Happy Easter from The Cheneys!

Our hearts are overjoyed to introduce you to our beautiful children, Oliver Brave and Zola Jo. We’ll share more later on the story behind the kids names, it’s pretty amazing. After living in Uganda for the last 15 months fighting for our kids, we are finally HOME!

We left Uganda on Good Friday and woke up in our home in San Diego for the first time as a family of four on Easter Sunday. His redemption has been so evident in our journey, it only seems fitting that he would end this chapter of our lives on the same weekend we remember His ultimate sacrifice and the beginning of the world’s redemption story.

There are no words for the way our hearts felt walking off the plane yesterday and being welcomed home by friends and family! It was truly the best and sweetest day of my life!

Through His grace, and His grace only, we have made it through the most challenging 15 months of our lives. We experienced many trials – from Ollie fighting for his life, to me ending up in a coma in the hospital where I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) at the age of 26 in the middle of Ollie’s adoption. 2.5 months after my diagnosis, we were asked to foster a sweet girl in Uganda who was also just diagnosed with T1D, which led to her adoption and making her a part of our family forever. I knew there was purpose to my diagnosis the moment we heard about Zola. It has been the most humbling experience to be used by The Lord in this way. The last year has been far from easy, but our faith has been increased far beyond what I knew possible. We have seen beautiful redemption, we know love deeper because of these two children, and we have been wrecked by the love of Jesus. I am overwhelmed by a God who chose to show us His extravagant love for us through this journey. Words cannot express our gratitude for the ways you have fiercely loved and supported our family. We are forever changed because of glory.


Our first day home has been filled with the most precious moments and I have said “IS THIS REAL LIFE?” probably 100 times already. We were welcomed at the airport yesterday by friends and family, we cried all the tears, and have been soaking in all the firsts with the kids. Zola asks a thousand questions and their faces are filled with such joy as they discover new things. Watching them seem their own bedroom for the first time was the sweetest thing and to meet people that have prayed hard for these kids! Most of the time it doesn’t even feel real that we’re home. We have longed and prayed for this for so long, and it’s finally here! Today has been the most precious gift! God is so good and we are forever changed!

In case you’re new to our story, you can catch up over on Instagram > HERE


Thank you Kandis Marino Photography for capturing these moments at the airport!  23Getting ready to board our 16 hours flight from Dubai to LAX. The kids did way better than we expected, no meltdowns, and a whole lot of laps around the plane to keep Ollie entertained!

Dexcom has literally been a lifesaver on multiple occasions living in Uganda with Type 1 Diabetes!

5Dexcom twinning!  67 Thank you Nina & Wes for capturing our sweet family on film! 89We’d told Zola all about Starbucks and she loves green tea. We weren’t even in the car 5 minutes leaving the airport and she asked where Starbucks was. It’s pretty safe to say she LOVED having her own cup with her beloved tea. And it was the first time I had coffee in months. All the praise hands for knowing the exact amount of carbs in my drink every single time…thanks Starbucks! Oh how I’ve missed iced coffee!

Easter Sunday…the first morning we woke up as a family of four in our home in San Diego. This was the first time I have ever pushed my kids in a stroller. We walked to Starbucks with our dog, Milo, and loved watching the kids ask questions about everything they saw. I think we’ll be logging a lot of miles in this thing!

Thank you Kelly for loving our family well and capturing this sweet moment! 1

Be sure to stay tuned as we’ll be posting lots of photos of the kids over the coming weeks from our 15 months in Uganda!

We are so excited to get back to work and building, and in the meantime, we listed a ton of new bracelets and necklaces that were handmade in Uganda. These go fast, so grab them while they’re available!


