The fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Dueteronomy 14:29

~ Silas and Naomi are HOME from Uganda ~

31 January 2011

First Sight

We finally got a modem today so we could have internet at the house we are staying in, so we have 3 VERY full days to write about, however right now, all that matters is telling you about our 2 new beautiful children and our first visits with each of them.

I hear the rumble of the diesel van pulling through the iron gates that secure our little “compound” as our driver Membiro takes Craig into town for more bananas, mangoes, eggs, and toilet paper. I’m lying on our bed under a transparent tent listening to the chorus of birds waft through the window with the cool morning breeze. Alexa, Noah, Maela, and little Danise (a precious little almost-2-year old Ugandan whose parents live inside the compound and serve our family) are playing with a beach ball in the spacious yard, hedged by large bushes which hide the brash barb wire fencing. The day began with a beautiful pink, yellow and orange sunrise at 6:45am and we are fervently praying for the judge who is supposed to determine our court date today. So as I continue to ask for the Lord’s mercy, peace, and blessing over this man this morning, I’ll share with you about what God has done for our family.

family "tourist" photo at the equator... a little embarrisn, but hey!  you gotta do it right!

We didn’t arrive in Mbarara until mid-evening Saturday (the typically 4 hour drive took us 7 with many suitcases piled on top of the van and our sweet driver who wanted to drive slowly so we could see the wildlife…which incidentally decided not to make many appearances for us. More about what we saw and experienced of this curious country later…) So we strived to pray and be patient as our hearts leapt ahead of the vehicle towards our children, each mile bringing us closer to holding the little ones we had so longed for. I can truthfully say waves of emotion rolled through the windshield and washed over me, alternately giddy excitement, overwhelming relief that we were finally here, and utter fear that something might still go wrong. I was thankful to be sitting in the middle row where no one could see the goofy grin, tears, and nail biting.

“Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do NOT be terrified; do NOT be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!” Joshua 1:9

A dear friend sent me this verse the day we left – thank you, Lord for promising your presence to us…even in AFRICA!

I ran this verse through my mind over and over as we drove and the waves subsided to gentle tides, much more manageable and I no longer felt like I was going to drown in the sea of emotion that was overtaking me.

PEACE… perfect PEACE!

Babies we are coming!

Finally, we drove into our yard (we’ll share all about the tremendous blessing of this home with you too), embraced our dear friends, the Kehns, quickly unloaded the van, toured the house, and headed straight over to see our baby girl.

so excited to finally be doing to see Abi-sista

Abi lives with her foster mom, “Auntie” Tricia just a little over 5 mintues down the road. Memburio graciously started back up the van and took us to her. As we pulled through the gate at Tricia’s house my whole body tingled and my hairs stood up with goose-bumps despite the warm, balmy evening temperature. We were finally going to hold our precious little girl! We knocked softly at the door, suspecting she might already be asleep. A tired Tricia greeted us and we hugged gently, like very old friends who understood one another’s pain yet had such very different futures.

not really sure what to do with myself!

Tricia is from the UK, she has lived and served in Uganda for 8 years, working to fund tuition for children to attend school (education is so very valuable here) and providing formula and other needs for young and single mothers. She is a warrior and her heart and body bear the battle scars. She is in constant and very intense pain as her hip is severely deteriorated and she needs a replacement badly. Next month Tricia will return to the UK and have her surgery and seek the Lord for His direction in her life. She has loving and devotedly cared for our baby girl for nearly 5 months now, beginning with a hospital stay that saved Abi’s life. They are very bonded and we respect, admire and will be eternally grateful to Tricia for what she has done for our daughter. Tricia is dreading the moment Abi comes to stay with us permanently, and we too anticipate this long awaited day with so much sadness for them both. It is going to be incredibly difficult; please pray for both Tricia and Abi during this time of transition.

As we entered her very comfortable home, my eyes went straight to the black stroller in the corner of the living room and the chubby brown legs poking out from under a blanket which draped over her upper body and face. She was sleeping soundly. Maela who was in my arms saw her too and immediately shouted, “Abi-Sista!” and scrambled down to rush to see the baby she had only cuddled on the computer screen. I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing; it was like my brain couldn’t comprehend my heart’s response to the first sight of my daughter and I was overcome. My chest heaved with big gasps for air and tears began to stream down my face. Craig came to my side and Tricia joined us as well. She removed the veil over her face and we laid our eyes on our gorgeous baby girl for the first time. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. We each put a hand of gratefulness and understanding on Tricia’s shoulder and the three of us stood there, staring at the baby we all loved so dearly and cried.

