Frankie’s Adoption Day!

What a BIG moment for me personally.  One of the most memorable in this whole process.  Frankie’s adoption day.  Dave said it best that day, “What was already family is now official.”

Jeff Hall took our pictures when we first arrived home in Greenville.  He captured our first family photo’s and it only seemed fitting that he as there as we ended this part of our journey.  If only I could book him now for Frankie’s Graduation and Wedding (which is already pre arranged with a sweet little Haitian girl named Bella from PA.) :)

These are a few of my favorite:

My Sweet Boy on His Very Special Day:

Waiting BEFORE the hearing..

With The Judge:

Celebration Shot Afterwards:

First Official Legal Family Picture:

We had a Canvas for the day that everyone signed that Frankie will always have to remember this special day.

I will never forget when the Judge announced his name:  Franklin Joseph David Rhodes.


We are Family

We are family.  We are home.  Thanks for following our journey.  This blog was created to keep up with Frankie’s journey to our home.  Our lives still continue but now as a family of 5.  Come follow us at our family blog at www.kimrhodes.wordpress.com.  A picture really says a thousand words.  I think these pictures say ONE MILLION WORDS……


We had a birthday debacle this month.  When Frankie came home we had some papers given to us that said his birthday was the 28th which is today.  I had always thought it was the 20th but figured I was wrong.  His HP papers stated differently.  So I flagged the date.  On March 19th we received a bunch of papers in the mail from Haiti.  Legal papers.  They had the 20th on them so apparently in process a 0 became an 8.  So Frankie’s b-day was the 20th but we were not aware of that in enough time to celebrate.  We will be celebrating this week with him as he now is 3.  We are not making a huge deal about his birthday this year.  Just a small family celebration.  Dont think he could take all of that and understand. This time last year this is Frankie celebrating his birthday in Haiti.  I wrote about what we did here at Frankie turns 2.


Would never have dreamed like I say all the time that he would be here to celebrate THREE!    Happy birthday my sweet three year old.  We love you  dearly.  




A visit to a local School

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a teacher at a local elementary school in our district.  She was wanting to get information on Heartline where Frankie was from because her class had some money to send that way.  After hearing the story of their class I asked if we could bring  Frankie for a visit to tell them thank you.  Our local paper and news was kind enough to come and get the story on their class.  I have no clue why we have been privileged to get some of our family story of adopting Frankie in the the spotlight.  Even this morning as I was picking up the house and talking to God, (which is normally when I do most of my talking) I pondered why we were getting the attention that we have with our story and begged Him to use it to do whatever it is that He wants with it.  I don’t want to miss any opportunity to have impact in peoples lives.  Praying he directs and guides us as we journey through life together.

Here is the story.  These group of second graders totally impacted my life yesterday.  To have compassion and concern for others is really so simple but sometimes I think some people find it hard to do.  These little people get it.  Children who attend our local schools “get it.” It was an honor to celebrate with them.  We are blessed to live in District 5 Schools.  There are some amazing teachers out there that are impacting children’s lives in amazing ways!  Thanks Martha for giving of your life to teach others.

Parents of Haitian orphan learn to love every moment

After January’s earthquake in Haiti, Martha Griswold’s second-grade class at Lyman Elementary School collected money to donate to the orphanage that was Frankie Rhodes’ home in Haiti. On Tuesday, Frankie, 2, second from right, and his new family visited the class to accept the money and interact with the students.


Kim and Dave Rhodes have learned a lot since they welcomed their adopted son Frankie home from his native Haiti last month.

// They’ve learned to adapt, to savor every moment and that the biggest hearts often belong to the littlest people.

The last lesson was demonstrated Tuesday morning when Kim, Dave, Frankie, 2, and the couple’s two daughters Emma, 7, and Izzie, 3, visited Lyman Elementary School to accept a check for $124.14 from Martha Griswold’s second-grade class. The money will be sent to Heartline Ministries, which runs the Maranatha Orphanage where Frankie used to live.

Frankie, like many other Haitian orphans in the process of being adopted, was granted humanitarian pardon after an earthquake destroyed much of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12. Though the adoption process might not be legally complete for a year or more, Frankie is now home with his family in Spartanburg.

Griswold said she was touched when, after learning about the earthquake, her class of 19 immediately offered to help. The class decided to take home film canisters marked with the letter “H” and collect loose change. The project was dubbed “$100 by the 100th Day: The Helping Haiti Project.” The goal was surpassed in less than a week.

After hearing about Frankie’s homecoming, class members requested to send their money to Heartline’s Maranatha Orphanage, which today is home to a makeshift medical clinic.

“It’s such compassion and caring, for them to know there is a world beyond Lyman,” Griswold said. “And then Frankie showed up. This is just amazing for them.”

