#bringinghomebaby

 

Ryan and I are so incredibly grateful for all the sweet friends and family that have shared in our excitement over the little babe joining our family in a few months! It’s been a whirlwind of a month and it doesn’t look to be slowing down but our hearts are so beyond grateful. A few weeks ago we got to hear this precious babe’s heartbeat for the first time and that memory is one that will be forever etched into my heart! A lot of people have asked what is going into this process and what our needs are.

Firstly, the prayers that have been said for this precious baby, the beautiful expectant mama, and for our family have been our biggest blessing. HE knows our needs, our fears, our hearts, and most of all He knows the ending.

The financial part of adoption is overwhelming for any family that steps into this adventure and we’ve been so blessed by so many people asking how they can help. We’ve made some fun shirts (per Ryan there’s even an acceptable man option!) to raise money to help offset some of the costs. You can see the different tees in the “shop” tab in the menu bar at the top of this page.

We’re also making a puzzle! Each puzzle piece is $10 and your name will be written on the back of piece when purchased. We have an adoption account set up on PayPal which is linked to the email address below. The name you add to the notes when sending the donation will go on the back of the piece. When the day comes that we get to come home with Baby we will put the puzzle together and frame it backwards to serve as a constant reminder of people that helped us piece this adventure together.

Donations for the puzzle piece can be sent via PayPal to weadoptlove@gmail.com – thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being our village 💛

 

Don’t we have the cutest friends?!

 

 

Chosen

Chosen. Y’all that word has never sounded so amazing! We have been chosen by the most beautiful girl to love and care for her baby as our own for all of the rest of our days – the importance of that decision and magnitude of this gift is not lost on us. God has been so intentional with every last detail and although He’s shown His love time and time again, I’m still blown away by the way He loves us so well.
Over the past 2 years that we’ve spent in TN we’ve found our people, made our home, and established jobs we love. We’ve been welcomed by a community, gone on new adventures, and made lasting friendships. In all this time our arms haven’t stopped aching to hold the weight of a baby but we’ve been filled with peace to be happy with the day we’re in. Right in the middle of Gods perfect plan a baby has been growing and what an honor that the amazing woman carrying that baby has chosen us to be the parents. She is brave, she is loving, she is selfless, & she is strong.
There a story of broken and a story of healing wrapped around this adoption but for now we’ll just say “Praise the Lord” for His beautiful timing and pray for the heart of the woman letting me be a mama again, forever. 🌿

Telling JoJo Goodbye

A few years have passed since the day they walked out the door and these words have never felt more true. He asked for her back because He was still writing her story but He has given us so much in return. I pray daily for the girl we had the privilege of loving. Praying she’s safe, she’s happy, and she knows how fiercely loved she is.

Jesus replied, “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7 NLT

I picture myself climbing up into the Father’s lap and Him holding me in His strong arms. He’s whispering that He’s got this and allowing me to grieve the outcome I most hoped for. Allowing me to grieve “my way” all while He’s looking at the bigger picture – you know, the one I can’t yet see. The pain is real and He’s offering me a place to let that pain go.

We had to say goodbye to one of our precious foster babies this last week. As I watched the social worker walk her out our front door I realized that I would probably never see this little girl ever again. I sat on my couch that afternoon and thought about the time she spent as our daughter. We worked through things that I thought would surely break us – or at least it would surely break me. She stretched us and grew us. These huge hurdles bonded us and then, in what seemed like a blink, it was time to say goodbye.

I felt the loss of her deep inside my bones. My bones ached, my heart ached, deep inside my soul ached. I saw her wondering eyes as she was walked out the front door. I wondered if she understood what was happening. I wondered if she was comfortable, or God forbid scared. But then I remembered that she may have had a few sets of parents in her short little life so far, but one thing remains the same and that’s that she has always been HIS. He loves her more than I can fathom. He walked out that door with her that morning and walked in the next door holding her hand. That doesn’t eliminate my feeling because I love her so much, but it gives my heart peace knowing the only one that is truly in control was standing smack dab in the middle of this situation as well.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I hang on to this truth. God holds each of us in his hand, and even when we are walking through a dark period of transition we are His and His plan is never made to harm us. There are days when I literally need to repeat this verse over and over in my head. There are days when this plan seems more painful than my plan, but that’s because I can only live a minute at a time. I can’t see what the Father sees. I don’t know the big picture and there are things I may never truly understand. The more I immerse myself in His grace and the more I seek the character of Christ, the more I’m okay with not always understanding, and the more I am thankful for the way He tenderly yet fiercely loves me.

