Adoption Update: One Year Later

Our Anna Rakeb has been home with us now for a little over a year.  In some ways, it feels like she’s always been here.

Many people considering the adoption process wonder if they could love a child that was not born to them.  I wondered the same thing — everyone does!  But I am here to tell you that, yes, most definitely, you will learn to love this child just like any other child that comes into your family!

adoption quote

Some people shy away from adoption because they think that their biological children might have a hard time with it.  Maybe they will feel slighted, or loved a little less, they imagine.

I can’t speak for every family, but even though our four boys went into this adoption with a little fear and trepidation, now that we are one year in, we can say that it has been a blessing for each one of us!

When the boys talk about their futures, most of them now include the snippet… “and I’m going to adopt…” which just makes me smile at the ripple effects 🙂

So, if God is opening your eyes to the needs of the fatherless in this country or around the world, say YES with a heart of faith, knowing that it will be a wonderful experience for each one in your family to love another with the love that God has given you.

Recently I asked the boys a few questions about their experiences with having a little sister join the family through adoption.  Thought you might enjoy a little sneak peek into their minds.

adoption quote 2

Mom:  Did you know what adoption was before we adopted?

Boys: No

Getting a kid

Yes – taking kids into your family that the parents gave them up or died

Yes – God adopting us into His family


Mom:  Did you have any fears?

Excited that she was from a different country

That she would be ugly


That she would be all pink


Mom:  What did you think it would be like to have a sister?

All pink & stuff

Pink princesses and barbies; if I can prevent that, then she would be more normal – like you, mom


Mom:  How has Anna changed our family?

Everybody crowds around her

Made it a little more cute and happy

We had to buy more girly stuff

She steals all our stuff


Mom:  Do you love her?

Yes (while sitting on the rocking chair with her)

Yes!  Of course



Mom:  How has adoption changed you, your view of people of different races or cultures?

Makes me appreciate other cultures more


Mom:  Do you want to adopt someday?


If I have all of one (gender), then I’ll adopt the other


Mom:  What does adoption teach you about God?

That we were chosen into God’s family

That God loves everyone

That God adopts us into his family


Mom:  What do you remember about God’s provision for the money to adopt Anna?

We had a $2000 fee and people gave us money.


That He loves us

People are watching after us and helping

one year in

Our Adoption {Just Show Up} Story

Our adoption story really begins and ends with grace.

Through undeserved grace, God stepped into our lives when we were hopeless and needed forgiveness and made a way for us to be adopted into His family as sons and daughters.

just show up

As our family began to grow, God burdened our hearts for the needs of the fatherless. That is His heart, and He made it our heart as well.

Soon the question changed from “Why adopt?” To “Why not adopt?

So we started on the journey to find a little girl that needed a family. Before she was even born, we were seeking her.

just show up

The grace cycle was continuing.

We love because He first loved us.

We know what love is, what grace is, because of Christ.

Adoption is totally undeserved and unexpected on the part of the orphan. Our little girl couldn’t fathom how drastically her life was about to change that day we met her in an Ethiopian orphanage.

just show up

But starting the adoption journey wasn’t the end of the grace cycle.

God had burdened our hearts to adopt. That much was true. But we had no way of paying the huge financial costs on our own. This is where God’s grace shows up in amazement and splendor.


just show up

He could have plopped down $35,000 in our laps when we stepped out in obedience to His calling on our family to adopt.

But instead He mobilized hundreds of friends and family to Just Show Up.

To Just Show Up and share generously with us in many totally unexpected ways.

To Just Show Up and be God’s hands and feet in our lives during the adoption.

Every time an adoption fee had to be paid, God miraculously paid it in full. Right on time.

just show up
Money came in from people generously saving their spare change, slipping us $20 bills, contributing to a huge yard sale, and many more ways. And through grant organizations whose donors we have never met, but who have significantly touched our lives.

And I pray that those friends and family who were such an integral piece of the puzzle in bringing Anna Rakeb home from Ethiopia received great joy in knowing they were making a difference.

just show up

By choosing to Just Show Up, they were a part in the story God was and is writing in the life of a former orphan. Now our cherished daughter. And one day, we pray, a daughter of the King.

just show up


{Linking up our Adoption Just Show Up story at}

{Just Link Up}

Adoption Update: Home 3 months

It has been harder than we could have imagined.


It has cost much.


It has been an emotional roller coaster.


It has stretched us.


It has opened our eyes to the least of these.


It has increased our faith.


It has shown us how big our God is.


And it has been so very worth it all.



{Our special thanks to Keri McLaughlin Photography for these precious photos!}

{Adoption} Ripples

Ripples of influence are an amazing thing.  Our choices are far-reaching even though we may not always know who has been touched by them.

