About Us

My name is Colleen. I am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ; a sinner saved by grace. I have an amazing husband, Lucas, and two hilarious daughters, Jane and Addy, as well as two sons, Joseph and Mathew, who are adopted from Uganda.

I have the privilege of being one of the owners Wild Olive, a Christian womens’ t-shirt company. My two partners are Stefanie and Amie…both adoptive moms who I am am blessed to work with daily. Between us, we’ve got 21 kids!!!! (I think…I lose count)

My prayer is that our family is used by God to be His hands and feet, giving the glory to Him.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Philippians 1:21

Jana Hennessy - July 7, 2010 - 2:14 am

Hi, I would love to speak with you about adoption. My husband and I are starting the process of adopting from Africa, and are just trying to decide what country. If you have a few minutes, I’d love to ask some questions. Thanks!

Rachel - July 13, 2010 - 1:14 am

Stumbled upon your blog…how cute! AND love your blog designs and your tees! Adorable!

Amy Marson - October 18, 2010 - 11:24 pm

Hello! My mom forwarded me your blog-what an amazing story! I visited Uganda in 2008 and fell in love with a number of children! I am curious as to your adoption proceedings. From my research/meetings while there it was almost impossible. Any guidance would be helpful! You are truly blessed, your two newest members are simply gorgeous children of God! Blessings on your family!

Shelly - December 20, 2010 - 2:22 am

Hi Colleen — My husband takes custody of our new babes tomorrow AM (UG time that is… in just a few hours)! Our children are about the same age as your boys and I was wondering if you have any tips, do’s/don’ts, ideas on how to overcome the language barrier (mine do speak English but very limited), how to help them adjust to jet lag and sleep peacefully at night… ANYTHING. I know it’s Christmas week and you have four children and all… but any thoughts you want to throw my way would be SO very appreciated. Much love to your precious family this holy week! Love,
Shelly

Sally - January 22, 2011 - 4:24 pm

Thank you for your words about adoption. My husband and I are in the beginning stages of the process and it is always encouraging to see people like you!

alison - February 3, 2011 - 10:49 pm

Colleen,
I never write to blogs and feel a little awkward but I was so amazed to realize that the bloggers I have been reading about for months have connections by friendship. I feel like I should have realized this but never really put it all togethr. This recent message you posted, just made me laugh that you were all together, very strange for me, but also nice to know that all your hearts are joined with God and the mission to help children.

I grew up with 5 kids in my family, 3 bio,2 adopted and it is and was great! I have always wanted to adopt and started the process with my husband in 2005. With great disappointment our dream has not come to reality yet, on the adoption side. We have two beautiful biological boys 3 and 5. We have been on the Chinese NSN list for 5 years and probably have a 2-3 year wait still. We are also on the SN list with China but lost the little girl we were planning to adopt last week to a Chinese family living in China (long story).

We have been on the waiting list to adopt a little girl from Rwanda, Africa since March 2010 and are still waiting for our approval letter. The waiting is the hardest part but we believe that Gods love is always taking care of us and holding us tight in the most difficult times.

Reading your blog and your friends blog’s, makes me feel connect to the dreams I have. When you are pregnant people join you in your happiness but adoption comes with so much silence. Many of my friends are afraid of adoption, afraid of losing materialism too. Often people, with good intentions, will say “Why don’t you give up?” Though I am loved by many, my heart for orphans and adoption is a lonely place at times. Of course this only strengthens the love my husband and I have for each other because we get it, when others don’t. We often say that if adoption had come quickly to us we may have missed out on the growth of our love. It is amazing how God shows his love.

Thank you for your blog and thank the other girls too.

I have a 147 million t-shirt already and am trying to spread the word. Katie is one of my hero’s!

