Monday, November 30, 2009

Switching Blog Address

I am switching blog address for two reasons:

1) Its a new season and direction in our lives and so I'll create a new/different blog in a new location.

2) The user ID that I created the adoption/missionary journey under is one that I rarely use, so I had to log in and out often - it was very inconvenient. This is the primary reason for the new blog. I will, no doubt, be updating it less frequently - we just don't have multiple significant things going on as we did in Haiti.

The new blog will be at:

See you there... (all the old posts are there too so if you want to see what we did, you don't have to switch between the two).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

General Update

Some highlights of our trip back and so far of our life back in the States:

  • Lou liked the plane rides and got to sit with the co-pilot (his hat says "Future Pilot").

  • Immigration for Lou was a little bit of a pain, but we got through without any major issues. A customs lady behind the desk was giving me as much attitude as she could - welcoming me back to the States.

  • My parents have warmly welcomed us into their home. They moved things around so that we could settle in better and it seems to be working well.

  • We went to the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells and had a very good time. Lou liked going down the big water slides and he would move his hands in a pinching motion the whole way down. I'd hold his hands so he wouldn't scratch himself. When we got to the end, he wanted to do it again. (He pooped his pants once in the waterpark...look out! Fortunately it was contained and not left floating.)

  • Tina and I went to Duluth for a much needed break. We stayed at Superior Shores (in Two Harbors) and had lots of time to think, analyze, and plan. We are looking at houses and I am looking at jobs, so we got a lot done to help us in these directions.

We have nothing planned but the usual Thanksgiving and Christmas things that we were not home for last year - we're looking for to seeing all of our family again!

Kayla misses her friends at the mission and has been emailing them back and forth. She found a friend at church that she missed and they exchanged information. It was fun to watch the reaction because her friend seemed to think that she would be gone forever!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Are Here...

Duluth (taken this morning from our room)

We will get back to the Twin Cities tomorrow afternoon. Many thanks to my mom and dad for watching the kids!!

I didn't get to post pictures and updates before the weekend like I thought... I should be able to get to it soon (I hope). We are enjoying seeing people we haven't seen in over a year and trying to get settled in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still Here

It is not my intent to be gone from this blog, but we took a little trip the early part of this week and got back yesterday. My computer also decided to stop connecting to the internet after I installed my free upgrade to Windows that throws a little monkey wrench in it (I have to get CDs for Vista to downgrade to that OS then try to reinstall Windows 7 again).

I'll get some pictures and some information on here by the end of the weekend (at the latest). Thank you for your comments, thoughts, and prayers! Things are going very well! Praise God!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

God is Good - We Made it Back!

We left yesterday at 7AM. After we prayed for our travel with the BHM missionaries for good travel, we had very, very good travel (thank you all!).

We were expecting to get to Minneapolis at 11:45PM, but barely caught the earlier flight that allowed us to get home at 8PM instead - a great blessing. Tina was feeling pretty ill and I was a little ill, too. We didn't eat enough I think. Anyway...

We are here and getting settled in. Lou liked the plane rides and I'll post some pictures in a little while.

PRAISE GOD!! Whoo-Hooo!! We are HOME!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Our nice lap dog, Oreo, is going to go to a new home Monday (Lord willing). The Livesay's hooked us up with someone who wanted her. She isn't really a lap dog, but I love making big dogs lap dogs (even our old great dane). I often have Oreo (full bred Lab) on my lap. She will make a good pet for someone - I have no doubts! We will miss her!

Just a Few

Only a few days left. We are mostly packed up and are anxious to leave. Lord willing, in a few days we'll be on our home turf. It'll be a long day, but worth it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November Anniversary

November marks the one-year anniversary of the school collapse (from my blog: Part I and Part II) that happened in Petionville. A memory, for me, that I will never forget. I continue to see buildings that look like they will be the next ones to fall down. It often reminds me of the graces and kindness of God that we simply pass by without notice.

Lord, forgive me for not recognizing all of your works and for neglecting to thank you and praise you!

Tina and I were just talking about how this adoption process could have continued to go much, much longer and things could have been much, much more difficult. God knows we are, perhaps, at our limits. :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Picture of the Kids

Here is a picture of our kiddos that was taken about 4-5 months ago.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Are Done With the Adoption!

