Sunday, November 27, 2011

My hubby, my strength

This Wednesday, November 30th, my hubby, Micah, and I will celebrate our 9th anniversary. As I try to wrap my head around writing a blog post to honor and celebrate the man God brought to my life, I simply get lost in a sea of thoughts and different directions I could take this...I have so much I could say. As I wrap my heart around this post, however, I am simply draw to an overwhelming sense of precious pride and thankfulness that I would be so honored to be his wife.

Micah and I met while working on full-time staff at Camp Friedenswald in November 2001. Our relationship moved quickly from that of co-workers, to friends, to dating in one month's time. We were engaged 4 months later and married 7 months after that...just 1 year and 4 days after ever laying eyes on one another. Some say that's crazy fast, but we were living camp life together--eating meals together, working together, and living on the same camp grounds so our relationship had plenty of time to grow quite deeply in that setting. We connected on many levels...we were both Christians trying to place God first in our lives, we had both experienced intense grief in our past (Micah losing his mom to cancer at age 6 and I losing my college fiance to a work accident at age 19), we both believed in and enjoyed camping ministry, we both had sisters (Micah-4 of them, me-1 of them), and...well...we both thought the other one was hot stuff so we spent countless hours in conversation and infatuation with each other. It was when life, as complicated as it seemed at the time, was really quite simple for us to fall in love with each other.

Our first years of marriage were not the honeymoon phase and wedded bliss everyone seems to think marriages experience. We found out quickly how selfish of people we were and we butted heads...a lot. As much as we had in common, we had as much different from one another too. I am an organized, factual, goal setting, to-do list type of woman. Micah is a relaxed, more last minute, needs-meeting, easy-going type of man. I'm doing something every minute of the day while feeling guilty I can't get more done than what I am while Micah could be found sleeping on a couch not feeling guilty at all. We are both stubborn, but in different ways. I had to be "right" about everything and as much as he wanted to be right/was right on things too, he all to often gave in to me just to stop the argument. It was hard. Our newly found love for one another seemed always on edge.

At this same time Micah was finding out his calling was not to camping ministry, but instead to nursing. As I reflect back, I think this was maybe the first major way God began to build us into people who could make this marriage work. There is something to be said about finding your natural, God-given gifts and talents and working from them. The frustrated and slightly depressed man I was living with began to change. Micah is meant to be a nurse and our marriage has benefited from his obedience to following that call. Micah has since been working in the nursing field, specifically with cancer patients, at IU Health Goshen and it has breathed life into him. I choke up just thinking of the countless patients who have been blessed because of his care...not just for his nursing skills, but because of the genuine care and love he has for them. He does an amazing job at meeting their needs and I am blessed because I know when he leaves this home in the morning, he is leaving for a place of work where he will be consistently fulfilled and come home tired, but content and happy to have done the work he did that day.

As far as our family...I am not raising these children alone, that is for stinkin' sure. There are moments I simply have to take a step back and reflect on how incredibly blessed I am to have a man who not only wanted to be a husband and father, but wanted to be the most active husband and father he can be. He regularly contributes to our home life...he doesn't come home and take a nap or read a newspaper or check out for a while. He jumps right into the wrestling matches on the floor with the boys or allows Lily to show him all her school papers from the day. He begins cutting veges for supper or filling water cups and getting the kids' plates ready. He is greeted by running children with open arms for hugs and typically a frazzled wife breathing a huge sigh of relief to see him because she knows her man is home for the evening. He is not perfect, friends, but no one is. Micah is amazing to us here in this Thieszen family and we would be lost without him. Here are some more pics showcasing just how special he is to us here on the homefront...

There is so much more I could say about Micah, but I wanted to focus lastly on the way I have seen this amazing man of God grow in spiritual maturity and depth in these past 9 years. He is far from the man I married. I married a sinful man who was broken under years and years of wounds and hurts with no direction and no hope to beat anything. (He married the same type of woman by the way). But somewhere between a new career, 4 locations we've called home, scary times like when we almost lost Toby, joyful times of seeing all our kiddos enter the world, and all the realities of day-to-day married life, Micah has intently heard the still, small, quiet voice of God begging him to be freed from those sins and to find strength in who God has truly made Micah to be. He's not only just heard that voice, but he has searched it out, discovered it, thrown himself into it, and been changed because of it. Micah IS a man of strength. He is God's man of strength. He is my man of strength. He is the man I am so blessed to have my children look up to and call "Daddy". He is the man I am so blessed to be walking this road of adoption with. He is the man I am so blessed to have holding me up and supporting me as I have walked my own journey towards spiritual freedom in these last few years. He is the man I am blessed to have hand-in-hand and heart-in-heart with for the next MANY years to come. He is a man of strength.

