"God sets the lonely in families" - Psalm 68:6



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Saying Good Bye to Mike's Mom

Mike's mom, Mary Kate Hawkins, passed into the arms of Jesus on December 5, 2013.  She had been admitted to the hospital in Portland in August for a number of medical issues.  "Granna" celebrated her seventieth birthday in the hospital in August and has been under medical care since that time.  Our family moved Mary Kate to Portland in October of 2011, where she has been living near two of Mike's sisters.  We had no idea at that time that we would be saying our final good bye's and are grieving the fact that Hailey never met her "Granna."  Here are some photos from that trip...





We are so thankful that Mike was able to fly to Oregon this September to spend a weekend with his mom, sisters and family.   They had a wonderful time and he will always treasure those special moments together in the hospital.  Mike's sister, Katie, has been caring for their mom selflessly for the past few months and we are so grateful for Katie and her family's unbelievable support and sacrifices in these final days.

Our family of five will be flying to Oregon on New Years' Eve to be with Mike's sisters and their families and to attend Mary Kate's "Celebration of Life" service, which will be held on Friday, January 3, at 2 pm at The Village Baptist Church in Beaverton.  We look forward to celebrating her life together.  Mary Kate loved Jesus passionately and was sharing her faith with all of her medical care givers until her final moments. We have great comfort in the fact that she is finally healed and free from the burdens and cares of this world.   We appreciate your prayers as we grieve and process many emotions.   Jordan has especially been very emotional, crying uncontrollably at times.   He told us this week that her passing is the hardest thing he's had to face in his life thus far.  The past month has been challenging as we moved to a new home, Jenni led a team to Guatemala and we've grieved the loss of Mary Kate.  Here are a few of our favorite photos of Mary Kate...



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Home, Sweet Home

We LOVE our new home and neighborhood!  We've been home for two weeks now and are completely moved in.  We hung the last picture on the wall a few days ago and it truly feels like home!  One of the things that we love the most about our home is the sense of community.  There are five parks, five pools, three basketball courts, three tennis courts and gorgeous walking trails everywhere.  We're looking forward to attending the holiday party next month at the clubhouse.  We constantly see friends walking by our home, at the park and pool and make new friends every day.  The boys are riding their bikes to school and often ride to the park or courts to play after school.  They're growing up!

Jenni and Aidan leave for Guatemala this Saturday, November 23, and it's great to be settled in before the trip. Please follow our journey at www.allblessingswest.blogspot.com. As we prepare to serve impoverished families, I am reminded of how abundantly rich we are to have running water, electricity, food in our refrigerator, heating/AC and modern amenities that we so often take for granted.  As Thanksgiving approaches, our hearts are overflowing with gratefulness for all that God has done in our lives!

Here is a little tour of our home...













Thursday, October 24, 2013

We're Moving to Irvine!

It's official!  We just signed a two year lease for a beautiful, three bedroom condo in the Northpark community of Irvine. We are so excited!  This fall our boys started attending a new school in Irvine (on a district transfer) and we've been hoping to move closer to their school for the last few months.  The condo is just one block away from Jordan's best friend, Cole, and about four blocks away from Aidan's best friend from our new school, Ethan.  This Tuesday I told the boys that we got the condo when I picked them up at school.  It was so heart warming to watch them share the news with their friends at school.  They were running around shouting, "We're moving to Northpark!".   Some of their new friends were even hugging them!  Wow!  The boys will be able to walk or ride their bikes to school and we're so grateful to be able to live in community with families from the school.
One of the things that we love about Northpark, Irvine, is the international diversity.  There are 27 different languages spoken at the boys' school and they have Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist friends who talk openly about their beliefs.  Our school is 40% Asian, so our family fits right in!  We're looking forward to living closer to our church and being able to invite families to join us.  As leaders of The Village Church of Irvine, we're thankful to be living in Irvine again!

