Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hi,  It's Rob (my first post on Heather's blog) she is busy putting pj's on Yabsira.

What a great day!  We went shopping and got to dicker over stuff -- it is amazing how a sweet look from Heather can save me 50% on something.  The US dollar equals 10 Ethiopian Birr so we bought a ton of stuff for about $40 American money.  I am going to look at soccer jerseys at some point, but I know that they are about $40 American.

Then we had Pizza -- It was at a place called Ricos (not very Ethiopian) -- and then we went and got Yabsira, went to the US Embassy to get her Visa, went back to the transition home to play, and she said goodbye to her friends there -- while it was sad to see, she wants be with us -- and it was quite clear by the way she clung to us all day, smilied and laughed. 

We got to meet her teacher, and we got to see the school work that she has been doing.  She can knows and can write the alphabet, and can count to 10.  She is picking up on words very quickly.  We are really considering for her to spend some time in the MPC preschool if she can for the rest of this school year -- she is ready.  We see it, and her teacher sees it.

We brought her back to our hotel room, and Heather gave her a bath after she let her pick out some clothes -- she picked out one of her big sister's old, but favorite outfits, and matching underwear -- you could imagine how excited Heather was.  She got a bath, and it being the her first time using a bath puff she scrubbed herself 4 times, while she laughed.

After she got clean and dressed, we sat and watched a video that her big brother Joel and big sister Isabelle made for her being tour guides of our home.  You should have seen how big her eyes got when she saw Joel open our refrigerator full of food.  She is ready to have a brother and sister!  I can't tell you how just being with her for the day let Heather and I both see that she was made for our family.  She is so much like Joel and Isabelle that we know that they will bond very quickly.

We went to dinner, and she had Ethiopian food, and she ate, and ate, and ate, and ate, and then she wanted to go "home" -- our hotel room -- and she had her first Twizzler!  She didn't know what to think at first, then she smiled, and wanted to share it.  Sharing, Hunh, what a concept.

So it was a great day.  She knows when to use the toilet, that is what she says when she need to go, already knows how to put lotion on her body, and folds her napkin after she eats. 

A few other things that would help you understand our experience.  There are no traffic laws here.  I asked why, and I was told that since Ethiopia is a democracy, they are free to drive anyway that they want to.

The people go out their way to make you comfortable.  They are courteous, and kind.  I was asked by the hotel manager how our stay has been, and when I said great, he kept saying "really"?  They want to serve us.

I have had the best coffee of my entire life.  Since this is the birthplace of coffee they know how to make it the correct way.  We bought one of their coffee pots to take home.  I was told that one judges whether a women is worth marrying based upon their coffee. 

So keep praying for us.  We are excited and can't wait for you to meet her!!!

We would love to post some pictures, but the dial up internet, that can only be used in the hotel lobby, is too slow here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today was THE day!

We met our sweet little Yabsira today!  She is so precious and very smart.  It is so hard to describe our first meeting with her.  She is so loving.  She was holding our hands and giving us pecks on our checks.  At one point I needed to finish some paper work so Sira and Rob where sitting on the front steps talking and singing and Rob pointed at himself and said Dad(we were doing that with her all day) and then Yabsira looked at him and said Find Mom.  They came and found me.  I cried.  I wasn't sure how she would react to me.  But now I know, she knows I am her mother.
We had such a wonderful day.  I still haven't processed everything.
We played with all of the children and had such a fun time!  The children at the Transitional Home are amazing.  They are so special! 
Rob and I have been forever changed.  But that will have to be for a later post.
Please pray for good health for our family,  the Tennant Family and the Savage Family.  And that tomorrow will be a smooth transition for the children and the parents.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We are here!!!!!

Hello Family,

Well after 24 hours of traveling we are finally here -- Pgh. to Newark, New Wark to London, London to Rome, and Rome to Addis.  We stayed in this rent by the hour (not what you think) kind of futuristic hotel in the London airport, so we got a little bit of sleep, but we are exhausted.

Addis is a unique place -- there are zero traffic laws, signs, etc.  It kind of reminds us of driving in Cranberry.

We will spend the day resting today, and will go and meet Yabsira tomorrow.

We will do our best to post the adventures of each day on Heather's blog.  It is only dial up internet here, and we just found out that the only place that we can use it is in the hotel lobby -- arrgh.

We did have a moment of church today -- As we watched the sun rise from the airplane, we were listening to David Crowder sing All Creatures of Our God and King -- My MP3 player provided the music, The Lord provided the rest -- It is amazing how He still delights in showing us His indescribable Glory!

We can feel your prayers and we miss you all, especially Joel and Isabelle!

Be God's,

Rob and Heather

Thursday, December 25, 2008

We leave TOMORROW!!!

We found out on Tuesday that we were leaving on Friday instead of Saturday! This will be my last post from home! When we get a chance we will keep you all updated from ET!
I can't believe we will meet Sira on Monday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it! In ONE week we will be leaving to bring home sweet little Yabsira!
The past two weeks have been so full! Not only did we get everything ready for Christmas and a trip to Ethiopia but my back went out(it's a Christmas tradition,lol),I had Strep,Rob had bronchitis and something else I can't spell. Praise God,the kids have been healthy although I'm pretty sure they are the carriers.
With one more cleaning the house will be as clean as it gets. The packing isn't near completion but I have a schedule for that. All will get done and if it doesn't "Oh,well." I have decided to relax and enjoy the last moments of life as we know it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You Know You Should Adopt If...

