Thursday, July 29, 2010

There's nothing quite like a good sister...

Does it get any more precious than this???

The relationship between all 3 of our girls is something for which I am so grateful. It is a beautiful thing to see them truly love each other.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homestudy update SCHEDULED!!! SWEEEET!


It will be next Friday Aug 6th at 8:30am.

It's our third time to go through this and even though it shouldn't make me nervous it still makes me a TEENY bit uneasy. I guess it's always a strange feeling to have someone come to your home specifically for the purpose of judging whether you are a fit parent. ;0)

BUT that being said... I KNOW it will be fine. I am also SUPER glad that they check to make sure these are safe families. Hmmmmm.... why's it so hard to adopt but all you have to have is a car seat to bust out a baby???? Just a QUESTION! Hee hee... HUGS! Angel

Kaiya's 1st Reading Lesson!

Kaiya Rain Zhen is getting SOOOOO big. Tonight we had her first official reading lesson and she's doing GREAT! It's a BIT tough to know sometimes if she is actually saying the correct sounds because of her speech delay. That's cool though.. we are managing. :0)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Little Kaiya Rain Zhen

My little Kaiya Rain Zhen is almost always in trouble of one kind or another. She's usually spilling something, dropping glass, tripping over her own feet or smacking into a counter.

When she's not hurting herself she has been known to attack others.... out of overly ambitious affection or plain out frustration.

She almost always filthy and just doesn't care. She still has potty accidents cause she doesn't have time for things like going to the bathroom.

No matter how hard I work with her it's like pulling teeth to get her to look at the camera!! I mean I'm like the paparazzi and still this is what I get.

She is silly, rambunctious, mischievous, stubborn, loud, dirty and.....


Our God is so amazing to give me this child. Would I have listed out those things as things I WISHED for in my child?? Not so much.... Would I change my Kaiya Rain Zhen??? NOT FOR THE WORLD!! God knew so much better than I did what we needed and we needed HER!

Kaiya is braver than anyone I know. She takes on the world with fearless abandon and is always ready to have an adventure. She embraces EVERY MOMENT in a way that teaches me to LIVE! She is FUNNY and ADORABLE! She makes me LAUGH from deep down inside for her incurable sweetness.

She loves FIERCELY and passionately. She sees the world through such innocent eyes and treasures everyone around her. She never quits- never gives up. No matter how hard something is for her she just KEEPS GOING till she gets it right. She knows how to think for herself and make decisions. She is STRONG... strong, kind and wonderful...

No... I would never want to change this precious gift. Tears threaten to spill as I think of how blessed I am that God would bring me such joy from LITERALLY the other side of the Earth. She is amazing, breath taking. She is a package deal and she is CRAZY wonderful. Love, Angel

Mommy Date Haircut With Kaiya Rain

Kaiya earned a "Special Mommy Date" with her points! She was so excited cause she wanted to go get her haircut. I agreed she needed it trimmed but was surprised when she declared, "NO! I want it really short!" Funny girl. She always has a mind of her own. So off we went to get it done. I think she chose well. It's adorable and brings out her "China doll" side. :-) Angel

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Giving All My Secrets Away...

I started blogging about.... what.... 5 years ago.... Wowzer.

Ya know back in the dark ages of blogging. ;-) Some of you have been my blog friends from the beginning. Some of you I've met along the path of this amazing journey.

When I started blogging it was a tool. It was a way to update people on what was happening in a very difficult adoption process for our Zoe girl.

Soon I found myself bleeding my heart into the blog for lack of knowing what to do with all the pain of that first adoption. God was shaking my world and it broke me. I had no outlet and so OUT IT SPILLED as I typed.

What happened then surprised me. People responded to it in a huge way. I started getting e-mails, phone calls, comments THANKING me for bleeding.

That was confusing to me at first. Why was it so important to people???

Then I started to get it. There were OTHERS of you out there. There were others just like me feeling God's pull but also feeling overwhelmed and alone.

There were others walking around in a world that values security and looking good YET feeling their carefully built walls crumble around them.

In my broken state my mask had fallen off and I had BECOME A REAL PERSON... That's what had hit people.

