Social Media Has Ruined the Family Blog

(or why it seems we don’t post any updates to

Good morning.  I was just thinking about how much has changed in our adoption process over the last few months, and that I should really post an update here.  So, I logged in and realized that the last time (and only!) time I wrote about the adoption was at Christmas.  Yikes.  When we initially started this website (right before we got married) we did it for two reasons: 1) to give ourselves a sweet email address that we would never have to change and, 2) to keep our family and friends updated with what was going on in our lives, since we lived so far from where we grew up.  Well, I joined Facebook in 2007 (thanks, Timeline, for letting me know) and shortly after that the frequency of our posts slowed down to nil.  Just about all of our family and friends have joined Facebook since then and, alas, has been all but abandoned.

However, where popular social media often fails is providing a place for long-form update  of things that matter.  So that’s what I hope to do a little more consistently here.  All that to say: here’s an update of things that matter, in a little bit of a longer-form. (Yes, I’m blaming social media for my personal failure to blog.)

The biggest news is that we do have an update on our adoption journey.  After much prayer and consultation, we have switched our adoptive country from Ethiopia to Uganda.  The very long story short is that our adoption agency (Bethany Christian Services) has started a pilot program in Uganda and had openings for a dozen or so families to join it.  We were expecting to have wait 2-3 years in Ethiopia and we will probably have our Ugandan child home by March (or even sooner)!  We did have to redo all of our paperwork though, and since we did this at my busiest time of year, Renee really did it all.

Our dossier!
Our dossier!

So, after getting our home study amended, all of our documents re-signed, everything notarized,  county authenticated, and then state sealed, we are officially waiting.

We have had to make a bit of a mind-shift as well–we had learned much about Ethiopian and its culture, had figured the child will probably be 2-3 years old when we traveled to bring him or her home, and I thought I’d be done with my Ed.D.  Now we’re learning about Uganda (the Pearl of Africa), may have an infant (under 12 months), and I will be nowhere near done with school.  (We’ve also formally requested a girl, and expect to get one.  So weird to think about “my daughter”!!!) Since we were expecting to have 2-3 years of preparing, saving, and raising money to pay the rest of our fees, we are also trusting that the money will come through too.

We are so thankful for the support of our church.  There are two other families who are in the process of adopting, and our church has rallied around us as we’ve raised money through yard sales and cookbook sales.  (If you are interested in purchasing a cookbook to help us all, they are $15, $20 if it needs to be shipped, and has almost 300 fantastic recipes in it! Just send me an email at It has been such a blessing to have their support and love.

If you would, could you please pray for us for the following things?

  • For our daughter in Uganda: that she is being cared for and protected during such a vulnerable time of life.  That she will bond with and attach to us quickly.
  • For our daughter’s birth family: as excited as we are to grow our family through adoption, it is a stark reminder that things are not as they should be. Her family, through death, illness, poverty, or any number of reasons, is unable to care for her, and we will always grieve for her and for them.
  • For Renee and I as we prepare: 4 kids – YIKES! A daughter – YIKES! Wisdom as we walk through parenting an orphan.
  • For our biological kids: as they adjust to having parents gone for a few weeks when we travel (Gabe has asked me more than once when I leave for work if I was going to Uganda). For their patience as we care for a new child. For their adjustment as we will probably have to parent (and discipline) our daughter differently.
  • For our finances: we are fully trusting that God will provide – and He has so far.  But we will have some big bills soon, along with our travel costs.  We have applied for a matching grant (if people donate towards it, they will match the donation) and hope to hear back soon.  We are also selling those cookbooks and I am making some cedar Adirondack chairs to try to sell locally.
So, that’s the big update.  The boys are doing great – Jonathan (7) started 2nd grade and loves it.  Gabe (4) is still at home and is a big help around the house. Gideon will be 2 on November 1st, doesn’t stop talking or singing, and is a little bit of a stinker (in a fun, but tiring, way).  Pictures below!
(Don’t forget to friend Renee and me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter!)


Adoption Yard Sale!
Adoption Yard Sale!
Adoption Yard Sale Families
Adoption Yard Sale Families
Move-in Weekend
Move-in Weekend
First Day of 2nd Grade
First Day of 2nd Grade
Adoption Cookbook - $15
Adoption Cookbook – $15
Adirondack Chairs - $100 apiece
`Adirondack Chairs – $110 apiece



Merry Christmas!

