Thursday, January 29, 2009


Nell Ann and Justin got their referral today! CONGRATS YOU GUYS!!! Thanks DeeDee for the heads up!

So, that puts us at...

#3 for the boys list


#12 for girls...

The deal is this ... we have no idea who #1 or #2 are on the boy's list so we could be higher than #3 if there were other boy referrals given out today! So, I'll stay on the low end at #3 but we could be #1!?! Doubtful, but who knows ... ok, God knows and He's in control...

WOW, getting crazy folks!

Please look at the post below ... be praying for little Jacob!

Please Pray For Jacob's Surgery on Friday morning

Jacob's surgery is tomorrow morning at 7am CST ... please intercede and pray for his complete healing that only our Lord can do ... for Him to guide the surgeons' hands ... pray for His peace for the family as it'll be a long draining day...

thank you!

Missed Call...

So I missed a call this afternoon ... I look down at my phone and it says "1 Missed Call. Julie - AGCI"

My cell is the 1st contact # for Julie since Amber is "playing" with her kiddos all day (she's a pediatric physical therapist), she's not in front of her phone all day ... anyways, she doesn't get reception near the hospital...




Did Nell Ann and Justin already get their call ... did Christy have the other 2 boys in front of us and now Julie is calling us!?!

Then the voicemail message appears ... I start to just call Julie back and realize that I better listen to her message first ...


It wasn't THE Call unfortunately ... but it was a good call. She called to inform us that our dossier is being sent over to Ethiopia today ... another great step in the process (that I had honestly forgotten about).

In any event, we're still waiting and still #4 boys and #13 girls...

We gotta get the referral train moving again next week ... it's the start of a new month so let the flurry begin!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Little Jacob was born yesterday ... you can read about it here.

Please be praying that God will strengthen him and heal him! I know God will be glorified through this little boy.

Also, if you're in the Nashville area, our church is hosting a 3 night seminar with an Israeli Defense Force Lt. Colonel ... our church is a huge supporter of Israel and he is a good friend of our pastor and church. Up until I started attending our church, I didn't realize the indebtedness I need to have to the people of Israel or the support I need to show and give them. At the end of the day, God chose them as His people, they are still His people, and my Lord and Savior is returning to the land that He promised His people. Without the Jewish people, we'd have no 10 Commandments, no Old Testament, no prophets, no disciples, no Messiah, no salvation for us as Gentiles ... just to name a few...

In any event, Mr. Simon spoke last night and will be speaking tonight and Thursday night ... last night was alot about geography from Biblical ancient days (waterways, roads, etc, etc) and why conflict was always there. Understanding the geography of the Land makes the Bible make so much more sense. Our church does a tour once a year to Israel and it's on Amber and my to-do list at some point in the future. Tonight topic is about the days of Jesus and Thursday night he will be speaking on the current conflicts going on, especially with the if you're in the area, trust me, it'd be well worth it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Over the past couple months, I've tried to do a better job of taking time to read. I like to read I just always use the excuse of "not having the time." Well, in the past couple months, I've been able to read 3 books that I would HIGHLY recommend...

This book was an eye-opening book for me. I "knew" about Ethiopia and their orphanages and struggles but I didn't KNOW. I think every Christian should read this book because we are called to care for orphans ... from near and afar.

This book blew my mind out of the water on how I relate to God the Father, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and the Holy Spirit. It is unimaginable how He wants to have such an intimate relationship with us and how much He loves us.

Josh and Amy Bottomly poured their heart and soul out in their book. They were honest and true with their walk in marriage, adoption, and with God ... it brought joy to my spirit in reading this book.

I just ordered 2 more books this weekend on Amazon...both by Tom Davis. Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds and Fields of the Fatherless: Discover the Joy of Compassionate Living. I'm excited to get these and get reading...let me know what else I should add to my list!

God has opened up my heart and I can't wait to see the path He has for Amber and I on as we bring our child home in a few months. I want to be the man that says, "Here I am, Lord, send me" in whatever journey He has for me...

Friday, January 23, 2009


A Godly woman that I got to know through Project Ryan emailed me the story of a local family...

Their story is unreal. Their faith is true and real.

Their son Jacob's day of birth is to be this Monday, January 26th.

There is so much I don't understand but things I do know...

1) Nothing surprises my God

2) My Jesus is perfect

3) My God has known Jacob before he was in the womb

4) My Lord is the Ultimate Physician

5) God hears every petition His people bring to Him

Would you join me praying and/or fasting on Monday?

I believe God will be glorified through Jacob's life.

Scripture that I will be proclaiming over Jacob's life ... In John 9, when the disciples and Jesus came upon a man who had been blind since birth, they asked Jesus who sinned, his father or mother, that resulted in the man being blind.

