Monday, September 26, 2011

More Updates...

In a previous post, I mistakenly put the wrong date for our Applebees pancake breakfast.  It is Saturday, October 8th.  I am asking you to spread the word and invite as many people as you can.  We would love to have a great turnout.  It is from 8-10.  

Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU to those of you who have taken part in our Avon fundraiser.   October 3rd is the final date we can receive orders.  If you still wish to order, please contact either me or Rachel.  Online orders will not be accepted.   All the proceeds have been graciously donated to us by our friend, Rachel Kissling.  

God continues to provide for us.  I am overwhelmed by the number of people praying on our behalf and feel incredibly blessed by the gifts he has given.  

Two great things happened last week while we were away.  First, we received our immigration approval!  We also received our official referral for Efrata.  We were happy to come home and get a little more information about her and a few more pictures.  We can't wait to get her home!  The next step is waiting on a court date.  

Sorry if this update sounds so "impersonal"....I am feeling continually in a state of catch up.  I don't really have the time to sit down and write all the things that I would like. I have moments when I feel overwhelmed, but I also feel exactly where God wants me to be.  It is a great feeling to know that even when you don't have it all together, God is still on his throne.  

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~2 Corinthians 12:9-10



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Update

A little update on where we are in the journey.   Our home study was completed about 2 weeks ago, and we sent that to immigration immediately.  We received our fingerprinting appointment a few days ago.  It is scheduled for September 13th.  We have been blessed by  a couple of phone calls from immigration asking us a few questions and giving us the name of the officer that is working on our case.  She was very kind and said she didn't think it would take much time to get approval once we submitted our home study.  We are very excited to hear this as we must have this completed before we can go for our first trip.

Currently we are working on gathering up the money needed to fund this adoption.  Many of you know how much money it takes, and we are in awe of how God provided for us last year.  I wanted to share a couple of fundraisers that are coming up.

My sweet friend Rachel is once again having an Avon Party for us.  I am so thankful for her generosity and support of our family.  For every purchase, we will receive a portion of her profits.  Here is a link to her website:   I also have books available and am happy to drop one off to you.  You can have your purchase shipped to your home or we can deliver.  You can order up through October 3.  Happy Shopping!

Mark your calendars...we will be having another Applebees pancake breakfast November 5th.  We hope that everyone will be able to come out and enjoy some yummy pancakes and help us bring Efrata home!

We began school a few weeks ago and are settling into a routine nicely.  Our school day looks differently this year as we doubled our class size!  We are having a great time.  I love seeing how much Yonas and Yosef are learning.  I have enjoyed getting to experience this with all my children, but it is thrilling to see Yonas read a sentence on a page or learn something new in math.  Yosef is having fun with school. Kindergarten is an exciting time, and I missed out on some of these things with Abby and Gracie.  Each year of homeschooling brings about something new.  I am so thankful to have this time with them.  Each one of my children have gifts that God has blessed them with.  I am anxious to see how God uses them for his glory.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I don't have too much to update since my last post except that it looks like we will be filed for court before they close.  Praise God!  We're hoping to get our home study completed soon so that we can send that off to immigration.  Each day I have to surrender this process over to God.  It is too easy for me to take back the reigns on this adoption and think that I have some control over what is happening.  I continue to have confirmation of how God is working in and through us.  

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! 

~Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Family is Growing...

This post is a long one.  If you don't want to read about every detail, I will just say that our family is adopting again!  A 9 year old girl from Ethiopia named Efrata.  We are very excited to know she might be home with us soon.

I told myself that I would continue to write once the boys came home, but it has been challenging.  I am busier than I ever was and loving every minute of it.  Our family is doing incredibly well.  Yonas and Yosef have blended right in to our life and each day brings us closer.  We are thankful for how God has worked in each of our lives, and I think we all have a greater appreciation for one another.

