Sunday, December 30, 2012

court day...

After we returned home from our safari, there wasn't much going on... we did a lot of sitting and waiting.  Uganda celebrated their 50th Jubilee, we watched some soccer, did some shopping, slept well, and just enjoyed being where we were.

Fast forward to October 16:
Today was a good day. A funny and off kilter today. We headed to our court appointment around 1pm. We arrived around 1:45 for our 2:30 court time.  We took the elevator up to the 3rd floor. Then took a half flight stairs up to the 3 1/2 floor. Yes, 3.5.  We went to the waiting room that we had spent so many hours in a couple of weeks ago.  We sat down and our driver called our attorney to let him know that we were there.  Ken talked for a moment then handed the phone to Ryan.  Our attorney told Ryan that we had indeed passed court and received a favorable/positive ruling. Deacon is officially ours.  Our attorney was in court this morning with another family and had gotten the news then.  Ryan hung up the phone and shared the news.  We were definitely caught off guard (why had he not called us?).  So we left and decided to go get some items that we need from Deacon's file to start his medicals.  

Before travel and even last week, we were told we were not able to start the medicals until after we had a written ruling (which we don't have yet, just the verbal).  But I wanted to try anyway. I have followed the rules for over 3 weeks and it hasn't gotten me anywhere yet :).  So we got the documents then headed to do the medical center.  I prayed the entire way for God to soften the doctor's heart and see us today.  I may have pleaded with him a little bit as well.  We got to the medical center and at first the receptionist told us no, but we could come back on Friday. After I gave her the paperwork that she needed, she then said that she wanted to go check to see if maybe the doctor could see us today. She came back and said, yes, the doctor could see us today.  We waited just a few minutes and then were taken back to an exam room that was actually kinda nice by African standards.  She then said to Deacon "we are about to become enemies."  She gave us some instructions then gave him his TB test. He screamed of course but he did okay afterward.  We go back on Friday to have the test read and to have the rest of his medical work done for our visa. This is a huge step! It is 3 days that we won't have to do next week.  Huge!

We are finishing up today and I am a tad (just a tad) more hopeful.  We knew the process would be long but the judge thing really set us back.  So I am asking you to keep praying for the rest of our time here to be quick and all of the work be done quickly by those Ugandans who are doing it.

eating out at a food court... all of the workers assault you with their menus. 

hanging on the porch

Saturday, December 29, 2012

everything but the lion

We woke up at 5:50am to go on our safari at 6:30.  We had breakfast then met our guide, Drago.  He showed us around the African savannah and we were pleased to see elephants, hippos, wart hogs, giraffes, kobs (like a deer, one of Ugandans symbols), hartebeasts (like another kind of deer but with a horse like face), african buffalo and cranes.  We were also on the hunt for lions.  Though we didn't find any, we did see some fresh tracks.  We tried to read the tracks to figure out where they were but alas no lions were spotted. 

We were able to lounge by the pool after our morning drive. What a treat this was.  Deacon does not like the pool yet but he will learn by next summer to love it.  Then we headed out on a boat tour of the Victoria Nile.  This part of the nile was full of hippos. Everywhere you looked there was a cluster of hippos. Man, are the huge. There were old hippos, mama hippos and even baby hippos.  They were every where you looked.  We also spotted a couple of nile alligators. Our boat got so close to one that he could have jumped on board if he wanted too.  We saw so many birds as well, beautifully colored and in their natural habitat.

One thing that Ryan and I both commented on is how the safari and boat ride are within the animals natural habitat. There were not fences or gates or concrete barriers keeping them in. We were in their home.  We are fond of zoos and it made us hurt for those animals in captivity.   Though most of those animals have never known anything different it is a reality check to see what they come from and how freely they roam on the vast african plain.

After our morning and afternoon fun, we set out to our next destination, Choebe Safari Lodge.  Since the royals were coming to Paraa there was no room for us at the inn.  On that note, we heard it was Charles and Camilla but we didn't see them.  It ended up being the Queen's brother here for the Ugandan Jubilee celebration. 

The road to Choebe was dark.  We traveled through the park and I just knew a lioness was going to jump through my window and eat me.  After 2 hours on a dark savannah dirt road, we finally hit pavement.  Another hour of driving in darkness and we arrived at 9:30. I have never been so happy to arrive some where. I don't like driving at night and add in the fact that there were absolutely no street lights or other car lights around it made for an interesting drive.

