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Los Angelitos

We heard last week that we would most likely be traveling in September instead of August.  Plane tickets are 1/3 of the price in September, which is nice, but the news still got us down.

Really down.

Then I read a blog about the Christian perspective on stress and sadness.  What did Jesus do the night before he was to be crucifed, definetly feeling the most stressed he’d felt?  He served.  He washed their feet.

“Let’s go to Los Angelitos this Saturday,” I told Andrew.  “I think it’s the best way to deal with the news, and with how we feel.  Plus, I just want to see the girls.”

“I’ll email Ed right now,” he said, ready.

We had actually already been gathering donations for a while, but I just never found the time to go.  We got a few more bags of donations from some friends in the couple days before we left, and we completely cleaned out the garage.  “Ask Ed if he wants this microwave I bought at the garage sale for $10 that we didn’t end up using.”

“He said he really does,” said Andrew.  Perfect.  We both went through our closets one more time, tossing articles out behind us, made some more space.  I was actually feeling better already.

Our awesome friends Jared and Nicole said yes to the last minute trip, and met us at our house in the early morning while Finley slept at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

The car had floor to ceiling donations, we prayed and hit the road.

Ed warned us that most people can’t bring donations through the border any more and that he is often turned around and sent back trying to bring stuff down.  We didn’t know how it would go.

Adios Estados Unidos!

A woman with a clip board approached our car, “You need to turn around and go there with all these undocumented items in bags,” the stern boarder crossing woman told us, as bags fell on her feet when she opened the trunk.  We lined up with other trucks and vans who were parked, people waiting outside with their families or friends.

Us waiting for our bags to be checked!  Smiles on!

 The officers walked up.  “Hola!” Andrew smiled at them.

“Hablas Espanol?”

“Si!” he said.  “Pero ella mejor que yo,” he said pointing at me as I walked up.

“Pues, no es obvio?  Mira su pelo, es un pelirojo!” I said to them, laughing.

“Oh, si,” they said, smiling now too.

They looked over our stuff as we chatted with them, rifles on their backs.

“Esta tiempo (this time…), puedes ir (you can go)  Pero la proxima vez, no puedes traer cosa como estos” (you can’t bring stuff like this) one of the men told me.

“GRACIAS!!!!!”  I said, ecstatic.  I didn’t realize how strict they had become, sending so many home.  We were so happy we could bring this stuff to our girls.  We hopped in the car and were on our way.

Los Angelitos had just moved from their old home to “The Ranch,” of open land and horses, even a trampoline.

Here were our directions:

“Well, the directions don’t come up on google, so I’ll just email them to you by memory,” Ed the director told us the day before we left.


ok!” we told him.  Worth a shot, I suppose. The second direction literally said, “When you get to the red light, turn right.”  What if the light is green, Andrew said.  Oh boy!  Good thing our travel companions were so amazing, we had the best time in the car, getting delirious over our inside jokes.

We wound around roads of sheep and cattle, of crumbling houses, clinging to the sides of hills for dear life, by brushfires and dessert landscapes.  A man on horseback herding his cattle with his dog up a dusty incline.  Ragged clothes hung on lines, graffiti danced on each corner, and people sold food on the road out of coolers.

“Umm….maybe this random dirt road, I bet we’re kinda close to kilometer 22, there’s no marker.  I don’t know, just turn here on this hairpin.”  A few minutes down the dusty, brown road, there was indeed a split in the road after this turn, like the directions said, so we kept left and pulled up to a gate, and found this really prominent sign!

How could anyone miss this sign in the dirt, right? 😉

We saw two girls running down the dirt hill to greet us, and open the gate.  Andrew and I have been coming down here to these girls for 8 years.

We unloaded all the donations into the bodega and the Nelson’s got to meet Ed.  “How did you guys bring the stuff through the boarder?!” he asked, very surprised.  “We have no idea!” we said happily.

The last time we were able to come was when I was 6 months pregnant, so they all wanted to hear about baby Finley.  They crowded around while I showed pictures from my phone, and told them little stories about him.
“Awwwwww!” they squealed. 

The Ranch was AMAZING!!  Such an upgrade for the girls.

“Y ahora tenemos conejos!” they told me. 

“Vamos, yo quiero verles!” les dije.

How amazing is Nicole?  She jumped right in and loved these sweet girls.

Our special Abby girl.  We met her when she was 3.

The bunnies are good therapy for the girls.
Serving is rough

This bunny’s name is Bonnis.  Bonnis is the ‘baby’ of one of the girls.  “Yo conozco mi bebe mas que todos,” she told us.

Bonnis’ mama.

I asked them all about their lives.  They said they started homeschooling because they can’t afford private school any more.  Ed told us he will not allow them to go to public school because of how rampant drugs are.  (You can get a days worth of heroin for $5, not cool)

I told them about our adoption.

About how amazing God is, and how afraid we were to listen to Him at first.

Showed them all the pictures and a couple videos.

