Saturday, December 29, 2012

Adoption Fundraiser #2/On-Line Garage Sale

We are doing some major purging to get rid of items we no longer use and to make $ to bring our little guy home soon - hopefully sometime this spring. Please check out the items listed and share with your friends. If a price is not listed, we ask that you give whatever you feel led to give. Our goal is to raise $23,000 over the next few months so we appreciate anything given to help us meet that amount. Thanks for looking!

* If you are interested in an item or to check the availability of an item, please leave a comment on the same page as the item, along with your e-mail address. 

* Local orders within the Owasso, OK area only, please, unless you are willing to pay for shipping ;-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Adoption Update - December 12, 2012

Today was a happy day for us! We started our morning at the bank depositing the last of the coins that were raised as our first fundraiser. We are so very excited to report that it came to a little over $1,000!!! Can you imagine that much in change?! Some sweet souls tucked in bills, too - one anonymous family even hid a $100 bill among the coins. Wish I could give them a big hug - hopefully they read this and know that we are so very grateful. But then we are so very grateful for anyone that gave anything - even $10 is like a million to us! We were blown away by the number of people that contributed to our adoption that don't even know us. What a sweet blessing and please know that your giving is appreciated. May you be blessed in return a hundred fold!

After we left the bank we went to FedEx and shipped our dossier and notarized affidavits to Uganda! It feels so good to have that part done! Our UG attorney should receive those on Monday then she'll request a court date for us to adopt "Little M". We are thinking February/March timeframe but of course it's all in God's hands.

I watched this amazing video today about a family that has adopted nine kids from all over the world, most with special needs...


That is just so amazing to me. Then another friend told me she has a friend in Ghana right now adopting her 27th and 28th children. Those are special parents right there.

Adoption is such a great thing. I only wish we would have started sooner. 40-something is a bit late to be starting but I didn't feel the call until this time last year. I read this quote by Glenn Styffe a few days ago and it gets me every time I read it...

"I used to wonder if I was ready to be an adoptive parent, until I realized that children are never ready to be orphans."

Sigh. I am just so thankful for the opportunity to bring this little guy into our home. We thank everyone for your prayers and we are just believing that it really will happen.

God speed! ;-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Adoption Update - November 9, 2012

We are excited to announce that we have been matched with another child! I wish we could share his picture but due to privacy reasons and because it could hurt our case, we can't :-(  We learned about him a few weeks ago and accepted the referral yesterday. He is 1 1/2 years old and we will refer to his name for now as "Little M".

Wednesday we received our "Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition" that basically says our home study and fingerprints have been accepted and the government has approved us to adopt a child internationally. This was a HUGE blessing and surprise because I didn't think we would hear on this for at least another month!

I finished copying our dossier and home study yesterday...

And now we have to get all of our papers notarized and sent off to Uganda. After our UG attorney receives them, she'll request a court date then our entire family will travel to UG to bring our boy home! Ahhhh - if it were only that simple in real life ;-)

We have learned from loosing our last match that there are many ups and downs with adoption and you just have to learn to go with the flow and trust God through the entire process. We thank you so much for your prayers, encouraging words, and support during this journey!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Kings and Queens"

This is my new favorite song! It's about adoption!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Adoption Update - October 29, 2012

A little update on us after receiving our sad news on October 4th...

God is healing our hearts and we definitely can feel everyone's thoughts and prayers. We also appreciate your encouraging words and sweet cards. It's been a tough lesson/reminder for our family that life isn't always fair and doesn't always go the way you want - but God's plan for our lives IS always best. We continue to rely on Him and follow His promptings. He knows our desires and we truly want to follow what He feels is best for our family.

Sometimes I think we were matched with Little R so that he can always have someone praying for him. I think of him and pray for him continually throughout the day and at night when I can't sleep. I  know many of our friends and family have been praying for him, too. I just have to believe that God has His arms wrapped around him and He'll never let him go. And just in case you are wondering why I still refer to him as "Little R", part of me is still hoping that he'll be returned to the orphanage (ONLY if he's not being well taken care of) and we'll hear that we can come to UG and take him back home with us. Stranger things have happened ;-) the meantime, we are moving on. We still plan on adopting and will be matched again soon, God willing. We thank you so much for continuing to pray for our process. It's all in God's timing and it's all in His hands. He is continually growing and stretching our faith - which isn't always "fun", but it is always for our good.

