Welcome, 2020

Maybe I misinterpreted, but as the end of the year posts began filtering into my feed it seemed like most people were as eager to say goodbye to 2019 as we were, looking forward to this new year with renewed hope and anticipation of things to come.

We’ve had some time to think about it, and now I’m not quite as relieved to see 2019 gone.  Don’t get me wrong, 2019 was a hard year for our family, filled with uncertainty and doubt and loss, things that tested us in all sorts of ways; yes, I am looking forward to a new year and a new start.  But, I’m thankful for everything that happened and the way that it did.

All of our uncertainty about work and health and friendships and our family, our adoption, our “baby sister” that we waited so long for led us here.  I have to question if we would be as ecstatic if we hadn’t gone through our own personal drought.

I really don’t think we would be.

And of course, hindsight is always 20/20, right?  It’s amazing how just one variable, one unknown turning known, can change your whole mindset.  That’s what happened to us.

In October, we inquired to review the file of a little girl in Taiwan; we had enough unknowns and variables going on already that we figured “what was one more?”  Of course, we fell in love, not with her picture, but with everything we know about her, and knew almost immediately we wanted to be her parents.  When our social worker helped us with getting our home study Taiwan-ready (changing it from domestic to China to Taiwan), she said “If you end up adopting her–if Taiwan says yes–you’ll have an amazing story of all the things that happened to bring her to you.”

As it turns out, she’s right.

We didn’t plan on this, but we hoped for it, hoped for it with everything we had.  The night before we heard that we were chosen, I wrote in my journal “I’d rather hear nothing at all than a no, because not having an answer is not a no.”  Mind, body, soul…every hour of every day, almost every minute there was some part of us begging God to hear a yes.

1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 

Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

And Hebrews 11 begins with “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 

We hoped for a yes.  We prayed for a yes.  We know He could have said no.  But now, looking back over all of 2019, the parts we loved and the parts we’d rather forget, we know that all of that uncertainty was preparing us for this.

Because the irony?  2020 will bring us just as much, if not more, uncertainty.  The “great humbling of 2019” will continue on.  We don’t know when we’ll travel.  We don’t know what challenges she’ll face once she’s home.  We don’t even know if we can fit our three carseats/boosters in the backseat of our car.

But we are so excited, so thrilled to know God has chosen us to be Abigail Jade’s parents.

Abigail: a father’s joy. Her Father’s joy.


Do Small Things

It’s finally December, and while in some ways 2019 has flown by, in other ways we will be glad to keep moving forward.  This past year certainly hasn’t panned out the way we anticipated or hoped.  Does it ever though?

When we started out the year, as you know, we made changes to our waiting game, effectively closing one door and opening another.  Now, over a year later, we’ve had more doors open and close than we knew what to do with.  While we’ve been relatively quiet, please know that expanding our family by adoption is still our main priority (and you can follow in a private group here).  The thing is…now?  We only know what we’re hoping for.

Our season of “waiting” began five years ago this month…which we both agreed seems crazy to think about.  Five years ago we began the adoption process (12/12/14), and, fun fact, neither of our boys were even born yet!  We’ve been in some form or another of anticipation or of not having answers, but still knowing what we were hoping and waiting for since that date.  While I don’t pretend that our waiting season of anticipation is remotely comparable to the Advent season, i.e. the birth and coming of Christ, it’s a somewhat easily understood analogy to make.

Hope and anticipation for something can be really fun.  It’s nice to look forward to something.  On the short term, we’re really looking forward to surprising the boys at Christmas with the gift of a Disney trip…who wouldn’t be excited for that?  And on the long term, the wait that’s been going on for over a year now, we’re still looking forward to Jet and Judah’s baby sister (whoever and wherever she may be).  Both boys picked out gifts for her in the Amazon toy catalog, unprompted, so I know they’re also excitedly waiting.  (Although, to be fair, one boy’s gift suspiciously looked like something he chose for himself.  It’s probably not the boy you think it is.)

On the flip side, when that hoped-for-something doesn’t happen…when plans change…it can be hard to keep the momentum going.  While we wait for the unknown to reveal itself (Into the Unknown, anyone?), for all of our half open doors to completely open or close, we know that not having the answers right now is okay.  Still though, we are faced with a choice of how we spend this in between time.  Do we sit, wait, and do nothing?  Or do we find things we can do now?

