30 August 2006


We apologize if your life has felt empty over the last week in the absence of news from us. We were actually frantically preparing for a much needed vacation. We spent a long weekend visiting Becky's brother Steve in New York, and now we're spending over a week with good friends who are also expecting their first child this winter. We really needed to get out of town and unwind from the stress of the past few months before gearing up for 3 new (but very cute) stressors.

During our visit to NY, we climbed the 12th and 20th highest peaks in the Adirondacks. Steve is determined to become a 46er-- one of the elite among outdoorsmen who has climbed all 46 of the peaks in the Adirondacks that are over 4000 feet. Saturday's hike had him up to #12 in less than 2 months! As it took 3 days for Becky to be able to walk down stairs properly after climbing about 4400 feet up (and down actually hurt more) in an 8 mile round trip, she is planning to use the 3 kids as her excuse for avoiding these types of climbs in the future. However, despite the pain, the experience was amazing. Check it out...

23 August 2006

golf outing finalized

Some of you saw in recent family newsletter that a golf outing has been organized to benefit Life International, the organization that is helping us raise funds for our adoption. At this point, the other family that was also supposed to benefit from this fundraiser has most of their funds in, so we will benefit tremendously from this event. If you are interested in participating, check out the "golf outing" link on the right. You can sign up by calling the number listed or by sending us a check written to "Life International." If you would like to sponsor a hole, you are welcome to do that as well. Hole sponsors are a huge blessing because nearly all the money is profit. If you have any questions, please let us know. We probably don't have the answers, but we can find out.

21 August 2006

our kids' sizes

Quite a few of you have asked about our kids' clothing sizes. In an effort to support your desire to buy cute little outfits, here is the best information I can figure based on what I found online. Joshua may still be wearing a 4T when he comes home, but he'll be close to a 4. He's a very little guy for his age. Patience will almost definitely be a 3T. Garty is pretty much on target, so he will be wearing 6 month or more likely 9 month clothing when he comes home. Closer to the time when we pick them up, we'll hear what size they're in so we can be prepared. However, I know that some of you are anxious to hit the clearance racks and yard sales. I (Becky) hate to shop, so I'm thankful for those of you who want to do it!

20 August 2006

orphanage news

We just heard from a woman named Melodie who is now working with our orphanage in Liberia. Her job is to get to know everyone's kids and then send us information about them. We're so excited to know that there is someone solely dedicated to keeping us informed about our kids. She told us that she received 2 family albums yesterday, and all the kids were so excited and asking when they would see their new families. We were planning to do ours this week anyway, but now we're really excited to send photos to our kids. We picked out some pictures this evening, and Becky will pick up albums in the morning.

final kids club report

Despite a slow start, our Neighborhood Kids Club ended strong with 18 enthusiastic kids. Several of them said that Kids Club should be 2 weeks long, but a tired hostess vetoed that idea. We had about 40 people here for the cookout on Friday evening, with a large majority being children. We were hoping for more adults, but we know that connecting with neighbors is a long, slow process. In our neighborhood, people hang out on their porches and talk for hours, but it's unusual to be invited over to someone's house. As a result, I don't think people know what to do with an invitation to dinner. The evening was fun, and we were thankful for Ken, Jackie, and Becky's mom, Sharon, who came to help so we could relax and socialize with our neighbors. Please pray for the long term effects of the contacts we made last week.

17 August 2006

life in the big city

You can argue about whether our town is a city. Technically it's a borough, but with over 31,000 inhabitants, it qualifies as a city by many definitions. It definitely has lots of city problems. We love the neighborhood we live in and feel completely safe here. However, we were reminded today that we definitely haven't chosen life in the suburbs. Peter left for work this morning to discover that our car's side window was smashed and our stereo was ripped out of the dash. The only other thing taken was his Leatherman Wave-- a treasured and often used Christmas gift. When the cops showed up they said they've been having lots of similar break ins lately, and they check the pawn shop a couple times a week for stolen property. They evidently arrested a couple kids for theft, but now it seems like others are on the loose. It's almost comical to note that although the stereo is actually a very good one, it's on its deathbed and doesn't play CDs properly anymore. We're most frustrated by the expense and inconvenience of needing to replace the window. Peter is actually picking one up at a junk yard right now. We were blessed to find one for $50 after only 3 calls, but Peter will lose several hours he doesn't have to spare ripping the door apart. So Peter lost his favorite tool, we're out some money, Becky can't run her errands conveniently, and we won't be listening to music for a while... but life will go on. At least life in the big city keeps us on our toes. By the way, if you'd like to see the 2 bullet holes in our windows from Becky's adventures 2 Sundays ago, feel free to come visit. (OK... so maybe they're just beebee gun pellet holes from the not so careful kids across the alley, but it makes our life sound really dangerous if we leave out the details.)

