Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my (Michael) first blogpost! Amanda's the writer in our family.... But I wanted to write today's Thanksgiving post...

As we all know, Thanksgiving comes around the same time frame every year. We do the same thing every year as well; cook lots of food, drinks lots of fluid, and take lots of naps. We take turns at the table thanking God for what we have and what we have been able to do in the past year. But this year for me I am not only thankful for those things, but as well as for the things to come.

Of course I am thankful for the many blessings our family has had in the past year, like spending much needed time with Amanda’s father before Alzheimer’s started to take away his memories. I am thankful for being employed and having a steady income, whereas the majority of America is struggling just to make ends meet. I am thankful for a house to live in and spend time with my family in. I am thankful for the health my family has had and even the health they have not had at times. I am also thankful for the times our family has had together just spending quality time. That time is worth more than anything to me. I am thankful for a wife that is on fire for God and has not let any road block stand in her way in accomplishing what God sets in her heart. I am thankful for Ilana and Aydan and how they teach me and others more about God than we have learned in 20 years! I am thankful for the faith my family has and how it truly has carried us and will continue to carry us through anything.

But still this year I am most thankful for the journey that our family is on with the Ethiopian adoption, and I am thankful for the things God has in store for us in the future.  Amanda and I have both had hearts for the broken hearted and as we have traversed down the path of adoption, we have been exposed to more and more of the broken hearts that await joy and hope in this world.  My heart breaks for them and all orphans in the world, especially since I know that I cannot help every one of them. But I am thankful for the moment my family is going to have when we see that child for the first time. A closure to one path, the waiting path, in this God created journey will come to an end. The next path will begin and that will be the process of finally bringing our child home. This path I am thankful for because it will be at that moment that we will be fulfilling God’s desire for our family. I am thankful for the lessons we are going to learn along this journey of true love, care, and family. I am thankful for the experiences we are going to go through that will push us, break us, and make us stronger. As this next year progresses I pray that God continues to show us His wonder and wisdom, and for Him to continue to reveal his vision for our family. Thank you for all the prayers and I ask that you continue to pray for our family and our journey. Your prayers and encouragement are appreciated and I don’t know how we will ever be able to thank everyone for the support they have provided. Lastly, I ask that as you think about our family, please pray for our child that we will hopefully soon see. Pray that he/she is being loved and that they are protected. Thank you to everyone and most of thank you God for your divine plan for our life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We're Number...

on the waitlist now! So happy to see movement every week! :) Just wanted to share!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Challenge, Giveaway, and Sale!

Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child? I'm sure most of you have, but if not, you can find out more information HERE. Basically, you get a shoebox (or the plastic shoebox sized tubs that you can get at Walmart or the Dollar Tree for $1) and you can choose the gender and age range (of 2-4, 5-9, 10-14). Then you go and shop for items to fill up the box. Items like small toys, candy, socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste and other toiletry items, and school supplies. If you go to the website it has a list of the types of items you can and cannot include. It's an absolutely amazing thing to do with your kids! It helps them to think of others during this time of year. We do it every year as a family and the kids pack boxes for their own age range and gender. They have a great time and love to pray over their boxes! This year, Michael and I are also doing one each for the age range of 10-14. I have a great friend who actually works for Operation Christmas Child and she was saying that this is the age range that they normally don't get enough boxes for. So if you can, try to do an extra box for that age range! Their goal is to get 5.8 MILLION boxes total here in the United States! Lets help them meet this goal!! They're collecting this week. You can find out where you can drop of the boxes by going HERE.

My challenge to you is to pack at least 1 shoebox! It's so easy to do and you can make a difference in a child's life just by doing this. Here's a quote from the Operation Christmas Child Facebook Page:

"When local volunteers asked Betty why she was crying after the shoe box distribution, she said she just couldn't believe that all the items in the box belonged to her, and shared a story of how she missed school for a week because she didn't have a pencil to use. Thanks to the shoe box gift, she received a pencil for school!"

We take things for granted SO much in America! This little girl couldn't go to school because she didn't have a pencil!!! See how simple it is to help and what a difference you can make?!

To encourage you to do this, I am giving away a HOPE tshirt (child's S-L or Adult M-XL) or a cookbook to one person who pledges to do a shoebox this week (go to the "current fundraisers" tab up at the top for more info on what the shirt/cookbook is)! If you want to be entered in this "giveaway", please comment below with your name and your pledge (or if you've already done one, say that!). I will draw a name from all who enter this Sunday! I'm trusting that those who enter will really do a shoebox! Please spread the word and get all your family and friends to do one, too!

*Also, speaking of tshirts and cookbooks! They are now on sale! We had a lot more cookbooks than expected so we still have about 60 left! We still have several HOPE shirts left as well and so we thought with Christmas sales coming up, we'd have one too! :) Please go to "Current Fundraisers" up above to get more details! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Big Update Part 2

So, if you read our blog post from the other day, this is a continuance. If you haven't read it, you can read it HERE .

Here's a great video that I highly recommend any of our family or friends to watch:

And if you have any further questions about HIV/AIDS and adoption, there are lots of great resources out there. Please do not hesitate to ask us ANY questions! We're completely willing to answer anything. Also, I highly recommend checking out Project Hopeful! This website was one of the biggest things that helped us with our decision to adopt a child with HIV. They have lots of really great programs, one of them being HOPE+Sisterhood.

"This program seeks to offer HOPE to HIV+ mothers and to prevent unnecessary loss for their families.Everything begins with keeping HIV+ mothers alive and healthy so they can parent their children. With their health intact, HIV+ mothers can begin to acquire the means for self sufficiency through job skills training, micro-loans for small businesses, and a host of other resources. HIV+ mothers can also benefit from "sisters" in the US who will pray for them, write to encourage them, and stand with them as they raise their families."

Basically a "sister" in the US sponsors an HIV+ mom from Ethiopia for just 6 months at a small fee of $32 per month and helps these women get back on their feet and learn a new skill and learn how to provide for their family. It's a way to keep mommas and their babies together. I read about it and immediately fell in love because it is something that Michael and I had dreamed about doing eventually. Of having a home in Ethiopia for single moms to live and learn a skill and get the medical help they need at no cost until they "graduate" with a life skill to provide for themselves. So to find something that was doing that exact same thing, except specifically for moms with HIV meant SO much to me and there was no way I could not participate! I immediately signed up and am so excited to pray for and get to know my "sister" Sintayehu! I can write her letters, emails, and stay in contact with her and maybe one day meet her. It's absolutely incredible, and I encourage anyone who is interested in contacting Project Hopeful for more information!

