Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A letter to our friends and family

September 30, 2009

Dear family and friends,

In April of 2006, we made the decision to undertake an international adoption. We learned a lot about faith, God's timing, true love, true need, desperate circumstances, Ethiopia (Africa), and how easy it is to love an orphan. The end result of our adoption from Ethiopia is a very special addition to our family ten months ago – Daniel Fitsum. Many people point out how blessed he is to have us. We respond how blessed we are to have him in our family. We can't thank God enough for how much this journey has changed our lives.

While in Ethiopia we experienced the Ethiopian culture and people; they are wonderful. While there, we also saw the impact of the AIDS crisis, the food shortage, the lack of health care, and poverty unlike most of us have ever seen. Spending time in Ethiopia: around town, the orphanages, transition home, and spending time with our guide, who shared with us what life is like in Ethiopia, fundamentally changed us. We left a piece of our heart in Ethiopia. We came back knowing that we would be going back and that we needed to help in a bigger way.

That brings us to the next phase of our journey.

We have decided to adopt again, and to join with others to identify ways to work in Ethiopia to affect the larger issues faced there. Tom will be traveling on a mission trip from November 29th to December 9. He will be traveling to Addis Ababa where we were last year, and then traveling another three to four hours from the capital city. He is traveling with a group of fellow adoptive parents from our agency, along with Tom Davis with Children's HopeChest Ministries. This is a vision trip to check out seven to eight orphanages and see how they need help; could be a well to give 5,000 people clean water to drink, could be mattresses so the children in the orphanages aren't sleeping on the floor, or even nets to protect the kids from mosquitoes at night. They will be making long term plans and devising ways to build support here in the United States..

There are an estimated 4.8 million orphans in Ethiopia. We are called to take care of the widows and orphans. Most people that adopt want to adopt infants or young toddlers. For this reason, we are requesting an older child. We are requesting a girl between the ages of four and six. We are very excited to see who God has picked for our family.

If you are interested in learning more about Africa, we recommend that you read Scared by Tom Davis or It's Not OK With Me by Janine Maxwell. They are both very difficult books to read, but let you get a glimpse at the life of many in Africa. There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene provides a historical perspective that explains some of the reasons the continent has reached its current state of affairs.

We are asking our family and friends to support us on this journey to make a difference. We ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation to help with the expenses of giving a home to an orphan, the mission trip, and the support for the orphanages in Ethiopia. We have created an adoption t-shirt. Anyone making a minimum of a $25 donation will receive a t-shirt as a “Thank You” from our family. The shirts come in adult sizes; small, medium, large, and extra large. Please let us know what size and how many you would like. We will post information about the adoption and the mission trip to our blog ( Most of all we are asking for your prayers as we step out of our comfort zone and away from the safety of the United States.

Please keep our family in your prayers, along with the little girl on the other side of the world that God has chosen to join our family in his time.

We greatly appreciate the role that each of you play in our lives. We are thankful for each and everyone of you! Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.

Tom and Lori Laughner

Friday, September 25, 2009

Adoption T-shirt

We have decided on our adoption t-shirt. What do you think? We have just ordered them and they should be here soon. Let us know if you would be interested in purchasing one.
The text inside the bubble says "adoption" in Amharic!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daniel just being Daniel

Dinosaur Train

DINOSAUR TRAIN embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains. The series encourages basic scientific thinking and skills as the audience learns about life science, natural history and paleontology. Each of the 40 half-hour episodes features Buddy, an adorable preschool age Tyrannosaurus Rex, and his adoptive Pteranodon family as they board the DINOSAUR TRAIN and embark on whimsical voyages through prehistoric jungles, swamps, volcanoes and oceans. The episodes include two 11-minute animated stories, along with brief live action segments hosted by renowned paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, that unearth basic concepts in life science, natural history and paleontology.

Dinosaur Train is Daiel's new favorite show. He is in love with dinosaurs. So there was no surprise when he picked out a dinosaur costume for Halloween.

Daniel is so excited when he gets the dinosaur costume at Target that he has this big dinosaur sitting on his lap in the stroller through the whole mall. His friend dinosaur shares his car seat with him on the ride home. He then wears the costume to watch Dinosaur Train. We end up taking the dinosaur with us to watch Daniel get his hair cut... he is now napping with dinosaur. If you haven't seen the show, check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Branson Reunion was incredible... I just want to say thank you to all the families that worked so hard to make it possible. Thank you also to all the families that made the journey. I can't even begin to describe what it was like to meet all the families that we have shared this journey with. It was amazing to see so many healthy smiling faces from Ethiopia. I loved seeing the families that took pictures of Daniel in the transition home and prayed over him before we got to meet him. It was incredible to see the little ones again that we met in the transition home. We had the opportunity to meet many families and can't wait to meet up again some day! Adoption is a wonderful life changing journey and I am so glad to have shared it with all of you!