Thursday, December 26, 2013


I am unable to explain to you with eloquent words what it is like or what I am feeling or what this is doing to my mind.

I am unable to figure out how I can feel so stationary and yet be in the process of moving through each day.

I am unable to scream and laugh and cry and enjoy and fall to my knees and run to play with kids without feeling guilty for not doing the opposite action.

I am unable to post all my Christmas photos that show our happy family without aching inside that two of my children are not here.

I have been unable to type the hard words that I wanted to type on this blog because I wanted to live out the song I sing while I clean with my children... "The joy of the Lord is my strength"

I am unable.


He was able.

He was able to know how much we would fail Him and create the world anyway.

He was able to leave His heavenly throne to come to this earth that He made even though He knew the pain that would come because of it.

He was able to show love and compassion and pour Himself out for us and give us adoption as sons.

He was able to be born, live a perfect life, die in a shameful way for my sins, raise Himself from the grave victorious, and go to prepare a place for me.

He was able and He is able.

He is able to show me how He loves me and pursues me and longs for me and cares for me through this time that I know He could take away.

He is able to whisper to my heart.

He is able to be my teacher when I don't want to be taught.

He is able to bind up my wounds.

He is able to lift me up and sustain me when my strength is gone.

He is able to hold the heavens in His hand and still wipe the tears from my eyes.

He... is... able.


The Sunday before Christmas, we woke up, cared for our animals, got dressed nicely, and headed to grab some drinks and go to church early for the children's program. We were in the drive-thru at McDs (Yep. I'm one of those moms.) when we got a message that the boys in Uganda wanted to Skype with us. The kids and I had just video messaged with Isaac and John Terry while we were at the park on Saturday so Matt and I did a Chinese fire drill and switched to me driving so he could talk to them. Almost immediately after the video stream came through, a stream of tears began down the face of one of our sons. He misses his daddy so much and his daddy wants nothing more than to hug him tight and wipe away his tears. It was so very hard.

Minutes after our Skpe call was over, we were taking family photographs minus our two newest sons at a small covered picnic area near our church. I took photos and really enjoyed the smiles of Trinity, Emma, Azriel, and Titus. It was so very fun.

And that's when it hit me. This isn't the same thing that God feels, but it may be the closest I will ever get to getting it.

He came for His children. He stayed a little while. He suffered pain He didn't want to suffer. He had to leave behind those He loved to go and prepare a place for them. He promised He would come back.

Some of the His children are already with Him there. Some of the ones that He loves must wait before they can come home with Him. Some of his children must wait for Him to return. He rejoices. He feels heartbreak. All at the same time.

i'm there. i'm able to get it now. i am allowed to be sorrowful one moment and full of gladness the next. i can want those two boys to be happy and have fun and ride camels and bake cookies and play games, but also want them to long to be home all at the same time. i can hug and give gifts and kiss goodnight those right here with me and enjoy it without worrying that i'm not sad enough about the ones that aren't here yet because You know that i probably will wake up in tears... again. i can say "i love you" and do silly things to make my children smile whether they are right beside me or looking at me through a camera lens. thank You. thank You for wanting me to be happy, but not wanting me to be to comfortable in this world so that i still long for you. thank You for rejoicing over each child of yours that comes home and still want so much for me to be there too. thank You for being willing to listen to my broken words and telling me you love me and doing things just to make me smile. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013


36 hours after arriving in Uganda, we had our day in court. It was a long day that started by us getting up and dressing in our best at 5:20am. Nine of us loaded in to a 5 passenger SUV and headed in to Kampala. The boys sat in the back on my lap while Matt rode in the front. There are advantages to being tall. The way traffic moves through the city is minimally organized chaos! The smell of diesel, gasoline, and more (I'll spare you the details) poured through the open windows as we moved in and out of tight spots.

After dropping off four of the passengers in various locations throughout the city, we quickly arrived at a small restaurant for breakfast. We asked the boys what they wanted for breakfast. Silly us. One. They don't speak English much. Two. They had never had an opportunity to pick breakfast. Three. They had never been to a restaurant. Thankfully, the pastor/orphanage director/amazing guide of those coming to adopt (we will call him Mr. R) ordered them sausage, omelet, toast, and a juice to split. You would have thought that the juice was a milkshake. They sucked it down quickly... too quickly. I didn't mind ordering them a second one though to have with their food!

Breakfast was over and we headed to the courthouse. We sat down in a good size room with lots of chairs after going through armed security. There we sat and sat and sat. We did puzzles with the boys. We colored. We waited some more. Then, he arrived. Their father. He was the adult version in looks of Isaac, but the leanness of John. They were instructed to go to him and then instructed to kneel. Which they did, but not enthusiastically. We were asked by Mr. R if we had any questions for their father. I was completely unprepared for that and could come up with nothing at that moment. We shared some beef jerky with Mr. R, our lawyer, and their father as we sat and chatted. They spoke in Luganda to one another for a few minutes and then it was quiet. It was now early afternoon. We still had not been seen. The boys fell asleep and we all began to doze off. Just as we got comfortable, it was our turn!

Half asleep, we rushed all together up the stairs toward what I expected to be a court room and then we entered the judges office. We sat. He questioned the father first. It was in Luganda, but sometimes the words are hard to hear even in another language. The words he said to them and the reaction of my oldest son brought me to tears. He was telling them what was happening. He then spoke to us directly. His words full of understanding and conviction. He smiled as our families became forever connected at that moment. Then, it was my turn. The judge only questioned me and not Matt. He was less than thrilled that I was married to Matt at 17. He was less than thrilled that I was burdening my husband with more children. The questions and statements seemed silly and almost crazy, but I know the judge was looking to see if our hearts were in it. Thankfully, he saw that in the tears I had cried just minutes before and wasn't any harder than that on me. It was nice that the judge took the time after my questioning to explain Buganda (the collection of tribes under a central king) and the culture of our sons. I will never forget that!

The judge ended by telling us that our ruling would be read in a week and half. It seemed a long time to wait, but the way he said made me feel certain it would be in our favor and it was. He would give us verbal guardianship and a verbal court order stating that we were to raise these boys as our own in America on November 19th! Thank the Lord for His favor! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

That first 12 hours.

I had that first 12 hours with four children before this first 12 hours with Isaac and John on November 7th. I had held the small bundles of cuteness. I had heard the whimpers and cries. I had comforted the gifts God had place in my arms. I cherished those special moments. This was different, but I cherished it just as much.

