Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a Spectacular Summer We Have Had!!!!!

We started school this Monday, and I decided I wanted to write one final summer post before any more time slipped away.  

Our summer has been fantastic.  Thankfully, we have spent most of the season at the pool- either for swim team or recreation.  We have also enjoyed meeting friends at playgrounds around town and playing!  The only crisis to date occurred at the library one morning- it involved Hope ripping a book, and more crying and screaming than that library has heard in a long time(and that only describes me!!!  

We have included random photos of our adventures.  We have also included some very special pictures from this weekend.  We were able to meet the amazing woman that runs KidsCare Orphanage in Ethiopia.  That is the orphanage where Hope was brought when she was found last November.  This sweet woman, Aster, was in Nashville for two nights, and we were able to spend an evening with her.  What JOY!  There are a few pictures of Aster and Hope.  She spoke Amheric to Hope, and told us some treasured details about Hope's time in the orphanage!!!  Truly a blessing.  She told us this was her first time to see kids from the orphanage with their families in the states!!!  It was incredible for everyone!!!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Big Changes

When we received our first pictures of Hope this spring, we were overjoyed to see her for the first time.  We were also very sad.  In every picture we had of Hope, she looked so pitiful and unhappy.  We LONGED to see a smile, but unfortunately, each picture sent showed Hope as sad and expressionless.

Good news, the smile has appeared and it is magnificent!!!!  When she smiles, her whole face lights up and it is spectacular!!!  We are thrilled with how she has adjusted to life in the Garner home these past three weeks.  

We wanted to share a few pictures that show the beautiful transformation that is taking place in her life, ENJOY!

Again, To God Be The Glory!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Did I say "video soon?"

The reality is, we have not had time to put a video together yet!!!  The trip was incredible, and we cannot wait to share a glimpse of our journey through a video- but we have not had time to complete one yet!

In the meantime, we wanted to share a few favorite pictures.  My goal is to give a bit of text with each picture for explanation.  However, we have never tried to combine text and photo- so if it does not work, enjoy the pictures and I will do a separate post with background info. later.


(BTW, they aren't really in any chronological order... ;-)  )

Monday, June 1, 2009


What an amazing journey!  I truly cannot believe we flew to Africa to meet our daughter!

As I type this, Hope is sitting across the kitchen table, firmly planted on Jason's lap, enjoying some breakfast.  She loves to peek around the box of cereal and give me BIG smiles, it melts my heart.  Our first hours home have been terrific.  She has adjusted to life in the U.S. with 4 siblings with relative ease.  We know there will be some bumps in the road, but all things considered- we are all doing great.

The trip was beyond anything I could have imagined.  I was overwhelmed by the extreme poverty and by the love and affection of the people there.  

When we received our referral for Hope, we learned she was abandoned by the side of the road at around 12 months.  I knew her family must have been desperate to be forced to do this, desperate beyond anything I could imagine.  However, I still could not wrap my mind around the idea that circumstances would be so bad that I would walk away from my child.

Now, after having walked the streets of Addis Ababa, I have the slightest picture of what led to her abandonment.  The poverty there is beyond description.  Everywhere we went we saw people struggling, the smallest children begging and it broke my heart.  I wanted to bring all the little ones home!!!

The police report filed when Hope was found, stated the police were taking her to the hospital and then the orphanage "to secure a future for her."

Since first reading that report in March, Jeremiah 29:11 has played over and over in my head.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  Jer. 29:11

In the next few days we will get a video posted, we hope you like it!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Please pray for Hope

Jason and I have been preparing to meet Hope for the past two years.  Since the day this journey began, we have known God had a daughter planned for us, and that we would meet her in His timing.  

Our kids have also been preparing for the last two years.  They are eager to meet their sister and cannot wait to play.  It has been a joy to watch how God has placed Hope deep in their hearts already.  Each of them have prayed the most precious prayers for her, and they talk about her ALL the time.  They especially want to play hide-and-seek with Hope, realizing she has never been to our home- hiding will be really easy!

Recently we were able to witness just how much Hope is already a part of our family-
Our dear friends the Alexanders called to let us know they had just delivered their fifth baby.  When I told the kids that the fifth Alexander had been born, Jackson responded, "They are catching up to us!"

I cried.

Hope is counted as a sister even before she is home.

While we are excited and ready, Hope has no idea we are coming.  What is great joy for us, will be overwhelming and scary for her.  We want to be sensitive to her perspective on all the events which will unfold when we arrive and remove her from the orphanage.  Please pray for our sweet baby, pray for her heart to have peace and for her to trust us.  

Please pray for Hope!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Airport Fun!

As we near our departure date, I wanted to provide a few details for those that may be interested.

First off, many of you have asked about joining us at the airport upon our return- absolutely!!!  
That being said, it seems unwise to list specifics of our travel plans on the world wide web.  

We do not want anyone to assume our house will be empty during our absence and . . .   However, I must say- if anyone were to break into our house, they would be soooo disappointed.  We do not even have a television, and we are bringing our only computer with us.  

Unless of course, they are robbers that have a love for home school curriculum, Adventures in Odyssey CDs, Legos and baby dolls- then they will have hit the jackpot!!!

Here is the plan, if you want to meet us at the airport, send me an email (  We will send you our scheduled landing time, and on the day of return we will try and send an update if we miss a flight etc. . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To God Be the Glory!

Throughout this adoption process we have seen the hand of God so clearly that it takes my breathe away!
Time and time again He has shown Himself in ways that bring us absolute joy and awe that He is deeply involved in every aspect of our lives and that He truly cares for us.

The most recent picture of His work unfolded this weekend.  Ever since receiving the video of Hope, we have wanted to thank Andy Ish.  We have no contact info. for him- and even my attempt to locate him through a google search brought no results.

Then on Friday, I ran into our neighbor, Beth.  We have known each other for years, used to go to story time together and still run into each other consistently.  She asked how the adoption was going, and then she told me her sister had just returned home from adopting twins . . .My brain immediately heard the video clip when Andy said he was in Ethiopia with his sister who was getting twins.  Out of my mouth came "your brother isn't Andy Ish is he?"

Beth was shocked and said Andy was her brother, and wondered how I knew that- what a story I had to tell her!  

Only God could be so creative!  To orchestrate all those circumstances and have the man that held our sweet baby be our neighbor' s brother- WOW!  The really fun part is we were able to talk to Andy, he called last night and both Jason and I were able to speak with him.  What a gift!!!