Thursday, December 9, 2010


Court Today :)

We woke up to a huge blanket of snowfall this morning. I believe it snowed all night. It is so beautiful. We had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to Madona about 3 1/2 hours away for court.

Court was scheduled for 2:00 and about 2:30 the judge had not come and I began to worry a little. We later found out the translator was in a car accident and had to be taken back to Riga. The judge allowed Daina to tranlate so we would not have to reschedule. Thank you God!!

Court went very smoothly. The judge was very nice. She asked things like when did we decide we wanted to adopt and how Jana gets along with her brothers. She also wanted to know more about my job and Brad's.

We also found out the Izabella is definitely not available for adoption and that her mother is trying to get her back. Please pray for God's will in this situation and that she will be safe.

We have a day tomorrow to rest before the 20 hour trek home. Flights were super expensive on Friday's so we delayed our return one day to fly home on Saturday. I am thankful we chose to fly through MOscow instead of Frankfurt as there is a terrible snow storm delaying flights out of Frankfurt.

Thank you all for your prayers. We have one more trip in January but the adoption was final today :) We are so blessed to have Jana as our daughter forever. Thank you God!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trip 2 in Latvia

We arrived a few hours ago to snow on the ground. It was a 24 hour trip and we are exhausted. We have court tomorrow at 2 so we are about to head to bed because we have a 4 hour drive each way.

We thank you all for your wonderful prayers. We are so thankful for each of you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Answered Prayers

Thank you all for your prayers for a date before the end of the year. The Lord answered and we are headed back to Latvia :) Our court is scheduled for December 9 at 2:00.

Next Sunday is Orphan sunday and I pray that we all can help to make sure there is one less orphan in this world. What is God calling you to do? Please check out New Horizons for Children at

John 14:18 - I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.

Thank you for that promise.

Please pray for Tiffany's healing and for Ashley a friend's cousin is very ill with an unknown problem - pray for wisdom and revelation for the doctor's.

God bless you all, Paula

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prayer Needs

Hi Friends and Family,

Brad and I wanted to give you an update and thank you for your continued prayers for our adoption.

Jana is adjusting well to our family and to school. She and her brothers joke, laugh, and fight together just as it should be. She has been such a wonderful blessing to our family and we thank God for each day that he brought her into our family. She is funny, outgoing and excited to try new things. She will starting Hip Hop dance lessons this week and is so excited. She did a few trial weeks and loved it. She is struggling in school but of course that is much to be expected until she can learn more English. Her daddy has had the pleasure of taking her to dance and this has been a new experience for him . She is a daddy’s girl and loves to be with him. He has even taken her mall shopping .

We have a prayer request. We received our I800 approval last Saturday and we are awaiting a court date. Typically one is issued right away but it has been a week and we have yet to receive one. Please pray for us that we would receive a court date quickly if it is God’s will. We know that we cannot travel to Latvia after December 5 until late into January because the lawyer will be busy with the hosting program children and of course celebrating Christmas and the New Year. We are praying that we could receive a court date next week. If we can get one in the next two weeks then we can complete the adoption before December 5 which is our prayer. We trust God will work out the perfect timing even if it not our timetable. Thank you for lifting this request before Him.

We have a huge praise. We were approved for a matching grant through Lifesong for Orphans and Promise 686. Promise 686 will provide dollar for dollar matching funds up to $4000.00 to help with financial costs of the adoption. We expect to pay another $15,000 for Jana and more if Izabella is cleared for adoption. We are sending out support letters and covet your prayers that God will make a way financially for this adoption as well.

We thank you for your prayers in the loss of Brad’s dad and ask that you continue to lift our entire family up in your prayer time as we learn to live without Papaw. My phone still has his name in the contacts and I can’t bear to take it off. We miss him greatly but we know that he is preparing a place for all of us and cancer free in heaven. He touched many lives for the Lord and we pray that the seeds he planted in Alaska and at home will be watered and will grow fruit and be a legacy to his commitment to the Lord.

