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February 23rd, 2012: At the beginning of each new year, I make a collage of photos for each of our five kids and their families to hang on our kitchen wall in frames of the former year. Kinza and Colette's are 8 by 8 sizes and our three adult kids are 12 by 12s sizes. So take a peek at the collages below to see a bit of our kids and grandkids for 2011. In Colette's photo, it shows her having her senior photos done, running in track, driving to school in our clunker van, enjoying her local niece and nephews, and enjoying a sister photo when Deeanne was here for Kinza's graduation party and Heidi is pictured too. Then Kinza's set is next and it shows her earning a $1000 scholarship from Laacke and Joy's, her high school graduation photo and a photo of her cake, running track, and starting at Bradley University in the Fall (with two friends, Katie and Nicole). The next three sets are self-explanatory of our adult kids and their families. We love them!




December 23rd, 2010 On this eve of Christmas eve, I thought I would share an incredible story from our life with you. We met our youngest daughter in December 1995 at the orphanage in the Ghana town where we lived as missionaries. She was 22 months old, only 14 lbs, and in and out of the hospital every month. We brought her to our home for several days' and we knew she was our next child. We took her back to the orphanage so we could locate her birth family to see if she was adoptable. Her birth mother, just 12 or 13 years old,  had died one week after giving birth, and her paternal grandfather had saved her life and brought her to the orphanage.
 
Both grandfathers agreed we could adopt her so they went with us to the orphanage to release her to us. I had a diaper bag
packed with clothes to bring her home in. Little Colette who had just started walking, saw us drive up and she toddled across about 20 yards of dirt path to get to us. I scooped her up in my arms, happy that she remembered me from her visit with us the week before. She snuggled in and her arms around my neck were like vices. She seemed to be saying, "Don't ever, ever leave me again." She had tasted love and she didn't want it to escape her again.
 
As we sat in the matron's office, we were surprised at her efforts to block us being able to adopt Colette. Finally, she said in a stern tone, "Come back in January and we can discuss it more then." Our hearts broke. I had to return Colette to the dormitory and she clung to my neck as the workers tried to pry her away. She and I both were crying.
When we got home, I took down the porta-crib and put away the baby clothes. I just couldn't bear to look at them all for another few weeks till January arrived. I did, however, leave the diaper bag all packed up - just in case God did a miracle for us.
 
On December 23rd, 1995 (15 years ago today), there was a knock on our front door. We opened the door to meet Modesto. He explained to us that he was the social worker who had enrolled Colette into the orphanage when her paternal grandfather had sought him out to save Colette's life. He sort of interviewed us and then he said, "I have the authority
to release the baby to you." We couldn't believe it and we asked when. He said, "Right now!" So we grabbed the packed up diaper bag, left our teenage daughters in charge of supper, and rushed over to the orphanage. Modesto instructed us to wait in the truck while he went in. We waited in silence - and in prayer - wondering what would happen. It seemed the future of a precious little girl was weighing in the balance. Could one individual be a major player in determining her future? Which individual would win out?
 
In the dark we saw Modesto come out of the building. We heard the door slam. We strained our eyes - was our daughter released to us? Who had prevailed?
 
God had prevailed. Modesto came to my door and I opened it - skinny little brown arms reached out to me. My daughter
and I were united. It seems appropriate that God came to earth as a baby. A baby is so dependent, so expressive, so tender. A baby doesn't care how ugly you are, if you have bad breath, if you had a bad day at work. They just love on you because you are you. That is how God loves us.
 
Merry Christmas. May you feel God's unconditional love of you just like little orphan Colette expressed to me. May you feel a special squeeze from Him that says "you mean everything to Me - don't ever let Me go!"
 
I appreciate you so very much.
 
Blessings,
Amy
 
P.S. The above photo is of Colette with Modesto after Colette had been with us for about six months & was getting healthier. The photo on the right is our entire family back in the summer of 1996 with all five of our kids.
P.S.S. To read more about Colette's journey to health, check out my blog post at http://amyhagerup.com/9-signs-inadequate-nutrition-part-1/
 
 
December 2010 We
enjoyed 11 years in Kumasi, Ghana, and one of Heidi's special friends was known as "Sista" to us because that is what all her bigger siblings called her. Sista
and Heidi were born within a
month of each other and basically, grew up together till we moved on to Tamale. Here is a cute photo on the left of Heidi and Sista outside our home.
 
August 2010 Time to walk down memory lane. Our family lived in Kumasi, Ghana from August 1978 thru November 1989 - 11 years. Our first kids were 2 1/2 yrs(Benjy) and 8 months old (Deeanne) when we first arrived there. I was pregnant with Heidi and she was born in January 1979. God blessed us with awesome neighbors next door in a story apartment building with some very special kids that turned out to be great playmates for our kids. Tony was Benjy's age, and Sista, was born in January, so she was Heidi's age. The other kids were older and I loved everyone of them. Recently, Nii found me on Twitter and then Facebook and told me how our family blessed them. He gave me an update on all those special kids. Many thanks to Tony who is caring for their aging mother. I want to share with you some photos in honor of those special, special kids who helped us adjust to our new, adopted country. Many thanks to all of you! I hope these bring back special memories for you. You are all very precious to me. You can leave comments at http://amyhagerup.com or http://twitter.com/amyhagerup or http://www.facebook.com/amyhagerup. Let's get connected!

