Monday, April 28, 2008


OK. I know I'm going to sound crazy, but here it goes... we went to church on Sunday, which was great. The kids love church. After 2nd and 3rd service they had a meet and greet/reception for us and the kids so that whoever wanted to, could come by and meet the all our new children and see the rest of us since we've been gone so long. It was amazing to see all the support and love for our family (thank you Hope and Life... you truly are our family!). We were given so many gift cards and other gifts. It felt really awkward because we're not use to being showered with that type of attention. We'd rather be on the giving end than the receiving end. But it was amazing none the less, thank you everyone who came by! When it was all over Pastors Tony and Gwen asked us if we'd like to go and get a bite to eat with them... we were all so tired but it had been so long since we've been able to see them so we said, "yes." We went to a Mexican restaurant right down the street from the church. Now, in case you don't know this, brazilian food isn't spicey. Actually it's kind of bland in comparison to Mexican food. We didn't know if the kids would like mexican food but we didn't care because we just ate their food for 46 days and you didn't hear us complaining... well maybe you did a little bit. Anyway, off we went. When we got there and were waiting for our food to arrive we were all eating chips and salsa. Gabriel was sitting next to me and he likes to touch everything! He also eats just about anything (remember our blogs from Brazil?). But I know he doesn't like spicey food. He kept on wanting to dip his chip in the salsa like everyone else. So, to teach him a lesson and to make sure he wouldn't want to dip his chip in the salsa anymore... I took his chip and scooped up a nice heaping blob of salsa and let him take a big bite. As he was chewing, it seemed like it took at least 20 seconds (delayed reaction?) and he then cupped his hand over his mouth and made the sound you make when something is hot... all the while his other hand was waving up and down in a fanning motion. Of course I was laughing the whole time because it was funny (it is funny, right?). Then I picked him up and whisked him away to the bathroom so that I could rinse his mouth out with cold water. When we were finished I asked him if he wanted any more salsa and he said, "NO!" So, mission accomplished... he will probably never touch the salsa bowl again. Wow, this parenting thing keeps getting easier and easier...LOL! Now here's where the 'payback' comes in. When we were finished, Matthew, Gabriel and Diogo wanted to ride home with me in my truck. We all sat in the front seat next to each other (in seatbelts, of course) just driving along, minding our own business, nobody talking. We drove for about 25 minutes everybody was happy, listening to music, singing... it was very relaxing. We were about 3/4 of a mile from the house...then it happened. I looked down at Gabriel, who was wedged in between Matthew and Diogo, and he just looked me in the eyes... and he kind of had a blank look on his face. He then looked down and began throwing up! I'm not talking a few little spirts of liquid either... I'm talking projectile, solid column hold your mouth open and let it all fly vomit! And of course it was salsa colored! He did it back to back 3 times in about 30 seconds! It was everywhere! We couldn't do anything because we were all wedged in the front seat and couldn't move. The only thing we could do was sit there and watch in horror. Matthew rolled his window down and said, "Dad it smells soooo bad... I think I'm going to throw up!" I said, "please just hold on... we're almost home!" I reached my arm around Gabriel and started to rub the back of his head to let him know it was alright... then he looked back at me and smiled reeeal big. Now this is where you're going to think I'm crazy... I could swear to you that when he looked at me and smiled he had that look of "that will teach you to put spicey salsa in my mouth, won't it Dad?" Payback! Lesson learned son, Daddy's sorry (it was still funny though). Maybe this parenting thing isn't that easy after all.

Everyone is doing great. It was such a blessing to see our kids in church clapping and raising their hands, in participation, during the worship. No one told them to participate. They saw everyone else doing it and felt comfortable enough to want to join in. That makes all of our struggles worth it. To know that these kids are going to be raised in a christian home with christian parents who have all christian friends and family, who attend a church that isn't afraid to worship God and reach out to change the's such a blessing. I'm still in awe of the way God pulled this whole thing together. He took a couple with no desire to enlarge their family, without the resources to make it happen, without the space in their home to house 5 extra children adequately, who had busy schedules and... bam! Our hearts were changed when we realized the enormous amount of orphaned children in our world, he provided over $40,000.00 to bring the children home, He worked through friends and family to enlarge our home and He was able to make all of these things happen in spite of our busy schedules. So if you're contemplating stepping out in faith on something God has laid on your heart, even though it seems crazy... go for it! You're going to be amazed at what He will do for you if you are only willing to step out and trust Him.

