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To Be Human



What does it mean to be human? What are the basic building blocks of humanity? These are the questions I ask my college students each semester. Their responses are fascinating and vary from one student to another. Some students suggests that to be human is based on the ability to feel emotions, while others feel one can define humanity according to one’s experiences. After several years of teaching I often feel I am no closer to answering this question now than I was the first semester I proposed it. Though I may not be able to exactly explain what it means to be human, going through the adoption process has allowed me to experience a multitude of unique human emotions and experiences.

There is the joy of knowing that soon your family will be complete. There is relief when a large portion of the endless paperwork that comes with adoption is finished. There is anxiety in waiting for approval from a faceless committee that will decide whether or not you are suitable parents for this orphan boy. There is wonder, in pondering what your child is doing right at this moment. There is fear that creeps up unknowingly when you are unsure that your son will ever make it home. There is contemplation when you think of how your new child will fit into his new family, city, and culture. There is loneliness when you can find no outlets to vent your frustration. There is laughter when you think of all the bizarre new experiences your child will have in his new home. There is desperation when the fundraising is not going as well as it should. There is hope when you realize that God long ago set this boy aside to be your son.

I may not know the extent of what it means to be human and I doubt I ever will have an answer this unanswerable question. However, I am slightly closer to understanding this riddle because in an adoption most of all there is love… love for someone you barely know, but fully believe you could not be complete without him.


We would be honored if you helped us get this little human home. The end of the year is approaching, but there is still time to make a tax-deductible donation for 2014. For those who would like to give a tax-tax-deductable gift we have a fundraising page through PureCharity. The funds given through this site are processed and then sent directly to our adoption agency. ***any donation over $20 automatically purchases a puzzle piece share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame

adoption in november {update}

Shouting it from the rooftop…. our home study is final!!! The Lord really blessed us with the sweetest home study social worker ever which made the process as painless as it possible could be. The process took quite a bit longer than anticipated because of my husband’s job change in the middle of it – we had to redo employment verification letters, assets/liabilities worksheet, and income/expense documents. But it’s done. Whew!


Today we sent off our i800a application (to determine suitability to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country) to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services! Next we will be fingerprinted for the FBI. While waiting for the fingerprint appointment date and the eventual approval from the USCIS we are sending off other paperwork to county and state levels and to the three different Chinese Consulates. I feel like my mind is in a million different places!

The hope it to have our dossier (all of our paperwork) sent off to China by January. Fingers crossed. Then we have an expected 5-6 month wait time til we travel to pick up Duo!! Looks like a summer celebration!

Duo’s 9th birthday in coming up in 5 weeks. While we gave him an early birthday party while he was here in July we want him to know how much we wish we could be there in person for his birthday. So we are sending a big birthday care package to him with a letter, photos, books, candy for him and his friends, a pillow with our family photo on it, and a huge birthday cake!!! We have hired a sweet lady in Beijing to put all all this together for us and hand deliver it to him. The orphanage will take photos of his birthday celebration and email them to us – I’m so so so excited to see our little man!

We want to thank each of your for being a part of Duo’s homecoming journey – so much encouragement, love, and support. Thank you for your prayers and carrying the burden with us. Adoption has been a huge spiritual battle for us. It has not been easy but the way you all have surrounded us with encouragement has helped us stand. Thank you. Many people have asked how they can continue praying and being a part of this journey.

– pray for Duo to have supernatural peace and comfort as he waits for us

– pray for our hearts as we grieve his absence yet hope for the future

– pray that the USCIS will have favor over our application and grant approval quickly

– pray that each of the pieces of paperwork we have sent to different agencies will be processed and sent back quickly

– pray for the Lord to supply finances abundantly and timely as we have several large payments due soon

– pray for our children’s hearts as they miss Duo so very much and struggle with him being alone right now

We are still working fervently on fundraising and are working towards raising the final $15,000 needed. If you would like to give towards Duo’s homecoming we have a couple ways of doing that.

1. Puzzle Project Fundraiser – Each puzzle piece is a minimum donation of $20 and your name(s) will be written on the back of a puzzle piece. Once all the pieces of the 500 piece puzzle are purchased we will put together the puzzle and hang it above Duo’s bed. You can donate through our YouCaring site and write in the name(s) you would like on the puzzle piece. *** any donation amount over $20 automatically purchases a puzzle piece

2. For those who would like to give a tax-tax-deductable gift we have a fundraising page through PureCharity. The funds given through this site are processed and then sent directly to our adoption agency. ***any donation over $20 automatically purchases a puzzle piece share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame

puzzle project


—————————–UPDATE —————————–

We are 8-10 weeks away from bringing home our son and wanted to give you a puzzle project update! Every single person/family that has given towards Duo’s homecoming has a puzzle piece with their name written on it. We are blown away by the generosity. We are $5000 away from being FULLY funded as you all have helped us reach a current total of $30,600!!! Speechless. Thank you for being the very hands and feet of Jesus as we absolutely could not have done this without you all.

