Saturday, July 20, 2013


With much support, I am so thankful and encouraged to announce that the giveaway to benefit "Allison" has ended because the family is now FULLY FUNDED and will be bringing this precious (though very sick) child of God home next week!!!  To God be ALL the glory!!!

So without further ado...the winners of the drawing are as follows:


Winner's choice: 
Kindle Paperwhite, $100 Amazon gift card, or 
$100 donation to Reece's Rainbow waiting child grant or FSP of your choice

~ Melissa Tannehill ~

$50 gift card to Cheesecake Factory

~ Kate Hamernick ~

$25 gift card to Starbucks

~ Jennifer Liberatore ~

$15 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery

~ Paula Powell ~

$10 gift card to Barnes & Noble

~ Gretchen Hanna ~

$5 gift card to Tim Hortons

~ Christy ~

If you see your name listed above, please email me at with your shipping address.  I will try to get everything mailed out this week.

Grand prize winner - please also include your choice of prize!  


Friday, June 28, 2013


"Allison" is the name assigned to a beautiful little girl on the Reece's Rainbow orphan advocacy site.  RR assigns names to children to protect their true identity because sensitive information is shared in trying to find families for these orphans.

Allison has cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder.  She is in a horrible institution in Ghana.  She NEEDS to come home to her family - to gain access to the medical care and LOVE that she deserves!

Allison is being adopted by some of my closest, dearest friends - Jenni and Eric.  Jenni is in country now, waiting on one final document to bring her precious daughter home forever!

Allison's needs are great.  Travel home with her will be logistically difficult, and will require Eric to fly to Ghana to help Jenni bring her home when the time comes (hopefully VERY soon!).  Unfortunately, booking last minute airfare to Africa is never cheap, but this time of year it is down right ridiculous in pricing.

To help my dear friends raise the final funds needed to bring "Allison" home, I am hosting a giveaway!

Kindle Paperwhite 

** OR **

$100 Amazon Gift Card

$50 Gift Card to Cheesecake Factory

$25 Gift Card to Starbucks

$15 Gift Card to Cold Stone Creamery

$10 Gift Card to Barnes & Noble

$5 Gift Card to Tim Hortons

There  are two ways to enter:

Donate to Allison's Reece's Rainbow account, then email a copy of your paypal receipt to me at to be entered in the drawing!
     ** When you donate $1-$24 you will receive ONE entry into the drawing
     ** When you donate $25-49 you will receive TWO entries into the drawing
     ** When you donate $50-$99 you will receive THREE entries into the drawing
     ** When you donate $100+ you will receive FIVE entries into the drawing
CLICK HERE TO DONATE (scroll to bottom of page & click DONATE)

Share this blog post on Facebook and/or Twitter with the hashtag - #allforallison - and/or share on your blog!!  Comment on this post which of these you've done for ONE entry into the drawing for each!!  (Include blog links please.)

AS OF 6/30/13 at 10:00pm THERE IS ONLY $839 NEEDED!!!!!

Remember - this is about bringing "Allison" home forever!!  Please pray for the family as they prepare for travel and homecoming with their newest princess!!!  Thank you!!

"Don not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  ~Matthew 6:19-21

Friday, June 21, 2013


We have been blessed with God's provision to cover the vast majority of our adoption expenses.  The only funds we find ourselves needing to raise are for travel & immigration fees!  Of course, travel to Taiwan will not be cheap.  Sam & I will need to fly over together to meet our children and attend court.  Our prayer is that the judge who presides over our case will have mercy on us and sign all the necessary documents immediately, allowing us to travel home together with our new son & daughter after an approximate 2-week stay.  However, it is very possible that the judge will feel no sense of urgency and we will travel back to the US alone, with one of us returning to Taiwan 1-2 months later to finally bring Ana & Ezra home.

In an effort to raise the final funds we need to add Ana & Ezra to our family, we have had these awesome shirts designed! Our entire adoption has brought us new hope after our loss last year, and so the message we seek to share with the world is the message of HOPE in the Lord. The small text is excerpted from Proverbs 24:12 - "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do."  The shirts are super soft, pre-shrunk, 100% ringspun cotton.