Friday, December 28, 2012

on our way to the safari

This morning we woke up with some excitement in the air.  We packed our bags and headed out the door.  After an hour to get out of the city of Kampala, we went on the northern bypass up to Murchsion Falls.  We drove for 5 hours on roads better than those back at home.  We passed by village after village after village winding our way up to the north eastern part of the country.  Once we made it to our turn, the road became dirt.  We drove for 2 hours on a red African dirt (not to different than OK) one lane road.  We were greeted by troops of baboons and about a half dozen wart hogs (think pumba from lion king).  The baboons are the red butt kind and it made me think of my kids :).  

We decided to take a run up to the top of the falls. I have never seen a dirt road with so many rocks, pot holes (natural of course) or bumps.  It was a bit nail biting at times but we made it to our destination.  We hoped out of our van and walked to where the Victoria Nile plummets to the bottom in a magnificent roaring fashion.  It was so loud and the rapids were so intense.  All that water funneled down... tomorrow we will get to see the bottom of the falls.  

We made our way back to the main road and headed for the ferry. The ferry looked small and not able but it somehow took 4 vans and a very large army truck over the nile.  I just knew we were going to sink when they centered the army truck on the back of the boat.  But God was with us and we made our way across the 3/4 mile wide waterway.  And thank goodness we didn't sink because the waters were filled with hippos! I spotted at least six that came up for air then went back down.  As we reached the shore, we saw another troop of baboons. They were milling around with the people waiting to take the ferry back to the other side.  When we were getting settled in our room, the man told us not to leave our doors open otherwise the baboons would come in and go wild.  

Tomorrow we will go on the actual safari and drive around the grasslands.  I told Ryan today that I think the nature shows must come here to film!  It is absolutely amazing. Beautiful and breathtaking and that was only the road and the falls.  

Deacon did great again. The bumps in the road helped him choose to stay seated.  Our main issue with him has been when he needs to go potty. Thank goodness that Ugandans just go on the side of the road.  We just pull over, hop out and let it fly.  This will not be an easy habit to break when we get home.... I know Cannon will be all in for this but the girls, not so much.  

Tomorrow we should get to see the choice African animals: elephants, lions, more hippos, giraffes, zebras. I am hoping we don't get eaten or caught in a stampede.  We did see some water buffalo today as well. They were totally covered in mud and relaxing in their mud hole while some wart hogs looked for some bugs that taste like chicken. I swear the Lion King and Madagascar have me thinking that we will see a dance number tomorrow while we drive. 

Oh, one other thing, we heard tonight that the soldiers are here because someone from the British royal family will be here tomorrow. I'll let you know if I spot anyone.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We woke up really early this morning and left the house at 7:30. We arrived at the court house at 8:30 for our 9:30 appointment time.  One hour went by, then almost two.  The first case was heard around 11am (there were 4 families).  The first case did not go well with the background investigations.  This seemed to set the tone for the rest of us.  We were the last case from our group.  We heard from the other families that the judge asked them to provide more information for each of their cases. So we were mentally prepared that he would do the same for us.  We went in at 12:54.  Our attorney presented Deacon's family information as well as his history.  The judge did not feel that due diligence had been done in this case and requested that more information be provided.  We were done at 1:27 feeling defeated.  The upside to this is that we were given a date to come back and we would receive our ruling, October 16.  Two weeks away.  The background information will hopefully be done by Monday according to our adoption worker. We are hoping that this will not effect our return date.

Deacon is doing great and was a champ during everything today! He waited patiently (or as patiently as a 4 year old can wait).  He said many more words today.  He rode in his own seat in the car (he has been a lap rider which is hot for his parents!).  

waiting for court to start

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from us to you!

oldest and youngest 

all 4 

middle two

Sunday, December 23, 2012

a lazy Saturday and food!

Saturday, September 29
Even in Africa, Saturdays are for laying around and relaxing. Since we have spent the last 8 days either in an airplane or driving in a car for hours, we decided to stay at the guest house and just be.  We cook our meals here so that has been fun exploring what I can make with the food I brought and pairing it with the local flavors.  By local, I mean we have had eggs (brown!), chicken breast, ground beef and bananas.  We bought apples too but I don't think they are native :).  Tonight we had ramen and chicken for dinner. I haven't had ramen since our early married college days.  It tasted so good!

Deacon had another great day.  He played and played and played.  He pushed around luggage, stacked chairs, drove his trains, talked on his phone, sported his sunglasses and napped.  

Couple of exciting things that happened today:
1) He got to Skype with Kaylee, Cannon & Grace. They were are 3 so excited to talk to him.  He was good for about 10 minutes then he started to get a little nervous and was done with the whole people talking through the computer thing. It was so good to see the kids though! First time since we left!  Africa time and OK time are hard to match up!