If our story has moved your heart for adoption there are many waiting children who need parents. The hosting program deadline is the first of November. Please check out the site at . Let there be one less orphan in the world because you answered the call.

God bless you all,
Paula and Brad

Please also pray for our friend Tiffany who is having major surgery this week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Answered Prayer -Matching Grant Approved

We are thanking God today for His provision. We were notified this afternoon that Lifesong for Orphans with the assistance of Promise 686 her in the Atlanta area have partnered with us to help fund our adoption. They have blessed us with a $4000.00 matching dollar for dollar grant.

The financial aspect was our biggest concern and God is providing. If you would like to help you can send gifts to Lifesong for Orphans Benton#1475 P.O. Box 40/ 202 N. Ford St. Gridley, IL 61744. It is a tax deductible donation.

We are expecting USCIS 1800 any day now :) Praying it arrives this week.

Thank you and God bless

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Miraculous Day

Today is Jana's 16th birthday. As I woke up this morning I was reminded of what great and wonderous deeds my savior did for me. He brought this beautiful girl to Brad and I just in the nick of time but of course always in his perfect time. We celebrated with a family dinner and were joined by two of Jana's Latvian friends.

I thank God for the miracles He performed so that she would have a forever family and we would have a daughter. He began this work long before I ever knew her name and I thank those of you who hosted her, prayed for her, and let her go so that she might be untited with us as He intended. We love her beyond words and know that our family and our life is enriched because she is in it.

Thank you all for your continued prayers as we continue this adoption journey.

I stand amazed in the presence
of Jesus the Nazarene,
and wonder how he could love me,
a sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful
is my Savior's love for me!

Phillipians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I800 sent

Our I 800 has been submitted to USCIS and we are waiting on final approval. Once we get that we should be able to get our court date in Latvia.

Jana will turn 16 this Saturday. We are so excited that she is with us and we can celebrate together.She will have friends celebrate at the ice skating rink and then home for some cake and ice cream :)

We are enjoying out break and spending time catching up on much needed sleep. Brad wishes he was home too :)

Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We have been home a week and we are finally recovering from jet lag. Jana started school Tuesday and is doing very well. She was so excited after school because so many people were so nice and helpful to her. We received our letter from the ministry yesterday and will be submitting our documents to USCIS as soon as our documents arrive back from our agency. We should be making our next trip in about 2 months.

We thank all of you for your prayers and your encouragement. He has used each of you to touch our life and the life of an orphan. We are praying for God's provision and sending out the following letter to friends and family. We covet your prayers and if God calls you to support us financially we thank you for your sacrifice on ours and Jana's behalf.

