I'm so glad you found us! We love to share our story of what the Lord is doing in and through our ministry in Kenya. If you are a reader, please click the link on the right-hand side and "Follow Along!" And stop back by anytime! Karibu sana!

Monday, February 28, 2011

"Du jus say, 'Yes!'"

The judge said, "Yes!" 

Finally! I was legally granted "full and complete guardianship" of Julia! 

Outside Municipal Court 10, just after receiving the judge's ruling

This is a HUGE success and something to celebrate! Yet, it does not mean that we are on our way home to meet friends and family just yet. 

Next step: Wait one week for the orders to process through the court, be returned to the lawyer's office and get a copy of the guardianship order. Hopefully, this can be done within one week.

From this point, we are told something different at each office and/or with each person we inquire. We could have to petition for travel permission with the children's offices in Nairobi. But hopefully...... 

Julia & I outside the Dept of Immigration when we picked up the application for her Kenyan passport

Next step after that: Take the guardianship orders papers and other documents to Immigration and apply for permission to travel and a passport. This should take about two weeks to obtain.

Next step after that: Assuming that we do not hit any road bumps prior to this point, once we have Julia's passport in hand, we can book an appointment for a visa application interview with the American Embassy. This can be a three week to three month wait list. This is the most difficult part of the whole process from this point. There are MANY reasons why we could be denied. Being the legal guardian of this minor child does not necessarily make her chances of getting the visa any more likely. This is where we might need the travel permission from the Children's Department or the courts. Yes, you might be thinking, "Just go ahead and get it all and be overly prepared for whatever they ask for." As logical as that sounds, it is not that easy and the departments are not so willing to anything without being ordered or invited to by the other department.

Next step after that: Plan and book a trip to America!! Best case scenario would be that we can go to America sometime this summer or early fall. 

Thanks, Auntie Terry, for helping take care of Julia during our day at court....and your whole time with us. :-) So glad you are here to be a support during this time!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Letters to Julia - Tomorrow is a big day!

Dear baby girl,

We just had such a great play time this evening. You are at such a fun age! I have been so amazed at you this week, at how independent you have become in your play time and how interactive you have been with all your toys. You spent almost an hour building trains and cars with your blocks and pushing them around the kitchen. 

All of a sudden, your babies have become so real to you. You are talking to them, cooking for them, feeding them and moving them from the bed to the stroller to the high chair, to the carrier, and back again....about a hundred times. I think we changed Baby Susan's clothes at least ten times tonight! I have had SO much fun with you this week!

Today we moved your kitchen and watoto to your bedroom so that you can play with everything in your own space. I can't wait to see all the fun you will be having in there!

And tonight....I am SUPER thankful for you! I am a little nervous, but mostly excited about our big day tomorrow. We go back to court and will see the judge again. She will giver her final ruling on our guardianship. I have no doubt that God has brought us this far and He will not leave us abandoned now. I can't wait to hear the "Yes" that will allow us to move forward with our next steps! 

I love you, baby girl!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Miah's Day Out - Susan's blog link

Our BIG little boy! Where did my baby go?

Check out Susan's blog to read about Miah's day out yesterday. And be sure to look back at her past posts for some wonderful pictures of our precious babies. 

CLICK HERE to go to Susan's blog.

A Happy Ending

We had a "wasn't that interesting?" kind of morning yesterday. 
Or maybe more like a "Thank You, Jesus!!" kind of morning.
Or maybe a "what the heck?" kind of morning.

Sometimes things that happen here in Kenya are handled in completely different ways than they would be handled in America. For example: a missing child. 

Wouldn't you be freaking out, scared to death, calling everyone in the world, checking every police station and NOT going to work as usual, as if nothing abnormal had happened? 

Well, that's not how this case happened. One of our knitting ladies asked me as I was leaving yesterday morning if she could leave and go check a police station for her grandson. Her teen daughter and her son live with Syprose and she is raising them both. When her daughter, the boy's mother, went to school to pick him up the day before, he was not to be found. The teachers had not realized that he was missing. 

He was gone through the night and into the morning. Just before I left the shop, she had gotten a call that the boy might be at a police station. So we took her to the station to check it out. Praise God, indeed, the boy was her grandson.

It amazes me how calm and composed these people are in what we would see as a frantic situation. They are not unfazed or uncaring. They just know that there is no need to panic, and their frantic behavior would not change the circumstance. Syprose was indeed very worried and scared for her baby, but handled it so differently than any mother or grandmother would in our society. 