Instagram > @graceandsalt
Instagram > @type1brave
Facebook > Grace & Salt
Facebook > Type 1 Brave

e-mail: or use the contact form on this site


We could not have done this year without the love, prayer, and support of all of you. You have truly carried us through a hard season! We weren’t expecting all the delays that we had with June Bug’s adoption, as in things taking about four times longer than expected, and because of it, we are running low on medical supplies. I even took my Dexcom out of my arms because we are so low on sensors that we won’t have enough for both June Bug and I till we get home, and it’s more important for her to have one than for me. We have brought or had someone bring over supplies several times now since nothing is available here and we are nearing the end of what we have left! Because our bodies rely on these things to stay alive every single day, it’s fairly urgent that we replenish our nearly depleted stock.

Tomorrow is 11 months since the day I ended up in a coma and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Two and a half months later, June Bug joined our family who had just been diagnosed with Type 1 as well. In case you missed the whole story, you can read my diagnosis story {HERE} and about how June Bug joined our family {HERE}. Between the two of us, we have pricked our fingers and tested our blood sugar over 4000 times. And we have given ourselves over 3300 injections. In 11 MONTHS! Some days I can’t believe it’s already been almost a year since I was diagnosed, and other days I feel like I’ve had it forever and have forgotten what life is like prior to diagnosis. I have forgotten what it’s like to just grab a snack from the fridge and run out the door, or to leave the house without a purse full of supplies, or what it’s like to sleep a solid night without dexcom alarms going off and nightly blood sugar checks. I have forgotten what it’s like to order anything I want off a restaurant menu, or to not freak out when I’ve taken insulin and then the server comes to tell me they’re out of what I ordered, or without asking swap out food in my meal that just doubled the amount of carbs on my plate which I didn’t take insulin for. This disease consumes your mind all day and there’s never a break or a day off. I have to be on my game 24 hours a day. And living with T1D in Uganda is 100 times harder than in America. BUT…God redeems and he brought so much purpose to my diagnosis when he brought June Bug into our family! He remains sovereign!

Thank you for the ways you have lavishly loved our family, fervently prayed for us, found unique ways to meet tangible needs, and been such a source of encouragement! Any words just seem so inadequate to express our gratitude!

If you know someone coming to Jinja, Uganda in the next week or so, can you please send me an e-mail at Since shipping is not an option to Uganda, we would need these items brought over by someone already coming ASAP!

Below are some of our current urgent needs

-Dexcom G4 Sensors (we’ll take expired ones too)
Accu-Chek Aviva Plus Test Strips
Accu-Chek Smart View Test Strips
-Freestyle Lite Test Strips

We can use any of the above strips since we have all three types of meters that those match up with. Those links above are where supplies can be purchased from Amazon.

Keary Cheney
PO BOX 230209
Encinitas, CA 92023

*Packages MUST be address to Keary Cheney or they will be returned to sender by USPS*

My friend, Lis, will collect everything and ship it to whoever is coming to Uganda the soonest! Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus!

Donations can also be made through YouCaring that allow us to continue to buy supplies. We are so incredibly thankful for the way you have loved and supported our family in this journey!



keary-3Justin has become a master at inserting Dexcom while I hold this sweet girl! He can do the whole process in under two minutes!


After inserting the new sensor into her arm, we re-start the sensor on the transmitter and in two hours it will be ready to calibrate by testing her blood twice to make sure it’s nice and accurate!

“I WILL CHANGE THE WORLD” tee from Camplight Apparel.

01.13.16-10 copyThese two are the best of buds. I love watching their sweet little relationship grow. June Bug is such a big helper to Ollie, and Ollie asks about her nonstop if she’s not in the same room as him. Oh my heart.

09.18.15 re-sized-6 copyThis one is a throwback to September on new dex day (we call it)…gosh her hair has grown so much!

Headband by: Jjajja Baby Co


I love watching their adventurous little spirits each day and the way they play together. Futbol is their all time favorite thing to do outside and I don’t hate it one bit. I cannot even believe how hard Ollie can throw and kick the ball. This once tiny, underweight baby is now a little tank. I mean those legs, you guys! Now I understand when moms say they just want to eat their babies up. And sissy love love loves picking flowers and showing me. These two keep our hands busy and our hearts even fuller.



