Monday, September 30, 2013

Focus On Good

Over the past few weeks my mother has been emailing out lists of things she's grateful for. This isn't a new idea. Ann Voskamp introduced it to our family with 1000 Gifts. I'm sure there were others who had this idea before her too. I started a blessings journal after Evelyn passed to keep my mind focused on the good. Counting your blessings is so therapeutic. Here are a few things I'm grateful for from this weekend:

1. A husband who washes my car without me even asking.
2. Impromptu dinner at my amazing in-law's home.
3. My husband and dad sharing interests.
4. My mother's enthusiasm for our adoption blog.
5. The ability to worship God freely at our wonderful church.
6. Friends who ask how we are and really want to know.
7. Our adorable and sometimes strange dogs.
8. My husband's wonderful sense of humor.
9. Beautiful Southern California weather. 
10. The joy of planning for my husband's birthday next weekend.

That's a lot to be thankful for and I could list more! God is good, sometimes confuses the heck out of me, but always good. My limited human mind is amazed that the creator of the universe loves me and I'm sure glad He does. Thank you everyone for your support through our adoption journey so far. You are all on my list of blessings.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lazy Productive Saturday

Yes, a Saturday can be both lazy and productive. After waking up to the sound of a "nudge" from Words-With-Friends (initially feeling annoyed and then loved), Josh and I decided that our breakfast selection was lacking. It's been over a year since we bought actual cereal, it's just too sweet for us anymore. Generally we make smoothies in the morning. Our smoothie recipe has evolved over time and now usually consists of a Greek yogurt base with almond milk, spinach, walnuts, a banana, and a variety of frozen fruit. Pretty filling. On weekends sometimes we mix it up with some scrambled eggs and toast, maybe bacon. Today, however, nothing sounded quite yummy enough. We agreed we should go to the store. Generally I don't like going out before showering and putting my "face" on cause it's almost inevitable I'll see someone I know, but I made an exception. We both put on baseball hats and sunglasses and went, incognito, to the grocery store up the street. I got Danish!! I can't remember the last time I had Danish, probably on our five-year anniversary trip to San Francisco (we went on a walking tour and stopped in little Italy at a bakery called Stella Pastry. Yum!) Josh got a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Very sugary, way over priced...hit the spot just right. 
Once at home, I combined my Danish with a cup of hot green tea and Josh and I enjoyed our treats while watching old episodes of The Office. We had to warm up to this show but now it's one of our favorites and since we don't have regular TV, we have a Roku box that streams Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, we can watch one episode after another without commercials. Love it! It's a bit dangerous though. I was fairly content to Office the day away, which is bad. Thank God for a husband who holds me accountable. After a few episodes he walked out and came back a few minutes later in workout clothes. Way to make a girl feel like a lump. I went and changed too and got my elliptical on while Josh sweated his tush off doing an exercise program that I would literally pass out from. I figured out how to balance my iPad on my elliptical handles so I could Pinterest at the same time. See, lazy and productive!
After a shower, I put on one of my favorite shirts. I'm always careful where and who I wear this shirt around. It makes me happy but I don't want to push any emotionally painful buttons for any one else. I remember after our daughter passed away, I saw maternity shirts that said stuff like "Pregnant is the new skinny" or "I'll be more fun when I can drink again". The first one just made me think "I'd love to be big and round right now!" The second one just makes me mad. Anyway, I know several people who struggle with infertility and some who are struggling with the idea of adopting. I don't want to be the one to step on an emotional land mine and ruin their day with my fashion choice. I post it here because, hey, if you're on a blog called "Adoption Love" you kinda have to expect stuff like this.
Now that I'm showered and Josh is making the worlds best mac-n-cheese for lunch (the good stuff, no powder included), I'm looking forward to the rest of our lazy productive Saturday. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Legacy of Love

