Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.

BERRYTRIBE IS GOING TRIBAL

Well, as many of you who read this blog already know, we went to Uganda this summer as a family to work with an orphanage and the people in the some surrounding villages. You also know that we took 11 students and 4 adults from my youth ministry with us. You also know that we stayed for a few weeks after that team left and had some family vacation.

You may also know that we visited our World Vision sponsor child while there. We got to meet Geoffrey face to face, hang out with him for an hour or so, and bring he and his family some much needed supplies.

However, what you may not know is that while in Jinja one morning, the following conversation took place.

Shannon on her way out of the shower one morning: “Brian, God gave me two names.”

Me: “Um, ok.”

Wife: “Becky and Billy.”

Me: “Ok.”

Then I went to breakfast.

I then arrive at breakfast to the following conversation like 5 minutes later.

My students are now talking to Mandy- the director of the orphanage we’re working in. They ask, “Hey Mandy, which of the kids in the orphanage are adoptable right now?”

Mandy: “Well we have so and so and so and so and so and so and so and so. And that’s all right now.”

Mandy pauses.

Mandy continues: “But, I have a few others I think I’m going to try and see if we can get permission to have someone adopt them. There is one set of true twins who are the last of the children in the orphanage since the day I took it over some 5 years ago. I have not seen their father in 4 years and have never met their mom. Their names are Becky and Billy.”

My heart stops.

Wife looks at me across the room both looking a little freaked and a little excited.

…………

Now, fast forward 6 weeks.

………..

After much prayer, counsel, struggle, stress, fear facing, encouragement, research, and gut checking, we as a couple and a family with our boys have agreed to follow God’s leading into adoption.

So, it’s official, we are now in the full swings of the process of adopting 2 more kids. They are a boy/girl set of twins who are 6 months younger than jake (or 5 and 1/2). Her name is Becky. His name is Billy.

That’s right, the “B.B.” initial count is about to triple in the berry family.

So now, perhaps you have some questions. What follows are a series of “FAQ’s” people have asked or wondered about:

Q: ARE YOU CRAZY?
A: No… ok, well maybe. Um… fine. Yes. It’s nuts.

Q: ARE YOU SURE GOD GAVE SHANNON THOSE NAMES?
A: Believe me, I drilled my wife on if she’d had some previous conversation with Mandy and what not. God is whispering kid names to my wife in the shower. I’m not sure if that’s ok, but God seems to not be too concerned about it.

Q: DID YOU JUST GET SOME CRAZY EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT WORKING AT THE ORPHANAGE AND NOW YOU ARE FOLLOWING THROUGH ON THIS?
A: Nope. No emotional attachment in this story. No great memory that we had that tugged our heart strings for weeks. Just simply God’s call, though the heart strings are coming as time goes on and as we pray more about this.

Q: IS THIS OUT OF THE BLUE?
A: Yes and No. Yes, cuz we didn’t plan this or even seek it out. No, because we have talked about the possibility of adopting a daughter ever since we decided to be done having kids the old fashioned way after Jake. Yes, because we never thougtht it would be 2 more kids. No, because God is opening too many doors to be coincidence.

Q: DID YOU MEET BECKY AND BILLY?
A: Yep, we did. But never as the, “hey, these people are going to adopt you people.” Just casually like we did with all the other kids.

Q: ARE YOU AWARE THEY WILL BE CALLED THE “BLACK BERRIES”
A: Yep. Kinda cute now. I’m sure they’ll need to know Karate to keep it from being a regular part of their Middle School years.

Q: DO YOU HAVE A PICTURE?
A: Yep, here it is. We did take a “family” picture with lots of sibling sets so as not to tip them off as to our process or mindset in case things changed as we returned home. We had shared the story with Mandy and she suggested this step as it was going to be needed as a piece of the adoption process if we continued along this path.

Q: WHAT DOES THIS COST?
A: Um a bunch. Like thousands. Less than 50G, more than 10G. God has so far already shown us he’s going to provide for this need. We have had about 1/3 of our money come in already through some very Holy Spirit led ways and this blog post is the “first official notice” of this life transition.

Q: WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN?
A: We’re shooting to leave January 7, 2009. We’ll be in Uganda for for up to 5 weeks, returning to the states in early February.

Q: HOW CAN I HELP?
A: 3 ways:

  1. If you’re in the area, we’re gonna need more baby sitters πŸ™‚
  2. Um, we could always use lots of prayer, now more than ever.
  3. Also, if you’d like to join us with the financial part of this, we’d welcome any support you feel led to offer. Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send you an address where you can send a tax deductible check if you are in that boat.

Lots more blog posts to come I’m sure. Hold on, we’re going for a ride.

Comments

  1. linda brangwynne says:

    Brian and Shannon – this is so awesome – what a cool way for God to choose to build your family. Kinda crazy and out of control, and so like God to turn your lives upside down as he’s in the midst of working. It’s such a privilege to see and experience the personal and kingdom sized growth that is flowing from this missions trip and your family vacation. Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how listening to his voice and following as he leads can be. I can’t wait to meet your twins!

  2. Dude, you guys are seriously awesome. What a fantastic story y’all are gonna have. I love how God is blessing you guys. I’m adopted so there is always a special place in my heart for adopters. Just reading your post had me misting up. Will definitely be praying for you guys!

