Expecting…From Ethiopia!

Have you ever met someone who would literally give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it? It’s a pretty nice thought and I think people would have good intentions if asked, but let’s get real for a minute: our clothes can sometimes be one of our priciest and most valued possessions, especially while we’re wearing them. Sure, most of us go through our stuff once or maybe twice a season (if that) to donate our unwanted garb, but there’s a difference between giving away old clothing and handing over something currently keeping you warm.

I’m thankful to share that I personally know someone who is so selfless that he’s given his jacket—in the middle of winter—to a man shivering on a street corner. That man is my brother and he is, by far, the most giving person I know. He would never tell you this story (I think we only found out because he showed up to our house one particular night without his recently purchased jacket), but he would repeat it a thousand times over. My brother is the type of person who (and honestly, probably has) gives away his last dollar if he knows it will help you somehow. He’s the type of guy who packs extra food in his car just in case he runs across someone who’s hungry. 

Selfless is what comes to mind when I think about Chris, and the same holds true for his wife. Together, they are an unstoppable pair. They are steadfast in their love, faith, and eagerness to fulfill God’s will—it’s evident in everything they do.

So when they told us last week that they had some big news, I held my breath and waited for what came next.  

“There’s going to be a new baby in the family,” my sister-in-law said. Before I could even speak she quickly followed with, “but it’s not in the way you think.

Instantly I knew exactly what she meant. Tears of joy flowed as she explained what we already guessed...

My brother and his wife are expecting…they are adopting from Ethiopia!

The thought of adopting has always been on the table for them; it was something they both wanted and talked about before they even got married. So here they are, after continuous prayer and close to three years after they pledged their lives to each other; they are officially starting the adoption process.

Amanda’s sister-in-law, Sarah, said it perfectly, “They vacillate between sheer joy and absolute fear. We tell them this is what it is to be expecting. Hearts are full and joy abounds. They are paper-pregnant.

Remember the tale above about of the guy giving away the jacket off his back? I personally know how much he hates asking for money. He’d rather give away all he has and figure out a way to make due, but now they’re in a position where pride isn’t an option. This is something they’ve fervently prayed for and are answering His call by pursuing it, no matter the cost. They know He will provide. 

The problem is that there is a cost, and it’s a pretty hefty one. To quote Sarah again, “But wouldn’t you know that good things and sincere hearts and brave efforts don’t always come free? In fact, this thing, as noble and loving and true as it is, actually costs quite a bit. More than a car, a wedding, or even a down payment on a house. Turns out, bringing home a baby from Ethiopia costs just around what some single income families make in a year. One whole year.

As much as I’d love to believe God would swoop in and personally hand them a check, that’s most likely not going to happen. (Dear God, if you could prove me wrong just this once I would really appreciate it.) Since money (probably) won’t be falling from trees anytime soon, my brother and Amanda are working for it.

They’re selling Extracts for Ethiopia. It’s 100 percent homemade vanilla extract made with pure bourbon Madagascar “noire” vanilla beans and triple distilled premium vodka. YUM!

Extracts for Ethiopia (Vanilla Extract)

If you like coffee, Just Love Coffee Roasters is donating a large portion of anything purchased through their storefront.

And finally, they are accepting donations

I’ve seen, first hand, how life-changing events can happen because of one single blog post, and if I need to host another virtual bake sale, I absolutely will! I just checked and this little blog of mine currently has 420 people subscribing via Google Reader. Not only am I shocked there are that many of your reading this (thank you!), but if you each donated just $10 it would pay for their Adoption Service Fee. How great would that be?

This is extremely exciting and very near and dear to my heart. I promise I won’t bombard you with donation pleas in the future, but this won’t be the last time you’ll hear about this adoption (totally serious about a possible bake sale!). 

If you’re interested in keeping up with Chris and Amanda’s journey or would just like to leave them some encouragement, check out their website and “like” their Facebook page

If you end up donating or buying vanilla or coffee, please let me know! I would like to send you a personal thank-you note. Shoot me an email at jessicalynnwrites (at) gmail.com.


  1. I can't do much, but I bought some vanilla (sounds SO yummy! I cannot wait to try it) and I donated 25$. This story made me cry and I really touched my heart. I will for sure be following this story. Good luck to Chris & Amanda<3

  2. That is an awesome story, I'll talk to my husband and see what we can do to help! I've always wanted to internationally adopt and my husband has agreed to hopefully one day make that a possibility so I have already done a bit of research and know about the costs involved. Wishing them the best of luck!!

  3. Hey! I don't know you or your family. I saw this blog because Natalie Herr posted it on facebook. I am really touched by this and I just wanted to say that I will be praying for your brother and sister in law. I have already passed the story along to my mom ( I told her to pass it along as well) and we are both planning on buying some vanilla and coffee!
    I look forward to hearing more about the adoption!



  4. How exciting for your whole family!! I've always thought about adoption (not too seriously, but I'm open) so I think what your brother and SIL are doing is just fantastic. I'm totally buying some coffee to support them. Oooh! And I just noticed they have the same coffee we had on our honeymoon! (Or at least it looks similar; Jamaican Blue Mountain.) Totally getting that.

    Congratulations to you and your family and please pass along my good luck wishes to your brother and SIL as they go on this journey. I'm sure it won't be easy, but in the end it will be so worth it. 🙂

  5. Jess – you're so sweet to let the world know of your love for your brother and his family! God is truly opening doors for them, and I will be in prayer for both of them as they lean on God during this next year while raising money through donations and working longer hours to pay for their future expenses. I'll be speaking to Rob about this later tonight 🙂

  6. Ah!!!!! This gave me chills! Congrats to your brother and sister-in-law. Adoption is such a beautiful thing!!!! I think I might just buy my next bag of coffee through them!

  7. Just meeting them for only a short time, I can tell you that I am not at all surprised that they are doing this! From the moment you meet them, you just know they are people who have the love of Jesus flowing through them. You can just feel it! I can see Gods hand in this already, and I am so very excited for them. Thanks for sharing this Jess! I will talk to Bry, and see how we can help. love you and miss you tons

  8. I'll be keeping Chris and Amanda in my prayers–as an adoptee, I think it's wonderful that they're considering this option! I'm passing along their story and will be saving up for some coffee!

  9. They are in my prayers and I am spreading the word! After looking into adoption ourselves, the costs are so astronomical to help a child in need! I am going to share their story as well and continue to grow the audience of people who can help.

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