With this post comes some very exciting news!  We are adopting again!  We are thrilled to be able to finally share this news with everyone.  The story begins back in October of last year.  During our first visit to the orphanage to meet the boys, a girl grabbed hold of my heart.  I knew within a couple of hours that I was going to have to talk to Vince about what I was feeling.  She stayed with me the entire day.  I began envisioning her being in our family.  But I was also thinking..."this is crazy, we are here solely for our sons, Vince is going to say no way, our family will not bless this, etc....."  By the time we got in the car to leave, I said to Vince, "I can't stop thinking about Efrata, what if we adopt her? "   I don't remember Vince's exact words, but I know he was ready. He didn't hesitate in saying yes.  I immediately began praying that God would give us wisdom to make decisions without using just our emotions...

We came home and waited for the call to go back.  During this time, I was so busy preparing for Yonas and Yosef.  We as a family were anticipating bringing them home and spent our days waiting for that call.  We couldn't wait to get them home.  I was still praying about Efrata.  I was still asking God to give me clarity.

During our second trip, we had the opportunity to visit several orphanages, one of them being the one Yonas, Yosef had been in and Efrata was still at.  I ended up going by myself while Vince stayed back with the boys at the Transition house.  I remember how nervous I was driving up to that gate.  I prayed the whole drive there.  Asking God for peace.  I was not sure if she would even be there.  As we opened up the gate to walk in, Efrata was the very first person I saw!  She was standing there smiling.  I began walking to her, and she remembered me.  We hugged and said our hellos.  I was so excited to be back at the orphanage and have the opportunity to see her again.  Emotionally I broke down and began crying.  (not a very good thing to do when you can't explain why you are crying)  She was looking at me like I was crazy.  lol   She was one of only a few kids at the orphanage at that time.  The rest of them were at school.  If we had arrived just an hour before, she would have still been at school.  She went to the morning session and the rest of the kids went in the afternoon.  What a God thing!   I enjoyed my time with her and the staff, thanking them for how well they took care of Yonas and Yosef.  It was a wonderful day that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Fast forward to us being home about a month.  We knew that Efrata was not "paperwork ready" to be adopted.  This means that she had not been officially through the courts to be approved to be adopted.    We also knew that Woudneh was working on this for us.  During this time I was still praying that God would open those doors in His time.  I spent many hours anticipating a call that would mean we could adopt her.  I also knew that the door could close on us at any time.

By April, I began thinking that this door was closing.  Maybe God was teaching me something throughout all this, not necessarily with the outcome I had hoped.  Whenever I prayed from this point on, I just wanted closure.  It was difficult because I wasn't really talking about this to many people.   I would say to Vince, "I don't think this is going to happen.  Maybe God has something else in mind for Efrata."  Vince was always quick to say, I think she is supposed to be with us.  He felt so strongly that God was still working.  It is amazing how I was the one to give up hope and doubt.  I think I was trying to protect myself from any further hurt.

A couple of months went by and 4 days before our anniversary, we got a call that she was in the final stages of passing regional court to be adopted!  I couldn't believe it.  I think I sat there in shock for a couple of minutes.  Instantly I praised God for the answer I had asked for.  It just seemed too good to be true...We were ready to proceed.  Vince and I began to update our home study, send off our immigration application, and start preparing the kids.  We also told our families.

Yesterday, we got the call that she is finally ready!  We are now trying to speed up our end, just in case we can get filed for court before they close in August/September.  Things seem to be moving fast, but I'll take it!

 I am asking that you be in prayer for us.  It would not be accurate to say this has been an easy journey.  When you surrender to God, you have to be ready for anything.  Each day is a new opportunity to give God the glory.  Pray for Efrata and her transition into our home.  Please pray for Abby, Gracie, Yonas, and Yosef as they welcome another sibling.  They are all so excited.  It brings me joy to see how they are ready to open up their lives for another child.   Also please pray that I not let worry and fear overcome me.   I am realizing the enormity of gathering the money needed and the cost for travel.  Once again, Vince's faith is not moved.  He knows that God will provide.  We have been blessed over the last year and are so thankful for how our family and friends have rallied around us.  God has been so good to us.  Praise Him!


