Her first mom

I started this post in early June with the intention of just talking about H’s first mom. I didn’t publish because of laziness. Lately, people have been asking me about Harper’s first mom and how I feel about the fact that she still has a ‘real mom” so I finished it. I am not going to get into any real detail of Harper’s story because it’s hers, not mine to tell but, I will share this.

Lately with Mother’s Day, H’s birthday and the embassy investigations my girl’s birth mom has been on my mind a lot. I cannot imagine her struggle and I cannot even guess at her story. In the US there are the typical reasons a birth mom gives up her child. Reasons we’re all aware of  like poverty, unwed, rape, young, no family support, struggles with addiction. Of course there are also those situations when parents are forced to TPR because of abuse or neglect but I am just talking about those first moms that make this choice on their own. In DRC there are these same reasons, along with others of course. Our privileged minds cannot even begin to wrap around some of the horrors the Congolese and especially Congolese woman are faced with. Adoption IS beautiful but it IS only because there is hurt, loss, abuse, neglect, violence, death, sickness or poverty, in any country.

I have close friends that are birth moms and I have been thinking of them so much lately as well. Thinking about what amazing incredible women they are and how everyday continues to be a struggle to find peace. 10 years have gone but still nightmares. She is married now and helping to raise her stepdaughter. Has a great job now and thinking of starting a family. Wondering what if? What if I could have kept her? What if I wasn’t a survivor of an unspeakable crime and her not the living breathing product of that crime?  What if I wasn’t 17? What if I would have had an abortion? What if I had a supportive family or a stable home or job? An awful ugly game to play for the rest of your life!

In the international adoption world there is so much blog and fb sparring about corruption, ethics, true orphan status, what makes a child available for adoption and on and on and on. People are very opinionated when it comes to other’s lives and how we should ask them to live them. In the U.S we sing the praises of a birth mom (as we should) we hold her up and support her, we cry with her and celebrate her, we make claims to her selflessness (as we should) we trust her to know herself and her abilities to parent (again, as we should) and we even let her choose from the endless stack of files for a forever family for her precious baby. We understand and empathise with her reasons and our heart breaks for her, we applaud her sacrifice.

Seems strange however that when it comes to birth moms in other countries we want to stop them. What a delusional double standard we hold them to. We get organizations involved to try to keep families together, we offer birth moms a few bucks and refuse to adopt their children, we want laws to stop the adoptions of children with living birth parents so we throw around words like ethics and true orphan. Because she is uneducated or living in extreme poverty or a survivor of an unspeakable crime we have no faith in her ability to make this choice. Do families get tricked in other countries by hustling swindlers? Yeah they do, they do here as well. Is there abduction and trafficing? Yeah there is, there is here as well. This is not the norm. The norm is the desperate birth mom with no way to feed or clothe or care for her child.

I give to organizations that support and protect the institution of family. I want to be a part of programs that educate, feed, provide medical care and some sort of income to people living in any country in the hopes there will be less orphans in this world. Sometimes even these things don’t work, they don’t work here and they don’t work in other places. We have 500,000 kids in our foster care system (and so many more that probably should be) to help illustrate what happens when a child is born to a parent not willing or not able to care for them.

I don’t know Harper’s first mom’s story but I hate it for her. I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the fact that whatever her life was or is or will be she even had to make this choice in the first place. I hope for no parent to have to do that. I do know that I am singing her praises and celebrating her, I am claiming her selflessness and praying for her peace, I trust her choice and am hopeful that at some point the benefits may outweigh the costs for both of them. I am grateful and in awe of her, I am worried and heart-broken for her. I love this woman and even if H weren’t/isn’t meant for my family I applaud her sacrifice. I wish I could tell her that I promise to love her baby every single day until forever and I wish I could hug her hard and let her know that she won’t ever be forgotten.

