Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How The Journey To Jacob Began..Because I want to remember

We left our home on Friday October 31st around 10am after a whirlwind of a week.  We found out Tuesday morning first thing that the US Embassy had agreed on our appointment time and we needed to leave the upcoming Friday..so we had roughly four days to get all packed (for three people) and get our tickets, logistics and all the necessary arranemgnements done that you need to do when you leave the country.

I remember moments of that week feeling completely overwhelmed, wondering how we would ever get everything done.  Justin had a big youth event the Thursday night before we left that took up a lot of this time, so I needed to step it up and get all the things together. 

Let me tell you, packing for your son whom you've never met and still aren't sure of his size was not an easy task.  Also, packing when you're almost 30 weeks pregnant and nothing quite fits right isn't easy either. 

We used the nursery for our catch all spot, and so many friends stepped up and ran to the store for me for random last minute things I forgot to grab.  The piles grew and grew and I wondered how we would ever fit everyting in the 4 bags we were hoping to bring.  

We didn't fit everything. haha.  We decided to suck it up and just pay for another bag.  The funny thing was, on the way home we knew we'd each be allowed to check two bags with no fees, but on the way there, we were only allowed one bag each, but we returning as a family of 3, so you see the dilemma. 

In the midst of the craziness, some sweet friends dropped everything they were doing to take some time out of their busy schedules and pray over us and our trip.  It was so needed. We just took a break from the craziness that had filled our lives over the last few days and spent time together.  I remember leaving feeling at peace, and also anxious realizing that the next time we would see many of these people would be when we stepped foot back on American soil as a forever family.

We rode back home with a sparkler celebrating the end of the season of this wait in our lives...

We got everything packed and prayed the night before for a good nights sleep because we knew we had a few long travel days ahead, so off we drifted..the last night in our house without our little boy under the same roof.  Anxiety and excitement set in...the day was finally here...

So. Much. Paperwork. It was neatly packed, with multiple copies made and back-ups on flash drives. 

The Sacramento airport, I remember posting this picture with the title "See you in 10 days Sacramento!" 

Little did we know we would spend over three weeks in country when we were told to plan for a maximum of ten days.  We've been reflecting as a family a lot the last few weeks on that time in West Africa.  A time where our faith was tested beyond what we ever could imagine. 

That time in country was a sweet time, a time that we will always remember.  A time where we took many walks around the compound, met and said goodbye to missionaries that were forced to leave due to Ebola.  A time where we got a taste of missionary life and have a whole new respect for those who live it daily.  

It was a time where we lived on opposite time zones and treats of FaceTime before bed were one of the best times of our day.  We learned to cheer when the city power turned on, enjoy cold showers, get creative with washing laundry and fire our bread ;) 

And then we booked tickets back, against the advice of the embassy because no one really knew if the visa would get here when everyone thought it would (because West Africa.. ;) ) But we booked them and prayed, and watched that DHL tracking like no ones business. And then the day that we were supposed to leave at 6pm, we saw that the Visa had been delivered to the embassy..at noon! 

We picked it up on the way to the airport.  I remember watching out the window as we drove to the airport, trying to take mental pictures so one day we can tell Jacob about his birth country.  I remember trying to take in it all, the smells the sounds, the people, the way the warm humid breeze blew on my face as the window was rolled down.  

It was bittersweet as we said goodbye to what had been our home for over three weeks and Jacobs home for over 4 years. 

We bored the plane after our Ebola checks! ;) because one can't forget about all that.  And started the journey home, with Jacob. 

After over 30 hours of travel. We were home, and we took that coveted picture that all families dream of when they start their adoption process, the picture coming home as a family.

Jacob is home. 

And we were greeted by our village on that cold November night. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Year, for her.

Today is National Birth mothers Day.  I did not know it even existed until a few years ago when we started our adoption journey and I knew one day, we would celebrate a birth mother.  I did not realize how often I would think of her.  

When I found out last year I was pregnant with Charlotte, I thought about her even more. How did she learn she was pregnant? I knew she most likely did not have an ultrasound with a due date, and she probably did not get pictures of her tiny bean to hang on her fridge.  When I found out I was pregnant, I was nervous, excited, scared-was she too? Did she have morning sickened (or as I liked to call it ALL day sickness?) What about cravings, did she have them? Probably not like mine (taco bell burritos thankyouverymuch). 

Those first flutter kicks, did they bring excitement or fear of what was to come? As her belly grew, did she need to hide it? No one threw her a baby shower. 

When the time came for him to be born, was she scared? Was anyone with her to hold her hand through the pain? She most likely did not deliver in a hospital, but where did she? How many days did she labor? Did he come early? Late? Right on time? 

I wonder if she knows where he is now, does she know he's safe? Does she know how loved he is? 

I will probably never meet her, but there I things I just know to be true.  I'm sure she loves to dance, how could she not?! Look how much Jacob loves to dance! I know she is strong, I can just tell. I am sure she is beautiful, inside and out. I know she is brave.  

This year, on birth mothers day, I am thankful for her.  For her strength.  I hope she knows in her heart how much we love the little boy she carried in her tummy. I pray she knows how much joy he brings us, and how silly he is.  I hope she knows, he is going to do bigs things.

So today for her, we'll play a little longer, we'll be silly and eat doughnuts for breakfast and have a picnic in the living room for lunch and we'll race "motos" outside.  And I'll think of her and smile and laugh for both of us. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Using My Voice

Last August, I sat in a living room full of women, some I knew and some I had never met.  Some that had heard the Noonday story before and some who were there to hear it for the first time.  It was the night of Noonday Collection's first ever National Trunk Show. Women from around the United States (over 3500) were joining hands together one this one special night to hear about the #Styleforjustice trip that had taken place earlier in the summer.  If you aren't familiar with #Styleforjustice, last summer Noonday Collection partnered with International Justice Mission and traveled to Rwanda with a group of storytellers to hear stories of women who's lives had been changed because they had overcome injustice.  If you are not familiar with International Justice Mission (IJM) I encourage you to check them out and read more about the work that they do.

This night was even more special to me because two years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda and meet these precious artisans, and I remember standing before them and telling them how honored I was to share their stories back home in the states.  Seeing how far they'd come since I'd been there brought tears to my eyes. I saw sweet Charlotte who we traveled to the market with to look at fabric (she may or may not have had influence in the choice of our daughters name ;) )

Since coming home with Jacob, I've struggled to find my voice again, navigating though this new world of parenting (to an almost 5 year old at that!) can be tricky, and now welcoming our Charlotte any day now, it can be so easy for me to feel sorry for myself, that my life looks different and that I can't do the "big" things that I once did, but the thing is I can and I will.  Just because I'm entering a new season doesn't mean that I can't use my voice for big things and doesn't mean that I can't make a global impact right here in Fairfield.  Because I can. God gave me a voice and a passion, and while it might look different now than it did over the past few years, I believe it's my job to teach my children about the realities of our world and the opportunities we have to use our voices for those who can't speak up for themselves.  

Noonday Collection is one way that I am using my voice and will continue to use my voice.  To speak up for the men and women around the world who haven't seen justice served.  For the widows, for the orphans for women who is HIV positive and doesn't have access to medical care, for the family that doesn't have clean water.  This is why I will continue to use my voice. 

Today, Noonday officially launched their Style For Justice collection and I am pumped! Back in August we voted to see which pieces we wanted to be created and now they are ready to be purchased! This is the perfect way to use your voice right where you're at and share the powerful stories of these women. The number of pieces that were made are limited, so be sure to shop quick! Which one will you choose, and how will you use your voice?  


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 months..like 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?