I've named this blog Adoption Love. Quite honestly, when I chose that name I didn't put much thought into it past the fact that I personally equate adoption with love. I see adoption as an act of love, not just between a mother and her child (whether adopted or biological), but in every sense of the word. To adopt an idea, virtue, or belief is to make it your own, a part of the fabric of your thought process. From the second it becomes "yours" it changes the way you absorb and react to life as it happens. We constantly adopt new emotions and memories making them part of who we are. To adopt is to love with every fiber of your being to the extent that you don't know where you end and that emotion, thought, memory, or belief begins. It's part of you. Adoption is pure conviction. 
"Life is dense. It is multifaceted, composed of many things, an intricate layering and interweaving of experiences, ideas, feelings- a one of a kind compound of the physical, emotional, and spiritual. In short, life is not a simple thing and neither is your legacy."* I believe wholeheartedly that adoption is love. I believe this because of the life that I've led and the experiences that I've had. I believe this because of the legacy I see from other people. My parents show me a legacy of passion, humor, and conviction. My grandparents showed me a legacy of stewardship and endurance. My husband shows me a legacy of honesty, strength, and joy. 
My legacy is being built through some fairly substantial life experiences. Granted, the majority of my "hard" life lessons are very decidedly first-world, but some I would not wish on my worst enemy. Physical and emotional loss brought about purely due to the brokenness of this world. But the legacy I gain from it is one that I am humbled by and at the same time proud to call mine. I can look at the story of my life and see God's hand in every part of it. I look at the most heart wrenching moments, the major car accident a month after our wedding, struggles through infertility, the loss of our daughter, and I can feel God's grace. In that car accident, I experienced physical loss but gained compassion, patience, and an even stronger bond with my husband. Through infertility I lost confidence in my body and my womanhood, but I gained trust in God's plan and extreme gratitude that my worth is not based on my ability to reproduce. The loss of our daughter is a much harder thing to see gain in. Even still I daily find joy in the memory of knowing her and feeling her. Now I also find joy in the fact that the milk I produced from her existence in this world is nourishing another beautiful life. 
It is infuriating to me that there are people in this world who have been hurt through adoption. Not everyone is coming from a legacy of love like ours. Women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who have never been loved appropriately, have maybe been abused, or were possibly exposed to the harshness of the foster system see adoption through a much different pair of eyes. They might have never experienced the love of a stable supportive family. I pray with all my heart that they experience and grasp the love that God has for them.
I was raised Christian, but even if I wasn't I would long for the kind of love that God has for me. I have experienced adoption through the love of Christ. Complete and utter sacrifice. To be put to death so that I could spend eternity in His presence. That's love, and through that love I have every right to call myself His child. He wants so intensely to know me at every second of every day, through every emotion and thought. I think the only thing that comes close to that kind of love on this earth is the love of a mother for her child. Our child will feel a mother's love times two. Our child will experience love through pure unselfish sacrifice. They will experience love through our desire to know them on every level of every emotion. Our legacies are connected through love.

*"Creating A Spiritual Legacy" by Daniel Taylor

Monday, September 23, 2013

Everyday Miracles

There are so many things I look forward to about being a mom. A lot of them consist of the big life events every child should have. First day of school, learning to ride a bike, losing their first tooth. But I really, Christmas-Eve-anticipation-butterflies-in-my-stomach...look forward to the everyday stuff of motherhood.

Josh, a ham from day one.
Waking up to a child's laughter. Now, from what I understand from other moms, this may be a rare occurrence, especially in the baby stage. However, in our house, where my husband still happily watches Saturday morning cartoons with me and makes my stomach hurt from laughter multiple times a day, I'm thinking that the semi-regular occurrence of early morning laughter is an appropriate expectation.

Baby kisses. Not just the kind where I get to kiss those wonderfully chubby cheeks and blow raspberries on a soft full belly. I'm talking about the kind where the kid hasn't quite mastered the concept of a "pucker" yet and comes at you, mouth wide open and slobbery. Fantastic!
My brother and I when he was a baby.

Finding "toys" where there are none. I think we've all seen a YouTube video of some kind where a little one has found entrainment in the simplest everyday item. Pots and pans, cardboard boxes, Tupperware lids. In a child's mind, these are all fascinating tools of the imagination. I have a feeling that, in the early years of parenthood, a lot of our evenings will be spent happily handing (safe, appropriate) objects to our child just to see what they will do with them. Although my brother once gave my mom a black eye with a toy hammer, so you never know.
Serving "entrees" to my mom and Grandma.

Imagination in general. The epic stories and events I would play out on the playground and backyards of friends and family will stay with me forever. I have vivid memories of running a very profitable "restaurant" in my grandparent's back yard, serving mud pies in every flavor, and my Grandpa play-eating items off an insane menu. At the private Christian school I went to K-6th grade, the other kids and I wouldn't limit ourselves to just one sandcastle. We filled the entire sandbox with a sand-city complete at one point with something resembling the Sphinx. The Little Mermaid will always have a special place in my heart. I spent hours in friend's swimming pools perfecting my mermaid kick (you know, flopping your feet up and down in unison, like a tail). The Ninja Turtles are the same way for Josh. He still knows all the words to the theme song.