No, we didn't really have that first year of honeymoon-wedded bliss, but I can tell you this--I am really glad that at 9 years into our marriage I feel like we are more in a honeymoon-wedded bliss than we were when we got married. It could so very easily have gone the other way and it didn't--we didn't. We chose us. We chose each other. We fought for us. We fought for each other. We EACH gave God the control of our ourselves and our marriage, forgave each other for all the wrongs we have done to one another, and are now solidly, joyfully, thankfully, and lovingly together today because of that. I love Micah more than anything else on this earth and he has my up-most respect. Thank You, God, for forever intermixing his life with's a gift I could never thank You enough for. Micah, I treasure you, I love you, and I am blessed because of you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Size 1

Nope, not talking about my jean size in that title...I probably never fit in a size 1--I'm a real life woman, not an airbrushed one. No, size 1 is not my jean size...I'm talking about the size of diaper the director asked us to bring down for our little sweet Nora.

Size 1.

For those of you not in the world of diapers yet or have been long gone from them, let me remind you that a size 1 diaper basically fits over your hand. Seriously.

For some reason as my mama-heart read that email this morning, it skipped a beat. I have seen these gorgeous photos of my little girl these last few weeks and have cherished them so much, but a picture doesn't truly help you grasp just how tiny she really is. We haven't heard how much she weighs or how long she is or anything a normal new parent knows when they have their own baby. We just know she is almost 2 months old, she's beautiful, she's in a size 1 diaper, and she's ours. Reality of hearing she needs diapers that small brought me to tears this morning. My precious little girl is so tiny still.

It's hard for me to put into words what it feels like to know God has purposed and planned for me to have a child that I did not birth myself. I could give you a play-by-play account of each of our children's births. I could tell you exactly what I was feeling when they came into the world...

With Lily I was feeling SUPER exhausted, hot, and relieved that labor was finally over (2 weeks late, 2 inductions with labor over the course of 2 days, and 3 hours of pushing--can you say stubborn!) I think back to those first moments as a mom and I laugh because I truly didn't have a complete mother's heart then. They put her up on my chest for that wonderful bonding moment and I left her there for just a short time before I told them she was SO heavy and hot and I wanted her off please. : ) I was still very focused on myself--and I was literally shaking with exhaustion. It wasn't a great labor experience but I still walked away feeling so blessed to have birthed her with no pain meds and to have a beautiful 8 lb. 5 oz. baby girl.

With Toby, I was happy. He came late too, but not as late as Lily and with no induction--which is a HUGE difference if you don't know that already. His total labor was 3 hours--the same amount of time of simply pushing for Lily. Crazy! It was a more chaotic scene for Toby...I remember my hands beginning to tingle and having to blow into my hands so I would calm down a bit. I remember them asking me to not push again yet because they had to suck his mouth out...What!?! He's half way out and you DON'T want me to push!?! I also will never forget the first time I laid eyes on him--he was NOT what we were expecting. We expected a dark-haired, dark-eyed, darker complected, 8-9 lb boy (because they always say each kid goes up in pounds from your first). Nope. Not even close. Our bleach-blonde-haired (what little of it he had), blue-eyed, as pale as they come, 7 lb. 15 oz. baby boy was beautiful. The first boy on both sides of our family since Micah. A special, special moment.

And then there is Quinn. He, like his brother, was also slightly late, but came naturally as well. His labor--one of peace. Three hours long and obviously labor so it was WORK, but it was nothing like the other two...his was actually enjoyable and calm and so incredibly wonderful. If I could skip the 9 months of pregnancy and just have births like Quinn's then I probably would have had more! : ) Although Quinn's labor was the "easiest" he was the biggest--9 lbs. 2 oz. His chubby little self was about popping the snaps of his take-home outfit and he barely was in size 1 diapers at all.

I guess it's out of those memories, I find myself in awe that I have another child, but don't know what her labor story is. I will never be able to tell her what I felt when she entered the world, breathed her first breath, or how big she was. My heart hurts a little today because I can't know those details in my head and heart for her. It's just different and sometimes different is hard to take at first.

