The House of Doo

The House of Doo

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Yesterday Colt had an appointment with his pediatric ophthalmologist. We go see him every 3-6 months, depending on how Colt's eyes are doing. We have been noticing his eyes "wandering" again for about a year or more and the doctor has been monitoring it closely. He has also started doing the weird head positioning when he's trying to focus. Anyway, yesterday I took some pictures in that I have taken of Colt where his eyes were obviously off. Dr. Peterson decided he would change the prescription in his glasses to try to fix the issue but because it's happening when the glasses are on and off, he isn't sure it will work. We may be looking at a fourth eye surgery in our future, but we do have some time to wait and see. Dr. Peterson also wasn't happy with the way his eyes were switching from being turned in to turned out. He says this points back to the neurological issue Colt has had since birth.

If you have followed Colt's journey for a while, you may remember when he was two years old, we were told that Colt had brain damage or mild cerebral palsy due to a suspected stroke in-utero. Then some time around four years old, we were told that the MRI showed that the brain had basically "healed itself" and that the damage was gone. I posted about that some, but I never posted about how I truly felt. I felt like I should have been elated!

BUT I WASN'T.

I was devastated. You know why? Because all the symptoms of the brain damage were still there. The developmental delay. The eye issues. The speech issues. The right side body weakness. The physical awkwardness. And on and on. When we found out about he brain damage, we had an answer as to why Colt had all these issues. Well when they took that answer away, we were left with the questions again.

If that's not what is causing it, then what is?

 Then yesterday, when Dr. Peterson said the words "neurological issue" all of those feelings came rushing back. Granted, now we have some other diagnoses - Autism, ADHD, SPD, but those don't explain his eyes not responding to his brain and the other physical issues. I am not sure we will ever really understand the puzzle that is Colt, but I am trying.

I just needed to get that out. I hated thinking that I should feel one way as a parent that receives good news, but I didn't feel that way at all. Now those words are being tossed around again and the feelings are back.

Anyway, here's one of the super cute pictures of my boy and his special eyes. 💓


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Convicted.

Y'all. I woke up this morning feeling unbelievably CONVICTED. GUILTY. ASHAMED.

Mission trips will do that to you. They change you. It's a good thing.

This morning, as I was praying, I realized that I was thanking God for all of these THINGS - these things that I have. "Thank you for my home, for heat, for a dry place to be protected from the rain, a warm bed, warm clothes, a safe car, hot coffee, clean water, clean clothes..." As I was thanking God for all of those THINGS, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Everything I was thanking Him for were things that so many don't have.

The rainy season is beginning in Uganda. In the Katanga slum, rain floods their tiny shacks. Along with the rain washing into their homes is trash...and raw sewage. I don't have to stand all night because I don't have a dry, clean place to rest my head. I don't have to poop (sorry) in a bag and dump it outside in a "creek". I don't have to prostitute myself to be able to feed my son. But why not? Why not me?

As most of you know, my husband and some of my dearest friends and church family just got back from Uganda on Saturday. A friend of mine was walking through Katanga when a lady handed my friend a brand new baby. "Take her", she said. This mother was trying to give her baby away because she knew she could not feed the baby. She didn't want that baby to grow up in a place like Katanga. Can you imagine having to make that choice? Some other friends were offered children too. They wanted to sell their children to the "rich Americans" to be able to survive.

Y'all, we are SO very fortunate. SO FORTUNATE. I hate when people say, "I am so blessed" because they have so many things and homes and cars, etc. It's true, you ARE blessed but so are the people in Uganda and all the other places in the world. God blesses us all, we just happen to have been born in a country that has much more opportunity than they do. It could have been me growing up in Katanga. It could have been you. Your children. Think about that for a while. Why wasn't it me??

My heart is absolutely broken for those people. I cannot wait to go back. I want to love them. I want to tell them about Jesus and how much hope He can give. I want to help educate the young girls so maybe, just maybe they can find jobs and not have to resort to prostitution. Maybe help keep them from HIV and help their future babies from being born with HIV. I am just broken for them.

I am thankful to have seen the filth. Smelled it. Lived it for a few hours. Now I can't just pretend like I haven't seen it. I can't go back to living like everything is fine in the world. I have to do something. Once you see it, you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. Please pray for me, Ryan, and Colt as we pray for guidance and direction in this situation. We have to do something because... 

It could have been me, God. Why wasn't it me??




Monday, January 9, 2017

HOPE.

I think it is time for an adoption update. For some reason, I have really been struggling with adopting from Haiti. The wait time for Haiti is approximately 5-6 years right now. Too long! After our last home study, we had a lot of "homework" to do. Ryan did his share fairly quickly but I just couldn't get mine done. I had no real reason other than I had lost my fire for it. I was seriously dragging my feet.

