JuJu Goes to the Pool

Today we found a local pool that only costs our family about five bucks per day.  This will be great for the long days when we are waiting on court stuff.  We took all the kids and JuJu walked up to the 4 foot end, and smiled this real sneaky smile she has, then jumped in…and sunk straight to the bottom.  By the time I could get her up, she was just laughing.  She is wide open and fearless, which is highly entertaining.  She had never seen a pool before.  Watch how crazy she acts in the video.  It was hilarious.  We had to basically take turns watching her the whole time, because you can’t take you eyes off of her.

Wise words from a friend

I wanted to share with you all a comment I got on the blog from a very close friend who grew up in the faith spending summers and even an internship at SWO.  Many of you know Corey and Racheal and even their awesome kids.  They are veteran missionaries who are like family to us and most all of the full-time SWO staff.  Corey’s words put things in a deeper perspective than I had ever considered.  It is powerful, and I wanted to share it with you.
Before I was engaged, I knew about Christ’s love for us, His Bride; but when Racheal accepted my proposal and I entered that covenant with her, I experienced for the first time a relational comprehension of what it means to love a bride sacrificially. The same was true the first time we had children: I experienced a father’s love for a child, one that I know about and fully believed of Father God, but finally had a much deeper comprehension of that love. I imagine you (Brody) experienced the same phenomenon with Little and Kilby.  Now with JuJu and Elliot, I can only imagine you are again crossing from a sincere belief in our adoptive status with Abba into an experiential understanding of what Abba was willing to do to ransom us from our depravity.
We can only speculate what future awaited these two souls had they not been adopted by the Holloways.  They were chosen (elected) and destined for adoption as “hiouses” (not mere teknons).  This process would not have happened without you orchestrating it (sovereignty), but somehow also in the courtroom where JuJu pointed to the family she wants to be with (free will) was an essential part of her adoption.  And though not to the eternal degree that we know in salvation, but somehow like God giving us this Spirit of adoption, so now JuJu and Elliot will not have to grow up in the sins of their fathers, falling into a life of abuse, neglect, malnourishment, following the societal norms of promiscuity, deception, greed, corruption, and drunkenness.  Now as a family, the Holloway family of seven gets to raise an Ebenezer in the midst of all the paperwork and politics — one that says this is how far JuJu and Elliot have come, and there is no turning back.  Then they will be raised in a family bent on serving the Lord and seeking Him.  JuJu and Elliot will, no doubt, learn of His Gospel and His heart for the nations.  It is a remarkable thing that, though I have never experienced it in the natural world, I can only imagine this earthly adoption will greatly deepen your understanding of your own adoption into the family of Abba God.

Bonding, Attachment, Discipline—We are off to a Good Start

A lot of you have prayed for the progression of the paperwork, and our lawyer told us today that everything is moving along very well, so thanks for the prayer on that end.
We wanted to share a video with you that we shot today.  I just happened to be walking up to JuJu and had my camera rolling and she was talking to Little.  It is a good shot of her personality.  She is VERY strong-willed, and we are dealing with some survivalist mentality.  She will slap, punch, and totally defy our authority.  It is good that we are in this place that is more familiar to her while we go through this time of breaking her will.  The language barrier makes it especially hard, but it is already working, and she is responding.  We are committed to it and have no doubts that the Lord will wear her down.  If you know Little or Me, the stubbornness JuJu brings to the family is nothing new to this party!  I am actually enjoying the challenge of showing her strong love that is consistent, but with discipline.
Elliot (Mo as I am calling him) is so young that he is happy to be eating and cooing.  He did stay awake for 6 hours last night as his body is dealing with the strong meds we have him on to remove parasites and infection.  Pray for his continued strengthening physically.  Juliet, on the other hand, is as healthy as any four year old I have ever seen.  That is a blessing.
The language barrier is posing problems, as she is very fluent in Lugandan, which is her native tongue.  The doctors say she speaks at a high-level vocabulary and is pretty intelligent.  So we have the added struggle of that.  She speaks rapidly AT us when we are putting her in bed, and I am certain she is not saying real nice things.  But she is all girl, trying her best to manipulate me, especially with her big eyes and big smile.  She will rattle off a string of Lugandan, then smile and me and say “Daddy girl?”  It is pretty funny.
Thanks again for all of the prayer.  Keep it coming.