Love ya,

Jim and MJ

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Where's all that water coming from?

We went to my sister-in-law's house to let all of our kids play together. I was talking to my nephews and nieces and then I noticed something... Gabriel just sat down on one of the tri-cycles and there was water dripping from the seat???... not just a couple of drops, but a steady trickle. At first I thought the seat had gotten wet by rain or something and when he sat down on it, that it was squeezing all the water out of it... then it hit me (I was still a little slow... jet lag, you know.)... he's peeing in his pants on purpose! What!? I told him to stop and picked him up and took him to the bathroom for the interrogation. What are you thinking? I was so mad. Here I was wanting to show off my new family and one of them is peeing all over himself on purpose. He's 4 years old and doesn't have accidents. We didn't have any extra clothes or anything... is he just trying to embarrass me (it's always about me, of course.)? I was livid. What would possess someone to pee all in their pants with that many people around and the bathroom only a few steps away? I have to confess... I was beside myself. Then, after I cooled down and was able to get my head around the situation, I realized it was his turn (finally) for the tricycle and if he got up, someone else would jump on it (there were literally another 20-25 kids there) and he would loose his turn. Now, I felt bad. I had just gotten all over my son and I didn't know the whole story. I just took it as something against me... embarrassing, inconvenient, un-necassary. I've never told anyone this, so keep it a secret... sometimes as a parent I over-react. Shocking, I know. I know you never do that, right? (note to self: try to get all the information before you react) You'd think that I'd have this parenting thing down by now. We've been doing it for almost 19 years now but I guess there's always areas we can improve in. It's just hard as an adoptive parent starting with kids who already have personalities and a history. You definitely have to take a step back and try to look at things from their perspective, in light of where they've come from and what they've experienced in their lives. Gabriel never had a tricycle. He was having so much fun that he didn't want to take a chance on losing his turn. Sorry Lord, for getting so upset. Help me to be more patient.

Sorry about not blogging more this week. It was very busy for us trying to get back into the swing of work and everything else involved with comng home. The kids are doing great. There haven't been any problems to speak of. The transition has been great. We're just trying to get into the groove of how to get things done when there are this many kids around. If anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. You know, I was having such a good time writing the blog today, I decided to just sit here and pee in my pants so I wouldn't have to stop writing... so I better go.

Love ya,

Jim and MJ

Monday, April 21, 2008

Everything is perfect now

It's so weird... now that we've obeyed God and adopted these 5 awesome children, there are no other problems or challenges in our life. We don't have to deal with frustrations or negative emotions like anger or fear. It's amazing how when you 'obey' your entire life becomes so simple with no complications... yeah, right! Just because you're obedient doesn't mean we won't encounter all that junk. It means we'll have even more opportunity to wade through that kind of stuff. It was funny, today was my first day back to the office and MJ's first day without me there to help with the kids. Work went relatively good. I only had to bite my tongue about 15 times, count to ten 3 times and ask God to forgive me for a bad attitude twice (and that was in the first hour there!). Several things didn't go the way I wanted and I even received an email complaint about the sermon I preached the Sunday before I left... great! Welcome back! Then after I completed going through my 'in' box and answering emails I finally headed home. About 3 miles from the office I felt my truck shaking and I stopped and looked and yep, I had a flat tire! Awesome! I didn't have a spare either. So I fell down to my knees right there on the side of the road, looked toward heaven, shook my fists and cried out, "why God!" Just kidding. Everything was true up until the part where I fell to my knees... even though I felt like it. I had to call my little brother to come rescue me and he did... then I was finally able to head home. When I walked through the door Maryssa handed me a sheet of paper and it said, 10 tires, 1 chain, 2 seats and 1 handle bar." I said, "what's this?" She said, "that's what we need for you to fix so that all of our bikes work." "And we want you to do it now." What! I just walked through the door!? Are you serious? Yep. She was. They had been waiting all day for me to get home so I could fix them. Great. So, I told them to load all the bikes in the back of my truck and I would take them to Papa's because he has a compressor and tools. They did and we went and I fixed all of them except for 2. I put too much air in 2 of the tires and they exploded... it sounded like gun shots! I was too lazy to use a tire pressure gage and was just guessing on how much air to add... oops. As far as MJ, her day went great with the kids. My mother came over, Pastor Gwen and Carmen dropped food off and there were only minimal injuries (two bloody noses... Diogo and Robert) and only 2 spankings (Diogo and Robert... by the way, this had nothing to do with the bloody noses). A pretty smooth day. The kids are having a blast playing in the yard. When I finally got home from work and fixing bikes, MJ and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen watching all the kids playing in the back yard. We just can't believe how far we've come and how great the kids are doing. Just think... this time 3 months ago, these kids were all stuck in a small, cold, lonely orphanage with no family or place to call home. And now look at them... happy, secure, full of joy. Wow. Thank you Lord for allowing us to be the ones to do this... everything isn't perfect, but that's OK, it doesn't have to be.

