Friday, October 16, 2015

We had been waiting for October 16th for what felt like months, even though it was really only weeks. Then all of a sudden it was the night before Kamila's adoption hearing. Brian had gone the day before to Kamila's village to pick up her grandfather and uncle. He brought them back to our town so they could stay the night because we were leaving very early the next morning. Kamila's grandfather is a sweet {very old} man who had told us the week before that he would not come to Kamila's hearing. It is a very long trip for him to make and he is not in good health. He has already made the trip three other times with us for different things concerning her adoption and didn't see why it was necessary for him to come this time. But it was very necessary for him to be at this hearing, like mandatory. So Kamila's other uncle from three hours away traveled with us back into their village to surprise her grandfather and ask him one more time to PLEASE come with us. Praise God he finally agreed this time! 

So the next morning we got the older four kids situated with their sitters, picked up Kamila's grandfather and uncle from their hotel, and started the journey to Arusha where along the way we would also be picking up our friend Joyce {the courts wanted her to testify} and Kamila's other uncle. We actually left on time which was a miracle in itself! 

We had been driving for about an hour and everything was going so smooth. We normally get stopped anywhere from 3-5 times typically by the police when we go to Arusha. It was literally like they were not even seeing us this trip, which is exactly what we had prayed for. Then all of a sudden Kamila {who was sitting on my lap} pointed out the window and said "angel!" I have never heard her say this word before! Then she pointed and said, "Jesus!" Right at that moment a white dove flew right across our front window. {side note.... I have never seen a white dove here. I don't even really know if there are any here. But I am 100% that we saw one yesterday.} Brian looked at me in the rearview mirror and we both just smiled. I had been praying all morning for angels of protection to surround our vehicle and make us invisible to the police. It was a super powerful moment where we were reminded that Christ was right there with us, through the mouth of our two year old daughter. 

We arrived to the courthouse on time and went to the waiting area to be called. We would be called anywhere from the 8-12 timeframe. At 9:00 we got summoned to the judge's chambers. We all filed into the office and my heart was beating 100 miles an hour. All of a sudden the judge asked where our social welfare officer was. Our lawyer had called him that morning and he had told him he was on his way to the courts. Now it was our time and he was not there. Our judge {who has a reputation for being the toughest judge in Arusha} said we could not proceed without the social welfare officer in case he needed to ask him anything. I looked at Brian in disbelief. Then a miracle happened. The judge said he would allow us to come back at 1:00 and try again with social welfare. So we filed out of his office with a few hours to kill. 

When we got back to the courthouse I was so nervous and concerned that our social welfare officer would not show up. We kept looking around for him and trying to see him coming in but didn't. Then they called us back to the judge. As soon as I saw our social welfare officer sitting in the chair tears just started to come. I was SO relieved and in shock that this moment was actually about to happen. Two years of having our daughter and we were finally having her court hearing!! The judge was super strict during the hearing and super intimidating. There were some issues that arose during the hearing that we thought he was literally going to just throw our case out and deny us. It was a tense hour for sure. By the end though Brian and I both felt like it was going better. He told us that November 2nd he would be passing down his ruling. So now we wait until then to see if he approves or denies our adoption and then it is all over. 

One of the most emotional parts for me yesterday was actually just getting to spend time with three of Kamila's family members. Her family is really so precious to us and we are so blessed and thankful by their willingness to help us whenever needed with her adoption. At one point yesterday her grandfather was talking to her Uncles and told them that he couldn't believe how big and well she was doing. That if Kamila was still with her birth mother he was positive she would be dead by now. Those words were so intense to hear looking at my daughter. Sometimes it is too much for my heart to process what her life could have been. I loved watching her with her Uncles playing with them and them holding her and loving on her. I do not take for granted how wonderful our "open adoption" with her family has gone. 

