Monday, November 29, 2010

The Goal is Exceeded!!

Our Adoption Puzzle pieces are all sponsored and there is extra to give toward other’s adoptions!! Is God just so amazing…. Exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could think or ask. If you feel called to adopt, but are letting finances stop you….. DON’T! Now is the time to consider God’s ability! He is beyond ABLE, and where He guides HE PROVIDES!!!

We had a wonderful time with family in Texas for Thanksgiving. We had the adoption puzzle shipped there straight from the maker…. And it never arrived. So our desire on Thanksgiving Day to put it together and label the pieces with every ones names was not able to happen… yet! There is another puzzle being re-made and shipped to Kansas now which will make for a very exciting family night really soon. We will post pics of the completed project, but for now we will re-post the art work of what it will look like.

THANK YOU to everyone who gave to this puzzle fundraiser through Lifesong for Orphans. You have been a vital piece in bringing home our two children, and because we exceeded our goal… you are even playing a part in helping others you’ve never met with their adoption.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New pics today…

Here are a few new pics of the kids that we received through email from our adoption agency today. Aren’t they so precious!! We are sooooooooooooo BLESSED!! So many people have told us that our adoptive kids are blessed to come into our family, but we know that it’s really our family that is SO BLESSED to be entrusted with such incredible gifts from the Lord.

We have so much to be thankful for… God has provided every step of the way in this adoption journey. Our puzzle fundraiser is done and was an amazing success! We stand in awe of our Awesome God who is able to do exceedingly, above and beyond what we think or ask.

“Oh Give Thanks to the Lord for He is GOOD!”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sad News Today…

Started the day off @ the mayor’s prayer breakfast this morning, hearing a 12 year old girl loudly proclaim through song that God IS our life…our hope, our peace, our JOY. We know this to be true.

Throughout this adoption journey we’ve been on, we always seem to jump with joy at any phone call with news from Children’s House International (CHI), but today the call only brought tears and some real physical aching to my heart. If you’ve known us long, you know that Clint and I are extreme optimists…. so when CHI told us that it would take 4-8weeks to get our Embassy date… we had great expectation that our kids would surely be home by Christmas!!
We already knew of the two embassy date slots CHI had been assigned for December (Dec. 7th and 21st), but on the phone today was when we learned some additional news that changed our expectations. We were informed that CHI is only allowed 10 families per Embassy date. The Dec. 21st embassy date we were so hoping to get assigned is ALREADY full because of their limit. There are now already 10 families (12 children) booked for it… leaving no open slot for us. I quickly began to ask questions until she said, “Mary I’m sorry to tell you that realistically there isn’t even a 1% chance that you will get to bring them home in December”. So even if all of our paper work (birth certificates, passports, and visas) were complete today, we would NOT be able to travel to pick the kids up until a January embassy date because of this 10 family limit that is placed on CHI.

Although the news from the phone call was sad and not what we wanted to hear…. the blanket of PEACE that surrounds us is very real. Even as our hearts feel real longing to hold our kids in our arms again… we know that our ever-present God is holding them until we are given permission to return to Ethiopia. Our God is amazing… His presence is tangible… He comforts me by reminding me that He is holding Justus and baby Mercy right now…. @ the very same time He is holding me… There is truly none so capable and so faithful like our Abba, Father God… so thankful to be His.
He is our hope, our peace, our strength, our joy… today. None can compare to the King of Kings. So I’m thanking the Lord for our precious kids today and looking forward to the day we will hold them again!

“I will bless the Lord at ALL times; HIS PRAISE shall continually be in my mouth.”

We’re almost there…only 30 pieces left to be sponsored!

Our adoption fundraising puzzle has now been ordered. A big THANK YOU to Isaac Alongi Studios for taking the family picture and doing the artwork, as well as a big thanks to the Precthl family for letting us borrow Kendi and Tristen as “stand ins” for our family picture to represent Justus and Hannah Mercy who are still in Ethiopia.

