Wow. What a crazy last couple of weeks!! So many things have happened, I can barely believe it. Of course, the most amazing of them all was our adoption finalization! It was an open invitation to all our family and friends – we kind of wanted it that way. It gave everyone an opportunity to be there and didn’t want anyone to be left out! Here are a few pictures of our very special day! A huge thank you to our amazing photographer Lauryn Marette for capturing this day for us.
This last picture really says a thousand words. It represents all those who made it and those in the spirit who wanted to be. This day will be remembered for years to come. We realized how blessed we are. We are always loved. We are always supported. We are always prayed for. Our family truly is blessed! We are so happy for all of you for supporting us during this WHOLE process. For encouraging us when we felt like this was never going to end. For praying for us when we were at a loss for words. For loving us in the tough and dark times. For that, we are forever grateful. And now, we can breathe because we have reached that light at the end of the tunnel! We can smile, laugh and celebrate that we are finally and officially a family! Forever, we are thankful for you all and for the beautiful family God knit together just for us.
A couple weeks ago, I shared a little insight into our personal life. A heaviness that has been over our family the past few months. Then like a flick of a switch, we received the most amazing news that reminded us of how blessed we truly are and how wonderful things are going to be.
On July 25th, our three amazing babies will finally be ours forever!
Yes, our adoption finalization is scheduled and happening this month! I can hardly believe it. Two years ago, I shared our plans to adopt and our journey along the way. On Monday, we finally sign the paperwork to make everything official – we’ve been dreaming of this day for so long!
Now, I can finally introduce you to our three kids as OURS. I can show you their sweet faces and share all the stories in the world with no hesitation or fear. I can’t tell you how good it feels to finally come to this light at the end of the tunnel. For the longest time, I’ve watched so many friends have their babies after that 9 month wait. I’ve seen the joy in their eyes when they finally held their babies in their arms, knowing they were theirs forever. Always.
And now, we can finally hold our kids in our arms and feel that same exact way!
You better believe my family and our close friends will be there to celebrate this special day. A day we will never forget. A day that we will always celebrate and praise God for. A day, we finally see that our prayers, our hopes and faith did not fail. He did not fail. We are so incredibly blessed to have been called to this long journey. But the longer the wait, the better the reward. We now have three of the most beautiful, loving, caring, sweetest, funniest, darling little human beings any parent could ask for.
I am planning on hiring a photographer to capture this very special day, so stay tuned for some pictures. Perhaps you will feel all our emotions coming through those photographs! Because I can guarantee we will be crying some pretty sweet tears of joy!
Thank you for being part of this chapter in our lives – we are happy to share it with you all!
Firstly, thank you friends for your sweet words and support after I opened up and shared my struggles with you last week. It was a scary thing for me to be honest in that way, I was afraid of judgement and hurtful words. I do have to admit, I had only one response from someone that claimed I was making a public complaint just to gain sympathy. But for the most part, I had nothing but loving support. I realize there will always be people who don’t know me in the slightest and I suddenly realized how easy it is to let go of those kinds of hurtful people. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
It’s inevitable that hardships are unavoidable. We will face them periodically in our lives. Whether it be jobs, family, health, finances. We will all hit a wall that we are afraid we won’t be able to climb over. But the thing is, we will. We always do.
My husband and I have been going through some of the hardest things imaginable, aside from our adoption. A matter of fact, our adoption is nothing in comparison to the latest events in our life. I came across this great C.S. Lewis quote the other day, ” There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind”.
Last night I finally had to just let people go. Release them into the unknown future. Be at peace with letting fruitless relationships die and not feel guilty about it. We can’t spend a life time convincing people to love us, it should just happen. And if it can’t happen naturally, then it’s just not meant to be. I think I’m ok with that. I have been so incredibly blessed to be in relationship with such authentic people (including all of you!). I can’t waste my time looking behind me, it’s time to move forward.
