Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Process

The process of adopting from Uganda is much different than that of Russia.  I hope some of this will help explain why we will remain in Uganda for several weeks.
When we began looking to adopt again we started with our paperwork.  This time around our paperwork was much less than with Nolen's adoption.  We had to have most of the documents updated but we were not starting from scratch.  This took us less than 2 weeks.  When bringing our little man home it took us almost 6 months to acquire all of the paperwork.  After this we received a referral.
  A referral is a bunch of information and pictures about the child you might want to adopt.  This includes things like family history and medical history.  Based on the information that is received over the phone and internet you must make the decision to adopt this child or not, if you decide to pursue adoption it is known as accepting a referral.   When we adopted Nolen we accepted his referral in person, this was the point of our first trip to Russia.  Once you say yes the paper craziness continues.  We had to complete a few more documents on our end.  We hired an attorney in Uganda to collect the paperwork for our little girls.  Gathering their documents in Uganda took a bit of time.  We are told this is normal due to travel in Uganda not being the easiest (something to look forward too).  After all the paperwork is completed it is submitted to court (where our paperwork is now).  The group of documents is called a dossier.  Once it is at the court it will be assigned a judge and then the judge will put you on his schedule.
When we receive word that we have a court date we will go.
Once in Uganda we will go and have our first meeting with our daughters.  The girls live in a town approximately a 1.5 hour car ride from the airport.  We will not meet them until at least the second day there.
Then we will go to court.  At court the judge will grant Chad and I legal guardianship over the girls.  We will not finalize their adoption in Uganda.  In Russia we completed the entire adoption there.  This time we will be gaining guardianship in Uganda and finalizing the adoption in the USA.  This is because of the way Uganda law is written.  When we attend court it will hopefully only take a week for the judge to make his final decision.  When we receive the final court decree we can apply for the girls passports.
Part of Nolen's Russia Dossier
After receiving passports we will travel to Kampala where the USA embassy is located there.  It will take about a week for the embassy to do their thing.  They will provide us with the immigrant visas in the girls passports that are required for them to enter the United States.  And then we come home.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Stuck!!  Afraid to make plans.  Afraid to go on vacation.  Afraid to buy too many groceries at the grocery store.  Stuck!!
That is what we are feeling.  I wanted so much to be holding my precious babies right now.  I wanted to see my family of six complete.  I wanted to hear the sweetest words to an adopting mom, "mommy." But, God's timing is perfect.  It is hard to understand but I know it is true.  Time and time again throughout my life I have learned that God makes you wait for things for a reason.  I keep telling myself this but it really doesn't make it much easier.  Being stuck stinks.
When we adopted Nolen we were not expecting the phone call.  We thought we had about another year before we would travel.  Out of the blue I got a phone call saying we were leaving in 13 days.  I think this method was much easier than having a picture to stare at for months.  During Nolen's adoption we did not have time to wait much.  We only had 13 days to prepare our family to travel around the world.  We were busy.  We ran around like crazy.  We were tired at night.
How does this compare?  I have a photo this time.  I have many photos this time.  I have watched my daughters go swimming at the community pool.  I have seen them have an Easter dinner.  Seen them have an Easter Egg hunt.  I have heard stories about them and their friends.  I have heard from different volunteers at the baby home about how loving they have been.  When seeing these photos and hearing these stories one thing is missing.  ME.  I am not the one they are loving on, I am not the one cooking them holiday meals.  THIS IS SO HARD.  Please continue to pray for our family as we wait.
I actually think having the photos and seeing the girls has been much harder than the way it was with Nolen.  Much Harder.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Adoptive Mothers Nest Too!