We get the keys to our new home on Fri, Nov 1, and plan to move on Sat, Nov 9.  If you live in So Cal, we would LOVE your help!  Jenni will be leading our Guatemala trip (of 15 volunteers from 4 states) from November 23-20, so it's going to be a full and unforgettable month!  We're throwing a garage sale this Sat, Oct 26, and have lots of items to sell.  This is our third time downsizing and we're actually enjoying cleaning, purging and organizing.  As we downsize to a smaller home, we are reminded of the families we serve in Guatemala and El Salvador who have so much less materially, but are rich in faith, joy and contentment.  We are so grateful for the miraculous ways in which God provides for our family.

"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy" - Psalm 126:3

Monday, October 14, 2013

Steven Curtis Chapman Concert

Last night our family was honored to volunteer for Steven Curtis Chapman's orphan care ministry, "Show Hope".  We received an adoption grant from Show Hope two years ago and love to volunteer for them and share our story with others!  We were able to speak with people about adoption and our orphan outreach trips throughout the concert event.  The boys did a great job sharing their stories with families and promoting Show Hope.  What a night!





Thank you Show Hope for supporting our adoption!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

OC Register Article on Jordan and Aidan

Last month The OC Register featured a story on the boys' stuffed animals drive for El Salvador.  We are SO PROUD of our boys!  The article contains a few minor errors.  Neither of the boys traveled  to El Salvador this summer and Aidan took the Silly Bandz that were collected to El Salvador in 2011.  Jordan served in El Salvador in 2010 and 2012.

Tustin students collect stuffed animals for donation
By LUKE HAROLD
08/21/2013 12:28 PM


Two years ago, two brothers attending Arroyo Elementary led a project to collect multi-colored rubber bracelets from their classmates to donate to orphanages in El Salvador.
This time, Jordan and Aidan Ramsey have collected more than 1,000 stuffed animals from their classmates, their church and other sources.
"It was fun," said Aidan, 10, of the effort to collect the stuffed animals. "A little complicated, but we still got it."
They left for El Salvador on July 20 as a part of a team of 19; the toys are being distributed among kids in hospitals and orphanages there over the course of a week.
"They don't need stuff to be happy, but they're glad that they do," said Jordan, 11, who will be entering sixth grade.
The boys' mother, Jenni Ramsey is the aid and outreach director for the nonprofit group All Blessings International through Kentucky Adoption Services. She coordinated the trip in conjunction with Ripple Kids, a program implemented at Arroyo that recognizes community services efforts of kids. Volunteers have traveled to Guatemala, El Salvador and Haiti to help locals.
"The orphans in El Salvador don't have stuffed animals or toys," Jordan said. "They barely have anything."
He and Aidan spent a week in El Salvador in 2011 after collecting 4,000 Silly Bandz, which are silicone rubber bands molded into various shapes and typically worn by kids as bracelets.
"They really enjoyed them, they played with them all day," Jordan said.
Their mom began volunteering in El Salvador in 2009.
"I'm excited," Jenni said. "I feel like I'm blessed to love what I do."
It costs about $2,100 for each person on the team to make the trip. The team is comprised of mostly high school and college students affiliated with the Village Church of Irvine. Jenni leads 10 to 12 training sessions to help team members better acclimate to the culture. The group will stay in a nearby housing complex generally designated for people coming on goodwill trips.
"They're going to be pretty happy that the Americans care for them," Aidan said.
Contact the writer: lharold@ocregister.com, 714-796-7963, @luke_harold
To view the article online, go to http://www.ocregister.com/waptest/articles/salvador-518037-jordan-stuffed.html

Friday, September 13, 2013

GOTCHA DAY!

Last week we celebrated Hailey's first "Gotcha Day" in America on September 7.  Our annual tradition will be to celebrate Gotcha Day as a family at a Korean restaurant, enjoying our favorite Korean foods.





