The Bates Family

Courtship Chronicle

by Kelly on July 17, 2013

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  July 1, 2013 marked a new day of celebration for Zach Bates and Whitney Perkins as they began courting! They first met in 2012 at a local restaurant where Whitney works, called Sonic. Needless to say, Zach makes a lot of Sonic stops! Over the course of several months, they have become best friends.

  Whitney was adopted into a family including 11 other siblings. Her parents, Johnny & Lydia Owens, live in Clinton, TN. Her father is a preacher and her mother is a hair stylist.  Whitney will be completing her schooling at a local college this fall.

  We are so excited to see what the Lord has in store for Zach and Whit’s future! They have helped each other through hard times, they have helped each other grow closer to the Lord, and they have helped each other learn to laugh and to love!

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  Zach bought Whitney a double heart necklace with 1/4 carat diamonds for their special day. The beautiful purple roses mean “Love at first sight!” (They came from Pots and Petals Florist in Lake city, where Alyssa helps work occasionally.) Alyssa was in charge of the table decorations at Rickard’s Ridge Restaurant in Lafollette, and Alyssa and Carlin did the photography. Alyssa, Carlin, Josie, Katie, and Whit’s sister, Nakota, sat at a separate table to chaperone… and to giggle about their older sibling’s nervousness..lol!. After a beautiful walk around the lake at Cove Lake State Park, they headed for The Track in Pigeon Forge to ride go karts. They ended their evening at the Comedy Barn where a surprise announcement was made about their news!IMG_3964IMG_6808

 

{ 245 comments… read them below or add one }

Marci July 18, 2013 at 5:35 am

Congratulations! What a sweet couple. Prayers for them as they continue their courtship.

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Melissa July 18, 2013 at 5:36 am

They look so perfect together! May God bless them throughout their courtship. I love those decorations. I am planning a butterfly party for my daughter this weekend but I don’t think my decorations will turn out that well!

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Evelyn July 18, 2013 at 5:51 am

This is wonderful news! She is one perty lady Zach! Wishing the Lord’s blessing for the whole family but especially for the courting couples.

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Rita July 18, 2013 at 6:12 am

Wonderful news!! :) ) I’m just so excited for Zach and Whit- they make a lovely couple… :) ) I guess it must be very exciting also for you and your family- two children in a courtship now :) ) how are Chad and Erin doing, I hope for an update :)

Best wishes from Austria,
Rita

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Dear Rita,
Yes, Chad and Erin have soooooo many pics, I could do twenty posts!!! I need to get busy! Love, Kelly

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Tiffany Hardy July 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Im so happy for Zach , may God bless as he loves , grows and share his whole heart with the love of his life .

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olya July 18, 2013 at 6:22 am

So happy for them!!

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Sarah July 18, 2013 at 6:46 am

Congratulations Zach & Whit and families! Many blessings for your future, you both look wonderful together.

PS: love your matching (bright) outfits. :D

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Josie July 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

Hi Mrs Bates,
I was wondering if they are engaged went because they are holding hands and there looks like there is a engagement ring box?
God Bless,
Josie

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Dear Josie,
They might as well be..lol! But no, they didn’t want to miss out on the fun part of dating with purity. They like the idea of all the sentimental, fun, innocent wooing of courtship. They are planning to get engaged sometime in October, with a spring wedding! The box was a necklace! Love, Kelly

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Alexis July 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Dear Kelly,

What a beautiful blessing for your family! It proves that following the Lord is always the way to go. Even after heartache can come the most beautiful rewards if we are faithful. It was also a testament to your family how your children truly can follow their own paths (the hand-holding Zach and Whitney decided to do during courtship) while still keeping in the right path. I will continue to pray for them, Chad and Erin, and your entire family. I hope to be able to raise my son as strong and tall as your children are.

Love,
Alexis

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Gina July 18, 2013 at 9:27 am

It’s so awesome to see Zach has found a precious young lady he cares about and she also happens to be very pretty! They look like a great match and I am so happy to see Zach back in the courting-game! :) I can’t help but notice Zach has not set such strict boundaries for physical contact this time. I wonder how Zach came to make that decision? While I recognise boundaries are important for maintaining a pure heart, I must say I applaud Zac for his decision to be a little more easy-going in that area. As a psychologist, I know that often when you say, ‘Don’t spill the milk!!!’, the person will often go right ahead and spill it. In other words, sometimes setting extremely strict rules or saying ‘I can’t do this and I can’t go that’ can work against us, or cause us to stumble even more. Now that your children are entering into the courtship season of life, I’d love to hear more about what they’re learning in the area.

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Dear Gina,
Hearing the testimonies of some hand off married couples helped us reevaluate our thinking on holding hands. Sometimes in fearing bad choices, we make extreme choices that can be just as dangerous. That is not to say that hands off relationships are bad…we might have some children who decide to go that route and we’ve seen others who did that were a wonderful testimony. For Zach, after months of tears and hurt, he realized he didn’t really even know how to communicate with girls. Whitney became a great friend that encouraged him spiritually and emotionally through his heartache. When she went through a hard relationship, he in turn, encouraged her. They learned a great deal about communication and they became best friends…through thick and thin. Love, Kelly

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Gina July 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Dear Kelly,
It’s so interesting to hear about Zach’s experience. I had never heard about courtship until I watched the Duggar’s show, but having grown up in a secular environment with no boundaries whatsoever, I can genuinely appreciate the need for young people to guard their heart with all purity. Having said that, I think wholesome affection for one another pre-engagement is a beautiful and Godly thing. It is sweet and precious and a joy to witness Zach and Whitney holding hands and I am so happy for them both!! It is a great testimony of how God will give you beauty for ashes, a double recompence for your former trouble. I can tell you are a very real and honest family and I really appreciate that. Sometimes it seems like people advertise the courtship process like a smooth-sailing fairytail, where everything is perfect, and the couple live ‘happily ever after’ having saved absolutely everything for the wedding day. But I often wonder if young people feel a lot of pressure and confusion during this time. It must be stressful trying to discern if this person is genuinely marriage material without the opportunity to be alone or touch at all. I imagine there must be a lot of expectation and attention from others, and I wonder do you think many courtship-couples move forward to marriage only to please other people or to ‘save face’?? As a woman I would think the reality of the wedding night could be very embarassing, shameful, awkward or uncomfortable, even if you do really love eachother, as you’d never even kissed this person until just a few hours earlier at the alter. I know I would feel quite scared and shy to make such a huge leap from zero to one-hundred in just one day. How do young couples in your world feel about that?

Praise God for you and Gil – you are doing a great thing by trusting your older children to make wise choices, and I am sure their future marriages will be better-off for it.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Dear Gina,
Well, I can’t speak for others. I did kiss before marriage, but was still nervous about the unexpected of marriage. Nervousness isn’t necessarily a bad thing… it is kind of innocent and normal, I would suspect. So, I don’t think waiting to kiss would have made things harder for me, concerning awkwardness. I think it would have built anticipation and appreciation. For me, and based on struggles we faced, I think kissing before marriage placed us under much greater temptation. We stayed pure until marriage, but I do wish we could both say we saved our first kiss til marriage. I don’t know that I would have wanted my first kiss to be in front of 200…lol…I would’ve probably held something up to playfully block the view! But I do know that we both realized we had shared an intimacy with others through kissing that we wished had been reserved for our one and only true love!
As for others in the courtship circle, you’ll see there’s a very WIDE variety of opinions. There’s lots of sermons, books, and many of the opinions differ with others. The various examples of circumstances surrounding marriages in the Bible were all different… God formed Adam’s wife while he slept. A servant chose Isaac’s wife. It’d be very difficult to say there’s just one way God does things! I think the principles we can all agree on is LET God lead, stay pure, have the right motives, flee temptations (whatever parameters you need to set– whether its physical contact, communication limits, timing, accountability, etc.) But I think our attitude should be, “This is my decision” rather than trying to fit everyone in my plan! Nothing is wrong with advice, experience, guidance, lessons from others…but ultimately God is the one we’re trying to please! Love, Kelly

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D. Stevens July 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I am sure you knw by now that there is what your kids tell you they’ve done, and what they have really done. All this talk about whether they are holding hands or not , kissing or not. . . it’s really speculation. Knowing your feelings on the subject, would they really cause you pain by telling you they have done things you disapprove of?

Sherry July 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

That’s what sad about living in the world today with no boundaries. The world thinks its normal to touch, kiss and even have sex all in the act of, ‘I love you’ but with no commitment following. What’s really awesome is they’re both making attempts to follow Christ and what He wants their marriage to be based on which is the heart, the inner man. The world seeks outward beauty n instant gratification for selfish reasons. If I myself hadn’t followed the world’s view my life would have been totally different. I may have been embarrassed alittle on my wedding night but it would have been natural for the fact I had never seen a man naked n vice versa, yes maybe a little awkward but that would of been the endearing n fun memories; the world tells you perfection is needed but to be shameful and uncomfortable those words wouldn’t come to mind. Love n being together is a choice a commitment not something you feel trapped in or stuck it’s a beautiful thing. I am so happy that they have people of the same belief so there not swayed and the accountability is there so the temptation is shared.

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Rebekah Greyson-Donoghue July 18, 2013 at 10:16 am

Big congratulations in order then to Zach and Whitney!!! They look like a fantastic couple and very happy together! Wish them the very best for the future!

Best wishes for you and the rest of the family too
Rebekah

PS. I think its so sweet (and reminds me a lot of my family though its not as big as yours) that the siblings get involved a lot with each others relationships and with personal experiance I can tell you it makes you stronger as a family!