Respectfully,

Alison (Georgia, USA)

Lauren - March 9, 2011 - 9:36 pm

Colleen –
Hi! I was talking with Shonda K. (Derby) about adoption and she mentioned your name and blog…and the rest, as they say, is history. I’d love to ask you a couple of quick questions (specifically regarding your thoughts on Derby and the support that can be found in this area for families interested in international adoption). If you have a chance, I’d appreciate an e-mail. Thank you for the blog as I have found it extremely helpful…and I love seeing the pics of your girls and boys.
Lauren

Anna - March 30, 2011 - 5:48 pm

Hi, Colleen! I was wondering if your two little boys are both younger than your youngest bio daughter? If not, I would like to see if you could shed a little light on how adopting out of birth order has affected your adoption. This is something we are considering and I wanted to see if I might be able to gain some insight or advice from you.

Lori Denton - May 4, 2011 - 10:16 am

I read your blog sometimes and wanted to share this devotion with you :)

Sharon Jaynes
(In honor of Mother’s Day, Sharon’s devotion will focus on motherhood.)
Today’s Truth
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9 NASB).
Friend to Friend
For years I told people that I was in labor for 23 hours. However, the truth is more like 21 years. Being a mother has been the most fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, exhausting, mind-boggling, hair-raising thrilling tiring, stimulating, soul-stirring, delightful, difficult, consuming, laborious, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, captivating, and rewarding job I’ve ever had. Did I mention difficult? I should have gotten a clue when I was told that having a child begins with a word called “labor.”
I’ve had times when I felt like throwing up my hands in frustrations and saying, “I quit!” Is what I’m doing making any difference to anyone? I want results! Show me results! Then I think about the bamboo tree.
When the Chinese plant bamboo, first they plant the seeds, then water, and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens. The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows ninety feet.
The question is, did it grow ninety feet in six weeks or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew ninety feet in five years. If the grower hadn’t applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.
It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer, and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results.
If you are in the midst of raising your children, or even a parent of grown children waiting to see the results, I want to encourage you to press on. Don’t give up! Keep praying! Keep encouraging! Keep loving! And one day, when you least expect it, your child will “rise up and call you blessed.”

Dena - May 16, 2011 - 7:52 pm

Colleen,
I’m jumpin’ on the band wagon and am blogging (eek!) I would love your feedback, advice, comments, and anything you can suggest. I am so excited by this journey we’re on and would love to talk to you more.

Laurie Nipping - June 15, 2011 - 6:54 pm

Hi Colleen,

My husband was searching for a typical Ugandan beans & rice dish and came upon your blog. Thank you! We’re with Africa Renewal Ministries and plan (Lord willing) to take our family of six to Uganda to live for a year to help out with a project there. We’ll be living in a fairly primitive environment and we won’t be taking much with us (I assume). I have a ton of questions; we’ll be the first Muzungus to live at this project and we’ll be staying in a pastor’s house (glorified camping). If you have any thoughts to share, I’d be so appreciative.

Joyfully,
Laurie

Libby Mondello - August 30, 2011 - 8:56 pm

Hey Colleen! My husband and I came across this blog and are so happy to have found it! We are beginning our journey of adoption from Uganda and love how you posted all of these great resources! We do have one quick question for you regarding the lawyers! We noticed that you mentioned two on your site–one you used and one you recommended. Was there an issue with the one you all used and would you use her again? We would love to chat with you! Our email is libby.mondello@gmail.com. Thanks!!!

Bonnie Riley - November 11, 2011 - 1:10 pm

Hi there. I know you have talked to my friend Julie LaPat. I went on a mission trip in March with her to Uganda. we are now looking to adopt from there. We are also a military family. I would love to ask a few questions if you have time. Thank you for this beautiful blog.