Then came the tough decision. Would I put back up the wall? Was it safe to let people I didn't know see who I was?

Ahhhh.... but that's the thing. What am I living for? To look good? To be safe? To have it all together? To be approved of???

So I decided- I'm here for God's glory.
I'm here to love him- and to love my neighbor. If this tiny little blog helps you feel loved- helps you know God a little better then I will not hold back anything He has given me.

There are things I can't share because they are not yet mine to share. There are things that wouldn't be wise to share. BUT when it comes to the heart of who I am... I'm giving all my secrets away.

Turns out being a warrior girl means being willing to be honest and weak and vulnerable and strong and courageous and well you know what I mean...

AND YA KNOW WHAT? It's been amazing... some of my most meaningful friendships I have made because of this blog. Some of my best memories are written down here. Many of the most powerful things God has taught me are captured in a weak human form within these bloggy archives. What a joy giving it all away has been.

When I heard this song yesterday it made me smile and I just want to dedicate it to all my blogger buddies.

:o) Hugs, Angel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What if we said yes?

If we said yes would it be easy? No....

Would it fun? Sometimes....

Would it be scary? Almost always...

Would it be a miracle happening in front of us? Definitely...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tex Mex!

My little Kaitlyn Elise has a PASSION for cheesy Tex Mex! WHO CAN BLAME HER?? Here she is on our special mommy date thoroughly enjoying those enchiladas. Yummm...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I am SUPER EXCITED!!!!!!! As most of you know I will be at the Together For Adoption Conference October 1st-2nd in Austin, Texas.

This is a GREAT place to start LEARNING about orphan care and adoption. Whether you are just learning about God's heart for the orphan, starting an orphan care ministry or adopting your 10th child there is something for you.

One of my favorite things about going to these things is all the

What is a warrior girl you ask???

It's a term my sweet friend, Brandi, came up with... and it stuck! Here's the definition...

What is a WarriorGirl - WarriorGirls are godly women who have a burning desire in them to fight against injustice. (and maybe sometimes feel a little weird in "normal" social circles cause we just AREN'T NORMAL!) We aren't going to sit by while children die and suffer in abject poverty or oppression. We are standing up as moms, wives, sisters, women to make a difference in our world. This will look different for each one of us - the issues may be different - the areas of passion - and the ways we fight against injustice. All that matters is that we are passionately pursuing the God of justice and seeing His kingdom come in this world. We aren't apologizing anymore. Yep, we are girls - but we are also warriors :-)

Are you a warrior girl??? Did that just describe your heart? Well, then JOIN the crew! The more the merrier. More details on how to get to know the warrior girls at the bottom of this post.
SO ANYWAY!! I thought HOW COOL would it be if all the warrior girls could stay together during the conference and REALLY get to know each other better???  SO WE ARE!! I talked to the WONDERFUL people at Hampton Inn and Suites and they said they would be HAPPY to work with us to make this happen. 
Together For Adoption already has the whole hotel for the conference. So all you have to do is click here.... Make your reservation for The Hampton Inn and Suites. 
MAKE SURE YOU tell them "Margaret told us to let them know we want to be with the WARRIOR GIRLS!"

The conference has arranged a rate of $109 per night. This is a GREAT deal. Especially if you find some warrior girl roomies. :-) It includes free wireless Internet and free hot breakfast. They have a hot tub and a great lobby area to hang out too. If you need a frig and microwave make sure to request a king suite. That may be a bit more... not sure. You simply have to give them a credit card # to hold the room. You can cancel it up to 24 hours in advance so I would definitely book soon. We want all the warrior girls TOGETHER! IT'S GONNA ROCK!! OH and FYI... a big group of us is going a night earlier to go to the Karyn Purvis Pre-Conference Workshop. 

Leave me a comment if you are going to stay with us! I would love to know who's coming. 
AGAIN!! CLICK HERE FOR INFO ON THE HAMPTON! See ya in October friends.
PS!! Are you a warrior girl?? Then come on over and join us at the warrior girl yahoo group. Lots of crazy girls just like us there. ;-)
Click to join IamaWarriorGirl

Click to join IamaWarriorGirl

What about my kids?

