Thursday, July 22, 2010


Emma just continues to amaze me. Our lives have been so unpredictable for the last 5 months yet she has continued to be a smiley, happy, agreeable kid.

She was so excited yesterday when her new passport book arrived in the mail. She has a Chinese passport that she enjoys looking at once in awhile with her special China things. We also had a US passport card for her because we used to travel through Canada a lot to see my brother in Rochester, NY. Now that we are moving to Rwanda, she needed to have a passport book. When we went to get her picture taken, she was really excited. She has seen our blue passports lots of times and couldn't wait to get her own. She stood really still and said, "fuzzy pickles!" Everyone in the post office cracked up.

When we got the mail and pulled out her blue passport, she got a huge smile on her face and said, "let's go to Africa!!" She talks about it all the time. She really is excited to go. We have been talking about pre-school. And she says that she is "going to teach the babies about science." So funny! What an amazing kid we have. We are so blessed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So the packing situation is beginning to stress me out. We are allowed 6 bags free of charge at 50lbs each. It is $200 per bag for each additional 50lb bag. Because this is our first flight to Rwanda, we are allowing ourselves 9 bags. We figured that because we are just getting settled and we don't know what exactly to expect, we will take a bit more. When we return next summer, we will just take the 6 bags we are allowed for free. This time we need to take a lot of extra things like anti-bug mattress covers and pillowcases, books (that is a HUGE part of the weight problem,) some toys for Emma, clothes, sheets, towels, etc. These are all things that you have to take the first time there.

When you think about flying, you think 9 bags Holy Cow! That is so much room. But when you think about the fact that you are moving to another country with a 3 year old it is so hard. The last time we moved we had a 20' uhaul! Now we have 9 suitcases and 6 carry-ons. We have already sold just about everything we own. It is so hard to look at the house and think that I still have so much to try to fit into the suitcases. I have filled 8 bags to just below 50 lbs each. There is no way that I'm going to fit the rest of our clothes, dvds, shoes and a couple of Emma's stuffed animals into that bag. I am pretty much going to have to start over and eliminate more items. 2 suitcases are full of toiletries and food items for several months. We were told that things are lower quality and more expensive so we should bring stuff with us.

In the Bible, it talks about leaving everything behind and going where God calls you. We are trying to do that. The absence of materialism is one of the things that draws us to Africa. We don't want our children to grow up with a sense of entitlement. We want them to serve others first. I guess this is the first step toward that.

So, hopefuly Wednesday will be the day that the puzzle is solved. I think we are going to have to eliminate some of the mac and cheese and brownie mixes. Maybe just the mac and cheese. I'm really going to need a good brownie by the time we get there!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Scotland Revisited

Two weeks from today we leave LAX for Rwanda. I can't believe how fast this week has flown by. I must say that the highlight of my week was attending Coleman and Dayna's wedding. Five years ago, Coleman was a part of a missions team to Scotland that Matt and I led. Several of the students from that trip were able to attend the wedding. It was 5 years ago Saturday that we were chasing Tiger Woods around The Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. It made me think of all that we have been through in 5 years. Infertility, moving to Michigan, adopting Emma from China, Matt completing his Masters of Divinity, deciding to adopt a son, moving back to CA and now our huge move to Rwanda. The students have graduated high school and some of them college. Two are now married and one has 2 children of her own. It just amazes me that I can get together with this incredible group of people and feel like we have never been apart. They have become more than students in our youth group to me. They are truly my friends. I am better for having them in my life and I hope that I have had the same impact on their lives.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Nation of Children

65% of Rwanda's population is under the age of 25. The genocide that took place in 1994 pretty much wiped out an entire generation of Rwandans. That, along with HIV/AIDS, has left a nation of grandparents raising grandchildren. These children need first-Love and second-Education. We hope to be a small part of the healing process that is taking place there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Water, Bugs and Shots

Young girl carrying water home from the river.
The taller building on the top to the hill is the church. KICS is located right next to it. We think that our home will be one of these houses.

This morning we found out that we need to take a water filtration system for the house. It is $200. This seems like a lot but when you consider that 1.5 liters of bottled water costs about $8 US. We also found out that we need to take anti-bug mattress covers and pillow cases. I don't even want to ask! So, our 6 suitcases are filling up quickly.

We got our yellow fever vaccinations this afternoon. Emma was such a champ. She said that she wanted to go first so that Mommy and Daddy would be brave and not scared. She really did an she did awesome! The nurses loved her...of course.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What a Week!

