Noonday Collection Trunk Show


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I am excited and extremely humbled to share an opportunity that has unexpectedly come our way. A friend of mine from church is hosting a Noonday Collection Trunk Show party this week. If you haven’t heard of Noonday Collection, they’re a fantastic company that runs similar to the other house-party models: in-house and book parties to sell various items. What is truly unique about Noonday Collection, however, is that each of their items is a “fair trade” item, which means that it is handcrafted by a woman or women in third world countries or poverty stricken areas here in the US, and that these women are paid fair wages for their work, which is not usually the case in these areas. This setup provides dignity, purpose, and the ability to provide into these women’s lives.Noonday Impact

The exciting part about all of this for us is that as my friend was preparing for her party, she discovered that she could choose to donate 10% of the proceeds from her party to someone who is in the process of adopting, and she has so graciously chosen to honor Terry and I and our adoption process with this incredible gift. 

Noonday Hands

If you have any interest in checking out the Noonday Collection website and their available offerings, you can visit They have unique, beautiful items that are great for personal use, or something to consider as the holiday season approaches, and as I said, every purchase helps to provide a fair job and wage opportunity for a woman who has been in crisis. On the website you can also find stories of the actual women who work for Noonday Collection as artisans, and learn more about their personal stories.

Noonday Ethiopia

If you would like to order something, you just need to do a few specific things at checkout to ensure that your order counts toward my friend’s party. First, choose Brooke Barker in the pull-down list for Ambassador, and second, type in Char Schleucher 10.3.13 in the space for trunk show name. Finally, orders can be placed any time starting now and ending no later than Sunday, October 6 in order to count towards this party. Items will ship directly to you, so no need to worry about how you will get your items!

Terry and I, and our somewhere-out-there, so-very-loved babies, thank you more than our words can say.


Ethiopia Trip Video



One of the girls that was on the trip with us in August put together a video of the trip as part of a presentation when she returned to school; she included photos and video clips set to music, and she really captured a lot of the emotion and the experience of the trip that I don’t think we can do with just our words.

My favorite moment? Terry being bombarded by kids, somewhere in the middle of the video.

With our friend’s permission, we’re able to share her video with you*:

Video Image


*Clicking the photo above will link you to our adoption website; the video is embedded on the home page and you can view it there.

Ethiopia Trip Overview


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As you may know, we’ve had our feet back on American soil for 18 days now. Two and a half weeks. And you may have noticed, we haven’t said a word here about the trip. I think I’ve finally figured out the reason for that.

Addis Ababa

Our trip was huge. Life-changing. And we’ve been processing that, both together and separately.

I think the other reason for the silence is that we simply don’t know what to say. Today I want to answer some of the questions that we’ve been asked most frequently, and then I have a question for you.

1. How was your trip?

We both agree that we could talk about this for days without ever really making anyone understand. The truth is, without being there yourself, you simply can’t get it. Before we went, we thought we were prepared for what we would encounter, but it simply isn’t possible. This trip changed our hearts and our perspectives. The smells, the sounds, the people absolutely everywhere; every detail of life there is completely different than the life we experience here. We walked through muddy creeks to visit ministries and homes, met so many new people, saw wild donkeys, goats, dogs, sheep, and monkeys, ate new foods, fell in love with complete strangers, got caught in the pouring rain, worshipped in another language, saw a donkey run into the side of the van in front of us and bounce off (unharmed!). We were caught in the craziest traffic jam ever, we brushed our teeth with bottled water, we threw our toilet paper in the waste basket because the Ethiopian plumbing can’t handle it. We hugged more people than I maybe ever have in my life, and we were stared at as a minority not often seen. We laughed, joked, experienced, and processed. And then as suddenly as the trip came up, we were back home again.


Muddy Creek


2. Did you meet your child or children?

We met a whole lot of kids on this trip. We visited three different orphanages, where we did meet some kids available for adoption, as well as kids who are already in the process of being adopted, kids who live with their birth families but benefit from a sponsorship program, and kids who can no longer live with their birth families but are deemed unadoptable by the legal system. It’s entirely possible that we met our child or children. It’s also completely possible that we didn’t. There’s just no way to know at this point. God’s plans are bigger and better than ours, and we are doing our very best to simply follow His lead.

Ambo Families

Shone Kids

3. When will you go back?

Unless something drastic changes, we won’t be returning to Ethiopia until we are assigned a court date; we do not get to choose our court date. Before that happens, our dossier has to be processed and approved, and we have to receive and accept a referral. Every adoption process is unique, so there is no set timeline. Our best guess is that we won’t be traveling again for at least six months; it could be much longer than that, or there’s a small chance that it could be sooner.




