Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Life unexpected.

In the adoption community there is a little something called "gotcha day". Gotcha day is the day that families first meet their new little one. Many families celebrate this day with a birthday like celebration, while other families choose to have a more low key approach to the day. While reading through some blogs, I discovered that there is some controversy over the whole "gotcha day" thing- and I get it- what is a joyful celebration for the adoptive family can also be a day marked with brokenness and pain for the child as this is the day they left their foster family, or left the orphanage. Its the day they leave behind a life full of the only memories they have. Regardless of if you celebrate it or not, the day is significant. 

I remember clearly the butterflies that swelled in my stomach as our plane taxied to the gate at the Entebbe airport when we went to Uganda to adopt Bridget. I was a nervous wreck as we walked out of customs and scanned the airport for the orphanage director. When the crowds parted we saw him and we saw our little girl, I burst into tears and scooped her up and probably terrified the living daylights out of her.  It was the moment I had been waiting for for almost two years!  My little girl was finally in my arms!  

A year later when we returned to Uganda for our son, the same butterflies were there, but there was also more anticipation as we already knew our son (since we had met him while adopting Bridget).  Joram was not waiting for us at the airport but was at the guest house, and when we got there he ran down the stairs and greeted us and my heart nearly burst with joy. 

Those days, those moments, will forever be etched in my memory.  Just as I remember the birth of my other children, those "gotcha days" and locked up in my heart like precious treasures.

Bridget's and Joram's "Gotcha days" are a week apart and they were both last month.  I anticipated celebrating these anniversaries in some sort of silly, fun filled way (we do a "family celebration" focusing not on the adoption, per se, but celebrating the family as a whole).  But that was not the case.  There was no celebration.  No cake. Nothing was really said or done.  Why?  Because it didn't feel like there was much to celebrate...

As you know by now, our son's adoption and transition has been hard.  From the three months Mike and him spent in Uganda getting through the process to the past 10 months adjusting at home, it has been a roller coaster.  The week we should have been celebrating our family, we instead spent checking our son into a treatment facility.  Instead of eating cake, we hardly ate at all because the stress and heartache had destroyed our appetites.  Instead of spending time together as a family, we had to coordinate babysitters so we could visit our son.  Instead of merriment and fun, we shed a lot of tears.

Here's the thing about life, it often takes unexpected turns.  

I never thought this is what our life would look like: psych evals, hospital visits, parent coaches, social workers, acronyms galore like RAD, TFC, RTC, TBRI, PTSD etc. 

Over the past several months I have gotten messages from friends on Facebook inquiring about our family.  "I never see any pictures of your son".  "Is your son still living with you?"  "Is your son ok?  I only read about the girls."  It isn't like we have been hiding what has been going on, but it is not exactly something you want everyone to know, especially when it comes to something like this.

Many people were part of our adoption journey.  People gave of their time, their money, their gifts and talents to bring our boy home.  When Mike was in Uganda for three months and we had no income, people brought us groceries, helped pay bills, cut our grass and helped with stuff around the house.  People feel a part of our story because they ARE part of our story!   It has been very hard to let people know that things have been this difficult.

 Every adoption is difficult.  I know we want to believe in the happily ever after and that a unicorn gets its horn every time a child is adopted, but no matter the circumstances, adoption is born of brokenness -  be it a young mother choosing life for her child but unable to care for them herself, or a child orphaned from natural disaster or disease, or the child that is abandoned, adoption is born from pain.  That is a pain that every adopted child will have to work through in one way or another.  Is adoption good?  Yes!  It is a beautiful act and great things can come from it.  Is adoption easy?  NO!  It is heartbreaking, messy, hard and at times devastating

Every child responds to their adoption circumstances differently.  The circumstances for each child is different.  I have friends who were adopted at birth and to this day they still struggle greatly with that pain.  I have friends who were or have adopted older older children and they have adjusted well into the family and worked through the circumstances of their adoptions.  There is no way to determine how children will respond to their adoption, how they will heal, or if they will heal.  There is no one magical treatment that will make things better.  We can seek the counsel of others, read the books, watch the videos, do the therapy and hope for the best. These things can offer help, but ultimately, true healing and hope can only come from the Lord. 

