God’s favor and a modern widow’s mite

May 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is re-post from almost exactly 2 years ago.    We were on the front side of having our sons home, without a complete plan and certainly without a complete purse.   But….. God…..

I love reviewing His faithfulness.    I love knowing that He’s never asleep at the wheel.

No matter what your situation today, be encouraged~

Our trip is just days away and it’s been unbelievable to watch things come together. The money piece is pretty huge for our family. And God has been bringing in the funds needed to accomplish His purposes. I realized the other day that if we’d just had that big pile of money sitting in the bank ready to go, this wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. As it is, we are depending on God for the whole deal and in that need, we’ve gotten to really ‘enjoy the show’ .
People have donated amazing things to our garage sale (more to come on that later). Others have sold their stuff on ebay and donated the proceeds to our missions trip. Some have made direct donations. Others have donated services to our family so we could focus more cash into the adoption process.

Amazing stuff. It’s cool to watch God move in peoples’ hearts to join us in the journey. It’s amazing to see other people’s joy and their enthusiasm to be part of this process.
The other day at work, I was typing along and 4 little girls came into the office holding a can of pringles potato chips. They came around to where I was sitting, thrust out the can and said, “This is for you, Mrs. Harding.” I like pringles and said thanks to them and reached out for it. But when I took it, it was heavy. Peeking inside I saw the bottom of the can filled with coins and wadded up little dollar bills. These little girls were just beaming and told me that they had been saving their money in the pringles can and wanted us to use it for our adoption. They were excited to report that it was almost ten dollars!
What an amazing gift! From the hearts of children to the heart of God. This little ‘widow’s mite’ blesses our hearts in giant ways. It is a great ride and we are grateful to God for the front row seat as we watch Him make it happen through old stuff, ebay and pringles cans!! Wow!


post Summit

May 2, 2010 at 8:36 am | Posted in adoption process, adoption resources, secure relationships, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We had such an amazing time at the Summit VI conference this week.

The CBN report at our house was a lot of fun and the crew was super to work with!   We managed to have a fun, family morning complete with giggles and tears and a barking dog and boiling tea and steaming muffins.   🙂  We’ll let you know when it airs.

This conference was the first official adoption event that we’ve done since we brought our sons home and I knew it would be good, but I didn’t expect to feel so very encouraged.

Most helpful to me was Dr. Karyn Purvis .   She is wise and serene and practical and encouraging…. just the package I needed to press me forward in my mothering.

Adoption is a hard journey. No one becomes and orphan through an easy, happy story.   And joining a new family is a gigantic transition both for the child and for the existing family.  So to hear the wisdom and the counsel and the soothing encouragement from the speakers and other parents has been a ‘binding up’ of the soul for me.

Also, knowing that adopting Philip and Zach isn’t the period at the end of the sentence as it relates to our family’s involvement in orphan care…. the question now is:   What next?    🙂


March 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Posted in family, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

laundry waiting to be folded

I’ve not written anything in a while.   Mostly because I feel like I’m ‘supposed’ to say only happy and hopeful things here.      And recently, I’ve just decided to go with the Thumper philosophy of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” But……

Spring is here and that means mud.   It means the snow melts revealing a whole winter’s worth of dog poop scattered around the yard.   And speaking of poop, the cows down the road have been doing the same thing all winter and that warm spring wind blows it juuuuust right………..

It means projects, ball games, play practice, prom and academic fairs.   It means getting that college app mailed off for one kid, helping the other one with her (different) college registration day and helping another one plan the wedding that’s only 17 weeks away!   All while picking out a preschool and potty training too.    And no matter what time of year it is, life always means laundry.

Not that I don’t love my job here at home.   I work for the best people ever, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.   But sometimes I have a hard time feeling like I do it well.   I’ve subscribed to Southern Living and Traditional Home for way too long and that crazy standard of ‘beauty-and-peace-topped-off-with-homemade-pies’ is a big rub.    It contributes to an exhausting, uneasy feeling of failure that’s hard to shake.

But it’s not just those “Gone With the Wind-esque” magazines that get me.   I read other ‘mom blogs’ and some of these women are incredible.   They’re creative.   Some have craft ideas and field trip suggestions.   Others poetically draw my soul to the quiet whisper of God.    Some moms maybe even keep their kitchen floor clean and I’ll bet their roots don’t show.   In my fantasies, this is my life:


But in reality…… , this is more our style:

crammed, over-stuffed and choking

And, yes ~ I get freaked out by household clutter and rust stains in the sinks and JUNK in the garage.   And the roach I found munching on a whole bag of mini-marshmallows in my teenager’s bathroom drawer (?!?!)  just put me over the edge today.

