The gates opened to our guest home as the car that was carrying her to her prayers’ answer slowly pulled in. She “knew” before she was told that her day had finally come, that her family was here. Jesus told me, she had said to the woman who confirmed the news a day after.

A day I envisioned a dozen or more times in my mind’s eye, looked nothing like what I’d imagined. K@mpala’s sky had set early for my liking but God knew this holy moment needed a curtain of privacy. My family sat waiting in the dark on the steps for this baby to crown and I sensed the aroma of God filling the birthing room.

The car came to a halt just long enough for us to hear her squeal from inside: “Daddy!”

Lily launched out of the door, and in seconds (in between joyful acknowledgments of her newest siblings), found herself no-longer-fatherless in the arms of her earthly daddy. Such a picture to me, this eight – or maybe ten – year-old with her legs wrapped around his waist and her arms clasped behind his neck as if to say hold my story, Daddy. Hold all of me.

She found safety in him, as my weak heart searched for safety in my own Daddy. This release of months of waiting to brush my fingers against the skin of my daughters’ also brought with it a weight of reality.

I am entrusting you with much, He told me.

To which I responded Father, I’m still a little girl and you are calling me to speak life to her dry bones. How could this be?


The day after Lily fit herself so naturally into our fold, she sat on the front lawn of the orphanage Hope has called home and scribed letters that were translated to her new sister.  We deflected the intensity of the moment – because how can a five-year-old grasp this new family who has traveled half way around the world to receive her? – by drawing flowers and writing notes on construction paper.

“We want you to be in our family … don’t worry … we love you so much,” read Lily’s letter to Hope. The family she had met for the first time, less than 24 hours before, was one she now owned. Lily and Hope — who shared a country for five years — would now share headbands and baby dolls and bed-time rituals.

And a Daddy.

His oldest received him with vigor and the next tentatively warmed to him. First his gentle hand on her back, then a “yes” to a hug and finally she giggled when he threw her in the air.

And I stood back watching the collective 13+ years of fatherlessness among my daughters and wondered why He chose us.

The past few days have seen my weakest moments. I had no way of anticipating this rush of emotion which would come at the hands of my new daughters’ initiation to family. As their history is woven with my history, my need for the Father to write the story is all around me.

During the day, I am learning to be a mommy to four, and during my nights I have curled up like a daughter and said Daddy, I need you.

I can’t help but think that this stretching is releasing a greater healing than any strategy I can conjure up to restore them.

Healing for them, and healing for me … just the way the Father works.

In subtle ways, I have sought to build a life of safety, one I can measure, assess and ultimately control. But my heart was made for freedom.

And in the same way, I whisper prayers at night for their true-and-deep healing, the Father is so graciously administering healing to me. This orphan spirit rears its ugly head in all of us one way or another — seeking for us to be independent of our Father. He is using this very moment, where orphans-no-longer are finding what it means to be daughters, to allure my own heart to lean uncomfortably into His … until it becomes natural.


The day after I wrote this post we visited Hope again with the intent to bring her home with us this time. We arrived at her orphanage and the shy eyes that found comfort in staring at the ground for much of our visit the day before lit up when she saw her father. Her footsteps followed those of her new sister’s.

She ran to Nate and jumped in his arms.

Every one of us — even those that seem the least interested — were made to cry “Daddy!”

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33 Responses to ““Daddy!””

  1. Anna on

    oh, my! My heart is full as I read your story—envisioning your meeting with your daughters! wow. praying for you! <3

  2. Esty on

    Sara, I can barely see the keys to type. “But my heart was made for freedom.” Wow, Sara. What a way to recall these moments. What a picture you have painted. I am honored to peek behnd the curtains of your living room in UG and see what God is doing there in your midst.
    Thank you with all my heart. xoxox Esty

  3. ERICA on

    amazing, sara. We were made to be in the arms of our Father! I love your vision and your joy! Can’t wait to see pics of the Hagertys-family of SIX!!!

