Sunday, December 28, 2008

2005 - 2007

This day is not only a special day for us, but it is Viktor Kjernald's (Samuel's cousin's) birthday. So two brothers (Andreas and Johan) became fathers on the same day 2 years apart. Happy 1st Birthday Viktor. (pictures will come, when Johan shares them with me)

Below is the beginning of our family.

Samuel and Mommy on December 28th, 2005

Samuel in Nepal 2005

Family 2006

Samuel 2006

Family 2007

Our Family 2008

This is our family in 2008. Samuel is a vibrant, smart, very active boy with a personality that would make anyone like him. He fills our days will laughter, activity and sometimes frustration. We wouldn't have it any other way. We thank Jesus for our precious boy and pray that we can raise him to love the Lord that gave him not only our family, but His own.

When we picked him up

In honor of the third anniversary of us becoming a family, I am reposting the video of two becoming three. We are and will always be so thankful for our beautiful son. As he continues to grow and bless us, we will always remember this special day in December of 2005.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting a Christmas Tree

Finding a Christmas tree here in Sweden is not the typical, go to the nearest plant nursery and pick out your favorite. No, here it is a tradition to steal the tree from some one elses land (but don't get caught). What we do is go out to the house in the woods (the one we use to live in) and search the land that belongs to Andreas's grandparents, uncle and father. So we don't stick closely to the stealing tradition (makes me wonder how many other people come to our land and take trees).

So on a snowy weekend we went in search of our tree. First we had to get Samuel to actually walk through the snow and not crawl (slows the process down just a little, not to mention the moose poop that is out there). Then we tried our best to find a tree that didn't look like a Charlie Brown tree (with no avail). Yes, I am doomed to a Charlie Brown Christmas once again. You can see straight through the tree, but it is pretty! I picked out the tree this year and Sam and Andreas cut it down. (the pictures below and in the reverse order, but enjoy our adventure).

Andreas accomplished the cutting and tying it to the car.

Sam and Andreas cutting the tree.
Before the cutting.

Sam rolling in the snow, and who knows what else.

Samuel taking a little sleigh ride down our hill, he liked the down more than the up (imagine that).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Step Done (Finally!!!!)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Today the board of social workers in Alingsas approved our homestudy!!! After a year of trying to get a homestudy done, it is finally finished. I have to give credit where it is due. The Alingsas Kommun (county) did a really good and fairly fast job. The slow down was the other Kommun that we were living in until the end of August. They did not want to do anything with us. Our social worker went up to bat for us and is getting the approval papers to us on Thursday. This means on Friday we will be mailing a package to our agency in Stockholm asking to be a pilot family for their new Nepal program!!!

I know that these steps are taking a lot of time, but I am so thankful for a little movement with this. I am praying and hoping that they will let us be a pilot family. We fit that program well and I am hoping to be able to help them with the program. That would give me a foot in the door of the Swedish adoption arena, which I would love to have.

Thank you Jesus. I feel like I should be writing a song or psalm to Him, like Mary's song or Zachariahs praise when he could finally speak. However, I don't even know what words to use, but here is my try:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Creator of all that is good and wonderful;
Knower of all things;
Lover of your people;
Thank you.
You put direction on the hearts of your children.
You show us the beauty of our own adoption into your family;
and you encourage us to build our family out of that image.
I trust you.
I trust you with the child that you have provided.
I trust you with the child that you will provide.
I trust you through my frustration.
For you are fully trustworthy.
All of your promises will come to pass.
I love you.

There is my feeble attempt, but from the heart. I am surprised I can write from my heart on this blog, but I think it helps that I don't actually have to face any of you when you read it. I hope to be hearing something about our acceptance (hopefully) sometime after the new year. Thank you all for your prayers and support. This will still be a very long process, but every little step helps. As Prof. Lauter calls them ''earnests'' from God.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Chance to Catch Up

The next three posts are pictures from this fall since Samuel and I returned home from the States. I haven't been good at posting, but I wanted to get these on so that my family and friends could enjoy them. Samuel seems to be changing by the day. It amazes me how he has gone from a baby to a young boy so quickly. I was just looking at pictures of him from last year and he still had a baby face, but now he is very independant and is all boy. Part of me really misses the baby, but I am excited to see him grow and embrace life, which he does to the fullest. Please pray for Andreas and I as we parent him and teach him to love Jesus. I truly believe that he can do amazing things for the Lord. We may have an evangelist on our hands!