That said, to follow up with my previous post on why we are choosing to disclose the HIV status of our future child... Some argue that the child should decide who they want to tell and when they want to tell people. While that may work for some, we knew that would not work for our family. We want this entire adoption to be a testimony. A testimony of God's love, God's faithfulness and God's ultimate perfect plan. We want this to be a story for all to know. To help advocate for the orphans with HIV. To teach the truth and facts about HIV. To teach about the millions of orphans worldwide in desperate need of adoption who have HIV, and that adopting them is definitely do-able and safe for families to do it. We could certainly advocate for adoption of HIV+ children without disclosing the status of our child, but we felt it would not have as much of an impact. We want our story to be told and we want the truth about HIV to be spread!!! We also didn't want our child to grow up feeling ashamed or like their HIV was something that needed to be hidden from the world. We want our child to feel loved and accepted JUST the way they are without having doubts...

is our new number on the waitlist! Another referral was given today! We're makin' progress! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's been awhile! Big update! Part 1

It's been almost 2 months since our last update. I apologize for the lack of posting! I promise to try to do it more. It's been hard because there wasn't much new going on with our adoption process. We've been on the waitlist for 4 1/2 months now, and we were stuck at the same number since we started, but since last week, we have moved up to #43! We still have a ways to go, but we are SO excited to finally see some movement! We're also very excited to see several other families in our agency group preparing to travel to go get their babies after a long, enduring wait!

Also, if you notice up at the top, our blog address has changed. It is no longer and we finally have our own domain name of  :) I'll be doing a "facelift" to the blog in the next several days as well...

As for our big update... Michael and I have been struggling, praying, and talking about whether to do this or not... We've been struggling whether we should make it known. We decided that we needed to. That it was important for us, for our family, and for our friends and family...

As you obviously know, we were adopting a "healthy" little girl or boy, age 0-2. I began to really feel lead to do more. I felt God calling us to love a child lots of families may overlook. A child with HIV. Many people don't know or understand the facts about HIV and immediately panic about the thought. Did you know that HIV canNOT be spread by sharing food or drinks, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing or coughing,  bathing, changing diapers, swimming or any other casual way. HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).- HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. Did you know that in this "day and age", with medication, the HIV can be virtually undetectable in the child's bloodstream? Treatment is usually medication taken twice a day and doctors visits quarterly.

As I look back on our life, I really see how God has prepared us for this. While my kids do not have HIV, they do have medical problems (Ilana being born with a cleft palate and kidney issues and Aydan being born 9 weeks early) and we've been to more doctors appointments than the average parents, been through surgeries (and preparing for another in January), and have had to give them lots of various medications. We're used to going to Children's Hospitals, we're used to doctors, we're used to the worry, we're used to having to give it all to God. While we won't know for sure what it'll be like to have a child with HIV, we do feel like God has prepared us by allowing us to go through trials with our children (and yes, I said allowing us to. While it's been difficult, I've known all along that God would use it for His glory. That He would use it for good. And now I'm seeing the good!)

When we first decided to adopt, we knew we wanted to partner with a ministry to bring supplies with us to take to Ethiopia with us. I began googling different ministries and one of the very first ones I found was AHOPE.  As I looked around their website, I began to feel like this was the one we needed to bring supplies to. I showed Michael and he decided that's who we would choose. This was months ago... I told our homeschool co-op about it, as our co-op is doing a few missions projects and this was going to be one of them. The kids were going to bring supplies for us to take with us to give to AHOPE. (You all will be able to help as well! More details later!) Some of the pictures and information from AHOPE's site would continually come to mind as the weeks went on. The more and more I thought about it, the more I began to question things... As I began to research HIV/AIDS, the more my heart broke. These children are dying alone, with no medical care and no family! When with the love of a family and simple medication, they could very easily live a normal life! But many are afraid when they hear the term HIV. I'll admit - I was, too! Until I researched in depth and the more confident I felt. I shared my heart with Michael and he was nervous and scared, too. We prayed, talked, prayed more, and listened for God to guide us.

On a Sunday evening, after listening to a sermon online together a couple weeks ago, we came up with two things that were kinda the deal breaker and told God that if this WAS His will for us, that He would open the right doors, and if it was not His will, that He would shut those doors and we'd continue with what we had originally planned. The "deal breakers"? What would it take for us to be able to adopt? Did we need to redo our homestudy? If that was the case, we'd have to also redo our I-171H form and both would have to be re-notarized, state authenticated and then authenticated in DC. We estimated that it would cost about $2000. We told God if that was the case, we weren't sure if we could afford it. Our other concern was insurance-wise. Would it be covered? Either way, Michael and I were on fire for God and His plan!

We went to bed and had a not so good night with Ilana waking up with terrible nightmares. She's always had an issue with nightmares ever since she was tiny, but they've gotten worse here and there. We've found that it occurs when big things are going to happen. It's as if Satan is trying hard to attack us, and that's the best way he can. (And these are not your average child nightmares. I won't even get into the details, but it's not just a cute silly monster in the closet.) The following day I felt horribly sick to my stomach and had an awful headache. I could barely function, but was determined to find out the information to know what God's plan was for us. As I began emailing our agency to ask about what we needed to do paperwork/home study wise, I began to feel even more sick. I quickly finished the email and clicked "Send" and had to lay down. I figured I could try calling the insurance while laying down and as I was on hold waiting for a REAL person to talk to, my head felt like it would explode so I had to hang up. Michael, was also sick at work, feeling the same way as I was. When Michael got home, we began to realize that us adopting an HIV+ child must be part of God's plan because we were most definitely being spiritually attacked (it is SO real, for those who aren't so sure about it! I know it sounds like we're nuts! :) ). As we prayed together as a couple and then as a family, Michael and I both began to feel better and Ilana slept peacefully that night...