I have no idea what the future looks like for our family.  I have no idea what the future looks like for our son.  Right now we are taking things day by day, moment by moment.  We are hoping and praying for healing of our sons heart and that he can come back and be a part of our family and our home - but there are no guarantees. 

 I do know this, we will not stop fighting for our son.  We will not give up on him and will work tirelessly to give him the opportunities he needs to be successful.  We aren't sure if that success will come in our home or with our family, but we will do all we can to see success happen in his life.

This is the hardest thing we have walked through.  We have asked all five our our kids to walk a very hard road and it has been so hard to see the wear and tear on everyone - but it has not been for nothing.  

There has been incredible gains in our lives, strengthened relationships, hurts healed, faith tested, perseverance grown, and grace experienced like never before.  Just because life is hard, doesn't make it bad.  Just because the path is difficult, doesn't mean the journey is a waste.  Just because life takes an unexpected turn doesn't mean the destination won't be worth it.  We keep walking.  We keep pushing forward.  We hold our hope in Him who has walked this road before us.  We don't know what the future holds, but we know who hold the future.

 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Expectations

Have you ever grabbed a glass of something to drink and you think it is one thing, but what you drink is actually something entirely different?  For example, you are grabbing for what you think is lemonade, but its really milk in your cup?  And your taste buds are shocked and you are kind of confused - not that milk is gross, but it just wasn't what you were expecting?  That's how I feel right now.  The expectations I had are being met with a very different reality, and it has been sort of a shock to my system.

Many of you know that the adoption of our son has not been "easy".  Our faith has been stretched at every point of this journey - from the beginning when we stepped out in faith to adopt so soon after Bridget, to the nearly three months Mike spent in Uganda, to the past 8 months of transition to where we find ourselves today; it has all been a test of faith and it has been hard.

Now, don't confuse hard with bad.  Just because something is hard doesn't mean it is bad, or that it was a mistake, it just means that it's hard!  We had great expectations for adding our son to our family, and honestly, those expectations haven't been met and we are living a very different reality.  Some might see that as a sign of failure, or that we made a mistake, or that we bit off more than we can chew.  Perhaps.  But maybe it means we need to adjust our expectations.

God did not ask us to adopt our son so we could have an easy life.  He didn't say "Go build the perfect family!"  He didn't even ask us to go be adorably cute and happy all the time.  What God did ask us to do was to say yes.  WE added the expectations.  We set our sights high and envisioned that cold, delicious lemonade.  But, surprise!  We got milk!  It may be a surprise to us, but it was no surprise to God.

There are many that would look at our current circumstances, shake their heads and give the ol' "I told you so" or "you should have known this could have happened" speech.  I've already heard a few.  "We had concerns about this all along" or "I have a friend who has a cousin whose neighbors has an aunt that knows a nun who has a nephew that adopted, and it was like this..."  But here is the thing, every risk, doubt, concern or fear anyone has or had, trust me, we have had them all and more.  We counted the cost, looked at the risk, sought counsel, prayed, asked questions and prayed some more, and here is what we came up with - we were not going to let the fear of the unknown stop us from doing what we did know, and we knew God wanted us to adopt.

A friend of mine recently encouraged me with the story of Peter when he walked on the water.  Many look at this story as an example of Peter's doubt, but I have a different perspective as of late, I see it as a story of great courage and faith.  In John 6 we read that " A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough" so, here the disciples were in a boat and a storm came.  They look out onto the water and see what Matthew 14 says they think is a ghost.  Then they hear the voice of their friend, their teacher, their Lord.  Peter asks the Lord to call him out on the water, and he does.  Peter gets out of the boat, starts walking, but then realizing what he is doing, understandably, he starts to freak out, and the poor guy starts to sink!  He calls out for help, and Jesus offers out his hand and Peter accepts and they both get back in the boat and the winds die down.

