A Year Ago


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I haven’t written in a while because May and June were this crazy, unexpected whirlwind of exhaustion. I could go on and on about it but honestly it’s kind of a boring story. Josh injured himself playing basketball, he had surgery on the last day of school and I spent the first 2 weeks of the summer with all 4 kids home and Josh recovering in bed. Suffice to say, it was a rough couple of weeks. But hello July! A new month and new mercies!

July is exciting because guess what was happening exactly one year ago today? I was flying home from Uganda. This seems impossible to believe, but it’s true. On June 13 we celebrated a year of Eva and Titus being ours. That was the day that we sat in that stifling courtroom in Kampala and Eva and Titus (then Matrin and Derrick) sat in my lap as their birth mother agreed to sign over her rights and prayed a blessing over us. There was weeping and exhaustion and a lot of “what now?” Followed by a month of “who knows when we’ll go home?” as we waited and waited for everything to be finalized.

So even though June 13 is THE date, July to me is THE month. Because July was when we began to become a family. When Eva and Titus began to see that this was forever. When Eva and Titus met Reagan and Charlie and they became Eva and Reagan and Charlie and Titus.  When we could finally focus on getting to know each other better and on settling in and on learning what this new family of ours would look like. And even though it was crazy and exhausting, July of 2013 was, for me, a GOOD month. It was full of hope and promise and future.

Josh and I have been really awestruck as we have considered lately all that God accomplished in this last year. The year itself was so full and so all-day-every-day adjusting that I think we’re just now taking a breath and truly seeing all the miracles. I could write pages and pages of miracles but here are just a few examples of the seemingly impossible changes that have taken place.

A year ago all Reagan wanted was for her brand new sister, Eva, to be her best friend. But Eva was afraid and threatened and wanted little to do with Reagan. She stuck close to her brother and kept her new sisters at arms length. A few weeks ago Reagan and Eva ran into the room to announce to me that on our vacation they were going to share a room and Charlie and Titus would share the other room. They spent our vacation playing and swimming together and snuggling at night as they watched Disney Junior in bed.

Reagan and Eva

A year ago the only things Eva and Titus could say in English were “How are you?” and “I’m Fineeeee.” Now they both speak in complete sentences, sometimes paragraphs, and have completely lost their old language. ONE year. Unbelievable.

A year ago Titus was still toddling around like a baby because he had been held most of his life. His belly was so distended that I honestly didn’t know how the kid kept himself upright sometimes. Now he runs and plays and looks like a little man.

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A year ago he was so serious all the time and he barely laughed. Now he cracks jokes and belly laughs all day long. Even when I want him to be serious he’s smiling that mischievous smile at me.

A year ago when Eva was corrected for bad behavior she would hide her head in her arms and weep silently, sometimes for hours. Now when Eva is corrected she can articulate not just what she’s done wrong, but that she’s sorry, and that she knows mommy and daddy love her.


A year ago Reagan and Charlotte were excited about these new siblings but pretty attached to each other and usually playing on their own. Now Reagan often pairs off with Eva and Charlotte often pairs off with Titus. And more often than not they are simply altogether making the most imaginably loud racket and having the time of their lives.


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A year ago the water was terrifying and Eva and Titus were clinging to the steps. And now, this…

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This moment, them jumping into the pool with abandon. This was the moment for me when I said, “Wow. Wow, God. Look at what you’ve done.” These are not even the same children. They are not orphans at all. Not even a little. They are Hugheses through and through and they know it.

And I can’t help but think, as I often do, of how this adoption of ours continues to deepen my understanding of the Gospel. It would be easy to see all of these little changes and look at them as the natural progression of things. To say that they were bound to adjust eventually and learn how to be a part of this family. But the truth is that things could have just as easily remained stagnant were God not opening their little hearts to understand love and trust and hope.  In the same way I can look at my own growth and think, yes, of course I’ve changed. But I am like my formerly orphaned children. Had God not reached in and adopted me, were it not for His daily, consistent, faithful fathering, there would be no change. Every change in me is a miracle, too.

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