I posted this in April and I still can't read through it without crying! It cuts deeper now.

This is our referral picture. The first picture we had of Sira (Yabsira). (8-26-08)

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
Author Unknown

If this makes your heart ache...pray! Does God what you to adopt? Does He have another way He wants you to take care of an orphan? Pray...He WILL show you! But I have to warn you,it is a wild ride! But worth it 100%!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm testing out our email to blogger.  We won't have access to blogger in ET.  But we will have access to email.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Theme Music

Have you ever thought that there was one song that if you had to name it,it would be your theme music? When you walk into a room it is blaring.
So I've never really thought about it until...Starting the day we passed court every time I turn on the radio the first song or the second a certain song plays. Rob didn't believe me until the last few times we have been in the car together it comes on! As I was thinking about writing on this blog I had K LOVE on. And guess what? THE song came on!
So here is the song and lyrics that God wants me to hear continually!

A New Hallelujah
Michael W. Smith
Can you hear, there's a new song
Breaking out from the children of freedom
Every race and every nation
Sing it out, sing a new Hallelujah

Let us sing love to the nations
Bringing hope of the grace that has freed us
Make it known and make Him famous
Sing it out, sing a new Hallelujah

Arise, let the church arise
Let Love reach to the other side
Alive, come alive
Let the song arise

Africa sings a new song
Reaching out with a new Hallelujah
Every son and every daughter
Everyone sing a new Hallelujah

God is trying to tell me something!
For the last two months I have been distracted. Detracted from His plan and purpose for our lives. Rob and I have had some weird things happen to narrow our view. And not in a good way. We are so overwhelmed to know that God knows us inside and out that he would know what would refocus us back to Him and His plan! Praise God!

Friday, December 5, 2008

So if you haven't figured it out by now ... We passed court!

So here's the whole story...

On Tuesday we received a call from our adoption coordinator Duni telling us that there was a major snag in our adoption. We found out that it was Yabsira's step father who signed her relinquishment papers, and the courts said that they needed a blood relative to sign the papers. Meaning that they had to conduct a search. You can only imagine the worry and struggle that we went through. If they couldn't find a blood relative the court would give the orphanage guardianship of Yabsira. If we didn't pass court we would have to wait until the end of January and probably traveling in February. So, we were frustrated, worried, and just plain sad.

So we decided to fast and pray on Wednesday -- Why give up hope when our God is much bigger than all of this. We also were blessed to have a large group of friends and family fasting and praying with us. Rob was even prayed over by our intercessory prayer team, and the Holy Spirit was felt. How good it is to be supported by so many.

Early Thursday morning, I was awoken around 3AM and was let to pray. We have no idea what was going on across the world from us -- it would have been noon there. We found out that many people from our Travel group were awoken around the same time to pray. Two of them woke up with Yabsira's name in their heads and were praying for her -- though they didn't even know the full story.

My day was filled with time with my friends. Breakfast with Marlene,then helping Betsy with her business for the rest of the day. I'm not sure if they planned it, but my sweet friends were keeping me busy so that my mind wasn't continually worrying about what was happening with my precious Yabsira! So, we were completely surprised when we received a call from Kristen,the TRAVEL coordinator,saying that we PASSED COURT!

We don't know what exactly happened. We wouldn't be surprised to find out that all of this was happening in Ethiopia when I was up at 3AM. We hope to find out, but even it we don't all we know is that a miracle happened. Praise God for listening to the prayers of His people.

We were also reminded during all of this how loved we are by so many. Our daughter already has a big family -- None of us are her "blood" relatives in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of God -- we have always been.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

God Specializes in the Impossible!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We received a call from Duni yesterday. It was not the news we were hoping for. It seems that there is a situation that has come up with our adoption that may prevent us from traveling next week or even in the next few months to bring our princess home. It doesn't seem that our court date was yesterday,which in our situation is good. But if the situation does not get worked out by the end of the week we will not pass court this second time. So, we ask for prayer that God does what is impossible for man but not for Him.
Also, please be praying for the Kulp and Semlow families as they did not pass court yesterday. And for the other 8 families in our travel group that have not heard a thing yet.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Please Pray

It is our understanding that tonight while we sleep, it will be the day of our court date in Ethiopia. Please pray that all of the paper work that needs to be there will be and that the judge will grant us favor so that next week we can go to ET and bring home our precious Y!
It was two Christmas' ago that God laid the importance of adoption on our families heart. Our little girl started to grow in our hearts two years ago and we now hope God brings our family to completion this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pretty in Pink...and green

My sweet little sister has requested "Please update your blog!" So I'll give her something while she is taking care of four puking kids.
Isabelle and I have just finished little Y's bedroom and as you can see the girls in our family love pink! We even think Y does too because just about every picture we have seen of her she is wearing pink! Oh, I need to give a BIG Thank you to my beautiful friends, Beth and Marlene who helped me paint Y's room!!

