The House of Doo

The House of Doo

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


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.


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.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I announced in my last blog that we are adopting a child from Haiti. The past 9 days have been such a whirlwind of activity. We have started our t-shirt sale and my goal was 100 shirts. We are currently sitting at 109 shirts in 6 days! My new goal is 145 because we get a price break at 145, meaning more money per shirt for our fundraiser. I know we will make it.

My dear friend, Hillary, is an incredible photographer. She is donating two whole days of photo sessions, her precious time to take and edit the photos, and the money she should rightfully keep for herself, and she is donating all of that to our adoption fund. She already has half of the slots filled. Every time I try to tell her how thankful I am, I just can't form the words. There are not enough words.

We have also gotten monetary donations from friends and strangers. Our adoption will cost us between  $35,000 and $40,000 and y'all, that number is DAUNTING. I get overwhelmed by that number.

Then I look at what we have received thus far. The amount of shirts. The checks. The cash placed in my hand. The giving of talents and time. The sharing of my many, many posts every day. Begging your friends to support us. Your prayers sent up for us. The encouraging people (mostly strangers!) that are placed in my path. When I think of those things, I have no fear. I know God is faithful. He called us to it, He will bring us through it. I am just overcome with emotion. Gratefulness. Love. Joy. Healing. Humility.

I am humbled. Thank you. ♡

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Our Future as a Family.

It has been a few months since I last posted. Almost four months. That was the month we lost our baby girl, Collins. It's been four months of grieving and healing, too. It's hard to see my "pregnancy buddies" being so close to giving birth, but I am excited for them still. If anything, I have come closer to God in the last few months and I am thankful for that.

 A couple of months ago, I had coffee (and two and half hours of conversation!) with a former teacher-turned-friend. We talked about many things, but one topic stuck with me. The topic of Collins and her purpose here in this world - on this side of Heaven. This friend urged me to know that Collins' life did indeed have purpose, just like mine and yours too. I have pondered on that and prayed on that for a while now. Jump forward a few weeks and many prayers and we are in Sunday school, where Ryan is teaching. He was talking about questioning God and how he struggled with asking God why He took our baby girl from us. After class was over, we went on into church where we had a guest speaker. He was speaking about his calling to open an orphanage in Uganda, where the orphan rate is unbelievably high. In that moment I knew what Collins' purpose was.

After church, Ryan asked me if I would ever consider adoption. HA! I had always wanted to adopt - ever since my mission trips to Jamaica back in high school and college. I told him that I had always wanted to, but I never imagined he would be willing to do so. We talked a lot about it and prayed a lot more.

I know that Collins' purpose in this life was to show me and Ryan that we could indeed love another child as much as we love Colt. I know that she was sent to us to open our hearts and our minds. Also to stir up love and the desire to love another child. I don't believe her purpose was to ever be here on Earth, her job was completed before she ever opened her eyes in this world and she will complete her life in Heaven, free of hurt and pain, praising Jesus until we get there.

Doors were closed, others were opened, and one day just recently we were SHOVED through a door.

So I write this to tell you all that Ryan, Colt, and I are adopting. We have been lead to adopt an orphan from Haiti and we are terrified and excited too. We still have a long road, as it's a very long process and a very expensive process. We have lots to do and I ask that you pray with us and for us and our future child. There will be lots of fundraising and I pray that you would help us with that too. Adoption is unfairly expensive. However, we know that this is God's plan for us and He will make a way.

Thanks for reading!