Mathew 18:5

"And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me." Mathew 18:5

Thursday, July 6, 2017

IN OUR BONDAGE HE IS OUR FREEDOM

Salem from Ethiopia! I arrived in Ethiopia on June 16th. On my daughter's
birthday. I surprised them. The video will have you all in tears. I can't wait
to show it to my close friends and family. B went running to me and A stood up
and started clapping his hands. I was a mess, well we all were. I got her a cake
and we had a huge celebration. The nannies had the room all decorated. This was
her 1st birthday celebration ever. This was a day I'll never forget.

Many of you know that I did not get on my return flight on my birthday. I
cancelled my flight and I have no idea when I will come home. I will be home
when God moves this mountain and breaks all chains so that our children can come
home.
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I miss my family back home. It's so
hard when you have two families across the world from another. I miss Kuchman
saying " mom can you oil me up?" I miss sleeping with my baby girl. I miss
Gabe's baseball games and him saying " mom come in my room and talk to me!" I
miss Kaitlynn's clumsiness and the things that come out of her mouth, that Nick
and I look at each other and laugh about. Haha , sorry Kait! I miss hearing my
husband's truck pull in after he gets off work. I miss him hugging me and
telling me it's going to be okay when I fall apart. Falling apart has been a
daily thing here for me.
I have sobbed and pleaded in front of so many strangers. A taxi driver even
picked me up drove me around and prayed  for me because I was crying so hard
while walking by myself on the streets of Ethiopia.
God has given me so much courage. I walk to see my kids everyday. I'm very
comfortable here. I walk to get groceries by myself. I walk up to a church to
pray often. I love Ethiopia and the people here. I have even got to wash some
hair at the barber shop here. They love when I come and hang out. Oh how I miss
doing hair. I did give B her 1st haircut.
My dear friend Kelli took me on a weekend trip out of the city. I'm so grateful
she did this for me. The country side is absolutely breathtaking. I will post
when I get home. Africa is amazing. I fed a wild monkey out of the palm of my
hand. Ummmmmm ya, I don't think brave is a good word for that, I'm thinking
crazy is better. I rode in a boat to see the hippos and I may or may not have
freaked out when the boat got a little to close for comfort for me. Haha!
Of course I'm still the thrifty Val. I wash my clothes in the sink with a bar of
soap. My friend Kelli just gave me some laundry detergent so I don't have to
wash with the bar of soap anymore haha! I keep sniffing my clothes now. I eat in
my room most days. Ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is what
I live off of. Oh I long for a home cooked meal.

When I told my son I was leaving on my birthday he cried. That moment I knew I
could not leave them. My 1st thought was how in the world can I stay here? How
can my husband manage 2 jobs and taking care of the children? Well he's rocking
it. He's amazing and strong. All of you know by now we have no family to help
us. I'm in awe at the help we have with just friends. We never even have to ask.
You guys just show up with meals and texts saying how can I help? Last weekend
Nick texted me saying Kait has to work Sunday so I'm going to have to take the
day off from work. I freaked out and said you have to save those days for when
it's time to come here. A couple hours later he texted me and said Kristen is
taking gabe to his game and the little ones are going with Kristen's parents for
the day. Then all the kids are eating supper and spending the night at Linda's. I'm in tears and
amazing by all of you. I'm so grateful!
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I can not give any details about our case. We would just like to ask all of you
for prayers. We firmly believe in the power of prayer. Everyday I write a
different prayer out for our children. We sit and hold hands with their special
momma( nanny). I say the prayers line by line and she translates for me. One day
I asked A what he wanted to do for the day. His answer was " pray mom!" I'm a
lucky momma to have kids who believe in, and love our Lord and Savior! I have had so
many families come up to me to say they have fallen in love with your kids, and
because of them we would be open to adopting an older child. My kids are a
reflection of Jesus! They are so sweet and kind.
We will wait on the Lord at this point. Waiting is so hard for me. I think in
this 2 1/2 year journey I'm getting better at waiting. Just a teeny bit better. 
I'm asking God to meet me where I'm at spirituality and take any doubts or fears
from me.
I'm asking God to allow me to be brave, when my mind is clouded. I know our
Lord's mighty hand protects us and delivers us.
I will praise our Lord in good times and bad times. I see God working in
Ethiopia. I know He has performed many miracles. I know He hears ours cries. He
alone is the all powerful and merciful God.
Our seasons change but our God stays the same. We know He will make a way. We
know He holds all the answers. In our bondage, He is our freedom. In our
weakness, He is the power! We know He is faithful. We know He will break all
chains. He will lift Satan's hand off our paperwork. He will perform a miracle!
We trust in Him!
Thank you all for praying for my family. For my kids and I in Ethiopia and
my husband and kids who miss me so much back home. I can't wait to share with
you all, God's miracle! Our children A and B!