This story turned out to have a VERY good ending! Thank You, God, for taking care of this little buy while he was away from him family. Thank You for quickly reuniting them. It was such a job to see little Omondi run and jump in his grandma's arms. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh, my little African baby

Well, I am thinking this may be a result of innate nature. It certainly isn't a taught/learned skill!

As we were driving to Nairobi, Julia found the pick and wanted to comb her own hair. While reading her book, she would get preoccupied and need to use both hands to hold her book and point to the pictures. So, what do you do with the pick at that point? 

Apparently, you just let go and leave it there. 

Sweet baby girl also found Mama's makeup in my overnight bag. Sorry, baby, but you're just a little dark for Mama's color. 

And God Remembered

Living in Kenya, interacting with Kenyans and learning their culture and their language...it is amazing how it often helps me understand the Bible in a new way or gives me a different perspective. There are so many commonalities between African and Biblical cultural. And even in the language. 

For example, Kenyans often tell me as I am leaving to go somewhere, "Remember us," (that is, leaving the country for a visit home, leaving for a trip to Nairobi, or leaving somewhere to go run errands around town). Upon returning from town, from church, from my own home, or from abroad, I am very often asked, "Did you remember me?" 

Considering that these questions often come from people whom I know well, my first thought would be, "Well, of course I know you," or "Do you really think I will instantly forget you when I drive away?" It took me a long time to get used to those questions/comments and understand what they are truly asking. What they are really saying is, "Think of us," or "Remember to pray for me," or "Did you think of me while you were away?"

It makes sense; we just don't use it or think of it that way in America. There are SO many things like this that I find in our conversations here. But this one came to mind this morning as I read God's words in Genesis:

"But God remembered Noah...." (Gen 8:1) and

"Then God remembered Rachel; He listened to her and opened her womb." (Gen 30:22)

No doubt, God had not forgotten about Noah and Rachel. He had not put them out of His mind and then suddenly remembered them. No, He was remembering them, thinking about them, considering them, knowing them. 

Isn't it good to know that God remembers us? He is the All-Knowing God who remembering us, thinking of us. 

I love when the things that sometimes confuse, frustrate, and/or annoy me in the cultural and language differences between myself and those around me begin to take on a new meaning and enlighten me. Or even better, when God uses those things to remind me of Himself and teach me a lesson. 

Just like my friends want me to remember them when we are apart, to think of them, we want the same from our God. And He does! He DOES remember us! I am never left alone or forgotten. And He does a MUCH better job of remembering me - and all of my friends - than I do of remembering them when we are apart. Yes, I do "remember" them....but in the thoughtful, concerned, loving way that I desire from God? Not so much. 

I pray that God will use this in my life. I pray that when people do come to mind, that I will not simply remember them, but thoughtfully and prayerfully remember them. Just as God remembers us. 

And isn't it great to know that God remembers ALL of His children? I take GREAT comfort in that! As I sometimes become overwhelmed with the heaviness of knowing that we hold so many tiny, little lives in our hands at Haven of Hope, it is an awesome comfort to know that God is remembering each of our babies right now. He is thinking of them and planning for and preparing for their futures. He remembers each one of our babies. 

Today, I am especially thankful that He is remembering Jeremiah. He is remembering Jeremiah. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Play time at the baby house

Just a few fun pictures of our little ones during outside time last week. Aren't they cuties?!





Sweet Boys

A jealous little girl

Sweet times

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Letters to Julia - Clothe Yourself with Compassion

Speaking blessings overs my baby girl. What a privilege. What a responsibility. 

I have been studying that, meditating on it, and trying to practice that responsibility in my everyday life. "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks," (Luke 6:45) so if the Word is not strong, alive and active in my heart, how will it flow easily from my mouth? And if you know me, you know that my mouth is almost always moving. So if it is not spilling out blessings over my daughter and pouring words of encouragement into her life, what will come out? That's a scary thought. How powerful are our words!! 

I found a little guide online awhile ago for simple prayers to speak over your child each day. It is a great spring board and gets my mind going in a direction of prayer to pray for Julia. 

Today, Compassion. "Therefore, as God's chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion...."


You are a dearly loved little girl. God has chosen you and He loves you greatly. I pray that you will hear His words and clothe yourself with compassion. 

You have such a sweet, special little heart and I love to watch you interact with other kids. You love to hug and kiss the babies. You like to help the aunties take care of the little ones. You like to play with the big babies and teach the little babies how to play. You have a heart that sees the needs of others. You have a heart that looks into another's eyes and sees their hurt, their pain, or their freight. (Yes, I am talking about Miah there!) 

