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!

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