Today I was really convicted by a scripture I read this morning on our YG prayer list.(Thanks Kim!)
Jesus said,"If? If there are no "ifs" among believers anything can happen." Mark 9:23 As I have said before I have grown comfortable waiting. But in my mind I've realized it isn't about waiting, it is about disappointment. "IF" I think the worst then I won't be disappointed when we don't pass court. But the "Ifs" need to be replaced with "when." Hope is such a precious thing. It can change everything! So..."When" we pass court on December 2nd I will post pictures and Y's name!:)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pictures, Pictures and more Pictures!!!

Sorry, I can't share them with you just yet! I hate it when someone does that to me. But just let me tell you...She is absolutely stunning!!! Her smile lights up a room! Rob said it is bad enough that Isabelle has him wrapped around her finger; his youngest daughter does too!!
Friends, It is getting harder and harder to wait! With every new picture and update we see more of who she is. And she is beautiful. I want so badly to hold my daughter in my arms. That time will be soon. Praise God!

Monday, November 3, 2008


God is so good! He has given us a great peace. His purpose and plan is perfect! Although we aren't sure when we will be picking up sweet little,Y, we know it will happen. She is being loved by the staff and nannys and by our YG family and most important by her heavenly father!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sad news

We received an unexpected call from Duni today. Today was our court date and we did not pass.:( There was one piece of paper work that was missing. It was a government agency over sight, I guess. All of our travel group had the same problem. Our new tentative travel dates are in mid-December IF we pass court on the second try. We are so blessed to have a fantastic travel group. There are five families in our group that got the sad news today. Please pray for us.
We know that God has a great plan but right now we (The Sparrs') can't see beyond ours.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Month and counting!

It is SO good to be counting DOWN! For so long we were counting up. Adding up the days of the wait!
Yesterday our sweet little daughter received a package from us! Our yahoo group friend, Amy Lusse and her husband are in Ethiopia RIGHT NOW! They took our package and all our love to our precious girl! We are so thankful to this family! In the excitement of her trip she thought of a bunch of us and on her blog gave us a written glimpse of our children! She is so wonderful!
I am at the point were I can barely write about our little girl without tears in my eyes. It is not sadness it is so much emotion! It is gratefulness, love, longing, happiness and so much more. It is hard to describe!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Rob has come home from work with some new lingo. Our good friend and Lead Pastor at our church, Dean keeps reminding Rob, "T.I.A.".
Till In Africa, nothing is set! Besides traveling quite a bit to various parts of Africa,Dean and his wife Beth have two adopted children from Africa so they are all too familiar with the ups and downs of this process.
So, You might have noticed a new time line to your right. If you read my last post you also might notice it is a day off. The whole tentative part of tentative travel dates has already been proved! I know it is only one day. But it is one day closer to bringing our daughter home! Now also realize it could go the other way. One day you might take a peek at this blog and see the time line has been changed to reflect a January travel date! God is good and He will bring our daughter home.
We hold Y loosely in our hands because we know she is firmly in HIS!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tentative Travel Dates!

Yesterday we received our tentative travel dates! They are TENTATIVE! But here they are...Nov.30-Dec.5th! If we pass court the first time around these are the dates we will be traveling. We don't know the specific day of our court date but from the e-mail that was sent we assume that it is in the next 3 weeks. So as soon as we have passed court our little one is officially our daughter and we can share her name and picture here!
Please pray for successful court dates over the next 3 weeks. There are many of us from AWAA and other agency's waiting to pass court!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For the past week Joel would pull me aside and ask "Mommy, can you believe your baby is going to be 9?" And then he would give me a big hug. He is the sweetest boy!
God gave us Joel as a gift! I wish I could put in words how great full I am to Him for that! All of the circumstances around Joel coming into this world are truly miracles. We are blessed beyond words because what God has done in and through this little boy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Got Formula?

The orphanage that Y is at is in great need of formula. There is a formula shortage in Ethiopia! Even if we brought money with us to buy formula in Ethiopia it is difficult to find. So we are hoping to bring formula for the orphanage and diapers and wipes for the Transitional home. If anyone would like to donate any of those items please let me know! Thanks!

Any good painters out there?

I have grown used to waiting. Not very gracefully I might add but I have grown used to it. I guess you could say I am very comfortable waiting. Not gracefully comfortable but comfortable. I can pass by Y's room without crying now and the thoughts of going to get her in January feel,well,comfortable.
When we received our referral in August Duni told us we could travel in December but it could be January. So, I have been letting myself believe we will bring Y home in January. After all,the time lines in this whole process haven't been really accurate.
So, we had a conference call today with AWAA. We learned a lot of great stuff today! One being that all of the summer referrals have court dates. And all of us that have court dates should(if we pass court)travel to Addis to bring our children home by or on DECEMBER 6th!!!! There will be 5 groups from now until Dec. going to ET to get their children!(We should get tentative travel dates on Monday!)
So, thinking that I had until January to get everything ready-I probably don't! Y's room isn't painted yet...so,friends...Is there any good painters out there?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our first update!

