Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Story

Today is the Saturday before Easter.  In the Christian calendar that we follow there is the season of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then Saturday, and then Easter.  I call this the Waiting Saturday. Today we sit in weather that is neither snow nor rain, we hunt for eggs in a field (eggs that are not real but certainly candy delicious), we prepare for tomorrow’s Easter dinner, and search our house high and low for Easter clothes. How do little boys manage to lose dress shoes so easily?

Last night we remembered the tomb of Jesus being sealed. The crush of death and the sadness that separation brings. As a church, we remember the pain of Jesus, the despair of the disciples and the end. It seemed like the end. Tomorrow we remember the Resurrection. We celebrate the conquering of Life over death. Of Good over evil. The impossible. Sins being forgiven. Light shining. Light winning. Jesus said it was finished and he rose. He has conquered death.
And yet today is Saturday, and it still feels as though everything is dying.

This year we have seen hundreds of children. Hundreds of children, who have suffered unimaginable pain. Abuse. Abandonment. Desertion. There are millions more unseen. This year we have fought with corrupt governments and begged for change. We came home to corrupt government and sick news stories and murders which go unnoticed.  Smaller stabs with our own tongues that leave others to bleed. This year I have snuggled so many children conceived of a teenage mother and the mother’s father.  This year I have faced the mirror and dug deep into my own muck carried in my spirit. This world is sad and broken. Every good thing seems small. Certainly not miracle big like a resurrection. 
I have realized that being a Christian in this world means not jumping to the Resurrection before standing still in the waiting. So maybe we as a church need to practice the waiting. Before the jubilee of Easter, there was the end of the world.  Do we let ourselves feel the end of the world? Can we feel these moments and keep a quiet hope of a resurrection?

I sat with a woman in late autumn who was losing her child. A miscarriage. And as life left her body she shook and sobbed. Her voice echoed.  I just want my baby, I just want my baby. Her tears were thousands of years old. Everything gentle in nature grieved with her, and it became winter. We waited.
One marriage died slowly and unnoticed until frantic CPR was needed. There was pounding on the chest and promises and there is no telling if it will make it. We watch and wait.

She gave me presents last year, but this year she was not at the orphanage. She jumped the wall. Ran away. Her black hair probably flying behind her as she ran for her life. Or away from it.  I thought maybe she might be found. I waited.
This year has felt like a very long Saturday. 

We have spent this year waiting for a little boy to become our own. He is our son in our hearts and we are waiting for Honduran and American governments to agree that he can be our son on official, stamped paperwork. I spent a Tuesday evening with him as I had spent many evenings before at the Toddler House. I bathed him and helped him over the tile floor so he wouldn’t slip. I wrapped him in towel and put him in jammies. I sang his song and kissed his face and said goodnight. I left to walk home. Moments later I heard him sobbing and crying Mama Mama.  I saw his little fingers under the door and knew that his face was pressed against the concrete floor as he called after me. His voice was so raw that I turned before I meant to and ran to him. My heart raced and I was flushed with primal instinct. I grabbed him, held him tight in my arms and said his name, Jesύs, Jesύs! I told him in Spanish, Mama is here! I am your mother! I will always come back. Mamas always come back. Forever. I will always come back. His runny nose leaked on my shirt and his wet eyes were hot against my neck. His breathing was ragged and I made the promise he had no reason to believe. I am your mother. I will come back for you. I promise. Always. I am your mama. His sobs subsided and I felt another presence in the empty room.
A young boy Noe (No-way), was standing silently by the bunk beds. His jammies were blue. His eyes were wide. He had heard everything I said. His young mother lived with him for three years here. Last autumn she ran away without him. She has not returned. He lives with her absence as a shadow.

Noe, Noe I called and reached and switched the crying son in one arm to stretch the other out to Noe. He didn’t come. He stood and stared. I reached as far as I could. (Did I reach as far as I could?)