Praying for Others

Had a great day today and continuing to see the kids progress.  Thanks again for all the prayers, and I hope you enjoy the videos.

Tonight I wanted to ask you all to share a burden for a family we have met here.  Scott and Cheryl have two biological girls ages 11 and 8 and are adopting an amazing little guy named Paul (8 years old) here in Uganda.  Cheryl and Paul have been here at the guest house going on four months now.  It has been a difficult time for their family as Scott and the girls are back home in Alabama, and Cheryl and Paul are stuck here in Uganda dealing with a mess of legal and bureaucratic red tape.  They should have been home two months ago, but the roadblocks keep stacking up.  Little and I and the kids have gotten close with Cheryl and Paul and love them very dearly already.  This is the international adoption nightmare that you hear about often, and it is truly a nightmare.  They cannot do anything, and their hands are tied, waiting on cooperation from both governments.  We will be going with Cheryl tomorrow to get her visa renewed, as it is about to expire.  She wants so badly to be home with the whole family together and we want it for them.

These guys are an amazing family who love the Lord and love the Gospel.  Please pray with us that they are reunited as a family soon.  God broke the heart of the Kings of Bablyon and Persia and crushed the authority of Pharaoh.  He can certainly deal with uncooperative government agencies in this situation.  Please pray for a breakthrough.

I will keep you posted.

And then there were seven.

Leaving court with Orphanage Director Hillary

Leaving court with Orphanage Director Hillary

The amazing outpouring of support through prayers, texts and social media has blown Little and me away.  We are indebted to so many of you and humbled at the size of our extended family in the States.  It has been a blistering pace since we arrived, but things are progressing.  We took the kids to a local clinic today for checkups, and they are both being treated for worms, parasites and bacterial infections.  They will fit right in at SWO!

Thursday and Friday will be important days as we meet with the lawyer to discuss documentation issues.  Much prayer will be needed, so please keep it up.  We are not surprised that it is working!  The prayer of the righteous has much power.  God’s people are driving this whole thing, and we are grateful.

Tuck telling Mo to man up during his physical

Tuck telling Mo to man up during his physical

We have learned much more of JuJu and Mo’s story, and it is truly an act of God’s grace that he is bringing them out of it.  They come from a background of severe abuse and neglect and suffer from pretty intense complications from malnutrition.  They are responding so well to our family, and our biological three have been an amazing asset.

One quick story for now:

When we were in the courtroom (six hours in a 90-degree room), the judge asked JuJu if she had the choice, would she go back to the orphanage or back with her great-grandmother or go with us. She pointed straight at Tuck, without hesitation.  I cried.  The judge then made her biological father pick her up, look at her, and tell her that he didn’t want her and that he couldn’t support her so he was giving her away to us.  He told her to be a good girl.  It was heart wrenching.  I think Little wanted to throw blows with the biological father, and I wanted to let her, only I was broken for this man’s sin and spiritual need.  We are trusting God to heal JuJu through Gospel love in our home.

Thank you all for loving Planet Holloway so well.

Greetings from Uganda

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We have been completely blown away by the support we have received on our adoptions.  God has led us, for now, to a little four-year-old girl and her one-year-old brother, living in the city of Kampala, since their mother died last June.  Pray for us as we are currently in Uganda.  We have a court date set for February 11, and we ask that you pray that we would have favor in the eyes of the courts and the judge.  A lot will need to happen while we are here, and we don’t even know how long we will be in-country.  We are trusting God to provide in every way. All five of us are here together, as this has been a family thing from day one.  Our kids are so excited, and we cannot wait to see what God has in store for our family through all of this.  Planet Holloway is in Africa (the lyrics of Toto are ringing in my head right now)!

Thanks for all the support both through prayer, and through giving over the past year.  God is faithful, and so are his people.

Mountain Man Field Trip

Tuck and I were able to spend a day in the woods last week, here in the mountains, and we wanted to share a bit of that hunt with you. I let him miss a day of school, so I guess you could call it a mountain man field trip. Tuck took a buck by himself, and we packed it out after walking about three miles from where he made the shot. I cannot emphasize enough to dads to do things with your sons and daughters that they will never forget. Get out of the ordinary. Do something that will make the day you do it, literally, a day they will never forget. In a world of technology, video games, texting and social media, I can tell you that Tuck and I will never forget the smell of fall, the rising sun and fog that morning, the roar of his muzzleloader, the blood trail and recovery after the shot, and the tasty backstraps fried up for supper. Do something soon, Dad, that you and your child will not forget in this lifetime.