Monday, June 5, 2017

HE CAN MOVE THE MOUNTAIN!

We have been waiting 26 months for our children to come home. Most of you know that on April 21st, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia instituted an indefinite suspension on international Adoptions from Ethiopia. We still don't know why he has done this. He did not state a reason. This suspension has affected over 200 American families. We are one of those families. My entire family has been broken hearted over this. We are fighting and will never give up. They are our children and we will someday be all together as a family. We contacted our congressmen. Bob Latta's office has been wonderful. The State Department is working for all families waiting to bring their babies home. I posted on my Facebook and asked you all to sign a petition to help bring these children home. I was overwhelmed by the response. My family feels so loved by all of you. Thank you for taking time out of your day to sign and share my post. 

I went by myself to meet my beautiful children in March. I can't even find words to describe this meeting. It was by far breathtaking. Praise the lord a sweet momma captured it on video so my husband and children could see it. Most of my close friends and family have seen this video. I was asked to be the guest speaker at the YWCA for the Tribute to Women of Achievement. During my speech I showed the video of meeting my children, the video included meeting Kuchman for the 1st time also. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. Everyone who has watched it cries. Watching God's miracles is very emotional and joyful. My children welcomed me with open arms and if you could only see the hug. My son was even rubbing my back because, well I was sobbing. I spent 2 weeks with them, 4 hours a day. I got to know them very well. They are the kindest, sweetest children. My son carried my book bag every day to the car when it was time for me to leave. My daughter would hold my hand everywhere we would go. We played uno, soccer and hop scotch daily. They even taught me a lot of their language so I could better communicate with them. I surprisingly learned fast. They laughed at me all the time because it just didn't sound right with my American accent.
We bonded! They called me mom! When I left them we were all sobbing. My daughter got physically sick. I told them I would be back soon. I am their HOPE! They have been in the orphanage 5 years. They are not orphans, they have a family who loves them and will fight for them.

With all that said, I'm heading back to Ethiopia in 9 days. I'm going alone again. I am not scared. God will be with me just like he was in my 1st trip. I felt him the entire time I was there. He put fear behind me. He sent an angel for me by the name of Victor before I even got on the plane. My husband was in tears when I told him about Victor. You see, my husband prayed that God would send someone to help me. When I left my husband at the Columbus airport I was a mess. I can't imagine how he felt leaving me like that. God answered his prayers. God also had a sweet angel waiting for me in Ethiopia. I didn't know it but he set it all up. I met a woman named Allison at my hotel. Allison was in the process of adopting a sweet little boy. We were with the same agency and our kids are in the same foster home. She became my Rock and even took care of me when I got sick. That's a new level of being scared. Sick in another country by yourself. Allison gave me comfort and calmed me down when I couldn't calm myself. She sat on my bed and took care of me. I will be forever grateful for this woman. She and her husband are now home, and praise the lord their son is home with them. They were able to come home before the April 21st suspension. 

