Saturday, September 6, 2014

Glory above, Glory below

Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's real y'all. Usually it gets called the winter blues. People in cold climates start running low on vitamin d and sunshine and being warm and develop depression related specifically to the weather. A little sunshine and voila. All better. The opposite can be true though too. Even though I'm not exactly an outdoorsman ( stop laughing. Seriously, I hear you) I DO enjoy outside time. I love feeling a breeze on my face and hearing little nature sounds. I grew up in Wyoming and Colorado and returned to Colorado for college. There is nothing better than lying on Colorado grass in early fall when the cool wind starts blowing. In September. The past few weeks here in Tejas have been HOT. And now that the pool is closed, kids are in school and friends have scattered to the non existent wind... My SAD kicks in. I MISS mountains and trips to Estes park and cherry cider from the cherry store on the way. I miss old town and coffee from the Northern. I miss martini nights on Linden and the intramural fields on campus at night and the oval and aspen. I ache to have a VIEW. By yesterday I hit my low. I stayed in bed most of the day. I ate more than one drumstick. (The frozen kind dipped in chocolate...)  I made my husband cook dinner. I pouted. I whined. I moped. I cried. Weather channel promises that in ten days it MIGHT get down to 69. Our high might be 89.  There might be a little rain. So when I woke up today I was determined to change focus. How to survive the next two weeks? We used to always plan a beach trip for Labor Day weekend around Lucas' birthday. That won't work this year so I looked up a few short drive away destinations and found it : innerspace caverns in Georgetown Texas. A quick two hour drive away. We poured some iced coffee, loaded up the kids and were off. We got to Georgetown at lunchtime and so we stopped at an adorable place called Monument Cafe. They have somehow captured the FEEL of a historic restaurant but without feeling pretentious like some do. The food is somewhat farm to table with local suppliers and local roasted fair trade  coffee. Breakfast all day. Pies to drool over. Biscuits while you wait.  Bacon vinaigrette on your fried chicken salad.  Get my drift? Eat it all. The boys were wowed by the ambiance and limes in their water. 

After lunch we drove the two minutes to the cavern, which is right in town and just off the highway. That surprised me until we learned that the cave was discovered when they drilled core samples before putting in the highway in the late 60's. The tour takes about an hour but ours went a little long because someone got a little fainty. It was WARM at 72 and 80% humidity with very little ventilation to protect the living cave, but the dark felt amazing. It was like stepping into another world for a little while and was definitely what this summer worn mama needed. The kids were full of wows and thank yous and hugs. And so was I. Our creator covered it all y'all. What we see above the ground and what we would only see below when we built roads.
These secret caverns, full of beauty and mystery and life. Life we can not contribute a single thing to and only damage should we try. It is His beauty. Just like our lives, they exist for His glory, but often we wall ourselves up. Caverns hidden under the ground. 
Maybe we are waiting for the next job, the next baby, the next class, the next project, the next season.  What if our tough days are just God drilling core samples?
Just God revealing our hidden caverns and the glory he is growing there like living stalactite and stalagmites. 
What if our frustration and resentment are just stone barriers he is slowly whittling into beautiful formations to show off his glory? What if pools of refreshment lie just beneath the darkness of our self pity, ready to be illuminated by his truth?
I still miss Colorado. And I still hate Texas in September. But October is coming... And until then I'll remember that glory lies beneath as well as above. And joy. Joy always comes in the morning. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Noonday Collection Blog Train! {One year In} **GIVEAWAY**

{Welcome to Life Unfabled, our family blog about everything and anything but mostly about our adoption these days. If you are new around here I want to invite you to grab that cup of coffee and hang out on my virtual couch this morning. If you found me through the Noonday Ambassador blog train I hope you've learned so much more than I can teach you about this amazing group of women and artisans I now call sisters. They inspire me every day. Make sure you catch up on yesterday's post HERE and check out this afternoon's post HERE}

 One year ago I began my Noonday journey. My sister became an ambassador, and after years of a very slow learning curve regarding justice and retail shopping I immediately fell in love with the concept that is Noonday. One year later I'm still in love, but it has become so much more than a concept. To keep things simple here are my top four lessons from a year of Noonday. 

Lesson 1. I'm not the wallflower I thought I was (or thought I had to be).
 Growing up I was known as being shy. I was quiet in new situations and preferred to keep my friends close and limited in number. Anything that smelled of popular scared me because I was so sure I would never be the cool kid.  I lived in the cold shadows of life when it came to social experiences. When I joined Noonday and learned the business model the idea of having to intentionally reach out to strangers and ask them to let me into their home, and then style them and their friends... I thought I would never be able to do it. But that scared high school girl has grown up, and my icons of fashion have changed. I'm no longer intimidated by the cool kids, because we are ALL the cool kids. My favorite fashion icons are my noonday sisterhood. Women from every walk of life who are joining their amazing creative talents together to raise one voice loud and clear for our artisans- those beautiful, stunning, examples of grace and dignity that remind me every single day to just. get. over. myself. It is not about me! I become less so they can be more, and this time, the shadows could not be filled with more warmth and joy. I love getting to know my hostesses and am encouraged and inspired with every trunk show. 

