Monday, April 29, 2013

Praise Jesus we made it home safe and sound.

We landed in Chicago to be greeted by Jon & Nicole, it was great to see a familiar face.

We picked up our truck drove to Valpo, Nicole rode with us and sat in the back of the truck to get acquainted with her new brother. They watched "Tom & Jerry" and played games, it was awesome to see them bond so quickly. 
We ate pizza and then went to Target. Bereket was captivated by my watch on our trip and asked if we could get him a watched when we arrived in America. He asked if he could get a green watch. God is so good, we went to Target and found a green watch that fit him, now he is learning how to tell time.

He couldn't wait to see his room. He couldn't believe that everything in there was his. We have such wonderful daughters who threw us a shower. Our church family and friends blessed us with getting started with an eight year old. 

We have been so blessed, Bereket has adjusted to the time change so well, he is sleeping all night and we are in the process of figuring out what American food he will eat. 

We asked him if he wanted to go to church on Sunday and he said yes. He did very well at greeting people and feeling fairly comfortable for his first experience. 
Our church is presenting "Heaven's Gates & Hell's Flames" April 28, 29, 30 @ 7:00 p.m. so that means our sanctuary has been transformed. He wondered what was going on so we took him over for the final practice so that we could explain to him what was happening. 

Thank you so much for your prayers and support, we could not have done this without you!
You are changing generations to come by investing in one little boy.

Continue to pray for us as we transition our home and our lives.

Our prayer is that our story will inspire one family to take the same step of faith we took and adopt at least one child and change a generation for eternity.

If God would lay on your heart to pass on our link or give to cover our finalization costs we would ask that you would visit our sight: http:/

Signing our - Sam

Saturday, April 27, 2013

For being stuck in a place for 17 1/2 hours it went really well. We weren't sure how Bereket would do, but he did great. He asks about every half hour when are we going to be home. He is so excited and can't wait. He has been all smiles.

Security took extra long today because we brought in Bereket and he became a US Citizen.

We are now waiting for our planes, we are suppose to take off at 12:40 p.m.

Blessings Sam

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday morning we spent at the Sheraton Hotel on the play ground. Our friends from Seattle (Savage family) went with us and the boys had a great time playing. The hotel was amazing, it was an oasis from a 3rd world country. We met up for lunch with the Pettit family who are here for their court date next week.

Jonas took us shopping for some Ethiopian flour and spices so that we can make some Ethiopian dishes at home for Bereket.

This afternoon and evening we will spend packing, eating and preparing for our journey back to America and Indiana.

It has been wonderful traveling with Christian families from different parts of the country. It seems like we have been friends for a long tome.

It has been such a blessing bonding with Bereket, he already feels like he has been a part of our family for a long time.

Thank you for your prayers and we especially covet them as we travel home with Bereket!
We know God has a great plan and everything is in His hand.

Sam & Diane

Thursday, April 25, 2013

God blessed us with another wonderful day in Ethiopia!

This morning we went to Entoto Mountain just outside of the city of Addis Abba. As we drove up this mountain we witnessed the worst poverty we have ever seen! The trek up the mountain was about three miles of winding roads, very steep. One very interesting sight is the cultural work ethic. Woman, older woman, even elderly woman trek up the mountain, gather wood, large bundles. Some measuring 8 ft long up to 48 inches around strapped to their backs. They carry these large bundles down the mountain to their homes where their men are waiting or they sell it for a few birr. The wood is used for fire wood, cooking and heating. It is against the law to cut wood so they have to go into the woods and gather up wood.

At the top of the mountain we were given a guided tour through a museum of a traditional Orthodox Church, as well as a palace for the Emperor. Let me tell you it is not a palace like most of us Americans would have in mind. We encountered very needy people as we took our tour, which made it very hard to  not help everyone of them. We had a bag of peanut butter cracker sandwiches, so we gave what we had.

Again I was reminded of how blessed we are in America!

We also went to the Lion Zoo, which focused on Abyssinian Lions (black-maned lions). The closest I have ever been and ever want to be to a lion. They are massive creatures, so powerful and beautiful.

