We are pleased to introduce you to our son, Henry Mugisha Dean Ordelheide “Hank”. His middle name, Mugisha, means “blessing” and we couldn’t think of a more fitting name for our littlest boy.


Hank, Melissa & Rosie will be arriving at Denver International Airport on Thursday, March 28 at 5:00 pm. If you’re in Denver and you’d like to celebrate his arrival and his joining our family we would love to see you there!


Happy 4th Birthday Trip!


Today hurts…. I’ve been contemplating why it hurts so much for the past few hours and it suddenly hit. It’s Trip’s birthday and I’m not at home. The tears are pouring down my face as I write this out. I remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday. I had no idea that morning that this boy would capture my heart so swiftly and with such passion. He made a very fast entrance; just 45 minutes from start to finish. I can nearly count each contraction of my labor. I was certain that day that there had never been such a beautiful baby boy, none quite as perfect.


Yesterday I was able to Skype with Trip for 30 minutes… it was almost like he and I were in the same room together, after 3 weeks apart. He said he wanted to “punch into the computer” so he could be with me and he told me he’s saving kisses for me. He described the train track he drew on paper for his Thomas train and told me what he was eating for lunch, an apple and left-over macaroni and cheese cupcakes.


Sweet boy, mommy is so proud of the big boy you are becoming. You are kind, sensitive and funny. You keep mommy laughing and you’re quick to notice when mommy is sad. I’m sure at this moment you’d climb on my lap and say, “You sad, mommy?” and then wipe the tears followed by a big kiss on my cheek. I wish I were home to sing “Happy Birthday To You” at least a dozen times because you love the attention. I’d draw you pictures of penguins & unicorns, and then we’d eat cupcakes and noodles and I’d wrap you up in my arms at 10:21 am, the moment you arrived. I love you…. I miss you desperately and can’t wait to see you very soon.


One Year

One year ago yesterday, March 13, 2012, we woke up in Ug*nda as a family of four knowing that in a couple hours we would be headed to get our daughter and sister, Roseline. From our side of things we were thrilled. We couldn’t wait to hold her, kiss her & love her. I wish I had stopped then to think of her grieving heart. It honestly didn’t cross my mind. I wish I had realized that her world was about to be shattered. When we arrived one of her caregivers was holding her. I couldn’t wait to get her in my arms. You know all those videos of the sweet kids in their new mommies arms? Ha! Here’s what it really looks like. A child absolutely TERRIFIED of you.




Our sweet Rosie girl shut down that day. If she’d been fun and lively in the baby home we wouldn’t have known it. All we saw was a listless child. If you put her head to your chest she didn’t move; when you picked her up she was flaccid. She was heart-broken. I can’t imagine the deep grief she was experiencing. We held her, we loved her and we tried our best to help her process, but it was hard. One way her grief came out was anger. She would rage. It’s difficult to describe. She would look at you with absolutely zero recognition, even weeks and months after we’d been together and she would hit, scream in terror and fear. It didn’t matter what we did to console her nothing would calm her hurting heart. To say this was difficult for John and I would be an understatement.

You so rarely hear people talk about the first few days, weeks, and months as an adoptive parent. It’s because it’s hard. I personally felt like I was drowning. I knew we were walking the journey God called us to, but didn’t feel ready or able to share how hard it was for me. I felt like I had an image of, “I’ve got this under control” to maintain and I honestly thought that no one really wanted to know the truth. The last year broke me; the last year taught me to be honest about who I am and about my struggles and pain. It taught me that if someone didn’t want my openness then they weren’t someone to hold close. If anything it has prepared me for what is about to come. I know that we have begun another difficult transition, but I feel more prepared. I feel ready to admit that I can’t do it on my own, ready to say that this is really hard and ready to accept help. I have formed some fantastic relationships in the last year and rekindled some “old” ones. I have “those people” that I can pick up the phone and call and say, “COME QUICK, I’M DROWNING!” I didn’t have that last year. God has provided what I didn’t know I needed last year.

Thank you for your continued prayers as our family is half & half. It’s hard having half our family at home and half of us here. I think the hardest part is the unknown timeline. If I knew I was going to be home in , say, three week  I could begin a countdown, but I don’t know that. It could be two weeks, it could be five. That’s hard.  Thank you for holding us up and for your support.  If you’d like to read more about supporting adoptive families check out this great post by my friend, Ashlee.

Ten Things About Our Boy


We’re settling into life in Ug*nda. We truly love being here. It’s a beautiful country and it’s begun to have familiarities and soul-nurturing qualities. I’m sitting outside on the patio watching my two littlest eat breakfast with a view of Lake Victoria. We’re enjoying this time of nurturing and healing-hearts. We pray that God gives us the wisdom to parent our boy’s grieving heart.
We thought we’d share some things we have learned about our boy so far.

  1. He has perfect teeth, you know the kind that makes Hollywood stars swoon.
  2. He loves to give big, open-mouth kisses and he runs to us for hugs.
  3. He sleeps for 12+ hours at night, praise the Lord!
  4. He does not like applesauce. We brought pouches of applesauce for snacks and after one taste he wrinkled his nose, and gave a look of disgust.
  5. He loves to drink water, lots of water!
  6. When he wakes up in the morning he just lays in his bed and waits for us to come, no crying, no tears, no calling out.
  7. He’s a slow and thoughtful eater.
  8. He does not know how to hold your hand or finger. But we will teach him!
  9. He is ticklish. It’s a joy to hear him giggle.
  10. 10. He loves his big sister Rosie. They have a cute relationship forming. She’s jumped right into her role as big sister and loves to play games with him and comfort him. I was changing his diaper earlier and he was fussing. She ran over to his head, snuggled in close and said, “shh, it’s oh-tay baby!” Rosie has had a beautiful example of what a big sister is.