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Some Pure Charity

DSCF03015-29, 3                                                            5-29, 13

So, some folks I have had the pleasure of getting to know in the past couple of months( Congo mammas and 1 dad) and am completely jealous of are heading to DRC the first week in August!! Not only will they visit and snuggle their littles (and mine) but they are planning to spread some serious awesomeness in the form of food, a water tank, mattresses and medical exams for the children!!!!!! Because these beautiful adoptive parents are legit Pure Charity has decided to partner with them to offer a way for you to give a tax-deductible donation to the cause. The 3 orphanages they will be visiting are the same 3 I will visit when I go. These orphanages are not only special to me because H may or may not live in one of them but because I know these babies mammas!!!! I have seen the pictures and heard the stories of sick and dying kids, of falling down buildings and no food. These precious children need this, need us. Friends here is the link you can use to check out their page and feel free to pass it on.  Thank you

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Weekend wonderful

A few weeks ago I mailed another care package to H, the first one didn’t get there. 


care package 21


I mailed this package to a friend in WA and she sent hers and mine together to the wonderful amazing God send Dr. L and she was going to bring to the O.

She ended up having a family emergency but sent someone else to deliver them on Saturday. I got some stellar pictures : ) Too bad I cannot show you her smile or the extremely large sunglasses taking up her face. I got about 6 and I have been staring at them pretty much non stop since Saturday. There is just nothing sweeter than knowing this little girl got to see pictures of her house and room and dog and hear that she is loved!!!

H 6-29 8

H 6 29 6


Btw, please pray for L, her family has been suffering one trauma after another and so much heartache. Life is hard but it is incredibly hard in Congo and even harder for women. Send up some love and hopeful prayers for L and her children, they need it. Thank you!!!

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Heaven sent

A wonderful woman has come into my life and more importantly into Harper’s. She is a Congolese doctor who is an adsolute blessing to the Congo adoption community. She has fostered and she visits our littles in the orphanages and keeps up with their health. She weighs them, gives them a check up, takes pictures, gets meds to them if they need it, communicates with APs about their child. Man she is GOOD. Recently she has also been willing to bring and cook food at Harper’s orphanage because the kids there don’t eat and anything left there will be sold by the director.  Yes seriously, no food. See what I mean? Good! Heaven sent really! She takes pictures while she is there and hugs and kisses them.

Yesterday she actually showed Harper my picture. It was the first time she ever saw me and afterword I got the best email from her that said…

Hey my friend, H had seen your photo a long time and she smiled. She is happy to see her mom, I think she love you.

Oh. My. Goodness. Be still my heart. I cannot believe how much joy I feel over the simple fact that she has finally seen a picture of her mommy. Love this news! It’s still making my day more than 24 hours later : )

Happy Very Sunny Warm Tuesday


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Now what?

Apparently friends, I have nothing good to say lately, maybe I never did but for sure lately the mind is empty. No fb updates, no comments, no blog posts, no love notes to Harper, nada.

It’s strange really, I don’t even really stare at Harper’s picture anymore. Of course I see it and look at it but I don’t purposely pull it out anymore and stare longingly into her beautiful amazing face. I am pretty sure my mind has tucked her safely away into my “make-believe” closet right along side my fat bank account, skinny runner body, husband, 6 adopted kids, my job as a supreme court justice and my perfect vision (yes, it’s crowded in there). A means of self-preservation, sanity saving and anti continual heartbreak I’m sure. A sweet disconnect or complete vacancy? I am watching other families torn up about things that yanked my heart out weeks ago that I now have given little thought too. Does this make me a bad adoptive mama? Is this normal? Is this just because there is nothing to report? Does this mean I’m not really ready for her? Not sure but I do know that I don’t even feel worried or stressed about those things either. What a strange sense of calm and quiet. Maybe the quiet before the storm? We’ll see I guess : )

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I’ll be remodeling a bathroom with my dad which honestly is fun, my favorite time to hang out with him is when there are saws and drills and work to be done.

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Happy Birthday!!!!

5th birthday 1

May 25th was H’s birthday. I have already been watching her grow up in pictures for a year. So crazy!!!!! Sad day but the good news is that this is her last birthday with no celebration. Her last birthday without balloons and a cake, a party with friends and family telling her how awesome and loved she is. I celebrated for her by eating frosting out of the tub.

5th birthday 2

5 years of missed firsts, sad but there will be so many firsts that I’ll get to be there for. I am most looking forward to her first birthday and her first Christmas, well and every holiday and camping and her first roller coaster, first warm bath, the list goes on and on.

