Q: Tell us about your journey to adopt from Lesotho.
Brownlows: When we started our adoption journey we were expecting 18-24 months. If someone would have told us it would have taken 8 years; I probably wouldn’t have signed up. That’s God’s grace for you though because he knew how much this journey would teach us; how we would grow as a family and in our faith. We had one biological daughter when we started and in the 8 years added 2 more. When we traveled in May of 2021 it was the most perfect timing and God knew that all that time ago.
Howards: We joined the Lesotho program soon after it started back in 2013. As we waited, we added two biological children to our family. In July of 2020, we were elated to learn that we had been matched with a one-year-old girl, and we finally were able to travel and bring home Rosie in May of this year. After such a long wait, it sometimes still feels unreal!
Q: You traveled to Lesotho to adopt your kids together. How did your families connect?
Brownlows: Allison is a detective! If it wasn’t for her I’m not sure we would have connected. The moment we met in person Atlanta on the plan (as they barely made the flight) there was an instant bond that just piggy backed off our daily phone calls as we prepared for the trip.
Howards: After Small World mailed off some of our final paperwork, I noticed that the tracking information had another last name next to ours. I was so excited that we might get to travel with another family that I immediately googled to try and find out who they were. Kourtney and I connected on Facebook, and soon we were chatting on the phone almost daily!
Q: What was it like traveling as a group?
Brownlows: This was the most amazing blessing. To share this experience with someone who had waited as long as us was a gift. It took alot of the stress of the unknown away because we could lean on each other. We have already booked our “Gotcha week” vacation for 2022 together!
Howards: We were so thankful to have another family with us as we traveled, especially since both families brought our children along. It was really amazing to share this final part of the journey – we left feeling like the Brownlows were family. At one point, we parted ways during the trip for a couple of days, and I couldn’t believe how much we missed them after only meeting them in person a week before!
Q: What was your favorite part of traveling together?
Brownlows: Just being together. Sharing meals, surviving long appointments, navigating Africa. The fact that my kids had friends to play with was awesome!
Howards: I really enjoyed bonding over our shared experience. I believe we were the two families who have waited the longest, and so we all just got each other. We also were able to roll with the punches together and have each others’ backs throughout the trip. We are excited for our kids, who also have a shared history, to have this connection as well as they get older.
Q: What words of wisdom would you pass on to other adoptive families?
Brownlows: It’s not going to go the way you think it is. You probably wont’ wait 8 years, but there are going to be other hard things along the way. Trust God. He’s the one that led you to this process, so let him keep leading even when it’s hard for us to understand.
Howards: My best advice would be to hold your plans with an open hand. As we prepared to travel, we met countless obstacles and changed our travel plans multiple times. Even throughout our travel, we continued to face challenges. We really had to trust that God would make a way for us to bring our kids home. It was amazing to watch Him bring all the details together in spite of all that stood in our way!