2) He said more words!!!  He said good-bye a few more times.  He also said "I love you" after we said it to him.  Ryan got him to say "mama" as well but I didn't hear that one. So he is really starting to improve. 

Monday, October 2Today was a fun day.  We had the pleasure of experiencing traditional Uganda food.  I will give you the plate tour.... starting at 12 o'clock...
1) Green: this was some kind of greens. They were bitter and just okay.
2) Tan: this was some kind of stew meat. Beef simmered in a tomato/veggie broth.  Pretty tasty!
3) Yellow: Matooke, this is a type of banana. It is wrapped in banana leaf then steamed. It taste a lot like spaghetti squash to me. Pretty good.
4) White: Maize, this is a lot like really thick grits.  You pick it up and eat it with your hands and use it like bread to soak up broth. Pretty good.
5) Tortilla Like thing: Chapate. It is wheat flour mixed with oil then fried. This is quite tasty~
6) Rice: this was like fried rice with carrots and peas. Basic and it tasted good.
7) Brown paste: this is a peanut paste. You can put it on your chapate. It tasted like a light peanut butter.
8) Beans: these are like our pinto beans cooked with some onions and tomatoes. This was my favorite part.

All in all this meal was very good. Not extremely filling but I was proud of myself for trying it all.  True Ugandan fashion is to pile everything on the plate and have the broth float all on the bottom. I, of course, stuck with my usual plating method, making sure nothing touched :). Though I did use the maize and chapate to soak up some broth from a separate bowl :).  It may not look very good but I was pleasantly surprised that it was!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amazima, Katie Davis Visit

September 28

We just arrived back at the guest house after spending 3 hours in a Kampala traffic jam. Yuck.  Nothing like sitting in a van with the windows down (no a/c) and breathing in all the other cars exhaust.  Deacon did great though and was very patient.

We had another great day today. I have been surprised at how well the trip has gone so far.  Kinda makes me hope it doesn't turn the other direction in the weeks to come!  This morning was easy and around noon we headed out to Jinja and Amazima Ministries. It is supposed to be about a 1.5 hour drive but it ended up being around 2.5 due to traffic. On Fridays, everyone uses the same road to either go to Kenya or to go to Kampala for the weekend.  It was a lot of time in the car but so worth it.

We arrived at Amazima around 4pm after a ride through Jinja and then a backtrack to where we were supposed to go.  We passed over the Nile River dam.  I kept thinking I wonder how many crocodiles were in there! The river was really pretty and very lush and green on the banks.  

When we arrived we met Brad Lang who is Amazima's operations director. He spoke with us for about 30-45 minutes on the history of Amazima and Katie Davis.  He is from Iowa and his family operates s soy bean farms.  It is a way for them to reach out to others missionally as well.  Who would of thought a soy bean can help someone come to Jesus!

After our talk, we got a tour of the grounds. There is a large place where the 581 kids come to worship every Saturday.  They get a meal and then food to take home for the week. There is a large playground and they are building a soccer field.  Our family has talked so much about Katie and her ministry that it was great to actually be able to see it. 

Here are a few pictures...

Where they do the Saturday morning worship  

the kitchen that makes all of the food for hundreds on Saturdays

Franko, Katie's pet monkey

An up close of Franko. He loves to be touched. Trying to take my ring off here.

Looking out from the kitchen

Deacon had a good day. He even talked, twice! He has this phone that sings a song. At the end of the song, it says "good-bye."  So this morning while we were getting ready, he was listening to the phone sing and at the end after it was done he goes "good-bye."  Then a few hours later in the van, the same thing happened. He was listening to the phone and after the song was over, he said "good-bye" in the sweetest little high pitched voice.  We also got lots of laughter today thanks to him being ticklish.  I heard him laugh in his sleep the first night but that has been it. So more vocalizations today which is great!  Maybe tomorrow he will let it all out.

Ryan and I are both feeling pretty good.  We are getting sleep and eating well. No sickness yet.  Tomorrow we are going to take the day to just relax at the guest house. We have been in the car for at least 3+ hours everyday since we arrived. Deacon won't know what to do when we don't get ready to go somewhere.

Monday, December 10, 2012

back to Kampala

September 27

Day 3 with Deacon was another great day.  We woke this morning and made the 5 hour trek back to Kampala from Mbarara.  Deacon is a great lap rider and loves to look out the window at all of the other cars and boda boda's (motorcycles).  There are a lot of vehicles on road and they like to drive really close to each other.  He spent some time up front with Ryan as well which he really liked because he could see out the windshield. The Chinese are putting in new roads so there was lots of construction equipment that he could watch as well.  

