I am the daughter of a king, wife of the most incredible man, mother of an amazing boy born from my belly and mother of two beautiful girls and one handsom boy born in my heart. I am an African loving, adoption advocating, orphan loving, holy spirit filled, Irish football crazed, Jesus loving girl on a mission to provide a family that is a living example of what God's love looks like. Undefined by size, color or nationality bringing glory to him one adoption at a time.
Celebrating the expansion of our family! How lucky we are to have the same gotcha day for all three kids!
On March 3rd, 2010 I arrived in Kampala, Uganda to pick up our beautiful daughter Abigail and we became a family of 4.
On March 3rd, 2011 I arrived in Kampala, Uganda to pick up our handsome son Elijah and our beautiful daughter Rebekah and we became a family of 6!
Celebrating God's love and blessings on our family this March 3rd, 2012! Happy GOTCHA day!!!
Mattawan family grows by two with adoption of Ugandan siblings
By Paul Garrod
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MATTAWAN - Jason and Heather Osborn and their family welcomed its two newest family members last month, with the adoption of Rebekah, 5, and Elijah, 3, siblings from Uganda.
The two were officially welcomed to the family Nov. 28, by their sister, Abigail, 5, who was adopted last year from Uganda, and brother Nolan 8, after paperwork was completed and signed by Van Buren County Judge Art Clarke.
Through funds the Osborns received from an adoption credit, they plan to use some of that money to help a school in Uganda.
"In receiving this adoption credit it of course helps our family to get a portion of the enormous load it financially took from us back, but part of this is going back to a school in Uganda that feeds 1,600 orphans and educates 400 a day," said Jason, a fifth grade teacher at Mattawan Later Elementary, and also a 1992 MHS graduate.
Heather said, "This adoption credit ensures a month-long mission trip I will be taking next year to help teach at the school and gather video and pictorial documentation to continue our fundraising efforts for this school. This means the world to us that we can continue to help the orphans in Uganda in their distress and provide them with hope for the future."
The couple met on a Internet dating site, and in the initial meeting, Heather asked Jason if he was willing to adopt a child from Africa, because that was a requirement for her.
The couple have been married for three years and will mark their fourth wedding anniversary Dec. 22.
Heather is the youngest of three, and her older siblings were both adopted before she was born. When she was younger, they would tease her about not being adopted in a reversal of the classic sibling joke.
She recalled playing with a dark skinned Barbie doll and thought, "I'm going to have kids like that. God planted the seed back then. I'm very passionate about it."
The couple recalled attending their first service at Third Reformed Church in Oshtemo in 2009, and mentioned their dream of adopting from Africa to the pastor.
He gave them the name and phone number of a parishioner from Uganda and it turned out that she had a connection to a child to be adopted.
The couple adopted Abigail in June of 2010.
Last November, the couple began the process to adopt Rebekah and Elijah. "That initial process got the kids out of the garbage pits - the slums," said Heather. The siblings' mother was deceased and the father had abandoned them.
Heather recalled the area that Rebekah and Elijah came from.
"There were streams of pee and poop. Raw sewage was running everywhere. You can't believe that human beings have to live in there (the slums)."
The two were unaware of running water or electricity.
Heather estimated that Rebekah and Elijah had been living on the streets for 18 months.
"They would dig through garbage piles for food. At times, they went days without food."
Abigail grew up in a village.
Heather recalled the second trip was "stressful."
The country had just gone through a presidential election and rioting had taken to the streets.
Heather and Rebekah and Elijah, who stayed in a guest house heard screaming and the then gun fire - first rubber bullets, then live ammunition.
"That was crazy," said Heather.
It was also during that second trip that Heather contracted malaria.
She left the country alone, without the two siblings on a Friday and was contacted that following Monday that a court date would be held that coming Friday.
Jason made the return trip to Uganda.
"Heather did motherly instincts in preparing for the siblings' adoption process," said Jason.
"Jason was able to take care of a few things in the court process that I don't think I could have handled," said Heather.