Love ya,

The Dunn 10

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I love America!

As we got off the plane in Miami a female security guard was standing there at the end of the tunnel. She looked at me and said, "good morning." I was so happy to hear someone speak english that I wanted to kiss her! She was a rather large woman, she had a gun and MJ was standing next to me, so I didn't. I just gave her a smile and said, "good morning." MJ just looked at me and said,"you're happy to be back in the States aren't you?" There are no words to explain how good it feels to be back. I'm sorry for not blogging Friday and Saturday. Friday we were on planes all day and we didn't get home until Saturday afternoon. When we finally got in bed yesterday I had gone almost 40hrs with no sleep (you can't count closing your eyes on an airplane for 20miutes sleeping) and I didn't have any energy to blog. We almost didn't make it out of immigration in time for our flight to Atlanta. The story is too long to tell, but let's just say... they were actually closing the door to the plane as we were running up to gate... all 11 of us. But we boarded our flight to Atlanta and an hour and a half later we were on the ground... totally relieved and exhausted. Whew, we made it! It didn't seem real. But then I looked and saw the 5 extra kids in our crew and thought, "yep, it's real! When we arived at baggage claim we were met by my little brother, my sister-in-law and several of my nephews and neices. But then I noticed my mother! She had driven in from Florida to meet us. That was a nice surprise. Summit Baptist had let Carolyn use their 29 passenger van to pick us up (thanks Mike, for driving!). When we pulled in to our subdivision, turned the corner and pulled up to the front of our house, there were several cars there. Also, more of my nephews were standing out front holding a big welcome home banner with our pictures on it (thanks Berk and Janee'). When we got inside we were taking our kids to show them their rooms and when we opened the door to the boys room all there stuff was gone and michaels stuff was in there.??? What was going on? So we went upstairs to Michael's room and it was empty. Then my sister-in-law opened the door that led to our attic storage and there it was... a brand new bedroom for 4 of the boys and a new bathroom! My two sister-in-laws had gotten together with several of our friends and a few local businesses and coordinated a extreme makeover 'Dunn Edition' and added on to our house! MJ and I just sat there and cried as we hugged each other. And as my 2 sister-in-laws told us the story of all the people involved in pulling it off, we were so blown away. We had no clue that this was happening. The electrical, plumbing, framing, sheetrock, carpet, tile, paint... everything was done by volunteers! Some people gave money for materials, some businesses donated materials... it looks amazing. Now our kids have more space and it makes our home feel brand new. Our Pastors and the church gave us a brand new washer and dryer also! It was one of the happiest days of our lives. We couldn't believe that people we knew, and some we didn't, actually cared enough to do this for us. I asked my sister-in-law to give me a list of everyone who helped. So, as soon as I get it, you'll be hearing from us. Thank you so much for caring for our family. The whole day was made perfect when Quinn brought dinner to us... Shanes BBQ! Oh, yeah! You don't know how good it was to put one of those mouth watering smoked BBQ ribs in my mouth... I just know God invented BBQ! I ate so much I hurt myself.

