Friday, February 6, 2015

Almost A Year....

Wow, I am surprised I remembered  my login code!  I am at a Created for Care conference and I am feeling overwhelmed, surprisingly emotional.

I cannot believe all that has happened in a year.  I just abruptly stopped writing because it felt too big, too much, just too much.  Things went crazy after my last post.

My last post makes it look so neat and pretty, so tied up with a bow.  The reality is so so much different.  My close friends and those in the know would tell you how ugly and overwhelming the last year has been.

I met with an old friend yesterday as she is beginning to walk down her road to adoption.  She is nervous and scared, unsure of what to expect.  I texted with another dear friend who is hoping to travel soon to get her baby girl.  I remember those days leading up to our travel, the fear and longing. Well, mostly from the months leading up to our first court date. I remember the terror of getting everything done and leaving my babies in less than 48 hours.

I am glad to be on the other side.  I told my first friend yesterday that the first six months were awful. Kenny and I whispered in the night wondering what have we done?  This wasn't how we pictured it...

There was so much mind numbing uncertainty, so many questions.  and for me, so many plates of food in my face, slaps on my face, spit on my face from a certain firecracker of a girl.  I just wanted her to love me and I couldn't see how that was ever going to happen.  Now that relationship is healing and evolving, growing but still ever so hard.  Trying to gain trust and picking up pieces when I fail her yet again.  It is a dance of nervous, hand wringing partners, trying to figure out what the next step is..

My other beauty was just so good.  Just way way too good.  As if there was a chance that if she made one wrong step it would all be over... She held her world cupped in her hands, tiptoeing around in case she upset something.  I cried with relief the first day she knowingly disobeyed me, kissing her cheeks and telling her how I loved her, even when she disobeyed.  I love that she disobeys now, glad that she is relaxing a bit and realizing that we are going nowhere.

My boys are my heroes.  They LOVE with abandon and have taken their sisters in with their whole hearts.  They watch over and protect.  They yell when they break their stuff and push back when the girls push too far.  They hold hands and kiss their cheeks.

But it has been hard for them too.  They didn't like seeing their mother hit and spit on.  They couldn't figure out why I didn't respond with more grace or yell more than before we left.  They were so sad when we were gone, they felt abandoned by us.  Jack whispers in the late hours of how sad he was and is, how things weren't quite what he expected.  How could he love and dislike all at the same time?  Why were things not easy now that we were all together?

But we are making it.  The first six months were beyond hard.  Then it just started getting better.  We found our groove and figured out what makes us tick, what makes us the Brown family.  We are getting our stride and coming out of the fog.

I have longed to write and share but it has just been too ugly to put down.  I am not at all who I thought I would be as a mother to my family.  I had notions of being the therapeutic parent that all my kids could turn to.  I had read the books, talked to people, I felt prepared.

Then reality hit and it turns out that I am still just the same old me.  I yell at my kids too much, lose my temper over nothing, and have incredibly high expectations that get shattered over and over again.  I am me.

And in that place of brokenness I find hope.  Not in me or my books, or the latest truth I read on a blog.

I find hope that in my weakness my God is strong.  That He has put us together, just how and when He wanted to do it.  And I can relax a bit and on the good days realize that I DO NOT have all this together, but He is carrying me and my family.

I am so happy to have us all together, so filled with joy when I look around and see those faces.  I love riding in the car and listening to them talk and laugh and dance and fight and try to make each other tow the line.

We are family.  Imperfect and broken but we belong to each other.

There is beauty in that.  To see that from all of our brokenness a beautiful thing is rising up.  I don't always like the redemption analogy.  I worry that it would make my girls feel less than or like they had no worth before the adoption.  But I love the picture of a relentless pursuit by a God who knows and loves far beyond what our finite minds can handle.  I love that my girls who are amazing and funny and sassy and sweet are with us.  That somehow two girls from across the ocean call America their home.

Not to say there is not pain in the midst because there is great pain and loneliness in giving up all that you know and coming across the ocean with two crazy muzungus.  But that love and happiness and peace can come out of that pain is a beautiful thing.

Here is to many more years to come...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Little Update

So, where to start, where to start.

Right now I will not be sharing specifics of our case, court, etc.  That may come later.  It is becoming clear to me how much all of this will effect the girls one day.  That all this time, all this waiting, and all the sharing I have done is about two little people.  They have big brown eyes and sweet little hearts and PLENTY of sass.  But that this is their story to tell.  That there is something sacred about the details.