Can you imagine what this must have looked like to the other disciples?  They must have thought Peter was out of his mind, asking to go walk on the water in the middle of a storm.  What a nut job!!!  And can you hear the comments they must have made as they saw Peter start to sink?  Surly there were a few "I told him not to do it!" remarks or  "He should have known he would sink, it is water after all!"  But you know what?  None of them got out of the boat! None of them asked Jesus to call them out. And it is easy to make an opinion about something after you see it start to go a particular direction (sorta like cheering for the team with a 140 point lead in a basketball game - its pretty much a sure thing).

Now, I am not trying to say we are awesome and brave. I don't want to come off as self righteous, because God calls us all to do different things.  He asks us all to "step out of our own boats"  But I see this story and I am encouraged by it, even in this hard season.  We sought the Lord out.  We said "God, if you want us to adopt this boy, make it clear"  We saw Him extend his hand of grace and provision over this adoption.  We stepped out of the boat.  And, y'all, it is terrifying.  It is hard and the storm is a lot stronger than it looked from inside the boat.  And yes, there have been times where we have started to sink, but you know what?  Christ has been right there extending His hand to us, hearing our cries, lifting us up, not letting us drown.  

We love ALL of our children, and one of the hardest lessons I am learning as a parent is how to shift my expectations in order to see all my children succeed in their own way.  It may not look like what I dreamed of.  The shift may even break my heart, but ultimately, I want to see Gods best in all of their lives and HE is the one that knows best what my kids are capable of.  I don't want my great expectations get in the way of Gods.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tough Love

There once was a time in my life when I was under the impression that love should be easy.  If it was hard or messy it wasn't worth it. If it was painful or made you sad then it wasn't really love. Love should be fun and easy going.  It should flow naturally from our hearts like chocolate from one of those fountains... Love should be easy.

 But that is not the case.

Love is hard.  It is messy.  It often hurts and it can break your heart.  And it is absolutely worth it.

We have been a family of seven for a little over 5 months now.  These have honestly been the five hardest months of my life.  I am talking tear filled, stressed out, crying into a costco size box of oreos hard.  Adoption is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Love is hard.

We are dealing with a combination of things from our newest addition.  Everything from misplaced anger to complete emotional shutdowns and shutouts.  Our four others are grieving what they thought they would have but don't, and also trying to navigate a new life with parents that have less time (and less emotional energy) than they were used to.

We as parents are struggling with fear, doubt, fatigue, stress and heartache over a fractured family.

I'll be honest - there are days this kid is tough to love.
There are days where love is the hardest emotion to feel because the frustration, heartache and  pain are just too much.  

So what do we do when we come face to face with tough love?  

My flesh wants to find a cave and hibernate till he goes to college...but apparently that isn't an option.

There are days when my heart wants to give up and treat him the way he treats me but that would be immature.

I have moments when I want to run away from it all because it just seems like it's too much to handle and "another day like today will do me in".

But I can't give up or walk away.  And I won't.  


Because I, too, am tough to love.

I have a rebellious heart, full of selfish desires and stubborn ways.  I have fought against the correction God has given me and pushed against the good He wants to do in my life.

I have kicked and screamed at change.  I have cried and fought over discipline.

The harsh reality is that I am no different than my son. 

And yet, God continues to love me.  He is patient.  His love is consistent and unconditional.  He speaks the truth in love into my heart and life.  Even when I push against Him, He does not move.

It is hard to love someone who doesn't seem to want love.  It hurts when that person scoffs at your affections or rolls their eyes at your affirmations.  It is hard to show love when all they show is anger and hate.  

It is tough love, but we can do it, even though is feels impossible.

1 John 4:19 says "We love because He first loved us".  We can love the tough people in our lives, because God has set the example by loving us.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Picture Perfect

Welcome to our first professional family photo since becoming a family of seven... can you feel the love?  Can you see the joy?  Aren't our happy faces just screaming "happily ever after" to you?  Wait?  What?  Oh, the grumpy kid holding my hand looks angry?  It looks as if I am holding him there against his will?  Our family photo isn't perfect? Well, darn.