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (John 9:3)

When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick, Jesus responded ...

"This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." (John 11:4 )

LORD, You are my Creator, the One who formed me, and You said, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-3 )

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Calling All Blog Stalkers!

Since we cannot post to the listserv (yahoo group for AGCI parents) for some reason (for those on the listserv, we still read and pray with you but it won't let us post replies), DeeDee did a great shout out for us on the listserv asking for the families who are unknown above us to make themselves known if they are out she said, it's not only the selfish nature of knowing when we're #1 but to get the know the families around us and pray for them, and it's very possible we could travel together to get our children.

So, I'm doing the same thing here ... We know that Nell Ann and Justin are #1 on the boys list and we're #4. We don't know who is #2 or #3.

So, if you know who #2 or #3 may be on the boys list, please let me know! I'm sure we'll be able to find a prize for you or something :)

Also, if there is any knowledge on the girls list between Kristi and DeeDee would be good to know as well!


Monday, January 19, 2009

#4 & #13

OK, there was a boy referral today!! First, CONGRATS Kim! And secondly (and more selfishly), we're #4 on the boy's list!!! How GREAT is that!?! Kim was also on both lists so we're #13 on the girls list as well! We give Jesus all the praise for the continued movement of bringing His children together with their forever families!


Sunday, January 18, 2009


So over the past few weeks we've made a few purchases for our future child...below is a summary so far...

We've shown this before but Amber and I went to Gatlinburg for our anniversary at the end of October. We really like the P. Graham Dunn stores and Amber picked out this frame ... we have a feeling it won't end up in our nursery but in our living room ... however, we know a picture of our Ethiopian miracle will be in it...

In November, we were walking around the mall and the usual draw into Bath & Body Works happened for Amber. She sees this lamb and it was like $3.00 or something so we got it ... it is very soft and we can see our little one loving it and never letting it go... this was the first 'true' gift for our baby...

For Christmas, my sister got us a big ol' thing of baby wipes from Sam's and then a gift card for diapers. Being that a local family is traveling in less than a week, we went and bought diapers and got them to Amy last week to take to Ethiopia ... crazy thinking those diapers could be used for our baby! In any event, it was great to meet Amy (who works 5 minutes from me) and hopefully be able to grow a friendship with her and Mike and allow our child to have a 'big sister'. We also have some formula that Amy did not have room for so if anyone is traveling soon and can take it, let us know...

After the Titan's game last week, we stopped to eat at Toots in Smyrna to eat some hot wings to thaw out. After dinner, Amber wanted to walk around Super Target and look at baby stuff ... which is cute and totally understanding all in one. So we go look at pack 'n plays, strollers, etc aisle. With Amber's back issues (that we're believing God is healing and will completely heal her!) we've been discussing the super-light strollers (Combi, etc). The Combi's are like $100+ and well, we've been looking at alternatives. We found a stroller on display that was superlight but it had no pricetag and we couldn't find any in boxes. I found a worker and she looked it up and said it was on clearance but they had none left. A couple other local Targets she checked had none as well. She said it retalied for $100 but was on clearance for $50 ... now, that's more my price but none left :(. As I was walking away, the worker was like 'Sir, SIR...' as she pulled a box out and it was THE stroller ... their computer showed none left but she found one! So, of course, we had to buy it ... thank you LORD! The brand is Maclaren ... which, I guess is supposedly "trendy"?? ... it doesn't matter to us ... we got a great deal on it and it's what we wanted/needed... for anyone needing any strollers, the worker told me that all current ones are on clearance at Targets as they're getting new models in mid February...

We also have been trying to decide on the nursery furniture ... whether to go with the cheaper $200 crib or the more expensive one. We both know that because this is our first child that we are going to do some things that we know we wouldn't do on future kids. Nevertheless, we found a crib and dresser that we both like. Our luck is that it is a brand new model so there are no used ones out there. So, we ordered the crib and dresser this past week and it should be in at the end of February ... so the question, of course, is whether we'll have our referral before our furniture...

Amber's sister, husband and their 2 youngest kids came down this weekend. We went to Opry Mills Mall yesterday to see 'Mall Cop' and walk around the mall. While us boys spent a couple hours in Bass Pro Shop allowing our nephew to 'drive' all the boats, the women were shopping. Amber called me from Kirklands and said she found these perfect picture frames for the nursery and that they would work for either boy or girl ... so, she got them and I really like them as well.

After the movie, we went to eat at Cock of the Walk restaurant. They had this HUGE rocking chair and Amber and our niece and nephew decided to climb on up in it.