Soon after, the opportunity to travel to Uganda came up. I kept telling Ryan that I knew something was going to happen in Uganda and I knew in my heart that was what I had been waiting for. When this journey began, my heart was in Uganda. Now that I have been there, I know it will always be there.

We were told my our agency that Uganda is not adopting to Americans right now. After talking with friends in Uganda, we decided to look into their adoption agency. (They have 5 adopted kids!) Well, their agency has access to "exceptions" and you have to apply for exceptions, which allows for the Ugandan children to be adopted to Americans.

This requires us to change agencies, but will allow us to follow our hearts. So... we have changed agencies, applied for their program, and been VERY TENATIVELY MATCHED WITH A LITTLE BOY. He is 6 years old, just like Colt, and we are smitten. We have his file, he is healthy, adorable (!), and very sweet according to the orphanage workers. This is still early in the process but I am sharing because I covet your prayers.

Please pray with and for us! God has big plans for us in Uganda, no doubt. ❤

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Uganda month!

December is here! That means one thing - IT'S ALMOST TIME TO GO TO UGANDA!

We leave in 18 days. I cannot believe it. It still feels like a dream to me.

I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Africa, though what I always imagined is a lot different than this reality. I imagined safaris and beautiful animals. While we may see some of these beautiful animals, it will be in a very different way. No safaris. Just real African life.

Ryan, Colt, and I will leave on December 19th from Atlanta. We will then fly to Amsterdam, then on to Entebbe, Uganda. We will not get to Entebbe until 10 p.m. local time on December 20th. There will be many hours spent traveling, just the three of us. No guide. No help. I ask that you pray for us, especially Colt. This will be a brand new adventure and I worry about him handling it well.

Once we get to Uganda, we will travel from Entebbe to Kampala - the capital city of Uganda. This is where our work will begin. We will be working with an American family and their ministry called Benjamin House.

You probably already know, but the orphan situation in Uganda is dire. There are SO many orphans. Many are orphans because they lost their parents to death, but many are orphans by abandonment. It's a vicious cycle - orphans are growing up not knowing a family, then becoming pregnant themselves and becoming parents, but because they were raised in orphanages or institutions, they don't know what it means to be a parent. They eventually abandon their children simply because they don't know how to be a mom or dad. Or maybe they can't afford to keep them so they give them up to an institution, hoping they'll get better care there. It's an ugly cycle.

Benjamin House is working to break the cycle. They are not an orphanage, they are a family restoration ministry. They are working to teach these people about love and about families. They're teaching them how to be part of a family and what a Godly family looks like. They're trying to get to the actual root of the problem and trying to solve it - one person at a time.

 Please take a few minutes and watch this video. This is where we are going. 




We will be doing whatever they need us to do, helping/teaching/loving these people. We are NOT going to be bringing home a child - I have had a lot of people think that. I am sorry if I made it seem that way.

Speaking of the adoption - we are kind of in a holding place. It isn't about adoption, it is more about Haiti. From what we're being told now, to adopt from Haiti will take approximately 5-6 YEARS. That is devastating and we are not wanting to wait that long. We are open to domestic adoption, BUT our agency is very quick to tell us that with domestic adoptions, adoptive parents are MANY and babies are FEW. With international adoption, adoptive parents are FEW but children are MANY. So, we are reassessing our country options, but not abandoning adoption. We want a child and Colt desperately wants a sibling, but I don't think I can wait 6 years to do it.

Back to Uganda - we will be there through Christmas and return on December 28th. Colt has about 15 blankets to take with him (mentioned in the previous blog post) and I think that's probably all we can carry with us at this point. Thank you to everyone that has donated a blanket! Ryan is going back to Uganda for ten days in February and may be able to take more with him then. Also, I have a feeling this will only be the first of many trips to Benjamin House. I feel a strong calling there.

Please pray for us as we prepare to travel, pray for our safety and our health (so many diseases! so many shots!), pray for Colt and the culture shock he is going to face, and pray that we can touch people's lives and be a blessing to them. Also pray that God gets all the glory for this trip and it doesn't become about the Doolittles, but about our Father above.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Soft heart. Soft blanket.

I just wanted to share something we are going to be working on in the coming months. I told the story months ago of how we came to adoption. A man (Bucky Rogers) came to our church to speak on a special place being built in Uganda called Benjamin House Ministries. They are NOT an orphanage, rather a place that hopes to rehabilitate families. Did you know that a large percentage of "orphans" are not actually orphans at all? Many times, the children are given up by their parents because the parents either can't afford to feed them or they just don't know how to parent (verb).

Can you imagine having to choose between keeping your children and possibly watching them starve to death or giving them up to an orphanage where you know they will be fed and have some form of medical care? That's inconceivable to me.

