Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Rains down in Africa....

The first few weeks we were in Kenya the country was at the tail-end of the rainy season. We had rains everyday for a couple of days but it was hard and fast and short-lived. Almost always in the afternoon.

This was some of our first friends that greeted us. We were always being "watched", even if we couldn't see them, we felt little eyes on us all the time. This was a picture of some of the children that came to watch us at the fence. The road behind her is the same one that woke me every morning (and Bethany) with children walking to school, playing and singing.... loudly! Also , the herders brought their cattle to graze and cows are really louder than you might think!

This is Miss B playing at the front of the Guest house. At the bottom of the hill is the fence that you see the children above. Bethany liked to wonder out of our unit and go to the main guest house kitchen and dazzle the helpers in there!

I made Bethany a picture book of family and friends and our house before we left. This is her looking at the pictures with "Emma" beside her. By the end of the trip she was no longer interested in the friends or family in the pictures... she was only interested in Mommy, Daddy, "Bethhy"(her), and Emma. Sorry family, but you were a distant memory by then!

This is Janet (our helper) and I cooking. I had a lot to learn once I got there! Janet was a great cook and soon after this picture I decided to stay out of the kitchen when Janet was there and let her do her thing.

Every Friday was "Pizza Night" around Tenwek. This is some of us at the guest having our first pizza night. I was a blast that night. We played games and at great homemade pizza. It was a wonderful time of fellowship. I miss those nights:(

These pictures were probably week 2 at Tenwek. Next time will be some of my outings in the community!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today we got confirmation in the mail from Washington DC of the authentication of our adoption documents. Our documents have probably made it back to Grand Rapids, MI to the national Bethany Office and will be sent this coming week to Ethiopia, if it hasn't already been sent!!! I am so excited! I will start working on the baby's room once I know it has made it to Ethiopia. When we were in Kenya I got a beautiful hand-made quilt made by displaced women from all over Africa. I also have a gorgeous wall art piece that will go in the room. I only bought those two things in Kenya because I knew that I'd really want to fill the room with things that actually come from their nation.
Speaking of Kenya, my intention was to post pics of our trip over time as we have gotten back since we were strapped for pictures their but I haven't done that at all. So I'm starting tonight. My camera was blurred almost the whole time ( thanks Kara) and all 500 pictures are not close to perfect so I apologize in advanced....

This first picture is us with my family at Charlotte-Douglas airport. Bethany has no idea she is about to go half-way across the world!

This is our first morning in Kenya. We got to this hotel in the early morning, maybe 12AM? This is the night that Joey and Bethany slept like a rock and I couldn't sleep a wink because I heard something scratching on the tin roof and was convinced it was a big iguana trying to get into the room because we had pizza in there. I was also paranoid of the fact that we were in Africa and at any moment rebels were going to come rushing into our room and hold us captive for ransom! Silly girl. Neither ended up being true. There are no iguana's in Kenya or any rebel groups that I knew of. Bethany never slept in this crib they set up for her, she slept in between the two of us. She did like to play with this mosquito net, though.

Later that morning, Gerald, the driver for Samaritan's Purse and who picked us up at the airport, came to the hotel and took us to the Nakumat, a big chain of grocery/target-like stores in Nairobi, to shop for the 7 week stay. He was the sweetest little young man and he loved Bethany. He was so excited for Bethany to meet Ann Marie. He had driven the Fitzwaters into Tenwek about 6 weeks before. Gerald was a city boy by Kenyan standards. He had grown up in the capital city but his mother was from the Kipsigi tribe that surrounds Tenwek and had traveled to Nairobi to do more with her life. She was lucky to land a job and get married to an educated man. The majority of the rural folks who try to make it in the city usually end up in the slums of Nairobi with more poverty than they left. Gerald was a computer science major and loved his family, school, and was very grateful for his job driving. He was one of the few driver's for SP that continued to transport during the former uprising because he was Kipsigis and was not at risk for danger like many of the other drivers. Many still will not go all the way into Tenwek Hospital because at one time there was such danger because of their tribal connections.

I plan to chronicle Kenya by pics, so keep visiting for updates. Also, for Ethiopia news of when our dossier makes it to the country!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Our I-171H came in the mail on Wednesday!!! It was one of the most joyful days of my entire life. I went straight to the UPS store to have it copied to complete our dossier. Friday, Bethany, Gamo and I went to Columbia to have the documents state sealed and given to our social worker! I was so ecstatic that I could hardly hold it in. I compare this piece of paper to the day we had our gender ultra-sound. It was a moment when I felt like the little being growing inside me was actually a reality. That day my love just over-flowed for a person that I hadn't even met yet. In the same way, when I turned in our dossier the being that has been growing in my heart seemed real and my anticipation was marked by joy and a sense pride for this person. It was also a feeling of relief. It has always been in the Lord's hands but now the best part comes, we wait and trust the Lord to lead us to our son or daughter, and see how God always goes beyond our expectations. We'll be lead to a baby that has been chosen since the creation of the world to be a part of our family!!! How exciting!
We've had a lot of questions about travel. We will go to Ethiopia and expect to spend 2 weeks there to complete our adoption. I am looking forward to putting my feet on Ethiopian soil. It's a place where it's people are prideful in their rich culture and close knit family units. I want to learn as much as I can about traditions and holidays and food, all the things that will connect my child their roots. I also can't wait to shop! We plan to get something called life gifts. They are typically given at birthdays and are special gifts that come from their birth country. We hope to bring our child back to Ethiopia one year as a life gift.
I'll keep updating as the days go by. Our dossier still has to go to Grand Rapids, MI to the national BCS office for review. Then it is sent to Washington, DC and then to Ethiopia.

On a different note, my little girl used the big potty yesterday!!!! I couldn't believe it! We were in the bathroom getting ready for a bath and she said "potty" and pulled at her diaper. We've been through this before and I thought it was another time to play and pretend to use the potty. I stepped out of the room for literally 5 seconds and came back to her peering in her potty seat. When I looked in their was pee-pee!!! I was so proud! She then got two cookies. I think the whole thing was a fluke but I sure hope not! We'll see.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So we are back and have mostly caught up with our jet lag! It was definitely harder coming back than going. Every one's been asking for a new post and I'm sorry but we've been super busy. This past weekend Joey was in a wedding in Birmingham, AL and we were able to see some Tenwek friends, the Champions. It was really bizarre because when we got there and called we realized we were only one mile from their home! I hung out with them on Saturday while Joey did wedding stuff and then we went to church with them Sunday. It was great and they are doing wonderful.