Sunday, February 20, 2011


I have been asked by my friend, Brandi Crum, to host a Thirty-One Gifts party for her.  Bart and Brandi traveled with us on our first trip to Ethiopia back in October.  We both passed court, but they came home to a letter from immigration saying that they were denied due to insufficient income.  That meant that they could not move forward in getting an embassy date until they were approved.  They have a sweet little 4 year old boy waiting for them.  It is truly heartbreaking.  Since that time, Brandi has begun working at JC Penney part time and also for Thirty-One Gifts.  Purchasing a new purse or bag would help them get closer to bringing their son home.  Please follow the link below:

Brandi, Bart & Abinet Crum

Ordering is very easy and your purchase will be shipped to you.
Click on the link go to "my events" and then click on Kelli Monks.

Happy Shopping!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

It has been such a joy to experience so many "firsts" with Yonas and Yosef.  Today is their first Valentine's day with us.  They were so excited to wake up this morning to some candy and a little toy.  I have always enjoyed celebrating Valentine's Day with Abby and Gracie.  I try to make it a special day for them.  Vince usually does something special for them as well.  At lunch he surprised them by bringing home pizza.  He also brought Abby and Gracie flowers.  It was so sweet.  Gracie LOVES to get flowers. 
I had the table decorated for lunch.  Yonas came upstairs smiling and saying oh, pretty!  Thank you Mommy!  Such sweet words from a sweet boy.
After lunch we made sugar cookies, and they decorated them.

Hard at work
Always smiling

Yes, they are all in their pajamas...we decided today was a great day for it!
Pictures from this morning with their gifts


 I am incredibly blessed by the thoughtfulness of my husband.  He has been my rock the last couple of weeks.  I woke up to this beautiful Willow Tree, and he also had written out the words to a song for me.  We shared this song together a few weeks ago, so he remembered how much it meant to me.  Today, I am thanking God for the gift that he gave me in Vince.  A person to share my life with and keep me focused.  I love him a little more each day! 

Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day



Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's Official!

We received their Citizenship papers in the mail this week.  We were happy to get them in the mail even though they were really US citizens when we arrived back in the country.  They were so proud!

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks

We all got our hair cut this month (the girls), but Gracie made the biggest change!
She donated  it to Locks of Love

Ready for the snow

My girls

Trying to find the words (and the time) to write a little about our last 6 weeks.  We are settling in to a routine with school and other activities.  Enjoying our days and making the most of our time.  It has been challenging and very rewarding for all of us.  So very thankful for all that God has done for us!


Monday, December 20, 2010

We have had a great weekend.   Yonas and Yosef went into their classes at church by themselves this week.  They had a really good time.  It was so nice to see them smiling and sitting with all the other kids.  I thought it would be harder on them than it was.  They hugged us and said bye-bye...When we picked them up, Yosef colored a paper and made a craft.  He was so proud of them.  They were all smiles.  Such a blessing.

Friday night we were invited to our friend's home, Greg and Linda Heitzman.  We decorated gingerbread houses and had dinner.  The kids loved every minute of it.  They finished up the night cuddling up on the couch watching a movie.  I am so thankful to have friends that have embraced our new family size.  It was nice to be able to get out with them, and it gave us a chance to teach them a little bit more about their boundaries.  I think that for the most part, they did pretty good.  Here are some pictures from our night.

Getting ready to begin

The finished product

Gracie's favorite part of the night

More pictures

I had to post this picture of the kids watching a workout video.  They were all working hard!

Their first doctor's appointment.  They loved getting a chance to use the stethoscope.



Friday, December 17, 2010

Home at Last

We have been home for 2 weeks, and the days are flying by!  I have enjoyed taking a break from most of the busyness that comes during the Christmas season to just love on family.  It has been so much fun to see Yonas and Yosef mold into our family.  They are adjusting well.  Each day they seem to relax a little more and are becoming acquainted with our routine.