It has been 30 months since we last update this website.  Oops.  And really, the only reason our Christmas letter is posted here is because we have been too busy to get one out in the mail.  Sorry.  Promise we’re not lazy–this is what’s been going on:

The boys are doing great and are a ton of fun.

Jonathan finished up Kindergarten in June and began First Grade in August at the Augustine School here in Jackson.  He absolutely loves learning and looks forward to going every day. He enjoys reading the Boxcar Children books and reading to his little brothers.  Jonathan will be seven in January (seriously?!?) and picked a great year to really get into watching football–Go Pack Go! He did a great job playing soccer this fall and is just starting basketball for the first time.  I don’t think he has realized that he inherited the Litscher/Brouwer height genes, though…

Gabe is also doing great–he turned three in April and is an active, energetic child. Gabe went from crawling straight to running, and he hasn’t stopped since.  He loves playing with cars, reading books, and wrestling with his older brother (and dad).  Gabe is such a little helper with everything–sometimes even before he is asked!  He is really into playing baseball now, though he will spend all day playing anything that involves a ball.  He is a sweet, fun kid, and we spend most of the day laughing at things he says and does–such a joy.

Gideon!  We got another redhead with this one, though he really does look like a good combination of the two older brothers.  When the three of them are together, Jonathan and Gabe actually look related.  Gideon turned one on November 1st and the year really has flown by.  Gideon is probably the most laid-back, poker-faced one of the three boys–until there is food around.  Then the child will not sit still or be quiet.  If the food is gone off the tray, he will scream until he is given more.  He, too, is a little bit goofy.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that all three of our boys are goofy (fun-goofy, not weird-goofy), and that it is either parenting style or genetic, both of which are my (Ken’s) fault.  Anyway, Gideon is pulling up and walking along furniture, but isn’t quite gutsy enough to let go yet.  He enjoys opening and closing doors and putting anything he finds into his mouth.

Renee has somehow managed to stay sane in the midst of her brood of men.  In addition to keeping us all fed, clothed, clean, and healthy, she has continued to work per diem (as needed) about five shifts a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.  She’s also the room mom for Jonathan’s class, helps out a ton at our church (we love our church!  It makes Jackson home), and, in general, makes life possible for the rest of us.

It has been an interesting year for me.  I’ve started my third year as Director of Residence Life at Union University.  I love my job.  I love the people I get to work with.  I love Union as an employer, and now, I love Union as a student.  I was scheduled to start  Union’s Doctor of Education program in June, but was able to transfer out of those two classes.  That was providential, as the Friday before classes started, I had surgery to repair my ruptured Achilles tendon.

That’s what I get for exercising–one quick step playing racquetball and one loud pop later and I was laid up for a week and half, on crutches for 6 weeks, and generally unhelpful for about two months.  Also, my eyes got REALLY freaky looking for two weeks.  They did go back to normal.  Thanks to some great friends (again, we love  our church family!) and the incredible patience and sacrifice of Renee, we managed to make it through.  So, I finally took some classes towards my program in the fall and really enjoyed them.  It was no breeze, but I’m thankful to be 25% of the way done (credit-wise…I’m probably only 5-10% of the way done work-wise).

The biggest thing going on though, and the reason why we’ve been so busy, is that we are in the midst of adopting a child from Ethiopia.  Adoption has long been something on both of our hearts for a long time.  Shortly after the Haiti earthquake two years ago, we felt the push we needed to begin the process.  We actually met with our case worker from Bethany Christian Services in March 2010 to hear about the process.  Two days later, Renee found out she was pregnant with Gideon.

So, everything got put on hold for 16 months or so.  We started up the process again in August and are almost through the first “hurry-up” phase to the “wait” phase.  Our home-study is done and we are waiting on our appointment to get fingerprinted in order to obtain our USCIS approval.  At least I think that’s what it’s all called–this is the other big project Renee has been working on: coordinating this whole process.  After we finish up a few more forms to be signed, notarized, county approved and state sealed, our dossier (all that fancy paperwork with a copy of our home study) gets sent to Ethiopia via Washington DC and we begin the waiting process for a referral (being matched with a child).  That should take somewhere between 4-8 months after our dossier arrives.  Another 6-12 months after that, we travel for the first (of two) times to Ethiopia. A few weeks after that and we are bringing our child home to his or her family.