Trying new foods. Watching a child try a new food is basically a shoe-in on America's Funniest Home Videos. The reactions are endless. Pure shock, disgust, or elation. My mom once told me about the first time she let my try one of those chocolate Jello pudding cups. She gave me a bite, then took a bite for herself, but I liked my bite so much that I physically tried to reach into her mouth to take her bite too! Proof that my love of chocolate has been life long. Along the same lines, I look forward to the fun things you can do with kid's food. I once witnessed a friend quiz her son on his sandwich preferences. "PB&J, or peanut butter and honey? Star shaped, or spaceship shaped?" He chose honey and spaceship, and mom promptly opened a drawer containing a variety of cookie cutter shapes to remove his sandwich crust with. Fun!
My "theeking aboot you" bracelet.

The fantastic misspellings. I was a genius with creative spelling techniques when I was young. I came up with the most amazing combinations of letters while I was learning to read and write. One of my favorites was when I decided to leave a sweet note for my parents letting them know they had been on my mind. Scrawled across the paper in my chicken scratch were the words "Im theeking aboot you." My mom thought it was so sweet and hilarious that she later had my words engraved on a bracelet for me.

Big puffy diapered butts, small soft hands that fit snugly in mine, teeny-tiny onsies, little-league and ballet class, amazement at the world in general. Yep, looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Know whacha do when you assume?

The more reading I do about adoption and the process of adopting the more concerned I become with the fact that I already feel a connection to a woman and child I do not know. Is it wrong to love someone and hope for a specific outcome? It almost feels like it is. I write about our hopes and dreams for our future family with this child that will come from another person. I write about how much I already love this little person without knowing anything about them. A large part of the adoption community, though, seems hell-bent on reminding me this child is not mine and I should feel no attachment until our expectant mom gives us permission. While part of me totally understands that, I struggle a little with it. Should I not want to love a child, any child? Lets take out the adoption part for a second (bare with me). I love my friend's and family member's kids. I do not assume at some point one of them will be given to me, but I still love them. Is loving a child without any limitations or expectations wrong? I don't think so. If I imagine what it's like to be a woman considering adoption, I feel like I would be more inclined to choose a family who already felt a bond with my child. If I came across a family who was so cautious and paranoid that I was going to change my mind and that they shouldn't get their hopes up, I would feel a little patronized. Adoption is not a choice come to lightly. I have confidence that our expectant mom is a smart person. A smart person, able to choose adoption and come to decisions about the future of her child on her own brain power. If I was "scared" to love her child, I would feel like I was undercutting her ability to think and make decisions. I love her child. This in no way means I assume that child is mine. I understand what it feels like to feel your child move inside you and "know" them and have a bond with them before you even see their face. That is a bond between mother and child alone. I take no posession of that bond from another woman and her child. Just because I love and excitedly await the arrival of her child does not mean I think I have a right to her baby. What are my options? One, love that baby, prepare for that child's life, support our expectant mom, and hope for an outcome in which all parties involved are at peace and confidant. Two, be scared to love another person, be too anxious to even prepare for the best, and assume our expectant mom is unable to make decisions and stick to them. I choose option one. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...kinda

I'm stealing the idea for "Wordless Wednesdays" from my friend Gingi at Domestic Geek Girl. I realize that just by typing this I've already failed the "wordless" part and the picture of my fridge post-its also has words in it. Double fail!!! Oh well, I'll get it right next Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Great Equalizer

This post was written for and shared on America Adopts! Facebook page.