I am nesting.  Sounds crazy I know.  I do not have the hormones that pregnant women experience which are sometimes responsible for "nesting."  But they are not needed.  My body knows that it is "giving birth" to new children.
Nesting is the urge women who are expecting feel before they give birth.  They commonly clean the house from top to bottom, reorganize everything, and prepare the babies room.  Yep, thats happening here.  I am lacking on the cleaning part but I am definitely reorganizing.  Or better yet I am organizing for the first time.  I think some of my nesting is me preparing my home to be empty for four to six weeks.  We are eating what food we have and cleaning out the pantry.  Much to my husbands disapproval the refrigerator is almost empty.  I am trying to get all of my "household business" taken care of.  I know, Heather, the lady who is responsible for things while we are away will be grateful that I get as much done as possible.
I have cleaned out the closets and toy box.  The only thing left to tackle are the kitchen cabinets.  To be honest I probably will avoid this task as much as possible.
Along with preparing the physical environment and adoptive mom must begin to prepare her heart.
My hope is that my nesting means that it is almost time.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Proverbs 31:27
Please excuse me, I have to go my refrigerator is calling my name.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yard Sale Success!!

This weekend we had our yard sale.  I must say it was a huge success.  I never knew how much work a yard sale was but oh my it was a lot.  We were all exhausted when it was over with.  Thank you so much to Nancy and Heather for helping with the sale.  I also send my thanks to all of those who donated items for us to sale.
I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of our community.  We had approximately a dozen families from the area that also have adopted children that came by to show their support.  Many of them whom we have never met donated items for us to sale.  It was a wonderful way to connect with families in Spring Hill.  I had someone I have never seen before make donations to the yard sale and pray over my family.  Throughout the sale I found myself overwhelmed by how awesome is our God.  On Friday by noon we had sold approximately half of the items we had.  A truck pulled up and asked if they could bring some things to the sale.  This family donated two truck loads to our sale.  Every time it felt like we were getting low on things to sale  we would have more donations.  God really provided for us this weekend.  We raised $935 dollars for our adoption.  Amazing.
Toward the end of the sale on Saturday we found out about another adoption yard sale next weekend for another family in the area.  We will be collecting the few items we did not sale and taking them to this yard sale.  Hopefully they can bless another family.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:19

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet the Chickens!!

Yes, we have chickens.  We have three of the most child tolerant chickens I have ever met.  We let Sadie name them, so naturally their names are Cinderellie, Snow White, and Tinkerbell.  Our three hens provide us each with an egg a day.  Thats 3 eggs a day and 90 a month.  They eat most of our food scraps, preventing us from wasting food.
We love our chickens.  I think they are some of the best pets.  They take our waste and make us something we can eat.  As I mentioned above they are child tolerant.  They will let our children pick them up, carry them around, and pet them.  Sadie frequently gives Tinkerbell a ride in her cozy coupe car.  Fortunately, the kids have not made the connection between the chicken we eat and the chicken we have as pets.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to eat the eggs while we are away.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Why We Obey

I hope you know this by now but just in case you did not my family and I are evangelical Christians.  We believe in salvation through faith in Jesus.  We have recently been studying Galatians on Sunday mornings with our church family.  Studying this book caused me to look at the motives for why I do what I do.  This time of reflections has led me to ask why are we adopting?  I have said and still believe that we are expanding our family through adoption because that is what God has planned for us.  We feel like the greatest act of worship we have is to obey Him.  But why do we obey Him?
Our faith guides our life.  Chad and I do not believe that adoption is a good work that will lead to our salvation.  We know that we are already saved from our sins because of our faith in Jesus.  Our obedience follows our salvation.  We are obedient because we love Him.  I hope this provides some insight into why are family seems a bit different.  Well, probably a lot different.  We have chosen to live our life following Jesus and His plan for us.  This path seems crazy and unconventional but it is the only path for us.
Galatians 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garage Sale This Weekend!

This weekend we will be having a garage sale.  The sale will be on Friday and Saturday from 7-2.  If anyone would like to donate items to be sold please let me know and we can arrange a time for us to receive them.
The sale will serve two purposes for us.  It will be our last fundraiser to help us bring Hadley and Liana home.  It will also help us to clean out our full home.  We are trying to empty out the attic of our home.  Our home has an unfinished upstairs that will need to be completed when we have four kids.  In order to be able to "enlarge our tent" we need to do some spring cleaning.
Isaiah 54: 2-3
Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.  For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flowers Are Done!!!