So now we wait to hear. And for the first time I am actually allowing my heart to dream about being able to bring Kamila back to the States to meet all of her family and friends who have not yet met her. Dreaming of how wonderful it will be to have all of this behind us and just be a family. Not having this unspoken fear in my heart that somehow someone will be able to take her away from us. Please pray with us that the judge will rule in our favor and our daughter will legally become a Loudermilk. We are so thankful to God for his continued goodness, faithfulness, and protection over our family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My sweet Kamila Love,

You have been in my heart for as long as I can remember, Kamila. I remember as a young girl just knowing in my heart that I would adopt some sweet brown babies from Africa. I had no clue what that actually meant or looked like, but it has honestly been a dream in my heart for as long as I can remember. I remember your Daddy and I talking before we were married and that was something we both knew in our hearts God was calling us to and how it made me love him even more. So even though you are only turning two today, we have carried you in our hearts for so much longer. Even though you are technically our fifth child, in some ways you are more like my first.

I often wonder what it was like the day you were born into this world. What was I doing on that day? Could I have ever imagined that a couple of hours away a scared young girl was giving birth not only to her daughter, but to mine as well? How I wish I could have been there to hold her hand and comfort her through the contractions and pains of labor. To have seen your sweet squishy newborn face and held you and kissed you over and over. The love I feel for your birth mommy is powerful. She will always hold such a special and unique place in my heart. The love she and the rest of your biological family has for you is pure and selfless.

Kamila, you have completely captured my heart. I love every little thing about you. I love how you talk all.the.time. You have no quiet voice, just like your Daddy. You walk around the house saying everyone in our families name over and over, the whole day. I love how you wake me up by jumping into bed with me and saying, "Oh Mommy! Stinky, poopy!" and you are talking about my breath. I love how you are so independent and yet at the same time still need your Mommy all the time. I love how you love your brother and sisters SO so much and how that love is reciprocated 100 times over. I love watching the oldest three dote on your every need. I love how when you are trying to get your Daddy's attention and fail you resort to calling him Pastor Brian. I love how you laugh at all the right times during a movie bc you are following the cues of everyone else. I love how you are such a live wire and always the center of attention. I love your sloppy wet kisses. I love how you say AMEN at all the right times during a church service. I love how you scream HALLELUJAH every time the power comes back on. I love how when you run you hold one arm up in a funny position and your Daddy can imitate you doing it so well he makes me laugh so hard I cry.

You have made not just my life but everyone who knows you live's so much better just for being a part of it. I cannot believe I get to be your Mommy. I think of this little baby being born into what would appear to be such an uncertain future. But God knew. He has whispered promises into my heart about your future and the lives you are going to touch. You are such a bright light sweet girl. You are {one of} our little world changer{s}.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Life is wonderful here in Tanzania. We are finding out the more we lay down our lives and ways we think we should be doing things,  and submit fully to our Heavenly Father and His ways.... there is peace. Now that does not mean we don't walk through hard things. It instead means that He carries us through hard things. These past few weeks our hearts have broken together as a family as we grieve the loss of someone so dear to our hearts.

After trying and pursuing our sweet Glory girl for the past two and a half years the door has finally closed for the last time on us adopting her into our family. This came as a big shock to our family as we had finished everything here with our social welfare, had filed in the high courts for her adoption, and were literally just waiting for the phone call to be able to go and pick her up. Instead we got a phone call saying this would not be happening. I won't go into all the details but the door closed.

The hardest part was telling our kids. There have been lots of tears and lots of working through emotions. It has been a good opportunity also to be able to have some great deep discussions with them about forgiveness and also about trusting God and His ways. We also know this was not all in vain. We were able to help her biological mother get out of an horribly abusive situation and find a great job with a pastor who we know and trust. Her bio mom is doing incredible and has since accepted Christ as her Lord and even is leading Bible studies at times. We know God works all things together for good and we are excited to see how that plays out for little Glory's life.

We are so thankful for everyone who has been asking us about her adoption. It means so much to us that people who have never even met her care about her and have been praying for our family. So a big thank you.