It is so hard not to type our daughter's name when I am referring to her in our blog! I think from now on I will type Y when I want to type her name. The day we received our referral we knew we wanted to keep her Ethiopian name. It is the name her parents gave her and we want to honor that.
So anyway-The update. It was small, just a few lines but it is just what we needed to hear. She is in school at the orphanage, she loves playing with the other children and is friendly. We also received a new photo! Y is smiling in the the picture. She looks happy! When Isabelle saw the picture she concluded that they must have told her that the picture was being sent to her family!
The courts reopen soon-in 6 days!(there is a buzz that they might have already reopened!) So we are praying that everything is running smoothly and we receive a court date soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!

This year is the first year Joel has played football on a team. He is really loving playing! He smiles a lot and is having fun. The first game rained cats and dogs! It reminded me of Friday nights in high school dancing on a muddy field. But this last game was perfect weather! Between Baseball and Football Isabelle has had to sit through a lot of games. We are thinking about inventing a princess chair with a flat screen TV built in.(The flat screen is all her idea...if she is not allowed to have one in her room why not in her chair) I think that will make for a good sideline chair!
To change the subject we haven't heard anything about our little girl. We are hoping to get an update this month! Courts reopen October 8th! Please pray that we receive a court date quickly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Conference Call

Yesterday our agency had a conference call for all of the families with referrals. There was a lot of information given and we even had a surprise visit from Rachael,who runs the Transitional Home in Ethiopia! Rachael is back in the US with her husband on vacation.
-One of the changes that will be happening is that we will no longer be staying at the Hilton but a Guest House. The Guest House will be homey and we will be able to be immersed in the culture. We will be able to get a better picture of Ethiopia!
-Duni is hoping to send 2 big travel groups (big meaning 6-8 families) a month in October,November and one in December.
*So for us this means we will be traveling anywhere from late November to early January. Our prayer is that we could have our sweet little one home before Christmas!
-When Rachael returns to Ethiopia we should receive an update on our daughter. We are hoping to see a glimpse into her personality and how she is doing. We were able to send a small photo album to her. We are so blessed we had the opportunity to do this.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Sunday I was reminded of a gift I have been given. A gift that at one time seemed like I would never get to enjoy. Before I had the gift I wanted it bad. It was hard to see others receive the gift I longed for. That gift was the gift of a child and the chance to be a mother.
The short story is that having children didn't happen in the way or timing that we planned. We had times of wait,agonizing wait, and at other times huge unexpected surprises. God has shown us that being parents to our children is a gift. One that he took time and joy picking out. No matter the ups and downs, He has placed them in our family for a reason and as a gift. Unfortunately not every minute of ever day do I look loving at my children and think "What a gift." sigh. The kids fight with one another, burp at the table and well,act like kids. But they are our kids,our gift. God has trusted us to raise them and seek His guidance in doing so.
So these thoughts have led me to a place in my heart I was incapable of reaching or understanding until now. That no matter how our children have come to be our children they are ours. God is no stranger to adoption. He invented it! As believers we are adopted by Him and He doesn't look at us as his pretend kids or not His real kids. We are His. He loves us and gives us everything a father gives a child and more because He is God! Which leads me to thoughts of our new daughter. God has done something I cannot explain in my heart. She is our daughter plain and simple. When we saw the picture of her for the first time we knew that she was our daughter. Not a pretend daughter, our real daughter, just as real as Joel and Isabelle! We have seen God do a lot in our lives and they don't always have an earthly explanation or make sense to other people. Looking from the outside I guess this whole thing may look crazy. "You are telling me that you have a daughter half way around the world that you have seen one picture of her, she doesn't look like you(ok,secretly, I think she has my eyes:)),you didn't give birth to her and she is 5!" Yep,that is what I am saying!

Friday, August 29, 2008

So much excitement!!!

This week has been full of milestones (actually this month has). But three of them this week! We have been celebrating ALL week long!
On Tuesday we saw the face of the the youngest member of our family for the first time! Every time I look at her picture I am reminded of the perfect love of our Savior. The One who knows all things and all circumstances. Praise God!
(Did I mention she is BEAUTIFUL?!)
On Wednesday Joel and Isabelle started school. Joel seems so much more independent. He didn't even want me to walk him to the bus stop(but I did). And Belle. She is in school all day this year!(look how grown up she looks!) Exhaustion is setting in. She is my sleeper. So getting up and going earlier than usual is taking it's toll. She needs a good 12 hours to feel rested and that isn't happening.
They both love school and they have awesome teachers! I can see how God put them with the perfect teachers for them.
On Thursday Rob and I hit a big birthday.(At least I feel it's big)Let's just say we are officially in our mid 30's. Yes, you heard me right both Rob and I have the exact same birthday. I'm only 5 hours older than him but he likes to rub it in that I am older.
I am praising God for his promises and blessings!!
Now I'm off to eat more birthday cake:)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS...(hidden message inside)

Well it is the day before school starts and Joel and Belle have some friends over to play. I'm not sure if they will every want to come back to our house because they now know me as a crazy lady. We got our referral TODAY!!!!! She is the most precious little girl! I don't know how much I can say but- she is 5 and beautiful!
I got the call and couldn't stop jumping up and down.(I think they should market mary jane crocs to high jumpers!) Rob wouldn't answer his cell phone so I had to have one of the secretaries interrupt a meeting(yet another person who thinks I'm crazy)and he came straight home.
So there you have it... a not so typical day before school starts!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

the journey.

