Friday, August 21, 2015

Our Kids Conversations About Adoption

(entry by Paul)
Today is adoption day!  Two years ago, Ava, Abby and Ethan officially became Behnkes.  A lot has happened since then.  Ava has fallen in love with horses and helping people. Abby has found her independent voice and her love for fashion and all things pretty.  Ethan has lost a tooth and has found a sweet spot for cuddling and saying sweet things.  We're entering the more independent stage, which we love. They wipe and clean themselves, they buckle themselves in the car, they dress and pick out their clothes, take showers, and will soon be making their own lunches, at least that's our goal.  This fall all of our kids will be in school five days a week.  Wow, a lot has changed.  But overall, our kids seem to have realized that what adoption really is and what it means.

From the very beginning we had decided that our kids would always know that they are adopted. When appropriate we would share their story with them and help them understand it. So here are a couple of conversations we've had this year.

The Family at the dinner table talking about Mommy's pregnant cousin.

AVA: Mommy when I was in your tummy...

NICKI: Ava, you were actually never in my tummy.  You were in a different mommy's tummy.  Before we adopted you, you had a different mommy.

ETHAN: Yeah, only me and Abby were in your tummy, right Mom?

NICKI: Nope, you guys were never in my tummy either.  Before we adopted you, you all came from the same mommy's tummy.

The Family at the dinner table talking about babies.

ABBY: Mommy, I think you should have a baby.

NICKI:  No way.  Having three kids is really hard. Maybe we can adopt more kids someday when you're older.

Ava and Nicki talking about her birth mom on Ava's birthday.

NICKI: Ava, you know that before mommy and daddy adopted you, you had a different mommy; the mommy who grew you in her tummy?  Your birth mommy made some bad choices and was not able to take care of you any more.

AVA:  I know, one bad choice she made was when she put a lion in the basement and when I went into the basement I got scared.  That was one bad choice she made.

NICKI: (after laughing hysterically) Do you think we should pray for your birth mom?  Do you think that we should pray that she finds Jesus?

AVA:  Yes, so that she can know Jesus.

Tonight's prayer at dinner.

Dear God, thank you for our family and for the opportunity for us to adopt Ava, Abby and Ethan so that we could be a family forever.  Thank you for adopting us all into your family.  We pray for Ava, Abby and Ethan's birth mom and dad, that they would come to know Jesus and would be adopted into your family too. So that one day if Ava, Abby and Ethan meet them, we would all be a part of your family.  Amen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another Family in Need

When Nicki and I said yes to taking in our three kids in a matter of days, God showed up through you.  You gave financially, you gave toys, books and clothes and you gave the most important thing of all and that was your prayers and we continually reflect upon how we never could have done this with out you.

Now there is another family that needs your help.  This family of 5 has decided to take in 3 more for about 6 months to a year or more.  They will extend their love to a four and a half year old, a three and a half year old and a 19 month old.  This family has chosen to remain anonymous because that is the best for these 3 new children.  They have huge needs and we're asking for your help on behalf of them.  We ask that you would pray about how God may want to use you to bless this family.  Here are ways you can help them.

MEALS - Over the next few days, weeks and months, it will be ever more difficult to provide meals for 6 growing kids.  So, gift cards for places like Pizza Hut, Culvers, or Subway would be a great help.

STUFF - If you are in the Eau Claire area and would like to donate any of the following let us know  what it is and Nicki and I we will coordinate pickup/dropoff.  If you are not in the Eau Claire area but are compelled to give a financial donation towards beds or diapers let us know. (

        Winter Boys Clothes - 3T/4T
        Winter Girls Clothes - 2T/3T/4T
        Winter Coats/Hats/Mittens/Boots
        Bunk Beds
        Diapers - 4/5
        Car Booster Seat

PRAYER - These kids and this family needs your prayers during this time of transition.  If you do not do anything else, please pray for this family.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hear Our Story on Orphan Sunday

Sunday, November 2nd is National Orphan Sunday, a day when ministries and churches all over the country highlight God's call to care for the orphan.  Impact 127 is an orphan care network of individuals, churches, and ministries in the chippewa valley that will be hosting an Orphan Sunday event and have invited Nicki and I to share our adoption story.  We want to personally invite all of you in the area to come and hear our story and be a part of this event.  Check out the details below.

Orphan Sunday Event
November 2nd, 2014
Jacob's Well Church
Childcare and light lunch provided.

The event will highlight Foster Care and will include a panel of foster care advocates, agencies and individuals.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Adoption Day! One Year Later

Wow! As of last Thursday Ava, Abby, and Ethan have been Behnkes for one whole year! It is hard to believe that its been only a year.  We feel like we've had our kids forever and we don't know what we'd do without them.  Seriously, I think we'd be bored. (Paul is writing this and I (Nicki) am proofreading it.  To the previous comment I say, speak for yourself.) Anyway, we just wanted to give you a picture of our 1 Year Gotcha Day Celebration.