We can’t wait for this to be framed and hung in our house as a constant reminder of all who were part of the puzzle to bring our kids home from Ethiopia. We will be putting the puzzle together over the Thanksgiving holiday and writing each of the names of those who sponsored pieces on the back of the puzzle. We will post pics once it is completed, but until then, the picture above is what it will look like.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Arrived safely home on Friday…but part of our hearts are still in Ethiopia

– Mary's update Nov. 13, 2010

We both woke up very early today… I’m sure it will take a few days to re-adjust, but we just seized the moment before the sun came up to give thanks again and just praise the Lord for the “it’s final” verdict given to us by the judge in Ethiopia. We are so blessed and are longing to return and bring them home. They say it usually takes anywhere from 4-8weeks to be given your embassy date (6 wks is the average and most realistic). Although, we did meet one family on the plane on their way back to Ethiopia to pick up their daughter less than a month after their court date! They were so shocked that they were given an embassy date so quickly, and we were encouraged that it is possible… that would be amazing. Our hope is in the Lord… Join us in praying for all the paperwork for both kids (birth certificates, passports, and visas) to go smoothly… Pray that HIS timing and HIS way would be done in bringing our kids home.

“As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” ~ Ps 18:30

Okay, here is a quick sneak peak of the treasure God is entrusting to our care. We will post more in the days ahead….

Justus Clinton Sprague

Justus playing with his new car

Hannah Mercy Sprague getting some lovin' from Daddy

Momma and Mercy in the car on the way to the Thomas Center

Court Date!!!

(Mary's update from 11-11-10)

Nov. 11, 2010

For some reason we aren’t able to access Clint’s blog here in Ethiopia, but I will go ahead and give a report and we will post this update to facebook at least before we fly out tonight. Today is the much awaited court date!!

We arrived to our court appointment this morning along with five other families that are adopting through CHI. After walking up several sets of stairs, we arrived to a very crowded waiting room area feeling much anticipation and wondering how long this process would take. We’ve heard from other’s experiences it can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 hours, let’s just say that we were all really hoping for the best. Not too long after we had arrived, our group was notified that we were to leave and come back in the afternoon. Everyone felt a bit bummed, but at least we were able to go straight over to the Thomas Center to spend time with our kids until we were to return to court. We returned to the court at 2pm and were so happy to begin the wait for our names to be called. One family at a time was called in before the judge. Out of our 6 families, only 2 of families received the report: “it’s final”…. And PRAISE to the King of Kings we were so blessed to be one of those families!!!!!!!!!!! It’s FINAL!!!!!!!!! The Sprague family is legally a family of 8 now!!! Please be praying for the other families who were given a Nov. 19th date of waiting for a final approval letter from the MOWA.

All I can say is that it feels too good to be true…. I’m amazed! We are rejoicing and excited to board the plane tonight and start the journey back to Kansas. Our daughter is doing wonderful… we so enjoyed our time with her again today and got more video and pictures to mark this special day. Our son is still at the orphanage in Adama, but he will be transferred to the Thomas Center tomorrow along with another boy. Wish we could have stayed here just one more day to be there when he arrived, but know that very soon we will get to return to pick him up for good. Please be praying for him during this transition, that he would have favor with the nannies and other children at the Thomas Center. Pray for our safety in our flights home as well.

Once back in Kansas we will post some pics…. But for now, you’ll just have to wait a few more days to see the wonderful gifts the Father has just blessed our family with. We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord. May our lives always tell of the faithfulness of our God and bring HIM the honor and glory due His Name! His works are wonderful, we know that full well!!

Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness from generation to generation.”

Orphan Sunday

We were amazed at God’s timing once again… He opened the door for us to fly to Ethiopia the weekend of Orphan Sunday at church, I shared my message on video to be played for the weekend services. We recieved great feedback about weekend at Life Church and we are excited about what God is doing in our midst to challenge us as a church body. If you missed the message at Life Church you can click the link to cacth it and learn more about the Crisis, the Call, and the Cause and be encouraged and inspired by the heart of God for orphans.

