Friday, November 29, 2013


This young couple started the process to adopt early in their marriage. They have had a referral for 1.5 year old twin boys for over a year! Oh how they must ache for their boys to be home! The boys are in a foster home in Central Africa. The Seitz have to pay a monthly foster care fee on top of agency fees! Please read their story and consider giving towards their adoption through their adopt together page. Also, 20% of the Love is Waiting shop will go to their family this week 

Hi, we are Natalie + Dan. Things you should know about us:

+ We got married 11 months after our first date. Dan was in his last year of med school, and I was in my last year of social work grad school. Our two-year anniversary is in a couple weeks!

+ Currently, Dan is in his first year of residency. He works in the ER departments of several hospitals in our city. Natalie writes home studies for foster and adoptive parents (and read a lot of blogs).

+ We really like exploring our city, playing Mario Kart, walking our crazy dog, and watching Parks & Recreation. (Have you seen it? So good.) We go to a great, supportive church, and we host kids through Safe Families.

+ Our plan has always been to adopt as the main method of adding little ones (and not-so-little ones?) to our family. We planned to wait three years to do this. It seemed to "make sense" with the busyness of Dan's schedule and our financial situation. And maybe we didn't want to shock our friends and family too much. A little bit of that, too! :)

+ God threw the best kind of wrench into our plans, and we began praying about the possibility of adopting two months into our marriage.

+ After much prayer and consideration, we were overjoyed to begin the adoption process in May 2012 at the ages of 24 and 25 with a low income and a lot of student debt. It is doable!

+ We requested one child, a boy or girl between birth and six months. Again, God had other plans. We are so happy to be adopting twin 1.5-year-old boys from Central Africa!

+ These boys are the cutest. T is taller and heavier. He's always smiling or giving mischievous glances at the camera. E seems to be shy, and he likes to suck on his index and middle fingers. He looks so apprehensive in pictures by himself, but when they push T beside him, he smiles.

+ Unfortunately, we've hit a lot of delays recently as their birth country's adoption process has grown and changed. We have seen the boys get teeth, stand up, and walk in photos. We are far past the date we thought we'd have them in our arms. We tried to not hope and plan for a certain date, but we did.

+ We've had their referral for over a year now. They live in a foster home, and we are so grateful for how clearly loved and happy they are. We are gladly paying a monthly foster care fee which includes wages for the foster parents, diapers, and food. Because they've been in foster care longer than we expected, these expenses are adding up.

+ Additionally, we have one big agency payment, travel expenses, and in-country living expenses. We expect to be there for several weeks. These expenses will be over $10,000. We have never let the money scare us. Instead, we have worked hard to save and raise and sacrifice as much as we can. And we have trusted! We trust God will provide this, as He has everything else.

+ We ache to meet these boys. But we have fought against making adoption an ultimate in our lives. It's cliché but so true: Our identity is in Christ. Not in being waiting adoptive parents. Not in being the young couple that pursued adoption early on. Not in being T + E's parents. 

+ God has done amazing works in our personal lives and marriage in the past year and a half. He has brought us through some really hard situations. He has taught us how to appropriately advocate for ourselves and our children. We're excited to continue to do this until our boys are home and beyond. He is good, He is good, He is good.

+ God is good, and the community of adoptive parents, waiting adoptive parents, and supporters of adoption is remarkable! We are grateful for your support through a purchase from the Love Is Waiting shop!

+ If you wish to continue to follow this adventure we're on, Natalie blogs here:

Friday, November 22, 2013


How cute is this family!!?! I'm so excited to feature them this week. They are adopting from Ethiopia, stuck in the middle of this crazy slow down. They have already been waiting for 2 years are so ready to meet their son, but they also have some more dollars to raise while they wait. Shop Love is Waiting to help them reach their goal! You can also make a donation through their pure charity page. 

Hi there! We are the Wallace family and we have a lot 'o love to give! We are in the process of adopting a young boy from Ethiopia, Africa. We absolutely can not wait for him to come home and join our family. 

We met at 15 & 18, got married at 20 & 23, young and in love, ya know? We have now been married for over 8 years. We have an almost 5 year old daughter who is pretty awesome and very ready to have a kid brother. We had talked about adoption a few times, just thought it was something really nice you could do for the world, but we never took it seriously. 