It is hard to believe that it was a year ago when Vince and I made the decision to finally pursue adoption.  I couldn't have possibly imagined all that God had in store for us when we began this journey.  Our faith has been strengthened.  God has brought people into our lives that have been there for us, not only financially but emotionally as well.  God has provided the way.  I firmly believe that his mighty hand was all over this adoption.  Every last detail.  I am forever grateful to those of you who have stood by us, cheered us on, and provided the help that we needed to finish this journey. 

We now enter a whole new season in our home.  It is such an exciting time.  Having boys in the house has been very different for us.  Abby and Gracie are realizing just how different boys and girls are.  They get up in the morning ready to go.  They rarely stop and take a break throughout the day.   I am impressed with how patient and caring Abby and Gracie are with them.  This hasn't been as "easy" as they thought it would be, but they are the best big sisters.  They have taught them so much and help them daily with their English.  I enjoy watching them play together. 

As I sit here writing, I have to take a moment to realize that this is my life.  Yes, God has given me 4 beautiful children to train up in the way of the Lord.  I don't take that responsibility lightly, and I know that Vince and I will live our life in service for the One who gave his life for us.  We look forward to the next path He chooses for us.

I will someday get around to writing about our second trip to Ethiopia.  I tried to write about it with this post, but I guess my emotions are too raw.  I just couldn't seem to get words down without bawling.  I have to say it was an amazing week, and I already miss so many things about Ethiopia.  Vince and I look forward to the day we can return. 

I'll leave you with some pictures from the past week

Play dough is a big hit

Decorating for Christmas

Yosef found a new use for our stockings...Ha!

My beautiful girls


Bananas are a necessity in our home

Movie time

Arts and crafts

They love kissing baby Jesus

Look at those beautiful smiles

Merry Christmas from the Monks Family!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Embassy-December 1st

We just got the call!  We will be Ethiopia bound on Saturday!  Woo hoo!!!  I am thrilled beyond words.  In just one week, Yonas and Yosef will be in our arms, and we will be ready to bring them home.  After I got off the phone with Lesley (from our agency), I had a good cry.  It felt so good to be crying tears of joy:)  If that makes any sense.  God worked in this process because Lesley said normally after passing embassy, you wouldn't normally travel for 2-3 weeks.  They allowed us to have the December 1st date partly because we already have our flights booked.  Isn't God amazing!

We will be coming home Friday, December 3rd at 6:25pm  if anyone is interested in coming to the airport.  We would love to see you!

Thank you for your prayers!


We still have not heard a confirmation that we will be traveling Saturday.  Today should be the day!  I am praying that it all works out, but I also trust that God's timing is perfect.  The hardest part is knowing that Yonas and Yosef are waiting for us.  Praying that God would prepare them and help them to understand the wait.  Our West Sands host, Woudneh has been wonderful.  He told us that they are doing great.  They have asked about us and when we would be there to get them.  It made me so happy to know they were anticipating our arrival. 

Our pancake breakfast was a huge success!  Thank you for supporting us.  It was such a fun time.  Thank you to those of you who helped us that morning.  You know who you are!  We couldn't have done it without you.  Vince and I loved seeing so many family and friends in one place and catching up with friends we haven't seen for years.  God has truly blessed us with so much love and encouragement.  It brings me to tears when I stop to think about it.

Below are some school pictures.  I am a little late in posting but enjoy!

Abby & Gracie's "Gallon Girl"

Field trip to Gallrein Farms

Look at those nice pumpkins and of course cute kiddos!

Feeding the animals

The whole gang 

Completed the corn maze

Abby's wig for our Moses play

Working hard

Nature Walk at Cherokee Park

The best of friends

Thinking a lot about these little guys.  Can't wait for us all to be together. Very soon...

I'll update later today when I find out anything.


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7