A momma’s love is greater than …

I don’t believe I’ve ever supported a prayer cause more than the one I’m writing about today, a personal story with a request to lift up my sister’s family separated by an ocean—and by obstacles only God can move. I’m asking you to read this, share this, and more than ever, pray for God’s power and glory to be seen as the adoption story continues to unfold.

Last night, I glanced through my Facebook notifications, clicking on the several items that really caught my attention. I thought I’d catch up with my friends and head to bed. I was moving at a pretty good pace until I got to my sister’s new cover photo. I clicked on it, but the mysterious graphic stopped me and stumped me. I mean, would YOU have known what this was supposed to be saying?


What in the world? Forget about going to sleep. I saw that Luann was online so I sent her a message asking about it. Her simple and profound answer:

Love is greater than the distance between me and my children. (That’s 7,867 miles to be exact.)

Some of you may not know what’s been going on in our extended family, so let me catch you up. I have three sisters, and Luann is the youngest. She lives in Illinois with her husband Ken and their 4-year-old son. For the past two years, they have been working through an international adoption of three beautiful Ethiopian siblings.

As an adoptive mom myself, and the auntie-to-be of these three kiddos, this is pretty near to my heart.

Ken and Luann weren’t expecting to adopt three, that’s for sure. But when they received those first photos of the children, their hearts were smitten. No turning back, they immediately began working with the agency to bring the two girls (ages 7 and 9) and boy (age 12) home. While they filled out a myriad of papers and progressed through required classes, their family and friends got busy, too, throwing a gift-card shower to help them prepare for three more kids.

In the fall, Luann and Ken picked up the pace, buying additional bedroom furniture, painting the rooms, and creating a larger playroom. Then as the days grew colder, they shopped for winter clothes, shoes, and boots for the children who were “scheduled” to join their family sometime in the winter. My own daughter began knitting pretty scarves for her new cousins, and the entire family practically squealed with excitement as the preparations progressed.

I loved hearing from Luann the weekend they bought a bigger freezer and new kitchen table to fit their family expanding from three to six.

Right around Thanksgiving of last year, Ken and Luann communicated for the first time with the children via their adoption agency. Special letters, a little personalized picture book for each, and the news “We’re coming soon!” reached the hearts of the elated children who had spent the past seven years in orphanages.

It was the stuff fairy tales are made of—the kind of precious reactions that would make you burst into tears. The oldest said, I know other kids who have been adopted, but I never thought it would happen to me! One of the little girls began asking daily when her family would arrive. And can you imagine the excitement over their new little brother and the adorable white dog waiting for them in Illinois?

Everything was pretty much set for Ken and Luann’s trip overseas. They would meet their children and spend time with them. They would finalize papers, wait on immigration paperwork, and then bring the children home,

And then it all began to fall apart. One thing after another seemed to go awry with final signatures and sign offs. And as time passed, the winter days turned into spring days, and spring into summer. The waiting game became a way of life, on both ends. Mommy and Daddy waiting for their much-loved children, and the children waiting for their forever family to walk through the door.

The last piece of news Luann and Ken just received from Ethiopia is that all systems are likely on hold for at least another six months. What? Can they really keep a family in limbo for an indefinite amount of time? Yes, evidently they can. And you know what? It honestly wouldn’t break our hearts quite so much if the children weren’t ready and waiting for their family, too. When are my parents coming? When will I go to my new home? When will I meet my new little brother? When? 

So why am I writing this? I’m actually asking you to join us, to print out Luann’s graphic and tape it to your mirror or fridge, or make it your screensaver. Will you let this simple little “equation” remind you to pray daily…

  • Pray for Ethiopian government logistics, a softening of hearts, and for God to move in a way we can’t even imagine.
  • Pray for God’s protection and peace on these three incredible children as they wait for their new family to arrive in Ethiopia and bring them home.
  • Pray for Ken, Luann, and Jack in Illinois as they continue to trust our Almighty God for the miracle that will bring their family together.

Yes, Luann’s mommy-love is greater than the miles that separate. Ken’s father-love is greater than the distance and days between. And God’s love and care is greater than we can even imagine.

As a family, we’re not stopping or putting a time-limit on our prayers. We’ll be praying continually until the children come home and this family of six has their first meal together around the same table. No matter how long it takes, will you join us as the story continues to unfold?


Love is greater than the distance between me and my children.

Now all glory to God, who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
Ephesians 3:20

***Please contact me if you’d like to be included in prayer updates and/or send a message to Ken and Luann.

The Other Side of Adoption

Right now I’m looking back over my shoulder from the other side of adoption while my sister is looking forward to her future days as an adoptive mom.

My kids are grown up and out of the house, while she’s got a four year old running around…and three more kids on their way soon, from across the world.

Funny how life circles around like this.


When Greg and I first told our families about our plans to adopt, they gave us immediate support on bringing a little girl from Haiti into our home. Every single person in the family developed his or her own unique relationship with two-year-old Melissa, and my youngest sister Luann was no exception.

Luann was 18 at the time. She fascinated my girls with “aunt gifts” sent from Chicago to Florida, her silly humor and fun projects when visiting, and her trips abroad to unusual places we looked up and studied in our atlas.


Luann and my daughters dying Easter eggs in 1994

When Luann traveled, we had a nightly routine of singing a song about God watching over her and protecting her. I had actually forgotten all about those words until the other night when I was praying for Luann’s three almost-adopted children still so far away.

And that’s when God brought the words back to me.

God is watching over you, watching over you, watching over you. God is watching over you tonight.

And then there was another song we sang at bedtime.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace forever.

There was a lot of singing and praying going on while Luann traveled the world, and now the lyrics keep echoing in my mind for her kids: God is watching over you, watching over you, watching over you.

Maybe I mistakenly chose those words I used to begin this blog when I wrote, I’m looking back from the other side of adoption. Truthfully, I’m looking forward, too. This spring as we’re praying for the final international papers to be signed, our blended-extended family is about to gain three more children. But those last papers still lack a signature, and the kids are still waiting.

They’ve been told about their new family. Their new mom. Their new dad. Their new little brother. They’ve even been told about the dog. But they’re not here yet. There are still a few obstacles in the way.

Will you pray that God will bring these three children home? Pray these words for each of them as they wait for their very own forever family: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace forever.