Maela’s incessant kisses on poor Abi’s tummy, hands and feet eventually woke her up. She blinked and fluttered at the soft light of the room, and then her eyes fixed on me. We gazed at each other for a moment and then those full beautiful lips that I have wanted to kiss for so long, parted into a gentle smile and we both giggled a bit. She then looked at her daddy with the same expression, but her attention was stolen by the little blond bouncing pigtails of her sister as Maela clambered and climbed all over the strolling desperately trying to kiss those lips. Abi let out a squeal of delight and we all burst into laughter.

Tricia picked her up and handed her to me. I pressed the warm, round little body against mine and closed my eyes.

“Hello, baby. I’m your Mommy.”

She cooed and nuzzled into my neck a little as I breathed in her sweet smell and felt her soft, tiny afro against my cheek for the first time. Her skin is so soft and smooth, different from the peach-fuzz feel Noah and Maela had, but absolutely perfect. She fit in my arms like a glove. Even though she wasn’t made IN me, we were made for each other.

Noah and Maela could wait no longer to get their hands and lips on their little sister so I sat down on the couch and Maela promptly climbed up next to me demanding, “Abi-sista, lap!” After a forced ‘please’, I set Abi, who nearly covered Maela’s little torso, on her lap. Maela lovingly wrapped her arms around her baby sister and began kissing her very full cheeks. Abi turned her head to face Maela and began kissing back. The two little girls embraced and kissed mouth to mouth for several minutes.

Maela occasionally received a big lick across her face too, which inevitably brought laughs from the entire room. The four tiny front teeth which had newly appeared from Abi’s pink gums made a sudden appearance and Maela yelled, “Bite!” A slightly red circle on Maela’s cheek told the tale, and we assured her that Abi meant no harm, to which Maela quickly responded, “It’s ok, Abi-sista. No bite.” Abi squealed with delight and they began a conversation of gibberish which only they could interpret, but it was evident to all of us that these two would be inseparable. Abi gave Maela’s hair a firm yank, to which Maela only responded by taking Abi’s hand and gently moving it up and down her own cheek, whispering, “soft, Abi-sista, soft.” Craig and I were astounded. Our little, rough and tumble 2 year old was already teaching her baby sister how to be gentle and forgiving.

God has intervened and done a super-natural work in our children to prepare them for us…our prayer for some time now. He answered and has shown favor on us.

We have visited Abi every day now for 3 days, a little longer each day. Tonight I got to walk around with her outside, feed her a bottle for the first time and stare at her round cheeks until she fell asleep on my chest. We each gave her a good night kiss and then I laid her down in her bassinet and tore myself away from her side.

Tomorrow we get to pick her up at 11 and bring her home with us until 5! I cannot wait to have that little girl near me all day, carry her everywhere, and be a part of her life! Each day we will increase the time as long as she does well, and hopefully keep her overnight very soon.

Maela woke up this morning and said, “Abi-sista. Get that baby home!”

I could not have said it better myself, dear. Father God, please, get that baby home!

Mae's first bath in a basin...African style.  Do you think she likes it?  This little girl has been challenged by the amount of dirt here.  She likes to be clean!  And I mean no dirt between her toes...she checks!  So we are having quite the time watching her frivilous efforts to keep her self dirt-free.

Alexa playing with a sweet girl at the babie's home.  She has been an incredible gift to our family (thank you, Braithwaties for entrusting her to us!  She is safe and well.)  We are so thankful she is hear and it has been an inspiration to watch her serve and love while we are here.

As we sit here in the dark, no power and no water tonight, the reality of life in Uganda and it’s harshness settles in just a bit more…more later on what we have seen, heard and experienced of life for Ugandans and the oh so very small things that create a new world for them.