The following day, I woke up feeling perfectly fine and at total peace on whatever God would make happen that day. I got a response back from our agency, saying that in our homestudy, it would need to say we were approved for special needs and then the I-171H would have to say that we qualify for special needs as well. She had looked at our documents and amazingly, our home study case worker had written that we were approved for special needs, which then made the US Government put on our I-171H that we were approved for special needs. God knew months ago that He would change our hearts to adopt a child with HIV and made it possible from the start. Without us even knowing!!

While on a high, I called the insurance agency. Not only would it be covered by the insurance our kids are already on, but there's an actual program through the insurance that is specifically for HIV+ children. With not only medical care, but counseling, peer groups, etc. How was that NOT an answer to prayer? How was that NOT God saying "Here you go. I've opened the doors wide! Step on through with your eyes wide open to what I have in store for you."

I called Michael and told him what all was said and he said "There's our answers. Tell Angie (our caseworker with our adoption agency) to put us on the list for HIV+."

So... We are officially on the list to adopt an HIV+ child. We could still get a child without HIV, if one become available before one with HIV does, but either way, we know God's plan and we will trust it 100%. We are prepared for people to not be okay with it (we've had that from the beginning, just because we're adopting) and we're prepared for people to have questions (please feel free to ask! We're open to ANY questions!) and we're prepared for people to feel uncomfortable about the idea. God's Word has prepared us for persecution, and we're okay with it.  We know that ultimately -- we're living for an audience of One. That God's opinion is truly the only one that matters.

I will explain in another post soon about the reason why we've decided to make it known. Some people may disagree with this decision and feel like we should let our child decide when and who to tell. Disclosing it is not for every family adopting an HIV+ child, but for us, it was. More on that later as this is getting long. Just continue praying for us and praying for our child!

A very special thank you to everyone who has supported us all along the way! We appreciate your love, support, prayers, and kind words SO much!

Friday, September 16, 2011

God's Chazown, Grant Update, and Cookbooks!

First of all, just a cute picture of my sweet kiddos at the library.

Fridays are usually our library days (their favorite place to go... They get it from both their daddy AND me! We're book geeks!)! Fridays are also our Friday Hope Days. The kids always wear their Hope Shirts and is the day I'm always looking forward to checking my email as we get a weekly update from our agency. Unfortunately still no referrals, but that's ok!

So... Michael and I have been doing a study together online and reading a book by Craig Groeschel (amazing pastor!! He's got many great sermons online at . We're a big fan of the sermon series "Weird"!) called Chazown (pronounced khaw-ZONE). It's an amazing book/study so far and it's all about determining God's Chazown (which means vision in Hebrew)

"God will call you to do something you can't do on your own, so you will have to
take a step of faith into the unknown. The only way you'll accomplish it is to trust
 completely the heart and power of God. That way, when God accomplishes His 
vision through you, God will get the credit.... 

If you have the ability to accomplish it without God, then it's not God's
Chazown (vision) for you, and God won't get the glory for it." 
- Chazown, by Craig Groeschel  

Made me think of our adoption experience... I'd wanted to adopt for years, since I was a child even! Briefly, after marrying Michael, I looked up about adopting and found out that the average costs of International adoption cost in the thousands. I chalked that off with a "Well, maybe someday when we're much older and actually have the money to do it!"

5 years later, God began nudging us more and more, so I began research again, and obviously, the costs of adoption had not gone down at all. As we felt led to Ethiopia and found the average cost to be between $25,000-$28,000, my heart sank... I knew God wanted us to do it, but I was like "Really, God? You want US to come up with twenty thousand some dollars? HOW??" I looked through our budget and finances and had no idea where we'd come up with that much.... I mean, over several years time, yes, but in just months or a years time?! It literally was absolutely impossible, and I'm not exaggerating. I'll be honest! The cost of this adoption is more than half of Michael's annual income, so it's obviously not just pocket change...

The more I researched, prayed, and felt nudges from God, I prayed, "You're right, God. It IS impossible. Impossible for us to do it on our own. So if we jump in with both feet, You're gonna have to provide a way to make this happen..." So, on October 21, 2010 we took a huge leap of faith and applied to Children's Hope International. I knew He would make it all happen somehow but still doubted throughout the process... Michael has been my rock throughout the whole process, never doubting God's provision and always reminding me to trust God and be patient....

Here we are, almost a year later and we have gotten almost the entire amount needed and are just a few hundred dollars short. God is completing this Chazown (vision) and even though it was impossible, He has made it/is making it possible. HE gets the glory!!!

God's vision for our life is not finished, yet, with this adoption. We're feeling called to do much more and hopefully in the coming years (or in God's time) we'll be living His vision of orphan care and missions work!

As for an update on our matching grant... We got SO close to our goal of $2500 (matched to $5000) and are just a few hundred dollars short! Isn't God awesome?! We are SO SO thankful to everyone who was so generous and gave! THANK YOU!!

And................... Look what I received this afternoon!

COOKBOOKS!!!!!! The kids were as excited as I was! 

 All 10 boxes worth!

 All nicely boxed up - 22 in a box

 Front Cover

Full cover from the back - Comes with stand to hold your cookbook up!

Don't they look great?! I am SO excited to have these and I know lots of other people are as well! If you've already bought and paid for yours, it'll be shipped out first thing tomorrow morning! These have more than 300 of the Martin family (my side of the family) favorite recipes! I'm so glad to have them all in one book and not on my computer or scribbled onto a piece of paper! And if you're interested in one, it's not too late to order, as we ordered plenty extra! We've got about 40 extra up for grabs, so if you want one, you better act fast because I've gotten several more orders! :) 100% of the proceeds will finish paying the costs of our adoption! Costs are:

$20 for 1
$40 for 2
$60 for 3
$75 for 4

$90 for 5
(Prices include shipping!)

You can order on the right hand side of the page, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see where! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September Update and Deadline

Hey, everyone! I realize it's been over a month since I've blogged! Things have been crazy busy around here, which honestly, has been good... We're still no further up on the waitlist than we were last month, unfortunately. :( But I'm trusting God and know that His timing is absolutely perfect, even if it's not what I want... Knowing He has it under control is comforting to me...