PPS. I hope that Erin’s relationship with Chad is still going strong as they too make a brilliant couple (it must be such a blessing that your younger children have these great role models to look up to!) and I hope that wedding bells will soon be ringing as they deserve a life time of happiness together!

Congrats again!

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Janet July 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

Their eyes are the windows to their souls. Zach has truly found his soul mate. You can see the happiness and love in their eyes for each other. Bless them both as they continue their journey.

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Susannah July 18, 2013 at 10:43 am

Wonderful news for Zach and Whitney, and your families!!
Thank you for sharing their story and special celebration day – great pictures!
Blessings to you all :)

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Kimberly July 18, 2013 at 10:44 am

So happy to see love is in the air for Zach. I know they are not my children but I feel I am a part of their lives and wish I were more. God bless the two couples, I mean three county mom and dad

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Bianca July 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Congratulations, Zach and Whitney!!

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Marie-Louise July 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

What a surprise! I’m verry happy for your son. May God bless them richely!

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Bree July 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

Dear Kelly,

Congratulations on the new courtship and kudos to the courting couple for having the courage to be authentic and actually DO what they think is best for them, namely touching each other *before* marriage. The whole “no touching before marriage”-thing makes this wonderful experience of dating with a purpose extremely tense and in some cases also very unauthentic.God loves and he wants us to share his love therefore there’s nothing wrong with being close. As long as you don’t forget your purpose and as long as you don’t hurt your significant other in the process…

Having said this,

much Love

Bree

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Dear Bree,
For us, we found there are two extremes…avoiding all contact and emotions or having too much contact and emotions. Different people have greater weaknesses and struggles. The goal for all is purity. Temptations are real, so whatever a couple needs to set in place to maintain purity is important…but where to draw that line can be difficult to decide and must be constantly reevaluated. For us, accountability and chaperones have been a huge help. At the same time, we’ve seen far too many couples that are married that don’t express ANY affection for each other…hmmmm…that’s not good! So, we feel that it is important to learn to express feelings and wholesome affections…but again, where to draw that line of temptation may be different for couples. Gil and I stayed pure til marriage. We made mistakes and had struggles because we didn’t set enough parameters at times, but we did stay pure…but I’m thankful for some of those strong foundations of wholesome affection during our dating time because our marriage is quite close and affectionate…and VERY happy! Love, Kelly

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Bree July 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Dear Kelly,

thank you very much for taking the time to answer my comment and sharing your own story! I really appreciate it and I have to say, your answer is really edifying! Your children can be very happy about having such thoughtful parents during their phase of courtship.

Love, Bree

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Luann July 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Kelly,

Thank you for this checkpoint as a wife in regards to showing affection.

You touched on something else when talking about Zach learning how to communicate with and express love to a female. That is not often spoken of and ought to be.

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Elizabeth Helller July 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

Wow, congratulation and greetings from Connecticut!

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mundy July 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

praise the Lord. i’ve prayed many a night for zach to meet his special someone and it looks like maybe, God willing, he has!

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Heather July 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

What a wonderful surprise! I found your website after sitting next to you and hearing your message at the Nashville ATI conference this year. Reading earlier comments on previous postings, it seemed sure you were going to announce that Alyssa and John were beginning a courting relationship. The Lord does amazing work! They are a beautiful couple. Many blessings to them and your entire family. Jesus shines through all of you!
Love,
Heather

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Natasha July 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Congratulations to you both, Whitney and Zach! I look forward to seeing the wonderful blessings that the Lord will bring into your lives! Just an observation, I noticed that Whitney and Zach have physical contact, whereas Erin and Chad do not engage in any physical contact (at least in pictures). Was this a personal choice between the two couples? If so, how did they determine what was right for their relationships?

God Bless!

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Dear Natasha,
We’re letting the couples decide if they want to hold hands. Chad and Erin want to wait until engagement to hold hands. Zach was very slow and careful deciding to court this time after past hurts, so they both prayed a long time about the decision to court. Their relationship is more like an engagement or pre-engagement because they got to know each other so well and they’re already picking dates…lol! They didn’t want to skip the courtship time and go straight to engagement though, because it’s been such a fun time for Erin and Chad. It’s been the time for dating in a wholesome and pure way with all the fun and creative ways to learn to show their feelings and grow in communication. Zach wanted to hug Whitney just when he asked to court…in full view of their chaperones, of course. Erin and Chad want to save their first “real” hug for when he asks her to get engaged. They gave a side hug at the time of their courtship and give side hugs when they first greet if they haven’t seen each other in a long time. For photos, they have done cute poses that have Chad’s arm around Erin and such, but its always with chaperones and is just for pics. They like having special times for innocent pics and such, but they also like having chaperones and accountability so they don’t place themselves in too great temptation. Love, Kelly

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Lee August 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Just an innocent question: why do they think they would not be able to “control” themsevles without the chaperones there? I am not trying to be crude, but just trying to understand.

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Kelly August 7, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Dear Lee,
If you’ve ever been madly in love with someone, alone under the stars, then you’ll know what I mean by temptation! You can have all the good intentions to be pure, and plenty of people have stuck to that commitment, but all would probably admit they experienced some pretty serious temptations to engage in experiences that could have been saved for marriage. Chaperones are just an extra precaution that someone who realizes they are weak in their own strength may choose to use.

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Lee August 13, 2013 at 4:14 pm

But if you believe you have raised your children to have sound values and make good judgements, then why can they not be trusted to be alone with their chosen mate before marriage? I have been (and still am) madly in love with my now husband, and we had our discussions on what our values were and what we did and did not want to do before marriage and we stuck to that. We didn’t need chaperones with us to make sure that didn’t happen. I am not judging, so please don’t think that.

Sunny J July 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! They make a very handsome couple! It must be so happy for you, Kelly, and Gil to see your children moving on in life and finding happiness. May God bless them and continue to guide them.

I have to admit though- when I was reading your comments on previous posts, I was sure the announcement would be regarding Alyssa! Any updates on her and her budding friendship with John? And how are Chad and Erin doing? It seems like your family just continues to grow!!

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Dear Sunny,
Yes, Alyssa and John are still close friends…In fact, Alyssa and Michael will be flying to Florida next week for a visit. So we’ll just wait and see what the future holds! Chad and Erin are doing great. They’re praying between two dates. They’ve made many visits and I hope to do a post with some of those pics for an update…Love, Kelly

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Vanessa July 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Such exciting news! We will be praying for them! God Bless

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Rebekah M. July 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

How exciting! So happy for them and their families. :) Will be praying for Zach & Whitney.

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Alison July 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Oh, how wonderful! Praise the Lord! Zach and Whitney are a beautiful couple, and I too an excited about what Jesus will do in the future regarding these two!I was actually just tthinking about Zach the other day and how it was sad that things didn’t work out with Sarah. But the Lord knows best, and when you trust in and follow Him, the outcome is so very sweet and blessed. I will keep this lovely couple on my prayers, as I have with Chad and Erin. And someday, if the Lord wills it, I hope to have news like this of my own to share.
Your friend,
Alison from IN

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JamieP July 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Very Happy for Zach. He looks so happy and in love. He looks some much more relaxed with Whitney.
I love watching and reading your blogs Mrs. Bates.

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cassidy July 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

oh my gosh that’s amazing!!!! congrats Zach and Whitney!! you look like such a sweet couple!!!! I cant wait for more info and updates!! <3

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Kari July 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Congratulations!!!! What happy news! Praying that Zach and Whitney will be blessed by each other and their special relationship!

One of the thing I miss about East TN is Sonic! How cute that met there!!

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Kimberly July 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Such wonderful news! Congratulations!!!

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Aimee Fry July 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Congratulations! We are so happy for Zach and Whitney, they make a lovely couple. We have been keeping up with your beautiful family since seeing you all on the Duggar’s show. We also enjoyed watching “United Bates of America” as well (we were so sad to see the show was canceled). Your family is an inspiration and the love you share is contagious! Thank you very much for allowing us to look into you lives and your hearts. May God bless Zach & Whitney and we’ll be praying that He guides and directs their lives individually and as a couple.

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Justsayin July 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Well, that is big news, we had no idea : ) Next year your family calendar will be booked with weddings. They look cute together. And happy. And I wanted to add that it is just GREAT to see that they feel comfortable enough to touch hands and share a side-hug occasionally instead of standing 2 kms away from each other in couple photos like they were entire strangers who are completely uncomfortable in the situation. This looks much better, healthier, happier and sweeter. There is nothing wrong with holding each other’s hands, it’s not defiling their purity. They look happy, cute, and in love. I wish them to NEVER have to let go of each other’s hands! <3

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Luann July 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

A word of caution that what may appear uncomfortable to you in pictures, may not be to the ones the picture is being taken of.

Also, a couple not holding hands doesn’t mean they think it’s “wrong”. Quite the opposite actually-they are giving much value to it and choosing to wait.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Dear Luann,
I agree wholeheartedly. I have much admiration for couples who do decide to have a hands off relationship. I think the goal either way should be to honor God and maintain purity. To make one set of couple feel like their choice is “more special” than another’s is actually perspective…and that varies with people…and it can put pressure for them to conform to other’s opinions. I think each couple needs to seek God’s direction for them…and then realize it is just that…THEIR choice…not a dictate for all. We need to encourage each couple who are striving for wholesomeness, whether they choose to hold hands or not . Love, Kelly

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Natalie July 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

She is so cute and pretty! I am so happy for Zach!

