All posts by Rachel

About Rachel

This is our way of updating friends and family about our orphan hosting experiences.

Hosting Summer 2016


Proverbs 25:2 (Living Bible)

2 It is God’s privilege to conceal things… 

We don’t know WHY things turned out the way they did with N, but we trust God all the same.

We are going to host again this summer, after much prayer, fear and trembling. 😉  Considering what we’ve been through, we were not ready yet to host again, but God had other plans. We received a phone call specifically asking us to host a particular child whose siblings are being adopted by families within about an hour of us.
How can you say no to providing 5 weeks of love, family, good food, and learning about God to a child who does not have these things?
Due to the laws of this certain country, I can not give details online, other than to say that she is a 13 year old girl,  BUT feel free to PM me with questions.  We will be searching for and praying for a Forever Family for this precious child, so please pray with us that the Lord sends the right family along for her. If you would like to meet her, send me a message.
The reason I am sharing this info so early when hosting doesn’t start until the end of June is because there is a need for volunteers to host an adult chaperone.
The laws of this country require that chaperones be sent with the children for their safety, and this chaperone will need a place to stay!
Unlike with the children who must stay with one family the entire 5 weeks, the chaperone can move from one family to another, staying approximately 10 days or so with each family.
She is a social worker, and speaks just a little English. A translator app works wonders in a case like this! 🙂 This is a wonderful opportunity for a missions trip without ever leaving your own home.  You will just need to provide her with her own room, and meals, and treat her as a guest. Help getting her from one host home to another would be appreciated.
Please contact me if you’d be willing to help.


3 months

It’s been nearly 3 months since N chose to go back to his country.

We’ve done a lot in those 3 months. Deep breaths. Quiet time with the Lord. Being thankful for continued communication with N. Healing. Counseling. Praying. Recovering.

I won’t lie and say it’s been easy.  It HAS been quiet, mostly…


I regularly hear from N’s former foster mother who is able to keep in touch with him. She passes messages from him to me. I can text him, but he rarely texts back because it costs him minutes.  But occasionally he does text me asking me to call him. I am able to encourage him to make good decisions and remind him of how loved he is, and how many people are praying for him.  Sometimes he has a need that we are able to meet. We had bought him some leather boots while he was here, and the water proofing stuff had worn off, so he was unable to wear them in the snow without his feet getting wet.  We used to order some water proof spray and had it delivered to the orphanage. I didn’t tell him before the package arrived, so he was surprised and pleased!

We have some opportunities before us that we are praying about… more to come on that later as the way becomes clear! (Nothing involving N.)

That was unexpected.

From September the 1st, 2015 when we picked N up in his country, until December 21 we did not have a single day without some level of chaos. While we were in country, we assumed that it would get better when we got home. And, in some ways, it did. It was terribly stressful on him to be in contact with his foster mother, us, and the orphanage director all at the same time. His foster mother was really grieving his leaving, and that increased his stress levels as well. So, we tried to be understanding and prayed that we would survive those 15 days until we could come home.
In October things got really bad, and I wrote about that a little already…
Eventually, as he learned to express himself a little, and we learned how to keep things as calm as possible, he was able to give us a list of reasons why hosting is so much better than adoption. As an almost 16 year old, N has had a lot of freedom that he wasn’t willing to give up to have a family of his own. We didn’t lay down a set of unreasonable rules, either. The “freedoms” he missed were the ones that involved making very bad choices that not only affect his life, but those around him.
It’s hard to know how much to say publicly because we want to respect his privacy while at the same time explaining what happened to all of you who have so lovingly supported this adoption. We are grieving the loss of our son and the impact this choice will have on his future. It’s so hard to be a teenager under “normal” circumstances, and for orphans it is even harder.
In early December we were asking him to please be patient and wait until our second court date in March to make his final decision. The chaos was increasing and finally we reserved tickets for the end of December for him to go to the place that feels like home to him. However, 3 weeks was more than he could wait and we eventually moved that date to the 21st, which was the best we could do with the prices being so high. As soon as those tickets were purchased the chaos level went way down. He felt such relief. And at the same time, he was still soaking up all the love he could while he was still here. We continued to speak life and hope and love into him and prayed that it would someday make a difference.
It has been 2 weeks now that he has been gone, and I know I should have updated the blog sooner, but it was just too soon to be able to put it all into words.
Teenage orphans need and deserve loving families just as much as younger kids do. We fully believe that. Sadly, in our case, N was unable to make the adjustment. We will still support him from a distance as much as we are able. We can speak to him on the phone, mail letters and packages and encourage him to make good choices and most importantly pray for him daily!