"Flights were great. It was a long trip, but walking into our room at almost midnight to find the boys sleeping was amazing.
Both boys woke up while we were looking through our things to find our essentials. John would not speak, but he did accept his frog stuffed animal. Isaac pretended to stay asleep. I laid his sloth stuffed animal with him. He stirred for the first hour or so.
The morning was awkward. Parents waking up with kids you were never introduced to. Kids waking up with these people they've never seen before. We sat quietly for a little while... talked to them... showed them photos of their siblings... joked with them... but mostly it was quiet. We gave them the backpacks and a sweetie (dumdum.) Finally we had to force things along and get ready for breakfast. Mixed in were a few smiles and a lot of silence..." (from my email home)

I don't want to sugarcoat things. This was hard for all of us. To hear John quietly cry in his bed as he woke up that first morning and him not wanting me to comfort him. To have Isaac pretend to sleep as long as he could in his bed across the room as to not have to start the day with us. I've tried to imagine what thoughts were racing through their minds and what emotions must have been tugging at their hearts. They seemed to do better with Matt (much better actually) than they did with me. So I sat back. I photographed them sitting beside him. I talked very little. I left the room when they didn't want to change with me there.

It was hard. These boys were already my sons in my heart. God had placed them there. To them though, I was just some lady with pale skin that showed up in the middle of the night to become their mom. They hadn't heard my voice for 9 months. They hadn't had me around to soothe their cries and rush to them when they woke up scared or when they got hurt for the last 5 plus years. They didn't love me. I sure loved them already though!

"We gave them the backpacks and a sweetie (dumdum.) Finally we had to force things along and get ready for breakfast. Mixed in were a few smiles and a lot of silence... until they were around the other kids. It is nice to see their smiles and hear their voices and laughter.
I could share a thousand little details about their gentle spirits, willingness to share with friends, & much more. Some things that have stood out to me is how held back they feel they must be. How they don't speak up. How they don't hug back. YET. God loves us first. God speaks to us first. God waits on us. We will do the same for our sons.
Rest time this afternoon is over. Time to enjoy them some more and make a video for our children in VA (we miss them badly) once Matt gets back from the market." (from my email home)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

52 days

It's been 52 days since I last posted on the blog. I spent 33 of those outside the USA in the beautiful country of Uganda.

We woke up on the 24th of October to an email. This email was one we had hoped for, but didn't really expect until early 2014. The subject line was simply "Court" and I could barely contain my excitement.

Rashid wants to know if you can be there by wed night ... see below

"The judge wants to hear 2 or 3 families this week Thursday or Friday... My puzzle is it appears too close for families to get here by Wednesday night"

I checked flights. We could.
I called Matt. He said let's go.
I emailed our agency. I sent a message to Kara.

"WAKE UP!!!!!!!

Come to Uganda with us!!!"

I knew who I wanted to be family number 2!

We booked flights and left the next afternoon after LOTS of tears with the four children that we must leave here (in the amazing care of their grandparents!) Trinity, Emma, Azriel, and Titus... our children with hearts saddened by us leaving, but so excited to know that we would be coming home with their brothers.

The two boys that became our sons... our sons... were tucked in bed asleep at the guest house when we arrived. The stories we have that got us from then to now. The people we met and became extended family with. The joys. The pains. The rejoicing. The sobbing.  The two boys that became our sons, but haven't been able to come home with us yet! Words cannot express accurately my hearts condition.

My hope is to sit down and tell you the highs and lows. To give each of you the opportunity to walk in the shoes we walked in for the last 6 weeks. Today though... today I'm asking for your prayers. For our sons in Uganda. For our daughters and our son here. For us. As the rest of the world continues to move while our world seems to be standing still. As we attempt to keep moving too... pray for us.

I have cried many tears in the comfort of my home. I have cried out in anger that this was not my plan. I have cried for my Father to fix this. He has heard each one of my cries. I trust Him. He did not leave them orphans. He brought us to them. He can bring them home.

Here is a link to our Both Hands Project video. Thank you Jason for getting this done while we were gone!

You can still give tax deductible donations to help us bring them home! With the added round trip airline expense and more, we will have to incur another close to $4,000 in expenses!

Here is a video of us being featured on CBS6 Richmond by Mark Holmberg. I am so thankful for their coverage of our story and other adopting families in the Richmond area. You guys rock!!



Saturday, October 26, 2013


I'm a wanna be prepper. I think being prepared is a good thing. Fact is... I'm not real good at it yet!
Things I am prepping for:
1.  The trip to Uganda. Including, but not limited to clothes, shoes, toys, snacks, wipes, hand sanitizer, clothes for court, soap, sweeties, passports, and a ton of paperwork. We are also preparing for bonding, attaching, understanding and speaking basic Luganda phrases, and having to learn to not be sarcastic when we speak to people. For those that really know us, you know which of those is going to be struggle.
2.  Our current 4 children not traveling. I am making a school schedule for the 2 weeks, copying insurance cards, making a list of approved activities, printing out a chores list, purchasing food for them and the animals. Which leads us to...
3.  The micro farm for our disappearance. Hay, straw, feed, and more. With 1 dog, 4 quail, 7 chickens, 4 goats (2 being milked each morning,) and a bunch of rabbits, our kids will have their hands full. I sound like a prepper ;) ... Side note: Anyone want to buy two goats in milk that may be pregnant?
4.  The gyms. We are so thankful to have two amazing managers of our Snap Fitness locations and are attempting to hire each of them some part-time help for while Matt is gone and beyond. That will allow them to help cover all the things that Matt normally concentrates on each week!
5. The end of the world as we know it!!!!!!
I've always said that once you have more kids than hands that it really doesn't make a difference how many children you have. The more the merrier. I truly believe that. However, this way is new to us and it really is the end of the world as we know it... and that is a good thing!
I have never added a child (or in our case two children!) through international adoption. I never had to learn the language of my bios more than the difference between a hungry, tired, and hurt cry. I never had to learn to deal with my child's loss of family, culture, and home country. I didn't have to think about parasites or what size clothes they'll be wearing when I meet them, or what kind of foods they will be willing to try when they get home. Babies don't add to the food bill for awhile, but Isaac and John's appearance will immediately cause me to prepare more food. Each meal lately, I look at what I have left and attempt to determine if that would have been enough to feed two growing boys. If not, I need to mentally adjust my food purchase next time and try again. We are also trying to prepare 4 kids for 2 more kids. This so far has been the most rewarding. Hearing their heartfelt prayers for Isaac and John have confirmed how much they already love them.
The beds are made. The seats are in the van. Their photos are in the frames.
Now to wait on the Lord's timing to bring them home!

Here's a video and some pictures of us being distracted by our goats :)
Soon all these videos will inlcude Isaac and John!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He knows.

... and I am so glad He knows. 

Updates from friends. Updates from the agency.

They can be exciting or inconclusive or scary or sad.