16 August 2006

kids club midweek update

Our neighborhood kids club is taking place from 1-2:30 every afternoon this week. We really didn't know how many kids to expect. So far we have 13 kids who have shown up. That's a small number compared to the many kids in our neighborhood, but the reality is that people in this neighborhood don't plan their lives around anything. They also don't use a clock as often as we do, so you never know what time they'll show up. After the initial disappointment about the small turnout, we've been encouraged by the kids' enthusiasm about the club and desire to invite friends. Even the soon-to-be 6th graders have been really involved and excited. They're singing, hearing stories, playing games, memorizing Bible verses, and earning lots of tickets to cash in for prizes on Friday. Please pray for the long term impact of the club. Please pray as well for a good turnout at our neighborhood cookout on Friday when we hope to connect with many of the parents. We'll post a final report on the weekend.

rolling right along

Tonight we got sizes for our kids-- height, weight, foot, and head. Of course, we don't have any idea what they mean except to know that the baby is a healthy weight for his age and Joshua will come up to Becky's hip. We have a connection to a pediatrician who takes frequent trips to Mongolia to work with orphans. She will look at the info and let us know if anything seems out of whack. Now to figure out how to translate the info into clothing sizes...

15 August 2006

adoption prayer requests

1. Pray for Joshua and Patience-- especially Joshua-- as they mourn the tremendous loss of their mommy and daddy and adjust to orphanage life.

2. Praise God that the children came to the orphanage healthy, and pray for them in a country where potential health threats are many and health care is extremely limited. Pray especially for Garty as about 60% of Liberian children die before their first birthday.

3. Pray that the adoption process would move quickly and smoothly so we can get the kids home as soon as possible.

4. Pray that God will prepare the hearts of the kids for the day when we will become a family.

5. Pray that God will calm our nerves as we wait for official word that the relinquishment has gone through and the kids are available for adoption.

6. Pray that we will prepare wisely for their homecoming over the next few months.

7. Pray that we will begin now to strengthen our marriage and prioritize time together so that we will be able to handle the stress of an instant family of 5.

happy birthday Joshua

Today Joshua turns 5! We wish we could be with him or at least send a gift, but that would be awkward since he doesn't even know who we are yet. It's weird to already feel so in love with a little one who doesn't know we exist. He will soon though-- hopefully very soon.
On a related note, we realized that all 3 kids have good weather birthdays (June, Aug, and Sept). This is very good news as it allows for many interesting and not insanely expensive birthday party options. Now that I've said that it will probably rain every birthday for the next 5 years.

14 August 2006

the short version

If you want lots of details, skip this and go on to "the whole story." This is just for those with a short attention span or less concern for the details...
We were first contacted about these kids last Tuesday and agreed to consider taking 3. Of course, we believed at that time that all 3 were boys. Nevertheless, God brought us along gradually until Friday we were willing to not only take 3 but take one who is a lot older than we wanted and one who is a girl. We got their pictures Saturday morning and began to fall in love.
At this point we know that all 3 "appear healthy" and are negative for Hep and HIV. Their mommy died giving birth to the baby 2 months ago, so their daddy brought them to the orphanage. He is uneducated, unemployed, and completely unable to care for them. The baby is in foster care now because he's so young. The other 2 are together at the orphanage. It will be 4 to 6 months until we can bring them home.

the whole story

There are quite a few of you who really want to know what happened over the past week to totally change the course of our lives. Here are all the nitty gritty little details...
Last Tuesday evening Becky arrived home to a message about a possible referral. With butterflies in her stomach she called back. Donna (from Acres of Hope) explained that there were 3 boys who entered the orphanage the previous weekend-- 4 or 5, 2 or 3, and a few months old. She knew we only wanted 2 boys under 3 years, but she was throwing it out there just in case we were interested. With terror in our eyes we talked and agreed to consider it. Becky had actually been thinking about the possibility of 3 for a few weeks and was somewhat interested in the possibility, but the feeling wasn't mutual.
By the end of the evening Tuesday the soon-to-be-daddy said (with resignation in his voice), "You know we're going to end up doing this." Please note that this was not a decision but simply the recognition that our lives never turn out the way we plan and always end up crazier than we expect. We made a list of things that we needed to consider before making the decision-- like whether we could fit enough car seats in our current vehicles. We also began to pray a lot more than usual.
We began talking with with several people who we felt could be helpful in our decision. We were especially interested in talking to people who had adopted or given birth to multiples. Hearing their stories made us think that maybe we could survive the transition from 0 to 3 in an instant.