I have finally finished making all of the flower headbands to take with us to Jinja. Yeah!!!  This was the last big item on my list that I needed to complete before we are ready to go.  We are excited to get to distribute all of these flowers.  We hope to bless many princesses.  Thank you to all of you for purchasing flowers and for donating the supplies needed to make them.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Don't all babies come from Russia, Mommy?"

Having the talk about where babies come from is probably awkward for most mothers.  However, when you throw adoption into the mix it becomes very complicated.  Until recently Sadie had the concept that babies came from Russia.  It was kinda cute and innocent.  I found going along with this idea to be the easy way out.  We have now come to the point where she is realizing that all babies do not come to Russia.
This topic has come about because of the talk about getting the girls from Africa.  This led to me explaining that they are coming from Africa not Russia.  We were talking about how Nolen, Hadley, and Liana's mothers were unable to take care of them so Jesus chose us to be their new family.  Sounds okay, right?  Not to a three year old.  Sadie then wanted to know where she was from, Russia or Africa?  After explaining to her that Jesus placed her in my tummy to grow.  She asked if I was her first mommy.  I said yes, and I told her that I am her only mommy.  The response that followed was not one that I expected.  Immediate terror came across her precious face.  She said hold me, love on me.  I became a bit confused until she explained why she was so scared.  Sadie told me that she did not want to have to get a new mommy like her brothers and sisters.  She become scared that she is going to be adopted.
Oh my sweet Sadie, how I love you and will never leave you.  If only I could get her to understand that.
As difficult as it has been to see her upset over the matter it has been a good lesson for me.  This has made me think about how terrifying adoption must be for the children.  Hadley and Liana do not know we exist.  They do not know they will be moving to America and getting a new family.  While we all have had time to prepare for their arrival they have no idea.  One day a family that they have known for a short time will take them away from the home they know.  Can you imagine how scary this must be?
Please keep the girls in your prayers this week.  My prayer is for this transition to be as least scary as possible.  I pray for comfort for them throughout this process.
I will not leave you as orphan; I will come to you.
John 14:18

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adoption Update

We are basically waiting on a phone call.  We are waiting to be notified by our agency that we have received a date to go to court.  This date could come with very little notice so we are trying to get ready to go.  We have completed all of the paperwork needed to travel.  The family has also received the shots that are needed.  Poor Nolen had it the worst, he had to have a total of 6 shots.  This was largely due to him being behind on his normal childhood shots.  He now starts to cry when we enter the doctors office.
The guest room of our home has become overtaken with operation go to Africa.  This is where I am storing the items we have collected to go.  If anyone comes to visit us, I am sorry but your room is currently occupied.  I have gathered items of entertainment for the kids, snacks, raincoats, umbrella strollers, suitcases, diapers, wipes, and anything else you might need for four toddlers in Africa for a month.  I was going to post photos but I am embarrassed by my inability to organize.  Basically it is just a big pile of stuff in the middle of the room.  My goal for the week is to attempt to organize the pile so I can make sure that I am not forgetting something.  Nancy Stewart, Chad's mom (also known as Nanny) is also collecting items for travel.  She is going to be our traveling companion for this great adventure.  She has gathered the much needed items such as clothes line and pins, power adapters, hot pot, can opener, and all the other needed items for living out of a hotel room.  She has been wonderful at helping me with things to pack.  It is nice to have someone who is organized to keep my type b mind on track.
Below are some recent photos of the kids that have been requested.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To Whom I Can Never Repay