But, fortunately, what I can tell her is the day she was being born, her Daddy and I were traveling to a volleyball game with friends of ours who have adopted (and are again adopting) and we talked extensively about it all. We shared our dreams for these children, tips on fundraising, what it will be like to have our children grow up in the same church together being a different skin color than their parents, and how much we wish the time could go by faster to get them home. Even though I wasn't birthing her that day, and I didn't have a clue it was the day she was being born, my heart and conversations were still with her in mind that day. I can tell her the moment we heard there was a chance she was coming to the orphanage, her Daddy and I sat on the couch with tears in our eyes just holding each other, excitedly re-reading the message over and over, praying prayers of "Pleeeeaaaasssseeee God, let this be our Nora", and basking in the glory of the meaning of her Haitian name (Josephine-"Jehovah increases"). I can tell her the moment I got the email from Rachel with pictures attached and an offer for us to be her parents I just lost it! With arms in the air, a massive smile on my face, and tears streaming everywhere, I said over and over, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! Thank you God, thank you God! Oh, she's soooo beautiful!" (Toby and Quinn can someday attest to that scene--they were just laughing at me). I can tell her that even though I did not carry her in my belly for 9 months or birthed her with labor pains, I HAVE carried her in my heart for a long time now and I have gone through labor pains in this adoption process. I can tell her that from even before I knew who she was, and even before she was actually born, I loved her as only a mama can.

At the beginning of this process Micah and I said we were sort of glad these newborn stages were not necessarily going to be with us. It's HARD work to care for a newborn...we've done it 3 times now and felt like we were ready to be done with that "stage". Sleepless nights, feedings all day long, diaper changes galore, spit-up smell a regular cologne on you, lullaby music a constant noise, fussiness no one can explain, etc. etc. etc. Those are not the best memories for us to be honest. There are moments when I still have those thoughts, but I must say that with every photo I receive of Nora, with every day that passes between me and the day I get to hold her for the first time, with every news I get like...she's in size 1 diapers, I re-think my original thought a little bit. If a miracle could happen and I could get her today, I'd do it in a heartbeat because now that those 3 other little miracles I birthed are long out of size 1 diapers, I find myself missing that "stage" more than I thought I would.

In a few more short weeks, you can be sure I will cherish our 4 days with Nora. Instead of 4 months of watching her grow and develop and live as an infant, I have 4 days. That's all I've got. 4 days to see my little girl in size 1 diapers. Instead of dwelling on how hard that is and will be, instead of dwelling on the frustrations of the lengthy process that keeps her in Haiti, instead of dwelling on how much I will miss out on in her early year of life, I will choose to cherish these upcoming 4 days with her. I will hold her little, size 1 diapered self in my arms and remember it for the rest of my life. I will remember so when she is a little older, I can sit her on my lap again and tell her everything I was thinking and feeling holding her in my arms for the very first time....and it will be worth every minute of this process.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


There are not many words that come to my mind when I see this face other than "God, You are so good. She is stunning. Those eyes are absolutely stunning."

Nora, baby, we will see you oh so soon and we can't wait to hold your little self in our arms for the first time! Lily & Toby both smile so big when they see your face. They can't wait to have you join this crew. I'm sure Quinn would agree if he could express that better. Your Daddy and I are pretty ecstatic about that moment matter how long that takes (although closer to the one year mark would be nicer than 2). Love you, baby girl.

(Many, many thanks to Ashley & Ketsia, volunteers from Canada, who have been taking these photos of our Nora and faithfully sending them to us. We cherish them like you would not believe, ladies!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2012 "Drawing" People to Downtown Goshen Calendar

It's here, folks! You can purchase it online here at the right-hand column ----->
or in the downtown businesses starting tomorrow afternoon!

They are only $20 and 100% of the proceeds go straight to bringing Nora home! Thanks in advance for all your support! Here are a few of the drawings for a sample of what is in there as well as the write up that was in the Elkhart Truth...

GOSHEN — A Goshen mother is using her flair for making works of art on an Etch-A-Sketch to raise funds to adopt a baby girl from Haiti.

Angie Thieszen has published a 2012 calendar combining some of her newest Etch-A-Sketch images, each of which highlights a familiar location in downtown Goshen. She will sell the calendar at several local businesses and online at their family blog: The calendar includes 12 Etch-A-Sketch drawings of downtown Goshen, including the Elkhart County Courthouse, the Old Bag Factory and various downtown restaurants and businesses. Each picture took about 2 to 3 hours to draw, Thieszen said.

“Over the years my hobby sketches have received lots of positive attention from friends and family members, so we thought this would be a unique way to bring the community together as we raise the funds we need to bring our daughter home,” Angie said.

Last week, Angie and her husband Micah, a registered nurse at IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care, got word from the orphanage in Haiti that a match had been made with a baby girl, who they will name Nora Josephine. The couple are planning a trip to meet Nora in Haiti this December.