So, on August 12, Michael and I celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary! It's been a great 6 years and I'm so thankful to have gotten to spend it with him. I'm frequently reminded why I love him so much, from the little things like seeing him serve God, watching him grow as the spiritual leader of our household and watching him interact with Ilana and Aydan. Seeing him as such an amazing daddy or seeing him help out in the nursery at church makes me fall in love with him all over again. I swear that man has an amazing gift with precious little ones and it makes me realize how lucky I am to be able to be going through this adoption journey with him... For him to be so on fire for adoption that he's already thinking ahead to our future adoptions makes me love him all the more! God had a great reason for putting the two of us together and in the words of Sid, the sloth, "He completes me!" :)

We were also busy last month with helping organize our church's 5K, starting homeschool with Ilana (she's starting 1st grade curriculum this year! :( *sniff, sniff* My baby girl is growing up WAY too fast) , planning for our homeschool co-op, and poor Michael has been working lots. He's been getting lots of overtime, which is nice, especially if he has to take unpaid leave to travel to Ethiopia, but boy do we miss him!

In the adoption world... Like I said, we haven't made any progress on the waitlist, but we did get our first round of vaccines... Well, actually I did... Thanks to the good ol' Marine Corps, all Michael needed was some oral vaccines (Typhoid). I, on the other hand, needs everything, even a tetanus shot. Since I needed so many, they're splitting them into 3 sessions.... Leave it to me to get the weird reactions, though! I swear, if there's a 1% chance of getting ANYTHING, I'll be the one to get it! I don't even know if it was a normal reaction or not, but a few hours after getting the shots, my arm began to go numb and for a few days, I could feel the muscle and insides of my arm (which was sore), but I could not feel anything from the outside! I could pinch to the point of drawing blood, but not feel a thing. It was actually pretty cool!

Also, just a quick reminder, because I know many forgot when the end date was and have asked. Our matching grant through Hand in Hand is ending SOON! For those who don't know, this is the last of the needed funds to be fully, 100% funded for our adoption - all $28,000! Hand in Hand will match any amount, up to $2500, for a total of $5000!! As of last Friday, we had only a little over $800 raised. If you feel led to give, we would be SO thankful! You have until tomorrow to send write out a check to Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. and send it to the following address:

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. 
Michael and Amanda Nunez
18524 Juniper Street 
Gardner, KS  66030-9147


Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to everyone who has given since our adoption journey has started. We are so forever grateful for all the thoughts, prayers, encouragement, and donations. I know it's cliche to say we couldn't do it without you all, but we seriously couldn't have...  God has used so many people to help us through this journey and I know I will never be able to fully explain our gratitude and thanks. This journey has been so humbling for the both of us, especially in the money aspect. Neither Michael or I have ever been ones to ask for money and I'll be honest, it has been difficult. VERY difficult, especially knowing what some think or have said. I just want to make sure people realize just how thankful we are... My biggest fear is for people to not know how appreciative we are. For not only the donations, but for the thoughts and prayers along the way, and most of all, the overwhelming support from our friends and family and even people we have never met. It's incredible, and again, so humbling... I feel like thanks is not enough, but please know and remember how much we love and appreciate you all....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Scattered Thoughts, Thanks, and The Forego Project

Just a forewarning... This will probably be a jumbled mess with lots of honesty. I've never been one to cause a ruckus or want to offend someone, but just in case it happens in this post, I'm sorry in advance!

We'll start off with some good news! A couple days ago, I got the most amazing message on my phone from Katelyn's Fund. I cannot say enough good about this group and how blessed we are to "know" them. She let us know how they've been continuing praying for us and to let us know that they approved us for a grant.  I was literally in shock... As in not being able to move or talk kind of shock. Shock because with this grant, (among the other grants from Show Hope and Hand in Hand, along with the remaining money in our adoption account from donations and money Michael and I have been working hard to save... every. single. penny. every. single. "sacrifice.") our entire adoption is now funded. Totally and completely debt free. This was God's dream for us from the beginning, and HE made it happen! Deep down, I knew He would... I just never would have dreamed (and I dream BIG!) that He would do it in just 7 months time. $28,000 in 7 months time. Is that not amazing, or what?

Now, I will say, we're not completely done, though... That is including the matching grant from Hand in Hand, so we actually are only 100% funded if we get $2500 donated by Sept 8. I have absolutely no doubt that God can do it! We sent out support letters earlier this week to family and we're also encouraging anyone who wants to buy a tshirt, puzzle piece, or cookbook to send the money to Hand in Hand then e-mailing us at to let us know and we will send you what you ordered. This way you get the item you want AND your donation is matched. Tshirts are now just $18 shipped!

Ok, now to the more serious matter....

I'm sure many people have seen the news about the famine in East Africa... They are facing its worst drought in 60 years! It tears at my heart when I read about it and see the pictures...

They all break my heart, but this last one especially. This little boy is 2 years old. His name is Aden. My little boy is 2 years old and his name is Aydan. I cannot imagine if I were in that same position as his mother. If I were not able to feed my precious children. If I had to walk hundreds of miles for help to feed my little ones or just to try to find water! Can YOU imagine? I haven't been to Ethiopia, yet, but I've seen the statistics, I've seen the pictures, I've read the news (in case you haven't, go HERE or just google "famine in East Africa"!).

Like in Brooke Fraser's song "Albertine", she sings "now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead." We, as Christians, who have seen this horrible tragedy happening as we speak, are responsible. God specifically tells us all throughout the Bible (just look up poor or needy - you'll find tons of verses) to help those in need. 

We created the "Forego Project":

Basically as a challenge to EVERYONE, specifically Christians, to forego, or give up, one thing this month, whether it be eating out once, giving up some Starbucks, not going to Target, giving up a few sodas, etc. Find something, ANYTHING, to give up, and instead, give the money you would have spent to help those in Eastern Africa. Here in the US, $20 would feed one small family (maybe) for an evening out, or it could feed one child for 20 days in Africa. Stay home and dig through your pantry to find something to fix, fix your own coffee, give up that shopping trip (come on, do you really NEED those things you wanted?)... Do SOMETHING. Anyone can do this... Even those who don't have much money:

Just giving $1 will feed one child for one day. You can still make a difference whether your annual income is $10,000 or $10 million! The choice is yours. Will you?