Ethiopia- I've had a lot of people asking about our adoption and where we are in the process. When we left we hoped we'd have our I-171H (approval for an orphan) from the US government but it never showed up. This is the last piece of paper we need for our dossier to be complete and turned into Ethiopia. Well, we expected it during the 7 weeks we were gone and had proposed this "watch out" plan for my friend that lives across the street and then for it to get to my mother-in-law and for her to take it to state office in Columbia and then to our social worker. It was going to be complicated. At the last minute Joey and I gave up and said, " This is obviously not in God's timing for the dossier to be sent before we leave. We'll wait and get this done ourselves when we get home". We got home and it was meant to be because we did not have the I-171H and had a request for some clarification. We contacted our social worker and got the information needed and now are praying this form comes in soon. The Ethiopian courts and government offices close for the months of August Thur September for their rainy season (I think for harvesting purposes), so our new goal is for our dossier be signed, sealed and delivered by the time the courts reopen. Some GREAT news happened while we were in Africa, the first families from our adoption agencies got referrals only after 5 months!!!! So, hopefully things will be going as fast when our dossier reaches Ethiopia.

So, just an update for where we are now. Hope every ones well!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

 Precious Daughter,

I have searched your heart and examined your mind in order to reward you according to your conduct and deeds (Jeremiah 17:10).  Why do you fear what I have asked you to do?  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by me.  The very hairs on you head are numbered.  Do not be afraid:  You are worth more than many sparrows! (Luke 12:6-7)

.  If you trust me with all your heart and not with your own understanding, I will make all your paths clear and straight (Proverbs 3:5)  I know all the things you worry about but I ask you not to worry about your life and the things you need.  Don't you know I know you need theses things? And isn't life about more than that?  Look at the birds in the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet I provide for them.  Are you not more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25-26) The treasures you want to store up on this earth can be destroyed by moths, and rust, or stolen. Instead, store up treasures for heaven where none of these things can take it away.  If you want to know what your treasure is, then simply look at your heart.  Because where your heart is, there your treasure will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).

At times, you look to the wisdom of this world and those who do not know me.  But the wisdom of this world is foolish in my eyes and is always brought to light with me (1 Corinthians 3:19).  So, do not let anyone deceive you with empty words, because God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient (Ephesians 5:6).  Do not be foolish, but understand what MY will is (Ephesians 5:17).  Once you lived in darkness but now you are light in me.  Live as a child of light and find what pleases me! Stop having business with the fruitless deeds of darkness, instead expose them! (Ephesians 5:8-11). 

With all that said, I know the road I am asking you to take is narrow and the gate is small.  But the broad road and wide gate, that is so tempting and most takes, leads to destruction and unhappiness.  Few will find true happiness and joy because it can only be found on the narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14)

I gave you a direction and purpose in life before you were even born (Jeremiah 1:5) I have called you by name to follow me (John 10:3). And if you don't, you will soon realize your life is worth nothing if you have not completed the task I've assigned to you- the task of testifying to my salvation and love (Acts 20:24).

When it all seems too complicated, too confusing, and just too hard to do, remember I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God (Hosea 6:6) It's really that simple.  Above all, know that you were created to love and need me and no peace will come upon your soul until you rest in me.

I love you sweet child and gave my life so that you could live. Trust that I have your best interest at heart.

With all my Love,


Your Creator




Since being here I have really searched out the truths of God.  I needed to rid myself of the doubts and fears I have of surrendering to the call on my life.  I know missions is a part of that calling. Since being here, I have been reassured that the life God has planned for me and my family is much more satisfying than the one I have conjured up.  It will bring joy and peace and comfort in the midst of uncertainty.  I have always felt a call towards missions since I was a little girl in GA's (for those who aren't southern Baptist, this is part of a program that starts as a pre-schooler and ends as a teen.  You learn all about missions).  Anyways, it all started then and has been confirmed many times in my life.  But while I was in college and Joey and I started getting serious, I thought of what this would mean for my family.  I didn't want to have those weird missionary kids who were home schooled and didn't know what McDonald's was!  But God is good, and he's shown me that my kids don't have to be weird and unable to relate.  I've had the opportunity to get to know these families and see that they are amazing people, true heroes of the faith.  Not only do their children relate and have fun, they are sweet and tenderhearted.  They will grow up having a deeper since of trust in God by witnessing their Mom's and Dad's living out faith and obedience.  I've learned they have a different understanding of life and love.  Kenya has been a time of sweet fellowship and getting to know sisters of my own heart.  I'm reminded that relationships and friendships that are grounded in Christ run far deeper than any relationship, no matter how long, that only has surface value.  Mostly, I'm just okay with knowing that I don't need to know how things will turn out, because even if I plan it still won't end my way.  I will take one step at a time and trust that my God is able to protect and provide and even pour out blessings on me and my family. 


Signing out from Kenya; a place that will always have a special piece of my heart and soul.  And to the sweet Kenyans who poured out their appreciation and welcome to our family; thank you.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Long Awaited POST!!!!

I've just spent a week being purged of the Internet! It's been down since last Tuesday and I have had NO access to the outside world. But guess what? I made it! It only took a week to feel released of the chains of convenience-at- my- finger tips! The only disappointing thing is that so much has happened and I'm sure I'll forgot something good!
We'll start with tonight... we went to Janet's house (our house help) and had dinner with her family. I must admit that I was a little nervous about the whole experience but quickly felt at home with Janet's good cooking and hospitality. Bethany made herself at home and ran around the place. Kenyans have a strict policy to let their children do as they please and Bethany took full advantage of this in her home. She was demanding spoons, and rice, and walking all over the couch! It was embarrassing. But Joey and I had surprisingly good conversation and just enjoyed ourselves. Sometimes the cultural barrier can be hard to jump over but I had "prayed up" this time and the Lord blessed it. Last night we had a dinner for several of Joey's interns. I cooked them breakfast for dinner and they seemed to like it. My snikerdoodle cookies were not a hit, though. They seem to think that Americans like too many sweets. I couldn't argue.
Tomorrow we have a good-bye party and I can't believe the time has actually come! The party will have some traditional Kenyan food, ie goat intestines and Morsik (milky,sour drink with coal ashes). We have had such a great time but with ups and downs. The "ups" far outweigh the "downs". We will leave Tenwek mid-day on Wednesday for Nairobi and spend the night. Our flight will leave at 11:40PM on Thursday night. We have a dreadful flight schedule with a 6 hour layover in London! I hope Bethany is on her best behavior!
I have so much more to say but am a little overwhelmed with parting thoughts. I'll post a departure post (God willing) before we leave. Can't wait to get back across the pond.

