Saturday, November 29, 2014


I am thankful! My blessings overflow. This Thanksgiving was a crisp 84 degrees in Southern California. A beautiful day. I got to watch our daughter enjoy her first Thankgiving dinner. She loved the turkey, but surprisingly not the mashed potatoes. I got to participate in our yearly tradition of going around the table expressing our gratitude. I included my thankfulness for God's example of adoption through Christ. That's a big one in our family. I got to hear other's gratitude for our first born daughter's existence. Her birthday this year was full of beautiful sentiment and support from so many people! It's such a blessing to know that we aren't the only ones who remember her for the miracle she was. I got to hear my husband pray before the meal. Listening to him pray is one of my favorite things. I got to watch Squeaks wrap the entire family arround her little finger like she always does. I got to play Scatergories with some of my favorite women in the world. Nobody can outdo the women in our family at that game. We take it to new levels and always end up laughing till our sides hurt. I got to meet my cousin's new finance' and watch him make Squeaks laugh super hard. My mom always said it's easy to like people who are good to your kid and she's right. I got to come home tired and happy. I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Family's Passion

My mother was recently invited to speak on my uncle's radio program for the third time. The third time to talk about something that a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about. To talk about something that a lot of people say is a woman's personal choice. Abortion.

It's a topic that is on my family's hearts and minds a lot. It's part of my history. I did not have an abortion, but my mother had two before she had me. I won't know my two older siblings in this life, but I mourn my mother's heartache more than I mourn my relationship with them. She has gone through years of pain and still continues to heal from her choice. But she has decided to use her pain to help others and I couldn't be more proud. I thought I'd share part of a speech she recently gave at our local pregnancy center's Fall fundraiser.

"I'm Sonja and I'm a volunteer with the pregnancy center. I lead a Bible study called SaveOne that's specifically for anyone with abortion in their past. I have just a few moments to tell you about it, and I'll start with a story.
Joe (not his real name) is a man I've known for over 10 years. We first met here at Immanuel. Joe is an especially kind man who carefully listens for opportunities to share the gospel whenever he can. We've talked about the SaveOne Bible study and he's been extremely supportive. I invited Joe and wife to come to tonight's gala, but they couldn't because of a prior obligation. I sent him a follow up note and I enclosed a couple of my business cards along with these little baby feet hearts that I made for the women in the SaveOne class that just concluded. Shortly after he received my note we happened to meet at a cafe near my office. Joe said he was glad to see me because he intended to write to me, but talking would be easier. Joe didn't look at me when he told me that the image of the tiny feet triggered old memories and emotions. His hands were folded in front of him on the table and he was clearly suppressing tears as he talked about the abortion his girlfriend had in 1975. He said he knew at the time that it was wrong, and for a long while he tried to atone for the abortion by doing various "good works". He never told his parents, and he hasn't discussed it with his living children. Sadly some of his biggest life choices, like marriage, were affected by the abortion. Yes, abortion hurts women, but Joe would tell you that it hurts men too. 1975 is long gone, but Joe's eyes filled with tears only last week.
Some people manage their pain with good works and religion, others numb it with drugs and alcohol or some other addiction, but Jesus invites us to grieve our losses and give our pain to Him. This is what we do in the SaveOne Bible study. We look at the choices we really did make, but we do it in the light of Christ's gospel and we begin to heal.
I wish all of you could see what I see every time I lead the study. I see women who often, at first, would rather be just about anywhere than there the first night. But soon they start to say, "I really like this study and these women and I'm not in a hurry for this class to end!" Everyone in the class has had at least one abortion, but some don't remember how many. We tell our stories to one another and we begin to breathe easier and relax in God's presence and in the company of our fellow sinners saved by grace. You have stories you could tell too. Some of them are more powerful or transforming than others, and they changed the course of your life. A story that includes abortion ends and changes the course of many lives, but I have repeatedly seen God re-write the narrative as we spend 12 weeks together talking about who God is, and why we can trust Him, and why we didn't trust him when we made our abortion decisions. We talk about how abortion impacted our lives emotionally, spiritually and physically, and we identify the areas where we want God's healing. We deal with emotions like guilt, sorrow, shame and depression. We identify people we need to forgive, and we choose to forgive them. We ask God for forgiveness for our abortions, and for all the sins connected with them. We learn to accept His grace and forgiveness as we do battle with Satan's ongoing reminders and accusations by renewing our minds with Christ's gospel. We learn (and I am continuing to learn) to wholeheartedly embrace the reality that God is in total control and is working out all things, including the sin of abortion, for the good of those who love Him. Men and women who are wounded by abortion are often reluctant to share their stories, but an abortion recovery Bible study like SaveOne restores their voice.
Do you remember the Biblical story of the sinful woman who came to Simon the Pharisee's house with an alabaster jar of perfume and gratefully poured it out on Jesus' feetDo you remember that Jesus said that she loved much because she had been forgiven much? There are millions of alabaster jars that have not yet been poured out at Christ's feet because too many men and women wrongfully believe that abortion is the unforgivable sin. They need to hear and believe the words Jesus said to the sinful woman, "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Millions of men and women can learn to love much because they have been forgiven much, and I am convinced that the telling of their redeemed stories will eventually make abortion unthinkable."

