Thoughts on the Meaning of Life… Todd Helmkamp

This Is Why We Chose the Democratic Republic of Congo….

Posted by Vogeler on December 4, 2011

So the election results should be announced soon. The word on the street is that if the current president is re-elected, things will get nasty, but if he isn’t then it should quiet down soon. Many people have already left the Democratic Republic of Congo, crossing the border into neighboring Congo to escape the threat of the violence. As we know so little of the true situation, I just ask that you pray for the safety of our little girl and those she is with, and that God’s Will be done.

Also, there is a polio epidemic in the Congo right now. It’s strange to hear of diseases that are extremely rare in the US taking such a terrible toll. It reminds me to be so thankful that God has placed me in such safety. Please pray that our dear little one be healthy.

Also please pray for F. She is a little girl that has been matched with a family, but there have been no updates on her status or condition for a while. Please pray the she be safe, and that things are proceeding on schedule for her and her family.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support, they truly mean so much to us!


Posted in Adoption, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Things to Pray About

Posted by Vogeler on November 13, 2011

We have received some updates on the situation in the Congo.  Depending on how closely you follow world events, you may or may not know that there is a presidential election coming up in the next couple of weeks.  Apparently, there are some serious worries that the election will not be honest and that there will be a lot of violence occurring.  As a result, any travel to the Congo has been suspended until January 1st.

Please pray that:

1.  Anyone connected to our agency is kept safe.

2.  The election is resolved peacefully

3.  Travel is resumed sooner than expected.

Also, we have received word that several of the children have succumbed to meningitis.  All of the children who have died had referrals to families with our agency.  We don’t know if our little Adia is one of them, but hopefully we will know soon.

Please pray that God’s will be done in this situation, and please pray for us and for any of the families who have lost their child.  It may seem strange as we have never met her, but we already love her so much, and I am sure it is the same with the other families.

There are a lot of frightening things happening right now, a lot of uncertainty.  But, God is in control, and things will happen according to His will.  Adoption is messy; so many things can go wrong, so much fear, so much pain.  But to give a child the chance for a better life is worth it; even if Adia has gone to be with our Lord, we would do it all over again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


Posted by Vogeler on November 7, 2011

It’s funny how a few simple things can ease a sore heart, lift the dark clouds of a rotten day.

Today, it’s “Bittersweet” by Jim Brickman, “Redeemer” by Paul Cardall, and the picture “A New Adventure”, found on

Posted in Ramblings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


Posted by Vogeler on October 27, 2011

We finally have some more news about the adoption!  Some abandonment decrees are almost finished (an abandonment decree is an official statement by a government that a child is abandoned and able to be adopted), and hopefully ours is one of them!  If so, we should be able to go get our little sweetie in January/February as planned.  We can’t wait!  We are traveling up to Ann Arbor, Michigan next Tuesday to get our biometrics taken (whatever that means;  I assume it means things like fingerprints, etc) with Homeland Security.  Maybe I’ll get to meet Gary Quesenberry from TopShot on the History Channel, haha!

In other news, inspired by the pictures of snowfall in her town by my friend Mer, I broke out the Christmas music yesterday.  Sorry Kelly, at least you don’t have to listen to it.  🙂

A few months ago I downloaded the iTunes Holiday Sampler, and I have to say it’s excellent. Three songs really stand out:  “It Snowed” by Meaghan Smith, “Dream a Dream” by Charlotte Church, and “A Snowflake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss)” by Glasvegas.  All three very much worth a listen.

Posted in Adoption, Fun Stuff, Ramblings | 6 Comments »

The Disconnect

Posted by Vogeler on October 4, 2011

We were made to connect with each other.  Even those of us who are introverts still have a need for deep, meaningful relationship.  Until relatively recently, the realities of daily life meant that people were dependent on each other.  People came together for social interaction, to help with large projects such as farming or building, and for mutual defense.  But now we have all of these new and wonderful technologies (most of which I do enjoy) that, while useful, often act as a substitute for true relationship, true community.  I’ve experienced this myself.  I have grown extremely close to a group of people on an internet chat board, while only having shallow and transitory relationships in real life.   And I have sat playing video games for hours on end rather than talking with my neighbors or playing with my children.