I will share some things though because they are THAT good.

We are settling into life in Africa.  So crazy different from American life.  Still really good but really really different.  And also being parents in Africa is so different.  The last time I was here a few weeks ago I was only responsible for me, now it is for my family.  We have been in guesthouses the whole time so far which has been nice in many ways.  Our favorite place is in Jinja.  Jinja is about two hours outside of the capitol of Kampala.  It is quiet and so easy to get around.  My favorite way is to stick the girls in front of me and hop on a boda(scooter).  The girls handle it but I am not sure they like it.  Poor little Joy has never been out of the orphanage so the world is so different for her.

The girls are doing really really well.  We have not had many tantrums, rages, or unconsolable crying.  The first night was a little rough.  They were scared and didn't really know what was going on.  One of them just wailed this heartbroken, deep from her heart sound.  I cried right along with her and I wondered how we would do this.  But then she relaxed and fell asleep.  She woke a few times the first night but settled easily.  We have been able to calm them by holding them tight and sitting them in our laps.

I have been amazed at how well it has gone.  They do tend to just kinda shut down at times and that is when the language barrier is toughest.  I can't ask them questions and help them get through things verbally and that is hard.  I want to hear what is going on in their heads and hearts.  It will come though, but slowly.  We are so grateful that they settle down and relax with us.  They are still vigilant with their surroundings but not as much as I thought they would be.

We go back to court on Friday so that is a big day.  We have some last minute things to do here in Jinja and then we will head back to the capitol.  We found a two bedroom apartment  to rent for the month, weekly actually.  I am a little intimidated by doing all of the meals, most of the cleaning, etc.  The space is nice though.  It is walled in with concrete and barb wire and they have security at night which is all standard for "muzungos".  There is a nice family that owns the house who live next door. They will be very helpful to us.  It has a kitchenette, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and a living area.  I have been assured there are no bugs inside, hahaha!  I told her to spray anyway please.  Those who know me are laughing right now.  I think it will be good to have our own space and be able to eat when we want, nap when we want, etc.

We appreciate everyone's prayers and support so much.  It is amazing just how many people are thinking of us and praying for us.  I have heard so many times how people were literally hitting their knees at 2:30am for us.  Believe me it worked.  We had so many hurdles in court and I thought it would get thrown out several times.  But each time we kept going.  We feel cautiously optimistic about it and hope to hear good news on Friday.

We got to see their birth family on Friday and will meet with them again tomorrow.  It is hard to describe how special those moments have been.  If you know me then you know how much I want to honor their parents and the sacrifice they are making.   That I want to learn as much about them as I can.  We have a list of questions for them that I hope will make the girls happy one day.

The most beautiful moment by far was last Friday.  I am holding Joy and she is wrapped around me like a pretzel, head on my shoulder.  Annet is holding my hand and pressed in on my side.  We talked to their first mom and dad and I tried to get the girls to go to them.  They wouldn't no matter what I tried.  It was a very surreal moment.  On one hand it felt so good to have the girls in my arms and on the other I felt horribly guilty they wouldn't go.  I didn't want their family to feel sad or upset.

I talked to my orphanage director on the phone later and what she said blew me away.  She said that the family kept saying over and over again just how happy they were.  They only had joy because the girls were so happy and bonding so well.  It was such a selfless stance for them to take.   I was so humbled and grateful that they feel that way.  When we were with them they couldn't stop smiling.  I am sure that there is sadness, deep sadness mixed in with their feelings as well.  But it was so amazing and such a God thing to me.  That love could be that big and wide and self sacrificing.

Overall, things are going well.  I am realizing that we have a really long way to go and the process might be more difficult than I anticipated.  Of course it is, sometimes I shake my head at my optimism, silliness, whatever it is....

I haven't talked much about the boys because every time I do I cry.  It is SO hard to be away from them.  I miss them so very much and just want to see them.  We have facetimed several times and will continue to do so.  We are 8hours ahead here so that makes it tricky.  They are doing great though, I am sure they are wearing everyone out:)  They are so excited about their sisters though and get so excited to talk with them.  The girls are figuring out who the boys are.  I can just see everyone all together and it makes me smile.  They mirror each other in different ways and I can't wait to get everyone home in one place.

