bus. He continues to do well at the Mother's Day Out program at the church and we have seem big improvements in his behavior as a result. I am thankful that Aiden is starting to pick up on things much faster and he is starting to talk so much more. His behavior and his language have both improvement dramatically! Praise God for the work that He has done in Aiden just in the 5 months that he has been home with us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Newest Blessing

It has been way too long since I have updated the blog, but we have been a little busy. Baby Nathan decided to make his debut on October 1, exactly 20 days before he was due. What a pleasant suprise! The boys have been wonderful with him. Noah and Aiden are always arguing over who gets to hold the baby. Aiden wants to know where the baby is all the time and Noah wants to make sure that I am taking care of him properly. It is so nice to see them love their little brothers so much. I am going to have to remind them of this some day, I am sure.

Aiden has made so much progress! He is talking so much more now and we feel like a lot of this has to do with Noah. Noah is always encouraging him to talk and say new things. Aiden is also eager to carry on conversations with Noah so he is trying harder. They have really become best friends which is a blessing for us--except when they team up against us to get into trouble. :/ Aiden's behavoir has also improved dramatically. He hardly throws temper tantrums anymore, and when he does it is NOTHING like what we experienced when he first came home. Now he simply puts himself in "time out" and whimpers softly until he realizes that we are not going to pay attention to that behavior. His defiant personality is getting under control.

Aiden's liver numbers are still in question. We go to the doctor on Monday for another round of blood work. We will see the specialist at UK in mid-November. Aiden will also have his circumcision, tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in on November 12. Bad day for him, but we will be so thankful when it is over. Hopefully he will get better sleep and be able to breathe easier.

Asa is still making huge strides physically. The kid can climb stairs in seconds. He can also destroy a room in half that time. We are struggling with his constant need to be touching, banging, kicking, moving, destroying... Today he sat in my lap for about 4 minutes without trying to jump out which is the first time he has done that since we brought him home. He has also started throwing some serious tantrums when he is told "no" or if he is not the center of attention. It must be hard having 3 brothers that all need time too. We tell him all the time that it is a good thing he is so cute!

Although it is challenging to have 4 children ages 3 and under, we feel blessed. God never gives us more than we can handle, and He constantly shows us His provision and hope. Today Kenneth and I were commenting that we can't imagine life without Aiden and Asa. How boring it would be!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

UPDATE on Aiden

It has now been almost two weeks since we learned of the high enzyme numbers for Aiden's liver. We went to get him an ultrasound on 9-3 which came back normal. The good news is that it does not look diseased and his other organs look good too. The bad news is that we still do not know what is going on. We back to our pediatrician on 9-8 for more blood work. We were hoping that the numbers had at least stabilized or started to decline. His ALT number stabilized but his AST did not. His AST number actually went up 11 points. We are now waiting to see a specialist at UK hospital, and that appointment is not until mid November. For the time being we have to go back to the pediatrician for more blood work on 9-22. If his numbers have not stabilized or gone down we are going to have to see a specialist in Cincinnati.

In other news, we had to take him to an ENT on 9-9. We learned that he will need both his tonsils and adenoids removed. He will also need tubes put in his ears. This surgery is scheduled for 11-12. Right now he has a mild ear infection in one ear and a very bad infection in the other. Poor kid.

I continue to be thankful that God brought Aiden to us and we can, Lord willing, begin to get him the medical care he needs. Thank you to all who have been praying for Aiden and our family.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I Do Know

On Monday we took Aiden to the doctor for a follow-up. I almost cancelled the appointment because we already have another appointment scheduled for November and I am getting so tired of doctor appointments between the 5 of us. I e-mailed our doctor to just check what the appointment was for. He said that we could wait until November but then we would have to come back again anyways to finish up vaccinations. I decided to keep the appointment because going now with 3 children, as opposed to going with 4 children in a few more months, just makes sense. Am I glad that God had his hand even in that...

In June they did some blood work on Aiden. He tested positive for HEP-A and his liver function numbers came back a little higher than normal at 79. The doctor was concerned but thought this might be due to the HEP-A, which would be leaving his system. When we re-tested his blood on Monday we discovered that the HEP-A is gone, but the liver numbers were in the 300's. 70 is the high end of normal. This is not good.

We do not know what is going on with Aiden's liver. The doctor is very concerned but said that we do not need to panic just yet. We go in tomorrow to get an ultrasound of his liver, and then back to the office on Wednesday to get more blood work. The doctor thinks that because he is so young, and if we get ahead of whatever is going on, there should be no long term affects. We just don't know....

Here is what I do know...
-This is no suprise to God, even if it is a suprise to us.
-God is in total control, no matter what happens.
-This is for our good and God's glory, although we might not see it right now.
-Jesus is the great physician, and we can totally trust Him.
-God could have brought Aiden to our family to spare his life. What would have happened with no medical care, or very little medical care, in Ethiopia?
-God knows exactly what is going on with Aiden and He loves him.
-God is our provider, and He will provide for His children.
-In a way, I am praising God because it has shown Kenneth and I that our hearts hurt for Aiden the same way it would if Noah were in this situation. What a comforting reassurance that we are bonding and feel that he is truly, truly ours.