I got pictures the other day from a Congo mama who was traveling to pick up her beautiful baby girl. She went to the O with my favorite Congolese doc and brought food and cooked for the kids a couple of times. After seeing these latest pictures I am even more convinced she is the most perfect little girl I have ever laid eyes on. She was smiling and eating and I couldn’t get enough. I will get some more soon from Dr. L because she went to visit and take food again the other day. Love!!!!!!!

Still hoping and praying like mad these investigations hurry up, I want my girl home.

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Last year on May 19th, I got up and went to work like any other day. I was excited about going to my amazing friend Tina’s wedding shower later that afternoon : ) Adoptionally I was depressed because my agency OWAS was not feeling like a good match and I couldn’t decide on another, I was holding off sending in my dossier because I didn’t want to lose large payment that went with it if I switched. I didn’t want to pay it until I was sure I wanted to stay. A referral seemed so far away.

That morning at work I checked the rainboskids site to stare at sweet waiting child faces from Africa, there was a beautiful 2-year-old on there. I emailed about her to find out she was matched and that started a serious of emails between me and the agency contact that led to Harper and me signing an agency agreement and acceptance agreement. I still remember calling people and showing people her picture like it was 3 days ago : )  Happy Referral Day.

Without corruption she could have been home by the 1st of the year and now without the new embassy process she could have been home by June 1. But there IS corruption and there IS a new embassy investigation process to attempt to safe guard against child trafficking. These are the realities of international adoption. It is BIG business sending BIG  money into the hands of those who would not otherwise not it. Desperation can bring out the greedy and corrupt in otherwise honest people. I understand these set backs but I don’t like them. She could have been home by now.

Every day for the last 365 days I have thought about H, almost all day each of those days. Everyday for the last 365 days I have worried and prayed for a child that is in the process of wasting away from starvation and sickness with absolutely no way of checking in on her until recently. I have worried and waited for this beautiful girl since she was 3 and she will be 5 next week. I have loved her in my heart, dying to do it in person for 365 days. For 365 nights I have stayed awake thinking and dreaming of her. I have been tired and bad at my job for 365 mornings. I have been bad at life for all of those days. I have cried and rejoiced and danced and gotten angry and depressed each one of those days as well. She could have been home by now.

Today, though it may seem like it, I don’t feel sad about these past 365 days. I feel like the bulk is behind me and never will I have to wait 365 days with almost no news, no movement again. It is down to the final step and though I am worried about the embassy investigation taking a long time or even worse, proving that she in fact is not an orphan, this is the end of the wait for Harper. This makes my weary waiting heart so happy.

For 365 days I have grown more and more committed to loving this little girl forever. I have been becoming her mommy without her even being aware of it until maybe a month ago. I am grateful to God for giving me the 365 day head start so I will be more ready to help her catch up.

I am praying and hoping and wishing for the next 365 days to bring joy and beautiful chaos to her and I. To bring new experience and opportunity to us. I pray for speed in the coming weeks for the embassy and for peace and strength for whatever the investigation turns up. Goodbye to you, 365 days in waiting,





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To be the village, she says it better

I have been trying to write a post similar to the one below by Jen Hatmaker for months but I can’t do it without taking some of her lines and wording anyway so I know this is generic but I am reposting this for my real life friends and family. Those of you in the adoption world have already read it I’m sure, or already lived it, so please feel free to carry on to the next blog adoptive mama friends. Friends and family thank you for the support and for taking the time to read this post about being the village, it’s a little long but worth it and it means a lot to me.