28 January 2011

Filtering Sounds of Another World

When the door to our plane was opened a different world greeted us…warmly…in every way. The people are kind and helpful and the weather is warm and damp. In the darkness we could not make out much of our surroundings and the drive to our hotel was short so the Africa we saw that first night was one of white pillow like tents (mosquito nets) hovering over our beds and bidding us come and sleep…which we did not do. Our beautiful daughter, being very confused as to when she should be tired, only cried and cried, that is until she threw up. Then Noah followed with an equal amount of vomiting and…well you get the point. The night passed slowly and painfully but about the time the light began to filter into our windows something else came in as well. Africa. It started with the loud chanting of Muslim prayers and the sounds of a people beginning to come alive. I emerged after some time to try to arrange a driver to the capitol, Kampala which is about 1 hour from our little haven of vomiting and African sounds (by the way I was under the impression that you get sick in Africa not the UK, where our 20 hour over-night layover had been and apparently where our children picked up this 12-hour bug). I had only one problem, no phone. Since Uganda has no land lines I set out across the street to find a place to get money and buy a phone. An ATM was simple enough to find. The guard outside the ATM station (complete with AK47) pointed me to a small shop across the street. It looked like a trailer with no wheels missing most of one side, and painted red.

“I need to buy a phone.”
“Yes,” removing one of four phones from her inventory she set it on the counter.
“Do I need to buy minutes?”
“No, I will pay with cash”
Perplexed look and a smile of bewilderment from the other man at the counter.
“um…I think I need to buy minutes”
Silence. All three of us burst out laughing at the strangeness of what was going on and the gentlemen (he may or may not have been working there) took over.
“Buy credit.”
“Um…I need to buy credit.”
“How much?”
The gentlemen at the counter answered for me “20,000”
I have no idea what that means. “Yes.”
The man still laughing took the phone and the card I had just purchased and loaded it for me.
With that I smiled and laughed with them for a moment and left…phone in hand.

After a few calls on my new phone I was in a car on the way to Kampala with a stranger named Mike. Jen and Alexa stayed in our haven of… with the kids to care for them while I went outside and began learning what it was they were only hearing. Motorcycles and cars jammed onto a too narrow road weaving in and out of people carrying everything from 12’ long poles to bananas to pieces of plywood. There was also the “taxi’s,” bikes with padded seats over the back tire carrying one or two people all weaving in and out in a dangerous dance which was sure to kill someone. Yet somehow it seemed perfectly safe, gentlemen talked nonchalantly on their cell phones while their drivers careened passed cars at high speeds with only inches to spare. “Are those bikes like taxi’s” I asked Mike. “Yes but that is too dangerous.” Breathing a sigh of relief that what I was seeing as insane actually may have been insane we arrived at the lawyer’s office. Our brief meeting was warm and encouraging. She is trying very hard to get us a court date on Feb 3! She had already informed the judge that we were in country and is hoping that it will be persuasive in his assignment of the date. After exchanging some paper work for beef jerky, and Chocolate we brought them as gifts. We said goodbyes through chocolate filled smiles, I bid the two young boys being dressed for their court dates a smile and a hug and re-entered the sea of humanity that was outside. I expected…I don’t know something else…but my expectation was not a crowded city bustling with commerce and a more “rural” area crowded with people coming and going buying and selling. To be sure it was nothing like America. Poverty was obvious but it was strangely mixed, shanty dwellings selling DVD’s and broken trailers selling Cell phones. I could not help but have a deep respect for the people and their businesses. Craftsmen were making beautiful furniture and placing it out by the road for purchase. Workers were moving and perhaps even mining slate alongside the road for building. The long poles I spoke of are used for scaffold and support for building purposes. They are working, building, farming, they are building a country and they clearly love it. My driver was proud to tell me about his country…proud to be Ugandan.

I arrived back in our room, where Jen and Alexa had been since I left, to find the children sleeping. It was the end, we think, of their terrible bout with…the UK. Evening came and Alexa and I ate a wonderful meal in our hotel and brought the leftovers up to everyone else. As they ate another African sound filtered into our haven of rest. Hymns. Beautiful Hymns being boisterously sung by a congregation of God’s people meeting in the restraunt section of our hotel. They sang, worshiped and listened to the preaching of God’s word. What joy…after a long and loud day of filtering sounds we heard lifted voices of worship and praise.

So we were cared for by God. The Children seem to be well. We are all rested from a half day of sleep and now as I sit writing, to my left is sleeping Meala, to my right is sleeping Noah, and I can hear the peaceful silence of Alexa and Jen resting. God has cared for the needs we refused to acknowledge and gave us an extra day of rest. Tomorrow we travel to Mbrara to see Niko and Abi. So we are in Africa, in a haven of rest. Sleeping peacefully.

Please Pray for our Health especially that of Noah and Maela.

