Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's Been 365 Days

365 days....that's how long it's been since we became a family.  Some days it feels like 365 years, and others feel like it has been about 365 seconds.  It's hard to believe that this time last year we woke up in Kinshasa, Congo and drove 2 hours to meet our 3 year old baby girl for the very first time.  I don't think we'll ever forget pulling up to the tall walls and hearing the voices of 25 kids singing in Lingala behind the security fence.  I remember them opening the gate and I quickly looked to see if Joelle would be standing there waiting....nope not there.  I remember wondering if she'd love me or be scared of me (I think she had a good mixture of both).  We walked around one corner, two, and then when we crossed the threshold of that third corner, THERE SHE WAS.  She was putting on shoes (and she's been obsessed with shoes since) and slowly making her way to Mama.  She hugged Mama tight around the neck....turned to me....and shook my hand (seriously?!)  And that was it....that was 365 days ago today.  February 7, 2013 is a day we'll never forget.

Some of you have the delivery room moment.  We missed out on that day.  But we have a moment we'll never forget....our first moment as a family happened 365 days ago.  Two broken people picked up a child that was broken, and together we all three became one un-broken family.

A lot has changed since that day.  Joelle has grown about 3 feet.  Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but she's grown so much!  She is fluent in English and is leading her entire Pre-K class in Math and Reading.  In just 365 days Amy and I have mastered the art of being the perfect parents (possibly another exaggeration).  Joelle is a citizen of the United States, and is getting ready to enroll in Kindergarten in just a few months.  She's riding a big girl bike, swimming, dancing, dominating on the soccer field, and learning more and more about Jesus from her Bible.  It's safe to say that although the last 365 days haven't been perfect, they have easily been the most blessed 365 days these three people have ever experienced.....and it's all by the grace of God.

We pray, every day, that Joelle would grow up to follow Jesus.  We pray that, because we've seen the love of God so many times over the last year and we want our daughter to experience that same goodness in Him.  We pray that our story would remind you of God's goodness, even when things aren't perfect in our own eyes.  And most of all, we're grateful to serve a God that unites broken people into one family....and it's not just the Lemons''s a family that goes much deeper....the family of our Father!

Thanks for following our journey over the past year.  It's been a wild ride.  I'd share more about the future of the Lemons' clan, but I'm pretty sure Amy has something ridiculous set up for that.  You'll have to excuse us if we're not around much today to chat....we're celebrating the 1 year birth of our family!

Not that we're winning an Oscar or anything, but we owe a HUGE thanks to quite a few people.  They know who they are....but two ladies at our agency fight so hard for our children in the Congo.  The stay up late so many nights, and work so hard to comfort families while we wait.  We are eternally grateful to these ladies and their hearts for our kiddos!  They are a blessing from God!  And we're so grateful for the country of DR Congo.  It's an amazing country with amazing people!  We can't wait to go back to visit.  Everyone was so great and helpful.  We don't really feel like we took a part of the Congo when Joelle came home with us....we really feel like they took a part of us.  We are forever grateful to the agencies there that help children find a home here in the U.S.  Hopefully, one day in eternity we'll be able to meet up with Joelle's bio family to tell them thank you again.  The short time we had with them wasn't much....but her dad's face is imprinted on my mind and heart every single day....I'll never forget the sacrifice he made for my beautiful daughter.  I'll never know the pain of his decision to allow Joelle to be adopted....but I hope he'll one day hear of the great things she's be able to do because of his decision.

365 days.....and here's to 365 more years!

Here's a little video I made {I asked Jared to use his speaking skills to write the post- the post that made me cry, go figure.  I should have asked him to make the video too because he's also better at media stuff, but oh well!  I had to contribute somehow ;)}.  It's eleven minutes long, but Joelle has given us so many precious and hysterical moments... I couldn't leave anything out!  


  1. That video is precious Amy! She is so funny! Happy 1 year of being a family!

  2. Oh I love this! It is so fun to put a personality to all the pictures!

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    1. Absolutely precious! I especially enjoyed all the "rediculous"ness that went on! Happy Gotcha Day Joelle! Thanks for sharing your lives with us!

  4. Happy Gotcha Day Lemons Family!! Such a treasure to watch Joelle!

  5. Happy Gotcha Day!

    My "delievery room moment" happened at midnight in the pouring rain behind a local gas station. (I was meeting a worker from another county to pick up a foster daughter. I ended up adopting her.) It is definitely a moment I will never forget. ;-)

  6. Hi,

    Would you mind sharing this link with your blog community or possibly writing a post about this opportunity and the power of prayer? The link is below...I would love to see all of us either as adoptive parents or interested humanitarians, bring this suspension and all the things that have come because of it and all the things that have lead to it, together before our God.

    Let's join and "Pray our children Home" starting on February 27 at 6 am. If God is for us who can be against us?

    You do not have to have an account to sign up...

    There are almost 100 time slots, only 15 mins each. Please pass this 24 hours of prayer opportunity on via blog, email, church hotline, etc.

    I appreciate your help!
    Sara Alsup

  7. How can you NOT fall in love with that little beauty?! She is absolutely ADORABLE and her personality is precious! So glad she is living a life she completely deserves. God has truly blessed your family and her as well! :)

  8. Awesome, beautiful video!! I love her little personality :) We adopted our son at birth 8 years ago, God was truly in control of the whole situation and we couldn't be happier. We celebrate our "Gotcha Day" also. Here's to many more of those days for all of us!

  9. Oh my gosh, what a personality! I was laughing pretty hard when she was telling Mama she was ridiculous. lol :)