My plane will leave June 15th and I will arrive on June 16th. June 16th is a special day, it's my daughter birthday. I will land at 7am on her birthday. They do not know I'm coming. I'm going to surprise them on B's bday. This will be the 1st time she has celebrated her birthday. This will be a day to remember. I will be there another two weeks. While I'm there I'll will talk to them and see if they understand why they are not coming home yet. I will let them know we will never give up. We will be a family. Even if it takes my entire family moving to Ethiopia. Yes, you read that right. We will move there if that's the only option we have to be a family. 
With that said, I want to take a minute to tell you about my incredible husband. This man supported me when I left for my 1st trip. He held the fort down. You all know we don't have much family. My mom got sick while I was in Ethiopia so Nick was on his own. While in Ethiopia I realized friends are family. You all stepped up, made meals, picked kids up from practices, and even texted Nick asking to pick up the kids just to give him  a break. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I love you all. 

My husband while holding the fort down was worried about his wife in a foreign country. He missed me so much as I did him. We are each other best friends. We have never been away from each other this long. With that said Someone had to hold the fort down here. With not much family we can't ask our friends to take care of our kids for two weeks and Kait is in school. It's not fair to her to leave her with 3 very busy kids in sports and school. So only one could go. My selfless husband told me to go. I will be forever grateful for that. He's stepping back and letting me bond with our children. It's a long story but when we adopted Kuchman, it took Kuchman a long time to love me or even want anything to do with me. Nick was the hero and really all he wanted. That happens a lot with adoption, the men become the hero( the preferred parent). I read about it and even took classes on it. I thought I was prepared if it was to happen. Well I wasn't. It broke my heart and I cried myself to sleep many nights. Kuchman came around about 6 months after being home. He now is my sidekick. He loves his mommy with all his heart. 

So my amazing husband who wants to meet his children so bad is letting me go by myself once again so I can bond more with them. If that's isn't LOVE I don't know what is!
I am reminded of Christ's love through the love my husband has for me. His love is unconditional, selfless, and forgiving. I'm so blessed to have someone who can hold me, guide me, comfort me and support me with every crazy idea I come up with. I firmly believe that our common love for Christ has kept us together and growing stronger. Through all of our pain and heartbreak after receiving the news about our Adoption on April 21st, my husband stayed faithful. While his broken wife was a mess and was doubting. I remember one night I looked over at him in bed ( he had the iPad) I said what are you looking up? He replied I'm looking for a job in Ethiopia. That is FAITHFUL! The devil will not win! We are not on his side! We are faithful to our God just like God is to us. He didn't bring us this far to give up. So I will board that plane in 9 days. I will get off that plane and I will squeeze my girl on her birthday and squeeze my son also. They will see momma came back and will not give up. 
While in county I will go to meetings at the US embassy to find out any new information on the suspension. We are praying for a miracle While I'm there. God can move this mountain. I will be leaving Ethiopia on the night of my birthday. So I will get to spend my entire birthday with my children. That's a great birthday. The only thing that can top that present is if they lift the suspension and my children will get the okay to come home. Please pray for that miracle. Please pray for my incredible husband as he works full time ( 2 jobs) and takes care of 4 children while his wife is gone. Im so blessed to call this man my husband. Thank you Nick, I love you ALWAYS!

 



Monday, January 30, 2017

ADOPTION FUNDRAISER

We have been waiting almost 21 months to bring our children home. Friday we didn't get the news we were hoping for on our case. Just another bump In the road. It will now be longer before they come home. I have decided I cannot wait any longer to meet them. They have been without a family for 5 years, and it is time they meet their momma. I am planning a trip to Ethiopia. I am hoping to leave the second week of February, as long as everything plays out. I will be there to meet my children and see what I need to do to get them home. I could use some prayers, I am going by myself, mostly because of the money. I have never travelled anywhere by myself. I know God will be with me, and I just need to lean on him and cast my fears behind me. I am selling tshirts to fundraise for our adoption.
3/4 sleeve baseball tee with elbow patches for women $25
Unisex tshirts $15
Sizes XS to XL in baseball tee for women (these run one size small)
Sizes S to 5X in tshirts (youth sizes also available in this shirt)
Anything 2X and up is $2 extra
Colors will be gray with black sleeves. The elbow patches will gray not black like the picture.
The last day of this sale will be February 14th. PM me or comment below on how many you would like and sizes. Payment will be through PayPal button on the right. I will ship all out of town shirts. Please pm me your address.




