Happy Birthday, Layla Bean!


Our Layla Bean turned one on February 10!  How has it already been a year?  Last year on February 10, we had no idea that Layla was born.  And here we are a year later celebrating her birth!  We are so grateful that this little girl joined our family!  She is sweet, stubborn, happy, determined and oh-so-cute!

Love you Layla!  Happy Birthday!

Of Crohn’s disease, Adoption and Gratitude

I’m just going to jump back in here…


Hi. So, furlough has been…well, not what we planned.  It came suddenly (for very good reason.  Yay Layla!) And it’s been a ton of travel and a lot of doctor visits.  We have been to Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and California.  That doesn’t include all of the states Nathan drove through on his way from AZ to MI and back again.

Two weeks after we arrived, we found ourselves in the hospital with two-week old Layla sick with RSV.  Thankfully she was the “healthiest RSV baby in the hospital” and was released a few days later.  Still…not fun to rush your newborn to the hospital with a 104 fever at 12:00 a.m.

Two months after we arrived, Nathan starting having a Crohn’s flare-up.  And now, 7 months later, he is still in the midst of it.  He is on a new fancy medicine with promises of being “disease altering.”  It will take 12-14 weeks to know if it is effective or not.  He’s on week 8.  If it is effective, he will potentially be on this medicine for the rest of his life.  But words like “disease altering” give us hope that it could be amazing! Most likely, he will need to have surgery come December to remove the parts of his intestines that are too damaged, but the doctors want to give the meds the full 14 weeks before they decide if surgery is necessary.

In happier news, we completed Layla’s adoption on September 29.  We were in the courtroom a whopping 8 minutes, and just like that, one little bang of a gavel, we officially have a daughter!  Layla is this amazing little ball of happy.  Seriously, I think God totally knew we needed this baby at this period in our lives.  She is such an easy baby!  And, oh is she a joy-bringer!


Furlough has ended up being longer than we expected. And more doctor visits than we expected. And more travel than we expected (20,000+ miles on the car). But we are grateful to be in America where there is great healthcare and Taco Bell. We are grateful that we will get to meet our new niece when she’s born (any day now!) We are grateful that we will be able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. We are grateful for our awesome churches and supporters who have been so understanding of our extended time away from Indonesia. We are grateful for each of you that have asked us how we’re really doing.

Now, go eat some Taco Bell and pray for Nathan’s gut while you’re at it!


Two weeks ago, we were in Wamena for an airplane inspection, happily enjoying the cool air.  And today, we are in Nampa, ID, happily staring at our new daughter (and freezing in the frigid air)! To say that the last two weeks have been a whirlwind, would be an understatement.

On Saturday evening, Feb. 11, in Wamena, we received an email from our adoption agency saying there was a new birth parent snyopsis to view.  This has happened 14 times since we completed our home study, so we have learned not to get our hopes too high.  But we read the synopsis and asked the agency to show our profile to the birth mom.  In this case, the baby had already been born and so they expected a quick placement.

The following morning, we woke up to an email saying that we were one of three families that the birth mom was considering!  They wanted to know how fast we could possibly get to Idaho.  After some quick internet searches, we figure out that Elias and I could be in Idaho by Tuesday.  Then the agency asked us to call; we assumed the wanted to discuss travel plans…but they actually wanted to tell us that the birth mom had chosen us!  Tears.  Joy.  Scramble!  We quickly called our families and then some people at MAF’s headquarters.  They helped us book last minute plane tickets, and by the next day, Elias and I were departing Wamena for the States.  Nathan stayed in Indonesia a few days longer so that he could wrap things up on his airplane, and get back to Nabire to pack up our house for furlough.

Travel with a 3-year-old is no joke, but Elias did amazing.  I am so proud of him.  Upon landing in Idaho on Tuesday afternoon (nearly 48 hours after we left Wamena), my in-laws, who had driven up from Arizona, picked us up at the airport.  We quickly got showered and a change of clothes.  By 5:30 pm we were at the adoption agency with baby in hand.  Nathan joined a few days later and we were finally all together as a family of FOUR!

And the rest, as they say, is history…foggy,  jet-lagged-while-similtaneously-caring-for-a-newborn history.  And we couldn’t be happier.
edit-9334 copy

A Good Story


I love stories.  It doesn’t even have to be a good story, I still want to know how it ends.  This is why I have trouble not finishing a bad book, or a terrible movie.  I even want to see the end of Elias’ episodes of Octonauts or Wild Kratts.  It kills me when a show is cancelled before the story resolves.

The story I’m currently living, the story of our second adoption, isn’t over.  I’m anxiously awaiting to hear the resolve.  Who will our child be?  When will he or she be born?  Only God knows, and He is the best storywriter of them all!

In the mean time, we are doing what we can to prepare.  So we have set up a site where you can donate if you are interested in helping us with the costs of adoption.  It is a non-profit organization and so your donation is tax-deductible!  You can find it here.



