Thursday, November 27, 2014

A New Kind of Thanksgiving

A week ago today, we were waiting in faith to hear that a very important packet had been delivered to the embassy of Jacob's birth country.  At 3 weeks in Africa (when we were told to expect to be there a week to ten days...) this last piece of the puzzle was what we were waiting on. We had heard that it had left it's departure place on it's way to us the previous Tuesday and it was expected to be there Thursday morning (providing there were no delays, which we experienced every delay you could think of and some  bet you couldn't even dream up...) you could hear the uncertainty in the consulars voice at the embassy when we told him we weren't planning on changing our flights, he wanted us to make sure we choose the safest route possible, meaning making sure we gave ourselves enough time if that "just in case" moment came and the packet didn't arrive when it was scheduled, but we didn't change the flights.

I think it's safe to say that those three weeks we spent in Africa we the hardest of our lives so far. And we're still processing from all we saw, heard and experienced while we were there.  But there are new kinds of thankful that  left with after being there.

We spent time in a country where power isn't guaranteed.  You don't just "get" power like you do here in the states. You're lucky if you get a full 6 hours of power there (and it's typically not all at the same time..maybe from 7-9 and again a few hours after midnight..maybe..don't plan on it though.) One night we were sitting at the kitchen table in Africa and I heard the fans click on (which meant, power!) and then after we heard yells and cheers from the people outside the walls of the compound we were staying on.  Excited screams as power was on and people had lights and could see, families could cook without candle light and the streets weren't dark for a while.  As I listened to those screams I remembered when we would loose power here in the states for a few hours, and how frustrated I'd be because that meant the wifi didn't work, or that we'd have to reset everything because the power went off. My how our perspectives have changed since our time in Africa. It's amazing what a little bit of light in darkness can bring.

Now that we're home, I don't think I've ever been so thankful to drive around our town and see familiar sights.  To take a warm shower after three weeks of taking a cold one (side note, I appreciated the cold showers while there because they helped cool you down) but the feeling of having endless hot water is something many don't have.

Ice cubes, I've never been so thankful for ice cubes and cold drinks. To be able to safely drink water right out of the tap.

I'm thankful for the rough road that we had to walk to become a family of three.  For the stories we will tell our kids one day, to tell little baby girl how we traveled to Africa together while she was 7 months in the belly and came home with just 6 weeks shy of her due date, and how she got to come along on the adventure to pick up her brother. To tell Jacob stories of his birth country, and how different life is there.  To tell him all that happened in those three weeks and how it was absolutely nothing short of miracle after miracle that he came home when he did.

So today as we eat up our Thanksgiving meal until we feel like we'll burst, a piece of my heart will be with those friends we spent time with while away, new and old friends.  I'll be thinking of the bumpy roads they'll be driving down to get to their meal, the feeling of hot, humid air coming through the windows and praying that they get to experience a night full of city power while they enjoy their meal.

And we're super thankful for this kid right here, and for how far he's come just being with a family for almost a month now.  He's pretty special, and we can't wait to see what's in store for our family now that he's home with us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One more Nunes, One less orphan

It's been quite a while since we've given you an adoption update! I'll do my best to share with you where we are, and where (and when) we're going :)

A few weeks ago, we found out that we had final judgement in our case, and that a little guy on the other side of the world had a new last name, his first last name (does that make sense??) We are finally the legally parents of our little guy, and are thrilled! 

We are now waiting to get word that his passport is finished and we can go bring him home! We are anxiously awaiting the news! 

Today, we sent off for our visas, that are required to enter his country.  We should have them back in about a week or two, and at that point, we hope to have a final travel date! 

We have been quite about fundraising for a while, and are so close to our goal! We are about $2,500 away from being fully funded! You may remember back when we began our #taghisbag fundraiser.  If you want to read more check out this post.  His bag is getting full of signatures! And we would love to add you if you want to come along to West Africa with us! We've started getting his clothes ready to fill up his bag, and it's been amazing to see all the names of family and friends that have journied with us.  