Lesson 2. Put another layer on.
Before Noonday I had maybe four necklaces that I wore. Rarely. I remember being in the 8th grade or so and going with my mom to a jewelry party. The presenter said during her presentation that to make sure you look your best to always take off three accessories before leaving the house. BLASPHEMY! If you feel your style is lacking a little something... try ANOTHER LAYER! Sometimes your arm party just needs a little more oomph, or a necklace needs a friend. I make myself wear every sample I have at least once. I'll be honest, when I preview each line there are always pieces that I question... until I wear them and learn their story. Then we become best friends. Forever. Make your style your own and break a rule every day. 

Lesson 3. Take a #selfie, but make it deeper than skin.
Each season we do the ambassador instagram style challenge. Y'all... it can be so hard. All of my insecurities come roaring up and I truly want to win ;-) but I always struggle with hitting that share button! What if people get annoyed? What if I don't edit out enough proof of the cupcakes ive eaten this summer? Is my hair ok? Am I ok? I'm not as pretty as her. Her photo skills are rad. Why does every picture my husband takes of me  make me look like a whale choking on Jonah?    Seriously, just getting real with ya. The reality though is that when I wear Noonday, I do also feel beautiful. I feel beautiful because my work is the act of telling YOU about redemption. Redemption of lives through the purchase of jewelry. When you shop Noonday, you give my family income and help us towards our adoption. When you place an order and customers over the globe sell out items, Noonday get to place new orders from our artisan groups. Those orders mean new employees, higher wages and more opportunity. Lives of challenge become less painful. Children with limited futures get to go to school, and new commerce in their community gives them hope of a future career. Mamas don't have to live their life living just to keep their children alive. As Jalia from our Ugandan group told us at conference, because of your orders... they dream much bigger dreams now. So even though I often feel insecure I also feel strong. and yes, I feel beautiful. Redemption IS beautiful. 

Lesson 4. Be brave
A year ago I said yes. I sent in my application email and invested my time and resources. It was scary for a while. Guess what? It isn't any less scary! My heart still races every time I call a potential hostess. I still get super nervous that I'll not say the right thing or forget to tell a story, or lose a customers order at a trunk show. But you know what? I don't. Everything works out fine. My sister ambassadors and the artisan stories encourage me to dig deep and be brave.  So my challenge to you? BE BRAVE. Book a trunk show. Contact me, or submit the form on the noonday website  to find an ambassador near you. This is worth it friends. Your time, your energy, your courage. After a year I can proudly say that I am STILL a Noonday Ambassador. Want to join me? I'd love to talk to you about becoming an ambassador yourself. Or maybe your Brave is ordering that pair of earrings you think might be just a little too big- or maybe you will choose to give five gifts for the holidays this year that have a double purpose. Whatever your BRAVE is, as my fellow ambassadors like to remind me #rockandroar!

****If you are still here, maybe after a bit of a warm up on that coffee, I would love for you to enter and win a La Noche bracelet, in midnight. This is my all time favorite bracelet from Noonday and is truly a spectacular piece worth 42$  Use the rafflecopter below, and good luck!! 
****" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The list

I've been a mama for 11.5 years. That's a while. The past few months I've really felt my "experience". I'm finally settling in to this role. On some days I actually think I might know what I'm doing. But on many days the same old challenges keep popping up. I've tried chore charts. I've tried point systems. I've tried demerits.  I've tried all kinda of systems, but honestly I'm just not a systems kind of gal. If consequences are not immediately obvious then I loose focus. I'm not surprised my kids are the same. So when I was blog hopping a couple of weeks ago and came across a blog (I can not find it again, if you know it tell us all in the comments!!)  that talked about "the list," my first instinct was to click on through. I thought about it though and the simplicity of creating a short, manageable core list with a singular goal at completion started to sound doable. Basically, the kids have a list of chores. Simple, expected items like their homework and reading time. The have to spend 30 minutes being creative (Legos totally count) and they have to complete one "moms choice" chore after ten minutes of general tidying up. For my guys- they are earning unlimited screen time. Yup I said that. IF they complete everything on their list they can veg out and watch tv or play the Wii to their little hearts content. But I'm finding that creative time goes from 30 mins to over an hour .. And the house is actually fairly tidy. (When it is no longer 100+ outside they will probably get some outside time on the list too. But y'all it's Texas and they've had two hours of active time at school so I feel no guilt. At all. Judge me on that later). Everyone has chores associated with specific events like dinner so those are not on the list, and we have family reading time every night before bed. Between all the extras that screen time is an hour or less. Unless the Quest is on. That they love and we watch together, a rare find on tv these days. (I fast forward the commercials though :/).   All of this is to encourage you that even a dozen years from now you might find new tricks to keep the sanity. Cheers on awesome bloggers even when you forget their names... Just don't forget mine;). 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to school!

I love the first day of school. New pencils and supplies, fresh paper, clean shoes and so much to look forward to. Watching my boys progress each year challenges me to remember where they were. They grow so fast that sometimes the in between times are easily forgotten. Our moving so frequently also makes it difficult. I don't remember them being so little in Victoria... But they were. I'm taking a little break today to remind myself how far they have come in just the last few years. 