I stood there and held a boy in my arms and begged him to believe me. I reached the other boy’s shoulder and promised I saw him. We let the pain wash over us. The ache was crushing. The air felt like death. We held on and grieved all that was not. We ached and we cried and we waited.
The world whispered that this was an end. I felt that surely death and darkness wins.
This story has already been told. And in the end Life is stronger than death. The way of Jesus’ love is greater than the sin of the world. I have seen lives turned around and people healed and yawning babies. Laughing children. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Enough water for all in line.

As this season of Lent ends, I am reminded: Wait. Reach. Get up and go to the tomb.  Go where you think death has won and look.
There will be a most surprising miracle. And if there isn’t- go again tomorrow.








Monday, February 15, 2016


Meet Jesύs!
Isn't he beautiful? He is a young boy here at Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. We are in the process of adopting him and can’t wait until he joins our family! Many of you readers have heard much about this sweet young boy and some of you have not.  I have many stories of how he has touched our hearts and how we are learning more this year about how to love him well, but first I should catch you up!

We first met Jesύs March 2014, two years ago now. Joe and I first met him in the toddler house when we came to volunteer for one week. I remember first seeing him rolling a ball across the floor. Jesύs has a bold, beautiful smile. He has eyes that sparkle. He has hands that clasp tightly and a laugh that is wonderful. Jesύs also has some significant physical and cognitive special needs. Currently he is about 7 years old based on dental reports, but has similar skills of a 3 year old. At the time we met him, nothing was known about him medically except that he was “special”.   And he is! He is wonderful! As I watched Jesύs and played with him, I remember feeling not one ounce of pity for him, but instead was just delighted by him. I was so proud with all he was able to do by himself. I thought his 8 words sounded fabulous. I thought all his physical features looked beautiful.
This struck me as a strange reaction because there were many smiley, smart cuties that week in the toddler house. As we were preparing to leave at the end of the week, Joe and I took a long walk around the campus, and were reflecting on our time and chatted about Jesύs. Suddenly, the thought came into my mind “What if we were to adopt him? What if I was to be his mom?”

Then right after that my thought was. “No. No way. We could never be so lucky. How could I ask God for so much?”

Looking back I realize that that moment revealed my true heart. And then for months this idea bounced in our heads and spun in our hearts. Joe and I knew that God had given us a different love for Jesus. So for nine months between our first trip to Emmanuel in March 2014 and when we returned with our family in December, we prayed for Jesύs . We signed up to be his sponsor family. We talked about him, and slowly the idea of adoption became a more discussed one. Jesύs has many medical needs and will most likely need lifelong care and support from family. We talked, thought and prayed how this would affect our whole family. We knew we had (and still have!) a lot to learn.  Our children. Joey, Guy and Elena started praying for this boy that they had never met, and we all prayed together that God would guide us.

 We prayed for God to give us wisdom. Not only would we be asking a lot of this young boy, but was it even possible paperwork wise? Orphanage Emmanuel has a goal of raising Hondurans, a goal we fully support and love.  Adoption is not necessarily encouraged and in the 25 year history has only happened less than a handful of times. We did not arrive here with the intention to adopt and were surprised with the direction we were now considering.

 Adoption is very difficult out of Honduras. Not only do many children not have paper trails, making it difficult for them to be officially declared abandoned, but trying to get paperwork is near impossible. As we pursued this we found out that for many reasons adopting Jesύs would be possible. His history, age, and special needs would actually aid in the adoption.

 We returned to Honduras December 2014 to volunteer at Orphanage Emmanuel without a final decision regarding adoption.  All we could say was that God had given us a special love for this boy and then take tiny steps forward in that love. After we arrived we asked permission to spend time with Jesύs. From December through February 2015 we spent three afternoons with Jesύs as a family and every Sunday. We watched our children interact. We learned more about Jesύs strengths and his limitations. We fell more in love with each of our children as we watched them grow in this relationship and we fell more in love with Jesύs.

 Mid-January 2015 (10 months after we first met him) we approached the directors about adopting Jesύs. They warned us of the obstacles in this country, but gave us their blessings and said how well they thought he would do with a family. We immediately started the adoption process.