It's hard to believe that one year has already passed since Hailey became ours.  The docile, pale and quiet baby that snuggled in our arms in Korea has blossomed into a rambunctious, energetic, busy (and tan!) toddler who loves her big brothers, squeals in glee when she sees her cat, Maui, and dog, Rocky, and has grown with amazing progress through her separation anxiety and attachment issues.  Hailey's two favorite things are "Dada" and food.  She is definitely a Daddy's girl!

Here are our family photos taken on September 7, 2012 in Korea and on September 7, 2013 in Tustin, CA:



Happy Gotcha Day Hailey!  We're so glad we gotcha!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Headed to El Salvador!

Jenni will be leading an orphan outreach team (of 19 volunteers from So Cal) to El Salvador from July 20-27. This is a photo from one of our team meetings.


Please follow our journey on our trips blog at www.allblessingswest.blogspot.com.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

The Vision

God spoke this vision regarding our adoption journey to Barbara Lange on March 26, 2010...

"Jenni,


I have made the decision to speak our boldly when God speaks to me. Last night as I was washing the dishes I received this "vision" of you. I hesitate to use the word "vision," but what I saw was a slide of your life. As I watched the show in my mind I began to cry because I was so touched by what I saw. You and I have shared many tears these last couple of years, both sorrow and joy. The attachment is what I saw.

FRAME 1

Jenni sitting at the South Coast Community Church reception desk with the photo album of her courtship and engagement to Mike.

FRAME 2

Jenni performing the gospel message in mime at New Harvest Community Church, showing her heart for the lost and oppressed. Jenni performing the gospel in mime on missions trips everywhere she is able to go. Her Father rejoicing at her obedience and passion.

FRAME 3

The anguished look of a woman desperately wanting to have children. Unsuccessful fertility treatements.

FRAME 4

God watching over His daughter, His heart breaking as tears flow down her cheeks. He whispers in her ear, "My child, I know how broken you feel, but I have a great plan and purpose for your life. This anguish, this heartbreak, this pain will subside. Joy is on its' way. I needed you to suffer in this way because of My plan is for you. You are going to be an advocate for international adoptions. You are going to spread my gospel this way.

FRAME 5

The births of Jordan and Aidan! At last a MOM!

FRAME 6

Having experienced the heartbreak of infertility, Jenni's passion for adoption grows.


FRAME 7

Jenni's passion for missions and adoption begin to fuse.


FRAME 8

The Ramseys start the adoption process for a daughter.

FRAME 9

Jenni goes to Washington DC and connects with adoption leaders. Relationships follow, teamwork begins. Jenni begins a new chapter in her life in the intl. adoption network.

FRAME 10

The slow adoption process is agonizing to the Ramseys.

FRAME 11

Jenni leads a missions team to El Salvador and learns sad news about El Salvador adoptions and specifically their own plans. Heartbroken again, but resolved to press on.

FRAME 12

More networking with intl. adoptions, hope for their daughter and another trip to El Salvador. Jordan goes to El Salvador. The orphans are overwhelmed and ecstatic that Jenni returns. Jenni and Jordan build "forever friendships and family" in El Salvador. Jenni's passion increases.

FRAME 13

Jenni prepares for third trip to El Salvador in one year. Amazing things happen.

FRAME 14 - THE FINAL FRAME...

Mike and Jenni, standing now, older, graying hair, surrounded by their sons and their wives, their daughters and their husbands and their grandchildren. Below them are thousands of children joyously celebrating Jenni's life. Her passion to follow her Father's call and purpose on her life is fulfilled. These thousands of children represent all of the orphans, adoptions and ripple affect of her life's work.

A work that could not be accomplished without the pain, suffering and brokeness she endured trying to become a mom.


Well done, my good and faithful servant."

A Heartwarming Adoption Story.... the Howerton's Miraculous Haitian Adoption Journey

God's Heart for Orphans...

An Incredible Video...

"Cry of The Orphan" - Thoughts on orphan care from some of my greatest heroes!