Saturday, February 22, 2020

It's a Boy!!!





Wow, is right!  Tuesday Feb. 18 we received word that our 5th child was born.  We named him Makai Samuel Lee.  (Makai the Ateso form of the prophet who spoke truth in 1 King 22, Samuel because it means we asked God for him, and Lee after my dad.)

We got the call Tuesday afternoon as Josh, Lydia and I were driving home.  A baby boy was born in Detroit and he was ready to take home. Wow!  There were tears and we were shocked.  How quick it can happen!

This is no lie, that morning I read Luke 11:8-11 where Jesus tells us to be bold in our prayers and that we should ask, seek and knock and He will answer, be found, and open the door.  So I prayed that the adoption would happen TODAY.  And God did it.  Wow!

So Makai was born three weeks early by c-section.  He is 6lbs 7oz and 19in. long - perfect!  And he is healthy.

The hard part is that his mother couldn't care for him and did a very selfless and loving act of carrying him to full term and handing him safely over to the hospital to find a family to love him.  Pray for this woman wherever she is.  May God's love surround her.

The rest of the day was a flurry of activity, excitement, sharing - all still in shock.  Josh and Lydia got "Welcome Baby Boy!" balloons so when the kids got home from school we could tell them the big news.  How fun to see them see the balloons and ask.  Grace was the best.  She burst into tears letting out all the emotions of months of let down and waiting.  We called the grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and shocked them too.  Everyone just kept saying, "Wow."  Just like I did.  We stopped by my sisters' houses to get some baby things and to our storage to get the clothes we had ready there.  It all just seemed unreal at this point.

We received the call about our baby Tuesday afternoon and by Wednesday morning we were driving to Detroit to meet him and bring him home.  What a rush!  Josh and I met with Adoption Associates to do some paper work then headed to the hospital.  We were so excited!  I am not sure you can describe the feelings of meeting your adoptive child for the first time, but I can say I had complete peace.  We met the social worker who told us how cute Makai is.  We walked into the nursery and saw him. Cute as a button, black hair, tiny bundle, precious and so perfect.  I cried, as I am writing this.  There is just so much emotion.  So much love.  I just marvel at this perfect, beautiful baby boy who God saved and who God entrusted to us.  I just love him so much and think he is incredibly special.  He is a miracle.

Josh and I spent the next couple hours just holding Makai, loving on him, getting to know him, and just looking at our new baby boy.  It was just one of those surreal times in life.  Some of my first reactions were what a beautiful baby, round face, tiny, very calm and just so sweet.  The nurses were super nice to us and so happy for us.  The nurse said he is a very good baby.  We were very encouraged by everyone. 

Before we left the hospital we changed Makai.  He woke up and showed us his beautiful dark eyes.  He looked at us as if to say "who are you."  Josh talked to Makai and he just studied Josh.  It was a super sweet moment.

We walked out as proud parents with our new son!  It was so hard to ride almost three hours home having to only look at him and not be able to hold him.  We picked up our kids from my sister's house and they got their first look at their new brother.  It is all so unbelievable.  It took time for them to grasp it all too.

We are all now settling into the reality of this and life with a new born.  Makai has lots of people who want to hold him.  I don't put him down much - I have 9 months to make up for!  Bonding is pretty special.  We get time together each night when everyone else is sleeping.  Makai is a very sweet, good, quiet, and alert baby so far.  He eats well and loves his pacifier!  I love when he is awake and just looks at us - gets to know us.  I just look at him and smile.  Take lots of pictures.  He is so cute.  Such a gift.  What bliss.

Our kids are so very happy to have a little brother!  And they are all a lot of help.

God has answered so many prayers!  I prayed that the adoption would happen by February, that we had to be here right now, that we have time to complete the adoption process...And God gave me the desires of my heart just because He can and He loves us - a boy, a different or mixed race, a good baby.  God's hand is all over this adoption and this timing.  He has given us Makai.  It is an amazing thing to be chosen to be someone's parents.  To be entrusted with such a precious life.  What a privilege.

We praise the Lord who is faithful, trustworthy and good!  He prepared us, prepared the way, orchestrated all things,  knit together Makai and saw his unformed body in his mother's womb, He knew the days of his life before one came to be...Oh God, You are too wonderful for me to understand!  I worship you.  Thank you for Makai Samuel Lee Shaarda.  We asked You for him.  He is a gift from You.   



(We cannot post pictures of Makai yet at this point in the legal process, so more to come soon!)



Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Snow Fun!

Hello from Michigan wintertime



Ice staking on my parents lake.




Ice sculptures in Grand Rapids, MI
We didn't last long it was TOO cold!

Back ice staking!

Uganda cousins ice skating


Luka wanted to try ice fishing so here is Grandpa and Josh fishing after Luka got bored.

Sledding behind the 4 wheeler!

Just so you know, yes it can be very cold!


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Prayers for Emalai's Recovery

Emalai had her tonsils out Feb. 6.  She was so brave and had a lot of peace overall.  I was proud of her.  She is now recovering at home.  She is quiet but seems to be doing well so far.  Please pray for a good recovery and full healing for Emalai.

Monday, January 27, 2020

11, Flying, MI and More

Luka turned 11 Jan. 14!
So thankful for him!  He is growing up and EVERYONE tells him how much he looks like his dad.  I told him that was good because dad is handsome. :)  Luka is a tenderhearted, fun loving, active, silly boy.  He always makes us laugh, is a kind big brother to the neighbor boys, and most of the time you can find him playing sports.  He loves the Lord and we love seeing him grow in Christ.  May the Lord bless you and keep you Luka!  We love you and God does too!




Luka's favorite job flying co-pilot on MAF from Soroti to Entebbe airport in Uganda.

Flying over Obule and our house!
Flying from Dubai to Chicago - 14 hours!
Our beautiful home away from home at Jamestown's Shalom House!
Thank you Jamestown CRC!!!

First day of school for Emalai!
Josh was giving advice to the kids as they went into school and serious as can be Emalai told them, "and don't burp in class."  Funny girl!

Luka's first day in 5th grade at HCS
First day at Unity for Grace!
So we are back in Michigan.  Thank you for all your prayers!  It is an adjustment but overall is God's peace.

I also wanted to add a praise for our New Years Eve with the youth in Obule.  There are no pictures because it was dark but maybe pictures can't capture it.  I stood there under a canopy of stars at mid night with about 65 youth singing and dancing praise to God and thought, "This is exactly where I want to be!  There is no better place or greater joy."  I praise God for the youth in Obule that we get to live life and see grow in Christ.  We are blessed each time someone in the community asked what has happened to the youth in Obule or thanks us for the work we have done.  To God be the glory in the youth and in 2020!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Wedding Day

Lydia, Grace and a few of their friends were in a wedding Jan. 4.  Emma and his wife Priscilla come from our church but now live in Soroti where they were wed.  It was a month of weekly meetings but it was worth it in the end.  It was a fun day and a beautiful wedding!
Rehearsal the night before the wedding (very American to do that!). 
It was a very organized and timely wedding for Uganda.

The girls and I did several trial hair dos the week of the wedding trying to find the right ones.


Beautiful Bridesmaids or maids as they say here.
They rented these dresses for less than $3!





Lydia and Grace with their friends Rhoda and Priscilla 


Our Obule children :)
Samson, Kokus and Tom


Lydia and Grace walked into the wedding together dancing down the aisle.
Josh preached at the wedding




Luka and Emalai looking good too!

For weddings here they change their dresses for the reception.
These are their adorable changing dresses they get to keep.

Dancing all the way back in!