Brooke B- Sorry it's late, HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY
Ethiopian families- CONGRATS on the court dates! I can't wait to hear about it more. I got some good shopping information while here and I hope I can get it to you before you leave.
Adrienne and Charley- congrats on being an Aunt and Uncle again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tia Patrick, MD

Oh yeah, that’s right, just hand me my medical degree right now! Wednesday was so much fun. I had asked Dr. Duggar (no relation to Jim Bob Duggar and his family of 20+) ,who is an OBGYN visiting for 2 weeks, to let me know when he had c-sections on Tue or Wed b/c Joey was off and I could go to the hospital and watch. Well, Tuesday he forgot to tell me and had tons of c-sections. So Wednesday came and it was late in the afternoon and he had none. At 5:30 he told me there were two c-sections being prepped and I needed to hurry if I wanted to see them. So I quickly put on Joey’s scrubs and called Krista, b/c she also wanted in on the action, and was up there in no time. I got there just in time to see them start the incision. I had a wave of heat hit me when I saw the ladies white flesh and didn’t know if I should continue to watch. But I pushed through and saw the whole miracle of birth in the most unnatural of circumstances. It was a baby girl! The sewing up took a while and Krista and I saw another surgery taking place in the other O.R. We hopped over there and got to see some sort of colon surgery. It wasn’t too interesting and it looked like a scene from Saw. We then went to another c-section and it was another baby girl. We were so proud of “our” baby girls that we had to go and see how much they weighed and look at them some more, so we made our way down to the maternity ward. Secretly I was hoping my nursing student friends were still on the OB rotation and would let me watch a natural birth. Sure enough I get down there and see Alfred and Gilbert (national nursing students who I met with community health) and sure enough there was a laboring mother who was going to give birth within the hour. Krista had to leave at this point and I stayed behind. The babies that we had just seen were in a cradle behind this laboring mother but I was still told I could go see them. They were both healthy and one was 5.5 lbs and the other over 6 lbs, which is huge for Kenya. The nurse then asked if I would carry one to the nursery! Of course I would! The proud grandmother was waiting anxiously near the nursery and I got to show her the newest member of the family. Gilbert told me to hurry b/c the mother was going to push at any moment. This was her 4th child so she was expected to go quickly, I got back just in time. It was so amazing. The baby just came right out! The mother did so well, no screaming or anything. But as soon as the baby was out and she heard its first little cry I heard her speaking something softly to herself. It sounded like some sort of praise. It was really beautiful. Then the most amazing part happened, b/c of a nursing shortage they asked me to grab the sterile blanket and get the baby after the cord was cut. Gilbert also gave me the suction bulb and told me to suction and stimulate the baby! I felt honored by his confidence, but was not worthy of it b/c I had no idea what to do! Thankfully, Alfred came to my rescue. I finished watching the afterbirth and was able to “examine” the placenta with Gilbert to make sure nothing was still in the mother. By this time it was 8 PM and I needed to get back home. So, I’m ready to deliver if any one wants a home birth or needs a midwife! We’ll be a husband/wife team!
Bethany is doing well. She's become quite the little bossy thing. She has named her stuffed dog Emma in honor of her favorite animal at Tenwek. Emma is some sort of boxer that belongs to the White family. She looks ferocious but is a really sweet dog. Bethany instantly fell deeply in love with her and has given her dog Emma's namesake! Well, the Whites have a 3 (almost 4) year old little girl, Anna, that is a girly-girl if I've ever seen one. One day Anna was telling Emma to "SIT". Bethany paid close attention. And every day she will demand to her stuffed animal, "Sit Emma, SIT!" Then she'll throw it off the couch or bed and say "Down Emma, DOWN!” She demands for us to kiss Emma and sit, too!
I can’t believe we have less than 2 weeks at Tenwek. At times it’s felt like a long time but it really has been a short trip and it will be hard to leave Kenya behind. I’ve really loved the missionaries, the nationals and all the visitors who have been here with us. We ate at the Fitzwater’s tonight with the Gainy’s, too. It was a good time b/c we are like the “young” couples around here :) , that’s what everyone says at least. Tomorrow we are having game night at the Bemm’s, they are teaching us Settlers so we can whoop all the Greenwood peeps! We miss everyone and appreciate all the encouragement and prayers.

Monday, July 07, 2008

My 2nd Post

I had this weekend off after working the last 12 days straight and it was great time to relax and spend more time with Tia and Bethany. On Saturday Tia and I went out to a nearby orphanage and got to see how the kids are living and then play with them for a few hours. The kids were so full of life and so eager to play with us but what really stood out to Tia and I was that when the director was introducing them he did not know all of their names. In no way does this imply that he is not doing a good job with these kids but with trying to ensure that their basic needs are met he probably doesn’t have the time to truly invest in each one of them. It breaks our heart that these children and so many others don’t have parents that not only know there names but also fill their lives with the love and attention that every child needs and deserves.
On Saturday night we went and had pizza night over at the Bemm’s house (Chuck Bemm-pediatrician and his wife Amy and there four children Abby, David, Lydia and Hannah who they just finalized her adoption from an orphanage here in Kenya). It is so amazing to spend time with so many unique families who are letting their lives truly be used by God. On Sunday we went to church and then spent most of the day just relaxing and hanging out because it rained a lot here today. We did go for a walk during part of the day where I was laughed at some more for carrying Bethany on my back since men in this culture never carry the baby but it is all just part of God teaching me humility.
A big part of this trip for Tia and I was to continue searching for what God is calling us to do with the talents and blessings he has given us. Because of my inexperience as a doctor and especially as a doctor in the mission field I have spent most of time trying to keep up with the patient load and make the best decisions that I know how for the patients. Because of the lack of experienced doctors on the medicine and pediatric services I have been acting as the “consultant” which means that I am the one who makes the final decisions on the care the patients are receiving when I am on call. At times this has been overwhelming and I have spent a lot of time looking things up on the computer or in the medical library. I have also relied on the interns here a good deal. At any rate I have not really had a lot of time to process what God is teaching me from this experience and probably will not until we get back to Greenwood.
One thing I have definitely come to appreciate is the fleeting nature of this life. Being surrounded by people in the 20’s and 30’s dying from rheumatic heart disease, esophageal cancer, meningitis, AIDS, and many other diseases that are so common here has made me realize just how short life is. Even by becoming the very best doctor I can become I will never be able to eliminate the suffering and death in this world. It has added even more emphasis to the true reason for this trip or any other mission trip, to introduce people to “the only name under heaven by which men will be saved (Acts 4:12)” Jesus does what no medicine, surgery, or money can do by giving hope, purpose and comfort to those who truly need him. Tenwek is an amazing place where doctors and nurses are providing the very best care for patients with the resources available at a minimal cost, but the real ministry here is that no patient or family comes here without hearing about the One who created them, died for them and longs to call them his children. On a daily basis I see notes in patients’ chart where they have prayed to accept Christ because the work God is doing through the chaplains here. I pray that our family continues to realize the importance of spending this life on the things that truly matter and that through us more people will come to know our Redeemer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Hudson!

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY HUDSON! Uncle Joey, Aunt Tia, and Baby can’t wait to see you and give you a big birthday hug. Make sure to save some cake and ice cream for baby. She’ll be mad if you don’t!