A Spark

James 3:

5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

Our newest assignment from Debbie is to start insisting on re-do’s. Until now, when N has spoken rudely/spouted off I have waited until he was calm, and then when he was ready to talk about it he would apologize and I would gently point out what he could have or should have said instead. He wasn’t at a point where I could require him to actually say the words himself, but he is now!  However, there is a lot of drama involved whenever we up the bar and implement new requirements. The key for me is to just be the calming presence who says “Ok, you’re not ready right now. Just let me know when you are.”  Now, to be honest, if it was up to him, he would NEVER be ready to say the right thing. But, by the end of the day when Kris gets home N is ready to do some fun things and, well…. his list has to be finished before we do those fun evening things. And “RE-DOS” are on the list. So, with no nagging from me, he eventually comes to me and says he’s ready. 🙂

Can you imagine reaching the ripe old age of 15 without being required to learn to speak nicely to people? Believe me, 15 years is a long time to learn some bad habits that are deeply ingrained. Some days it seems as if we are getting nowhere. But, God continues to give me the patience I need, and He reminds me of how much patience He has with me in my stubborn ways.  And we do occasionally make some progress. 😀

A couple blog posts that have been helpful to me lately:

Six Things Not to say to an Adoptive Parent

The Ugly Side of Adoption

“This adoption thing is ugly. It takes time for broken things to mend. It takes time for wounds to heal.
But you know what’s amazing about it all?

He gives beauty for ashes. And that, my friends, is beautiful indeed.”
He gives beauty for ashes. And that, my friends, is beautiful indeed.

Nov. 6, 2015

Thank you all for praying. Sorry I haven’t been updating.

Things are slowly improving.

I hope that after trip 2 N will feel more secure that we are his forever family. Right now he is still worried about that.  Trip 2 won’t be until late January or early February. I really need to start fundraising for that asap! I just have been swamped and not feeling good (thyroid) at the same time.  That means, we’re lucky to have clean clothes and home cooked meals. Because of our many food sensitivities, I really HAVE to cook all our meals from scratch.

I am thankful that God will provide everything we need to survive this. 🙂

Meals, prayer, and encouragement

It’s been a hard 3 weeks.

We were definitely in crisis mode.

Maybe we still are some days. Or parts of each day.

We are so thankful for all of you who pray and provided meals.

There is NO WAY I would have thought that nearly 3 weeks of meals would be the huge blessing that was just what we needed.


Taking care of my own health has not even been on the To-do List, and I am feeling the effects of that. So, I am keeping this post short, and resting instead of washing dishes. 🙂

We had our follow up hour long phone call with Debbie on October 15 and she was very helpful and encouraging. It’s hard to remember when you see a big strong tough 15 year old that emotionally he is like a baby, a 4 year old, and a 7 year old all rolled into one.  But he’s been through things that no adult should even have to go through so he’s also much older than 15.  She reminded us we’ve only been home from trip 1 for 4 weeks. Patience.


(Sleeping on the airplane with his head on my lap and his feet on Kris’ lap.)