How to Be The Village
by Jen Hatmaker on November 2nd, 2011 
Sometimes being ever-so-slightly in the public eye is rough. With a mouth and discernment problem like mine, you can imagine. I basically offer my life on the altar of criticism daily, then douse the sacrifice with plenty of fuel to make disparagement a lay-up.For instance, Brandon and I attended a Halloween party last weekend with the theme “Heroes and Super villains.” Our friends came in such costumes as Captain America and the Joker and Kim Possible. They were all very polished and adorable. We came as washed-up, possibly strung out Superman and Supergirl complete with ripped fishnets, smeared makeup, and pistol tattoo drawn with Sharpie. We may or may not have had unlit cigarettes dangling from the corners of our mouths.These choices are often met with disapproval from the watching masses, as you might well guess. I know you wish I would only dress up as Little Bo Peep or Mary Mother of Jesus, but Brandon and I are very, very silly and immature, and I’ve been trying to tell you people this for some time.But usually I am grateful for the connection to the greater world, if only through social media and the miracle of emails (plus embarrassing transparency). For example, just a few days ago, I received this email:

Our good friends just returned from Ethiopia last night with their two little boys. Ok, they’ve had their “airport” moment and we were right there with them. What are some things we can do now to support them in the “real life” journey without overstepping our boundaries? Thank you so much for your transparency and honesty. Everyone can benefit when you share from your heart.

I was so moved by this email. Having benefitted from a community that practically smothered us with support throughout our adoption journey, I am so grateful for all the other good friends out there, loving their people and asking how to help. Since reading this email, I’ve been marinating on her question, and I’ve decided to write this Field Guide to Supporting Adoptive Families. (And it will be brief because I will try to remember that this is a blog and not a manuscript and the rules of blogging include succinctness, so that is exactly how I’ll proceed today, except for the exact opposite of all that.)

Let’s break this down into two categories:

Supporting Families Before the Airport

Your friends are adopting. They’re in the middle of dossiers and home studies, and most of them are somewhere in the middle of Waiting Purgatory. Please let me explain something about WP: It sucks in every way. Oh sure, we try to make it sound better than it feels by using phrases like “We’re trusting in God’s plan” and “God is refining me” and “Sovereignty trumps my feelings” and crazy bidness like that. But we are crying and aching and getting angry and going bonkers when you’re not watching. It’s hard. It hurts. It feels like an eternity even though you can see that it is not. It is harder for us to see that, because many of us have pictures on our refrigerators of these beautiful darlings stuck in an orphanage somewhere while we’re bogged down in bureaucracy and delays.

How can you help? By not saying or doing these things:

1. “God’s timing is perfect!” (Could also insert: “This is all God’s plan!” “God is in charge!”) As exactly true as this may be, when you say it to a waiting parent, we want to scratch your eyebrows off and make you eat them with a spoon. Any trite answer that minimizes the struggle is as welcomed as a sack of dirty diapers. You are voicing something we probably already believe while not acknowledging that we are hurting and that somewhere a child is going to bed without a mother again. Please never say this again. Thank you.

2. “Are you going to have your own kids?” (Also in this category: “You’ll probably get pregnant the minute your adoption clears!” “Since this is so hard, why don’t you just try to have your own kids?” “Well, at least you have your own kids.”) The subtle message here is: You can always have legitimate biological kids if this thing tanks. It places adoption in the Back-up Plan Category, where it does not belong for us. When we flew to Ethiopia with our first travel group from our agency, out of 8 couples, we were the only parents with biological kids. The other 7 couples chose adoption first. Several of them were on birth control. Adoption counts as real parenting, and if you believe stuff Jesus said, it might even be closer to the heart of God than regular old procreation. (Not to mention the couples that grieved through infertility already. So when you say, “Are you going to have your own kids?” to a woman who tried for eight years, then don’t be surprised if she pulls your beating heart out like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.)

3. For those of you in Christian community, it is extremely frustrating to hear: “Don’t give up on God!” or “Don’t lose faith!” It implies that we are one nanosecond away from tossing our entire belief system in the compost pile because we are acting sad or discouraged. It’s condescending and misses the crux of our emotions. I can assure you, at no point in our story did we think about kicking Jesus to the curb, but we still get to cry tears and feel our feelings, folks. Jesus did. And I’m pretty sure he went to heaven when he died.