I've been trying to post for 2 days now and trying to email people back but the internet has been unpredictable. I haven't forgotten about you! We've been pretty busy around here. Friday’s trip to the market was great. Krista did a good job driving and we brought along her helper, Rosaline, to come with us. The market is probably just 5-7 kilometers away and we parked in a gas station that had been destroyed by the post-election violence at the beginning of the year. I was surprised that the violence was so close to Tenwek. The market was interesting, they all sale the same things so I’m not sure how anyone gets business. Rosaline was laughing b/c all the nationals were asking her if Bethany and Anne Marie were dolls! Lots asked if they were twins. Anne Marie is in the pictures I posted earlier and they don’t look anything alike! Anyways, since Carol Spears graciously let us use her car we decided to go into Bomet and get some ice cream and chocolate after the market!
Joey had to work this weekend but only rounded each day until lunch time and then was on-call. It was pretty slow until the evenings then he would start getting paged. Saturday I went with some of the missionaries and nationals to Bomet for the first ever children’s outreach effort. When we got there we had to round up some kids and soon tons of kids were at the field playing with us. They were so much fun but so confused by dodge ball! They aren’t use to picking up the ball with their hands; balls are always kicked in Kenya! Jenny Roberts (career missionary) had a speaker come after the games. The children all sat quietly and listened to his bible story and even listened intently once split into groups. They loved getting the little paper flyers we gave out. I didn’t see any paper on the ground before we left. It reminded me of how our children can be so discontented with all they have b/c they have so much and expect so much. If this program would have taken place in America the kids would have started stirring and whining before the speaker finished the introduction. And those flyers would have been trash to be picked up later. But these kids had a great time listening and learning. They are so eager for knowledge and to be taught. 26 children and 16 teenagers accepted Christ! It was such an encouraging afternoon. We had balloons for a celebration and they were beside themselves.
This week is quickly going by too. We had dinner at Dr. Carol Spears house last night with some other visitors. I am so grateful to have met all the career missionaries and to listen to their encouraging and faithful stories of what lead them to the mission field. Carol has one of the most courageous and heart-wrenching stories of all. Click the titile to find the link to read her story, or part of her story. I hope you take the time and read what amazing things the Lord can do in a life that’s willing to trust and follow even when it doesn't make sense.
Bethany and I were going to hitch a ride into Nairobi today with some of the missionaries but decided against it. I feel kind of bad leaving Joey behind for 3 days until we would return. Instead we’ve planned to leave Tenwek a day early to spend some time shopping and checking out the capital city together. Friday we will have a big 4th of July celebration here. We’ll get to grill out and have a big party in the Kipaganga (party pavilion)! Then Joey has the weekend off. We plan to hike to Montego and visit an orphanage. I hope I don’t come home with 20 Kenyan kids!
We hope everyone has a great 4th of July and stays safe. We miss you and a grateful for your support and prayers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Opportunities and Sad Goodbyes

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:7-10

It’s so nice to have the opportunity to be here. I was thinking about what beauty it is that the Lord has given me and my husband blessings that allow us to give two months of our lives to come to East Africa and be amongst other believers that are like-minded. He knows we needed experience and guidance in the call we feel on our lives. The history at Tenwek is unbelievable. Just 50 years ago this was an un-reached area and now it is home to thousands of Christians! In this Galatians verse I am encouraged by the command to do good to ALL people, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know Joey can testify that it is amazing to give care for his fellow kinsmen in Christ that would not otherwise have received care. But it struck me when reading this verse that the Lord always sets up appointments for us to do good to all people. It is His motto; to serve others and “…in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3) I need to be more mindful of how I can serve others daily in the small things and consider others better than myself.

This week has been kind of sad, our friends, the Champions: Greg (gastro. Doc), Laura (wife), Joshua (16), Sarah Baskin (13, almost), Abby (11), and Luke (9), left yesterday. I’ve gotten so spoiled with the girls b/c they watch Bethany if I want to go to the bible studies or up to the hospital to help out. Bethany has gotten attached to all of them. She calls for Abby and “Baskin” when she sees them from across the way. She was asking for Abby all day yesterday! I am thankful we will be able to meet up with them once we get home. They live in Birmingham, AL and we’re planning to meet up when we go for a wedding the weekend we get back from Africa! This is also Julia's last day here. She has been such nice company and a help when my computer wouldn’t cooperate with me. We're having a dessert party tonight to send her home.
On Sunday Abby, Julia and I went to the pediatric ward and made bracelets with the kids. Some kids were too sick to even sit up in the bed and others were so grateful to have some entertainment and smiling faces to greet them. I am touched by how this culture is very family focused. The mothers or fathers stay in the beds with the children and never leave. Joey commented the other day the he has yet to see a patient who is without family. In the US he almost always treats elderly people with no family members present or visiting and it’s just not that way here. Last week I went out with community health with Julia and the nursing students. The community health program here is in crisis b/c it’s main donor for more than 20 years pulled out their giving. The donations funded vaccinations to children and pregnant women, orphans, and community awareness of HIV/AIDS and more preventable diseases. This organization is such a backbone here. Julia’s project has been getting pictures and footage for a movie for fundraising efforts and updating the website so others are more aware of the monetary needs for Tenwek and it’s programs.
I also spent some time in the NICU. I don’t feel very comfortable going up there b/c there’s not much we can do to help. I remember when my sister was in NICU for 1 month after her birth, no one was allowed to visit except immediate family and only at certain times. Also, after having a 4lb baby myselft, all those feelings of trying to protect my small child from sickness comes back to me up there. It wouldn't be acceptable for us to come into a nursery in the US, especially a NICU, so I feel like I should give the Kenyans the same respect. I feel like by going up there I’m doing more harm than good. The Kipsigis people are arguably the most common in the world to have multiple births! There have been 2 sets of quadruplets just since I’ve been here and numerous triplets and twins! Most are so tiny and some don’t survive. Many of these stay the NICU nursery. After the nursery visit we went to see the mothers in the maternity ward. Many of them are up there b/c they can’t leave until they pay their bill! It doesn’t really make any sense to me that you would keep them day in and day out to only rack up more of a bill. Several of Joey’s discharged patients are still in the wards eating and sleeping!
Well, it’s been another long post but there is always something fun to write about. Tomorrow, Krista and I are taking the babies to a nearby market. We are borrowing a missionary’s car so this should be a very interesting trip. The roads are so bad here that it’ll take us all day just to get there!