"She has grown tremendously as a person, woman and mother," said Jason.
"Going from a family of one to four kids in a year, it's been busy," said Heather, as the expanded family prepares for the upcoming Christmas holiday.
They'll celebrate Christmas at their Mattawan home, then fly to North Dakota, where Heather's family live. Some of Heather's family members have not seen the children.
"That day will be special." said Jason.
"We've grown as a couple through this," said Jason. "Both times it was a leap of faith. All on faith."
"The kids they genuinely love each other," said Heather, who gave up her job as an accountant at Stryker to be with the children, who are home-schooled.
"They thought I was crazy giving up the job," said Heather.
Jason noted, "Nolan is an important piece in this family. He was the only child for six years. Now he wants to help, love, share and give.
"The things Heather and I helped instill in him, he's passing it on to them."
"It's been an unbelievable amount of people that have been so supportive," said Jason.
What does the future hold for the Osborn family? Are they considering another adoption?
For right now, the couple plans to take a few years off before considering another adoption.
"We'd do it again. Don't know when or where," said Heather. "I look at the table and I just don't think we're all around the dinner table yet."
September 23, 24,25 Clinton Fall Festival October 8 AppleUmpkin Festival - Tecumseh October 15 Mattawan Middle School October 29 We're at the Notre Dame Game, No Show!!! GO IRISH! November 5 Waterford
Caledonia November 12 Byron Center High School
Chippewa Valley High School November 19, 20 Warren Woods November 25, 26 Chesaning December 3, 4 Kalamazoo Wings Stadium - Last show for 2011
We are taking orders online until December 20th, guaranteed to arrive by December 24th.
Although we have completed our blog postings we are leaving the blog open to anyone that would love to read about our story. Our email is current and we do still accept online orders for the magazine bead necklaces and bracelets.
All proceeds from the necklaces and bracelets will go towards the finalization of Rebekah and Elijah's adoption in the United States and to Good News Ministries in Bulenga, Uganda. http://www.goodnewsug.com/ Please read about this amazing ministry program online and if the Lord leads you to sponsoring a student for just $30 a month I welcome you to the journey of changing a life forever in Uganda. If you would like to sponsor a child go to http://www.goodnewsug.com/sponsor%20a%20child.html and you can sign up there, you can even pick which child you would like to sponsor, this creates amazing opportunities for sponsor families and lifelong relationships. Payments are made through paypal, it's an easy monthly step to take in order to change the life of a child in Uganda forever.
It is our greatest hope that the beads will provide financial assistance to this amazing school that educates hundreds of orphans as well as feeds approximately 1500 orphans each day. With the rising costs of food in Uganda we are partnering with our friend Pastor Solomon Brian Mwesige in an effort to lead teams to teach and minister to these children on a yearly basis as well help all students currently enrolled at the school receive permanent sponsors. Our goal is to achieve 100 new sponsors for children in the next year (by August 1, 2012). Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put in the subject line SPONSORING A CHILD if you commit to a child so we can keep track of our goal! If you are interested in joining our ministry team in Uganda we are looking for individuals to raise awareness in United States about the sponsorship programs as well as fundraising efforts (ie: hosting a bead party!) and financial assistance for the school. If you are interested in a mission trip to Uganda teaching these students about God's love and ministering at this school as well as local prisons in Uganda please contact me at the above email. I will be leading our first team to Bulenga March 30 - April 9, 2012.
First of all there is an invitation for our open house at the bottom so scroll down after this post!
So here it is. I have mixed emotions when I write this as this blog has been a significant part of my life the last 2 years. I've met incredible friends through my blog and lifelong relationships with other adoptive families. My friend Monica that came to Uganda with me I met through my blog!
The last 2 years has been quite a journey for us and I love to write how God's will has worked through our lives as he's woven the fabric of our family together. This will be my last post today. Jason and I have loved sharing our story with everyone and are amazed that our blog has been visited almost 20 thousand times covering all 50 states and over 20 countries. That is incredible. I've gotten words of support and prayers from perfect strangers that I will never know or meet.