Here is a list of organizations in which you can donate to:

  • UNICEF is asking for $31.8 million over the next three months for relief efforts. The money will help provide therapeutic treatment for women and children with severe malnutrition, access to clean drinking water and vaccinations to prevent deadly diseases like measles and polio. "The earlier we act, the more children we can save. Americans are a generous people, and a little goes a long way -- just $10 can feed a child for 10 days," said Caryl Stern, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. To help UNICEF's efforts, text "FOOD" to 864233 to donate $10 from the United States or visit the website. Follow this link to make a donation from other countries around the world. 
  • A Glimmer of Hope - "100% of all donations given to the emergency relief fund will help some of the 3.2 million Ethiopians, and Somalia people seeking emergency aid in Ethiopia, facing hunger, and seeking food, water and medical care. “When people, particularly children, are collapsing and dying because there is no food and water, you cannot just turn the page, and turn a blind eye. It is not ok to remove it from your conscience,” said Philip Berber, Co-Chairman of Glimmer. “This is a harsh reality that is not going away overnight.“ Having impacted the lives of more than 2 million Ethiopians over the past ten years, Glimmer will identify, evaluate and partner with international NGOs and relief agencies – specifically those who have a long-standing presence in Ethiopia and a proven track record of delivering emergency relief, including food, water, medical and shelter."
  • Doctors Without Borders is operating nine medical-nutritional programs in south-central Somalia. These programs, along with three projects in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, provide thousands of medical consultations each day. Teams are treating more than 10,000 severely malnourished children. Donations can be made online in the U.S. and by following this link in other countries.
  • Samaritan's Purse is feeding 2,100 families in Wajir and Garissa counties, providing a supplemental nutrition program for 1,700 school children and supplying porridge and health care to 400 children under 5 years old in Garissa. The group is also drilling boreholes in the region to supply water in hard hit communities. Visit the website to make a donation from the United States and other countries.
  • Or for more websites/organizations to choose from, go HERE

(P.S. Just in the time that you spent reading this post, almost 75 children died from hunger throughout the world... What are you willing to give up?)

(and yes, people in the US need help, too, but honestly, and this may be harsh, did you SEE these pictures? Have you really READ the news? The hunger problems in America is no where NEAR what those in Africa are having to endure. Here, thankfully, there are soup kitchens and shelters in just about every city. In Africa, families are walking hundreds of miles for food or water, with many elderly, children and babies dying before they get any sort of help. Here, you can go to a hospital anywhere in the country to be treated, whether you have the money or not. In Africa, you'd have to walk hundreds of miles and be lucky if you even make it there alive... Again, YES, the US needs help, and if you'd rather do that, please go ahead! I have nothing against helping out the US, and in fact will be donating items this weekend at our church's annual 5K to help those in the US!) 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amazingly Thankful...

So, it's been almost a month since we were put on the waiting list... Unfortunately, we're still at number 47. There have been NO referrals from our agency this month! (I stand corrected! I forgot that one special little girl was referred to a family, so we're actually number 46! Yay!This is not all that unusual as there are occasionally lulls in referrals. Some months there's nothing, then the next month it's referrals left and right! I stand corrected! I forgot that one special little girl was referred to a family, so we're actually number 46! Yay! While we're disappointed and wish our number would move up more quickly, we completely trust God in this and know that God is working things together for the PERFECT moment for our referral. Could be a couple months, could be early next year - we never know! But, what we DO know, is God's plan is much better than ours!

Speaking of God's plan... God told me from the beginning that His plan was for us to do this 100% debt free. I questioned how in the world that would happen, because we, like most people, don't have an extra $28,000 just lying around, and I stay at home with the kids, and Michael doesn't make the best income... Even though I KNEW it would happen, one way or another, and often worried how it was even possible, I was constantly reminded of this verse: 

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." - Phil. 4:19

Again, that doesn't mean I never doubted or worried... Believe me, I did!! But I am SO happy to say that God has provided to meet almost ALL of our needs. With the help of friends and family donating, helping out with fundraising efforts, and lots and lots of prayer, along with MAJOR sacrificing, giving up completely unneeded things, and saving on our end, we had paid over $8500 towards all our adoption costs. With the help of our church, and now Show Hope and HandinHand (if we get the full amount), we are almost completely funded. We have just about $4000 to go! 

HandinHand is a matching grant. They will match up to $2500, making a total grant of $5000! What a HUGE blessing! We'll be sending out support letters to friends and family and if anyone else is interested in donating, your donation is tax deductible and is to be sent directly to them, NOT us (and just write our name on the envelope, not on the check)! All donations must be in their office or postmarked by September 8 to be able to be matched. Please send them to:

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. 
Michael and Amanda Nunez
18524 Juniper Street 
Gardner, KS  66030-9147

We had also applied with Katelyn's Fund (another grant) and had an interview with them on Monday night. Let me tell you... They were absolutely incredible. We spoke with 3 of the board members at first and ended in prayer after almost an hour with a total of 5 of them. I cannot say enough good about them and feel so absolutely blessed to have had that interview with them. They prayed over us, our family, and our adoption, along with a few other prayer requests that we had. Ilana had been having nightmares nightly for the past month or so. These were not just ordinary nightmares a typical 4 year old has. These were much more than that and scary even to me. Michael and I honestly felt like she was being spiritually attacked... We briefly talked to the board about this and when they prayed, they prayed specifically for her and the spiritual battle going on and that God's angels would surround our home and family and fight (yes, I know, we sound crazy, but we are total believers in the spiritual battle out there. It is SO real)... The next morning (and keep in mind, she has not had a single GOOD dream in over a month) she woke up in her own room (another big thing - we'd been finding her on our floor beside our bed every morning) and said she had the best dream...  Wanna know what she dreamed about? Nothing more than... Angels! It was just incredible... The Katelyn's Fund board and their prayer team at their church will continue to pray for us and our adoption journey these next several months. Even if we do not get this grant, we feel so blessed to have the spiritual support and prayers from them and that, to me, is most important! 

All in all, we've raised about $24,000 in just 6 months. How absolutely incredible is that?! If anyone asks how, my only answer is "Only God!" It's just so awesome to think about... I never, ever, would've imagined it would go so smoothly and quickly! I have no doubts about the next $4000 and know God will provide one way or another!