What do a passionate and loyal war veteran from Texas, a loving and determined Packers fan from Wisconsin, and a creative and compassionate housewife from California have in common? They all want to be moms. Not just any moms, adoptive moms. 
Crystal, Shelli, and Kristen would have never crossed paths if it wasn't  for the amazing, wonderful, stressful journey that is adoption. Each has struggled, along with their husbands, with different stories of infertility. Each has imagined holding a child in their arms. Each couple has opened their hearts to open adoption, with the goal of a healthy, happy, and supportive relationship with an expectant mom. Each is waiting for a phone call and a dream to come true. 
While they wait, they wait actively. Between Crystal's schedule as a registrar and Certified Nursing Assistant in Wisconsin, Shelli's work as a Nurse Anesthetist in Texas, and Kristen's work as a volunteer and homemaker in California, they have all made time to connect and support one another through social media. They share resources, advice, and inspiration. After meeting through their individual blogs, each was inspired by the others. Now each one shares the other's stories on community Facebook pages and regularly leaves encouraging comments on posts. If one finds a helpful resource they pass it on. For them, there is nothing competitive about adoption. Crystal, Shelli, and Kristen all want to be mothers and all want the others to achieve the same dream.
For each woman, adoption means pure love. While in time, each will become a mother through adoption, for now social media has allowed them to become friends. Facebook, Twitter, and blogging are fast becoming widely used tools in connecting expectant moms with waiting families. Using these tools, each of these woman feel connected to the children they haven't yet met. They can also provide expectant moms with information and a means of support and contact. Social media, to them, feels  like a way to reach out and comfort one another through the uncertainty.
Crystal and Her husband Chad met through social media and now, after being
Crystal and Chad (Picture by Oh! Photography)
married a little over two years, hope to expand their family the same way. After trying to conceive for about two years they felt led to adoption and have been waiting for their call for four months. Here's what Crystal writes about how social media has helped her. "The support I have found on Facebook and other social media sights including Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogger, has been amazing. When you put yourself out there and make yourself available, you will find there are a lot more people like you. I have seen struggles, shared in happiness, and asked for advice on many social networking sites. All of which have been such a blessing. Shelli, Kristen, and I offer each other advice, are an ear when needed, and share stories and offer support whenever possible. It's nice to
know there are people going through the same struggles as you. That you're not "not normal". If there is any advice I could give through this whole process it is to reach out to families and friends who are experiencing infertility, loss, or going through the waiting period of adoption. You are not alone. Be sensitive and be available. Sometimes, your ear is all that is needed. " In preparation for their adoption, Crystal and Chad's families have thrown them baby showers and are all very excited and supportive. Crystal frequently posts updates and inspirational encouragements on their adoption Facebook page "Waiting For Baby Brown". Chad and Crystal were also recently featured on their local news station through a connection Crystal made on Twitter. They receive constant support through social media and couldn't be happier to accept it.

Shelli and Adam met as army reservists and have been married a year and a half. Both knew going into marriage that starting a family would be a challenge. They
Shelli and Adam
tried IVF but ultimately knew adoption was the path for them. They have been on their adoption journey for five months and are very excited to be parents. Here's what Shelli writes about her experiences with social media and adoption. "Social media has been surprisingly helpful. I have had some very good advice and words of encouragement from some very surprising sources. It is also a nice outlet for my energy during the wait. It helps me feel like I am doing something. Becoming a family is a process with many emotions. It is definitely a roller coaster ride of ups and downs! I can empathize with anyone that wants to be a mother, and I know what it is like to reach out to others for support. That is why I have not hesitated to offer support to others when I can. I found Crystal and Kristen through their blogs and felt an immediate connection to their stories. I don’t know who is helping whom more! I know there are babies out there for all of us, and I am looking forward to seeing God’s plans for us." To prepare for their future as parents through adoption, they have read books and blog, and have attended multiple webinars on adoption. Shelli also writes on their blog "We Love St. Patrick's Day" and frequently posts to their Facebook page of the same title. Shelli is grateful to
have support through social media while she and Adam wait for their little one to come home.
Kristen and Josh

Kristen and Josh are high school sweethearts married for seven years. After many years of fertility struggles and losses they have found hope and peace in adoption. For them, the goal is parenthood, not pregnancy. Here is what Kristen writes about social media and the adoption process. "We have been waiting for our little one to come home for about a year and half now, but it's only been in recent months that I've used social media to broaden our exposure. We are taking the viewpoint that we should pray like it depends on God and act like it depends on us. While we totally trust and acknowledge God's timing and plan for our family, there's no reason to sit around and do nothing. Social media has been an outlet for me to connect with other people in the adoption community, learn about different adoption stories (because no two are alike), and connect with and support other families during the wait. Blogging especially has been a great tool to focus on my blessings and share our trials. I feel particularly blessed to have met Crystal and Shelli. Knowing that we are connected through our desire to be mothers and that we likely would have never met if we weren't on the same adoption road, is amazing to me. The three of us are so different and so the same. Adoption is the great equalizer!" While they wait for parenthood, Kristen and Josh enjoy making videos about their adoption process on YouTube (Josh&Kristen WantToAdopt). Kristen also writes a blog called "Adoption Love" and posts to a Facebook community page of the same title. Social media has provided a great outlet, source of comfort, and a way to keep friends and family updated on their adoption journey.
To some, social media may seem cold and impersonal, but to these three woman and many others waiting to be parents through adoption, it's a way to reach out. To them it has become a kind of "nesting" as they prepare to grow their families. These unlikely friends have connected through social media and support one another through their "paper pregnancies".