On Thursday we called to say that we were indeed interested in knowing more about the kids, but we DID NOT want to see pictures of their cute little faces. We learned that there had been a slight mix up and the middle boy was actually a girl!! This fact added to the fact that the oldest was turning 5 instead of the 4 that we were hoping for just about ended the deal for Peter. He pretty much wigged out for 24 hours, and there was no way to tell what he was thinking. Mommy, however, made the transition in her head fairly quickly and decided she could live with a girl as long as Daddy decided he could. She kept her opinions to herself while waiting to see where things would end up.
Friday afternoon Peter returned from a lunch meeting with the conclusion that this is the right decision even though he doesn't like it. We asked God to make it clear by the end of the day if this wasn't his plan. Around 5pm, with no change of heart, we called Donna to ask for pictures of our kids.
The pictures came very late Friday evening, but we were in Lancaster County for our annual pool party with college friends. They don't have internet access at home, so as soon as we got up in the morning we drove into town to try to find an unsecured wireless network to download the pictures to our laptop. We found one, but the sun was so bright that we couldn't really see the screen. If you had been in the Manheim post office parking lot at the time, you would have seen 2 people bending over a computer in the trunk of their car with a poster board over their heads while the crazed lady kept saying, "Are they cute? I think they're cute! Can you see them? Hurry, let's go back and go inside so we can see if they're cute!"
So that's how we got to the point of having 3 adorable kids. They all "appear healthy" (the Liberian version of a full physical) and tested negative for Hep and HIV. Their mommy died giving birth to the baby 2 months ago. Daddy is uneducated and unemployed, and he has no way to care for 3 little ones so he decided the best thing he could do is to give them up. The baby is in foster care because he's so young and susceptible to so much. The other 2 are settling in at the orphanage.
It's hard to imagine the loss the older 2 kids have experienced in the past 2 months. We can't wait to hold them in our arms and tell them that everything is going to be OK. It's hard to accept the fact that we still have 4-6 months until we can escape the threat of malaria and other common illnesses. Though we are clearly NOT ready to bring the kids home, we want to get them out of Liberia as quickly as possible.
Tonight we actually learned that there are 18 month old twins available now. They knew this was our "perfect" option, and they wanted to know if we want to reconsider. Surprisingly, we both said no almost immediately. It's amazing how quickly our hearts changed, but we already can't imagine these 3 not being ours. We feel that God lined things up in such a way that we opened ourselves up to blessings we never would have considered otherwise. It actually felt good to say no to the twins because it confirmed in our minds that this is the right decision. The only fear that remains about the choice is the fact that the kids aren't officially relinquished yet. That process will take another week or 2 until we know for certain that no one is going to claim our cuties. It's unlikely anyone will with their mommy gone, but we're pretty nervous after what happened with Moses and Saturday.
For those of you who are the praying kind, we'll post a list of specific prayer requests tomorrow. For now please just pray for our nerves as we wait to hear that this one is going through, and pray for the kids' health and emotions as they go through all these difficult changes.

13 August 2006


Well, it's been quite a week of surprises and rearranging of our expectations. Check out Joshua (turning 5 this week), Patience (almost 3... and a GIRL!), and Garty (2 months). Yes, there are 3! And yes, they are ours! This is a massive diversion from our original plan, but we feel certain it's the right decision for our family. We'll share the whole story after a good night's sleep, but tonight we're both too tired. Please pray for our kids, especially for their health. We just learned that some of the kids who have contact with our 3 kids are very sick with malaria, dysentary, and pneumonia. With very little health care in Liberia, many illnesses are a matter of life and death for these little ones-- especially babies as young as Garty.

09 August 2006

Mercy Ships

Mercy Ship Anastasis recently left the Liberian port after months of work caring for the poor and sick of Liberia. We recommend checking out their pictures from their time in Liberia (under links on the right side of this page). They're enlightening and sad and hopeful all at the same time. We've been following the work of Mercy Ships over the past few months, and we're so impressed with their commitment to those most in need. However, for us personally, looking at the pictures is really about picking out our favorite cute kids!

oldies but goodies

Today I (Becky) was trying to calm my frazzled nerves by playing the piano (a great new addition to our house thanks to my parents who were cleaning out). I was flipping through a very old hymnal playing songs I haven't heard for years. Not only was the music a great stress reliever, but the truths of the classic hymns really spoke to me.

"Every joy or trial falleth from above. Traced upon our dial by the Son of Love. We may trust Him fully all for us to do. They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true. Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed. Finding as He promised perfect peace and rest."

"Never a trial that He is not there. Never a burden that He doth not bear. Never a sorrow tht He doth not share. Moment by moment I'm under His care."

Sometimes God meets us in unexpected moments and reminds us that He's still there. The best part is that He has everything figured out and knows why we're going through whatever it is that we're going through. Sometimes I need that reminder.

05 August 2006

tutoring job

With a new school year on the way and kids nowhere on the horizon, I (Becky) decided to find some teaching related work. Though details aren't finalized, it looks like I'm going to be tutoring with an agency on the Main Line that actually pays a decent hourly wage. They're very excited to have a French and Spanish tutor, and I'm very excited to get back to the education field. I'm still anxious to find an ESL teaching opportunity, but for now I'm glad to use my gifts in a productive way after a full year away from any teaching.

01 August 2006

home sweet home

After a good but exhausting week in Costa Rica, we're finally settled back in at home where the showers are warm and the bugs are few. Overall the group we led had a great experience and was really stretched beyond their comfort zones. We also made some great contacts with people doing incredible work with children and youth. Thanks for all your prayers for the trip and especially for your prayers for us as we process the loss of Moses and Saturday. We're doing OK, but it's getting harder and harder to be patient and believe this is God's plan for our family. Becky is on the verge of grabbing any child she can find, and Peter is becoming jealous of other dads who have great relationships with their kids. We'll share more about what's going on with us when we have a few more minutes. For now, here's a picture of us at a mountain lake right next to a volcano and some adorable kids who danced in a holiday celebration that we participated in at a local school last week.