The True Spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas: Bringing Home Milly and Jonah, Elijah and Eliana
Blending Families in Uganda
Two LMI families met in Uganda, and immediately hit it off. Like many who travel together, the Naugle and Ditty families realized they were going through something special and life-altering.
The Naugles arrived with their two sons to bring home twins Elijah and Eliana. The Ditty family and their three daughters arrived to meet Milly and Jonah, their new siblings-to-be. The two families lived like one family for two weeks, getting to know their new children, and each other as the legal guardianship for each unfolded smoothly and concluded. They were both now legal guardians, with custody of these beautiful children!
Here's where it becomes a little (okay, a LOT) different than the norm. The Naugle's 10-year-old biological son Cooper became ill. His health deteriorated quickly, and his condition turned life-threatening. In such time of joy, this nightmare. Specialized care would be needed, and the medi-vac came to Kampala to transport the Naugles to South Africa. Cooper's kidneys were failing. The Naugles newly built family had to be temporarily divided to save Cooper.
Without a second thought, the Ditty family, offered to take care of the twins for as long as needed in Uganda. So to their new brood of 5, the family added twin babies, caring for them as if they were part of their family. They immersed themselves into Ugandan life, a unit of nine. They took the twins to required medical appointments needed for the Embassy, the Naugles turned over Power of Attorney. The Naugle family continued to focus on getting their son well enough to go back to Uganda, go to the Embassy, and come home. There were many ups and downs for Cooper and his health, so many around the world prayed.
The Dittys remained steadfast in their commitment to the Naugles. Their Embassy process was then over, and the Dittys were free to fly home with all five of their children and start their life in the U.S. But they would not leave those babies for an additional transition, and create additional stress for the Naugles. They volunteered to stay until Cooper was well, and the Naugles returned from South Africa. Cooper was having transfusions and dialysis. After many long weeks, the Naugle family was reunited with their precious babies in Uganda. The families had adopted one another in trust and become one.
We always say that God connects the right children with the right family. There is a plan. God went one step further here...these families were connected in travel and journey for a reason. The Bible speaks of loving kindness, compassion, and dedication. The Ditty family acted as a rock not only for the entire Naugle family, but an example of sacrifice and selflessness for their own children. They have inspired all of us at LMI. We are humbled by the strength of these two families who are now entwined as one.
It must be no coincidence that the families arrived home in the U.S., just days before Thanksgiving. They are this year's Little Miracles Thanksgiving families. We stand in awe of God for bringing these amazing families together.