Please be in prayer for Aiden.

Friday, August 13, 2010

First Steps and Anniversary Weekend

This weekend is our 6 year wedding anniversary! I can honestly say that I am so thankful that I am married to Kenneth and there is no one else I would rather journey through life with! I cannot imagine doing this whole parenting and adoption thing with anyone else!

For our anniversary all we wanted was some rest! Our parents are having the kids over for a sleep-over this weekend so that we can rest in our own bed and not have to wake up with the kids in the morning. The boys are a huge blessing, but are so exhausting too. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to sleeping!!!! What a blessing that all of our boys have great relationships with both sets of grandparents and that the grandparents are willing to give us the gift of rest!

Asa took his first steps on Tuesday! The kid is already everywhere and into everything so I am very excited that he is starting to take his first steps. Maybe by the time Nathan arrives Asa will be a confident walker! It would certainly be nice to not have to carry two babies around everywhere we go.

Aiden has made some progress with his language. He is starting to put two words together more and more. We have a long way to go, but we are getting somewhere!

Noah continues to be an awesome big brother. He is so loving with Asa and so encouraging with Aiden. Although Noah and Aiden have their fair share of fights they are getting along so much better now and we are having to break up less and less bickering and shoving matches.

It feels like things are starting to calm down around our house. I am having less and less days where I feel like I should be locked in a mental facility. Every day gets a little better and a little easier (in general). I am just so thankful for God's grace and his forgiveness when I react in frustration, tiredness and stress. I pray that He would just give me the strength and patience to be the example of Christ that my children need to see in their mother.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Could this be???

Okay, so I don't want to get ahead of myself....but Asa has slept through the night this whole week! 5 nights in a row! Kenneth and I are thrilled beyond belief that this might be the start of a permanent thing for Asa. Although I am still getting up multiple times throughout the night, being in my third trimester of pregnancy, it really helps that I am not having to tend to a crying 10 month old. Praise God! I am still really tired all the time but at least I haven't felt like I would fall over at any moment. Now it feels like my tiredness is more pregnancy related rather than getting up at all hours with other children.

Things at our house are still wild, but we are settling in. Asa seems as though he feels very secure in our family and that he doesn't even remember his life before us. He has become really attached to me in particular. He gets a huge smile when I walk into the room.

Aiden is well attached to Kenneth, but his relationship with me isn't as great as I would have hoped. I know that it will come with time but it is hard. I told Kenneth the other night that it is hard to keep giving and giving and giving and sacrificing when you feel rejected in return. His reply, "Isn't that just like the gospel?" True. Christ keeps giving and giving and giving and sacrificing and so often we reject him in our disobedience and ungrateful attitude. Again, this adoption has taught me so much about the gospel and what it means to be a follower of Christ. I am thankful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to learn in such a concrete way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Although Aiden & Asa officially became citizens of the best country on earth on June 6, we have now received their social security cards and citizenship cards. Wahoo! The next step in our adoption process will be to re-adopt them in the state of KY. We will have to hire an adoption lawyer and go through a process. From there, Kenneth and I are going to go through the process of legally changing the boys' names, and changing Aiden's birthday. Hopefully we will be able to start the re-adoption in a couple months when our social worker comes to do our 3 month visit.

The boys are also adjusting pretty well at home. At the moment all 3 are crying, which is just fantastic to listen to (ugh). However, for the most part, it is getting better each day. Asa is coming along like a champ, with the exception of his eating habits and waking up in the middle of the night. Aiden is speaking more and more English. We have his first speech therapy session tomorrow afternoon. I think I will feel sooo much better once Aiden starts communicating with words rather than whinning and grunting.

Well, better go get Noah out of time out...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Photo Session with Aimee

Our friend Aimee Nielson took these pictures of our family as a gift to us. She got some great shots, and here are just a few that we wanted to share. Aiden loves seeing himself in these pictures with us. Hopefully this will let him know that he is with us forever. Anyone in the Lexington area looking for a great photographer, check out

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sow in Tears, Reap with Joyful Shouting

Having time alone with the Lord is rough these days. A few nights ago as I went to bed, so stressed and so tired, I asked God to just help me open the psalms to something I needed to hear from Him. He blessed me with Psalm 126.
Verse 3, "The Lord has done great things for us; We are glad."
Verse 5, "Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting."

Both of these verses have been a life saver to me the past few days and are exactly what I needed to hear. The Lord has certainly done great things for us, and we have had some glad moments in the month that we have had Aiden and Asa home. I would be lying if I said we were not also sowing with a lot of tears right now. We knew the first few months would be tough, and we are going through it. Our transition has not been too difficult, and far better than what I was expecting. However, it is not easy going from 1 child to 3, with 1 on the way. We are tired!