Keep the prayers coming, they really matter...  All of it matters.  We were able to talk on facetime with several people and it made us so happy.  We can't post pictures of the girls until we have our visas which will be awhile so some people have gotten to "meet" them and that was so special.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My time in Africa

I have had a hard time sitting down to write.  So many thoughts are always flooding my mind.  So I thought forget it, here goes

It was amazing to be back in Africa.  I LOVED it.  I totally forgot about this adventurous side of me that loves to travel.  The side of me that loves new places and new faces.  I am a homebody to be sure BUT I would travel the world if I could.  

The moment we got off the plane I took a deep breath and smelled "the smell"....  Smokey, trashy, almost spicy.  I don't know what it is about that smell but I like it.  I felt more at home and at peace than I thought I would.  It was familiar to me.  My mother also smelled the smell, she didn't have the same thoughts I did:)  It is funny how that smell is so distinct to me, how it is such a piece of Africa to me.  

We made it to the car with our driver at about 1am or a little after.  I was reminded just a few short minutes after getting in the car how crazy African driving is.  Even in the middle of the night there were pedestrians and animals all along the side of the road.  Boda bodas (scooter/motorcycles) everywhere, weaving in and out of traffic.  Some with good headlights, some not so much.  Adventure right?

We stayed in a guesthouse the first night.  We drove through the red-light district.  So many clubs and bars and people everywhere.  We drove straight up a hill.  By hill I mean really steep hill with such huge deep ruts that I thought our 4wheel drive Land Rover might not make it up.  It was very clean and secure though.  The power went out about an hour after we got there.  Talk about dark.....I was able to text and Skype a little with Kenny when we got there and that was great.  I also got to text my buddy Kelsey, she had hooked me up with a great app called WhatsApp.  Fantastic b/c its free and all you need is wifi.  Probably most people know about it though...

I was so excited to actually be in Africa.  I love the crowds, the smells, the sights, I don't mind filthy dirty feet.  I am fascinated to be there and see everything I can.  We were in the capitol the first night and drove on out to Jinja the next day.  

We spent a week in Jinja which is where our girls live.  We stayed in a guesthouse run by Sole Hope and it was great.  Clean with running water and flushing toilets.  No air condition but fans.  It was really, really hot the first four or five days and then it started raining in the afternoons and cooled off quite a bit.  The guesthouse was so great though.  The organization Sole Hope is doing some amazing things with jiggers and the effect they have on children.  They are a flea that buries itself in feet and then lays eggs.  They are painful and can cause serious problems including infection and gangrene,  Dru and Asher Collie run the program, they are from Asheville, NC.  Asher saw a you tube video and they decided to do something about it.  They moved their whole family out to Uganda.  They clean feet and remove  jiggers in the areas affected.  Then they give the kids shoes to protect them from more jiggers.  They hire Ugandans to make the shoes out of local materials and material that people send over.  A lot of the shoes are made out of old pairs of jeans with rubber tire soles.  So inspiring to see people see a need and then meet the need.  So glad we could support them in some way.

We spent the last 4 days in Kampala.  I really loved Jinja the most though.  It is technically a resort town and situated right on the Nile.  There is a good size town with lots of shops and a surprising number of places to eat.  We got around there mostly by boda which is like a scooter/motorcycle thing.  I loved it of course.  Maybe my mom liked it by the end?  She told them to go slow, she was a jaja after all, (i.e. grandmother) and they obliged.  It cost around $1-$5 for both of us each way depending on where we went.  Very cost effective.  We used a car sometimes, Ugandans don't do anything in the rain.

I was amazed at the technology over there.  I bought a phone at the airport and loaded minutes as I needed them.  Our boda drivers and car drivers all had phones, as did everyone else.  When I would call to set up a ride they would say, "Hello Madam Jenn, do you need a ride?"  It made it super easy to get around.  Even when we had to drive into Kampala with an hours notice I got a few phone numbers and had it set up in 5minutes.  Having the staff at Sole Hope and the family staying with us at the guesthouse was such a blessing.  We had names for everything.

I really couldn't believe all that we got accomplished.  We were able to meet with a new lawyer which I think will really help speed things along.  She is fantastic and has an amazing reputation.  Once we met with the first lawyer I just felt like we needed to make a change.  We STILL have some hurdles to leap but I really feel like if anyone can this done it would be her.  People that work with her cannot speak highly enough of her.  