But lately I’ve become dissatisfied with some of the relationships in my life.  I’m no longer interested in friendships that bring no meaning or depth to my life.  I’m no longer interested in relationships with people who aren’t committed to growth, whether mental, spiritual, or emotional.  I’m no longer interested in relationships with people who aren’t interested in forming actual connections.  Quite frankly, I don’t have the time or energy to invest in relationships from which I get little to no return.  Thankfully, I have a small number of men with whom I am developing real friendships, but it’s a slow process, and I often feel like I am very alone in this.

I don’t know the answer to this problem, but I do know that many of the problems plaguing our society stem directly from our lack of “interconnectedness” and dependence on each other.  I want to strongly encourage you, dear readers (all 7 of you, haha!) to consciously look at your relationships, and work to deepen them (I said “work” because it is work, and hard work indeed!).  Even though it may be difficult or uncomfortable at first, I promise you the rewards will be well worth the cost.

Posted in Questions for Debate, Ramblings | 6 Comments »


Posted by Vogeler on September 21, 2011

Note:  For this post, I’m borrowing an idea from a new friend (thanks, Mer!).  She is currently writing a blog in the format of letters to their soon-to-be daughter.  So, this post is a bit different, as I’m writing it to my little sweetie.  Someday, when she’s old enough, I’ll sign it and give it to her.  ~Todd

Dear Daughter,

Things are moving quickly now, and it seems like we’ll get to bring you home soon!  We can’t wait!  Your brothers ask about you all the time, and we pray for you every night before bedtime.   I can’t tell you how much I want to hold you, listen to you, read to you, play dress up and dolls and tea party.  I can’t tell you how much we ache to bring you to our home, to care for you, to soothe your hurts.

I want you to know that, no matter what, when we bring you home, we are your Forever Family.   I don’t care what issues you may have from past hurts, what emotional baggage you bring, we are your Forever Family.  I don’t care how long it takes you to adjust, how many times you wake up screaming in fear, how many times you reject us, how long it takes for you to accept that you truly are staying with us.  I don’t care how many doctor visits, how many therapists we see, we are your Forever Family.  And we will never abandon you.

We love you.  From Mommy and Daddy, Luke and Brennan.  Forever.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Another Adoption Tragedy

Posted by Vogeler on September 21, 2011

Nanette and Michael Craver, who adopted two children from Russia, have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of their adopted son, Nathaniel.  You can read about the case here.

Regardless of whether they are directly or indirectly responsible, this case demonstrates some of the extreme difficulties that come with international adoption.  So many of these children have been abused all their lives, have health and developmental disabilities, and have never known love.

Its not something to enter blindly.

On a brighter note, here is a blog I highly encourage you to read, about and adoptive family facing the same issues, but who respond with ever-increasing love.  That’s the key, people.  At 4 am when your child is awake and throwing a tantrum and you are at your wit’s end, only love can keep you together.





Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A Mountain of Paperwork

Posted by Vogeler on September 16, 2011

We just got news that our dossier looks good and is ready to send in.  Hurray!  And next week, we’ll submit our forms to Immigration.  Things are moving right along!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


Posted by Vogeler on August 30, 2011

Today has been a whirlwind day.  We got to see pictures for the first time of the beautiful child who might become ours.  We got the news that she has been “assigned” to us, pending our financial readiness and her health screening.  We got the news that our loan has been approved, so we are in the final stages of preparation!  As soon as all of our paperwork is turned in, the process to bring her home starts.

I’m kind of in shock that everything is moving so quickly!  I can’t wait until we get to bring our little blessing home!

Posted in Adoption, Announcements | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Forward Progress!

Posted by Vogeler on August 19, 2011

Well, we got all of our documents and the contract notarized yesterday, so we’re about ready to send that in to our agency.  A very gracious family loaned us the money for our application fee (almost $6,000!) interest-free, so that’s a great blessing.  We’re getting ready to submit our loan and grant applications, so we should be in good shape financially.

Apparently, not many people want girls (why, I don’t know), especially toddlers, so we’re at the top of the list and could get our referral at any time after our docs are turned in.  From our referral date, it would be around 5-9 months until we go to bring her home!  I can’t believe how quickly things can go.  It’s kind of frightening, but we’re really learning how to trust and lean on God during all of this.

Yesterday was a bit difficult with the boys, they were pretty crazy and jumping on each other, fighting, etc., and I actually caught myself thinking, “We’re introducing another child into this mix?!?”  But hopefully she’ll be on the quiet side.  🙂

And I start grad school on Monday.  Perhaps my timing is  bit off.  🙂

Posted in Adoption, Announcements, Things I'm Doing | 2 Comments »