The road from Mbarara to Kampala is filled with strips of "shops."  Most of these strips are in little villages and are made of concrete. They sell everything from live chickens to popcorn to internet minute sticks.  There are carpenters that are making beds, dressers and caskets with just hand tools.  There are welders making doors and gates.  There are people all around and lots of children running around as well.  We have seen lots of goats, cows, dogs, and a few cats.  The only exciting animal we have seen is the Crested Crane. The Crested Crane is Uganda's national animal. Our driver said that there aren't many around but I have seen 3 in the last day.  

In more of the rural area of the road, we stopped at a drum shop. It was a stick hut on the side of the road.  Drums were tied to the sides as well as all around the inside.  The drum is made/carved from wood then it is wrapped in cow hide. The hide is a dark chocolate brown and then is wrapped again in some kind of twine. We saw where they were drying out hide or tanning it.  It was up off the ground a little bit and all spread out.  There were some "fresh" drums too that weren't for sale yet. They smelled a bit...  

For our Georgia Tech alum friends, while driving in Kampala today I saw a Ugandan sporting a GT hat.  So know that GT is represented here!  It was fun to see a bit of home walking down the street!

Deacon is starting to open up a bit. He smiled a lot today and seems comfortable with hugs, kisses, tickles.  Still no words from our sweet boy but we know that they are in there.  Maybe tomorrow! He likes to stick out his tongue while he is playing or looking at a book or concentrating.  Imagine Michael Jordan when he dunked a basketball.  Long, pink and all the way down his chin.  Ryan loves it :).

Friday, December 7, 2012

what a day...

September 26, 2012

Today we woke up with a beautiful little boy sandwiched between us.  I opened my eyes and looked over and he was just staring at me.  We got up and he played with his toys while we got ready. He did great at breakfast and is getting the hang of using the fork.

After breakfast, we headed back to his home.  Well, first we stopped off at a medical clinic because his eyes were gunky and he has a blister thing on this leg. He got checked and we got some medicine so back on the road. One funny thing is that the visit and the medicine only cost $4 US dollars.  Wow.

We drove the hour and a half back to his home. When we arrived it was lunch time and all of the little ones were having fish.  We waited in the waiting area and one by one the caregivers came to say their goodbyes to Deacon.  

After our visit there, we headed out to Deacon's family's village.  We drove on a paved road, then were on a dirt road.  Then we headed up the side of a large hill/small mountain on a typical African road.  We could only go so far and had to walk the last little bit.  The head Sister was with us. I have never ridden in a car with a nun before!  So there is a nun, 2 Americans/Muzungus and 2 Ugandans trudging our way up this dirt pathway.  What a site we were...

We passed several little mud houses and hundreds of matoke trees (kind like a banana but green and much sweeter).   We finally came upon his village. We were able to meet some of his extended family and spend some time with them.  We were able to ask lots of questions and have some important things to share with Deacon some day.  It started to rain while we were there.  We sat in a mud hut and talked while water dripped in the tiny tin holes.  We stayed surprisingly dry.

We made our way back down the muddy rainy dirt path.  We got back in the van and headed back to his home.  We spent time with Deacon's friends and were able to take pictures of him with them.

One thing that was another surprise today.... Deacon hasn't talked at all. He has cried once but other than that, no verbal communication.  Today while we were at his home we were standing in a doorway and all of his friends where surrounding us.  He took a little girl by the hand, looked right at me, and said a full sentence in the sweetest little voice. Of course, I have no idea what he was saying... Then we were told that this little girl is his best friend. He watches after her.  So I think he was telling me that this was his friend.  So incredibly sweet and what a way to end our visit there. 

We then made the trek back to Mbarara.  It was a long day but so full of joy and grace.  What a God to love us the way he does and give us such experiences.

Tomorrow we head back to Kampala. We are going to do some touristy things the next few days. Then our court date is scheduled for next Wednesday at 9:30am (2:30am Stillwater time).

Ryan and Deacon leaving his family village surrounded by Matooke trees.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meeting Deacon

September 25, 2012

What a day we have had!  This morning we traveled out to Deacon's home and met him.  He was very responsive to us and didn't cry at all.  He let us hold him almost the whole time we were there.  He is very quite and shy. We have yet to hear him say anything.  We remember this with Grace. She was so quiet the first few days....but then look out!

Ryan and I both have had so many memories of Grace's trip.  It is fun to think back on it then look at where Deacon is coming from.  

His favorite toys are anything with wheels. He loves his cars and his plane.  He has a couple of books that he is loving as well.  We have traveled with him back to Mbarara to stay the night.  We were able to bring him with us but we plan to go back out to the home tomorrow to spend some more time.  