We got to spend amazing time with the girls which is a whole other post.  As is the time we spent meeting with the girls birth family.  That was such a sacred and special time for me.  So surreal to be sitting in the home that the girls grew up in before the orphanage.  Humbling to say the very least.  Amazing.....

I can't wait to go back.  I am ready to go back whenever I can.  I told our lawyer that I could get on the plane anytime she needed me to:)

We have definitely made progress but still have a ways to go.  Switching lawyers involves significant cost and our trip made me realize how expensive the travel portion of our trip was going to be.  Trusting that God will provide and I know He will.  

We will need to redo some paperwork and get whatever our new lawyer needs.  She is a woman of faith and a strong woman, it radiates from her.  She is very thorough.  We had a two hour meeting with her.  I was hoping to leave with definite answers but the answers aren't completely clear until she  does her own investigative work.  She told me not to worry that we would get this done.  She estimated around 3-5 months to file for a court date which would give us a date in the spring.  

So hard to be back without the girls.  I don't regret a minute of the trip and I was blown away by what we did get accomplished.  Being able to see the girls and meet with everyone we met with was such a huge blessing.  

It solidified again for me too how important it will be to put some form of roots down in Africa.  To figure out a way to get back and see the girl's country, to see their first family when we can.  Africa is a wonderful country.  So different from what we are used to.

One of the hardest things for us was seeing the unending need spread out in front of you, in so many places.  It is overwhelming when you see the need.  BUT it is amazing to meet people and hear about people that are meeting needs one day at a time, one step at a time.

Africans are a very giving people.  They will give you the shirt off their back, even if that means they will go without.  They love their children and they love their country.  We found some neat organizations that we could partner with.  People of so many different backgrounds that are doing something about what they see.

I am looking forward to going back and trying to solidify some of those connections and see how we can help as a family.  To see how we can incorporate Africa into our family.  I don't want the girls to lose that connection, it is too important.  

The day I met you.....

I keep thinking back to the day I met my girls.  In flesh and in person.  The culmination of so many hopes and dreams.  The fruition of all of those prayers and tears.  The longing finally fulfilled.

My mom and I left Kampala that morning not knowing that today would be the day.  That this was THE day...  We got to Jinja and our facilitators told us we would go by the orphanage first.  I had talked to Sharon and we had planned to talk before I met the girls.  However, change of plans...

The girls were eating lunch.  There was no one on one time that day which was fine.  I really wanted to take things slow.   They finished their lunch and went down for their naps right after.  They were sitting at the big table in the middle of the room, eating HUGE quantities of rice and groundnut sauce.  I could not believe how much they were eating.  Maybe I will have two good eaters:)

I will never forget the first moments with both of them.  I was so emotional and trying to hold it in.  This was not the typical "gotcha day" video moment.  The girls wouldn't look at us.  I had planned on spending time with them but not letting them know who I really was.  That was the plan and the director agreed and I thought it was settled.  That ended up changing midway through the week and I was introduced as mama.  Both girls took to the name and voila, my name and plan had changed.

I remember very vividly the moment that Annet looked at me though.  I was standing to the side and watching her eat, I didn't think she even noticed me.  She turned her head to the side and she looked me dead in the eye.  It was surreal to be sharing her gaze and trying to figure out what she was thinking.  Her expression was so guarded but she held my gaze for a good 30seconds.  It took my breath away.  She has beautiful eyes and such a gentle spirit.  It was if she knew I was there for her.  Which of course I was.

I feel like that started a connection for us.  The beginning of knitting these two hearts together.

I didn't feel that connection with Joy.  She flat out ignored me and refused to look at me.  She would steal peeks out of the corner of her eye but there was no way that she was going to look me in the eye.  It was like that for her all week with the exception of the 2nd day.  The second day she was sick.

We walked in to the dining area.  She was sitting there holding her porridge cup to her lips but refusing to drink it.  I don't blame her really.  The nannys were fussing at her.  She had tears in her big brown eyes and she just wouldn't do it.  I sat down beside her and tried to get her to drink some but no dice.  I got her up, she went to the potty, and then I held her in my lap.

