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!!