4. We’re happy to field your questions about becoming a transracial family or adopting a child of another race, but please don’t use this moment to trot out your bigotry. (Cluelessness is a different thing, and we try to shrug that off. Like when someone asked about our Ethiopian kids, “Will they be black?” Aw, sweet little dum-dum.) The most hurtful thing we heard during our wait was from a black pastor who said, “Whatever you do, don’t change their last name to Hatmaker, because they are NOT Hatmakers. They’ll never be Hatmakers. They are African.” What the??? I wonder if he’d launch the same grenade if we adopted white kids from Russia? If you’d like to know what we’re learning about raising children of another race or ask respectful, legitimate questions, by all means, do so. We care about this and take it seriously, and we realize we will traverse racial landmines with our family. You don’t need to point out that we are adopting black kids and we are, in fact, white. We’ve actually already thought of that.

5. Saying nothing is the opposite bad. I realize with blogs like this one, you can get skittish on how to talk to a crazed adopting Mama without getting under her paper-thin skin or inadvertently offending her. I get it. (We try hard not to act so hypersensitive. Just imagine that we are paper-pregnant with similar hormones surging through our bodies making us cry at Subaru commercials just like the 7-month preggo sitting next to us. And look at all this weight we’ve gained. See?) But acting like we’re not adopting or struggling or waiting or hoping or grieving is not helpful either. If I was pregnant with a baby in my belly, and no one ever asked how I was feeling or how much longer or is his nursery ready or can we plan a shower, I would have to audition new friend candidates immediately.

Here’s what we would love to hear Before the Airport:

1. Just kind, normal words of encouragement. Not the kind that assume we are one breath away from atheism. Not the kind that attempt to minimize the difficulties and tidy it all up with catchphrases. We don’t actually need for you to fix our wait. We just want you to be our friend and acknowledge that the process is hard and you care about us while we’re hurting. That is GOLD. I was once having lunch with my friend Lynde when AWAA called with more bad news about Ben’s case, and I laid my head down on the table in the middle of Galaxy Café and bawled. Having no idea what to do with such a hot mess, she just cried with me. Thank you for being perfect that day, Lynde.

2. Your questions are welcomed! We don’t mind telling you about the court system in Ethiopia or the in-country requirements in Nicaragua or the rules of the foster system. We’re glad to talk about adoption, and we’re thankful you care. I assure you we didn’t enter adoption lightly, so sharing details of this HUGE PIECE OF OUR LIVES is cathartic. Plus, we want you to know more because we’re all secretly hoping you’ll adopt later. (This is not true.) (Yes it is.)

3. When you say you’re praying for us and our waiting children, and you actually really are, not only does that soothe our troubled souls, but according to Scripture, it activates the heavens. So pray on, dear friends. Pray on. That is always the right thing to say. And please actually do it. We need people to stand in the gap for us when we are too tired and discouraged to keep praying the same words another day.

4. If you can, please become telepathic to determine which days we want to talk about adoption and which days we’d rather you just show up on our doorstep with fresh figs from the Farmer’s Market (thanks, Katie) or kidnap us away in the middle of the day to go see Bridesmaids. Sometimes we need you to make us laugh and remember what it feels like to be carefree for a few hours. If you’re not sure which day we’re having, just pre-buy movie tickets and show up with the figs, and when we answer the door, hold them all up and ask, “Would you like to talk for an hour uninterrupted about waiting for a court date?” We’ll respond to whichever one fits.

Supporting Families After the Airport

You went to the airport. The baby came down the escalator to cheers and balloons. The long adoption journey is over and your friends are home with their new baby / toddler / twins / siblings / teenager. Everyone is happy. Maybe Fox News even came out and filmed the big moment and “your friend” babbled like an idiot and didn’t say one constructive word about adoption and also she looked really sweaty during her interview. (Really? That happened to me too. Weird.)

How can you help? By not saying or doing these things:

1. I mean this nicely, but don’t come over for awhile. Most of us are going to hole up in our homes with our little tribe and attempt to create a stable routine without a lot of moving parts. This is not because we hate you; it’s because we are trying to establish the concept of “home” with our newbies, and lots of strangers coming and going makes them super nervous and unsure, especially strangers who are talking crazy language to them and trying to touch their hair.