The most difficult part for me has been communication with Aiden. It is like trying to deal with an 18 month old in the body of a 2.5 year old. He is saying more and more English words but it is like pulling teeth most days. I think he is starting to realize that he needs to learn English and he is trying harder. He is good at saying "please" and "thank you" and of course, "no." We are going to get him evaluated on July 12 by a program called First Steps that should help him with his communication. Other than that, he is doing great physically! He is looking healthy and gaining weight!

Asa is doing really well! He has caught up almost entirely with where he should be physically and verbally in the last 3 weeks. He has also gained 3 pounds since we have brought him home. Our pediatrician doubts he will even qualify for any special assistance with First Steps now because he has done so much in such a short amount of time. It is amazing to watch. Even seeing his face light up when he discovers that he can pull himself up on the furniture is adorable and heart warming.

We love our sons, and despite the craziness right now, we are so thankful that God blessed us in such a way. Thankfully He has also given us a sense of humor through most of the trying times. Like when I had to ask Noah, "Did you seriously just pee on your brother?! Really?!"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Counting the Cost

We have been home two weeks and it has been a whirlwind. Some very good ups and some pretty low downs. The Lord has been so gracious to constantly remind me that this is His best plan for our lives and that His grace is sufficient.

A couple of days this week have been especially tough on Noah. This is all a huge adjustment for him, and he is acting out. We have had hours and hours of temper tantrums, not listening, etc. At the same time there have been some incredibly sweet moments between he and his brothers. Even though he and Aiden have struggled to get along, he always wants to know where Aiden is and what he is doing. The past two days the boys have gotten along very well and have had tons of giggles together.

We have seen some great improvements in Aiden's speech. Although he was refusing to speak any English, he has started saying some words and mimicking Noah. Noah points out things to Aiden and tells him the English words and then encourages him when he says it. Kenneth and I had nothing to do with it, and the pride in my heart just swells for him.

The greatest improvements have been with Asa. When he came home with us he was very unsteady even sitting up. In just two weeks he is sitting very well, starting to crawl, trying to pull himself up, grabbing small snacks and feeding himself! He is getting so much stronger each day. He has already gained 2 pounds and is eating about 10 more ounces of formula per day than he was. Asa is such a happy baby, and very laid back.

We have had so many laughs and proud moments that are a true joy to be a part of. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord.

In those moments when I felt like checking myself into the mental facility, the Lord kept reminding me that REDEMPTION IS COSTLY. The minor struggles we have faced emotionally and physically do not compare to what it cost Christ to redeem my soul and adopt me into His family. He went through emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual pain, separation and even death to rescue me from orphanhood. Our small struggles are merely a way that we can partake in the suffering of Christ, giving greater glory to the Father because two boys are no longer orphans here on earth. Praise Him!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Congratulations and Welcome Home"

"Congratulations and welcome home." These words are some of the most precious I have ever heard. Kenneth and I literally cried like babies when the US Homeland Security Officer spoke these words to us as we walked through customs and immigration with our sons. I cannot describe what a great feeling it was to be home. Yes, we had an amazing trip, but there is nothing like when the plane wheels land on US soil. That too, was another moment when both of us began sobbing. Right there in the plane. It feels so good to be home with Aiden and Asa.

Our trip went really well. We met the boys on Thursday morning at the transition house and then went straight to our embassy appointment. Yet another moment of crying took place after we were interviewed and and the embassy official said "Congratulations" and handed us some official paper work for each boy.
At first meeting Aiden was very shy and cautious. Asa is such an outgoing and happy baby that he warmed right up to us. It didn't take Aiden but a few hours to want to touch us and let us hold him. We cannot believe the change we have seen in him just in the last few days that he has been with us. He is starting to use words, in his native tongue, but he is at least talking. He is smiling a lot more. He runs to us and hugs us. He holds our hands and follows directions. He wants us to comfort him when he falls or gets upset. I know he is going to blossom.

Noah is also doing very well. He is a great big brother, even better than we expected. He loves both Aiden and Asa. He wants Aiden to play with him all the time. Just this afternoon when we put the boys down for a nap we heard a lot of laughing and talking before they finally fell asleep. Noah wants to feed Asa, hold him, kiss him, etc. Aiden also wants to be a big helper with Asa. I think they will all get along just fine.

It has been quite an adjustment for our family, and we have several things to work through, especially with Aiden. However, I think in due time, the issues will resolve as he is fed consistently, when he feels secure in our family and loved. Our issues are just minor things like food and sickness with both boys and sleeping schedules with Asa. We would not trade this experience for anything! The boys are a huge blessing! We could not have asked God for better boys than the ones He has chosen for our family. We praise Him for how wonderful things have been.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


We are just days away from getting on a plane to go meet our boys for the first time...and bring them home! I must admit that I am pretty stressed out between finishing things up at work, preparing the house to be gone, packing Noah for his stay with MawMaw and PawPaw, getting stuff together for the boys, and packing for ourselves. It seems like I cross one thing off my to-do list and then three more things are added. I needed to take a break and update the blog...