So with the last leg of this journey beginning, we'd like to extend the invitation again for you to come along with us! If you'd like to #taghisbag you can donate via paypal and we will add your name to his suitcase! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Way back two years ago, we told you the exciting news that we were adopting from Ethiopia! We anxiously began the "paper pregnancy" as it's known the in the adoption world, a and long 4 months of paperwork,  fingerprints, medical exams, etc. We sent our dossier off to Ethiopia May 18th 2012 and that was a wonderful day filled with relief and anticipation of what God had tin store for our family.

Back in February last year we shared with you that we had seen our sons face for the first time! But that he wasn't in Ethiopia, he was in West Africa! And we began the process of two adoptions at the same time and prepared to bring our (then) 3 year old son home! (now he's 4).

Back in May, I wrote this post about it having been 479 days since we first saw our sons sweet face for the first time.  That was probably one of the darkest times in my life, our paperwork had been "misplaced" at the embassy and no one could find it, we couldn't really get a hold of anyone who could help us, or even knew where our paperwork had gone.  At that point I met a sweet friend who gave me some very valuable contact information for the consular at the embassy and within 2 days of emailing her our paperwork was found! And we were finally back on track.  The thing is, when you work with a country who is learning how to do adoptions, you hit bumps, and you're kind of like pioneers, and you have to be able to roll with the punches (of which, I'm not very good at).

Anyway, that post in May, like I had mentioned before, was at one of the darkest times in my life.  We had been given a estimated travel date, at that point which had come and gone. and I didn't know why God was doing what He was doing.  It made no sense!

Until one day...

I had to get one more vaccination to be ready for travel.  And I had this odd feeling that I should take a pregnancy test.  Trust me, I've taken thousands before so it really wasn't that foreign to me.  Although it was funny to be trying to hide the pregnancy test in the grocery store, worried someone might see me (what our pastor doesn't know is that I did see him and his son in the store that day, and totally hid the test! haha) Anyway, it was on the day of our church's second business meeting so I was already distracted and went home, took the test and watched two lines show up very quickly.  Screaming at Justin (not exactly how I every imagined this would happen) I had him come up, he quickly said "Um, I think you should take another test" and I downed some water and took it again, and low and behold, positive again.

Baby girl Nunes will be joining her big brother Jacob and Justin and I January 2015.  That's right, we found out yesterday this little lady will be joining her two big brothers (Jacob and our little Ethiopian!)

You might be wondering, how will this affect your adoptions?! The amazing part is, other than God knowing before time began that not only Jacob will be our son, He knew that Jacob needed a little sister, and He formed our family before time.  The fantastic part is, our agency is fully aware and very supportive and excited, I've been cleared to travel with little girl in tow, and we will be going to get Jacob soon! (we are not sharing dates right now, but please be praying things continue to move) And not only did God plan for Jacob to have a little sister, he knows that there is a little boy in Ethiopia who will need a family, and he knows who! (even though we don't yet ;) ).

So, if you've been keeping up with our tribe, we'll be finishing up one adoption very soon, having a baby, then waiting for a referral on our second adoption! Our house will be FULL! And we couldn't be more excited!

Please keep lifting up our adoption, God is moving in mighty ways and we have seen  His hand in every inch of our families story.  We are planning to go soon, and we would appreciate you keeping our entire family in your prayers!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


We first saw our son's face 479 days ago.

We've been waiting for our last document before we can go to court for 30 days (this was supposed to take two weeks, obviously not the case)

We really thought he'd be here by now, a lot of other people did too.  But he's not.  He's still in Africa, and we're still here in America.

This week marks 2 years since we sent our dossier off to Ethiopia and became a "waiting family".  Six months before that, were filled with tons of paperwork, fingerprints, doctors visit, interviews, home visits, etc. A TON of stuff.  It has gone fast, but at the same time, it's gone slow.

Adoption is a lot of hurry up and wait.  Hurry up and fill out this paper and then wait a long time..get this done super fast, so it can sit on a desk somewhere.