We are trying to fill the 500 puzzle pieces with names and would love to have it hanging up before Duo arrives home. You can purchase a puzzle piece (each piece is a minimum of $20) in honor of a loved one, for your family, your children, yourself. It’s a beautiful visual display of how each unique piece has united together to give one child a new life. To stand up against the injustice of the world and make a difference.

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said,
“I made a difference for that one.”

To join us, making a difference for Duo, feel free to purchase a puzzle piece (or 10)!

How to Donate:
Click on the Donate button below and pay securely through PayPal
Write a check or donate cash and hand deliver to Kyle or Cassie Raney
Mail a check to us (email us at for our address)

Please let us know the name/names you would like written on the puzzle pieces.
You can email or write the names in the Paypal notes section.




One theme God has continued to reveal through the journey of hosting, now adopting, Duo is that He is going to move mountains. An asking of us to get out of the way and let Him move. Unsure of what that God was up to when Duo first arrived, we felt a strong call to share our journey of hosting. Everyone fell in love with Duo instantly and we were surrounded by an incredible support system of people following Duo’s journey. When God moved mountains and made a way for adopting Duo, we again felt a strong call to invite others to be a part of Duo’s adoption journey. That God wants to show His mighty works through the unity of the body of Christ as we together bring one orphan home forever. We desire Duo’s adoption to be a witness of God’s love and the Gospel itself – that God pursues each of us that are far away and brings us in to a forever family, His.

This adoption is not just a means of growing our family. It can be a way to bring the body of Christ together to answer God’s call to care for a child in need of parents. Who are we to prevent YOU from being able to answer this call in a concrete way by supporting our adoption efforts financially? For many, perhaps even yourself, this will be the only chance to care for a child in this situation in an up close and personal way and we invite you to come alongside us in this journey. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction…” James 1:27 God has moved some HUGE financial mountains in the last three weeks. I think my jaw is still on the floor… $11,000 has been generously given towards Duo coming home! Thank you thank you. A part of what God has asked us to do through this adoption is be very vulnerable about the financial aspect. We want to be open with exactly where we are at in the process, what has been paid, and what we have left.

As of today we have paid:
Great Wall Adoption Agency application fee $250
Letter of Intent to CCCWA processing fee $140
Passport renewal & applicaton $250 + passport photos $25
Certified birth/marriage certificates $97
American World Adoption Agency application (home study) $175
Hauge convention training $200
Great Wall 1st agency fee $3150
American World home study fee $1800 + social services fee to work with Great Wall $400
American World post-adoption home study $2100

We are in the paper chase/dossier/homestudy phase of the adoption. We will be getting physical exams, psychiatric evaluations, fingerprinting for FBI clearance, compiling all our financial information, employment verification, education through training and books, police reports, and the list goes on, and on, and on. Once we complete the  home study we are then eligible to apply for adoption grants that will help complete the final adoption costs. For now, we are buried under paperwork as we work spend the next 2-4 months digging our way out towards a completed dossier and home study! In order to raise the needed funds for our second/third agency fees and paperwork associated costs we are kicking off our



Here’s how it works:

A beautiful 500 piece puzzle of our sweet Duo

Each piece can be purchased for a $20 donation or more

You can buy one or many puzzle pieces
Your name will be written on the pieces you purchase (if pieces are purchased in honor of someone, please let us know their names)

After the puzzle is completed, we will frame the puzzle between two pieces of glass and hang it above Duo’s bed.
This will be a wonderful keepsake to see all the people who united together to bring him home.


How to Donate:

Click on the Donate button below and pay securely through PayPal
Write a check or donate cash and hand deliver to Kyle or Cassie Raney
Mail a check to us (email us at for our address)

If 500 people purchase a puzzle piece for $20… that adds up to $10,000!!!



Susan Suran - May the Lord Bless you and your family. You are an Insperation to us all. share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame

love transforms

There are no words. See for yourself how love can transform the very soul.

Duo in the orphanage vs Duo as a part of our family.

Love is powerful.

We are grateful for the love and support from those near and far. Thank you for supporting us as this takes a village to take back an orphan and give him a family. We have been blown away by the generous giving over the last two weeks. Many tears of joy and falling down on our knees in worship have occurred. We are forever thankful.

We are 1/3 of the way to our projected adoption financial goal. Because Duo has been matched with our family and we are approved to adopt him time is of the essence. He is sitting in the orphanage right now. He will turn 9 years old in January. Each day, week, month that goes by is one more that shouldn’t. The quicker we have the funds, the quicker he will be home. We are diligently working through our home study and dossier paperwork, in addition to fundraising.