In unison, Griswold’s students called Frankie by name when the Rhodeses walked into the classroom, equipped with a box full of cupcakes topped with the Haitian flag.

“He’s just like us, but he speaks other languages and he lived in a different country,” said Courtney Cogburn, 8.

The Rhodeses took time to answer students’ questions about Frankie, like what language he speaks (Creole) and what his new favorite food is (pizza). He loves to watch Barney on television and is adjusting to sleeping in a room by himself. Pillows are a new commodity, and Frankie likes to collect them into piles.

He had his first experience playing in snow not long after arriving home; temperatures in Haiti rarely dip below 80 degrees.

Dave Rhodes thanked the class on behalf of the family for their generous donation to help Frankie’s homeland.

“Your giving makes a huge difference in kids like Frankie’s lives,” he said.

In general, Kim said Frankie hasn’t missed a beat since making the transition to life in America, and his older sisters have welcomed him with open arms and hearts.

“I still can’t believe it when I look at all my children and he’s here,” Kim said, looking on as Frankie joined in on a book reading with the class.

“This is just so neat, to see kids come together, no matter what walk of life they’re in,” she said. “I think there’s something very powerful to give to someone else, and we’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of it.”

Hair Care

I should be used to hair issues.  I grew up with them.  Take a teen who has curly hair and wants it straight and there were my issues.  Funny thing is that today I LOVE my hair. I wish it was even curlier.  I’m sad because Emma just has a bit of curl and Izzie’s is stick straight.  Good thing though I got my child with curly hair.  His name is Frankie.

So give me some slack.  I have no idea about how to handle Haitian Hair.  That was one of those things that you tell yourself you have time to prepare for and books to read.  Yeah, that did not happen.  Since we have known Frankie he has had long hair.  It has normally been kept in braids or corn rows.  We love it and only know him that way.  But looking at his hair when he got here and knowing that now I’m in charge gave me a scare.  The biggest asked question we have about Frankie is if we will keep his hair.  It’s a fair question.  I would ask the same one. 

For now we are going to try.  See how it goes.  We are going to keep the braids for a while and then maybe try to put dreads in.  And if all else fails we’ll cut it.  Thanks to some friend connections I was able to find a a place in Spartanburg where there is a lady who all she does is braid hair.  I was told it would take 4 hrs to take out his braids then another 4 to put them back in.  I forget who told me that.  But this lady I found took them out in 45 minutes and put them back the next day in less than an hour.  When I say speed braider I mean speed braider.  They say I should have them redone every 6-8 weeks…  I’m wondering if that means 12 weeks? 

We spent a day with Frankie looking like this…  When we left the salon I was asked if I had a hat for him.  Um, no… was I to bring one?  I had to run a few errands so she grabbed him and pulled it back for me so I would not embarrass myself in public with people thinking awful things of me and how I keep my childs hair.

I will say this….  There is a big difference in cultures that I’ve never been exposed to.  The salon I went to is a black hair salon.  When I pulled in there were about 50 cars in the parking lot. I did not think that they were all there for the salon but they were.  The vibe of the place was unbelievable.  Black gospel music playing.  Generations of ladies from infant to Grandmothers sitting under dryers and getting their hair done.  A barber shop in the front where the men come and go.  Nails being painted and massages happening.  I was even told that on Saturdays there is a lady that comes and serves breakfast in the back for a dollar an item.  I was surrounded by this community of people who were engaged in life.   It felt like one big family pot luck without the food.  I was the only white person there.  I never felt like I was not welcomed.  I was so thankful for all the help and advice I was given for Frankie’s hair…  for the kindness I was shown. 

Hair, it’s just one of those things.  It’s a complex thing but simple as well.  And Frankie’s hair has opened up a different side of life to me that I may never have been exposed to.  I’m so grateful for that.  I’m thankful for my sons hair. Thankful at how his hair has shown be a piece of community… another piece of the Kingdom that God has beautifully created.

Security and Comfort

Just folded these up this morning.  All my children and now even Frankie get tucked in bed each night with these  and they walk down the stairs each morning with them.  For Emma it’s been 7 years, Izzie three and Frankie a few weeks.  I was a blanket person.  I think I even went off to college with one stashed in my bag somewhere.  Don’t worry… you won’t find it in my bed with Dave right now but I do have them stashed away in my hope chest… I had 4 of them.  My mom decided to have 3 back ups and then I found them and thus I walked around with 4.  My children never took a pacifier.  They just wanted the comfort of a blanket.  I was smart and bought 2 of each for the girls when they were born so I could trade them out.  Then one day they each on their own time found out there were 2 and so now it’s 2 of each that get carted around the house when comfort is needed.