Shannon- Will you email me so I have your email address? Tell me what happened. It’s so weird b/c I was just thinking of her since I’ve been here!
My email is

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

my first blog

Tia has threatened to rename the blog to Tia's blog if I didn't contribute so I will share a little about all that I am experiencing and seeing here at Tenwek. Last night I was on call for both medicine and pediatrics. So last night I was called to the hospital because two of our elderly medicine patients were not doing well and were dying. After explaining the situation to the families(which family members are always present and at the bedside caring for their loved ones) I prayed for the families. Talking with family members as their elderly loved ones die is something that I frequently do in in Greenwood so it is not out of my comfort zone. After I left those families I went to the ER because several young children had just arrived and were sick. One of the children (a three year old boy) was having a seizure as I arrived and had been sent from a nearby hospital because he had become unresponsive after having many seizures. His father reported that two days ago he had stopped talking and would only cry DaDa and then today had been either seizing or unresponsive all day. We worked on the child for the next several hours and finally he stopped seizing and we transferred him to the ICU. It seems the child has Herpes encephalopathy which is a version of meningitis. I fear his prognosis is not very good and this aspect of dealing with children who are so sick is not something that I have had a lot of experience with in the states. Please pray for the parents of this child and the others like him and for more experienced doctors to answer the call to serve in a place where their impact could be so huge for the patients and the young Kenyan doctors so eager to learn from experienced doctors.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The BIG 5 plus 1

We're back from the Safari and it was wonderful. We took a matatoo (cab) in from Tenwek to Masai-Mara and it was a treacherous ride in! The matatoo is like a little hatch-back Mazda and it was doing some serious mudding'! Bethany had to ride in the front seat b/c it was the only place in the car that had a seat belt to strap her car seat into. She looked so funny b/c she was on the driver’s seat side of the car since the driving is on the left side here! The first 45 minutes are on a paved road but the final 75 minutes were all on a dirt/rock road. Besides the road conditions it was a nice drive.
West Kenya is nearing a state of famine b/c of the lack of rain. The cash crop is maize (corn) and it is the livelihood of many families, but the lack of rain has caused failure for the crop. We passed fields of partial and total crop failure. The families must now rely on their dairy animals for survival. Dairy herding is the main skill/means for the Kipsigi and Masai people that we work with. Maize is only harvested once a year so there is no hope for more maize until next year.
Once we got there it was wonderfully luxurious. We stayed in a "tent"; it was nicer than a lot of hotels I’ve stayed in, on the river. The hippos were sun-bathing all day right outside our tent. They made the loudest noise though and it woke me up every morning at about 4 AM. Bethany slept in the bed with us so she was all hyped up every night b/c she never sleeps with us at home. So between the hippos and Bethany I didn't get much sleep!
The Safari was great. We could do two rides every day, one in the early morning and one in the late afternoon. They were 3 hrs long. We only did the late afternoon ones b/c it was hard in the mornings with Bethany. Our first ride was good we saw plenty of wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, and a cub leopard all on our first ride! I had no idea that many of the missionaries have been on numerous safaris and never seen the leopard! We then met a pride of young lions and one was having a small gazelle for dinner. It would growl anytime another lion got near! It was pretty cool b/c they were only feet away from us. We were pretty amazed. It's wonderful to see God's beautiful mind in his creations. The next day we went to the hippo pool and saw probably fifty hippos and two crocs. We then went to the Masai village where we PAID to go in! The fee was for a school and we could take as many pictures we wanted and shop at the "duty-free" market inside the village! They were so primitive yet savvy to all lingoes that would draw in tourist! We were greeted by this particular clan’s son of the chief, Jackson. All the Kenyan's we've met so far have two names, their Kipsigi or Masai name and a Christian name. I'm not sure why it is a Christian name b/c several aren't biblical they just sound American, example, Jackson. I later met several more of the chiefs sons b/c he has 39 children and 12 wives! Jackson allowed me to ask anything and we spoke about the beliefs. Jackson was a Christian and had only one wife. While I was browsing the duty-free market Joey was speaking with two young guys, Patrick and William. Joey later told me they were very curious about how many cattle that he had to give for me before marriage. They were interested that he gave no cattle or goat for me! Patrick and William had both went away to boarding school for high school, this is customary in Kenya, and wanted to live more modernly than how they grew up. They were both waiting until the girls they intended to marry finished school before they left their village. Bethany ran around with the Masai children and was soaked up all the attention from the Masai's. Like I said earlier, all Kenyans she has come into contact with treat her like a princess!
Later that afternoon we went for our second game drive and it was by far the best! We saw the big five in one drive! The big 5 are lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos. We were able to get out of the jeep and walk next to the Rhinos. There were two full grown ones and a baby. A few antelope came running towards us and the keepers had to chase them off b/c they can irritate the rhino. Once all this started to happen I got nervous and walked back to the jeep with Bethany. We then found another leopard by the creek. This one was full grown and more aware of our presence than the cub. He didn't stay long before he took off down the creek. We then found a herd of elephants and this was my favorite. The elephants aren't like any of the other animals; they will just walk right up to you. The herd was in front of us and went then came herding pass us on all sides of the jeep. I could have reached out and touched them! There were about 3 babies in the herd too! One looked right at Bethany and me and flapped its ears to scare us! We later met up with a herd of buffalo which can be easily irritated and most likely to charge the jeep. Our last sighting was a large pride of lions with two big males. They were waiting for night to fall to hunt! Our final surprise coming in was a very big troop of baboons! The safari was great and the food and service were wonderful! We ate lunch by the river and the hippos would come grace us with their presence! If it had not been so cool we would have went swimming in the really nice pool but it was too cold. We were one of a few guests. It was very private. Evidently this was the clubs busy season but many people cancelled b/c of the post-election violence. My friends at the club asked me to tell my American friends that everything was fine and to please come to the Masai-Mara.
Oh, and the big five plus one!!! I almost forgot! We got one more bonus at the Fairmont Safari club, Terri Hatcher!!!!!!!!!!!! I know all my Desperate Housewife friends are freaking out right now! Terri was there with her daughter, Emerson, and a few other family members! She was shooting some promotional thing. The Kenyans are so funny b/c they told us everything! Our driver got a call from his radio telling everyone she was there and he told us. Then our cleaner apologized for his late service b/c he was cleaning her tents and then told us the tent numbers! I didn't get the nerve to go speak to her but had the chance several times. I also felt like the resort was so quiet and she must have been enjoying the low profile of her stay. I did speak to little Emerson about her Safari ride. She was a sweet and shy girl.
All in all our safari was a once in a lifetime deal but I hope I have the chance to do it again!
I have so much more about my Thursday out with community health and also my Sunday afternoon in the pediatric ward. I'll update later though.