I’m not a huge fan of at times overused quotes, but I found one a few weeks ago I never actually heard before that’s great for our family while we are in this middle stage: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

Do small things…with great love. 

We teach the boys that to love someone is to look for ways to serve them, to make some sort of personal sacrifice to show others what they mean to us.  There are quite a few examples in the Bible we can think of, but right now off the top of my head I’m picturing Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, and the woman washing Jesus’s feet with expensive perfume.  (Side note, no feet have been washed sacrificially or in servitude in this house to date.)  But, this is the easiest explanation for them on their level of understanding.

And so, if you stop by our home and a small person asks you “how can I serve you?”, no, we are not training them for a career at Chick Fil A.  I also know this isn’t a new concept of doing an act of service or kindness each day during the advent season. (Here are a couple resources here and here you can use for your family if you want.)  Instead, we hope this becomes a heart habit for them, something that goes beyond the 24ish days of Advent and what they’ve been practicing up until now.  As a family, we continue to look forward to and anticipate what 2020 will bring while focusing on how we use our time during our own season of waiting.






Ten Minutes

Two nights ago, I was crocheting in my chair like the little old lady I am inside and Derek was jogging on the treadmill when I heard a strange sound.  I was immediately suspicious and immediately anxious, but brushed it off.  A few seconds later, I heard it again, but louder, so I called for Derek to shut it down so we could listen together and try to figure out what we were hearing.

Subconsciously, we knew, but our brains had not yet caught up.

Let’s back up the truck.  Earlier this year, we determined that we were not going to add to the noise of being parents to kids with special needs.  Sure, there were and are some things that inevitably come up and we discuss openly (within reason) or will answer questions as we see fit.  But, as far as our children’s physical health goes, we know we’ve jumped the hurdles and left them way behind in the dust.  It’s been over two years since any sort of emergency room visit, and all reports for our son bearing his brave scar come back great.  Rock solid, one may even say.  Up until last week, both our kids had perfect attendance at school (it’s preschool, but perfect attendance is perfect attendance).  Unprecedented for our family.

Then last week, Jet got a nosebleed at school–the kind not caused by picking, and the kind that because of his special combination of him and his meds lasts for almost an hour.  The kind that used to be a precursor to illness.  Surely, that was just a coincidence though.  Weird, random, no big deal.

Over the weekend, Jet sneezed more than anyone in the family.  It’s not allergy season.  He wasn’t stuffy or congested and didn’t have a cough.  Again, these sneeze attacks used to be a precursor to the bad colds.  Not those kind, I mean the really bad ones.  But we’ve not had one of those episodes in months.  He probably doesn’t even have asthma.  His pulmonary hypertension is basically nonexistent.

Now it’s Tuesday night, and we suddenly hear barking and gasping and hysterics.  What in the world…?  Our bodies were in action before our brains were.  We haven’t heard a cough that bad, a wheeze that bad, in actual years.

And the routine comes back in an instant.  Sit him up.  Grab the rescue inhaler and backup nebulizer.  Hand over chest to count breaths, feel the heart beating and lungs contracting, retracting.  Phone in other hand with 911 dialed but not connected, just in case.  Shoes on, wallet and keys in reach.  Waiting, waiting, waiting…is it going to get better?  Worse?  Do we connect the call?  Are we overreacting?  Hold it together, don’t cry.  Stay calm.  We’re the adults.

Just like our subconscious recognized what was happening before our thoughts could catch up, Jet’s did too.  Except this time, it’s different.  We have an audience of one scared brother who has never witnessed this before while the other is old enough to panic, old enough to be aware of the crisis, to realize this is beyond his control.  It’s all beyond our control.

And then more decisions.  If we can just get him to breathe.  In and out.  Five times.  And repeat.  It’s not working, and we still have the phone in hand and try to decide what to do.  Stay calm, stay calm, stay calmGod, it’s not fair!  We are past this!  We should be past this!  Knowing that what we do next is going to have lasting effects, we do it anyway.  One of us has to hold him still, restrain his thrashing, panicked movements, and the other has to hold the rescue medication in place.  And he still isn’t taking in enough of the medication to ease the barking, wheezing cough.  He’s breathing too fast for it to work.  Stay calm.  We can do this.  God please, help him breathe! 