Many people are asking how we feel. We are both very excited and very anxious. Excited to get the boys, to bring them home, to hang out in Rome a few days. We are also anxious. I love being on planes, but being 4.5 months pregnant and on a plane doesn't not sound fun to me. I am nervous about how I am going to feel and get the needed rest, etc. We have never met our children and have no idea what their personalities will be like, and we know that they will not understand what we are saying to them since they do not know English. We don't know how long it is going to take them to feel comfortable with us as Mommy and Daddy, we don't know if they will adjust well or if it is going to be really hard on everyone. We have no idea how Noah will react once he truly realizes that his brothers are home forever. There are just so many unknowns running through our minds.

The best thing is that I know that God has led us here, and His grace is sufficient for all we need! He has an amazing plan for our family, and I know we are going to be very very blessed with all these precious children. What an honor that God saw us fit to parent four young men.

We are also so very humbled by the gifts and encouragement we have received from our church family and friends. One Sunday school class blessed us with a multitude of diapers and wipes, and several gift cards. Others have donated clothes and car seats. Just a few minutes ago our doorbell rang and two girls from across the street handed me an envelope with money they had raised for our adoption by selling popcicles. The whole thing was their idea. I am almost speechless. God uses young children to teach us so much about faith and charity. Isn't He amazing and good! I cannot describe the gratitude I feel.

Over and over again I am reminded of how blessed I am that God has called us to adopt. We are simply being obedient to what He has called us to do, and He just hasn't stopped blessing us!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Plane Tickets & Hotel Rooms Booked!

Even though we found out we had an embassy date a couple weeks ago, we had to wait on the official birth certificates for our boys from Ethiopia. We could not book plane tickets until we knew the correct spelling of their names. The birth certificates finally came in yesterday! I cannot describe how it felt to finally see an official document with Kenneth and I listed as the proud parents of Abedi (Aiden) and Merga (Asa). Seeing their pictures at the top of the page with our names listed as parents was amazing, and very real! It is really real!

Although we received the birth certificates via e-mail yesterday, we were not able to book Aiden's flight. I think our credit card could not handle all the expense! haha. We booked our flights, and then Aiden's flight was booked today. We did not get Asa a separate ticket, so we paid a minimal fee for him to ride home on our laps. I think we will be very pleased that we spent the money to get Aiden his own seat on the plane.

We leave May 28 out of Cincinnati to head to Rome. God has really blessed us with the ability to have a mini vacation (just the two of us) before we go from 1 to 4 children in a few months. We will arrive in Addis, Ababa Ethiopia on June 3! Lord willing, we will be coming home with our sons on June 6.

I cannot express how grateful I am to all of our friends, family, and church family who encourage us, pray for us, love us and support us. The journey, although it is far from over, has been a joyous blessing and I am so humbled that God has led us here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Proud Big Brother

We found out today that Noah is going to be big brother to another boy! That makes 4 little boys for the Bruce household! Yesterday I managed to get this picture of Noah wearing his "big brother" shirt. He wore this both Monday and Tuesday...don't judge me. haha. :) I couldn't get him to wear anything else yesterday, and it was not a battle I was going to fight. He is so excited that he has two brothers in Africa, and just loves to tell people about his shirt. It is pretty adorable, so I caved in and told him he could wear it again, but he had to put another shirt over before he went to school. That shirt is stinking up my laundry room now.

Friday, April 30, 2010


JUNE 3. This is the day we have been looking forward to for 6 months now. It is the day that we can go pick up our boys and hold them in our arms! We received word today that our embassy date will be June 3. Now we are busy trying to book flights and reservations. Kenneth and I would love to be able to make a short stop in Rome on the way. Just last week the tickets were as low as $2300 per person, and now they have shot up to $5000. We are praying that somehow the tickets prices go down again and we can make one last short trip together before being a house full of children! I have always, always wanted to see Rome, and it would just be an overflow of blessing for me to be able to do that before bringing our sons home. We will see...
For now, I cannot wait for June 3!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming Home

I just got on our agency's website. This picture of our boys is on the welcome home page! I was so excited to finally see our sons there. I have been waiting for that since the day we began the adoption process. We are getting so close to having them home now! We hope to be able to go to Ethiopia to pick them up in June.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

They are OURS

Asa Charles Merga

Adoniram Andrew Abdi

We got a phone call this morning that both boys passed court! They are officially OURS. We hope to travel to Ethiopia in about 3-6 weeks to bring them home!

Monday, April 19, 2010


We were so blessed this weekend with a suprise shower from our church family and friends to celebrate the three new blessings in our life! I thought we were going to a baby fair with the Dillow family, but when I walked in the conference room at the Hilton hotel I saw lots of familiar faces..and no baby fair. What a nice suprise! We received so many things that we are going to need and lots of gift cards to buy diapers!

Words cannot describe how loved and blessed we feel by the people in our life. We have received so much support, encouragement and prayer throughout this whole adoption process. I cannot imagine going through this without our church family, family and friends. God has truly given us way more than we could have dreamed.

In addition to the suprise shower, we have also heard back from two grant agencies this week. CARI granted us $1,000 toward our in-country fees, and the Oath Ministry from a church in Alabama gave us $400. What a blessing. We were also to meet our goal for the Lifesong matching grant, which was $3,000! God assured us that He would take care of this adoption if we would only be obedient, and it is amazing to see Him keep His Word!

