Our Hearts are Healing (he's home)

Although I mentioned it briefly on social media this summer, I haven’t talked much about the fact that our oldest is home. Why, when I cried out to you about him leaving, would I not shout from the mountaintop that we’re together once again?

JPEG image-F421D8ED52ED-1.jpeg

Well..quite honestly, I AM shouting from the mountaintops! I’m just doing it at home instead of online. The internet is an interesting place and being authentic and open via blog and social media is important to me because I know I’m not the only one going through hard-stuff. I never want anyone to think my life is easy or perfect or unattainable.

Because they truth of the matter is…

We have been through some hard, HARD stuff over this past decade.

I know it’s easy to use social media to highlight the good and gloss-over the bad. Or the flip-side and highlight the bad because of drama’s sake (I’m lookin’ at you, reality tv). Other times, we target the hard stuff for a good reason like wanting prayer.

What I’m wrestling with though is the difficulty of doing any type of deep sharing when I’m not the only person in the story. I struggle knowing how much to tell people when the story is not entirely my own. I want to tell details because that’s the kind of person I am, one who wants to portray honesty and reality.

But the plain truth is…the details do not belong to me.

photo 3.jpg

What I can tell you is that we follow a BIG, MIGHTY, and GOOD God.

We have a Father in Heaven who truly is involved in our lives and cares deeply about all aspects as we go through them. This REALLY, REALLY hard time when our oldest left became a sweet part of our story because it strengthened his faith and the knowledge of what family really means.

So those of you with children (parent, spouse, etc) who have left, know I grieve with you.

Keep falling to your knees. Don’t give up praying that the Lord only allow them to go so far. Be as available and loving as you can if they do intermittently call, text, or message. I know not all stories end up in a good place like ours currently is, but when I initially posted this post, I cannot begin to tell you how many messages I received about children/brothers/sisters/even parents being gone for 15-20 years and now having relationship again.

After decades, they came home.

photo 2.jpg

I’ll be praying it’s not that long for your loved one. But as for us, we will continue serving the Lord…no matter how many hearts reside within the walls of our home.

Would love to share more. Perhaps one day he’ll give me permission.

Clinging to Joy,


Want to hear more about our story and how God flipped it all upside down (in the best way possible)? Click the link for Beautifully Interrupted and see how an interrupted life can be more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

My heart is broken into pieces (+ prayer printable)

If you follow me on social media, you'll have picked up that our family has been going through a really difficult time. I haven't really alluded to the what and the how...quite honestly because I could hardly say it aloud yet.

Abreham and Elsabet.jpg

Have you been in that place before? So hurt that you can hardly ask for prayer because you're so emotionally drained and don't have the energy to talk about it?

Growing up, our family had a code word we'd say if we needed help. I could call my folks while at a party, slumber party, etc, use the word in conversation...and my parents would immediately pick me up, no questions asked.


We do the same thing now for our kids, but we've even gone one step further: they know if they just need a hug or a cuddle and some mom or daddy time, they have a word they can use and we'll know they need a little extra love. They may not be capable of voicing it aloud yet, or depending on their age, they may not even be able to put a finger on WHY they feel that way...they just know they need added affection.

Anderson (32 of 138) copy 2.jpg

We've all needed a little extra love over here lately because our oldest son Abreham decided he didn't want to be part of our family anymore. If we were sitting over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, I'd share details with you...but both because it's a long story, several years in the making...and because I'm still trying to figure out how much and what to share with the world, I won't pour everything out right now.

anderson_39 copy.jpg

What I will tell you is he's an 18-year-old Junior in high school who has lived through a lot of trauma in his life. He's angry, he's broken, and he thinks he's better off alone because he can hide in his pain and not feel. Because feeling, to him, is weak. And it's painful.

We know he's safe, but I will leave details at that.

Abreham and Elsabet 1.jpg

I am devastated.

Absolutely devastated.

I ache every moment of the day with the loss and rejection and sadness. I'm angry, worried, and full of sorrow, all at the same time. As I go through the cycle of grief, over and over (and over), I give it back to my Father in Heaven to is with my son and I'm reminded he's not actually alone.


The thought of it is incredibly painful, but I'm ready for God to allow Abreham to be broken...but not destroyed.