I have such a peace lately. A joy I can’t describe. Letting go of unhealthy relationships and focusing on the good ones. But mostly because we are closing in on our adoption soon and our little one’s will finally be a part of our forever family!!! I am convinced there are such great things ahead for us as we start to make the big move back to Canada in just a few short months. So many hopeful things to look forward to. To dim the past and brighten our future.
Are you experiencing anything like this in your life? Realizing the need to let go of the past and hold on tight to what’s ahead? I would love to hear your words of wisdom!
Days like today I just lift my head up. I take a deep breathe in, letting out all that hinders me. The yesterdays are gone. Our lives feel so unsettled, the ground moving and shifting from under our feet. I’m tired and in need of rest, but there is none. In my arms I try to hold tight to the things that matter. And I am reminded of my little ones.
The lives they had, torn from, lives that they were pushed into, taken out of. Only to have such emotionless responses from people. As though it’s normal and everybody has a sob story, like it’s a competition. The thing is, this isn’t a sob story. It’s THEIR reality. There is nothing much worse than being a baby, vulnerable and needy. Being helpless. Being lonely. Abandoned. Abused. Starving. Dirty. Separated from siblings. Losing a mother and father. Losing everything.
Getting dropped off from home to home. Never feeling secure or loved the way it comes so naturally to so many. How is that anything to look at and not want to go above and beyond what we are humanly capable of to make that extra effort. Because, yes, I do think my children deserve extra love and attention. And many like them. Yes, I think we need to go out of our way to be more intentional with the way we love and adore them. Why shouldn’t they receive that from us? If we treat them differently than someone else’s biological son or daughter, it’s because they ARE different. And that’s the truth. That’s the thing we can’t change. And they are going to grow up always feeling different. Because they will be. Inevitably, they are going to feel this way. And that’s not a negative thing. That’s part of their reality. Their story. But that’s also what makes them so special and so much more unique than just any boy or girl. That’s why we keep loving more deeply and madly. They had traumatic lives. Lives that they may not remember one day, but will affect them forever. Why would we treat them just like everybody else? Because it’s easier on us? Because we can keep on living like there isn’t this pain in the world? Because we can’t be bothered by someone else’s problems?
And there’s nothing worse as a mother not knowing everything about your childrens past. Not having any baby pictures. Not knowing every bump, bruise or illness. Not knowing if they were cold at night, crying for food or reaching out for someone to hold them. Not having a mother to swoop them up and cradle them in their arms. To kiss their foreheads and whisper how much they are loved. It kills me to think that the only mother they might have known was a sibling only three years older than them. Babies raising babies. That’s the reality.
I don’t know the outcome of that pain in their hearts. I see so many signs of fear and insecurity. Still. Even after two years of being loved and cared for. Love is so basic, yet so hard to receive in some homes. And though we pour every bit of love and emotion we can to ensure they feel special, secure and stable, that might just not be enough.
I feel foster children are so misunderstood. They are punished for things they never did. They receive all the consequences of the sins of another. They are often forgotten. They are often unloved. And still neglected and mistreated. A friend shared this very powerful video with me. It’s what spurred this post today. I hope you watch it and I hope we all begin to realize the realities of these children’s lives. Us pretending they are ok, like nothing bad ever happened, is the worst thing we can do for them. Us acknowledging their reality and grief is what helps us all heal from the cruel world these kids have to face.
As you all know by now, my husband and I are fostering to adopt. Still waiting patiently, but growing ever so excited as we get closer and closer! We didn’t expect to become parents of a 3, 2 and 1 year old instantly, but it has been the most amazing journey and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Of course, it comes with challenges. Deep issues, which I am not free to speak of. But also little things, like not being as prepared as I imagined I would be, had we had time to properly prepare their little rooms! The sad reality is, a lot of foster kids come with nothing. I mean nothing. Others come with toys that they have had since birth, dirty and no longer age appropriate. And you can’t rip them of their only belongings because a lot of times, it’s not just some dirty toy or blanket. It’s the only constant in their life or memory of somebody they love dearly.
