why, yes, i do have a blog...

...just nothing to write on it. You are all so faithful to ask what's happening with our adoption, and we sincerely wish we had something to report other than 'still waiting.' But the truth is that most of the adoption process is decidedly unexciting, comprised mostly of doing paperwork and then waiting for other people to file or otherwise process said paperwork. We are actually hoping to get some actual news this week on where things stand and how soon we might be able to file for a court date, and we'll post it here when we find out!

In the meantime, life goes on, and we are as busy as ever, trying hard to enjoy life as it is right now. Always in the background, though, are thoughts of Uganda and 2 of its beautiful babies, as well as packing lists and logistical schemes for running a household with so many little people! We desire to wait well for however long the Lord sees fit to have us wait, and He has been so faithful to bring encouragement and grace for the waiting. We also desire to spend time preparing for the 'messy middle' that we anticipate after arriving home with our new additions. Right now that involves lots of reading - books about parenting and attachment and trauma, blogs by people who have walked this journey ahead of us. If you'd like to get an idea of what we're preparing for, as well as ways to pray and care for us long after the exciting homecoming, I'd encourage you to read this blog post about a family whose kids are newly home from Ethiopia. While their kids are older, and we don't anticipate our children being in quite the same emotional place, we do want to be prepared for the worst, even as we hope for the best.


3 under 3!

God is giving us us many opportunities to learn to trust Him through this journey - that His plan for us and our family is better than our own. We found out a few weeks ago that the probation officer (the UG equivalent of a social worker) located beautiful little J's mother. The plan at this time is for J to return to her mother. We don't know all the details of the situation, but we are really working to trust in God's kind sovereignty, knowing that He loves that beautiful girl infinitely more than we do. We are sad that she won't be joining our family, but grateful that she has a family again. We've also accepted another referral (more on that in a minute), and there is certainly encouragement to be found in the fact that 4 children - not just the 2 we're hoping to add to our family - have families again!

So we have accepted another referral, this time for a 2-month-old baby girl. The reality of having 3 children under 3 is beginning to set in, and while it is a bit overwhelming, it is also exciting! We were very open to adopting older children (and still may, in the future), but we are accepting these babies as a special gift, one that we were not anticipating.We know that God is building our family in just the right way, and we are excited about what the future holds - a 2 year old, a 1 year old, and an infant!


a small thing

I know that many of you reading right now have small children, and that some of you use cloth diapers on those adorable little bums. Others of you don't use cloth diapers, in large part because of the chore of washing all those dirty diapers! It has recently come to my attention that one of the baby homes in Uganda, which houses and cares for around 20 babies, has been HAND WASHING cloth diapers for all 20 babies. With no hot water. As I'm sure you can imagine, this remarkable laundry feat requires a great deal of time, time that could otherwise be spent holding and loving and playing with those sweet babies. An additional concern is the fact that these diapers are shared among all of the children, which means that many germs and parasites that would otherwise be killed off by a good hot water machine wash are also being shared among the children. While disposable diapers would obviously be one solution in this situation, they are seriously cost-prohibitive for this baby home - running nearly $800 per month! The other solution that has been proposed is the purchase of a water heater and washing machine for the baby home, a purchase that would cost around $1000. I know that many of you have already given so generously, but if you're able to give just a bit more, your gift would be so appreciated!

If you'd like to give to this end, click over to the baby home's website. Once there, you can click the 'Donate' button to send support through Paypal. There is a space to leave a comment for the seller, and you can indicate that you'd like your donation to go toward the washing machine. Alternatively, you can find a mailing address on the website if you'd rather send a check - which may, in fact, be preferable, since every cent of your donation will go to the baby home. And if you're unable to give right now, would you please pray for provision? It's such a small thing, but one that would have a large impact on the lives of these babies and their care givers. Thank you all so very much!


another match

After finding out that sweet little E would be going back to his family, Eli and I had to decide what to do next. Should we pursue another child? If so, what age range, needs, etc should we be looking for? Or should we just continue with J's process for now? We decided that we were still committed to adopting 2 children, and the baby home sent us some photos of a couple of little boys to consider - a 4 year old and a 10-12 month old. By the time we got back to them, the 4 year old already had another family committed to him. We spent a day or so praying and considering whether we should pursue little C, and then let the baby home know that we would like to pursue his adoption. We got confirmation on Sunday, July 3rd that we are a match with this sweet baby boy! His paperwork is at the same point as J's, so there isn't anything on that end to change our timeline - though the process is, of course, long and rigorous (as it should be!), with lots of opportunities for detours and changes in plans. In the meantime, we are excited to learn more about the happy, smiley baby we've seen in photos, and, ultimately, to meet the precious children that God has chosen for our family.