I'll be honest with you, when I asked my friend, Tish, to take our family photos, I wanted the happy family photo, you know, the one that makes everyone go "awwwwwwwe".  These would be the photos for our Christmas cards, my Facebook profile picture picture, the one eventually printed out in 6 or 7 years and  then eventually, in 6 or 7 more years, hung on our wall. It would be the photo I sent to the grant organizations that helped us complete this adoption.  This would be the photo those organizations would  put on their website and blog posts.  The picture that would hopefully inspire or encourage some other family in their adoption journey!  So imagine my discouragement and disappointment when we got our photos back and I saw that sweet face of our son so miserable.  I'd be lying if I said  I didn't ask Tish to Photoshop a smile on the kid or do a face-swap to make our photo look a little more "tidy" but then as I was praying I heard a small quiet voice say "be honest".

Be honest?  Let people see the truth?  Are you crazy!!!!!!  Then people would know that we are not perfect.  That our lives are not nice and neat and tidy.  People would know (gasp!) that we don't have it all together!!!!  How will that honesty encourage people?

And then it hit me.  The times I have been most encouraged was not when I saw other peoples "perfection" but when I heard those beautiful and comforting words "me too"

Knowing I was not alone, knowing that I was not the only crazy one out there in the world...there was comfort and encouragement in that.

 I don't want to be a Photoshop family!  We are far from perfect and this picture is an honest depiction of where at right now.  We are a family fighting for attachment.  Fighting for bonding.  Fighting through grief, broken expectations, and loss.  And maybe there IS something encouraging about that.

We tend to put on a mask for people, pretending that everything is ok.  We only post pictures of ourselves when our hair and makeup are perfect  and our body is positioned in the right angle so you can't tell that it was a bag of oreos that you ate for dinner - and even then, we use some sort of instagram filter to make our teeth look whiter or our skin tanner.  We think no one would want to hear about our bad day or our struggles in life.  We keep up a Photoshop-type life, faking a smile and pretending that its all ok, And then we look at everyone around us, and there life seems so perfect and beautiful, so we are tricked into thinking that we are all alone in our trials when in reality, they have a Photoshop life too!

So here it is, people, this is us!  We are struggling.  We are fighting daily to keep our family together and afloat. The past several months have been hard.  As parents we have fought doubt, fear and anxiety.  We have watched our kids struggle as they adjust to this new life.  We have had to make hard decisions that brought us (and them) to tears.  We have struggled to regroup financially after one of the hardest summers of our lives.  We are still trying to find some sort of normal.  But, friends, this is life.  This is often what adoption (especially older child adoption) looks like.  It is not neat or tidy.  It is not easy. (But that doesn't mean it's not worth it.)

I know everyone wants to believe the adoption fairy tale, "...and they came off the plane and all lived happily ever after..." but that simply isn't the case.

The real journey begins once you are home.There are days, weeks, months, even years of bonding, adjusting, learning and growing.  You fight against the assumptions of some and the judgement of others.  You feel lonely and isolated - here you did all this work, all this fundraising, all this advocating and fighting for your child.  There were hopes and dreams of what your family would look like, the adventures you would have, the memories you would make - and none of them are a reality.  Some days they don't even seem like a possibility.  But you asked for this!  So how can you be discouraged...how can you complain...

So we hide it.  We hide the pain.  We hide the trials.  We put on a brave face and go out into the world, absorbing all the emotional blows that come our way.  (For example: as I walked my child to the school bus and he left without saying goodbye, another mom (whose children covered her in kisses and hugs and shouted "I love yous" all the way up the bus steps) comes to me and says "I don't know what's worse!  Having them so sad to leave you or not having them be sad at all..."

But the truth is - you aren't alone.  That mom with her overly affectionate kids that cover her in kisses while my child won't even mumble a goodbye - her life isn't perfect either.

We are imperfect people living imperfect lives.  I don't want to pretend to be someone I am not.  I also don't want to pretend that our lives are perfect or that motherhood is easy, marriage is a cakewalk or that adoption is easy.  I do want to be sensitive and not embarrass my family - but I know that transparency is something God has worked a lot into my life over the past years. I want to be sensitive to what our family is going through, but also be honest as well in the hopes to encourage others who might feel alone.

