Saturday, February 26, 2011


OK,last night we watched another sweet child come home from Ethiopia to America. We enjoyed some Ethiopian food from Abay (that Mamo devoured and stuffed his tummy full) and we talked with some REAL Pillars of the Nashville adoption scene. Ya know... mom's that have done this over and over and are in my mind professionals when it comes to soliciting parenting advice, cause you know you can't do this on your own! They are adoption advocates, great mama's and daddy's and down right saviors for so many Orphans in this world.. and I started thinking....

What if we had not been given that Living a Better Story Packet at our church from Cliff Wright? What if I hadn't pushed my family out of their comfort zone to consider adoption? What if I hadn't heard the Lord tell me to go all the way to Africa on a mission trip..and take my son? What if I hadn't seen sweet Mamo that 5th day at the Resurrection orphanage we hadn't planned on visiting according to our itinerary. And what IF I had listened to my heart that was shutting down the night before when we went to bed... I had started thinking this was too much to see, to much to process, that to adopt would be TOO HARD to do... especially all the way to Africa...and then the next day we met Mamo.


A friend posted this on her facebook this week (read below).... Sweet Cherrie Cornish.. who is an AMAZING woman of God that seeks his glory ... and is living a live SERVING others in Africa..and in America....

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." ~David Platt

And then I started thinking... If my son and I hadn't gone on the Mission trip with Ordinary Hero I wonder if we would have adopted... We were hearing the calling to do so, but I wonder if we really would have? I think many of you had also watched a movie, read a book or were inspired by someone or someones story to do more... maybe you heard a whisper to do something you were being called to do and you didn't... and felt a stirring in your heart to do more, give more,love more... I watched The Blind Side in December 2 years ago and had felt a stirring then to do more, but had not acted upon it...I balled like a baby... and it wasn't the regular cry but the kind that hurt my heart...I knew we were supposed to do more... As I watched that movie, I thought we could totally do what Sandra Bullocks character was doing for a child like this, yet I didn't...I just went on with our normal life activities..Now I did think about it a lot, but that was it. I just wonder how many of us miss those moments when GOD is truly speaking to us. Are we REALLY listening to him or all the other distractions in this world?

Fast forward 6 months....Going to Ethiopia and SEEING the NEED was very OVERWHELMING for my son and I, and one thing I can tell you is that once YOU see and FEEL NEED like that, it does make it harder to just go on about your day. I have blogged about it many times, but I truly LONG for Ethiopia. I miss it A LOT. So does my son. Philip does too. My daughter has been so influenced by what she has heard from us and seen in pictures, that she chose a Ministry in Africa to promote awareness though her school Service Project! People really need to see HOW THE REST OF THE WORLD LIVES... We are Blessed beyond measure to have what we have living in this GREAT country.

So if I could share ONE thing that I learned through this whole journey is that he has called us to all nations... to SEE, to LOVE, to HELP. Not just to wonder about the other Nations...but to GO SEE THEM...

A question I had when I started thinking about going on a Mission Trip was WHERE DO I START? Thanks to google, this is what I found! So how does one find out about mission opportunities? Well, some churches offer them... Ordinary Hero is going on another one this summer( (through Visiting Orphans) (their trip is full, but they have started a waiting list, and they just MIGHT open a second trip... so jump on their list). VISITING ORPHANS is an amazing ministry that offers Mission Trips and they go ALL OVER the WORLD! Haiti and Costa Rica are closer and may suit some of you....They also go to AFRICA and so many other places! There is soo much need, so check out their website and think about doing something different this summer! GO! GO! GO!It is an adventure for sure, and so worth it! You will see things that are unimaginable and you will feel love like you have never felt... That trip opened a new place in my heart and showed me a different type of love that I had never felt. Loving those who desperately NEED love and long for LOVE is one of the most beautiful types of loving I think that you can do. What you do with what you see upon your return trip may look differently than our journey, but it will be life changing I promise! I am telling you, going on one of these trips will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and your perspective of what you have and what you think you need! Change your heart for a child who LONGS to be played with, to be told that they are beautiful, that they are special and teach them about Jesus. Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to love and to be charitable and to spread the Gospel. He tells us over and over in scripture to make disciples of all Nations... He tells us to go to other Nations so we can first hand see the NEED so that we may RESPOND to what we see that is not just....

Why not do something different this summer... ditch the beach trip and GO GIVE SOME LOVE to someone who DESPERATELY DESIRES it! You will change their life and you just might change YOURS!

There are 163+Million Orphans in this world that need to feel loved... GOT LOVE to share?

Click here for the Visiting Orphans Mission trips...check it out!

...and of the greatest of these is LOVE..

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ordinary Hero Photo Shoot and a Payne Family Blessings Rain Boot Drive!