I've heard news in each category of those lately and I'm not sure how to process it all. 
Thankfully, I don't have to. I can lay it at His feet and pray for His will to be done and His peace to cover me. 

We found out for sure today that if we don't get our court date by mid-November that we will not travel until 2014. If God's plan is for us to wait... If God's plan is for our plan to change... If we are to have Isaac and John grow in our hearts a little longer before we hold them in our arms... Then let the the JOY of the LORD be my strength and let my fears fade as I put my FAITH in Him. 

Mark 4:40
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Both Hands was amazing!

Matt's email to the volunteers...

Well THANK YOU everyone, Saturday went great. Throughout the day, I think we had close to 40 people helping on the project. By the end of the day all of our expectations were met & exceeded. Everyone showed the love of Christ in their actions & great attitudes. I was a little disappointed in the morning when I felt the rain had ruined our chances of completing the stain. I really should have know God had a reason, when will I learn? Because we had so much help now available after the stain crew got fur-lowed, Des suggested we try to do the kitchen floor instead. So fortunately Dave told us how & we got to work on that. We didn't think the kitchen floor would get worked on at all that day (Donna's son in law was going to try to do it in the future). While we were busy on that, the rest of the stain crew, the finished HVAC crew & other diligent workers took advantage of the ending rain & actually completed staining the entire outside of the house. Everything in & out of the house that all of you guys worked on came out looking great & 100% better.

In total, God used all of you to:
-Instal a heat pump, needed duct work & wiring for her house (giving them a source of heat for the winter)
-Painted her sister's living room downstairs, the upstairs hallway, bathroom, bedroom(brightening up the inside of the house)
-Fixed/ replaced the water damaged wall in the bathroom
-Installed deco vinyl "wood' flooring in the kitchen
-Cleaned most of the house very thoroughly
-Power washed/ cleaned 22 years of grime off of the siding (earlier in the week)
-Replaced the non working fan with a brand new fan with lights
-Stained the entire exterior of the house with a very light nice looking stain (modernizing the look of the house)
-Spent time getting to know & fellowshipping with both sisters
-Left them with a clean & healthier environment to live

In addition to those great things being done, many of you guys did equally important jobs of logistics, keeping the project able to function. Those don't get as much visual acknowledgment, but the project wouldn't have happened without your efforts & organization.

I believe it was a great opportunity, not only for us adults, but especially for all of our young volunteers to really get to serve in Christ name. I believe God used everyone of us & those that were praying for the project to bless Donna. We will continue to pray that it blesses the adoption side as well. We will be working on a video for you to email to anyone you sent letters to to show what their sponsorship went to. We'll get that to you asap, but if you'd just like to see before, during, & after pictures, Desiree has them posted on her fb page.
Thank you guys so much, God has blessed us with an amazing group of friends & family.

Matt, Des, Trinity, Emma, Azriel, Isaac, John, & Titus

CLICK HERE for photos of the event.


In other news, the puzzle is complete!!! All 500 pieces are sponsored! As soon as I get everyone's names, words, or Bible verses for their sponsored piece, the puzzle will be ready to frame :)


We are packing, preparing, learning some Luganda, staring at the new picture of Isaac and John that came today, and waiting. The court date is that all important and necessary next bit of information that still has not graced the inbox of our email account. Wouldn't it be just awesome if I was able to update you with an actual court date when I wake up in the morning??? I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Local Media

Thank you local newspaper that shared our story many months ago! $1700 of our funds raised have been directly linked to the articles. One of those donations came today with a very sweet note full of encouragement :)

More news to come tomorrow on how He is spreading the word about caring for orphans and widows. God is moving mountains. Pay attention people.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

James 1:27 and a realization.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

A heat pump. Power washing. Staining. Painting. Kitchen floor. Carpet. Carpet cleaning. Ceiling fan. Breakfast. Lunch.

All being provided at no cost to a widow in need this Saturday. AMAZING!

Want to know more about it? Want to come out and help? 

Send me an email...

Want to sponsor the volunteers for the day AND help Isaac and John come home?

Click HERE

You can also see a picture (with more to come Saturday!) of the difference the power washing made on the cedar siding!!

Click HERE


Hi. My name is Desiree. I am a stalker.

It all started years ago. The ability to know things without having to talk to anyone. I blame pagers originally. And then AOL IMs. And the internet in general. And texting on cellphones. And email. And Facebook. And FedEx/UPS tracking numbers. 

During the adoption process, I have stalked my email, Facebook, and mail carrier like my life depended on it. My email has been the one that I have been staring at lately. Just waiting for the purple light to blink on my phone to let me know I have NEW information. Friends. Family. 4-H club. Bright Lights. Moe's. Scentsy and Thirty-One fall ads. I love you all... I do. But I am just not happy when you are the (1) that pops up in my inbox. I want it to say "Court Date" in the subject line and then rush like a mad woman to book flights and finish packing and print off a checklist for the weeks I'll be gone and cry with my kids that I'll miss them SOOO MUCH and have butterflies in my stomach as we take off toward the two that are waiting.

Hi. My name is Desiree. I am a wife, a mother, and a crazy yahoo email stalker.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In tenderness.

In Tenderness (He sought me) was written in the late 1800s, but still rings 100% true today. It talks of God seeking us and carrying us and bringing us back. We used a modern version of this hymn by The Citizens for our Give1Save1 (give $1, help bring home 1 orphan) video because, if you think about it, it is God's adoption story of us!

Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold of God

Today, my heart is focused two lines of one verse.

With all adoring wonder
His blessings I retrace

When I think of the word wonder, I think of it in terms of "I wonder why that happened?" Not just good or just bad, but more of an emotional moment of surprise. That is exactly how I have been feeling. Emotionally surprised.

I adore Him, I do, but sometimes His plans make me lay face down in wonder. I look at all that has unfolded in the last 5 days. We learned that the children we had been praying so very hard for were back in their original family. Praise God! It was hard. For sure. What a blessing for them though and for us that we had the privilege to pray for them earnestly for the last 4 months and will always have a connection with them! On the same day, we were sent photos of four more groups of waiting siblings from the same orphanage. Matt and I questioned whether we even wanted to look right away. Our hearts were still so sore. Matt decided that God had brought us to the place of being paper ready for a couple of waiting kids... and they had waited long enough.

We opened the first set and, honestly, we could have stopped right there. Isaac and John. Grins on their faces. Looking like the African versions of my cousins. Then, we read their birthdays to find out their ages. It was Isaac's birthday. The day we lost one referral. The day we received their photo. The day we opened up our hearts to the set of boys God had placed before us. Isaac's birthday. 

His blessings I retrace. 