Galatians 6:2 says to "Bear one another's burdens".  How can we do that if we are living Photoshop lives?

Let's be bold.  Let's be brave.  Let's be (gasp!) honest.

After all, life is messy, but God is good.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Adoption lessons

It is absolutely crazy to think, but it has been a year since we walked off that plane with Bridget and became a family of six (You can see our journey to bring Bridget home here)  What crazy, wild year it has been!

Here are the first pictures we ever got of Bridget - we never got a picture of her smiling, she always looked sad and angry.

Now this girl is known by her big smile and is the most joyful girl ever!


It has not been an easy year, but looking back I am amazed by what God has done in our family.  Bringing Bridget home was no easy task. The road to get her was long and hard - not knowing if we'd raise the money, get the referral, when we would travel... Then once home it was crazy transition.  Kids crying, parents crying, growing pains like we have never felt before!  But now, a year later, we can't imagine life without this little girl.  She brings life and energy to this family.  She is a best friend to her sisters, a friend to everyone she meets and a ball of joy and laughter wherever she goes.

Through this past year, God has shown me a lot about adoption, and some of the misconceptions or opinions people have about it too - so I thought I'd share some of those learned things with you - sort of my "Top 3" list.

The "Happily Ever After" Myth:

A lot of people assume that once you get home, the hard stuff is over.  You are all madly in love with one another, birds are singing and your are wrapped in a rainbow blanket of happiness and love.  WRONG!!!
Look at his picture:

See how it is sort of blurry and how two of our kids are scowling?  This picture was a foreshadowing of the next few months.  Our lives were a blurry mess and someone was always on the verge of crying.  Kids were hiding in their bedrooms refusing to come out and socialize.  I was jet lagged, extremely sick, overwhelmed and my ability to take a shower before 1pm was gone.  Bridget wandered around her new world intrigued yet unaware of how anything worked.  She had no concept of personal space and would sit practically on top of anyone near her.  The girls would get frustrated that Bridget would stand, uninterested, in front of their movie and then cry, fuss, whine that she was in the way.  Toys and books were getting broken everyday because Bridget had never had these things and hadn't learned to be careful so most everyday was spent fixing toys, wiping tears of sisters who had their toy broken and teaching Bridget how to play/use things correctly.   Dinners were flung across tables and breakfast was picked at like raw badger meat.  "NEDDA!!" was the only word the girls seemed to speak to Bridget, and I was no better, feeling as if every word out of my mouth was "no".

  It was brutal.  I felt as if we had ruined everyone's life with this decision.  Our once happy, easy going life was now turned upside down. This sweet child from Africa was now unhappy once again  with new boundaries and rules again (Hadn't we just done that in Uganda?) I felt I couldn't say much to anyone because "we had chosen this" and honestly, most everyone we saw was saying "aren't you so happy?!?!?" "It's all so wonderful!"  "You are all together" as if we were now living in the "happily ever after" but truth was, it felt like we were drowning!  I knew we would all figure it out eventually and I kept telling the girls "by Christmas we will be ok" but I'm not going to lie to you - those were some of the darkest, hardest months of my life.  There didn't seem to be much "happily ever after" it was just hard.  We had to have a lot of tough conversations with our kids.  We had to pray a lot for ourselves and our patience.  We cried a good amount of tears.  And by the grace of God, things were better by Christmas, but there is still a long way to go.  The journey doesn't end at the airport - it keeps going!