Abortion is a short term "fix" with long term consequences. Adoption is long term. It's the loving option. Loving for not only the child, but also for your family, your future self, and another family waiting to love a child (and in many cases, the birth family as well). Adoption allows you the option to know your child in this life. It allows your child a life. Adoption is love.

Here's a link to my mom's most recent interview on my uncle's show. They cover quite a few topics from abortion, to adoption, and even breast milk donation. It's good stuff!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This and That

The little things are the big things.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2 Years

"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord for we walk by faith, not by sight we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

She dances with her King.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Resource Worth Sharing

Adoption is a bit pricey. Understatement. Josh and I were fantastically blessed with Squeaks' adoption because we didn't require fundraising. Our bank accounts now look a bit like a six year old's piggy bank, but we had the funds and didn't "need" to fund raise. It would have felt like a lie if we had (just my opinion). This will not be the case with future adoptions (fair warning). It was a bit of a one shot deal.

I do count myself blessed in that I am now much more familiar with the world of adoption than I was before I started blogging. I've watched and helped friends go through the fundraising process, and I have come across some wonderful organizations that make fundraising part of their business. Subsidy Shades is one of these organizations that we can put to good use for future adoptions. And in the meantime, shop for awesome sunglasses! 

I first found out about them from the fantastic birth mom that started Adoption: Share the Love. I saw her adorable little reds sporting their super cute shades and loved that they were also supporting adoption. Cuteness and a good cause!

Here's a bit about the husband and wife team who started the company:

"In February 2013 a tiny bundle of joy arrived in the lives of Robert and Melissa, weighing in at an itty bitty five pounds. Her name is Jacqueline and she cost them a small fortune. Jacqueline's sweet birth mother is a mother to four children and had major health complications during her pregnancy. Being the adoptive parents Robert and Melissa were responsible for all of her costs during that time. In June of 2013, Jacquie’s birth family became homeless on the tough streets of Detroit. With the help of family and friends they were able to fly them in to their home, to live with them while they raised funds to purchase the birth family a residence. In the end, Robert and Melissa were able to purchase the family a home paid for in FULL. Money was tight but she did not let that stop her expand their little family of three. And in January of 2014 Melissa's crazy idea became a reality. Since then she has been able to help raise funds for her adoption as well as many others. {Robert and Melissa are currently matched with a birth mother who is pregnant with a baby boy due this holiday season} GOD IS GOOD."