When God was opening our eyes to the needs of the orphan, several families we knew were in the adoption process.  Some of them had children already in their family, yet they were adopting.  It was a new thought for us.  But God continued to give us the desire to love another child and graft them into our family, just as we had been adopted into God’s family.

One family in particular was adopting from Ethiopia and had a blog to chronicle the experience.  We felt like a fly on the wall during their journey.  This was the face that inspired us.

But what’s amazing is — we weren’t the only ones who were inspired!  One year after their “gotcha day,” this family made a new video to show the impact their decision to adopt had on countless families.  And at 6:45 in this video, the faces start pouring in.  You will see our family at 7:08 at a much younger stage in our lives.

The concept of impact, influence, and one life touching another really causes me to stop and consider what kind of ripples I am causing.  How about you?

{update:  our adoption journey is complete~!  You can start reading about our trip to Ethiopia here.}

christmas rescue

God’s rescue plan that unfolded that special night over 2,000 years ago (for it was really begun before the foundation of the world) is what we celebrate at Christmas.  God’s Son came in flesh to bring forgiveness, restoration, redemption and adoption.

To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Horizontal adoption (adopting our sweet girl) is a beautiful picture of our vertical adoption brought about by God’s rescue plan.  

You see, our little one was literally rescued last Christmas.  She has been in an orphanage for a whole year waiting for her adoption into our family — her forever family.  We have sacrificed to get her.  We have done this gladly.  
And so while we will celebrate Christmas Stateside this year without our sweet girl, we know the day is coming quickly when we will be asked to come adopt her.  Our lives will be forever changed.  But we will also have to come home without her while final documents are prepared.  She will legally be ours, but the reality of her new status as our daughter will not be realized.  Yet.
Until gotcha day!The day when she leaves the orphanage, never to return.  The day we sweep her up in our arms and bring her home to enjoy all the love of her forever family.Christ’s birth over two millennia ago was wonderful, significant, and necessary.  He lived the perfect life I could never live.  He took God’s just wrath over my sin on the cross.  He bore that wrath and separation from God so that I don’t have to!

Now by faith, I look with anticipation to Christmas Future — that “gotcha day” when the reality of my spiritual adoption and position as a daughter of the King will be fully known and enjoyed.

{Our adoption paperwork cleared the U.S. Embassy on December 4th, and now we are just waiting for the Ethiopian courts to let us know what day to be in country to adopt our sweet girl!  Exciting days ahead for our family in 2015.  Thanks for your prayers and support along the way.}

The little face that inspired us to start our own adoption journey

Our very important papers left Ethiopia on Wednesday and should be on our doorstep in a few hours!  Now we can move on to the next steps to get our little miss home.  Yay for progress!Five years ago, when God burdened our hearts for a little girl who had yet to be born, another little girl’s story inspired us to start our journey.

Enjoy this “gotcha day” video from

Adoption:  The waiting stage

As I walked past our future daughter’s room this morning, I was reminded of how long this wait has been.  We officially started the paper chase for this adoption over 2 years ago.  Our dossier has been in Ethiopia for over a year now.  We have had to update our home study and are in the process of getting the paperwork ready to send into USCIS to ask for an extension of our immigration file with them.  It was nice to have the initial paperwork over, but now we are getting to the point of having to redo it because it is expiring.  When will the wait be over?So many people ask me if there’s any news.  And the answer is always no.  Sometimes the wait seems a burden.  How can we plan for the future if we’re not sure when our trips to Ethiopia will be? Sometimes the wait seems pointless.  But then, I’m reminded that the wait is God’s plan.  His perfect plan.
Maybe the paper chase stage was easier because it was in our hands to get the job done.  Now, everything is totally out of our control.  And in the end, that’s the best place for it to be.

As you wait, tell yourself again and again that you have not been singled out. Remind yourself that you are part of a vast company of people who are being called to wait. Reflect on the biblical story. Abraham waited many years for his promised son. Israel waited 420 years for deliverance from Egypt, then another 40 years before they could enter the land God had promised them. God’s people waited generation after generation for the Messiah, and the church now waits for his return. The whole world groans as it waits for the final renewal of all things that God has promised. In ministry, it is vital to understand that waiting is not an interruption of God’s plan. It is his plan. And you can know this as well: the Lord who has called you to wait is with you in your wait. He hasn’t gone off to do something else, like the doctor you’re waiting to see. No, God is near, and he provides for you all that you need to be able to wait. {Paul Tripp}

Can’t wait to look back and see how God was creating a beautiful picture of His grace in our little lives.