Jeremiah 29:11

Do not fear what’s already been planned out.

I’ve never really been an anxious or fearful person. I like to have and make plans, but overall, I’ve always easily been satisfied with the answer that God has it all planned out. That was until my mom was diagnosed with end stage cancer. It’s fair to say fear overtook me. I became anxious and fearful, lost sleep, and lost my appetite. This was a huge thing happening in our lives. Not that it was the first huge thing, but this was the person I loved more than anyone or anything else. I didn’t understand it.

It was just my mama and I for most of my life. We didn’t have a typical family, and she was my best friend. I was closer to my mom than most, and when she got sick, my world shattered.These feelings of fear and anxiety were new to me.

While my husband and I were going through infertility, I again experienced these anxious and fearful feelings. Once again, something big was happening, and I honestly wasn’t even partially healed from the experience of losing my mom. But one of the things that God placed on my heart as we transitioned from fertility to foster care was that I needed to come to Him just as fiercely, just as passionately, just as intently when I’m not walking through fearful, anxious, and “big” times. When I pursue Christ daily with the same passion, those big moments aren’t quite as scary. I again find myself feeling some level of peace with the knowledge that He’s got this.

I’m not going to say anxiety and fear don’t exist when I draw nearer to Christ, but I will say that dropping that fear at the foot of the cross and allowing Christ to bear the weight of that load… sister, there’s relief that comes with that action. Why is it so easy to call on Christ when we’re walking through difficulty, yet in the mundane day to day, it’s so easy to cut time with Him short, or worse, skip it all together? Why was this time with my Father not a priority during those easy summer months of relaxing and going on vacation? At first, I knew when I was putting off time with Him or cutting time short, then I’d realize a few days had passed… well I was really busy or the baby was teething during those days…

We again find ourselves walking through a time of transition. Only this time we are walking through with the protection of Christ. The more time I spend with Christ during those easy times, the more I learn of the character of the Father that is walking with me through trials.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Whether it’s an easy season or a season full of trials, I encourage you, sweet sister, to cling to the Father. Dig into His word and pray He overtakes your soul, equipping you and sustaining you. He is the only constant in this world. As the world changes and darkens, as seasons come and go, He remains. He is good, He is constant, and He loves you beyond measure.

 

Enough

I wrote this about a year ago and so much has changed in this last year, but friends, this remains the same…

I am enough.

Why is it that this statement can be so hard to believe sometimes? There’s always something else, someone else, another load, another project.

Can I be honest with you? We’ve been living out of our dryer for over a week. If I would have told you this last year it would have had 10 excuses attached to the end of that confession. Attempts at justifying my “less than” actions, or “lack of actions.”

I had folding laundry on my list of to-do’s today and welp, it didn’t get done. What I’m not telling you is the things that have taken importance in this last week or so.

If I count my success based on what’s not done, I’ll never be enough.

Sisters, you are enough.

Our girls are 10 months apart. We had our baby for a week before our 14 month old came into our home. Everyone encouraged me to get the girls on the same napping schedule. I quickly learned that this didn’t work for me. I’d rather stagger their naps so I could give them all my attention for a little bit of the day. This being said, normally a portion of their nap does fall at the same time. Today, our baby didn’t fall right to sleep so I laid on the bed with her and we “talked.” When she finally fell asleep she was holding onto my finger. My scheduled time to get things done quickly went out the window.

I was right where I needed to be.

I want to soak in those moments.

I am enough because of what I AM doing.

I encourage you, sweet sisters, to remember what it is you are accomplishing. I’d rather have a wrinkle in my shirt and the memory of her dimpled hand holding onto mine, than to not have had that moment with her today.

That moment of nothingness is teaching her tiny little soul attachment, connection, and love. How can that not be enough? Find your sufficiency in the Father – in the Truth.

We all have these moments where we feel less than. In these moments I encourage you to see where you are moving, where you are succeeding, where you are enough.

The Lord made you perfect for your husband and children. He knew your strengths and weaknesses before He designed your family. Look at yourself through their eyes.

