Happy New Year!
Ooops…we missed a family Christmas card this year so it turned in to a New Year’s Day Card!
We are celebrating NEW LIFE, NEW FAMILY, and NEW STORIES waiting to be told!
A large part of our story began this past Spring as it became more and more clear that international adoption was in our future and that God was orchestrating referrals for our family to be adding two precious kiddos to our home.
Things sped forward from there and in early October we were hopping on a plane headed to Uganda…
This plane ride changed our lives and brought us face to face with our future family!
These photos were taken in the first few days of our time together.
Soon we were given the opportunity to have the children permanently in our care. We have walked through many twists and turns with our case and we ended up living for almost 2 months in beautiful Fort Portal.
We climbed trees and hung out…
We got a chance to see some AMAZING animals…
(The elephants and water buck were IN OUR YARD!)
We also met some amazing people in Fort Portal...
We then received disappointing news. This news would separate our family…dad would travel back to North Carolina and we would travel and relocate to Kampala.
This part of the story was sad. We shed many tears. It is not God’s design for our family to be thousands of miles apart. We also knew that He had brought our beautiful children in to our lives and it was not an option to leave them until the judge (respectfully) figured out what we already know: We are a family. Families are meant to be on the same continent. We are also committed to our newest children living not another day with out at least one parent in their world.
This new chapter and part of 2013 brought long, lonely, difficult days. It brought waiting. We miss our friends and family in the US…we miss the familiar and our home. We miss dad.
This chapter is a sad chapter…but not one without hope.
We moved to one of the sweetest places in Kampala…
Full of NEW adventures, trees, sticks, and wood to make forts…
This time of waiting has been made sweet through the friendships of these families and people that we do life together with every day.
These friends are not here forever…and we likely will make many different friends along this journey…but we are grateful for who he has provided and the timing of their journeys intersecting with ours.
For the past few days the 7C’s have been united again. We have had the blessing of dad here. Oh what a gift to have someone to chase, wrestle, and play with the children in only a way that Chris can. It has been wonderful to laugh, sing, do school and enjoy meals with the extra love, care and support that we receive when dad is around. Things feel complete. I am not as mentally and emotionally strung out at the end of the day. It makes me so thankful for the time now and ache for the time in the future when we will all be together on the same soil…FOR GOOD.
Today Chris asked the kids to share 5 “God Sightings” that they have witnessed in 2013. He explained it as: “these are things that you are thankful for or ways that you have seen God make change in your life or the lives of others.”
Here are a few highlights:
“I have seen God in the people who are praying for us in North Carolina.” (Wish she knew it was really all over the country!)
“God bringing Hailey to Uganda at the same time as us.”
“The people of Uganda have changed my life.”
(He then listed the help of the staff at our compound, our driver, our lawyer, and of course his new bro and sis have all had significant impact to create transformation in his life.)
“Jesus gave us lots of food (and desserts)!”
“I saw God at the Watoto Children’s Cantata where I began a relationship with Jesus.”
I personally saw in 2013 (and on this journey)–that I am CHANGED because of the mother that He is making me. I am far stronger than I ever thought possible and far more dependent upon Him than I ever have been before.
As their mom I look at those 5 children and just laugh and love their little hearts…things are far from perfect in our home and organized chaos best describes our days–we are far from Leave it to Beaver!
But here are just some little snip-its on the good days that make me smile and know what it is that makes each child special and unique to this momma…
Kylee is giddy because she just found out (from her friend Lillie on FaceTime) that the new American girl doll is a DANCER named Isabelle. She has not stopped talking about it and how she absolutely MUST save her $$ to buy this particular doll of the year! You can take the girl out of America but you can’t take the American (girl doll love) out of my girl! She has been around so many little ones and her help and maturity around our home in Uganda have been irreplaceable!
Caleb just told Kylee that he will GIVE her some of his saved money from his bank at home in the US to pay for the “doll of the year” as he knows how much it means to her!??! He told me yesterday he thinks he might want to be a builder some day and build houses “for poor people.” That boy’s generous heart is as big as the continent of Africa.
Joshua is still a lego maniac and though he VERY much enjoys all of the sticks (aka “swords”) that they dangerously swing around the compound–he is very content to just sit for hours and hours constructing new lego creations. Joshua always brings his big smile to every place he goes and melts the hearts of all he meets…even the tough Interpol officers!
Caroline (to Kylee’s GREAT pleasure) is a girly girl who LOVES pink, purple, dolls and dresses. She has a gentle spirit and fantastic laugh to go along with her amazing sense of humor.
Jonathan is physically built like Caleb full of energy and agility. It is fun to watch them run together. Jonathan has a heart built to please and serve and the work ethic and tenacity of an emergency room doctor.
The 7 C’s united again under one roof
…dad brought the clippers and eeeek the boys hair is GONE!
No matter the number of days we wait until our new court date. No matter the amount of time that we are apart from dad. No matter the time it takes to bring our new precious children home. No matter how rocky the ride has already been or will continue to be…God has been present and faithful. We are committed to Caroline and Jonathan–to all 7 C’s under one roof–in the US…and we will see this through. (Because He will see this through.) Having said that–there have been dark days and disappointments. I am certain though, that this is what life is full of: we are not promised easy, comfortable, happy, simple life. Nor do I believe this is what we are to strive after. Our response in these challenging moments matter. We don’t pretend to have it all figured out and we miss it frequently…but when it comes to the days that have unfolded over 2013–we have been amazed at God’s faithfulness despite tough and painful circumstances! We have been in awe of His Sovereign hand over our lives even when things have not gone the way we would have hoped or chosen!
This New Year has us on an Epic Adventure…one we did not anticipate…one that we humbly would have side-stepped if given the choice. But for whatever reason this is our journey…and as we look to 2014 we are hopeful for endless opportunities to continue to grab His hand, hold tight, and see what amazing things He will do to show us more and more of His goodness and love.
I pray that this will be true of your 2014 as well!
Merry (Belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!
Chris, Jenni, Kylee, Caleb, Caroline, Joshua, and Jonathan
(The 7 C’s)