And then...the sermon. It was the sermon of all sermons for us. My husband went to church while I was at home with our sick kid, when he came home, he told me we needed to adopt, we needed to do it now, and he was pretty sure we needed to go to Africa. Whoa, what? I wasn't even there and this is some pretty crazy stuff he was throwing at me. I was excited at the possibility though so we jumped right in and got rolling on our paperwork. By the way, the sermon was about orphan care- not adoption specifically, and certainly not about Africa- but it was also explaining how God adopted us, we were orphans but brought into the most amazing family. Even though we have both been in church our whole lives, this was a new idea to us.

Our paperwork ended up taking about 6 months. Boo, hiss! We were so ready to get on that wait list! My first set of finger prints got rejected, my second set got lost in the mail- seriously- from the U.S. Post Office to the FBI- how does that happen? All that to say we got on the wait list in September, TWO YEARS AGO!

Ethiopia has had some major slowdowns. When we started the process the expected wait was 9-18 months, that is a serious laugh now. With our agency, they say to expect 36 months or more, thankfully we have already been waiting 26 months. It is sad and it is hard but it is all in good will. Ethiopia has a major child trafficking problem and they are making some changes to prevent that. In turn though, it slows down legitimate adoptions too. If waiting longer for our child means that a kid does not end up in a corrupt situation, then so be it. And, really, we are so thankful that Ethiopia hasn't close as we have seen with other countries. We have friends who have lost a lot of time and money after starting an adoption in a country that closes. We also just really love Ethiopia. Our heart is there, we don't want to change countries even if it does take a long time. 

So that has been our process but now for the good stuff! We are adopting a boy up to age 3. We are naming him Abe. We were listening to a pastor talk about Abraham and even though we had heard that story a million times, he said it so simply, he said that God promised Abraham if he would leave his home and country, that He would make him a better home and build his new country. That did it. We are asking our son to leave his country and join our family but we promise to love him and always work toward a better future. We already love Abe and we can't wait to go get him! 

We have a long way to go with our fundraising, we still need to raise (and save on our own) around $15,000! We can do it, but we need your help! Thank you for taking the time to read our story and please visit our blog if you would like to check in on us from time to time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


In honor of Adoption Awareness month, Love is Waiting has partnered with Noonday Collection for a giveaway! One of Noonday's Ambassadors and I have paired the Love is Waiting tee with the La Jolla necklace, made in Ecuador.  Noonday started as an adoption fundraiser and now partners with artisans all over the world, bringing economic opportunity to the vulnerable.

We thought it would be so fun to make this giveaway all about the adoptive mamas out there!

1) Like Love is Waiting's Facebook page
2) Tag a deserving adoptive mom or adoptive mom-to-be in our Giveaway photo. (Yes, you can tag yourself!)
3) If you are unable to tag the person. Leave a comment to enter.

Pretty easy, right? We will announce a winner Friday morning, November 22. 

Friday, November 15, 2013


Julie & Trey Reynolds are Lubbock friends adopting from South Africa! The very first time I went to Africa, I was on a team with Trey! Now, here we are, 6 years later, sharing in the joys and obstacles of international adoption. I am so excited that they are willing to share their story here! Waiting in uncertainty for a child you've already met is excruciating!! Please take some time to read their story and consider ways you can support!

This week only 20% of Love is Waiting sales will go to support their adoption!
You can also give a tax deductible donation to the Reynolds family here.

"Trey and I’s first date was over coffee, discussing our mutual love for Africa and passion for missions. By the time we married, we knew God was calling us to international missions and we were actively praying and researching options. In October 2011 we had the opportunity to move to South Africa and serve at an orphanage. I had a previously relationship with this orphanage from leading  short-term group trips.. We knew that next year was going to change the course of our marriage and lives, but honestly didn't expect how that would take shape. Shortly before we moved, we had a very lengthy discussion about the fact that we felt 100% called to adopt one day, but we were convinced it would be domestically. All the official information about international South African adoption stated that it was not possible from the US, and honestly we took comfort in that. If it isn't possible, then we don’t have to worry about it! To be honest, we also didn't want people to think we went to serve internationally to find a baby. 

