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Monday, July 23, 2012


It has been ONE year since we brought our boys home!!!!  I cannot believe how the time has flown!!! 

Honestly, this year has gone pretty well for the most part.  There have been issues, as expected.  The boys, even though from the USA, had culture shock.  It was great that they spoke english and we didn't have that language barrier that we had with the girls, but it will was hard.  The lives they have now are so different from their previous years.

Looking back, I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit.  Our first adoption taught us a lot about the spiritual aspect of adoption.  And this adoption has taught us a lot about our own spiritual issues.  Our reaction to the things the boys, or any of our children do, are more of issue than their actual struggles.  There has been so much more praying, confessing and face-planting by Fred and myself!!!!

We are blessed...we love them so much!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


My life is crazy busy, but I do have time to write on my blog.  However, I just don't.  Anyway, we are having a great summer.  Homeschool has been done for awhile.  We  are enjoying our new house, the land, and the beach.  Man, is it HOT!!!!

Here are some pictures:

                                      Upstairs bathroom - where six little kids have rooms

                                       Playroom upstairs between bedrooms (Mom loves this more toys     on the main floor)

                            Little girls' bedroom

                    Little boys' room

                   Sunshine's room

                     Peep's room

The main floor is almost done and so is the basement.  Fred is one hard working man!

First night in their new room.


 This is my favorite picture of the whole weekend.  Peanut butter's face when using her potty.

                          This was a camping trip we do every year with the Ethiopian adoption community.  We tried to get a picture of all the kids.  This is probably only half!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Check this blog post out!

Here is a link to a guest blog post done by Faith.  She is Jared and Jennifer's oldest daughter, and trust me, she is a joy.  Please read.  Please share the story.  Please donate!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Here is the deal.  Our master plan.  We need 1,000 people to donate $30 each.  That is all! The cost of one dinner out (okay not for our family but ya know)!  If we can get this to spread our friends will have nearly enough moola to bring their three daughters home from Haiti!!!!!

1,000 you say Ethel?!??!  That is a lot of people.  Well, let's think about that.  I have over 300 friends on facebook.  So, that would mean if I have that many, and I really am not the most social person (10 kids will do that to your social time), then you all out there have just as many if not MORE!!!!

Spread the word!  Get their story out there!  Donate!!!  Let's be part of HIStory in the making!

here is the link

and more pics...

I know this is what you all really want!

New chickens....

Friday, May 4, 2012


Life - it gets so CRAZY sometimes!  Lightening has been in the hospital three times for surgeries.  He finally does not have the colostomy bag anymore.  For the most part, he did great once he got home.  We now, unfortunately, have had some backsliding.  Everything physically works great but he refuses to use the toilet.  It has been going on for awhile now and just seems to be getting worse.  Lightening has a lot of hurt.  His life previously was not good.  So, we are doing our best to heal him while having him face the consequences for his choices.  Prayers a very much appreciated.  I won't lie - it gets weary sometimes...ok most times :)

All the other kids are doing very well.  Sunshine is almost done with her 9th grade year.  She is in a band with her friends from a homeschool co-op.  She is the lead is funny because even though she loves music, this is taking her far out of her comfort zone.

Fred got a new job and he LOVES it.  He is able to do what he likes to do.  His boss is very understanding and supports his role in our home as the first priority.  That is rare to find. 

The construction on the upstairs of the house is complete.  We moved the six little kids up there with large rooms and a playroom.  Now Fred has tackled the basement.  We are hoping the whole house will be complete in the next few months.

And an update on the previous posts.  I cannot say much, but basically the adoption by our friends fell through.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of stuff that happens in that world that is not cool.  They were heart broken.  They have been trying to grow their family anyway that God intends for 7 years.  It was devastating. 

However, God being so cool like He is has given them the opportunity to adopt not 1, or 2, but THREE GIRLS from Haiti.  It is quite amazing.

Here is their story....

So my idea is this - let's all donate $5.  Really, it is only $5.  I have 352 friends on facebook alone.  That would be $1760!!! That does not include other friends I have...that DOES NOT including your facebook friends, other friends, family members, co-workers.  They need $36,000!!!!  Holy cow!!!!  We need to do something...please please help!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Update on little girl

So our friends, the Adams, completed their home study today.  Normally, this takes a month or more.  It will be written and signed by Friday.  God is on the move...oh yes, He is.

Money has been donated but we are still a long way from the goal.  Please pray about helping.  If the money does not come in within a few weeks, it will not be finalized.  Here is the link to their blog again....and the chip in.

"Follow our adoption journey. Daughter is 7 years old. She has been in four different homes and lost her mom in the 2007 flood in Haiti. She has known nothing but rejection, loss and abandonment! We don't want to miss the opportunity to bring her home forever. Any thing you can do to help us bring her home will be appreciated. It takes a village to raise a child and a village to afford a child. Our need is urgent. Please read our story. We will keep you updated on our journey."  Jennifer's words....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