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Deb July 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Congrats, but why is it necessary to mention she is adopted? Does that put her in a special category or something, that must be disclosed and discussed?

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Dear Deb,
No, we view adoption as a very big blessing. I have two adopted sisters. I don’t feel its something to hide, but to be proud of because it shows someone loved them so much that they specifically chose them. I think adopted children often go through struggles of discouragement, so I like to point out how loved and chosen they were!! Love, Kelly

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Deb July 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for your answer. Honestly, I wonder how the adopted child feels about being singled out this way?

I have two adopted children and they hate it when I point out their adoption to others, especially strangers. It makes them feel different, and not in a good way. They just want to be “my sister” not “my adopted sister.”

You may like to point this out to show love, which is nice, but I think it is more important to find out if the person wants to be identified in this way.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Dear Deb,
Thank you for your input. It was something my family was excited about and saw as a positive, so we never questioned sharing it with others. We admire Whitney’s family for choosing to adopt 12 children into their home, which is why I chose to add that detail. We know they are incredibly compassionate and selfless to open their hearts in this way! And Whitney is blessed and loved! Love, Kelly

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Luann July 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm

It is a descriptor. In mentioning one has 11 children, often times a response will be to ask if they are all biological or not. It’s stating a fact- a beautiful fact.

Our Lord builds families in ways other than biological and to speak to that is beautiful and a testimony of Him!

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Sara July 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Glad to see Zach looking happy and relaxed in these pictures. Seems based on the pictures there is a nice level of closeness. I do have to ask why the tendency to have couples and whole families dress in the same color in conservative family pictures? I know my husband has mentioned oh we should match when we go out and I as politely as possible tell him I think it is not charming nor cute. The only time I guess I find matching clothes cute is on little kids and only at a mimimum. I’ll admit it is off topic, but it’s something that I’m curious about and I have been meaning to ask. Is yellow a favorite color of Zach’s or Whitney’s?

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Kelly July 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Dear Sara,
No, they try to plan to match every time they go out. Here its seen as very sweet and affectionate to color coordinate and match…and it makes pretty photos! Love, Kelly

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Jessica July 23, 2013 at 6:08 am

Congrats to Zach and Whit!!! What a great looking couple!!!!
ON the matching outfits…my husband and I match/coordinate for pictures all the time! We used to match/coordinate whenever we went out as well, but now that we have our son we are finding it harder to make us all match/coordinate! However for pictures we still do!!! I think it’s so cute and just makes pictures look even better when you try to coordinate colors and wear matching outfits!!!! LOVE IT!

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Donna Jones July 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Praise the Lord for this relationship. She is a beautiful woman and Zach is a wonderful Godly man. A match made in Heaven. Many wonderful years ahead for these two children of God.

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Cathie July 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm

They are such a cute couple! Can’t wait to see what God has in-store for their future together.

CMS

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Jessica July 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Awwwwwe! Congratulations to the sweet, adorable couple! I was very happy to see this as my heart hurt for Zach last time. God is faithful and this is so special. He is gonna make the best husband!!! ;) I can tell. This is an exciting time for your family. Also, thanks Kelly for always opening up to others, answering our many questions. You are so precious.

Love,
Jessica

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Bethany J. July 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Congrats! That is great! They are so cute together!

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Sandra July 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

First of all congrats to the happy couple – they seem over the moon.

I also wanted to say as a mom to two (possibly three soon) adopted children I think it’s great you mentioned that as part of her story – because it is. It’s important to mention adoption. We don’t hide the fact that our children are adopted either because I think we need to focus on that love and choseness (is that a word) and not on that discouragement or sometime negative view that sometimes comes. Also, there are so many children in need of forever homes and if our sharing helps encourage someone else to adopt then that is even better.

On a side note – Now that our adoption is almost finalized on our daughter (4 1/2) and our son (3) I will be staying home and our intention is to homeschool. However, it is now looking like we will soon have a two year old (we will find out today). I would love to hear your thoughts on homeschooling multiple ages — especially so close in age and what to do with the little little ones. I had it figured out how I was going to do preschool with our daughter and include our son — was planning on using a letter of the week system with lots of hand on play as well as virtue lessons. Additionally we are attending a once a week preschool co-op at our church where the moms are the teachers (I’m teaching music). However, now with the addition of a two year old I’m concerned on how you make that work and wondering if I need to rethink my whole plan or just bring him along for the ride.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Dear Sandra,
Lots of little ones close together…Wow! You’re in store for so much fun!!! A family that just visited our church with several close in age used Abeka DVD school, or on line streaming. Her children were ultra smart, well behaved, and had great Bible knowledge. I was a little envious of how easy she made it look…lol! I’m sure you’ll find what works best for you!Some moms like hands on, creative curriculum. Some think those are time consuming and stick to traditional workbooks. Others take advantage of technology like on line and DVD classes. There are so many choices today! Experiment and have fun trying the many options. Listen to others and ask questions. Visit some families and ask to preview their curriculum. Look at samples at curriculum fairs. Love, Kelly

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Amanda July 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney. They seem so happy and comfortable with each other. I’m delighted for them and both families!

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Anne July 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Congrats, Zach and Whitney! May the Lord bless you both on your journey together! :D

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Nina July 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Very happy for your family and Zach.

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Michelle July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm

That is so great for Zach! How did he get over his past hurts day to day and move forward?

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Dear Michelle,
He got busy doing work and ministry! He had some very good friends that were a source of strength, like John Duggar and Andy Leftwich…and later, Whitney! Ultimately, he leaned on the Lord! Love, Kelly

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Ali July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Congrats to Zach and Whitney! They look very happy. What is Whitney studying?

Kelly, you seem like such a thoughtful and loving person. You care so much about your children, and it really comes across. I’m keeping your whole family in my prayers, including the courting couples! :)

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Melanie July 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Congratulations to Zach & Whitney! They look lovely together.
Kelly I have to say that you truly exemplify a kind Christian woman in the way that you respond to all your commenters with such grace and dignity, even the ones that criticize. You are honest with any mistakes that you make & show that even as Christians were are not infallible.
Melanie

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Kim July 20, 2013 at 1:34 am

I was going to post the same sentiments, but Melanie has already done a great job so I will just add a hearty AMEN!!! God bless you all.

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Amanda July 22, 2013 at 2:11 am

Yes, I also add an AMEN to these two comments. Sometimes when people are in the public eye, there is a tendancy to ask questions or seek information that we would otherwise not even dream of asking someone. Your grace, patience and transparency as you answer all questions is admirable Kelly, and a lesson we can all learn.

I am praying for Zach and Whit in this special time and look forward to seeing God has in store for them. Bless you.

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LaRae Heinle July 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Beautiful couple in every way! So happy for them Congratulations!!

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Katie July 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I have to say, I have never really understood the courtship idea, but your family makes it look like a wonderful process and one that I respect. Your family is precious! Congrats to these two adorable young adults.

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Nohely July 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Congrats!!!! Wow this is is exiting lol God bless the Bates family :)

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Carrie July 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Dear Bates Family,

Oh my, this has got to be one of my favorite posts on your blog. I am so thrilled for Zach. He will marry his best friend! What a joy to read this post today. It takes me back to my engagement with my husband.

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sonjapetersen July 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Good news- and they are looking so sunny. Dressed in sunshine yellow and bright smiles on their happy faces…I wish all the best to you, dear Zach and Whitney. May the Lord be with you in every moment and protect you in every step you make. You are making a wonderful couple. All the best, good luck, may the Lord bless your hearts.
Regards, Sonja

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Harvest July 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! He definitely looks so happy and so much in love. My heart broke for him with his past hurt but when one door closes, God opens up another one. Put your faith in Him and He will deliver :D . Engagement plans already?! Kelly, your life is going to be so busy this year and next with 2 weddings (Chad and Erin and Zach and Whitney). Such an exciting time for you and Gil!

Just wondering but are Zach and Whitney also waiting to save their first kiss until marriage? What are your thoughts on that? Would you prefer your children to wait until marriage or are you allowing them to decide that?

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Dear Harvest,
Yes, they are choosing to wait for their first kiss. Yes, its our preference that they wait because it is a very intimate act that we think should be shared with a spouse only. Temptations are greatly awakened through kissing and excessive touch. Also it can place romantic memories that might be a struggle for loyalty of thoughts in marriage. However, they are obviously adults so they do make their own decisions. We offer our advice, and for the most part we’ve all been in agreement on major issues like this. So, what would we do if our children chose a different set of standards?…Hopefully what my parents did…love them, pray for them, be there to encourage and offer advice, and trust God to speak to them as He chooses. Love, Kelly

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Gabrielle Foster July 18, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Congratulation’s!! Y’all are such a sweet family!! Can’t wait to watch y’all in August!! I love watching y’all and the Duggar’s!! Do you mind putting up more photos of Erin and Chad? I would love to see more! Thanks! And can you email me all the kid’s birthday’s? If that wouldn’t be to much trouble. :) I like to keep up with stuff like that. Have a great week!!

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Dear Gabrielle,
Yes, I’ll work on new pics of Erin & Chad. Love, Kelly

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Khiana July 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Are the Bates going to be on TV in August? If so can’t wait.

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Kelly July 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Dear Khiana,
I’m usually the last to know…lol! The Duggars’s did stop by on their way to help Josh and Anna move to Wash. DC. We were so happy to see them all and to be included in the celebration of Josh’s new career. Then some of our older children got to accompany the Duggars to Dc to help move. A day with the Duggars is always a treat! Love, Kelly

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Khiana August 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Did the Duggars film their show while they were visiting? I haven’t seen you guy on their show since 2011.

