Browse Author: Dustin

Adoption Update!

“Family Fun Day” at Perimeter Church (organized by Covenant Care and Promise686).

Dear Family,

We hope that this finds you doing well and enjoying these last few weeks of summer sunshine!! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and encouragement in this past year (and always!) throughout our adoption journey. God is SO good and we have SO much to be thankful for!

Baby Valencia #5:

All of our paperwork has been completed and approved, and we officially became a “waiting family” at the beginning of June. This means that once we are matched with a birth mother, she will be shown several family profiles, and she will then choose the family that she believes will be the best fit for her little one. The timing in this is completely in God’s hands—we could receive a call today, next week, next month, or next year.  We are choosing to trust in His sovereignty, faithfulness, and deep love for us! We are grateful for this journey, and excited to welcome another blessing into our family (Party of SEVEN!!). Jen has been admiring the 10 passenger vans that we pass…. bless her.

We attended CAFO16, an orphan care conference in May!

Dustin & Jen:

In May, Harper and I (Jen) drove up to New York with my parents for my cousin Monette’s wedding. It was a fun road trip and we loved reconnecting with family. The girls finished up their ballet season in early June and they were precious as ever! Then in mid-June, Dustin went to California for work and took Sophia along for the ride. They enjoyed spending time with family, catching an Angels game, hanging out at the beach, and eating enough In-N-Out to feed a small country! The rest of our summer has been full of family and friends in the house – we’ve had family (my brother/sister/niece from Bahrain), friends from Greenville SC, friends from Austin TX, and a friend from Hong Kong all spend time here in June and July. It brings us so much joy to have a full house and spend quality time together! We led a Starting Points class at church this summer, and it was awesome to connect with new friends and share about the foundations of our faith. We are grateful to be part of a community that truly loves Jesus by the way that they love people. Dustin and I continue to enjoy down time on walks/hikes, movie nights, and working out at our local CrossFit gym.

Our Littles: Sophia, Olivia, Harper & Moses

Our kids bring us SO much joy!  We learn so much about ourselves and our awesome God, through them. It is truly a privilege and sweet gift to be their parents.

Sophia and Olivia wrapped up a great first year at their home school hybrid-school, Rise Academy! Sophia begins 3rd grade and Olivia begins 2nd grade at the end of August…. How did they get so big?!?!  We are so grateful for this community of friends and families that have invested in our girls and have given us a family support system, that is rooted in Jesus. Their teachers have loved them so well—they enjoy learning and know that they have people who care so much about their minds, and most importantly, their hearts—developing their character, strengths, interests, and walking through their challenges. The girls are looking forward to another year of school, ballet, and piano! Sophia wants to be a baker—she enjoys helping in the kitchen and has asked for her own apron! She is sweet, thoughtful, and creative. Olivia is our little inventor and animal-lover, always drawing up plans for spaceships and rockets, or trying to bring “little critters” into the house!!

Harper Lou is starting kindergarten this year! She is our “Little Momma”, and can often be found cradling a baby doll and helping Mom and Dad with chores around the house. She is our cuddler, helper, and comic-relief!! Harper keeps us laughing, and reminds us to stop and enjoy the moment!

Moses has gotten so big! He is potty-training (always an adventure!) and just moved into his “big boy bed”. He lets us know that the new baby will be sleeping with him, and that he’ll need Mommy to get a pacifier for when he/she cries at night. He brings us so much joy! Buddy enjoys his “beep-beeps” (cars), dinosaurs, playing outside, and wrestling with his sisters. Before bed, he points to each of his sisters and says, “You’re MY girl!” … we can’t get enough of him!!