For Those Who Feel "Worn"...

May you see redemption win!

I'm tired 
I'm worn 
My heart is heavy 
From the work it takes to keep on breathing 

I've made mistakes 
I've let my hope fail 
My soul feels crushed 
By the weight of this world 
And I know that you can give me rest 
So I cry out with all that I have left 

Let me see redemption win 
Let me know the struggle ends 
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn 

I want to know a song can rise 
From the ashes of a broken life 
And all that's dead inside can be reborn 
Cause I'm worn 

I know I need to lift my eyes up 
But I'm too weak 
Life just won't let up
And I know that You can give me rest 
So I cry out with all that I have left 

Let me see redemption win 
Let me know the struggle ends 
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn 

I want to know a song can rise 
From the ashes of a broken life 
And all that's dead inside can be reborn 
Cause I'm worn 

And my prayers are wearing thin 
I'm worn even before the day begins 
I'm worn 
I've lost my will to fight 
I'm worn 
So heaven come and flood my eyes 

Let me see redemption win 
Let me know the struggle ends 
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn 

I want to know a song can rise 
From the ashes of a broken life 
And all that's dead inside can be reborn 
Yes all that's dead inside will be reborn 
Though I'm worn 
Yeah I'm worn

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adoption Podcasts

Here's some great podcasts that have been featured on Family Life Today about adoption. Take a listen when you have a chance...

Reaching Out to the Orphan, Part 1 (w/Dennis Rainey, Rick Warren, Russell Moore and Jedd Medefind) - great message for men ;-)

Reaching Out to the Orphan, Part 2 (w/Dennis Rainey, Rick Warren, Russell Moore and Jedd Medefind)

More to Give (w/Mark and Katharyn Richt)

Adoption: The Gift That Keeps On Giving (w/Mark and Katharyn Richt)

Two Lives Changed (w/Chey Gethers and Mary Lee)

God's Call to Adoption (w/Jill Savage)

Adoption Seen Through Jesus' Eyes (w/Russell Moore)

Welcome to the Family (w/Russell Moore)

Embracing Adoption (w/Russell Moore)

Grappling with Infertility (w/Russell Moore)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adoption Update - Oct. 4, 2012

It is with a heavy heart that we share this news with you. We just found out this afternoon that "Little R" has an uncle in Uganda that wants to keep him. Amazing to me that Little R was in an orphanage for over a year and not one relative came forward to even visit him. And now, this man came out of the blue and said he will keep him. In his words, they will "manage". The uncle already has Little R in his custody and we are no longer able to adopt him. Don't get me wrong, I am totally for reunification with family IF they are able to provide the child with a good home. I've just seen too many cases in Uganda where children are tossed from family to family and they aren't given proper care. They are often times forced to work hard at an early age, are abused, or go hungry. I just pray that Little R doesn't become one of those cases.

I have never personally lost a child in the womb, but I can imagine what I'm feeling is somewhat similar to what a mother experiences when she looses her unborn child. You spend months thinking about your child and what life will be like once they are with your family. You dream about them and their future. You pray for them and that you will be good parents. And then one day, they are gone. Totally unexpected. It is at that moment that you realize that life's not fair. In fact, sometimes it stinks (as a nice way to put it). But then you get up off the floor, brush off your pants, and thank God for another day. You realize that even when times are tough, God has a perfect plan and we must trust in Him and His promises.

Would you please join our family in praying for this uncle? If he truly is supposed to care for Little R, please pray that he will be a good role model, teach him about Jesus, love on him and that he will be a good provider for his needs. And if he's not supposed to care for him, please pray that God impresses on his heart that there is a family that already loves him and wants to adopt him. Pray that he understands what a big responsibility it is to raise a child and if he can't step up then he needs to step down.