At first she was stiff and wouldn't relax.  I turned her toward me and started rubbing her back.  All of a sudden she relaxed and put her arms around me.  Her breathing slowed and her heart stopped racing.  She fell asleep and slept for about an hour.  She was a little warm that day, so much green drainage from her nose and a cough.  That was the beginning of our connection.
It was the only time she relaxed in my arms like that.  The only time she was truly relaxed in my arms.  Everyday we came it took her about 45min to an hour to give us any attention at all.  She is so hesitant and so unsure around me.  It breaks my heart.  The nannys would put her on my lap and make her sit with me.  I just told them to give her time.  That it will be slow, it takes time, etc.  I didn't want to force anything.  It will come though.

Joy has a beautiful smile and such a sweet sweet laugh.  She reserves most of those for her sister.  Every now and then I would get one.  She loves to swing and evidently having me take over the swing set for her and Annet was a big big deal.  We swang and swang and they laughed and laughed and I would have stayed there for hours....

They really love each other and find comfort in each other and for that I am truly grateful.  They will have each other and I think it will be really good for them to have that bond.  Annet certainly looks out for Joy.  She takes care of her and checks in on her.

The second day we came to the orphanage Annet ran to meet us.  She laughed and jumped right in my arms.  Turns out she does that for a lot of muzungos, i.e. white people.  She did hang around a lot though.  Most days she stayed right by our sides, mostly mine:)  I kept her on my lap or by my side whenever I could.  I knew the days would fly by and it would be time to go.  

She is such a caring little girl.  She carries babies all day long and really has a knack for it.  She helps with the special needs kids and gets them to laugh.  I really see such a servant's heart in her.

It has been so difficult to be here and not over there with them.  I have been trying to focus in on the boys and really hunker down with them.  I know that we will be leaving them again, hopefully sooner rather than later.  I want to pour in as much as I can.

The day we left was awful.  I was sick and could barely get out of bed and walk around.  The room spun and I felt dizzy all day, stupid GI bug.  It meant I couldn't leave the house in the morning and we only had a few hours in the afternoon.  It was so sad.

Joy didn't react one way or the other.  She looked at me directly but didn't react when I told her goodbye.  She just went back to playing with her friends.  I guess it was better that way.

Annet broke my heart though.  We told her goodbye and she just shut down.  I have several pictures of when she does this.  It is like she just folds in on herself.  She wouldn't make eye contact and turned her little body away from mine.  Her face went blank.

I thought my heart would break.  I felt like if I let go one little millimeter I would never get myself back together.  I wonder if the mama's thought I was cold or unfeeling?  I most definitely was not, I just knew that I would fall into a million little pieces if I gave in a little.

I am so glad I went to see my babies.  They are real and they are cemented in my heart.  I know that they will fit in our family just right.  I know that there will be challenges but I also know that there will be happy times and good times as well.

It solidified for me what we are doing.  This is right and this is good.  This is what we were called to.  Not because we are heroes or good people.  Not because these girls need saving.  These two girls need a family.  We can be that family and we wouldn't have it any other way.  I was so sad that KB couldn't be there but he will be soon.  He will fall in love just like I did.

My heart is totally split.  I want to get on a plane today.  Trying to be patient and really trying to trust in God's timing.  God knows so much more than I do and His plan is perfect.

One day I will put up pictures and everyone can see for themselves what our babies look like.  I will include some pics of the orphanage though.  Can't tell you who's who though.

The orphanage does amazing work.  Sharon the director is such a fantastic person.  We got to spend a lot of time with her and both of us were so, so blessed.  She is such a caring and kind person.  Jesus shines through her in so many ways.  She does amazing work with the little resources that she has.

Reunification is her first goal.  She longs for families to be kept together and does everything within in her power to keep families together.  The mamas take good care of the children.  We had some really sweet conversation with some of them.  I was able to express my gratitude for all of the hard work we do.  It is hard work let me tell you!  I got in the trenches with them and tried to help out when I could.  My mom wasn't allowed to do any of the "heavy" or "dirty" work.  Jaja's (grandmothers)  are very respected and revered in Ugandan culture.  I might have teased her about this:)

These are pictures of the grounds and of the orphanage.  Can't wait to go back.....

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I keep reminding myself that the highs are high and the lows are low.  The roller coaster continues.  I just am tired of riding it, really tired of it.