*UPDATE 8.31.14- All three families are now home with their little bundles of joy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A new home for Bear

Today was quite the journey. A day I have been anticipating for months but found out for sure was going to happen just last week. Today we drove two hours to Pyramid Lake and met Gingi's friend Bree to give her Evelyn's milk for baby Tessa. It was a happy-sad day. Nothing about today was wrong or bad. Everything about today was just as God intended it to be.
A furry friend came with us on our trip to the lake. This sweet stuffed bear was given to me as a comfort after Evelyn went home. A gift from the same good friend who helped connect me to Gingi by sending me her blog post asking for breast milk donations. It seemed appropriate that he should be passed on to Tessa with Evelyn's milk. He actually turned out to be a fun little distraction on the way.
On our way.
Bear started his journey at home with us. After watching us lovingly wrap the milk up and put it in a special ice chest purchased especially for this occasion along with some dry ice, we all climbed in the car. Then after a quick photo-op on the dashboard, he spent some time on my lap while I distracted myself with my iPad. Josh laughed at me from the driver's seat. iPad in one hand, iPhone resting on my lap with Bear, and mobile hotspot fired up and placed in the center console. Less than a year ago, I still had a cell phone that barely sent text messages. Now I'm a blogging, iPad toting, words-with-friends playing technology-holic. To commemorate this realization we YouTubed the ending scene from  Napoleon Dynamite where Kip confesses his equal but separate love for both
Comfort chocolate shake and Bear.
LaFawnduh and technology. For lunch we stopped at In-N-Out, a very appropriate last-day-in-California meal for Bear seeing as how Californians are the only ones blessed with this fast food miracle.  I ordered my usual cheeseburger and fries, and added a much needed comfort chocolate shake. Good stuff. Back on the road things were pretty clear and we made it to the lake faster than expected. Pyramid Lake is actually quite beautiful and I don't know that I would have ever known it existed if it weren't for this trip. It's easy to miss unless you get off the freeway at the right time. While we waited for Bree to arrive we enjoyed the visitor's center and a beautiful view from the balcony.  
Enjoying the view.
Things are a bit of a blur until we were back in the car on the way home. I remember Bree and her super cute kids being very sweet, placing our cooler of milk in the back of her car, and taking a quick picture with Bear to say goodbye. Later, back on the road Bree and I exchanged text messages of appreciation and I apologized for leaving slightly abruptly. It was either leave quickly or cry all over this woman I had just met. She didn't need to see that side of me just then. 
I missed Bear on the ride home, but Josh reminded me that both Bear and Evelyn's milk were going to a good home where they would be appreciated. I agree. I don't think we could have picked a better home for Bear and the milk. Soon Bear will have traveled farther across the US than I have. 
This was one of those difficult life events that you can see coming. They're rare. The majority of my difficult life events have been very sudden and unseen until they were right on top of me. This one was hard, and I've known it was going to be hard for awhile. Giving up something so precious and loved and wanted, because you know it is best and will be loved and appreciated by the recipient, is heart wrenching. My compassion for what our expectant mom will experience grows daily. I have peace though. And now I also have new friends and a special place in my heart for sweet baby Tessa all the way in Florida.
Bye bye Bear. Enjoy your new home.
Sweet Tessa and her "Evelyn bear".