Dear Friends and Family 09/06/2010
It is with great joy that we share with you our plans of adopting another child into our family. Many of you have already been praying for us on this journey and we thank you for your prayers. For those who do not know, we are adopting a 15 year old girl from Latvia. Her name is Jana and we had the joy of hosting her this summer as part of New Horizons for Children orphan hosting program. When we agreed to host her we were told that it would be nearly impossible to complete all the required documents to get her adopted in time and that her window of opportunity for adoption was nearly closed. We prayed over this decision and God clearly impressed upon us that he was in control and we were to take a leap of faith. What man determined was impossible has been possible by the hand of God and we have just returned from our first of three adoption trips to Latvia.
This journey started in April when Brad and I began praying about the call to adopt again. We prayed for a clear sign as we knew financially it would be impossible to complete on our own. God answered our prayers with a huge sign (a car tag that said ADOPT pulled in front of our car the moment friends were asked to intercede on our behalf) and confirmed the desires he had placed in our hearts. After many weeks of prayer and meetings with our pastor we decided to try the orphan hosting program over the summer and see where God would lead us. As it turns out, He had a bit more accelerated plan than we had anticipated and in June we started the adoption process prior to Jana arriving for the hosting trip. Jana turns 16 in September and once an orphan turns 16 they are no longer eligible for adoption. We did not know how God was going to make this happen but we trusted his call and leaped in faith.
The biggest challenge for us is not opening our hearts and home to another child, but it is in finding the finances to make this happen. We estimate our total cost for adoption fees, document preparation, home study, airfare, travel, attorney fees, etc. to be $35,000 for Jana and more if we have the possibility of adopting her cousin. We are still waiting on the court’s decision regarding Izabella. That’s certainly money we don’t have, but we know God is faithful and is leading us to trust Him. We have borrowed as much as we can and have paid for nearly $20,000 with loans and gifts from friends. We are praying and trusting in God for His provision.
The Bible is clear that our responsibility is to take care of orphans and widows. For some of us it is through adoption and for others it is to support orphans through financial gifts. It is difficult for us to make our needs known but we also know that if we don’t we have not allowed others to partner with us in taking care of this particular orphan. We appreciate your friendship and the generous gifts we have already received for our orphan hosting. We ask that you pray and see how God is calling you to support us in His plan for Jana. There are two ways you can help:
1. Prayer: Your prayers for us already have been answered and God’s hand has been clearly guiding this process. Jana has been allowed to travel back to the US with us throughout the adoption process. We ask that you would cover her and our family in prayer. She will begin school tomorrow which is a source of anxiety for her. We also ask that you pray for the boys as they adjust to a new sister. We ask that you pray for our family that God will give us the wisdom, discernment and resources needed to care for Jana and bring her up in our Christian home.
2. Financial Support: Please consider making a tax deductible donation to help fund the remaining $15000.00 in adoption related expenses.
Lifesong ( has graciously set up a fundraising account for us to raise funds to help pay the “ransom” to bring Jana home permanently where she can grow and discover her own relationship with Jesus Christ. If you would like to be a part of God bringing Jana to Himself through our family, you can send your tax-deductible gift between now and November 1st to the address below. Lifesong is a trusted organization administering the funds on Jana’s behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received.
Please make checks payable to: Lifesong. You may preference how the donation might be used by writing “preference Benton#1475 adoption” in the memo section of your check.
(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong which retains full discretion and control over its use. You can also make donation online using Lifesong paypal account here and be sure to enter preference Benton#1475 Adoption.
Thank you for investing in the Kingdom through prayer and finances – it will be an investment with an eternal return! (Matt 6:20) We’ll give you an update with a picture of Jana and details as we receive them. Please pray this entire process will glorify God and fulfill His purposes!

Sincerely in God’s service,

Paula and Brad Benton

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Visa Appointment Done :)

Today we went to the Embassy and Jana had her visa appointment. All went well and we will pick up her passport tomorrow.

On the way home from the embassy we passed a donut shop which we had never seen before and so as soon as we returned to our hotel we journeyed to find donuts :) They were really good too. I had Boston creme and Jana had chocolate with cocoa krispies on top and Brad had chocolate covered with peanuts and we all had a hot drink.

The Hare Krishner's were out in large number today dancing and chanting down the streets. They attract much attention. How sad.

Tonight and tomorrow are suppose to be very stormy and windy so we may be couped up a bit.

Our friend Patty will likely come home from the hospital tomorrow. We thank you all for your prayers. God heard and it was his will to restore her health. Thank you God!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1st Day of School in Latvia

Today was the first day of school for Latvian children. It is a neat day. The students all dress up in their best clothes. They bring their teachers flower(nice) and watch concerts and get books and then by lunch time they are headed home. The city was filled with teenagers hanging out and partying with their friends. Some drunk I might add sadly. Lots of police presence. It was very interesting to watch. I was expecting to go to town and it be empty but instead it was the busiest we have ever seen it.

We shopped at the central market today. There were some interesting things to be found. We walked for about 3 hours. Whew was I tired.

Now onto homeschooling :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pictures in Latvia

Approved by Orphan Court

Hallelujah!! Praise be to God!!

Today we went to orphan court and we were approved by orphan court to adopt and also to bring Jana home. It was very quick and easy - less than one hour :)

Now we will go to visa appointment on Thursday and pick up the visa on Friday and head home Saturday. Then we send all documents to USCIS immigration to approve and then that approval gets sent back to Latvia and Riga court is scheduled. This visit is short and then after required waiting period we will return for medical exam, passport and visa appointments.