 We have been working with an agency in the US for a full year now, as well as a lawyer in Honduras. Part of the serious process of adoption is piecing together the child’s story.  We just had rumors about Jesus’ history from other volunteers or staff. Rumors that he had been in institutions since birth, rumors of his medical needs. The only actual piece of paper we had at first was a document that the office held in his file. It was a list of disabled children who had arrived on a bus 4 years ago from another government orphanage that had burned down. No middle name. No last name. No date of birth. Only a first name in a list of 20 others: Jesύs.

 God. I said when I saw this paper. You know the inner most being of Jesus. He is more than this. And God does know all of Jesus and all of Jesύs history. Not just because he knows everything, but because he was there. God was with Jesύs as he entered this world and he has walked beside him. As we find more details of Jesύs’ past as we move forward in the adoption, as I mom I feel a great sadness. I feel the brokenness of this world a little bit more sharply.
I also feel joy. If God walked beside Jesύs then, then he also walks with him now. And when we welcome Jesύs we welcome the Lord who is with him. We are humbled and honored to open our doors.

 We submitted our dossier stateside in December and pray and hope that the paperwork will be ready by next year 2017 to have the adoption finalized.  We returned to Orphanage Emmanuel to volunteer just six weeks ago, but everything is different. Within hours of returning the news ran through the orphanage that Jesύs’ parents had come. The news had preceded us. We are his parents. Children stop us on the path to confirm that we are indeed planning on adopting Jesύs. We were introduced to him as his Mama and Papa.

The news swirls around us and yet we are unsure if his mind understands. We can tell that he knows we are different. Simply from our time investment so far with us, and by our names. He is happy to spend time with us and has developed a true friendship with Joey, Elena and Guy. But does he really understand? This sweet boy does not yet speak sentences. And even if he could tell us his thoughts the idea of parents and a family is so foreign. It is strange responsibility to plan a future that he may not be able to conceive of. We find ourselves falling in love with this child and our new family.
Nothing has quite prepared us for this. Our quiet prayers. Our fervent prayer times. Our social worker, the psychiatrist, the medical reviews, the photos, the paperwork, the hours upon hours of investment. The almost two years of thought and prayers. Nothing can prepare us enough for our family to be growing in this way. We hold our children’s hands and we tell them that we believe that all life is valuable. Joey’s life. Guy’s life. Elena’s life. Jesύs’ life.  We try to be careful and we are honest with our four children. This will be hard. This will be beautiful.

Mostly though, we watch the four kids play in the grass, eat food, and help each other along the way and our hearts swell and we feel as though we have won the lottery.  We watch Jesύs try to run and we watch him try to form words. I see him persistently try to kick a ball, and patiently sit next to a friend who cries. He is the most gentle child. I see his hands fold around my hands and how he bends his head to listen. When he is not laughing he is mostly quiet.
Jesύs, we love you and want to provide and protect and care for you. We want to grow with you and witness your life. This is our promise to him as his parents.
He smiles the sweetest smile and promises nothing back. 

Joe and I do not need to watch forever. We see Jesύs. We see the most beautiful handiwork. We feel it in our hearts: there is treasure in this field.
Sometimes I hold Jesύs’ hand and am overwhelmed with thanks for this opportunity to love this child. God gives the most beautiful gifts, yes?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hi Family and Friends,

Weeks are flying by here and it feels as though time is going by so fast, although every day is basically the same in routine. We wake up and try to be eating breakfast by 6:40. We cook in a communal kitchen in the building that we are staying in. It’s called El Hotel and is made up of three bedrooms connected by an outdoor porch and then a kitchen. Whoever is passing through (normally short term visitors) are placed in the hotel with us, so we have met a wonderful variety people.

I homeschool Joey, Guy and Elena from 7-9am and Joe goes to work. At 9ish the kids and I head out to the toddler house which is about ½ mile or so away. We are assigned this house this year, it has about 30 or so tots and 10 or so moms plus 8 teenage helpers.