When we first brought home our two oldest, we had one room ready to go. We were prepared for a baby, so the room had a crib all set up, a change table, burp cloths, bottles, pacifiers, mobiles, baby toys and other essentials. I just didn’t think we would skip that whole infant stage and go straight into the toddler craziness! I found myself packing away all the baby stuff, using the change table to pile stuff on. Corners of the room became storage spaces, full of things I didn’t know whether to keep or give away. The room became a mess!
Now that it’s been almost two years (having their baby brother placed since then) you can imagine the change. We’ve made due and it’s a safe place for them to rest their heads. But like any proud parent, their bedrooms just aren’t what I wish they could be. I can’t wait to start from scratch and get rid of all the odds and ends. The pieces that don’t fit.
I started with my daughter’s room, since hers is pretty easy. She doesn’t share, like her brothers, so it’s more straight forward! I’ve made an inspiration board, mostly pieces from The Land of Nod. If you didn’t know they have some AMAZING pieces for kids, which can carry on into adulthood (I know I would love to steal some of her things if she didn’t want them)! If I had all the money in the world I would start from scratch in each room and do a full makeover! I’ve picked some of my current favorites, although they are constantly adding new products so I will probably have to add some more lovelies at a later time!
What kind of vibe do you get from all these pieces? She is bound to feel like a very special princess! Be sure to stay tuned! I’ve done a mini makeover in her bedroom on a budget and I can’t wait to show you!
The truth is, the past year or two has been some of the hardest years I’ve had to face so far. It’s not because of one pivotal moment that shifted the course of my life, but rather a compilation of things that has caused a vicious storm. One where I cling to my boat with all my might, my nails digging in deep to keep from being lost forever. Out in the sea of all my troubles and woes.
There are so many little issues in my life, it was manageable at one time. When we decided to adopt, I knew it was going to be hard and at times it would feel impossible. And so we went in prepared, knowing what to expect and not allowing for those surprises. But what hurt the most, the thing I never saw coming was how different I would feel. How relationships would fold and how those little issues in our life would become mountains in the end.
The thing is, if I had become pregnant things would be a lot more different. I would fit in with all my friends. I would pose for pictures and hold my belly. I would have all my family gather at the doctors as we excitingly discovered the gender of our little baby. We would throw a gender reveal party and cut a cute cake. We would have showers galore and play all those fun pregnancy games. I would feel and look the part. The mother part.
But the truth is, I stood alone in a corner watching all the other women celebrate and smile for pictures. Pictures that would go in their baby albums forever. I watched as they cut the cakes and discovered a sweet baby boy or girl. I attended the endless baby showers and played all the endless games. I listened to all the moms exchange their birthing stories and laugh about things only a pregnant woman would know.
But when you are adopting, things are so untraditional, complicated, confusing, no one knows what to do. And you miss out on all those little things that make you feel special. Normal. Your babies miss out on being passed around. Snuggled. Spoiled. Celebrated. Because adoption is a messy thing. You don’t know who you will bring home. What gender or age. What ethnicity or past. No baby pictures or belongings. Just a face known only to the system.
And after a while, adoption loses it’s appeal. People forget and move on. There is no count down to a due date. Just a future of the unknown. And the unknown scares people.
And the saddest part is, you end up being alone in the end. I watch. I listen. I force a smile. Fight back tears. Say the right things. Pretend I feel normal. I try desperately to look the part. Act the part. But there’s no use. I am not normal by any means.
But what is it about being a non-traditional mother that leaves you feeling so different?
The thing is, I felt like a mother the first day we brought our little ones home. I felt that twang of emotion when I first held our two month old baby boy. And I’ll still cry when they go to their first day of kindergarten. I’ll be concerned when they go on their first date. I’ll be excited when they find the one they want to marry. I’ll be a basket case watching them walk down the isle. I’ll celebrate when they have their own children – natural OR adopted.
I’ll be acting the part. The mother part. Because I love my babies. They are my very own. No matter how the world may accept and treat us. They will forever be my own.