“How did you chose them?” Nadia asked me.

“Well,” I said, gauging her face.  This sweet girl who we have known since she was little, who is now 16.  “Well, we wanted to adopt from Mexico, but the laws won’t allow it, but their country will,” I told her.

“Oh!” she said, suprised and relieved.

“See,” I told her, “that’s why you need to become a lawyer, so that you can change laws and help kids here get into homes and families.”  I had just asked all the girls to go around and tell me what they want to be after they graduated from the University.

“Tienen argumentos, tu y Andres?” Nadia asked me (If Andrew and I had arguments)  My time with the girls each time is always so short, but they remember each thing I tell them from year to year, and always remind me.  “Remember when you told us about how you got engaged!?” they would ask.
It’s interesting to me how much young people long for mentorship.  How much they hang on your every word, if you happen to sit down with them, so I just told them the truth;
I looked over at Andrew talking to Ed, and I told them, “Sometimes we argue yes, but to be honest with you girls, my life is blessed each and everyday because of Andrew and because I was so careful to chose the man I would date before we got married.  The most important thing is that Andrew loves God more than anything, more than himself, more than money, more than me, more than everything, and it makes all the difference.  Andrew loves and serves our family.  He loves and serves others.  He is willing to travel the world and adopt our two babies.  I didn’t date just anyone who asked, you have to be very, very careful,” I told them, as I scanned around, their eyes focused on mine.
“There are going to be many, many young men interested in you guys, but don’t rush it.  Let God write your love story and it will be better than you can imagine.  Choose wisely.  You are already so, so loved.”
They wanted to see pictures of our two new additions over, and over.  To hear about the babies, about our meeting them.  About two orphans getting families.  “Raise your hand if you want to adopt one day!” I asked.  A few of them did.

“Amy, cuando vamos a la Universidad, en el tercer ano, podemos obtener la visa…” (When we are in college, we can get our visa…)

“SI!  Y me van a visitar!” I told them.  They lit up, hoping I would say that! (Yes, and you will come visit me!)

“Vamos a tener un BBQ, y ir a un restaurante, y ir a la playa!” I told them.

We truly, truly had a wonderful day at the ranch. 

Pray for sweet J on the right.  My heart breaks for her.

Then it was time to play hedbanz!

I don’t have favorites…but if I did…

Another favorite

Thank you girls.  We seriously had an amazing visit.  We love you so much.  Our hearts feel so much better too.

And in the border wait on the way home, we dined!  “Do I smell cake?” We had churros, chili mangos, Bolis and soda.  Mmmmmmm!

We sang songs.  “Crazy church people think it’s normal to sing together!”

I guess Jesus is pretty smart about this whole life thing.  What is the normal response to feeling sad while trying to make yourself feel better?  I suppose I can think of a few destructive ones.  But our hearts felt so full and happy after our dusty day at Los Angelitos.

Plus our garage is as clean as a whistle!

And I couldn’t help but remember how many times in the past I had filled my heart with petty complaints, my own selfish wants, and my own desires- that truly don’t even matter. How much time had I wasted focusing on my own little world… when the world around me was crying out for God?  And for me to get over myself and love.

Andrew is planning a guys trip sometime next month where they will camp out on the ranch and do some manual labor, planting trees and building with his friends.  Man, we love Mexico so much, what an amazing place.

My phone’s verse of the day:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” Galations 6:9-10

Seems fitting
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  • thiscrazyhope July 30, 2012, 11:35 am

    Amazing pictures/stories! Hope the books I sent your PO Box reach you in time for your trip to pick up your kiddos– I had a lot of fun getting! Love your family and your encouraging story of international adoption 🙂

  • Kate July 30, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Love. It. We were way to wrapped up in ourselves to think about doing a missions trip in the midst of our adoptions – you guys are awesome.

    Have Andrew call Harry when he does plan that guys trip – he’d be down with that idea!

  • Lou August 1, 2012, 2:38 am

    Wonderful photos and as always a lovely post Amy.

    Hopefully, the box of woolly tights I posted to you will arrive in the next couple of days, and hopefully you will not be disappointed when you open it.

    Such a shame that you will now be waiting until September to make your next trip – but that gives you more time to collect more goodies to take with you.

    Love & Hugs

    Lou 🙂

  • Laura Marino August 2, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that your date got pushed to September. I am happy to hear that you do things like this to help yourself, but more importantly to help others. You are an inspiration truly!

  • Ann August 3, 2012, 1:31 pm

    Sorry about the September shuffle 🙁 Every day without them has got to hurt–but what a gift you guys were able to give. I loved reading this.

    (I saw your comment on owldolatrous and was all happy to “recognise” you there, lol! I had to stop by here to offer some hugs and love and support–it gets difficult to keep pouring out sometimes if somebody isn’t pouring in, too!)

  • Carmen August 4, 2012, 6:14 pm

    Hey, recently a law passed allowing international adoptions from Mexico for older children (ages 5 and up) – Look into it!

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