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.
What a special day February 7th is to our little family. We were in celebration mode all day long. We went to lunch, got dressed up, and got to go visit the big courthouse where the Judge told us that Brighten is forever ours and we have all rights just as if she'd been born to us.
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.
Originally written on December 31, 2016. Held for contemplation and revisited on January 7, 2017.
These days my Goodreads list looks more like celebrity memoirs and less like a high school summer reading list, however, I'm thankful for having read some Charles Dickens in my day. Sometimes, authors give us words that make so much sense when we don't really know how to describe something in our own words. As much as I love Lauren Graham and her latest book is a such a delight, she just doesn't quite paint the picture of 2016. Charles Dickens on the other hand...
This post has been a long time coming. When we moved into our house in 2013, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the small, back room. Originally we used it as an office for Jason, but I assured him that as soon as we had a child, he'd get kicked out.
Things are much different than they were in our last Christmas update, that's for sure. Last year during this time, we were sick at the news of our first placing agency closing. We were moving from #12 to #81 on the waiting list and we were absolutely devastated.
Around this time last year, things looked a lot different in our lives. We experienced a pretty big setback in our adoption process. Our hearts were broken as we had been rejoicing and dreaming of days that we thought were soon to come, but in the matter of an instant, everything changed. You can read the post I wrote about that here.
We finally made it. The last installment of Brighten's Storie. Even though it's been fun to relive some of this experience through these blog posts, I'm really excited to move forward to updating you on Brighten's now and all that we're seeing her do! Without further adieu, here is our story of our time in Texas with Baby B!
This is the part you've all been waiting for - Brighten's birth story. I would like to preface before I begin that the next and last two parts of Brighten's Storie will be amazing, but also not a complete picture. Jason and I aim to be transparent, and we have been from the beginning of our adoption process, but this is the point where we make a sharp left turn and our story intersects with Brighten's and Birth Mom's. There are parts of Brighten's story that are for her to share or not share when she reaches an age that she can make the decision, and Birth Mom's story is her's to share or not share if she so chooses. So, buckle up, because this is the best part yet, but know that there are a lot of details that will be left out because this is from my perspective as an adoptive mom, as Brighten's mom, and it's only one fraction of the full, incredible story. If you ever have questions, I'll do my best to answer them if you email me here.
So, I've told you about how we found out about Brighten, all of the people who helped us prepare, a little bit about her history and her Brother, and now we make the journey to Texas. The story just keeps getting better and better.
I mean, what is cuter than a "FREE HUGS" onesie on a baby? Nothing. I assure you nothing. I cannot believe Brighten is ONE MONTH OLD! We spent the first half of the month in Texas and traveling back home, and the second half getting settled in at home.
Now that you've had time to catch your breath from that cliffhanger I left you with in Part One, we can all smile at the fact that Brighten has a brother! How cool is that?
What do music row, chicken and dumplings, and Needtobreathe have in common? If you're me, these things are what dreams are made of, but beside that, they are all stops along the way to meeting our baby girl, Brighten Storie.
Well, this time next week we will have a baby girl. That's crazy! It's hard to believe that we are living in our last weekend without a child in our home.
This is the third post I've started writing this morning. Both of the other ones took a weird turn. I have so many things to say, but I just don't know how. For the first time (possibly in my entire life), I'm at a complete loss for words.
Our Brighten Storie...
This is a blog post I've dreamed about writing for the better part of three years. It's the dream half fulfilled, yet my heart feels so entirely full. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but it is getting more real with every passing moment.
When I was a teenager, I heard a story about children in a developing country who heard about Jesus for the first time. Their biggest takeaway from the gospel is that Jesus is coming back. They were so excited about Jesus's return that they began waiting at the doors and windows of their homes so they didn't miss the opportunity to witness Jesus returning for His Church. I remember longing to wait like that, and feeling a sense of guilt that I didn't.
One of the biggest differences with our domestic adoption and international adoption is the preparation period. With our #journeytojudah in Ethiopia, we know that we'll have anywhere from 6 months to 16 months to prepare for his arrival, even after we're matched. With our #searchingforsunshine domestic process, we could get a call that a birth mother is in her second trimester, or that a baby has already been born, or anything in between. It's been exciting and crazy to think that our lives could completely change (for the better, of course) from one day to the next, or even one hour to the next. That is a new concept for us!
Jason and I periodically have a conversation about my adoption blog and how my blogging frequency has declined a lot over the last year. I always tell Jason that I just don't know what to write. Most of the time we have no new information, and it seems redundant and negative to just say "Waiting is hard" one-thousand different ways.
It's been a lifelong joke - I'm not a camper. I camped once in 8th grade and a frog kept me up all night and I ended up asking the youth group leaders if I could go to the house on the other side of the lake. They said no, I was mad, and I wrote off camping forever.