We cherish your continued prayers:

  1. Waiting Well – that we would be reminded of God’s sovereignty during our waiting. That He would give us opportunities to share our story and His bigger story of adoption to those around us.
  1. Fundraising – We just received word that we were approved for a matching grant from Promise686 ministries! We are so grateful! We are waiting to hear back from a couple other grant applications, and will also be applying for a few more. We have $7,000 to go to cover our costs. Pray that we would continue to see God’s provision through His people and our stewardship. We know that whatever the means, there is no detail that slips through His hands! If you’d like to support us financially, you can make a tax-deductible donation on our PureCharity site. Also, after a brief hiatus, we will be continuing to make jewelry through Chosen Jewelry & Supply – be on the lookout for another Fall Auction! Our hope is that Chosen would grow to be an avenue of support for other adoptive families in the future. We have already seen the Lord provide an opportunity to help support a short-term missionary through a jewelry fundraiser!
  1. Birth mother/father and baby – Please pray that they would be protected and loved so well during this time. That the birth mother and birth father would be comforted in their decision to choose adoption for their baby, that they would be surrounded by Godly people to build up and encourage them, and that God would direct future relationships, if any, between them and our family. Please pray for our new baby, that whether he/she is not yet formed, in the womb, or already born, that the Lord would choose to do the supernatural, and draw his/her heart closer to Himself even now. We know that he/she will be the perfect addition to our family!

Chosen Jewelry & Supply


We are humbled at all the love and support over this past week. We are over the moon excited for this journey!

It’s especially special to hear the kids talk about the new baby. We wanted to involve the kids early on, and it’s sweet to hear their stories, questions and prayers about the new baby. If you see them, be sure to ask them about him/her!

On an exciting note: this Sunday (11/29) from 6:00-9:00 pm Jen is hosting our first adoption fundraiser on Facebook. I’m a dude and I can say with 100% confidence that the stuff she has made is 100% legit. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and 100% unique — I’m so proud of her!

If you have an interest to see what she’s done, click here and select “going”. You won’t be disappointed!


A little bit about Chosen.

We have launched Chosen Jewelry & Supply — a custom, hand-made jewelry shop! What started off as a way to fundraise, has quickly become a passion!

Our long-term goal is to continue in the fun and creativity of making handcrafted jewelry, while using our proceeds to help other families fund their own adoption journeys.

More to come!


What Is Love?

“Do marriage vows seem to mean as much today as they used to? If you’ve heard anything about the increase in divorce rates, you may wonder. Bill & Glad are ignoring the trends. More than ever the vows they made 50 years ago are being tested. In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, the promise they are keeping is a true example of what love is.”

(via Mashable)

6 Quick Updates from My New Coffee Spot

First off, I’m sorry that I have neglected this blog over the last month. Sorry! Life has continued non-stop and I’ve had to step back and hit pause on a few things. Now that things have somewhat settled down… I wanted to give you a quick update on me and the family.

1. My new coffee joint. A couple miles from the office = the perfect lunch-break retreat! I’ve wrote about Land of a Thousand Hills coffee and praised their joyous blends and roasted goodness. They have a nice set-up in the Vinings area that overlooks the Chattahoochee River. It couples nicely with a smooth pour-over or pressed cup of Joe. Thanks to my buddy Youngsang for telling me to come! (Btw, the picture is lovely, right?)

2. Our house is on the market. Those on FB and Twitter probably know, but we ‘moved out’ of the house Memorial Day weekend. In the course of 5 days, we packed up and U-Haul’d it out of there! Mixed with sadness and excitedness, we moved into my parents’ basement while the house sells… and for the next season of life. Knowing that we’re taking a pretty big hit on the house, we’ll need to hang tight for a little while to re-save back up. Big plus: we’re less than 4 miles from Ben’s gang. Big win! But, lastly, please say a prayer for us that everything moves quickly and everyone stays adjusted nicely in the new digs!

3. Family vacation. Our family vacays over the last few years have all been car-trips (beach, nearby mountains, reunions, etc.). But this year, we’re going large! A couple weeks back, we got tickets for the whole family to visit my family out in sunny Southern California. So, come early October – we’ll be chowing down In-n-Outs, sun-bathing on Huntington Beach, and visiting family from LA to San Diego. But first, Harper and I are going out there next week for a wedding. Holla!

4. Work is going great. Have a couple trips planned (DC, NYC/Boston) and busy as always… and couldn’t ask for a better place to be at right now. A year and a half ago, when I made the job-switch I was anxious and expectant – now, 17 months later I am grateful for the place that God has put me in… for the growth-opportunities, work-flexibility, and overall satisfaction. On top of working full-time, I’m planning on starting my Masters this fall. ‘Bout to get cray cray up in here!