It is time for our lives to return to a more private status. Jason and I feel FILLED to the brim with the Holy Spirit and we have big plans for our family in the future in the name of Jesus Christ. For now, we are going to love life, love our family and enjoy all that He has provided us with. We are so incredibly blessed. People ask us all the time if we are done having children or adopting. My answer to that is when you give your life to the Lord you let Him decide that. So we will wait on Him for that. I will say that for now I'd like a small break. :)
I am taking a mission team to Uganda in the next year. I plan to take a team down to do ministry in the prisons there as well as my friend Solomons school for 10 days. It will be incredible to be able to go back to the country I love so dearly to help and not have to be caught up in adoptions! I have spent 5 months out of the last 15 months there so I'm a little attached to Uganda. :) Then in the months after, Jason will go to do mission work with a team. Destination is still in the works. We will continue to sell beads to benefit those who need it most. We've seen what real need looks like and we are committed to doing all we can. Someday, we hope to live in Uganda, if, when and how God provides that is in His time.
I hope in our journey we have been a "light" to others. I learned that the Holy Spirit can and will work through you if you simply step up and allow it to. I learned what complete faith and obedience mean and as well as total surrender. I have an amazing husband to be on the journey with and we couldn't be happier. Everything we need we have been blessed with, we are rejoicing.
So here's to my incredibly HUGE God who provided a testimony of his love and faithfulness through a simple family like ourselves. 5 years ago I didn't know who Jesus was and my life was ravaged with sin. He took an imperfect soul like myself, showed me grace and allowed ME to be a vehicle to his awesome works.
Where will you find us? Chasing Him...:)
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2
You are Invited!!!
Celebrating the arrival of Rebekah and Elijah Osborn
Ohhhh how Elijah loves his big brother. And Nolan loves BEING a big brother, the bond thats forming is simply magical. I asked Elijah to love on his brother during pictures at time squeezing his face so hard! Just wanted to share :)
Well I could NOT resist taking the camera out for photo opportunities this morning. I LOVE taking pictures of the kids. SO fun. Nolan was at a Dr. appointment so I just have the 3 kids so far, more to be posted later with Nolan! These were all taken in our yard, Elijah wasn't so sure about going in the woods behind our house so it took a bit of convincing!
This is my favorite pitcuture, the girls are just playing in the lawn. See how they are the same size??
I can't even begin to thank everyone for the endless love for our children. Over the last 4 days we've had countless friends and neighbors calling, Skyping, emailing, and stopping by just to celebrate our joy with us. It has been AMAZING and overwhelming at the outpouring of love for them. Our friend Ashley brought us dinner on Friday so I didn't have to cook which was incredible! Cooking takes on a whole new meaning with 6 of us now! Thank you for loving our children and our family and for the countless prayers over the last few months. Rebekah and Elijah made their first appearance with our church family today and they were hugged and kissed more than any two kids I've ever seen. There is lots of tears and what an awesome testament to Him it was for us today. How blessed we are to have our church family for them to grow up with. They have been our rock of support.
Thus far transitions have been REALLY great, both kids are sleeping through the night, even getting up to the bathroom during the night by themselves! Elijah is doing well in his OWN big boy bedroom and they've been having a blast playing. That's all the kids have been doing for 4 days is playing. Nolan and Abigail are THRIVING in their big brother and big sister role. Nolan even rocked Elijah before his nap yesterday. :) I couldn't ask for an easier transition as of yet The sandbox has been a huge hit! I DID make a big mistake, I went to the grocery store while the kids were napping and Rebekah was upset to wake up and I wasn't there. :) She missed mom. :) So here's to an incredible 4 days as a whole family! I LOVE IT!
Blessings! Here is some more pictures!
Elijah LOVED it, he was SOO dirty!
Big brother rocking Elijah before nap. :)
My beautiful princess before church....
And my handsome prince.....the bow tie was crackin me up!