The court date is two days away....please keep us in your prayers!

Friday, April 16, 2010


The excitement/anticipation for our court date is about to give me a stomach ulcer. We are less than 1 week away! Although we are trying to guard our hearts because so much can still happen, it feels like we fall more and more in love with the boys each day. Our hearts are starting to really ache to have them home with us. I keep having dreams about them coming home, and us going to pick them up. Noah is also starting to become more impatient. He had two total melt-downs at school this week because he wanted his brothers to be home.

When we found out that I was pregnant, it really threw my plans for a loop as far as the house is concerned. We have decided to switch some furniture and rooms around to make room for everyone. Last night we moved Noah's big boy bed into a different room and set up an identical bed for Abdi/Aiden in the same room. Noah is very excited. We also set up a bed for Merga/Asa in a new room so that he will have a big boy room once the baby arrives. We have lots more to do, but we finally got started. Once we pass court and the boys are legally ours we have a list of things that we want to do. I am trying to refrain from doing too much until then.

Please continue to pray for us and for our court date. We are praying that God will miraculously allow us to pass court the first time around with both boys.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Getting Closer...

Our court date is less than two weeks away. Kenneth and I are so excited, and we are just praying that we pass the first time with both boys.
On Monday we received a video with both boys. What a precious thing our adoption agency does for us. I think I have watched it at least 4 times now. It is wonderful to see our boys on video and witness their beautiful smiles in action. It makes us want to bring them home more and more. Noah gets really excited to see them on TV too. He always says, "That's my brother!" And then he wants to know when they are coming to live with us, when Mommy and Daddy are going on a plane to bring them home, etc.
We also received word this week on how much our boys weigh. This gives us a good idea of sizes, etc. Abdi is currently 29.9 lbs and Merga is 17.6 lbs. Noah is already 37 lbs, so they both seem tiny to me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Abdi is Healthy!

We received the wonderful news last night that Abdi did get his medical exam, and he is a healthy boy. He tested negative for HIV and non-reactive for HEP-B. Praise the Lord! We were prepared to look at our options for help if he came back positive for either, but thank God we do not have to go down that road. God has been so very good to us throughout this whole process. One big step closer....
Now to pass court!

Monday, March 29, 2010

We Have A Court Date

I received an e-mail this morning saying that our court date is set for April 21 for both boys! It feels like forever away, but thankfully, it is just 3 weeks from Wednesday. Please begin praying for our court date now.
-Both biological mothers have to show up for our court date. They are from Kamashi, 14 hours away. Please pray they both make the trip.
-The mothers may still decide that they want to keep the boys. Please pray for God's will to be done, and for our hearts to rejoice in whatever He decides is best.
-Lots of paperwork, etc will be looked over by the judge. Any little thing can cause us not to pass. We are praying that we have favor in the judge's eyes and that all our documentation is present.
-Many do not "pass" court the first time. We are praying that God would give us favor and allow us to pass first time around with both boys. Not getting my hopes up, but God can do it!

The very good news is that once we pass court, the boys are officially BRUCE'S!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's Been a Great, Blessed Day

What an amazing day God has had for us! Although the morning started earlier than I like to think about, it was worth it! We had fantastic success at our yard sale. We raised more than double what we thought! And we even had one lady who just gave us a $100 bill after hearing our story. She said, "Please use this for your babies." What a blessing she was to us. Isn't God amazing?! I can't say "thank you" enough to those who contributed items for the sale.

When we arrived home from the yard sale I opened my e-mail and received new pictures of Merga, AND pictures of Abdi! What a great suprise to top off a wonderful morning! This means that he finally made it to the transition house in Addis! We await the results of his medical exam, and we are still waiting for a court date. Our case worker will not be back in the US until later this week so even if there is any new info on our case, we will not know until then.

Thank you for your prayers! Please continue to pray that Abdi would be healthy and that we would get a court date soon! We just want to bring those boys home now! But, we know that God's timing is absolutely perfect and all the details are in His hands-thankfully!

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Weekend

We got word from Sue that Abdi was supposed to come to Addis yesterday. She will not know until Sunday at least if he made it or not. Although it is so hard to wait for the news, I keep praying that God will give me patience to wait upon Him. Everything will happen in His perfect timing.

Our big yard sale is tomorrow morning! We have had 8 families contribute items to the sale. I am praying that God will grant us success and allow us to raise some money for our adoption. And also that I would have a good attitude about getting up so early in the morning, and that I would not have a bad bout of morning sickness to top it off. :) We have truly been so blessed by the giving of others throughout this adoption. I can't say it enough. We feel so fortunate that God has called us to our boys and that He has used so many people to bless us in the process, as if the boys won't be a blessing enough!

We still have not heard about a court date. It has been over a month. What a long month of waiting it has been. Hoping to hear something soon! Keep praying!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pray for Abdi

We received word today that Abdi still has not made it to Addis. However, there is a man who works with our adoption agency who is currently in Kamashi collecting documents for other cases. The plan is for him to bring Abdi back to Addis with him this weekend. Our case worker, Sue, said that she should be able to take him to the doctor for his exam on Wednesday. We are praying that this happens!!!