A precious moment... don't miss it... especially if you've ever heard the question (like we have), "Aren't you worried about what this adoption will do to your kids?" Not anymore. I've seen it in my children. THIS is what happens... take a look...

Meeting Endale For The First Time! from Peter Kidd on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is what I keep trying to explain...

My sweet friend, Julia, had this quote on her Facebook page. WHOA!! As soon as I saw it I had to post it.


This is what my heart has been learning for the past few years. This is why the things that used to terrify me are now welcome in my life.

This is why at times I "should" be stressed and depressed I'm filled with unspeakable JOY!!

It's a phenomenon I do not understand and have not known how to explain. It's something I have for a reason I can not grasp. I pray I live in a way so that it will stay but I'm not sure exactly how to do that.

How come Oswald Chambers ALWAYS knows how to say stuff?? Guess that's why I'm writing a lil old blog while he's writing kick tush devotional books. ;-)

Does this HIT anyone else the way it did me??

The things we try to avoid and fight - tribulation, suffering and persecution - are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. Huge waves that would frighten the ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. ~O. Chambers {We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~Rom 8}

Hugs, Angel

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kaitlyn's Picture Of Her Brother

KK made this picture of her new little brother. It says

"My Brother In The Jungle In Ethiopia."

How cute is that???

Monday, July 19, 2010


Well, since I've known for five years I would have this precious little boy one day I had some names I loved stored away. OK... that's not quite right. I had ONE name I had loved since I got to meet this fine young man. BUT first I had to get Daddy approval!


Drum roll please...................

Keegan Sky

We love this name for our little guy. When spelled this way it can be derived from Irish and often means

"bright light."

I love that his name will mean

"Bright light in the sky!!"

I love it because that is what we hope and believe he will be. We believe he will be a bright light shining God's glory and love. He'll be a bright light in a dark world showing people something different and beautiful. He will be a blessing to those who love the light. I pray his name will be a wonderful reminder of who he was created to be.

We will probably also keep part of his original name as a second middle name like we did with Kaiya Rain Zhen.

We are super excited. It's fun to call him by name now. Won't it be fun to have a face to go with the name soon???

HUGS! Angel

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's SOOOO worth it!!

A sweet friend asked me yesterday if they REALLY require as much paperwork and struggle to do an adoption as it SEEMS like they do. Yeah, they do.

They have their reasons and many of them are very valid. Sadly, we live in a fallen world. There are horrible people that take innocent orphans and do unspeakable things with them. Because these people exist the good guys jump through hoops of fire to bring home a little one in need.

Why do I do it??? Why don't I just get pregnant and pop out another cutie pie? I mean KK did turn out pretty awesome! (We are still able to have biological children as far as we know.)

Because.... my ransom did not come cheap. I was an orphan, a stranger, all alone. I didn't belong to anyone. I was rotten, diseased, dead in my sin. God sent his SON to pay for my adoption. Jesus jumped through rings of fire... then HE DIED for my adoption.

A little paperwork is not so bad to ransom a life after all. This morning I woke up to this little girl and thought, "It's so worth it... all of it and more."

I would do the paperwork 20 times to have Kaiya Rain Zhen tucked safe in bed upstairs instead of an orphanage. Oh the joy her life brings me. We are so blessed to be adopted by our Father and so blessed to have the opportunity to adopt.

Hugs, Angel

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kaiya beats up the bad guys!