Thank you friends for your patience while I am still on vacation with my family. I know it’s been quiet around here, but I have to be honest, this break was needed for our little family. I am so thankful you are such faithful friends and followers and I can’t wait to get back to blogging and connecting with you all once more!
I decided a new years post was a must! This year has been such an incredible blessing and also a challenge. I stopped making resolutions years ago when I could never seem to achieve any of them. Mostly because I’ve learned to embrace whatever life throws at you and to accept new challenges as teachable moments and not be so hard on yourself when you make mistakes a long the way.
As I stand on this cusp of letting go of one year and entering into a new one, I find myself once more feeling that twang of emotion. Life is so short and every year seems to go by even faster than the last. Don’t you think? But this year is by far the most special to me and it will always stand out for years to come. In 2013, my husband and I became parents for the third time. We added a beautiful son to our family where he joined his older brother and sister.They have sent our lives spiraling out of control and bringing about so much joy.
I’ve learned that life can be so meaningless when you only live inside a box. When you don’t stretch the boundaries of what’s normal and accepted. When you are busy trying to look like everyone else. Sometimes, life just doesn’t go the way you want it. In fact, it really shouldn’t go the way you want it. Think about all those opportunities that we would have overlooked. Never to be discovered. Adoption is a funny thing. You always hear people say, “You are such a blessing to these children. You have given them a new hope and life”. But the truth is, they have blessed us and have given us renewed hope and a new chance at a more meaningful life.
It’s hard to go back to what life was like. Before I knew what brokeness really looked like. Before I knew what heartbreak really felt like. Before I knew what unconditional love ought to be. Being a mother has changed me, but being an adoptive mother has taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined. It makes things so real and raw. It somehow gives insight into what the world is lacking and what it really needs. Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Selflessness. Humility. Hope. And of course, unconditional love.
And for the past few years, I’ve also been struggling with some very unhealthy relationships. Ones that I feel never get better. Someone once told me that relationships are like a shared bank account. Both parties have to make deposits and withdrawals for it to work. If one party is only ever making deposits and the other only ever withdrawing, then it won’t work. Love should be a two way street. And for a while it seems like it can work, but all of a sudden you have to step back and ask yourself if it’s healthy or unhealthy. And when you have children, you really need to do some thinking. Because those kinds of relationships can make a huge impact on you all. This year, my husband and I have some hard realities to face. But mostly because we are now responsible for our little ones and they need a healthy enviroment. More than ever.
I am so thankful for all the things God has given to us this year, but also what He has taken away. Sometimes I think I know what’s best. And I stomp when I don’t get it, like a spoiled little girl. And then I feel those arms of peace wrap around my stubborn heart. And I hear those words, that have been uttered for the last 30 years of my life.
Won’t you just trust me.
Won’t you just believe that I am good and fair.
Won’t you just see that my love for you is bigger than you will ever know.
You can stop now.
You are in capable hands.
I hope you remember that this year too friends. No matter where you are in life, I hope you find that peace. Happy New Year!
I’m not going to lie. It hurts. This is so hard. I feel at times we can never just get a break. I want to cry, but I am so overwhelmed with so many things, I can’t bring myself to tears. It would just feel so good to cry out too.
Instead, I just deal with it. Day at a time. Somedays, the littlest things become too much and I just sit on the couch. Not lifting a finger. I let the kids eat junk and watch movies all day. I let them make a mess in the living room and leave their toys sitting around. I don’t care. Because it seems so trivial in the moment. In all the clutter and mess that is my life.
This week has been the breaking point. We are missing out on an amazing chance to go to Sweden with my husband’s entire family. There are many unfortunate reasons, but the easiest one to explain would be due to our adoption not having been finalized yet. It’s just another thing we are tempted to be bitter about. It has brought about a deep sadness for me. A sadness for my husband being the only sibling to miss out on meeting family and experiencing his rich heritage with his parents and kin. A sadness for my children not being included in something this special with their cousins. We are also trying desperately to get things figured out for the holidays so we can at least spend it with my family, which is proving impossible. It’s just one road block after another. I want to just be done!
