Our warrior girl

It’s been quiet around here. Many of you know already why.

Between the days spent in preparation, travel, bonding and adjustment, I’ve barely had time to complete a thought, much less a blog post.

To get you caught up: We adopted a little girl recently. I spent six weeks with her and my oldest in Uganda; we returned home just over two weeks ago.

Her name is Josephine, and she is a beautiful warrior.

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She comes from a warrior tribe in northern Uganda, and I can see her beginnings in her. She fought to survive amidst drought and not enough food for her first 18 months. She gives and receives love like her life depends on it (and she reminds me that mine does, too). She is built for power but is softened by the daintiest mannerisms I’ve ever seen.

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Josephine means “God will increase.” Her middle name is Anirwoth, which means “There is only one God.”

Josie is named after her Auntie Josephine, one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. She is the oldest and only surviving sibling of seven. She has eight children of her own, and has taken in seven more from siblings who have passed away. She crushes rock by hand in a quarry all day. On Saturdays, she gets up early to make huge pots of porridge for a kids outreach program in the slum where she lives.

Oh, the things Auntie Josephine could teach me. Has taught me.

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And we are delighted to have her namesake home with us.

Josie has taken her place as youngest with such ease and knowing that I can only delight in it. She knows how to charm her oldest brother, play with her sister and (let’s be honest) hold her own with Benja.

All my prayers for God to prepare our hearts and hers for each other? I see the answer every day, and it is good.

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And maybe it’s in the way that she loves me, or my extremely low expectations based on our first adoption, but there’s no struggle for love, for bonding, for a supernatural knowing. I’m letting love and trust grow slowly, like they’re meant to. I’m giving space to myself and to Josie, grace to figure each other out in time.

In the meantime, I don’t need to look ahead to some magical moment when it will all click together. That’s not what life looks like anyway.

Josie has joined our family in the thick of it, while we find our way through this life, while we learn to love well, and she has things to learn and things to teach the rest of us. This is family.

Welcome home, Josie girl. We’re so blessed to have you.

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7 comments on “Our warrior girl

  1. HopefulLeigh says:

    Love, love, love! Her smile is radiant!

  2. Alia Joy says:

    Seriously, that baby girl’s smile! All of your children are so precious. I love the picture of them all on the slide playing together. You have a gorgeous family! LOVE.

  3. Jules says:

    yes. What warriors we all are, but need spirits like Josie to remind us of the casual grace needed while living. I love you VB clan, so much.

  4. Sarah Bessey says:

    This brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Love love love.