Due to the lengthy administrative processes required, it will be between a year and two years before the Thieszens bring baby Nora home for good. The couple has three other children, ages 5 through 2.

Nora Josephine will be a sister to Lily, Tobias and Quinn.

“The kids are really excited. We put Nora’s picture in a frame and we’re counting the days of waiting by putting links on a paper chain in her room. We’re all so grateful to the downtown Goshen businesses who are participating on this journey with us,” she said.

The calendar will be available for purchase today at the Old Bag Factory, Goshen Farmer’s Market, The Electric Brew, South Side Soda Shop, Tony’s Famous Grill, Ten Thousand Villages, Snider’s Jewelry, New Image, IL Forno, Seconds on Third and the Trolley Cafe. It is also available for purchase online from the Thieszens’ blog. The Etch-A-Sketch calendar is selling for $20 with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards the adoption.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Tickets are Purchased!

With super excited hearts we get to fly to Haiti early next month!!!! It is a trip we were not expecting, but is highly encouraged for us to take to prove later on in our meetings with the Dean that we have established a relationship with Nora beyond that trip in the middle of our process. This means I will probably be making that second trip alone so we can save the money on the extra trip, but maybe between now and then I'll find someone who would want to go with me then. However, for this trip, Micah and I are really excited about sharing it together--we will celebrate our 9th anniversary at the end of this month, so it will be a little bit of a late anniversary gift for us. We will have 4 days with our little Nora, so get ready for more gorgeous pictures of her...only we'll be in them too this time! : ) Here's one I took the other night--this is what sits on our TV stand. I can't wait for the kiddos in these two pictures to be in the same one!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A 1-2 Year Wait Still? Really? Why????

This is the question we find everyone asking us...Why will you still have a 1-2 year wait since you know who Nora is now and are willing to take her home? Well, I'll do my best to explain this process to you, but one thing we are learning along this road is that EVERY adoption journey is different and ours will not be exactly like others we know. We will share what we know from others' experiences of adopting from ROH in Haiti as well as generalities we know from this process so far. God could do a miracle and bring Nora home to us sooner than a year, but from our knowledge of the process, that is highly unlikely so let me explain why.

Yes, we got photos of Nora Josephine and we are ecstatic to see her huge eyes and chubby cheeks, but what happens now? Let's start there. We got the email on Thursday. On Friday the director of ROH, Rachel, took her to have her labs and medical exams done. She is waiting on the results of those tests to make sure Nora is healthy before starting the rest of the paperwork. I have no idea how long that takes...a few days, a few weeks, I don't know. Once we get an email from Rachel saying her medical exams came back great we will send down our first big chunk of money to Rachel and she will begin the paperwork on Nora. The paperwork on Nora herself can take up to 2 months to gather. All of these things happen through face-to-face meetings typically in Port-Au-Prince which is an hour drive out of the mountains. No phone calls, emails, or faxes will accomplish these things--it's all face-to-face, hand-to-hand meetings. Here is what all Rachel needs just for Nora:

  1. Passport pictures of the child

  2. Birth Certificate

  3. Attestation of signature on Birth Certificate or extract from the National Archives

  4. Legal relinquishment of custody from the biological family to the orphanage from the local judge

  5. Psychological evaluation

  6. Medical evaluation

  7. Laboratory tests

  8. Social history

  9. Process Verbal (A court process in which the biological family grants the creche the right to place their child with your family specifically for international adoption. Can only be completed after your dossier is in Haiti.

Once Nora's paperwork is completed, her paperwork and our paperwork (the dossier that took me 2 months of gathering on our end) will be sent to IBESR, which is the equivalent of the Haitian Social Services. IBESR could take anywhere from 2-6 months to get out of. Because we don't meet the qualifications for a Haitian adoption (which are married for over 10 years, one of us being at least 35 years old, and having no more than 2 biological children) we will need a special Presidential dispensation. This is basically an extra few months potentially of waiting to get the signature of the current President of Haiti saying he approves of us adopting.