Saturday, September 24, 2016

Waiting.....

I know it's been so long since I have wrote here. I don't even know where to start. Everyone has been asking when are the kids coming home. Sadly I wish I could give you all an answer. I wish I knew when our children will be home. This is what I do know. We are done with all paperwork( except for updates) and our dossier is in Ethiopia. Birth mom had court on August 3rd. Courts in Ethiopia closed 2 days after her court date. Courts close for rainy season every year. They are closed this year from August 5th through October 1st. At this point we are waiting for federal MOWA to sign. When this happens we will receive a court date soon after. I will most likely stay over in Ethiopia after court by myself. Nick will fly home and I will stay with the kids until we have their visa's. I'll need prayer for this, I'm a momma that was to scared to fly to Atlanta for C4C . So I found someone to drive me (a complete stranger),  who IS now one of my best friends. Anyway prayers would be great when we get the call. 

We have been waiting 18 months since referral to bring them home. They have been waiting to come home 3 years before our referral. Add 18 more months on that wait y'all! Our children have been waiting almost 5 years for a family. That breaks my heart into a million pieces. I don't know anyone who likes to wait. Do you? I can't even stand to wait in line at a store. Can you image what it's like for them waking up everyday praying that today is the day their family will come? I just can't even handle thinking about that. 
Waiting is hard work and at times it can even test our faith. It's especially difficult when you have no idea how long you will be waiting and it is totally out of your control. 
The wait has tempted me to be impatient, discouraged, to worry and to even wonder if God really cares.
I confessed this to a Client one day and she said this" let's look at this wait as God teaching you patience." My response to her was "ummmmmmmmm PATIENCE, what's that? Do you know my family? The Steyers? 
I have been thinking about what she said ever since she left my shop. It seems to me patience involves some kind of waiting, whether it's waiting in a long line at the store or waiting for my children to come home. So I pray and lay my request before him. I see now that God is teaching me patience , ( that I never thought I could be taught) it's by faith that I wait and watch in anticipation of God's good work. Im going to put my hope into him. I will try so hard to wait patiently and trustingly, I will choose to honor God in this wait. I believe in the power of prayer so right now I'm asking everyone of you who read my blog to pray our kids home. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas! Jesus Is Born!


This past week I have had this question pop in my mind. What is the true meaning of Christmas? We prepare for months for this day. We all go out buy presents, buy groceries, clean the house, get our hair cut and on and on. So I sit here staring at my laptop thinking, is it the gifts under the tree, the cards in the mail, and the big dinner on the table with family?  I don’t believe Christmas is about any of those things. Don’t get me wrong presents and being with my family eating dinner is great. I love watching my children open their presents. With all the joy and fun watching them dig into their gifts we also, as parents, remind our children what Christmas is all about. It’s not about anything I mentioned earlier.

Christmas is about our savior being born to save us all from our sin. Without Jesus we would all die in our sins. This birth was the birth of the most unique person in our history. This was the birth of our God. Our God took on human flesh and became man. This blows my mind; God did not save us by reaching down from heaven in an objective way. He became human just like us to save us. He had feelings just like us, the feelings of happy and sad. He was human! Can you wrap your mind around this? The unapproachable God became approachable and contactable that day. God became man, experiencing everything of human life. Our God loves us that much that he became human, suffered and died on the cross for our sins, so that we may have eternal life with him in heaven.  We do have one very special God, who loves us so much that he was born for us and died for us. That my friends is what Christmas is about!

Here are some pictures of our Christmas. Next year we will have two more sweet loves to share our Christmas with. This momma is ready to love on them. I will update soon. Right now all paperwork is done and we are waiting on our dossier to be authenticated.  Praying our kiddos home.
 