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

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The end of Chapter 1

This week the kids and I went on a trip with Rob's Parents and his sister, Brenda's family. If you didn't catch it, I didn't mention Rob actually being on the trip with us. He was not.
This week marked a chapter of our lives coming to a close. After more than 17 years of doing youth ministry this was Rob's last youth mission trip! I'm sure once it sinks in there might be a few tears. God called Rob to youth ministry when he was in 7th grade, we met for the first time in youth ministry classes in college, Rob proposed to me at Jr. high youth group, we stared out our married life together working at the same church doing youth ministry (I'm still not sure if that was such a good idea:)) So,to say Youth Ministry has been a big part our life, is an understatement!
He will miss the excitement of a student who has excepted Christ for the first time or just learned something new about his maker,the Mud games at Laurelville (or maybe not)and those goofy skits that didn't always make sense- just to name a few memories . But I know he won't miss sleeping on floors in places with no air conditioning. (It is taking him a lot longer to recover these days)
I have been blessed to see God using Rob and growing him into the man He wants him to be. There are no words to describe how humbly honored I am to be a witness to what God has done.
His greatest joys recently have been watching his former students grow into adults. We are so old that some of our first students have children (many children!)and some who are further along in our history are getting engaged and finding jobs. God has blessed us and has allowed us to continue to be part of there lives. So this brings us to the new call that God has given Rob. He is now the Pastor to Families at our church. He is very passionate about this new call. God has been giving him a burden for families and marriages for some time now!
Praise God for His plans for us! What a ride!

Monday, August 4, 2008

We have no news on the adoption. We are waiting. Duni was recently in Ethiopia and we were hoping to hear something,anything, but we have not. We are currently number one for a little girl between the ages of 3-6.
On Tuesday there is a conference call. I'm not sure how much new information we will receive but when information is minimal any at all is very much welcome.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Wow, I can hardly believe it! It has been seven months since we sent our big stack of official papers (our dossier) to Ethiopia. To be honest I never thought I would be posting the big 7 on our blog. At the most 6 but not 7!
But God is doing way more than we had bargained for! As I type Duni is In Ethiopia. She has been working hard on behalf of many families. Weather our situation is in the fore front of her mind I'm not sure. But I have been compelled to pray that God would lead Duni to our little girl while she is in Ethiopia. I have hope that God is moving in that situation. So if you would please join us in that prayer. Thank you, we are so great full for your prayers!

PS. Happy Birthday, Mandi!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tonight was a fun night! Joel had a baseball game. Baseball games are usually a family event. This year his coach is none other than his Uncle Tom and assisting is Dad (Rob), Aunt Brenda and big cousin, Nicholas. And when you don't think it could get any better Joel's best friend and cousin, Jonathan is on his team! It was really hot tonight so getting ice cream after the game was already on the schedule weather we won or lost. But the team won- I think ice cream tastes better when you win!
But I'll have to admit the real reason you get to see pictures of the night is that I got a new camera today. I'm having a lot of fun trying to figure it out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The Sparr family went camping for the first time ever! I know you are probably getting a good chuckle especially if you know us well. Don't worry we didn't go by ourselves. Four other families from our church that are seasoned campers showed us the ropes! Thanks guys! We played,fished and swam in the river. We ate great food. Joel and Belle had Mountain pies for the first time and keep coming up with new combinations to fill them with. Saturday night it rained! Belle and I were sleeping on one side of our friends camper but Joel and Rob, well they were in a tent. I was worried all night. But the rain (and maybe exhaustion!)put Joel to sleep and there were no leeks in the tent! We had such a great time! We would love to go with our friends again but we aren't quite ready to venture it on our own.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Last week we were able to spend the day at the Zoo with my parents and my sister's two youngest children! We had a blast! Joel was practicing being a big brother to more than one little sister. He was so helpful. He held my niece's hand the whole time. Isabelle named herself "Tour Guide" and made sure we all kept moving.
I think we tired Grandma and Papa out.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I was able to speak with Duni this week and get some clarification on exactly what age range we are eligible for and exactly where that puts us in line. Having said that I hesitate to write it down...because if I have learned anything in this process it is that things can change quickly or slowly. There is no formula! So, we are close. But close is a relative word in the adoption world!
God is continually showing us how much He is in control of the whole thing! This week I was at my wits end and very sad. I said to God "I'm done with this. You are on your own. There is nothing I can do any more. I don't even know how to talk to you about this!" How arrogant of a human being I was. I'm not quite sure exactly what I thought I was in control of? But now I know I was in control of holding the situation in my hand with white knuckles! The last couple of days I have felt a release. My hand is starting not to hurt as much from the grip I had. As my hand is loosening up, my eyes are seeing more clearly God in the details.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I just wanted to let the one person (you know who you are, Mandi!)who checks my blog everyday that we have no news on the adoption front. We are trying not to have expectations of any until August or September. And even then it will just be hoping. A very wise mom of 3 adopted children and 3 bio. children keeps reminding me not to put a time frame on it! So I'm trying not to-I'm just not having much luck with it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