Amber's got the itch to buy some other things, especially clothes, but we can't do much until we get our referral and know boy or girl. As the numbers show, it appears a boy is on the horizon but we know that God has a great sense of humor and as we would go buy all this boy stuff, He'd move the girls list at only a speed He could and we'd get a girl referral. So, in the meantime, I'll get the rental house ready for the Feb. 1st tenant and then do a couple more projects around here. By that time, hopefully we'll have our referral so I can begin work on the nursery.

Have a BLESSED day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Referral!

Congratulations Kim on your girl referral! That puts a local family at #1 ... Kristy, we're praying for you guys...

So that puts us at #5 boys and #14 girls (unofficially, of course)!

Gotta love movement! GOD IS GOOD!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 5!?!?!

OK, I was doing my early-morning blog-stalking this morning while eating my oatmeal and had a revelation. I went out to Nell Ann's site and saw her official # was #8 for the boys. Well, I knew she was #2 unofficial but didn't know her official #'s...

That got the wheels going ... if she is #8 official/#2 unofficial and we're #11 official, that would make us #5 unofficial!

So, I went out to look at a spreadsheet that was put together by an amazingly diligent and organized person of everyone's official #'s ... and there it was ... we're 3 behind Justin & Nell Ann!

We're still unofficial #15 on the girls so it's looking more and more like a boy!?! However, we know God is in control and has the perfect child picked out for us ... boy or girl. He had this child ready for us in His perfect timing long before Amber and I were even born. I told our case manager today that if that was not the case, we would most likely not be on this journey because He placed adoption and specifically Ethiopia in our hearts.

What I do know is that God has been with us throughout this whole journey. While we have longed for our child, we have not been overly anxious or overwhelmed. His peace that came over us when we followed His invitation has been with us throughout. In looking at the timeline at the top of the page, it's been over 6 months into the journey ... honestly, which has gone by quickly ... pretty amazing.

However, for some reason, that number has quickly made me realize how much there is to do prior to our child coming home. I have to get some tiling done around our stove in the basement, get new carpet, gotta order baby furniture (got a post coming at some point on furniture and things we've gotten so far), build a toybox/window seat in the dormer in the nursery, get the nursery painted and "put together", etc, etc...whew, already getting tired.

But until then, I'm going to spend lunch celebrating in the Lord for being...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Official Numbers

We missed our call with Julie today but we called her back (actually figured out how to use 3 way calling on my cellphone since I wasn't home yet but Amber was). We are officially...

#19 girls

#11 boys.

Also, there was another girl referral today!

So, unofficially, I think we are...

#7 boys (maybe #8 ... the official #11 through me off but there may be 4 people who haven't officially accepted their referral yet)

#15 girls

Julie also said that they are having close to 30 families travel from the last week of December to the first week of February ... that is just another flat-out God miracle. Everyone passing court and getting to bring their children home ... all great stuff.

Alright, I've been painting boy at a rental house all night so it is time to hit the hay...

Have a great weekend! We are actually going to the Titans game tomorrow! I guy at work couldn't use his season tickets tomorrow so he sold the pair to me ... Amber and I have said for the past couple years we needed to go to a game and just hadn't done it ... pretty sweet that the game we get to go to is their playoff game...

OK, good night for real this time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."


Stick your neck out for God today and see what progress He'll do through you!

For me, I gotta do some apologizing to some folks this morning before I can even think about that. For me, it's so easy for me to get boxed into my own little world and get "offended" by someone when they honestly weren't trying to cause any issues or pain...Satan just loves to stick that knife in and turn it in the wound to make you feel justified for your reasoning, thoughts, feelings... the only wounds I should focus on are the ones in Christ's side, hands, and feet.

On the adoption front, we're still waiting for our monthly update call to see where we are "officially" on the lists. Whatever those #'s are, I think we're 3 less than that on the girls and boys lists. So, my best guess for the offical #'s are #10 boys and #19 girls ... let's see what Julie says ... hopefully we'll know today ... otherwise, it'll be early next week.

Have a GREAT day!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Document & Formula Shortage

I can't believe it's taken me this long to post about these 2 things ... anyways, when we got back from our Christmas travels to Indiana and Illinois, we had a letter from the Dept. of Homeland Security. SWEET! We got our approval to bring a child into our country. WRONG!! It was a letter stating that I did not fill out the form all the way, even after a dozen passes over it. I guess I didn't fill out that I had not been married before so they needed that information. I guess I musta thought that it didn't pertain to me so I didn't fill it out!?!? Anyways, filled out the form and mailed it back in on Dec. 31st. Hopefully, everything will get approved and we'll get our approval.

And more importantly, there is a severe baby formula shortage in good blogging fashion, I stole the below from Charisa...