This has been a good, hard, long process and we’ve only just begun!  Will you pray with us as we continue along this journey?  We plan on updating this blog a bit more frequently than in recent days with what is going on.  We’d also love to talk with you about adoption, Bethany Christian Services, and anything else you are wondering about.  To start, these are two blog posts that are way more well written than anything we could do.  Not everything is exactly how or why we are going through this process, but they are both pretty darn close.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with us, and possibly why we’ve been a little incommunicado for the past few months.  We love you and we’d love to spend time with you.  I just wish we had more of it!  So, Merry Christmas.  We hope and pray that it is restful, peaceful, and JOYFUL.  We are thankful for you and for our great God, whose Son’s birth we celebrate.  Blessings from the Litscher’s.

On the Move…

So, it’s been far too long since we updated anything on our website – for that I apologize.  Lot’s of exciting things have happened, including Jonathan’s 4th and Gabe’s 1st birthdays.  We had a great trip to Walt Disney World over Spring Break with Renee’s folks, a great trip to my Aunt Lori and Uncle Randy’s house in Lynchburg, VA over Easter, and a great trip Gatlinburg, TN with the Peters’ and Owens’ over Memorial Day.  I hope to get some pictures up soon, but can’t promise anything, as we’ll be pretty busy the next few weeks, what with the packing, moving and starting a new job. Continue reading On the Move…


Okay.  I’ve been sufficiently pestered enough to get a few more pictures up and write a brief update.  It has taken me forever to sit down and write something, and now so much time has passed that I feel like I need to tell about everything that has happened since the last time I posted anything.  I’ll spare you the details, but this is what’s been going on.

Playing in the lawn
Playing in the lawn

Continue reading Finally…

Baby Jameson Update

It appears Jameson is making a quick recovery. He is breathing room air now and there is a chance he could be rooming with his mommy by Saturday afternoon. Kati is admitted into the same hospital as Jameson and finally (!!!) got to meet her little boy. Everyone is doing much better and we are so thankful for the group of you who were offering up prayers on their behalf. I’m not gonna lie…my pillow was a little wet last night as this news was the capper to a rough week (month? summer?). We are rejoicing with Kati and Josh at the long-awaited expansion of their family, and we can’t wait to meet the little dude in a few months! Congrats guys!

Baby Jameson Alexander Donaho

Jameson Alexander Donaho
Jameson Alexander Donaho - 9 lbs, 2 ozs!

After spending all day in labor yesterday, my sister Kati gave birth to Jameson Alexander Donaho. It’s been a bit of a rough night, as Kati had a C-section at 11:15pm and then the doctors took him immediately to the nursery because they were concerned about his breathing. They did a chest x-ray and saw that one of his lungs had collapsed and they took him via ambulance to a different hospital with a higher level acuity NICU. Kati still had not seen him at all (other than his huge feet in the warmer) because she was recovering from the c-section.

Over the night Jameson improved quite a bit, though he is still having tests done to see if he needs a chest tube or not. Kati will be transfered over to that hospital today to finish her recovery and meet her baby. She is recovering pretty well and isn’t in a ton of pain. Keep praying that things would continue to improve…it was a pretty scary ordeal. I’ll update once I know some more.

Summer in the Midwest – Part 2

After a great 4th of July birthday party for Philsie at my mom’s house, we left for the other side of the lake. It’s always a treat for us to visit Michigan, not only to see family, but because Renee’s folks are still taking care of our dog, Jack, until we actually live in a place that allows pets. Jonathan loves to talk about Jack, so he is always super excited to see him (whether or not the feeling is mutual is still up in the air.)

100_0574 Continue reading Summer in the Midwest – Part 2

The Marriage of True Minds – Review

Several months back I sang the praises of the online personal library network by the name of LibraryThing. In addition to all of the great stuff I talked about earlier, they also receive several hundred free books a month from publishers that they give away. After a few months of trying, I was notified in June that I won a copy of The Marriage of True Minds by Stephen Evans. In exchange for the free book, LibraryThing asks you to review it for the community. Here we go: Continue reading The Marriage of True Minds – Review