Seven Months Home

I was just reflecting today on all that has changed in the past seven months…well, I can go back even further and say the past year. This time last year, we had learned on Spring Break that there was a mistake in some paperwork which ended in a month-long delay, followed by very bad news in early summer that Orlanka would have to stay in Haiti another 3 months for a TB test. Multiple trips, multiple phone calls to doctors, and multiple prayers finally got our girls, Eva Orlanka and Zoe Woodjina, HOME at last. Our Gotcha Day was August 31st and we landed in Kentucky on September 2nd. Leaving the creche with them that day was just as sweet as I ever had dreamt it would be. They were overjoyed…no more goodbyes.

In seven months, we have definitely had joy but we’ve also definitely had sorrow. One child more than the other really misses the people she loved in Haiti (as expected). There is insecurity at times and lots of need for gentleness and affection, which sometimes in my rush to teach and take care of four kids I’m sad to say I have to be reminded of. Stories and memories come to their minds often about their life before us, and I am recording those. I often ask them to draw pictures and try to remember details. We are blessed they have each other, so they’ll never lose those precious pieces of their identity.  Nighttimes can be hard sometimes; I still sit with them until they fall asleep (thank you, my friend Melatonin!) At first, one child complained that at the orphanage the nanny would sleep on the floor of the kids’ bedroom, so she liked it better there. (I kind of wish I had a picture of my face at that moment. It would be funny now.) We definitely work through strategies for fear at times, and those times are becoming less often. There have been a few instances where they had an idea in their minds of how something would be, only to find out it’s not–such as ice cream. They just recently got to where they can actually eat it. Before, it was too cold, and it wasn’t purple and sparkly like they had seen in pictures (darn Lisa Frank)! They can definitely have their picky moments, their complaining moments, and their unreasonable moments, like all kids.

But the joys…wow. These girls in themselves are an absolute joy. They love to go, they’re also happy to stay. They are quick to obey and want to get along well with their sisters. They have enjoyed every friend we’ve gotten together with and LOVE their grandparents (how could they not though?) They are thankful and they are loving. I didn’t share this with many people before they came home, but the personality and behavior of one of our girls (while living in the creche) was beyond challenging. I was truly worried about how her moods would affect our home. She is honestly the most stable and easy going person in this crazy household!! It is amazing and God gave me a wonderful surprise in her!! They love to learn, and oh how they love their Daddy. One day when I was in the other room, I heard Eva say to Jack (my husband, her dad), “I said to God, ‘God, will you give me a Daddy?’ And He DID!” We all cried…imagining her praying that prayer, the joy of it now answered. Yes, God does settle the lonely in families; yes, He does hear their cry!!

I remember when the girls first came they were so fascinated with/we kept running out of:

Toilet paper

Eggs (they would eat 4 or 5 at a sitting, and 2 or 3 a couple hours later!)



Barbecue (yes, the meat, the sauce, anything bbq related!!)

These things have calmed down now. They still always want to know what we’re having for each meal, and always want to know if they can have more (long before they’re done with what they have). We’ve finally figured out how to handle some of the more difficult “meal issues” and they only overeat pizza and spaghetti (understandable?!) They do so well with rewards, chores, homeschool, imaginative play, asking with respect, and even talking about their feelings and sharing their problems. Their ability to speak English has increased exponentially, and most sentences they say are about 50/50 Kreyol/English. I’ll end this blog today with two English sentences said to me recently. The first is so completely precious, it’s one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me:

Eva (6): “Mom, your face, my present.” (I know!!! Heart melted!!!)

And another, sweet in its own way:

Zoe (5): “Mom, I coming, but I not want to bring my fart to you.”


Thanks for journeying with us. There are lots of ups and downs, just like with any family, but we are certainly learning to love and lean on Jesus and therefore are very, very blessed. 🙂





20140720-165831-61111549.jpgApproximately fourteen years ago, after weeks of storying through the Bible with several friends in my village, Dialakorobougou…

my friend, Mamu Coulibaly, heard the story of Jesus for the first time.

She was probably about 30 years old and had 6 kids. She had probably heard the name of Jesus because He is mentioned in the Muslim religion, but she had never heard that there was a way to have her sins washed away. She didn’t know that Creator God wanted a relationship with her and even created her for that very purpose. When she heard what Jesus did and why He did it, she told me she believed and asked how to start that relationship. Within a week or so, she came to my house and repeated a prayer with me; we talked about how to cultivate that new relationship with Someone you couldn’t see, and then I realized, we hadn’t made it past the crucifixion story!

Really, without thinking much of it, I got out my Bambara Bible and pictures and began telling her the story of the Jesus’s resurrection. I will never forget her reaction as long as I live! It was SO funny. As most missionaries can probably commiserate with, for a few moments in the story I wasn’t even sure if she was paying attention, but she apparently was because as soon as I said that after three days in the tomb, Jesus rose from the dead and walked around talking to people, she looked up at me like I had just pulled a practical joke on her. She kept shaking her head and kind of laughing, she kept saying ,”No, no, Safiatu…” I showed her the Bible, even though she was not literate, to point out that if it’s in here it’s true! I’ll never forget that moment.

That was July 20, 2000. Four of her children also became believers shortly after.

Sadly, when I left due to health issues at the end of October 2000, I wasn’t able to keep in touch. I had a missionary bring them some letters and wedding pictures for awhile but as the team disbursed, I had no connection. The address for Mamu would look something like this: Mamu Coulibaly (the equivalent of Sue Jones), Dialakorobougou, Mali, West Africa. No post office out there in the bush, no street name or house number. That makes me sad but it is wonderful to know I will indeed see her again someday.

“When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!”



Sister Bridge 2013

I am SO excited!

This year, our third year, we have a Leadership Team of seven ladies who will be running Sister Bridge.

Early in October we will be sorting and pricing items that are currently on their way from around the world…Card Sets from India, lovely African material bags and aprons and more from Swaziland, and handmade paper beaded jewelry from Indonesia. October, November, and December we will be branching out all over Kentucky to bring these items to women who would like to purchase and support their “sisters” in third world countries. 100% of the money goes to the ladies who created these beautiful items!

I will be posting pictures and information about parties here on and on our Sister Bridge Facebook page, so make sure you stay in touch if you would like to be a part!