To both my husband and my children I am enough.

With Christ I am enough.

Now I just have to believe it and stop listening to the lies of the devil. The devil has nothing on the Father. Don’t let him win! Fill your soul with the Truth and be confident in the knowledge that the work you do for your family makes you enough, sweet mama. Honestly, no matter how much you do there is always going to be more. If you’re constantly reaching for total completion you’ll be missing so many beautiful moments in this life – moments that God has you in for just the right reasons.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” 

2 Corinthians 3:5 (ESV)

He Loves Our Broken Whole Again

“Come sit down,” my husband said for the 26th time that night. It was nearing midnight and I was anxiously peering out the peephole of our front door. How could he be so calm in a moment like this?! We were about to meet our first child and he wants me to sit down! He has a way with rationality. Apparently the car won’t actually pull into our driveway any faster if I’m looking out the peephole or sitting on the couch. Anyways, at the door I stood.

The car eventually pulled into our driveway and two Officers of Social Services carried a car seat with a newborn baby girl out into the night and straight into our hearts. My life was about to change in ways I didn’t yet understand.

I made a “deal” with God, you see. I would love any child He brings into our lives unconditionally and He would protect me from the “heartbreak” of a relationship with birthparents.

Yeah – right.

We had Baby A for approximately 21 minutes when the CPS officer handed me the phone number for Baby A’s mom and told me she’s expecting a call tonight. I’m sure he noticed the obvious deer in headlights look on my face so he gently told me, “she’s scared too.”

I have this sign hanging above the window in our kitchen that reads, “If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”

Well I did make that call to reassure Baby A’s mom that she was here and she’d be taken care of. A short 3 days later I found myself walking into my very first visit holding Baby A in my arms and handing her to her mom for her scheduled visitation. I monitored that visit and would continue to monitor for the rest of the time Baby A was in our home.

God refined my heart through this hard experience.

It’s doesn’t take much work to take the easy road. Profound, I know.

Where I thought I’d rather save myself the pain of knowing Baby A’s mom I would have lost the experience of creating an irreplaceable relationship with a girl that now looks up to me as a mom. I learned it wasn’t about me, but was about them – not about what I would lose, but what they would gain. This is a lesson that stretches far beyond foster care, although I’ve had the difficult opportunity to learn this lesson more than a couple times as a foster mom.

So often we jump to our own conclusion about how things should go – how they’ll work best. This can be so dangerous for ourselves, and ultimately for our faith.

God doesn’t promise us a life without pain, He just promises to walk through the pain with us.

Sometimes those painful moments are the most refining moments.

I’d be lying if I said that forming a relationship with Baby A’s family was easy. It took more patience than I had, more work then I expected, and in all honesty, she didn’t really like me at first. God pushed me to stick it out. A short five months later I knew why. I had formed an amazing relationship with this family and on a Thursday night at 7pm, Ryan and I drove to the same parking lot we had met every week for five months and handed Baby A to her mom for the last time. We all cried and one mom drove home with the baby she worked to get back while the other mom drove home with an empty car seat.

Ryan and I drove home in silence that night and, as expected, we were hurting. It was a bittersweet hurt. We were so happy for this family but we were, once again, childless and left without control of these feelings of loss. We raised and loved this baby as our own and she was now gone. The human side of me felt this loss deep in my bones.

Foster care is not about us. It’s about giving to others in their time of need. This being said, you pour 110% of your heart and soul into these kids and, if you are able, into their family. In the end it goes one of two ways – adoption or reunification. As much as we loved Baby A we also loved her mom and rooted for and supported this mama’s efforts during the entire 5 months.

I love our kids fiercely, but this love isn’t even close to the love the Father has for His children. He loves Baby A more than I ever could have. He loves her family, and He loves the mama that handed that baby girl over that night.

He loves my broken heart whole again.

In my weakness and in my sadness, He loves me and carries me through.  

Sisters, He mends our broken heart.

Three weeks later, my phone rang again and we said a prayer over the newest little life in our home. As I rocked the newest precious babe to sleep that night I was reminded that He is the Healer of brokenness. Through brokenness, Minnie came into our lives and we’ll love her without bounds, regardless of what tomorrow might bring. Hopefully, that love will teach her of the love of Christ – the love of the only one that will never, ever, fail her.

