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.

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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 ;)

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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 – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

2 BUCK DIGITAL PRINTS
#2buckprints2bringjunebughome

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].

MINI PHOTO SESSIONS
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: kearydee@me.com or message us from the contact button above. You can see our work [HERE].

FINANCIALLY
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.

[DONATE HERE]

PRAYER REQUESTS
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.

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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

Our littlest love decided he wanted to start walking this week! Oh my goodness it’s just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and he gets so excited! He went from crawling to full on walking overnight and totally skipped the take just a few steps and then fall stage. And he also has some pretty sweet dance moves, him and sissy love when we turn music on. After missing so many milestones and holidays with my family, I am just so thankful that I got to be there for this. This kid is on the move 24/7. He doesn’t sit in once place for more than 10 seconds, and he goes at 110% or sleeping, there’s no in between for this guy. He sure keeps us on our toes all day.

Our sweet friends over at Camplight Apparel deigned this shirt specifically for Ollie (while I was still in the states) and are selling them as a fundraiser to support our family while we’re in Africa. This shirt has so much meaning to us and it made my heart so happy to see the two of them getting to wear their BRAVE shirts.

They still have some available all the way up to adult sizes! Head to their site [HERE] to order! Thank you to everyone who has already purchased one! We love seeing your photos of your kiddos in them on Instagram. We hope you all have a great weekend!

08.14.15-walking-108.14.15-walking-208.14.15-walking-308.14.15-walking-408.14.15-walking-5Futbol is their FAVORITE thing right now. 08.14.15-walking-608.14.15-walking-708.14.15-walking-808.14.15-walking-908.14.15-walking-10Can you believe how big this guy has gotten? I never could have imagined that he could be chunky and healthy after so many months of being so sick and extremely underweight. Look at those legs you guys! And the red dirt! This kid is all that is boy! 08.14.15-walking-11These two love each other so much! 08.14.15-walking-1208.14.15-walking-13

We said goodbye to my momma a little over a week ago and dropped her off at the airport. I hate that she had to leave, but I love that she got so much time with us here and got to share in so many sweet memories! It was the best feeling having someone here that got to see a little glimpse of our lives the last seven months. We have an extra bedroom if anyone wants to come visit us ;)

This little love got so excited when the rainstorm started that she put her bathing suit on and just ran around in the rain. I love her adventurous spirit and the simple ways she has fun.

07.28.15-607.30.15-807.30.15-1607.30.15-2007.30.15-2107.30.15-4707.30.15-52My momma took us out for dinner to celebrate my birthday before she left. 07.30.15-5807.30.15-6407.30.15-8807.31.15-1Chipati. Oh so good. But oh so many carbs. June and I had two bites and it ended terribly, so we won’t be doing that again. Gosh I miss grabbing one of these on the side of the road! 07.31.15-2307.31.15-2507.31.15-2607.31.15-3707.31.15-3808.03.15-20Lake Victoria08.03.15-24Hooray for finding cauliflower here! June loves roasted cauliflower and we even made cauliflower soup the other night. Thank you Jesus for a low carb food that we can eat here other than eggs ;) 08.04.15-1108.04.15-29“They Call Me Brave” fundraiser t-shirt designed by Camplight Apparel. You can head to their site and grab one to help support our family! It comes in kids to adult sizes!08.07.15-408.07.15-508.07.15-1808.07.15-2708.07.15-37She would pick flowers all day if we let her. 08.07.15-5708.07.15-6208.07.15-72The Lord knows I love me some golden hour and He sure wowed me for my birthday! 08.03.15-7 copy08.03.15-14 copyShe loves when I carry her and it’s so cute when she opens her arms like this for me to pick her up. She loves always being close to me, and I don’t hate it one bit :) 08.03.15-22 copyI can’t believe it’s already August! Where has this year gone? It’s been quite a journey for us, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The lessons we’ve learned, the way our faith has increased, and our deeper need for Christ daily is worth every bit of this last year!

Much love,
Justin & Keary

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