Friday, April 27, 2012

Send a child in Ghana some love!

Our little dolls are quickly filling the suitcase with your generous donations!  We have 22 that still need to join in the trip to get to their new homes!  The money goes towards our adoption costs and the dolls go with us for orphans in Ghana! (a HUGE thank you to the sweet ladies who are so lovingly making these!)

You can sponsor a doll by using the button below.  Suggested $10 donation. Be sure to tell us in the notes section at check out how many dolls your donation covers!  Thank you!!
***UPDATE: all dolls have been sponsored! thank you!!!
You can also send us a check if you don't want to do Paypal- just let us know! (

Saturday, April 14, 2012

To God be the Glory- pt 2

In the last 24 hours, God has blown our minds!!  Would you believe that through the generous hearts of others, God gave Emma $1043.32 and a 2 cent euro :)  in ONE day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We saw such generous hearts and precious little ones who emptied their piggy banks (hence the euro) so "Emma could go to the airport and buy her ticket!" as one little one put it. 

I am humbled that we almost didn't have her go because of a lack of faith.  I am humbled that He is so gracious and humbled by so many who have taken part in our journey.  To God be the Glory.

Emma is beyond excited and has learned an amazing lesson (as has our whole fam).  She's taking over to type a message:

Thank you for showing me that if He wants you to do something or be somewhere, He will provide everything to get you there. I'm getting my nail kit ready to take to the girls in the orphanage! :)

We are still raising the last of our costs- which is the travel expense for Chad, myself, Kadre and Attah (Ethan and Em are ALL set!!), so see our last blog post for some ways to help!


Friday, April 13, 2012

to God be the Glory---join in the fun!

About a month and a half ago, as I would be praying about our trip, I kept feeling this sense that Emma should go with us.  Long ago, we had decided to take one child and as Ethan is the only boy and it seemed to make sense to take him.  He had already raised his money, so that was all set. 

I approached Chad about the idea and to my surprise, he thought it was a good idea.  I figured he'd suggest that we should just keep it as is because really it was kind of a crazy idea.  We prayed some more and decided this was the right thing to do. 

One morning as I was thinking through the craziness of this- the cost (we are still trying to raise a bit left of our own costs for the adoption), the shots, visa, passport, getting permission to miss school... it just seemed like the wrong idea. 

So I asked God, "How in the world is this going to come together so fast? And why now, Lord?  Why didn't you give us this sense earlier when we had a lot more time?"  I sat there listening and as clear as day, these words were pressed upon my heart:

"So that I may be glorified." 

Wow.  How was I to argue with that??  It was humbling to be reminded that He would use us, use the story of our lives to bring Him glory.  So with that, it was settled and off we went!

In one week of sharing that Emma was going she had $1000 from generous people.  ONE THOUSAND dollars??

To God be the Glory!

One night we were sitting rolling coins for her and Ethan asked what would happen if she didn't get all of her money.  Would she still be able to go? 

Okay, so you know those moments as a parent when your kids shock you with their maturity and faith beyond yours?  Yeah. this was one of those. 

I looked at Emma and before I could think of what to say, she said, "Eth, if God told Dad and Mom that I was supposed to go, then He'll provide all the money."  Yep. Exactly.  That is JUST what I was going to say. ha!  Well, that put me of little faith in my place!

To God be the Glory!

Emma wants to paint the nails of the orphan girls when she goes, so a friend gave us an idea to do the same here and do it as a fundraiser!  She painted 100 nails and raised almost $400 that day!

And we continue to get emails of how people can donate (many of you waiting for THIS post!)  Emma has also received donations from people we don't even know because of others that have shared our story!

To God be the Glory!

So here's a couple fun ways to jump in if you would like to be part of this story.  We are so VERY VERY grateful for the generosity of so many!  Emma has $1600 and needs to raise about $800 more.
She will be doing another mini nail salon this week, but also has a couple other opportunities for you to join in.

A few gracious women at our church have offered to make these adorable little "cuddly" dolls.  You can sponsor one (or more!) for a suggested donation of $10.  The money will go towards Emma's trip, and the dolls will go with us to give to children in Ghana!  And if you like to knit and can help out in that way, let me know and I can connect you with person who has the pattern for them.

