28 October 2015


One thing I really appreciate about having my parents be my parents is I've learned to be pragmatic. If I'd had different parents, my dreamer side could have overwhelmed the rest of me. I want to do crazy things for Jesus, big things that shake the world. But I also want to not let my grand imaginings crowd out the fact that most of the amazing things God does aren't on the romantic, adventurous side of the scale, but definitely in the small, inner, daily movings of the Spirit.

In some ways, our adoption is pretty heavily on the adventure side. I mean, yeah, I think that's obvious. And I think that's why I have a lot of dreams. And I've been having to practice letting dreams die. Some of them are big: I dream our children will all love each other very well, and will support and protect each other with the fierceness I feel for each of them. I dream our daughters will be able to grow up with a deep understanding of their inherent value, and that nothing this culture (or the sinners who inhabit it) says or does can shake that inner knowing. Those are big dreams (not impossible, but big).

But the small dreams are hard too. I'm trying to include them in some of our family things, like decorating lil pumpkins for them when the boys decorated theirs. That dream was literally rained on (and of course I didn't get a picture before). So this is what will go in their books:
Our big pumpkin also can't be carved bc it's rotten & gross on the bottom.

Edited: Okay, the picture makes the pumpkins look not so bad. But srsly, they look rough

I've been realizing also how tightly I'm holding on to the dream of having them home for Christmas (see the Christmas sweaters from my last post). I'm a celebrator and I love Jesus, so Christmastime is special. Going for chilly walks to look at lights in our parks. Watching our Christmas movie together. Talking through Advent (especially with Ezra, who loves babies and now the Bible). Christmas morning, together as a family. Buying them their first Christmas present from Mom & Dad. I just get carried away with it.

I'm not saying it won't happen. It still could. I just want to be okay if it doesn't. So I try to remember all the times God has said No and I've thought later what a great "no" it was, and how awful it had been if He'd said yes. So then, after some work, I want what I want (duh), but I really want what God wants. Until I forget and dream again.

24 October 2015

Girl Mom-to-Be

Most Texans are familiar with the long, long wait for cool temperatures. As the weather's finally edging into the 80s (and 70s!), we excitedly bring out our jeans, scarves, & boots (even though we often spend the afternoons lightly perspiring).

Personally, I get even more excited to dress my kiddos. Women's clothing can be a complicated balancing act of what I like, what looks good on me, and what's appropriate for my current stage of life. Oh, and what I can afford. Kid's clothes are less that way. And I am so ready for Ezra to wear his size 4 winter clothes and for the serious nostalgia of Judah wearing clothes Ezra wore as a little bitty. But I'm even more excited for dressing my little girls.

So I thought I'd show you just a couple of things every once in a while that we've bought / been given / thrifted.

Above are the jammies the girls will travel in. Yes, those are drop-crotch jammie pants. I'm not sorry; in fact I'm totally jealous that they can wear them when I could never get away with it (that's basically how I style my kids in a sentence). They also have lil pink cardigans to put on if when it's cold. I have matching shirts for the boys, so they'll be like a little pack in the airport. The shirts are CRAAZY soft and are from The Talking Shirt.

 These are their Christmas sweaters. I bought them on ThredUp in faith that they'll be home for Christmastime. They're just a touch faded but nice and soft -- the give & take of secondhand clothes.

In case you're wondering, yes, I have a lot of matching or coordinated clothes for them. I used to think that was strange, but that's before I had kids. Now I tooootally understand. I'll share a few more outfits here & there as we get ready to travel. Mostly because I cannot contain my excitement. And yes, I know that they will likely develop opinions on what they want to wear, but from what I've read, it may take them some time to figure it out.

22 October 2015

An Unhurried Adoption

I can't help but think lol to my blog post title. We've talked a lot in our church staff team about living An Unhurried Life, and while I think this topic is one of the most important topics for Christians in our culture, I also have struggled to figure out how to apply it to my life. Other than when I was having to assemble our dossier (and probably when we get our court date and have to make travel arrangements), I don't lead a busy life. If you were to map out my appointments and such, there wouldn't be a lot to put on it.

That isn't to say I'm not occupied basically all day, every day. Ezra is so curious and adventurous and high-energy that I can't leave him alone for long (he does have a specific hour to play by himself in his room each day) without the probability of being in danger or getting in trouble or making huge messes (and I don't mean toys; I mean eyeshadow or every hanger in our closet). And while Judah has less of the "entertain me or I'll break things" spirit going on, he's still only 14 months old. He sticks stuff in his mouth. He climbs on anything he can. He has no sense of danger. Alllll that to say, I thought one young toddler was a lot, but that's because I couldn't have handled this yet. It's not so bad; rarely do I feel like I cannot do this another minute -- which is good, since I'm about to have double the amount of young children. [real talk: there are mornings where I think, why can't we just lay back down and pretend it's not morning yet? But Ezra's already jumping on us and yelling]

So while I don't have a lot of extended time with the Lord, like Fadling suggests, and the idea that I could get an overnight with God once a month is like adorable right now, I don't feel busy. I don't feel hurried.