A few weeks into our time in South Africa, God began to impress on me that “she is yours”  about our girl. It was clear, and my heart just shifted as I recognized God's certainty in what He was revealing to me. I  was terrified at first, then discouraged, because I didn't think it was possible to adopt her. But at the same time,  I “just knew.” When I shared this with Trey, he was very guarded because he didn't want me to be hurt. He’s sweet like that, which frustrates me :). I began to pray that God would give Trey the same confidence she was our daughter and that He would “work it out!” The Lord did change Trey’s heart, but he still remained the voice of reason for us and cautioned me to trust, be faithful, but also not count on this happening. We still weren't sure it was possible without a longer term move to South Africa, and at that point we were headed back to Texas expecting our first baby in a few months. One of the first obstacles was that we needed to get the director of the orphanage's blessing. We knew, without her on board with this idea, nothing would happen. We had disagreements before because we feel strongly that kids need family, and she feels strongly that it is more important that they be raised in their culture. We prayed for months that God would bless this conversation. When we approached her, she said God spoke to her and gave her peace that this was His plan!

Next up was finding an agency who would work with us in a pre-identified adoption that would be above board and legal. It is a miracle that our agency is working with us. It is literally ONLY by His favor. Turns out there is only one agency in the US to do South African adoptions, and they only had a pilot program at this point. We had to go through several avenues, and several months,  to get the initial nod of approval. We were ecstatic! But a few weeks before Clementine was born, we found out that they weren’t going to work with us after all because we live in Texas. Recently, they had contracted home studies out to Texas agencies, but their policy had changed. We were devastated, but again prayed that God would “work it out!” and kept persisting in our contact with the agency. The day I went into labor with Clementine, we received word that they would make special arrangements to work with us! Praise Him and what a roller coaster. Since then, we met a friend in Lubbock who traveled to South Africa to finalize her adoption with her daughter  two months ago. Her daughter is close to the same age as ours, and it is a huge comfort that they will have each other as friends. To have someone who has recently walked this path AND a friend with some familiar experiences for our girl is amazing. Lubbock is not that big, and there are only a handful of these adoptions each year!

One thing is clear to me, from the first moments I started praying about my first short term, group trip in 2005 God led me to one specific corner of the world. At the same time, God was moving in Trey’s life in huge way- shaping passions and gifts with experiences pointing toward Africa and missions which would eventually bring us together as a couple. There is more our story during these early years when adoption wasn't even on our radar, but it is mostly her story. It is both heartbreaking and such Grace from above to think about God so diligently loving all of us through that time, protecting our girl, and without our even knowing it bringing us together. Thank you for being a part of that Grace! 


Trey, Julie, and Clementine"

Monday, November 11, 2013


People who know me well, know that birthing a baby was my number one fear in life! For some reason, I've always been terrified and semi grossed out by the whole thing. So it came as a huge surprise to find out that I actually LOVED giving birth. I LOVE breastfeeding and I LOVE being mom to an infant! It might sound crazy, but I just did not think I would love it. I thought newborns were boring sleep suckers that made your nipples bleed! I kept telling myself… "You just have to make it through the first year and you're good to go!"

I'll save my "birth story" for another post, but for now I will tell you that it wasn't ideal and it was almost 40 hours long. And even though it was sort of terrible… I wanted to experience it over and over again. In those hours I felt so loved, so strong, so weak, so vulnerable, so important and heroic! And when I finally met this second son, it was nothing short of a miracle! ...A second miracle! And yes, he is perfect!

Here's a recent picture. Ezra Golden, 4 months old :)

After a few weeks home, Arthur started to show his "big brother jealousy". In hind-sight it was all normal new big brother behavior, but I was really worried about him! He just wasn't' himself and I had a lot of guilt and honestly, a lot of extra worry, because he was adopted. I was projecting a lot of emotions onto him… really thinking I knew what was going on in his head and his heart and the stories I was telling myself kept growing and growing.

Just in the nick of time a friend of mine invited me to a class that Adoptive Families of Houston was offering. The class was titled "sibling relationships" and I knew I needed to attend. I sat through the class and unfortunately, it ended up being more focused on biological siblings that your child may have outside of your family. Interesting... but I was disappointed that the teacher wasn't telling me what to do with my jealous 2 year old!! I hung around after class for some free food and hoped to get answers from other adoptive moms. I suddenly went from awkwardly eating my Jason's Deli Tuna roll to crying my eyes out in front of a complete stranger! And I mean an UGLY cry!