Until finally, finally, he takes one breath.  Slow enough that we know the medication will start to work.  Four more.  You can do it!  Here comes another coughing fit.  Move the device and grab a towel because it sounds like something is coming up from his lungs.  If that happens, we have to call, but it doesn’t.  Relief.  Then terror, again.  Phone in hand, again.  Restrain, mask over face, and deep breath.  Too fast.  Try again.  Again.  And now it’s working, slowly but surely.  Then finally, he’s calm.  Oxygen is up to 98.  And he falls asleep with the pulse ox still on his finger.

We leave the room, put our phones down.  One of us hops in the shower just in case.  Laugh with a tinge of hysteria about looking forward to hospital breakfasts.  Fill some prescriptions to pick up in the morning for an extra boost on those lungs.  Sleep a restless sleep waiting for the next episode…and it doesn’t come.

IMG_5892Today is Thursday, and he’s better.  We spent the day yesterday having him practice holding the device during his treatments, every two hours while he’s calm, because he’s old enough to learn how.  Knowing that giving him some measure of control during one of these episodes may help keep him calm.  Showing him old photos of him chillaxing with nasal cannulas and breathing masks that look like duck bills.  He’s totally got this. 

The cough started again mid-late afternoon yesterday, but we’ve got this.  Fresh, cold air to calm down the airways.  Warm bath to loosen up the crud building up.  Lining up all the equipment that had been buried in the cabinet, putting some in each room because we’ve accumulated extras over the years.  Checking on him before we go to bed, no fever, no wheeze, no words…but a look of gratefulness and awareness in his eyes that wasn’t there before.

Ten minutes, tops.  From start to finish, ten minutes is all it took to pop the bubble we’ve been living in.  That even after three and a half years, this is still, occasionally, our reality.  We’re so grateful, so thankful, that this isn’t our daily life.  We know that CHD is so much worse for so many kids and their parents.  His heart is repaired and we are so grateful to his doctors, surgeons, God.  We don’t know why his heart was able to be repaired, giving him the ability to live a full life but others are not, and we don’t take that for granted.  And while our ultimate goal is to not give any sort of special treatment because of his condition, these ten minutes proved that sometimes, we can’t.

But this time gave us something extra, outside of the weird PTSD parents of heart warriors get.  This time, it took ten minutes for our almost five year old son to realize this, this, is what having a brave scar means.


How We Dwell

IMG_2186It’s been a hot minute and a half since our last post in January.  Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it should be almost Thanksgiving…but here we are.  I took the last half a year and then some off from blogging and instead enjoyed being.  Honestly, it was kind of nice!  I never want to write because I feel like I have to, and so the break was good for me.  Now, here we are and maybe because it’s this time of year my words are always easier to find.  And even though none of these photos have anything to do with what’s been on my mind, they’ll also give you a glimpse of our summer.  There is something about the in between of fall and winter that always stirs up a lot of memories of all different kinds, but this year, we’ve been learning and focusing on how to remember–and not to dwell.

Aren’t those the same?

Kind of.

IMG_2617I can remember that three years ago Jet was in and out of the hospital.  I can remember the complete and utter helplessness each of those illnesses created in me.  But if I dwell on just those feelings, it can warp the memory and even change my mood today, choosing to feel sorry for myself and even him, instead of celebrating how far he’s come.

EE96880E-9C86-4E4D-A1D6-F4E3A4D73374I can remember that a year and a half ago Judah came home and we thought what have we done.  It’s okay to catalog the experience, to remember and learn from it, but I can’t let what ifs guide our future choices.

IMG_1844I can remember meeting both my kids for the first time.  How excited we were.  Nervous and hopeful.  And if I’m not careful, I can start the comparison game that nothing will ever measure up to those moments ever again.  I can warp happy memories into bittersweet, melancholy ones…wishing for things that didn’t really exist.  Family days are hard, and adjustment periods are even harder.  It’s important to remember the hard too, even if it’s easier to remember only the happy.

img_1950.jpgI can remember how easy things used to be. Friendships, finances, life in general…what I’m trying to say is that remembering isn’t bad!  But the way I dwell on these thoughts can taint my reality.  I can choose to be thankful for the experiences or to learn from my experiences, or I can choose to be bitter, jealous, anxious, etc.