And that's what I'm desperately praying for: that God only allows him to go so far. Just like the waves are only allowed to come so far onto shore, I pray that the Lord only allows Abreham to drift from Him so far. It's so hard knowing our kids need to learn from failure sometimes. They need to try things and realize growth is hard and it's even harder when bad decisions are being made.


Ben and I always say we want to prepare our kids for the road, not the road for our kids...and this is yet another example of how we cannot soften things for our children at every moment. This is obviously a much larger situation than simply allowing them to see what happens if they decide to wear flipflops to school when it's 35 degrees. This is huge.

This could potentially change the trajectory of his entire future.

And that may be even harder than him deciding he doesn't want to be part of our lives anymore.

anderson_33 copy.jpg

And the incredible hurt and pain he's cutting into his brothers and and sisters hearts, is one of the hardest parts on my mama-heart. But hearing the prayers of these little ones for their big brother, is awe inspiring. They pray for his "hurt heart", they pray for protection, and they pray that He comes home.

Anton and Abreham 1.jpg

While praying a few days ago, the Lord whispered in my ear "I will bring him back to you." I knew better than to ask when...it may be 10 days, it may be 10 months, it may be 10 years...I just don't know.

But HE knows.

And I will rest in that because He is God and I am not.


Abreham, I love you.  You are not alone and can never stray too far that God won't pour His love out onto you. There's nothing you can do that He won't forgive if you ask with a sorrow-filled heart.

The Lord is walking beside you, Abreham, even when you don't want us to be. I will pray for you always. I will love you always.

- Mom

Meeting Abreham.jpg

Prayer these days has been a constant companion, though sometimes there are times it is hard to do so. I created this printable to remind myself of who He is and what He can do. Our God is a BIG God, and one of deep love for us.


When I have a hard time praying, I'm simply going to read this. If you need it, I pray you print it out, too. Head to The Library to download. As always, the password is at the top of all my emails, so if you haven't subscribed yet, feel free and do that today.

Love you friends, thanks for walking life with me.

Take Joy,


Anderson (34 of 138) copy.jpg

adopting older kids + hilarious stories

We had a big downpour here in Denver a few weeks ago. It made me homesick for Seattle while playing in the chilly grey day with (another) cup of coffee warming my hands.

Rain, shine, or snow, we walk to school. We're kind of like the US Postal Service like that.


Walking home from taking Laith to Kindergarden that day, Elsabet enjoyed puddle-jumping and found a few slimy looking worms alongside the curb.

Picking them up in her plump little toddler fingers, I burst out laughing.

Shortly after we brought she and Abreham home from Ethiopia, we had several days of rain. Abreham, being the sweet helper that he is, wanted to go out and work in our backyard (because quite honestly it was a disaster and I think that bothered him). He worked tirelessly first with the rake, then with a broom...and then I heard shrieking.

He spoke very few English words at the time. And those he did speak were weighted with a deep accent, often causing us to misunderstand. But after hearing him yell "Snakes! Snakes!" at the top of his lungs, I ran outside.

Seeing me amidst the puddles, he looked up. "Mommy! Snaaaaakes! Everrrywhere!" he cried, rolling his r's thickly.


I was bewildered. We live in Colorado. And in the city, for goodness sakes. We don't have many reptiles slithering around. And if we do perhaps get the infrequent gardener snake, we would likely see only one.

I walked cautiously closer to where he now stood with a large shovel, chopping at the ground with all his might. And I couldn't hold back my laughter.

"No, Abreham! No Snakes. Worms."

He looked at me confused.

I took the shovel from him and pointed at the 20 or 30 halved worms wriggling around in the puddles at our feet. "Worms, not snakes. It's ok...worms are good. They help the plants grow"

We came back inside together, leaving our muddy shoes at the door. Fixing him some tea, we sat together at the kitchen table chatting, knowing for the rest of my life I'd chuckle when seeing these little slimy guys on rainy days.

There are so many funny stories and experiences we've tucked into our memories, having brought home our older boys.

I wish I could have you over for a glass of lemonade today and share some more with you. Gosh, I'd have you rolling on the ground in hysterics. But I suppose I'll have to wait for another time.

pink double stripe

Whether you're an adoptive parent or not, I KNOW your kids have done + said the funniest things.

What HILARIOUS stories have your kids done that still leave you chuckling?? 

Do tell...I'd love a good laugh today!

take joy-signature-new-pink