He is good. Always.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Moving In

Happy New Year! We were excited to spend the holidays in our new home this year. We finally moved in at the beginning of October and welcomed settling in with open arms. As fun as this last year or so has been, we were more than ready to make this house our home.

We bought our lot in February of 2016 after a long search around Nashville and the surrounding cities. I never wanted to build again but we fell in love with the area we chose and loved the neighborhood so build again we did!

After spending the summer watching the walls of the house we’d soon call home go up, we were so thankful to make it to the end! We closed the second week of October and finally unpacked the boxes that had been stored for the last year! We couldn’t believe a whole year had gone by since we moved from CA to TN.

So here she is. The home we will bring our babies home to, that will see laughter and some tears, that will host holidays and welcome us home after long days at work. We absolutely love our new community and couldn’t be happier that these walls will hold our most precious family moments.

Hope y’all are having a Happy New Year and if you’re anywhere in the Nashville area… keep warm!

 

it’s been awhile

Welp its been awhile! This year has been the craziest, best year yet – full of change and y’all… change can be such a beautiful thing! Last year we packed up our life and drove 1,973 miles from Southern California to make a home in Tennessee. I never could have guessed we’d rent for almost a full year before finally moving in to the house we’re making a home but we couldn’t be happier.

We knew we’d probably never have the opportunity to drive across the country -just Ryan and I again – so we were excited to pack up the car with the three wiens and take our time getting to Tennessee. We were able to stop and see family in Arizona, friends in Texas, visit Magnolia Farms, stop in Monroe, Louisiana and see where Duck Dynasty is at, and see some of the prettiest sights in this country. Mississippi kept a little piece of my heart. The entire drive was spent with one or the other of us saying we’ve never seen such beautiful places.

We finally reached Nashville and after 5 days in the car it was a welcomed sight! We still had a few days before all our stuff arrived but we towed a trailer out with most of our day to day things inside. We spent the first few days checking out all the yummy places right around our house. From the moment we got to Nashville we both knew we were home!

We moved here at the end of October and it was definitely our first experience with a true Fall. I couldn’t believe the colors of the trees. Everywhere we went people would tell us, “oh this is nothing. It was too dry this year.” But for us, it was gorgeous! We may or may not have taken tons of pictures of the trees during those first few weeks.. We went on picnics and visited Cheekwood to get pumpkins. Did I mention that because there is no traffic here we actually got to do things AFTER work?! What is this world??

Ryan ordered his first chicken and waffles after church one Sunday and was hooked after that! We spent the first couples months exploring different places near Nashville. We didn’t know where we wanted to look for our home yet so we took our time checking out the different areas. After a couple months we were fairly sure we had it narrowed down to two areas. Our house in CA finally closed after the 1st of January and we immediately bought a lot of land in a neighborhood we loved and began building… something I never wanted to do again but here we went!

Winter was a new experience for us! We saw our first snowfall together and the wiens were less than excited about our little photoshoot in the snow. Heidi especially decided she’d stay inside for the winter.

So needless to say the first few months in Nashville changed our lives in all the best ways. We missed family and friends but we experienced more life together in those months and I’m so grateful to be on this adventure. Spoiler alert… It’s only gotten better!!

 

Smoothies!