Another word of great encouragement! Again, we have been blessed by gifts from friends this week and our adoption is almost paid for! We will have enough money to pay our agency to bring the boys home, and are now just working on the last little bit to finalize the adoption once we are home! God has been so good to us. His hand is so evident in this whole process. What a blessing it has been to be called to adopt and to see God's provision when we stepped out in obedience. I am humbled that the charity and obedience of others will enable us to bring home our boys. We would not be able to have our boys without all the people who have prayed and given, and it is something we could never say "thank you" enough for. We still have several big steps ahead of us, but this was a HUGE mountain and I am thankful to be looking down this one. What an increase in my faith!

We will be having a yard sale next weekend at my sister-in-law's house. I always look forward to yard sales because you meet so many interesting people. We are taking any donations to use for the sale. Several people have already been very generous in this manner. I think we should have a great sale! All the money we make will go toward our adoption and medical expenses once we get the boys home. Please be in prayer that God would grant us success in this venture!

Friday, March 12, 2010


This week has been full of emotions. We got word on Monday that Ethiopia announced that all adoptive parents would have to be present for the court date from now on. This would mean two trips-one trip for the court date, and then another trip about 2 months later to pick up the children. We asked for urgent prayer that this would not apply to us. Today our case worker e-mailed and said Ethiopia announced that it would apply to all cases submitted after April 7. Our case was submitted on February 22, so this new rule should not apply to us! We are still praying that this remains the case. Praise God for His speedy answer to our prayer!

I received an additional e-mail that Abdi is on his way to Addis. We probably will not know if he arrived until Monday, but I was just thrilled to hear that he was supposed to be on his way today! Thank you for those who have prayed for this specifically. I will be sure to update when we get any more news on Abdi. Our prayers now for Abdi are that he will get his medical exam and that the results would show him to be a healthy boy.

This week we also learned that it is taking about a month or a little longer for people to get court dates once their case has been submitted to court. We are just waiting to hear court dates for our boys.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Big Week Last Week

Last week was a big week for us regarding the adoption. We received our I-797C (basically same paper as I-171) in the mail on Tuesday. The US government has determined that we are fit to take care of two orphans. Praise the Lord! We have already filed the paperwork needed to specifically bring home Abdi and Merga.

We also received several financial blessings. Gifts from dear friends, people we do not even know, and a grant agency. This is the second of 11 agencies that we have heard from. They are granting us $1,500 toward our adoption! Our total is now down to $11,900! This still sounds like a lot, but it is amazing considering we started out needing $30,000! God has truly provided, and we trust that He will continue to provide as we obey Him. We have been sooo very humbled and blessed by the gifts of others. There are no words to express our thanks.

Lastly, this week we announced that we will be having another baby. It was a huge SHOCK to Kenneth and I when we discovered this little suprise. However, we know that is definitely a God thing and He has something special in store for our family. I am so thankful that He knows what is for our best. Truth be told, I am a little nervous about being a mother of four children under the age of 3 in October if all goes well.

We have two urgent matters of prayer. One, that we would get a court date. Our case was submitted two weeks ago. We are praying that things continue to go smoothly and quickly so that I can travel to Ethiopia to pick up the boys. Two, that Abdi would make his way to Addis. Abdi was supposed to go two weeks ago, but still has not made it. We are not sure why. We really need his medical exam done, especially before our court date.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adopting For Life!

Kenneth and I were so blessed to go to the Adopting For Life conference at Southern Seminary this past weekend. It was great just walking the halls at seminary and remembering our time there. Kenneth wants to go back. I, for one, miss the learning, but do not miss the reading, papers, and exams one bit!

The conference was such an encouragement to us, and we got to hear messages from our favorite preachers--Dr. Russell Moore and Dr. David Platt. Both messages served as a reminder of our orphaned state, among other things. As I picture Abdi and Merga and the circumstances that they are in right now, I can't help but remember what my life was like before Christ. Spiritually speaking, I was fatherless, without hope, without love, hungry, starving, sick, sitting right in the middle of a disgusting mess and I didn't know any better. Praise the Lord that He rescued me from the darkness and brought me into His marvelous light! Christ rescued me, showered me with love, gave me a home, a family, life and hope. I am a rescued orphan.

As Dr. Moore so graciously said, "We are not the rescuers, but the rescued who extend our arms because we believe the gospel!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh Me of Little Faith!