Oddly, it reminds me of this big tree in our back yard.  It's my favorite tree, and we have no idea what kind of tree it is.  It shades the whole house in the summer time, and offers a nice place to stay cool when you're outside, I really want Justin to build me a swing on it, but we'll see ;)

Anyway, it's the kind of tree that slowly drops it's leaves all year long, we're forever having to rake up the yard no matter what time of the year it is, eventually around December, it's fully empty and it just sits for it looks dead.  This year, I really thought it was dead, I thought California's "deep freeze of 2014" had killed it (all my mid west friends can laugh at that as we had about two weeks of "freezing" temps) but really, I thought it was dead.  Everyday I would check on it, seeing if it had sprouted any new life, and every day it seemed like it hadn't.  I remember thinking "Great, now we have a dead tree we're going to have to get rid of, it's going to be so expensive to remove and then it's going to be so hot not because it's dead and there will be no shade now."

Until one day...

It was full again. 

In college, my RA and I went on a walk, it was the winter and it was cold and rainy (it was Portland) and I was pretty depressed and missing the dry days.  She told me "You know, spring always comes.  It might feel like it is taking forever to get here, but it always comes." 

Spring always comes.  

He will come home. 

"Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us" Colossians 1:9-12 The Message. 

Will you storm the gates of heaven with us tonight? In prayer that our final document will be issued and we can go to court? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In which I learned a valuable lesson about adoption, while locked in the chicken coop...

I've been in a pretty grouchy mood. I've tried hard to keep my head up, but have started to grow weary.  This last leg in the adoption journey is probably the hardest yet.  Having absolutely no control, knowing we're so close to going, and waiting on others for documents.  Other's who operate in an entirely different way then we do here in the U.S of A.

If you follow me on Instagram, or Facebook, you may have seen that I locked myself in the chicken coop for real.

I wish I could have made this up, but nope, it happened.  Let me walk you through it.  The coop was smelly, and I needed to clean it and change the water, so I did.  After I brought in the water jug, I closed the door so the ladies wouldn't get out, got everything settled and turned around, and..the door was locked.

So I pulled out my phone (thank you Jesus for modern technology) and called my husband dreading his response when I ask him to run home and let me out of the chicken coop.  I'll save you the details but there was a long pause on his end, then lots of laughing and when he could finally contain himself, he told me he'd come home. 

So I sat there and waited, and waited and waited.  In the coop, with nothing to do but think. And wait.

Waiting has been such a big part of our lives over the last two and a half years in the adoption journey.  Waiting on people, waiting on documents, waiting on governments, etc. So this was ironically such a  reflection to where I was.  And quite humbling as I sat in the coop with chicken poop lingering. 

But here's the thing, I knew Justin would come eventually and I would get out and not be waiting anymore, I waited for him with expectation knowing he would come, just like I know eventually we'll meet our son and bring him home, even though it feels like forever. 

So that's my valuable lesson for the day, sometimes God teaches you things by forcing you to stop and think and pray, and wait...even if it's in the chicken coop. 

“She woke each morning with a glow of hope,
not because a new dream had been born,
but knowing the one she carried
inside her heart would last.”
-Jodi Hills

And hey! Our #taghisbag is still going on! And we're at $2,717!!! You can find out how you can come to Africa with us here

Monday, April 14, 2014

#Tag His Bag

To our village,
We're nearing the end of our journey. We're not done yet, but we're getting close.
We're awaiting our last document before we head to court and become a mom and a dad
We should know our court date in 2 weeks or so
Then, we will go and meet and bring home our son! 

We're inviting you to come along with us, all the way to Africa!!! 
Interested?! Check it out! 

Our plane tickets are about $1,900 each for our flight over to West Africa (for the two of us) 
Then about $1,000 each on the way back (times three)  

Then we have some on the ground expenses to cover, like lodging (we'll be staying in missionary guest houses, court documents and medical appointments) 

Donate any amount,  get "tagged" and come with us! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I stay

***update: Giveaway closed, winner Lorna Carnahan*** congratulations!!!! 

I'm so excited to have you here today, because I've had the awesome opportunity to partner with several of my Noonday Collection sisters over the next few weeks to share our hearts behind Noonday Collection, and a bonus-each one of us is giving away something Noonday! So fun, right?!

Ok, so this is my second time on the Noonday blog train.  Last season I shared about my trip to Rwanda, and what an impact that had on my life (if you wanna check it out go here).  That time in Rwanda happened almost a year ago, and it's almost like I'm just now coming out of that time and beginning to process what happened there, and beginning to process what it was like meeting some of the women behind the look book pages.