Unisex shirts available in red or olive green.  Sizes Small - XXXLarge.
$25 each, shipping included.

LADIES' shirts are available in heather purple.  Sizes Small - XXLarge. 
$25 each, shipping included.

YOUTH shirts are available in orange.  Sizes XSmall - XLarge. 
$20 each, shipping included.
You can place your PRE-ORDER via the buttons in the column to the right.
We will place the order at the end of July and ship the shirts to you as soon as they arrive.
Thank you so very much for your support!!

Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know and holds us responsible to act.
~Proverbs 24:12


Thursday, June 13, 2013

But Not From Ghana

When we began our first adoption in 2009, I found myself clinging to blogs of other families who had adopted or were adopting from around the world.  I gleaned anything I could from their experiences - good and bad.  I tried to prepare myself for what lye ahead, including "worst case scenarios" of RAD, ODD and even disruption.  Because of the tremendous blessing many of these blogs were to me, I felt led to blog about our journey as part to help others coming after us, but mostly just to have written record of our journey.  I'm amazed by how often I reflect back on that 2 year adventure now with those children home.  (You can read all about it HERE.)  When we began our second adoption, I wanted to continue recording our journey, but created a new blog simply because I liked the formatting better through this particular publisher.

When I started this page, I was creatively playing on words when I named it "Ghana Keep Growing" since our adoption plans included returning to Ghana to continue adding to our family.  Unfortunately, as you've read through the last several posts, that is not God's plan for us.  In fact, the new Minister of Gender & Family in Ghana has suspended adoptions, and is pushing toward a full closure of Ghana to international adoption.  There is talk of Ghana signing on to the Hague Convention in the future, but implementation could take several years, if it's ever fully achieved.  For now I pray that the families already "matched" with their children won't be STUCK like the families adopting from Russia & Vietnam, and I pray that the orphans of Ghana will be well cared for even after international adoption is no longer a hope for them.

For us, God has given us complete peace with where He is leading.  We certainly still mourn the loss of R & A, and we will again seek to add to our family through the miracle of adoption...but not from Ghana.  No, the road laid out before us is not from Africa at all.  We have seen the faces of the children being added to our family, and they are beautiful!!!

I can't wait for the day we can show you their smiles...but for now I can only tell you that we are adopting another sibling pair - 1 girl [Ana] & 1 boy [Ezra].  They are "older" children who have some individual needs and we are confident that God has called our family to step out in faith for give them be their forever family.

Today we embrace this new hope for our family.  We are trusting in God's promise to arise beauty for ashes in our grief.  We know that had we not suffered the loss of our girls, we would not have the opportunity to bring these children into our lives...and we are filled with hopeful anticipation of the day Ana & Ezra will enter our family forever!

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.  ~ Isaiah 61:3 ~

Friday, May 24, 2013

Finding Hope


Seems like such a simple word, doesn't it?  Four little letters packed with so much meaning.  We hope for things.  We find hope in things.  We can be filled with hope or feel completely hopeless.

In 1999, I married my soul mate and hoped to travel the world before starting a family.

In 2000, I hoped to adopt 2 brothers from the local foster care system.  God, instead, began growing our family "the old-fashioned way."

In 2001, I gave birth after a very traumatic pregnancy.  I hoped to never get pregnant again.  I did.

In 2007, I hoped to adopt internationally from Rwanda.  God, instead, grew our family with children from Ghana (4 years later!).

In 2012, I returned to Ghana with the hope of adding 2 more incredible daughters to our lives.  God, instead, had another plan for our family.

Based on the 4 extraordinary children who call me Mom, I'm no longer putting my hope in my own ideas.  Had I gotten all I'd hoped for over the years, I would have NONE of these amazing blessings!!!!  I've not been a quick learner in this area.  In fact, I still struggle and have to give it up daily...but now I know to put ALL my hope in the One who already knows the steps before me.  The One who has already named the children in our future (should His will bring more children into our lives).  The Only One who could have brought our family together.