Once we have Presidential Dispensation and are through IBESR, we enter Parquet Court and work with Immigration, which can take 1-6 months. I will be going down to Haiti for two of the steps in this process. Those two steps will be meetings with the Dean (Judge of all judges) to get approval and to meet with Immigration at the US Embassy in Haiti. There are many steps in this part of the process and we don't have to be down there for all of them thankfully, just those two meetings, but here is the list of all that is happening...
  1. Attorney addresses a Request for Judgment to the Chief Justice of Parquet Court

  2. Birth parents are interviewed in Parquet Court

  3. Parquet Court signs off on "approval judgement for adoption

  4. Facilitator takes approval to DGI for stamp of authorization

  5. Back to Parquet for enforcement of the approval judgement

  6. Authorization and redaction from the Civil Registrar Officer for legal Adoption Decree

  7. Verification in Parquet of the adoption documents by the Civil Registrar before signing the adoption decree

  8. First Legalization of the Adoption Decree, in Parquet Court

  9. Second Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Justice

  10. Third Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  11. Obtain attestation of Adoption Decree from the National Archives

Once we are through the Parquet Court part, we enter the next stage--Ministry of the Interior, which is where we are requesting approval for a passport for the child. MOI can take anywhere from 3-6 months to get through. Here is what's needed for that approval:
  1. Four passport sized pictures

  2. Birth Certificate

  3. Attestation for the Birth Certificate

  4. Extract from the National Archives for the Birth Certificate

  5. Relinquishment

  6. Proces Verbal of adoption

  7. Adoption approval judgement

  8. Adoption Decree

  9. Attestation of the Adoption Decree

  10. Power of Attorney for creche director and/or attorney

  11. Stamp from DGI

  12. Notary letter for the passport

  13. Identification card of facilitator and/or attorney on the case

  14. Biological parents' identification cards

  15. Adoptive parents' MOI form, identification, and passport photos

After getting the MOI approval for a passport it is sent to Haitian Immigration for the passport and visa. This can take 1-3 weeks to have them sent back to the orphanage. As soon as Nora's passport and visa are there, we can go to pick her up and bring her home!

UGH! Are you as tired as we are after reading through all of that??? Let me repeat again that ALL of these steps are in person and take multiple trips to get through. It's truly no wonder it takes this long. If you add up all the high ends of those blue time lines, it equals just under 21 months of work with no hiccups....hence why we say it will still take 1-2 years of time until we can bring our Nora home.

In the meantime, we plan on making a special trip (maybe mid-January) to see those big eyes and chubby cheeks in person and then cherish all the photos we can of our little girl. Pictures like these now help our days go by a little faster...
(Nora in her birth-mom's arms being dropped off at ROH)

(Nora with her big sister, Giselle, who is being adopted to a wonderful family in Canada)

(Our sleeping beauty)

Please continue to pray for us and Nora as we keep moving though this long journey. We still need financial support as well, so look back to our other blog posts if you would like to help us with the financial end of things. We also have great news that our fundraising calendars are at the printer and should be in our hands by the end of the week! Maybe you will want one to keep track of our months and months of progress! They will be available online here at the top right of this blog and then at various downtown businesses here in Goshen. More details on the calendars in the next post! : )

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Yes, it is an amazingly beautiful day in our household. WE FOUND HER!!!! We were contacted by the orphanage this morning asking us if we would like to be matched to this sweet brown face...who on earth could say no. Our Nora has been found. She is priceless. Look at those huge brown eyes and chubby cheeks. Absolutely beautiful.

A little more details for you...her Haitian name is Josephine so we will be naming her Nora Josephine Thieszen. If you don't know by now, we are big on the meaning of names around this house, so we were struck by the Lord's faithfulness when we learned what Josephine's meaning was...are you ready for this..."Jehovah increases". Oh how true that is for us--we have believed from day one that this adoption was God's brilliant idea and we are blessed over and over again that He is the One increasing our family with this sweet, beautiful girl. Thank you God for your plan!

Her birthday is September 30, 2011. She is just over a month old. My heart's cry to the Lord was for us to be able to bring home an 18 month-2 year old girl because I have loved that stage with all of my children and I couldn't bare the thought of missing that with her, but was also incredibly open to what God knew would be best for us. It gives me such delight knowing God has heard my heart of hearts and I will hopefully be bringing Nora home when she is between the ages of 1 and 2. An answered prayer for sure.

Nora has an older sister who is also at the orphanage. Her name is Giselle and she is quite the beauty herself. I have been privileged enough over the last several months to be in contact with her amazing adoptive mama, Denise, who lives with her husband, son, and daughter in Canada. I am beyond excited for our families to be forever connected now by the bond we will surely keep for these sisters to know each other and be involved in each others' lives. Denise has been praying for our Nora since the beginning (and I for Giselle) so I am truly blessed an honored to have her an extended part of our family now. I even think Micah was holding Giselle down at ROH when he was there--who knew he was holding the sister of our own little girl when these first thoughts of adoption were being born...only God can do that!