We are officially done (assuming we make it through Customs in Miami)!

Nothing left (well, save for one $115 bill that our orphanage director owes us).

This is the end of the Adoption Journey paperwork process!

This is also the end of our Missionary Journey Part I (only the Lord knows if there will be a Part II).

Thank you for all that you have done in supporting us verbally in comments, financially in donations, and prayerfully in your prayers! We pray that God bless each and every one of you for what you have done for us in these journeys.

Monday, October 26, 2009

We Paid for the Visa!!

We paid for the visa ($400) and have to go pick it up tomorrow after 2:30PM!! We are DONE once we have it in our hands. The paperwork has ALL BEEN ACCEPTED and we have nothing left but to pick it up!! YA---HOOOO!!!

We'll be working on scheduling flights and determining how and when we'll be arriving in the States. We'll keep you updated - I'll post tomorrow PM after we have the visa in our hand (Lord willing!).

God is good!! It appears that His timing for us to head home is real soon!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Tina is much more excited than I am! I, personally, am calloused and perhaps a bit worn out, but:


They have asked us to bring the passport and the US$400 to the appointment, so Tina is making the assumption that everything is OK. She's probably right, but I won't have a near-permanent grin on my face until we have the visa done. There is still a possibility that they didn't like the paperwork and we have to resolve some issue, but let's pray and hope that isn't something that we'll have to experience.

God is good!

Trip Cancelled

It's raining in Cite Soleil, so he cancelled the film showing. We may go next week.

Cite Soleil

This afternoon and evening I am going somewhere I would not have thought I would ever go when I first got to Haiti. I am going with someone, Joel Trimble, and Cullie (my mechanic missionary friend) to the shanty town of Cite Soleil (click to read about the city - some things have improved since the writing of that Wikipedia website, so please don't read that and think that I am committing suicide because the adoption is not finished). We're not just going to the outskirts, but to the guts.

We have been meeting at Mr. Trimble's house on Sunday mornings to worship Our Lord. He has been showing a film that he made in his minstry and has invited me to go along. The film is basically a current-day, prodigal son story in Kreyol. Mr. Tremble goes to Cite Soleil with his SUV toting a decent-sized screen and projector. With a generator (there is very little electricity in the city) and the projector set up on the truck, he shows the film in the middle of the "street" - he has already scoped out the location and determined where to show the film. He has been going to various locations within Cite Soleil about once a week (usually Fridays) to show the film and has had much success - large crowds gather. After the film, he speaks to the people about the forgiving grace of God in His Son, Jesus, and invites people to come up for prayer if the Lord has called them to begin following Him. He has coordinated with over 100 pastors to followup with these folks.

For those who want a relationship with Jesus, a Haitian pastor will be available to them for the days, weeks, months and years afterwards. Things are a little different in Cite Soleil. Streets signs and addresses are pretty consistent throughout the downtown and larger cities, but here there are no addresses or street names, so for a pastor to know where a person lives in order to follow up with them takes a big long description of various landmarks in an crammed-living-space environment to find where they live.

We will have to be very careful - Joel is a coordinated guy and seems to have his things well planned out. I would like to bring my camera and take a couple shots, but I wouldn't want to make anyone upset or have it cause problems. I'll see what I can do to capture some memories on (digital) film. By the time we finish, it will be dark and pictures will not be a possibility.

Please pray that we are kept safe and that the films will have a great impact on those who view it. As always, we pray that we follow the Lord's guidance as we interact.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Post to Post, BCS

This is a post just to post. There is nothing going on with the adoption, we're sitting tight until mid/end next week when we'll put some effort to finding sources to help us push the visa through. Lord willing, that will help.

Boring Car Stuff...

We are selling a few vehicles here at the mission and I have been getting them in decent mechanical shape to sell. The one I worked on today was the Mitsubishi Montero. I had to replace two shocks, bushings, and the rear u-joint on the drive shaft. We may have buyer(s) for the Turbo Diesel Ford Ranger and the Mitsubishi Montero IO (smaller, less SUV-like SUV).