A quick search of my favorite online Bible yielded 180 results for the word HOPE in the NIV translation.  Considering there are only 66 books in the Bible, I'd say HOPE is a pretty prominent message in scripture.

Now, I am content to find my Hope in the Lord.  I pray He will see fit to bless us with more children someday, but until then, I'll continue to cherish the children I have...and our new puppy!  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where Do We Go From Here

It's been just over five months since we said good bye, forever, to our precious girls.  151 days, to be precise.  One of whom just had a birthday.  One we thought we'd be celebrating here.  Those days are so incredibly painful.  I am thankful that we were able to make the hard choice when faced with it and stick to our convictions, because it was right...even when it tore us to pieces, but it doesn't ease the fact that we were committed to these 2 girls for the better part of a year.  We met them, embraced them, and had to say good-bye, FOREVER, to them.  I don't know that there are many people in this world who can comprehend that level of pain.  There is no closure in ceremony & burial as though a child was lost to the Heavens.  No, we continue to live life every day never knowing if R & A have enough to eat, if they're attending school or if they were beaten so badly that day that they're raw and bloody (caning is common practice for disciplining children in Ghana).  This is our reality.  We just don't know.

We thought we would.

We had every hope & intention of sponsoring R's education and maintaining contact...but the social worker assigned to the case won't return my calls.  R's mom stopped calling and no longer answers my calls.  I'm sure she feels I abandoned her, but I didn't!  I was told I had to go through the case worker to provide support, which leaves me no where.  I have an NGO on the ground in Ghana willing to help me get care & support to R's family so she can be in school...but we don't know where she (or A) is or how to find her without this social worker.  It sucks.

So here we sit.  Still grieving, still mourning the loss of two children who will always hold huge pieces of our hearts.  In my own way, I took the first step to my own healing just last week by commemorating the girls with a special piece of art.  I worked closely with a friend to have a design created with 4 lilies (1 each for Ivy, Mya, Liam & Cora) and 2 butterflies for R & A (our girls who fluttered beautifully into our lives, and then had to flit away, unable to stay).  The imagery is forever embedded on my flesh, bold and beautiful, just like each of the beloved children they represent.

We know we aren't done growing our family through adoption.  We've been exploring our options, and when God opens the door for us to begin this journey again, we will share excitedly, I'm sure.  For now, we have agreed not to return to Ghana for the purposes of adoption.  We will undoubtedly return in both mission and tourism capacities as frequently as possible.  We love it there (though I'll admit, I'm not a fan of the majority of the local cuisine).  The people, especially the children, are so welcoming and sweet.  There are several children there with my heart in their hands - and none of them can ever become ours.  So we love them the best we can, through child sponsorships, care packages, and most importantly prayer.  But adoption in Ghana has changed.  It's not the program it once was, and the powers that be are trying to close it all together.  I won't be surprised if it happens.  I'll be deeply saddened for the estimated 1 MILLION orphans in Ghana, but not surprised.

So for now, we pray.  We continue to grieve.  We live one day at a time.  We seek God's face and His plan for our family, and hope He will bless us with another child (or children) sooner rather than later...but whenever we are blessed to add to our family again, and whomever it shall be, we shall praise now for what we know is to come, and we will give thanks to our Father in heaven for His mercies that are new each day.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
~ Matthew 5:4 ~


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Finding the Words

Sometimes words flow out poetically as I compose a blog post.  This is not one of those times, and for that I will apologize now.  I have sat at my computer at least four dozen times over the last three months trying to write this entry.  I committed to being open about our experience of a failed adoption and I haven't actually shared much of anything about our personal battles through it all.