Friday, June 20, 2008


We are leaving in about an hour to head to Masai Mara, the game park!  We are pumped!  It's one of the nicest in the country and one of the only one's with a hippo pool.  We'll be gone until Sunday so you might not have an update from us.  This is the link to the gaming park,  It's not far from the town we are in.  In fact, the Masai people are one of the most interesting people groups around here.  They are what you typically think of as "African".  They wear all the beaded jewlery, have big, drooping holes in their ears, and can seem a little stand-offish.  They won't let you take a picture of them unless you pay first!!!!  They've figured out that tourist love taking their picture. Anyways,
Travis: You get the first shout out on here.  We can't wait to see you in September.  You better have something good planned for us!
Linda and the other Panama members:  Have a safe flight and productive time. We'll be praying for you.
Kara, Sam, and Anna: Hope ya'll aren't spending too much time in the pool!  Take a swim for me!
Anna: Hope the beach was fun.  Give Cruz a hug and kiss from us when you get home.
Stephanie- We're here for 7 weeks total.
Karen and Russ:  Are you back yet???


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This week in some pics

Don’t get use to the pictures! Right now Julia (NYU student has all the things on her computer to shrink the size of pictures that we can’t find on ours, so once she leaves we won’t be able to download anymore unless we figure something else out!

Joey has been doing ‘Casualty’ (ER) this week and feels much more comfortable with this b/c it’s more along his line of work at home. He has Thursday – Sunday off. On Thursday I’m going to go out with community health to some surrounding villages for clinics and Joey will spend some time with Bethany. On Friday we leave for our Safari!!! We will spend the weekend their. It’s like a resort so we are looking forward to the experience and I know Bethany will love the animals. There are 12 game parks in Kenya and this is one of the best so I’m pumped. Yesterday I went to the missionary bible study with the wives. It was more of a prayer time and it was nice. One of the volunteer families with 4 children watched Bethany. Their 11 year old daughter, Abby, read while Bethany napped. B loves her. We ate dinner with the Fitzwaters (John, Krista, and Ann Marie). They are here for about one year but severed here for two months when John was a student.
Bethany is better adjusting. We got a fan to drown out some of the noise in her room. Poor thing, she has to wear extra socks and a sweatshirt over her PJ’s b/c it gets chilly here anyways at night! She has had a steady dose of ‘time-outs’ since we’ve been here. Almost every morning starts with one but after that she understands my threats later in the day and obeys! She also got one real pop the other day. She bit me sooooo hard! She’s talking really well and calling people by their names. We practice all family members and her favorite is Ra-ty (Rusty) and Hud-see is fun too!
Today we had lunch at the hospital. I wait all week for the coke and fries!!!
I’ve gotten emails from everyone planning their summer vacations to the beach and I felt a little jealous! Then I realized I’m in Africa, a tropical paradise, seeing what few will see in a lifetime! I’ll have plenty of summers, springs, and falls at the beach! Hope everyone is doing well. We sure are!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's been a long night....

Joey has been working since Tuesday and has been on call 4 of the 6 nights we've been here. There has been a shortage of docs volunteering to come here since the strife in Kenya some months ago so all volunteer docs are very needed.  Yesterday Joey worked all day and didn't get home until about 7:15.  He's currently working in the NICU and Pedicatric ward. He has been his own supervisor b/c the Pediatric doctor here is sick and has been unable to work along side Joey.  Joey doesn't have much experience in the NICU b/c in the US there are specialist that care for those children.  He has felt a little overwhelmed and inadequate. Late in the evening yesterday a baby was brought in that seemed to only be about one day old.  He was found abandoned in a latrine.  I will spare you the details but you can imagine that he needed some serious medical attention and prayer.  It is suspected that the mother is a primary school-aged girl (primary school goes to 8th grade) b/c she has run away.  Later last night the baby passed away.  
Please lift up prayers for Joey and the other staff here at Tenwek who can often get overwhelmed and burdened by the things they see.  Pray for that little girl fwho felt such desperation that she abandoned her baby in a latrine. 
On a different note, Bethany and I had a good day yesterday visiting the local dukas(stores) with Krista (missionary) and Ann Marie (daughter who is Bethany's age).  Later we hiked to the waterfalls with Petra (German medical student) and Julia (NYU student).  It was a nice hike and we got plenty of exercise.  On Friday night we had a pizza party in the guest house with all of us staying a the guesthouse and the Robert's (career missionary family).  Tonight we will have an omlette and waffle night with everyone!  Yummy I can't wait. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Greatest Privledge

Since being here I haven’t written much about the reason we are here. My spiritual life is uniquely mine and I am often moved and spoken to by God. Since being here I haven’t really felt like I had heard from God, until today.
A song describes it well;

"All the time you held so much in me and I am living proof, that
although my darkest hour comes your light can still shine through.
And though at times it’s just enough to cast a shadow on the wall, well
I am so grateful that you shine your light on me at all.

Who am I that you would love me so gently?
Who am I that you would recognize my name?
Lord, who am I that you would speak to me so softly?
Conversation with the love Most High,
Who am I?

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wrench like me,
I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
And the more I sing that sweet old song the more I understand
That I do not come bringing this love that’s coming from your hands."

The Lord impressed it on my heart today that I am such a blessed child of His. Not because whom I was born to or what part of the world, it’s because I am a daughter of the Most High God, given full access to approach the throne of God! Full access to His love, comfort, joy, blessings, forgiveness, and mercy. I have learned that it is my greatest privilege to be his servant. That I can somehow be used by God for a mighty kingdom purpose is the best life I can think of.
It is easy to get overwhelmed here. My step-dad always worries that I try and save the world. While I know that I can’t save the world, I do know that if I just simply follow the lead of the Lord he will produce a great work in me and also in any of his servants who are willing to listen and follow. That’s what our family is doing, just taking one instruction at a time. Trusting. And hoping that we will one day be called faithful servants by the Lord.

“Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord; He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
His is my God, and I am trusting him…. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go.” Psalm 91:1-2,11

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I’m going to post again b/c we have some good internet connections right now! I love reading everyone’s comments and emails. I might not get to write everyone back individually but I appreciate all the connecting. We just had morning Chai. This is like a Kenyan thing at 10 am and then at 3 pm everyone has chai, a Kenyan drink that’s a milky sweet taste. Not bad. We are eating soooo well. The food is great and the helpers are awesome cooks. Every Wednesday the missionary families have lunch at the hospital restaurant and we get sodas and French fries there!!!
We are staying in the guesthouse quarters in a family apartment. It’s nice but we are right beside the public road (dirt road) and it is soooo loud. Our first day here I set Bethany up in her room and laid her down for a nap and I heard a cow mooing in her monitor! It freaked me out b/c I thought it was in her room! She loves the cows though. She moos everytime we see one, which is often. She started calling us Mommy and Daddy all of the sudden. We never refer to each other as that but she just started and is big on saying it all the time. She’s also gotten the hang of saying “please” and doing the sign that goes with it.
The compound is nice. The career missionary’s homes are all very nice compared to what I had in my mind. The compound is more open than I thought but there are security people out and about and several nursing and FP residents that live and go to school here. We really enjoy it here except at night, I start to get homesick. There’s nothing like your own bed!
The weather is great! 70’s during the day and cool at night. The Kenyans where toboggans and all but for us it’s wonderful! Well, I need to go before my luck runs dry with the internet. Hope everyone is good.