As far as us adopting again, we are totally open to what God has for our family. We believe we will be adding more children in the future through adoption and cannot wait to see who they will be. We are in the middle of Kamila's adoption with our courts here and everything with that is going well. Kamila will be turning TWO in October and we look forward to celebrating her life and the precious gift that it is. We have completely fallen in love with adoption and the miracle it is and would encourage anyone who has felt led to adopt but has been to nervous or hesitant to do it to JUMP ALL IN! It is such a beautiful process, and although not easy at times it is totally 100% worth it!

We love you all and are so thankful for your friendships, prayers, and support of all kinds! We are busy busy here and seeing God move in mighty ways! Be looking for our next newsletter soon and if you are not on our mailing list and would like to be added send me a message on Facebook.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I am learning a lot right now. A lot of what I am learning is coming from painful events in my life. I am learning just how dangerous it is to let even one teeny tiny little lie from the enemy make its way into my heart and mind. 

I was full of pride when we came to the missions field. I had no clue, but it was there. I thought we would come to this new place with the love of Jesus and see people come to Him by hundreds, see people healed everywhere we went and be able to share our amazing testimonies of what He was doing through us to everyone back in the States. I should have seen it coming. Pride always comes before the fall.

You see, up until this point in my life I have really never had to fully rely on Christ. Without even realizing it I had put my trust in myself and the control I thought I had over my life. Two years ago though, if you would have asked me I would have told you that of course I trusted Christ with my life and everything in it. After all, I had given up everything and hauled our family (which included four very young children ) to a new and foreign country. Ironically, even the choice to leave it all and come to Africa was something I felt that was in my own control. 

Two years into living in Africa and I have hit a low point.  I have come to the end of myself. I have allowed lies to creep in and take over my thoughts, causing destruction. Lies telling me I am a failure as a missionary, that we are not doing enough and seeing enough fruit from our ministries. Lies that I am somehow damaging our children from being here. Our kids for the most part love it here but of course have their moments of missing friends and family back in the States and satan always seems to capitalize in those moments in my Mommy heart. Lies that if we just had some decent food, shopping, friends and family around us all would be well. Lies that not only am I failing as a missionary but even worse I am failing as a Christian. Lies that if I had done more the girls we have in our home (for the women from the streets) would not have left to go back and work the streets, they would still be safe in our care. 

But the truth is.... all of those things are just that. LIES. And of course I have come to the end of myself, because living here and doing the ministry here we are doing IS more that I can handle. Thankfully it is not more that HE can handle. How can I juggle all of this... wife, mommy, homeschool teacher, missionary, adoptive mommy, christian... the list goes on, without Him? The answer is I cannot. And you know what.... I am really tired of trying. I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning, that I have a precious husband and children who love me despite all my faults and are quick to forgive, and a Heavenly Father who loves me just where I am at.

This is a very raw post for me. There is something so therapeutic for me with writing though and I pray that maybe the things I share from the secret places of my heart will encourage a tired Mommy, someone feeling all alone, or anyone who is willing to read it. 

So during this season I am learning a new level of trust. A new place of sincerely saying YES Lord, whatever and wherever you have our family, YES. A new place of finding JOY during the hard times and a TRUST that is unlike anything I have ever known. I can let go of this "control" I have a death grip on and lay it at His feet. 

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you hope and a future."

Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angles nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

1 Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, for He cares for you."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Next week my baby turns one. I have so much I want to write and as the thoughts fill my head the tears fall quickly. I don't even know where to start as I write this but my heart so longs to communicate what it is feeling and I pray a glimpse into my life at this moment will bring strength and courage to someone needing it.