We had great expectations for how the day was going to be the sweetest, most amazing day ever.  Well, lets just say it didn't go as planned.  Daddy took the day off from work and we were planning on packing up and spending the day at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls.  It would have been perfect.  The zoo, nature walks, the splash park, picnic lunch, and fun.  Well, we woke up to thunderstorms, that were thought to linger throughout the day.  So we went to plan B.  Let's go to breakfast together, we never do that.  So all five of us went out to breakfast.

 Isn't it funny how you can portray an experience anyway you want it to be via pictures? Looks like the perfect family breakfast, right? We realized right away that we chose the wrong restaurant.  The rest of the dining room was filled with couples who just wanted a quiet breakfast with their loved one.   Ethan still only has one volume and it's a far cry from quiet.  The girls need to raise their voices to be heard so you get the picture.  We could have walked out, but this was adoption day and we were going to make this breakfast outing together work.  The meal itself went fine, that is until the food was all gone.  Let's just say Ethan doesn't like to hear that.  Bring on the meltdown.  At about the same time Ethan was freaking out, Abby decided that her legs didn't work anymore and sat in the middle of the restaurant crying because she didn't want to walk anymore.  Let's just say we quickly left the restaurant and headed home for nap time.  I'm not sure our kids have ever taken a morning nap, but Abby and Ethan needed it today of all days.  So, while Abby and Ethan slept, Ava was treated to an introduction to Super Mario Bros on Nintendo.  One of the highlights of the day was watching Ava jump up and down when she jumped on the koopa troopa and ate the mushroom and got big.


 After the twins got up from their naps, we ventured outside for some brief sunshine and an afternoon campfire meals.  So we broke out our new pudgy pie makers for some gourmet grilled cheese and some peanut butter and jelly toasted sandwiches.  Let's just say it was burned but edible....barely.

After lunch Daddy and Abby went to pick up our CSA box and came home with monster sized zuchinni we are still trying to eat almost a week later. 

The day ended with the beautiful moment where all 5 Behnkes sat on the couch and watched home video of their first day home and the journey to become a family forever began.  There were many moments where Mommy and Daddy were moved to tears and the kids loved seeing themselves "when they were babies"and constantly tried to interact with the screen. 

All in all.  It was kind of a backwards day that ended the right way! ...And yes, Ethan does have his shirt on backwards which he refused to turn around for a few hours so we went with it.  Oh, and did I mention we ended our day with Oreo Icebox Celebration cake? Yea, that helped too!  Like I said, a good end to the day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Here We Go Again!....

So here we go again.....OK, so not us (really, what were you thinking?) but some good friends of ours have been in the adoption process for a handful of months now and are getting a placement of kiddos!!  Yes, I said, Kiddos meaning plural.  Two adorable little guys to be exact..... and the timeline....a total whirlwind!  

The McCormick Family- Going from two to four!

In a lot of ways their situation is very similar to ours and in a lot of ways will be a little different.  It has brought us back to re-living this whole crazy/quick journey as we watch them go through it now.  It's funny how you forget just how faithful God is, and was, once time begins to fill itself in. 

We have also been reminded of what a huge role you all played in our story too.  We were overwhelmed to the point of tears with your support, kind words, gifts, meals, and donations.  We couldn't have done it without you and want to pay that kindness forward.

 In an effort to help the suddenly growing McCormick family, we have offered to list a few of their needs/wish list items on our blog.  If you have any of these items laying around or something else they might need that you'd like to donate please let us know and we will coordinate it.  (Please send me a message via facebook or send an e-mail to  THANK YOU in advance for your kindness and please be praying for this family as they attach, adjust, and transition.

Crib Bedding (crib & toddler bedding )
 Pack & play
 Baby bullet 
Toddler food ware (sippy cups, spill proof cups,plates,bowls,etc.)
 Burp cloths & bibs
 Car seats
 Clothes (boys)  (18-24mo + 3T) 
 Kids music (vinyl & CDs) 
Table Booster seats

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Year

One year ago today we began an adventure that we never could have fully anticipated, we brought our kids home.  It is hard to believe that they have been with us for a full year.  At moments I would have told you this year has flown by, other times it crawled.  It amazes us how much our kids have changed over this past year.... and how much our life has changed too! 

Take a look back at our year in review via blog post highlights and a few pictures:

Find out they are a matter of days!

Our First Day Home Together

 Mother's Day- Sharing our Story

Adoption Finalization Day

Introducing Our Kids to the World

Adoption Ceremony

January 2013- Our First Time Meeting our Kids

Fast Forward a year to Christmas 2013  

January 2013- Our First Week Home

Christmas 2013- Very Much at Home!

January 2013

December 2013- Christmas Eve

January 2013- Twins

January 2014- Dress Up Fun
Ephesians 2:20-21   "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Behnke Adoption Story Video

Last weekend we had our adoption ceremony and celebration.  This was a fun day to celebrate where our family has been and where we're going.  As we prepared to share our story again, we decided to look back on all of Nicki's old prayer journals and see what she/we were praying for during key times in our kids lives.  Turns out God was up to a whole lot. Watch this video and be amazed at what God has done in our family before we were even a family.  Enjoy!