The kids have been doing great here at the house. They have been having so much fun playing in their own yard and jumping on the trampoline. A lot of the things that we were thinking were going to be a problem (like touching everything in the house) haven't even been an issue. My mother is in town until Sunday. She is so funny. She brought all these gifts for all of the kids. But she doesn't give them to them all at once. She will go out to her car and get something and when they've played with it for a while she'll go out and get another, then wait a while and go get another... this pretty much goes on all day while she's here. And I think she likes torturing me because she doesn't give them gifts that are parent friendly... like crayons and coloring books or lego's... you know, quiet stuff. She gives them things that are annoying. One of the first things she gave them to day was a synthesizer with thousands of sound effects on it. Then she gave them electronic drums. Then she gave them a snow cone machine that actually grinds ice for snow cones! Do you know how loud and obnoxious a snowcone machine is when it's making that many snow cones? Anyway, the kids are loving it so I guess that's all that matters.
We love being home in America. We are so blessed here in this country. You hear people say it all the time when they come back from the mission field or after they've traveled to a foriegn land... but it's true. We are really are blessed here.
Tomorow is my first day back at work and MJ's first day home with the kids... so I'm sure I'll have some good info for you. Thanks again for all your prayers and support. We love you guys.

Love ya,

The Dunn 10

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Of course he stepped in it!

If you've been following our blog you know that Gabriel has an uncanny ability to find the only mud puddle in the the vicinity and fall in it, or if there is only small speck of dirt or grease somewhere he will find it and get it on his clothes. Well, we all went on a walk this morning and for an older city the streets are pretty clean. I am not exaggerating when I say that I haven't seen any of 'this' anywhere the whole time we've been here. If you're wondering what 'this' is... I'm talking about dog poop. I haven't seen any anywhere (not that I've been searching.) ! But as we were walking, Gabriel stepped in a big pile of it right on the city sidewalk! Where did it come from (well, I know the answer to that.)? But how is it that hundreds of other people could walk right by it this morning but yet my son has to step in it? Not only did he step in it but he tried to wipe it off on the top of his other shoe. So, now he has dog poop on the bottom of one shoe and the top of another... awesome! We had a plastic grocery bag with us so I tried to wipe as much as I could off. But all I did was smear it into the treads of his shoe even deeper. Somehow I now have dog poop on my finger, I'm carrying a bag with dog poop on it and we're several blocks away from the hotel... this is just great! As we were trying to make our way back to the hotel Gabriel decided to step on the top of my foot (and of course he did it with the shoe with dog poop on bottom and not the top). I had flip flops on so now I have dog poop on my hand and on the top of my foot... fabulous! It's funny now, but I wasn't happy walking the crowded streets of Rio covered with dog poop. I guess it just adds to my experience here in Brazil, huh?

When we were walking through the lobby this morning, all the people at the front desk were staring at me and smiling. So I said, "what! You lookin at me?!" Just kidding. They were staring and smiling though. The concierge motioned for me to come over and when I stepped up to the counter he placed a newspaper right in front of me and said, "that's you!" It was an article abut MJ and I adopting the kids with a picture. That was pretty cool, even though I couldn't read it. One thing we could read though was that they had MJ's age as 47! Of course she was really excited to see that... not! FYI... she is 37.

So today, except for the dog poop incident and having our picture in the paper, it was fairly uneventful. We hung out inside the hotel until around 2:00pm then we went down to the beach. It was overcast but the water was beautiful. Again, the kids had a great time. Of course everyone was complaing about being chapped from the day before (remember the whole male bathing suit thing?). We headed back to the hotel around 5:00pm, showered, fed everyone and 1 more day was complete! Only 1 more to go. We will be boarding a plane here in Rio @ 8:00pm tomorrow, headed for home! Praise God! It doesn't even seem real. We're a little nervous but we know that everything is going to be great once we get back to our own environment. Several people have emailed wondering if we were going to continue this blog once we get home. The answer is yes. We will continue it as we get home and transition the kids into our 'American' environment. It should be interesting because up until 2 days ago they have never been outside of Curitiba, Brazil. We really appreciate everyone who has followed our journey through this blog. Just in case you didn't know it, this has been very therapeutic for me writing everyday. Having this avenue to communicate what we are experiencing has been great. On days when we didn't think we were going to make it, just being able to type out our experience somehow made it more manageable. It has also been a good way for us to chronicle this experience for our kids. Finally, just knowing so many people have been reading all over the United States and Brazil (hello Carla) has made us feel like we weren't in this alone. So, thanks again for being there for us.