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mental Chaise Lounge

About seven years ago, a little over a month after Josh and I were married, I was in a severe car accident. I came very close to being paralyzed and was hospitalized for three weeks. While in the hospital my mother would email friends and family to keep them updated on my recovery. One of her emails has stuck with me over the years. Here's what she wrote on the day I left the hospital:
"The 7th floor Day Room at [the hospital] is a showcase for the contents of the mind and soul. Everyone is there because of a fearful and surprising event. They wait in the Day Room to hear news of their loved one. Some people don't even have a [mental] rusty lawn chair to rest on, and they are miserably uncomfortable. Other people are clearly at rest in a comfy, overstuffed chaise lounge, which they frequently offer to share with the emotionally homeless. I can see that it is very satisfying to scoot over, pat the cushion beside you, and invite a worn out soul to rest for a while.
Kristen is out of the hospital now. She spent 18 days among the furnishings she accumulated during the first 21 years of her life. Kris has a chaise lounge. I know because she occasionally patted an invitation to sit on it with her and it was very cozy." I love my mom. I love the way she thinks and how passionate she is. She's my best friend.
While I believe I had an adequate mental chaise lounge at the time, the "fabric" of my thought process was still underdeveloped and outdated to accommodate God's purpose for my life. The adoption process has been my "re-upholstery". 
While waiting for our child to come home, both Josh and I have been stretched and formed, being made to fit the framework God wants. While we both still need a lot of tucking and pulling, I think we're getting a pretty good taste of what God expects from us. Complete and total reliance on His plan. The furniture can't build itself!  
Adoption requires a lot of faith. We literally have no control. We can't control how quickly paperwork is processed, how quickly we are matched, or who will pick us. Once we're matched we can't control our expectant mom's  eating habits, daily activities, or her ultimate decision making processes (and we wouldn't try). As much as we want to, we can't control the amount of physical and emotional pain she will experience. We can only rely on God to stretch us and form us to His purpose. We can rely on Him to work through us for her. We can rely on Him to give her peace and us strength. My mental chaise lounge is quickly turning into a sectional sofa.
For you momma.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I met Margaret on OpenAdoption, Open Heart's Facebook page. She had posted this comment:
I just thought it was so beautiful and wanted to know who wrote it but it was posted anonymously. I left a comment asking who wrote it and if they would be willing to give me a little background and maybe write something for our blog. Margaret happily took ownership of her beautiful words. I will never be able to fully understand what a birth mother goes through. The extremes of adoption are so obvious to me though. For me, our child's first day of school will be happy and exciting. For their birth mom it's possible it will be painful. What goes through a birth mom's mind on these milestones? What has stuck with her through the process of adoption? Here's Margaret's answer :
"I was asked what inspired me to write this post. My beautiful birth daughter is 21. My son is 3. Which really got me thinking about back-to-school. What would I have said to her? And these are the words that poured out. I could never be a blogger. I cannot write things on demand. Actually I write them on emotion as I did this one. They come out more true and heartfelt then I could ever imagine.  
I am a birth mother. I placed my beautiful daughter with a wonderful mother 21 years ago. I was not young. I was 21. I had no children. Her birth father was a fling. A mistake. He denied her. I did a lot of soul searching. I had support from my family. I knew what my financial options were. But I was not ready. I was not ready to be a mother. Especially a single mother. Nobody told me that. I knew it about myself. So I placed her with a wonderful family. Some women are ready earlier. Others are still not ready after 30. Only she can make that decision herself. No agency. No family member. No hopeful adoptive family. I have never regretted my decision. Because it was MY decision.  Never let anyone tell you what you should do. Either way. Only then can you find peace."
I'm grateful for Margaret's honesty and willingness to share. Like I said, her perspective, the perspective of a birth mom, is something I won't ever experience. I absolutely agree with Margret though, no one can make this decision for someone else. It has never been and never will be our goal to convince anyone to place their child for adoption. The goal of this blog is to show who we are, not coerce anyone into giving us a child. Our goal is openness and honesty. I would hope and pray that the woman who chooses us comes to that decision on her own free will. It is between her and God. We will be grateful, blessed, amazed, honored, and supportive (no matter the outcome).
Birth family, adoptive family, and child.
Connected through love.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Your move God

Bible Study Fellowship is about to start back up (I mentioned BSF  here too). This year we're studying the book of Matthew, which I am very much looking forward to. Last year we did Genesis. Anyone going through the waiting period of adoption (or just waiting for anything really) should read Genesis. From Noah to Joseph, everyone was waiting for something. Noah waited for the flood. Abraham and Sarah waited for Isaac. Isaac waited for Rebekah. Rebekah waited for children while her sister got pregnant over and over and over. Joseph waited in the well, waited in Potiphar's house, waited in prison, and waited to be reunited with his family. God had a specific plan for them all and never went back on a promise. His plan was always fulfilled. The Bible is full of waiting. Can't wait to see His plan for our family!(Haha! See what I did there!? Silly.)
Waiting has by far been the most difficult part of the adoption process. I can do paperwork all day, even though its frustrating and time consuming, I could do it. Waiting, not being able to contribute at all to the progress of things, not knowing who this person is out in the world somewhere, unsure of her future and her child's future. Not being able to comfort her. Waiting to meet this child I have wanted for five years (well, longer. I've always wanted to be a mom). Focusing on the wealth of information God has given us in His word is very helpful. I want to be fully planted in Him. I was given some good advice awhile ago. You wouldn't start a marriage thinking "I'll be more patient, happy, sane (insert anticipated emotion here) as soon as I'm married. I just need to be married and that will fix everything." Doesn't work that way. I need to be content, happy, rooted in God's love before our child arrives. I want to be as prepared as I can be. I am in good company while I wait. Waiting will make me a better mother. I don't always do it gracefully. Josh is a constant witness to that. He not only has to deal with his own waiting, but also mine. I don't hide emotion well. Which I guess can be good and bad. I justify it as extreme honesty. Haha! Maybe that's another reason I'm being called to wait. To get a grip! 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.  