We are so very sad but I suppose situations like this are to be expected. I keep hearing stories of how hard adoption is and I believe it. But I also believe very strongly that we are called to adopt and God will get us through the tough times. We just need a little time to grieve but we aren't going to let this stop us. We will continue on with our adoption journey and follow God's leading. We appreciate your prayers - and especially for Little R, wherever he is.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Story of Love for "Little R"

Before viewing the video, please be sure to pause the music at the top of this page ;-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ugandan Bags and Beads for Sale

When I went to Uganda this past June, I had the privilege of visiting Arise and Shine babies home in Jinja, which is in southern Uganda. Arise and Shine is run by an AmAzInG woman named Sharon Nyanjura. Sharon is doing awesome things for her community - including running an orphanage for about 25 children; she began a school and is offering education to over 200 children; she has several income-generating projects going on which is helping employ many, many people who would otherwise be jobless; and she has Adult Outreach classes, as well, teaching adults about how to read and educating them about Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Two of her income-generating projects employs single women and widows and educates them on how to make beautiful Ugandan beaded jewelry and bags. I was able to bring many of the items they make home with me to sell here in the States. As I sell items, I send 100% of their sales back to Sharon which, in turn, goes back to these ladies and to the Arise and Shine babies home.

As you begin your holiday shopping, or if you just need a special and unique gift item, PLEASE consider purchasing some of these beads and bags. When you purchase one of these items, you are shopping with purpose and giving back to a community half a world away. These items are very well made, yet they offer a very affordable price. If you are interested in anything, please send me an e-mail to and describe what you'd like to purchase. (You can also purchase some of these items at Dolce Vita in Owasso and Creme de la Creme Boutique in Downtown Collinsville.)

Thank you for looking and please help spread the word!

Short chain - $10
Triple chain - $15
Long chain - $25
Chunky necklace - $25
Sling bag #1 - $15
Sling bag #2 - $15
Sling bag #3 - $15
Sling bag #4 - $15
Sling bag #5 - $15
Sling bag #6 - $15
Sling bag #7 - $15
Sling bag #8 - $15 
Ugandan Bag #1 with reinforced rings - $20 
Ugandan Bag #2 with reinforced rings - $20
Shopping bag made from recycled sugar bags - $25
Shopping bag made from recycled sugar bags - $25
Coin purses - $5

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women who never knew each other. 

One you do not remember, the other you call "Mother". 

Two different lives, shaped to make you one... 

One became your guiding star, the other became your sun. 

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it. 

The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it. 

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name. 

One gave you a seed of talent, the other gave you aim. 

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears. 

One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears. 

One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do. 

The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you. 

Now which of these two women are you the product of?

Both, my darling! Both! Just two different kinds of love. 

 ~ Author Unknown

"For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him." ~ 1 Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adoption Update - September 5, 2012

Just wanted to give a little update of sorts - although, because of privacy issues, I can't share a whole lot. We are so excited to announce that we have been "officially" matched up with a little 2 year old boy who we will refer to as "Little R". I actually got to meet him when I went to Uganda this past June but I didn't know at the time that we were going to be matched up. I wish we could post pictures of him, but again, because of privacy issues, we can't. Just know that he's so super sweet, ALL BOY (Lord, help me!), and he loves to give hugs!

Steve and I just got fingerprinted at the Homeland Security Office in OKC this morning so that's another big step checked off on our "To Do" list. Next, we will send our dossier documents to our attorney in Uganda (hopefully within the next few days) who will review our case and submit a request for a court date and hearing. Once we receive our hearing date, we could be given a very short notice (typically 1-3 weeks) and we'll be off on a plane to Uganda as a family to adopt our future son. We would love for this to all take place this year but we know it's all in God's hands and His timing.

My sweet friend, Kati, came up with a fun idea of how to help us raise money for our adoption - by saving coins for a month and keeping them in a baby bottle. (You can read more about all the details here in case you'd like to join in on the fun!) She's going to draw a name of all the families that have contributed on October 7th, and the winner will receive a Ugandan bead necklace from Katie Davis with Amazima Ministries. I can not even begin to tell you how amazed I am at Kati's unselfish, thoughtful, and always giving spirit. She is constantly thinking outside of the box and doing so much for others. Typical families (mine included) get so caught up in day-to-day activities and doing what it takes to barely get by, but she is always thinking about what she can do for others. I especially love her ELEOS and Adopt-a-Gram ministries her family has started. (You can read more about those on her blog, as well.) We need more Kati's in this world - it would be such a better place to live ;-)  I am also blown away at the number of people who said they'd like to save their coins for our adoption - most of whom we've never even met. Just goes to show you how God uses those who are available and He supplies all of our needs. Our family is so very humbled and thankful at the gracious and giving spirits of all who are stepping up to bring "Little R" home.