Before I finish for the day, I would like to publicly thank my mother-in law and my father-in-law. Howard and Marilyn Moore, in case you don't know them, not only are they great examples to the rest of the family but they are great examples to everyone they have the opportunity to meet. They were very kind to come with us on this trip, knowing full well what they were in for. You see, they did this last year with MJ's older sister and her family. Now I have asked myself, "why would anyone want to do this twice?" Jesus would have to show up personally, in an open vision, point His finger at me and say, "Go to Brazil for 46 days, thus sayeth me." Then I would still have to pray about it! Because it wasn't easy. But that's the way they are. I've known them for over 21 years now and they have been the same way since day one. They were missionaries for over 30 years and have faithfully served the Lord. They retired a few years ago and they are busier now than before. They are always helping someone with something... because they are givers. My family and I will be forever grateful to you for helping us through this time and for putting up with all the drama (mostly from MJ, because I'm so easy to get along with...LOL). We know that this isn't how you envisioned spending your retirement. Wait a minute!... that's it! My father-in-law is 70 and my mother-in-law is 67... they're senile! That's why they volunteered for this. I knew it had to be something. We love you. Thank you.

Love ya,

The Dunn 10

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"There is a major design flaw in these things!"

Who designed the men's/boy's bathing suit? That's my question for the day. But before I expound on why I want to know, let me tell you how it went at the American Embassy...We were there around 7:30 this morning and left around 11:30. We were given crazy favor with the people who were reviewing our case. They approved all of our visa requests in spite of the fact that we didn't have all the required paperwork! Even though it was very stressful trying to contain all the kids in the waiting room(mainly by MJ, because I was in the office with the case worker), we're so blessed. They pushed everything through with just my 'word' on a few things, without written documentation. That's favor! And that journalist, that I told you about a couple of days ago, spent about 45 minutes with us getting our adoption story while we waited. A photographer also took a bunch of shots of the family while we went through the process. It was cool getting to share what the Lord has laid on our hearts with them. When we got back to the hotel we fed the kids real quick and headed off for the beach. We had been trapped inside for almost 3 straight days and we had already had several meltdowns (kids and parents!) so it was time to get out! Let me say this... I know that yesterday I made the comment that Rio wasn't that pretty, but let me retract that statement. The places we passed yesterday on the way in weren't pretty but the places we saw today were beautiful. They have some amazing beaches and the scenery along the coast is breathtaking. When we got to the beach the waves were huge. There was a very strong undertow so, we couldn't really swim out far. But we stayed for about 4 hours and the kids loved it! They had never been to the beach before. They stayed in the water the whole time running back and forth trying to run from the waves and trying to avoid getting sucked back out to sea by the current. It was fun. So, back to my question... who designed the men's/boy's bathing suit? Does anyone know? I know in theory it 'sounds' like good idea, but that little underwear that is sewn into men's/boys bathing suits can really put a hurting on a guy. You know, that stuff made out of that net-like material? I know it allows water to flow through but did they ever think it might keep the sand in? It's like it acts like a big sieve that strategically removes the water while retaining those nice little sharp granules we know as sand! And I don't know about you, but I don't like being rubbed raw with every step I take because I'm carrying a dump truck load of sand around in the bottom of my specially designed aquatic underwear! Or maybe they should have at least put a warning label on them? It could say, "best used in swimming pools and lakes. Avoid using at the beach, at all costs, because it could cause severe chaffing and makes it difficult to walk if warn in salt water environments." I don't know, it's just a thought. I actualy had to take off Gabriel's bathing suit right there on the beach so that I could dump all of the sand from his pockets and underwear. And on the way home... it was funny. I wish you could have seen all of us boys (8 total) walking back from the beach after wearing our bathing suits with the net-like underwear... it was like we had just stepped off of the ranch after a long day of riding horses! We were all walking bow legged because we were rubbed raw! So thank you whoever you are... you, who designed our special mesh underwear inside our swim trunks.

