1. Hi Desiree! Tell us a little bit about your story and your family.
Where do I begin...... Lets see. Aaron and I had meet in 2001 at a youth gathering in New Orleans and been good friends for a while before we started dating, we then got married in 2006. Shortly after we got married I decided to go on a mission trip with my friend Mandie. We went to Liberia (in West Africa) and were gone for 6.5 weeks. It seemed a little strange to get married and then leave him for a mission trip, but that trip grew our relationship deeper then we could have pictured it would have.
Upon returning from Africa I got pregnant with our first little lady, Lydia was born in 2009. Then our boy Asher came along exactly 18 months later. Our first became our second this past year as we brought home an older brother for our biological two. Tariku is from Ethiopia and has taught us a lot in the past 10 months. And we are expecting our 4th this summer..... God has grown our family really quickly in the past 4 years!!!
Well it was all confirmed when I went to Liberia. For me at least. Aaron and I had talked about it off and on before we were married, but that trip really confirmed the fact that someday we would adopt. On that trip I visited an orphanage a couple times a week and it was clear to me that the children were in need of parents, each child was special and I instantly fell in love.
Aaron and I had always planned on adopting our second child...... well, God had other plans for that. So a month after Asher was born we decided to start our adoption, thinking the process would take a while as it normally does.
Shortly after our homestudy was finished I saw a little boy on our agencies waiting list that captured my heart. (The waiting lists are for harder to place children, most often they are older or have some medical history that they are diagnosed with). I started to pray for him and eventually Aaron joined in. After a couple of weeks I started to look at him and wonder when I could bring him home - insert panic!!! One night shortly after we were praying together and I said outloud, "why is nobody choosing this precious boy? what is wrong with people?" Of course I meant to ask God about everyone else but instantly I heard His voice of reason ask me the same thing, "why are you not opening your home?". I told Aaron that I felt like we needed to be open to adopting him.
We had a lot to think about. He would be older then our biological children which would mean adopting out of birth order, something not usually recommended. He was also old enough to remember parts of his past - parts we didn't even know about. And he has a health concern that we needed to really learn more about and pray for. After a weekend in prayer we told our agency we would love to have him in our home. We knew we would not ever know all the answers, but God was telling us not to be afraid - that He was guiding us and with us.
Exactly a year after we started the process we brought Tariku home! Our adoption went much faster then we thought it would go. We had a rough transition and still have rough days, but we are doing much better and bonding as a family. We are so thankful the Lord picked us to parent Tariku, we have learned so much through him.
2. Love your blog and shop! How did you come up with the name Hannah James?
James is now Tariku's middle name! And Hannah was the name of a little girl who I adored in Liberia - through her I knew I wanted to adopt.
Hannah James is a name that has a lot of meaning for me. In adoption, most parents have to wait a long, long time in order to bring their babes home. Many adopting families wait well past the 9 months of a regular pregnancy. And this waiting is very hard on adopting mothers.
There is one women in the Bible I have looked up to that dealt patiently in waiting for a child, her name is Hannah. I love Hannah's story. I love that she brought her hopes and dreams and difficulties to the Lord. I love that she put all her hope in the one who we need to put our hope in, God. She longed for a child and I know that the adopting mothers out there are longing to be with their babies too. I hope we can all find peace in the Lord and lean on Him for strength through our own adoption journeys We might not have gone through infertility, like Hannah, but we are all waiting to bring our babes home and longing for them to be home. Just like Hannah.
The second name for my shop & blog is James. It comes from James 1:27, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." Basically it represents the babes we are longing for. The precious orphans we care about.
3. What do you sell in your shop and how do you make/design it?
Oh goodness. My brain doesn't stop. I love making all sorts of things. I love jewelry making, sewing, art, and I have recently started making shirts! I don't exactly know how I design ideas, they just come to me. In the store, in the shower, while I am supposed to be sleeping. I could work on crafts and shop items all day.
4. I see you have a monthly "Family Partnership" program...how does that work? What inspired you to start it?
I started partnering with families during our adoption. In raising money for our adoption I realized how hard it was to get support from family and friends. I often felt like I was asking the same people over and over for support. Many other adoptive families offered a lot of encouragement and I wanted to do the same for others so I started partnering with other families to work together to raise funds. It was really nice to get their encouragement and be able to help them as well. Also each families story is unique and I have absolutely loved getting to know other adopting families through our program. They are all inspiring and their testimonies are beautiful.
Each month I partner with a new family. I get the chance to tell their adoption story and help them raise funds. I help them by selling the items in my shop. Each family that partners gets 45% of the profits made, 45% goes to our adoption (when it is paid off it will be used for medical expenses) and then 10% is for tax purposes, giveaways, and advertising.
5. Tell us a little about this month's partnering family...
This months partnering family is amazing. I know I say that about every family..... but this month it is more than true! AMAZING. The Unroes have 18 children at home - 1 biological child and 17 adopted (some from overseas some from the US foster care system). They are currently in the process of adopting 3 more, with the total being 21!!! Many of their children have special needs and it is very special to see the amount of love they pour out on all their kids.
6. How can we help this family and others like them?
This month I am selling special shirts and bags in my shop that were specifically designed for them. They were designed around the following verses because they are entirely blessed with all their children.
"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate."
To help you could purchase a shirt or bag, or anything from the shop. There is also a donate button on the link above (100%) of anything donated will be given to them.
To help just shop Hannah James, spread the word, encourage them in their walk by going to their blog, and pray!
Here is a link to my contact info. I am currently looking for more families to partner with in 2013, I would love to be able to tell your story!
Thank you Desiree! You have a beautiful family and your story is so encouraging! I love that you create and blog with purpose and heart!