Help us fill the suitcase with them! (click on the pic below if you want to see it larger)

We have 50  43  30 dolls that are available to sponsor! Be sure to tell us in the notes section of check out how many dolls you want to sponsor.  You can send your doll to Ghana by donating via the button below:
($10 suggested donation per doll)

Another way you can join in is to buy a t-shirt!  We designed these t-shirts to help with the rest of our costs.  It also shows our appreciation for the many who have helped to bring our boys home because it really does take a village.  We will cover Emma's trip first, then any other funds will go towards our travel.

They come in unisex (charcoal color).   All will have a light blue lettering and design.

***Adult sizes run pretty true to size. I wear a small and bought a small unisex.  Chad fits a unisex medium. For the ms. sizes- they are more fitted.  I fit a small, but prefer a bit bigger, so I will order a medium.   Please check the youth measurements.***  t-shirts will be ready in about 3 weeks from order date.  WE WILL PLACE THE FIRST ORDER ON TUESDAY, APRIL 17.

adult shirts:

colors and sizes

youth sizes:

 I'm also working on some prints to sell to help with our remaining costs.  You can find those at
Below are just a sample of what you'll find...

If you just want to donate in any amount, you scroll to the bottom and click on the donate button:
Thank you for joining us!! 

To God be the Glory!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the post that is long overdue

There are so many moments that are etched in my mind from our time when we first met our boys.  Those moments when emotion seizes your heart unexpectedly and the memory is forever imprinted on your mind. 

I have needed to write this post for a long time.  Numerous times I have started blog posts, but always get stuck.  I know it is because God has a message for me to write.  Even today- I came to write about something else, but it was as if something took over and I was watching myself type those first sentences without really knowing I was.   I have struggled with how to write this as I pray it comes across the right way. 

Can you hear me on this one point?  Please, please, whatever you read here- it is never ever meant to make you feel guilty for not adopting.  Please don't compare yourself to our life or anyone else's for that matter.  I am responsible to act obediently to what God calls me to do.  And so are you.  However, that may look similar or very different.  One is not better than the other. 


If you are a Christ follower, you and I are responsible to care for the least of these.  You and I will be held accountable for what we do and do not do for them.  And what you read here may cause you to feel tension.  Tension is good- it causes us to seek God's face as we work it out in our lives.  I have found that tension usually means that God is calling me to act in someway.  But tension is not guilt and not comparison.  It is finding God's will for you and your family.  Okay, with that said, here's my story. (oh and this has been brewing since the moment this occurred- so this is directed at no one in particular- just God's words through me, I pray)

It was day 2 of being in Africa and we were anxious to see the boys again - and see them in the daylight!!  They were even more beautiful as we could see their bright eyes and smiles.  I did a quick look over- the mom thing to do I guess- making sure there weren't any open sores that needed attention.  As I did, I noticed some scars and my heart ached as I wondered who was there to hug them, kiss them and get them a band aid when they got hurt?  And quickly I knew that the physical pain was nothing compared to the absence of belonging.

We brought the boys a frisbee and Kadre's eyes just lit up.  He was all over that!  In an instant, Kadre and Chad started playing frisbee, and Attah and I sat and watched them.  We quickly learned (as we had heard) that Kadre has great hand eye coordination and is talented in many sports.  Moments into their playing Kadre showed some fancy throwing and I did the sideline mom cheering thing.  Because for Pete's sake- they have missed this all their lives and if he could even pick up that frisbee- I was going to cheer him on!  But, what arrested my heart was the moment he caught it after a pretty tricky throw and he looked over at me.  (okay, now I've got myself crying and need to go grab a kleenex- hang on). 

Oh friend, he looked over at me and it was a thousand words in one expression... "Did you see it? Did you see the good job I did? Do you think it was good?...  Do you think I am good?  Do you think I am good enough? Do you really want me?"  There was so much in his face that I could hardly handle it.  I was choking back tears and praying for composure.  It was as if I was looking at a 4 year old little boy seeking the love of a mommy and a place to belong.  I smiled back through my tears and then clapped and cheered probably a little to loudly- but that's what moms do in one way or another.  (Now I will say that our boys were treated well and loved by the ladies at the orphanage. But everyone, everyone wants and needs to know that they are special and valued and wanted--and that is what families were designed to do.)