Ugandan Adoption Update

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Little and I have been blown away by the support and encouragement we have received in getting our boys home. We are so close to our goal of going to Uganda and getting them! I wanted to give a detailed update as many of our readers, friends and ministry partners have been watching closely and asking for updates.

We finally received official photos of our boys and they are AWESOME! My kids are so excited, and each night at home we have a sweet time of prayer for the boys. Their names are Elam and Charles, ages 5 and 7. Please pray for them, for their salvation and for their HUGE adjustment transitioning into our family and the SWO community. We believe the scripture is clear on how God feels about adoption and are so blessed to be a part of this picture of God’s love, but we know it will be very difficult for them. We do not have romanticized ideas about this. The road has been short, and the longest part of the journey will be the next couple of decades.

Financially speaking, the total adoption cost is around $40k. That seems overwhelming, but we felt led specifically to adopt from Uganda because it is so expensive, which is a deterrent to many families. In addition, we will need to travel to Uganda twice in the next couple of months — once for a court date and again to bring our boys home.

We went in knowing God would have to provide this money, and that we didn’t have near that kind of personal funding. To date, we have received $26k in the form of donations. Praise the Lord!  Many of these gifts have been in the form of $50 and $100, with some reaching into the thousands. It has been confirming to see God’s people get behind us. Our agency and caseworkers have been a joy to work with and have done the heavy lifting for us, which has made the whole process much easier.

We will spend a total of three weeks in country, split into two trips a month apart. We are waiting on a couple of final governmental documents to receive a court date. However, we cannot make the travel arrangements, or get our official court date, until we send our final and largest payment of $20k to the Ugandan government. We are $8k short of this. It seems like a racket, but it is what it is, and we are committed to getting our boys ASAP, which we know is in God’s timing. There are a couple of grants that we are in process of applying for now, but there is still financial need, and we trust the Lord with that as well.

Again, thank you all so much for prayer, encouragement and financial support. It has grown our family so much, and we are so close to the goal.

I will end with some highlights of where we are.

  • International Home Study Fee — $2000, Paid
  • European Adoption Consultants Inc. (our adoption agency who we give 5 stars) Fee  — $11,000, Paid
  • US Governmental fees and processing — $3000, Paid
  • Ugandan Governmental fees and processing — $21,000, Need $8,000
  • Travel over and back twice (Four tickets on the second return trip!)  — $12,000, Still need
  • Two grant applications in process that would equal a total of $5,000-$9,000

We are blessed to even share these needs and updates, with rejoicing, at what God has done. We will share pictures as soon as we are allowed. Please, PLEASE more than anything, pray for the huge life change about to occur in our family. Pray for Little and me, Kilby, Tucker, Lailee, and Elam and Charles as we move to the next phase of our lives together. We need God’s grace and wisdom in this all.

Find joy

Kilby India

Everyone has had times of disappointment, mourning, or sadness. I have had my share of times like these. But how do we seek joy in such times? An example of this is the India trip I was planning to go on with SWO. I had been planning this trip for over a year and a half. I was learning the language, culture, etc. And I spent so much time fund-raising, writing support letters, and counting down the days, hours, and even down to the very second until we left for India.

Then two days before… I (along with my parents) couldn’t go because of issues with our visas! Why? What had I done to not be able to go? I don’t know but I do know the Lord had it planned all along. I knew he had the perfect reason for me not to go and the perfect time to go, just later than I had planned.

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And honestly, he had it planned since before the foundations of the earth! And he has graciously given me scripture to be able to go and seek him, to find my joy in him daily in his praise and in worship, to learn how to abide in him, wrap myself in his love and embrace it all! It has taught me to drench myself with the water of life in Him, any chance I have. It has taught me how to realize that there are way worse situations in this world than me having to delay my trip by just a few months. I am so very thankful I can rejoice in that truth, and seek joy in it!

-Kilby Holloway