Well, Mamo and I were invited to our very FIRST photo shoot yesterday by our friend Kelly Putty with Ordinary Hero! She has some new duds and needed some models to show off her new line! She is such an AMAZING woman! Ordinary Hero is the Ministry in which Robby and I traveled with last year on our Mission Trip to Africa. Robby and I met Mamo on our 5th day of that trip last July! It is so surreal that 8 months later our newest son from Ethiopia and I are now modeling t-shirts for Ordinary Hero in America. :)

I wasn't sure how Mamo would do at the photo shoot, so I brought chocolate and cupcakes along for bribery!!! I was hoping they at least got a few good shots of him and then I saw this one on FACEBOOK this morning!

I know a mama is partial... But isn't he a CUTIE???

Thanks again Kelly.. We had a BLAST!!!

Ordinary Hero is about to kickoff (hopefully March) a way to help those of you that are fundraising for an Adoption or for those of you who are interested in going on a Mission Trip! So stay tuned... You can check out more information on the OH blog site and what information they will need from you! We can ALL be an Ordinary Hero! :)

Ordinary Hero is going back to Ethiopia this summer (their trip is already full; however they are contemplating another trip, so if you are interested I would strongly suggest to jump on their waiting list!). It was such an AMAZING, LIFE-CHANGING trip for both my son Robby, myself, and ultimately for our entire family. My heart STILL yearns for Ethiopia... and I mean it; I think about it everyday! I can't go back THIS year, but I desperately want to be a part of this team and help Ordinary Hero help as many of those in Ethiopia! Sooo....

Our family has decided to launch a RAIN BOOT DRIVE and we want to send the boots we collect with the Ordinary Hero team when they travel to Ethiopia this summer!!! Our goal is to collect 50 pairs of rain boots! (Any color, any size!) There are little ones and big ones that NEED these boots! They can be new or used! There are so many people that have sooo little there and our hand me downs would spread so much JOY to the kids in Ethiopia! The trip is in July and it is right SMACK DAB in the middle of their rainy season and it is cool and MUDDY, MUDDY! The entire time I was there I kept thinking about my rain boots that were sitting on my back porch, wishing that I had them with me! So, we started thinking... how nice it would be for the kids to be able to keep their feet dry?

I know lots of y'all are starting to Spring clean and Target is getting in all of their new CUTE Spring line of RAIN BOOTS... so here is what I am asking... If your child's rain boots are too small so its time to get a new pair...or if you just happen to buy a new pair because you see something you like better....could we please
have your old ones??? or maybe you are out shopping and find a really good sale on rain boots and you would like to donate to our cause...would you pick up an extra pair? Just keep it in mind as your kids are growing and when you are out shopping! I had placed this idea of facebook a while back and look what we already have?

So we have 4 pairs of girlie RAIN BOOTS ..and I have had lots of you
tell me that you have boots for us, so let's figure out a way to get them over to us! You can ship them to us or I am happy to meet you somewhere! Thanks so much to those of you who have already sent me your RAIN boots! The kids in Africa will LOVE them, and I'm telling have these during their rainy season will be such a blessing!

Here is the need that we saw over and over and over and over on this trip. This is WHY we cant forget what we saw and why our family is choosing to hold this RAIN BOOT DRIVE!

The need here is GREAT. Can you help?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saturday's Homecoming!

We can't wait to see the expression on Mamo's face on Saturday at 2:45!!!! It will be PRICELESS!!!!!

We will be heading to the airport to WELCOME HOME the GREEN family of 7!!! :)

3 of the kiddos FROM the ORPHANAGE where Mamo stayed are coming to Live HERE in Franklin, TN! :) We have become very good friends with The Green Family and we have spent time with all 3 of there kiddos in Ethiopia while we were there on our court and Embassy trip! Robby and I met their twins (age 7)all the way back in July when we were on the Mission trip with Ordinary Hero! They arrived to the orphanage the same day as Mamo! All 5 of the Payne's will be at the airport waiting to see 3 of those BEAUTIFUL children (and Brian and Gaitlin) get off that plane!

We have told Mamo they are coming... but he doesn't quite get it. We saw a plane the other day and he said COME TO AMERICA (then he rattled off a bunch of his friends names!!!) So cute! I know he will REALLY get it when they WALK out of that airport! Can you imagine his face? They will be a reminder to him of Ethiopia, his orphanage and his language. They were his FRIENDS at his orphanage! Oh, how I cant wait to hug those kiddos necks! I still can't believe they are coming to our backyard! Its really AMAZING! I LOVE how God works!

There are more kiddos coming too! LOTS more friends coming, so we are WAITING and praying patiently for the rest of our friends paperwork to be accepted and finalized!!!
Come on, come on to America as Mamo says! Can't wait till they are ALL home!We are PRAYING for God's speed for the Couch and Krehibel family! That will be 3 more cuties that are the same age as Mamo that will soon be coming home, and 2 of them were also from Mamo's orphanage!!! Not much much longer now! :) Keep praying!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Someone flipped on the "English" light switch around here...