  4. Amanda on

    My heart is exploding with joy and emotion for you as I picture these precious moments. It is so neat to see the desire God has imprinted in each of our hearts to be loved by a Daddy and it is amazing how he grows a mommy and daddy’s heart in each of us, in his time. Praying for you!

  5. Jordan on

    We are so excited and happy for all 6 of you Sara! We cannot wait until you can share pictures of your newest, precious girls. 🙂 Thinking of you all and praying for you!!

  6. Diana on

    Okay, Sara. Don’t know if it my preggo hormones or my love of beautiful adoption stories or your gift with words or my delight in how the Father has blessed you, but I cannot stop the tears when I read your blog. I love watching this story of love unfold. So happy for your family and cheering you on through prayer over here in our little corner of Virginia. BTW, is that a pic of all your kiddos holding hands? Loving it!

  7. Meg on

    Rejoicing in your family being united! God is working, and as always, it is beautiful. I’ll be praying as you come together over the next few days and learn the newest dynamics of your family with Lily and Hope.

  8. Nikki on

    Rejoicing with you as I read your beautiful words, Sara. May the God of hope fill you with Him as you pour out love on these no-longer-orphan hearts. 🙂

  9. CourtneyD on

    Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow! Priceless and precious is this journey of yours! I do believe that you will encourage many more than those who read your blog alone as you write this beautiful story in a book – someday! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to inform all of us “back home” how things are going. You’ve got your hands full, to say the least, so thank you! Many blessings from KC!

  10. Kristin P. on

    Sara — this is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing these moments with us — they are beautiful beyond words.

  11. Betsy on

    Wow, no words can express how totally overjoyed I am for you and your expanding family. I have been praying for you and your new babes for many months. And its finally here. Congratulations!

  12. Cadell Walker on

    Wow! So honored that you shared your story with us. God is a wonderful author!!! Cannot wait to see pictures of your girls and your whole family together.

  13. Joy on

    My husband and I just found your blog. I don’t know you and i’ve only read bits and pieces of y our story. And yet, I feel like if (when) we meet, I would just squeeze you! I love your heart. I love your stories. I love that you love these children. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a 10 year old precious girl fro Uganda. Our situation is rather unique, but we feel deep in our hearts that th is young girl is our daughter. I do hope we can meet one day. I would love to give you a hug!

  14. Deanne Hamlette on

    My heart is thrilled to read that you have been united with the rest of your family! My prayers are with you as you all get to know each other and settle into the new normal for your family of six. God is good – actually he’s pretty great, isn’t he?!

  15. erin on

    so happy that you are all together!!!!

    i’ve been following along since your first adoption (but am basically an unknown blog stalker :)).

    so great, and can’t wait to hear more and see pictures of the 6 of you!

  16. Amy Sullivan on

    Clicked over from MOD. A little spark burns in my heart for adoption. I feel it growing and getting stronger. For now, I just like to soak in the stories of others. Beautiful place here.

  17. Melissa Bradley on

    I Love this! Oh I love this! Thank you! My heart is so broken towards future adoption and near future fostering, but in fostering it is one hurdle after another, in becoming certgified and God keeps placing little things like this in my face to keep the fire lit instead of just giving up on the process. Thank you for being a source of God’s gentle nudge.

  18. AnaLisa on

    Hi Sara,

    My husband and I are adopting from Uganda and could really use a mentor or someone to shoot a few emails back and forth with. I have been blogging about our steps so far and had no idea about the sensitivity needed… anyway, almost ready to submit our I-600A have completed our home study (almost)… thank you for your blog and would love to share sometime when you have a moment. God Bless! xx

  19. Ashley on

    Sobbing over here. Sigh. So happy for you and your family. Having known Nate since High School I am so inspired and happy that your “unit” is now complete… and I know that he must be an amazing Dad… and the passion with which you write? Conveys that you must be an incredible mom. You family is so blessed to have you both.

  20. emily glisson on

    I have been reading your blog for months while at the same time reading about “Nora” on Mandiejoy’s blog. Had NO IDEA their Nora was your Lily! How wonderful! Your family is beautiful. (We also have adopted from Uganda twice after living there for many years bringing our total children to 6.) emily

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