Anyway, we have fallen in love with BHM and all that they stand for and hope over time, we can help you fall in love, too. Ryan will be traveling to Uganda in February for 10 days with some of our closest friends and I am sure I will have lots of pictures and stories to share then. I want to go so very badly, but at this point in my life as a mother to Colt, I cannot go. So I will live vicariously through them until we can all three go in the future.

So here is the story.

Tuesday night, the three of us attended a Benjamin House unveiling banquet. It was wonderful and I was proud of Colt for behaving and listening so intently, as it lasted about 2 1/2 hours. There was a video (I am hoping I can find a link to it!) and Colt was surprisingly mesmerized. Later that night, Ryan and I had kissed him goodnight and as we were about to leave the room, Colt's face just crumpled and he began to cry. He cried over those Ugandan children not having toilets and blankets. He was BROKEN for them. I am so grateful for his precious, sensitive heart. Now, I told him that we would come up with a way to help because as Bucky had said in the video - the task is HUGE, but we just have to START. Just do something. You can't know all of this, see all of this, and do nothing.

Colt has decided that we will collect blankets for the children in Kampala, Uganda. Not for warmth, but for a comfort item. Every kid needs that. We haven't exactly figured out all of the details, but the goal is to collect blankets and send them over with Ryan and the team when they go in February. If you are interested in helping us - AND COLT! - out with a blanket donation, we would love to speak with you.

Thank you, friends!

Here is the documentary. It is only a little over twelve minutes long. WORTH YOUR TIME.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Comeback.

Please forgive me if this post is choppy. I am a bit rusty.

If you know me well, you know that I am much better at communicating through writing than with spoken words. I tend to speak before I think things through and this often gets me in trouble. Sometimes I even "post before thinking" and this too gets me in trouble. I have taken a few "Facebook breaks" over the past few months and it's been liberating and constricting at the very same time. It's nice to not feel so connected to something and to be able to pull away. But at the same time, it took away my voice. I can promise you that was a good (but hard!) thing at the time. I had lots of ugly things to say to anyone that would listen.

I have not blogged since April. I am missing it. Missing my outlet. Missing my (free!) therapy.

The past year has been the worst year I could have ever imagined. I have felt intense joy and the most intense heartbreak too. I have been put on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Medication to sleep. Therapy. It's hard. I have been drowning. I am still struggling but I am starting to see a light at the end of this horrible tunnel.

Our family has been tested relentlessly this year and y'all, we failed.

We FAILED.

Our family almost didn't make it.

Our flesh is so weak, but you know what? Our God is so strong. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

I take comfort in knowing that we are doing what God intended for us. I know Satan tests us most when we are doing what is right. With that being said, we are still adopting. I still have shirts to give out. I have not forgotten. I have just been fighting to keep my head above water.

I am sorry. I am sorry I have been a bad friend. I am sorry I haven't been a good example. I have been angry. Sad. Hurt. Hopeless. Anxious.

But I am coming back, hopefully for good and hopefully all of me.

If you made it through this, thank you. ❤


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Adoption Process Update

It's definitely time for an adoption update!

We had our first home study this past Friday. It went well but it was absolutely NOTHING like I expected it to be. With the words "home study" I expected them to basically perform a home inspection. The study was three hours long and the last ten minutes were spent touring our house. The rest was spent in deep discussion of our marriage and home life. It was very intense. The very first question the social worker asked was "Ryan, how do you know Jessica loves you?".  That's harder to answer than you might think, especially to someone you just met. Once we got over how personal it was, it went very well. Ha!

We have three more home studies to go. Our next is scheduled for May 11th. Between now and then we have a couple of books to read, autobiographies to write, doctor appointments to schedule, psychologist appointments to schedule, background checks to start, fingerprints to give, and fundraising to continue.

On the fundraising side, things are moving along! The t-shirt sales helped us a good bit but most has come from friends and family donating! Also, my precious friend Hillary of HMX Photography donated her time, talent, and money to help us raise money. She helped us raise over $1,000!! Thank you, sweet Hillary. Also, thank you to everyone that purchased a session with her! You are all amazing and helping us bring home our sweet little one.

Colt is upset because his little brother or sister will be in the next bedroom over. He wants them in his room! (Or so he thinks) I told him that the child may cry in the middle of the night and wake him up. Colt assured me that he would rub their back and ask if they want to hold his hand. ;) Sweet boy. He is so excited to have a little brother or sister! He is going to be such an amazing big brother.

Thank you to everyone that has offered support, prayers, and encouragement. We know that we can do this with the help of all that stand with us.

I'll leave you with this adorable picture that Hillary took of our sweet Colt.