After an emergency departure in August, I returned from Uganda with our two new sons, Moses and Jonah nine weeks and countless miracles and trials later. We’ve been home for three months and this is the first blog post I’ve written.
Until now, I had no idea what to say. I have been up to my eyeballs, nearly drowning is the demands of two new children (the laundry, oh, the laundry!), attachment and adjustment issues, and the relentless exhaustion that comes with a lack of sleep and a life change this big.
It has been an extremely difficult journey — much harder than I expected. And, it has also miraculous beyond words. It has required more of me than I could have prepared for. I am certain it is God’s mercy and grace that have sustained us.
First, let me apologize for disappearing from blogland without explanation. When I found out four weeks ago that Baby Jonah had been in the hospital for several days with a fever so high he was convulsing, I knew I had to leave for Uganda immediately. In less than 24 hours, I boarded a plane in Atlanta and stepped on Ugandan soil two days later. The whirlwind before and after was epic, and that is no exaggeration.
Thankfully, Jonah has made a complete and miraculous recovery. For the first 7-10 days he didn’t smile, stand, walk or do much of anything except cry and beg to be held—all the time. It was heartbreaking and exhausting. He was so sick. It’s incredible to see him now, smiling all the time and walking everywhere. He is not the same child I met four weeks ago.
Moses came to stay with me only a day after I got here. It was a surprise to us both, since I expected we would get t know one another over several days before he came to be with me full-time. I think it was overwhelming for both of us.
Where has the time gone? I have been so consumed with getting ready to leave for Uganda that I haven’t had time or energy to blog. I feel like I am eight months pregnant and the clock is ticking toward the moment when everything changes. I alternate between being excited and overwhelmed, a flurry of activity and flattened by exhaustion.
I can’t believe it. We leave in 27 days. Mommy and Daddy are coming, boys! We are coming.
Fundraising Goal Reached
Earlier this week, we hit an incredible milestone—we reached our fundraising goal of $30,000. It’s utterly humbling to experience God’s faithfulness in such a dramatic way. As I have said over and over, money need not be an obstacle for a family called to adoption. HE will provide.
Our final donation came from author Karen Kingsbury’s One Chance Foundation. As an adoptive mom herself, Karen is passionate about adoption, and delights in helping families bring their children home through her foundation. We could never say thank-you enough to Karen and her precious team for choosing to bless us with this gift. You are truly our angels.
If you are an adoptive parent, prospective adoptive parent, or someone who is fired up about orphan care, this post is for you.
I believe there is no better way to galvanize your commitment, clarify your thinking, and embolden your resolve to care or orphans than by attending an adoption conference. Both the speakers you hear and the relationships you build will be life-changing.
I wrote several weeks back about the Together for Adoption Conference in Phoenix on October 21 and 22, 2011.
This conference not only provides practical and timely advice on adoption and orphan care, it is leading a new conversation about the relationship between orphan care and our identity as adopted sons and daughters of Christ.
This perspective will enliven your faith and deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ in a whole new way as you respond to the call to boldly love the fatherless.
I am thrilled to announce that for a limited time, Together for Adoption is offering a SUPER early bird special on conference registration through Saturday, July 30, at 11:59 p.m. You don’t want to miss this deal.
Register NOW for just $75 (a $30 savings).
And, just for my readers, I will be giving away a pair of tickets to the Together for Adoption Conference this week. Simply leave a comment below and a winner will be chosen at random on Saturday night and announced on Sunday, July 30.
I can’t wait to hear the story of your light-bulb moment at this year’s Together for Adoption Conference.
If you’re like me, you can hardly believe the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Where did the summer go, anyway? With the first day of school fast-approaching, back-to-school shopping is a necessity.
Fall clothes, backpacks, shoes—the list looms large, and can weigh heavy on the family budget. But, you can save a bundle with a bit of creativity and careful planning. Here are three ways to get what you need and keep more money in your pocket:
1. Plunder Consignment Sales
Don’t let your budget dictate your style, just shop smarter. Consignment sales are a hot trend among savvy moms looking to outfit their kids in high-end brands without forking over the big bucks. On average, you will pay between 25-50% of retail, depending on the quality and desirability of an item. Here are some great consignment sale shopping tips to get you started.