For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit."

 Jeremiah 17:7-8

"Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will 
mount up with wings  like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary." 

Isaiah 40:31 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding. 

In all your ways acknowledge Him,  
And He will make your paths straight. " 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Awhile ago I wrote about how we are unusually prepared for our child to come home (see blog  post here). It was incredibly hard to do what I did, but now its time for me to give it up. I do nothing under my own power, it is all God. Last night I received this message from a good friend.
"Hi Kristen,
I know that this is a delicate issue, so I want you to know that I'm not trying to intrude or be insensitive. I read on your blog that some of the first breast milk that you have in your freezer might be about to expire. I'm praying that you will soon be holding your little one feeding him or her with that precious gift that you have been saving. This is a friend of a friend who just moved to FL with her husband in the military. Her story is attached. She is looking for donations of breast milk. If you feel led to donate, her e-mail is included with the story. If not, I understand too. There's no pressure and it's just between us that I sent you the link."
 Breast Milk Donations For My Daughter

I cried. A lot. I read her plea for help and I knew it was an answer to prayer. She has experienced a physical loss of her own and somehow that makes me confident that she truly understands what I'm giving up. This does not make it any easier. I've worked so hard to prepare for the child we have yet to find. My heart aches. But I have to think of "giving up" as less horizontal and more vertical. I offer up this sacrifice. When God calls, I will answer. This post is helping me reaffirm that. I have no reservations about the person I've chosen to give Evelyn's milk to, or the fact that this is what God wants from me, I'm just sad I can't use it.

Here is the email I wrote to the mother in need.

"I wanted to see if you've had anyone offer to donate milk. I have a kind of special circumstance. Last Nov. our daughter was still born. We were/are also going through the adoption process so when my milk came in I pumped to save for our adopted child. As we still have not been picked by an expectant mom, I have milk that will need to be used soon. This is incredibly difficult for me to do. I have an overwhelming attachment to this breast milk. It came from our daughter and was pumped for our future child but it looks like I won't be able to use it at all. She was born Nov 24th 2012 and my milk came in two days later. It has been stored in a chest freezer that is never opened. I checked on La Leche League's web site and, stored in a chest freezer, it needs to be used before a year. I'm not prepared to donate everything I've pumped but I could give my first months worth that includes the colostrum. I never got checked by a milk bank because I intended to use this milk myself but I was very careful when I pumped, don't smoke or take any medication. Our daughter passed away of natural causes so nothing was transferred to the milk. I would gladly give it to my own child but again we haven't been picked yet. I know this is a delicate situation since you don't know me but I can assure you I'm not giving this away easily. You're story was shared with me by a friend I trust. I wrote about our daughter and pumping her milk on our blog if you'd like to learn more about me, I'll attach a link. Let me know if you're still interested."
I received a response this morning and she has accepted my offer with great appreciation and enthusiasm. She has received many other donations from people who read her post but none that include colostrum like mine. I was hoping for a heartfelt response, because a halfhearted "thank you" would frankly have made me mad. I was hopeful it would be as it was. She is a kind person who will use my gift well and I look forward to seeing her daughter grow from it. Now we work out the logistics of getting the milk to her since she is literally as far away from CA as you can get without leaving the country. 
Ugh! I'm crying again! 
I received this email from her this morning. I am so blessed! So grateful  that God sent such a kind person for me to give this milk to. I'm meeting a friend of her's here in CA next weekend. She will collect the milk to send to Florida with other donations from this area. I'm grateful to be a part of this:
"I am having another bout of insomnia and have spent the last few hours reading through your blog from my phone... God has His hand on you sweetie! I see Gods love shine through your words, and acted out in your faith... I'm very glad our paths have crossed. I'm praying for your beautiful family and for the child that God has planned to enter your lives! 
Sorry to bug you again, I just wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know you've been on my heart ever since you contacted me, out of all the 400+ messages I received today. God bless you my friend!"
P.S. Don't worry, I told her I was blogging about this. She's a blogger too, so she understands. Click here to see the conclusion to this post.