Leaving our daughter back in Africa for four months while I packed up the rest of our family to come back to the States was almost the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The only thing that has been harder was convincing my heart that God was still just as good and still in control. A couple of weeks before we came back tot he States we were at church singing a song and the words were " You are always good, always good, always good, always good, always good, always good you are a good good God!" Singing these words I became overwhelmed by the presence of God as if He was literally wrapping Himself around me whispering in my ear that He was still good indeed. I knew this truth but was in need of a reminder. :) I felt Emmersyn ( our seven year old daughter was is especially close to Kamila ) grab my back and I could tell she was crying. I took her to the back and just held her and let her cry. I asked her why she was crying and she said she didn't know why, but I knew. She needed to be reminded as well that her God was still good even when things didn't make sense and her heart was so hurt. He was filling her with peace and bringing her comfort like only He can.

We fought for Kamila to be able to come home with us, HARD. People ( in love ) would tell me to just trust God. He was in control and could move any mountain. So when we finally realized she would for sure not be able to come home with us I felt as if my faith had failed. If I would have just believed a little harder, had a little more faith, prayed a little more fervently....then maybe she would have been able to come with us. God has used this extremely painful situation to teach me so much. He IS in control. He COULD HAVE moved this mountain if He has seen fit (this was especially hard for me to process through). I began caring too much what people would think of us leaving our daughter and letting hear and emotions begin controlling my decisions, instead of being led by the Holy Spirit. Brian and I did not take Kamila Love into our family lightly. We sought the Lord and heard very clearly that she IS our daughter. I loved that little girl with every ounce I had to give for six months and then had to leave her.

And now she is turning one. And calling another woman ( who happens to be one of my best friends in the whole world ) "mama" and not me. And more than likely will not remember me when I smother her in kisses when I see her next month. And has totally transformed into a big girl who talks up a storm, eats whole bananas, and brings light and joy everywhere she is...without me witnessing any of it. And you know what? That is OK. As I sit here with tear stained cheeks longing to hold my sweet (almost) one year old daughter in my arms I am also full of peace. All because my Father is the Prince of Peace. I always knew but have come to realize on a much deeper level that my children are not my own. They are precious amazing gifts from God that He has entrusted me with on this Earth, but ultimately they are His. He loves them more than I can fathom. He knew our family would be separated these four months when we took Kamila in and He knows she will be fine when we are all reunited. Of course there will be a transition but I fully believe God's grace will cover it all. My heart literally feels like it is going to burst at times when I think about our daughter that is waiting for us at home. How lucky our family is to have her a part of it, all the she brings into our lives. Even from halfway around the world she brings us joy joy joy and fills our hearts with love. Her life is going to (and already is!) touch and change so many, and we get a front row seat.

So on her birthday next week I will let the tears fall. We will bake her a cake and celebrate the glorious day she was brought into this world even though we may not physically be with her. And when we return home a couple weeks later we will celebrate her life with our family and friends in Tanzania. We will thank God for her life because "every good and perfect gift is from above".

{{Side note! HUUUUUUGE shout out to our dear friends Vicki and Vince for raising our Kamila while we are gone. God could not have given us a more perfect fit for Kamila (or us!!) and we have such peace knowing that she is with them being loved so well. HUGE blessing!! }}

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Two things I wanted to write down so I don't forget later on in life......

!.  Last week I felt like the Lord gave me the name Pearl. I was thinking about if the next child we adopt is a girl what her middle name would be since we kind of have a theme going with the girls already, whose middle names are Grace, Joy, Praise, and Love. Then I heard Pearl and was super excited because I loved it! I told a couple of my friends later that day I thought we may adopt a girl next because I felt like God had given me this name of Pearl.
I had the amazing experience of being with one of the women from our ladies home all day during her labor and birth. It was such a precious time with Jackie and really strengthened our relationship. I have always wanted to be at a birth and this was my first time. It was a crazy experience all around and for sure one I will never forget. Huge honor. I was told the next day that Jackie wanted me to name her baby. How sweet!! Talk about a lot of pressure though! I love naming our babies but naming someone else's child? What if she didn't like the name? I knew she wouldn't tell me if she didn't and then she would be stuck with this name forever. Then I remember the name Pearl, and immediately knew that was the baby's name. I am blown away that God spoke to me days before the sweet baby was even born and obviously before I could have known I would have been naming her, and whispered her name into my heart. I explained the name to Jackie and about the parable of the pearl of great price in the Bible and she loved it. So now we have a sweet baby girl named Pearl