Now, here’s my question to you: what do you want to know about our time in Ethiopia? Post your answers here in the comments, or over on our Facebook page, and then we can work on telling you the things that you’re most curious about.

The Announcement: Going Public

After we were finally able to tell everyone that we wanted to tell in person, we sent out a newsletter to many family and friends with more information about exactly what we are doing and why. In doing some research on the Internet, I realized that people (understandably) have lots of questions about adoption; it’s simply an unknown entity for many, many people. Our goal with the newsletter was to hopefully answer many of the frequent questions right off the bat, and share a bit of what motivated us to take this path.

Initial Newsletter Page 1 Initial Newsletter Page 2

The newsletter went over really, really well, and did exactly what we hoped for ~ it let people know what we were up to and answered lots of their questions, as well as started many great conversations!

Finally, we took to our social media pages, created a Facebook page for our adoption, and announced with a specially designed cover photo:

Adoption Announcement Cover

Yes, there we are, from our first date at 15 and 16, throughout our dating years, to our wedding, and finally to this newest step we’re taking!

And finally, finally, our exciting news was out in the open.

The Announcement: Telling Our Families

We were so excited to share our news with our immediate family members (and of course, with everyone!), but with my parents and my sister living in different cities, it took a little maneuvering to get to tell everyone in person, without anyone accidentally finding out in the meantime!

The first step we took was to figure out a weekend that we were able to switch our plans a little to make the four hour drive to my parents house, and show up unannounced! In conversations with my Mom, I made sure they didn’t have any plans for the evening, and then we headed across the state. When we got to their town, we weren’t exactly sure what to do because we weren’t sure what time my Dad would get home from work; we didn’t want to arrive until they were both there, and we didn’t want to wait too long either that they left the house again. As luck would have it, we stopped at the gas station near their house to freshen up after our drive, and we saw my Dad there!!! Picture the two of us, diving into our car to literally hide from my Dad… We then were able to follow him home, and ring their doorbell just a few minutes later. They were shocked to see us because, living so far away from all of their family, they absolutely never have unexpected guests. It was a fabulous surprise, and we hadn’t even gotten to the good stuff yet!

Mom & Dad 1 Mom & Dad 2 Mom & Dad 3

With the way schedules worked out, we weren’t able to tell my sister until nearly two weeks later (!), so our plan was to wait a little bit before telling Terry’s parents and brother. But, we got too excited, so we went over to their house the same night that we got back from my parents’ house.

Karen 1


Karen 2

And finally, after an excruciating two weeks, we got to tell my sister. She was already coming to our house, so just before we headed out for our evening plans, we surprised her. Following are my absolutely favorite set of photos (that I hope my sister loves me enough to not mind me sharing!!):

Jaime 1 Jaime 2 Jaime 3 Jaime 4 Jaime 5

And last but not least, it just didn’t work out for us to tell our niece in person, so we told her via Skype:

Hailey 1 Hailey 2 Hailey 3

I love the love, fun, and emotion in all of these different photos!

The Announcement: Preparation

Announcing an adoption is a bit of a tricky thing to do, and we spent a little time brainstorming exactly how we would tell our immediate families, and then our extended families, and then our friends and acquaintances.

For our immediate families, we came up with a fun little game: we made three identical baskets, one each for my parents, Terry’s parents and brother, and my sister. The baskets had six individually wrapped gifts in them, that had really nothing to do with each other.

Wrapped Basket Individual Gifts

After the confusion of the gifts, we then gave them notecards with clues, and they had to match each clue to the right gift.

The Clues


The clues:

  • A perfect blend of dark and light
  • Sometimes sloppy…
  • … but always a cutie.
  • Coming to you from oceans away.
  • Continuing to grow, year after year.
  • The source of many wonderful things.

Can you figure out which clue goes with which gift??

After all of the clue guessing and matching, we finally said, okay, we have one more item that should help you. Each person then received a frame with the following:

Grandma &  Grandpa


Personalized of course, for each set of grandparents, and one for Auntie Jaime and one for Uncle Derek!

Telling Hailey was another trick altogether, until I discovered an absolutely fantastic company that makes dolls from different cultures. Each doll has a character based on a real person, and tells the story of her life and culture. So we bought Hailey Rahel (Rah-heel) from Ethiopia, and she was a huge hit!

We had tons of fun together getting everything ready.

Terry Wrapping Katie Wrapping