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Kelly August 11, 2013 at 5:06 am

Dear Khiana,
Yes, they did. It was such an encouragement to see them (As it always is!) I could just sit and watch them interact for hours! They are special! Love, Kelly

Sunshine July 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Congrats to the new couple!

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Sandra Toews July 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Dear Kelly,

What wonderful news!!! And what a surprise!!! They look like a wonderful couple who is very much in love. It’s so nice to see Zach find someone special and to see him so happy. We wish them the Lord’s blessings for their future together. It’s a big step forward and such an exciting one. It sounds like you have a lot of excitement in your house right now!

love,
Sandra from Canada

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Gretchen Mahon July 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I was so surprised and happy to to see Zach is courting. My first thought as I looked at the pics was how happy and comfortable they look together. You can see the love radiating through them. My next thought was that maybe God needed Zach to go through a season of heartache so he could learn more about himself, grow in communication, and wait for God’s best in His perfect timing. It sounds as if God lead him to Whitney during this difficult time. I think we learn best and grow in compassion when we are experiencing a difficult time.
I look forward to more posts about your family. You are such an inspiration.

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Symphony July 18, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Oh wow!! I’m so super excited for Zach and Whitney! The photos are so sweet and I love the matching colors:) looks great. I will be praying for them as I am for Erin and chad and John and Alyssa. They look so sweet together. I think Zach looks more comfortable with Whitney. I’m praying that God will bless their special relationship and that he would draw them closer to himself. :) I think the pictures are just precious! I love the ones of her opening the ring and oh I just live them all!!:) lots of love,
Symphony

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Nan July 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm

What a blessing to your whole family. I’m so thrilled for Zach and Whitney. Did you know her family well before they met?
Nan

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Dear Nan,
No, we did not. We knew her Dad was a preacher. We met later! Love, Kelly

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Michelle July 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm

They both look so happy! Congrats to all! Chad and Erin make a cute couple too, you will have beautiful grandchildren. God is good!

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Tami July 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Congratulations to Zachary & Whitney. They make such a cute couple. She is a very beautiful girl and they look so happy together. Being each others best friends is such a great foundation to start off a relationship. It must be such an exciting time for your family. God bless!

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Ria Mc Mahon July 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Congrats to Zach and Whitney im soooooo delighted for Zach I must ask about Michael is she friends with anybody she is such a sweet girl I keep ye all in my prayers but a special one for Michael I hope she has a great on mission

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Dear Ria,
Michael is just waiting on the Lord’s timing. She loves the Lord. She loves children. She stays busy serving! She is my hero! Once in Bible Study, we asked our children to go around the room and name a person that they thought was the best example of a Christian…they each named Michael! We’re so grateful for her. She got home at 3:30 am last night…very tired and very moved by all that she experienced over seas! Thank you for your prayers! Love, Kelly

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Marie-Louise July 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

What a surprise! I’m verry happy for them. May God bless them!

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Molly July 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Great news!! Congratulations to the happy couple!

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Molly July 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

P.S. I really appreciate how you take the time to reply to questions on your blog. You seem so real and down-to-earth!

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Elizabeth July 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm

How precious! It is beautiful to see a couple who honors God with their lives. Looking forward to seeing what He has in store.

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Katie July 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Congrats Zach and Whitney!

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Tara G. July 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Rejoicing with you! I love how you’ve so graciously shared testimony about ways you’ve been challenged to re-evaluate thinking/practices as parents guiding your kids into adulthood….so biblical and loving – I was blessed reading. :)

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Lynsey July 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm

They are Gorgeous together!! I am so Happy for both of them! Definitely in Love :) Congrats! How are Erin and Chad?

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Michelle July 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Oh wow! Yay! So happy for them. Keeping each couple in my prayers. Praising the Lord always and forever!

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Kristie July 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Kelly,
I have greatly enjoyed following your family blog. You take such wonderful pictures, it encourages me to get my camera out more often. Congratulations on all the sweet relationships developing in you family. How exciting for you all. If you are ever passing through Indianapolis and want a place to stop and stretch for a bit please consider stopping by. We are off 65 just to the northwest of Indianapolis and would love to meet ya’ll.
blessings,
Kristie

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Denise S. July 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

What a great surprise to see when I got to your blog!! I am so happy for Zach and Whitney, that is brought tears to my eyes, seeing how happy they are. I truly wish them both the best wishes ever. They look so cute together and happy!! Congrats to everyone including you and Gil!! May you be blessed with many grandchildren:) I know a little premature..

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Maggie July 19, 2013 at 12:21 am

How EXCITING!!!! Congratulations to the lovely couple and your family!!!! :)

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Lilly July 19, 2013 at 12:29 am

Hi Kelly,
I have a question about pre-marriage boundaries… If one of your kids decided to kiss upon engagement, but everything further for marriage, would you be okay with that? I was just wondering.. :)

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Dear Lilly,
My wishes are that they would each choose to wait until marriage to kiss. So far, they are all in strong agreement to waiting. Would I love them and still be their biggest fan if they don’t follow all my desires??? Yes!! Love, Kelly

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Jenn August 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

Kelly–I think that comment demonstrates why you are such a wonderful mom!

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Robyn Wilson July 19, 2013 at 1:14 am

Congratulations! How exciting for them and for you guys as you watch God write their love stories!

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Chad July 19, 2013 at 2:15 am

Sooooo Happy for ya’ll!!!..LOVe you guys! Can’t wait to go on a “Double Date”
(Big Grin)

Prayin’ for ya!

~ Chad..Psalm 121:1-2 ~
…hf…<3<3

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Cassie July 20, 2013 at 12:50 am

I love you …hf after all your posts! When will you update your blog?

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Kelly July 20, 2013 at 2:02 am

Dear Cassie,
Sorry…updates are a little slow. We’re sharing computers, so I’ll do another as soon as possible. Love, Kelly

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Cassie July 20, 2013 at 2:43 am

Dear Kelly, I’m sorry I meant when was Chad going to update his blog. I remember you said before that you were sharing with Erin. Although, I love your updates as well Kelly. Thanks for the response!

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Kelly July 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Dear Cassie,
I’m not sure when he’ll do an update. I know he’s staying very busy working :) Love, Kelly

Martina July 21, 2013 at 12:59 am

I’m so curious…what does hf stand for?

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Kelly July 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Dear Martina,
Oh you must be referring to Chad’s closing signature…lol! He always signs “hf” for “her fella!” Love, Kelly

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Patti July 19, 2013 at 2:19 am

I agree, Zach looks much happier and more relaxed this time. I know it is no one else’s business, but I too, love the way they are holding hands and able to touch. I always think it looks SO unnatural to not touch at all in a courtship or dating relationship. I mean, one hugs and touches their parents, their children, their relatives, even good friends, yet has to force themself to stay six inches away from the one they love the most? It seems forced and uncomfortable that way. I see nothing impure about hand holding and hugging; it is sweet and still chaste. Congratulations to the happy couple!

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Dear Patti,
Many have commented on Zach looking more relaxed and closer… Reflecting back, Zach was very happy before…(and extremely overjoyed now, of course!) What is the difference now? If he appears “happier” and “more relaxed,” its probably not associated with whether or not he holds hands, or doesn’t, or sits close, or doesn’t. I’ve seen couples that did hands-off that were over the top with love and happiness! Erin and Chad, for example, have waited to hold hands thus far, and they are sooooo cute and sparky!! Zach and Whit were just as happy before they began holding hands. So, what’s the cause of the more relaxed look?…
I think the happiness and relaxed mood sensed in Zach and Whit’s relationship is because they learned so much through hard times and prayed so hard. They had to learn to communicate better than they ever had. They had to learn to trust God more than they ever had. They had to learn to help each other through hurts. They grew so close as friends.
Whit saw Zach at his worst, yet still admired him, so Zach was able to relax about some of the worries and anxiety that guys face concerning rejection when they’re young and beginning a relationship. Whitney’s respect for Zach through thick and thin, through the good, bad, and the ugly gave him confidence and incredible gratefulness. He often says, “I don’t deserve Whitney!” Whitney in turn feels the same…that puts them both in the mindset of “esteeming the other better than themselves,” and that makes for a very happy relationship whether you’re holding hands and sitting side by side, or whether you’re doing a hands off relationship, or are miles apart! Love, Kelly

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Stephanie July 20, 2013 at 5:58 am

Thank you for saying that, Mrs. Bates. I was wondering if that might have something to do with it.

My husband and I had no physical contact until our first kiss on our wedding day. But we loved each other so much, sometimes it was almost overwhelming! We also had our struggles and that drew us closer than any physical contact could ever have done. We have no regrets after 6 years of marriage and now expecting our 5th child, we would gladly do it all over again for the sweetness of that moment when he kissed me for the first time. It was worth every moment!

Blessings to Zach and Whitney (and all your children) as they walk this road with the Lord as their guide. :D

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Kate July 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

You nailed this response Ms. Kelly! Your kindness, grace and strength in your posts and replies really is impressive, as others have said.

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Juanita July 19, 2013 at 2:40 am

Thank you for sharing; not only about Zach and Whitney, but about what you have all learned since Zach’s previous courtship. And to balance the important principles. I’m glad Zach had that year and some between relationships, as a way of healing, learning, and re-evaluating. My prayer for him since even suspecting the break-up was that, regardless of what happens in the end, that he would grow in Jesus, as would all of you. Looking forward to more updates. Oh, btw, if any of your kids get engaged around the same time, do you think any will consider double or triple weddings?