One blessing in the midst of an accident: as we were pulling into the gate in our van, a man was not paying attention to where he was walking, his head was turned the other direction. Our driver thought he saw us, but he did not. He walked into our van as we were coming to a stop, his foot went under the front tire of the van and he fell to the ground. The driver immediately went to take care of him as we were bombarded with a large crowd of people. Our driver told us to go in the Lion Zoo, so we did.
He took the man to the hospital. We were in the Zoo about a half hour when it began to pour like I have never seen before. The street was filled with brown dirt water about 4 inches deep. Remember the streets are filled with people. We had no idea when we were going to get picked up or when our driver would return. After waiting about an hour another van from our agency picked us up.
What we found out later is that in an accident the person driving the car is responsible to pay for the persons medical care as well as to provide for them until they are completely well.
People with money do not drive, because they are targets for poor people to strategically get injured so the people with money will take care of them.
If a person driving the car hits a person and kills them they spend 15 years in prison, no questions asked.
The blessing is that the man's foot had a slight fracture, which is not good but considering the alternative it was a small incident.

We spent the afternoon in our suite playing games, coloring and bonding.

We ordered in from the Zebra Grill, Good rice and burgers.

We had the opportunity this evening to meet a new family that will be going to court next week.

We also had the opportunity to say good bye to a family that passed court and is now waiting for the Embassy.

We are looking forward to arriving home Saturday!

Thank you for your continued prayers!

Sam & Diane

This was taken when we got to the Transition House to pick Bereket up and he knew he was going to be coming with us this time.

These are some of his friends, they are siblings and their family will be coming soon to pick them up. 

Bereket with his nannies.

We took him to 2000 Habesha an Ethiopian traditional restaurant 
and had a great time with two other families and Yonas, our guide. 
We got to enjoy some lively Ethiopian entertainment.

David, Sandy & Mebret Palmreuter, on the left are a family from Birch Run, MI and John & Lisa Rutter are from Maryland.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Another amazing day in Ethiopia!

This country is an amazing and unique place! The sights and smells are like no other. Once you have been here it is easy to recognize that we are in Ethiopia.

This morning we woke up wide awake at 4:00 a.m. local time. When I wake up that early at home I usually am under the impression that God wants me to spend time talking with Him about someone or something specific. So I spent time praying for my family, my church family, and God's intervention for Heaven's Gates. I am sure He is going show Himself in another amazing way!

After a great breakfast served at our guest house, (nothing as good as Ethiopian scrambled eggs!!!) we went to the US Embassy to sign the final paper work for Bereket's visa, and citizenship papers.
It was a very interesting place, nothing like what I imagined.
The security was very, very tight! Once we made it through security we went into a very large room, which I would compare to a license branch back home. We were one of a couple families at Embassy today so we didn't have to wait very long.

We signed our papers and Bereket has a visa to travel and will become an American citizen when we go through customs in the US.

The interesting thing about the Embassy was the room was filled with hundreds of people attempting to obtained citizenship to the USA or obtain travel visas. Our guide told us that 80 - 90 percent would be turned down. In our short time there we saw many people rejected. The challenge for the Ethiopian people is they have to pay $200 dollars just to file an application, which takes them years to save up for and then a high percentage of them are turned down.

We had the opportunity to go shopping with another family (they are from Birch Run, MI and adopted a sweet 9 year old girl) before lunch and were able to take Bereket with us. He has never had the opportunity to shop and purchase something he would like.
We were able to pick him up a few small Ethiopian souvenirs for him to remember his birth country.

We met up with 2 more families and enjoyed lunch at Amsterdam. The Bennett's chose pizza, spaghetti and a shish kabob, it was very good.

After lunch we went to a small playland place for kids with a family we met here on our last trip. Bereket and Abel had a great time playing on the games and toys.

This afternoon and evening we spent chilling out at the guest house, we watched a movie, played a few games, Bereket and Abel had a squirt gun battle and we went for a walk up on the roof.

