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I have been trying for 2 weeks to sit down and tell the story of this trip I took to Uganda that led to us adopting these 2 kids. For some reason it’s been really hard for me to put the trip into words.

I think it’s because I feel like there is so much that happened in such a short period of time, and if I try to record it all it will be the longest blog post of all time (and who would want to read that? Unless of course you want to be able to say you read the longest blog post of all time).

On the other hand, if I nutshell it, I leave a lot of important stuff out. And I don’t want to leave out important stuff that God did.

So here we go. I’m just going to start telling the story, and when I get bored, or my kids’ show ends and they come flying at me or it gets too long, I’ll just stop and pick it up later, OK?

This all begins with Josh meeting with a guy in our church. He actually met with him to talk about something not at all adoption related. But he and his wife have adopted 5 children and Josh told him that we’d love to meet with them and pick their brains about adoption.

(What a gross phrase: pick their brains. ugh.)

So as they talked about adoption, he told Josh about this man in Uganda who runs and orphanage called Bethel House. He’s known this man for years. And he told Josh about all that was happening in Uganda they both got pretty excited about the idea of our church getting connected with this orphanage for those interested in adoption.

Josh was super pumped about all of this and he came home talking a million miles a minute about this orphanage and getting Four Oaks involved and maybe even adopting from Uganda ourselves one day. But not now.

See, we’d actually been pretty sure we wanted to try for another baby and talk about adoption after baby #3. And I don’t think that would have been wrong, but I know now that God had something better. And as we prayed and planned, he redirected us in His goodness.

A few days after this meeting, I pulled into the driveway after dropping R off at school and Josh was standing in the garage practically jumping up and down with excitement. And since I clearly don’t need much to get excited, I thought “Oooo, are we going on a date tonight??” Um, no. That was not why.

He had just received a call from this man he’d met with. His wife and daughter were going to take a trip to Uganda for a day and wanted to know if I’d like to join them.

I looked at Josh like he was crazy. He was like, “How could you not?!” And I was like, “Are you INSANE??”

I didn’t have a valid passport. It was three weeks a way. On the weekend I’d be traveling, Josh was preaching and then flying to Minneapolis for a conference. So he’d have to deal with the kids, prepare to preach, and get ready to go out of town while I galavanted around the world.

But somehow he convinced me that this was an incredible opportunity. That even if all I did was support these two women and learn about the orphanage this would be good.

So I expedited a passport and got my yellow fever immunization and some anti-malarial drugs and Josh’s amazing family offered to help and this was happening.

Three weeks later I was sitting at the airport by myself, waiting for the others to arrive. First of all, I was totally freaked out by sitting by by myself. No one was touching me or asking for snacks. Second, I kept thinking “Why am I doing this?”

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t having second thoughts. I knew it was a great opportunity. And while I am not a “led around by my feelings” sort of person, I did have a lot of peace about going. So did Josh. So did all of the people who were praying for me.

I just had a hard time imagining what would come of all of this.

I think God had me right where He wanted me.

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I wanted to get a post up over the weekend while Josh was away on the Men’s Retreat but, well…Josh was away on the Men’s Retreat, so of course…

Charlotte got a nasty cold

Our heat temporarily malfunctioned (in the middle of an uncharacteristically cold March night in Florida)

I took on a bunch of random household projects, which I always do when Josh is gone

Oh, and the internet stopped working. So even if I had found the time, I wouldn’t have been able to write!

I tried to fix it (by which I mean that I unplugged the router, plugged it back in and then gave up when that didn’t work), and then went back to my random projects.

I don’t know what it is about Josh being gone that makes me feel like I need to suddenly go through and organize all of our old files or remove the shower doors in the upstairs bathroom. No, really, that’s what I did. See?

Image 1

I’m not much of a planner. I think things like “I’m bored. I think I’ll go remove the shower doors.” And then I go do it, without even changing out of my purple fuzzy slippers or removing the toys from the bathtub. Josh isn’t really either. I mean, we plan our lives as much as responsible adults need to in order to function (she said trying to convince herself), but we tend to just do things without a lot of deliberation.

So over the years as we’ve talked about adoption there was this part of me that thought, “There is so much research to do, so many decisions to make, and I’m afraid that it’s going to keep us from ever doing this.”

Do we use an agency or adopt independently? Do we adopt domestically or internationally? If internationally, what country? Girl or boy? What age? When do we adopt?

God knows what we need.

Within a matter of days:

Independent adoption
International
Uganda
Girl or boy? How about both
2 and 4
Now.