5. A little running. While Jen has been running more recently (ran the Nashville half a couple months ago), we’ve just now started to run/train together as we have a couple races on the horizon. We are going to run the inaugural Area 13.1 locally here in Roswell, GA. Pretty cool – it’s a ‘night race’ that starts at 6:30 PM. Also in October, while in California, we’re going to hit up the Long Beach half-marathon. Pretty stoked about that!

6. Family, family, family. Jen is holding down the fort at home: prepping for home-schooling the kiddos (mainly Sophia’s preschool in the fall), being the ideal support-partner to me, and connecting with other moms/friends on a regular basis. Sophia and Olivia will be in the same ballet class this fall. Harper is on the verge of walking all the time (no rush, though!).

I promise the next post will come sooner than 4-weeks out… Thanks for bearing with me!


What’s new with you? What’s on deck with your family this fall?

Olivia Turns Three!

There are some days when you just need to be goofy:

Make Your "I'm Three" Face!

I am one of “those Dads”.

I take pictures with my phone all the time. Goofy ones.

I need to remember, however, that all pictures don’t necessarily need to be tweeted or FB’d, but that’s a different story.

With that being said, my middle girl turned three last Saturday! Cliché as it is, time flies.

Each one of our kids is exceptionally unique. Sophia (4) is our “beat-to-her-own-drum” one. Harper (1) is our “laid-back” one. But, if I had to describe Olivia in five words, she is:

  • Smart (very verbal and probably more articulate than me sometimes. LOL!)
  • Kind (always willing to share, give hugs, and make people laugh)
  • Glamorous (always wearing a crown, necklace or princess dress)
  • Fearless (ask her to do something, she’ll do it)
  • Fiesty (even sweet girls can be strong-willed at times!)

My little smart, kind, glamorous, fearless and fiesty girl turned 3 this past weekend. Can’t believe it!

Happy Birthday, Olivia!


If you had to describe your kid(s) in one word, what would you use?

Drink Coffee, Do Good

Along with serving great coffee right in my backyard, one of the things I love about 1000 Hills Coffee is the driving message behind their business. Jonathan Golden (Roswell, GA), their founder, started the company after being moved by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In fact, it “led Golden to start a coffee company that pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda, helps them with their basic needs, and brings a quality product to coffee lovers.” Great coffee from a great company? Yes, please!

As the fellow coffee lover that I know you are, I invite you to check out their site: Or, if you’re a Twitter’r, follow them here.

In the video below, Golden shares an important message about how we as Christians share the gospel:

“Every once in a while, God give us something big to do, but every day he gives us something small to do. Those small things make a difference.” – Jonathan Golden

I tend to forget the little things do make a difference — little things like drinking a cup of coffee. Not even where the coffee comes from, but also who I’m drinking it with (my wife, a friend, a coworker?). A few months ago Jen and I started a weekly Thursday AM “coffee date” — a standing 30 minutes each week to connect, catch-up, and talk about what’s on our minds… all over a good cup of joe. :) There have been mornings where we’re dead tired, but have tried to stay disciplined knowing that God will honor those ‘little times’.


What “little thing” is God reminding you about today? And how can you use that for His glory?

The Salvation Stick

After seeing the idea on Pinterest, Jen created this bucket of “prayer sticks” to include in our girls’ night-time routines. We wanted to be intentional in praying for specific people and things. It clever, unique, and our girls love it! (Now they close their eyes, pick out a stick, and get all excited!)

Earlier this week, Sophia (4 yo) pulled out the “Salvation stick” — the one that just says Salvation… where we, as parents, get the opportunity to explain what this means to our kids in the most simplest terms. The girls turned to me for an interpretation, and…

…I was speechless. <<Crickets>>

Like a clunker with a burned out engine, I stalled.

Thankfully, the kids probably didn’t think anything of the quick 5-second pause, and Jen stepped in and told them what we believe: God loved us so much that Jesus came to earth so we can have a relationship with Him. It’s not anything we did or can do, but because of His grace and love. 

In a sense I know I was caught ‘off guard’, but I should be able to explain my faith to someone. Let alone explain it at it’s most granular level, right?

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

In any event, I’ll be ready next time my girls select that particular stick. :)


Does your family have any unique ways to include God in the everyday routines?
How would you explain ‘salvation’ to a 4-year old?