In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the price of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.

I don’t think Paul is saying to erase our memories completely.  After all, our past shapes us–but it does not define us.  If I lived in the past, what future do I have to live for?


I’m not sure yet how we’ll remember the events of this year.  Ironically, even though so far this year has seemed to be one of our quietest yet, I can also say that so far, not a single thing we’ve planned for has happened and much of the unplanned has thrown us for a loop.  I’m not saying this to be vague, but instead to ponder how I’ll remember 2019.

Like the apostle Paul, I too can choose how I frame my memories.  I’m not saying we should ignore our ups and downs, but instead, how can we use them, ultimately, to glorify God?


The Biggest of Changes

Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we have to make hard calls that mean major changes.

In this particular instance, we’re making the biggest of changes to make room for the smallest of people.

As I’ve written about before, when we applied for our third international adoption in September, we did so wholeheartedly. We were all in. I won’t rehash our entire thought process when changes were brought to light, but you can read about it here if you want. We planned to simultaneously apply to two separate international programs, and see what happened next.

Well, what happened next was not what we were expecting. We planned on adding to our family at least one more time via international adoption (and someday maybe we still will), but God, once again, showed us he had other plans for our family. There are a variety of factors that contributed to this change of plans, but ultimately, what you need to know is this: once we changed our course, once we went into complete and utter unfamiliar territory, all those feelings of doubt and frustration disappeared. The weight we had unknowingly been carrying for months lifted off of our shoulders, and we finally knew we were moving in the right direction. The right door had opened.

img_8718And so.

Moving forward, onward and upward, we are now pursuing domestic adoption through Christian Adoption Consultants. Our home study will be complete by the end of next week, and we hope to be presenting to expectant mothers by the middle of March.

This is brand new territory for us, since our experience has only been limited to international adoption (NOT with infants either). However, we’re very excited about these new plans and hoping for a baby girl, a sister for some rock star big brothers who have already told me that they will change their baby’s diapers, feed her, and “rock her like this”. All of those things will not last long I am sure (and in the last instance, will be heavily supervised).

Why domestic? Why not another country? Why not “wait it out” with the existing country?

All I can say is each family is responsible for their own decisions and actions following prayer and consideration, and this is the direction we are taking. Our end goal is still the same. We are growing our family through adoption, the way God has adopted us into his family. While we mourn the could have been, we also celebrate that this little girl will still wear her PomPom the Panda shoes, because they are a part of her big brothers’ culture. We are each our own person, and we will continue to celebrate all of the cultures, ethnicities, and identities in our home.


When Derek was born, his birth mother chose life. We know, from her own words, that she refused to consider abortion. We pray for an expectant mom right now in whatever circumstance she’s in and whoever she may be, considering those same options, that she too will choose life and inextricably be woven into our family.

Because we are using an adoption consultant, we anticipate being matched sooner than later. You also might be surprised to know that domestic adoption is about one and a half times more than each of our previous international adoptions because of agency fees, lawyer fees, travel fees, hospital fees, prenatal care, etc. We have never believed that finances should stop you from adoption, because then we wouldn’t be trusting God to provide what we need–when we need it.

While we will anticipate being able to cover much of the cost ourselves, we once again are asking that you prayerfully consider helping provide toward our remaining need to our tax deductible AdoptTogether account. By using this account, all financial assistance will go directly to our agency. Unlike international adoption, where you pay in increments (almost like trimesters!), we need to have the full amount as soon as we are matched–which could be April or it could be August. We simply don’t know, which is why we need to be prepared.

As part of a video for our church this morning, our family contributed a small voiceover that I’d like to share with a bit more detail.

Adoption costs. It costs in more ways than you can ever imagine. It tests everything in you: your strength, your finances, your heart, your faith.

Yet there is not a dollar amount high enough, a hospital stay long enough, an amount of sleep deep enough, that will ever be greater than the life of a child.

When tested, the balance will never show that our personal cost is more important than having an impact on the eternal soul of a child.

Because of this, our family will always choose life. We will always choose hope.