Samuel has just finished his first semester of pre-school. He goes 3 days a week for 3 hours. His Swedish is definitely better, but of course he is picking up things from the other kids. We do not allow weapon toys in the house nor does he watch violent films, but Samuel builds guns and swords and his lego men fight all the time. Today when we went to the toy store he started playing with the guns and when I asked him why he liked the guns he told me that they were to kill the bad dinosaurs!? What in the world? Somehow it just happens!!! He is all boy.

Of course while in the toy store he also asked me for every toy that wasn't pink (according to him pink is ONLY for girls). So now we are also trying to find a way for him to enjoy the gifts, but realize that the celebration is for Jesus. Not very easy in this consumer's world. However, he is so sweet when we talk about Jesus's birthday and he insists that the 24th pocket on his advent calendar is a gift for Jesus and not him.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures below. We miss you all, especially during this time. Know that you are in our prayers and thoughts. And like Prof. Lauter always told me, I am sucking it up, and serving Jesus.


Crazy boy! Need I say more?

For his birthday he received a bike, which he loves to ride and does really well with. However, this is a cheesy, "mom's got the camera", smile. What a ham!

Pappa and Sam on his first bike ride.

For his birthday, Nonna (my mom) bought Samuel his own computer (kids of course). He likes to pull it out on the coffee table and act like he is working like Pappa. I love his little feet on the shelve under the coffee table. He is so funny.

This is just Sam and me being crazy. We have sticker glasses. Pretty cool huh?

This is the top of the church nestled in amoung the town (black roof). If you stand on the look-out and see the town you would think we were nestled into a valley in Pennsylvania or another state that is similar.

Our church in fall.

We have a wonderful canal that runs through the town. It empties into a very large lake on the edge of town. It really makes the town feel quaint.

Our street in fall.

Per (Andreas's cousin) and Hannes (Per's son)

Hamming it up with his gifts during his Swedish/Nepali birthday party

Looking very Nepali and handsome.

Mommy and Samuel looking very Nepali at the Nepali restaurant.

The Nepali restaurant in Gothenburg that we had Samuel's birthday party at.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving In Sweden

November 23, we celebrated a traditional Thanksgiving at the church. It was wonderful! We had 25 people there, lots of children and really good fellowship. After the meal we had a short service in the church and then down again for dessert and of course we added a Swedish touch with a fun fact quiz (Swedes love to put funny quizzes into their parties). Looking around the room during our meal was really cool because we were truly and international bunch. We had several Swedes, and Americans of course. However, if you looked around you would also see families from the Congo and Ukraine, and of course we cannot forget our little Nepali. So all in all it almost felt like I was back at Prof. Lauter's house for Thanksgiving. Thanks to Sue Lauter we had lots of the traditional foods (thanks for the recipes mamma sue).

I have added a few pictures below. I had to get the pumpkin in at the end also. There are some traditions that have to stay even though you are in a foreign country and I love carving pumpkins (even though my Aunt Judy is way better at it than me).

We miss and love you all. God bless you and know that we are thinking and praying for you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So Sorry

I absolutely love these next two pictures. The beautiful little girl that I am holding is Cydil and Nathan Waggoners child. Her name is Elisona (Ellie) and she is adorable. Sam still talks about playing a being with her. There are some pictures of Samuel giving her a hug and they make me laugh out loud. I will try to post those soon.

It is so cool that 3 different countries and one Wonderful, Amazing Savior are all represented in this picture. Ellie (Albania), Samuel (Nepal), me (USA). Jesus brought us all to the place where we could be together. I pray that we can always show people that it is Jesus who made the joy of adoption real for us all.

The center of attention

Well, the fact that I haven't written on my blog in about a month, shows what can happen when you get out of the habit of doing it. I am sorry that I haven't kept this up. I will try again. Things have been going well. Samuel is loving his pre-school, is as independant as ever, still thinks he is the center of attention, and is retaining prayers and bible stories that he acts out vividly. He is pretty funny. He makes my heart swell when he kneels down to pray somewhere or after someone gets hurt, he prays right away for them. Don't get me wrong he still prays for some really silly stuff, but he is getting the idea and concept that he is talking to Jesus. I love to hear him do it too. Veggietales has been a good influence on him and it is pretty funny for him to retell the stories to me. Samuel has learned how to ride a "big boys bike". He has training wheels, but is pretty amazing on it. He can stand up and pedal and loves to go fast. When he falls he gets right back on. He really has impressed me. I will try to get a video of it and put it on the blog soon.