Again we are so blessed and privileged to be a part of changing generations to come and impacting lives for eternity!

Thank you for praying for us today, God was very real!

Sam & Diane

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Well it is 9:45 Tuesday evening in Ethiopia, which means it is 2:45 Tuesday afternoon.

Our trip has been a whirlwind and we have had about 4 or 5 hours sleep in the last 30 hours so I thought I would share a few blessing that God has demonstrated to our family because of your prayers.

We were blessed to share a pizza with Jon, Nicole, Kyle and his children in Valparaiso Sunday evening.

After about three hours of sleep we arrived at Chicago O'Hare at 4:00 a.m. where we were swiftly checked in.

Our seats were booked at the back of the plane, known for a bumpy ride. As we were waiting at the gate our name was called, the agent said she was moving up to seat 11. Yes!
Once we arrived at seat 11 we found out they were Economy plus which means there is more leg room. Thank you Jesus!

We boarded to find out our plane had a lavatory problem, I was happy to have them fix it on the ground.
An hour and half later we took off.
We were a little concerned about our connection, however I knew God was at work.

Because we were in the front of the plane (Thank you Jesus) we were able to depart quickly, as we were transferring a gentlemen in an electric cart came and asked us if we would like ride, he quickly escorted us to our gate (Thank you Jesus).

The flight was long but went well.

We arrived in Addis, we had about twenty minutes to change our clothes and go pick up Bereket.
We met with his doctors and gave out all the donations we were able to collect and two care packages for two other families.
The kids loved the donations, it was like Christmas, they were so happy and smiling (thank you Jesus for a church, friends and family that are willing to give to the least of these!)

We were able to get about two hours of nap time in the afternoon before we went to supper with the families. We took Bereket to an Ethiopian restaurant where they serve an Ethiopian traditional meal and offer lively entertainment!

One other family that we traveled with 6 weeks ago arrived today to take their son home also (Thank you Jesus)

Please pray for the Thomas family, we traveled with them last time and they are still waiting to clear Embassy.

We have a fabulous room and are more than ready to dive in a nice bed! (Thank you Jesus for a nice place to stay!)

Tomorrow we go to Embassy at 9:00 a.m.

None of these blessing would have been possible without your love, prayers and the faithfulness of Jesus our Lord and Savior.

We will write more tomorrow,

Love and blessings
Sam & Diane

Monday, April 22, 2013

We made it safe and sound to Ethiopia, we are leaving to pick up Bereket so I will write later


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

God's timing is always perfect, today we cleared Embassy and our appointment is set for Wed. April 24th to interview and finalize our adoption.

We will be traveling back to Ethiopia on Monday the 22nd and will Return on Saturday evening.

Thank you for your prayers as we travel, we will keep our blog updated as we travel.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hallelujah, today we heard our case has been submitted to Embassy!

Most families we have contact with have been traveling about 10 - 14 days after their case is submitted.

Please keep the Embassy workers in prayer, because it rests in their hands and we are praying everything is in order.


See our story - http:/

Saturday, April 6, 2013

We are very hopeful that this week we will hear that our case has been submitted to Embassy. Two families that we traveled with, there cases were submitted to Embassy this past week. Our American World Adoption agent told us that our case would most likely be submitted Wednesday (April 10), which would mean we would most likely travel two to three weeks following our submission.

We are overwhelmed by all of those who have prayed and supported us in so many ways.

We will keep you posted, as soon as we hear about our submission to Embassy we will let you know.

Sam & Diane

Monday, March 25, 2013

We are so thankful for the donations that continue to come in!

Last night we shared our pictures and stories of our trip to Ethiopia with our church family. It isn't very fun seeing yourself in pictures but it was so great to share pictures of Bereket with our church family.

Update - on Friday we received word from a family in Ethiopia that our son and other children whose families have passed court were loaded in a van and taken to the Embassy for visa pictures. That means they are one step closer to coming home.

Thank you for praying with us and may you know the Victory of Jesus this Easter!

Sam & Diane


Friday, March 22, 2013

God has blessed us in so many ways and we are so thankful for everyone who has followed our journey so far.