When we get there we first go into this large caged area called the Chosa.  It is a large room with a bathroom that is built off the ground and caged in. We sit there with thirty or so toddlers and I promise someone is crying all. The. Time. Joey and Guy give piggy back rides and Elena plays with blocks and I normally have one kiddo on my lap and one on my neck and one on my back and one trying to take off my watch and one looking for lice in my hair and one taking off my shoes and one crying on my leg. Welcome to the toddler house. All kiddos are between the ages of 2 and 4 and they are exactly like every other 2 or 4 year old that I have ever met. Except that they have needs that are BIG and a limited number of big people to help meet their needs. So they are even stronger and louder and more aggressive and simultaneously very selfish, yet very protective of their friends. They are sweet and kind. They are manipulative and then honest and cry and laugh. It’s all I can do to keep some steady emotions for myself while we help change their diapers, pull them off of each other, rock them when they cry and chase them down when they are throwing toys.

Part of toddler playground. Chosa in the background

Inside the Chosa

Although we are surprised to be in this house this year (last year we were with the little girls) it turns out that this is a wonderful place for us to be. This house is full of energy and Joey and Guy are old enough that they can actually help! And so they do. They hold hands and engage the kids and race around playgrounds and generally have a fun time. And when a kid throws a block at their head they are big enough to go over and tell them to STOP with a menacing look and the young tots actually listen. So that’s good. Elena is old enough this year to make some friends with other four year olds. She has her own spirited streak and that has served her quite well as she is quick to run and take back a toy and join in a game and voice her own needs.

After being in this large caged area for about an hour and when every toddler has hit each other at least once, we either go on a long walk to the farm or out on the toddler playground. Opening the door is like releasing bumblebees. The swarm dissipates into the play area and I am reminded everyday why children NEED the great outdoors.

At about 11:30ish we walk about ½ mile to the comedor and here the toddlers (and Joey Guy and Elena) join 400 other children for lunch. I spend this time picking the slowest eaters of the day and helping them finish the food in their bowls. This is a time consuming task and one of my most precious in the day. I convince many to open their mouths and eat just one more bite (or twelve more bites). They sometimes refuse. Or crawl under the table. Or open up their mouth that is already filled and won’t swallow. Sometimes they just want to take their time and look around. Some are sleepy. I refocus and refill and remind them to chew and swallow and I pray that each one will be filled in their spirit too. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. I pray they will know Jesus as one who satisfies. But then, someone throws up, and Jesus cares about this too. We know this because we know he cares for the whole being of all these little beings. All these little lives that shuffle back out of the comedor at 11:50 and head down for a nap.

From 12-2:00 I have Joey, Guy, Elena and Jesύs. We spend this time together as a family and finish up any leftover school projects or play on the playground or clean our house and the kitchen. This time in the heat of the day for us has been a nice break for us. At 2:00 ish we head back down the toddler house where they are just waking up and we play and wrestle and monitor and listen and learn.
3:30 is back up to the comedor for dinner. And we repeat all that was just done. (Story of parenthood.) We then go back to the house for showertime/bedtime. Joe takes our kids back home and I had on down to the toddlers.

Here I am assigned to the big boys room of four year old boys and I shower and brush the teeth of Noe, Yefry, Christian and Jesus. Sometimes Jefferson and Jose are there too, but they both have moms at the orphanage and so they arrive later in the evening. This is my favorite time and the sweetest time.  Four boys in the shower is quite the sight and there is lots of screaming and laughing and wrestling of course. We wrangle them into towels and then I wrap them up like babies and swing them around the room. Even the toughest love this game and they close their eyes and beg for more. "Soy bebe!" they yell and laugh. Then I kiss each sweet little wet face and help with jammies.
Jesus, Noe and Christian

Sometimes we read, sometimes we color, sometimes we just sit and I talk with Anna, a young woman who grew up here who now is in charge of this room. Or Suyappa, who is the mother of Christian. We laugh at my Spanish and I lay down on the floor while the boys jump and climb on me. I am mostly out of energy at this point. But of course, the boys have endless and I praise God that they are healthy and strong and well. When my back starts to hurt or 5:00 , whichever comes first, I kiss each on the head and then walk the way back to my family.