Kaiya Rain Zhen makes me smile and giggle every single day. She is fun, cuddly, smart, mischievous and just plain cute. Here is Kaiya "beating up bad guys."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Share The Well Benefit Concert For Living Water

We'll be hanging out HERE this Saturday!! It should be lots of fun and it's for a great cause. Would love to see your sweet faces there. :o) Angel

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brokeness and Restoration

This morning Russ wrote this letter about Zoe. It completely touched my heart. (read here I cried like a baby) Then Zoe read it and broke down crying. She said it was a "happy cry cause that was the sweetest letter." Love that girl. Anyway, I just had to share it with you. I asked him permission to post it here... then asked Zoe if it was ok. She said, "Sure!"
So enjoy.... Hugs, Angel

For those tagged in this note, whether adoptive families I respect greatly or friends who walked Zoe's journey with us, hoped you'd be encouraged by this today. Julie ... thought this went right along with your post about transformation today :o)

In almost every way, today is ordinary. But while driving to work this morning, I realized that today is something particularly special. Four years ago, a sick and broken little 7 year-old girl was grafted into my family through adoption. Today, that little girl is 11 and she's leaving me for 2 weeks to go minister to people that she can UNIQUELY relate to - an impoverished people in South Dakota.

For many girls her age, this would simply be another trip, but for Zoe this is so much different - it's a milestone of restoration for a girl who faced a childhood of neglect, abuse, sickness, extreme poverty, days without food, mass death through natural disaster and child labor. For my Zoe, today begins a pilgrimage back to her sorest place and past. She will wrestle through memories of her pain and the loss of her childhood as she connects with people in similar circumstances. She will face her past head on and her mother and I will not be there with her. She may be too young still to recognize the significance of this or what lies beyond that door, but I am confident that she is now ready to face it.

For me, today I realized a tremendous blessing of adoption. Once again, I'm shown that adoption has little to do with what I can do for my children, but what God shows me through it. In only 4 years, I have watched a resilient girl overcome untold odds and today, she is restored ... not in the way that she doesn't hurt, but in that the pain and fear that once reflected in her eyes has been replaced with a calm softness. Today, her brokenness is not a weakness ... it's an asset that helps her connect with and minister to other broken people in a way that I cannot.

It wasn't an attractive process watching all of the pain that went into her come pouring back out onto us. But today ... today ... it just hit me that God has succeeded again where the world has failed. A girl with every excuse to harbor bitterness has grown into perhaps the softest, most sincere and biggest heart I know. While He put Zoe in our care, He did not leave the job of restoring her to us. Instead, He is restoring US through restoring her. This realization has made an ordinary day quite special.

For all of you who have adopted or will adopt, I hope that this will be your blessing too. Thank you Zoe for this gift. You are a blessing, INDEED!

Russ /Daddy

Wanna Come With???

Karyn Purvis is coming to

This is SO COOL!! I mean the conference itself already had me super excited and this about threw me over the edge with joy. ;-)

Karyn Purvis is doing a

Karyn Purvis is THE STUFF on attachment and bonding in adoption. The whole day is only $40! What a BLESSING to have this opportunity to learn from her.

She wrote

I've been to one hour long workshop with her before and it was fantastic! You can BET if I get the chance to have an all day workshop with her I'M TAKING IT! Below is a video about her ministry... Empowered To Connect. I am SUPER EXCITED and I would love to see you there! Anyone wanna come with???? HUGS! Angel

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who doesn't LOVE a good adoption homecoming video???


I won't admit how many homecoming videos from Ethiopia I have watched the past couple of weeks. Mostly because I can't count them all! THIS one is especially well done and I wanted to share it with you.

If you are wondering what adoption from Ethiopia "looks like" this gives you a peek into that world. I am thankful for all the mommas and daddies who work hard on these videos to share such a priceless piece of their hearts and lives with us.

Hugs, Angel

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Jesus I used to serve... the one I made up myself.

That's what I realized when I read this book.

This book..... WHOA! That's all I have to say.

No that's not true!!! I have a lot to say! This book ROCKS IT!

I was concerned when I started reading this book. I won't lie. I'm not always a fan of "social justice" books and I was afraid this was another one of those.


This book is, pure and simple, about JESUS! This book is about the gospel. THE WHOLE GOSPEL! This book is a hard look at the truth of Christ and holding up our lives to the light of that truth.

It's not about orphans or poverty or justice- although those are a part of it. It's not about churches and mission trips- but those things are addressed. This book is SOLELY about JESUS and what HIS heart is for those things.

I realize looking back over my years that the view I had of God was so little. I so desperately wanted Jesus to be safe- one dimensional.

Jesus is anything but safe- anything but shallow.