As far as what is next, well, for today, I am simply basking in the beauty of my little girl. All else will be known soon enough. I'm not sure if you can hear me where you are or not, but I wouldn't doubt it if you are--I'm praising God loudly from the mountain tops today! : )

Do you remember my last post...the one with the empty picture frame...well, I'm printing these photos just as soon as I can and proudly filling it with our daughter. He can do ANYTHING in 3 days, can't He!!!!

Thank you for your prayers and support thus far in the process. We have a long way to go, but today is a HUGE day and we wanted to celebrate it with you all!

Micah, Angie, Lily, Tobias, and Quinn Thieszen

Monday, November 7, 2011

Three Days

Three days. 3 days.
  • Joseph interpreted his fellow prisoners' dreams to mean in 3 days one would die and one would be brought to Pharaoh to have his position restored. (Gen. 40)
  • Joseph put his brothers in jail for 3 days before releasing them to go collect their younger brother (Gen. 42)
  • Moses stretched his hand toward the sky and total and complete darkness came over Egypt for 3 days. (Ex. 10)
  • After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled in the desert for 3 days before finding any water. (Ex. 15)
  • The Israelites often traveled for 3 days in order to find a place for them to rest. (Num. 10, 33)
  • Joshua told the Israelites to gather their belongings because they would cross over to Jordan in 3 days. (Josh. 1)
  • A woman told Joshua and his men to hide in the hills for 3 days before coming back to take the land. (Josh. 2)
  • Their were donkeys lost for 3 days and then found. (1 Sam. 9)
  • It took 3 days to collect all the plunder from a raid. (2 Chron. 20)
  • The men of Judah and Benjamin had 3 days to gather themselves. (Ezra 10)
  • The people fasted for 3 days with Esther when she asked them to. (Esther 4)
  • Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish for 3 days and 3 nights. (Jonah 1)
  • It took Jonah 3 days to go through the whole city of Nineveh. (Jonah 3)
  • Jesus as a young boy was found at the temple after being lost to his parents for 3 days. (Lk. 2)
  • Jesus told the disciples to feed the people because they had been with them 3 days without any food (Mt. 15, Mk. 8)
  • Jesus tells the people He will spend 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt. 12)
  • Jesus predicts that after He is killed and put in the tomb, He will raise from the dead in 3 days. (Mk. 8, 9)
  • Saul was blind for 3 days after encountering the Lord on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9)
Three days. These are just some of the examples I found in the Bible that show how important and significant 3 days can be. 3 days are significant to our family too this week. We are just 3 days out from our Lifesong fundraising goal date. We have been amazed at the outpouring of support we have received. "Thank you" doesn't even begin to describe our real feelings when we check in each week with Lifesong and learn our totals have gone up again. It's probably more on the lines of "YYYYEEEEAAAHHHH GOD!!!!!!!! No way! This is so awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't believe it--seriously, I can't believe it! You are so good to us, God. So, so good. YES!!!!" all the while jumping up and down, doing a happy dance, having a huge smile from ear to ear and perhaps (from Angie) tears of joy running down my face. It is such a huge confirmation to us that we are indeed following the Lord's plan for our family and that there are others out there who love us, love Nora, and love doing what God has commanded us all to do in James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." It also reinforces the TRUTH that God will supply our need when we wholeheartedly surrender to His will.