 
 
 

 
July 2010 
For about a year, our family planned a big reunion at Top Sail Beach, North Carolina to celebrate my mom's 80 birthday. Here she is with her four children (from left to right) Polly, Rocky, Anna, the proud mother, and me (Amy). The week was a culmination of lots of planning, cooking (by Linda), preparing a scrapbook album of all of us over the years (by me), travelling from Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Maine, Kansas, Arkansas, and Wisconsin.
We Hagerups & Grimms, the Trey Roths & Blackmons, stayed at the St. Regis Resort which had a wonderful view of the ocean. The Rocky Roths and Hughes had rented houses about two miles down the road from us. The Maases stayed 45 minutes away at Linda's mother's home. Linda had cooked for an entire month to prepare sumptious meals for us to have supper together each evening. Can you imagine supper for 33 people every night including desserts? And yes, there were lots of leftovers.
 
 Every evening one of the men gave a devotional and then the young people took turns sharing their gifts: Gabe, Jesse, Amy T. sang, Trey played the guitar, Jacob & Jesse gave forensic speeches, & Kinza played the keyboard.
 
 
 
 
 

 

It was a delightful week of celebrating the Roth family. Mama loved her album we made her with everyone writing special notes to her. It was a highlight of the week and everyone enjoyed looking at it - and I enjoyed seeing everyone enjoy it!

 
 
The Whole Gang is pictured above minus the ones who had to leave early plus Ben's family who couldn't make it at all.
 
 
Here are the great-grandchildren who were present at the beginning of the week and on the steps are 14 of the 17 grandchildren (Ben, Gabriel, & Jeremy are missing.)

It was a very special family reunion for sure.

 

 

 

 
Here are some more fun photos of our time at the beach, ending with a photo of my Mom with her four children and our spouses.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
April 4th, 2010 God gave me a really neat idea for our Easter celebration today.
Normally, I have something special on the kitchen table for my daughters when they wake up on Easter. Last year it was a cross necklace for Colette, and a devotional book for Kinza. But this year, they both got a letter from Jesus. The letter said that they are used to fluffy feelings on Easter morning with some candy and a gift, but this year they were instead to give a gift to Jesus by writing out ten things that they love about God, our family, and their life. Mom and Dad participated too. After we had Easter dinner together and did the dishes, then we all sat around in the living room and took turns sharing from our lists. It was so special.
 
Colette shared that she loves that I am home when she gets home from school and she also loves that I keep asking her if she wants to talk about whatever is bothering her when she is obviously distressed.
 
Kinza said she loves that our family is fun.
It was such a special time of sharing and laughing together. Everyone was touched. Thank You, Lord, for dying for us and rising again so that we could spend this day meditating on that truth and blessing each other after a really rough week of emotions!
 
These two beautiful photos of Colette and Kinza are by Karyn Carbone with In Bloom Photography. Check out her gorgeous blog at http://www.inbloomimages.blogspot.com
 
 
 
 
 
March 6th, 2010 We spent a lot of today going back and forth to Kettle Moraine High School. Today was the annual District-wide Solo & Ensemble Competition. Kinza played a piano solo, was in a piano/ violin duet with Kelsey, and accompanied a flute duet on the piano. She scored the highest possible on the piano solo and the piano/voilin duet which means she will now to go compete at the state level in April.  Here are photos of the three performances:
 
 
 
February 2nd, 2010 One thing that I have done for each of my grandchildren is choose a special verse for them which I write to them as a blessing on each birthday card and I pray that verse especially for that child. I spent time with the Lord recently to choose Margaret Christine Hagerup's special verse. Margaret means pearl so that was my starting point. Here is what I sent to Margee: Matthew 13:46 says that "the merchant found a pearl of great value." You, Margee, are that pearl." Job 28:18 says "the acquistion of wisdom is above that of pearls." Psalm 111:10 says "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." My prayer for you, Margee, is that you will seek to know the Lord Jesus with all your heart - that you will become full of His wisdom. My special verse for you is Proverbs 31:26 - "May you, Margee, open your mouth in wisdom, and may the teaching of kindness be on your tongue." I love you, Nana.
 
 
 
Margee's Birth: Here she is, folks: Margaret Christine Hagerup.
 
 
January 19th, 2010 Big news! Margaret Christine Hagerup was born this morning in State College, PA to Ben & Elizabeth. She weighed in at 6 lbs. 14 oz and 20 inches long. Her nickname is Margee and she is named after my mother, her great-grandmother: Margaret Tompkins Roth. We are all thrilled. 
 
 
 
 

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