Mother's Day 2018

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I’ve never been more thankful that a moment was captured. This was the moment the woman that I admire most in the world, my mom, locked eyes with my baby girl and just like that, everything she’d prepared me for in life mattered so much more.

I come to Mother’s Day with mixed emotions — so thankful for the past 19 months and the privilege of parenting Brighten, but also the memory and longing and waiting, the reality of grief and loss that led to Brighten becoming our daughter, and the anticipation of our continued  journey to Judah from Haiti.

Today, I’m thankful for my mom, my grandmothers, my friends, teachers, Sunday school teachers, and women who have made an impact on my life.

To all the women who are waiting, longing, and struggling today, you’re on my mind and I’m praying for you diligently. For those who have lost their mother and this day brings pain and grief, I am so sorry and I mourn with you. For women like me who are celebrating and longing, I understand you. For those of you who have opened your homes to kiddos who do not share your DNA, thank you for standing in the gap and doing this important work — I admire you. For those of you who have made the hardest decision to allow your child to be raised by another family, thank you for giving them life — you are the bravest women in the world and I weep with over the loss you may feel today. For those of you who wear the wounds of losing a child, I cannot imagine your grief, but I pray for healing and peace for your heart today.

Amongst all of these Mother’s Day mixed emotions, most of all I want to celebrate all of us. For those we love, for those we’ve lost, for the experiences that make up our stories — as women, together let’s celebrate and love one another today.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies.

Posted on May 13, 2018 .

NIAW :: FOUR OF FIVE

Last year during National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW), I posted 5 Things I Want You to Know. This year, I'm revisiting those five things and also giving a bit of an update. I would love to hear from you, so make sure you blog back to me!

Whether explicitly spelled out or just implied, much of our society still attributes womanhood and motherhood to being pregnant and/or giving birth to a child. I have a huge problem with this. If there's anything that you take away from this blog, I hope that it's this: There are many, many women who play the role of a mother who did not give birth to a child.

Posted on April 27, 2018 .

NIAW :: THREE OF FIVE

Last year during National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW), I posted 5 Things I Want You to Know. This year, I'm revisiting those five things and also giving a bit of an update. I would love to hear from you, so make sure you blog back to me!

I'm not sure at what age or stage or time it became a thing for women to start sharing their birth stories, but it is, apparently. For those of us who are adoptive parents, waiting to adopt, waiting to get pregnant, or waiting to get pregnant again, this is H-A-R-D!

Posted on April 27, 2018 .

NIAW :: TWO OF FIVE

Last year during National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW), I posted 5 Things I Want You to Know. This year, I'm revisiting those five things and also giving a bit of an update. I would love to hear from you, so make sure you blog back to me!

Along the same lines as #1, sometimes people will ask about our adoption process(es), and I'm always up for talking about that. If it's a particularly hard time or moment in the process, you may get a "canned" answer of, "we're just continuing to wait and pray," but other than that I'm good to talk about adoption all the live long day.

Posted on April 25, 2018 .

What was it like?

How in the world are we just a few days away from Brighten's first birthday? In some ways it seems like yesterday that we were packing our car and heading to Texas to meet our daughter. In other ways it feels like Brighten has always been a part of our lives. Jason and I keep joking that we are having a birthday party for Brighten to really celebrate ourselves and the fact that we kept another human alive for a full year :) I joke, but in all seriousness this has been the most sanctifying year of my life. 

Thai Food That Changed It All

I'm not good at keeping secrets. Well, let me rephrase that; I'm not good at keeping my own secrets. I've always been a verbal processor, so I think that telling my own secrets is some sort of coping mechanism. But with adoption, sometimes telling too much too soon can hurt the people who love you, and can break your own heart as well. 

5 Books I Read Preparing for Our Adoption Journey

Today marks one year since we found out that there was a little girl who would be born the next month in Texas who needed a home. What we didn't know is that we'd find out a week later that we were going to be her parents, and she'd be born exactly one month after we found out about her. If you'd like to read our story of Brighten, click here

Whatever is True

It's been kind of a bizarre season of life for me. In May, I quit my job at a nonprofit that served kids in care to stay home with Brighten and to start my own consulting business. In June, we found out that we were not going to be able to continue to pursue international adoption in Ethiopia after almost four years in process. Now, I'm learning contentment, which, if I'm honest, is uncomfortable and completely unfamiliar.

Until They Say We Can't

When Jason and I began our Ethiopia adoption process in December of 2013, we had no clue what the next several years would bring. We were, admittedly, blindly optimistic. We thought it'd only take a few months to do our home study (try 7.5), be on the waiting list by summer (it was the end of September), and be booking flights to Ethiopia by Christmas 2015. Thankfully, even basking in our optimism, we'd heard that adoption is not for the faint of heart, so we had the foresight to set some "guidelines" - rules for ourselves if the going got tough. 

5 Things I Want You To Know

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week. I've been working on putting this post together for the duration of this week, and honestly I'm nervous to hit the "publish" button. I'm nervous that it will be too direct, too opinionated, too much for some people. But my prayer is that if you choose to read this, you'll have a greater understanding of my story, and potentially stories that are similar to mine. My hope is that my words can bring us together, not divide, and that we can all rest in the unique plans that God has for us.

Counting Time

My great-grandfather, Storie, who Brighten is named after, marked timber for a living. All day, every day for years and years we walked the woods, marking timber. Everyday at lunch he'd eat a giant meal that my great-grandmother packed for him, drink a thermos of piping hot coffee, and laid on the toolbox of his truck to take a 20 minute nap in the sun. From everything I've heard about him, he loved his job, and he was good at it. Storie passed away just a few months before I was born, so I never got to meet him in person, however the stories I've heard certainly tell the tale of a man I would have loved to have met. 

Posted on April 21, 2017 .

Affirmation I Needed

Technology truly is amazing. So much of it I tend to have a love/hate relationship with though. I find my phone in my hands when I really mean to be paying attention to something (or somebody) else. I scroll through the same posts and pictures throughout the day, beaconing someone to post or do something new. But technology also affords us so many wonderful things.

Posted on April 17, 2017 .

Pride & Identity: Striking a Balance

My, how life gets crazy quickly. In 6 months we have traveled to Texas, met our daughter, brought her home, went back to work, traveled to the West Coast twice, finalized her adoption, put our house on the market, taken our house off the market, and updated all of our international adoption paperwork. Whew, things have been busy.  I began the year inspired to post something on my blog at least twice a week. I did that for all of one week and then fell off the bandwagon. Whoops! But here I am again, attempting to do better.

Dear Brighten, Always & Forever

Dear Brighten, on the night before we finalize your adoption:

I'll admit, I tried to write you a letter then night before you were born. But I just couldn't. There were so many nerves and unknown expectations, I just couldn't fathom putting into words all the ways I was feeling. But now, you've been alive for 137 days, and I've known you just as long. Now, I can begin to put into words how incredible you are, how blessed I am, and how the fact that I get to be your mommy forever brings me nothing but pure joy. 

Posted on February 6, 2017 .