No matter the cost.




The Boys’ Room 2.0

When we moved to this house, we knew our number one priority would be fixing up the boys’ room so that it would be as seamless of a transition as possible.

The problem is, we spent hours…days…weeks…making their room at the old house what I like to call magazine worthy.


Just about the only thing we didn’t change in that room was the flooring, since we put that carpet in around 2014 or so. Derek built the toddler beds, the top for the grouping of three Ikea Malm nightstands, and the wainscot on the walls. We painted that room twice since the first coat of gray wasn’t quite dark enough, we specially framed that animal map of the world from Etsy, bought special bedding from Land of Nod before it becameIMG_7097 Crate & Kids, and bought three sets of curtains before deciding on the ones that are pictured…that we had to leave at the old house when we moved. The whole room was a huge labor of love, to first welcome Jet home and then later Jude.

Basically, we had a lot to live up to if I wanted it to be even remotely similar.

Then, after we moved in, making the boys’ room took a backseat to helping them adjust to another new normal we had tossed at them, which I think we are finally pulling out of.

Plus, we were tired.

Also, their new room is the biggest bedroom in this house, so no pressure or anything.

May I present to you, the before pictures:


Lots of space. Lots of walls. And since we’re on the adoption budget, building our own wainscot again was not an option, and neither was hiring a painter.

We tossed around wallpaper for the window wall so that the shelves we bought to hold their growing collection of books would pop, but that wasn’t in the budget. We debated switching them to twin beds but these aren’t even a year old…and the boys still fit perfectly fine.

Just about the only thing we agreed on was the brand of paint, and thankfully, Sherwin-Williams always comes through for us since they saved the color we used in the old house for the boys’ room. Fun fact, this entire house is painted the same color; the ceilings, walls, and trim are all a neutral greige that we can live with but we know we will be updating soon.

IMG_6990 (1)And so, late last week we stopped and got three buckets of Lattice (the perfect neutral gray in my opinion) and a few gallons of ceiling white so that we can paint both the boys’ room now and the other bedroom in the future. Plus, this time around, we had four extra hands (that worked about five minutes but help is help).

Regardless, I think this was the absolute fastest we have ever painted a room. We decided not to use painter’s tape because with the right brush and a slow and steady hand (that would be Derek), there’s really no need for it. We started during nap time and finished by dinner–including the extra “help” we got along the way.

I also upgraded the boys’ curtains from a gray and white stripe linen to a thermal black and white stripe, courtesy of Amazon. I’ve been really impressed with a lot of the home stuff we’ve found on Amazon, whether it’s curtains or bedside tables or lamps or planters. I also look on Wayfair regularly for deals on home decor, but I had Amazon gift cards this time around! I picked a black and white stripe because I felt like it made the room just a little less babyish and a little more boyish. I don’t anticipate these curtains lasting until their teens, but it would be nice to not have to change them out in a year.

We hung the shelves, hung the framed poster, and I spent the day cleaning their room and semi-organizing it. May I finally present to you, the finished product!


Because it’s such a big space, we knew their bedroom would also serve as a playroom since the rule in this house is they aren’t allowed to leave their room until Derek gets up for work (anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30). They got a Melissa & Doug Town Rug, along a matching wooden town play set and wooden town vehicles (not pictured). They also can use the top of their dresser as a train table if they so desire.


Like I said, it’s a really big space, so our shelves (which are actually Ikea picture ledges) are quite a bit bigger to hold and display all their books. If there are two things I’m particular on, it’s the quality of children’s books and toys. I don’t know what that makes me, but I don’t think it’s impractical to want books that teach some sort of lesson or to ask for toys that won’t break easily. (In this house, toys that don’t break easily are a must!)

IMG_7089The last little addition to the room is a more spacious reading nook with their little chairs, some board books I trust them with, and a play tent. Because of the tent’s stripes, I skipped curtains for the little window on that side of their room. I also did a massive stuffed animal clean out and kept only the meaningful ones (gifts) because with every blood draw, needle stick, or hospital stay we’ve gotten at least one stuffed animal (and in one case, a dog toy). They aren’t gone for good, just hiding in the closet.