God is just wonderful! Last week we got word that our little boy Merga (he is about 6-7 months old) is already at the Transition House in Addis, the capital city. This is wonderful news. The Transition House is specifically for children who have already been matched with their families and are just waiting for court. Abdi (our 2 year old) is still in Kamashi, about 14 hours outside of the capital city. When I asked our case worker she said that they probably couldn't get him moved to the Transition House until mid March. They are waiting for families to come pick their children up, and thus make room at the Transition House. Many families have a March 11 embassy date. I prayed yesterday morning that the Lord would move and that somehow Abdi would be able to come to Addis, even if he wasn't able to move into the Transition House just yet. We are still waiting on a full medical report for Abdi. This is very important before we go to court, for us and for the court. When I prayed that prayer yesterday morning, little did I know that God had already provided an answer. I opened my e-mail just minutes later and Sue had sent me a message. Sue said that Abdi is supposed to come to Addis today and he will immediately go to get his full medical exam. Our case should be submitted to court on Monday! Oh me of little faith!

Here is how you can be praying over the next few days:
--That God would indeed make a way for Abdi to get to Addis today to get his medical exam and be ready to go to the Transition House with his new brother, Merga.
--That the medical exam would go well for Abdi, proving him to be a healthy boy ready for adoption, and that we would get the results soon.
--That God would protect Abdi physically and emotionally as he is moved to Addis.
--That our case would be ready to be submitted to court on Monday!
--That God would provide for us for the remainder of the adoption.

Thank you so much, once again, for your prayers, encouragement and support.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Child's Process

Here are the steps our children go through:
1. Child arrives at an Orphan Center
2. Child goes to the doctor for a medical examination and blood work (when the next vehicle is available)
3. Child is available to be referred to a family who has completed their Dossier (immediately)
4. Legal documents are gathered on the child (unknown amount of time…depends on availability of electricity, birth parent, etc… )
5. Sole, surviving birth parent goes to court, if parents are deceased the Orphan Center’s director serves this role.
6. Child’s paper work is submitted to embassy for passport and visa. Embassy appointment given to family.
7. Child goes home with family.

At this point in time, our agency is gathering legal documents for Abdi and Merga so that their cases can be submitted to court. Merga is at the transition house in Addis (the captial city). We are waiting for Abdi to be moved to the transition house, he is still in Kamashi right now (about 12 hours away from Addis). Our director said it could be mid March until Abdi can be moved to the transition house because it is full of children waiting for their embassy appointments.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Process Now

For those wondering what is going to happen next, below is a list of the process from here on out. This list is from our agency, Celebrate Children International. Please know that the time frames given are just general estimations, and may not be accurate for our case. Our case may take longer. They can never know for sure. We hope to bring our boys home at some point this summer, probably late summer. We are certain that God is in control of the timing.

1. Receive referrals.
2. Dossier is translated and authenticated in Ethiopia (2 weeks)
3. Your dossier goes (3-6 weeks)
4. CCI’s in country representative submits your case to court for a court date (1 week)
5. Your court date is given (4-6 weeks later)
6. Court takes place with an in country representative from CCI acting on your behalf by Power of Attorney to complete the adoption (same day). Sometimes it takes several times in court for a case to pass.
7. File goes to WACM to get letters needed to have a passport and birth certificate created (1 week)
8. Case is submitted to American Embassy for embassy appointment (1 week)
9. Embassy appointment is given
10. Family travels to Ethiopia to pick child up and to go to the embassy appointment (3-6 weeks after exiting court)

Friday, February 5, 2010

He has heard our prayer!

God continues to amaze me! For those of you who were praying for us this weekend...God surely heard!!!! I got a call around 1 today in regards to two boys. Both are from Kamashi Village, which is about 14 hours outside the capital city in Ethiopia. We were praying that the Lord would bring two boys to our case worker as she went to that remote village this weekend. Although that is not usually the way things work, we were praying for God to just do something big.

HE DID! As of today, we accepted a referral for a 2 year old boy and a 7-8 month old boy. God has brought us two little boys from the same village! Words cannot describe our excitement. I just can't believe I get to be the mother of these boys!! We have seen pictures of both of them, but we are not allowed to post them anywhere until we have passed court and they are legally our children.

The next step is for our case to be submitted to court. In all likelihood, our case will be submitted in about a month, and then we will wait for a court date for each boy (they are not biological siblings, so they will have separate appointments). Most of the time, people do not pass court the first time. Or, we could have one boy pass and not the other. In which case, we would have to wait for another court date to be given. This could take a few months.

Here is how you can be praying for us now.
-That our cases would be submitted to court in God's perfect timing, and that the court system would go smoothly for us.
-The paper work that now has to be done for these boys both in Ethiopia and the US.
-That the US would grant us the right to bring home the two boys we have been matched with.
-That God would provide for us financially. We cannot travel to pick our children up until we have all the money. We are still in need of about $15,000. We have applied for about 8 different grants but have only heard from 1. However, we are confident that God will provide to bring the boys home, and that He will continue to provide for our family once the boys are home.

Monday, February 1, 2010

God is so good!