As many of you know, we held our first adoption fundraiser this week. On July 4th, we had a pig pickin' at our house, with carnival-type games for kids and a silent auction for the adults. We were expecting around 200 people to come out from 12pm-6pm. In spite of some pretty brutal heat (I've heard that the high that day was 99!) and the fact that we didn't have electricity for the first 3 hours of the party, our guests were absolutely amazing! People pitched in and helped get things done when we were behind schedule due to the power outage, everyone was cheerful and excited to be here during the meltingly hot afternoon, and when a severe thunderstorm was heading our way that evening, tents and tables were taken down and put away within minutes. We are so humbled by and grateful for the community that we're so privileged to be part of. Thank you all so very much for your help!

But, of course, this wasn't just any old party, and the real reason everyone was gathered was to help us raise money to bring our kids home from Uganda. While everyone's cheerful service was more than enough to remind us of how blessed we are, that wasn't the end of Monday's story. No, these same kind, generous people also generously opened their wallets for us, and we were able to raise over $4100! We are just blown away by people's kindness, and we are reminded anew of God's promise to provide all of our needs. The money we raised Monday will likely be exactly enough to pay for our plane tickets when we travel. Thank you all, yet again, so very much!

If you weren't able to make it out for our fundraiser, but you'd still like to contribute to the cause, your chances are certainly not over :) We're planning to have a yard sale in August, so if you have anything we can take off your hands, we'll be glad to do so. Also, we have some gorgeous jewelry for sale that was handmade by Ugandan women. Our initial purchase of it helps to support families in Uganda, and your purchase helps to bring our kids home from Uganda - it's a win-win! You can see the jewelry here, or if you're local, you're welcome to come by sometime and take a look.


change of plans

Monday evening, I texted the woman who's coordinating some aspects of our adoption to tell her the good news that we got our USCIS approval and to ask what we needed to do next. Within minutes she had called me back to let me know that she had received some news from the caseworker in Ug@nda. Our boy's mother and aunt had been located. His mother is not able to care for him, but his aunt is. Assuming all goes well, he will be reunited with his family in the next week or so. He is not 'our boy' after all.

While there is some sadness in this - as we've spent 2 months staring at his sweet face and being exciting about bringing him into our family - we are mostly so, so happy. While we love adoption, we love families being kept intact even more. We are so glad to have been able to provide a way for his family to be reunited. You see, doing this kind of investigation for children in orphanages costs money. Most of these homes are struggling just to be sure the children have enough to eat and don't have the extra resources to conduct searches for the children's families. Because we were hoping to adopt this little boy, we covered the cost of the investigation - and his family was found! Because God directed us to this place and this child, he will have only spent 3 months without his family - instead of 6 months or 12 months or however long it might have taken them to find him. We're also incredibly grateful to be working with an organization that is committed to doing adoptions the right way - only placing children for international adoption who are truly orphans and who cannot be part of a family in their home country.

We are now prayerfully considering what God would have us do. None of our girl's relatives have yet been located, so we are still planning to move forward with her case. However, we are still pretty committed to bringing 2 children into our family, so we are back to looking at photos and asking the Lord to show us what He wants our family to look like. We would appreciate your prayers as we walk through this. Thank you!


Just one month after having our fingerprints taken, the USCIS approved us to bring home 2 children from Uganda. One more piece of paper to check off the list :)



Yesterday afternoon I watched as my fingerprints appeared on a computer screen, while the tech chatted with me about our adoption plans. Getting these prints taken and sent off to US Immigration was the last thing to check off our list of things to do stateside. We have to wait for them to process our prints and then send us our approval to adopt 2 children. Once that piece of paper is in hand, we'll be shipping a ream of other papers off to Ug@nda! As good as it feels to have all of these things checked off our list, this is the last part of the process over which we have any semblance of control. After our dossier leaves our hands, we wait for our case to be filed in court. Once we're filed, we wait for our judge to assign us a court date. Basically, the whole process is a lot of 'hurry up and wait!' It's also a lot of opportunities to trust God - to trust in His faithfulness and kindness to us and to our children. Please feel free to remind me of that!