Hello friends!
We have recently been made aware of the formula shortage in Ethiopia right now because the birr (Ethiopian currency) has lost value due to the downturn in the Ethiopian economy. Because of this trading with the Middle East, the normal source of formula, has been hampered.
This has resulted in a shortage of formula in the country and more specifically, dear to our hearts, the orphanages. Imagine trying to care for those precious babies and not knowing how you were going to feed them! I cannot fathom the heartache that must be. They are desperate for formula. This comes straight from Almaz, the director at Hannah's Hope.
"Some of those same babies that I loved on, specifically at Enat Elam, are becoming sick from lack of formula and being fed powdered milk."
I have talked to Julie, my case manager, about specifically what we can do, here it is:
If you want to purchase powdered formula (no liquid!) , specifically up to about 12 months of age, you can give it to me (AMY). If you are further away, email me and I can give you the address of a traveling family to send it to. We will send this with traveling families as they go to Ethiopia. This is the best way to get it to Ethiopia.
Monetary Donations-- Because God is faithful and we are going to receive an enormous amount of formula (I like to think big with God) and sometimes people would prefer to just give money, we can collect money to help pay for the extra luggage charge to send over with formula with families traveling to Ethiopia. This is the cheapest way to get it there.
As far as monetary donations, they can be marked Formula for Ethiopia and made out to AGCI and sent to address at bottom or you can also give monetary donations to me and I will send them on.
I know that I am always coming to you guys with one cause or another...and I am so grateful for your help each time. I just really want to help these precious babies! It absolutely crushes my heart to think that they are without the formula they need to grow and live. They already have so many odds stacked against them.
If we each just send one can of formula, what a difference we can directly make to those babies!
I can't imagine the pain and heartache the orphanage directors are going through...trying to feed all of those babies and not having what you need to do it. Can you imagine?

All God's Children
3308 NE Peerless Place

Portland, OR 97232

Hannah's Hope is our orphanage in, in saying all that, feel free to ask me any questions ... thank you for your prayers on this to see if God is leading you to give formula to this need...feel free to pass on to anyone you know.

If you live in the Nashville area, there is a local family traveling later this month to pick up their daughter so anything gotten to me by the Jan. 14th, I'll give to them (as long as they have room). Then there is another local family that is #3 on the girls list that will be traveling in a couple/few months and then we're #7 boys/#16 girls so we'll be traveling after them (hopefully by end of summer??)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another Referral!

There was a BOY referral today! CONGRATS RENEE!!

So, that puts us at...

on the boy's list! :) Keep 'em coming AGCI!!

Monday, January 5, 2009


It appears there were 3 referrals today ... so I think we are now unofficially #8 on the boys list and #16 on the girls!?!? Very, very cool!



Sunday, January 4, 2009

Flat-out God Miracle!

I've written a couple times about Project Ryan ... in summary, it's something God laid on my heart to help a local family who had a 3 year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy ... namely, helping him get a wheelchair and a handicap-accessible van. I felt like Moses in the beginning and asked God multiple times if He knew what He was doing and who He asked to do it. What I came to learn was that GOD was going to bless this family with these things to give Ryan the freedom we take for granted but He was more interested in the hearts that were changed due to this project.

Well, a flat-out miracle happened in September/October when a wheelchair was donated to Ryan ... it was barely used and new, it would have retailed for $40,000! It's crazy to think a wheelchair is worth more than a car but I guess that is what happens when the word "medical" is used in describing something.

Another unreal miracle happened the week before Christmas. We had a bowling and silent auction fundraiser in October that did well but were were well short of being able to get the family a van. I checked the account on December 13th and amazingly, we had around $12,000 more in the account since the fundraiser ... absolutely unreal. Unreal...

Well, the prayer now was to see if we could get a van before Christmas ... what an amazing Christmas gift. In short, God used a dealership in Knoxville, TN, to deliver us a van in a deal only God could orchestrate. He understood he was a part of a God miracle ... so ... if you need a vehicle and are near the Knoxville area, contact Mark Bledsoe at the West Knoxville Toyota dealer. A phenomenal man that drove over to witness the van reveal to the family.

I need to write all the details down soon to detail everything that fell into place ... God's perfect hand in His perfect timing. What I do know is that God has shown up in miraculous ways. In the meantime, a couple videos were made...

At the family church on Sunday evening service on December 21st, the 2008 Toyota Sienna van was revealed to the family ... they had no idea we had it ... so awesome.

This 7 minute video was shown on the screen at the service...

Van Reveal Video

This 9+ minute video was during the church service in which the van was revealed...

Van Reveal Service

Now, we have a little more work to do to pay the van completely off but we know this is a God-initiated project and we know He will see it through completion.

Amber and Ryan at the October fundraiser in his new wheelchair

BTW, Ryan has named his wheelchair "Lightening McQueen" since it's red and his love for "Cars" :) ... how perfect!