Not car related - I picked up a new Access database to work on. My shoulder has been hurting me for a few weeks now (muscle or ligament issue) and it will be nice to have a "desk job" for a little while to work on instead of being under cars/trucks and messing up my shoulder more (and banging my head - like I did today). This database is related the master classes held here at the mission (student, classes, grades, billing, etc...). It should make their administration operations more efficient because right now it is being managed in numerous Excel spreadsheets. Access allows for flexible reporting, too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Over and Over

I need to read this over and over today. I need it!

A Devotional Series by Charles H. Spurgeon

Evening Devotion
Monday, October 19, 2009

"God, my maker, who giveth songs in the night." {#Job 35:10}

Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest or sends home a loaded argosy. It is easy enough for an Aeolian harp to whisper music when the winds blow—the difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring. It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skilful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by—who sings from his heart. No man can make a song in the night of himself; he may attempt it, but he will find that a song in the night must be divinely inspired. Let all things go well, I can weave songs, fashioning them wherever I go out of the flowers that grow upon my path; but put me in a desert, where no green thing grows, and wherewith shall I frame a hymn of praise to God? How shall a mortal man make a crown for the Lord where no jewels are? Let but this voice be clear, and this body full of health, and I can sing God’s praise: silence my tongue, lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God’s high praises, unless he himself give me the song? No, it is not in man’s power to sing when all is adverse, unless an altar coal shall touch his lip. It was a divine song, which Habakkuk sang, when in the night he said, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Then, since our Maker gives songs in the night, let us wait upon him for the music. O thou chief musician, let us not remain songless because affliction is upon us, but tune thou our lips to the melody of thanksgiving. (

Monday, October 19, 2009

Retrospect: Graces

Shea commented on my last blog post and I wanted to publicly mention the graces that God has provided as we ourselves occasionally look back at the last 18.5 months.

We look at what we had and what we valued when it began: a hobby/race car, a 27' travel trailer, a large house, two full-time incomes with children in daycare and public school, etc... and see how God had worked on us to lead up to this adoption journey.

We think about how he changed our hearts to be more family-focused and not monetary-focused or thing-focused. Tina went from full-time work to part-time work to quiting work - when her full-time job was almost half of our income. She also started homeschooling. This allowed us to have more time overall which led to us thinking that we had much more time to offer to more children. Since I had a vasectomy (something I did when we weren't following the Lord with all of our heart) we couldn't have more of our own. That is something that I often times felt that I shouldn't have done, but in God's overall plan it makes a perfect real life story. We were forced to adopt if we wanted more children.

It then became a realization that we had more to offer than we were utilizing for God's glory. Helping out one of God's children, a disabled orphan, was something God put on our hearts to explore. As we (Tina mostly) explored the details, it became more clear that it was something that God wanted us to do as we discussed it.

Skipping some events, as we realized the poor condition of the orphanage and the poor physical conditional of the son we were in the process of adopting we began to think that if one of our biological children were in the situation that the child we were adopting was in, we would do whatever it took to be with them. And that's what we did.

"Whatever it took" meant that we needed to move to be with him. We sold 95% of our things I headed whole-heartedly in the direction that I felt the Lord was leading us.

Also at the same time and after being to Haiti once, God made me curious to check out mission work. I wanted to know what it was all about. This is a significant thing from the Lord as without the desire to check out mission work, we would have never landed where we are now. As tough as it is sometimes, being on the mission grounds has allowed us to live in Haiti with much more ease than if we had not checked out mission work. Here are some examples:

1) Being here at the mission has allowed us to live in Haiti without having to pay for housing.
2) The mission is set up with someone who goes shopping every day and can get us what we need. We do not have to do our own shopping (although sometimes it better if we did because we do not always get the right things or they may spend more than they should).
3) We have had the opportunity to borrow vehicles from the mission or the missionaries.

Those three things right there have allowed us an easier life as we live here in Haiti and they are related to time and money (a blessing to us from the Lord). Again, if it were not for the Lord giving me the thought of checking out mission work and being a missionary we would not have come here.

It has also allowed us to learn about mission work in ways that we would not have learned from a book or from listening to others talk - real life experiences are very valuable. We have seen good things from missionaries and bad things from missionaries. We see what things work and what things do not work. We have struggles in this area and have learned from those struggles.