I’m not saying all of those questions aren’t important. They are. And for some, most actually, the process of answering those questions is a long one. But, God answered those questions very quickly for us and we both believe it was a kindness on His part.

We had been talking about adoption again, considering the right time for it, when Josh got a call that put us on the fast track toward it, although we didn’t know that at the time.  A couple in our church with a heart for adoption made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.  She was going to Uganda in three weeks (three?!), for one day (one day?!) and wanted to know if I’d like to go with. We would stay one night, talk to Rashid (who runs an orphange) and visit that orphanage. Then we’d fly back. Crazy right?

For us that meant me leaving the Thursday before Josh had to preach, and getting back just hours after he’d already left for a conference. I’d travel for 4 days straight and then be alone with the girls while jet-lagged and exhausted, and Josh and I wouldn’t get to see each other for a week. Sounded kinda insane to me, yet we said yes almost immediately. Which is good because then I didn’t have time to talk myself out of it.

Going into the trip I thought a lot of things, but I didn’t think it would lead to adoption. At least not right away. Josh and I both saw this as an opportunity to create connections for our church in Uganda and open the door for many people to consider adopting there. We still pray that would be true! But we had only ever talked about adopting a baby, and I knew for a fact that all the kids at this orphanage were over 2 years old. So I had pretty much dismissed the possibility of our adopting, though I still prayed “Lord if you want us to adopt, show us.”

Oh how small my faith is. How big His plans are.

Obviously He did want us to adopt, and did show us, but I’ll save the story of my trip for my next post.

.

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The title of this post would imply that at some point my heart was pointed away from adoption. It wasn’t. But neither was it open to the possibility of adoption entering MY life. Adoption was a really cool, kinda radical thing that people out there did and I loved to read inspirational stories about it but never would have imagined doing it myself. Enter Josh Hughes.

One of the things I love about my husband is that for him, conviction means action. Or at least considering action. So being convinced that adoption is good necessarily meant considering adopting ourselves.

Early in our marriage, pre-kids, Josh said to me, “I think we should adopt.” I’m pretty sure I smiled and nodded and said something spiritual but inside I was thinking something along the lines of “adoption is very foreign to me and I don’t know anyone who’s adopted and I’m not sure I’m the kind of person who is cut out for it and it’s scary and what if it’s hard and I don’t know if I want to have a lot of kids and…” You get the picture.

I was scared. And I had some pretty huge misconceptions.

First, I thought there was a special kind of person who adopts. A person who I would put  in the super-spiritual category. I kinda pictured a glorified preschool teacher type who loves Jesus all the time. You know, someone who makes fun snacks and uses a soft voice and has everything organized and plans activities and always gets up early to read her Bible and has charts and systems for things .

Confession: I would not put myself in this category.

I’m super scatter-brained and disorganized. My house is kind of a mess. “But, Katie,” you say, “I’ve been in your house and it’s so neat!” That’s because I have ten closets. Ten! Who needs TEN closets?? Me, that’s who. Because that’s where all my mess hides when people come over.  My kids run around without clothes on most days because, honestly, I just don’t care if they wear clothes in the house. I don’t plan activities. We watch too much tv. I kinda try to work out but fail most weeks. I’m a project starter but rarely a project finisher.

Truth: None of this has anything to do with whether or not a person should adopt.

It took me a while to learn that. Isn’t it true that we don’t get it all together before we come to Christ? Quite the contrary; we come as we are, and His blood and His grace cover our mess. In the same way, if He calls us to do something, He does it. And He just uses us to do it, warts and all. 1 Corinthians 1 tells us He uses the weak, the foolish, the things that are not. Because He wants the glory. And He deserves it.

And the truth is that whether you are like the first person I described or more like myself, we all need His grace and forgiveness and strength, right?

The second misconception I had was that I could not imagine loving kids who I had not given birth to. Maybe that’s shocking, but it’s the truth. This fear is a misunderstanding of the true definition of love and the nature of adoption.

Love is a choice. Not a feeling. It certainly produces feelings, but it is not a feeling in itself. God chose to love me and adopt me into His family and even sacrificed His only Son to do so. This is why adoption is such a clear picture of the gospel, because we imitate what God has done for us by going to “the least of these,” choosing them, choosing to love them, and sacrificing much to give them life.

Several things happened that dispelled these misconceptions and brought me to where I am now, ready to adopt and filled with joy at the prospect of it.