Speaking of closets…that’s something you aren’t going to get a picture of, because that’s next on my list of things to organize. Their closet is massive. I’m thinking of putting in little wall push lights and bean bags for reading nooks once they outgrow their tent and chairs. Thoughts?

Anyway, that concludes the boys’ room upgrade, 2.0. Not even a year ago we were frantically changing Jordan’s nursery to a bedroom for two toddlers, and now we’re in a new house…and I can finally say one room done!

Just seven to go.
Stay tuned for more room updates. Next is a playroom overhaul. We have a reason for our madness, and can’t wait to share more with you!
I tried to link everything that we used, in case anyone was interested. Out of everything, I think the shelves from Ikea were my favorite purchase (and we bought those way back in July when we moved in)! Plus, of course, huge shout out to Derek for building the toddler beds and Ikea hacking the dresser. If you need something built, he’s your guy!


Present: (adj.) being, existing, or occurring at this time or now; current.

I normally don’t do New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve never specifically set out to choose a “word” for my year, but this year I really want (and need) to keep my focus on something to remind me to stay in the moment…and I can’t think of a better word than present.

To stay present, to keep your focus in the moment, for some people might come easily.
For me, it does not.

image2If you suffer from anxiety in any way, shape, or form, you’ll understand why it’s so hard for me to stay present. At any given moment, I can think of at least twenty things that are playing in the back of my mind, much like Shel Silverstein’s poem “What If”. At the same time, I replay conversations and events in the past that I can’t change, yet still keep me up at night.

I came across a saying once, attributed to Isak Dinesen, that reads: You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.

That’s spot on accurate in my case. I believe another, and better, way to phrase this is found in Matthew 6 (vs 34): Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

So…how does one go about staying present, especially when one’s mind is always spinning ahead?

Every day, I’m committing to the following:

  1. Going outside.
  2. Taking time for myself, and just myself, to do something that brings me joy.
  3. Writing down a Bible verse or quote that specifically spoke to me that day.
  4. Writing down something that I am thankful for.

Why those four things?

Going outside helps clear my headspace (especially if it’s 15 degrees outside…that’ll clear anyone’s headspace). It brings my focus outside of the walls of our house that sometimes seem to close in. It gives me a purpose…whether that’s going to get the mail or picking up one of the kids from school or getting an iced coffee and a cake pop.

Taking time for myself doing something that brings me joy…that’s kind of two things in one. Taking time for yourself is important, when you’re constantly being pulled in a hundred directions, or so it sometimes seems. Doing something that brings you joy reminds you of who you are. Again, that small thing that brings you joy could be coffee with a friend, or twenty minutes with the door shut in your bedroom working on a puzzle on your iPad.

Writing things down is a proven tactic to improve your memory. Granted, for some people writing things down might just mean you remember you wrote something down somewhere, sometime; but in theory, writing something down in a designated place helps reinforce what you’ve learned. This gives me a challenge and purpose to study more, read more, and absorb more.

Going along with writing down a Bible verse or quote is also writing down something you’re truly thankful for. The key is to focus on the positive. We can always think of things we need to ask God help with or for, and there are definitely days where one child is in hour three of a hysterical fit and the other has shut down emotionally and the dog has decided to turn the living room into his personal outhouse that make it hard to find something to be thankful for. Finding something, anything to be thankful for, even if it’s as simple as “I’m thankful for iced lattes with classic syrup” is still worth remembering (and maybe worth a laugh down the road). image1

By doing this daily, eventually I hope my mindset changes that it’s no longer a chore to think of things I’m thankful for or to find things that bring me joy. That instead of approaching events or days with dread and worry, I can turn my thought process around little by little. And the reason for always writing all of these things down? To flip back in one month, six months, etc. on a particularly bad day when you’re having a hard time staying present (or even a good day for retrospection) to see your progress and strength and that I can do hard things.

And the only way I can do those things is to stay present. To focus on the here and now, and not worry about two weeks, two months, or two years from now, so that at the end of the day I can say I didn’t waste my time focusing on my worries and anxieties.

We have may exciting things happening in 2019, but with that excitement there’s still underlying fear and uncertainty. To risk a cliche, we don’t know the future, but we know Who holds the future. If you want to join me, or join us, in being present every day, I’d love to do it together with you. Hopefully, these practices we put into place will help bring peace, calm, and clarity along the way.

