Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Blog

We have decided to close this blog upon the completion of our first year as a family of six. It is a good time to wrap up our adoption blog and move onto a family blog.

Here is the link.

This will be a private blog, but we would love for your to be able to read it if you are interested. If you would like an invite, just shoot me an email at whitndan at aol dot com or leave a comment with your email to let me know you would like to be included.

The plan is to leave this blog up to allow people to read our story and be encouraged at what God has done.

The Lord has truly used the last few years and the powerful circumstances around our adoption in so many ways. Thank you for your encouragement when I was struggling and for rejoicing in our blessings. To God be the glory, GREAT things HE has done!

Friday, January 30, 2009


I am stunned it has already been a year of having Ellie home with us! In some senses, the sting of the wait with its ups and downs is still there, yet it seems, too, she has always been a part of our family, as she is so deeply entrenched in our hearts. We have seen some amazing changes in her (and in me!) over the last year. In meeting with our caseworker today (for the last time), we talked about how Ellie is improving so much in her ability to speak, her "recovery" time is quicker when she melts down, and she is responding to correction so much better. It is delightful to watch her little personality blossom!

We are seeing His hand working on her heart and pray fervently for the salvation of all our children. There is so much more I could write on how the Lord has used this last year and a beautiful little girl to change my heart and refine me. As I see other precious children the Father has brought into families through adoption, I am so grateful for my own adoption and I know Ellie has been this encouragement for others. We love her dearly, and though the year has not always been an easy one, the Lord continues to grow that love every day. Our church observed santity of life Sunday a couple of weeks ago. Here is a song that was is pretty powerful!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday AUSTIN

My little boy turned SIX on Monday for the few in the continental US that have not heard about it. (He told EVERYONE we ran into how many days till his birthday, it is his birthday, or it was his birthday!) We had a few little guys over for a Lego party last weekend and celebrated as a family on Monday. He spent most of the day on the phone with out of town relatives. :) Our computer hard drive decided to bite the dust last week, so that is why I am late in posting. I am so thankful we have managed to only loose 6 months of pictures rather than 6 years as we first feared!

We love you Austin and pray the Lord will be glorified in amazing ways through your life this next year!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Favorite Foto Friday

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ellie's First Christmas

Okay, so I am way late, but better late than never! We had a great Christmas with my parents and grandparents this year. Hannah spent the season saying, "This is Ellie's first time to see lights, first time to have buckeyes, first time to make gingerbread houses...". We had a lot of fun and made lots of memories. Our first Christmas Eve service at our new church with my FOUR kids tucked beside me was precious. I am so thankful for this amazing year we have been given from the Lord!

Our Christmas breakfast

Pure excitement over a box of animal crackers! Love it!

Noah's favorite pose.

Ellie being silly with Daddy.

Gran is sporting the reindeer antlers that Noah picked out for her.

Hannah on the pogo stick she asked for. She has been reading lots of books written in the fifties lately and it was reflected in her Christmas list: pogo stick and roller skates. : )

We loved having Grandma Jean and Grandpa Bob this year!

Ellie spent lots of time combing Grandpa Bob's hair with a toy spaghetti server.:)

Gran made the girls matching aprons.

Bein' goofy as normal :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

You know me, always one to double-duty when I can, so here is our Christmas letter and picture. I cannot even imagine trying to send it out to all of our local friends, so we generally just send it to family and friends that are not near us. But the beauty of the blog is that we can share it with everyone!

Dear Family and Friends,

HUMILITY…a great word to represent lessons learned in 2008 at our house. We have been dwelling on the word in respect to many aspects of our lives. Learning personal humility has strengthened our marriage and brought us closer every year (we hit NINE years this past August). In parenting, it gives us compassion and stirs us to diligence in the discipling of our children. We are humbled as we look at the four precious souls He has entrusted to us. As we apply humility to ministry, we are fully dependent on the Father to work at this great task He has set before us.

The year began with the expectation of bringing Ellie home! We received notification of our appointment on January 28th at the Embassy in Guatemala to finalize the adoption. We are soaking in the joy and laughter she adds to our family while we persevere in overcoming the challenges that adding an 18-month old to your home brings.

We also began making plans for the church plant, Bethany Community Church, to launch in September of this year. Leaders were selected, tasks were divided, a farm house was turned into office space, a meeting location was secured, and a Sunday School class became the beginnings of a body of believers.

Daniel began his transition from family ministry to church planting late last year. It is humbling to look back and realize that he was just beginning to meet with his leadership team this time last year and then to see what the Lord has done through today at Bethany Community Church. What a testimony to God’s glory to see over 90% of the 275 member “core group” we started with serving in ministry in some capacity! We have since seen many from the community come and get involved who were not previously attending a church. We are learning that becoming the teaching pastor of the church is very humbling in both our personal walk with the Lord and in the responsibility to shepherd that it carries.