On Thursday we received an email from Terra, one of the Ethiopia family coordinators. It was pictures and a little history on each child in the Waiting Child program for Ethiopia. The Waiting Child program is children that haven't been able to be placed. The reason can be because of a medical condition or age,etc.
Rob and I both received the email, Me at home and him at work. As I looked over the email God kept bringing to my mind Abraham and Sarah. God had promised them that they would have a child and in fact their descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky! But as it was taking a lot longer than their time frame would allow they decided to take the matter in their own hands. While they were controlling the situation it blew up and not in a good way.(don't you love my paraphrasing!?) Although there were consequences to their poor choices, God still chose to bless them like He promised!
So with all of that in the back of my mind I got a call from Rob. "Did you see the email?" "You should call the pediatrician and see what she thinks." I knew right away which child he was talking about. So I called our pediatrician's office... She was off. She could call us back tomorrow."Ok, good" I thought,"This will give me a chance to talk with Rob a little more and let him know about the whole Abraham,Sarah thing!" Not too long after I hung up the phone Rob called me back. "Heather, That isn't our child!" "I know". I said We talked a little more and agreed. Despite it being her day off our wonderful pediatrician did some research and called me back. She confirmed our thoughts and was such a blessing to talk with.
I can tell you that already God has done much more than we expected. In the beginning we were being obedient to what God wanted us to do,we knew there was a person in our family missing. We never anticipated the changes He would do in us as a family and as individuals! Daily He is revealing Himself(I love this time in life!). It isn't always a love like "This is so much Fun!" at times ,yes. But more often it is softer, more humble adoration and unbelievable thankfulness.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The conference call did happen on Tuesday but I have been so busy getting ready for Princess Belle's birthday parties(yes, I did say parties,plural!) that I haven't had time to post.
So here is the news. We learned that our wait time has increased AGAIN! It is now 7-9 months,which means we shouldn't be expecting a referral until July at the earliest. So now we are looking at July, August or September for a referral and traveling November, December or January.(Hopefully) So you are asking "What is the hold up?" There are two factors in play for our situation. 1. The lack of power has slowed everything down. Government Agency s don't have generators and they only have power 2-3 business days. 2. There aren't that many children in our daughters age range in the orphanages. With Ethiopian adoption becoming popular a lot of children are being adopted as babies.
The good news is that our agency has signed on another orphanage. That makes the count 3.
Please continue to pray. We are confident in the Lord and know He has it under control but the wait is still difficult.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sorry I was unable to post any updates after the conference call on Thursday. The reason was is that there was no conference call. It had to be rescheduled until today,Tuesday. The reason... You aren't going to believe this but... No electricity in Virginia where are agency is located!(bad storms swept through the area!) Power problems in Ethiopia and now in Virginia. I feel like God is trying to tell me something. He is more powerful than anything! that despite our lack of control he is in control. He doesn't need electricity to do His thing. He is still working even if the lights are not!
So, we are looking forward to this afternoon! Oh,the forecast for our area-Thunderstorms! I have my cell phone charged!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I wanted to give an update. This is what our understanding of our situation is right now. Originally we were given a 3-6 month window to get our referral for our daughter and then a 3-7 month window. At 7 months that would put us into July. And if we received a referral then we would need to be given a court date and the date would have to be before the courts in Ethiopia close down in August until October, which is very unlikely because as of late it has been taking over a month for families to receive a court date. So where does that leave us? Well, it looks like we won't be traveling to Ethiopia until after October. We could still get our referral this summer but not travel until after the courts open back up in the Fall. Praise God that most days "it is well with our souls." We are understanding that God is using this time for all of us to grow. We know there is a reason why our daughter needs to be in Ethiopia right now.
On Thursday all of the waiting families(those with their Dossiers in Ethiopia) were invited to a conference call. Duni will update us on her trip to Ethiopia and we will receive any new information. Hopefully she will tell us we can all go get our children!(Ha,Ha) God tells us to hope,right?!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

We are so blessed!

God has given our family such wonderful friends and family. Thank you to all of you that have been praying for us, fasting for us and loving us! We are so blessed that we have brothers and sisters in Christ that are willing to listen to us when we need someone to voice our concerns and to rejoice with us when good things happen. The adoption process has been up and down. At times I (Heather) feel a little insane, but you my dear friends have shown me that there are even friends for the insane!
We have never felt so loved.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

God has used the Chapman family to inspire and encourage so many of us in the adoption community. We mourn with them today. Maria was 5 and the youngest Chapman.

In Remembrance of Maria Sue Chapman

Dear America World Families,
Our agency grieves with you as we mourn the loss of Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter, Maria Sue. It was an honor for our agency to have assisted the Chapman family as they brought such a precious life home. I use the word precious because this tragic event has reminded us all of how precious life truly is. We join you in prayer that the Lord of this Universe, who holds the whole world in His hands would be as close as possible to the Chapman family during this time of mourning.

We would like to give the Chapman family something formally in rememberance of Maria on behalf of America World and our families. What better way than to give to the agency the Chapmans created to bring more precious lives home like Maria? So, at this time, we encourage all of you to give to Shaohannah's Hope. They have created a special fund in memory of her called the Maria's Miracle Fund.