I have a trip planned in 4 short weeks.  I made it thinking that everything has been done.  That all I am waiting on is a court date.  That is what we have been led to believe from way over in the African continent.  Turns out that there is a lot not done.  No affidavit from a key family member.  No DNA tests are done.  A checklist that needs to be completed before our lawyer will submit for court.

I just want to fly over there and knock some heads.  What happened to the submitting for a court date "asap"?????  Why do we suddenly have to be so "cautious"?????

I just really don't have the words right now.  I got that email and the wind was knocked out of my sails. The fear that has been lurking raised up and threatened to swallow me whole.  That fear lives in the back of my mind, it is hard to fight, hard to squash.

I talked to the director of the program.  She didn't know the specifics of our case but she listened to me. She heard my tears and I am sure felt my discouragement.  She said she wished I could see them all in their offices banging their heads on their desks and their walls.  We have been told that everyone knows our story, I am sure they have a many stories like ours.  This process is not for the faint of heart....

She encouraged me to still go on our trip.  That the facts haven't changed, the timeline has.  That they are pushing for us.  They are trying to create as much urgency around our case as they can.  "Africa time"  is a crazy thing.  We have no concept of it here.  We expect things to be done and they are.  Blech!!**@@#%^&%&*^

Then, I came across a facebook post linking to Ann Voskamp.  Oh Ann, you are amazing.  The words that she writes are so full of truth, so needed, and so beautifully written.  The post took some lines out of her latest blog post and it was so powerful, so needed, and so for me.  For the process, for the girls, for our family.

"We lay our hope, full and tender, into the depths of Him and wait in hope for God to resurrect something good.  Good always necessitates long waiting.  This waiting on God is the very real work of the people of God.  Every person needs hope planted at the bottom of their hole".... she was planting bulbs and had a friend in need, a friend in a dark place.  She had some beautiful analogies, some beautiful truth written.

The reality is that my circumstance today do not change the will and the plan of God.  I wrestle and pray for these girls, for this adoption to go through.  When the bumps come sometimes I doubt myself.  Did I not hear you Lord?  Did you not move in our hearts?  Is this love, this very real love, we feel for the girls for nothing?

And that is hard.  To want and long, but to not to know the end.

It makes me cling tight to Him sometimes and run far away sometimes.

Nothing changes who He is though.  Nothing changes the fact that I am a daughter of the King.  A treasured member of His family.  That my Abba father knows the end.  He sees what I cannot dare to hope.  He works and moves in ways that I cannot even fathom.

He is for love.  He is for sacrifice.  He IS for adoption.  He is for a hope that won't quit.

A hope in the reality of who He is.  Knowing He is who He says He is.  That no matter the outcome, HE IS GOOD.  He is strong enough to carry our load and our sorrow.

He carries our joy too.  That on the day when we our dreams come true He is right there smiling and rejoicing with us.

I will choose hope today.  I will choose to plant my own bulb in that deep dark hole.  Knowing that in time something beautiful will spring forth.  That He can take my longings, my prayers, and my tears and He can bring beauty.

I pray even more fervently for the girls and our family today.  For all of the families that are in our spot right now.  There is one who doesn't want it to happen, who will fight with all he has to make sure it doesn't happen.

One foot in front of the other, day by day.  Annet and Joy, here I come.  In four weeks I am getting on that plane and I am coming to see you.  To hold your faces in my hands, your hands in mine.  I am clinging to the hope that God is moving.  That He called us and brought us to the two of you, my daughters.

Some may shake their heads, thinking the risk is too much, the chance for pain too deep.  I feel the same way sometimes.  BUT I know who my Savior is.  I know He is big enough and compassionate enough to grant the desire of our heart.

He is big enough no matter what.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

6 weeks baby!

I am flying to Uganda in 6 weeks and three days!!!!  Wow.  I can't believe I am even typing those words.  No, I don't have a court date.  No, the girls will not be coming back with me.  BUT I will meet my babies and that is enough for now.  My mom will be flying out with me which will be super special.  How neat for her to see their life, their home, and their country.  How neat for them to meet her before they come to America, to connect with her and her with them.  She will be able to talk about the time they spent together.  So cool.

