The Story of JT

I know I need to update the “our adoption story” page, but I just can’t bring myself to do so. I can’t find the words to add it in anywhere. To be honest, this part of the story isn’t pretty. There is no bow that ties it all up nicely. There is no neat, crisp closure. This part of the story hasn’t been fun. It’s been sad. It’s been heartbreaking. It has wounded us deeply. This is a part of our adoption story, yes. But it’s also something so much more than that. It’s the story of a little boy in Africa who has changed us completely.

Dustin and I spent months staring at his pictures. We knew his smile. He looked like a total mess. He looked spunky. He looked hilarious. He looked happy. We wondered what his voice sounded like. What his laugh was like. We spent months praying for him by name. Praying that he was healthy. Loved. Cared for. Knew Jesus. Praying that this transition would be an okay one for him. Praying that Jesus would protect and gaurd his heart.

Dustin and I spent months preparing for him. We painted his bedroom. We bought toys. We hoped he liked balls and cars. We bought clothes. Friends threw us showers. We started to let ourselves dream of him actually being in our home. Playing catch. Riding bikes. Going swimming. Being a family.

We bought plane tickets. We packed. I left for Africa. Dustin was going to meet me there a few weeks later. I went to meet our son. I went never having a doubt in my mind he would be coming home with me.

I met him. He is spunky. He is a mess. He is hilarious. He loves balls. He loves cars. He loves to color. His laugh made me die a little. His voice is the sweetest. He loves to be tickled. He loved sitting in my lap and holding my hands. He loves to share. He loves chapati and jackfruit. His smile. His dimples. The cutest. He called me mommy. We would blow kisses to each other. We would say I love you. He loved to be called a monkey.

10 days into my stay I got news that some things had happened that re-opened his case. We could not continue to pursue adopting him. He was no longer adoptable. This came out of left field. It could never have been predicted. It left a lot of people stunned and speechless. It was no one’s fault and there was no one to blame. It just was.

The next day I went to the orphanage to say bye to him. Which is by far the most traumatic experience I’ve ever had in my life. It was also entirely necessary. I needed to say Bye. I needed to tell him I loved him. I needed him to know that I wasn’t just leaving because. I needed one more hug from that little monkey boy of mine. I got on a plane the next day and headed home.

This little boy has shattered our hearts. We now know a love that doesn’t make sense to the masses. We know a love that exceeds our hearts. We now know a love that hurts deeply. We know a love that surpasses miles and oceans. We know a love that doesn’t fit into a box.

To my buddy boy, JT:

You will always have a piece of our hearts. You will always be our first son. You will always be the first person to call us mommy and daddy.

You are so loved. You are important. You are prayed for daily.

You were a leap of faith. You were a yes. YOU were worth it.

We love you to Africa and back, monkey.


“Sometimes in crisis, we don’t really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and much more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed.” – Rosaria Champagn Butterfield in The Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert



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