I love this walk. It is dusty and finally a bit cooler and the mountains are gorgeous and it is quiet. Elena greets me running where Joey and Guy and herself are normally playing outside in the ant covered ‘grass’. I shower kiddos and Joe makes dinner and we eat and play uno and then collapse them into bed around 7. Joey sometimes reads but Guy and Elena are asleep the second their head hits the pillow. Joe studies Spanish for a bit and I lay around thinking about studying Spanish… but most nights don’t.  We read and talk then set the alarms and listen to the wild dogs and noises of town before we go to sleep.

And that is how our days go! 

Much love to you and we hope you are staying warm and having fun in all that SNOW!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hola amigos and familia!

Estamos en Honduras! We have been here at Orphanage Emmanuel for about two weeks now and finally have a somewhat stable internet connection, as long as we use it before six a.m. We are so very happy to say that our travel went well and that we are all healthy and settling in to our new routines. Yes, we are all in one room. It is… cozy. We are learning a lot about personal space. Joey announced the other day that his ears needed a break. Yes Joey, I know.

But we are quite thankful for our beds and blankets and hot and clean water. My favorite item that we brought was an electric kettle. And at night I don’t even have to walk to the kitchen, but instead just heat up water for some tea and it feels luxurious. Electricity! We are thankful for electricity. Except on Thursday because the government shuts it off Thursday evenings. But I guess it makes us that much more thankful on Fridays.

I am officially at work in the toddler house and am learning how to navigate the very confusing waters. The house has about 30 some tots, but also 16 teenage moms who are living here with their children. It has been quite the process trying to figure out who is related to whom and who is responsible for which child and when I should (or should not!) help redirect children. There are many familiar faces in this house and so I smile a lot and spend a lot of time spoon feeding little ones and saying phrases “abre su boca” to instruct a little one to open their mouth. (for food, or for a toothbrush or to fish out a toy or stick or bead or whatever else they happen to have in there). Luckily, the toddler years are not that far behind me and I am learning that toddlers have a basic universal rule of insane cuteness mixed with mischievousness.  However, I remind myself during bath time or bedtime or mealtime, that these young ones have suffered deep aches, and immense loss. And the anger and intensity of emotions reveal their raw hearts, which have aged too fast. 

I have been so proud of Joey Guy and Elena. 15 days ago they were in the states celebrating Christmas and today they are sitting in a comedor with 500 other children, all talking in Spanish, and having to eat whatever is in their bowl. They are learning a lot too and fall SOUND asleep every day by 7:30 or 8, but are ready to go by 6:30am. I can see Joey’s brain processing on a deeper level than last year and already we have had lots of conversations about the moms that are here, the moms that aren’t here, the town we drove through. He doesn’t ask why questions, but just observes more. Right now this is fine with me. Because it is what it is, and honestly I don’t have many good answers for why.

We are loving the weather and loving the people and are very thankful to be here.

Thank you for your emails! I love having a few to read sometimes at 4am! 

And thank you for your prayers.  It is 6:05 here and I can hear all the children waking up. There is shouting and yelling in Spanish, laughing too and sounds of splashing water and many chickens. It is time for the day!

Much love,



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Honduras again!