He is smaller than we expected as well. Probably the size of a 2ish yr old back in the US. His clothes are a tad big but he will start growing. He is eating well and had beef, chicken, french fries, almonds, granola bar, trail mix and puffs today!

One bummer of the day, court has been delayed again (7th time!). But it is only until next week. Our original judge is sick and the new judge hasn't had time or won't have time to review the files before Thursday. So next week it is.  This should not delay us in getting home thank goodness.

First time we met Deacon.

Monday, December 3, 2012

the first few days....

Let's go back to the beginning.  Well, the beginning of the trip anyway. I am going to post the updates that I sent to our close friends and family.  That will be the best way to remember.  After many, many, many delays and court date changes, we had tickets for September 22.  I doubted we would board that plane but that morning I started to believe a little.

September 22, 2012
Hello all!
Well, after many, many delays, the day has finally come!  We are on our way to Uganda this morning!  We fly out of OKC and go to Atlanta. Then we head to Amsterdam at 5pm and then finally land in Entebbe on Sunday night.  The time difference is 8 hours so around 3pm Stillwater time on Sunday we will be getting off of the plane.

Here is our schedule for this week:
Saturday: leave for Uganda
Sunday night: arrive in Uganda
Monday: errands around Kampala, visit the embassy
Tuesday: drive to where Deacon is which is about a days drive
Wednesday: meet Deacon!
Thursday: court date where we will go in front of the judge to say we want to be Deacon's parents, then we wait for the judge's ruling, this could take one day or up to a week.
Once we get the positive ruling, we will head back to Kampala to start all of the medical and visa paperwork.

I hope to be able to update often. The first week our internet will be hard to find but when we are back in Kampala it will be much easier.

September 24, 2012
Hello all!
We made it safely to Mbarara today. We were able to run all of our errands this morning and then set off for the 4.5 hour drive.  We get to meet Deacon tomorrow! We will head to his home at 8am. It is around a 1.5 hour drive.  We are feeling good and getting sleep! Our big kids are doing great too!

And guess what, we had ANOTHER court change!  However, this one is okay. Our judge is sick so now we will have court in Kampala instead of Mbarara. I can handle that change!  We will meet Deacon tomorrow (Tuesday) then head back to Kampala on Wednesday for court on Thursday.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Some would say that this adoption went pretty quickly.  We turned in paperwork in January and were home with our son at the end of October.  Ten months...  That is quick for international adoption.  Really, it is quick for any kind of adoption.

However, this journey began while we were in Rwanda in the fall of 2009.  We were there for Grace. We were welcoming our 3rd child into our family. While we were there, our eyes were being opened even more to the life of the orphan.  We saw so many children without families.  Little ones crying out.

We knew that we had to go back.  As we traveled down the red dirt roads, bonded with our new daughter, waited for important documents, we knew that we would return.  When our process was complete, we knew that this would not be our last adoption.

At the one year anniversary of Grace being home, we were going to start again. We would bring another child home to our family.  Then Rwanda shut their doors.  So that wasn't the right place.  We tried to adopt through our state. But that wasn't the right way.  We tried to help out a young girl who had made poor decisions. But that wasn't the right time.

There was so much pain and heartbreak. There was much more prayer.  I truly believe that we had to go through all of this because he was waiting for us.  God was waiting for the right time and knew that this little guy was our son.  He knew that I would have a passion and a drive to adopt and He knew He had to make me wait.

God made us wait for him, our son.  He was waiting for us in a babies home in a tiny town in Uganda.  He waited every day not knowing that we were coming.  Then on September 25, he waited no more.  As Ryan scooped him up, his face smiled with a joy that told me in my heart that he knew that we were his forever.

We are home now and our family is complete.  God has given and we feel extremely blessed.    This is our son, Deacon.

This adoption was a quiet one. I will take the time here to go back and relive our journey.  I pray that it helps someone in their process, either with encouragement or with details along the way.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

we are here

After many many court changes which lead to airline ticket changes, we are in Uganda!  We have met our sweet boy and are on day 6 of being in country.  Our court date has been changed once again but it was only delayed 3 business days due to our judge being sick and giving our case to another judge.

Deacon is doing so much better than we expected.  He isn't talking much yet but we have heard a few words.  He is bonding to both of us and is having fun playing with all of his new toys.  He likes to explore and is testing his strength and problem solving skills.   His favorite toy so far is our carryon suitcase. It has 4 wheels and is light enough for him to push or ride around.  He also likes his phone so he and Grace can have lots of fun talking to each other.

Pray for a quick court date and a positive ruling!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

totally stole this from a friend's fb page

One of these days, I will look back onto our adoption journeys and think that they weren't so bad. Kinda like childbirth, you only remember the good parts. That's why you keep doing it.  God's way of giving mama amnesia.

