March 5, 2014

in daddy's arms!

The past couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy, busy, overwhelming, blessed, wonderful and full of sorrow. We have been on a roller coaster for far too long and I'm good and ready for a little calm after the storm.

I didn't share here for safety reasons {just didn't want to shout to the world that the hubs was thousands of miles away - you understand} but I've been dying to tell you all that Dave visited our daughter last week! {I couldn't join him because of my high-risk pregnancy... my doctors advised against traveling such a far distance}.

He held her, he laughed with her, he showered her in love and prayers and he had to say goodbye to her once again. Hardest. thing. EVER. I'm not trying to be overly-dramatic...leaving the child that has been knit into your heart, a child that you love passionately and fiercely, a child that needs her momma and daddy desperately, a child that is sick ... it is the most helpless, hopeless, defeating, rip-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it, painful experience we have ever had to endure. And, my strong, tender, loving husband has had to do it twice.

Dave's trip had several purposes. The first priority was to get his arms around our daughter and remind her how much she is loved.

To remind her that we are still here fighting and waiting and praying every moment of every day for her. And, to remind her, that she is worth every ounce of energy expelled calling, emailing, letter writing and begging anyone/everyone we can think of for help; she is worth every tear; she is worth all of this heartache... she is our daughter and we will never give up fighting to get her home. 

He also was there to deliver the money raised for our Feed Their Tummies program, to meet with the team there on the ground, and to visit the children in a small orphanage across the globe that have stolen our hearts. I have so many exciting things to share about Feed Their Tummies... I can't wait to tell you all about what God has been doing to care for these precious children! Another post soon!

Of course, all of the kids wanted Dave to dance again!
LOVE the smiles and joy they all experienced that day.
I spent the entire week praying constantly, with my phone in hand waiting to receive a text or a rare phone call with any updates. I didn't sleep at all... it was a long week. I wanted so desperately to be there. It was surreal. Dave and I have never traveled overseas alone, much less to spend time with our S. I am so proud of him for all that he was able to do on this trip. I'm proud of the daddy he is and the way he leads our family with love and grace and strength.

We were able to FaceTime twice during the trip!
There are no words to express the joy of seeing this sweet face...
At a particularly low point during the trip for Dave, I received a text message from a dear friend. I sent it along to Dave and it was such a source of encouragement for him and exactly what he needed to hear in that moment. I love the words that our friend shared... a reminder that none of this is wasted.

"Jenny - I am so sorry that Dave has continued to hit road blocks!  I've been thinking about this and wanted to share this with you...having a daughter is wonderful and while the momma is a very important role, I believe that the role the Dad plays in a daughters life is so critical to so many things that I believe a momma can't even come close to giving her daughter.  What Dave is doing now, beyond getting S gifts from the Congo for each Bday (which is a very cool idea BTW), is giving her one of the best gifts a Dad can give his daughter, and all his children for that matter.  What Dave is doing is showing S that he will literally go to the ends of the earth for her and try to cross bridges for her that he doesn't know if they are even passable just for her.  Fast forward 25 years from now, when S is looking to find her match, this gift Dave is giving her now will set the bar for what she will be looking for and this will continue throughout her life and beyond.  There is no better gift that a Dad can give than to show through example of what it means to be a good dad or male figure and Dave is definitely doing that now.  This is also a good thing for your boys to see as they will walk on later in life and emulate him. I just don't want you to feel like all of this had been for naught if Dave should continue to hit barriers as eventually you will have her home and this experience and future lesson can't be taken away. Keep your head up friend."


I have so much to share from the trip... including the fact that Dave gave me the absolute best gift afterward. I had given him a little notebook to take with him so he could jot down memories and moments {I may have reminded him a zillion times not to forget a SINGLE detail, I needed to live vicariously}. He is not a "journaler" {yes, made up word} so I never expected the little book to be full of every detail from his days there. I have read and re-read the book several times since. Never without tears streaming. This is one of my most priceless treasures!!

For now, I'll leave you with the final words to me from this journal...

"I know this week has been hard on you. You have taken over our family at home with no complaint. You allowed me to go visit our daughter when I know it just tore at your heart not to be able to be there. But, you were there, Jenny. I brought your pictures, your letters, your toys, your love to S. I told her each and every day how very much mommy and daddy love her. How we longed to have her home with her brothers. She may not have understood it all, but she knows who we are. She knows her mommy and daddy love her so very much and are fighting with everything we have to bring her home. "

Someday. Someday we will have a family photo with all four of our kiddos together. Our arms will be full and our hearts will be overflowing.

Until then, we will continue to pray for a miracle. We will continue to pray for peace and sustenance for the journey. We will continue to pray for protection and improved health for our daughter. We will continue to surrender to His plans for our family. We will continue to trust that our story is not over yet. He has good, beautiful plans. We will continue to stand firm knowing that God has more in store for Dave, Ben, Nathan, Charlotte, S and myself than we can even begin to imagine.


  1. Oh friend!! How amazing that he could go see your baby girl!!! So happy for you to have that journal and facetimes and everything, even if you couldn't make it yourself! Continued prayers that God would pave a way for her to be home soon!!

    1. thank you, amber!!! and, thank you so much for the prayers!!!!!!!