So Noonday.  I've been asking myself recently, what is my Noonday story, what brought me to Noonday, what keeps me here.

I wish I could show you a picture of our little boy, but we can't just yet! But he's one of the reasons that keeps me here, him and millions other like him.

When I started with Noonday our dossier (ton of adoption paperwork) had just been sent off to Ethiopia.  I desperately wanted to be involved with Noonday but my husband told me we needed to get our adoption paperwork off and so I waited, but you better believe the day it went off, I emailed them.

I had my phone interview with Jessica (Noonday's founder) and just got off the phone so encouraged, talking with someone who actually gets it, get's what I was feeling and my desire to do more.

Little did I know the relationships that would be formed with other women over these two years who felt the exact same thing.

Over this past year and a half, I've realized the need for orphan prevention, and what needs to happen for that to take place, and honestly-it won't be all good until Jesus comes back, but we can make a dent in it, and sustainable income opportunities for the poorest of the poor is a huge start.

That's what keeps me here. I want to stay here for the mom who thinks her only option is to give up her child, for the girls who were just trafficked and exploited, for families who need help fundraising to bring their children home, for justice to be served.

I used to feel embarrassed, thinking that people would get mad at me for asking them over and over to host, over and over to purchase.  But honestly, I don't care anymore because I met some of the faces behind the look book and they're worth it. They're worth fighting for. I will continue to tell their stories, because I honestly know that is what God has called me to do, and that's really something that's taken a long time for me to admit, that it's more than just selling you a paper bead necklace (although they're awesome and you should buy one) it's me connecting you to another person on the other side of the world who you can directly impact and who you can provide hope to.

Photos courtesy of Wurzbach Fisher Photography 

So I'm giving away a Market Tote from Rwanda.  I met the Rwandan artisans last year when some friends and I took a trip over, and recently my heart has ached to go back to the land of a thousand hills. So I thought I'd bring Rwanda to YOU! And give away a market tote! So go ahead and enter! I'll announce the winner on Friday!

And make sure you head over to Paige's blog for yesterday's giveaway and over to Baylors blog tomorrow for a giveaway too!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Well, here's a little update for you finally...

I sit down to write this post with my hands still shaking, still in awe of what the last week has brought.  I want to write it down so that I don't forget, because even though it's only been a week things kind of blend together already, and the things that happened are important for me to remember.

Last week started off as a hard week, we still had no idea when our paperwork would come, we were in such a state of limbo.  I felt like we just kept telling people "hopefully we'll hear something this week" over and over. and over.

Last Wednesday I prayed so hard that our paperwork would move. I had NO idea literally what to pray for but I knew that I needed to pray. So I did. I was pretty raw and kind of mad in my prayer, but I knew that I needed to be honest, so I was.

The next day (literally like 12 hours later) we got word that our money was requested.  Now, that wasn't a huge deal, we knew that they needed our money to release the documents but had to idea how long it would take after they got it to release them. So while that was a huge relief, we still really had no news, but any news in West Africa is good news, so even though it was small we took it!

So backtrack, Thursday our money was wired.

Then Monday, that was a hard day.  Our little guys birthday is coming up in a week, and so I prayed again, I prayed boldly that we could get our paperwork filed before his birthday.  I knew it was a long shot because we really had no timeline. But I prayed anyway.

Justin jokes with me that I just need to get mad, and get "at my whits end!" because that's when stuff usually happens.  When we feel like we're at the end.

Yesterday morning an email pops up "We have your documents! They came last night!"
I just started at the email, feeling like I couldn't breathe, and my hands were shaking. I remember calling Justin crying, so relieved.  The government in little mans country had approved us to be a family. 

So yesterday we signed our documents, and sent them off to USCIS (immigration) petition for "little man" to be recognized as our son and to start his visa application.  

And then we ran (almost literally) to the post office to get that baby sent off! 

Excuse the terrible picture quality, it was dark and rainy. And I couldn't sit still. 

So here's what's next! 
We wait for US approval, and once they issue that the US will issue our "Article 5 letter" which tells the country that we can go to court, and then we go to court. 