Some of these struggles have helped us to realize the seasons that God gives us (people) for our lives. And that is our primary reason for the decision to leave the mission field when the adoption is over. There are other reasons that are significant, but our season of family is the primary one. If God calls us back to the mission field (where ever that may be), we hope that we are in His will and following Him.

As we struggle through the adoption taking longer than we expected and going through trials that we didn't anticipate, we realize that God has a plan for us in these things and that plan is not for our comfort/convenience or for our being glorified, but rather for His plan and for His glory.

These are some of the graces that the Lord has given us as it relates to the significant life/direction changing events. There are so many little graces that we have been given that go unmentioned on this blog. I hope that God is working through what I write on this blog to help others - whether it is relating to missions, the adoption process in Haiti, or however He would be pleased to use it.

God is good! All the time! He is so worthy of honor and praise and glory! How great is our God!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Perspective

We went to church this morning where we have been going the last 3-4 Sundays and there is an American lady there (most/all are Americans) who has a well-recognized orphanage. She has been there a long time. We talked to her about our situation and she thought based on what we told her that we may have a week or two left for the visa paperwork to be all sorted out. She has seen a lot the paperwork process and has been through a lot.

That is exactly what we were looking for when we called our orphanage director. We have an estimated time frame for how long it should take. So, now, we'll look forward to the week after this week for an answer. If we hear something before that time...GREAT! But now we have something to go by.

This information will help me BIG TIME in getting through this week!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reminders, Boots

These reminders seem to come up at just the right time.


Once again, Gerben was here at the mission helping out. He brought a friend of his as well. They did a bunch of things (mostly computer and network related) while they were here. It was for 5 weeks that they stayed and to me it felt like 2 weeks at the most. Gerben is a great guy to have around - a great blessing and change in pace. He would always ask us how things went with the adoption processes we were going through and seemed genuinely interested in what was going on.

He generously left his boots with me again (along with a beautiful "Holland" ceramic item and some good snack-like treats from across the pond). They are steel toed working boots and are exactly what I need. My old pair were also steel toed - I was starting to be able to see the steel from the outside and was losing support in them. Thank you Gerben for the blessing!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ya Gotta Love It...

So I called our orphanage director just now to try to understand the process further and to see what she knows. I was completely and absolutely (without it being a judgement call) calm and simply asked a couple questions about paperwork -trying to learn about the system (that's what I said: that I was trying to learn).

After my first question, she started yelling in the phone and in my ear. She didn't listen to what I was asking and rather thought I was asking a question about something else. I tried to talk over her yelling over me as I talked and it didn't help. She seemed defensive.

She ended the call after one minute by taking the Lord's name in vain and hanging up on me.

Sometimes I think this process would be easier to go through if we were blinded by the people moving the paperwork. Coming here has given us sight into the way things operate without someone else's colored glasses.

The biggest problem here is that there appears to be little standardization. I attempted to call and find out from a "professional" what the process is that our paperwork goes through. I am trying to set my own expectations based on what needs to be done. If I am looking at other peoples' cases and am not seeing the whole picture, I want to know where I am wrong in my thinking. My attempt to call the "professional" ended up in being hung up on.

From what we can read and understand (I was trying to learn more by calling the orphanage director), we may have 60 days to go through the "administrative process" that is required before we get the visa. This may be due to the fact that we filed under the "Orphans First" program which is/was a pilot program to speed up the adoption process. Ironic isn't it.

Boring Car Stuff...

I don't know about you, but I need a commerical break from the adoption. I got the Toyota transmission finished a day or two ago and it went out today. If I did everything right, it should come back on its own power. I have been messing with a lot of signal and brake lights lately too because we have to get the annual licenses renewed. These roads are rough! (Is it obvious that I am just reaching for things to say here... A boring commerical no doubt.) I need to go pound sand for a little while.

From the US Embassy - Haiti website

"After a petition to adopt a child is approved by USCIS [approved Sept. 19, 2009], the agent in Haiti working with the adopting parents [our orphanage director] should e-mail the Consular Section at to schedule an appointment with the Adoptions Unit. After all requirements are fulfilled under Haitian and American law [they have to see that we have done all that we should have], the immigrant visa is generally issued on the following business day."