We’re coming home as a FAMILY OF FOUR! June Bug will forever be a part of our family!

Before we left for Uganda in December, several friends would hug us goodbye and say “What if you came home with two?”. I laughed because we had prayed for siblings but we didn’t think it was possible since we had only been matched with one child. God works in funny ways sometimes ;)

minus2 copy

If you’re just joining us on this journey, you can read about how June Bug joined our family [HERE]. And then read this post :)

Fostering takes a bold and brave kind of faith. It’s not easy to welcome a little one into your family not knowing what a week, a month, or a year from now could look like. At least for me, I love easily and really deep. Maybe it’s because of my past and my compassionate heart. When we welcomed little June Bug into our family, there was no holding back how much I would show her love, tell her I love her, or allow my heart to feel love for her. She came to us on her sixth birthday as an emergency placement just days after she was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Without question we said yes and we brought her into our home, our family, and our hearts having no clue what her future would look like. We had no idea what long term plans or options were for her, but we still said yes knowing very well we could have to say goodbye.

The funny thing is that over a year ago, we had made plans to move to Uganda THIS MONTH. We would be getting on a plane right now with bags packed to move across the world and call Africa home. Our hearts were for fostering, adoption, and equipping families with skills to work in order to keep children in families. We wanted a home that could be a place of respite for kids that needed a temporary place to experience love and family until long term plans were made or they were able to be reunited with family. We wanted to use our gifts to teach men a trade, and what it looks like to lead their family financially and spiritually. After saying YES a year ago this month to adopting Ollie who at the time was extremely sick and needed medical care in the states, our plans of moving to Uganda changed because we thought he would have a child that would have disease for the rest of his life that was going to require frequent hospital stays. We were okay with God changing our plans, they just looked differently than what we had thought. As Ollie’s body was healed, mine started to fail and by the grace of God, my life was spared. God wasn’t done with this story. Now I have a disease I will live with every single day for the rest of my life. There is no cure, just a way to “manage” it. And folks, it’s a hard job to do it well. While we won’t be moving to Uganda permanently, I love that a little part of our dream for fostering came true while we’ve been here.

After waking up in the ICU from a coma and to this new diagnosis, I cried and begged The Lord to reveal his purpose in this. I had never felt so confused. At that point it had been the hardest four months. I questioned if we were living outside His will. I wondered if all the trials were His way of saying “no”. I wondered if we’d ever bring Ollie home. I kept asking “What am I missing? Are you trying to make something so clear to me and I’m just not seeing it? Are you telling us to say goodbye and go home? Why is this so hard? Why is it taking so long? Where is the glory in this?” I had a million thoughts a minute and I couldn’t seem to process any of them or even verbalize what I was thinking. I don’t think my diagnosis would have been near as difficult if it wasn’t stacked on top of so many other trials we had experienced in this season. Suffering had a whole new meaning. But redemption also has a whole new meaning to me now. I pleaded with God to use this pain and to show me his purpose of my diagnosis on this side of heaven, although I knew well that maybe he wouldn’t. We’re not promised that. But I prayed for grace and a little glimpse of his glory.

After the death of my sister, my mom constantly reminded me that God would use it for a grater purpose and to bring glory to him. Some things God did not reveal to me till years after her passing. I feared that I would go years before ever understanding why God allowed me to get Type One. I needed hope. What a gift that just barely two months after my diagnosis, June Bug came into the picture and suddenly it all made sense. The long and unexplained wait for Ollie’s process to finish was all because God wanted us here when June Bug would be diagnosed. God allowed my diagnosis, so that June would have a family that loves her and understands her disease. God took incredible pain and grief and made it new. He gave it meaning. His name was made greater and we know him in a deeper way because of it. Our hearts could not be more joyful to call her our daughter forever!