The "pedestal" award:
When you adopt, you somehow become some sort of saint.  "How great that you adopted!"  "That's such an amazing thing you did!"  "Wow, you are like Oprah, but instead of giving away free cars, you adopt children"  It's crazy!  This phenomenon is so, so humbling.  Especially since, as you just read, those first few months of transition were so brutal.  People would come up to me and say how wonderful we were to adopt and I would just look at them and plaster on that fake smile and say "thank you", but on the inside I was crushed, thinking about how just moments before I had lost it yelling that a cup of milk was spilled, again, or a book was torn, again, or how kids would walk out of the room if Bridget walked in, how I had just how an hour long conversation about how we needed to love out of obedience to a six year old girl who didn't like how much things had changed in her once easy life.  People were showering us with compliments when all I could see was my multiple failing each and everyday.  We didn't adopt because we are super awesome, amazing people (although, obviously, we are).  We adopted because that is what God called us to do.  I don't think we are doing anything above or beyond what God has asked from all Christians which is to care for the orphans and defend the fatherless.  Some people do that by mentoring, financially supporting ministries, sponsoring a child, doing foster care etc.  God simply asked us to adopt, and we simply said yes.  No pedestal needed.  

The "You rescued them" opinion:
This one I hear a lot, that we have "rescued" our children from a horrible life in Africa. How without us, their lives would have been miserable. How great it is that we are able to offer them a better life.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  We rescued no one.  Are there children that are horribly abused, mistreated, neglected, exploited and in need of help?  ABSOLUTELY!  But there are also a great number of children that are orphans due to poverty and disease.  They had loving and nurturing families that could no longer care from them, or died due to illnesses.  Also, to compare America to Africa is sorta like comparing apples to boom boxes.  there is no comparison.  None.  When a lot of people hear that our daughter came from a rural part of Uganda with no electricity and she lived in a mud hut with a thatched roof they think "poverty".  Granted, if you put her village in an American city, I might agree with you, but again, you can't compare America and Africa.  Our daughter had a home.  She had access to good food, (fertile farmland and a lake full of fish).  She had access to a village school.  She was loved and cared for, but the family member that was taking care of her had HIV and knew eventually she wouldn't be able to care for Bridget at all.  There was no great rescue here, just a girl who was so well loved that her caretaker wanted to see that love continued by a family.  
Will our adopted children have a better life in America?  I guess they will have more access to "things".  There is easier access to healthcare and education.  They'll get to see movies, go on roller coasters and eat ice cream, but that doesn't necessarily make it 'better" (especially since a lot of that stuff is stuff they would have never even known they were missing had they stayed in Africa).  They could have survived and thrived in Africa.  It wouldn't look the same as it would in America, but Africa isn't America.  
I am crazy thankful that we get to bring these children into our homes.  I am so blessed that these kiddos, despite losing and leaving so much, call me mama.  If anything, adoption has helped rescue me.  Adoption has rooted out sin in my heart like nothing else - that desire to choose the easy path has long gone.  The road to easy, we passed it a few years ago.  Clean house?  never again.  Savings account?  HA!  I didn't rescue my kids - the only rescuer is Christ, and through him we have all been adopted, rescued and redeemed.

It has been an incredible year and we eagerly await the return of my husband and our son (who are still in Uganda finalizing that part of the adoption).  I know we have another huge wave of transition ready to sweep us away from what we now call normal, but I trust by Christmas we will have dried off and found our footing in being a family of 7.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Today is the day!!!!!  Today starts our week as the featured family on Give1Save1!!!!!  We are so blessed and honored to partner with them and hopefully further our fundraising efforts.

In celebration of this huge honor (and to hopefully get our video and story  to go "viral" we will be having daily giveaways on facebook to encourage people to share our Give1Save1 link.  We were donated some beautiful gifts and I wanted to share with you what you could win this week just by hitting that share button:

First we have these two BEAUTIFUL eternity scarves handmade by my friend Laura who is ALSO adopting from Uganda (same orphanage as us!!!) and they are awaiting their court date to bring their TWO sweet children home.  One scarf is navy blue, and the other a forest green

Next we have some lovely original art work by my friend, Maria Pardo.  You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at MARIAP380 and also check out her etsy shop here!