Except for with our adoption. I have felt in a hurry with our adoption almost continuously since we started the process... four years ago. #wompwomp

So, when we talked about this (again) on the same day we got the paper of incompetence that Request for Evidence from USCIS, the light bulb lit up. It was a great altar call of sorts for my heart. Do I trust Him? God is going before us in this adoption. And though I know the enemy is the ruler of this world, everything must bend to God's will. And I have seen the fruit of the singularly slow pace of our adoption in my life. He knows what's best.

21 October 2015

Wednesday WHAT.

I've been busy with a conference this week, but I came home Monday to find this in the mail:
YOU KNOW WHAT I REQUEST, USCIS?!? I can't tell you because I want to be like Jesus. And he loves you I GUESS
And I promptly had a dramatic moment. You know, an I HATE EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD moment, quickly followed by a WHY IS EVERYONE INCOMPETENT moment. And then I tried to actually read the document for comprehension, and had a I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS moment.

Luckily, there are actually some people who know what they're doing, and our home study has been updated to include the mysterious "specific requirements" our home study was missing. I've also emailed USCIS to let them know that we actually live at the address on the front page of our home study, and not in Pennsylvania, as they've concluded from the documents we needed because our Uganda agency is in Pennsylvania. You might think that's confusing, but remember, looking at home studies is this person's ONLY JOB. YOUR ONLY JOB, USCIS GUY. I will forgive you. Well, I'm working on it, okk?

And then after calling both agencies (and leaving voicemails), and then emailing both agencies, and venting just a little bit to Stephen, I was able to reconnect with God's heart and re-trust him with our adoption and the timing of it. I'll talk about that more later on.

14 October 2015

Wednesday What?

All day I've been feeling... weird.

I can't name the emotions yet (probably because there are several present), but I feel weird knowing our dossier is being sent to Uganda. After thinking and thinking, I realized at least why I'm feeling weird:

We've never hit this step in our adoption before. We are now officially entering new territory. Up to sending our dossier off, we've done it before. We had a dossier 80% complete when we got on the wait list for our original agency (all of our documents that aren't birth records expired and had to be reattained) 3 years ago. We didn't even finish our home study update when we lost Helene to the DRC closing.

I'm so afraidexcited. Excitafraid? We're getting really close to being able to meet the girls. To actually see them, to interact with them. You parents, you remember your first moments with your newborn? Imagine if, instead of nine months of anticipation, your baby has been gestating for fifty months. Yes, we've been actively taking steps to adopt for fifty months. Our joy will be like the sunrise.

Sunrise over the Kazinga Channel.
The what-ifs are getting equally as real, and it has become a daily struggle to throw off waves of anxiety about the possibility that there has been corruption in our adoption, or that the judge will say no. I don't think I need to explain how devastated we would be to go to Uganda full of hope and have those hopes shattered.

I don't want this blog to become Michelle's Prayer Request Update, but I also want to have grace with myself and recognize that this is a pretty intense time in our lives, and we could really use prayer.

13 October 2015

USCIS and Dossier Update

Tomorrow we'll travel to Houston to get fingerprinted have our "biometric" appointment. I'm not going to complain because I'm never doing it again. They're also sending our dossier to Uganda so our Ugandan lawyer can prepare the final documents that will be submitted with it to the courts there.

She is focused on getting us a court date quickly, as the judges will change in December, and no one knows how they will handle adoptions until they start seeing cases.And we'd like to not take chances, since they can do whatever they want -- require us to live there for some time, require us to bring the girls back to Uganda (called a "heritage trip") every 5 years until they're 18 -- or just deny guardianship. At which point, we'd never be able to adopt the girls.

So yeah, we'd also like to get a court date quickly, and we appreciate her help. Please be praying that all of our documents are received and that we will get a court date very quickly.

11 October 2015


Life zips along. Sometimes it feels so out-of-sync with our adoption. Waiting is weird.

Judah broke an animal cracker with his hand and cried about it being broken -- he's definitely moved from baby to toddler. He loves to sing and has his first favorite book. Ezra's finally really interested in reading (though perhaps not enough to sit down and have a formal lesson. Off to public school you go, kiddo). He builds a lot of robots and machines with his Legos. He's basically obsessed with his dad. And singing so loudly.

A still from a video I can't figure out how to upload of Judah clapping for Ezra's singing. #bros

Stephen is now officially out of his student homegroup (small group). Next week, we'll have our first church plant homegroup meeting. I now officially don't disciple any girl leaders here at A&M. Another few concrete steps toward that big life change.

All of that has happened between beginning our home study update and our dossier being filed.Waiting is weird.

Little Note

For some reason, my blog is try-ing to translate into Vietnamese Itself. #wearenotamused

Update: Stephen figured it out. Little hands had somehow turned the translate button that's at the top of the browser bar (i.e. where you'll never find it until you just happen to). All is fine except the last post. I may sometime fix it, but it's a mess.