Even now, I just want to sob! I don’t know if it’s God telling me to suck it up. That he won’t let me have this pity party I so DESPERATELY want to have! I am so often that crazy woman in the car, talking to myself (but really Jesus) asking….why, why, why, why, why, WHY?!
For my husband and I, nothing has come easy. Nothing has been easy for a long time. There’s always something going on in our lives. Hurtful things. And when we think we’ve finally come on top, something else comes along. And after all my asking why’s, I can only come to this conclusion: because someone else out there has it much worse. Someone out there is going through something they would trade me for any day. And it’s so hard for me to imagine how good my life is compared to that someone else. I feel ashamed for all my whining and feeling sorry for myself.
I am learning to accept it. ALL of it. Not what I wish it was. This is our life. And it isn’t all bad. If I would just stop focusing on all the loud, banging, clanging, crashing, smashing, ripping, roaring sounds of my crazy life. Because there is a very still voice, saying again and again ‘I’ve got this”.
And suddenly I hear these sweet words from a sweet song:
“You’re not alone, for I am here. Let me wipe away your every fear. My love I’ve never left your side, I have seen you through the darkest night. And I’m the one who’s loved you all your life. All of your life.”
I can’t explain how excited I am! Months ago, my husband and I requested that we take our three foster babies (soon to be ours) to Canada. I have to be honest, I thought the judge would say “NO”, but I was pleasantly surprised when my social worker said that he granted our request! What?!?!!?! After much figuring out, we finally got everything organized and started our long journey from California to Alberta, Canada.
Let’s just say, it started out HORRIBLY. I might have wrecked our car in a minor accident a few days before we had to leave. We got it all fixed up – so we thought. Turned out, there was more damage than originally told. We had to stop in Nevada for a three hour layover while our car tire and rim were replaced. It was a bit annoying, but we eventually got back on the road again!
We finally got out of Nevada and made our way to Arizona when our tire pressure light flicked on. We pulled over, filled it with air and knew there was some sort of problem. Sure enough, 30 miles later it popped back on. Sadly, we pulled over again and made our way to a tire repair shop where we discovered there was a nail in our tire and had slowly been leaking. We got it patched up and we were FINALLY good to go! Not. Fun.
From that moment on it was smooth sailing! Our kids did AMAZING that entire time! We are SO blessed to have such great little travelers. We enjoyed the scenery as I announced on Instagram every state we crossed (feel free to follow along)! It was so fun!
When we finally got over the border, sheer excitement came over me! I have dreamt of bringing my babies to my home and native land for so long! It’s truly surreal. We have only been here for two days, but I am enjoying every second of it.
I can’t wait to take our kids to all our favorite places! Places I use to go when I was young and now we can make new memories together! So far, the kids are loving every second of it! Are you going on any travels this summer?
It’s almost been a year since we first were introduced to the two most amazing babies. I will never forget the fear we felt when we first brought them into our home. There were a lot of tears. A lot of questions. A lot of uncertainties. A lot of doubt. But we knew our faith was being stretched. Up to this point, we had experienced a lot of battles. In our marriage, family relationships, individually. But this was nothing in comparison. We were taking a huge step in a direction we never imagined possible.
Since that day, there have been many challenges and many rewards. It’s been a roller coaster of events in and out of court, things I don’t want to even try to explain. Your head would probably explode! I know this, because mine almost did. Things don’t make sense. Still don’t make sense, actually. Then all of a sudden, something shifts and you are in awe. We always just trusted that we were doing what we felt was right. Following a call greater than our own. So we took it day at a time, letting things happen as they should. Trying our best not to let unbelief win over our hearts and minds. And then it happened. Clear as day, I heard the words “Parental Rights Terminated”. Terminated. The end.
