Reunions & Introductions

I cannot put into words the joy that was brought to our hearts on February 25th.

Fikirte and Konjit had not seen their brother Belete since August of 2010. As Karson shared during the process, “I don’t know what it would be like to not be able to see Kaden every day.”

Adoption is beautiful my friends, but there is loss before there gain. In our family’s case, our girls endured the loss of their parents, their brother, their friends,  their language, their culture, the place they had always known as home, and more. They are happy, healthy and loved, but their past is also a part of their story. Loss before gain.

It has been such a blessing to be a part of making sure that Fikirte, Konjit and Belete can see one another every day.

Ryan and I were able to visit with Belete in November of 2013, and we watched as he shed tears over longing to be reunited with his sisters. We were honored at that point to share that we were working to bring him into our family in the states. He has always been a part of our family, but we wanted to make it official through his adoption. Through a few more tears and some smiles that day, we were able to find out more about the family and the beautiful history they have here in Ethiopia. I look forward to sharing more about that with all of you in the days to come.

Kaden and Karson have been praying with our family for this day–praying for a brother they had yet to meet. Prayers that were raised almost daily since 2010. Karson often having insight that we hadn’t thought about as parents. Kaden thinking that it was about time he had a brother in a home overrun with girls.

February 25th marked a new beginning. We pray that this begins a time of gain for this young man who is now our son.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.                                               Ephesians 3:14-21


It’s a BOY!

We are so excited to finally introduce you to our newest son!



Ryan and I were named the official parents of Belete Merritt Mott today in the country of Ethiopia. He is 5’7″, 121 pounds, and 17 years old. And we couldn’t be more proud!

This journey first began on paper in June of 2014 but truly started in our hearts in August of 2010 when we were first made aware that he had been separated from our daughters, Fikirte and Konjit, due to his age. Over the next few weeks, we look forward to sharing more about our journey and the lessons we have learned along the way.

Until then, please celebrate with our family of 7!


Thankful and hopeful

We spent over an hour with B yesterday.

There were many tears, but there was also laughter.

He desperately wants to be reunited with his sisters and be a part of our family. We want the same.

“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”          Psalm 68: 4-6

A guest post

Today was our team’s first full day in Ethiopia. I am still processing my thoughts but was blown away by the words of our friend Micah tonight.

The following words are his words.

I’m not sure, but this may be my only post from Ethiopia? I enjoyed sharing all of the pics from Uganda but today was just different. Before today these were just my good old comfy work boots, these boots have walked miles in three countries, been covered in the dirt of an Illinois cornfield, soaked in blood after a successful deer hunt, covered in red Ugandan clay from a day of serving & dancing with beautiful children, covered in silt & sewage after spreading the Word through the village of Lunega, Uganda & finally today, Today they changed my life forever!

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Today the stepped onto a street in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, today they were treated like the finest shoes a man could own. Today a young man about 7 or 8 years old, scrubbed, cleaned, buffed & brushed this old pair of boots like his life depended on it & it does! He would not accept a handout, he didn’t want charity, he wanted to earn my business & earn that 10 Birr (less than 1$)

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I honestly can’t explain the humbling & sickening feeling of standing there letting a child scrub my filthy boots all because he refuses to take charity but knows the value of work & providing for himself & his family. We live in a world of “mine”, “me first” & a “give me something for nothing” society, & this young man scrubbed, brushed & smiled when I told him “good job”! His persistence was incredible, his work ethic was unquestionable & his will to survive was inspirational! I don’t know what this will mean to anybody else & i’m mainly writing to sort my thoughts & gain perspective but i will never see these boots or my world the same again! One child at a time we can all slowly begin to change our world. I will strive everyday to see this happen, whatever it takes to change my world & my family, to everyday see an opportunity to improve the life of one child! What if that had been my Son?

And just like that

This is our mailbox.

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And its contents brought me to tears.

We are fully funded for our trip.

You read that right.

We are FULLY funded!

To say that we are grateful is an understatement.

Sometimes even the lady that taught communication for over a decade is speechless.

Thank you.

Facing the giants (not just a movie)

Ryan and I leave for Africa on a missions trip to love on orphans in only 2 weeks.

14 days until we have the opportunity to


in Uganda and Ethiopia.