I remember the first time we walked into Nairobi Children's Home to see David. You were just 19 months old. You were very clingy to me at that time, and very leery of strangers. You did not like crowds, not even crowds of children. Yet, that day, as we walked into the nursery, into a crowd of toddlers, you wiggled out of my arms, walked off ahead of me, into that room, and made a bee-line for David. I had not even noticed him yet and I wondered where you were going with such determination. A lady (the only one in the room full of almost 20 toddlers) was holding him in some blankets. You went right to him, and reached your tiny hand out towards his even tinier body and touched him. The lady holding him was so taken aback she didn't even stop you. He was an emaciated skeleton of transparent skin. He was three months old and weighted 3lbs, 7oz. To be truthfully honest, I was actually surprised that you recognized him as a baby. Yet, you stared at him with the softest eyes ever. You just looked up at me with confused eyes and I wept. I was weeping over this poor, lifeless baby, but also at an overwhelming love for you and your love for him. 

Then, you turned and walked away. Once again, I was surprised by your sudden independence. You walked right to a bed where a baby was lying. You reached your hand inside the bars, touched his arm and said, "toto." All of this right in the middle of your super clingly, "I-don't-want-to-talk-to-anyone," "don't-put-me-down" stage. You just looked into that crib with loving eyes. It was the bed I first found you in seven months before.

I knew after that visit to Nairobi Children's Home that your heart was full of compassion. You have a special relation to babies in need. I know that you will be able to use your experience of your early months, though you may not even remember it, to touch others' lives.

I pray that you will always clothe yourself with compassion. I pray that you will allow God's Holy Spirit to fill your heart all the days of your life. I pray that your love for other babies will never waiver or fade. May God dwell richly within you, and may He make His face shine upon you, and may you always show compassion to all of God's cherished children.

I love you, baby girl! 


Helping Eli blow bubbles

getting on the floor with Lizzy to play on her level

sharing your favorite book with your birth-cousin

taking a new friend to play

holding hands to take Lizzy on a walk

Yep, you're a special little girl!

And to everyone else - I promise my Letter to Julia will not always be so long! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Today at the Baby House

Big boys and babies....fun!

And our awesome staff had a great time, too.

Our Boys

We have some GREAT boys in our boys house! They spent the afternoon at the baby house, and we had a wonderful time with them. I wish you all could just hang out with them and get to know them. Each one of them is so unique and has such a special and fun personality. 


Age 17

Age 16

Age 15

Age 13

Age 12

Age 12

Age 8

Age 7

Let me know if you would like to sponsor one of these boys. We are looking for five more sponsors who can commit to $35 per month for one year. For such a relatively small cost, we are able to work together to completely change these boys' lives and give them a new hope for a future. We would love for you to be a part of that! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

School Days - Want to help?

We now have EIGHT boys in school! Not only in school, but now living in a house. A safe house. With a bed. And a mattress. Sounds pretty basic and simple, doesn't it? These boys think they are in heaven! They LOVE to show off their school and their beds. These simple things that are new to them. 

When Adam, my pastor from Trinity Vineyard in Cypress, TX, was here, we went to visit our boys. They were super excited to show off their school to us. There were only six of the boys with us at the time. 

Anyone interested in sponsoring one of our boys? It costs $35 a month to fully sponsor all living and school costs for the primary boys (equivalent to 8th grade and below) and $50 a month for our one secondary boy (high school). We need five more sponsors for our primary boys. If you are interested, please let me know. Stay tuned in the next few days - I will be posting about each of the boys, including their picture and a short bio.

Or, if you are interested in sponsoring the salary of one of our knitting mothers, I will be posting about that opportunity next week as well. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day....a few days late

Another crazy week in Kenya at HOH! Valentine's Day started off the week, taking Julia and I to court. It was a positive day for us as the judge advanced us to the next step! We will have a home study next week and will return to court for her decision on February 28th.

As soon as court was over, the fun began for us! While we were away, Auntie Jen and Auntie Susan started preparing for our Valentine's party at Haven of Hope. I came in just in time to do the fun and easy part of decorating! Thanks, girls!

We tried for a few Valentine's pictures, but you know how it can be with eight babies trying to sit for a picture! 

It is so great to be able to share special things with these little ones! What a blessing to have them with us. 

And for Nana....here was Julia's Valentine's morning. THANK YOU, NANA for making it special for her! She loves you and Papa SO much....and so do I! :-)

Auntie Jen also helped make our Valentine's/Court Day special by making Julia Valentine's heart shaped french toast for breakfast. Her favorite breakfast.

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