Here we have custom jewelry FROM Uganda.  The first is a beautiful necklace donated by our friends, Scott and Marianne (who traveled with us to Uganda to adopt their son and just returned with their daughter!) The neckalce is made my local widows who make and sell crafts for a living.  The beads are paper beads and I secretly want to keep this treasure for myself...
 The earrings are made by local Ugandan artist, Davis Muwumba - handpainted and made from recycled bottle caps.  You can see more of Davis' art at his etsy shop here

Here we have handmade cards from my friend Des.  She donated a collection of 6 cards for all occasions.  You can like her facebook page here to see more of her designs and order cards (she also does custom cards!)

Next we have these rad scarves by my friend Misty.  Here facebook page can be found here.  She has graciously donated a beautiful blue eternity scarf with matching fingerless gloves  AND a green/teal/brown neck warmer and head band.  She really is a gifted artisan!

Here is another donation from our friends Scott and Marianne  - here is a large purse made by local widows/women who make and sell their crafts for a living.

We also have a teal and black wallet made from the same group of ladies in Uganda

We also have this super ADORABLE handmade dress donated by fellow adopting mama and my sister from another mister, Melissa.  The dress is size 18 months. 

Lastly we have this ADORABLE hot pad and matching kitchen towel set made by my oh so crafty friend, Jessica.  It has a cute ladybug print and it is  so crazy cute I want to keep it for myself - but I won't.

To win any of these great prizes you just need to share our Give1Save1 link (here) with the daily hashtag hashtags will be as follows:
Monday - #Solecki1
Tuesday - #Solecki2
Wednesday - #Solecki3
and so on till we get to #Solecki7 which is what we will be once we get our boy home!!!!!

Also, remember, right now all donations made to our adoption through the paypal link on the right or the address below will be DOUBLED up to $5000 due to our matching grant!  

Checks should be payable to “Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo, note “family name” and “family account 
number” (Solecki/#4354) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to"
 Lifesong for Orphans, PO 
Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. 

 To pay online click to donate button on the right
 fill in “Family Account Number” and “Family Name” fields. Note PayPal charges an administrative 
fee (2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction). Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee. 

 “family account number” (Solecki/#4354)

Thank you for sharing in our joy and supporting our adoption!

Monday, March 3, 2014

looking back/looking forward

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 months since we came home from Uganda with Bridget.  It seems like a lifetime ago that be boarded that plane and flew for what seemed like an eternity to the other side of the world to finally meet our little girl.

10 months of adjusting
10 months of growing
10 months of learning
10 months of tears
10 months of triumphs
10 months of attaching
10 months of heart aching
10 months of loving

It has been a wild ride, and I know it is far from over.  It hasn't always been easy, but never once have we walked alone in the venture.  We have had the prayers, love and encouragement from friends and family.  We have seen the grace, love and mercy from our Heavenly Father.  We have grown as a family and grown individually as a result of this.  I can honestly say I am a better mom and wife because of the past 10 months (and also more aware of how bad of a mom and wife I am...)  This has been a growing year for our family - not only growing in number, but growing in the Lord

I wanted so share a couple of videos with y'all.  The first video I made was for Bridget of her homecoming so you all could see where we have been.  The second video our friend John made to introduce our family for our son's adoption so you could see where we are going.  Hopefully this gives you a better idea of who we are and why we are doing what we are doing.

  Some think its because we are crazy (and there is some truth to that) but really it is because of God.  He has done amazing and mighty things to bring these kids into our families - I mean, really amazing and mighty things.  I wish I could say we are just really good, nice, incredible people and that is why we are adoption, but that's just not true.  We are sinful, stubborn, at times crazy people - BUT, we were adopted by Christ.  He pursued us, loved us and transformed our lives and our hearts, and because of what He has done for us, we step out in faith and do this.

Please pray for us as we continue our journey back to Uganda to adopt our son.  And look out for our Give1Save one debut next week!  We will be the feature family on the Give1Save1 blog next week (starting March 10) and we will have a NEW family video PLUS daily giveaways for those that share our video!  It should be lots of fun and we are praying there is a great response because every dollar that is donated to our adoption WILL BE DOUBLED because of our matching grant through Legacy 685 and Lifesong For Orphans!  

Thank YOU for your continued love and support through this process.  We look forward to what God will do next week in terms of raising support for our son and getting him HOME!