A few have wondered what we do if we end up having more than enough, between the grants and our own fundraisers... I am being completely honest and truthful that every single penny we make from fundraisers and donations will go to Ethiopia. If our adoption costs are all paid for and we still have funds left over, that money is going towards items that the House of Hope (the transition home) and our child's orphanage needs. Clothing, bottles, vitamins, formula, diapers, wipes, etc. Along with saving up for our adoption, God placed it in my heart to also save up for these types of items. We want to help not just one child, but as many as possible while we're there. We plan on packing LIGHT and taking as many things to give away as possible each trip! If anyone is interested in donating items, I'll be posting more on this later as the time gets closer! :)

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, spiritually, financially, and just been there for us. It's been an incredible journey and we are so blessed and thankful for each and every one of you!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What next?

I've had lots of people ask me what's next and I figured it would probably be best to go ahead and write a blog post to explain it and to also share a giveaway!

Now that we're on the waiting list, we wait (and wait, and wait, and wait) for a referral. It will probably be months before we get a referral, which in a way is disheartening to think about... Mainly because of my impatience and it makes it even harder when studying up on Ethiopia and their food, culture, language, etc. I am SO excited to go and have been having dreams about it and our child... I KNOW it's worth the wait, just sometimes hard to think we still have months to go sometimes! But thankfully, I know that God's plan is absolutely perfect and much better than my own!

Once there's a referral for us, our case worker will call and tell us about our child, then will e-mail us pictures. Then we'll get a package in the mail and we'll have 7 days to accept our referral. I'm sure many of you are wondering why we can't just say "YES - we want him/her!" With the acceptance of the referral comes a fee of $8235.... So we have to have $8235 to our agency within 7 days, or we cannot accept our referral. This fee is the International Program Fee and In Country Fee. It covers things like translation, liaison with government and agency authorities, facilitation, adoption and travel coordination, physicians, orphanage fees, visa medical exams, U.S. Visa for the child, Passport, Birth Certificate, etc.

After referral, we'll wait for a court date - usually 6-8 weeks. We'll travel to Ethoipia for the court date and meet our child and then come home. Then if/when we pass court, we wait (at home) for an embassy date when our child can receive a Visa to come home. This can take another 6-8 weeks or so and once we get that date, we can go back to Ethiopia to pick up our child. So, after the referral fee, the only remaining costs we have are travel fees (which can vary greatly, depending on the time of year, but it's estimated to cost $6000-8000).

So, I'm sure you're wondering - do we have the $8235 for the referral fee? Unfortunately, no... Since paying the $4100 for the dossier fee, our adoption account has dwindled a lot and we're not anywhere close to that amount! So, sometimes it's a good thing that referrals can take awhile, because we've got awhile to come up with the $8235!

We still have lots of puzzle pieces and shirts for sale (for shirts, we are out of XS in childrens, and have no more S in adults left! I'm sorry! I'm not sure if we'll be able to order some anytime soon unless we get a high demand for them, because it's best to order in large quantities.)! You can buy them using the side links or you can just donate! Even if it's $1. Every single penny adds up!

And, a great friend of mine, Christine, messaged me yesterday and said that she wanted to do a giveaway for our adoption. She is so sweet! Anyway, she's giving away a $25 giftcard! And, if we get enough entries, I will also give away a HOPE shirt and a $25 Starbucks giftcard! There are a few ways to enter:

1. Donate (ANY amount is SO appreciated!)
2. Buy a puzzle piece ($5 piece or $10 piece - go HERE for more details on our puzzle fundraiser!)
3. Buy a HOPE shirt ($20 for child or $25 for adult - go HERE for more info)
4. Share on your blog or Facebook

Once you do any of those, comment on this blog or comment HERE and you will be entered in the drawing! (you can be entered more than once by doing more than one of the above!) You have until Sunday, July 24!

Thank you SO much Christine for doing this!! You are so sweet! :) And thank you to anyone who donates, shares, or prays for us. It means more than you'll ever know! The most awesome thing is seeing just how many people have come together so far to help us bring our child home. They are SOOOO stinkin' loved, aren't they? :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


What is 47, you ask? Well, it's our number... ON THE WAITLIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our dossier has been finalized and authenticated in Washington D.C. and we were officially put on the waitlist today! Now we get to sit back and wait impatiently patiently for a referral! Honestly, as impatient as I am, I am thankful to finally make it to this point. We are done with paperwork (for now) and get to wait (although, I'm sure in a month, I'll be wishing I was busy with paperwork!). It could likely be several months, but we can pray for it to go faster! Average wait times (for little babies) have been 6-7 months. God knows the exact day and already has our child picked out. We just have to wait for Him! And, thank goodness He loves me so much that He won't mind me asking everyday "Are we there yet?" ;)

Thank you all to EVERYONE who has helped us get to where we are now. It is because of your help, donations, and lots and lots of prayers that we are at this point! Thank you!!!!! Please continue praying for us along the way!

Monday, June 27, 2011

One year ago....

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, on June 28, 2010 at 12:09 in the morning, I woke up from a dream. I had dreamt about singing praises to God. I woke up and for the first (and so far, only) time in my life, I heard God speak to me. Audibly speak! Despite being startled and confused, I immediately knew Who it was. No doubt about it... It was my Father. And I remember it like it was yesterday! He said "Great things are going to happen to you." And I of course had the human response and asked when and he responded with "Just wait." (You can read more about the dream in my original post last October HERE, if you haven't already.)

Who would have known that a year from that moment, we'd be well into the process of adopting a precious child from Ethiopia? After that dream is when we started feeling more nudges toward adoption and later, specifically toward Ethiopia. What was crazy was 2 months after my dream, Ilana drew this picture (keep in mind she was just three! ;) ):

A picture of our family, with one addition, labeled "baby sister". Except, according to Ilana, it wasn't a baby but a younger kid that we were going to "get". Not have, but get. She had no idea that Michael and I had begun discussing adoption. She had no idea what adoption even meant, but she just KNEW that we were going to "get" a new sibling for her. Some may say it's just coincidence and that it's just a little girl wanting another playmate, but if you know Ilana, you know that she's always had some amazing intuition... God was beginning to break her heart for orphans, just like He was doing to Michael's and mine...

So, here we are! June 27, 2011... Our dossier is currently in Washington DC being authenticated and we will be placed on the waitlist probably within a week. It's just absolutely amazing to think back on our journey along the way and how God has literally provided EVERY single step of the way. That God has been there, walking through each process with us, holding our hands, guiding us toward His will for our life. His will for our family.