No one told me how emotional it was going to be. And not just because this meant our two oldest babies were months away from being ours FOREVER, but that a mother had forever lost her own. A part of her. No matter her mistakes or mishaps, you can never know how painful it might feel to lose a part of you. A beautiful, breathing, little image of yourself. My heart broker for her. Their mother.
In the end, I know this is best for the kids and for her. But I hope that good things come of it. That she finds her way and can start fresh. Can find healing and redemption. Can rise above a stronger woman and have a future she never imagined possible. It would be a tragedy to forget the mother our babies came from. After all, if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have these perfect little babies in my life.
The journey has been bitter sweet. I am elated that we are now heading towards finalizing our adoption and it’s been a long time coming. But it is also the beginning to a new battle as we now try to fight for the youngest of our three, who happens to be the full sibling to our first two. But we know that we’ve been down this road before and it’s nothing we can’t handle. Whatever comes, we know it will be right in the end.
My heart is full. My life is blessed. I am grateful for every event that has brought us here. Every tear. Every cry. Every prayer.
Well my friends, it’s been a while. Life has been so crazy in the adoption department. We’ve had a few court hearings the last couple months, some I didn’t feel much like talking about. If I am to be honest. Then, this month something crazy happened.
I let go.
I decided whatever was meant to be would be. It felt impossible to get there, but I did. And then something miraculous happened! After almost a year in the adoption process with our two oldest, the parents rights were terminated and we were officially moving forward.
Moving forward. What does that even look like? What does that feel like?
It feels like a weight had been lifted! I allowed myself to feel again. There is still that little twang of fear of the unknown. Especially since our little baby (brother to our oldest two) is so early in the process. He could very well (high probability) be going back to his birth mom. But I look at how far we’ve come and I know that everything will work out. It did for our first two, it will for our sweet baby boy.
And IF we lose him. IF we have to let him go, we have loved him hard! We enjoy every second having him in our arms. Hearing his laughter from the other room. Watching his face light up and that grin grow as we speak to him. He is such a blessing. They all are! But we hold on to hope. We stand strong in faith. We love unconditionally. Even when we are still unsure.
For now, they continue to bond with one another and with us. They are so smart and loving. I am amazed by them. I look forward to days to come as we continue to make memories and grow together.
I am so thankful to have these babies! I am so blessed that we chose to adopt. I can’t imagine not having these little ones in my life. Can. Not. Imagine.
I am always on the look out for art to put up on our walls. Over the years it changes, like the seasons. I tend to change my mind a lot, which can be a bit of a problem at times. Things can easily become boring, so I’m always changing my walls around! Plus, I am taking down the old and looking for something new and fresh.
I recently came across an amazing organization called Sevenly. Have you heard of them? Maybe I’m the last one to come across this amazing company, but at least I found them, right? What I absolutely loved about them, besides all their amazing products, are their unique stance as a group and team.
Every week, Sevenly works for a cause. Meaning, for those seven days, anything you purchase, $7 will go towards that weekly cause. Make sense? It’s pretty amazing, which is why if you see a cause you are passionate about you have to go for it! It won’t be there for long. Which is why when I saw the cause for adoption, I jumped on it right away!
A few weeks ago, for any product(s) you bought, you would put $7 toward helping a baby increase his/her chances of being adopted in China. How? Most of these babies suffer from a birth defect and often end up dying before they are five years of age. Heart breaking! My donation helped bring these orphans one step closer to finding a forever home!
We can’t save the world in one day, but we can do what we can, when we can. Adoption is so close to my heart, I knew I couldn’t let this one slide. There are so many orphans in the world, I was happy to do what I could to give hope to one of these little ones. Even if it was a small change. It’s stepping into a new direction, helping those who need it.
I strongly urge you to check out Sevenly! You never know, they might have a cause that is close to your heart as well. Keep your eyes peeled, every week is something new! I scored these two amazing prints for our home. I have one in our living room: ” love the unloved”. The other is now hanging above our bed, I just love the pop of red against our white walls: “family is forever”.
What do you think of this amazing organization? Do you see yourself getting involved in something like this? Check out their site for more information!