2. Please do not touch, hug, kiss, or use physical affection with our kids for a few months. We absolutely know your intentions are good, but attachment is super tricky with abandoned kids, and they have had many caregivers, so when multiple adults (including extended family) continue to touch and hold them in their new environment, they become confused about who to bond with. This actually delays healthy attachment egregiously. It also teaches them that any adult or stranger can touch them without their permission, and believe me, many adoptive families are working HARD to undo the damage already done by this position. Thank you so much for respecting these physical boundaries.

3. For the next few months, do not assume the transition is easy. For 95% of us, it so is not. And this isn’t because our family is dysfunctional or our kids are lemons, but because this phase is so very hard on everyone. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to constantly hear: “You must be so happy!” and “Is life just so awesome now that they’re here??” and “Your family seems just perfect now!” I wanted that to be true so deeply, but I had no idea how to tell you that our home was actually a Trauma Center. (I did this in a passive aggressive way by writing this blog, which was more like “An Open Letter to Everyone Who Knows Us and Keeps Asking Us How Happy We Are.”) Starting with the right posture with your friends – this is hard right now – will totally help you become a safe friend to confide in / break down in front of / draw strength from.

4. Do not act shocked if we tell you how hard the early stages are. Do not assume adoption was a mistake. Do not worry we have ruined our lives. Do not talk behind our backs about how terribly we’re doing and how you’re worried that we are suicidal. Do not ask thinly veiled questions implying that we are obviously doing something very, very wrong. Do not say things like, “I was so afraid it was going to be like this” or “Our other friends didn’t seem to have these issues at all.” Just let us struggle. Be our friends in the mess of it. We’ll get better.

5. If we’ve adopted older kids, please do not ask them if they “love America so much” or are “so happy to live in Texas.” It’s this simple: adoption is born from horrible loss. In an ideal world, there would be no adoption, because our children would be with their birth families, the way God intended. I’ll not win any points here, but I bristle when people say, “Our adopted child was chosen for us by God before the beginning of time.” No he wasn’t. He was destined for his birth family. God did not create these kids to belong to us. He didn’t decide that they should be born into poverty or disease or abandonment or abuse and despair aaaaaaaall so they could finally make it into our homes, where God intended them to be. No. We are a very distant Plan B. Children are meant for their birth families, same as my biological kids were meant for mine. Adoption is one possible answer to a very real tragedy… after it has already happened, not before as the impetus for abandonment. There is genuine grief and sorrow when your biological family is disrupted by death and poverty, and our kids have endured all this and more. So when you ask my 8-year-old if he is thrilled to be in Texas, please understand that he is not. He misses his country, his language, his food, his family. Our kids came to us in the throes of grief, as well they should. Please don’t make them smile and lie to you about how happy they are to be here.

6. Please do not disappear. If I thought the waiting stage was hard, it does not even hold the barest candle to what comes after the airport. Not. The. Barest. Candle. Never have I felt so isolated and petrified. Never have I been so overwhelmed and exhausted. We need you after the airport way more than we ever needed you before. I know you’re scared of us, what with our dirty hair and wild eyes and mystery children we’re keeping behind closed doors so they don’t freak out more than they already have, but please find ways to stick around. Call. Email. Check in. Post on our Facebook walls. Send us funny cards. Keep this behavior up for longer than six days.

Here’s what we would love to hear or experience After the Airport:

1. Cook for your friends. Put together a meal calendar and recruit every person who even remotely cares about them. We didn’t cook dinners for one solid month, and folks, that may have single handedly saved my sanity. There simply are not words to describe how exhausting and overwhelming those first few weeks are, not to mention the lovely jetlag everyone came home with. And if your friends adopted domestically right up the street, this is all still true, minus the jetlag.

2. If we have them, offer to take our biological kids for an adventure or sleepover. Please believe me: their lives just got WHACKED OUT, and they need a break, but their parents can’t give them one because they are 1.) cleaning up pee and poop all day, 2.) holding screaming children, 3.) spending all their time at doctors’ offices, and 4.) falling asleep in their clothes at 8:15pm. Plus, they are in lockdown mode with the recently adopted, trying to shield them from the trauma that is Walmart.

