kori & jared


Shoot Straight – Authentic Conversations about Adoption {Featuring Kim Nelson and their story of adopting from the Congo}


If you are joining our adoption blog series for the first time…  this is something that has been growing in my heart for some time! We are hoping to bring you stories that are real and authentic. The heart for me behind this series comes from a couple of different places… first, we have been getting so many questions about adoption and I feel like there are so many ways to answer their questions and our story is just one way… With sharing the stories of others we will be able to cover more options and hopefully inspire more people.

Secondly… when we first started the process… there were so many people who immediately want to tell you the horror stories and speak yuckiness about what “could” happen and I feel like it is so important for the good stories… the stories of healing… the stories of God’s faithfulness to be shared so that others can be encouraged and challenged and open up the adoption conversation for more families.You can read more about our story by clicking here…

I feel incredibly honored to share this next story with you! Today actually marks the anniversary of this sweet girl’s gotcha day… such a special coincidence! I have had such a sweet time getting to know Kim Nelson… She is a sweet momma and a very talented photographer! (You can check out her facebook fan page here… ) We connected through Pursuit 31 an online group for encouraging Christian women photographers. As I read her story it rocked my little world… It gave me chills… A beautiful story of  how she embraced their unknowns and raised up to the challenges. I especially love the challenge that Kim shares at the very end!  Her words have me thinking… reflecting… and celebrating their story! Please… please… leave Kim some comment love! We are so thankful to everyone willing to share their stories and I know that comments from you can be so encouraging!


Meet Kim and her sweet family… Kim wrote:


When someone shares their adoption story, so many begin with how adoption has been on their hearts since they were in high school or college. They always wanted to adopt and finally they took the plunge! That is usually what you hear. That isn’t our story. I never wanted to adopt. I remember, several years ago, a dear friend wanted to start a foster to adopt program and I had her over for coffee to explain to me how she could love a child that wasn’t biologically hers. I simply couldn’t comprehend it.

So when God called us to adopt, you can image our (and our family’s) surprise!


My husband and I have been involved with Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo) related charities since 2006. After watching Rape of the Congo we immersed ourselves in Congo’s history, trying to understand how these atrocities could be happening and the Western World do nothing, know nothing.  We loved Congo. We prayed for Congo. We desired nothing more than her people be safe. Be free. Be prosperous.

In 2010 we felt called to adopt one of Congo’s daughters.

We found an amazing humanitarian aide group that facilitated our adoption and almost a year after we signed on with them, we got our referral; a beautiful, tiny 13 month old baby girl.

We had been very clear that we wanted an infant. You see, we had 3 boys in 3 years and having gone through the terrible twos back to back to back I was at my wits end.  I really really hate the terrible twos and I really really didn’t want to go through them immediately after adopting our daughter. I was hoping for a little honeymoon phase of sweet infancy to carry me through the stage of poop-flinging, “no’s”, and screaming fits I knew were coming.

Even though she was older than we had wanted, we couldn’t say no. She was ours and I knew that from the moment I heard about her.

Six months after our referral and just a few months before we had planned on getting her, we got another phone call. This time there were concerns about her hearing and language. At 19 months, Talitha wasn’t talking or responding to sounds.

The thing about international (or domestic) adoption is there are unknowns. A lot of them. Even with medical exams and parental records, I’ve seen healthy children come home with fatal illnesses and children on the verge of death come back to life with medical care and love from their family. Nothing is guaranteed. And knowing that, we moved forward with our adoption.

Talitha came home two weeks shy of her second birthday. And she came home with profound bilateral hearing loss. Talitha is deaf.

We would have never signed up for a two year old, special needs toddler willingly. She was exactly something I was afraid of. How could I parent a special needs child? Wouldn’t a toddler be too traumatized? Have gone through too much? Be too hard?

I Praise God He knew better than me. He saw a beautiful sweet child who was a perfect fit for our family and brought her in regardless of my fears and hesitations.

I Praise God for a social worker who told us about her, even then though she was older than we had requested.

I Praise God that He made her my daughter.

And let me tell you about my daughter.

This feisty, amazing, intelligent little girl has transformed our lives and there is nothing “disabled” about her.  She has picked up ASL with a ferocious tenacity. She was born to sign. We call her “little mama” because she so willingly helps around the house. From washing dishes to folding laundry, and she’s two.

She loves playing with her dollies, changing their diapers, feeding them, even putting them in with her little sister to sleep. She is a care taker. She is a fighter. She is intelligent. She is my daughter.

So my dear parents in the process of adopting, I challenge you to face the unknowns. To open you hearts to the children over looked. The older children. The “disabled”. The HIV+. These children need a home just as much as infants. They need their mama.  Are you it?


Little Notes

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  1. amanda says:

    Knowing this family personally, and calling Kim one of the friends closest to my heart, i teared up reading this. I know the process, I saw the struggle the emotions. But there is nothing I am more sure of than that T was made to be Kims daughter made to be part of their family. She is surrounded by so much love and so much passion. Not only did they save her but she saved them she brought them hope and love and happiness even more than they ever had before. Kim has risen to the challenges and I respect that so much. Adoption is a beautiful gift and this story this true real story is a gift and I hope the push that so many need to adopt without the little stipulations.

  2. Coree says:

    What a precious face. And such joy! Many blessings to your little family.

  3. Julie Massie says:

    Oh my word. This is beautiful. We are in the process of adopting from D.R.Congo as well (going for an older child or siblings, open to special needs) and this is so beautiful to read. Every time I see something like this, I am reaffirmed that we are doing the right thing. God has us right on track. Thank you for sharing your story…for your transparency about this not being your plan, but also your joy and gratefulness that your plan didn’t turn out. I love this.

  4. Cresta Poole says:

    LOVE!! Thank you for sharing your story. I love hearing all adoption stories:)

  5. what a precious story & amazing family! thank you so so much for sharing your story Kim – my husband and i can’t wait to have our own story someday :).

  6. Danielle says:

    What an amazing story of listening to Gods calling. Thank you for sharing!

  7. ChadandCorinne Cline says:

    Absolutely beatiful!

  8. Robin says:

    Thank you for sharing!! We are in the process of adopting from the Dr Congo right now. I love hearing other families stories. Your daughter is beautiful!!

  9. Melanie says:

    Such a delightful story! She is such a cutie and your family story is amazing, truly opening your heart is such a wonderful story.

  10. Chelsea says:

    Being adopted myself from Africa I can’t express how much I love this. Such a selfless act Adoption is. Your story is simply beautiful as well as your family.
    I can’t wait to meet you guys.

    May God continue to bless your sweet family!


  11. Susie Jewell Butler says:

    awesome – love this!

  12. Gabrielle von Heyking says:

    wow! what an absolutely beautiful story of adoption.

  13. Cristal Byrne says:

    Beautifully written and those photos! Breathtaking.

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