I was telling her that Arthur was starting to observe and compare and ask questions about when he was a baby. Things like "Mama, when I was a baby, did you feed me a bottle?" For some reason that question made my heart break a little. I DID feed him a bottle. I didn't understand why the question made me sad until she said it… she pegged me! With her hand on my shoulder she said "Oh, you're probably grieving what you missed with Arthur in that first year."

THANKS A LOT, LADY! No, but really! Thank you, stranger from the adoption class! Being able to experience with Ezra everything I missed with Arthur really had me missing infant Arthur. It feels so wrong that I didn't get to carry Arthur, breastfeed him and comfort him in the wee hours of the night in that first year.  It's time that I will never get back and I have to grieve it and be thankful for the love that others showed him his first year.

So, in an effort to get help for my crazy 2 year old, I find that, actually, I am the crazy one.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


This family is especially close to my heart because Rachel and I were waiting Mamas together! For a few months our waits overlapped. We had weekly chats over google chat, checking in on each other and hearing the latest news! Please take some time to read their story! It's filled with peaks and valleys, unexpected turns, heartbreak and unspeakable joy! And their story isn't over yet! Help them bring their second son home!

Ahhhh! How precious is Ollie??

In August 2011, we officially started the process to adopt two children from Uganda. After many many months of prayer, research, and longing to grow our family through adoption, we were so excited to start our journey.  Our journey hasn't quite looked like what we originally expected, but it has been the most amazing, most sanctifying (which isn't always fun), and best thing we have ever done in our lives. I have seen more of Jesus in others, I have realized a desperate need for Jesus in myself, that maybe I didn't know I needed previously, and I have cried tears of joy and suffering. Our journey hasn't always been smooth sailing, but it has been good. 

When we started the process, we hoped to bring two kiddos home together in about a year to 18 months. Things started slowing down however, and that timeline continued to extend. The wait is/was hard, but it taught me, it prepared me, and I let go of a lot of control that I thought I had (lets be honest, some days I was losing my mind, and some days were peachy, and even now I try to grasp that control back only to quickly realize it still isn't mine). In December 2012, we learned, that things were going to be a little different than we expected. We were going to still be adopting two children, but now we were going to complete two adoptions with two trips. We were thrilled however to receive a referral for a 15 month old, who we were going to name Titus. What I didn't know then, and wouldn't realize until actually we were home with Ollie (see, there is more coming) is that God worked in our family through Titus' name, even though we did not become Titus' parents. You see, we chose the name Titus because of the profound impact of the book of Titus. In the book of Titus, Paul lists the characteristics for a church Elder. In that, we prayed for our son, that he would become a man of God, that God would save our Titus, and use him for His works. We celebrated Titus' referral over Christmas and throughout the spring and prepared to become parents.  We were overjoyed to receive a courtdate in March.

Four days before we were to step foot on the plane, we found out that we would no longer be able to adopt Titus. To say that we were devastated, would probably be an understatement. Using the words of our dear friend Abi, who also lost an adoption referral: "He might not of been in my arms but he was with me every day as I prepared for his arrival. ... A failed adoption isn't just on paper. You let your guard down. You open your heart. And sometimes, it doesn't end the way your heart thinks it should ..." And for our dear Titus, we still pray every day that God will save him, that we would trust in God's sovereign plan for him and that He will use Titus for His glory. What I also didn't fully grasp until recently, was that my husband has become the man of God that is spoken of in Titus. He has led our family well throughout this journey and always pointed us back toward the gospel. I still don't think we will ever know why Titus didn't come home with us, but we know God is good, and sovereign even in a broken world.
So once again, we were waiting. But again, God was at work in profound ways that we wouldn't know about until later. At the end of May, we were thrilled to receive an unexpected call from our agency saying that they had a referral for us! We were excited (and terrified) to receive a referral for a beautiful 9 month old boy. With a true miracle, one month later we left the U.S. and arrived in Uganda. On July 2, 2013 we met our son.  We spent seven weeks in Uganda, as a family of 3, falling more in love with our son and family every single day.  We arrived home with Ollie 5 days before his first birthday, which again was a huge answer to prayer.  We are now the proud parents of Jesse Oliver Leos ("Ollie").