Please pray that God would give the Judge a favorable attitude toward us and grant us the court date on the 3rd of Feb.

Thanks for your prayers.

26 January 2011

Just a Few Suitcases

Enough luggage for an army, carseats for 4, food for a month, clothes for an entire orphanage, gifts for many of God's servants, paperwork enough to start a large bonfire, and clothes for 7

....all piled in the back of our van AND truck.

A beautiful good bye from family and friends, some time in prayer and a suprisingly uneventful drive to SFO (complete with one last American In-N-Out stop on the way).

....we are feeling the Lord carry us as our prayer warriors go to battle for us. 

We suprisingly breezed through security without the slightest glitch. So far, the smoothest event of our adoption...yeah, imagine that!

The kids are racing up and down the airport walk ways as I sit and stare at the giant bird we are about to board (1 more hour) that will fly us 1/2 way to our kids.  The swirling wave of emotions is finally calming as the reality of it all it settling in.

This IS happening...we ARE going...and our family WILL be together at last.


Here we gooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

17 January 2011

Violins and Beautiful Music

Before children, jobs, houses, and spouses, when I was attending college in Chicago, I went to the symphony with my roommate (this is craig writing not jen so no one is confused). I even went out and bought a black wool trench coat at the thrift store and borrowed a fancy scarf so I would fit in with the Chicago rich folks. I will never forget how people praised the conductor. At the end of the concert the applause was loud and boisterous and it was not for the musicians, it was for the conductor. He was someone famous from somewhere far away. I thought it strange…almost out of place…after all it was the musicians who were making the music wasn’t it? I felt sort of bad for them. The conductor got all the praise.

Four years and one month ago we began our adoption journey. It was a process we believed would take about 9 months. (for some bullet points of our journey see Sep 7 2010 Post) “Adoptions from Vietnam can be quick, but international adoption is an unsure process,” we were told. “God is on our side it is not unsure for us,” we said. We were absolutely right, but we had the wrong vision of what that looked like in our life. God’s ways are not man’s (my) ways and he sees a much bigger picture, and his picture is…right. Our adoption has been marked by many disappointments and bazaar setbacks but through it all God has done some truly remarkable things.

Very early in our adoption we went in to our adoption agency for a meeting at the end of which we found we had a $1500 bill. Jen began to cry…but not for the reason you might think, we had received in the mail, on Monday of that week, a cashier’s check for $1500. Whoever sent made sure it was anonymous. We had deposited the check on the way to the meeting. We gave them the money.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Some time later we held a yard sale the proceeds of which were astonishing. A week passed with the money in the bank and our friends who had been trying to adopt for many years got a call. “Come to the Ukraine for twins.” It was unexpected for them to say the least and they were without money to fly. Their need matched our adoption account almost to the penny. About 3 weeks later we received a check from them in the mail with a little extra added on to say thanks. The amount was what we needed to take our next steps…and just in time. God provided miraculously for us, for them, and then for us again…with the same money.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Our 2 year old daughter Maela: a sovereign surprise from our father in heaven. Whose laughter is a continual blessing to us.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Our home study was complete. There was one problem, it was one of parenting philosophy and it was a deal breaker. Do you spank your children? The conversation with our agency was long and drawn out.  We were honest and our answer to the question was a qualified yes, and because our conviction on the matter came from the Word of God it seemed to be an un-reconcilable difference. The board of the agency was unanimous…no. Yet some way somehow God made the answer yes.  Since the end of our disagreement they have expedited every step of the process for us.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Our hearts were breaking, we had gotten pregnant…miraculously…and we had just found out that we had lost the baby at thirteen weeks. All this three days from the largest event that we had ever tried to plan, a Family Fund Run. It was a 5k and 10k race and Carnival that was going to support our adoption expenses. It was a huge event, the details were in shambles and we just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear… People ran in the race, port-a-poties, bounce houses, tables, tents, ponies for pony rides, a DJ and the two live bands he booked for us, countless people to help, a beautiful day and live worship music being played during much of the event, all donated, all provided by God. We breathed deep the mercy of God in the midst of sorrow. Next step of the adoption paid for.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

