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What does adopting four look like???

It’s been 3 months since the 4 “Littles” came home. How is that possible???

On the first morning, we all sat down for our first family meeting. The meeting was mostly for the oldest, Amado, because the three littlest wouldn’t be able to grasp what we wanted to talk about.

“This is a Bible. This is the story of God and of God’s people. And in this book, there were very special people who God gave new names to.” Amado was sitting on Vonda’s lap quietly listening. “God gave new names to people whose lives were changed and He gave new names to people, as a blessing.”

“Amado, you have a new life  today. You have a new house and new brothers and new sisters. I’m your daddy and Vonda’s your mommy, FOREVER.” “Do you understand that?” With the biggest smile he could stretch, he quickly shook his head, ‘Yes’.

“And so, we’re going to give Valentine a new name. His new name is Israel.” Amado repeated his name as if he were practicing it. “Israel.”

“Martin’s new name is Timothy.” “Timothy.”

“Rosario’s new name is Isabella but we can call her Bella.” Amado repeated each of their names. “Bella.”

Honestly, we weren’t sure how this was going to go down. How would Amado react to a new name???

“And we have chosen your name after a BRAVE man of the Bible. He was BRAVE and SMART and FORGIVING.  Your new name is Joseph.”

With wide eyes, he repeated “Joseph”. He said it, almost like he was trying it on.  It fit.  He liked it.


On the first 3 mornings AT 5:30AM, we had 4 little faces at the side of our bed, “Good morning Mami!!! Good morning Papi!!!” I saw my life flash before my eyes. You think I’m kidding. I’m not. Coffee time with Vonda was gone forever, just 4 little faces staring at us like personal tour guides and activity planners. “We wanna play!”

By day 3, the honeymoon was over. In the mornings our eyes bled until we could sufficiently soak them in coffee. The two oldest were OVER the structure and rules of our home and they were pretty confident they were running the show.

In the loudest possible, screeching scream, Joseph made it clear, “I DON’T WANT TO!” He strained his arms at his sides and strain his face and neck so you could see veins.  In a pitch that would scare dogs for miles, he yelled, “NO QUIERO!!!”

“Joseph, it’s time for breakfast son.”


“Joseph, let’s pick up your toys.”


“It’s time for bed.”


Super fun.

As I type this, I’m smiling because I know something you don’t. It gets better. A lot better. And they weren’t running the show like they thought they were.   😆

Joseph and Isabella didn’t like the Time Out Bench…AT ALL. But little by little, they understood that once they calmed down and stopped yelling we could start a timer for 2 or 3 minutes. In the beginning, it took them HOURS to stop screaming. (Just ask Jeff and Karlie who lived below us.)


For the first 30 days, about every 15 minutes, Timothy would grab us around our knees, hug us and chant, “You’re my dad” or “You’re my mom”.

“Si Timothy. Soy tú Papa.” (Yes Timothy. I’m your dad.)

He would smile and squeal, “Para siempre!” (Forever)

“Yes Timothy, forever.”

He was either reassuring himself or reassuring us, 30 or 40 times a day, “You’re my dad and mom, forever.”

This is my summary of month one:

Joseph – “NO QUIERO!!!” He was angry. Once he settled down and we talked, I sometimes asked, “Why did you get so angry Joseph?” “I don’t know daddy.”

Bella – SCREAMING…for hours. She was frustrated.  She didn’t like to be held or consoled.

Timothy – Always smiling but desperate for love and attention. He was unsure.

Israel – Woke up singing and basically smiled all day. He was happy.

Vonda – Still on the Honeymoon. She was content.

Me – I WANTED to feel like they were my kids but I didn’t. And to be honest, I’m still not completely there. That frustrates me.


Every day is better. Less screaming. Less crying. Growing patience. It’s all good, but it’s A LOT. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing in the back yard? Drinking water from the hose? It’s like that…except it’s not a garden hose, it’s a fire hose.  

Vonda takes them on a walk almost every day. THEY LOVE BEING OUTSIDE and they love Vonda’s attention. I’m nominating her for the Nobel Peace Prize for buying a clock with hands on it and showing the boys they have to read or play in their room until 7am. We have some of our coffee time back! BOOM!

A representative from the National Center of Adoptions, CNA, visited us at the end of the 2nd month. He knew the kids from their time at the orphanage but the social worker, who came with him, had never met them. They sat in the car before they came in and he explained to the social worker to “expect world war 3”.

Joseph and I met them at the door. “AMADO! How are you?” He kneeled down to look him in the eyes.  Joseph stood behind me and grabbed onto my leg. “Don’t you remember me?” Joseph shook his head, ‘no’ and went into the living room to sit with his older brother Samuel. There was no yelling. There was no screaming. Bella was hanging out with her big sister and Timothy and Gabe were reading a book. It reminded me of an old library. Everyone was busy…but quiet.

We explained that they were the only visitors we’d had in 2 months and that we were in the process of “Cacooning”. No visitors for a month of each year of their life. No Gramma’s, no neighbors, no one. It’s our way of letting them know they can count on us, we aren’t going anywhere and that we’re their family, “Para siempre”, FOREVER.

The representative from CNA was visibly shocked. He said that in all the years he’s worked in adoptions, he’s only seen one other family “Cacoon”. “You’re doing an amazing job. The kids look happy.”

“They are happy. They’re home.”
If you’ve been adopted or if you’ve adopted, please leave a comment.   Scroll down to SHARE.

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  1. Wow. That’s all I can think of. Our hearts are so full for you. . . And, vicariously, for us. W.O.W. Hugs and prayers for you all!

    1. Wow is a GREAT word to describe it! ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Great story. You are a blessing and blessed. May god continue to guide your heart and family.