I am sure most of you are aware that this Sunday is Mother's Day (Chad that hint is for you). Mother's day for many of you is a day to celebrate your mothers and it is this for me also. However, it also brings up some difficult topics around our house. In a way Mother's Day brings up some emotions that are not exactly joyful. When I think of Mothers I think of my amazing mom and grandmothers. I also think of how blessed I am to be the mother of four. Wow thats a lot of kids by 28. But one of the things that pops into my head is how there are two other mothers in this world who don't have their beautiful children to wake them up and call them blessed. In fact, one child will be spending the day with me. There are two other women that I owe the greatest gratitude toward and can never repay. These women are the birth mothers of my children. It is sad to say but it is sometimes easy to overlook them in our day to day life. But, this week in particular must be very difficult on a birth mother. They are mothers and have children alive in this world, who will be blessing someone else. Can you imagine?
These women are two women who I have never met, will probably never meet, and who I have the utmost respect for. When I think of things like this I also think about in the future. I know the kids will be curious about their birth parents. The one thing I want them to understand is that they were gifted(not given away) to us because of love. Their birth mothers loved them so much that they were willing to personally hurt for a long time so that their children could be raised in our family.  I try to think about if I was in their circumstances could I have gifted my child to someone else?  I am just not sure I am that strong of a woman.  But, God did not put that in my path.  He gave me the path of being an adoptive mother.
I also think about the responsibility that the mothers have given to Chad and I.  They have faith that we will raise their children in a loving home.  That we will bring them up to have more than they could.  I sometimes wonder, am I disappointing them?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What Can One Person Do?

My sweet sister sent this to me yesterday.  Enjoy.

Making It Missional

While Chad and I were in Russia one of the things I struggled with was time.  I know while we were there we were accomplishing things, mostly adopting Nolen, but I feel like it was a bit of a waste of time.  As I stated in a previous post we spent a large amount of time on facebook, farmville, skype, reading, and walking.  All these were things we found to do to past the time away.  What if we were able to use that time for God's kingdom?  We felt stuck in Russia for many reasons one of those being language.  There were 3 people we could speak to other than each other during our time there.  It was also cold; it actually snowed the last day of October.  During the end of the trip we stayed in the hotel room sometimes for several days in a row due to the weather and language difficulties.  My goal for this trip to Uganda is to make it missional.  I want us to find something to do with our time in Uganda.  Our God's sense of humor shows through in this to me.  The two things that I used as my excuse in Russia, weather and language, should not be a problem in Uganda.  It definitely will not be cold in Africa.  The town in which we are flying into actually has the equator running through town.  We are also preparing to not have air conditioning.  God has found a way to make us not want to be in a hotel room for weeks.  Also, the official language of Uganda is English.  Many of the people speak Swahili, Lugandan, or the Bantu languages but many also speak English.  We will actually be able to speak to people other than ourselves.  If this seems like a silly thing to be excited about try spending the next 6 weeks with only your spouse to converse with.
Snowing in Moscow
With the two main obstacles we dealt with in Russia taken out of the picture,  what is going to be my excuse?  I hope I do not have one or need one.  Our plan is to use this trip to share  the gospel with the people we meet.  Unlike in Russia we will have the opportunity to visit with the workers at the orphanage, meet the caregivers, and converse with our driver and attorney.  Please pray for opportunities to arise to help us make our trip as missional as possible.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Angel Food Ministry

One of the things our family has sometimes done to help with the grocery bill is buy food from Angel Food Ministries.  Angel Food Ministries is a wonderful option for families living on a budget.  Angel food is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food to families who need support or help keeping their grocery budget down.  There are no requirements to join the program and everyone is encouraged to participate.  Angel Food uses its buying power to buy items in bulk at discounted prices.  They then compile several different types of food boxes that families can purchase.  The boxes are sold monthly.  Each of the signature boxes is approximated to feed a family of four for one week.  The signature boxes cost around $30 and are valued at around $60 worth of food.  Along with their signature boxes they offer several specialty boxes such as a meat box and fresh fruits and vegetables.  There is no limit on how many boxes a family can purchase.  Angel food boxes are sold and distributed through numerous churches.  The food boxes are distributed monthly at our church, The Bridge in Spring Hill, TN.  You can click on the link above to locate distribution places in your city.