In the meantime, we're enjoying seeing new pictures of our kids (which we won't be posting until after we are granted guardianship of them) and living vicariously through other adoptive parents traveling to the home where our babies are. It truly is a wonderful gift to be able to connect with them, and we are very grateful for things like Facebook these days!



"As to the question of if you are crazy... yes, you are. But so was God to send His Son. So was God to forgive us, to adopt us. So was Jesus to be murdered and homeless and penniless. By living out a reckless faith, you are more Christ-like than ever before. And, of course, you will be giving a mom and a dad to... children who otherwise might not ever get one." - from Orphanology by Tony Merida + Rick Morton

This quote has been resonating in my heart for several weeks now. I find myself inspired, convicted, humbled, and encouraged by these words, which were offered as an encouragement to Tony Merida upon telling his family that he and his wife were bringing home 4 older kids from Ukraine. It seems that our gracious God has been preparing my heart for our own version of crazy. We have decided, after a great deal of prayer and lots and lots of discussion, to pursue the adoption of 2 unrelated children who are currently living in an orphanage in Africa - an 18-ish month old girl and an 18-ish month old boy. For those keeping track, our sweet E is 17 months old (today, in fact!), so, yes, we are essentially going to have 2-year-old triplets! Prayers, prayers, prayers, and chocolate would be greatly appreciated! Out of respect for the children, their country, and the legal system, I won't be sharing many details about our journey here, but I will try to keep you updated with the basics.

The task that is being placed before us is a daunting one, but we are full of faith that this is what God is calling us to. Our pursuit of these children is also giving me wonderful opportunities to be freshly reminded of the incredible magnitude of the Gospel - the lengths to which God went in order to bring us into His family, His pursuit of us when we were unaware of His love for us and, in fact, even actively opposed to Him. And what better time of year to be in this place than here at Easter - the very time that we remember and celebrate the incredible work that He has done in order to name us among His own children. We are so grateful.


on choosing

It seems impossible, overwhelming, unjust that we have to choose. Look at a few photos, read a sentence or two of an unimaginably sad story, and choose which children are ours. They're all in need of a family, but only one or two or three will be able to become part of ours. This is harder than I expected. So grateful, yet again, that we are not doing this on our own; thankful for the Still Small Voice I'm straining to hear in the midst of the chaos. Please pray for us, that the Lord would very clearly direct us to our children - the children who He has ordained for our family from before the foundation of the world! As hard as this step is, it is unbelievable to me that we're already here, and I am so grateful. Our God is clearly at work on behalf of these children, and my heart rejoices.


making our way to africa

Adoption has been on our minds for many years - and it has now very firmly wedged itself into our hearts, taking the very tangible form of a silly, chubby, curly-haired muffin of a girl. However, even before we adopted her domestically, we knew that we would end up in Africa one day. Over the years, we've read about different East African countries, their cultures, their political histories, their stances on adoption, the devastation of wars and famines and diseases,  and through our reading, our hearts have become very intertwined with the Great Lakes Region in eastern central Africa. As our domestic adoption placement was taking (what seemed to us) a very long time in coming, we considered pursuing an Ethiopian adoption. But before we could take the first steps, we received the phone call we'd been waiting over a year for - we had a daughter! So we put our plans on hold while we enjoyed our sweet girl, but we continued reading and praying about our future.

Right around our girl's first birthday, we began pursuing an African adoption again in earnest. We had learned about new requirements in Ethiopia, so we began looking at other possibilities. The Lord led us to a tiny little country we'd never heard of - Burundi. We considered the Ethiopian door closed, and we applied to an agency's pilot program in Burundi. While we waited for paperwork, we learned everything we could about that country, and we began sponsoring a little girl there. As we waited for months with no progress, there were many late night conversations about what we should do, where we should go. We weren't particular about where our children came from; we just wanted children. In the meantime, God was at work in the hearts of some friends of ours, who were working to form a non-profit to help the church care for orphans and who were, simultaneously, pursuing a Ug*ndan adoption. After hearing their heart and vision, we confirmed with our agency that the door to Burundi was closed for us.

Our children are in Ug*nda.