    1. Thank you Larry. We’re counting on it!

  3. my heart warms to read what is hard to imagine…thank you. Only God can do these things…thru those He has renamed His own.

    1. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a lot. A lot of LOVE…in all directions!

  4. 💛 I knew that Joseph loved his new name but I forgot to ask how you all talked about that. 😭 So so beautiful!!!!!!!
    Love you, sweet friends!

    1. Joseph loved his name from the moment he tried it on. It is AMAZING to see him flourish!

  5. You all are amazing. Your patience and persistence has carried you far beyond an ordinary life. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

    1. Thank you Sara! It’s been an extraOrdinary life for sure. ❤️❤️❤️

  6. We are so happy to hear your family is “coming together!”After our adoption of our 4 yr old son from a Guatemala City orphanage, & subsequent years of therapy for Autism Spectrum, RAD, and so much more ( as well as dealing with multiple serious medical and mental issues), we are Finally getting some family bonding has only taken 10 years. Yes. “Para siempre!” (Forever) GOD IS Good. Blessings to you all.

    1. Thank you Linda. We’re finding it takes mountains of patience that honestly, I didn’t know we had. To God be the glory.

      I’m praying your family bonding time is strengthened by Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.

      Thank you for sharing!

  7. I don’t have words George. All I can think of is AMAZING!! Love you guys, obeying the Father ALWAYS. And just loved this update. Speak soon….And keep er lit 😉

    1. Thank you brother. So good to hear from you. Obeying the Father until…

  8. What an adventure, George! You and Vonda are on a fabulous road with your new family members. I am not aware of how y’all decided to adopt 4 kids at one time – what courage. May God continue to bless both of you and the kids.

    1. Thank you Joe. YES! It’s an adventure for sure!

  9. I love hearing you describe things……I feel like I’m right there in your house with the kids. Sounds like lots of adjustments for all of you but it’s with patience, understanding & love. I admire you & Vonda & your hearts of love. Keep the reports coming! 💜✝️

    1. Bev, you don’t know how much that means to me. Every single time I sit down to write I don’t know how I’m going to adequately portray our life and adventures. Thank you!

  10. ¡Wow! Increíble
    Tu familia es increíble George, el tiempo de adaptación siempre lleva tiempo para todos.
    Ustedes han hecho mucho en poco tiempo.
    Mucho amor, paciencia, atención, trabajo en equipo y la ayuda de Dios hacen un increíble trabajo.
    Un abrazo 🤗

    1. Karina, GRACIAS! Con la ayuda de Dios, vamos a seguir. Todavia a much para hacer. CUANDO VAS A VISITAR A GUATEMALA?!! Me encanta ver tu vida en Facebook. Abrazos para tu cumpleaños! ❤️

  11. God Bless You All – amazing! Every time I read, I cry tears of joy; you are A M A Z I N G

    1. Claudia, you as much as anyone knows the road they’ve travelled and the road ahead. Todos somos contentos! Especialmente ahora que tenemos un poco de tiempo para compartir un cafecito. 😁

  12. Beautiful. It takes time, the super hard work of attachment and cocooning and the miraculous grace of God to create love and a family!!
    Prayers for you all

    1. Thank you Carrie. Time we have. ❤️

  13. I love all of this and know the hard stuff and the joy of the good stuff! You guys are beyond wise to invest in the cocooning now! It’s so crazy when you realize that you don’t even notice when the bond forms, you just all of a sudden feel it and dont remember it not being there! Cory had a harder time as well, I think it’s super normal for the dads and sometimes the mommas too! It’s all part of the journey!!! I wouldn’t trade any of it to get where we are today. Blessings!!

    1. Kelly, THANK YOU. You and Vonda have travelled quite a road together. Lot’s of tears. All worth it. And you’re right, we wouldn’t trade ANY of it. Thank you for the encouragement. God is good!

  14. This does the heart good! So happy for you all and so excited that you are sticking to your boundaries!!! Love and prayers!

  15. Thank you Chad. The first few weeks were really the hardest…so far. Sticking to the boundaries has been the most challenging part for me. It’s easier, short term, to give in and stop the screaming. I’m glad we stuck it out because it’s SO GOOD now.

  16. Wow!!! I love the story I can’t wait to go see them and see if they remember me hopefully in the fall!!!!!

    1. Sounds great mom! They can’t wait to meet their “Gramma”!

    1. You know the journey brother. It changes lives…theirs and ours!

  17. I’m so happy for all of you! Yes, sticking to the boundaries is crucial! It’s how they test and also trust you to be there and be there consistently! It has always amazed me how right and natural it feels to be a parent of adopted children. I have a favorite poem I treasure. I’m not sure who wrote it.
    Not of my flesh nor of my bone
    But somehow miraculously my own.
    Never forget for a single minute
    You grew not under my heart…but in it!
    Love and blessing to all of you!

    1. THANK YOU for sharing that! “But somehow miraculously my own.” SO TRUE. ❤️

  18. Missed you at Intermissions, but I can understand why. Blessings on you and Vonda as you raise these kids. You are truly treating them as the Lord treats us with grace and love. We visited to represent EMI at Intermissions again. Hopefully our paths cross again.

    1. Hey John! We were actually at Intermissions and have the H-Pylori tests to prove it. Haha. We were probably chasing 8 little feet around and missed seeing you. NEXT YEAR!

  19. Thank you for being so incredibly honest and telling this most beautiful and precious story of your family. I was adopted at 3 months old and I have always felt that adopting maybe in my future. May God bless your precious family in Jesus name!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Julie. Our story is still unfolding. What a journey! I can’t wait to read the next chapter!

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