My sister Mindy and I own the Little Sprouts Sales, which sell only upscale clothing brands. If you live in the Nashville, Tennessee area, come check out our Franklin sale beginning on Friday. Not in our area? Click here to find great sales where you live.
2. Discover Coupon Codes and Online Deals
I don’t enjoy digging through racks of clothing at a department store sale to find deals, but I do love finding coupon codes and other online deals that save me money. If you order online and don’t pay tax or shipping, you will likely save 25% right off the bat. Sites like Zappos and Shoebuy offer free shipping both ways too.
The idea of gratitude is something I resisted in the past. I used to think “choosing” to be grateful limited my ability to be authentic in the midst of difficulty. Once, after a particularly bad day, Joel asked me, “What are you grateful for?” At first, I was offended, thinking that he was invalidating my feelings, but he kept pushing me to answer.
As I reluctantly made a verbal list, a strange thing started to happen—I actually began to feel grateful as I chose to be grateful. I learned that choosing gratitude gives us the chance to recognize God’s bounteous provision in our lives. It is literally everywhere if only we will notice.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.—James 1:17
Every good gift. Just think about that for a moment. The house you live in, the car you drive, the air you breath, the body that got you out of bed this morning, the food that you pulled out of your refrigerator for breakfast, the spouse you are learning how to love well, these are all good and perfect gifts, given to you out of love from your Heavenly Father.
The last week has been an attempt to bring order to chaos. From the moment we found out we had been given court dates for our boys in Uganda, my mind hasn’t stopped racing. Mountains of details seem to tangle themselves up in the corners of my mind like a ball of yarn after a cat has gotten hold of it. Pulling the strands apart is tedious work.
It might seem like we should be ready to walk out the door and onto a plane tomorrow, given all the time we’ve had to get ready, but there are just some things that can’t be done ahead of time. I will be gone for five or six weeks (Joel will join me for ten days in the middle), so I am not only making arrangements for our trip, but also preparing our life here to run without me while I am away.
Fall clothes must be purchased for our older kids, as the seasons will change while I’m gone. After-school care must be set up, and someone must be found to clean the house and do the laundry. I find myself wondering, how will my husband manage to do it all without me for weeks on end? Should I make two months worth of meals ahead of time? Is that even possible?
After much waiting, we have received court dates for our boys! We will travel to Uganda in September to begin the process of bringing them home. We are so grateful and excited to begin the last phase of our journey (before another adventure as a family of six begins!) and finally have the chance to wrap our arms around our sweet boys.
In the meantime, we are busy getting our ducks in a row. By the time we come home with Moses and Jonah, we will have been in this process for nearly two years (see our timeline here). You would think everything would be done by now, but, it is not.
Earlier this week, I seized the opportunity to jump in the car, drive down to Atlanta, and meet up with my husband who was on a short business trip there. This was the first time in our marriage I have accompanied him on a work-related trip, even though he travels to major cities for business on a regular basis.
In the past, traveling seemed like too much work, so I’ve declined his invitations to come along. This time, I reasoned, my days would soon be filled with naptimes and diapers that need to be changed, so it was a “now or never” moment.
I was only in Atlanta for about 24 hours, but I found myself wishing I had traveled with Joel more often. Here’s why traveling with your husband should be at the top of your to-do list:
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post answering the question, “Why does adoption take so long?” Today, I will attempt to answer another question I am asked on a regular basis, “Why is adoption so expensive?”
Behind both of theses question is an underlying question, “If there are so many orphans in the world, and the need is so great, why isn’t it easier, faster, and less expensive for them to be adopted?” I’ve asked this question many times myself.
How Do the Costs of International, Domestic Infant, and Foster Care Adoption Compare?
As I’ve said before, my experience is with international adoption, so I’ll speak mostly about the costs associated with that. From my understanding, adoption through the foster care system costs very little. Domestic infant adoption is generally comparable to the cost of international adoption and sometimes more expensive. The total cost is commonly determined by a sliding scale based on your income.
3 Reasons Why International Adoption Costs So Much
Contrary to popular belief, the cost of international adoption in not due to corrupt governments extorting money from families through bribes, outrageous “fees” and the like. While some countries may be worse than others in this regard, the majority of the costs associated with an international adoption are real, valid expenses.