We asked question after question to make sure this was the sibling group God had for us. Each answer confirmed it more. These "paper ready" boys now had a "paper ready" family. How paper ready you ask? WE GOT THE AFFIDAVIT TUESDAY! The last of all the information we need to stand before the court will be in Uganda to our lawyer by the close of the business day on Friday. We now are just waiting on our court date to book our flights. CRAZY!

Please be praying with us that God would go before us and close doors, open doors, lead us through cracks in the walls, etc. We need some prayer warriors folks!!

Our children.

Trinity - in reference to The Trinity. God three-in-one.
Emma - short for Emmanuel. God is with us.
Azriel - God is my aid.
Isaac - Laughter. The promised offspring of Abraham and Sarah.
John - God is gracious.
Nathaniel "Titus" - God has given"defender"

Look at all those good biblical names. Makes this mamma's heart smile and adore in wonder as I retrace all the blessings He has given to me.


A few days left to be a part of our Give1Save1 week!!!!

Skip the soda at your next meal. Donate that $1 at the above link. Watch our video. Pray for us as we seek to bring home Isaac and John. Spread the word!!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Putting my hands high in the air.

If you know me, then you probably know that I LOVE roller coasters. The thrill of the click click click and being able to just see over that first hill. The loops. The corkscrews. Even coming back into the station to a quick halt. I could do it over and over and over again. This of course is great at a theme park... not in my life.

The exciting news that we are adopting. The great turnout at fundraising events. Up. Up. UP. Matt gets food poisening. A major health scare when Azriel had serious reaction to peanuts and ended up an the PICU. $9,000 in damage to our home in a storm. Flying down the hill. USCIS approval to bring orphans back in to the country. Paperwork moving along. Knowing that our affidavit is right around the corner. Back up a hill with a fun twist. Getting an email asking you to call the agency. Hearing the bittersweet news that those kids that you love... that you pray for... that you long for... have been picked up by family and will no longer be available for adoption. A loop. A quick dip. A turn. A massive drop in elevation. Oh my heart that is now in my throat. Be patient. God has you on this track.

I don't know exactly when the next turn will come. I don't know how many more loops, twist, and hills before this specific ride is over. But. But I do know the Designer. And you know what? He is AWESOME! And He loves me. A lot.

We are so thankful for all the prayers and support of the last couple of days. Even though my heart has grown 7 times for each of the children that God has placed there, I know He make it grow just a little bit more for the ones He has waiting for us!

Today, we head back up a hill. Give1Save1 has featured our story and video on their blog. Can you climb on this crazy ride with us and help us shift the momentum up once again? Go to the blog. Watch the video. Click on the Pure Charity link.  Pray. Give ONE little dollar. And then tell everyone you know!

We need the weight of you guys in all the carts behind us to push us through. A full ride is always more fun!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Job 1:21

Job 1:21 ... the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Margaret, Joel, and Kenneth,

It was just four short months ago that our family began praying for you all multiple times a day. We were never able to give you hugs, hold your hands, or show you all the love that had grown in our hearts for each of you. 

I have tried to picture your sweet faces full of joy as you left the orphanage to go and live with your family once again!

You will never know that we even existed, but we will never forget you or stop praying for you. 

With hope for your future,

Your mzunga family 

My heart broke multiple times today. For my loss. For Matt's loss. For my kid's loss. To sit and see the tears fall down the faces of my children. Hearing them cry out. Watching my son go and get their picture to hold to his heart saying that we were so happy. Answering the question from Emma of we will get to go see them still. Hearing the wisdom of Azriel as she says through her tears that this is good and bad. Having Trinity bring Matt the Christmas presents she already wrapped for them with tears in her eyes. We mourn our loss.

But God knew from the beginning. He placed these children on our hearts so we (and so many around us!) could pray for them while they lived in an orphanage... while they mourned the loss of the life they knew... while they went to sleep in beds not their own... we prayed for them. 

This, folks, has not been a day I was expecting even though I always knew it was a possibility. 

We are moving forward. God brought us to Bethel House through our amazing agency. To our agency by searching after reading a book. Reading that book because other moms wrote about it on their blog. Searching blogs about Africa adoption because of a video of siblings in the DRC. EACH of these things God has used to bring us to where we are now... a paper ready family completely prepared for a Uganda adoption. 

He is good. His ways are better than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. I may never understand this, but today I can rejoice with a sore heart that there are three less orphans and, Lord willing, God will lead us to bringing that number down a little more by Christmas.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

(E)motion Pictures

Photography at its finest can capture a moment and hold it in time forever. Pulling out my camera to snap a few images and then quickly tucking it away so I can join back in is one of my favorite things. I love still photos, but lately moving film has been moving me.

We looked through hundreds... maybe thousands... of waiting photos of children and sibling groups before we even contacted a local agency about a home study this past May. Some were perfectly posed. Some were what I call "intake" photos. Rarely you would see one that looked like a genuine snapshot of the child. While searching, I came across one with a video link. A sibling group of 4 waiting in the DRC. They were sitting on a sofa smiling for the person taking pictures. Hands being placed on top of one another. Arms being positioned lovingly around the younger siblings. Then the one doing the videoing began to ask questions through a translator. What happened to your mother? Your father? How long did you live on the street? Tears poured down the eldest boys face and then were choked back as he answered each question. He was maybe 9. My tears began to fall too. I watched and cried as I sat alone just me and this computer screen. I watched and cried again as my children saw it and later again when Matt watched. When I contacted the agency, they were only accepting paper ready families. These were not to be our children, but the video that this agency created would help them find a family. Those moving images of those four children in Africa will never leave me. They are the children God used to place a huge chunk of my heart on the other side of the world. Theirs are the voices and the tears that let me catch a glimpse of the world we were heading into.

Our plan was domestic adoption. Matt and I agreed a sibling group that fell within our current kids ages was what we we hoped for. Adopting them out of foster care would have been ideal because of the lower cost. They would have spoken English. We could have met them first. It sounded like a good plan. That all changed after that video and LOTS of prayer and reading of books (like Kisses from Katie) and fasting and YouTube videos of "gotcha days" and adoption stories from Africa and more prayer.

We were sent 5 photos of the children we now call ours. One girl, Margaret, and her two younger brothers, Joel and Kenneth. In the photos, their shoes were broken, but more than that the photo captured their broken hearts. Margaret was picking at her nails and staring at the camera mouth tight and eyes fixed. Joel almost had a grin in one of them, but only because he was looking up at his sister. Kenneth looked in shock with his mouth open and his body positioned as if he was hoping to slowly move behind his brother. We didn't have to see a video of them to know we had found the ones.  The only question now was HOW were we going to get them home. Our children had brought out their money and searched the house and cars for change. $125.61. It was everything they had! (You can read that blog post here and their video to get more change here.) We had to step out, give it all (like our kiddos did!), and trust that God would provide.