If you're a warrior girl like me- and many who read this blog are warriors- then you MAY have gone through a similar process of struggling. Some of you have walked through this entire process with me THROUGH this blog.

For me it went something like this...

I have cared for years- since I was a small child. I cared, I truly did, I just wasn't aware of the magnitude of what was out there beyond the American bubble. I had been on mission trips, lived overseas and yet still I didn't fully get it. Maybe it was because I was young.

Maybe it's because I didn't really want to know.

What I did know with all my heart is that God wanted me to adopt. So we started our process to bring Zoe home and.. American dream came crumbling, crashing, hurling toward the ground.

All the walls I had built so carefully to protect myself were gone the instant I loved this little girl.

Suddenly the pain, the abuse, the fear, the poverty, the hunger, the crime.... it wasn't removed or far away...


Now I could look at each of those children in pain and feel in my heart that they were somebody's child, somebody's treasure.

It all changed. Deep inside my soul I could feel how God felt when He looked at the reality of sin and despair and saw His people doing NOTHING.

Ohhhh.... that moment.... when the scales came off my eyes... when I broke out of the Matrix and simultaneously


I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't live like everything was OK! I felt LIKE SCREAMING,


I couldn't quit crying for months. I was broken, shattered, in tiny shards on the ground. I was exactly where God wanted me. This was the place ONLY He could rebuild me.

I struggled and fought against God. All at once issues of sovereignty and God's will felt very real and personal. It now seemed issues of theology weren't just theories to be discussed. They were things I DESPERATELY needed to know.

During that year, (anyone who knows me knows it as "The Guatemala Year"), I WOKE UP! It wasn't that I hadn't had it in me all these years. Somewhere in me I had always had this DNA. That was the year God said, "WAKE UP ANGEL!" And I did... I heard Him. I woke up.

What I saw disturbed me, frightened me, angered me, disgusted me.

There were times I wanted to go back to my American dream land. BUT how could I?

You can't go back.

It's a one way ticket down the rabbit hole.

So at first my heart went ORPHANS!! THIS IS ABOUT ORPHANS!! This is what's been missing.... and I was right... but not really. God used orphans to show me the whole picture.

Slowly, I began to see it. Over time rather than seeing the picture I began to see the html, the matrix, the code. Does that make sense??

The comforts of life that had previously appealed to me made me sick to my stomach. Slowly, the things that had terrified me I was willing to dive into for the sake of something much bigger than myself.

Soon it wasn't just about orphans.

It was about glorifying God.

It was about brokenness and sin. It was about OUR adoption. It was about our slavery to sin and our freedom as beloved children of God.

Eventually I realized the power of the radical life God was asking me to lead. Not only was I being the hands and feet of Christ... more significantly God was using this to GLORIFY HIMSELF!

I guess during my "Guatemala Year" I thought maybe being a Christian, sold out for Jesus, meant you were gonna be sad. After all, I was crushed completely.

I am grateful that I was wrong. My awakening was 4 years ago. These past 4 years I have slowly been learning about compassion- walking into pain. I have slowly been learning about the power of joy. I have seen how entering into someone's pain brings joy that CAN NOT be explained except through the power of Christ.

There is NOTHING I do that brings me greater joy than obedience to my Father.

Our Father is a defender of widows, orphans and strangers.

He is not SAFE!

He is GOOD!

If you hear His voice He WILL ask you to do things that are not comfortable, are not rational, are not the norm in America.

If your God never asks you to do anything that stretches you, scares you, makes you EXTREMELY uncomfortable, I would read the gospels- study Jesus- and ask,

"Who IS my God?"

Are we really serving the God of the Bible or one we have created?

If we TRULY LISTEN and obey like little children, where will He lead us?

If you have woken up, are waking up, want to wake up.... I beg you to read this book.

Where are you on this journey??? Are you still in the Matrix feeling trapped? Are you waking up? Have you been awake? Are you still trying to figure out what this is all about?

I would LOVE to hear from you and know your heart! Will you leave me a comment?

Hugs from a warrior girl trying to learn about the REAL Jesus we serve, Angel