We are still waiting for a court date but that doesn't seem like it will be coming anytime soon.  The private investigation is done.  Supposedly all of the paperwork, DNA tests, affadavits, ect. are done as well.  The courts reopened in mid-August.  When they reopened all of the judges had moved around to different areas.  We got assigned a judge and I love her name.  Her name is the same as a very good friend of mine, I like to think it is a good omen.  Even though I don't believe in omens, I like it just the same.   We are waiting for the opportunity to file for a court date, they have to finish up with their previous areas before they can move on to their current areas.  So again, we wait.

The wait had started to get to me.  I just felt like God was moving and pushing me to go see the girls. Of course I am nervous, scared to go fall in love and have things fall apart again.  But even if it does I know I won't regret the time I spend.  I know that it will be better to love fully, to give myself over.  To really engage the process.  To jump.

This summer has been hard.  I pretty much fell apart for a little while.  I was so angry at God, so angry that He wouldn't do what I wanted Him to.  So hard to admit, but so so true.  I remember back    in the summer our staff and spouses met for dinner.  Our hosts were amazing as always and she asked one of her famous questions.  She asked what had delighted us this summer, what brought us joy.  I cried like a baby and said that nothing did, and sadly I meant it.  I was a mess.  I was sad and disheartened and life was just going by day by miserable day.  I knew in that moment something had to change.  This is not the life I wanted and I surely didn't want my kids and my husband left picking up the pieces.

It took a lot of prayer, A LOT of honest prayers to God before I really realized how angry and what a mess I was.  But God is faithful and true, He met me in the midst of that pain.  He already knew my thoughts, He already knew the mess that I was.  He met me in that place.  It was a long, slow climb but slowly I came out of that pit.  I learned that my eyes were once again fixed on the wrong place.  I was so focused on the future, living in the fear of what may or may not happen I couldn't see what was right in front of me.

It happens to everyone.  Everyone struggles and everyone falls.  Most people doubt and I think that's okay.  I kinda don't believe the people who say they have never doubted, I just think they aren't being honest.  That's just me though.

Kenny also did a sermon based out of Daniel.  It was great and really cemented what I had been going through and learning.  Two things really stuck out to me.  One was being faithful in the midst, faithful in the process..  Hard to do but so important.  The second thing was when Shadrach, Meschach, and Abendago were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace.  The Bible said it was  so hot that the guards throwing them in were killed by the flames.  They stood their ground and declared God's faithfulness.  They declared that God would rescue them, and if He didn't still they would praise Him.

It just hit me hard, and I mean hard in a good way.  In this life we will have troubles.  But in this life we have a Saviour.  A Heavenly Father who knows, who sees, and who cares.  It changed my perspective.  It refocused and shifted my thinking.  Not that I don't struggle with fears or doubts or anxiety trying to figure out the future.  But it made me fight those feelings, to trust that God is faithful.

I began to think that it was time to walk in faith.  It was time to love big or go home.  To love no matter the cost.  That God is able.

I really felt like God was moving in my heart.  I felt like I needed to go all in when it came to the girls.  Of course I have been wanting to see the girls but it seemed too costly, too risky.  I kept asking myself, but what if the worst happens again.  I became so overwhelmed with a desire to meet them, to see them and touch them.  To let them know who I am, who we are.  That we are coming.

I went to Kenny sure that he would talk me out of it, tell me to wait just a little bit.  But he didn't.  He said "Sure".  No questions, no doubts, just sure.  He would later go on to tell people that he wasn't getting in front of that train.  Smart man:)  He will stay here with the boys and my mom and I will be flying out soon.  I am so sad he won't be there with me but for so many reasons we feel he needs to stay here.

I am so so excited and nervous all at the same time.  I can't believe that in a few short weeks I will be having the moment I have dreamed of for so long.  Wow.

I needed to write this down.  I needed to remember the moments that God met me.  He met me when I felt like this journey was too hard, the questions too much.  The stress about to take over.  When I finally gave in He gave strength, He gave me laughter, and He gave me peace.  God is faithful.  Over and over again.  Maybe one day I will learn this for good.  But probably not.  I am like those wandering Isrealites, forgetting over and over again who God is.  He was faithful then just like He is faithful now.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

An Update....

Still here, still waiting:)

I have such a hard time sitting down in this place to write.  I have so much to say, so very very much.  I am just not sure all of it needs to be put here.  It is a little scary to have it all out in the open for all to see.  All 5 of my blog followers, ahem......

But seriously there is so much swirling in this head of mine.