Wednesday night and the news was very bad. It was Abi, she had pneumonia. We were scared and the truth is that Abi was very near death. We called Abi’s caretaker and she confirmed our fears about her condition. “Please Lord provide a way for her to get the care she needs, preserve her life.” Praying the impossible we did the only thing we could, we called our friends in Mbarara Uganda. God had laid it on one of his beloved servant’s hearts to offer to be Abi’s foster mom the day before. Our friends called her and she dropped whatever it was that she was engaged in and made the long and expensive trip out to the orphanage. She picked up Abi and took her straight to the hospital. God had answered our prayer before we even knew to pray it.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

The elders of our church opened their (personal) wallets and gave us money to put on a dinner at our church. Gospel truth, Ugandan food, Ugandan history, Adoption info, it was to be a great event. In the time we have been waiting we have been privileged to develop many relationships with folks who work with children in Uganda. One such person hearing of our dinner said, “see if you can find a home for a beautiful little girl who is ready to be adopted.“  This little girl has been reunited with her sister (whom she had been long separated from) and they are both going home to their forever family very soon. These two girls were the first of eight who have found families during our wait.

May God be praised for his beautiful plans.

The time is short, we are supposed to leave soon and the conversation with God is urgent. “Lord, I believe that you can provide what we need to travel but I have no idea how you are going to do it. Please let me see.” 48 hours later. Thousands of dollars given, A missionary on furlough providing us a house in Mbarara, flights booked, our rides miraculously arranged, and a go-ahead from our lawyer in Uganda…

Praise God We Leave on Jan 25, our bags are almost packed.

May God be praised for his glorious plans.

In Chicago, in December, wearing a black wool trench coat I wandered slowly back to my dorm room after a beautiful concert from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I didn’t understand then what God has now shown me through his Word and through the tumultuous events of our lives over the last four years. The musicians learn the notes on the page, but without a conductor to interpret and provide emotion and depth to the piece of music, the song will always fall short. In fact it is the direction of the conductor which gives meaning to the song. When I look at our story despite the incredible disappointments and setbacks I can’t help but hear violins and beautiful music. The conductor has every detail in his grasp and HE WILL ACCOMPLISH IT. He will accomplish it in a better and more complete way than we could ever have imagined.

Lord let our memories never fail us for the glorious works you have done for your names sake.

08 January 2011

49 Pounds

Craig prayed at the beginning of this week (before we knew what these days were going to hold) How Lord are you going to bring our need in just so few days? He wasn't questioning God's ability, just asking Him, How is this going to us because we KNOW You can and will do it. Every day the Lord provided more, and not a trickle...a flood of provision. In just 3 days He provided enough for us to finish our adoption, travel to UG, live there for two months, and pay our major bills here at home! It was mind blowing, jaw-dropping, tear flowing AMAZING to experience...I have never seen or felt the tangible presence of my God over so many details, so many days in a row, in such a real way before. And it wasn't just through financial gifts, but free housing in Uganda, host families willing to feed us, help us with translating to our son, and wash our clothes, offers of rides to and from the airports here and in Uganda, flights we could afford despite all the last minutes changes, even the grace and strength to get me through the week of packing and preparing our family to leave while Craig was out of the state...every avenue, every path, every roadblock was cleared by our God!

Niko, in July, after a haircut

So we were shocked when our court date on the 19th was cancelled, and then appalled when the judge said no to seeing us on the 12th, but pressed on because the Lord was leading. We decided to go anyway, be with our kids, pray for more open doors and wait for a miracle. But then He came to my husband and caused him to pause. He sought counsel from 6 men, all who said the same thing. He went to the Lord through the night and was given an answer, albeit without an explanation, a clear answer.

Abi Rose, Sept and drowing in her tiny clothes

We are to wait, to be still, and stay...for now.

Our Smiley boy, in October

Over the next few days we will make some decision regarding when we will go. And on the 19th we should be given an official date when we will be seen, sometime in Feb. Our foster mom for Abi must move out of her home at the end of the month. We would really like to be there to help her and take Abi as she leaves so our baby will not go back to the orphanage or change homes again. (She has had 5 placements in her short 10 months). So possibly some time later this month...

Beautiful Eyes and loving those fingers

...but for now, the suitcases are packed, each weighing 49 pounds...I know, I checked over and over. Trying to see the numbers on the scale over the huge suitcase in my arms reminded me of the large belly that stuck out during that last month. It was impossible to see my toes let alone that flashing number which would audibly ring out how many bowls of ice cream I'd had that week. There was a strange parallelism for me in that. This is the approaching end of a very long 4 year pregnancy…with twins and trimesters that last 15 months each! It’s brutal! But you know how you just ponder over the Lord’s majesty when you feel those little kicks, and revel at His wonderous creation as you watch your skin grow over that bulging shape like you never thought possible! It’s painful at times, especially at the end…but it’s miraculous!