We are so thankful to God for making all this possible. God is amazing and we stand in awe at his presence and power!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Court Tomorrow

Well I have to say that Brad and I are the least adventureous people on earth. We have been told about several great places to see but I have not gotten up the nerve to try to figure public transportation out. With his eye and then the rain we have spent most of our days watching Discovery and of course home schooling Jana. Brad has learned some really cool things from discovery. There are a lot of shows about cars and blowing things up - a boys favorite types of TV :). We watch Charles Stanley again on Sunday and now I have discovered how to watch our favorite show online - NCIS.

Tomorrow we go to court and we are very excited to have this completed. Then we will go on Thursday for Jana's visa and home on Saturday. We should know tomorrow about Izabella's status and whether they will allow her to be adopted also. We pray for God's wisdom in this matter.

Friday we get to see our friend Sandra and actually adventure out a bit.

THank you all for your prayers.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Latvia Pictures

Friday in Latvia

We have been inside all day today due to rain and Brad not feeling well. His eyelid broke out about 4 days ago. We sent his picture to a nurse friend who said go to the doctor ASAP so we did and he has herpes zoster on his eye and it appears to be breaking out on his hand as well. Please keep him in your prayers. He is in some pain and generally not feeling well.

Jana and I have been busy on school work trying to learn Math and Physical Science. She does not like Physics which she tells me many times.But we will succeed in learning this physics :)

We hope to see some more sights when Brad gets to feeling better. And we are looking forward to seeing our friend Sandra next Friday. We have court on Tuesday.

I just heard great news that my friend Patty has been taken off the ventilator. She still is very sick but praise God she is improving. Please continue to pray for her.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for us and our boys at home.
God bless you all

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday in Latvia

Today started with thunderstorms and rain but soon the sun was shining and a cold front had pushed through. We went for a walk but it was a bit nippy and clounds were forming again. So we headed back to the apartment.

We did get to go through the open air market and I found a special pan for making pelmeni. I will have to go back later this week and get it. It was only $5.00.

Spending time with Jana has been wonderful. Brad has been busy learning lots of new stuff on the Discovery channel. Even though it is in Russian it is quite entertaining to him. He watches this while Jana and I work on math and science.

Latvia is such a beautiful place and so interesting with people from many different countries.60% of the people are Latvian, 30% Russian and the other 10 from different places. The cobblestone streets are interesting and the old architechture is beautiful to look at.

Jana has been busy chatting with friends on latvia equivilant to facebook. She has two girls who are friends being adopted also and coming home to Atlanta in September.

I have recevied posts from people I don't know but know Jana from previous trips who have been praying for her for so long and their prayers as well as ours are being answered. I stand in awe how God has been putting everything in place long before I even knew her name. God is an awesome God!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday - August 24

Today was a good day and beautiful also. We met with the social worker from the orphan court for about 25 minutes. She asked questions about what we plan to do, where Jana will go to school, how are we bonding, do we want to be a family (duh), etc. She was very nice and spoke a little English also. She showed us on the map how to get to a book store.

We went for a walk around Riga. We found the bookstore easily and 2 more also. They had books in Latvian and English. I actually bought a Russian culinary book in English. We bought Jana a book in English to read and a book in Latvian.

Next stop was McDonald's -yep you read right Brad had to have his McDonald's fix. The cashier spoke English so that was easy.

After McDonald's we walked to the theater. They have many good American movies. We will probably go see one sometime this week.

We really like Riga a lot. Many people speak English and are friendly. There are many interesting shops. It is easy to find your way around. The streets have old cobblestones in many areas. We also walked through a beautiful park on our walk.

We spent part of the day doing math and science and Jana says :ugggg: as I type. But hopefully she will feel like she is not behind when she gets there. She already knows most of the math. She has never done the scientific method things we were studying but she picked up on it very quick.

We probably won't hear about Izabella until next week. Our lawyer is spending the next few days with the New Horizons for Children team as they interview new children for the program. We saw a cute boy who lives across from Jana but his foster mom does not want him to go to America and he doesn't want to go. He looks like he could be a sibling for another child that was already adopted.

