Roots: I’ve lived in Austin for the past 18 years, aside from 6 months in California and 10 months in Uganda. Before moving to Austin, I lived in a few different places that my dad’s job took our family.
Carley with husband, Josh
Family Life: I’ve been married to my husband, Josh, for 5 years. We dated for about 5 years before getting married, so he has been my best friend for pretty much all of my adult life. I also have two kids and one on the way. My daughter (Avery) is 8 and my son (Caleb) is 5. We are all four eagerly anticipating the arrival of a baby girl this June! My eldest two kids joined our family through adoption and our third is joining us the old fashion way.
Current Occupation: I have the privilege of staying home with my kids as a full-time mom. I’m grateful for that privilege and enjoy it very much.
My favorite quote… “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6. I love the quote and I also love the fact that I fell in love with it while it donned my husband’s Facebook profile as his favorite quote for years. (Including months before we were dating when I used to spend a lot of time on his Facebook page checking out his interests and whereabouts!)
Avery and Caleb in our playroom in Uganda
I’m most inspired by…Jesus. For many reasons, but in particular for how genuinely and steadfastly he loves us even when we are at our worst and when we are making choices that make us highly unlovable. It truly amazes me and inspires – I want to love like that! And I’m so grateful I’m loved by him like that.
Something people may not know about me…I’m a homebody. I love filling a day with many, many books curled up on the couch with my kids. (And maybe a few chores, I really like a neat and tidy home!).
If I weren’t in my current career I’d be… I taught yoga and Pilates for years before becoming a mom and I loved it so much. So if I wasn’t a full-time mama, I would be back to teaching yoga and Pilates classes. I hope to get back into teaching in a future season when my kids are a bit older.
My guilty pleasure…I used to sneak in a long run any chance I could get, now I sneak a chance to put my feet up any chance I can get!
I’m looking forward to…meeting my baby girl!
My Story: Heeding the Call to Adopt in Uganda
I grew up the recipient of mountains of blessings. I had loving parents that poured into me, an older brother that definitely earned the title “best big brother in the world”, and every opportunity and material provision my family could generously offer me. Then as young adult, Jesus captured my heart completely! Meeting Jesus filled my heart and mind with surpassing joy. I knew that I wanted the amazing life God had given me to be given back to Him for whatever purposes He had planned. “To whom much is given, much is expected” – by God’s grace this truth didn’t crush me, but rather exhilarated me. As I transitioned into adulthood (exhilarated!), God gave me a husband who also desired to follow Jesus with passion. And so the adventure began!
Before getting married, God gave my husband and I each a desire for adoption to be a part of our future. He gave this desire to us as individuals first and then as a couple later. Our initial awareness of the reality of orphans in the world came through our church, The Austin Stone Community Church. We have the privilege of being a part of a church that is great at realizing needs, presenting them to the rest of the church body, and then collectively meeting those needs. So as our church presented the reality of orphans domestically and internationally, our church also began to fill up with adoptive families. Seeing these families and hearing their stories inspired my husband and me, and also showed us that we could very readily engage this particular need in the world ourselves. And that is exactly what God led us to do.
We said to each other when we got married that we wanted to adopt as soon as we were able to do so. God provided through the generous way that my parents helped us start off our marriage in a good spot financially and He also provided through giving us a thriving marriage. Six months into our marriage we both felt the clear word from God to begin the adoption process! We were excited and nervous!
With Caleb five weeks into meeting him & one week before bringing him home to Austin
After lots of prayer we decided to pursue adopting from Uganda. God gave us a baby boy who was 16 months old when we traveled to Uganda to meet him, go to court, and apply for his visa. We were in Uganda with him completing his adoption process for six weeks. During that time, and through the crazy love that we felt for our son, God deepened our heart for adoption. We felt that God was saying He had another child for our family through adoption. When we got back home with our son and continued to pray for our future children, God made it clear He wanted us to adopt again from Uganda.
Avery in front of Lake Victoria near our house in Uganda
This time God gave us a little girl who joined our family at 6 years old. During the initial process of our daughter’s adoption (which is stateside), we felt God urging us to sell our home and move overseas to Uganda. We felt His urging to make that transition for many reasons, but as we reflect we are most thankful that He urged us to move to be with our daughter sooner rather than later. The process of her adoption was stalling and we were losing precious time with her. As He does, God provided and made a way for us to move to Uganda and foster our daughter in our home right away as we waited out the rest of her process. He didn’t ask us to do that without also giving us a desire. We moved to Uganda with expectant excitement. It was an enormous blessing to live our first year as a family, together with our new daughter, in Uganda. It was certainly a challenging season, but we can see now that God had many purposes in those challenges. Once we had successfully completed our daughter’s adoption process, we felt that returning to the States was the best thing for our family.
Our kids are learning and growing so much each day!
Enjoying family time at the beach
Through adoption my husband and I gained the two loves our lives, Avery and Caleb. Loving them and parenting them has been a great and weighty privilege.
With Avery a few months after arriving in Uganda
No parenting journey is easy, and ours hasn’t been either. Through the exhausting bouts we have very simply been sanctified! So many of our selfish and character-weak habits have had to go, but God has replaced them (we hope!) with new, stronger character traits, a deeper heart for serving and giving of ourselves, and a more passionate hunger for God’s nearness in our lives. We are works in progress (or even unfinished masterpieces of our King) and God will go to great lengths to pursue us and make us holy and righteous…and one of the ways He has done that in our lives is through our children and through a move to Uganda and back!
One of the primary modes of transportation in Uganda, much to Caleb’s delight!
I love God so much more five years, a husband, two kids, and five moves later. I’ve also learned SO much about how much He loves me – through the love He has given me for my kids, through witnessing His love for my kids, and through the experience of His promises proven to be true. He is a God so worthy of our lives. I truly believe that when we give God the reigns of our life, He pours in blessing. Maybe not always blessing in the form of ease and comfort, but in the form of much sweeter gifts. The greatest gift He has given me through my husband and I’s pursuit of Him….is more of Himself. We are now closer to Him and know Him more accurately and intimately. When we see Jesus more fully, it changes the way we see everything else. And for so much the better. I live today with greater joy, peace, and freedom than I did five years ago. Pursuing Jesus the past five years has made me hungry to pursue him for a lifetime more. I’m so thankful for God. Above His blessings that come through sunny times and dark times, I’m mostly thankful for Him – to quote the song “He is a good, good Father.”
iGnite’s Real Women, Real Stories is a series highlighting the inspiring lives and experiences of women in our community. We hope their stories motivate and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.
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