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.