Fast forward to now. We explored every option for June Bug. We truly wanted what was going to be best for her. We talked with social workers, doctors, lawyers, and countless people here and every single one of them said adoption is the absolute best option for her, and kind of the only option. Doctors have told us that she just can’t get the care here that she needs and that the life expectancy of a Type One in Uganda is extremely short. My heart sank. I envy all the parents in the states who can call up their endo when they have questions about their child’s care. We can’t do that here. Nor can we call 911 if something happens. And we’re three hours from the closest hospital that knows even the tiniest bit about type one. I live in a state of constant tension of trusting Jesus and knowing the reality of this disease.

To make a REALLY long story short, we were at a dead end and our options were to either move here and foster her for three years before adopting her and returning to the states, or going home with Ollie and leaving her here. I couldn’t handle the idea of either option. The time that I’ve been in Uganda with Type One has been HARD and EXHAUSTING and full of a lot of fear and there’s just no way I could live here permanently. But then there’s just no way we could leave her here. Her precious life would end far too soon and the thought of that made me sick. We felt stuck and just kept praying for God to make it so clear what we were supposed to do and to open doors that needed to be open. After a month and a half of praying hard, begging for mercy for her, God opened a door and we just found out that WE GET TO ADOPT HER! Our sweet girl will get the best care in the states and she’ll always know the love of a family!

So here’s where we’re at now…praise The Lord we are so close to finishing Ollie’s adoption to bring him home! But we’re essentially starting the whole process over again for June Bug. The amazing thing is that we have lawyers and doctors and the right people advocating on her behalf. People are working double time to get her paperwork complete and ready for court! We are in the process of getting several comprehensive exams and just about every test done under the sun, and specialists reports for her from several different hospitals in Kampala to attach to her case. These things will expedite her process since she’ll be considered a medically urgent case. We have a judge that knows her story and will take her case as soon as her paperwork is complete because of her medical condition.

So right now, we are making sure all our documents are current, we have to do new medical exams here, get re-fingerprinted so they don’t expire, and some other things while June’s paperwork is finishing up! Our prayer is that we are all home as a family before Thanksgiving and we believe that is definitely possible! Sometime I get so frustrated that people weren’t advocating for Ollie when he was so sick in the way they are for June…but that’s how God intended it. Had we gone home months ago, June Bug never would have joined our family or had someone with knowledge to manage her T1D. We are exactly where God wants us to be and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Unfortunately, because Ollie and June Bug are not biological siblings and her case is totally separate, it is considered an entire new adoption. Meaning we have to pay FULL FEES (35K+) all over over again. Yeah, this makes me sick. AND I can’t come home without her because of her 24 hour care needed, meaning we have to come up with the money while I’m in Uganda, and in like a months time just like we did with Ollie. I had to just laugh because it’s almost comical. Money will never stop us from responding to the gospel and saying YES to adoption. We will owe all the money prior to going to court which could be in as early as one months time. So we’re getting really creative on things we can do/make/sell to help fund her adoption.

Justin is planning to fly home to San Diego soon to work so we can create more product to sell to raise money for her adoption. Obviously it’s not ideal and I’m nervous about being here (with T1D) with two kids (one of which also had T1D). So it will be quite the adventure for us. As Justin creates more product at home, we will be posting that as it’s available! We have some ideas of ways to raise money to fund June Bug’s adoption and we will be sharing on Instagram (@graceandsalt) as those come up!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT US – – – – – – – – – – – – – –



The beauty of digital prints is that I can design them from anywhere in the world and anyone, anywhere can download them right to their computer. All our digital prints are ON SALE for $2 each! Buy one, two, or twenty, and you can print them at home or at a lab like Costco. This is such a great way for us to raise funds for the adoption since I am able to do this from Uganda. You can even purchase them from your phone and download the files later when you get to your computer!

We created a new instagram specifically for sharing our print designs > @graceandsaltdesigns
Purchase digital prints [HERE].