Lots of people tell us "Good for you!" "You guys are doing something great!" "That child is going to be blessed!" I appreciate it, but ultimately, I want people to see the good that GOD is doing. 

I want HIM to get the glory. 
I want HIM to be recognized through every single step of this adoption process. 

HE's doing this. 

HE broke our hearts to make us see the fatherless through HIS eyes. 

And really, WE are the blessed ones, that He called us to adopt. 

WE are the ones who are going to be blessed by this amazingly, beautiful child God PERSONALLY picked out for us. 

If people get just ONE thing out of our adoption journey, my prayer is for them to see God's amazing hand throughout it. To see His provision, His guidance, and His little miracles along the way. Sometimes I honestly just burst into tears in thanksgiving, wondering how in the world did we get SO stinkin' lucky to do this?!

We are BLESSED!!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wow, how awesome is our church?

So, Monday evening, we got an awesome call from our brother-in-law, Jeff, who is an elder at our church, First Alliance. The elders of the church had their monthly meeting and they had voted on something pretty awesome!

First of all, First Alliance Church is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination. This allows our church to participate in one of the largest missionary organizations in the world. Needless to say, the church is very involved in missions. For the past three years, First Alliance has hosted an annual Run4aReason, which is a 5k run that benefits the church's mission projects.

Fast foward to Monday night... Because of the elder's vote, they decided that this year, some of the proceeds from the Run4aReason will go towards our adoption fund!!! What a HUGE blessing! God is SO good and we cannot thank our church enough! It's really awesome to have the church be a part of our adoption process!

For any locals who are interested in supporting this event, it is on August 6, at 7:30am. You can get information HERE or on the Facebook event page (where you can "attend" and share with your friends) HERE. Please help spread the word and help this run turn out to be a HUGE event! :)

Which makes me realize I guess it's time for me to start getting into running... For those of you who know me, know that I hate running and exercise of all kind! Michael, on the other hand is a runner and always has been. He's the crazy kind of runner that LOVES it so much that he'll literally run 6 miles or more at 2am, just because he felt like running... Needless to say, he's really looking forward to the 5k! Guess I'd better learn to love it, because I definitely want to be involved in running it with him!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lookie, Lookie!!!!!

I received a very exciting package in the mail today! Look what it contained!!

That's right! We got our documents back from being state certified (minus one document that will be sent directly to our agency)!! Which means.... In just a couple minutes Ilana, Aydan, and I are headed over to the post office to overnight all our documents to Children's Hope, along with the dossier fee and authentication fee check!

From here on out, if the documents are all good, they are out of our hands and will be bundled by our agency and sent to the U.S. Department of State to be authenticated and then sent on to Ethiopia! I will update once I get any update or when we are finally put on the waiting list!!!

If you only saw me now, you'd see me literally dancing throughout the house in excitement. And yes, Ilana has been staring at me like I'm nuts... She said "Are you THAT excited to get me a brother or sister, Mommy?" To which I exclaim "YES!!!!!!!!!" And she said "Well I'm excited, too. I can't wait to get my brother or sister. But you just look weird!" Yes, y'all. I am crazy. Crazy in love with a child I haven't even seen! :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Almost there!

Well, it's been almost a month since our last blog entry. We went home to Indiana a week ago to see my dad and surprise my mom. It was a great time, despite the circumstances, and such a blessing! While we were gone, we finally received our last document needed to complete our dossier!! 

(This isn't the actual document - it's the letter that was with it. :) )

Despite getting all our paperwork, it seems as if Satan is trying hard to keep us from getting everything done, adoption-wise. We've felt like we've been under spiritual attack the past few weeks with all sorts of unexpected expenses. Expenses have been coming up right as we need to come up with the $4100 dossier fee, plus $180 to have them state authenticated, along with all the postage to send them everywhere(which adds up - overnighting paperwork is NOT cheap!). 
First it was our car, which died on the way to Michael going work. After having it towed, found out it needed a new battery and whatnot. $180 later (yes, the same amount needed for our authentication), it was fixed. Then, while in Indiana, we found out our van needed a new battery as well (goodbye $100). Thankfully we found that out on our own and Michael did the labor himself, which saved us some money. Yesterday, on Michael's way to work, the car was acting up again. After another tow to the car repair place (thank goodness for roadside assistance), found out the NEW battery died and the alternator has an issue. It was going to cost almost $400! While we could afford that, that was the extra money from our own personal account that was going towards our dossier fees (we set up a separate account for the adoption). I began to panic and have an emotional breakdown. This, on top of everything that's been going on in our life/family was icing on the let's-male-Amanda-break-down-cake...  I knew we could get a new alternator for MUCH cheaper, and that my smart, handyman hubby could do it himself, but the issue was getting it back home. We'd already used our roadside assistance and couldn't use it again and Michael would be stuck at work (an hour away) unless I came and got him. My sister and brother-in-law came to the rescue and despite their busy lives, Jeff went and picked up Michael from work at the end of the day, took him to the auto body place and used THEIR AAA card to have our car towed home so we wouldn't have to pay for a towing fee. What a huge blessing that was! Thank you, guys!!

On top of rescuing Michael, Jeff also rescued me out of my self pity. He said that instead of crying, I needed to be "rejoicing to God that we are considered worthy of this attack!" It really opened my eyes and made m realize that's exactly what is happening. Satan's attacking and trying hard to throw unexpected expenses at us so we CAN'T afford the adoption. He's trying hard to attack our family through sickness, long work days, and such. *And as the song that is playing on Pandora right this very moment says "I don't care what the world throws at me now, it's gonna be alright! 'Cause I know my God saved the day, and I know His word never fails, and I know my God made a way for me! Salvation is here!" (by Hillsong United)* Satan KNOWS God has a huge plan for our family (God already told me that in my dream almost 1 year ago: "Great things are going to happen to you.") and he KNOWS that God is using this adoption for His glory, and Satan doesn't want that! So he's gonna try to stop it. But, what Satan doesn't realize, regardless of what he does, our family is strong. Our family is ready. Our family is prepared. In Ilana's words "We have Jesus in our hearts so we're like super heros!" And in the words of my big brother, Andrew "Bring it on, Satan. We're ready to knock your socks off!"