Then later as I watched him, I would catch him watching us and looking at Chad with adoration in his eyes.  I have to say, I did not expect this.  And--- this was not the response of our other son as he took time to warm up.  I also know that life will get tough and what we saw will be deep inside, but will not always be expressed in this way.  Or may not ever again.  But that's not why I wrote this.

After that moment, I looked around and saw so many older children and my heart broke. And God whispered, "Do you see them? They're beautiful; aren't they? They do have a place to belong- in my heart.  But many of them need a physical place.  They need a family that chooses to love them and teach them how much greater my love is for them.  As you have experienced.  Remember this moment, because you will be a voice for them as I call you to be." So here I am today, finally acting in obedience.  I know, I'm a bit uh, stubborn slow.

Someone out there needs to read this because God is calling you to adopt.  Someone is being nudged to consider adopting an older child (they consider this 6 and up) or special needs child  but you are afraid.  Someone is being prompted to get more involved in orphan care in a hands on way- there are so so many ways. 

But I can also tell you that we were afraid to take that step- and at times I am still terrified! Babies are my thing. Girls are my thing- we have 3 and only 1 boy.  I grew up with sisters. Do you know what age I am most uncomfortable with? 9-14  The ages of our boys are 8 1/2 and 11!  So, I don't say this to you lightly.  I don't know all the issues that our boys are coming with.  I don't know how to parent them. Goodness, I don't even know how to parent my own children! ha!  I don't know how this will affect our family or our other children.  I don't know what risks we are putting our family at.  And if I dwell on all the don't knows and what ifs, it will paralyze me.  Because that is what the enemy wants to do.  Paralyze us with fear, so that we won't act. And it works, doesn't it?

But, dear friend, our God knows.  And He IS  big enough.

What I do know is that there is a great need.  I know that we have room. (not just physical space).  I know that we have love to give.  I know that whatever I do, it should not be in my own strength anyway.  I know that God gave the greatest sacrifice for me--for us, for the orphan.  And yet, He knew the pain I would cause Him. He knows the pain I will cause Him over and over again.  And He still chose to love. Still chose to sacrifice--with His LIFE. And He's calling us to do the same. 

Sacrifice is just that.  It is not fitting it in to our schedules with a little inconvenience or a bit of missed sleep.  It is not fitting it into our budgets.  There is no "fitting it in" at all.  Sacrifice is being all in.  It is laying it down.  It is giving things up.  It is never comfortable- if it is. not. sacrifice.  It hurts- at times excruciatingly.  But it brings peace and freedom just as the cross did.  It is obedience and obedience to the One who gave it all is always worth it.


What is that step of obedience for you?

Oh friend, if you are still with me- thank you on behalf of the orphan and goodness sake you get an award for sticking it out- I know this was long!  I pray God has touched one heart through this post.  Know that I am always up for a mocha or a phone call and would love to hear your story. Thanks for listening to mine.

Be watching for other posts- some fun stuff! I promise they won't all be this long! :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the moment we'd been waiting for...

It will forever be embedded in my mind and in my heart.  The moment we saw our boys and hugged them close for the first time...

How do I describe what is was like?  How do you describe the moment where you look into the eyes of the child(ren) who will be yours forever?  The child you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God ordained for your family.  The child you have dreamed about and longed to meet. The child who is putting their whole life in your hands.  The child who looks at you hoping beyond hope that they are acceptable to you and that you will love them like they were birthed from you.  Well, you can't.  You just can not describe it.  It's a moment that has to be felt, has to be experienced, but I will do the best I can to take you to that moment with me.

After 24 hours + of travel by plane and bus, we were in Offinso (Ghana).  We had been told we would be picked up at the bus stop,  then taken to a hotel to  rest for the night and then meet the boys in the morning. (Ha! Like I would have been able to sleep!!)  But when we were met at the bus stop, the orphanage director told us we would drop off our bags and then go to meet the boys.

WHAT!!!  I about hyper ventilated thinking in just minutes we would be hugging our boys.  I could hardly contain myself.  We stopped at the hotel, dropped our bags and I attempted to make myself look like I hadn't been travelling for 24 hours, but it was no use.  Somehow I didn't think it would make a whole lot of difference to the boys.  I grabbed my camera and the photo book we made for them and off we went!