Please take a couple of minutes to visit our link: http:/
Please pass it on to as many people as you can.

We appreciate all the love and prayers of those who followed our journey.

Sunday night 5:p.m. at the First Church of God we will show some of our slides and share about our trip, we would love for you to share this time with us.

Blessings, Sam & Diane

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Praise Jesus, we made it home!!!

We boarded our plane in Washington DC only to find weather in Chicago gave us an hour and half delay, which means we sat on the plane for that 1 hour and half before we took off. I would rather be safe than sorry.

We landed in Chicago, retrieved our luggage, found our shuttle and headed home.
We arrived back in Nappanee around 9:35 p.m. Monday evening with a warm welcome from our kids.

We shared a few experiences with them before a hot shower and a warm bed.

Thank you so much for all your love and prayers.
This concludes our first adventure to Ethiopia.

Many of you are asking, when will we be able to bring Bereket home.

We have been told our paper work should be submitted to the US Embassy in Nairobi Kenya a week after our court date, so please pray for expediency.

We have been told this process will take between 4 & 8 weeks.
As soon as we hear something we will let you know plans for our next adventure to Ethiopia.

Blessings, Sam & Diane

Monday, March 18, 2013

                            Playing a game of Checkers, I think Bereket won! 
Sunday afternoon was very difficult telling our son good-bye and that we would be back as soon as we can to bring him home.
We are praying the U.S. Embassy will work quickly for us and the other families who have gained legal custody of their children this past week.

We ate dinner at the guest house and then left for the airport.

The airport in Ethiopia is one INTERESTING experience, especially when you don't speak the language and English is hard to come by.

We can say we have been to Rome, well at least for an hour. Our plane landed in Rome to refuel at 3:00 a.m., I am very thankful for that.

We finally made it to Washington DC, 17 hours later on one plane, Eeeh!
All in all the ride went pretty well.

It took us almost two hours to get through customs, re-checking and security.

We are now waiting for our flight to Chicago.
At this point, we can't wait to get home.

Thank you again for your prayers and our safe & healthy travel so far.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yesterday another family from the states joined us, it was awesome to see them bond with their little girl. They will be first time parents and it is so exciting to see them go through all the challenges of adoption.
Yesterday morning our group went shopping to some street shops. In order to be a successful shopper you need to know how to haggle for a good price and you need to learn when to say no as part of the haggling process. From our previous experience when you are willing to say no on your final price the vendor will seek you out and meet your bottom dollar. We bought a few Ethiopian treasures that we hope will be a part of Bereket's life.
Today we fly out and the emotions of leaving our son behind are already setting in. We never dreamed it would this hard to leave our son here. He is being well cared for, however we have bonded and he part of us. I have gotten a closer glimpse into the pain God the Father felt when he left His Son here on earth to rescue me!
This experience has shown me like no other experience the amazing love God has for me!

This morning we are preparing to go to church and experience the International Evangelical Church the children from the transition house attend. We are praying for our church family in Nappanee today. The cool thing is that here in Ethiopia we are 7 hours ahead of the time in Indiana and our prayers will be in preparation for God's blessing and Spirit to flow as you gather in His name!

Please pray for Bereket!
Pray the Embassy will move swiftly!
- We are told most Embassy visits, that is when we will be able to come back to get our son, takes about 4 - 8 weeks.
Pray for our travel safety and protection as we leave tonight.

Thank you for your prayers, it is obvious to us of God's favor because of you!

Blessings, Sam

Friday, March 15, 2013

Yesterday was one of the most emotional days I can remember for a long time. We had the privilege of meeting Bereket's father. We were able to spend about a half hour with him. He shared with us about Bereket's mom and her passing, he told us about when he was a little boy.
Diane and I sat with tears in our eyes as we heard from a man who loved his son so much he was willing to give him up so he could have a better life. When we were done talking with him he could not  tell us how much he appreciated us for adopting his son. I can't imagine what he was feeling.
We were able to exchange some pictures and he hugged us both so tight and so long it was unmistakable how much this man cared for his son.
After our visit with him he was given time to spend with is son, which most likely would be his last time to see him. As we pulled out of the Transition home in our van, every person in the van was crying as Bereket sat on his father's lap, talking and sharing love. It was an awesome sight to see Bereket blowing bubbles with a large wand, his dad looked on with a huge smile on his face.
Thank God for loving Father's!!!