Melissa is a full time student, mom, wife, and adoption-supporting-sunglass-saleswoman-superhero. 100% of sales go toward funding adoptions. Yep. 100%. All of it. I love that! And they will happily donate a pair of shades to any adoption auction. You can follow Subsidy Shades on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for updates, new styles, and general adoption happiness.
A few of my personal favorites. So many cute styles to choose from!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dear Sweet Daughter Of Mine,

I felt an overwhelming need to put my love for you into writing tonight. So here I am at 11:30pm, incredibly tired, typing away on my iPad. You've been asleep for the past few hours and 
I miss you. So much so that I look at pictures of you and feel a longing even though you're in the next room. Do you know how much you're loved? 

Today was no different than the majority of our days. We both stayed in our pjs till about 2pm. You "helped" me fold laundry. You laughed as you dropped half your lunch on the floor for the dogs. I laughed as you smeared the other half across your face. We spent some time outside enjoying the sunshine. You got mad at me for wiping your nose for the hundredth time and payed me back by finishing the job on the shoulder of my shirt. You followed Ruby (our chihuahua/corgi) from room to room and got covered in dog hair crawling into her bed with her. Daddy gave you a bubble bath and we all spent time cuddling stuffed animals on the living room floor.

Now you're sleeping and tomorrow we'll do it again. But every day you change. You grow. It seems like every time you wake up you're bigger. I can almost see your mind developing. You watch me so closely. Today I showed you how I roll my tongue and you were amazed. I watched you put your hand to your mouth thoughtfully then place your fingers gently on my lips inspecting the way my mouth moved. Daddy started singing at dinner (which is not unusual) and you started dancing! You bounced up and down in your high chair and laughed. Then we laughed. And then we all danced. We read "Hello Duck" and you turned the pages, pointing at the duck, and the flowers, and the bees. I said "all done" and you picked it up to turn the pages again. 

You had your first cold last week. It made me long for the day when you can tell me what hurts, but savor this day where holding you in my arms comforts you. We all slept the least we have since you've been home. You woke up a lot in the night and mommy started to get just a tad cranky. Being your mom makes it all worth it. However, just for future reference, I would like to thank you for being a good sleeper the majority of the time.

 I don't want to forget anything, even the hard stuff. Grammy and Grampy reminisced about raising your Uncle Jacob (9 years younger than me) but couldn't remember much of the sleepless days. This is why I'm thankful for technology. We can go back, read, and remember. I want to remember. When you ask me to tell you about when you were a baby, I want to tell you as much as I can. I want to tell you that we waved to dad every morning as he went to work and you squealed, smiled, and reached for him every time he came home. I want to tell you that you loved being pushed in your swing on our back porch. That you loved green beans and avocado. That you would hold your stuffed animals by their tails, one in each hand, and swing them around like nunchucks. I'll tell you that you would pull my hair really hard, but I would wear it down anyway because playing with it helped you fall asleep. I want to tell you everything.

But most of all sweet daughter of mine, I want to tell you how much you're loved.
Poor baby not feeling good.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Momma Bear Knot

I am the only common denominator in the equation that equals my stress. My high levels of new mom stress. My high levels of living-up-to-my-own-self-imposed-standards stress. The momma bear sized knot in my stomach.

I think a lot of it stems from my desire to some how make up for the fact that my body doesn't function in the "normal" way. 

I have found, through my own experiences and conversations with other moms who have endured still-birth, that one of the first instincts is to get pregnant again. There is a hole where there shouldn't be, an emptiness begging to be filled, a heart prepared to mother. When a pregnancy ends in still-birth (and I'd guess this might be true for miscarriage as well), I think the natural response is

Sunday, November 9, 2014

10 Months

Ten months down, the rest of our lives to go. Can't wait!

I've officially started planning Squeaks' first birthday party. It was inevitable and I put it off as long as I could. I've chosen a "vintage nursery rhyme" theme, and I'm really pretty excited about it. I think it will be beautiful. 

These pictures are so fun to take every month! They will definitely be part of the party decor.
 And, since I haven't made a slide show in awhile...