Fast forward. <Yes. I know. Corny "motion picture" reference.>  We have raised over $10,000 and have $27,000 to go in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Over the past 15 weeks, we have watched a new video each Monday on an amazing blog that has a goal of helping bring orphans into families. Give1Save1 encourages each person who watches the video to give $1 to the family. $1... it may not sound like much when you need 37,000 of them, but each George Washington will help bring kids a little closer to home. And. Well. That is immeasurable. You may remember a few post back where I mentioned making a video for this "one life at a time" changing blog??? They picked us! We will be the family of the week on MONDAY THE 7TH. The video tells our story and also has a our kids taking the idea of it being a battle to bring them home literally.

Here's what I need from you, blog followers. Monday. Go to Give1Save1. View it. Pray for us. Give $1 (or more.) Share the Give1Save1 blog that includes a link to our video and fundraising page. We need it seen everywhere. Facebook addicts. Share it. Tweeters. Tweet it. Pinterest people. Pin it. Googlers. +1 it. Bloggers. Post about it. Only use email. Email it. Got a mouth. Talk about it. Help us tell everyone! News stations. Newspapers. Coworkers. Friends. Family. Enemies. Pray for us. Then go to bed. Wake up Tuesday. Do it again. My goal is to be annoying  persistent for 7 days.

We need your help and wouldn't ask if we didn't.

We got to see a video of the kids at our orphanage this week. I heard their voices!! Margaret was looking down at her hands singing quietly with a smile. Shy. To herself. Joel was off on the other side of the group in a bright blue shirt with his hands up by his mouth most of the time, but he seemed to be enjoying singing of "Jesus his Savior." We only caught glimpses of the one we think is Kenneth. I haven't gotten any word about his personality or his demeanor. It's as if he stays hidden... just like he was trying to get behind Joel in the original photos. I am so thankful for those that have gone this journey before us and sent back word and I can't wait to do the same. Help us go. Help us bring them home one dollar at a time!

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12, ESV)
... and we know He will continue. Our hope is in Him.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Vapor. A Mist. Once here and quickly gone.


Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We've all heard it before... Life is short. Live it up while you can. You aren't promised tomorrow. Eat dessert first (or maybe it is just my Dad that quotes and lives by that rule.)

Car accidents. Cancer. Suicide. Domestic violence. Just four of the ways I seen lives quickly go over the last few years. I've stepped back and attempted to examine each death. The mourners. The reactions. The lost life. The ones left behind. The hope or lack there of.

I started writing this post almost a week ago, but the words weren't there. I wanted to be able to grab people and shake them with my words because it would be assault if I actually did it. I was mad that people reminisced about the times they got drunk with a person they found out had passed or did something crazy with that person or other nonsense. I wanted to tell people to stop messing around. Stop playing house. Stop living for yourself. Stop relying on others to keep you happy. Stop sinning on purpose. Stop.

Stop and turn. Turn to the One who cares for you enough to have a friend call just when you need it. Turn to the One who is there waiting for you to accept His gift of salvation. Turn to the One that you don't think is even there for you... who didn't answer your prayer the way you wanted Him to... who will walk with you through your loss and your hurt and your rough days, but not take them away. Turn.

You have turned? Great. Your job is not done. Your eyes will wander from the goal. You will trip and fall. You will mess up. You will question whether you were saved... whether you really meant it when you said it. You may wonder for years if He even cares for you while you feel He is so far away. You will forget to talk to Him while you are busy struggling with your own problems or relishing in what you've done well. You will read His word and skim through because you have read it before. You will feel guilty. You will realize that this path is hard. Persevere. Struggle to be right with Him. He is Faithful even when you are not. He is a worthy goal. He is the prize.

Here is where I haven't done as well...

Point. Point everyone to Him. All the time. In every circumstance. On good days. On bad days. On days you screw up. On days you have done it right. Point people to Him. People are lost! They know of Him, but they don't know Him. Point everyone. Your kids. Your friends. Strangers. Your family. Your coworkers. None of you are promised tomorrow. When they are gone... when you can't tell them... when there are no more opportunities to tell where your hope comes from... Point to Him now. Not tomorrow. Not when your done partying with your friends this weekend. Not when it "feels" right. Not when you aren't busy. Now.

You are vapor. I am a vapor. Let the perfume of our Risen Saviour that we immerse ourselves in be inhaled by all near us.

WE GOT OUR I-171H!! Our approval to return to the USA with orphans... just not ours specifically yet :) Thank God!

We are now waiting on our affidavit and then court date.

A family in Georgia is leaving this weekend for the orphanage and is taking our photo book to hand deliver to our kids. I can barely type that without tearing up. I can't thank them enough!

One week.
You have one week to buy a raffle ticket for the crossbow. 71 sold. We were hoping to sell 200, but now we are hoping for 100. Matt REALLY wants to do the drawing on the 30th so the owner has time to site it in before deer season. Help us out. Share it. 1 for $10 or 3 for $25! Great odds!

Four to six weeks.
We may leave in 4 to 6 weeks. I have just 20 puzzle pieces left to sponsor. If you sponsored a piece and haven't given me the info on what you would like on yours, please contact me. I would like to have all of it sponsored, filled out, and put in Plexiglas before we leave. This will be something our family treasures forever.

Volunteers will be working on a widows house and getting sponsored (like a Relay for Life, but this is more of a rescue mission.) If you or your missions team or your relief ministry would like to be involved PLEASE contact Matt ( It doesn't get much better than serving a widow and three orphans at the same time!! Our link will be live soooooon!

God blessed Donna (Lanexa, VA) with 28 years of marriage before her husband was called home in 2002. Even with breaking 3 vertebrae, she still cares for 3 of her 10 grandchildren and has opened her home indefinitely to her sister. “This feels awkward… I want you to know that who I am, and what I have done is for God’s glory.”

Help us bless this beautiful woman and bring Margaret, Joel, and Kenneth home!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you... Colossians 1:3

15 days ago, we had only raised around $4,800 and I had decided to change the amount we needed on the fund raising thermometer to $15,000 to be more realistic.

Today, $8,706 is our new total raised! I also changed the total needed to the actual $37,000. Why? (You did ask, right?)

Because even if we don't raise it all... even if I can't picture us coming close to the total needed... I don't want to put a limit on what God can provide. Not that I could do that with a silly fund raising thermometer anyway!! :) It's just a visual of what God has done... not what He hasn't done.


Generosity - Realizing everything I have belongs to God and using it for His purpose.

We've been memorizing character traits in our house for a few years now. It's been good for the kids. Sure. But mostly it's been good for me. Yep.