And then we GO! 

It will probably be a few months, maybe 2, two and a half. 

But it's close, much closer. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Race With a Never Ending Finish Line...

A year ago tomorrow we saw our son's face for the first time..a simple, innocent email that has drastically changed our lives.  I remember it so was a Tuesday night and Justin had come back from playing basketball with his city league team like he does every Tuesday.  It was an ordinary day, much like any other I guess.  I remember it was later, maybe after 10pm.  This message popped up in my inbox from a friend, it was super basic and I definitely had no idea what to do with it.

I read it to Justin, we looked at some pictures of a sweet little boy on the other side of the world.  I didn't feel anything like I thought I'd feel when we would see our child's face, what I felt, felt normal, but not overly emotional, I can't really put into words what I felt..I definitely felt a tug to advocate for the little guy but I remember thinking "God what they heck are you doing? We aren't supposed to be adopting from ******, we're supposed to be adopting from Ethiopia.  We're doing what you asked, we widened our age, we widened our parameters, duh, we're doing what we're "supposed" to be doing.  We felt like we needed to be ready to fill a need. Now what am I supposed to do now that I've seen this little do I advocate for his country even open to adoption (and then I check the country stats on the US Adoption website) ok yes I see it's open and oh yes I see that about 10 adoptions have come out of there since 2002, now that's definitely going to be a tough thing to advocate.."

So I responded back, pretty basic, and shut the computer.  I literally had no idea where to start, google wasn't much help at all, and I remember thinking "what in the WORLD is God trying shake things up for?!"

...There's a little glimpse inside my head at this time last year.

This verse popped into my head a lot during that time.. “Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act.”  Proverbs 24:12

I knew it wasn't by accident that we saw little mans face and began to learn his story.  I had no idea how to advocate for him, and so in my exploring on how adoption in his country works, it was obvious that WE were his family and WE were supposed to answer the call to fight for him.  And once we knew that, everything changed.  It just felt natural, and normal. We've looked at his pictures multiple times a day for the last 365 days. We've (ok me) may or may not have cried at the desk of the US State Department in Sacramento last summer when something was wrong with our paperwork and explained to the lady behind the counter that I will NOT leave until it's fixed because didn't she understand that's our son and every delay causes more of a delay?! (one day I'll go back up there with him and introduce them ;) ) 

God funded our Ethiopian adoption right before we saw our son (who was in a different country) so right when we wanted to take a deep breath and rest a little on the financial side God says.."Guess what?! It's time again!" And the provision poured in..through amazing ways..ask me about the email I messed up for a grant while we were in Rwanda, here's a little glimpse..I thought I blew it with this grant..I totally was typing this long email on my CELL phone in Africa (those of you who have been can laugh at that) then I sent it and realized my auto corrected totally messed up..which in turn sent an email to the organization that read this in the subject line "Grant HELL application" it was supposed to say "grant help application" and it was supposed to go to our social worker, but instead went to the grant organization reading hell. I died. 

But we got the grant..that covered almost HALF of our West Africa adoption expenses. The lady at the organization was so gracious and told me my slip up made her laugh after a long day..well I'm glad one of us laughed..

Whenever I felt at the end this year, alone and unsure of what was going to happen next..we got news..big or little, any news is good news in West Africa. It was like little reminders of God tapping us on the shoulder and saying "I never said it was going to be easy, but I told you I'd be here." And He was (and still is). Even when we forgot. 

...although there might not be lots of updates on here, things are progressing! Our paperwork is right where it needs to be right now, and we're (supposedly) waiting on one last letter to get our little guys docs sent over here and work on the US side. Slowly, but they are progressing none the less! It's like we're running a race with a finish line that gets pushed back further and futher as soon as we turn on what we think will be the last lap..but we're still running, dragging and gasping for breath at times, but we're still going. confident that God will finish what we started. 

This has been one of my favorite songs in this journey, when I'm bummed and feel defeated I turn on some good old SCC and it reminds me why we started, and that HE will finish what He started. 

Here's a link to an interview about what's behind the lyrics, so encouraging. 

On February 14th, our little guy will turn 4! We're hoping and praying to have big news by his birthday..will you pray with us?