Tomorrow we don't have anything scheduled. We will go to the Embassy on Friday and pick up the passports with the visas stamped in them, then we head for the airport and it's off to Atlanta! It looks like we're going to make it after all. So, thanks for all the prayers.

Love ya,
Rubbed Raw in Rio

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"What?" " You lookin at me?"

I have never been stared at like that before. It's like people never saw a large family before! Here we were, pushing 4 luggage carts, stacked sky high with every bag weighing the legal limit, through the airport in Curitiba. On one of the carts rode our two youngest sons, because it was easier to push them than it was to drag them. Once we checked our bags we walked to the gate. At this point we had put one of those kid leashes on Robert and one on Gabriel to keep them from escaping. It's funny, I use to look at parents who had those on their kids and I thought they were going just a little overboard on containing their child. That was then... this is now... because man, those things are awesome! I should have invested in one of those things a long time ago. Anyway, everybody just stared at us the whole time while we waited... like we were from another planet or something. We boarded our flight and the kids did great. It was their first time flying and they had a great time. They even got to sit in the cockpit! After we landed in Rio, and picked up our huge pile of luggage, we went to the taxi stand to arrange for transportation to our hotel (because that is what we were told to do by our liason). We requested a large van or a bus and the girl told us there weren't any and that we would have to get 4 taxi's at 80 reais each! Obviously she had lost her mind ( or she thought we were idiots, one.) because there was no way we were going to pay that much. We went out to the front of the airport and within 45 seconds we had procured a 15 passenger bus, on our own, for a fraction of what they were going to have us pay at the taxi stand (note to self: never use the taxi stand!). We loaded up all our luggage and the entire family and we were off to the hotel.

We were told before hand that Rio wasn't that nice... and they were right. As we drove down the highway, toward the hotel, you could see the impoverished delapidated houses that seemed to be everywhere. It was raining so everything just seemed even more drab. We pulled up to the hotel, in the rain, and my father-in-law and I went in to see the rooms (I had gone on the internet the other day and found this Hotel called The Apa Hotel for a really good deal and that can be scary sometimes.). When my father-in-law and I got on the elevator with the bellman to go see the room it was a little uncomfortable. You see in Brazil everything is small. From the glasses they drink out of to the cars they drive, to the size of the city streets. It seems like they are trying to maximize every square inch of everything. Everything makes you feel closter phobic. Well when we got on the elevator, just the 3 of us, my father-in-law and I were against the back wall and then the bellman got on. It wouldn't have been bad except that the elevator was literally 4' wide by 3' deep (For those of you who can't comprehend measurements... that's not big!). When the bellman got on he didn't face the door like us, he faced inward... and our faces were only about 4" away from each other. So here I was, face to face with this Brazilian bellman. I could actually feel the heat of his breath hitting me in the face! Did this dude want to kiss me? He was that close! I didn't want to look him in the eye because we were so close that just seemed weird and I didn't want to make eye contact. So, I just stared at the floor until we reached the 5th floor. Talk about uncomfortable! We arrived at our floor and we went in to see our rooms. It wasn't fancy, but the price was right and we had a van load of Dunn's waiting outside in the rain. So, I told him,"we'll take it." So back on the elevator we went... me, my father-in-law and my newfound friend, the Brazilian bellman... back in my face again... but this time I think I stared at the ceiling.

6 hours later...