Smoothies are a mom’s best friend! I’ve always loved breakfast smoothies for myself for many reasons: they are so easy, I never run out of the ingredients, they give me energy and fill me up without weighing my down at the start of the day, and did I mention they are easy – just to name a few!
When I became a mom to toddlers, my love for smoothies only increased. With our first little guy J, I couldn’t fill him up! He was constantly hungry and he had a problem with chewing which had my Heimlich maneuver on standby at all times – not to mention my nerves a wreck when he ate anything close to age appropriate bites. Snacks in particular were an issue because I couldn’t just give him a snack to eat; I’d need to be watching. Then with our second baby, JoJo, we had the opposite issue of her never wanting to eat. Bring on the patience, sister!
So anyways, I needed to get creative. I have to credit J for the idea because he’s the one that originally asked to taste my green smoothie and why I hadn’t thought to let him try it before is beyond me! HE LOVED IT!! So this is where our “smoothies for toddlers” got its start!
I wanted to share a few of our family’s favorite recipes with y’all. A few sweet friends have asked me recently to write a post on this so here goes:
** Note: We only drink coconut milk for our milk so that’s what I’m writing on these recipes, but any kind of milk is totally fine – it substitutes equally. I also will use coconut water. Regular water works to but I like the added benefits of the coconut milk/water.
Blend all ingredients in each recipe until smooth, add a fun straw, and ENJOY!
Just Peachy
8 – 10oz coconut milk
1C kale
1C spinach
1 banana
1/2C frozen peaches
Tropical Greens
8 – 10oz coconut water
2 C kale
1 banana
1 C frozen pineapple
big splash of orange juice
Berry Blast
8 – 10oz coconut milk
1 C kale
1 C spinach
1 ½ C frozen mixed berries
juice of half a lemon
Peanut Butter and Banana
8 – 10oz coconut milk
½ C spinach
2 frozen bananas
2 TBS peanut butter powder (our favorite is by Just Great Stuff)
Greek Goodness
8 oz coconut milk
¼ C (2oz) Greek yogurt
1 C spinach
1 C frozen berries
1 banana
1 TSP chia seeds
Peanut Butter & Jelly
8 – 10oz coconut milk
½ C spinach
2 TBSP peanut butter powder
1 C frozen berries
Mighty Green Toddler
8 – 10oz coconut water
½ cucumber
½ C spinach
1 green apple, cored
1 frozen banana
1 heaping TBSP hemp seeds
The best part about these recipes – you don’t need to measure exactly and you can make “smoothie packs.” These have saved me SO much time. Prep your portioned out fruits in zip lock bags and freeze (you can add the greens in, I just prefer to portion greens and refrigerate separately). Then you can grab two bags in the morning, add you milk or water and blend. Literally a 30 second meal or snack!
Fun goodies to add: hemp seeds, chia seeds, or honey are some of our favorites!
(If you have any different recipes that your kiddos, or you, love leave the ideas below! I’m always looking for easy and fun new recipes!)

 

Through My Daughter’s Eyes

I was sitting on the chair holding our 5 month old while our 15 month old played at my feet. Our toddler had recently taken a HUGE interest in her baby doll and was quietly playing with her… then it happened. She shot her arms into the air, gripping her baby doll with both hands, making a screeching version of “wheeee!” My jaw dropped open as I watched her beam at her doll and repeat the action over a few more times. You see, I do this to our 5 month old all the time. I never noticed our toddler watching though. It was like a light bulb went off in that moment. I realized just what she sees and picks up on.
I think naturally, as people, we are our harshest critics. I always feel like that one-time I raised my voice, that one-time I couldn’t hide the tears, that one-time I lost it in traffic, those one-times are all the times I’m “ruining” my children. But in all the time our toddler has played with her doll, I’ve never seen her loose it. She’s hugged her, kissed her, plunged her into the air with a squeal, or covered her with a blanket. These are the actions she’s picked up on because they are repeated – day after day, after day. She repeats the love because she is fiercely loved moment after moment, despite the moments I’m not shining very bright.
After that moment sitting in our room, I’ve asked her “what does baby love?” and she excitedly repeats pushing her baby up into the air and squealing. As a foster mom, I more so feel I have no room for error with our children. One wrong move or word or tone can trigger past traumas. And as a mama bear I feel like my kids will see my failures and my failures will scar them. But in this moment, my toddler taught me a lesson. I think she’ll eventually know, if she doesn’t already, that I’m not perfect, but she knows now, and will always know she is loved despite my (or her) less-than moments.
I’m okay with not being the perfect mom, because God made me to be my kid’s mom – perfection excluded.
Some days are amazing while others are about survival!
So I’ll leave the perfection up to the Father, and focus on loving my kids well, giving us all a little more grace, and reminding myself that my kids will see how I act and will emulate the actions done most frequently. This also goes for them witnessing my relationship with Christ. If my children see my relationship with God shining through ALL the moments of our day, they will learn of the character of the Father. They will desire Him and will want His love. They will see, through my daily walk holding my Father’s hand, what being HIS daughter looks like. It doesn’t look like perfection, rather, they will see His character shining through my humanity, they’ll offer and be offered grace, they’ll mess up and be forgiven and they’ll learn to give forgiveness freely. I hope when my kids see me they’ll learn these lessons. You know – the lessons that can’t be taught through words but WILL be emulated in actions.
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