And on a different, yet similar note - did you hear that Scott Wells (with the St. Louis Rams) recently adopted three children from Uganda? I thought that was so cool. You can read more of his story here and here.

That's all for now but we'll share more details as we can and when we can. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers - they are much appreciated!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

When God Shuts One Door...

Hello friends and family! I have recently returned from an amazing missions trip to Uganda and was there for two weeks with a team of about 15 people. (You can read about our trip here.)

What's really neat is that I got to meet Sarah (from Minnesota), who is the mother in the family I wrote about on my first posting on this blog. It was her family that gave me the hope that we could actually adopt from Uganda. I had heard their story and how they didn't live there for three years like I previously thought you had to in order to adopt. I found out she was going to Uganda to adopt their son at the same time I was leaving Oklahoma and we were even on the same flights from the States to UG together. We got to meet and share stories - I just thought it was so cool how our newly-formed relationship had come full circle.

Our trip to Uganda was awesome and hopefully I'll have lots to write about for a while on the Project Hope Worldwide blog (a volunteer assignment I took on about 1 1/2 years ago). We currently have 16 children getting ready to move into Calo Me Lare (the orphanage that PHW built) that will need sponsors ASAP. Please prayerfully consider this need and if you feel so led, you can sign up easily online here. Your sponsorship will help take care of the essential needs of a child living at the orphanage and you will have the unique ability to develop a relationship with your child through writing letters, sending small gifts, and you may even have the opportunity to meet your sponsored child on a missions trip as I did (see picture to the upper left) and Steve did this past July.

While I can't write specifics here, I can tell you when God shuts one door, He opens another. We still feel very strongly that God wants us to adopt from Uganda and a different adoption opportunity has presented itself since my last blogpost. Since then, our home study has also been completed and approved. We have been educating ourselves on the adoption process, as well as on the time with your child after you adopt. And we continue to look forward to our next steps and pray that God guides our path.

We ask that you please pray the following things for our adoption...

1. That God will continue to show us clearly what our next steps should be

2. That our adoption will be 100% ethical

3. That God would prepare our hearts to accept a new person into our family

4. That God would shower His love, protection, and blessings upon our "child to be"

5. That favor would be shown upon our adoption process and that things would move along smoothly

We thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this new journey in our lives! More updates to come ;-)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Looking Into Independent Adoption

So our latest news on the adoption front is that we have decided to put our account on hold at the adoption agency we were going through and look into independent adoption. We are looking into a "new" option that is slightly more risky, yet more cost effective and we could potentially be matched up with a child much quicker. Going through an adoption agency could actually take 18-24 months and being the age that we are, Steve and I would like to move the process along a little more quickly. Going this "new" route that we discovered will make us the first pilot family so we're not really sure where this is going to take us. I told Steve that I was a little nervous being the "guinea pigs" but he said, "Maybe that's part of our calling. Maybe we're supposed to be the guinea pigs. If this works out for us, it can potentially work out for other families wanting to adopt out of Uganda, as well." So, here we go! Following God's lead and praying that He continues to open new doors for us along the way and shut doors when we are going the wrong direction.

We were doing our home study through Dillon International (whom we highly recommend), but understandably, since we've decided to go the independent route and due to liability reasons, they can no longer do our home study for us. A case worker from OKC was recommended to us so we made contact with her last week. I was excited to learn she has worked with several other families that have adopted from Uganda. We're excited to continue the process with her and to get that started this week. The last few cases she has worked on have moved along so quickly that we thought we better go ahead and apply for passports for the girls. So I took them to get their passport pictures this weekend - they were so excited! I tried to not get their hopes up because we honestly don't know how long this process could take but we need to be ready to leave the country just in case it moves along as quickly as it did for the other families we heard about.

I've also been able to make contact with several other families that have adopted independently from Uganda. At first, it sounded like such an overwhelmingly scary and unknown process, but after asking lots of questions and learning new things daily, I have hope and confidence that we can do this. We're so excited and still have so much to do - but we feel like we're getting closer! Thank you for your continued prayers!

Light Gives Heat

The girls and I watched this film, called "Moving On", by a non-profit organization called "Light Gives Heat" recently and loved it. The videography is amazing and I loved the scenes from Uganda - makes me miss it and look forward to going back! It's about a young couple from the United States that adopted from Uganda and began their own non-profit there, as well. They've done great things and are working alongside Ugandans building a better community and meeting the needs of those that live there.