3. Thank you for getting excited with us over our little victories. I realize it sounds like a very small deal when we tell you our kindergartener is now staying in the same room as the dog, but if you could’ve seen the epic level of freakoutedness this dog caused her for three weeks, you would understand that this is really something. When you encourage us over our incremental progress, it helps. You remind us that we ARE moving forward and these little moments are worth celebrating. If we come to you spazzing out, please remind us where we were a month ago. Force us to acknowledge their gains. Be a cheerleader for the healing process.

4. Come over one night after our kids are asleep and sit with us on our porch. Let me tell you: we are all lonely in those early weeks. We are home, home, home, home, home. Good-bye, date nights. Good-bye, GNO’s. Good-bye, spontaneous anything. Good-bye, church. Good-bye, big public outings. Good-bye, community group. Good-bye, nightlife. So please bring some community to our doorstep. Bring friendship back into our lives. Bring adult conversation and laughter. And bring an expensive bottle of wine.

5. If the shoe fits, tell adopting families how their story is affecting yours. If God has moved in you over the course of our adoption, whether before the airport or after, if you’ve made a change or a decision, if somewhere deep inside a fire was lit, tell us, because it is spiritual water on dry souls. There is nothing more encouraging than finding out God is using our families for greater kingdom work, beautiful things we would never know or see. We gather the holy moments in our hands every day, praying for eyes to see God’s presence, his purposes realized in our story. When you put more holy moments in our hands to meditate on, we are drawn deeper into the Jesus who led us here.

Here’s one last thing: As you watch us struggle and celebrate and cry and flail, we also want you to know that adoption is beautiful, and a thousand times we’ve looked at each other and said, “What if we would’ve said no?” God invited us into something monumental and lovely, and we would’ve missed endless moments of glory had we walked away. We need you during these difficult months of waiting and transitioning, but we also hope you see that we serve a faithful God who heals and actually sets the lonely in families, just like He said He would. And even through the tears and tantrums (ours), we look at our children and marvel that God counted us worthy to raise them. We are humbled. We’ve been gifted with a very holy task, and when you help us rise to the occasion, you have an inheritance in their story; your name will be counted in their legacy.

Because that day you brought us pulled pork tacos was the exact day I needed to skip dinner prep and hold my son on the couch for an hour, talking about Africa and beginning to bind up his emotional wounds. When you kidnapped me for two hours and took me to breakfast, I was at the very, very, absolute end that morning, but I came home renewed, able to greet my children after school with fresh love and patience. When you loved on my big kids and offered them sanctuary for a night, you kept the family rhythm in sync at the end of a hard week.

Thank you for being the village. You are so important.

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Oh Thursday I got my I-600 approval.

I am still in shock, and in awe, and stunned and I have never cried like that about mail. I scared my sweet Hector with my shrieks and sobs and dance moves : ) It is a remarkable feeling to be honestly and pleasantly surprised!!!

USCIS received my I-600 on the 10th of April and approved it the 26th. That is fast, so fast that I didn’t even know to hope and pray for my approval yet. I had planned to call Friday to see that the application was there and being processed and clearly I didn’t have to.

I sure do wish I was under the old process, then I’d be weeks away from meeting my daughter but now I have no idea and likely will not have any idea until like a week or two prior to being able to go.

Though I don’t know when I am going I am packing like I’m leaving tomorrow : ) Could be months but packing is like therapy, so good for my soul. This brings me to my next point, I am still collecting vitamins and crocs so send some over if you have 5 bucks to spare and do something awesome for someone who doesn’t have any awesome in their lives. Thanks so much

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Things to be excited about this week

Why am I excited about this week? Because I just got pictures of my little African beauty and I will get more pictures. Because two of my Congo mama peeps will be hugging H and loving on her and she will get her care package.

Also this week, a wonderful family is the featured Give 1 Save 1 family. Take a peek at their video and if you feel the urge to give, do and just as awesome would be if you could please share this video with your friends and family. $1 can really make a big difference. Check out the Marrs family.

In MN spring has finally arrived this week, it’s 70 and sunny and I cannot get enough of it.

The last thing (so far) to be excited about this week is that I am prepared for this week, not behind on anything, don’t need groceries, totally ready!!!

Hope you all had a great weekend and your weak looks exciting too!






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