Monday was our 7th Anniversary. Matt's brother, David, offered to take Emma for the day so that we could spend the day alone. What a gift! We saw Toy Story 3 (with our free passes) in the morning. We both cried. Loved it! Then went to PF Chang's for lunch. Loved it! Then went to Ikea to buy some fun things for our new home in Kigali. Loved it! Then went to Coldstone for dinner. Loved it! What a super day!

Tuesday I was up bright and early making phone calls. I ordered copies of our medical records to take with us. Made appointments for our Yellow Fever and Hep A vaccinations. FYI to anyone adopting from Rwanda-you need a Yellow Fever vaccination card to get off the plane in Kigali. They are pricey. $450 for all 3 of us! We were also able to get a Passport appointment that morning to expedite Emma's passport book. We should get it back within 2 weeks. We also spent most of Tuesday sending out support letters. We need to raise about $1800/month to cover living expenses/travel/Emma's preschool, etc.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent sorting boxes of everything we own. We rented a 17' Uhaul and moved everything to Matt's parents' church in Escondido for the yard sale. Friday and Saturday we spent selling pretty much everything that we own. We were able to raise $2200! We will be keeping a 5x10 storage unit in town to keep some special things in while we are living in Africa.

Next week is the HUGE task of narrowing things down to 6 suitcases of 50lbs each! Any additional bags are $200 each. We are probably going to end up paying for at least 1 additional bag. We think it will be cheaper to just check the extra bag instead of trying to ship things over or pay huge amounts of money for things there. We have been told that children's books are hard to find and when you do find them they are really expensive. Anyone who knows Emma knows that books are her favorite thing. So, we will be taking a secret stash of new books to pull out over the next 10 months...puzzles, too!

Our flights are booked! We are flying out early on August 2 from LAX. We plan to go up to LA on August 1 and stay near the airport because Matt's dad is having surgery on the 2nd. We will fly from LA to DC to Brussels and then finally to Kigali. I think it is 21 hours our actual air time not counting the layovers and time changes.

Please continue to pray for our support to come in and for our car to sell. We don't want to have to continue to cover a car payment while we are not even using it. Plus, it is more support that will need to be raised each month if it doesn't sell. Those are the 2 big things right now.

But again, God is in control!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Answer!

Over the past year, I have often asked myself and God why he put another adoption and Rwanda on our hearts. Why were we given the amazing gift of funds a year ago for another adoption only to have to put everything on hold for a year? Why did we both immediately feel like our son was in Rwanda a year ago? Why have we gone through so much change and waiting for the last 5 months?

I now have the answer...

For the past several months, Matt has had his resume posted on the Mission Teach website. This is a site that is used by international Christian schools to find teachers. We have been turning down jobs in Columbia, Belize, Indonesia, etc. One day I was on the site checking to see if anything new had posted. I noticed that a school in Kigali was looking for a Math/Bible teacher. I looked up the school and found that you didn't have to teach Math you could just teach Bible. So, I sent the link to Matt and told him that he should apply. I can guarantee you that if we were not already in love with Rwanda and knew that our son was there, I would never have clicked on the job. I don't even think I would have known that Kigali was in Rwanda over a year ago.

Kigali International Community School,, first serves children of missionaries and humanitarian aid workers however most of the high school students are Rwandan. There are 34 nationalities represented at the school. There is even another teacher with 2 little girls from China. One is the same age as Emma.

After a couple of weeks of emailing and interviewing, Matt and I have both been offered jobs at that school! We are so thrilled! Matt will be teaching Bible, US History, World History and be the Chaplain. I will be working part time while Emma is in preschool at the church next door. I will be the Guidance Counselor focusing on Career/College Counseling. This is so perfect for me because while at Cornerstone University I worked with the international students. I am so excited to work with Rwandan students. Most of the students go to university in the States or the UK.

I am also really excited to be a resource for adoptive families. I hope to be able to help them with logistical things and answer questions about the city and orphanage. I would love to volunteer there once we get settled. How incredible that we will be able to live in Jack's city?!

When we told Emma that we are moving to Africa, she said "great...where the hippos live!"

We will be provided with a 3 bedroom fully furnished home, insurance and 1/2 of our flights will be covered. We do need to raise support for the rest of travel/moving as well as about $2000 a month for living expenses, Emma's preschool, travel, etc. If you feel led to support us monthly or with a special gift for travel, we will have details in the next few days. We are still working that out with the church.

Please pray that the finances come together quickly. We need to be in Kigali on August 2! That is one month from today! We need to sell our car, pretty much everything we own really, get Emma's passport processed, get vaccinations, and raise support.

God is the owner of all things and he owns this, too. He will move this financial mountain.