We were stuck in our hotel room with all the kids the whole day today because it was raining! What's up with that? Talk about miserable. Being stuck in a 2star hotel with 7 kids all day ain't fun! Actually, I think it's the most torturous thing a person can endure, Im sure of it! We just finished feeding the kids and putting them down for bed. Finally, a moment to think. This was one of those days where you really have to know that the Lord has asked you to do this and that it wasn't some idea you came up with on your own. MJ and I were talking tonight about how doing it as unto the Lord is so much easier than even doing it as unto the kids. I don't know if that make sense or not but this is what I mean... we can love and really try to minister to these kids because we want to help them and because we love them... which is good. But, if we love, help and minister to these kids because we're doing it as a service to the Lord it's so much better. Because then it doesn't matter how they act or what torment we endure, in this prison called a hotel room, because it's all for Him instead of just them. Make sense? I hope so... sorry, I'm so tired it's hard to articulate what I'm thinking. So, I guess that's it for tonight. We have to get up at 6:00am and get the kids ready again. Our appointment at the American Embassy is at 7:45am. Please pray for favor as we apply for their visas. We are only a few days from coming home! Love you guys.

Love Ya,

Rained out in Rio

Monday, April 14, 2008

We're outa here!

Well, it's that time! We spent the whole day packing and getting ready to leave Curitiba. We will be headed to the airport at 7:45am tomorrow. We will be going to Rio for 4 days to get the visas for the new Dunn 5. Then it's home to Hotlanta! Man, I can't believe we made it. MJ and I were talking this morning and it really hasn't been that bad. Sure there have been times where we thought, "what in the world are we doing?" But for the most part it hasn't been that bad ( just really boring, doing the same things over and over). I guess it's like the whole childbirth thing where the mother doesn't remember the pain after it's over for the joy of the new baby. I did get to do something really cool today though. This definitely made my day. If you know me personally, you know that I am a huge MMA fan (that's mixed martial arts, you know...UFC, IFL, Pride, etc.). Well there is a world famous gym right here in Curitiba called Chute Boxe Academy. It is where Wanderli Silva (my favorite fighter), The Rua's and several other world champions from the UFC and Pride FC train. Now that may not mean much to you but to but to any fan it's a BIG deal. Well, I was able to meet and get my picture with Zito, who corners and trains all these guys! That was worth the trip to Curitiba in and of itself... plus 5 kids on top of that? Wow, I hit the jackpot!

It was weird. Earlier today, we were saying all of our goodbyes to all of the staff and to some of the residents, throughout the day, and I actually got a little bit misty eyed a few times. These people are very kind and gracious. They have been very good to my entire family. One of the ladies even baked a cake for us today. Thank you Betania and CCI staff.

In case you didn't know this, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law were just here in Brazil last year with MJ's sister and her family adopting 4 children. They really wanted to go back to the orphanage that my two neices were at to bring gifts and to take pictures. So, my in-laws, Matthew and Maryssa went late this afternoon to visit. After talking to them when they got back, I'm glad I didn't go. I don't think I could have handled it emotionally. If you scroll back up to all the pictures I posted on today's blog you will see why. These kids are so cute! There isn't any way that you could look into their eyes and not want to do something to help them. There are 15 children in this particular orphanage. There was a sibling group of two children ages 3 and 1 that had just been put into the orphanage last week. Maryssa told me that the 3 year old just sat there and cried wanting her mother. When it was time to leave Maryssa told me that there was a little boy who sat next to her and pointed at her and said, "I want to be in your family." Maryssa said, "it just broke her heart." How can this kind of thing happen? It's definitetly not fair. These kids didn't ask to be abandoned... or born into a family where the parents neglect them to the point where the State has to step in to save them. You say, "well Jim, that's just the way the world is." That's true, but there are an awful lot of Christians in the world also. It's time we step up and make a difference rather than just say, "that's just the way the world is," don't you think? MJ talked to a guy before we left the States who works for an organization called One Church One Child. He told her that if only one family from every church in America would adopt one child... that we could totally eliminate the foster care system in America. I didn't say every family in each church would need to adopt one child... just one family in each church! That's pretty amazing... and it could be done. All it takes is someone willing to say, here I am Lord, send me. THIS... is true religion. We love you guys. Please continue to pray for us. We'll talk to you from Rio tomorrow!

Love ya,

the Dunn 10