Blankets represent security and comfort to my girls and now even to Frankie a bit.  I think he just totes his around because he sees his sisters doing it.  He actually sucks his two middle fingers.  I think they have brought him lots of comfort these past few years.  I’m glad he’s got two fingers he sucks and not just one.  He kinda fits right into our theme of things in two!  Happy Friday.  Rumor has it that snow is heading our way.  We’ll see!

To Look Back…

I’ve been out with Frankie in public a few times now.  And as I’ve heard I knew it would be interesting but I’ve never had time to think much about “the looks” until now.  I mean, I feel very unprepared as it is the last thing I’ve really thought about is how it will be to be out and about.  And it’s interesting.  From the moment we stepped off the plane a few weeks ago the looks started.  I mean we walked straight into the media and camera’s as you can see… I guess this attention was preparing me for the looks that will come our way probably for the rest of our lives…

But seriously.. I want to be totally honest with our whole journey and this is just a part of it that again was not prepared for.  I mean, I’m a mom.  I have 3 children.  They all do not look a like.  I don’t really think about it at any other point during my day unless there is the look that comes my way. 

So the look… I know you know what I am talking about.  It’s the silent look, or the surprised look, or the rude look, or the questionable look, or the happy look, or the encouraging look.  You get my point.  It’s really hard to know exactly what one I am getting.  I can give my best call on it but then it’s only an assumption unless there is conversation involved.  When you walk around with 3 year old twins named Izzie and Frankie you can’t help but get them.  Can I be really honest with you again?  I really kinda like getting the look.  Why?  It gives me an opportunity to look back.  To in some way get to share our story through the picture of our lives.  Wether I get to talk or just get to smile it’s passing on the Kingdom of God for me.  And nothing bothers me about that.   I hope our family will always embrace that.  I hope Frankie will too as he grows and matures into a young man.  That he will get the Kingdom even through our lives and the looks that we will live by. I pray they won’t ever define us but will only spur us into compassion and love.  We are not that type of family who gets frustrated or annoyed by silly questions like… “are they both yours?” are they siblings? what about his or her hair?   Some people don’t tolerate those comments very well and that’s understandable and ok, but for us in our DNA, we just don’t really care.  I think there is something powerful about questions even the absurd ones because they lead us to having to explain answers which at the end of the day is more life changing than walking away not being able to engage life or being annoyed. 

Haiti too brings a whole new story to our lives.  The look that comes often changes drastically when the knowledge that Frankie is Haitian comes into play.  In such a short time I’ve really been blown away by that. I love that about our story but I hate it as well.  I love it because it shows me that people do have compassion and can see past themselves to the needs of others in acceptance.  I hate it because it means that we get that compassion because Frankie’s home country has experienced such devastating loss.  I hate it because I know if that were not the case then some of the looks would not soften once that knowledge came.

I’m new at all this. We are new at all of this.  If you see us around please don’t be afraid to look.  We really don’t mind at this point and time in our lives.  You’ll for sure not see a perfect family who has all the answers to life and adoption and living with children from different cultures.  But we do hope you see a family who chooses to engage life with what we have been given.  And what I’m one day longing for is that when I get to look back, I’ll be blown away by the common ground that binds our hearts together through our glances

The Groove

I’m spending the day with these two amazing kids above.  We are really starting to get into the groove of things around here.  I’m feeling more settled and I think Frankie is too.  I feel a Target run on the horizon! The strangest thing is that for the past 2 years I have been following blogs of so many people adopting from Haiti.  I have celebrated as some of those children have come home and followed along up to till a few weeks ago people’s struggles on the wait.  And then in a matter of a week an earthquake, humanitarian parole, and our children coming home.  Despite this awful tragedy all of us who were in the adoption process have our kids home or are in the process of getting them home which means I have had access to instant community of heart passions.  I am able to read other peoples stories about how they are doing and be encouraged as I read their joys and struggles and know that I am not alone in this whole transition.  I am learning SO MUCH from them. 

As much as I was so unprepared and had so much more reading and other things to do the great thing is that now I’m learning with a team of people as to how to handle this transition.  And the chance of that happening like it has is well another one in a million chances.  Another piece of beauty in this broken thing that has happened.

I follow lots of people.  Wanted to share with you blogs that I follow.  You see, our story is just one of SO MANY stories out there.  Each one God is writing.  I’m thankful to have the opportunity to read others stories and share ours.  Here are some of the  people I follow…  I have more but my kids are begging me to “get off the computer mom!”