 
Reading the Christmas story from the Bible







 
 

 

 

Monday, May 25, 2015

GOD'S CALLING


God has called us to adopt again. Before I tell you our unique journey to our children, I would like to address the question that I have been asked. Why are you adopting again? Most likely my response will not satisfy everyone. For whatever answer we give there could be a “not so positive “  counter response. Adoption is not for everyone. We are all called to do things. Some are called to live in another country to serve God. Others are called to preach and share the good news of Jesus. We believe we are called to adopt children around the world. I feel it’s our purpose. This is what I believe, if your passion is consistent with God’s will then pursue it! We believe that God is calling us to care for his children. This is something we CAN do! Adopting doesn’t make us a Hero or a better Christian. Adoption for us,  is exactly what God has  called us to do and we are exactly where god wants us to be.

Here’s our story. On April 7th a beautiful adoptive momma posted in a private adoption group. She posted and asked for a special prayer request. She stated in her post that she adopted three children from ET. Her oldest boy had one concern when they brought him home. He wanted to find a family for is friend. She told him that they would do everything they could do and would always maintain contact with his friend no matter what happened. They prayed and shared. They sent letters and packages to these kids. Yes kids, brother and sister. She wanted them both to know they are loved and not forgotten. Her, and her family, wanted their son’s heart to know he has done all he can for his friend. So they were advocating for these precious children, and even developed a grant to be given to the family who adopts them. I read this post and almost fell apart. I thought to myself, I have to help these kids find a home. I private messaged her at 8:42 that same night. It went something like this, “I just adopted a little boy 9 months ago from ET. At this point we cannot afford to adopt again, but I will do everything I can do to find them a home. I own a salon, and am going to an orphan conference on Friday. I will advocate my heart out for them. My mission is to find them a family.” My last sentence to her was, “They have my heart.” I prayed for these two daily. I carried their pictures everywhere with me and I had no luck finding a family for them. April 20th I texted her again asking if she found a family, and she said no. So we went on and kept praying and hoping for them.   

May 3rd God made it very clear to Nick and I that it was ok to stop trying to find a family for them. He told us that they were our children. He dropped us to our knees and we gave up all fears and control. May 4th I reached out to this momma to let her know that God spoke to us and let us know that they are ours. No more trying to find a family. Their family is right here, in Van Wert Ohio. That day was very emotional for Cheryl and I. God answered our prayers. Not only our prayers. But the prayers of the child who was adopted and had one dream. That dream was for his best friend and his sister to have a family. All because of an amazing, kind mother, who loved her son so much, and wanted his dreams to come true, we have a son and daughter waiting for us in ET. For that we will be forever grateful. Friday May 15th we received our official referral for our children at 1:30. Praise the lord! Orphan no more “E” and “B”! Three years is way too long to wait, mommy and daddy are coming.

All of our kids are so excited about their new brother and sister. To hear Kuchman pray for them to come home is overwhelming. Just a year ago we were praying for him to come home. God writes the most beautiful stories. Thank you for reading about this amazing journey to our children we are blessed to have you follow along.  
 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

SEASONS CHANGE


Just as the earth goes through seasons, so does a family. As our children grow older, our leaves start to change. We have had a lot of firsts going on in our family lately. I thought I would share. Lily had her first basketball game.  Her sister is the coach for her team. How sweet is that? Watching Lily play makes us smile from ear to ear. She plays exactly like her sister did at her age. Very aggressive, gives 100% and even has time to stop and pick her wedge. HA! Seeing this sisterhood bond just melts my heart!

We had our first real snow fall. Kuchman loved it! He built his first snowman. Dad got the gator out and Kuchman had his first adventure with being pulled in the snow! His little face was frozen, but refused to come in!

On Martin Luther King Day we all took the day off and went to the Children’s Museum in Indy as a family in honor of Martin Luther King. My son has rights because of him and I will be forever grateful. From the abolitionist, to the civil rights activist, to the mother who simply wants to raise her son to have a great life without judgment because of his skin color. Dr. King’s legacy, our legacy, must never be forgotten or diminished. To do so undermines and weakens the very foundation on which we stand. One nation, equal, united and free.  Kuchman and Lily got to go on stage and hit a drum with some gentleman playing African music. This momma was shocked my shy little boy went right up there.  I’m sure having his big sister right beside him gave him some courage.
And my last picture says it all. We are very blessed.