This update is long overdue!
Thanks so much to the multitude who is praying for our family during this time.
We are so thankful for God’s promise that He is Always with us. Without Him, we would have failed at this a long time ago. He has given us a deep love for this child. A certain knowledge that this is our son. No matter the difficulties, you just don’t give up on your son! Yes, there have been times when it would have been FAR easier to give up than keep going. But, it boiled down to obeying God. And at the last moment God showed us clearly what an awful tragedy it would be to lose this child, and gave us more strength to carry on. We had a court order from 2 countries saying Send Him Back. But, God impressed upon us to NOT just blindly follow orders. 😉
We begged for more time, and his country graciously gave it.
A lot of the details need to remain private for N’s sake, but I will just say that he has endured unimaginable loss in his life. New details emerge occasionally and they just are SO heart breaking!
Anger and Control are how he has dealt with his pain and fear for a long time. Losing control is a very scary thing. He is learning to trust. It is a long slow process. But, we see such beautiful glimpses of the Real Boy inside more and more often.
A wonderful friend and God put us on the path to an “intervention”. Wow.
Debbie and Alan came in to our home for 4 days and changed our lives. They first told us to watch the TBRI videos.
Then after us agreeing that we were open to making some serious changes, they showed up on REALLY short notice to change our lives. God opened up their schedule to make this possible. Kris was able to take time off work without repercussions. Friends and family prayed (and continue to!) and provided meals. We are STILL being blessed with meals as we continue to work hard on practicing these Biblical parenting principles. Debbie and Alan backed us up 100% on the biggest conflict we were having. There is just no compromising on some things – we had to obey God in this area and we are so thankful that they are Christians and agreed with us. We did come up with two choices for N in this area. Neither choice compromised our values, and whatever he chose was fine with us. It took him about a week to choose because he didn’t like either choice. But, not choosing was fine with us too since it just kept the issue in limbo. 😉
There is no internet time when N is awake. Almost every minute is spent together. The more connected we become, the less satisfied he is to go off and do things on his own. This is perfectly fine! It will not last forever. Right now he is getting exactly what he needs to heal and grow. He’s getting what he missed out on as a baby/small child. Constant attention. Needs being met. Learning to express his needs. Learning to trust that we will meet every need. Learning to use respectful words to express his needs. And one of the hardest lessons – learning to regulate his emotions using calming strategies. Practice practice practice!  It’s SO interesting to me that the issues we are dealing with now are SO different than the ones we dealt with during our 3 hostings.

We are in between trip 1 and trip 2 right now. The adoption is NOT final. On trip 2 he will be asked AGAIN if he wants to be in our family. He is SICK TO DEATH of being asked so many times. He says “I said yes 100 times! How many times do I have to say it before they believe me?” Hopefully he will feel more peace once the adoption is final. He is so fearful right now that something will go wrong.


“Life lessons can be very painful.” – to quote a famous person. (RT)
N kicked an ice chest yesterday because he was upset that his earphones weren’t working properly. He had so much pain in that toe that he (and I) got very little sleep until 2:30 am! But, you know what he did NOT do? He did not blame anyone else for the problem. He did not say anything rude to me (Kris was at work), and he came to me later on his own to apologize for kicking the ice chest off the deck. That is progress! He is still limping this morning, but hasn’t had to take ibuprofen for the pain since 2 am. These lessons are things that a lot of us with loving parents learn at a much younger age, obviously. But, he’s had no one to talk him through these things so we talked about some other things he could have done. First he said he should have kicked with the bottom of his foot instead of his toe. LOL Then he admitted it would have been better to go punch the punching bag. Then I asked him what he could have said and he said “I should have said ‘I’m so upset!’” Kris has a shirt that says “I’m so upset” and it’s a family joke.  During the night while he was writhing in pain he said “Please don’t call 911!” I guess I need to explain that we don’t call 911 unless there’s no way we can get to the hospital in time to save someone’s life!


Learning new parenting techniques

What if becoming the parent God has called you to be to your child from a hard place means that you need to un-learn as much or more than you need to learn? What if many of the popular approaches to parenting and discipline, many of which are regarded as “biblical,” actually aren’t best for your child given his background and history and what he needs to heal and grow?

He’s done it again!

Last Friday I emailed the adoption agency to ask why our check for $4560 hadn’t cleared yet. I was told they’d get back with me Monday about that. So yesterday (Monday) I received a call saying they couldn’t find the check due to office renovations. Eventually, they did end up finding it in the lock box with some other unopened mail, but in the meantime she asked me “Why did you send a check for that amount for trip 1 when Trip 1 is already fully funded?”  About all I could say was “…what?”