Jen - December 12, 2011 - 6:48 pm

Hi. I’m a friend of Bonnie Riley and just spoke with Julie LaPat who also recommended contacting you about how to find older children referrals(4-8). Any information you could share would be really appreciated!
Thanks for your blog,
Jen

Jenna Thompson - February 17, 2012 - 3:44 pm

Collen, (or anyone else who also has the information)

My husband and I are in the process of starting our adoption journey. We were just about to start the journey through a Christian organization in the US (while totally freaking out about how we going to pay for it) when he heard about your independent adoption story. We had heard of independent adoption but had thought the risks would be greater than the benefits. Your story has really hit home with us. I have so many questions!
I know your are so busy and so sick of questions!

My biggest question to you is, “Is it worth it?” when you add the hassels, safety doing it alone, time put in, etc.

When you say most people who have done independent adoption spend approximately $12,000, does that include travel, lodging, fingerprinting, dossier services, etc.?

Also, why did you work with Mugisha Ministries? Was this to have someone to take care of all the paperwork, etc.? What are the fees associated with this ministry?

Thanks so much for any information and knowledge you can hand out to all of us.

Jenna Thompson

Michelle Wuesthoff - March 8, 2012 - 11:05 pm

Hi Colleen,
We are in the process of doing an independent adoption from Uganda, so I have been trying to do as much research as I can. I came across your blog and was wondering if I could ask you a question about finalization–specifically, who becomes the statutory parent if there is no placing agency? We have adopted twice before from Korea, where they also do a legal guardianship with the full and final adoption in the US, but the agency takes on the role of statutory parent until the adoption is granted.

I don’t know if this is something that varies from state to state, but I cannot find any information out there on this topic. Thanks so much for your reply!
Michelle

Jenn - April 24, 2012 - 7:20 pm

Hi Colleen,

We are currently looking into (and praying lots) about adopting a child from Uganda. We have 3 biological children and a wonderful adopted child from China. We have always felt called to adopt from both China and Africa. As I was searching blogs last week for more information, I came across a post that you wrote about independent adoption and lawyers that you thought were reputable. I have since been unable to locate the post again.We would greatly appreciate any information that you have regarding independent adoption, as we used an agency with the adoption of our little girl. Though we loved them, we are considering going a different route this time. Thoughts?!?

Thanks in advance!

Many blessings,
Jenn

Jaclyn Snook - May 9, 2012 - 5:56 pm

Hello Colleen, I stumbled across your blog a few months ago when I was looking up how to make traditional Ugandan Rice and Beans for a fundraiser I was having for my trip to Uganda this year and have been following your stories ever since. You are truly inspirational and so down to earth. I would love to be able to email you some questions I have about my current trip to Uganda. I was there this past March for three months volunteering at a babies home and am returning there to do the same my heart is called to Uganda I absolutely love it there. Let me know if there’s any way we can be in touch.
Be blessed and have a great day.

Erin - December 4, 2012 - 8:54 pm

Hello Colleen,

I just came across your blog and I love it! I know you have a lot of people probably asking you so many questions all the time…but here goes anyway. My husband and I are also Air Force, and are considering international adoption (interested in Africa). I just wanted to know, was the adoption process made difficult with the moves that are inevitable with being in the military? We will be old enough to adopt about a year after we get to our next station, and we are Lord willing, planning on starting the process then. But we’re afraid that maybe we’ll end up stationed somewhere else before an adoption is complete and then we’ll have to start all over again with homestudy, etc. How did you get around that? Any advice from one military wife to another?
Thank you for your time!

Britta - April 17, 2013 - 6:52 am

Hello contact t_nobert@ymail.com if you are interested in adopting a child

My husband and I adopted a young baby from them and we will like to share our experience . Thanks

brittah - May 23, 2013 - 7:48 am

Hello contact lunus1965@yahoo.com my husband and I adopted from him and would like to help

Felicia - September 15, 2013 - 9:18 pm

Hi Colleen, thank you for sharing your story! It is very inspiring. I am about to go through process of independent adoption in Uganda and I would be forever grateful if you had time to talk for 15 minutes about your experience and answer a few questions I have about the process. Please email me back and we can set up a time. And congratulations on your beautiful family!
Felicia

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