Last night we had the opportunity to go to a tradition Ethiopian dinner. One of the staples in the Ethiopian culture is "Injera Bread". It is a sponge like flat bread with a sour-dough taste. A person uses their hands to tear off a piece and scoop up various meats, sauces, vegetables, cheeses, onions, etc....
From my perspective Ethiopian food is quite spicy.
The restaurant that served our meal also had live Ethiopian music and dancers, which was quite entertaining.

This evening our group of four families walked to a local restaurant called the "Zebra Grill."

Tomorrow morning we have the opportunity to go and do some shopping for souvenirs and in the afternoon we will be able to spend time with Bereket.

Blessings, Sam

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reading "I'll Pray for You and You Pray for Me"

Some serious coloring!

Our first meeting on Tuesday morning!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We passed court!!! We are officially the parents of Bereket Bennett!!!
We started the day going to the transition house to spend the morning with Bereket and meet with the psychologist. Then we went to lunch at a pizza place with the other couples in our group. After that Yonas, our guide took us to court. We are the first couple out of the 4 AWAA families here to go to court. We were done in 15 minutes. The judge asked us 6 or 8 questions then asked if we were positive we want to go through with the adoption, of course we said yes and that was that, he is ours! We then went back to the TH and told Bereket and spent a couple more hours with him. We also met with the medical doctor, Bereket is in good health. This evening we went to the Bosten Spa for messages (that was a new experience for us) and we celebrated at dinner with the other couples at the Lime Tree. It has been a full and fabulous day and we give God all the glory!!!

Please pray for us tomorrow moorning as we meet with Bereket's birth father.

With a grateful heart, Diane

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A good nights rest sure makes everything brighter. Another sunny day in Ethiopia!
Today is court date, where we will obtain legal custody of our son.
Today we will be taking the donations from our church to the transition homes.

Blessings Sam
Hello from Addis Ababa
Well we made it! Our flights went fairly well. I know why I am not a Ford man, our captain told us our flight would be like riding in a F 150 down an old country road from Chicago to Washington DC. Well he was right!

God blessed us with a really good flight from DC to Ethiopia. When we checked in the airline attendant gave us a row with a seat open between us, so we could spread out.
The flight was long but went well.

Traffic in the city is crazy, and that doesn't even begin to explain it. No traffic lights or lines on the road. Everyone does as they want in a city of 5 million.

We were so blessed to spend time today with our son, he remembered us and we played several games with him.

I will blog more tomorrow, we are exhausted and need sleep, we have been up for 24 hrs.

Pray for us tomorrow as we go to court,


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hey friends we made it to Chicago, not sure how much sleep we will get tonight, we are catching the 4:00 am shuttle. Who needs sleep anyway, we have 13 hours on a plane to sleep, yeah right!
Anyway, I can't tell you how peaceful it feels to be covered with so much prayer!

Blessings, Sam

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The call we've been waiting for came today! We have a court date in Ethiopia on March 13th! One week from today we will be in Ethiopia and we'll see our son! The waiting was getting hard but God's timing is perfect. We covet your prayers for travel and also the time we get to spend with "B". After court next Wednesday we can finally share his picture. We also received an update on him today and he said he is very happy about having a permanent family and can’t wait to meet us and he said he wants to play with the entire family and help his mother! He will be surprised to find out how often his father cooks! My heart is full tonight. There is nothing like being in the center of God's will! He is faithful and true!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MOWCYA letter

We are expecting to receive our MOWCYA recommendation any day. As soon as we receive our recommendation we will receive our court date, which will probably be mid March.

Pray we will hear about our court date this week so that we can travel to Ethiopia and finalize the adoption of our son.