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Dear Juanita,
Wow! A triple wedding now that would be humorous! Love, Kelly

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Tonya Bailey July 19, 2013 at 2:59 am

YAY!!! Congrats to the happy couple!! They look sooo in love and happy, I love their matching shirts, it shows unity :) I can’t wait to see everyone’s wedding pictures and …… GRANDBABBIES!!! :) Lots of best wishes comin’ your alls way!!!

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Sunny O July 19, 2013 at 3:03 am

*Sigh* I knew I should’ve taken that job at sonic! ;) Okay, all joking aside. Congratulations Zach and Whit! I wish the best for you and I can’t wait to see pictures of your beautiful wedding!

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Deb July 19, 2013 at 4:35 am

Did you ask Whitney before you identified her as “adopted into a family of 11 siblings.” Maybe she thinks it has nothing to do with her courtship, and would rather you didn’t tell the world her private information.

It’s not about how you view adoption, it’s about what Whitney feels.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Dear Deb,
Yes, I asked Whitney to preview it! Thanks for your concern. Love, Kelly

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Sheila July 19, 2013 at 6:53 am

Hi Kelly,
I am so pleased for Zach and Whitney.
I agree with you 100% about adoption and the tremendous blessing it can be to a family. I have heard that Mr Gothard has said some rather negative things about adoption and without knowing whether they are true or not I wondered if you would be willing to share your views on this .
I appreciate that not everything you read on the internet is true so I’d love to hear what you think about it.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Dear Sheila,
We have read his material on adoption long ago. Our overall impression was that he wanted parents to check their motives… The motive of the adopting parents should be to focus on meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of the children. I can’t remember every point in the material, but as with any speaker, measure everything by Scripture…Learn whatever you can, and weed out the rest…but don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. There are many wonderful speakers we learn from, but we don’t agree with everything they say. No one is perfect, that’s why we have the Bible as our final authority. Now, if it is a doctrinal issue (salvation, etc) that is being taught wrong, we must avoid that teaching all together, since the Bible warns about its danger. But for differences in areas like this, we listen…try to learn what we can…ask God to show us His will…and come to a decision of our own based on that. Love, Kelly

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Sheila July 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Thankyou so much for replying Kelly.
I agree it is important to check everything against God’s word. If we do that we will have an answer to all of life’s issues.
I think that you and your family are a wonderful example to other families.
God bless you all.

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Anna July 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

I’ve read Bill Gothard’s adoption material in the past and it warns parents that the child who is adopted can bring the sin’s of their father into the home and that usually these sins are severe. So parents need to be aware that by adopting they are bringing horrible sins into their home and that they need to research to try and discover as much about the child’s family as possible so that they can be aware of the father’s sin. Do you also believe this about adopted children? Or is this something that you disagree with Mr. Gothard about?

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Kelly January 12, 2014 at 4:24 am

Dear Anna,
We believe each person is responsible for their own sins. I think there could definitely be background that would need to be known and dealt with. For instance, a baby hasn’t been exposed to anything, but an adopted child who is older could have been exposed to immorality or drugs, etc. If so, this would need to be known and steps would need to be taken to protect both the adopted child and other children in the home. We all are born with sin, so whether adopted or not, appetites have to be dealt with that can lead us into great temptation. I think the caution that was shared was from hearing countless stories from families who experienced turmoil. There are success stories as well, but counselors often don’t hear those since they are not coming for help. Taking the hundreds upon hundreds of stories he heard, I can understand him wanting to caution families. Although, I believe adoption can also have a happy ending, I agree that a parent must consider many things, including their children’s hearts about the matter. Some of our best friends (the Dempsters) have children and have added to their family size through adoption, and I view them as true role models and wish I could reproduce much of what they do in their home!!I have two adopted sisters that were adopted after we were all grown and married. Love, Kelly

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Carita July 19, 2013 at 11:24 am

So HAPPY for Zach!!! They are such awesome pictures and they look great together. Praying all the best for the happy couple. Maybe you all will have a few weddings real close together. We had two of our children get married within a week!!! Talk about busy but fun. God Bless and thank you for the updates. We really miss your show !!

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Sheri July 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Dear Kelly, thanks to you and your family for being willing to share these personal moments. They are indeed an encouragement to us. We (my husband and I) are the same age as you and Gil – but we married later in life so we are not as far down the path in raising our children. (Our oldest is 11 yrs) So these types of posts where we see your family learning and growing, encourage us to continue to seek the Lord in every situation – and every situation being so different. Yet all with the goal of pleasing the Lord. Enjoyed seeing you at the ATI conference in Big Sandy, and appreciate you sharing there as well. Lv, Sheri

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Peggy July 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Congrats to Zach and Whitney! I am so happy to see that they have chosen to have physical contact, within limits, as part of their courtship. From the moment we are born we need human touch! So much can be conveyed with a simple touch of a hand on an arm, shoulder or cheek! God bless them in this journey of love that they are beginning together!

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Dear Peggy,
Yes, and I would suggest to put the emphasis on your phrase “within limits!” It’s easy for any of us to let temptations take us on a downhill ride…it can be a slippery slope! For us, accountability and honesty are keys to help us focus on the goal of purity. Love, Kelly

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Lauren H. July 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! They look very happy and comfortable together.

Just out or curiosity, what is Whitney studying? Do she and Zach have any specific plans yet for after they marry?

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Dear Lauren,
She is studying medical billing and coding and medical insurance. Love, Kelly

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Shawnna July 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I was just wondering-why is Whitney’s last name not Owens, like her parents? They make such a cute couple. I wish them all the best.

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Dear Shawnna,
Whitney’s last name is different because she was adopted. She has so much love for Mr. and Mrs. Owens!They obviously love children to open their hearts to 12! We admire them for their example to all of us. Love, Kelly

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Jill July 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I’m confused by this. We adopted our children, but part of that adoption process is their last name becoming the same as ours – the adoption process is making it as if we ‘gave birth’ to them.

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:27 am

Dear Jill,
Yes, I understand your sentiments completely. However, Whitney loves and adores her parents too, but since she was older, it was a little more complicated. All of her school friends already knew her by her last name, so making a drastic change would be challenging in her social circles. There was also the consideration of court hassles and cost in changing her name. But she knows that she’s completely family!! Love, Kelly

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Jean July 23, 2013 at 7:56 am

Sorry, I’m not understanding this. Everyone I have ever met who is adopted has the same last name as their (adoptive) parents. Is there a reason that Whitney doesn’t have her parents’ last name? If this is too personal, you don’t have to answer. I’m just intrigued by this, growing up with a lot of friends who were adopted.

And congrats to both of them, and I wish them much happiness!

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:23 am

Dear Jean,
Whitney said she is fine with me answering that question :) She said she was adopted later in life, so they opted to spare the court hassle involved in attaining a name change. Love, Kelly

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Jean July 26, 2013 at 12:37 am

Kelly,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question, and to Whitney for being so forthcoming about this! That makes sense. It’s fantastic that her parents adopted her as an older child! Certainly her name does not define who she is, and I’m glad that this was a mutual decision.

Thanks again for responding, and best wishes to you, your family, and Zach and Whitney!

Amy July 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! They look soooo happy in the pictures! :-)

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Julie July 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Congratulations! So happy for you!

Love Julie

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Kate July 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Congratulation! May all the light and love in the world shine on the path of your walk together.

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bethany m July 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

What excitement to have your children grow up and find someone they love, to spend their life with!!! Lord Bless all he has in store for them. Would love to talk to you Kelly. Hope you received my thank-you card. Love in Christ, Bethany

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Kelly July 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Dear Bethany,
I’m sorry I’m usually several weeks behind reading mail…and several months behind reading emails. I’ll go hunt it down though! Love, Kelly

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Angela K July 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

They look great together. Congrats to them both.

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Kristie July 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Congrats to the couple and the whole family :) Just looking at the pictures you could feel the excitement in the air- lol! Your children are an encouragement and wonderful example for relationships for young adults. I used to think I had to be married by a certain age but when you really learn to be content in whatever place God has put you it gives a great peace (not that I don’t want to be married) and I don’t obsess over what age I might eventually marry. God has got the big picture in view sooooo I’ve learned He knows whats best for me.

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Charity July 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Praise God & Congrats to Zach & Whitney!
Thank you, Mrs. Bates, for sharing
so openly & honestly about what God
is doing in your lives. It is a ministry
that is encouraging many people. May
God continually guide and bless
bless the Bates Family. :)

Charity L.
Virginia

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Ruth July 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm

So excited for them both! Zach looks so happy and Whitney looks beautiful…does she have any biological siblings? Thanks for the update!

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:31 am

Dear Ruth,
No, Whitney does not have any biological siblings. Love, Kelly

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Coyle Family July 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm

They are just “BEAMING” with each other.
Praise the Lord for it is awsome in His sight

Please pray for our family ,since courtship is very un heard of where we are.
Dating for a purpose with the Lord’s Direction is the right way.