Christ as our Comforter,
America World Adoption

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Power outages in Ethiopia

Here is a little insight into the power outages in Ethiopia. I got this from an article on Ethioblog.

Power Outages Slated For Ethiopia Capital On Low Water Levels

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AFP)--The Ethiopian capital faces a lengthy power outage until next month because of reduced water levels in the country's hydro- electric plants, a state-owned generator said Monday.

Addis Ababa, a city of 5 million, will have no power for up to three days a week, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation said in a statement.

"Power rationing will continue until June. Climate change, which is inflicting a great damage worldwide, is the main cause of the poor performance of seasonal rains in Ethiopia," state media quoted Water Minister Asfaw Dingamo as saying.

Please pray for the families that are farther along in this process than us. A few have had court dates reassigned 3 times because of this and there are more than a hand full of families waiting on court dates.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

There isn't much to update for us personally. But this week there were two federal holidays so courts were closed those days. It seems like every other week there is some holiday.(not really) I think they like to celebrate in Ethiopia! Who doesn't?! So of course that slows some things down a bit.
And this week we received this email.
In an effort to conserve energy there have been power outages in Addis Ababa, where all power is turned off for certain periods of time. Due to this, communication with Duni while she is in Ethiopia has been very challenging. Emails and even phone calls have become very limited. Because of this, we are asking families to please be patient and understanding knowing that we are trying to do all that we can to relay important information.
So there is a glimpse into the bumps in the road of an Ethiopian adoption.

Some facts that I once again stole from someone else's blog! (thanks Gibsons')

* One in ten children die before their first birthday
* One in six children die before their fifth birthday
* 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
* 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
* The median age in Ethiopia is 18 years
* 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
* 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone
* Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
* In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)
* Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
* Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.
* Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.
* Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
* In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.
* Ethiopia has approx. 4.3 million orphans and the country is twice the size of Texas.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just found out we are still number 2.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In all my excitement I didn't say Congratulations to the four (hopefully 5 by next week!) families that received there referrals!!

Congratulations and we are praying for you all!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Joel saw Belle on our blog and wanted to get in on the act!
We are #2 in line for a child in our age bracket!

Today marks the fourth month we have been waiting for our little girl! Things seem to be moving along at AWAA. They are hoping to give 10 referrals a month!! We hope to hear something in the next few months!?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I had lunch with a good friend today who also has a passion for what God is doing in Africa. We often talk and dream of what it is that God wants us to do there. As of yet He hasn't revealed to us the specifics. But here are some of the reasons we can't ignore the gut feeling that we need to do something more.

(I took what follows from Kingdom Vision Internationals Blog)

*Nazareth is where one of the orphanages is located that our agency is working with.

Nazareth, Ethiopia

Here's some basic information about Nazareth, Ethiopia
  • Emperor Haile Selassie renamed the town after Biblical Nazareth, and this name was used throughout the twentieth century. The city has officially reverted to its original Oromo language name, Adama, though "Nazareth" is still widely used
  • Nazareth is about 60 miles from Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia)
  • Nazareth is Africa's so-called 'high corridor of HIV'
  • It is a popular weekend destination for residents of Addis Ababa and hosts many governmental and non-governmental conferences
  • Nazareth is also home to at least 100,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia
  • Nazareth has an estimated total population of 228,623
  • Nazareth has one of the highest percentage of 'street kids' in Ethiopia


Ethiopia is located in East Africa just north of Kenya and west of Somalia and only a few hundred miles north of the equator. Interestingly, it is the only African country never colonized by Europe (with the exception of an Italian occupation in the 1930s). It is slightly less than twice the size of Texas.

Roughly 75 million people live in Ethiopia. About half of the population today is Muslim and about 40 percent Christian. Ethiopia traces its history and ruling lineage back to King Solomon and the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba. It is believed that the Queen of Sheba went to visit King Solomon and had a child with him. That son became the next Ethiopian king, so every Ethiopian monarch since then can trace their lineage to the throne of David.

Many people know of Ethiopia from the 1980's when the country was going through horrific droughts. The media put up images of "starving children in Ethiopia".

Ethiopia counts one of the largest populations of orphans in the world: 13 per cent of children throughout the country are missing one or both parents. This represents an estimated 4.6 million children – 800,000 of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS (UNICEF)

Begging is frequent, with many children working to escape poverty. The labor and social affairs ministry estimates that 40 percent of children start work before the age of six, often working a 30-hour week.

According to the labor and social affairs ministry, some 150,000 children live on the streets in Ethiopia, about 60,000 of them in the capital.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

You Know You Should Adopt If...

I stole this from another adoptive families blog and I couldn't read it without crying!

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
Author Unknown

Thursday, March 27, 2008

CONTROL-Do I really want control?