Turns out somebody donated $5000…. WAY BACK IN JUNE…. and we never even knew it! Never even sent a thank you letter either… ugh!!!

So, this means we are fully funded for trip ! Hallelujah! 

The $4560 we had set aside can now be used for the amount needed for the remaining fees which means we actually have some extra for trip 2 already!!  Thank you God!

You can be sure we used this opportunity to point out God’s faithfulness to provide and His love for us and for N!  We talked about it off and on all day. 🙂 

4 days and 15 days

PLEASE PRAY all you prayer warriors out there!

With just 4 days left, N is very stressed and easily upset. He is dreading going back. He’s having trouble regulating himself and is blowing up really easily. This makes life very stressful as we strive to stay calm and not escalate with him.

We’ve had some good talks about it where he has opened up and admitted how he feels, which is progress! But, he is still on edge which makes everyone miserable. Our biggest prayer is that he will come to know the Lord personally.

Tonight I made him a shake (goat milk, bananas, cocoa, and peanut butter) and he said “I can’t believe you made me a shake after I was a bad boy!” 😉 So, I told him I loved him even when his behavior was bad and I was really proud of him for saying he was sorry. Then he said, “You’re a good girl!” LOL



As of last week the total we needed was $3500.

And as of today it is $2480!! Two generous gifts of $500 each came in and we sold one more t-shirt.  God is so good to provide what we need. Without Him none of this would be possible. Sometimes (ok, a LOT of times) the money concerns are less than the behavior concerns! And without God, it would be impossible to handle that, too!


The answer from Kris’ work about getting paid even just for 30 hours a week while we are gone was a NEGATIVE.  No paid “vacation”. EVER.  While this is disappointing, it is not more than God can cover. He’s got this. Our eyes are on Him.

17 days!

Summer 2015 hosting is over in 6 days and N will have to head back to his country. He is quite stressed out about this and has had some behavior problems. Kris came home from work on Wednesday night and asked me if I had asked him why he was acting so bad. I hadn’t asked him because I figured he wouldn’t tell me! A lot of times he just says “I don’t know.” So, Kris asked him if he was stressed about having to leave and he actually said YES instead of I DONT KNOW! Then he asked him if that is why he’s been acting up so much and he said YES again! Since then his behavior has been much better. Yay!

11 days after he leaves, we will fly over to join him.  We are $130 closer to $4500 as of yesterday. We sold 4 t-shirts and received a generous $50 donation from an online friend. Thank you so much!!

We still have a lot of Texas “home” t-shirts for those of you who want to help – $20 each.

I am not allowed to post individual pictures of him online or this blog would be filled with them! So, here’s a t-shirt picture instead. 😉


Our most pressing need THIS WEEK is $232 to pay for a car rental while we are there. The sooner we rent it, the lower the cost. If we wait until we get there we can expect to pay a lot more. Also, we need $500 for lodging costs. Depending on the exchange rate this may be a little less.  We found a little guesthouse for 45 euros a night (around $50), which is a good deal compared to the $150 a night hotel we were told we would need to stay at!!! PLEASE continue to PRAY!  We appreciate each one of you who encourage us and pray, etc! God is faithful to provide.

24 more days…

We are 2/3rds of the way to having the amount we need to fly out in 24 days! Trusting God to supply all we need, in HIS timing. In my timing, it would already be here. But then, God always provides JUST IN TIME.  Sure, I might like the security of knowing the money is here now so we’ll have it when we need it, but would our faith have grown so much if the money was always here way in advance?

We just mailed a check to the adoption agency for $4560, and the tickets are paid for! So, all that’s left is a list of in-country fees, hotel costs, food, car rental, etc.  Also, Kris does not get paid for time off work. PLEASE PRAY ABOUT THAT! He actually talked to the boss and put in a request for it, that they would pay him at least partially even while he is gone – this is pretty much unheard of… And he never got a reply or response other than “Why don’t you type something up about why you’re going overseas and we’ll see if anyone wants to donate”.  Disappointing, but God is still in control!

Isaiah 5:8 “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans, and my deeds are not like your deeds, declares the Lord.”