Monday, September 2, 2013


What a wonderful week it has been. Josh got five whole days off work. Some people enjoy big fancy expensive vacations, and, while those can be fun, I seriously love stay-cations. This was one jam-packed full stay-cation! 
Woke up Thursday at 6:00am. Josh's choice, not mine. Not a morning person.  We drove to Disneyland (we have season passes) where we met our friends Andy and Stacie, two of the most enthusiastic, honest, and kind people you'll ever meet. Since it was a Thursday the parks were fairly empty. I think the longest we waited in line for a ride was maybe twenty minutes. We went on every ride we wanted to, some even twice. We went home happy and tired. Click here to see some video from our trip.
Disneyland and friends. Great combination!
Friday started early as well. Josh got up a full hour before me though and worked out. Talk about discipline and determination! I admire him. Then we got dressed up to go to Andy and Stacie's wedding vow renewal. They have been married five years and as an anniversary surprise Andy had arranged to have a small vow renewal ceremony on the same beach where they took their engagement pictures. What a guy! I'm pretty sure good men travel in packs. Josh and Andy have been friends since high school, back in Josh's garage band days.
The "bridal party".
After a beautiful ceremony we went to Fashion Island which I am sure is the mall with the nicest view in the world. Crystal clear skies and the Pacific Ocean. Yum! Had a fantastic meal with the rest of the "bridal party", the guys did some drooling at the Tesla dealership, and we enjoyed a leisurely walk on a beautiful day. After parting ways with our friends, my always-wonderfully-unpredictable husband decided it was a good day to buy me an iPad on which I am now writing this blog! I can't tell you how excited I am about this. As a nice little cherry on top, God blessed us with a summer rain on our drive home and a beautiful view of a full rainbow. Josh laughed at me cause I took at least ten pictures of it, leaning as far forward in the windshield as I could or pressing my face and phone against my passenger side window. I'm a California girl! We get excited about rainbows!
Saturday was spent mostly on the couch watching theology lectures (Josh mentioned Credo House in his post) and playing with my new iPad. Talk about leisure! We stopped off at my parent's house to pick up a book my mom got me. In true mom form she is enormously supportive of my blogging and got me a book called Creating a Spiritual Legacy. It's about encouraging others by sharing your life experiences through story telling. Looking forward to reading it and getting lots of blog post ideas. Love my mom!
Sunday started with church and Bible study with very good friends. Then Josh went and spent some guy time with a friend while I stayed home to write and relax after our busy last few days. When Josh got home we went and did our weekly grocery shopping. We always shop together, although we generally do pretty much everything together. After thirteen years he still isn't sick of me! Haha! I love being married to my best friend. While shopping, I picked up a bouquet of sunflowers just for the heck of it. Sunflowers and gerbera daisies are my favorite flowers. We had pink gerbera daisies at our wedding and I have a gerbera daisy tattoo on my left thigh. After shopping we came home and Josh did some yard work while I spent time with the puppies and made dinner.
Monday we slept in but Josh still got up before me to work out. The man in unstoppable! We spent a lovely lazy morning at home and then went over to Josh's parent's house.
Playing football in the pool.
A few years ago his parents redid their backyard and put in a pool. We spent a few hours just hanging out and talking, enjoying the cool water, warm weather, and good company. If you don't have a pool in Southern California, it sure is nice to have family members who do. It has been so nice to just go and float and swim laps. We often have family barbecues and pool parties. I'm looking forward to buying tiny swimsuits and floaties and teaching our children to swim. I see lots of birthday parties and celebrations happening in that backyard. 
Overall, an incredibly nice stay-cation. We love being home, being with friends and family, and enjoying the blessing God has given us. Waiting for our future child has created such a sense of anticipation in our family. We so look forward to enjoying life with our new little one.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Our Favorites

Fettuccini Alfredo
Josh's cologne, fresh cut grass
Kristen's chocolate chip cookies baking, the mountains
Tennis or basketball (whatever Josh likes)
basketball (Lakers!)
Bible verse
Ecclesiastes 11:5, 
Proverbs 3:5-6,
Psalm 46:10 (hard to narrow this one down)
2 Timothy 4:7
Job 38:2-6
Ezekiel  25:17
All of them (We live in California, you can't really tell them apart)
Little Women or Pride and Prejudice
Anchor Man and The Avengers
Tom Petty  "Free Fallin", Josh Garrels  "Farther Along"
Florida Georgia Line "Cruise", Guns and Roses "Sweet Child of Mine"
Vacation spot
Fourth of July or Christmas
Books (other than the Bible)
Angela's Ashes, Little Women, The Mitford Series
Anything by Vince Flynn or David Baldacci
Weekend activities
NOT doing the dishes, taking the dogs to the dog park
"Chilin out, maxin, relaxin all cool, shootin some b-ball outside of the school"- this was his real answer. He then played the song on his ipod :)
"I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun- not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else." 
-C.S. Lewis

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake." -Victor Hugo

"If life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic." -Unknown

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