For most of us, if we were asked to define generous, we would say giving money or things to people in need. This type of generosity of the people around us has blown me away. Raffle tickets for the crossbow. T-shirts sales. Puzzle pieces. Stevi B's. Yard sales. Donations of clothes and time. Change jars.

As I have looked and studied the operational definition of generosity, I have realized that it means so much more. I'm going to break it down here for me to revisit later. I hope you get something from it too.

Realizing... Comprehending COMPLETELY. No room for doubt. It's real to you.

everything I have...  Material things and money. Absolutely. But to me lately it has been so much more than that. What else do I have? A listening ear. A shoulder to lean on. Laughter. Prayers. Knowledge. Time. Love. A helping hand. A family. A heart. All of me.

belongs to God... It's His. Not mine. I wouldn't have it anyway if He hadn't blessed me with it in the first place. On top of that, when I read belongs all by itself, I think of "goes with." Like popcorn and movie. We were made for Him... by Him too.
 and using it..  Money doesn't do much good in a mattress. Food rots away if it isn't consumed. Muscles weaken when they aren't used. An empty house isn't a home. I must allow myself and my belongings to be used.

for His purpose.   His thought are higher than our thoughts. His ways our higher than our ways. His purpose is higher than our purpose.


Ways you can help.

     1.  Pray.
     2.  Buy/sell raffle tickets for the crossbow and tell your hunting buddies.
     3.  Share our blog.
     4.  Pray.
     5.  Check out our fundraising tab.
     6.  Pray... I think I mentioned that already.
Some exciting things are coming on top of our current fundraisers.

We have been chosen to do a BOTH HANDS FOUNDATION project! Check it out!  Please pray we find the right widow(er) and that we assemble an enthusiastic team. Pray about joining with us to live out James 1:27 as a community and maybe even taking on a leadership role.

We have applied to be a featured family on the Give1Save1 blog. Their verse is 1 Timothy 6:18. Our self recorded video has been edited by Nazarite Media for FREE (thank you David Paul!) and been submitted. Pray with us that we be featured and soon. We may only have 2 to 3 weeks notice before heading to Uganda and this blog has been very successful at drumming up support for adoptions! Here are some photos taken during our kids during their outdoor part of the video.

Is that a ninja?? Hmmmm. Maybe.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

12 Years Ago

12 years ago today, Matt and I welcomed Trinity into our lives and what a blessing she has been to us!  She made me a momma, but, more importantly, she made me a better person. I could never put in to words how special she is. A servant. A friend. A great hugger. I love her so much! Her goal in life is to be a wife and a mother and I couldn't be more proud of her choice of career! :)

Happy Birthday my sweet Trinity! WE LOVE YOU!


Thank you everyone for coming out to Stevi B's in Mechanicsville last night! My heart is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our family and adoption. Margaret, Joel, and Kenneth are so loved already!!

In other fundraising news...


With your help, we will bless a widow and bring our orphans a little closer to home at the same time. Everyone can help with this one.

Check out the video. Share our news about the project. Join our team. Stuff envelopes. Visit local merchants. Pull weeds. Paint. Take the widow out for a day. The whole family can help with this and we can't wait!

James 1:27

 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Window

african broken window
The window. I am close enough to be able to see some of the details inside. In fact, if it had glass in it, I could press my hands against it, stretch, and place my forehead against my hands to peer to see what's waiting there.

I'm preparing for the day that I'm told to climb inside. Thoughts swirl in my mind. What will it be like? Sound like? Smell like? Feel like? What will I need?

I make a list and begin to go and gather items... all the time feeling tethered to the window. Not wanting to wander far. Not spending much time away from longingly looking into it. I don't need to keep an eye on the it, but I do anyway. I can't help it.

People try and talk to me about other things. I try and talk about other things. Each time I still steer the conversation back to the window. I catch myself. I return to the original conversation while continuing the window conversation in my head. I care about what they are saying. I do! But the window.

I've seen people inside. They wave. They send messages and pictures. Some are happy. Some are hilarious. Some, though, are really hard. Heart wrenching. The images they send back are beautifully scarred.

Every once in awhile while waiting, one of the people near me is allowed in. What a joyous day of mixed emotions! We are all half afraid to climb inside and can't wait a second more at the same time. Some of the people that come near while we wait say things like you are courageous or what a blessing or how amazing. I don't feel any of those things. I'm scared. I'm nervous. I'm being attacked while I stand here and I know more is coming inside, but I know it will all be worth it.

The window. I am close enough to see in and I still wait.
Why ?

Because He is placed me at this place. He is near me here.
Because I need those blessings waiting on other side of this hard climb.
The hard part now is taking a picture at Trinity's sleepover and not having to take another step back to fit them in the frame. The hard part now is loading up into the van for church and picturing them in their seats. The hard part now is Titus being the only one of my sons hiding under the table in his class this morning... Azriel being the only one telling me about the honey sticks in her class... Emma being the only showing me her drawing from learning about the Ebenezer stone in her class. The hard part now is taking out 6 bowls for lunch instead of 9. Each moment they are not here is hard.

As I have been reading blogs and watching videos, the pain of time lost with them while we wait has turned to what they have lost and will lose to come here and be with us. Their culture. Their village. Their friends. Their extended family. Their parents. ALL they have ever known they will have to lose. Adoption is ugly. Yes. Adoption is beautiful too. Yes. 

Raffle update:
Matt has sold 30 tickets! 170 more and we will pick a winner!

Puzzle update:
365 of 500 pieces sponsored! UPDATE... 380 of 500!


Also, we raised $354 in our second yard sale and were able to bless the Henrico Mercy Mall with great items that didn't sell. Search for them on Facebook! They are doing the Lord's work. Thank you everyone who gave us their items to sell and helped at each one! You know who you are.

Our new total is $6,044! Woohoo :)  UPDATE... $6,548!!

Monday, September 2, 2013



Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12, ESV)

At Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville this past Sunday, I had the privilege of hearing a sermon titled "Rematch at Ebenezer". Pastor Rick spoke of our struggles being our victories because we fight. We don't give up. We know that something we are doing is keeping the sights locked on us, but we refuse to change that because we follow the guiding of the Lord. We will not deny that Christ is our hope and the reason we continue to stand up each time we fall. I sure feel like I've been tripped and knocked down more than normal lately. I will never stay down. My God will rescue me and help me rise to my feet again.

 It was great, but, like my norm, I read a few verses behind the passage and a few ahead. That's when and where I read that verse above and when I read that verse an "amen" was said in my head. "Till now the LORD has helped us!" I know I can say that about so many things that have gone on in my life, in my marriage, with my kids, and with this adoption. We have had more things break in this house or get broken by storms than ever. The roof. The carport. The pool pump. The printer (not good with all the adoption paperwork!) The ice maker. We have had medical bills. Azriel's peanut reaction ER visit. A minor surgery. Matt's food poisoning. But God.