  3. What a beautiful family picture. How exciting and crazy I’m sure. We will be praying.

  4. holy smokes! So amazing, bro – can’t wait to visit the new “family” when it comes together by God’s design. Praying for you, dude.

  5. WOW, This is AMAZING. I am so stoked for you guys right now. Isn’t it funny how God brings about things sometimes. Know that we love you guys and will totally be praying for you all and those beautiful little kids who will soon be part of your family.

  6. WOW!! How awesome is that! I will be praying for you guys! Thanks for this post… great encouragement about the power of God working clearly.

  7. SHUT UP!!!! AHHH I’m so freaking excited!
    Can you get them here sooner please? Yay for your little girl shannon! I know it’s been a long time coming and i knew this would happen one day. Love you all and can’t wait to come visit the biggest bestest family ever!

  8. tears of joy. goosebumps at the names from the shower. love how direct God chose to be.
    I would really like to help you guys raise some $. the “black berries” look adorable in your family. can’t wait to follow your journey.

  9. DUDE THAT IS OUT OF THIS WORLD!! AWESOME!!!

  10. Brian, Shannon, TJ, Tyler and Jake . . . we are so excited about the expansion of your family!! Truly God-ordained and because of your obedience, HE WILL PROVIDE every single penny that you need to get Becky and Billy to San Diego. Just from seeing the pictures and hearing the stories about Becky was incredible . . . but knowing that we will be able to meet her and her brother shortly is amazing!! I’m sure the boys are ecstatic about getting new siblings; and Jake must be feeling pretty special knowing that he will be a “big brother”, now. Thanks for letting us be a part of this momentous occasion!

    We will continue to pray for their timely arrival!
    The Lacangan Clan

    PS: “Blackberries”! Too cute!

  11. Brian:
    This is Chad Gamble, I work with Brad and you brought a bunch of stuff over for us when you came to Uganda to visit (thanks again!). Anyway, we adopted two children from Welcome Home and have just celebrated 2 years with them in out family on Saturday. It has been a roller coaster! So many ups and downs it is crazy. It is awesome to hear the story of how God lead you to those two. We have a similar story and cling to it like crazy during the low times (which are becoming much fewer). If there is any help that we can be, please let me know as we have walked a similar road! You and your family will be in our prayers and I hope to meet you this time when you come to Uganda.
    I enjoy cruising through your blog, I especially liked the post about friends and what you learned from your trip to Uganda.

  12. thanks for the comments of love and support friends.

    Chad: thanks for dropping in. Glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’d love to hear any advice you have too regarding adoption. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail. My address is loaded in a link in the last paragraph of this blog post.

    Brian

  13. That is such wonderful news, Brian! I’m in complete awe of how God is leading you through this process! I look forward to updates about your new children πŸ™‚

    Angela

  14. Okay Shannon, we HAVE to talk!!

    God told me we were to adopt our TWO sons in the shower as well.

    Today, I have to good and dirty before I get in the shower, cuz I never know what he’s going to tell me in there.

    KIDDING!! πŸ™‚ I’m a daily showerer πŸ˜‰ and our two boys are the best!! So shower in freedom and lets talk before weekend!

    praying for you!!
    xo

  15. Thea Nolan says:

    you guys are crazy/ amazing!!!!!!! this is awesome! congrats!!!!!! hopefully one day people can look up to me and my family as i do with you guys!

  16. Hey Brian. AS you know, I am totally for adoption. I will definitely keep your family in my prayers, as this is a huge change for the whole family. Blessings, love and peace to you all.

    Hugs,

    Kyle

  17. true story:
    i live in jinja. (currently staying in brentwood tennessee but will be back “home” in uganda in jan 2009.)
    i know your children.
    i would love to know you.
    many prayers and blessings!
    thank you for your hearts πŸ™‚

  18. Katie,

    we actually met you in the pool at the King Fisher. My family of boys were there along with my sister and her family.

    small world. Perhaps our paths will cross again in Uganda when we pick up Becky and Billy in January.

    God bless,

    Brian

  19. Hi, I found your blog through Amy Taylor. I have a son adopted from Liberia and just got back from Uganda on Friday night! I was in Jinja (and all across Uganda) with Children’s HopeChest to visit orphanages and get started to open Uganda as a country for them. I’d love to know more about your process. Are you going through someone or doing this privately through a specific orphanage. I’d love to hear more about any other orphanages you visited as well as we get set up.

    By the way, they are GORGEOUS!

    Brandi
    [email protected]
    http://www.homehopeandfuture.blogspot.com

  20. Just found your blog. AWESOME! God is so good – and He has such a sense of humor! Can’t you just imagine how fun it is for Him to do stuff like this??

    I was certain that we were headed for Ethiopia but God surprised us -now we are in process for an adorable six year old from Ukraine.

    Love the FAQ’s! Can’t wait to see this all play out. Congrats!

  21. This is so awesome! We are very excited for the Berry Tribe. From my time in Africa many years ago I will share what is left of my limited Swahili…sure to get a smile from any of your African friends when you get there in January…

    “Mungu anataka kuingia moyo yako”

  22. Brian– I’m sitting with my daughter and we are both amazed how you two heard from the Lord to adopt Becky and Billy. Emma (7) is asking a ton of questions about adoption and she just told me that she can make room in her room if Judy and me want to adopt a child. Hmmmm…

    Blessings to you 7!

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