No one said that adoption was easy.  I knew this the first go around.  Months of no communication about did me in. But once we got our Grace it was all worth it.  She came home and filled our home with such joy and laughter.

We decided to take the road once more.  First we tried our state route.  We took the classes and waited to be matched with a little one from our state.  After a year waiting, we didn't renew our paperwork because there just didn't seem to be the kids in need that we kept hearing about.  Our state needs foster homes and that's just not where we were then.  I thought well maybe there isn't a 4th kiddo out there for us.

Next came a young college girl who made a poor choice.  We cared for her and helped take care of her.   We prepared a room and I was so excited to get a baby....  But one Friday night in October she gave birth and she decided to keep her child and again we were left childless.  A pain that is hard to deal with and so much harder to explain.

Several months later, we were led back to the continent where we had been before.  Still recovering from the loss of a child and me still feeling the call to give a child a home.

Things went pretty quickly this time.  We have waited longer to go and get him then it took us to get paperwork done and then referred.  The excitement of getting ready and planning for the other kiddos has worn off and after 3 months of thinking it was time then being told not yet I am exhausted with the process.

But no one said that adoption was easy. No one said that there wasn't pain or stress or worry.  No one said this narrow path didn't keep me closer to Him.

Soon we will all feel the relief of having our son home. Soon we will be able to bask in the goodness of his joy and his laughter as it feels our hallways.  Because no one said it was easy, but I know it will be worth it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The call that I didn't want to get came on Monday morning at 10:45am.  We have been delayed once again.  This is the 4th date change and 3rd ticket change for us: July 5, August 14, September 3, now September 27.  We started preparing for this trip in late May when we were preparing for a "late June" court date.  The good news is all of my bags are packed and I won't unpack just to repack them...  beside a few items in my carry-ons I am ready to go.

We were so close this time... just a little over 48 hours away from take off.  It is heartbreaking to think almost another month will pass and our son will still be without us.  I spent a lot of time being mad yesterday.  Today I am okay just frustrated.

I pray for our judge. I pray that he sees the importance of adoption and that this is just as, actually even more important than, the cases he is moving up and bumping us.   I pray that he doesn't choose to change our date again.  Every change is $900 in airline fees.  We have changed twice already.  I pray for our son as he continues to not us.  Pray with me....

Saturday, August 18, 2012


The butterflies have found their permanent home. In. My. Stomach.  Our trip is oh so soon and I am getting a wee bit nervous.  It's not the 24 hour seat in the sky or the day long car ride that is doing this to me.  It's the hope and worry to how he will respond to us and how he will respond to me.

With Grace, I had the rose colored motherhood glasses on and just knew she would love me and want me and I could do all things motherly to her and for her instantly.  I had 2 older kids and that was just how it worked.  Well, she didn't get that memo from the nuns because instead of wanting me she cried when I tried to do anything for her. Holding her, feeding her, playing with her all resulted in her clinging to him.  She attached to Ryan at first sight.   I am so thankful that she did attach to him so quickly.  I am just hoping that maybe this time around will be different.

Our little guy is older than Grace by a year and a half at our first meeting. He will be more set in his ways and probably have more opinions than G did.   He will probably want Ryan like Grace did. I mean who wouldn't? He is handsome, tall, strong.  All things that can protect them and make them feel safe.   I will just keep the food and toys and hopefully those can be persuasion items!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Last week, I decided to have a garage sale to help fundraise (those ticket change costs, ouch!).  We had about a week to get everything together. I put it on fb and sent an email to friends that we would love donations and wow, did our friends bless us!  Our sale was huge!  I was hoping that we would raise $1000....

A couple of great friends helped with getting things priced and setup.  We all sorted through boxes of other peoples used to be treasurers. We hung up clothes and paired shoes. We sorted toys and housewares.  We waited with anticipation of what would come of all this stuff.

Friday morning came and we were ready to roll!  Customers started about 7:30 and they didn't stop until 1pm.  Friday was a huge day!  Saturday morning came fast and we spent today with a steady stream of people!  With only one lull, we were busy until well after 1pm.

It was pretty neat to see the demeanor of people change we mentioned this was an adoption fundraiser. Some were curious who/where. Some where fellow adoptive parents or had adoption somewhere in their family.  Some gave more than their total.  We didn't have too many people try to ask for us to lower our prices.  That was neat....