But God has provided. He has helped us. I know I can trust in Him to bring these children home because He loves them even more than I do... and it is hard to love a child more than a momma does :) 

NEW Fundraiser Alert:

31!!!!!! Thank you Stephanie! 

Don't forget!

Stevie B's on the 9th next MONDAY!

We still have lots of other fundraisers you can participate in including the puzzle, parties, soap, vanilla extract AND the Crossbow Raffle!

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Last Thankful List... for now

A week ago, I committed to posting 50 things that I am thankful for right now. Some days it was easier than others. It's been a hard week in a lot of ways. Health stuff. Adoption stuff. Business stuff. If struggles make you stronger, God is helping us pack on some muscle right now! After a good workout you should always give your body the protein and nutrients that it need to rebuild. For our spiritual muscles, I believe the "protein" is scripture. Here are 10 verses that I am thankful for. I'm using this as my final list this week. I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs to just hear His Word right now.

  1. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  2. Be not forgetful of hospitality, for by it some have entertained angels unawares.  Hebrews 13:2
  3. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Galatians 6:9
  4. To obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22 
  5. Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap mercy; Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.  Hosea 10:12
  6. He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He. Deuteronomy 32:4
  7. He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, He who turns dawn into darkness, and treads the high place of the earth - The LORD God almighty is his name. Amos 4:13
  8. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and Glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17
  9. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14
  10. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquity; The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

If you aren't on a mobile device, you can see our fund raising thermometer has changed a bit.

The total we have figured up that the adoption will cost is about $37,000. We listed $35,000 because it was a neater number. Now, it is down to $15,000 for the amount total needed. How? Well, we got a loan for the 20k. Do I want more debt? Nope. Do people get loans like that everyday for cars? Yep, I used to sell the cars to them. We felt this was what we needed to do.

You all have helped us raise $4,887 since the beginning of June! Amazing! We don't have a travel date yet, but our hopes are to leave between late October and mid November. We have app. 7 to 11 weeks to raise the last ten grand before we fly 24 hours to Entebbe to meet and then bring home Margaret, Joel, and Kenneth! We are all pretty excited :)

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grant questions, Raffle, and Thankful List #4

I'm in adoption grant mode right now. One grant mailed out today. One waiting on a letter from our agency. Two being filled out when I'm not chasing kids around. One waiting for me to answer a question I just can't answer as easily as I want...

"Congratulations on your upcoming adoption! Welcome to (grant foundation) and thank you for your recent application.
For families adopting out of birth order or for those that marked their application that they were unsure, (grant foundation) asks that you email us and give us your perspective on this. You may also include it in your essay. (Grant foundation) proceeds cautiously with these types of applications as we learn more about the decision to adopt out of birth order. Some families flourish while others struggle when adopting out of birth order. As an organization, we pray over the information that has been given by our families and ask for God's direction before granting money. As part of our application process, it is required that families adopting out of birth order (or are unsure) must respond to this either via email or in their essay."

I've had this question in my inbox since yesterday. After answering gobs of questions for the adoption application, the home study, the other grants, and people around me, I am having a hard time answering calmly with my passion dialed back when I want to scream. I feel like I'm sitting on the stand in a courtroom and attorneys are taking turns ripping into each part of my life while the national TV crews blast it to the world. Tax returns. Pay stubs. Checking account balance. Monthly expenses. Net worth. Number of children. Church. Pastor. Personal testimony. Personal references. Statement of faith. Adoption testimony. Photos of our family. Photos of our home. Ahhhhhhhh! I understand most of the questions. I do. This question about birth order just messes with my brain. 

God said to. That's the answer I want to give, but I know they want more than that. So here it goes. I'm going to flush out my idea here. 

Possible reply...

Thank you so much for considering our family for this grant! We just started this process in May and hope to travel in October. This would be a huge help since we have not had the year or more we expected to raise funds. 

As far as the decision to adopt out of birth order, we do not feel it was our decision. God laid it on our hearts years ago that we would adopt a sibling group. We waited and prayed... and waited and prayed... and waited for Him to say go ahead. When He did say go, not only did He send us to a sibling group in Uganda that was waiting (not in our plan), but, also, to a sibling group that didn't follow birth order. We understand your concern and appreciate the fact that you are willing to consider something that you do not thing is ideal. The more we have sat and discussed your email, the more we are determined that God would rather Margaret, Joel, and Kenneth be adopted together and out of normal birth order by the family He is sending than have them stay orphans. Our new family will be Trinity 11, Emma 9, Margaret 9, Joel 6, Azriel 6, Kenneth 4, and Titus 4.

Our complete sibling group will allow the middles to stay middles, the youngs to stay youngs, and the elders to stay elders as they have been for the last four years of their lives. The responsibilities and privileges for the three oldest girls will be the same and mostly equal depending on ability. It is an important part of our family dynamic to make sure that each child realizes they are loved and needed each and every day. The two middles will be under the supervision of Matt, myself, and the elders while they get the opportunity to take on roles they deem "bigger" in our family. The younger ones will be my personal buddies, bug killers, lunch water fillers, and so much more. 

Our bios say each day how much they miss the siblings that they haven't even met. Our house is prepared. Sure. More importantly though, God has prepared our hearts, our children's hearts, our extended family's hearts, and our friend's hearts for these three to be here. Will it be hard? Absolutely, but I know adoption is close to His heart, that He doesn't always do it in birth order, and He makes it work each time He brings His children together as a complete family at church.

Again, thank you for this opportunity and your heart for orphans. If you have any follow up questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!


Hopefully that explains well enough why we are going against the norm of adopting in birth order.

A raffle for the hunters or archers in your life.
We are raffling off this bow with the multi-line scope package! Raffle will end September 30th as long as we have sold our minimum of 200 tickets. Just in time for archery season on October 5th and, hopefully, just in time for us to start our packing for Uganda.
Raffle tickets
1 for $10
3 for $25
 Thankful list #4
  1. For my husband's heart for the fatherless
  2. For the opportunity to grow our family
  3. For God adopting us first
  4. For the big table that He provided to fit all 9 of us around 3 times a day
  5. For grants, raffles, and fund raising
  6. For the Holy Spirit
  7. For the nine children I have had the opportunity to love before meeting
  8. For the fun of shopping for court clothes
  9. For the prayers of all of you 
  10. For His perfect timing
Trinity brought me this after hearing Matt and I talking about the grants and all the adoption stuff. She's right.  "GOD'S UNENDING LOVE HAS HELPED US THROUGH OUR ADOPTION"

234 pieces left to sponsor! This is something that will be a part of our family forever :) Thank you!

