Randy’s sister Julie & Cindy, Grammy and MacKenzie, traveled to Ethiopia to bring newly-adopted Ermias home. Ever the adventurer, Julie set her mind to tracking down Daniel’s and David’s older sister Tigist. Despite having virtually no shared language or contact information other than “somewhere in or near Adama,” they set out. Naturally, they had no problem locating her and arranging to meet her at a hotel with WiFi. Those who know Julie understand.
It was time to introduce Tigist to Skype and to give her a first-hand visual look at how her brothers are doing! What an amazing time we had (although it was about 2:00 in the morning our time on a school day). The only thing that could have made it better would be if the boys could communicate in Amharic which, unfortunately, they don’t remember. But with Julie’s host as a translator, all the messages got through just fine. There were plenty of tears on both continents as we visited. Tigist had never heard of Skype and was probably wondering how we fit her brothers into that little thing called an iPad.
We also got to see Tigist’s son Naol. What an adorable little boy! Tigist is doing well, and showed our family to her home. There, they met her husband and brother (yes, that makes him Daniel’s & David’s half-brother also). Additionally, Julie was able to take pictures of some of Tigist’s pictures. So we now have baby pictures!!! And pictures of the boys’ mother and father. This visit was such a blessing to all of us; we can’t thank you enough, Julie (and the rest of the traveling crew).
We posted a few of the pictures. Click on the one shown and take your time enjoying these pictures. We still look at them often.
We love getting together with friends in a relaxed setting – typically at our home. We enjoyed a nice, (relatively) quiet evening with our friends, Andrew and Gretchen and their five kids. All the kids enjoyed themselves, and I think all the parents appreciated a bit of relative down time. We took a few pictures; click on the one shown to see some more. Sary-Jo especially enjoyed having some little girls in the house for a while.
The boys’ annual birthday party / fundraiser was held at Bradley Lake Park. What amazing weather! It was a beautiful day and many friends joined us for the event. As usual, the kids spent the bulk of the time playing soccer and other active games, while the parents visited with each other and enjoyed the food. We continued the tradition of inviting our family and friends to honor Daniel and David by contributing to the Adoption Ministry campaign. Funds used go to support the orphanage in Ethiopia. We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and support, with the financial contribution exceeding $1,500! Thank you.
The party did experience one mishap, with Andrew on the receiving end of a large bump from a collision with David. The size of the bump gave us serious concern for a while, but he recovered nicely.
Click on the picture to see more.
Summer flew by and, right on schedule, the new school year started! This year promises to bring much excitement and many challenges for Daniel as he begins Junior High. Adjusting to a routine with six classes per day is of particular concern to his parents. On the other hand, Aylen Junior High has a great staff and also brings opportunities for new sports adventures. David is in 5th grade at Karshner Elementary and he will have many leadership opportunities this year. We are very excited for both boys!
One of the things we have wanted to do with Daniel & David is to take them on a Ferry. We essentially needed two things to come together – great weather and time on the calendar. Despite popular perception, the weather around here cooperates quite often; our family schedule, on the other hand… not so much.
We finally got the opportunity and drove to Bremerton so we could ride to Seattle. Approaching Seattle from the water is such a beautiful experience. The boys enjoyed it too. Click on the picture so see a few others.
We had an exchange student this summer. We had taken a few years off from that practice, but we thought the boys would be ready to learn from this experience. Naoto came from Japan. As with many other Japanese boys, he loves baseball as much as Daniel and David love soccer. At 13, he was our youngest exchange student ever. He did not have a lot of experience with English before his arrival, and it caused him to have to work very hard to communicate. While he was here, we visited Joe & Karla, had the Edgewood Reunion, went to a Mariners game, and generally lived life in our normal way. We’re glad he stayed with us, and I’m sure we’ll host more students in the future.
Click the photo to see more.
We have some awesome friends! One such couple is Don and Kathleen, who open their beautiful lakefront home to a large group every July 4th. They send out an email invitation that includes, “friends we haven’t met yet” in those who are invited. This year Randy’s parents joined us at the lake. It was a great day so the boys spent some time in the water, we played various games, and then enjoyed a spectacular fireworks show.
Above all else, our prayer for the boys has always been that they will follow the Lord their whole lives. When we first adopted them, we were thrilled to learn that they had both accepted Jesus as savior and lord of their lives. We quickly became aware that they were quite familiar with the Bible. Both have demonstrated wisdom – Daniel to a very impressive degree – and an ability to apply Biblical principles to every day life.
So it was really not a huge surprise when they expressed interest in being baptized. But it was a huge joy! Our friend and pastor, Paul Moffett, performed the baptisms. Paul wrote one of our reference letters leading up to adoption, so it was a special treat all around. As he spoke with the boys, he mentioned our personal history as well as the story of the Ethiopian official mentioned in the book of Acts. Ethiopia was one of the earliest places to receive the gospel, so we think of our boys as spiritual descendants of that man.