With 3 days left until our goal date, will you please still consider joining our support team? We are just under 1/2 of the way there, friends, and still need your financial support. Some have questioned why we aren't paying for this adoption all on our own or why we are asking others to support us financially with a decision we clearly have made for ourselves. Questions like, "Shouldn't we be taking care of the needs of our own family and backing up our own decisions without asking for help from others?" or "Isn't this irresponsible to be saying yes to adoption and then openly saying we don't necessarily have enough funds to make it happen?" are valid questions to have come to the surface. Here are our answers to questions like these, for what it is worth...
  • Adopting wasn't our was God's. That may sound like a "Sunday school answer" to some of you, but it is as true as it gets to us. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is who is behind this adoption--not us. Because it is God's idea, it is something we feel He will use His kingdom to bring to pass and His kingdom is not solely comprised of Micah and Angie Thieszen...thankfully! : )
  • We ARE supporting our own adoption financially as much as we can. We are not sitting around using other peoples' money while living poshly off of our own. Out of respect to our own privacy we will not be sharing how all we are making our own sacrifices, but please trust we are indeed a vital part of this process financially and would never want it any other way.
  • We believe God's Word to be true and hold to the James 1:27 reference that everyone is being asked to look after the orphans. For some, that verse fleshes out in actually going through the process of adoption and caring for an orphan in a forever family situation. For others, that is not even on their radar, so being able to go on a mission trip to care for them for a few weeks or so is a better answer. For still others, maybe that seems a bit too much so they are sponsoring a child or helping financially to pay for an orphan to receive better care. The connection for us is that we have a situation where you would be able to do your part in looking after the orphan by helping us financially bring Nora home. It's an investment you will get to actually see the benefits of--as we bring Nora here and she grows up in our family, you will be able to witness firsthand the blessings of answering God's Word.
  • As much as we personally cherish the feelings of love and support by having all of your contributions, we truly hope they are not being given solely on the basis of a connection to US. Our deeper heart's desire is you would be giving them to honor, respect, love, and support Nora herself. Nora needs you to care for her. Nora needs your prayers. Nora needs your financial support. Do you see this empty picture frame? I've had this frame ready for a picture of our sweet little Nora for a while now and yet it has remained empty. It is HARD to look at this empty picture frame because it leaves me feeling restless in this process, yet it is also good to see it empty because I KNOW there is a little girl who is going to fill it--and fill our lives--with so much and I HAVE to continue doing everything I know how to make sure that picture frame is filled soon! Yes, we know all too well, it's hard to not have that little brown face visible yet to know exactly who you are helping. It's hard to connect to this little girl when you don't even know she really exists. It's hard for us too, but we assure you she is out there somewhere in Haiti where she has a 50% chance at survival right now and we beg you to be thinking of HER and not us when you are giving of your finances. She needs YOUR help just as much as she needs our help! We have committed to giving it to her for the rest of her life and we pray you will be joining in that with us. You see, this is NOT about us--Micah, Angie, Lily, Tobias, and Quinn Thieszen--this is about Nora Thieszen. Make your donations for HER and we will undoubtedly feel the love and support as well--there is nothing better than feeling like someone else loves and supports your kids alongside you!
So, three days, friends. 3 days. If God can die, take victory over evil, and raise from the dead in just 3 days, I have no reason to doubt He can rally the troops and bring in a HUGE amount of financial support for our adoption in 3 days too. Would you be willing to not only give financial support to us, but also encourage others to do so as well by linking this post to your own blog page, facebook page, email account, twitter account, text message or whatever social medial outlet you use? I've often wondered what does it take for a message to go "viral"...I'm thinking the best answer to that question is God. What can't God do in 3 days???

To financially give follow the instructions below:

Option #1: Send your check in the enclosed, stamped envelope.

  • Please make checks payable to: Lifesong. To direct your donations to our adoption expenses, write "preference Thieszen #2263 adoption" in the memo section of your check.

  • Send your check to: Lifesong for Orphans, Attn. “preference Thieszen #2263 adoption”, PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford Street, Gridley, IL 61744

  • *Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.

Option #2: Donate online through Lifesong's PayPal account.

  • To donate online, go to Scroll down until you see “By Credit Card (” and click on the "Donate" button. Type in "preference Thieszen #2263 adoption" in the Purpose line.

  • Where 100% of your donation from a check goes to us, if you use PayPal, you will be charged a 1.9-2.9% service fee. The amount actually received by Lifesong for Orphans for our adoption will be decreased by that amount.

Thank you, friends, for all you are doing for Nora...and all of us. We are blessed indeed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Little Man is Two!

6:30 a.m. It's almost always by 6:30 a.m. that Quinn arrives in either a whiny mess or a happy hello to our bed in the morning. We usually attempt to send him back to his own bed, but it rarely works. He's up and ready to start the day. Yesterday as I reflected on his little arrival to our warm sheets it brought a smile to my face. Two years ago I lay in my bed feeling a little funny around 5:15 a.m. I fell back asleep and finally got up around 6:15 to go to the bathroom. I walked out to the couch to start some quiet time before the rest of the house woke up, but never made it to the couch. As I began to sit down, the first one hit in full force...a huge contraction...the time had come--Quinn was on his way to meet the world! It was 6:30 a.m. then and he hasn't stopped getting up at 6:30 ever since!

Quinn's labor was the best one of my three. It was smooth, relatively quick (3 hours), and honestly felt more like huge pressure than pain. He was a BIG boy--9 lbs. 2 oz. All of my babies were on the larger side, but Quinn was the biggest. How come the biggest was my easiest labor??? Actually, I have many theories on that, but that's a whole other conversation. My labor for Quinn has said something about my little man. He's fairly "easy". He's laid back, lovable, and always on an adventure. He's also the one we have to look out for, however, because he doesn't really mind being off on his own trying to explore. He does this frequently whether we know it or not and often we are on a "Quinn hunt". I love his ability to be carefree and sure of himself even at age 2. I can even learn things from my 2 year old!