It was about 8 o' clock at night, but pitch black, so as we pulled up we chuckled a bit because we couldn't see a whole lot. We saw the outline of two young boys with beautiful skin that blended with the night, the smiling whites of their eyes and two huge smiles with gorgeous white teeth.  There was one street lamp with limited light which helped a little. 

As I think back to the moment of seeing them through the car window, and watching them move to the car as we were climbing out of the back seat, I can only cry.  There was so much emotion wrapped up in that moment for all of us.  The boys just looked at us with the biggest grins. The younger one, Attah, with a bit of apprehension mixed in, but yet both invited our hugs, wrapping their arms around us.  All I could think was, "They are beautiful. They are precious. They are ours. And we are blessed. Beyond measure."

We said our hellos and introduced ourselves~ how surreal is that?  "Hi.  I'm Tammi.  I'm your mom."  Wow. Wow! It was...indescribable.

At that instant, I had a flashback to a moment in the hospital with the birth of our son~ fresh little bundle, laid on my chest.  I remember looking at his eyes blinking from the bright light and watching him trying to focus on my face and take it all in. I remember saying "Hello, sweet boy.  I'm your mommy" and bonding instantly. 

And then I was brought back to the present moment, in Africa. Two boys looking intently at me, focusing on my face, trying to take it all in.  Introducing myself as their mom and bonding instantly.  The circumstances so different, yet so much the same.  It was amazing.

We knew they were so anxious to see their new brother and sisters, so we quickly brought out the photo book our kids had designed for them.  Here they are looking at it, so intently studying their siblings' faces. It was precious. ( I love the look of pride on Chad's face here)

Next we went inside Mary's home (she's the orphanage director) for a meal.  The boys came in with us and we took a few pictures...

Kadre on the left with a big smile.  Attah (on the right) was getting used to the flash and all that was happening :) 

but it didn't take long...

(and in case you're wondering~ that little pumpkin who snuck in the picture is Michael. He lives in the States now)

Here they are holding hand print signs that our kids made for them and we had laminated...

and this was a little later as they were showing off their new family. Kadre is sitting down with the book, pointing out who's who!

That night we left and felt completely in awe of the way God orchestrates our lives. We were reminded of the scripture from Psalm 68:6 that says, "God sets the lonely in families."  We felt so grateful that God had chosen our family for these boys and these boys for our family. I don't think we could have slept had we not been up for 24 + hours. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Father to the Fatherless

The question came from a little voice behind me as we sat in the parking lot of McD's in a small Kentucky town...

The kids were awake after a drive through the night as we had just stopped for breakfast.  We were returning home from vacation in Florida.  Still in their jammies, with pillows and toys tucked around them, Chad and I shared with them that early that morning, their Nana (Chad's mom), had died and was now with Jesus.

Earlier that week, she had suffered a massive stroke and the Dr's didn't think she would make it.  But no matter how well prepared you are with that knowledge, you are never prepared for the moment you get the news.  My husband had lost his Dad just over 3 years ago and this was just too soon.

We grieved together for some time and then I heard it, asked with the deepest sincerity weighted with sadness...

"Daddy, are you an orphan?"  

The reality of that question socked me in the gut and I lost it.  In my mind I could visualize the moment just days away when my husband, now an orphaned man, would meet our orphan sons.  I push it out of my mind, because it was just too heavy. I would go back to it later.

The car was silent as four young hearts waited for an answer.  As I was trying to regain composure to answer the question, I heard Chad starting to speak.  He beautifully answered them about how he was adopted into my family, and how God adopts us into His.

As the conversation continued, I was struck by the weight of several things (besides the loss of a dear mom/nana):
     ~ the grief I felt for my husband who had lost both his parents in 3.5 years
     ~the knowledge that our kids got it and that orphans truly are on their hearts
     ~that my husband who has just been orphaned, is days away from meeting his orphan sons as our trip to   Africa quickly approaches

And suddenly, gratefulness washes over me.  Gratefulness for a man who, in the midst of his own grief, presses forward to meet his new sons.  Gratefulness for my parents who are still living and have a vital role in my life and the lives of our children.  Gratefulness for my sweet kids and the gift that they have in a loving Daddy here on earth.  But most importantly, for the gift of adoption that we have been given if we accept it.  The gift of eternal life and adoption into God's family. And gratefulness for so so much more.