Dear friends and family,
Hello! We hope each of you (spread across the country and world) have had a wonderful summer and autumn and are enjoying celebrating the holidays. We write to you as we are once again preparing to leave for Honduras!  Our family is set to travel to Orphanage Emmanuel in a few weeks. We will be staying there for just under three months as we volunteer as a family, serving and working with the people of Honduras. We are very excited about this trip and Joey, Guy and Elena are also looking forward to their time there once again.
When we returned home last February we were so relieved to be back home and focused on getting Elena back to her healthy self. Before we had even left Honduras however, both Joe and I knew that we would be returning. There are so many children who need love, care and attention, and we saw how every small act of love and care added up. Some people have been surprised that we are going back to Honduras. Even after Elena’s bout with Dengue? Even with our young boys who are getting more involved with school and friends? Yes. We are pro-life and pro- ABUNDANT life. Pro- children being cared for and young adults being valued. We truly believe that every life is valuable just because God has deemed it so. As we move forward in our own lives we desire to express the inclusive, radical love of Jesus by serving others. We are unbelievably grateful to be able to teach our children these truths as we live and learn as a family. We feel extremely blessed that we have the opportunity to volunteer once again with Orphanage Emmanuel and learn more about the culture and people of Honduras, while helping to take care of the smallest and most vulnerable little ones.
This year we will be helping in similar ways as we did last year, but also working more with the special needs children at the orphanage. Instead of staying in a house our family will all be squeezing into one bedroom (eek!). We will be homeschooling Joey Guy and Elena and learning more Spanish and eating lots of beans and rice!
We can’t begin to tell you how blessed we were by your interest, support and prayers last year. Knowing that we had a community behind us helped us to go forward and walk in this way. We honestly thank God for you. We tell our children that community is important, that people and the connections between us matter and we have been so blessed to be able to show them tangible ways in which they can see evidence of this. This year I will be posting updates once again on this blog...If you would like to receive updates then PLEASE sign up over here on the top right where it says "follow by email". You will be emailed by the blog every time we post! That way with our limited internet we can update and post in one place!

Many of you have asked how you can support our family. Thank you! This year we have two ways:
***If you would like a tax deductible way to support our family  and Orphanage Emmanuel, you are able to write a check made out to our church: THIRD WAY and in the memo line write Mission Honduras. All the money will go to help support our family’s time in Honduras and can be mailed directly to:

Third Way Church
1536 W. Minnehaha Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
***Another way to give is directly to us; as we will be collecting funds to help with the cost of our travels as well to donate to cover needs that we are made aware of while we are there!
Spadino . 245 Red Pine Circle, Hudson, WI 54016
Thank you so much for your generosity!
As always, your prayers are the most valuable to us. And we mean that sincerely. We believe that our Creator God hears us, responds to us and deeply cares for us. Praying for wisdom, safety and good health would bless us tremendously. Please also pray for the children and people of Orphanage Emmanuel. As we celebrate this Christmas season we sing Oh come Oh come Emmanuel. We know He has. So that we may have life, and life abundant. Our prayer is that these children (and our children!) will know the love of Jesus deep in their hearts, and that He would sustain them all of their days.
Thank you dear friends!
Peace and love to you,
Kate and Joe 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Move

When they left Connecticut in a car packed to the brim with the rest of what they owned, it was raining. It was raining in Tennessee when they slept under trees. It was lightening in Arkansas when they slept by the lake. It was finally sunny in Oklahoma, and then poured in New Mexico when at last they turned right and headed north instead of west. And then it was straight north for hundreds of miles and backtrack a little east until they almost hit the cold northern waters of Superior. They went over the bridge, through the town, beyond the fields and took a right on Red Pine and drove up our driveway- then they stopped. And they got out. And they are here.

My twin sister, Meredith, and her husband Ricky are finally here. And not here to visit. Here to live.

When I told people that my sister was upheaving her whole life, career, friendships and family to move across the country to live near me, there was some confusion. Is she moving for a job? No. Is she moving because she needs help? No. Is she moving because you need help? No. Is she moving because she’s unhappy? No.   In fact it doesn’t seem to make much sense at all. I’m the first to admit it. Meredith and Ricky left a life in New England they love, with full careers and footprints in hometowns to come to Packer land, cheese head country where we do strange things like make hot dishes, go outside in winter and have graduation parties in our garage.

