So Much Can Change in 1 Year

Standard

One year ago today we had just arrived in Uganda on time for our July 1st court date (after the most Hellish travel experience of a lifetime) only to be told court had been moved to the following week!  And so our time in Uganda continued to go quickly on a downward spiral with the way things were “supposed” to go not going at all.  And now today Joyce has been home 4 months!

This weekend Dane took me on a weekend getaway to the mountains.  It was the first time away from Rwenzori and Joyce.  As we were sitting on our private porch at the Bed and Breakfast I asked Dane if he realized that a year ago that day we were in Frankfurt Germany on our way to Joyce and the following day in Egypt during the Revolution.  And the night we were in Frankfurt instead of seizing the once in a lifetime opportunity and going downtown to enjoy the festival that was going on, we instead spent the entire night at the airport frantically searching for our lost luggage, that we still did not find.  I so wish at the time we had been thinking of the verse in Matthew 6, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?”  That is what you call Hindsight.  And also sin.  Sin because we were letting our circumstances and situation dictate our joy and peace of mind when we know it’s all in God’s hand anyways.

All I can say a year later and what God continually keeps teaching me is that I am not in control and the sooner I let go of what “control” I think I have the freer I become.  And that as cliché as people may think it sounds, God’s timing is perfect.  God certainly was not surprised that the U.S. Embassy would not give Joyce her visa right away.  Maybe He knew that I would have had a mental breakdown with a colicky newborn, needy toddler, and moody pre-teen all at once.

And what God is teaching me now that all my beautiful daughters are home is that I cannot be a good person, wife, or mother without Him.  On my own I mess it up Every time.

So, what does life look like now in the Love household?  Well the dining room is filled from top to bottom with furniture and packing boxes, bare closets, and empty walls.  That’s right, we are moving.  Still waiting on our closing date, but we will be moving to Hemby Bridge.  The packing boxes have been handy when trying to curral Zori since she is into everything and crawling everywhere.  I cannot tell you how much I crave some normalcy and consistency to life right now!  I’m over life in Limbo for the time being so the sooner we move, the better.  Joyce is a little sad about the move but I know when she realizes how much closer we are to everything and her friends she will be okay.  She is already ready for school to start back.  She will be starting a Soccer camp that is on Saturday’s soon.  I think soccer will be perfect for her because it’s high energy and she has plenty of that!

Dane keeps asking me if I am going to continue to blog since everyone is now home.  I just feel like I’m not done with the whole blogging thing yet, although it will be less and less frequent.  So, until next time…

Two peas in a pod!

Two peas in a pod!

She loves the sand!

She loves the sand!

She is getting too big!

She is getting too big!

Happy Mother’s Day

Standard

Today is Mother’s Day.  I cannot help but think about two years ago making the decision to adopt Faith, then days later finding out that we were pregnant.  For those of you that don’t know the whole story, we just decided to adopt first before trying to have biological children. So we told our parents on Mother’s Day they would be getting two grand baby’s in a year only to have a miscarriage two days later.  Then when we left to go get Faith I was 8 weeks pregnant, and two weeks into the trip I went into pre-term labor and lost the baby.  That is when God started working on our hearts to adopt Joyce.

I just got up from a sweet afternoon nap with Joyce and Faith.  They came and layed in my bed with me while Zori was napping.  I woke up to Faith’s leg on top of me and her mouth wide open.  And looking at them laying there sleeping I couldn’t help but think about the mother’s that gave them life and the pain our little girls have already endured in their short lives.  I am beyond thankful that their mother’s chose life for them.  Their choices later may not have been what I agreed with, but I have never walked in their shoes.  It’s so easy to sit and point fingers, but until you live someone’s life and face the challenges they face you will never truly understand.  I know that my girls will have scars and hurts that even my love will not be able to erase.  But I pray that as their Mother I can point them to the One who will fill up every whole in their hearts, Jesus.