Well it is after 7 here and we are winding down.

Thank you for your prayers for our friend Patty she is improving but she is still very sick so please continue to pray for God's healing touch on her body and peace for her family.

God bless you all

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Court Day

We went to court this morning and it was so easy. Our wonderful adoption social worker, Kelley, told us it would be realtively easy but I guess we couldn't beleive it until we went through it. They gave us permission to pick up Jana and keep her with us.

It was a hard day for Jana as well as a good day. We all left the foster family with tear stained faces. They love her very much and she has been with them for 5 years. It was a very emotional day.

We had dinner at a nice little restuarant on our way back to Riga. Tomorrow we will be visited by the orphan court as they check to see that Jana is okay.

Tomorrow Daina our lawyer has a meeting with the orphan director to check on Izabella's status so we will hopefully know more before we leave.

Thank you for all your prayers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday in Latvia

Well we didn't sleep too well last night. There were fireworks going off for a while - at least that is what we hope they were :) but today has been a great day already. We talked to Jana a few minutes ago which of course made our day :) We will get to see her tomorrow and bring her back to Riga with us. We also heard some good news and praise to God our friend Patty is improving. We thank God for answered prayers!

We watched Charles Stanley this morning on TV. Funny :) Almost feels like home. We really like Latvia and the people are very friendly.

Facebook although it can be a distraction it is a wonderful thing while we are here along with Skype. We were able to talk to our pastor and his wife this morning and we skyped dad. Hoping the kids will be up soon so we can talk to them also.

We are going to watch Johnny online at FBCW in abit and then head out to see a little of Riga. We slept in really late this morning. I think we are still on Georgia time.

Brad was fretting a little about court tomorrow wondering what they are going to ask us. Hopefully it will be nothing like Belgorod court. So far adopting from Latvia as been smooth and easy process and we pray and trust God will continue to pave the way.

Love to you all

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We have arrived :)

We have arrived in Latvia and it is 3:30 Latvian time 8:30 Georgia time. We are happy to be off of the plane and in our apartment. We barely made our flight in Frankfurt. We had to catch a bus on the tarmac, then go through passport control, and then back through security to get to our next gate. It was crazy!

We are so glad to be here and we can't wait to see Jana. We will not get to see her until Monday after court.

The taxi driver was nice and got us here safely and with no worries :)

We were so glad to meet Inese. She is a wonderful lady who arranged our apartment for us. She has a huge heart for orphans.

It is rainining here and cool. It is so good to feel some cool air :)

Thank you all for your prayers and we will blog some more soon.
Paula and Brad

Friday, August 20, 2010

On our way

We are leaving today in just a few hours. I am trying to cram the last little bit in the suitcase :).
Today I stand in awe of the power of God for this miracle he has made happen and how his eye has been on my Jana. He promises orphans they will not be forgotten and he will set the lonely in families. Praise God!!

Please pray for our kids and parents while we are gone.

Next message will hopefully be from Latvia :)
Prayer needs:
Patty - very sick with unkown infection
Brad's dad
Paula's mom
Aiden and Addie - premies
Gayle -Anne

God bless you all

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Counting Down the Days

We are counting down the days. Brad did some shopping for gifts yesterday and hit the bank today for clean bills - they are so hard to find. I can't believe we leave on Friday :) Tomorrow we move Allen in to his apartment and Thursday is our 21st wedding anniversary - wow how time flies - I have been married longer than I was not married :)

Please lift up these prayers:
Brad's dad - cancer
My mom Jan
Patty - sick with very bad infection
Aiden and Addison -twins born premature
My sister Gayle-Anne

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane :)

We are leaving this Friday for Latvia and we are so excited to see our daughter again. She is anxiously awaiting our arrival. We have decided to try to blog since that might be easier than trying to email you all from Latvia. Please continue your prayer for our family. Pray for the boys to be protected at home while we are away. Allen starts the new semester on the Monday we arrive in Latvia. Please also pray that we can find out more about Izabella's availability for adoption.

Philiipians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.