If you feel led to give towards Duo’s homecoming fund you are able to here:   OUR LITTLE DRAGON.

Every single dollar counts. Every single prayer is heard. Every single hug and word of encouragement is coveted. Thank you all for loving us well. And through that you are showing Duo that a community of people love him. And that through that we pray that Duo will see the author of LOVE, God Himself.

Julie - Amazing!! He is so blessed! Now let’s get him home to you! Hugs!!

Jill - Previous to this post I had noticed how much happier he is in the photos with you and your family. There is a light in his eyes that wasn’t there before. His smile is bigger and brighter. Duo’s story has truly touched my heart and I will continue to send love and prayers for this sweet boy and your family. share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame


Hurry up and wait  (aka “adoption”).
God knows that I’d much rather be ‘doing’ than ‘waiting’ so guess what we’ve been up to the last couple of weeks… waiting.

We submitted our Letter of Intent to China (CCCWA) 2 1/2 weeks ago, asking that they would grant us favor and approval to move in to the dossier phase. We do not meet the financial requirements that they ask for so we were going out in faith that God has called us to adopt Duo and that He would move mountains to bring him home. Well that’s exactly what God has done… move mountains. The CCCWA does not often grant a financial exception and even less often grant two financial exemptions (salary and net worth).

These last two weeks God has poured in the financial resources to begin the adoption process, all while asking me to “be still and know that I am God.” I have had no paperwork to do, nothing to keep me distracted from the anxious pit in my stomach. Nothing but God. He has taught me to be still and allow Him to be in control. Control over fundraising, control over the CCCWA agency that would decide Duo’s future, control over the timeline of adoption. Give that all to Him and just rest. There were days that were easier and days that it was much harder. Refining and faith stretching in all.

So here we stand. Given favor to move forward to adopt Duo. We begin the home study and the dossier paperwork chase, all of which will take a few months. Would you pray for us to continue to ‘be still’ in the midst of all the busy preparations? As I sit here in awe of what God is doing I can do nothing but worship. God chose this boy to come to live in our home for a month as an orphan hosting program. And now… and now he will have a family.

Amber Mainquist - Tears, free flowing! Love how He shows up!

Desiree LeFave - Praise the LORD!!!!! share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame

the cost…

Since the beginning of our journey in orphan hosting then to having Duo in our home and now as we pursue his adoption, we have felt the Lord asking us to share this all publicly. That this is not about us. This is about the Gospel. About being the a very tangible presentation of how the Lord has pursued each of us, not leaving us as orphans but adopting us as his own children. Adoption is not about us having another child. It’s about Jesus revealing His HOPE to the nations. That people would see a community coming together and advocating for those in need. And Duo is that. He is on the “children’s waiting list,” meaning that due to his age (8) and his special needs that he is not a likely candidate for adoption. In fact, his name “Duo” literally means “excess, much, unnecessary.” No… this will not be his story. He will know he is worth the cost, even death on a cross. That he would know he is pursued, loved, and cherished. But the very real cost of this is financial cost. We are doing all we can as a family to save, apply for grants, sell items, and hold fundraisers. But we desperately need support. We cannot do this alone.

I have attached the breakdown of the costs so you can see why adoption costs so much. We are estimating $29,000 (that includes our home study costs). Most adoptions take well over a year to several years as families wait to be matched with a child, giving time to raise funds. However, since Duo has already been matched with our family and we have accepted his referral, his adoption will move much quicker. We anticipate a maximum 12 month process to the day he comes home. We have already paid the application fee and will pay the 1st fee within the next two weeks, along with starting the $1800 home study this coming week. All of that to say, we are going to need to fundraise QUICKLY. Needless to say, we are overwhelmed! But at the same point we know without a doubt that God has orchestrated all of this. He will provide.

If you feel led to be a part of the process in bringing Duo home you can give through our online site:


If you would like to make a specific tax-deductible gift please contact me ( so that I can provide you with that information.
We are adopting through Great Wall China Adoption if you would like to find out more about their agency.

I am sitting here writing this with my sweet Duo sitting on my lap. In six days he will board a plane and go back to the orphanage.
He cries and says “no airplane.” Please pray for his sweet heart to be protected and that he would have the HOPE only Jesus can give.

GWCA preferred plan fee

Rex Cooper - Gods will be done!

Tamra Lewis - Where can we contribute Cassie? share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame

little dragon

his favorite animal is a dragon.
he is our “little dragon”

took him out on a photoshoot… he giggled with delight after each shot and would want to see the his photo on the back of the camera. he’s the best. my sweet little dragon.















Brooke - I wanna follow and pray through this process!! Duo is just so precious:) and I pray for him to be able to keep you!! share.on.facebook tweet.this 101,109,97,105,108,46,109,101em.liame