. Hannah, that is the right website. It’s very outdated and there’s a team here right now changing the website to help raise money and be more informative for the missionaries coming in.
Anna, keep sending the emails. I don’t care if they’re random! Tell me how ATL was. Oh, and we didn’t forget the backpack but I ‘m kicking myself for not bringing it! I am having to tie Bethany in a Conga on my back. My helper showed me how to do it. It's sort of like a sling thing.
Kara, Sam and Anna/Mark and Tanya- thanks for the cards. I read them a lot for encouragement.
Sara Huber-Janet says “thank you Sara I received your message. I still love you and remember you. Thank you for the time I spent with you. I hope you got home safely and I hope your family is doing well. My family is doing well and all of us are remembering you. And thank you for visiting my house. And I heard there is something you are sending me and I’m excited to see. Thank you for your prayers. I don’t have much to say maybe I’ll write to you more. Pass my greeting to your boys and your husband. Have a nice time. Love, Janet.”
Adrienne- tell Hudson that Baby said hey and she misses him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cool Kenyan Nights

Hello Everyone! I have so much to say and little battery on the computer. We are finally here in Tenwek! The planeride was close to a nightmare with Bethany. She didn't sleep for a long time and then would crash and burn. Once we finally touched down in Nairobi we had to wait for over an hour to report that our 2 actionpackers were lost with all our food. We just got them today though. We stayed one night in Nairobi and it was great but I couldn't sleep b/c I heard something scratching at the tin roof and I was sure it was a giant lizard trying to get in b/c we had pizza in there! We then got up and went grocery shopping with the help of our driver, a sweet guy named Gerald. I'm surprised we made it to Tenwek without any neck or spinal injuries! The ride was rough and I thought at several moments I was going to hurl everywhere!
With all that said the journey was worth it to get here. I am in love with Kenya and it's people. It has the most beautiful flowers and birds and the landscape rivals our most costly American neighborhoods!
Bethany is doing great. She is having a hard time adjusting to the 7 hr time difference but we're working through it. Every morning we have a play date with two other little girls on the compound that is her age. She also loves the Kenyans big smiles and their warmth. They love babies and all try and hold her.
Joey has started working and already had an oncall night. The sad part of this trip is seeing the hospital full of sick people and them not having access to easy treatments to save their lives. It's a sad place. We were touring the hospital yesterday and a baby 2lbs or less was dying right in front of us as we walked in the NICU. Another little boy had galzes in his mouth to keep from bleeding out b/c of a blood disorder he has. Joey said the treatment is easy and simple but not available here:( He later had a bad bleed and Joey said he was terrified. Joey also had a father come in who's wife had just left him with all the children and he tried to poison himself. He was so bad that the 3 foot long tapeworm was coming out of him!! He later died today. The upside is that the hospital is a gospel preaching hospital and there is many Christians here.
My helper started today. She will cook, clean and laundry for me 3x a week. *Sarah- I got Janet, she misses you deeply* I love her already and know that we are going to be great friends. The most simple things here are very laborsome and I need some domestication!!!!
I have so much more to share about an amazing revival that is reaching more than 3,000 women that we know of in less than a 1 1/2. Im thankful I get to watch and hopefully participate in this amazing thing. The battery's dying so I have to go. I miss you and love you.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Excitement around the House!

We are less than 24hrs away from leaving for Africa. Our family is so excited about this trip. We want your prayers for the entire time we are there. Pray for us to have safe and easy travel. For a healthy stay in Kenya and for good friendships to be formed. We can't wait to update you on life at the missionary compound and general African living. Lots of love to everyone.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Are you Prejudice?

This is a great piece on MSNBC about Multiracial America and living in it. Of course, one of the families is living in Moncks Corner, SC where racism is still alive and well! I worry about these issues with my family changing into a multiracial american family and I've already heard some "interesting" comments from the ones I love the most. But, if you know me you know I don't back down from hardship and I certainly stand up for what I believe in. Check it out....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Clarifications and more....

I just want to post that this trip to Africa is not to pick up our child! There have been several people to ask about this...I wish we were but it will be about another year before we make that great trip to Ethiopia. I am adding an "Adoption Process" timeline to the side of my blog so that all you can better understand the process and when we will pick up our child.

This trip is to Kenya and it is for medical missions. Joey is working at one of Africas biggest hospitals but in a fairly remote area. We can't believe that it is less than 4 weeks away!!!! AHHH, I haven't even packed one thing!!!

On a side note here is our daughter.... She is truely the joy of our lives. This precious one is learning a new word everyday. Today she said "school".. of course only her mother can decode her language but she is trying to say anything that we say. She has absolutely no stranger anxiety and will run up and give "love" to almost anyone. Bethany is still a tiny thing but she is larger than life. Words can't give her sweet spirit justice.

The first picture is Easter this year in Charleston and the second is another weekend we were at IOP when we went for the Cooper River Bridge run.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sown in tears

Psalm 126:5-6
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

Wow, now that is some promise! I've been doing a bible study and we are studying the songs of ascents in Psalms. These particular Psalms (120-134) were sung by the Israelites during their journey to Jerusalem 3 times a year. It's all about journeying with the Lord. This study came at such a good point in my life right now.
Joey and I have been called into a life of ministry and know that at some point we will be leaving our life here and going somewhere, probably far away. This has been something that I've had to pray over and stop wrestling God about. For a long time I didn't want to accept this because I didn't want to leave. But thank God he has changed my heart and I will never let fear rule over the will of the Lord.
We are leaving in 4 weeks to Kenya for a mission trip. We'll be gone for 7 weeks and I expect God to show up in a big way. It will be such a wonderful taste of what life on the mission field will be for our family. We are also trying to frantically finish our Dossier (official paperwork which is authenticated to be sent to the Ethiopian govt.) before we leave so we will be officially waiting for our child once we leave for Africa. This journey has been tear stained also. Other adopting parents can relate but for me to just explain to someone else wouldn't give this journey justice.
All this being said, I rejoice in the promise of reaping a joyous and abundant harvest in any difficulties that comes our way. I can testify to this fact even now. There has always been blessings out of any pain, sorrow, trouble or obstacle I've faced. So if there are tears shed, then let it be because joy is following!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Did IT!!!