Move to Wisconsin. I had asked her for years as I lived my life wiping baby faces and carrying toddlers on my hips, hundreds of miles away from all of my family who lived in Connecticut. No, she would say with certainty, my life is here. And so it was. College, grad school, career. But she would always show up. With every baby, with every year, in long winters or to celebrate spring. And then one day Meredith called me. I decided to move there, she said. I was floored. Then she said this: If life doesn’t change, we will only see each other once or maybe twice a year for the rest of our lives. Life is too short to see each other once a year for the rest of our lives. We have one life and we should spend it together.

And when Meredith says something. She means it. Her word has always been good, and I believed her. Meredith and Ricky got engaged and then married. Then they spent a year lining up the ducks- finances, jobs. It became clear that it was a horrible time to move across the country. There was not a natural transition, there was not an easy way out. So they just forged one. There will never be a good time to say goodbye to what you love. So instead of waiting for forever, Meredith and Ricky waited for about a year, then they packed up college t-shirts, their dog, their cast iron skillet, their business suits, ties and high heeled shoes. They packed up Grandma’s rocking chair, the china, the antique mirror and their laser jet printer. And they headed west. To me.

When people ask if she is moving here just for me I say yes. But really we know better. She is moving here for me, and my family. And our family. And these kids that are blood. She is moving here because we know deep that nothing last forever. That life is as brilliant and as short as a flash of light. That life is most beautiful when lived next to those that share your soul. Because skype, facetime, email and cellphones aren’t enough even now in this century to trump the ache when your sister is sad and the miles are long. Or if there is a reason to celebrate new babies or new jobs and the plane tickets are too expensive. Life apart is too expensive.    Life together is worth the cost. 

So yesterday they showed up in our driveway. A piece of my birth family right next to my birthed family. This is family I tell my children. These sacrifices and this joy and this optimism in the future. I point to their aunt and uncle and tell my children that the bravest sometimes risk it all to begin again. And if we share the past we share the future. I watch my sister hold my daughter and know that goodbyes are over for now. For this long season, we will all be here, together. And because it is impossible to say thank you for such a beautiful, soul filling gift, we just say welcome. Over and over to my brother in law, to my sister, and even in my morning prayer. Welcome, welcome, welcome, I whisper in gratitude. I am so happy you are here. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hi All!
We got the compressor back and the cars working!
Elena is doing so well. We saw the doctor on Friday- her pediatrician called the infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital to discuss all the paperwork/labs I brought. They were very interested and it was SO wonderful to have a complete discussion in English. I finally was able to ask questions and discuss everything! They agree that Elena had Dengue Fever- everything is textbook in her case including her fever drop on days 6/7 and then hard relapse on day 9/10 (last Tuesday and Wednesday). She has been fever free for two days now and they believe that she is mostly over it (besides some lethargy as it could remain in her system for a while). Today was her first full day off medicine and totally fever free! They said that they expect this to continue but if her temp got to 102 to bring her into the hospital because it shouldn't relapse another time. They do not expect Malaria or anything else at this point.
They were a little appalled at the amount of Tylenol Elena has consumed in the past 12 days (we were just following doctors orders who insisted that she stay on it - round the clock every 3/4 hours!) and so they ran a liver function test- but it turned out perfect. Her platelet counts are up (way up- making up the difference from last week!) and all other counts are good.
We are PRAISING GOD! On Wednesday the 9th, the day we were supposed to come home Elena was so very sick. We would have landed in Atlanta at 7pm  after she reached a 104 fever and would have gone to the hospital and might have spent a few days there. Instead- with just one day difference- we had the night in Guiamaca (stressful -true) but in the end we returned home on the very day that she was recovering.
She is SO happy to be in her own space and own bed (the boys are too!) and we are over the moon to have her feeling well.
Just five days ago feverish Elena and Joe were riding in the back of the pickup truck over dirt roads to go to the Doctor's house for more testing. Tonight she is sleeping thousands of miles away- tucked in her bed. In BOTH places we know God was with us and beside us and watching over us.  We will forever hold this experience in our hearts as a testimony God's faithfulness and of a time we felt God's presence and knew He was with our family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We love you,
Kate, Joe, Joey, Guy and Elena.