Love and Prayer’s the Coyle Family

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Nan July 20, 2013 at 12:36 am

Kelly, you are truly amazing. I can’t believe how you are able to keep up with all these comments. I have only one baby and I don’t think I’d find the time to write such thoughtful, encouraging and honest comments. This is a very important ministry you are creating, one that is inspiring many. Please keep it up!
Lots of love,
Nan

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Alaina July 20, 2013 at 1:05 am

Great pictures! I am excited for Zach & Whitney! I hope I am not out of place asking this but Zach & Whitney from what I have read & seen here are Christian, but I was wondering does Whitney go to a conservative Baptist church? I was just wondering because my parents done a Bible study with my brother & I about the dangers of courting/dating outside if our conservative Baptist beliefs. My dad grew up Pentecostal & it was hard at first for him & my mom. Thank you Mrs. Bates

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:29 am

Dear Alaina,
Yes, Whitney is Baptist as well, so she has the same doctrinal beliefs about salvation, etc. Love, Kelly

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Stephanie October 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Kelly,

If I may ask are you Independent Fundamental Baptist? Would that be Landmark Baptist? Just curious. I am Presbyterian myself, but I usually just prefer to call myself simply a Christian.

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Kelly October 22, 2013 at 4:12 am

Dear Stephanie,
I’m not sure what Landmark’s affiliation is. We are Christian. We attend an Independent Baptist Church. The denomination is not to take greater significance than the fact that we are a Christian (belonging to Christ), but it just defines the doctrinal set of beliefs that we identify with and follow. Love, Kelly

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Patti July 20, 2013 at 1:34 am

Wow! Lots of exciting happenings in the Bates family!

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Kimberly July 20, 2013 at 1:51 am

What a joy to hear this announcement!! Its so neat following yours and the Duggar family. Im sooooooooooo happy for Zach and Whitney and what a blessing to live out God’s best for our lives before the world! I pray you know what a blessing you are! I wish I had given the Lord the decision about children as you have. I love seeing your family! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH THE WORLD! Bless you and pls keep the updates coming!

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Amy McGilvrey July 20, 2013 at 1:58 am

Mrs. Bates: It is so indicative of who you are and where you are in relationship to your walk with The Lord that you read and answer posts on your family’s blog. You show kindness and compassion in sharing your joys and sorrows and all the while keeping the courage of your convictions. Thank you for being a channel of God’s love. Congratulations to your children and their prospective partners. May The Lord continue to bless and to keep and to make His face shine upon y’all!

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Marilyn July 20, 2013 at 3:16 am

Dear Kelly,

I was very happy to hear about Zach’s relationship with Whitney. They seem like a cute couple and it is lovely how they met and developed a friendship before they began a courtship. Zach seems more relaxed and Whit is adorable. You can see in their eyes how much this couple loves one another.

Having some aspects of a physical relationship is very good for a dating or courting couple. As long as the couple agree on what works for each of them and does not conflict with their sense of morality. That could be a hands off ’til marriage, hands off until engagement, kissing at engagement… Whatever path a couple chooses to follow, if they are happy with the limits they have set and truly want to remain pure until marriage, they can do so.

Where will Zach and Whit be living after they get married? How are Zach’s studies going? He was majoring in History, wasn’t he? That was my degree – loved it!!! When does Whit graduate from college? Have they chosen the bridesmaids and groomsmen – there are a lot to chose from! Lol!

Best wishes to your whole family, Kelly. I appreciate how you take the time to read and answer so many of your posts. Hope you’re having a lovely summer!

Love,
Marilyn

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:17 am

Dear Marilyn,
Lol…I suggested he should start his college back if he’s serious about marriage. He’s had a new motivation! Whitney’s encouraging to study too! He passed another CLEP test last week and is studying for another now! Yes, his major is history, and he LOVES it!! Love, Kelly

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Pam A. July 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Whitney! May God Bless them with HIs love and happiness :)

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Jeanne July 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Hi, Kelly:
Been following your family for some time now. Happy for Erin, and for Zach. Do you feel that courtship is dangerous in the sense that people never learn how to at natural, or be alone? If they are adults, should they not be able to control themselves and go out to dinner, or anywhere, really, without chaperones monitoring their every move? Does that not create an air of weirdness? And does it not make you wonder about [people’s ability to be genuine, if they only interact with one another while around chaperones?

I’ve read horror stories about women who courted and married men, who were monsters behind closed doors, but who were seemingly perfect in front of people. The idea of courtship is something I don’t quite understand….

Jeanne in PA

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:14 am

Dear Jeanne,
Yes, I do think its important for them to have a little space. And yes, they certainly need to be able to act as adults and make decisions. And yes, being in public places like restaurants is not where the concern lies. Two people in love in close quarters alone can be very tempted. It’s not about whether we trust them or want them to be adults, its about making wise choices to prevent a natural desire. It’s setting parameters to help wait for God’s timing. Is this letting them be adults? Well I think so, because it has to be their decision too. They don’t have to follow our wishes. As another commenter already noted, they could sneak and do whatever they wanted and we’d probably not know. All we can do is teach God’s plan for marriage, which includes waiting until that time. Next, we can offer counsel. We can pray. We can try to put them around good, Godly influences to encourage wise choices. But other than that, it is THEIR choice. We’ve let ALL of our children know that.
Most of our children view chaperones like this:
We went to visit a waterfall in Chattanooga, named after an Indian woman who was said to have jumped from the falls to commit suicide. If you visit these falls, you’ll notice a tall fence close to the edge to protect the viewers from danger. Now the tourists could view that fence has a hindrance to their view, their freedom, and their overall pleasure. Or the tourists can view that fence as a help to keep them from falling down a slippery slope, from encountering pain, and ultimately assisting them to have a happier life in the long run.
As for marrying scary husbands…I don’t think that was a fault of courting vs. dating. There are men who are not Godly, whose goals are not to esteem his spouse better than himself. There are angry people, immoral people, selfish people, etc…but they appear no matter what choice of getting to know each other you choose – whether courtship or dating. All I can say is we need to beg God for discernment and beg Him to raise up young people with Godly goals. Love, Kelly

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Khiana July 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Hi Kelly.

I’m so happy for Zach and Whitney. I’m glad he was able to mend his broken heart and move on.

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Lilly July 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Oh, I was wondering… At what age was Whitney adopted? (Curious because she has a different last name, which leads me to believe that she was adopted at an older age..) Oh, and I totally understand if she would rather it not be shared on the blog, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask! :)

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 3:28 am

Dear Lilly,
Yes, she was older, but she was close to the Owens for many years. Love, Kelly

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Martina July 21, 2013 at 12:50 am

Just wondering…do you all still keep in touch with the Reiths?

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Kelly July 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Dear Martina,
We don’t see them as often, but we certainly love and admire their family. Some of our older children saw them at the Duggar’s July 4th party, and they were all happy to hear an update about their music ministry. God has given them such wonderful talent and they are dedicated to give Him all the glory. We wish them the best in their endeavors as they serve Him wholeheartedly! Check out their cds at southernraisedbluegrass.com Love, Kelly

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Mary Frances July 21, 2013 at 3:22 am

Kelly, I could not help but notice that your last post was timed at 2:00 am! I wanted to take the time myself to acknowledge and express my appreciation for your commitment to this blog and spreading the message of God’s love in your family life that so inspires and encourages others. I am truly grateful for your effort and dedication, particularly when you must be tired. Thank you.

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Anna-Marie July 21, 2013 at 8:57 am

I am thrilled for Zach and Whit! I many not no you all personally, but I hold you all in the highest regard. Thank you so much being open about your beliefs and viewpoints, it has encouraged my heart! Being a Christian just out of the teen years can be incredibly hard. There is immense pressure to give your body, heart, and soul away to any relationship that may present itself. I first heard some about courting when my parents were leaders of a youth group in the late 90′s, but I was far too young to grasp the concept and so I didn’t think much of it. Long before I turned 13, I had made a vow before God that I would wait for His time and purpose. You see, I saw so many of my parents youth girls go into these relationships and come out broken and seeing the world much, much differently. I saw the changes that occurred and I saw how it broke my parents hearts, it broke my heart, too. I really vowed then that I would guard my heart. Only until the last few years did The Lord begin pressing the issue of courting. It kept coming up in conversations, on TV, in books. Finally, I got the message. :)

Again, congrats and thank you!

Anna-Marie

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Stacy Frost July 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm

YES!! So excited for Zach!!! She is such a beautiful young lady!!

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Hannah Hiatt July 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm

they look very Happy together I pray if it’s the Lord’s will they will cont. in their Journey.

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Rebecca July 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Congratulations!!!

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Pam A. July 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I was just about to right about how grateful I am to you for kindly responding to our post questions and posting so openly about your family; until I read above a post from Amy M.-she read my mind :) Thank you for your modeling God’s grace as a Mom to all of us Moms!!!

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Justice S. July 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Congrats, what a beautiful Courtship!! The Bates family will have a lot of big news between now and next year! I hope y’all have a extra savings account for future weddings haha! (;

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Leah July 21, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Congratulations Zachary & Whitney!

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Lea July 21, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Wonderful Wonderful news indeed!

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Sarah July 22, 2013 at 1:19 am

I’m so so happy so Zach and Whitney! I’m praying for them through this special time in their lives.
God Bless <3 Lots of love from Ireland

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Kaylee July 22, 2013 at 1:51 am

Congratulations Zach and family! How much joy this must bring to your mother’s heart, Kelly. :)

Thank you, as always, for being so open and sharing information with us by taking the time to respond to the comments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your responses!

Love,
Kaylee

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Karin July 22, 2013 at 2:07 am

Dear Kelly,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking time to answer all of these questions! What a blessing to read ideas that have worked for your family. As a mom of little ones it really helps to learn and hear from others who have ‘been there before.’
God bless you!