This is the totally cool part.... yesterday a man and his friend came to buy some things. They came back about an hour later and said that he donates items to people in need. I told him to come back on Saturday after the sale and he could have what he wanted.  He came back today and he called a friend to come get some things.  The friend that!  A couple from Cameroon in Western Africa. This couple is working on a container load of items to send BACK TO Africa!  They are almost full and the items we have would help fill it.  They are shipping the container next week then will go meet it back in Cameroon in a couple of months and distribute it to people there. They were the sweetest people and I am so excited that God decided to have our paths cross.  Our friends who donated all of the items were trying to help us bring our son home from Africa and they are also helping other Africans in need.

The grand total of our garage sale was just over $2700.  HE exceeded my hopes and blessed us with so much more.  I love to see how HE works when we give HIM absolute control....

Here are some pictures from our day that Kaylee took.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

scratch that...

we received news on friday that we won't be traveling to UG as planned.  there is a court delay and it has pushed us back 2+ weeks.  so we are hoping to leave at the end of August for an early September court date.

we are doing okay with the news.  it means we get to be with the kids as they start their new school year which is good.  it is hurting our pocket book though as we had already bought our tickets.  $900 later we are now working on new flights.

our son will be 4 years plus 2 months when we meet him. that just seems so old.  we will have so much to work through due to his age.... God will give us the tools, strength and patience that we need.  Join us in praying for this court date to be the one and that it won't change again....

Monday, July 23, 2012


Today I looked at the calendar.  I decided to count the days until we are headed off to meet our child.  22. This is the number that means so much. In 22 days, we will head off on another adoption adventure.  In 22 days, we will say goodbye to our first 3. We will then hop on a plane and take a looooong flight over the ocean.  We will land days later in our youngest child's homeland.   We will spend another day driving to where he is.  We will hopefully get to meet him that next day.  It seems so far away but yet is so close.  22 days and counting...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This little light of mine is 11 years old today.  Eleven years ago I was swollen and uncomfortable and ready to meet this sweet squishy thing that had taken over my body for the last 9 months.  She did not come out easy and didn't exactly continue on as an easy baby.  But once she could communicate all was better. She started talking early and has never stopped. 

She just returned from her first mission trip to Rwanda.  She got to visit the orphanage where her sister spent the first few years of her life. She got to love on babies and play with the kids.  She spent time at schools throughout the land of a thousand hills.  Her compassion for others is  sometimes overwhelming.  Two years ago, she created her own ministry to raise money so that she could help others.  I am so proud of who she is becoming.  I can't wait to see how God uses her for His mission.  She's got her plans so we will see how His match up!

3 months old

3 years old

3 years old

6 years old

6 years old

8 years old

10 years old

almost 11 years old at her favorite place in the world

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

more with us than without us

Today, July 3, 2012, Grace has been a part of our family longer than she was without us. 1 day longer but when you are counting 2.5 plus years one day makes a difference for this celebration.  Let's look back on the last 2.5 years...

Our referral picture for our new daughter, November 9, 2009. She was 2.5 years old.

First family picture, November 28, 2009

Our first smile, minutes after we received our travel letter, November 30, 2009

Turning 3, April 22, 2010

Turning 4 with first pedicure, April 22, 2011

Turning 5, April 22, 2012, with a feather in our hair!

June 29, 2012

This adoption road was not one I thought I would ever be on.  We were done having kids.  Our family was complete.  Wow.  We thought we were in charge.  Glad to know that God is bigger than us.  The road to Grace was a good one.  We grew alot in Him. There were a lot of tears, a lot of why us, and a lot of how are we going to do this. Since we have had this little firecracker in our family, there has been a lot of so glad we did this, can't imagine life without her, we just thought we were good parents, and of course how could we ever have thought of not doing this. God knows what he is doing.  He is completing our family.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

almost done

Today, June 19, is our little guy's birthday!  This is his last birthday to be without us, to be without a family.  In honor of him, I have worked on his room and almost have it ready!  The African Suite is now complete with his dresser as well as some wall decor.  This hangs above his bed.

Grace has one that matches that is over her bed as well.  Trying to figure out where to hang a few more things in their room.... but so close to being done.  Now just to get him home... that has turned into another story. Ugh.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

a song will do it...

Driving today something unexpected happened.   I was over mid-way in on my 5 hour drive home from dropping off the big kids at kamp.  I had exhausted all of the radio stations and decided to plug in Kay's iPod.  She has a good selection of music... some praise and worship, some Christian rock/pop, lots of Taylor Swift and of course some Need to Breathe.

I had listened to several of her musical selections when "Back to December" came on. I have heard this song multiple times but today was different. Maybe it was the silence of the backseat, maybe it was the road I was driving on, maybe it was just my mind getting the best of me.