So I lay there feeling sad with tears streaming down for a while.  Sad for my girls and the hurts they have that no one can see, and for all the millions of other motherless children in the world.  But I am hopeful that God will call them to Himself and draw them in His everlasting arms and help them to realize that no matter the circumstance they were born in or came to us, that He created them for a glorious purpose.  And that is really what our first jobs as parents are.  It’s discipleship and pointing them to Jesus.  And I am hopeful that there will be more families out there that long to be mommies and daddies that realize there are a multitude of children that want to be part of a family more than anything.  Children that want desperately to have a Mommy to hug and wipe away their tears.  To be honest, it is a hard road, but I love each of my kids as much as I love Rwenzori.  I don’t believe everyone is called to adopt or that this is “The” solution to the orphan crisis, but it is a step in the right direction.  I hope you all have a lovely Mother’s Day celebrating with your families.  If there is someone out there longing to be a Mommy, I would ask you, what is holding you back?

unnamed

This was the best pic I got today and Zori was not happy!

This was the best pic I got today and Zori was not happy!

20140511_154341 (2)

Settling In

Standard

It seems as though we are starting to get somewhat of a routine or schedule, only to have it disappear in a month when school is out.  As my devotional this morning put it, “Oh Well”.  God always knows what I need when I need it, and I just have to keep remembering Perspective.  So this morning was all about when little petty things don’t go the way we planned just let it go that way when the real issues come you have the reserves you need to deal with it.  It ended with what we now call our Life Verse/Uganda Adoption Verse which is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “ Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  I really need to get better at memorizing scripture because I could repeat this as a mantra some days.

I am sitting here in peace and quiet for the first time in a long time.  Dane took Faith and Joyce to One7 and Zori is sound asleep.  I promised myself I would take a nap and I did that for about 20 minutes and now is blog time.  Joyce is really loving school, I think she will be sad when she gets out for summer break.  Faith seems to be enjoying more time alone with Dane and I, although normally the first thing she asks when she gets up is, “Where is Joyce?”.  And Rwenzori is doing great.  She turned 6 months old last week and I continue to make homemade baby food for her and she has yet to really like anything.  We have tried carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and avocado.  She makes the funniest face when you put the food in her mouth.  Everyone tells me I will know when she is ready, and she is apparently not ready yet.

I want to take some time to update everyone on what’s going on in Karamoja.  I’m going to share another blog site from a missionary couple that is living there now.  Interesting enough they are also in the adoption process in Uganda, but  I believe they are fostering in country, which was our plan if Joyce hadn’t been able to come home.  This couple has actually been working in the same village that Dane and I worked in when we first went to Uganda.  It’s called Lomorucubae, and that  is where I met Kemaleyna.  She was the beautiful girl who stole my heart, and she still lives there.  Here is the link for that update http://danielandrachel.wordpress.com/

Also Lantern Vision made an awesome video about bringing water to Karamoja.  Here is the link

http://fueluganda.com/karamoja.html

This is Kemaleyna.  She and I just had a connection and she will forever be in our hearts!

This is Kemaleyna. She and I just had a connection and she will forever be in our hearts!

I want to take another moment to share another blog post from another adoptive parent.  I have actually read a few other things of hers not knowing she had adopted also.  I think she is right on the money and it goes right along with my new approach, PERSPECTIVE.  http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2012/05/where-is-mommy-war-for-motherless-child.html

Sorry I’m sharing so much from others.  My brain half functions now, Dane is starting to really believe it too.

I think I'm going to have to get a Canvas of this!

I think I’m going to have to get a Canvas of this!

Love_2014__090 (2)-

Love_2014__013 (2)Love_2014__214 (2)

These are their Ugandan dresses!

These are their Ugandan dresses!

Love_2014__249 (2)

All pictures were taken by Kristin and Aaron Byrum.  There site is http://www.kristinbyrum.com/Fresh/.  So thankful some of our best friends are the best photographers ever!

 

Can’t Believe I Have a Kid in School!

Standard

Joyce started school this past Monday.  It’s amazing how much more cooperative she is at bedtime now because she wants to get her rest for school.  She seems to really be loving it.  Dane took her on Monday and met her teacher, Ms. Koester.  Ms. Koester taught at Shiloh when I was there.  I met with her on Tuesday morning, and after I left I realized I think I remember her so well because she was my A.G. teacher in 4th grade, though I still need to confirm this.  All the teachers already knew Joyce’s name and were saying hello to her as we were walking in.  Next week is Spring Break, so I think this week is a great way to start her so she doesn’t get so overwhelmed.

