Family Update - A New Chapter

It’s time to break the silence...or to be less dramatic, I finally sat down and wrote an update. Here it is.

 In April, Matthew graduated with his Masters of Divinity from Portland Seminary.  This was an amazing journey for him, and for our family.  And while the end of this part of the journey brings some sadness, this is typically a sign that the chapter being finished was a good one. Indeed it was. His graduation creates more space in our daily lives, and is one more step in the direction that allows us to focus all of our energies here in West Central Illinois.  The kids finished their first year at public school and because they had a good experience, they will all attend full-time next year. We are really thankful for the schools in our little town.  As for us, the parents of this team, we are going take some time away from continuing education, and spend our time focusing on social and community development.

When we moved to Illinois, Sarah took a position as an admission counselor at Knox College in Galesburg. She is now finishing her second year in that role, but has down-shifted to part-time hours and a smaller workload; Matthew continues to pastor at the local United Presbyterian Church. You can learn more about our historical congregation from our website at: While both of us certainly enjoy our work, we hope to engage more fully in the realm of social and economic development for the good of this community.  We are considering a couple new endeavors that will allow us to tangibly work toward individual, collective and social renewal in Knox County.

Most of you are aware that we embarked on our adoption journey on April 1, 2014 and after crossing our third year threshold we still haven’t heard anything. For our part, we have done everything we can, but the situation remains unchanged. Because we have legally become citizens of Illinois, we have had to press pause on the adoption journey, until we are completely settled in Knoxville.  We ask you to continue to pray for us as we will be making a decision as to what we should do.  Our options are to pick up where we left off and re-file with Nicaragua. Based on current wait times, this doesn’t seem like the wisest move; we all know a family can change a lot in 3 years.  Another option is to switch countries (a more viable option) or consider local adoption and foster care in the future. If none of these solutions seem like the choice for our family, we have learned that all remaining monies raised can be gifted toward another family in the international adoption process. While this is certainly not our first choice, we are thankful that the money can still serve a good purpose.

Our last few years, we have written much about our new experiences with travel and adventure.  It all began with our 3-month road trip that spanned the Western US, including many of the Western national parks. Last summer, we took a road trip through Canada, Niagara Falls, Acadia, Maine and Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire along with several other northeastern states. Last spring, we had the opportunity to travel to La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and also took a short road trip to the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota, and now we’re onto this summer! This summer the plan is to make the trips shorter, and attempt to locate a favorite destination that we hope to return to over and over again during the next decade, while at the same time, enjoy the elements of adventure that we love.  To that end, we are going to take our first ever adults-only road trip.  Our beloved Manny will be converted into a tiny-apartment on wheels.  Our destination -  Asheville, North Carolina and Pisgah National Forest.  After a few days camping in Asheville, we’ll spend some time in Great Smoky Mountain National Park where some dear Austin friends are graciously allowing us to stay in their Tennessee farmhouse (thanks, Kevin and Tiffany).  From the mountains, we’ll visit friends in Nashville and explore the bourbon distilleries in Kentucky. After we return home refreshed, we’ll take the kids to Door County, Wisconsin for some wholesome, old-fashioned fun!

Now, for the biggest piece of news, as well as most bitter-sweet.  We feel we should announce that we have, as of June 7th, closed on the sale of our Austin home (Thank you, Sunday!!!).  This was a tough decision, because, well, Austin is home.  Matthew is from there, our kids were all born there and the bulk of our marriage and relationship was shaped in this amazing city.  We learned to become the humans we are in Austin.  So letting go of ownership in Austin was difficult.   In fact, the very things that helped us make the decision are two-fold: (1) We truly believe the essence of resilience and a life well lived is to be where you are. As long as we were connected to Austin via responsibility, we couldn't be all here.  (2) Most importantly, you all, our Austin friends.  You all make us feel connected to Austin more than any house ever could.  So, you all, our memories, and the need to be all here helped us make the decision to let go of our Austin house.

As always, we love to hear from all of you. Your continued presence in our lives encourages and challenges us.

With love,

Matthew, Sarah, Serena Michal, Ashton, Eden, and Elie Hansen