So, it's with much thanksgiving we celebrated Quinn's 2nd birthday yesterday. I thank God for the gift of Quinn in our family. I thank God for what all I learn from those big blue eyes, dimpled smile, and sweet spirit. I thank God for the meaning behind Quinn's name..."wise". With each of our children, He has a purpose and reason for their existence on this planet. He will use each of them in unique ways and I am so excited to be the Mama who gets to watch it all unfold. I am a blessed woman today to have Quinn as my son. I truly am.

Happy Birthday, little man.
I love you so very, very much!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The State of Texas x5.5

November 1st! Can you even believe it's November??? I can't. With the first day of November comes the first day of National Adoption Awareness Month. Did you know there are approximately 143 million orphans worldwide that need adopted? 143 million. Did you know that would be multiplying the population of the state of Texas over 5 1/2 times? We could fill the state of Texas over 5 1/2 times full of children who simply need loving, forever homes. Now there's some perspective, right? We all need to be doing our part to help lessen these numbers! Whether you are called to actually adopt one of these precious children or just want to support someone who is, we implore you to please do your part! I think that National Adoption Awareness Month would be the perfect month for us to get matched with Nora so we can finally see this sweet brown face we've been praying for, taping paper chain links together for, raising money for, and longing for. Will you join us in praying this will be the month our process continues in Haiti?

Don't get us wrong, just because our process seems "on hold" in Haiti right now, there is nothing "on hold" about this adoption. We are focusing full force on our fundraising efforts and trying to raise as much as we can before our goal date with Lifesong next week. Our latest fundraising project has branched from a friend's suggestion of using my Etch-A-Sketch drawings as a fundraising tool (thank you for the encouragement, Erin!) I'm pretty excited about this one! I have been partnering with downtown Goshen businesses over the past several weeks to draw their buildings/logos/products on the Etch-A-Sketch in order to create a 2012 calendar entitled "Drawing People to Downtown Goshen". It will feature 12 of the downtown businesses and will be sold in those businesses as well as from our blog (look to the right column!), and hopefully at the December Goshen First Fridays. Michiana Art News (a local publication) will be running an article promoting the calendar and I hope to get in touch with the local newspapers as well as potentially the news stations to cover the story as well. The calendars are $20 and 100% of the proceeds will go directly towards our adoption. What I like best about this fundraiser is that it is using the gifts God has given me to not only collect money to support our adoption, but also draw attention to downtown Goshen (which I think is a cool place to shop, eat, and hang out)! So, help spread the word and pre-buy your calendars today for Christmas presents, to support our adoption, to support downtown Goshen, to own some of my artwork, or just because you like us (hee, hee).

In other fundraising news, we are just one week out from Lifesong's goal date for our initial fundraising efforts. Our goal is $25,000 and we are just under 1/2 of the way there once our matching $3000 grant comes through (see support thermometer at right). We have been blessed by everyone's support of our news and we continue to watch God supply for our needs through your generous hearts. It will be very clear to Nora that we are not the only ones who love her and care about her--there are many, many others who desire for her to be here too and have extended their love to her through their support. We appreciate your willingness to come alongside us and support us financially as well as prayerfully during this journey. We said at the beginning we wanted to raise not only the funds to bring Nora home, but then to also have enough to help other families get started financially on their own journey of adoption. Will you help us in these efforts? Help our BIG God do BIG things by sending in your donation for our adoption! Here is how to do that once again...
Please send in your tax-deductible donation A.S.A.P.—remember the goal date to raise our support is November 9th!
Option #1: Send your check in the enclosed, stamped envelope.
  • Please make checks payable to: Lifesong. To direct your donations to our adoption expenses, write "preference Thieszen #2263 adoption" in the memo section of your check.
  • Send your check to: Lifesong for Orphans, Attn. “preference Thieszen #2263 adoption”, PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford Street, Gridley, IL 61744
  • *Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
Option #2: Donate online through Lifesong's PayPal account.
  • To donate online, go to Scroll down until you see “By Credit Card (” and click on the "Donate" button. Type in "preference Thieszen #2263 adoption" in the Purpose line.
  • Where 100% of your donation from a check goes to us, if you use PayPal, you will be charged a 1.9-2.9% service fee. The amount actually received by Lifesong for Orphans for our adoption will be decreased by that amount.
Thank you again for supporting us as well as supporting the cause of the orphan during National Adoption Awareness Month!