The picture of the first meeting flashes back into my mind.  This time, I choose to really look.  God gives me the image of two divine hands cupped around two sets of families as they meet for the first time and joins them as one.  The events that have occurred days before, begin to knit their hearts as they share a common bond of loss.  Before the beginning of time, these days were ordained for us.  And I am at peace.  Reminded once again, there is no need to fear or worry, as He (the great I AM!) is the ONE that goes before, He will not fail nor abandon us. (Deut. 31:8 my paraphrase)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

and then, there were two!

I'm skipping ahead of some blog posts that need to be written, because I wanted to share some news.  Last week, we dropped our agency because after a year and a half of waiting, they had done virtually nothing with the adoption.  We thought it was the government, red tape, etc., but found out they simply weren't doing their job.  Once we dropped them, things started moving like crazy!! I can't wait to share that post with you!  But today, I am jumping ahead to share some news that we just can't keep quiet any longer!

Kadiri has a brother!!

Yep, we were shocked!  Remember from a previous post that we wanted an only child, so we chose him?  Well, God had other plans!  Our agency didn't give us the correct information, so last week, when a new friend, Carrie,  (cool story to share soon) called the orphanage on our behalf to inquire about Kadiri, she found out about the brother.  Carrie then called us and said that the Director wanted to know if we wanted to adopt Kadiri, or Kadiri and his little brother!!

Oh. my. OH MY!!

Let me go back a few days:

April 17  (Sunday)
I posted this on facebook:
dear friends: we would be grateful if you would pray with us over the next couple of days for wisdom and a clear sign of direction from God concerning our adoption. (we know God has called us to adopt, and believe it is a particular child, but we have been at a standstill for quite sometime and are asking God's clarity and direction in our current situation). thank you ♥

Minutes after that, my friend Jenny "introduced" me to a friend of hers on facebook.  I met Heidi Weimer and fell in love with her story and ministry. Her blog is called "We have room" (gets ya right there, doesn't it??) and they have 11 children, more than half of which are adopted!  You can find it here .
After reading it, God pierced my heart with the idea of adopting another child. I felt this was very strange as we didn't even have this adoption completed.

The next day was Monday (April 18), and it so "happened" that I had a Dr's appointment 2 1/2 hours away. (check up with my specialist from my auto-immune disease)  Chad was going with me, so we had a lot of time to talk.  I started telling him about Heidi and her family.  He listened, then looked at me and said, "Are you trying to tell me something?"  I was looking straight ahead and said, "Well, just that I think it might be cool to adopt another child someday that is also from Ghana."  As I said that, I looked at him out of the corner of my eye to gauge his reaction.  He smiled and said, "Okay, I could see that someday."  And so, I tucked that away, not realizing the issue would resurface in three days with a decision to be made!!

On Thursday (April 21), when we heard the news, we spent a few hours in shock, but yet knowing that God had ordained the days previous.

One of the things that struck me on Heidi's site, were these words: "My life is not my own."  Every time I came up with my own excuses as to why this wouldn't work, God popped that phrase in my mind. I knew this was the prayer He wanted me to seek Him on:

Lord, if I truly say I am Your follower, if I truly believe that you are Sovereign God, then I need to release my plans to you. I need to release my control.  To release what "makes sense" to me.  If my heart is truly Yours, then so is my life.  If my life is truly yours, then, I need to live like my life is not my own.  So, Lord, I want your will.

After prayers, discussion and a little freaking out ;)  we made the decision to pursue both.  So, soon, we will have two more added to our four.  Kadiri (age 11) and his brother Ata, who is 6!

Am I nervous? Scared? Excited? Overwhelmed? At peace? Yes!  Do I know how this will all work out?  No.  We don't even have a vehicle that we can all fit in!  We live in a 3 bedroom, bath and a half that we need to sell and find a home that will fit our family better.  Finances?  Do I serve a God of the IMPOSSIBLE??? YES! A resounding yes!  I am not expecting it to be easy, but I do know that God will be there, and has already prepared the way.

Will you follow along and watch as God works the impossible?  Will you join us in praying home our boys? Oh, I started crying as I'm writing this.  What an honor.  What an honor to be a mom  to two precious boys who long to belong.

here we go... ( big smile)