Niko outside at the Babie's Home in December

My friend had twins and she would call at night in tears because she felt like her skin was tearing, like her stomach was ripping because the pressure was so great and she had grown so much. I guess that’s where we are, that, oh so painful, skin-stretching end, when we see God’s miracles, His grace, His provision, and His wondrous power over our lives in every way.

Sleeping African Princess, October

And by the way, they say when you are pregnant with twins you should gain around 50 pounds…we have 1 pound to go.

02 January 2011

lock down

it’s about that time … to go under the radar… uh, incognito (craig’s word)! we’ve added a protective cover to our blog as you now know, so please respect our efforts to protect our family, our children, and the ugandan system as we travel the final stages of our adoption over the next few months, by not sharing our blog with others or reposting any pictures to your own blogs or emails. we’ll give you the thumbs up when it’s ok to shout to the world…don’t worry – it will be loud!

we’ve made some major changes, taken a severe turn on our adoption path over the last few weeks. with a heavy heart but great hopefulness we prayerfully made the decision to leave our agency and the lawyer they contract with. we cannot say enough about the ministry-minded approach they have towards adoption and valued their spiritual and emotional support beyond anything, however our expected travel time continued to increase each month and our children are still waiting. it was time to take a huge leap of faith in an effort to unite our family under one roof. one of the major drawbacks to this decision meant we greatly risk loosing our grants, financial gifts to support our adoption from 3 separate foundations. this is huge and we don’t discount that in the least, but we are confident the Lord will provide, as He always has, and always will. Jehovah Jireh. so…forward march.

our new lawyer, “v”, is incredible. she has been faithful to follow through on every promise and worked through the holidays for our family. in just 3 short weeks, she has reviewed our case, spoken with all involved on the ugandan side, drafted countless papers and other documents, and miraculously shortened our expected wait from 3-4 months to just a few weeks!!! yup, you read right! WEEKS, baby!!! PRAISE THE LORD! she told us to expect to travel for a court date in just two weeks, so right now, until official word from her, we are planning to take off on the craziest 23 hour plane ride of our lives on JANUARY 15th!!!!!

since we have decided to share this information, we want to preface it with a statement you may hear often in the coming weeks: TIA – This Is Africa. that being said, anything could happen, anything could change at any moment, and delays are expected at all times. however we KNOW our God is in control, and He is faithful to prove His plans and purposes as best, so we march forward in the peace that comes from the grace and knowledge that He holds all things in the palm of His hand. let the packing begin!

So if I don’t answer the phone…please call again.

if I don’t email back…please give me another day.

if you stop by and the house looks anything like it does right now…well, it will probably look like this for the next 10-12 years, but we are so excited and ready for the chaos to begin!


now that we are officially on lock down, we would like to proudly introduce our 4 beautiful children…

5 years old, a karate master, amazing big brother, funniest little person we’ve ever met

Nicholas (Niko)
3 years old, loves to wrestle, has a wonderful sense of humor, and very ticklish

turns 2 this week (jan. 5), a pretty pink princess, adores her baby sister, can’t get enough of washing dishes (seriously, i don’t force her, she really loves it!)

Abi Rose
10 months old (on jan. 3), giggles just to make others laugh, has experienced more of God’s healing grace than some do in a lifetime

coming soon…a family picture of the 6 vanderstoeps!

please pray for us:

~ packing, choosing what to take and what to leave

~ choosing gifts/donations for the orphanages we will visit, wisdom to meet their needs

~ alexa, the amazing young lady traveling with us! peace for her family as they entrust her to us for this experience

~ the wonderful family who are going to stay in our home and care for our animals while we are gone

~ smooth proceedings in court as our lawyer tries to secure our date for the 19th

~ God’s provision for our final financial needs before we leave

~ we have a list of families whose hearts and homes are open to one or more ugandan children. please pray we could be used as instruments to connect these families with their waiting children while we are in country.

thank you all so much for sticking with us these long 4 years! it would have been a much harder road without your love, support, and prayers. may you be blessed for the care you have given to orphans through loving our family. HERE WE GO!