I didn't post this sooner because of all the hype that surrounds it and I needed the hype to wear off so you'd be impressed. Let me preface my accomplishment with this..... after my 45lbs weight gain (maybe more, the last time I weighed I decided not to get back on the scale until I had the bun out of the oven!) I decided I needed to get motivated to lose it and follow through with a goal I set before B was born. I had been in the beginning of training for Race for the Cure in 2006 when I found out I was preggo and started having complications soon after so I stopped running. I have always been slim and in good shape but not endurance kind of good shape. So a 5K was a challenge. I wanted to do it for my mother's memory. Five weeks after B was born I started back. Well, I ran Race for the Cure (not admitting that time on here, sorry)! My goal was not to stop running no matter how slow I went. After that race I still had maybe 15lbs to go so I made another goal. Cooper River Bridge Run. A 10K! And I did it again!!! My 58 year old Father-in-law beat my time, but the point is that I finished victoriously!!! I look a little rough so give me a break :) And by the way, I lost all of that baby weight before she turned a year!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

He goes before me

So many things are changing in our lives. Well, not yet but we are preparing for change. I have come to embrace change since my life has been in constant motion since 17 years old. I no longer fear the unknown but anxiously await what's in store. I'm no super hero, there are times when I'm scared to death because I don't know if I can handle the outcome. Truly what other choice do any of us have other than to deal with things? We all deal in one way or another. Since starting our adoption I have had to deal with so many feelings that were tucked way back in the corners of my soul and hadn't been dealt with in a while. I mostly have just been overwhelmed by the great need in this world and the small few who are willing to face it and step up to it. The other night I just had to get the burden off and feel the power of God in my life and in this world. Joey and I were lying in bed and thinking how crazy it is that our child maybe here on earth but we aren't with them. And then all the circumstances and possibilities came rushing to my mind as to why my child is an orphan. Why can't their parents care for them? Were they sick? Did they die? How did they feel knowing they weren't going to raise their child? Will my child have siblings that we don't know about?....... I just couldn't carry this around with me, I needed to DO something about it. So I just prayed, out loud, for the first time in a long time and poured my heart out and felt God and his sovereignty over all things. I felt the power of my prayer. I am confident that he is with my child and his/her family right now. This verse is what set off my blogging today, let it encourage you in whatever unknowns you might be facing.....

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Christmas is my favorite holiday season for many reasons; the birth of Christ, my anniversary, my husband's birthday, my sisters' birthday, the birth of my child, the music, parties....the list could go on. As I get older Christmas is taking a backseat to Easter. For the Christian, Christmas is reason to celebrate but Easter is where our salvation rest. It is because of the resurrection that we have hope and conquer death! During this Holy Week God has given me many quiet moments to think about the significance of everything from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday. It's kind of like the finale of God's redemptive plan that was set in place from the first day of creation! Words can never describe what Christ is to me, there is simply no mere word that can utter my hearts deep gratitude. Knowing Him intimately is my treasure because He has been my closest friend, a father, a mother , my Savior, a comforter, ,leader, and forgiver. He has freed me from all the things in this life that could tie me down and drown my happiness. No circumstance in this life has ever changed his faithfulness to me. How can you write words to show thanks. Well, one song comes close to it and it's my favorite. If you passed me on the road when listening to this you'd see my hands raised high and think I'm waving at you but really just giving thanks.....

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh

Fullness of God in helpless babe

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones He came to save

‘Til on that cross as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied

For every sin on Him was laid

Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain

Then bursting forth in glorious Day

Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine

Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt of life, no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand‘til He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kenya, Here we come.......

So, we have finally gotten a clear answer on our African trip. If you received our Christmas Newsletter you know that we were planning a family mission trip to Kenya this summer, but a few days after Christmas a civil war broke out and the trip was put in a "holding" phase. Plans started to uproot after the missionary family that we knew left the country due to her pregnancy and the uncertainty of one of Africa's most stable countries. After much consideration and a recent resolution, The Patrick family is headed to the highlands of Kenya to Bomet. We are disappointed that we won't be in-country with the McGees but are certain the Lord is more than enough to sustain us on this trip. We will be there for 7 weeks and Joey will be working at the hospital. It is primarily staffed by Kenyans but through several world mission organizations it welcomes and depends on short-term Western and European physicians and residents. There are a few full-time Western staffers but mostly volunteers like our family.
We will be living on the missionary compound with all the other missionaries which is a blessing but also a little disappointing to me. I would love to be engulfed by the culture of this country but also grateful to have others to relate to and rely on. I will have "helpers" that stay daily and help with Bethany, housework, and cooking. Everything has to be made from scratch so these women will help me learn to really cook!! I can use my helpers as little or as much as possible. If I want to really help in the orphanage or hospital these wonderful ladies will act as a "nanny" for Bethany. I'm not sure which direction I'll take with this but it's nice to have the option. I'm missing so many details but will save some for later. I really just wanted to put this out there and get some prayer for our family. Check out the link. It will provide some information if your curious.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


"Adoption is not the answer to HIV/AIDS in Africa. Adoption rescues few. Adption illuminate by example: these few once-loved children- who lost their parents to preventable diseases- have been offered a second chane at family life in foreign conuntries; like young ambassadors, they instruct us. From them, we gain impresssions about what their age-mates must be like, the ones living and dying by the millions, without parents, in the cities and villages of Africa. For every orphan turing up ina northern-hemisphere household- winning the spelling bee, winng the cross-country race, joining the Boy Scouts, learning to rollerblade, laying the trumpet or the violin- ten thousand African children remain behind alone."
Melissa Faye Greene, There is No Me Without You

So much greif covers this wonderful thing that is going to happen to our family. Sometimes I feel sick knowing that my child will not be mine due to abuse and intentional neglect, like so many here in USA., but by death or famine. The birthparents don't want to lose their children but can't provide for them or leave this earth far too soon. Would I be strong enough to make that kind of sacrifice?? To send my child to perfect strangers and entrust that they will love and care for her? Doubt it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Gosh, I have so much to blog about, our upcoming trip to Africa, our baby's first birthday:), Christmas, Greenwood. But the one that hangs in my heart is Ethiopia. We are in the beginnings of "making" our next baby!! God has taken us by the hands and lead us straight to this country and said, "This is where your next child is". I know it's hard to understand but probably at some point in your lives God has so loudly spoken about something (if not yet, He will). We are sending our formal application in to Bethany Christian Services tomorrow and the real deal starts at that moment. After this we will wait for our homestudy to be completed and the dossier (country paperwork) and this is sent to Ethiopia and then we wait for them to refer us to our child.
It's been interesting to hear some of our friends and family's concerns and encouragement. The most surprising is some of the closest to us avoid speaking about Ethiopia. So let me put it out there, we are a white family requesting an African child...just the facts. I know that if some of you feel like you can't love this child like our own offspring but I'm confident God will show you the kind of love He shows us. After all we, as Gentiles, were adopted into His heritage.
I have so much to say but don't want to make this a total deep post so I"ll save some for later. Check out this article that touches my heart