Happy New Year!



Looking Another Direction

IMG_2941It’s no secret that our family loves the beach, and specifically the beaches along 30A. Every year, we make it a priority to spend a week together at one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world (no, really, I think it’s in Fodor’s or something, even though we still might be a little biased). Of course, the beach town vibes, the food, the shops, the lack of commercialization, the Southern charm, the white sand and warm Gulf coast waters all play major factors in why we choose this location to stop and reset as a family, year after year.

But my favorite part of the each day? My favorite part of each vacation?


Any and each and every sunset, both the time leading up to it and the time just after it goes beyond the horizon. I’ve never not seen a gorgeous sunset there; and if you’re a Pirates of the Caribbean fan, you’ll understand the reference when I say we’ve even witnessed (and recorded) the “green flash”. And when the sun finally sets, the bell rings; signalling that the day is done and time to get ready for the next. Clouds or no clouds, the sky is a painting no one could ever replicate, no two the same, and even a photo never compare to seeing God’s paintbrush in person.

IMG_3626This year though, when we were watching the sunset in Seaside on our what we anticipated being our last night there as a family of four, I happened to look the other way, and saw something just as beautiful: the reflection of the sunset in the eastern sky. I never considered to look the other way; I was always so focused on the obvious beauty in front of me that I didn’t consider the beauty around me.

Adoption can be a lot like that.

At the beginning of this week, we received the shocking news that we could be facing a three year wait time until referral, and three years is what they were hoping for; the possibility that it could be even longer exists. We were also encouraged to look into adoption programs with other countries. I have to admit, I spent a good part of the week angry, confused, and questioning God, His timing, His plan. The added bonus of watching constant content streaming in every feed reminding me that it’s National Adoption Month didn’t help my state of mind either.

Because obviously, since we’re following God’s leading, everything should go our way, right?

In the space of 24 hours, we went from having a plan to having no plan. We planned to adopt internationally from the same country again, the same country of our boys’ birth, knowing the wait might be a smidge longer but ultimately going the way of our previous two adoption with being matched fairly quickly. Suddenly, a possible three year wait is looming ahead of us, along with the unknowns of could we/should we pursue a different country–a country with a whole new set of rules, a whole new set of documents, a whole new process…a whole new everything.

The only way to describe how we were feeling is that we were standing in front of two doors…but were the doors half-open or half-shut? Which door was half-open? Were they both half-shut? Do we push or pull? Did we, after everything so far, do the wrong thing? Should we change our plans completely? Agencies? Countries? Ages? Throw in the towel altogether? Everything we were assuming we knew was suddenly not true, and we felt sucker punched.

And then we remembered, just like a light bulb went off. The country we were encouraged to pursue is the same country we originally planned to adopt from, before switching to the one we actually adopted from–twice. Talk about a full circle moment.

IMG_1856 (1)And look. Just look at how that turned out, even though it wasn’t our original plan.

We’ve been so focused on what was in front of us, the beauty of adoption from where we’ve been twice before, that we failed to consider beauty anywhere else. Because of these changes, we can open our home to a child from yet a different country, a different culture, a different ethnicity. Our focus wasn’t on the end game, providing a child with a home and family. Instead, our focus was on ourselves, and how this affected our own plans for our home and family–while not even being thankful for the family we’ve been given thus far.

So here we are. It may have taken us a week to process and understand and change our mindset–and yes, mourn a little bit–but we don’t have two doors half-closed or closing. We’ve had lots of questions and answers and Facebook messages and phone calls…and still have some questions that are unanswered. When we’re ready or able to, we will answer them. But, we have found out that we can and will apply to two programs simultaneously. Yes, we might be waiting a little longer…or we might not. Yes, we might not know what we’re doing…but really, does anyone? Yes, we might have to pay more, or we might not…but what’s the balance in our checking account compared to the actual life of a child?

These are the truths we came back to. Our heart for adoption has not changed. We are not alone in this journey. And we’ll have two doors to leave open, looking for the beauty from ashes waiting for us from whatever direction our son or daughter, our boys’ brother or sister, comes from; and we’ll be greeting them with open hearts and open arms, whenever that may be.