Ok, so everyone told us there are 3 milestones for when you adopt international toddler age kids when it comes to their English learning. The First milestone is make it to the 6 week mark and you will be amazed at their English skills. (I was like yeah, right!)We just made it to the first milestone. Last week (week 5) he started really saying things that we say around the house (not things we were teaching him, just everyday words...) He sneezed and asked for a tissue..we were like, where did he learn that? And if you sneeze, you get a "BLESS YOU"! :) Come on Robby. Come on Caitlin are VERY popular phrases. And you gotta throw in that cute Ethiopian accent in there! He really started having a pretty good vocabulary.

This week,(week 6) someone REALLY flipped on the light switch with his English. He is a CHATTER BOX... he repeats everything and is saying a lot of random stuff on his own! I asked him to go brush his teeth yesterday and I got a "OH gosh..." from him. Ha! Last night he said Oh my goodness... ? Where does he get this stuff? Robby thinks he got that one from watching Donald Duck! There is just too much stuff to list really. On a sad note, he isn't singing all of his Amharic songs anymore and No, I haven't caught them on video. Everytime I try to film/record it, he STOPS! Little stinker!
We are ALL enjoying him and some words we have had to start spelling 'cause smarty pants knows what we are saying now! That was so stinking fast! Total emersion will do that I guess! :) We are so proud of him! He is so AMAZING!

We had our one month doctor check up this week (plus 2 more shots) and he had gained 4LBS and grew an inch! Wow!! We weren't shocked though AT ALL! He eats like a HORSE! All the time and ALL DAY LONG! I think he thinks America is one big fat buffet that is open 24 hours! :) He still likes most anything-- not very picky. He LOVES fruit and has discoverd potato chips! :) The oddest things I think that he likes is salad and yogurt! My kids can't eat enough salads and yogurt, so who cares if he eats the potato chips, right? :)

He had his first day to school and he did GREAT! He stayed ALL day long!He awoke for school at 5:45am (ouch) screaming Backpack, Backpack! His "daily report card" said he was quiet, social- a little, happy, a little sad, he ate A LOT (surprise :), and laughed some but that they didnt know what he was laughing at! Ha Ha! He was really just hanging back and taking it all in! He had a good day and as we were leaving his school he announced "Mamo go school tomorrow!" His first REAL sentence!

His start to his second day of school was not as successful! He was NOT up at 5:45 screaming school, school and he didn't care that Robby and Caitlin were at school. He DIDN'T WANT TO GO and I left him at his preschool in tears.Ugh! When I went to pick him up the teachers were BEAMING about how well he did! They said he cried maybe for one minute and then he just jumped into his center time! They really got to see his personality today and they said he was very social and wanted to participate in EVERYTHING! There was no holding back today!!! He gave them all hugs as we were leaving and he was VERY excited to show me his Valentine party sheet they put in his folder! :) Love, Love! :)

He still having so many firsts and one of my favorite times is still snuggling with him as he falls asleep. Philip says we are gonna have to start weening him off of the idea that we lay down with him at night, but I am thinking NAH... I am not giving up all those hugs and kisses and how he holds my face in his hands before he falls asleep! I am just not ready for that! If he is 16 and still doing that, then it is fine with this mama! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Ethiopian Prayer...from the mouth of our babe

Our first prayer that we taught Mamo:
"Thank you Jesus. Amen."

Then about a week ago we added:

"Thank you Jesus. Thank you for daddy, for Mommy, for Robby, for Caitlin, and for Mamo. Amen"

Tonight he prayed:
"Thank you Jesus. Thank you for daddy, for Mommy, for Robby, for Caitlin, and for Mamo. Amen"
(a few seconds later he added...)
and mommy, "for makena too." (that is our car)
"and houses. Amen."

Do we thank God for our car and our home or do we take that for granted? Where Mamo comes from very few own cars. Some that are fortunate have a cart and a horse. Most walk everywhere to get anywhere. Imagine walking hours to get water and then hours to bring it home. He is from a very small village near the Sudan border, 12 hours from the capital of Ethiopia. Before going to the orphanage in Addis Ababa he lived with his father, who was an older man, who was disabled, didn't own a home and they relied on others to care for them. Think mud huts and dirt floors. He still sleeps with the covers over his head, which is what they did to keep the bugs off of their faces..think mosquitoes and malaria. Mamo is still in amazement that we have a car and that he has a house.

My prayer tonight:
Yes, Jesus. Our cup runneth over. Thank you for ALL of our family, for your blessings and for our CAR and for our HOUSE. Thank you for the perspective of that amazing 3 year old boy. Bless his father tonight and bring him comfort and peace. God, bless the 163 Million orphans tonight that weren't picked today and that don't have a family. God, bless the men and women that are trying to provide homes for these children and bring their children home soon and safely! And please open the hearts lord of those who are stuggling to answer YOUR call to adopt. I'm on my knees lord, that somehow they would all be picked tomorrow. AMEN.