As I sit here watching all my kids playing together, I cannot help but think of this sweet little girl.  My heart breaks for her.  I am thinking of the pain that she will soon experience…again.
You see, she was adopted from Haiti at the age of six.  She was taken from the only country, culture, surroundings she ever knew.  She already experienced the loss of her birth parents, sister and much more but leaving her country held a promise of a better life…a promise of forever.
Now her current adoptive family has decided they can no longer parent her.  Her forever is shattered.  There is NO judgment here from me.  Understand that I am the adoptive, forever mommy of five beautiful babies.  Also understand that I, in the depths of my being, know how hard parenting these hurting little kids can be.  It is excruciating at times.  Regardless, this sweetie is going to experience more rejection…more pain…more “why” me questions.
In comes God in all His mighty power!  You see, He has picked Jennifer and Jared to be her true forever!  This is no small task.  The Adams already are in the midst of parenting two fabulous girls, one of which, Gracie shares some of these same hurts that she has endured.  God never promises life to be easy. As a matter of fact, He tells us that if we are persecuted, having struggles in this world on account of following Him, count it as a blessing!
Let me tell you that the Adams are a blessing.  Jennifer and I have known each other since high school.  We never hung out together – though we both laugh that we should have – but in the past year we have become so close.  Jennifer and I have grown as sisters in Christ.  Our families have grown together as one very large extended family.  We so love each one of them.  My heart is bursting with joy that God has put her in their family because I know both Jared and Jennifer will not stop until she is healed…body, mind, spirit and soul.  They will never leave her.  They will be her forever.
So, how can you help?  I am so glad you asked!  First of all, just for one day sacrifice something.  A latte? A lunch out with friends?  What about buying that sweater that is on the winter clearance rack that you know deep inside you will hate next year anyway?  Just by doing one of those things you can donate that sacrifice to the Adams fund for this sweetie.  Whether we agree with it or not, adoptions cost a lot of money.  There are fingerprinting fees; traveling fees back and forth; government fees; agency fees…..on and on. 
So, while you are watching your kids laugh, play, love life, please think of her and the news she will soon receive.  Help this devastation in her life ultimately be a truly beautiful thing by helping her get to her family quickly.  We, as a community, as a body of believers, as friends, as family can help give her exactly what she needs – FOREVER!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Lightening's surgery went very well.  Unfortunately, the recovery is not going as well as expected.  He had a little bit of liquid yesterday and threw it up.  His tummy is getting bloated again and he has not passed any stool.  The doctor is going to do a procedure this afternoon to try and get things moving.  If that doesn't work, we will be getting x-rays to check for a bowel blockage.

He is in a lot of pain.  At least he is sleeping at night.  The doctor wants him up and walking around during the day.  He does not like that one bit!!!

Thank you for all your continued prayers!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hospital again...

Lightening is at the hospital again.  He had the surgery to hook up his colon again and remove his colostomy bag.  The surgery was supposed to be six hours but they got done in three! 

He is doing pretty well.  They are giving him enough medication so that he is not in pain.  Now he needs to start "using" his bowels in order for us to make progress and go home.  Poor guy.

The other kids are at home being taken care of by various family and friends.  We appreciate all the help!

All of the other kids are doing well. It is hard when mommy is not home - hard for them and for mommy!  I miss them already but cannot leave Lightening here alone.  :)

Fred has been working hard on our house.  We are so blessed with many people coming on the weekends to help him.  The older kids have even been working with him.  Country living is totally for us - we are having a great time!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our New Lives....

We have been in our new house for almost two weeks.  It is so beautiful out here!  The few days of snow captivated me...our pond froze over; frost glistened off our barn; it is just gorgeous.

At this point, we are all living on the main floor except for the big girls.  Part of the basement is finished and they are sharing a room down there.  Most of the house is studded...just the family room and a small storage room needs more work.  Next Fred needs to finish up the electrical and insulation.  We are looking for drywall estimates and praying they are LOW!!!

School was back in session this week!  Even though we are living out of boxes mostly, it went well.  The best part has been reading Little House in the Big Woods while looking out at our property :)

It has been strange for me since we were in a subdivision before - I was so used to having neighbors around.  I totally think this is what God ordered for me.  My time seems much less divided and I am able to really focus on my kids even more....and listening to God.  Though it is different, it is good.

Thanks so much to all our volunteers helping us out!  We love you all!

Monday, January 2, 2012


I cannot believe how much has changed in our lives over the last few months.  Fred has been looking for a new job for awhile.  He has a masters degree in Engineering Management but was "stuck" at his job and not able to move up.  He was not really even using his skills at all and the company so very busy yet not hiring new help.  We had been praying for a long time for him to get a new job.  God blessed him with a job right in Zeeland at a wonderful company.  He did have to take a pay cut but we know God was all over this and will provide for our family.  Fred has so much more potential to advance at his new employer.

We found a new house too....we have been praying for that for a year!  It was a total God-thing again :)  I love how He shows off for his children.  Fred and I had looked at this house nine months ago but it was too expensive.  It is a cape cod and the whole upstairs and downstairs needed to be finished in order to house our family.  We just could not afford it.  Well, two months ago Boukie hurt his thumb and I took him to the ER.  The doctor and I started talking...come to find out, she owned the house we had looked at!  She told us her husband had already relocated to Florida and they were selling the house for what they owed!!!  Needless to say, we went and looked at it again :) 

At that point, we had to sell our house.  Now imagine selling a house with 10 children.  I was a little concerned.  Yet something all along had told Fred and I that it would sell fast.  Guess what, the FIRST person that looked is buying it!  We only showed the house three times and it was sold in less than two weeks.  I love it!!!

The owners of our new house have moved and are allowing us to move stuff in and start finishing the house.  We have the main floor almost painted and then we will move to the construction phase.  There are many hands willing to help and we are so thankful!  Every time I drive up to this house I feel so happy!  It is my favorite style set back on five acres.  There is so much room for my kids!

On the fourth we will have had the boys for six months.  They are doing very well. Obviously, they are still grieving.  It is hard to understand that given the sad stories they have told us about their past situation.  But nevertheless, they still have moments of sadness.  However, they are very attached to us and have fit in perfectly.
Here is a picture of us on our way to a Christmas party.