I know that people are wondering where we are and what is going on.  I have felt such love and support through this process and it means a lot.  I always feel bad that I am not keeping an up to the minute blow by blow account on this blog.  But it is what it is.

We are still waiting for things to move and happen.  It still looks as if we will get our sweet girls.  Which obviously makes us so happy.  Nervously happy that is.

We hired a private investigator and he has finished.  We got the final report a few weeks ago.  Can I just say what a punch in the gut it was to read his words and see pictures of their family and home.  The details just broke my heart.  I wonder what they will remember, what stories will be told in the next few years.  The more I read of adult adoptees the more I realize that many many children remember far more than you give them credit for.  That those details stick in their brain.  That most importantly even if they don't remember specifics, they remember the fear, sadness, and grief of those moments.  That in their little short lives they have experienced a tremendous loss.  It is intimidating to realize these things, to think of parenting through these things.

Kenny, Luke, and I also got to meet the orphanage director of where the girls are living right now.  Wow.....what a blessing.  She is an amazing lady, I was so touched by her heart and her gentle spirit.  She is Ugandan and has spent time in an orphanage herself.  She went away for school and came back to Uganda to serve her people.  She has started a great organization, Arise and Shine Uganda, that does so many different things.  You can see her love for the children and families she serves so clearly.  She was in America for a month and was in Durham of all places.

It was so amazing to sit face to face and ask her questions.  I had so many and of course thought of a million more once we got home.  She answered specific questions we had been wondering about.  She told us all about the girls and their personalities.  We fell even more in love with them.  It was fun to hear about their daily life.  We learned a little more about their likes and dislikes, their favorite things, etc

It was such an encouragement for us.  A gift.

I also had a conversation with our caseworker at our agency that put to rest  a fear I had.  I wanted to make sure that their mom didn't want to parent the girls herself.  I knew she had changed her mind.  I just wanted to know what she meant by that.

I know she couldn't care for the girls herself.  I know that they didn't have any family that could.  I know this was a fact.  I know the facts.

I also know that she cares for and loves her girls deeply.  That when she was told wrong information and thought they would not be taken care of she immediately changed her mind.

I am a mother too.  I can't imagine the choice that she had to make, I can't imagine the circumstances that brought all of us to this point.

I want her to have the respect she deserves.  I want her to be seen as the mother she is.  So much of what has happened is no fault of hers, were things beyond her control.  That she was unable to do anything about any of it.  That even though she faltered she came back.  SHE CAME BACK.

Who among us has not wavered anyway.  I did find out that she was not looking to parent the girls herself, that she truly can't do that.  That she wants the best for them but can't do that for them.

It was such a load off my shoulders.  To know that I wasn't taking girls from a mother who wanted to care for them..... I couldn't have done it.  I as a mother myself couldn't have done that.  It was an important distinction for us, a question that Kenny and I needed to be answered.

The fact remains that for all of their life they will wonder about her.  They will ask me questions about her.  They might even put her on a pedestal.  After all, she won't be the mother that makes them eat their vegetables and say no.

All of this is okay.  It is important to me that they will have the space to feel how they feel and ask questions.

All of it feels murky to me, gray and unclear.  But beautiful all the same.  Messy and complicated and oh so worth it.

I know that we will be a family.  That I will be mama to them.  I will kiss their tears away, calm their fears, feed them, and take care of them.  That they will sit in my lap and share my heart just as the boys do.

I just want to acknowledge that adoption is not always as clear cut and black and white as people make it out to be.  I didn't know until I got into this process how hard it would be.  That you see up close what sin and choices do to families on both sides of the issue.  That there is so much grief that comes with it.  My heart has grieved so much for them and what they will give up to become part of our family.

 I also know that all four of us are so ready to have them here.  To bring them in and wrap them in love.  To knit together and just be family.  My hands are itching to touch their faces, to look in their eyes, and hold their little hands.  To wrap my arms around them and never ever let go....

Now, we wait for DNA testing.  I had thought it was done with the investigation but of course not.  This is just a formality but we and our agency want it done.  THEN we get a court date again.  Then we go get the girls.  We are praying fervently for a court date to be assigned before July 15th, when the courts close for a month.

We are weary and beyond exhausted in this process.  We are confident that God is near though.  That He knows far more than we do.  I truly think that in a few years we will look back and say, oooohhhhh that's why.  And if we don't it won't matter anyway:)