Daniel is also nearing the completion (Spring 2009) of the course work segment of his Doctorate of Ministry in Expository Preaching at Southern Seminary. He will then work on completing the dissertation paper over the next year or so.

Whitney is busy managing the house with four children and two homeschoolers. She is enjoying using her gift of hospitality by having more people in our home as we get to know new families at BCC. Whitney is also teaching two-year old Sunday School. She was able to “develop” a curriculum for the class and it provides her with another opportunity to help Ellie in her attachment to us and interaction with others. This has been quite a growing year for her as the Lord has used so many new challenges to teach humility and reliance on His strength.

Hannah is a busy seven-year old keeping us on our toes with her funny wit. We are in the gapping-smile stage of life, as teeth are popping out often. Hannah swam on the swim team for the first time this summer and began taking piano lessons. We are constantly floored with the depth of understanding she has of the Word, literature and situations in life. Hannah has always had a heart willing to help. We are so grateful for her patience to help with her siblings and quickness to get things done.

Austin has really developed in to a sweet, thoughtful kid (not so much little boy anymore). He is understanding (and reading) the Bible more and more. Austin loves his Daddy. He looks forward to his special time with Daniel (each kid gets a day once a month to hang out just with Daddy) and works hard to pay attention to the sermon. It has been such fun to see his reading take off this year. He also participated in swim team this summer and was awarded “The Littlest Engine that Could” for his hard work (he was the youngest by nearly a year). We have seen him blossom in Sparks as he is diligent to learn his verses. He loves his siblings and plays a lot with the little two to help out Mommy.

Noah has really become a people-person this last year. He has an amazing ability to remember names and constantly has us rolling with his humorous sayings. Noah loves getting to be a Cubby and has done well in children’s choir. He mastered potty training with Daniel in the spring. Life was challenging for Noah when Ellie first came home, as she was very defensive toward him. They still have their struggles, but have started to form a special friendship. It is precious music to hear their chattering in the car together.

Ellie is so vastly changed from the little girl we picked up in January. She would not let us put her down in Guatemala, yet seemed to know she was home when she explored the house and played with her siblings on her first night here. Ellie was saying very little and whined nearly constantly at first. Now, she is learning new words almost daily as she improves in her ability to communicate with us. She screamed all the way through that first bath, but now amazes strangers with her comfort level in going under water at the pool. We are so thankful to have her in our family and humbled at the amazing way God choose to bring her here.

We covet your prayers for us in ministry to our family and at BCC. We appreciate your friendship and look forward to hearing how the Lord has worked in your lives this past year!

In His Grace,
Daniel, Whitney, Hannah, Austin, Noah and Ellie Bennett

Psalm 25:9 “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

We found out that our file was released from PGN and Ellie would be coming home. We are still praising God for the miracles He worked to bring this precious little girl into our family!

Here is what we were thinking then.



Please pray for some friends pursing an adoption from Ethiopia and others from Vietnam. We ask that the Lord would work miracles to bring those two little boys home!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ellie's First Thanksgiving Part II

All the cousin's on the maternal side of the family.

A quick hay ride in the rain.

Snuggling Gran at the sleepover at Great-Grandma Jean's

Sleepover breakfast and hugs for Papa
Hannah, Ellie and Grandma Jean

With my sisters (and Ellie jumped in)
All the first cousins, what is with Austin's glasses ? :)
Aunt Grace and Ellie
Ellie and Dylan, how cute are they!?!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pollo Campero comes to Texas

If you have been on a return flight from Guatemala, you most likely have seen the scores of people in the airport and plane with bags of Pollo Campero food. When we have met Guatemalans living in America, I have been asked if we ate at Pollo Campero (Country Chicken). Though we were not adventuresome enough to go to one in Guatemala, still I have been curious to try out such a popular place in Guat... you know, taking in the culture. :)

Then, come to find out, the Guatemalan-based chain opened a restaurant just a couple of miles from our childhood homes. I asked Daniel if it was alright to want to do something just to be able to post if on the blog and we made plans to go when we were down for Thanksgiving. :)

I did not have high hopes for the food (not really a fried-food person, and I believed it to be a Guat version of KFC), but my parents raved about it (and they are definately not fried-food people). My (grilled) chicken and rice bowl was great, but Daniel's chix sandwich was so-so (however, the sandwich might not be on the menu in Guat...possibly an American addition).

Mommy and Daddy with our lil' Guat-tot

Lovin' her DaddyPapa getting some snuggles.

The chix strips were a hit with the kids. My parents showed off Ellie to the manager (who knows if he was Guatemalan or cared, but he was nice enough to rave on her cuteness.) Our kids loved getting to spend time with Cousin Dylan and Derek (our of the shot in the car seat).