Dec 30, 2014

2014 in Review

We officially became a Family of 7.

We bought a Nissan NV to shuttle us all around.  We love it!

We play soccer.  A lot of it.

Joseph did his first Easter Egg hunt.

We do hair family style.

We visited Papa.  How we miss that man.

We played lots of family games.

We swam with cousins.

We spent LOTS of time in the car.

We went to the Aquarium for the first time.

We ran running races.  And we won.

Joseph is fast.  Very fast.  This sport united us as a family.  Game changer.

We live in a place where people vacation.  We are blessed.

We have fun.  

We went to Sea World together.

We have a special bond that is unbreakable.

Brenda caught up to grade level and Joseph is well on his way.

We play make believe.

We broke bones.

We became American citizens and have passports to prove it.

We went Trick or Treating.

We are learning how to shoot.

We are doing fabulous in school.

We celebrated Christmas for the first time in America as a Family of 7.

We love one another.

We won All you can Eat chicken wing contests.

We took 1st place in School runs.  

We decorated Ginger bread houses.

We run Just Because.

We cherish Family.

Nov 26, 2014

What is wrong with me?

I am drawn to the message of Jesus and have been from a young age.

When i think of Jesus, i think of His love, His generosity, His servant's heart, and His hope.  

I want that in my life. 

I need that.

I am so passionately in love with Jesus that my heart aches over what I'm about to write.

I know that I'm a hot mess and i know that i need Jesus.  I know that i need community. The body of believers.  

But why do i feel like such an outsider?  Why do i feel like i never measure up?  A mere student among the Christian professionals?  

Why do i feel like i need my defenses always up?

Why do we have to pretend like we have it all together?  All the time.

Why do we all have to align ourselves with right wing politics?  

Why do we have to judge one another because of our political views, social media posts, or traditions?  

Why do i feel like i have to walk on eggshells?  Why do i feel that i can't be who i really am?

Why can't i bring my hurts, habits and hang ups to the alter and share them with believers?  


I know I'm not the only one facing this discontentment.  

I always thought that people who stopped going to church were giving up on God, but now i wonder if they are just giving up on the body of believers.  

Giving up on people just like me.  They were tired of simply wanting to be heard.  

Wanting to say, "I am hurting and I need Jesus."  

But i was too busy to hear.

If you speak out about this, you're accused of bashing the body.  

I am simply saying, the struggle is real.  The flock is leaving.  

Maybe i'm wrong in feeling the way i feel. But i do know, i'm not alone.

Jesus, bring revival and let it start with me. 

Nov 24, 2014


This year marks our first year as a family of 7.  I am blessed beyond measure to mother these 5 gifts of mine.  

I am thankful that my kids haven't realized that i have absolutely no idea what i'm doing.  Parenting is hard!

I am thankful for seasons of loneliness because it is spiritually powerful.  It forces me to push beyond fear as i seek the community that i need.

I am thankful for my husband that is the calm to my chaos.

I am thankful for Netflix which allows me to watch 5 seasons in one month.

I am thankful that my kiddos are self sufficient.  Gone are the days of wiping little butts or buckling car seats.  

I am thankful for prayer.  It has taken me over 25 years to realize that God wants me to talk to him simply about everything.  Nothing elaborate.

I am thankful for Thirst busters.  My most favorite thing ever!!  I will drive 5 miles out of  my way for good Diet Coke.

I am thankful for Super Walmart.  I hate that place, but i have the money to walk in there and buy groceries.  So many people do not have that luxury.  

I am thankful when my children see me in a crowded room, they ALL light up with a smile.  They still want to be around me.  I know this season will end soon.

I am thankful that i get to see the excitement of Christmas on these 2 faces this year.  

Nov 14, 2014

1 year with Joseph and what have i learned?

I still can not believe it's been one year that we have been sleeping under the same roof.  One year that we stepped onto that plane boarding Uganda to become a family of 7.

What a year it's been!

I stand in awe of the young man that Joseph is growing into. Watching the bond that Joseph and Brenda have melts my heart.  Hearing Brenda tease her big brother or him telling her stories about Uganda remind me of why we are on this journey.

As difficult as some days are, they are completely beautiful.  Hard but glorious.  Messy but redemptive.

What have i learned this year?

1.  I have learned that I have absolutely no idea what i'm doing as a parent most days.  What worked last month has already gone out the window this month.  We are truly a work in progress.

2.  My relationship with Micah is the single most important parenting tool i have.  We are a united front most days.  The kids find stability in that.  Life may be crazy and chaotic, but they know Dad will always back up what Mom says.  And vice versa.  The kids know that disrespect will NOT be tolerated in our home.  