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Annalee July 22, 2013 at 2:14 am

Wow! What wonderful, exciting news! :) They make a lovely couple. Wish them the best! :)

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Tammi July 22, 2013 at 2:48 am

Kelly,
I know that you have addressed this before, but please explain the difference between the term “dating” and the term “courtship”.
And…I think the matching colors are precious!!! It does make for some great pictures!

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 2:54 am

Dear Tammi,
I guess the difference depends on perspective. Not everyone that uses the term “dating” is using it in the same way. One pastor we admire, Tom Harmon, uses the term “dating with a purpose.” We like that term because it reveals that although it may be similar to dating, it has a different look and different goals!
Courtship has become a popular term among conservative families who are wanting to guide their children to make a commitment to purity until marriage. Different books, like Josh Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and various speakers on the subject have begun to spring up everywhere. There are MANY differences of opinion of how courtship should be conducted. Many of these opinions disagree with one another. I suggest not just following any advice without first studying and searching for yourself. Also be open to change. Our views have changed over the course of time, but we want to be balanced above all. It’s easy to go to one extreme or another – too lenient or too strict. Search your motives, listen to counsel, check Scripture, learn from others, and above all be willing to grow.
One thing most everyone can agree on is the goals of courtship or dating with a purpose. These include a commitment to purity. Dating with a purpose involves waiting to date someone for the purpose of seeing if that might be the person for marriage. Sometimes regular dating is just for the sake of going out for fun. Often those dating are too young to be ready to even think about the future of marriage, and it would be easy to date 20 to 30 people in the course of one’s youth. Some suggest that this lays the groundwork for ending a relationship as soon as problems arise or another pretty face appears, thus making commitment in marriage more difficult. I’m certain that varies and not everyone that dated is doomed to a failed marriage by any means. I dated, but I can honestly say that I wish my husband had been my only beau!
Does this mean courtship or “dating with a purpose” means there’ll only be one person? Not necessarily. The goal is to find out your similarities, weaknesses, strengths, background, likes and dislikes, and goals. In the course of discovering these, they might learn that they’re not headed for the marriage altar. But even in that case, the goal has been to glorify God in the relationship and to remain chaste. That already puts them in a better scenario with less hurts than those who have been physically involved. And even if they have a courtship that doesn’t end at the altar, because of the safeguards in place, they can hopefully still respect each other and they have chosen to guard their heart for their future spouse by not becoming physically involved. Love, Kelly

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Molly July 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Wow, what a great reply! I was curious about the difference, too. Thanks for taking the time to explain so thoughtfully!

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Alli July 22, 2013 at 2:55 am

Big congrats to Zach and Whit! He certainly does look perfectly in love, comfortable and content, and Whit is a beauty.

Kelly, I’ve read your responses above to posts regarding “to hand-hold or not” and I feel that you answered spot-on to everyone. Thank you for that, as I feel that the way we answer others (especially when the topic is delicate) is one of our greatest ways we can share the Lord with others. You never seem to respond sarcastically or in anger with others, and I just want you to know that is a sweet, sweet testimony of faith. Thank you.

I watched your family on TLC, and all of you have been a blessing to me. On my “stressful” days with my three children, I am encouraged when I see how you sweetly and successfully mother your 19! :) “Meeting” you and your family has encouraged me in my journey as a Christian mom.

Congrats again to Zach and Whit, as well as Erin and Chad. Exciting times!

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Marie July 22, 2013 at 5:35 am

Hi Kelly,

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your post. Thank you for responding to those who write to you. Congratulations Zach and Whitney. The pictures are beautiful and I think that it is obvious how much Zach cares for Whitney is shining through when he looks at her.

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Fotini July 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Congratulations to Zach & Whitney! with the help of God, good things come to those who wait :)

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Matt July 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I hope you’re not directing their courtship too much. He is a grown man after all and should take the lead in the courting. It’s looking too cute with those photo frames, I bet those weren’t his idea. I think it’s high time he got a bride. Congrats!

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Tashia July 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Aww I’m so happy for them both!! :) The pictures are very neat!! Great job Alyssa + Carlin!! :)

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Alice Hull July 23, 2013 at 2:14 am

I am just thrilled for Zach. He is such a humble, polite and talented young man. I have so enjoyed all my conversations with him. Waiting for God’s best is always THE best. Zach and Whitney will be able to counsel others with true experience!

Wouldn’t a double wedding be feasible! (Smile) We would love to be there!

Love, Mrs. Hull

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Cathy July 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Just wondering how/where Chad and Erin met. Did I miss that somewhere? Sorry if I’m asking and you already told us. I LOVE your family. Each and everyone of them are always just smiles. God truly shines through your lives. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for your sons and daughters as your family grows.

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Kelly July 24, 2013 at 2:23 am

Dear Cathy,
Yes, it was on an older post…but I don’t mind answering again. The pics on all the old posts messed up when we switched something, so many of them no longer show up. They met in Chicago at a Christmas Conference. The Paines invited us to their home for dinner. They saw each other several other times at homeschool conferences because Erin played the piano and Chad worked in book sales. Later, the Paines made several trips to our house…and the rest turned into a sweet love story :) Love, Kelly

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Caryn July 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Congratulations!!! Such exciting and wonderful news for your family. Blessings to you all!

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Laurie July 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Congratulations Zach and Whitney! We may not know you personally but we share in your excitement as these relationships flourish!

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Barbara Scott July 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I am so happy for the two of them, and pray that the Lord will bless them on their journey, how exciting :)

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Laurie July 24, 2013 at 1:51 am

I just love your posts Kelly. You have such a wonderful family . I admire all you do. In my eyes you are voted the number one mom!!! Much happiness to your son!!! God bless you all!

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Tammie July 24, 2013 at 2:27 am

Greetings from New Jersey,

I am so happy to hear about all of the courtship news in your family. It gives me hope for the future and my three children that my husband and I would like to guide in a similar way. I am grateful that you have allowed others to share in this wonderful testimony of what the Lord will do with willing vessels. Your answers to the questions you receive are so heartfelt and God-honoring. It makes you a real blessing to people (like me) who don’t even know you. God bless you and your family and the many blessed marriages to come.

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Cathy July 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I’ve read several comments from folks questioning why you mentioned Whitney’s adoption. I just saw an advertisement from a young girl talking about adoption and how we as Christians have all been adopted into God’s family. I’m soooo thankful He has loved me and took me in as His child. Adoption is a very wonderful gift from earthy mothers and fathers, and from our Heavenly Father. Amen and Amen!

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rhonda July 26, 2013 at 10:02 am

Kelly
What an incredible family and beautiful courtship
for Zach and Whit! We live in central Arkansas and are
Friends with the DUGGAR clan! We love watching both
Of your families get together on TLC.Erin and Chad are
Precious ALSO!THANK YOU 4 sharing TRUTH With the
fruit of the spirit on your family with so many of us.Many
Blessings flood your home as your kids enter adulthood
And courting relationships.
LOVE TO ALL!
RHONDA (from ARKANSAS)

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Julia July 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I’m so happy for them! I hope it all works for them, they are in my prayers! She is soooo pretty! Do you know their family very well????

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Sandy July 27, 2013 at 5:52 am

Dear Kelly,
I just wanted to tell you that I really admire your entire family. The love you have for one another shows in all the pictures you post. You and your husband are a wonderful example to your children. May the Lord continue to bless you all.

Love from Wisconsin,
Sandy

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Donna July 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

How old is Whitney? She’s an absolutely beautiful young lady, and Whitney and Zach are such an adorable couple. I will pray for them in their courtship, and for Erin and Chad in theirs. Congratulations. Wonderful role models. You must be proud.

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Linda R July 29, 2013 at 2:39 am

Dear Kelly & Gill
Thank you so much for sharing the lovely news about Zach & Whitney’s courtship and the lovely photos. They do seem so happy in each others company and from what you have written here they have obviously become close in friendship first before embarking on anything more, I beleive that is a very good start to a courtship.
God Bless you all and I hope that Zach & Whitney go on enjoying this wonderful courtship and that it leads to a whole life full of happiness for them as man & wife in the future. From Notts, UK .

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Shannon July 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Yayyy! I love it when young people get married! My heart ached for Zach when his last courtship did not work out, but now we all see it was a blessing that led him to Whitney!

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Ruthie July 30, 2013 at 1:28 am

How sweet!! Congratulations Whitney and Zach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Rachel August 2, 2013 at 1:11 am

I love seeing both Zach & Whitney and Chad & Erin’s courtship stories! It is such an encouragement to see that courtship still exists in today’s world. When the time is right, I would like to do courtship instead of dating!

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Julia August 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I have a question…do you always have someone as a chaperone when a couple goes out together? Just curious :-)

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Kelly August 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Dear Julia,
They always have someone in eyesight, but maybe not in ear range. I encourage the chaperones to give them a little space for privacy in their conversations, and some may choose to sit alone at their own restaurant table… but someone is near by…and all car rides are chaperoned. Love, Kelly

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lex August 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

We don’t often share the same views, but I do enjoy reading about your family. I have some questions and I’m hoping you will be able to answer them:

-Does Zach have a place set up to live in once he’s married?

-Did you provide any advice to Zach on entering another courtship after he had been in one?

I think it’s great that Zach has chosen to hold hands in this courtship. I think it helps add a personal connection and bond.