I am still amazed at God's goodness toward us. I was having a really tough day today. It has been a full moth since we have sent the dossier off, and still no referrals. I am not a very patient person, and the wait really takes it toll on me some days. I feel so in love with our boys, even though we do not know them yet. Today I just wanted to cry (which is something I never do).
God continually reminds me that I do not want to rush His timing. He knows perfectly well who are children are, and the right time to bring them home. I want to wait for God's best, but it is just a struggle some times.
This evening we received a call from LifeSong for Orphans that they will be giving us a matching grant of up to $3,000! LifeSong will match, dollar for dollar, any donations they receive toward our adoption. PRAISE THE LORD! If you are interested in learning more about how you can help in this way, please send me an e-mail at This is the first agency that we have heard from after sending out eight different applications back in December. What perfect timing of some good news.
Please continue praying for God's provision for us both spiritually and financially. Also continue to pray for us to be matched with God's best children for our family in His timing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Prayer for Referral

Please be in prayer for us as the next step in our adoption journey is getting specific referrals. We have requested two boys, under the age of 2 1/2. We are second in "line" for an infant boy. Please be in prayer that if there are two baby boys who need a family, that somehow they would be brought to one of the orphanages that work with our agency CCI. This way the family ahead of us can get their son, and we can get ours.

What a tricky situation. We do not want any child to be orphaned. And sadly, we know that there are thousands of children being orphaned each day in Africa alone. We want to pray that those orphans be brought to a place where they have the opportunity to be adopted into a family.

Also, selfishly, we want to bring our sons home soon. We want to love them and give them a family as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dossier is Finished in DC

I couldn't wait to share the news! I just received an e-mail from Angela at our agency saying that they have received our dossier! It is all finished in DC and now resides at our agency in Florida!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

USCIS Application Process Complete.

We went for our fingerprinting session this morning at 8 am at the FBI field office in Louisville. We had to get up at 5:30, which if you know me, is PAINFUL. I realize that some of you are morning people and this is a perfectly acceptable time to get up in the morning...but it isn't in this house!!! This was the first morning that I felt "morning sickness" with these boys. Thankfully, I do not have that every day as I did with Noah!

Our entire trip to and from Lousiville went great. I guess that is because last night it seemed like nothing could go right. All day I had been worried that I had filled out the I600a form wrong. This is the form that we filed with USCIS, which is a petition to bring home an orphan. Getting it filed, processed, and approved is usually one of the longest steps in the process. Getting our fingerprints was just one step in the process. I thought we might have to do it all over again because all the paperwork we received back said "Kristina Marie Schmitz" rather than "Bruce." I was also concerned that they had not received copies of our birth certificates and marriage license, and that it would further delay things. When I got home last night at 8 pm, I decided to make copies of these documents "just in case." Wouldn't you know, I went to get the documents to copy and they were no where to be found. The only thing I could think was that somehow I left the file with the documents at work. Kenneth got back in the car and went to the church. Thankfully, the documents were there. He brought them home. By this time it is 9 pm. I go to make copies and the ink in the printer is totally out. Of course! Kenneth gets back in the car and goes to Wal-mart to get ink. When he came home we were finally able to make the copies.

This morning I took our "just in case" copies, along with my passport because I figured that my passport was the only identification that I had to show that my name has changed from "Schmitz" to "Bruce." What a God thing... When we got to the office, I explained the situation with my name. They told me that the USCIS adoption office, which is in the same building, is closed to the public on Wednesdays. Of all days! But then they said, "Do you have any identification that shows that you are truly Kristina Schmitz" because my license would say "Bruce." I pulled out my passport and all they did was make a copy of the ammendment showing that my name was changed from "Schmitz" to "Bruce." They made a simple note to file with the USCIS adoption office, and that was it!

I then asked if there was any way to find out if the USCIS adoption office had received our paperwork. Although it was not open to the public today, one of the men offered to walk down to the office and personally look at our file. I am soo thankful that happened.

We waited while the gentleman looked at our file in the adoption office. He said that our paperwork must have gotten lost in the mail, because they did not have it on file. Thankfully, I was able to give him the copies I made last night, and it was just what they needed. He also said that for some reason our home study was sent to them, but never got processed as part of our application. Who knows how long our case would have just been sitting there! He pulled out our file and gave it to someone to process right then and there. We are now in line to be approved. He said that other people's cases are ahead of ours, but at least we are all processed and in line!Praise God! Who knows how much time was saved in our process because this man was so gracious!

Now, we truly can do nothing but wait...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy 2010

Happy New Year! Kenneth, Noah and I are so excited for what God has in store for our family in 2010. Lord willing, we will have two more little boys celebrating the holidays with us next year.

This week will be a big week for us as far as the adoption is concerned. Our dossier will be getting authenticated at the US Department of State and also the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC. We will also go in for our fingerprinting appointment at the FBI field office in Louisville on Wednesday.

Our case worker at CCI said that we would begin talking about specific referrals once they get our dossier. I am not sure when we would actually get a referral, but it is at least another step closer! We can hardly wait to see our children and know how old they will be, what they look like, their names, etc. If you know me at all, you know that I will feel so much better once we can start planning logistics with specific children in mind. :) Car seats, beds, clothes, diapers, etc.

We pray that God will give you a wonderful New Year filled with all the blessings we have in Christ Jesus. It is truly a privilege to be serving Him another year. We hope that this year will bring us even closer to Him as well as a greater realization of His unfailing love for us through adoption.