Some days I can be pretty surly about it all.   But…. today, thanks to a friend’s facebook status, I got some serious Biblical comfort and perspective.    It pointed out Proverbs 14:4  [which, honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed before].   But – I’m tellin’ ya –  it was written for harried, overworked, slightly o.c.d. moms like myself who get easily mired up in the chaos.   It says:

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”

Now I know the analogy breaks down a little, but it still soothes this (sometimes) quivering soul.   This manger is NOT clean.   That’s for sure.   But all too often I lose sight of the reality that I’m in the middle of some truly abundant crops!    Of course my life isn’t perfect and tidy.

It’s a chaotic, holy mess.

Oh God – keep me aware of the crop and give me a heart to embrace the ox and all that comes with it as we bring in the harvest around here!

are they twins?

February 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments


We get that question surprisingly often.   When Haley and Kelsey were little, I don’t remember people asking me that.   They were pretty close in age (only 25 months apart).    They were both blond and fair and had similar smiles.   But – I really don’t remember being asked if they were twins.

I live with Philip and Zachary and see them every day, so maybe I just don’t see what everyone else sees.   But when i look at my boys, they look so very, very different from one another.   Yes, they are pretty close in age (21 months apart).   But Philip is a whole head taller than Zach.    He moves like an older child, while Zach bobbles and toddles.    Their facial structure is different.    Their hair lines are different.   Philip’s eyes are very round and poetic.    Zach’s eyes are twinkly and can be crescent-shaped when he smiles.    Their body types are different.    The only thing that makes them look a little alike is that they’re both black.


Adoption Day

January 31, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Posted in adoption process, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

It actually happened.

After more than a year, we finally got our paperwork together, hired a lawyer, got a court date and appeared before a judge.   And then, ten minutes later – it was done and Philip and Zach were legally ours and we were legally theirs.

Someone asked me if it felt different leaving the courthouse now that it was official.   Actually – it didn’t feel a bit different.   We drove home, like we have hundreds of times already, with our sons strapped into their car seats with a day ahead of us to play with them and love them and live with them.

The details on the papers have changed.   We can now claim them on our taxes.   They now have inheritance rights.   We can apply for their American citizenship.    And those things are big deals… in their own way.     But – in the ways of the heart and in the ways of family – this deed was done quite a long time ago.

From our little point of view, it was done when we were able to bring them to the states.   Or maybe, we could back up and call it ‘done’ when the judge in Uganda granted us guardianship.   Or maybe it was even done earlier ~ when were received our referral that these two were assigned to our family.    But ~ more important than our experience and more important than a legal process in a county in Minnesota is the reality that our destiny as a family was written before time began, when God put His purposes in motion for all of us.

Either way – if we look at it from a legal standpoint or from an eternal one – fact is, IT’S DONE!!!

what about gotcha day?

November 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

We are fast approaching the anniversary of the day we brought P & Z home.    And with that anniversary comes the question of what to do about it.

Many families celebrate their child’s ‘adoption day’ or ‘gotcha day’ with a special meal or gifts or a family outing.   Some let it double as a cultural celebration as well if their child is from another culture.

I’ve always thought we would do something similar (even though it’s not that easy to find a local Ugandan matoke cart here in the twin cities).     As a matter of fact, while we were in Uganda we bought 13 really cool Ugandan gifts for each boy to give to them on the subsequent 13 ‘gotcha days’ to come.

But now, I’m starting to wonder.    Will we be starting a tradition that makes our sons feel celebrated or makes them feel different?   Will an ‘adoption day’ party set them apart in a good way or a bad way?  Should they be SET APART from the rest of the family?  Not being an adoptee myself, I don’t have any personal experience with this. But it’s rattling around in my head.

I’ve really enjoyed the fabulous insight in this blog written by an adult adoptee. His stories have given me much to think about in the past year and his take on a celebration is very positive.

BUT I’ve also been thinking about the ‘anti-gotcha-day’ perspective in
this blog and find myself seeing good points in both.

So…..other adoptive folks out there (parents or kids)…… what are your thoughts? How did you come to your decision about the anniversary of your child’s homecoming? What do you do? (or don’t do?)