We recently received permission from Visiting Orphans, our mission trip sending organization, and America World, our adoption agency, to visit with B while we are in Ethiopia. It was cause for great celebration in our house! The kids are working on the letters they want to send with us and choosing the photos they would like us to share with B.

In our home church we are currently working our way through “The Story.” It’s a book that uses the NIV Bible–the stories, poems, and teachings–and reads like a novel. Sunday we looked at the experiences of Joshua as he led the Israelites through multiple battles. In each situation, God’s people overcame the giant they were opposing.

Our family is currently facing 2 giants.

The first is MOWCYA. We are still awaiting an appointment with the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs. We wrote in a previous post about the power MOWCYA has to allow or not allow B to be adopted into our family. Our appointment was originally scheduled and cancelled two months ago. We continue to feel incomplete without B in our home. This opportunity to visit him will be like balm to our souls. What a joy it will be to see him, to hug him, to hear his voice. 

We ask that you join us in praying that MOWCYA will schedule the appointment with our adoption agency, and that the meeting will take place before we land in Ethiopia. If the meeting takes place before we arrive in Ethiopia and they agree to pronounce B adoptable, we will be able to discuss the adoption and our plans with B. If the meeting has not taken place, we will still be able to see B but won’t be able to talk about our hopes to bring him home.

Our second giant is in regards to our mission trip. And yes, we consider this a mini-giant in comparison to our adoption giant, but it is a giant none-the-less.

We are two weeks away from leaving for Uganda and Ethiopia but we are not fully funded financially. Through our own contributions and fundraising we have paid just over 80% of our total. As of today, Ryan and I still owe a total of $968.86. We humbly ask that you would pray for our upcoming trip and if you feel led–support us with a financial gift.

We’ve already overcome 1 giant this morning.

Writing this post.

It is difficult for us to ask for financial help, as we are still so grateful for the support we received three years ago bringing our girls home.

The other difficult part is B’s possible adoption just around the corner. With that will come 10s of thousands of dollars in fees. We have already paid a little over $10,000 to get to the point we are now, and much of that came from purchased necklaces, scarves, rulers, raffle tickets, or envelopes of cash. And yet the upcoming numbers are still overwhelming–a giant indeed for our family of 6.

We transparently admit to you that we have spent the past 24 hours praying about whether Ryan should stay home and put his finances toward myself and a few others on the team who are still lacking in funds. We discussed putting the rest on a credit card and not sharing the need. And no that decision was not taken lightly by our “Dave Ramsey family.”

But we have instead decided to post our struggle.

The truth is that we can’t do this on our own, and I’m not sure that anyone benefits from us acting like we can.

Your prayers have helped us put one foot in front of the other every day that we have been in wait. We believe that those prayers will bring B home and allow us to visit him in two weeks.

You likely woke up this morning with an impending run-in with a giant. Rest assured that God is bigger. And in His timing and in His way, He will overcome.

We have two beautiful daughters who remind us of that truth every day.

Now on to my fourth giant of the morning–hitting the publish button.

Coffee. It’s not just for breakfast.

Coffee is said to have originated in Ethiopia, so it is no surprise that it is offered when visiting friends, during festivities, and in daily life.

We were honored to take part in multiple coffee ceremonies during our time in Ethiopia. The ceremonies are a beautiful walk through the preparing, brewing, and serving of the coffee and are often accompanied by popcorn.

This beautiful woman led the ceremony we received at Kid’s Care Orphanage. This is the orphanage where I first met Fikirte and Konjit in 2009.

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To fashion or make by hand.

This weekend I spent many hours with my husband’s family. They are extremely creative and have made a business out of designing and creating decor for the home.

It has been a joy to marry into such a talented group. The walls of our home would be bare if not for their work.

I have attended and helped with the family’s craft shows for over twenty years now, so I have witnessed first-hand how much time, effort, care, and attention-to-detail are put into each handcrafted piece.

I was introduced to the ALERT medical facility while in Ethiopia in 2010. The center focuses on rehabilitation and training in regards to leprosy and tuberculosis. It also houses a store that is filled with beautiful tablecloths, curtains, dresses, scarves, purses, rugs, and much more that are made on their grounds.

Beautiful things made by beautiful people.

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To fashion or make by hand.

I brought home many items from this special place. But my favorite piece would have to be a mat made by this man.

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I believe, in his case, he creates and works from the heart.