2. Brian went today to find Kamia's grandfather in their village today because we need his fingerprint on some paperwork for Kamila's passport. When he got their he was surprised and very excited to be able to meet Kamila's bio mom. We have wanted to meet her ever since we first met Kamila but never knew if the chance would come. Today it came and we are so thankful. Brian got to see this part of our daughter's life that we didn't know much of before. He got to hug her bio mom and sit and answer other family members questions about Kamila. We plan on going out to their village as a family before we leave on furlough. We absolutely love Kamila's bio family and are so thankful they are a part of our lives. We feel this is a huge gift for Kamila, especially as she gest older and will have questions. She has so many people who adore her and want what is best for her.

This is Kamila's Uncle and Aunt in these pictures. They cared for her the first couple of months of her life and love her so much. They are precious to us and we consider them our family.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I have always known I wanted to adopt. Honestly, as far back as I can remember I have dreamed of adopting children from Africa. Funny though, I never thought I would be actually living in Africa when that time came.
I will never forget getting the email about Kamila. My parents were here visiting and we were playing cards at the dinner table. I got up to check my Facebook and there was an email from my friend who ran the baby home Kamila was at. I remember getting overly excited and telling Brian and my parents about it. I remember wondering what it would be like when I saw this sweet baby girls face, would it be instant love? Could it be this was our daughter?

This was the first picture I saw of our Kamila. I will be honest with you, when I saw it I didn't have that "feeling" I was hoping to get. I remember staring and staring as if I was waiting for this little baby on the screen to give me a sign. So Brian and I prayed and prayed and both felt God confirming in our hearts this was our little girl.

We watched our precious girl grow through pictures on the screen from my sweet friend who was caring for her. It was a difficult time because she was only physically an hour and a half drive from us but even so we weren't able to make that trip often. We met some of her family and then waited to hear if they "approved" of our family and us being the adoptive family. I will also never forget the moment I got the message from my friend telling me congratulations and we had another daughter. I started sobbing tears of joy. Our dream of adoption was coming true after so many years!
The day we went and picked Kamila up from the baby home nothing went right. It was a very stressful day but in the end we had our daughter and were overjoyed! When we got home though that joy turned to panic pretty quickly. Kamila started screaming and didn't stop. I had honestly never seen a baby scream as loudly or as passionately as she was. Finally after a couple of hours she fell asleep for the night. I remember staring at her as she slept so peacefully and being so nervous about how the night would go. For the next few weeks that was my life. Screaming child with a panicking Mommy trying to calm her down. I remember one day looking at Brian and with tears in  my eyes telling him I was pretty sure she hated me. I can laugh at that now, but in that moment I really felt that.
I remember talking with a  new friend who was also in the process of adopting a child in Tanzania. She told me when they first got their son he screamed all day every day as well and that one day he just stopped. Her telling me that gave me so much hope that maybe that would happen for us. A couple of my dear sisters here got together one morning with Brian and I to pray over Kamila and her past. It was an incredible time and I know the Lord used that time to bring great healing to Kamila's little heart. Gradually the crying and screaming became replaced with giggles and snuggles. It was an incredible transformation to watch unfold! God is always so faithful!
I have watched in amazement as this sweet little girl has accepted me as her Mommy and she has become my daughter. I could stare at her precious face all day long, every single feature to me is perfect. Our Kamila Love is beyond precious. She is loved and cherished. The older four kids absolutely adore her. Through this process I have not only fallen in love with our daughter, I have also fallen in love with the adoption process. I am blown away by what has happened in five short months. This sweet little girl we knew nothing about just a few short months ago, but cannot even imagine our lives without her now. She is fearfully and wonderfully made and God has amazing plans for her life and I am blessed to have a front row seat!