Monday, August 26, 2013


"Ssatu" is three in Luganda. I couldn't find "list", but I'm trying to learn a little. 

List #3 (21 to 30)

My Homestead List

1.    Ten gallons of water to fill,
2.    Nine times minimum saying "good morning... get moving",
3.    Eight neighbors tolerating,
4.    Seven chickens laying,
5.    Six rabbits for eating,
6.    Five sets of hands helping,
7.    Four quails egg making,
8.    Three girls a-milking,
9.    Two dairy goats,
10.  And one big backyard to keep them all in.

I'm a dork. Yep. That probably took more effort than it was worth! :)


We hit 50 shirts and $300 raised already with the t-shirts!
People are starting to use the link to buy. Yay :)
I am doing three grant applications TODAY. Pray for my brain!
I am doing three or four batches of soap this week.
We have Ugandan Vanilla Extract for sale!
264 Puzzle pieces are sponsored! (Picture to follow soooon)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

List #2

Should this be labeled numbers 1 to 10 or 11 to 20?

I am thankful...
1/11     that God heals.
2/12     for Trinity's desire to still cuddle on the sofa even though she is almost as tall as me.
3/13     for our appointment with USCIS to get fingerprinted on the 10th.
4/14     that my husband has outstanding parents love and care for us so.
5/15     that even though Titus is rough and rowdy, he also still cries during movies.
6/16     for a the freedom to go to church today.
7/17     for an amazing church and church family. Love our Calvary Chapel!
8/18     that we now have a picture of Kenneth smiling :)
9/19     for shoes.
10/20   that my future trip to Uganda has required me to purchase long skirts that I will actually wear.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Yesterday, I had a rotten attitude. I knew it. Surely everyone around me knew it. I was having a hard time being nice. Being thankful. Be patient. That afternoon, I picked up a box of crackers at the store and someone had placed a $1 off coupon under it. I had to smile. I know that they didn't put it there for me. Maybe they just didn't want it to go to waste. Maybe they had two, but didn't need two. Maybe the placed it under there and said a quick prayer for the crazy lady person who would find it. I'm going to lean toward the "left it with a prayer" scenario because I need a shove in a new direction and I got it.

Side note. I have never been one to like a list. Any list. Grocery list. Checklist. Homework list. Cleaning list.

It was then while I was standing in Target that I decided I needed to list 50 things I'm thankful for over the next week. I'm a numbers person and decided that if I could post 5 of the next 7 days then I would only have to do 10 at a time. So here it goes in no particular order...

Thankful List #1  8/22/13

1.     My God that cared enough to make a way to make me His own.
2.     The way Azriel curls up by me and kisses me on the cheek simply because she loves me.
3.     People who leave coupons for those of us who need them, but don't clip them.
4.     Movie nights where we all enjoy the show.
5.     Coffee.
6.     How Emma distracts me from what I'm doing and forgives me for not being distracted by her each time she comes to me.
7.     My griddle. It's big enough to cook for the whole family.
8.     My parents. If you know my parents, you know there isn't enough room to type about why.
9.     Naps. Not that they happen often, but when they do I'm soooo thankful.
10.   Grocery stores near by. I don't like list so a second trip is usually necessary.

That wasn't so bad!


We are still plugging away at the last bits of paperwork, fundraising, figuring out what clothes size to buy, and more for the adoption. The kids spreading out around the house to do school has been a welcome break from all of those things. Thankfully, the family has stayed safe and healthy through all the clean up after the storm even though the clean up is beginning to be an irritant to me. Our friends and family have been great through it all and have even helped with the fundraising side of things when I just couldn't do anymore. Thank you. You know who you are.

A few new fundraisers!

Hope you click back over to see the other 4 list this week. I'd love to hear some of the things you are thankful for throughout the week too! We can encourage each other :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dossier, Back to (Home)school, and 13 years of Marriage

The Dossier and a REALLY big check was sent out and arrived safely in NM yesterday!

For those that have not put this lovely packet of paperwork together, I'll fill you in on the fun...

  1. Original Home Study
  2. Copy of marriage certificate
  3. Copy of adoptive parents birth certificates
  4. Original physicals signed by the doctor
  5. Original police and FBI checks
  6. Proof of financial stability (taxes/bank statements) 
  7. Pictures of family, major rooms in the house, exterior of home, and yard
  8. Copy of photo page of passports
  9. I-171H (We didn't have this, but will send it off as soon as we do!)

We also sent off the paperwork for our home equity loan too. Once we get that, then we will only need to raise about $10,000 to cover the rest of our expenses. Not that we don't hope to raise more, but God knows every dime we need. No need to worry! :)

Back to (Home)School was last week!

There were lots of tears, frustration, and raised voices unfortunately... and then there was the kids' reaction! We love school. Really. We do. It still is hard to "go back" to that routine after taking the summer off and that's why we normally do it year around. This summer, with all the adoption stuff and gym stuff and house stuff, we took a break from the formal education part and just had fun.

This week is going much better. Yes, it is only Tuesday. Yes, I am being optimistic. No, I don't need a reality check. Our list are being checked off before dinner and in some cases before lunch. We are listening to The Hobbit as we eat and imagining each scene. Children are curled up with kindles reading while others are doing solution problems and geometry. It is sooooo nice! I'm trying to plan and then still be flexible knowing that hopefully SOON the number of kids to teach will be increased by 3.

13 years of Marriage were completed and celebrated in the Williams' house on the 19th!

Not to brag, but I have the most amazing husband. Ever. No really. E-v-e-r. He can be sarcastic and lack the seriousness that I sometimes think I need want, but his ability to make me smile, the kids smile, and just plain brighten our days when he is at home is fantastic. He is willing to set aside those things that he desires to follow God's plan even he doesn't completely understand it. I could go on and on (ask any of my close friends!)

I think you would have told me way back when what our life would be like now, I would have laughed, been shocked, and then probably gotten mad. This was not my plan.

"You will be a stay-at-home mom who home schools your four children while you care for one more. Plus, you are waiting to bring home three from Uganda. You still live in Mechanicsville, but you own goats, chickens, quail, rabbits, and just one small/medium dog."

No way. I wanted to run a company while my two kids went to school and played sports just like I did. I wanted to live in the country in North Carolina. I wanted to take cool vacations like a safari in Africa. I wanted to what I thought was the American Dream... minus the white fence.

I'm thankful that God not only knew what I needed, but He placed the desire in me to go and do these crazy things that are the complete opposite of what I would have chosen... and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

The top left is a few crafts the girls made for us for our anniversary. 
The top right is a globe that Emma bought for us at a yard sale.
The bottom left is a puzzle that Trinity made for us with cute instructions that include "Hug when finished."
The bottom right is us.