I’ve got a huge box of t-shirts I need to sell, so I better get busy!! If you can help me sell shirts, it would be a huge blessing. Here are pictures of the ones I have available still. IMG_2701Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.51.34 PM

We only have 14 days left with N, and as usual every day is FULL. It’s hard to find time to write updates! Thank you all for praying. We haven’t received any of the grants we applied for except a small one to help with N’s airfare.  And we are so thankful for that one!  God doesn’t need to use grants to make this adoption happen… and there are a couple more I’d like to apply for but it’s VERY time consuming and there just aren’t enough hours in the day!  All the paperwork prep I need to do for this trip, the research into an affordable place to stay, car rental, etc plus every day life is about all I can do right now.

We are making huge progress in many areas with N – so many things to learn about living in a family and having parents who love you and care about you. Music is a HUGE one. No one ever cared enough to tell him that he can’t listen to music with bad lyrics and bad words. Explaining why his head doesn’t need to be filled with that negativity was pretty hard. Had to break out the translator for that one. He still doesn’t like it. And I still don’t like rap. LOL But, there is Christian rap out there, people!!! Good lyrics! He thought we were going to try to make him listen to “our kind of music”, so he was pretty thrilled to have me find something he likes.

Last night he was swinging on the hammock really high and he broke an old old chair on the deck that belonged to Kris’ grandfather. And he said “Well, it was an old piece of junk. You don’t need it anyway. No one wants to sit there except Hannah. (Our old dog.) And Hannah smells so bad that the chair is ruined anyway, etc. etc.” So, I gently talked to him about a better way to apologize when you break something and I said something like “There’s just SO much to learn, isn’t there? Families do things so differently than you’re used to and I’m really proud of you for how hard you’re trying.”  So, when Kris got home, N said “I’m sorry I broke your dad dad dad dad chair.”   (Kris was like: say WHAT?) Then he told him that when he breaks something belonging to someone else he usually just tells them it was a piece of junk anyway and they didn’t need it.  Such progress for him to be willing to apologize nicely.

We’re down to only one meltdown a day, on average. Usually around 4 to 6 pm.  Knowing that we are both tired by then (our day starts at 4 am!) I am beginning to try to stop at 4 and take some time to pray and be sure his list is done so that the stress level is a lot lower. No/low expectations starting at 4 pm, makes for an easier evening!  Yesterdays little fit was over in just 5 minutes, most of which he spent in his room rather than following me around saying rude things. Progress!! After 5 minutes he came out of his room and said he was sorry!

No matter how much of a difficult transition this is for him, he still adamantly wants us to adopt him. Having parents who love you makes all the difference in the world. So much damage is done by abandonment and neglect. It will take a lot of hard work to overcome.  Most importantly, please pray that we will be a shining example of God’s love for us and for him, and that he will see his need for the Savior.

Airfare Update!

We had someone generously offer us the use of their credit card to buy our airfare tickets…  and we could pay it back later.  We prayed about it, and just really didn’t feel good about it. We’ve made it this far with no credit cards, only complete trust in God to provide, and He has richly provided!

So, we declined, and just decided to continue to pray and trust that He would provide in time for us to get the best price on tickets. Yesterday morning we received an email from a family who wants to remain anonymous, saying that they are going to pay for our tickets for trip 1!  PRAISE THE LORD!!

So, our fundraiser page (<<<click there to see the latest!) is going to be updated to show that the total we need is $6960 rather than $9560.

We were offered a grant to cover N’s airfare, but I have been unable to contact them so please pray I can get a response ASAP!

Our next goal is the $4560 we need to send in to be wired overseas for court costs. More t-shirts will be arriving by the 22nd, and we hope to sell them ALL!

Fundraising is the hardest thing ever.

Natural childbirth is probably easier.  (And my first two babies were over 10 pounds each! This third one is closer to 110 pounds.)

So, we’re fundraising again…  I feel like people must get SO tired of seeing our fundraisers!  And oftentimes God provides for us in totally unexpected ways, OUTSIDE of these fundraisers. (Like with the t-shirt sales.) He’s not confined to them at all. 🙂

Here’s the link!! We only need $10,000 for trip 1. No big deal, FOR GOD. For me… well, if I don’t focus on God then I feel like hyperventilating.