Belum: An Adoption Update



There’s this lovely little word in Indonesian that explains more about Indonesian’s ability to be ever hopeful than any other word I have come across.  Just this one word displays hopeful anticipation that everyone here seems to have.  Even in the face of unknown odds, this word give a glimmer of light to an other wise cloudy situation.  You know what it is?


Not yet.

Unless it is known beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is absolutely not true and will never be true, most Indonesians will use the word “belum” where we might other wise say no.  Is the sky green?  No.  Have you ever been to the moon?  Not yet!  Is you child a girl?  No.  Do you like shrimp?  Not yet!

I loved this word when we were experiencing infertility.  Do you have children?  Not yet!

So, today, the day we received another “no” about a possible adoption match (our 7th), I fully believe that God is not saying NO to us in this adoption, He’s only saying NOT YET.  There is a child out there for us.  A child that God has hand-picked for our family and we will wait for him or her with hopeful anticipation!

photo credit: http://www.thetaylormadeadventures.com

Two and a Half

My baby is two and a half years old today!  How did he get so big so quickly?

2 1/2

Everyone once and awhile it washes over me all over again how blessed I am to be this boys mama.  Out of all the kids in all the world…God put us together.  Adoption is awesome :)

2 1/2

He is silly and sweet.  And adventurous while cautious.  He talks a mile a minute and likes to tell stories.  Recently, he likes to hold my face in his hands and says, “You’re a cute baby, mama!”  He notices things, like when I am wearing new earrings, or when I have an new “owie.”  He’s a heartbreaker.

2 1/2

When Nathan comes home after a day of flying, he likes to run into his arms and knock him over.  He loves to give “all the kisses” and squeezes so tight when he gives hugs.  I hope he never grows out of that…but I know he probably will.

Sweet Elias Tate…I love you.

Eighteen Months

My baby is eighteen months old.  Where does the time go?  It somehow seems like yesterday and also ages ago that we held him for the first time.  He is one awesome kid!

Some fun facts about Elias:

DSC_7076 edit resize

1. He loves to swim.  I mean, like, really truly loves it.  He is a crazy man in the water and he has no fear!

DSC_7080 edit resize

2. He loves to help me in the kitchen.  Just about every time I’m cooking or baking, he scoots a stool over to stand next to me so that he can, ahem, “help.”

DSC_7124 edit resize

3. He wants to be a big kid.  If the big kids are jumping off the top of the playset, he wants to jump too!  We don’t let him of course…He keeps us on our toes!

DSC_7140 edit resize

4. He loves to give hugs and kisses.  I’m so grateful for my affectionate boy!

DSC_7151 edit resize

5.  He likes to help around the house, so I give him little tasks to do like putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, cleaning up his own spills and throwing dirty diapers in the trash.  He has such a happy spirit about it!  I hope that we can continue to foster that spirit as he grows.


Just over a year ago, on August 15, 2013, we went to court, signed some papers, and left as an official family of three!

We ended up being in Sentani for Elias’ “Gotcha Day” this year, but we still had a mini party with good friends, pizza, brownies and ice cream.

DSC_6877 resize

What a difference a year makes, huh? Last year’s Gotcha Day:

DSC_0254 edit resize

We sure do love this sweet boy of ours and are ever so grateful that he is forever ours!!


The One When Elias Turns One

One year ago today (today as in, March 10…not today as in March 11…because it’s already March 11 in Indonesia.  But it’s still March 10 in America…where we were a year ago.  Confused?), we were anxiously awaiting a phone call from our adoption agency to tell us that our baby boy had been born.  My phone did not leave my side.  My heart skipped a beat every time it rang.

And then, on March 12, a glorious day indeed, at 9:15 a.m., my phone rang, my heart skipped a beat and it was the agency!  He’s born!  He was actually born the night before while we slept (putting his birthday on March 11).  I called Nathan.  We rushed (bags were already packed).  We went to the agency and did a bunch of paperwork (“sign on the dotted line and he’s yours!”  Best. Signature. Ever.)  And then we made the  e t e r n a l  4 hour drive to Pocatello to meet our baby boy.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Elias newborn-1 year

What a crazy year it has been.  Elias has fit right into our family.  He has travelled all over the U.S. and the world and been such a champ about it.  He has made us laugh and cry and lose a lot of sleep.  But man, is it ever worth it!  He’s a treasure.  My little boy.

We are ever so grateful for the woman who gave him life and then selflessly gave him to us.   How can we ever fully express what a gift he is??  There aren’t enough words.  But if you, dear woman, happen to be reading this, thank you.  One gazillion times thank you for this little boy that now owns a piece of my heart.


Last Saturday we had our very first “Gotcha” party for Elias.  I know he won’t remember this one, but I want him to be able to look back at pictures someday and know that Mom and Dad were excited to say “Gotcha!” (forever and ever.)  We are so grateful that both of our parents were able to come out for the court date and the party!  Once we move back to Indonesia, we won’t have grandparents close by, so the moments they are around are super special.

Despite his angry face in this picture, this little boy loves to be outside!

Thanks for coming out everyone!

Happy family of three!