Since I will still be in Africa, I will continue to book mini photo sessions in Jinja and Kampala! If you’re interested, shoot me an e-mail: or message us from the contact button above. You can see our work [HERE].

We have created a new YouCaring site specifically for June’s adoption as a way for us to keep track of how far we’ve come! The site will reflect any donations made online as well as our etsy sales and others things we do like mini sessions and such to raise money. Each week we will total our online sales and update it so that everyone can see our progress!

You guys have SO GRACIOUSLY AND SACRIFICIALLY given towards Ollie’s adoption, his medical expenses, tests, doctor visits, countless trips to Kampala to see doctors, Uganda living expenses, unexpected flights home when I was sick and Justin came back when I was in the ICU, when he flew back to Uganda, when we found out we’d be fostering June Bug, when I flew back to Uganda, social worker fees, paperwork fees, medical expenses and supplies for June’s T1D, I mean the list goes on and on. I am so incredibly overwhelmed at the way you have loved and supported our family this last year, especially through so many unexpected trials. Thank you does not do justice how our hearts feel of your generosity towards us. We are forever grateful! Living in Uganda for eight months now has been an incredible stretch for us and our faith has increased greatly as we have watched God provide in the most unexpected and dazzling ways. We feel crazy that we are doing all this again, but our hearts are to be willing to say YES to God’s plan no matter the cost or sacrifice. God has so beautifully brought June Bug into our family and we trust that he will continue to provide for her to come home!

If each one of our Instagram followers donated $1, June’s adoption would be fully funded!
Could you spare $1? Share with your friends and they could donate $1.


More than anything, we covet your prayers! Many of you ask how you can specifically be praying…

-That God would be glorified greatly
-That this season would continue to increase our faith and trust in Jesus
-That June Bug’s paperwork would be complete soon so we can bring her home
-That we would be home as a family before Thanksgiving
-That God would wow us in the way he provides for our every need, and that June’s adoption would be fully funded prior to court
-For endurance to run the race that is set before us. Some days our hearts are weary, and we need reminders that God is doing something so beautiful but it doesn’t always mean it’s easy. May we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

family-2 copybio-1 copy2family-6 copy

Much love from Uganda,

Justin & Keary


We do things pretty simple around here. We cook and eat pretty much the same food everyday 1.) Because we’re trying to live frugally 2.) Consistency in meals makes for an easier way to keep blood sugars stable  3.) There aren’t a whole ton of low carb food options (compared to the states) for June bug and I, so we stick to what we know won’t cause spikes in our blood sugar. Sunday lunch is the one meal we eat out (unless the power and water are out and we have no clean dishes because of no running water for 48 hours, then we go out ;)) and we look forward to getting out of the house, and one meal where we don’t have to hand wash all the dishes, deal with the ants, or having everyone eat at different times because there aren’t enough pans to heat up everyone’s food at once. It’s a nice change up from the endless eggs and avocado and chicken (or chili for Justin) June bug and I eat at the house. 08.09.15-11My best friend, Mary, and I had a little coffee date with June bug a few days ago. 08.10.15-10Dexcom for the win! I can’t imagine living with Type One or caring for June bug with Type One without this amazing device. It is seriously a lifesaver. Literally. 08.10.15-16 copyOnline friends became real life friends and we took a boat ride on the Nile River with them earlier this week.08.11.15-408.11.15-608.11.15-7My best friend. I love how God has intertwined our stories together, and she’s been there for me during some of the best and hardest days of my life. Of course God would plan it that she would be back in Uganda when I am. For the third time now. I love that we get to spend so much time together in this place. And I had the honor of photographing her and her sweet husband, JP’s, photos for their one year anniversary, which later turned into a Mary & Keary photoshoot ;) 08.11.15-12I love her more than all the In N Out protein style 3×3 burgers (no onions, no spread) in the world! She is simply the best. 08.11.15-1708.11.15-18I love watching this guy as a dad. He’s pretty great! And when I say great, I mean FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! 08.12.15-508.12.15-908.12.15-32