The following is the trailer but the last time I checked, you could watch the video in it's entirety here.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arms Wide Open

I have a little somethin' to share. About six years ago, we decided to sponsor a child through World Vision. Our only request was that the child be born on 9/11/01. We were matched up with a little girl named, Leah, from Uganda. A few years later, Steve and I started doing volunteer work for Project Hope Worldwide, a non-profit organization that has built an orphanage in Lira, Uganda. After hearing about the plight of orphans there, we knew we had to go see it for ourselves so I went in December 2010 and Steve went in July 2011. All of this to say we truly have a heart for orphans, and especially orphans in Uganda.

Several years ago, I started having a longing in my heart to adopt from Uganda. However, I always heard you had to live there for three years, which was clearly not an option for us. But for some reason that longing would not go away. Then about six months ago, I heard that a relative of a family that goes to our church was adopting from Uganda and they did not have to live there for three years as I was previously told. This news got my heart pounding. I started looking more into it and discovered there are ways around that and that people from all over the United States were adopting from Uganda. I started looking into adoption agencies and found there are several that adopt out of Uganda. Then reality set in. I thought, "Could we really do this? At our age and this stage of life, could we really do this? How would our family take it? Would my friends think we were crazy? Could we afford it?" Question after question kept popping into my mind but when it came down to it, I truly believed God put that desire in my heart. And if God was calling us to adopt, He would guide our path. So I prayed about it. I prayed about it a lot. I really felt like it was what God wanted us to do so the next step was to bring it up to Steve.

So after a dinner date one evening about three months ago, I brought it up. I asked him, "So... I have a question for you. Have you ever considered adoption for our family?" To say that question took him back a bit is an understatement. His mouth just about dropped to the floor. Slowly, he said, "Nooooo." I went on to tell him about the longing I've had for so long and how I really felt like God wanted us to adopt. I asked him to just pray about it and if he didn't agree then I wouldn't bring it up again and would put closure to my crazy idea. Several days passed and he didn't say a word about it. I took that as a "no" and tried to put it out of my mind. Then one day, he spoke up and said, "I've been praying about the adoption and I think we should do it." I couldn't believe what my ears were hearing! I couldn't believe we were actually going to go through with it!

So there you have it - our big news! Crazy, huh?!?! We found an adoption agency to go through and sent in our preliminary application. That got accepted then we sent in the longer application last week. Then I heard from the agency first thing yesterday morning and that has also been accepted. Our next step is to do a home study that could take about 2-4 months. The entire process should take about one year and if things work out, we will probably travel to Uganda as a family to pick up our child. (The girls have always wanted to go to Uganda so they may actually get their chance!)

I knew it would be hard to keep it a secret from the girls much longer so Steve and I decided to tell the girls last night. Here's a couple of videos that share how it all went down...

Those goofy girls were so excited they could hardly contain themselves and of course, they had a hard time getting to sleep at night.

So why Uganda when there are so many orphans in the United States? Well, mostly because we have a heart for orphans in Uganda and we feel we are called to adopt from there - but also because the need is so great. There are over 2 million orphans living in Uganda. There are many in the States, too, but there are also many couples that want to adopt here, as well. Why shouldn't kids in Africa, or anywhere else in the world, have the same chance to be brought into a loving family? What makes them any less worthy? They simply aren't. We were all made from the same Creator and we all deserve to have a loving mom and dad. Just as God adopted us into his family, we are all also called to care for orphans in some way. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." 

So here we go on a new adventure in life - not sure where it will take us and how many bumps we may encounter along the way. But I do know that God will walk us through it, though. Good thing because we couldn't do this without His help. If you think of us, we would so appreciate your prayers. Please pray for the following things...

1. Pray that doors remain open and that we follow God's leading

2. If it is God's will for the adoption to take place, please pray for the child we'll be matched up with - for their safety & good health, for healing from any emotional trauma they may have experienced, for them to be open to a new family, and for them to be accepting of our family, and even for the adjustment period after the adoption process takes place.

3. Please pray that the "bumps in the road" are minimal and that God gives us strength to carry on.

4. Please pray that finances will be "miraculously" provided

Thank you for your prayers and support! We'll keep this blog posted with new details as we have them and a few thoughts along the way. We welcome this next step in life with arms wide open ;-)