Last October, I took Kay to see Taylor Swift in concert.  When she played this song for us, I happened to look down at my phone and notice that I had a text.  This text was telling me that the birth mom who had chose us as the family for her baby had changed her mind.  She had given birth and she just couldn't let her baby go.  Months of us talking and planning this adoption together instantly were smashed into a million little pieces.  The rest of the concert was a blur.  The ride home was a blur.

Ironically, or maybe not, this song is about being sorry for things that were done.  I wonder now if that birth mom regrets her choice. Now that she has had time and reality has come full speed at her.   Babies are hard enough but to be a single mother in her circumstances....

As I worked through all of these emotions, Deacon came to my thoughts.  If that adoption would have been successful, he wouldn't be ours.  He wouldn't have our family as his.

Then Phil Wickham's song "Beautiful" came on. Tears flowed and I was reminded that even through pain He is always there. He has a plan, the best plan. He needs us to experience loss so that we can grow closer to him through it.  He breaks us down so that He can build us up. He is beautiful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Kaylee "graduates" from elementary school this week. It is so hard to believe that she is going into 6th grade this fall. I was looking for a picture for a graduation decoration for her and I started to find all of her school pictures. It amazes me how the progression of teeth or absence there of and hair length can make the memories come flooding back. Each picture makes me remember what was going on in our life during that time.  It also reminds me when she started dressing herself and said no to bows.  Funny how those things happen.  Join me in the stroll...  (please forgive the iphone pictures of the actual school pics!)

Pre-Kindergarten, 4 years old, 2005

Kindergarten, 5 years old, 2006

1st Grade, 6 years old, 2007

2nd Grade, 7 years old, 2008

3rd Grade, 8 years old, 2009

4th Grade, 9 years old, 2010

5th Grade, 10 years old, 2011

Monday, May 14, 2012

setting in...

Well, it has been just over 2 weeks since our family grew by one son.  It has been fun planning his room, going through Cannon's things to see what he can pass down to his brother, and getting him clothes.  Though it is challenging trying to figure out his clothing size and how big his feet are.  With Grace, it was easy. We just did dresses... boys don't wear dresses though in Africa we could probably get away with it.  I am thankful for elastic waists and adjustable fit shorts. Surely, something we take will fit him. 

I have looked at his picture no less than 1,000 times.  I love to show him to those close to us.  I love to see their reaction to the beauty of his face.  He is pretty. He has pretty skin, pretty teeth, and beautiful eyes.  His eyes match Grace's.  That deep dark espresso that pulls you in.   In his picture, he is smiling.  Such a drastic difference from Grace's pictures. She was mad. She didn't want her picture taken.  He seems to enjoy the camera and seems carefree and happy.  

Next up is finding out when we get to go get him.  The trip will revolve around the court date.  So we are at the mercy of court system.  Praying that it is sooner rather than later.  He has already been without us for too long.  Pray for our sweet boy. Pray for others that are with him and for the caregivers that who love on him everyday.

Friday, May 4, 2012

a week ago...

A week ago, I was the mother of 3.  We were a family of 5.  A week ago, our life was normal.  I was doing all the mom things I do and was happy with the little life that God has blessed us with.

A week ago, I woke up earlier than usual.  I got up, ate breakfast and decided to check my email.  The house was quiet and still.  The sun was just begin to rise.  I opened my email and saw an email that I had been waiting for. The subject line stopped me in my tracks.  "Referral" is the word I read.  I opened the precious email and began reading.  

I jumped out of my chair and ran to wake Ryan up.  I shook him and forced him to open his eyes.  I told him that our referral had come and unlike last time, I wanted us to read it together.  

We both read the words that changed our lives once again.  We read that our new child would be a boy, a son.  We read that he is 3 years old.  We read about his history and how he came to be an orphan.  We read words that only we will share with him one day when we feel he is ready.

After we both got done reading, we scrolled down to see the most precious face.  There were three pictures of our youngest child and instantly his face was permanently etched in my brain.   Deacon...

It has been a week since we received the wonderful news of our son. We are now a family of 6.  I am the mother to 4.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's hard to believe Grace is 5....

Today is a day that has been long awaited for by our youngest.  She watches everyone else have a birthday then asks over and over again "when is my birthday?" We always tell her the same, April 22.  Well, after Cannon's birthday in January she is next in line. We had to cool the birthday talk late February because it was just getting plain annoying... but yesterday we reminded Grace that her birthday was today.  I told her that she needed to hurry to sleep because when she woke up, she would be 5!  Here are a few pictures from her party today in between baseball games!

Grace by our cow who always celebrates occasions

Nothing like baseball and birthdays!

I said "smile big" this is what she gave me...

Love how Kaylee is helping her blow!

Grace and her birthday loot