A lot of excitement on the adoption front this week. We are constantly praying for things we have no control over. That is good for me because I have learned over the last few years that I am a control freak. I hate that about myself. If it were up to me God would send me a giant check list and let me go at it. Everything would be neat, orderly, timed and in it's proper place! I am so thankful to the Lord that He has done and continues to do everything in HIS time and HIS order! I have so much comfort that His way is THE best!
So anyway, lets get to the exciting stuff. How God has gone before us...On Easter Sunday someone from our church came up to Rob and told him that they had sold something worth a lot of money and wanted to give us some of it to bring our little girl home! How generous! This is the second time during our adoption journey that God has moved a family to give to us in a big way. As Rob likes to quote Bono " My God ain't sort on cash, man."
Today we received an email from Duni. In the past a child needed to be in an orphanage for 90 days because of abandonment issues. And now it has changed to 60 days! And on top of that our adoption agency is now working with a second orphanage in Ethiopia!(If I can figure it out I'll put the links on our blog somewhere)
So, before Sunday I was trying to settle into the inevitability that we wouldn't be picking up our new daughter until Thanksgiving, because when I spoke with Duni she said that there just aren't any girls in the orphanage our daughters age. But I have hope and proof that God can do anything!
Our prayer right now is that God would comfort our daughter and give her strength to get through what ever hard situation she is in. And that He would lead her to those who can provide the manifestation of God's love to her.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Green Gate!

I am not at all computer savvy so I am trying to figure out how to show pictures...I did it! This is the big green gate in front of the transitional home. These are the doors we will walk through to meet our daughter for the first time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

As you are reading this you need to keep in mind that I am "pregnant" without a due date!(and we are technically in our 15th month!)
I was just reading a blog of one of the families from our agency(AWAA)that is in Addis right now bringing their baby girl home. She said that there are now 19 children in the transitional home! The transitional home is the place where the children stay after they have been identified to be referred to a family and the place they stay until their forever family comes to take them home. The other thing she said is that about half are babies and half are older! Which could mean we are very close!!!! There are not many families requesting "older" children, so either the line will be getting drastically shorter or we will get our referral!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Well, we are waiting...Hmmm....(fingers rapping on the table)...Still waiting.
We aren't very long in the waiting process but the last couple of weeks have seemed really long! I don't expect to hear anything for at least a couple of months but I am hoping that we would hear around the 3 month mark! (the agency gave us 3-6 months) I figure I can pray and hope. God knows our family and he knows what is best for all 5 of us so that is who I have put my confidence in. It is hard though. I want to call our sweet family coordinator , Duni every day. "So have you any idea? How long? What is her name? What does she look like? What is she like?!!?" But I think that might look a little crazy, don't you think? Ha, Ha.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Remember in the last post I said I wasn't pregnant. Well, Despite the fact that I am not physically "with child" I am still having the same feelings that I did when I was pregnant with Joel and Belle. No cravings(Chocolate doesn't count-that is a constant!)but I have been nesting. Yes, like a mama bird. Getting the whole house ready. Throwing out junk(WOW we have a lot of junk!), organizing, cleaning and getting our little girls room ready.
So in my weird mind I am hoping this is a "sign" because when Joel was born I was insisting on finishing his room and staying up until midnight to do it. We were back up at 2am when Joel decided to come 2 weeks early.
But it is funny with all of my "getting ready." I am finding that God is "getting me ready" too. He is reminding me of my purpose. A couple of weeks ago I would have told you that my main purpose was to be a wife and mother. But now I look at them as my call in life. I can go about them as a response to my purpose .Through a bunch of Godly neon signs, he has shown me my purpose, which is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. " Matt.22:37 For so long I have been trying to uncover my mystery purpose in life as if God had hidden it. But it was so basic to my faith and in plain site. So now starts my journey to love and worship Him with and through every thing I have. I have known this before but it seems now to becoming a part of me. Those of you who know me don't expect me to become a saint. I will disappoint you. So, with His strength I will move forward to work this commandment out in my life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Our Ethiopian Princess

Yes, there is going to be another Sparr and "NO!!!, I am not pregnant!" We are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. We don't know her name or even how old she is(3,4,5 or 6 years old) but there is a piece of our family that is missing.
It seems cliche in saying that this whole process has been in God's perfect timing , but it has! There are so many details that God orchestrated to bring us to this point. He led us to Africa and has given us a love and desire to make Ethiopia a part of our heritage.
Our dossier(the big stack of adoption paper work) Arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Dec. 25th, 2007. That was our Christmas miracle! Just one year earlier on Christmas eve God spoke to us all individually during the service at our church. Well, as it would just so happen, that night the service was about God adopting us into His family. Pastor Dean asked, after telling the story of his adopted daughter, Sara, that if anyone had been touched by adoption to raise their hand. Two little hands beside me shot up like cannons. Joel and Isabelle smiled at me with the biggest grins. This is something that God had laid on my heart for some time and I had been praying and waiting for Him to bring the rest of my family along. Little did I know until Rob and I talked on the way home that God had done just that.
Rob had been reluctant to add another person to our family. He was uncertain how some one else would fit. God spoke to him that night. He reminded Rob that Joel and Isabelle fit perfectly into our family, why wouldn't our third child. So that started the journey.
We have been given the window of 3-6months starting in December until we receive a referral. (A referral is the picture and history of our little girl) We continue to put this process and our little girl in God's hands and know that His timing is perfect. We'll see how long it is until one of my friends needs to remind me of what I just wrote.