Finger Foods

Squeaks has become very independent with her meals. All of a sudden the purées I've been slaving over lovingly preparing just won't cut it. She must feed herself. And so I have begun the hunt for Squeaks approved finger foods. We are a "puffs" free house. Too many ingredients I can't pronounce. Aside from the obvious finger foods like steamed cut up veggies, cheese, and cut up fruit, we've found some yummy stuff with the help of Pinterest. 

Yogurt Dots:
1/2 cup puréed fruit of your choice (I've done mango, raspberry, pear, and apple. All were well received.)
1 cup full fat plain organic yogurt

These homemade yogurt dots were our first big hit. The store bought melt away ones are apparently very popular but I'm just not crazy about them. The only down side to the homemade ones is that they melt so you can't just toss them in the diaper bag and go. Other than that, they're awesome!

Mix everything together and spoon into a zip-lock baggy. Cut off a tiny bit of the bottom corner on the baggy and pipe the mixture in little dots (about the size of a dime) onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (I used a Silpat). The mixture comes out pretty fast so be ready. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour, the dots will just peel off the paper after they freeze and you can store them in a freezer bag. Squeaks LOVES these. They're easy to pick up and feel good on her teething gums.

Baby Pancakes:
1 ripe banana 
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon 

These are a big breakfast favorite. I would even eat these! They taste really good and they cook up just like regular pancakes. Super easy. Just put everything in a bowl and mash it together (I've found my potato masher works really well). You can fry them into little silver-dollar sized cakes or into regular pancakes and cut them into bits for little hands to pick up (which is what I do).  These take less than ten minutes to make and there's usually extra to heat up for the next day too. No added sugar, gluten/wheat free, yummy...what else could you want!?

Apple Zucchini Muffins:
5 eggs
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1 grated organic zucchini 
2 heaping TBS of flax-seed meal  
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

This is an adaptation from a recipe I found at Wellness Mama. The original recipe gives you the option to add honey, but since Squeaks is still under a year I left it out. I added the zucchini because you can never have too many veggies. I added the flax to balance out the added moisture from the zucchini (although you should ring out as much moisture as you can after you grate it), plus it's just plain good for you. 
Place all ingredients in your mixer (or just whisk by hand) until combined. Let sit five minutes and then spoon mixture into lined or coconut oil greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (or until slightly browned and they bounce back when you press on top). Let cool and cut into baby sized pieces.  These come out ever so slightly sweet and I enjoy eating one myself with a little butter. Again, no added sugar, and wheat/gluten free! Yum!

There you have it. Healthy, easy, Squeaks (and mommy) approved finger foods. 
Big girl eating lunch.

Friday, November 7, 2014


How did you/will you chose to tell your child they are adopted, and how do you/will you celebrate this blessing with them? Or if you're a birth-parent, how would you hope to be included? 
No one had to tell me I was born, it It will be the same for Squeaks. The knowledge of her spectacular entrance into our family is no less worthy than any other birth story. This is not to say being adopted should not be celebrated. Being born is celebrated. You celebrate the blessings in your life and the people who helped bring those blessings about. As I've said before, anyone can be born, but adoption adds a special flourish, pizzazz, gilding, loveliness....umph to entering a family. 

As far as tangible ways we will literaly celebrate, I have a few plans. 

First, we will celebrate her birthday and then six days later we'll celebrate the day she came home. I don't see us yearly celebrating the day we finalize in court. We'll definitely celebrate the day we actually do finalize (maybe someday I'll share why it's taking so long), but as far as a yearly to-do, not so much. After the six days CPS chose to keep Squeaks from us, the court telling us "she's ours" feels kinda like "Ya. I know. You don't have to tell me." So we'll save our to-do for six days after her birthday to commemorate what we (us and her birth family) already knew. She's ours.

Second, I have a very special...nay, awesome photo book in the works. It's chock full of pictures from the time we spent in the hospital with Squeaks birth parents, screen shots of text messages from her birth mom, and pictures from the day she came home. I plan on reading it to her as often as she wants. I probably won't ever even put it away. I'll just carry it from room to room. Cause it's that great.