3.  Despite artificially twinning my oldest and middle daughter, we have had no issues.  At all. I love to see the bond that my younger girls have.  They are truly best friends.

4.  Despite reading every adoption book out there, when an issue arises, i draw a blank.  

5.  This year has been very lonely.  Simply, people do not get the journey we are on.  It's hard to protect our family's privacy and share our challenges. 

6.  Brenda and Joseph's adoption journeys have been completely different.  
Different ages + different genders = different issues.  
Adopting a 7 year old was a piece of cake compared to a 12 year old.  A 7 year old little girl wants to sit and snuggle.  A 12 year old boy wants a fist bump.  

7.  I need to make an effort to praise my children more.  So often, i get caught up in what my children are not doing right.  I have learned genuine praise builds self esteem in all children.  Praise is Important to raising a confident child. I am a work in progress.  

8.  I love my children more than anything.  They bring me so much joy.  I love to watch them play and hear them laugh.  I love to watch their personalities unfold.  I love to see them grow and flourish. They truly are my greatest blessings from Jesus.

9.  My heart breaks for my children because i can't fix what breaks their hearts.  I can't fill the void in their life.  I will never replace their mother, nor do i want to.  I can simply pray for their hearts and for Jesus to fill in the gaps that i fail them.

10.  Prayer.  It is so important.  It's the glue that holds this family together.  

Oct 23, 2014

October Happenings

This Happened!  

After a bit of red tape, we have a passport!

My big kid twins.

My littlest man fractured his growth plate.

My little girl twins.

Sep 16, 2014

18 months....

Happy 8 months to Joseph and 18 months to Brenda this month!!  

I can honestly say we have settled into smooth sailing!  God is so so so Good!

Aug 17, 2014

Choosing Joy when i'm not feeling it.

The season of life that I am in now is not going to be my season of life forever.  These are the words that i find myself repeating on an hourly basis.  

Life just has a funny way of just happening.  

Adoption can put the vow "for better or for worse" to the test in a marriage. And that's FOR REAL!

So how do i weather this storm??? 

I must choose JOY even when i don't want to.

Joy in the midst of the uncertainty.  

Joy in the midst of what feels like an identity crises.

Joy when i want to bawl my eyes out.

Right now the season of my life is enjoying these moments that I am completely forced to trust in God's perfect timing. 

God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect! 

I need to have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing my own.
I need to fully focus my energy on what THIS season of life is about, and when the seasons change I’ll work on whatever new purposes need to be accomplished.

After all...

We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond.

Choose joy.

Jul 24, 2014

6/16 months home!

This month we celebrate Brenda being home 16 months and Joseph being home 6 months!

And i couldn't imagine our lives without them!  
Our gifts from God!

Jun 14, 2014

5 months home

We are at the 5 month mark and we have seen lots of progress over these last couple of months.  We still have lots of hard days, but i can honestly say we have equal good days to the difficult ones now.  

What have we learned these past couple of months?

Eye contact still does not come naturally.  Attachment comes hard for an older child.  Why would he want to look into our eyes?  He has no reason to trust us.  It's our job to prove that we are worthy of attaching too. I am constantly making an emphasis to tell both Brenda and Joseph to look in my eyes when we are talking.

Too many choices are a recipe for disaster.  Even though Joseph is technically 13, choices are difficult.  We keep it simple.  The less clothes he has to choose from, the less chance we will end up with a meltdown.  
We no longer ask the kids what they would like to eat.  We serve what we serve at mealtime.  They are not at a restaurant. The only choice they have is whether they want to eat or not, but they must all sit at the table.  

Kids need to feel like they are part of a team.  We are constantly stressing that we are teammates. We  must all help one another do chores.  Everyday we spend at least 45 minutes cleaning and doing chores.  On some days the older kids do more than the younger kids and no, it's not always fair.  

They whine and we have tears, but life isn't always fair.  I no longer worry about things being fair in our house.  The older kids stay up later than the younger ones and on most days they have more chores than the younger ones and someone is always crying, "It's Not Fair!!"

Language acquisition has been harder for Joseph than for Brenda.  He also has not lost his native tongue, but Brenda lost her ability to speak Rutooro within 2 months of being home.  

We opt to public school and we will have him repeat the 5th grade again.  Brenda is on grade level and will be moving to 3rd grade.  We have taken the approach to immerse our children into English with ESL support. Both are thriving at their own paces.

I stand in awe of how far we have come.  Brenda has been home for 15 months now and Joseph only 5.  It's nothing that we have done personally.  I'm holding on by a prayer most days.  I can read all of the adoption and parenting books out there, but only Jesus can heal the hole that fills their hearts.  

My prayer is constantly... please continue to heal their broken hearts Jesus, and give me the strength and wisdom  to parent them.