I held Reagan Jessica in my arms as an infant and felt her total dependence on me for every need and the incomparable love that a mother has for her baby and understood: there are babies with no mothers, no fathers. My Reagan knew only security and love, and there were children who had never known either. And as simple as that realization may sound, it was profound for me, and my heart opened to the idea of bringing one of those fatherless and motherless and unloved children into our home. We could offer a mother and a father to such a child, but more importantly, we could teach them about The Father who loves them more than we ever could.

I began to understand that adoption is a God thing, not a people thing. God came up with the idea. As I said before, He adopted us, and we imitate Him when we do it. Josh and I read a book about this, Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore. If you have any interest in adoption at all, or if you just want to understand the theology of adoption (what God has to say about it), I seriously recommend that you read it.

And more recently, I began to read and hear the stories of women who have adopted. I got to spend a few days on a plane with a woman who has adopted five children and she was just a normal woman with a big understanding of God’s grace. And I thought, yup, I’m saved by the grace of God, too. I can do this.

Here are a couple of blogs I follow and I love them because these women are both normal and extraordinary. Normal, because they are sinful, too. Extraordinary, because they are utterly dependent upon God as they follow His call to adopt.

http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com

http://www.babyadamsjourney.com

I know you all want details and I promise they’re coming! But I couldn’t pass up a chance to tell you a little bit of my story. When this great God and Father calls us to something, He gives the strength, the courage, the conviction, the desire, the joy. That’s true for adoption, it’s true for all that He has for those called by Him.

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I’ve debated for quite some time about whether or not to start a blog.

On the one hand, why not start a blog? Everyone’s doing it!

On the other hand, why start a blog? Everyone’s. doing. it.

See, I love blogs. I read several pretty regularly and love it when I find a new one that teaches me new things or makes me laugh. And with blogs out there covering everything from Biblical womanhood to how to decorate your house on the cheap to the best restaurants to eat at to what books you should be reading…well, it just seemed to me to be unnecessary to add my voice to the blog world.

BUT, here I am starting one, and here are the two things compelling me to do so.

First, I want to be an encouragement to the women in my church and community as they fight to stay the course as children of God, saved by grace.

I teach a Bible Study at our church and one of the things I hear most from women is how distracted they are from their primary purpose – to love God and follow His Son, Jesus. We’re distracted from living out our calling, whatever that may be, by TV and magazines and blogs and podcasts that give us thousands of ideas about how to be super women but no source of strength for the task.

What does Jesus say to Martha when she is “distracted with much serving?” Awesome job, Martha, I’m so pleased with how perfect your hospitality is . NO. He says “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.” What is that one thing? To sit at the feet of Jesus. To love Him. To desire His presence and His teaching above all else. Many women hear this story and think that this gives a ‘one or the other’ ultimatum. Serve or sit at Jesus’ feet. But what is Martha’s problem? That she is serving? No, it’s that she’s distracted from Jesus by her serving.

This is the story of my life and I suspect it is the story of most women’s lives. Feeling the tension between all that we need to do and the knowledge that the one thing we need to  do is love Jesus. The truth is, we shouldn’t get rid of one or the other, but rather of the tension between the two: our sin.

Our sin leads us to value our tasks above all else: creating the perfect home or living for our jobs or homeschooling or being great cooks or DOING ALL OF THOSE THINGS AT ONCE (we’re so crazy, us women). OR our sin leads us to say, “Eh, forget it. I’m just gonna read my Bible and use it as an excuse to do nothing.” But the woman who loves Jesus does (or doesn’t do) all things in His name and for His glory. Loving Jesus frees us to serve our husbands, children, churches, co-workers, roommates, friends and communities as we ought to, with the primary purpose of loving our Savior and making His great name known.

So I guess I want to encourage women (especially the ones I know!) by telling you about my failures to do this and about the huge grace God has shown me in helping me to grow through those failures. Should be fun!

The second and kind of pressing reason I’m starting this blog is that the Hughes family is about to do something crazy (or rather, God is about to do something crazy) and I want a way to keep everyone updated.

Are you ready??

Drumroll please…

We’re adopting!

That’s right, we’re adopting from Uganda. The story of how we got here is an awesome one because we did nothing and God did everything, and I’d love to share that story with anyone who wants to know.

I also want to talk about our experience as we go. Adoption is something the church is called to, and it is our prayer (Josh’s and mine) that hearing about our experience will compel others to ask God if it’s something He’s calling them to as well.

So, check back in the weeks to come and I’ll tell you all about it…