Things that we are told change all the time. We were told at one point to push for a visa appointment. I was just told over the phone minutes ago (by the same person) that now we have to wait because our child is from a town that is an hour away. They have to verify the paperwork by apparently going to his town to check the paperwork out. What the US Embassy - Haiti website says they are doing is not what they are actually doing.

This is very confusing. They have all of the original paperwork with stamps, signatures, and impressed stamps (not just ink stamps). What are those things worth if they have to go there and check things out anyway? All of that time and effort in getting that original paperwork and going through those steps was wasted because they have to go there and check it all out anyway. This is all new to us - and apparently new to everyone else who can get out in 2-3 days.

I continue to struggle (and am failing) with seeing past the circumstances that cause our delays to see that God is controlling the timing of when we leave Haiti for reasons I may never know. Perhaps I am worn out. That is no excuse, however - I need to persevere better. I am a great example of the love of Christ - why would He continue to put up with me complaining (and continue to forgive me) if He didn't love me. I am much, much less forgiving when the kids do the same thing over and over after being told over and over.

I have so many lessons to learn. The older I get the more I have to learn.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Visa Appointment?

I may have made it worse for us (we are learning as we go here). I was checking out others' time frames for adopting from Haiti (via blog searching) and I came across enough people with dates to know that we should have a visa appointment date by now (if not actually have the visa in our hands by now).

Again, God is continuing to teach us patience and that His timing prevails. We do not always trust Him (and His timing) - this is one of our sins (just one of them).

I sent an email to the orphanage director to find out when she will be back in Haiti. It turns out that there is a place in Haiti that sounds like Germany. She didn't leave the country. She was back last Sunday. She replied promptly and asked about the visa. I told her that we have heard nothing and that I would like to see if she can do something to help. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Email and Non-Adoption-related

We may be setting ourselves up for disappointment, but we are expecting an email today with the date of the appointment to get the visa. We are basing this timing off of the other blogs that we follow. If we are in alignment with them, we'll know about the appointment today and have the appointment Friday, but this is Haiti after all. We are looking forward to planning our entrance into the States!


The kids are doing well. Lou is doing great with going potty in the toilet. The only problem is when he gets up in the morning. He likes to lay there and wait for us to guess when he is up. During that time, he pees in his diaper. If we wake him up he is dry (most of the time) and once in a while he will be dry on his own. He is fully capable of waiting or calling us - he just doesn't want to.

Kayla and Carter are doing well. They have had the opportunity to manage themselves a lot lately as we have gone down with Lou to take care of the adoption things. They have mostly successes, but will sometimes do your basic kid stuff and mess things up. They are really great kids and help out quite a bit.

Boring car stuff

For the last two weeks, I have been working on rebuilding the transmission in the old Toyota that I rebuilt last year. At that time we had replaced a few parts -mostly related to the 2-3 synchronizer and this time, the 3-4 synchronizer went bad. It caused the tranny to eat a few of it's own pieces. I am at the point now where today we'll be putting it in (I hope to get a few good Haitian guys to help).

We are fixing up a few of our 12+ cars to sell them. This old Toyota is one of them (tranny, front differential, locking hubs, tail lights, etc...). Pastor Rob also is looking to get rid of the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Montero, Mitsubishi Montero IO and the two US-based Nissan Pathfinders.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We dropped off the papers at the Embassy this morning. We are now going to wait for an email regarding when our visa appointment is. We hope it will be by the end of the week, but if you have been following our adoption journey long things have not usually gone as we hope. We'll keep you updated...

I'll try to have some BCS this afternoon.

Monday, October 12, 2009


He does not have TB!!!

We got there at about 6:30. By about 7:30 we got a little scare - they couldn't find the xray. By about 9:30 they had found it and had it in our hands. We are thankful to the Lord for getting us through this part! Thank you all for your prayers of strength and for getting through this TB testing.

We are very happy! We will definitely feel like it is finished after we get this last step started: the visa.

We stopped by the US Embassy to set up an appointment (because you cannot call or email to get an appointment) and they were not open. :-( So we'll head down there again in the morning and try to set up an appointment. Tina thinks we should hang out and wait for them to do the appointment that day, but I don't think that is realistic. It would be nice, but not realistic.

Again, thank you all for your prayers!