What we know now was that a girl that spent 7 weeks with Ollie in Uganda shortly after Ollie was born had been praying for months that we specifically would be Ollie's parents. She was/is a prayer warrior for Ollie and we have no doubt that God used her to connect our stories. (Ollie is set to be a ring bearer in Melana's wedding in January!) Ollie is truly a miracle and we are so thankful and blessed to be his parents. He is snuggly, funny, loud and fits perfectly in our family. Ollie's story is one of redemption and hope, of peace and trust, and God's protection over us and Ollie. An olive branch is used to show a sign of peace throughout the Bible, and God has already used Ollie to bring so much peace. He is truly a light, and our prayer is that he will be a peacemaker in the name of the gospel. And oh man, being a mama to Ollie, it is seriously the best. I am so amazed every single day that he is our son. Jesse Oliver Leos, you are a miracle, you are loved by God and loved by your mama and daddy. We praise God for you every single day.

Our story still isn't over! We are now waiting to receive our second referral, that we started out in August 2011 to receive. We are next on the waitlist for another boy (I love being a boy mom!) and are hoping to get a referral by the end of the year. We cannot wait for Ollie to be a brother and for us to become parents to another cherished son. We will then travel again to Uganda and if it is God's will, we will bring home our second son, hopefully in the first half of 2014.

Because of all the changes, our expenses have been and will be significantly more than we initially expected, fund raised and saved for. We are so excited to continue to grow our family through adoption and we are truly honored to be featured and to publicly share our story for the first time on Heather's blog this week!

Rachel, Jesse, and Ollie Leos

20% of the proceeds from Love is Waiting go toward the Leos family this week only!! If you want to give directly to Leos' adoption you can do so here through PayPal!

Monday, November 4, 2013


This boy amazes me daily. He is so sharp, so clever, so creative!! I wanted to share just a couple of quick stories from this week!

Every night one of us puts Arthur to bed. We read a book, then we tell him a story then sing him a song. This has started to be pretty funny, because Arthur will tell us what kind of story AND song he wants and we make something up on the spot!

The other night Arthur wanted a story about snow, and for some reason the first thing I thought of was making snow ice-cream. He LOVES to help in the kitchen with me so, naturally, this story was a hit! The next day Arthur woke up and of course the first thing he wanted to do was go outside and make snow ice-cream. I said, "Well, we can only make snow ice-cream if it snows outside, remember?" (not likely to EVER happen in Houston. So sorry, guy) I assumed that would be it and we would move on to playing with cars or watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates for the 700th time. Nope, he said "We can make caramel apples! We can use mud!!" My creative heart burst into a million pieces and melted into a puddle at his feet. I'm soooo happy he's mine!

The other story I wanted to share is an example of what Aaron and I like to call a "God wink".  Something that is hard to explain, something that gives you chills... somehow you just know that God is affirming you. It happened Saturday night after church. We were in the car, on the way home and Arthur was talking a hundred miles a minute, just to himself, just saying every word he could think of. Not really talking to us. Not really talking to anyone, just jabbering. Aaron and I were listening and sort of chuckling at the funny collage of words coming from the back seat. Then Aaron looks at me and says... "This little voice! It's crazy to think about how different his words would be..." He didn't really finish the sentence. I understood. I said, "Yeah, I know. Crazy!" Then the very next words out of Arthur's mouth... not missing a beat in his constant flow of words, was "You're my Dada and you changed my life!" Then he continued on talking about ninja turtles and whatever else he could think of. My jaw dropped! I looked at Aaron and he, of course burst, into tears. We just knew it was a God wink.

;) Heather

Friday, November 1, 2013


Phillip and Shelly head up the Hunter family! They have FOUR biological kids and are in the process of adopting their 5th from China! They are just a few weeks away from getting their Dossier to China, and then will have about an 18-24 month wait for a referral. They are pursuing a waiting child (moderate special needs). God did amazing work providing them with the funds they have needed up to this point. I'm hoping to help them get a start on raising funds for the second half of their adoption! Phillip is the associate pastor at their church and they have been encouraged by the growing awareness around adoption in their community. I loved what Shelly had to say about adoption in her email...

"We believe adoption is the Lord's heart and we want adoption to be our heart too!  He calls us to care for the widows and orphans, and though we can choose to adopt, those children do not choose to become orphans. We are called and willing."

Thank you Phillip, Shelly and Hunter kiddos for being the first Love is Waiting family! 20% of this week's sales go to support their adoption.