Three months.  It's been exactly 3 months since Sam & I boarded a plane in Accra and headed back to the US with the knowledge that the daughters we love so much will never be ours.  I've cried.  A LOT.  Those first weeks were unimaginable.  We arrived home and couldn't bring ourselves to discuss all that unfolded in Ghana while we were there.  We had a family vacation scheduled for just 5 days after our arrival home from Ghana and we didn't want to spoil that for the kids, so we kept everything quiet.  We didn't lie to the children - we answered all their questions very honestly - but we didn't offer more information than was specifically asked.

Our family vacation was to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL - dubbed "the most magical place on earth."  It was torture.  Don't get me wrong - I loved seeing Cora's eyes light up when she met Princess Tiana and watching Mya curtsy to The Beast while adorning her Belle costume with full hair & makeup - but less than a week had passed since saying goodbye, FOREVER, to the precious little girls in Ghana that we longed to make our own.  I was (and am) in full-on mourning and the 60 degree temperature felt like 30 with the constant rain.  The weather sure seemed fitting to the personal hell I was enduring internally, all the while trying to put on a happy face so the kids would enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  The parks were beautiful - all decorated for Christmas (yes, even manger scenes...and a menorah or 2).  It was spectacular to see the lights shows and to watch Liam's face as he tried to decipher if it was the "real Tinkerbell" flying overhead during the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom.  It was special to see our sweet Ivy still want to see the princesses, even at eleven years old.  Memories were certainly made...but sadly, what I remember most about that trip was the fear.  The fear for R & A in Ghana.  The fear that I wouldn't smile at just the right time and my very intuitive Mya would figure out what was going on.  The fear that I would be the one to ruin their Disney vacation because of my grief - of which they knew nothing.

We returned home just a week before Christmas.  Talk about emotions running high!!  December 24th, Christmas Eve, marked ONE YEAR since Liam & Cora arrived home!  What an amazing anniversary to celebrate.  I love these children with all my heart.  Their first year home has NOT been easy (that's another post) but it has been miraculous.  I wanted to celebrate them, yet the whole time I struggled immensely with the reality that R & A will never come "home" to us.  See a recurring theme?  The grief has been consuming.  Completely, utterly, all-consuming.

We agreed not to ruin the kids' Christmas by telling them about R & the presents the kids made for their sisters remained tucked under the tree, all wrapped pretty in anticipation of a homecoming sometime in the future.  Oh the heartache!

Christmas led to New Year's Eve.  I was a wreck.  Here were were, what many would deem a perfect mid-size family, sitting around the house sipping hot cocoa and watching fireworks displays on television as each timezone around the world entered 2013.  7:00pm rolled around.  It was midnight in Ghana.  Were R & A awake?  Was there any sort of celebration?  Do they even know the year is changing?  My mind raced and my heart ached.  I couldn't live through the lie anymore.  I couldn't start the new year off with this secret that was eating away at me minute-by-minute.  So Sam & I sat down with the kids and told them that their sisters would probably never be able to come to America as part of our family.

The tears were many...but the questions, OH the questions...I was not prepared for those.  Why, Mommy?  Don't you WANT them?  Weren't they nice girls?  Will they be safe?  Will they have food?  Who will take care of them?  Why were you told they needed a family if they didn't?  WILL THEY BE OK MOMMY??????

Those questions still haunt me several months later.  I can't go to sleep at night or wake in the morning without wondering ARE THEY SAFE?  ARE THEY FED?  ARE THEY OK???

I still cry for them.


I still ache to hold them in my arms again.

I suspect a piece of me always will.

We held our daughters and had to say good-bye...and we don't have the peace that might eventually come from a "typical" loss of a child, in that the child is resting peacefully in perfectly healed spirit at the hand of God in heaven.  No, we have to rely on HOPE that the evil in this world won't overtake them again, as it has in the past.  We have to HOPE that the people who deceived and dishonored these precious girls will not continue seeking to do so.  We have to HOPE that R & A have someone in their lives in Ghana who will feed the Gospel into their souls so that we can hold onto the HOPE that we will have eternity with them.  So while we have peace that we are in God's will...we, or at least I, do not have PEACE with the situation and the loss...but we're clinging to the promise of HOPE.