I am doing well. Starting to get the winter darkness blues. Yes, it gets very dark, way to early here. However, I have one friend who truly encourages me, even if she does say that the blues will come every winter. I have a wonderful friend named Jennie Weaver (she is a Swede who is married to an American). She has been a great help to me.
I have been working on getting a Thanksgiving dinner together for all the internationals as well as the nationals that want to take part in it. So far we have 22 people coming and I am quite excited. When I first moved here, there was no way of getting certain foods for this season, but times have changed. Now I can get as much canned pumpkin as I can afford (Libby's even), I have found Stove Top Stuffing, canned cranberry sauce and even Crisco for baking. I know this does not sound like an exciting thing, but if you ever lived outside the country and could not get these things, you would know how excited I truly am. So now I just have to find a place that sells turkey without having to sell my car to buy it. I am truly thankful that we have friends and church family to share this meal with, it makes home seem a little closer.
Andreas is doing well, but very busy with his 3 jobs. We are working on finding a way to relieve some of the pressure, but so far no solution has presented itself, please pray.
We have some possible exciting news. Not to long ago Nepal released their list of agencies that will be allowed to adopt out of Nepal. The program the I helped start is one of those agencies (Praise the Lord). However, Sweden had two agencies on there also. Andreas and I were beside ourselves. One of the agencies is actually the agency that we are registered with here in Sweden. Now we are trying to become a pilot family for that program. Please pray with us that it will be possible. We have to finish our homestudy before we can officially apply to be a pilot family, but all looks positive. Our homestudy will be finished on Dec. 16th (that is when we go before the social work board and get voted on). Pray that they vote we can be parents! If all goes well then we will be getting a little girl from Nepal (they will only allow us to adopt a little girl since we have a boy). The thought of this is really exciting for both Andreas and I. We would love to go back and pick up a little girl and minister in that country as much as possible. We wait upon the Lord to see what he has in mind.
The pictures above are more of the pics that Cydil Waggoner took (thank you again Cydil). I can only put a few up at a time and I have not been taking new pics lately. I will try to do better.

We love and miss you all.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some pictures as promised

Nonna and Samuel

We can see who is the center of attention and loving it.

Above are some of the beautiful family photos that Cydil Waggoner took while we were home. She is a wonderful friend and incredibly talented at seeing the perfect pictures through her lense. I hope that you enjoyed the pics above. There are plenty more, but I didn't think putting about 400 pictures on the blog would be such a good idea.
Life is still proceeding faster than I feel like I can go. We have had our fourth visit with the social worker and will have at least one more for our home study. I have been looking at the website of our agency to see if any new special needs children have come up. I know that our child is out there, so I continue to pray over the faces and needs of the children shown. It does fill a person with a little guilt to say that I cannot handle certain special needs. I have to remember that it does not do anyone any good to adopt out of pity. So I pray for the children that there will be the perfect family for them.
Samuel is overjoyed to be going to pre-school. He really loves the social aspect of it. He is my ice breaker and socialite. He can draw anyone in. Which really helps when you are doing a ministry like handing out free hot chocolate or candles. No one can escape this wonderful little smile that wants to give them something for Jesus. I love that he is willing to help out with these things and absolutely loves doing it. He is such a positive person, (except when he is screaming at me with a temper tantrum).
I don't have pictures for you today, but I tried to trim his hair yesterday. All I wanted to do was trim around his ears so that I could get his hearing aides on better. Well, he wouldn't stay still, so each time he moved and more hair then should be got cut, the shorter his hair got. It wasn't too bad until I went to take the shaver to get the little hairs around his ears and he really moved. Which, unfortunately, ment the I shaved part of his head above his ear quite close. It didn't phase Samuel a bit!!! So what ended up happening is that I shaved a line on both sides of his head above his ears and had to make the rest pretty short also. So sad because I love his long hair! Everyone that has seen Sam thinks he looks cool, I think he looks like he did when he came from the children's home (hard for me to see him that way). Sam thinks it feels really cool and keeps looking at himself in the mirror. Maybe it is time for me to take him to a professional? I hope to have pictures soon.

For anyone interested our new address is:
Sodra Ringgatan 20
441 33 Alingsas

We miss and love you all.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Long Time, No Write

Hello to all. To actually get my act together and start blogging again I am going to tell you that it is coming. Please hold me accountable. I have so many wonderful pictures from being in the States with my family and the ones that Cydil took are incredible. I will actively try to get these things together so that I can share them with you.

We are all well and have had 3 home study visits to this point. The actual home visit will be on Friday. I am very excited to have that started (as we have been trying since January). Moving into Alingsas has made all the difference in the world. Don't get too excited, we will probably not be picking up a child for another two years or so, but I am still happy to be moving forward.

