I‘m pleased to welcome my friend Emily T. Wierenga to the blog today! Emily’s new memoir, Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose, releases tomorrow. Atlas Girl was one of my favorite reads of 2014 and I’m excited to read Emily’s follow-up. Emily is a gifted writer who always shares her story in a raw and honest way.

When Our International Adoption Turned Local (FREE webcast!)

By Emily T. Wierenga


I was all set to mail the application in.

I’d announced it on Facebook the night before, begging people for prayer and that’s when a friend of mine read my status and connected me with another Canadian–who lived just two hours from me–who had also adopted from Uganda.

We had been told it was nearly impossible to adopt from the Pearl of Africa.

But I’m the kind of girl who, upon being told “Don’t jump!” says defiantly, “How high?”

So we jumped, and we researched, and we made contacts and we felt very much hopeful and terrified. And as I was talking with the local woman who’d adopted years earlier, she said, “I think our adoption case may be the reason every Canadian case is so difficult now.”

I didn’t think much about it at the time.

Not until two nights later, when I felt a nudge, and so I wrote her. “How much did you end up spending, overall?” I said.

She responded in less than a minute.

“$110,000. And bankrupt.”

My heart stopped.

I swallowed.


I’d known it was expensive–and this woman, she’d brought home two children, but she’d also lost everything: her savings, and her husband, in the process.

I never mailed the application.

No, I sat at my desk, the boys napping in their beds, and I typed in “local adoption Alberta” because I know one thing–there are needy children everywhere. Here, and in Africa, and profiles of boys and girls filled my screen and I sent Alberta Government a note, asking how we could get started.

And then I leaned my head on my hands and cried.

Because loving hurts.


And I can still smell her skin–baby Edina–and it smelled like bananas and the sun. Her pale pink dress stained with the plantain I’d fed her for lunch, and no one even knowing how old she was. Somewhere between a year and 18 months and rescued from the slums and she had no one. And now, she didn’t have me either.

I ached like the Grand Canyon, I wept and I prayed and I knew I’d made the right decision because right often feels like dying, and yet there’s a peace, too. Kind of like the end of a long run.

“That must have been so hard for you,” Trent said when he came home from coaching basketball, and I told him. He held me close. “I’m fine with adopting local, as long as that’s what you want,” he said. “And we can sponsor so many children now that we have the money.”

Two nights later, after speaking with the local adoption agency, and signing up for their training, I sobbed into the floor by the wood stove. Asked God to speak to me about our daughter–the one missing from our family since the miscarriage last spring.

And then I went upstairs at midnight and chose five children to sponsor from Destiny Villages of Hope. And even as I sent the email, requesting those children, I received a message from a friend of mine whom I met in Korea years ago.

She was forwarding an old email of mine–and the subject was “Birth Announcement” and it was the letter we’d sent out telling everyone about our eldest son’s birth.

“I found this precious, old email, Em,” she wrote.

And in the first few lines of the forwarded message, I’d written,

“We celebrate, so very humbly, the birth of our beautiful babe: Aiden Grey… born Nov. 12, 12:24 a.m., at 8 lbs, 2 oz, 20 inches. Our hearts are full. We have longed for a child, and God has heard our longing… may you be encouraged, in your own pursuits and dreams. He hears, and He is good.”

It was enough. This random, very much planned coincidence, was enough.

It was God saying, through my own words, “I heard your longing then, Emily, and I hear it now.”

Even as he always does.


(I’m celebrating the release of my new memoir, Making It Home: Finding My Way To Peace, Identity and Purpose. Get your copy HERE!)


What does it mean to be a woman and to make a home? Does it mean homeschooling children or going to the office every day? Cooking gourmet meals and making Pinterest-worthy home décor? In Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose, author and blogger Emily Wierenga takes readers on an unconventional journey through marriage, miscarriage, foster parenting and the daily struggle of longing to be known, inviting them into a quest for identity in the midst of life’s daily interruptions. Releasing September 2015; order HERE. Proceeds benefit Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree.


making it home webcast

Sign up for the FREE Making It Home webcast featuring Liz Curtis Higgs, Holley Gerth, Jennifer Dukes Lee and Jo Ann Fore (with Emily Wierenga as host), 8 pm CT on September 10, 2015, HERE (http://eepurl.com/bqa8fX). Once you sign up you’ll be automatically entered for a giveaway of each of the author’s books!

Emily Wierenga

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, founder of The Lulu Tree and blogger at www.emilywierenga.com. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Relevant, Charisma, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, Dayspring’s (in)courage and Focus on the Family. She is the author of six books including the travel memoir Atlas Girl and speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Trenton, and their children. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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