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Kelly August 11, 2013 at 5:38 am

Dear Lex,
Zach is actually looking at several housing options…and doing a lot of praying…lol!!I didn’t have to give him any advice…it’s usually the other way around!! I get advice from him! Besides my husband, Zach is my greatest source of counsel! He helped us form a lot of our ideas through discussions, questions, and searching for direction! He is one of my biggest heroes and one of my most cherished friends! Love, Kelly

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Cassie August 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Dear Kelly,
I love that statement “your cherished friend” I am an adult living at home with my parents until I enter a courtship and marry. My mother often tells me I’m her “best friend and favorite prayer partner”. How do you balance the transition from parenting your adult children to giving them freedom to evolve as adults. My parents have stated that they struggle in this and my mother often uses you and mrs. Duggar as the point of reference for maintaining order in a busy household.

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Kelly August 26, 2013 at 2:24 am

Dear Cassie,
We asked a preacher once for parenting tips. He humbly said he wouldn’t give advice, but he said he could tell us the hardest part of parenting. We sat attentively on the edge of our seats waiting for his answer. He simply said, “Letting go!” As parents we want to protect, but sometimes we forget that there comes a time when young birds try to fly. Balance is our best friend…It’s so important for us to pray to gain a good balance in parenting…To know when to be lenient and when to be firm…when to give guidelines and when to let them make their own. I think its harmful to do this too early…and I think it’s harmful to do it too late. May God give each of us wisdom, patience, and faith to trust Him to guide as we loosen the reins! Love, Kelly

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Linda August 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hi Kelly and Gil,
I happy for Zack and Whitney I hope best in Future for them .
how are Erin and Chad and Micheal say hi and hope your summer going well.

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Don August 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

It is always nice to see people find love and their soul mate!

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Tabitha August 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

Hi Kelly,

this is only my second time commenting (I think) but wanted to say thank you so much for all that you share and the way in which you do it! So many people who share as much as you do can sometimes often share too much and leave themselves, and their family, unprotected so to speak. However you share so much but I feel you are able to be very classy in protecting what information needs to be protected, I very much admire this skill :)

Every comment you have written on this post in reply to others has taught me more about dating with God in mind. I was going to explain more about why it has meant a lot to me to read your words and think (and pray!) about the message, but honestly it would be a *much* longer reply then this one is. I just wanted you to know that what you have shared on the subject of dating/courtship and all that it entails is greatly appreciated by myself, and I’m sure many others that are also still in the process of finding the ‘one’.

The fact that you deliver your messages with such class and grace, and with an obvious true love for the Lord makes them even more meaningful. Your children are very lucky to have you as their mother!!

I’d also like to agree with what you have expressed about adoption! I feel that if it can be embraced as a wonderfully unique aspect of someone’s life, it makes for a much more positive outlook and greater feelings of self-worth.
This may not apply to everyone’s situation of course, but as a child of parents who were both adopted in very different and messy situations I have noticed the difference in those that were taught to embrace it (friends of mine) and those that were taught it wasn’t something to be discussed or be proud of being ‘different’ (like my parents).

Of course I also shouldn’t forget to say congratulations to Zach and Whitney! What an exciting time of life for them!!

God bless you all,
Tabitha

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Mary k August 7, 2013 at 7:37 am

Congrats, they look like a lovely couple!

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Amanda August 9, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I am so happy to hear about your sons courtship. Courtship really is a blessing for those who want to honor GOD in their relationships.

My daughter was in a courtship for a year and she married her *best friend* because of that courtship. They got to know one another in a GOD honoring way that kept their hearts on the ways of GOD and not man.

The way THE LORD arranged their courtship was just amazing. My son-in-law didn’t even know what *courtship* was until he met our daughter. HE loved THE LORD though and trusted GOD to bring about his future wife in HIS time and in turn, Justin also kept himself pure before GOD.

When I was teaching my daughters about courtship vs. dating I really had no idea what GOD had planned. HE just kept telling me to trust him and to wait. That is a really hard thing to do when you have no likeminded people in your church or community. I declare, we felt like aliens trying to explain *courtship* to other people.

GOD had a plan though. HE had Justin in mind for Angel (my daughter) and he was preparing Justin’s heart for my daughter long before anyone of us knew it. GOD was truly honored and it was all of HIS doing!

GOD is so good and ever to be praised!

May GOD bless and keep you and your family!

Below is a link to their courtship story. Reading about other courtships before my daughters own was such an encouragment in a world where not many others understand.

http://aheartforhomesteadingtoo.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-courtship-marriage.html

Amanda
Matthew 6:33

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regina August 10, 2013 at 12:54 am

Congratulations! i have a niece named Whitney Perkins so i had to look and see who Zack was courting! What a beautiful couple, May God’s blessings be upon you both~~ i just love your family so much! <3

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candy August 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Was wondering if you had videos of Gils Preaching with your new church.Do you have a website or are they on youtube at all?God Bless. Candy

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Kelly August 11, 2013 at 5:00 am

Dear Candy,
We don’t have a sound system at our church yet. A few other churches have taped sermons, so if you’ll write to our PO Box, I’ll send you a couple. Just include your address and remind me that you’d like some sermons. Love, Kelly

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Lucy Bate August 13, 2013 at 2:35 am

Best wishes.

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Georgette August 19, 2013 at 4:35 am

Wonderful news about Zach and Whiney. I wish them much love. My husband and I dated for eight years before marriage (I was only 18 and had just graduated high school) we had a very pure relationship for those eight years. We too were friends for all those years and when we decided to get married it made it even more special. We did hold hands, and his arm would be around my shoulders, but we went out with other people and in last years of our dating, we went out together, but still kept ourselves pure. I applaud your family for your beliefs. It cant always be easy in this world, but I believe in purity in marriage. Much congrats to them and I wish them all the best. They both look happy and to have a friendship before marriage is even better. So happy for them. I enjoy seeing you all on the occassional tv special. Your family always makes me smile and feel blessed as well. Continued Blessings on your family

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Gina September 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hi Kelly,

Looking forward to another update on these 2 love birds. I wonder was Whitney homeschooled and raised in ATI or did she attend public school?

Love Gina.

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Kelly September 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Dear Gina,
She attended public school and is not in ATI…but we could not have picked a more lovely girl inside and out! We’ve all come to adore her! Love, Kelly

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Kristin Stevens September 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

When you have time, remember to update your “About our Family ” page, with Zach being engaged and a pic of him and Whitney…. so exciting!

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Kelly September 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Dear Kristin,
Thanks for the reminder…I forget little details like that! Love, Kelly

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Amanda September 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Sorry I’m so late to the party, but I wanted to wish Zach & Whitney the best of wishes, and lots of prayers. It does my heart good to see Zach so happy again. May they continue to grow together, and have a very happy future.

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Jen September 11, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Congrats Zach and Whit!!=)( and both familys ) I’m just wondering do y’all still keep
in contacted with the Reith( spelling) family at all anymore ? Thanks!

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Kelly September 16, 2013 at 8:20 am

Dear Jen,
Several of the children were able to see them at a July 4th party with the Duggars. They are a very sweet family, and we admire their work for the Lord! Love, Kelly

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Anke September 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm

How old ist Whitney?

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Michelle K September 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Congrats to them both! They look sooo happy! God is good !!!

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Patricia Koppelaar October 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm

congratulations to Erin and Chad and Zach and Whitney. I am curious who is in there weddings? :)
all of your children look so awesome every time I see pictures. your 3 youngest are SUPER cute!!!

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Kelly October 22, 2013 at 4:15 am

Dear Patricia,
In Erin’s wedding: 3 Bates sisters, 1 Paine sister, 1 friend, 1 Bates flower girl. For Chad: 3 Paine brothers, 1 Bates brother, 1 friend, 1 Paine ring bearer.
In Whit’s wedding: 1 cousin, 1 friend, 3 Bates sisters. For Zach: 2 friends, 3 Bates brothers. Love, Kelly

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luis vega muñoz December 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm

hello, I greet you with all the love of our lord jesus christ, I want to congratulate you for your beautiful family you guys have, and also tell you it was very motivating what you guys do as a family of jesus, was going through a lot of difficulties with my family, but when vi geographic.me national program taught many things. and especially to take my family to have an experience with God and that’s been very rewarding for our lives, forgive my English, but wrote from a translator.
do not know how to send a picture to know my family. sending them a greeting from chile and god bless you.

atte goodbye.

Luis Muñoz Vega.
Concepcion.CHILE.
PS: I ask prayer for my family-gonzalez vega.

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Alice December 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Do you ever look back at blog posts like this one and Erin’s courtship announcement and think about how the relationship has progressed? I love how you document everything with photos, I think it really helps you recall those special occasions.

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Kelly December 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Dear Alice,
I love pics…and reminiscing! My very old posts are missing pics from changing servers, so I’d like to go back and read them if time ever permits! Love, Kelly

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Kelly July 20, 2013 at 2:00 am

Dear D.
You are right… people can keep secrets, if they choose. I think we’re close enough that our children open up and share what they’re thinking… and if they disagree, we talk about that too. If some choose to keep hidden things though, all we can do is wait and be there to encourage them or help them through these things they face in life. Love, Kelly

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Deb July 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I don’t really see it as keeping secrets. I see it as an adult man or woman having a private life.

As parents, when our children reach adulthood, we lose the right to know/discuss/control the choices our kids make about their intimate relationships.

Thank you and congrats!

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Kelly August 26, 2013 at 3:28 am

Dear Lee,
That’s a wonderful testimony! Purity can be achieved and its encouraging to hear other stories! Alone time may be more tempting for some, but we figured why take the chance? Enjoy each other, share your heart, grow in friendship, show wholesome love… but that can all be done with safeguards too. Love, Kelly

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