I miss you all and will be blogging for you soon.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Birthday Boy

I can hardly believe it, but tomorrow our Samuel is officially a 4 years old. It doesn't seem possible, but here it is. Before I know it he is going to be 18 and leaving for University. I don't have any pictures to post (well I do, but it is really hard on this computer, so I won't). However, for those of you who are curious about what Samuel looks like these days I have a great surprise for you. Just go to (you can link to it below in my links). Our good friend Cydil Waggoner has started her own photography business and was gracious to take pictures of Samuel and I recently. I do recommend her as a photographer, she has a great eye, a beautiful spirit, and loves the Lord (she is also an adoptive mom). She has posted a couple of the pictures that she took for all to see. So go and enjoy.

By the way if anyone calls tomorrow to talk with Samuel, please don't tell him it is his birthday (we are celebrating next week when Andreas gets here).

Blessings to all,


Monday, September 01, 2008

Still in the States

Hello Everyone,

It is Laurie this time. I have really missed these posts, so here I am. No pictures this time, I will try another day to do that.

I am still in the States. Samuel is doing well and enjoying having other kids around. Unfortunately he is also learning how to fight like a sibling. It has been interesting. It has been easy to step back into the role of Nanny. The kids are still wonderful and I have enjoyed my time with them. This time will also solidify this wonderful family in Samuel's memory. Tomorrow is Labor Day in the States, so everyone is off. It is also my mother-in-laws birthday and Tom Velie's birthday. So to the both of you Grattis and Happy Birthday.

Please pray for all the folks who have had to evacuate the Gulf Coast, and all those who decided to stay. As Hurricane Gustav follows just about the same path that Hurricane Katrina did 3 years ago. After living through Katrina and seeing the aftermath, I have a better understanding about what is happening and what will happen. It is devastating and hard to recover, but praying for them is incredibly important.

Please also pray for Andreas. It has been hard for him to be alone and to do all that needs to be done while I am gone. He had a hard evening with only one person from outside the church showing up for our international service. Please pray that we are faithful to what the Lord wants us to do in that church and that we continue even when it is discouraging.

God Bless you all. For those in the States that I haven't seen yet, or are looking to come and see me... I have three weeks left. Would love to see you!!!


Sunday, August 17, 2008 they come

These pictures are not in a certain order, as will be obvious. First, this is a picture I took today. It is the first batch, or catch, or pick of a mushroom called "Kantarell". In Sweden mushroom picking in the forest is somewhat of a national sport. Each spot is kept a secret since the mushrooms come back year after year in the same spot. These are delicious to fry, salt, and put on a sandwich.

This is a lake I set out to find the other day...and did! It was beautiful and surrounded by tall pines and evergreens on top of a ridge. The water was pitch black and thus somewhat intimidating. I enjoyed the serenity and quietness and the cool swim. This is one of my favorite things about Sweden. Get a map, put on your boots, and hike out in search for new places.

This pictures is taken a couple of weeks ago, since these two are currently in the US. With the flotation vest and a "noodle" Sam is very couragous and follows mommy pretty far out into the lake. Maybe he'll be the next Phelps... This picture is taken in London, St. James's park. Laurie and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in London for an extended weekend, though this year is actually our 11th. This park and this "pose" had been on Laurie's wishlist ever since we left London last time. It was a great weekend getaway and we had a lot of fun, including dancing to "Mama mia" in the theatre (Laurie's dancing could actually pass for dancing...mine probably not).
Another picture from London showing off my wife's photographic skills.

Hope you enjoyed them!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

There's no sunshine when she's gone...

Dear friends,

Once again you are treated to a blog post by me, Andreas. The reason for this is that Laurie and Sam are in the US. Yep, it's me and the dog over here in Sweden. Laurie was offered to work for our dear friends the Karenbauers for two months taking care of their kids while their nanny heals from a broken foot. Of course, Sam went with her. So far, it's been a week and it's been a long one at that.

Laurie wanted me to post some pictures of what we have done this summer, though you have seen quite a few of them already. I will see what I can find on this computer:

Well, Blogger won't let me upload any pictures so I will have to get back on that one. Pray for us and for our safety now that we are apart.

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


To all,

Sorry it has been a while, several things have been happening that have slowed the posts. The biggest news is that Samuel and I (Laurie) are actually in the States for a while.

We will be in Kentucky until the 22 of September. I would really love to see everyone, but I will not be able to travel during my time here. So I think a trip to KY is in order for all of you!!! Hopefully Andreas will be able to join us for a week in the middle of September, but for now we are seperated. This is just temporary and Samuel and I will return to Sweden in September.

For now, my family is thrilled to have us home. Well, they are especially thrilled to have Samuel home (I'm okay with that). You can reach me at 859-533-2925 for the time I am home. Hope to hear from you all (ya'l) soon.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The sun had to set on our vacation, but I thank God for the time that we had.


Enjoy the scenery, I certainly did.