Faith wakes up every morning asking where Joyce is. It’s so cute.  We have experimented with skipping naps with Faith this week.  It makes for a long day for me, but she goes to sleep now at night instead of playing or getting up, and she is sleeping in until 8:30am!  Our sweet neighbor Grace has been so helpful and comes over and sits at the house with the little kids while I take Joyce to school when Dane is at work.  This is a huge blessing because I think one of the hardest things to do is getting all the kids out of the house.

Everyone is really adjusting well.  We still have to deal with a lot of moodiness but that’s a pre-teen for you, and I know it’s only going to get worse.  I have had a few meltdowns myself and had to apologize for my behavior.  You really never truly understand people when they talk about how hard parenting is until you actually do it yourself.  But we wouldn’t change a thing.

2 Corinthians 6:10

10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

This verse has a new meaning to me now.

Silly Girls!

Silly Girls!

Joyce's first day of school in America! 4/7/2014

Joyce’s first day of school in America!
4/7/2014

Ain’t No Party Like An Airport Party!

Standard
Waiting for her big sister!

Waiting for her big sister!

Keniston and Madison holding Joyce's banner!

Keniston and Madison holding Joyce’s banner!

 

image007 (4)

Well it seems life has slowed down enough that I can take a moment to

Thank you to everyone for coming and making this day even more special! And thank you Aunt Lisa for these pictures!

Thank you to everyone for coming and making this day even more special! And thank you Aunt Lisa for these pictures!

update everyone.  Joyce has now been home a little over two weeks now.  She has already had many firsts that she was able to share with her sister Rwenzori.  So far she is doing better than any of us ever expected.  We have had some meltdowns but I was expecting those.  She did wake up mad this morning for some reason and has only spoken two words to me, but that’s okay.  I asked her if she could tell me the reason for her being upset this morning and she just shook her head.  I then asked if she knew why she was upset and she shook her head no.  I told her it was okay, sometimes we are just in bad moods, and that’s okay.  This dreary, nasty, weather sure isn’t helping anyones mood.

She is so beautiful!

She is so beautiful!

Our sweet neighbor Grace has been doing Reading and English lessons with her a few hours a day.  She really enjoys learning and actually wants to go to school. And her English is much better than we all thought it was.  We had some testing last week and she will meet with the ESL teacher this week from Western Union and after we hear all the results and everyone’s opinion we will most likely be enrolling her in school sometime in April.

As far as the rest of the family is doing with this new adjustment, we are getting there.  You can definitely tell a difference in Faith, and I’m sure it’s a combination of her age, and adding another sister to her life that she now has to share a bedroom and toys with.  Most days are really pretty good, but I really lost my temper last week and literally had to apologize to the kids and ask for their forgiveness.  The first thing Faith told BiBi that day was, “Mommy said she was sorry, because she got mad.”  On the bright side at least she knew I was sorry.  Joyce is such a huge help with Zori.  And Zori just loves Joyce and laughs at her constantly, it’s so sweet to watch.

Joyce loved the Beach!  She ran out into the ocean fearlessly with no concern whatsoever about the freezing cold water!  And Rwenzori slept on the beach most of the day and then we took a walk and she got to look and see everything.

The Love Family is Complete!  At least for a while! =)

The Love Family is Complete! At least for a while! =)

Thank you so much to everyone who came to the Airport to greet and welcome home Joyce.  She really did great with that too.  She went up to everyone and let me introduce them.  We cannot thank everyone enough for all the support, gifts, and visits to welcome Joyce home!

We love you all!

We love you all!

Thank you Kristin and Aaron Byrum for capturing our special day!  We love yall! http://www.kristinbyrum.com/Fresh/

Thank you Kristin and Aaron Byrum for capturing our special day! We love yall!
http://www.kristinbyrum.com/Fresh/

I wanted to share part of my devotional this morning.  It spoke to me and hope it will speak to you if you are going through something.  Dane and I were just talking yesterday on our ride home from the beach that we feel like we are finally seeing fruit from all we experienced the past year and a half.  When I read this it was confirmation of that feeling.