We’ll let you know where we land ~ especially since we have to have a plan in 16 days. To be continued…….

Reflections on almost a year (part 1)

November 9, 2009 at 8:10 pm | Posted in adoption process, Uncategorized | 3 Comments



A year ago I was in Jinja, making regular day trips to the city of Kampala to plow through mounds of international paperwork.    Each excursion day, we’d rise very early to catch our taxi ride by 530 in the morning (so we’d miss the morning rush hour).   Philip and Zachary would be all dressed up and looking ‘smart’, in spite of their sleepy eyes.   Equipped with their cups of hot milk and their hard-boiled eggs we’d pile in the back seat of Abdullah’s car and bump down the road for a another day of legal adventures.

I remember those days being sweaty and long.   I remember those days being filled with the tension of the ‘what if’ it doesn’t work out with all the applications?   I also remember my two small, weary sons staring up at me with tired, vacant expressions not knowing what this strange new lady was doing and why they were along for the ride.     But they cooperated.   They trusted me.   They let me drag them all over town and then back to the orphanage each night.     I wonder what was going on in their little minds?

Philip was old enough to know that I was his mommy and soon I would take him to America.   Each day he’d ask if we were going to America.   Each day I’d say, “Soon…” and we’d get dressed up and eat eggs in the taxi and bump down the road to another official’s office.

I prayed that God would sovereignly erase any harmful memories and preserve and strengthen the good memories of their early days in Uganda.   I prayed that He would knit their hearts to us and our hearts to them.    I prayed for favor in our legal applications.

Like I’ve said before, God put this story together.   He put the details and the specific kids and the favor all in place before I ever got on a plane to head across the globe.  Once I got there, the plans simply began to unfold in front of me.   One answer laid the path for the next step and another answer put down additional bricks in the path for the next step, all the way back to the Minneapolis airport!

In the past year God has continued to work on our behalf —  This time it’s not in spectacular stories of parties and fund-raisers and miracles, but in the regular, mundane, day-to-day of raising babies.

God promises to be with us all the time in every situation.    And, by default, that means He’s mostly with me in the mundane.   And His work is unmistakable.    Philip and Zachary no longer stare vacantly and helplessly, wondering what’s happening to them.    Their eyes are eager with hope and trust each day.   They wake up happy (and loud!) each morning and chorus, ‘Good Moooooorning!’ when we walk in the nursery to get them.

Their hearts ARE knit to ours and ours to theirs.   And (even tho I forgot to ask God about it) their hearts are deeply knit to each other as well.

God has granted the rest of our kids a long-term, happy patience with their toddler siblings and have given all of them a beautiful delight and compassion in dealing with these high maintenance family members.

In every story, there’s a star.    There’s always the big actor that gets top billing.   In this story, it could be two cute little boys  or it could be an amazing orphanage staff or it could be an American family who flew across the world to do something unexpected.   But the star of this story isn’t any of these people.   The star of this story was, and continues to be, God — who orchestrated it all.  From the longing He birthed in our hearts a few years ago to the affection He created in two little boys who were once strangers – God has written the script, cast the actors, directed the story and He alone fills up all the credits at the end.

As we approach the one-year-mark around here, we are looking back with awe and looking forward with expectant hope!

Jump on in… the water’s fine!

November 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Today was Orphan Sunday.   It’s the first national unified effort in the body of Christ to draw attention to the orphan crisis around the globe as well as to the one in your own city.

Something’s happening….. there’s a movement among the people of God to defend the fatherless.

I know…..The statistics about orphans around the world are overwhelming.   And you’ll never do more than a drop in the proverbial bucket when it comes to solving the problem.

BUT – it only takes one person to make a difference in the life of one child for a lifetime.

Adoption.   Foster care.   Orphan care.

Find a way to be part of the solution.

Be part of the team

October 1, 2009 at 8:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If you’ve read our story, you know that many people were part of bringing our boys home.   Without the financial support of others, we would NOT have be able to embark on this amazing journey.    Watch this powerful video and see where God might take YOU.

Wow…. I think he gets it!

September 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Some firsts are really worth noting:

Yesterday as I was clearing the dishes from the dining room table, Philip ran up to me, hugged my knees and with a great big smile said, “You’re mine!”

That’s right, buddy…. I’m yours!   And you’re mine too!



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