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Rounding Third, Heading Home

One year ago today, we began a high speed journey that would end (quickly) with our adopting twin girls. I’ve enjoyed summarizing the trip this week in four parts that you can find here.

Friday evening and most of Saturday are a blur for me. We didn’t leave the hotel much. The emotion and flurry of travel had caught up with us, and frankly, we were happy to just stare at these two gifts.

For a day and a half, we pondered names. We really wanted to tie the names into what God was saying to us, and it happened to be the weekend marking nine years of 24/7 prayer and worship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, where we are on staff. We eventually landed on Anna River and Mercy Rain. Anna River represented the calling of a movement of intercessors, while Mercy Rain was to express the good things God wanted to give His people. In these two names – indeed, in these two girls – we saw both our calling and our blessing.

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Once the girls were properly named, we grew a little restless. Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel and drove east to Coast Community Church in Gulf Breeze. Coast pastor, Robert Pooley, had been a friend from the blog world although we’ve never so much as talked on the phone until the Thursday before when I called asking for recommendations on lawyers.

Robert & the Coast family opened their arms and hearts to us. Actually, the opened their wallets too, blessing us significantly for having taken up these twins on a moment’s notice. Robert is quick to point out that he got the girls’ names right when introducing us. I am quick to remind him that he had a 50/50 chance anyway. We will never forget the warm welcome we got there. We needed it.

After church they fed us (they are, after all, Southerners) and sent us on our way. We drove on to Tallahassee where we spent the night met with our lawyer on Monday morning.

Three words about our lawyer, Madonna Finney: Total rock star. She took A1 care of us from the very beginning, always talking very frankly and with a lot of concern. We have grown to be friends in the past year and we recommend her to anyone adopting in Florida.

The twins were doing great, although they were so small they attracted attention everywhere we went. People would notice newborn twins, then look at Kelsey looking fine in her jeans, and roll their eyes. We’d pretend we didn’t see it and laugh later.

After our meeting with Madonna, we drove south to Tampa and spent a few days with Steve and Janie Sjogren. Steve and Janie are long time friends from our Cincinnati days. I actually blame Steve for a majority of the crazy things I’ve ever done (Burning Man for example). We enjoyed their hospitality very much. Steve has always been a key prophetic voice in my life and to be near them in this window of time was the icing on the cake.

It might sound like it, but we weren’t on vacation. We were in holding. When ou adopt from outside of your state, there is something called the Interstate Compact that must be worked out so that both state’s needs for the adoption are satisfied. While we lounged around the Sjogren’s pool, Madonna and her team were shuffling papers back and forth. The twins couldn’t leave Florida until this was all done.

Meanwhile, the kids at home were getting restless. We decided that I would fly home to be with them while Kelsey stayed with the twins. She was pretty sure she could manage. And then they both pooped at the same time and we came to our senses. Instead, we asked a good friend, Jill Cataldo, to come down and be with Kelsey when I went home.

I drove to the Tampa airport with the car we’d rented in New Orleans and prepared to fly home. Waiting for my flight, I blogged

It’s weird leaving her here, but I’ve also missed the rest of the kids back in KC. Oh for the soon coming day when we’re all in one city, crammed under one roof, a glorious mess of elbows and toes. Kinda feels like all of life shifted in the last five days. I went from having a moderately large family to having the sort of family that spurs total strangers to ask if perhaps you’re Mormon. (I’m not, and to my knowledge, neither is Kelsey).

Beyond that, I am sort of pondering my own reaction with these twins. We hear about emergency situations from time to time, but this one was a no brainer – I had to go after them. Something has changed in me. I don’t know where this leads, but I know there are others to go after, and I intend to rally an army to rescue them. I’ve been hearing a lyric all day.

Oh the sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a king
Angels join to sing
‘All for Christ our King!’

I’m telling you. I can hear the sound. And it’s glorious. I’m done. It is not cool to cry in the airport.

Of course, I did cry. For the ones we’d rescued and the ones who still need rescued. I don’t know what Crowder was thinking when he wrote it, but for me, this song is an anthem for adoption.

Kelsey and Jill went further south to Sarasota to stay with the Grotticks – more friends from our DC days. It is remarkable how God brings people together at one point in life in order to further His kingdom at another point.

A few days later, Madonna called and announced that the girls were free to leave the state. Kelsey and Jill booked tickets for the next morning, when I met them at the airport with Grayson. I’ll show you what it’s like for a (then) 11 year old boy to wait for and welcome his new sisters.


It’s still very difficult to believe this happened a year ago. Also hard to believe that eight weeks after getting these two little ones home, we discovered that we were pregnant with Piper.

This has all meant a multitude of changes for our family. The jump from 3 to 4 children when we adopted Zoe was not that big of a deal. Going from 4 to 7 in a year is a world rocker. Nothing works anymore…a normal house, a normal vehicle, a normal budget. It all goes out the window.

Fortunately, with God’s heart comes God’s economy, and with the help of His people, we make our way as missionaries – in prayer and in deed.

Thanks for journeying with us –

Randy & Kelsey


10 Responses

  1. I have loved seeing the pieces of this come together. I remember being a bit surprised you would let people you never met come help work on your house before Piper was born. I quickly learned that this was who you were. You have broken the “us four and no more” image and I doubt any of us who have seen your life can dismiss the truth of the Father’s heart we have seen in your family and ministry. Blessings! Sue

  2. I remember reading that blog entry you referenced above and I remember it made me cry. Something big happened in your life a year ago, but I think something big is happening in the lives around you because of your crazy “yes”! Thanks for sharing this story. It’s amazing…

  3. Absolutely incredible and inspiring! I’ve always wanted to adopt and you may have just pushed me over the edge! Thanks for that nudge!

  4. again tonight at the service, all i could think about were the ones that needed to know they were made for a purpose. the ones who are crying out for home and mommies and daddies. i think the anthem is totally right on. . . .

  5. Thanks for sharing…I have loved reading this series. That particular adoption story has so much of the miraculous all over it.

    You are right about those lyrics – they ring so true about adoption.

    We can’t wait to adopt again, and are trusting God with the timing and the finances. It’s going to be a wild ride (again!).


  6. Totally amazing story your little girls have! What a blessing for all of you

  7. This was great to read… I know it is good to write it out for you guys, too. It is an amazing story and one these girls will cherish. I think of you guys often with so many arriving in such a short time. I think I’m overwhelmed and I’m doing it one at a time with a couple years between! Anyway… know that you are loved and prayed for here in JC, TN!

  8. We were invited to the Church of the Gate in Sioux Falls today and we heard you speak.
    Over the last three months God has been dealing with my Wife and I about adopting. Not a minute went by today as you were speaking…that God was not confirming to me what he has been saying to us these last three months.
    We asked for and have been approved to adopt up to 5 children 11-17 years old.
    It is a real comfort to have you confirm we are in the center of God’s plan for our life.

  9. So much to ponder, Randy! Thanks for sharing. If you guys ever make it back to East TN, we would love to sit down and chat.

  10. I love you guys…day to day (and now especially reading this) it is becoming increasingly clear that God has given me some awesome, incredible, forever friends in you! I love you, Bohlenders!

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