Heartline Blogs (Frankie’s Friends)
His Blog, Her Blog: Brought home Sammy and Gino from Heartline. Tim is the one who helped get Frankie out of Haiti!  Ran with Jen in Orlando
Jabluvonsky Family Blog: Brought home twins Mark and John in November.  Jennifer was a huge help in finding ways to get the kids out and has also been a great ear for me.
Four2Six: Brought home Naomi and Amelia from Heartline. Good adoption friends! Sarah and I visted Haiti together twice. 
Rageagainstheminivan: Brought home Kembert and one of Frankie’s friends. Amazing family. Ran the half marathon with Kristen in Orlando.

Other Blogs I follow:
Debra Parker – One Girl:  They brought Ronel Home.  Good adoption friends! Visited Haiti with Debra 2x
DreamingBIGdreams: Brought home Amos. Good adoption friends! Jamie lead the trip on my first trip back to Haiti.  Have learned so much from her. 
A Twinkle in my eye:  Blog friend Amanda who brought home Joshua.  Hope to one day meet her and her family.
Adopting Kemley: Blog friend Kristin who adopted Kemly.   They just got their dossier in Haiti this past November and now Kemly is home.  May be the shortest wait ever! 🙂
Bringing our boys home from Haiti:  I can’t tell you how happy I am that Ian and Alec and  are home.  Funny thing is that Stephanie lives in Chile and our friends the Reichley’s.. David’s sister lives in Chile and they know them!  Small world but not really!
From Haiti to Home: Blog friend Cathy who brought home Delmace
Whaiting for our Daughter: Blog Friend Tracy who brought home Avery.  I can’t wait to one day meet their family.
Sea Salt Mosaic: Julie and her journey to bring her kids home.

I’ll never truly understand what it is inside a child that allows them to accept and hear things that stir them to compassion and concern.  I should not be surprised.  I have seen my own daughter without fail, ask about Sterling almost every night and pray for him.  She is so concerned about him. (Sterling is 6 and recently had a tumor removed from his brain and is still having seizures)  Becca if you read this we must come see you soon.

I watch 4 year old Eli as he is watching the pre show to the Superbowl and see’s a story unfold about a family who does not have a home and he stops eating his chips and dip and says, mom we need to pray for them.

I get emailed by a friend who’s family has been so supportive of our adoption and her son Ben just last week wanted to pray for Frankie and his friends one night before bed.

WE ARE BLOWN AWAY BY THE POWER OF CHILDREN, their compassion and their concern.

Here are two stories I wanted to share.  One is of a church and one is of a second grade class who heard of our story and of Haiti and the devistation….and felt compelled to do something for where Frankie is from. 

The children at Crossroads Community Church in Simpsonville, SC collected an offering to help Haiti to send to Heartline where Frankie was at.  They collected 105.00. AMAZING!   – We hope to take Frankie there soon to say thank you!

I also received an email from the Spartanburg Herald who did our story a few weeks ago about a teacher from a second grade class in Spartanburg, SC who was looking for info from us –   She said, “My students wanted to do something to help the children in Haiti after the earthquake there. We talked on 1/19 as a class and decided to bring in change we could fit in a film canister. Each child had one. By Friday we had $81.19. At that point, we decided to name the project and the children wanted to bring in $100 by the 100th day of school which was on Wednesday, 1/27. We named the project $100.00 by The 100th Day: The Helping Haiti Project. On the hundredth day, our total was $124.14!

Here is what we need. I told my students about the family…I believe the Rhodes??? that adopted the little boy named “Frankie.” I told them about him coming from an orphanage there. We decided as a group that we would like to send our money to that orphanage in Haiti. Obviously we will need help to find out information to do this I’m not sure who wrote the stories about that family. I am hoping you do. If you could pass this information on to that reporter, we would like for the reporter to get in touch with the family and perhaps they will contact us. The children are very interested in Frankie.   We are in a few weeks going to be able to visit this class with Frankie and say thank you.  AMAZING!

Never…ever…ever… underestimate the power of Children, their compassion, their concern.  I think Dave and I and our whole family have been blown away by it.

This is home

My friend Courtney made this video for us from past pictures and footage over the past few weeks. .  I’m sure you all are getting sick of seeing pictures and footage.  This really summed up for me our journey in pictures.  This is home.  Our family is now where it belongs.  I’ve cried every time I watch this.  I think because it represents so much closure to me.  Today marks 2 weeks that Frankie has been home.  In the past 3 weeks our lives have changed for the good forever.  I have so much on my heart to share yet not enough time in the day to be sure I articulate it.  It will come.  I promise.

I will be sure to tell the countless stories of the way so many people have blessed us in this process.  I am blown away from 2 years ago until now  as we are shown love.  I am blown away at what we have heard groups of people have done to raise support for Haiti and especially for Heartline where Frankie was from… children giving of their money to send to help. 

A little boy is asleep upstairs in a room with his sisters.  He is home.  This is home.  He is now where he belongs.  What a ride it has been!