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heartwhen he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline),then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Our sweet neighbors Martha and Jean had this made for Joyce!

Our sweet neighbors Martha and Jean had this made for Joyce!Family Beach trip!

Her first time seeing the ocean!

Her first time seeing the ocean!

Joyce and Rwenzori got to share their first Beach Trip together!

Joyce and Rwenzori got to share their first Beach Trip together!

SAM_2341 (2) SAM_2346 (2) SAM_2347 (2) SAM_2358 (2) SAM_2364 (2)

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Standard

Tonight is the last night I will only tuck two babies to bed.  Tomorrow night our bed time routine will look completely different.  I’m so excited and nervous and terrified all at the same time.  Are we really equipped to raise a nine year old?  We have only been parents for a little over a year.  But God keeps reminding me that He called us to this, and there is no doubt that He called us to it.  Therefore, He will equip us for it.

Apparently they had no issues at the Embassy and no problems at the airport.  So far this has been the best trip to Uganda either of us has ever had.  On my FlightAware App it looks like they are still in Rome re-fueling right now.  Before they got on the plane, Joyce wanted to call and talk to me.  She said, “I love you mom”, and my heart melted.  Dane said she wasn’t scared at all, just excited to get on the plane and come home to meet her new family and friends.  And Faith cannot wait to see her Daddy and Joyce.  She has talked non-stop about the “Airport Party” since Dane left.  So, my next post should be nothing but Happy, Happy, Happy!

Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Dane driving in Kampala!  Scary!

Dane driving in Kampala! Scary!

 

Dane is Safe and Sound in Uganda

Standard

I’m at home from work today sick, so before my Benadryl kicks in and knocks me out so I can sleep, I decided to update everyone. Don’t worry, the kids are with BiBi.  Dane’s trip so far has been the best trip (travel wise) to Uganda we have ever had.  He had bulk head seating and almost en entire row to himself.  On the flight from Ethiopia to Uganda he had to use his EMT skills because the man beside him had passed out and gotten sick.  Apparently the man had low blood sugar and just needed to eat something, but Dane was the only on the flight that could take vitals and help him.  So because of that they were treating Dane like a doctor and got all his bags for him and carried them to his next flight to Rwanda and didn’t make him pay the Visa fee either.  Kiel met Dane in Rwanda and they had to stay overnight before traveling to Kisoro.  Dane says Rwanda is beautiful and so clean!  They traveled yesterday to Kisoro and got settled in and I just spoke to him earlier and he said they spent the day walking through the Pygmy slums in Kisoro.  They also paid a visit to the family that FUEL Uganda has relocated into the new house.  He said the man has been working so hard to get his garden ready and the house looks really good.  Tomorrow the plan is to go back to the families house and help them work in their garden and then go meet with some of the leaders that Kiel has been working with.  He will leave there on Monday and get to Entebbe on Monday night.  So he will finally get to see Joyce on Tuesday.

On a totally different subject I have such a tremendous respect for single mothers.  I couldn’t do it without JaJa and BiBi’s help.  I think I am sick just because I’m so tired my immune system has gotten weak.  I promise I will try to keep everyone updated as much as I can!  Thank you for all your continued prayers and support.

P.S.  If you need something to do tonight come out to Fuddruckers in Matthews for dinner.  Another adopting family in our church is having a fundraiser to help bring home their 5 children from the Ukraine.  I will be there helping them (which is why I’m about to take a long nap).  Please come out and support the Bates Family who will be growing from a family of 4 now to a family of 9! We will be there from 5:30-8:30pm.

Kiel is Dane's gourmet chef for the week!  Looks better than my breakfast!

Kiel is Dane’s gourmet chef for the week! Looks better than my breakfast!

The Pygmy Family that FUEL Uganda has relocated and built this house for.  They have been hard at work on their land!

The Pygmy Family that FUEL Uganda has relocated and built this house for. They have been hard at work on their land!

The Rwanda/Ugandan border.

The Rwanda/Ugandan border.

Love(4)Love(3)

Had to share these sweet Valentine's pics!

Had to share these sweet Valentine’s pics!