Third, we'll just talk about it. When you're happy about something, love it, proud of it, you
talk about it! We can have lots of mini celebrations, possibly daily, basking in the amazing love of adoption. Being adopted is just one part of who Squeaks is. She's this little ball of love. It's been fed into her, cultivated, encouraged, and given freely from the second she existed. She's sweet, funny, happy, independent, strong, delicate, beautiful, and so many other wonderful things all rolled into one gorgeous little girl. Inside and out. Everything about her is worth celebrating.

I can't answer for Squeaks birth family, but I hope someday they will also be part of our celebrations. Mini and otherwise.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Little Miss Independent

Squeaks is most definitely an independent little soul. The second she figured out how to feed herself (recipes for her favorite baby finger-foods coming soon) it's like a light went on. "If I can feed myself, what else can I do myself!?" She has perfected her "no, let me do it" scream. She wants to put on her own socks (which she has no idea how to do), pet the puppies as hard as she wants (they're so patient), hold her own spoon...the list continues. It has made meal time particularly entertaining. I let her feed herself as much as possible now. One, because she literally will not open her mouth for a spoon if she doesn't also have food she can feed herself, and two, because it's dang fun!

Plus she started crawling a few weeks ago, and has now already moved on to pulling herself to standing and taking a few steps while holding onto something. Life as we know it has changed forever...again. She just keeps growing! And she never stops moving! 
It's amazing how she always finds the corner of the house where I haven't cleaned in awhile. She loves crawling into the dog bed (that desperately needs to be washed. Ew.) and I've had to keep finding new places to hide the dog's water bowl. Soon, the dogs won't even be able to find it. 

It's awesome to watch the incredible speed of her growth and learning. She was so proud of herself when she figured out how to pull herself to standing. Now I find her standing in her crib after every nap.  The other day she figured out that she could crawl from one room to the next and that made her super happy. I could stand in the hallway and watch her scoot from one bedroom to the next squealing all the way. So funny!

I've never swept and vacuumed so much in my life. Every little thing is fair game! Sometimes she'll hold up whatever she's found to show me, but other times it just goes straight in her mouth. The other day, my mom and I caught her chewing on a little strand of carpet. She had actually pulled a piece of carpet up and put some in her mouth. The thing is, I don't know when she did it. We had all been sitting in the same room together talking and I had just vacuumed!! She's eating the floor!! 
Who me?
So proud of herself.

Monday, November 3, 2014

For Everything There Is A Season

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to   die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.  
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.  
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.  
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.  
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.  
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.  
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My mother referenced this verse at our adoption shower. It was very appropriate. We've gone through a season of weeping, mourning, and death. We've had seasons of healing, laughing, and embracing. We've run the gamut, and I'm not even 30 yet. What a rich, crazy, grace filled life! 

November is our season to celebrate!!
We celebrate my mom's birthday. She is by far one of my favorite people to celebrate. She doesn't think she's worth the fuss, which makes me absolutely crazy. And so we will celebrate her to the full extend, whether she likes it or not.

We celebrate our first daughter who was stillborn November 24th two years ago. I say it again and again- She was important, a blessing, a miracle, a gift, and I will be eternally grateful to have felt her growth, and know her heartbeat. I will always miss her and I will always celebrate her.

We celebrate Thanksgiving, and we celebrate it well. Yes, there will be turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, but more importantly, there will be family, laughter, and the acknowledgement that God is on His throne. We are blessed. 

We celebrate adoption and beyond. November is National Adoption Awareness month, and like I said last year, our family doesn't require a "month" to celebrate adoption. We sing it's praises all year long. Many seasons brought us to adoption. Squeaks is a daily...moment by moment...reminder of the overwhelming beauty that resulted. The fact that November has been deemed the time to be aware seems very fitting because of all the other things we celebrate this month as well. It's all connected to everything we are through Christ. Adoption isn't just this thing that you should be aware of. It's life, it's a gift, it's a calling, it's beyond anything I've ever experienced. 
Be aware, adoption is God's love played out on earth.

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