Update from Ethiopia – Nov.10, 2010

We started at KCI @ 9:30am Sunday morning and arrived to Addis Ababa Monday night and were picked up from the airport around 10:30pm. Tuesday morning we were up early and so excited to go to YWAM’s Widow and Orphan Home in Adama to meet our kids…but first we had the privilege to travel with a group of missionaries and people from the states that were helping to begin a Maternity Home here in Ethiopia. It just happened to be the day for the dedication and ribbon cutting, so we shared in witnessing that celebration, had lunch together with everyone, and met the 6 young women that had already come to be a part of the program. We were also blessed to see the new construction of the new Widow and Orphan’s home going on. It will be a much better facility and they are on target to hopefully have it completed by January…If any artists want to be a part of painting some murals on the nursery walls, I’m sure Joy would love to have you come on a painting missions trip.

After arriving to the current home, they brought us our daughter first. She was a precious delight from the first moment they put her in our arms. We enjoyed spending time with her and can’t wait to show pics. After we lavished her with hugs and kisses, I changed her wet diaper, her clothes, fed her a bottle, and she was fast asleep in my arms. We were blessed to meet our son next and spend some time giving the toys we had brought for him. He was more reserved just like our son Levi was at that age with complete strangers, but I showed him the book we made him with his picture in it… as well as the rest of the family. Clint then got down on the ground with him and showed him how his toys worked…. And then spent time rolling a little soccer ball back and forth to him until it was time for us to start the long drive back. We look forward to the days ahead where he will someday know us as mommy and daddy.

We opted to only transport our daughter that night to the Thomas Center in Addis, feeling it best for our new son to be transported by one of his nannies since it will be his 3rd move since May. Our new daughter is too young to know since she isn’t yet 8 months old. It was just Clint and I now in the van with the driver for the wonderful 2 and a half hour drive back. We enjoyed taking turns holding her, and were able to put her in her bed sound asleep.

Today we returned to the Thomas Center to spend time with our new daughter. The Thomas Center is the transitionary home where both the kids will stay until we can get an Embassy date and will be able to come bring them home to Kansas. Tomorrow (Thursday) they will pick us up in the morning for court. We will let you know how it all goes, but are praying for favor and all to go smoothly. It’s late and time for bed. Thanks for all your prayers!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Less than 2 days till we fly!!

Wow, this week has been a whirlwind… but so filled with joy and anticipation. We can’t wait to meet our kids on Nov. 9th for the first time… we continue to feel such a overwhelming sense of God’s destiny… just so blessed to share in Father’s great love story for these two precious children.

We are in mid-stream of the packing extravaganza. Buying a $23 luggage scale at Target was our best move yet in getting all this formula to fit in our bags without going over weight limits. It’s a good thing we get to check 2 pieces of luggage each. We are so thankful for Heritage House and so many friends from Life Church who donated so much formula for us to deliver to YWAM’s Widow and Orphan Homes in Ethiopia. You can check out their blog by going to

Just 15 days ago we launched our puzzle fundraiser to invite others to partner with us in bringing our kids home from Ethiopia. When completed, our 500 piece puzzle will hang framed in our home to remind us of this journey, and of all the people who believed God with us. There are only 89 pieces left!!! Scroll down to the blog from Oct. 21st to find out how to join with us and get your name on a piece of the puzzle.

A special thanks to the YWAM Wisconsin DTS who bought 21 puzzle pieces!! We’ve never met you, but we are so excited for the faith journey you are each on. We both did our DTS 22 years ago… with Papa Wick as one of our favorite teachers… and it set us on a course of reckless abandon in following Jesus…wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5 Days until we fly to Ethiopia!

We have to make two trips to Ethiopia in the next two months. The first one will be for our court date Nov. 11th and to meet our kids for our 1st time. The second trip will hopefully be before Christmas for our Embassy date and to bring our kids home!! (C.H.I. says it usually takes 6 weeks to get your embassy date once you’ve passed court.) We’ve had 356 pieces of the puzzle sponsored so far… so 144 pieces still available! The response has been amazing! Thanks to everyone who has already been a part of bringing our kids home!!!
Please feel free to share this with others on your face book or blog in hopes that others will join us in bringing our kids home.