In James 1: 2-3, it says " Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." Ironically, this is the same book and chapter that says "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."! God's call for His people is to care for orphans and widows! And while we're trying to answer His call by adopting, Satan's trying to cause trouble to keep us from it!
Regardless of what Satan throws our way, God IS going to provide! Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." He has provided for this adoption EVERY single step of the way! This is His plan for our family!!! He's confirmed it in more ways than I can imagine, and if you want to see where, just go through and read our blog. Way too many "coincidences"! 

Anyway, off my soapbox now... :) Back to having all our paperwork done. We got everything notarized last night, thanks to a great lady from our church, Mary Howard! What a blessing she was to meet us at my sisters' and notarize all our many documents and she didn't charge us a penny. Thank you, Mary, if you read this! Everything should be on our way to the Department of State in Tallahassee today to be state authenticated. Hopefully we'll get that back soon, and then we will be overnighting our completed dossier to our agency to be bundled and sent to Washington D.C. via courier, to be authenticated. And from there, Ethiopia bound!!!!!! I will continue to update you all along the way!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Craziness... ;)

First of all, I am blown away by so many people in this world with cheerful giving hearts! One of my good friends, Christine, whom I met when I first began attending college at Ball State (our love for Marines brought us together!) contacted me about an idea she had. She wanted to give $1 for every donation, shirt order, or puzzle order. She created an event on Facebook and spread the word and with her help, we got 20 donations/orders in the timeframe of her event! I was amazed at how many orders we got in such a short amount of time. Mainly from people we don't even know! It's just awesome!! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for everyone who donated or ordered!! And thank you, Christine, for doing this for us! We appreciate it so much!

While the costs of our adoption still worries me, I know that God will take care of it and will provide... On our end of it, we're saving as much as possible and making lots of little sacrifices here and there in order to save money. I know some people think we're crazy, but after Pastor Scott's sermon on Sunday, I've realized, yeah, we are crazy! So crazy about doing God's will for our family, that we'll do whatever it takes! Like he said "Instead of raising your standard of living, why don't you raise your standard of giving?" Made me realize that just because we're not "up to snuff on all the popular trends", it's okay, and it's for a greater purpose!

Here are some of our cost cutting techniques.. I'm sure there are more that I'll think of AFTER I post this! :)

Minus this past week (we had a great friend visiting us), we've gone out to eat maybe 3 times this year? We've tried cutting out on eating out completely. If we're out and about, I usually pack some PB&J's. Crazy? Sure - but it beats wasting $20 on a quick meal that is just gonna give us indigestion! I don't shop, except for stuff we need (toilet paper, groceries, etc.) and even then, I use coupons. I've been able to buy groceries and necessities monthly and stay right around $150, but definitely no more than $200 (and I don't just buy junk food!). 

As far as clothes shopping, we haven't bought any clothes at all this year for any of us, besides the kids' Easter outfits - and yes, I used a coupon for those! And paid less than $10 total! I bought a couple things at a consignment shop for the kids, and paid $3. The only "major purchase" this year has been Michael's dress work shoes - unfortunately no coupon for those, but we did shop sales shoes!

Haircuts?  I haven't gotten my hair cut in over a year... I know, I know... Supposed to have a trim every 6-8 weeks.... Just haven't had the time or wanted to pay $30 to cut a few inches off... I will eventually... I cut the kids' and Michael's hair myself, so that saves on money as well!

What's that? We used to try to go on dates at least once a month, and I know they're needed, but between Michael's work and school schedule, the time, honestly, has been rare... We've had date nights here and there, and when we do - it's usually date nights in: kids at my sister's or mom and dad's when they were down here (free babysitters!), food at home, grab a movie from Redbox (with a coupon code of course - so it's free!). Or date night out: grab something to go and go someplace pretty (and free - thank goodness we live in Florida - SO many free and pretty places to go).

Yep, shut that off today. We've been talking about it a lot and finally just did it. It's rarely ever on - honestly, it had been off for about 2 weeks straight until this past week. Why pay a monthly fee for a tv that we don't watch? Instead, that'll go to our adoption fund!

We turned our Impala in (it was on lease from years ago) and used part of our tax return on a cheap used Focus for Michael to drive to and from work. Paid cash and we no longer have any car payments! While Michael misses the pretty Impala, it's nice to know that we own two vehicles outright and have no payments to make to the bank for them!

This has been one that I've really been struggling with. It's something Ilana truly enjoys, but it's one of those costs that I kinda wondered if it is needed... It's expensive and time consuming now and will only get more expensive and more time consuming. It was hard because this is one of the few things that brought Ilana out of her shell, but after praying about it and really thinking it over, we decided it was best to do for now, so we can put that extra money towards the adoption costs. I sat down with Ilana and explained it all to her in 4 year old terms, ready for her to respond with pleas and frustration, and got the exact opposite. Again, like she frequently does, she catches me off guard and makes me question myself... She calmly replied with a "That's ok, Mommy. We need to remember my brother or sister who doesn't have food. I bet they don't have gymnastics either, so it's ok!" How would a 4 year old respond that way when you take away one of the things they love most?? Where was the whining, crying, or the beloved "No fair!!"? Instead, just pure contentment. What a blessing my daughter is. And goodness, is she wise beyond her years!

I was so worried about upsetting her or not making her happy... After that incident, I remembered my favorite blogpost I've read and decided to go and reread it... What Missy says is just awesome... Too awesome not to share and if you want to read the whole post, go HERE.:

"Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway.

They said that one day y'all would resent us for using 'your' college money to go and get your sister out of an orphanage in Ethiopia and bring her home to you.

But I know my babies. Even at your tender ages, I know your hearts, and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers."

Love, love, love it! And it's so so true! So call us crazy! I already know we are! So crazy for our precious child in Ethiopia that we'll do whatever it takes to bring him/her home!! :)

As for the adoption process.... We're still waiting for our I-171H (from the FBI fingerprints) to come in the mail. I swear I stalk the mailbox around 3-4pm everyday! Our neighbors probably think I'm nuts because if I'm home, I'm always out there the second the mail truck leaves (I've learned the exact sound of his truck as it approaches our house!)... Crazy? Yeah, probably... I've come to know, that's just who I am... Crazy!