T-shirt sales are one way we are raising money and it’s been amazing!

This is the 3rd batch we’ve ordered:

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.51.34 PM

Please contact me if you’d like to buy a ladies t-shirt for $20 plus shipping. ALL proceeds go directly in to the adoption fund.

Trip 1 Travel Dates!

Hosting is going very well. We are slowly but surely making progress and N is settling in and almost daily I can see him opening up more and more. He’s been through so much and I can’t share it all here as it is his private story.  Suffice it to say, he is hurting badly and learning to trust is a lengthy process.  His English has slipped some, but it’s coming back to him quickly.  He loves to be goofy and make us all laugh.

For this third hosting our goal is more than ever to live life like we always do. Meaning, that we aren’t going and doing constantly. We were always careful to not do too much of that, but this summer we are adding in SCHOOL WORK! Oh, what a shock to his system that was. We had a REALLY rough day on Day 1 of lessons, but on Day 2 he said “I want to do more!” when I told him that was all for the day. 🙂

We have travel dates for about 11 days after N goes back to his country from summer hosting! Trip 1 is generally expected to be about 3 weeks, but ours is only 16 days. Kris will be off work unpaid, so this is a huge blessing.
We thought we had until late August to come up with the $4560 in legal fees but we were just informed that it needs to be sent in ASAP!!
And we were also informed that our tickets should be bought ASAP to get the best price.

So, here’s our latest prayer request: we have 4 grants we are waiting to hear back from, but only 1 will be in time to help us with Trip 1.  We should know something about that one by July 6. PLEASE PRAY!! We need around $10,000 total ASAP

Summer Hosting 2015

N arrived home June 26 for 8 weeks of hosting before we travel to his country for Trip 1 of the adoption. He is settling in and doing amazingly well.  Just starting to open up again after a few days of catching up on sleep.   He has had a lot of hard things happen to him in his life – this blog post explains it pretty well. So far, we haven’t had a hard day, but we’re ready! Ready to show him love through the hard times and prove that we will be here for him no matter what.

We don’t have our travel dates yet, but have been told that there is a good chance we can go soon after hosting. Hoping for early September. The later we go the colder it will be there!

In these next 8 weeks we need to come up with about $10, 000. <<<That blows my mind. But, the Lord has shown us time and time again that He is our provider. We’ve applied for grants and won’t hear back about the first one until the end of July. We are also doing a t-shirt fundraiser, which I will post about later. Please pray with us for the needed funds!


…we can officially discuss the adoption with N!!!!

Unfortunately, we’ve only gotten to Skype with him once since then, but it was a VERY HAPPY Skyping!  And I am able to message with his “foster mother”, and she says he has been SO much happier since he was asked if he wanted to be adopted by us. He’s counting down the days until June 26 when he will come for 8 weeks of summer hosting.

Soon after that we should be traveling to Latvia for Trip 1 of 3. He will get to come home with us on trip 1!

So, we have from now until late August to work on raising the funds for trip 1!

Stay tuned for our first t-shirt fundraiser:

1144924269 Front

Shirts will arrive here by June 22, and will cost $20 each, and that includes shipping if necessary. We’ve ordered 40 total, in all sizes from small to 3XL.

We realize that this t-shirt will not be popular with EVERYONE we know,,, so we’re working on another design as well. Let me know if you have any good ideas!

REFERRAL!!!!!!!! JUNE 4, 2015

5 weeks and 1 day after our dossier reached N’s country we received our referral!

The referral came in the form of an email, and it formerly asked us if we want to adopt N and gave us a little information on his background.

We have two weeks to reply with a yes or no, or we could request an extension in order to have a doctor review any medical info that the file might have contained. But, there was no medical info, other than to say he tested negative for this, that, and the other.

WE ARE SO EXCITED!! this is a BIG milestone that seemed so far away when we started the adoption process.

This means that we must quickly come up with about $9000 or $10000 to cover the costs of Trip 1 to a very special country in Eastern Europe.