2011. We lived in Victoria texas and Balin entered a moms day out preschool program when Ayden started third grade. We started our back to school breakfast tradition. Balin loved that treasure chest lunch box until his teacher used a treasure chest to hand out rewards. He was terrified the other kids would be confused and refused to take it to school. Third grade was a big growth year for Ayden. His academic gifting became more apparent and we realized just what we might be in for. 

2012 Balin started kinder and Ayden started fourth grade. We were in a little rent house that we loved and were fast falling in live with College Station. Kinder was a challenge for Balin because he was in LOVE with his preschool teacher (ms. Wendi!) but his kinder teacher was not as nurturing or affectionate.  He was loyal anyway and fought hard through the year. We got a do-over last year with the BEST first grade teacher on the planet. Ayden flourished well in fourth grade. And Silas? Where is that baby and when did he leave?!

2013. How can that be one year ago? Neither of those jeans will button and those shoes are all in shambles. These sweet boys are heading into what I know will be their hardest years yet academically, but I am confident in their abilities and their use of their gifts.  We had another breakfast, though I'll be honest- we forgot to set our alarms! So instead of a relaxed first day of school daddy and I were a bit chaotic. I think we hid it well from the boys though. Here's to hoping the rest of the year runs a little smoother!! Happy first day!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

In which I work up the courage to say the F word.

{That would be "fundraiser". There, done. I feel better, do you? Although I'm sure when I say THAT "F word" for some of you the other one might come to mind. Hear me out though, this is kinda long but This one is also kinda special!!}

Our daughter/daughters have been little more than a dream for us. Lots of paperwork. Lots of meetings. Lots of aimless rambling a around Dillard's drooling over fluffy dresses I won't buy even when she/they are here. 

We are pursuing two routes to adoption- 1. Direct infant Adoption in a which a birth mama will recognize that it would be best for her to place her child in our home rather than for her to parent due to numerous possible reasons. We are open to openness in that relationship. We love that mama. 
2. Foster to adopt through a private agency. An infant/toddler/preschooler and maybe her sister (any age younger than our youngest) who is in the care of Texas child protection services will be placed in our home out of necessity for that child's welfare. We still love that mama but know that if the state has to step in then we probably will not have the same open adoption. 

Either way this ends with daughter(s).

Either way the waiting is hard. 

Either way this kinda gets expensive. Emotionally and financially. 

We need you. We need our team to rally. We need "Charlotte's" team to rally. 

Enter our little project. 
Charlotte's Dream quilt. This "kaleidoscope of hope" as I wrote on Instagram not too long ago is comprised of hundreds of triangles. Close to 300! It actually will be two quilts. A twin sized quilt and a crib sized. Two sisters? Or maybe a birth mom and daughter? We don't know... What we do know is that this project will take a while. Hopefully long enough to get me through the waiting with intention. I made a quilt for Silas and prayed over it for him with every stitch. This quilt is no different. Every stitch a prayer. I'm machine piecing this but will hand quilt it. Nothing compares to the way a quilt feels when it has been hand stitched. 

So how does it work? Simple.
 Sponsor a triangle. 
For every 5$ you donate I will (machine) embroider a name onto the back of one of the quilts.  Any name you want! The first one is going to be Velma. My grandmother whom I would give almost anything to have one more afternoon with. One more gleaning from her depth of wisdom. As I face the possibility of FIVE children I think of her. Did she parent flawlessly, nope. But she had plenty to teach me. I'll honor her by putting her name first. Every quilt she made me had her signature. So it belongs here too. 
 Who will you remember? 
Do you want our baby girl to know you were praying for her? Want to remember a grandmother or mother? Maybe you yourself placed a child for adoption. I would be honored to put that child's whispered name on here. (It's our secret, I promise). Or maybe a child you've lost too soon. Maybe an old friend , or someone who inspires you. The names will last as long as the quilt does. First name, last name, initials, whatever!  I can imagine her (them) physically touching and feeling the names as she/they grows up, knowing her life is part of a much bigger kaleidoscope of women, of motherhood- of daughterhood. I want her to know she belongs right here. Will you help us? Will you also share this on your social media? We need you AND your friends. We need your prayers. We need you to be on our team.  

It's easy. Just click that "donate" button under the header at the top right of the blog. You'll want to open the desktop view since the mobile site won't show it. You'll be prompted by paypal (safe and secure) and can donate right there from your phone. Easy peasy. I'll post photos as I go so you can all see the progress! Thank you for loving on our girl(s) in this way! **if paypal does not give you a "leave a note" option just comment below or send me an email at with the name you want on the quilt!**

Friday, July 25, 2014

The sorrow before the joy

Adoption is beautiful. Something absolutely stunning occurs when we witness redemption. It glows and pours out and lights up everyone around us. And yet adoption- every time- begins with tragedy. There are no situations in which a mother and child spend nine months together and then are separated that is in of itself a good thing. Circumstances, sin, brokenness, trauma... Something happens and suddenly adoption is necessary. We can not celebrate the beauty of adoption without recognizing the sorrow of the loss. The loss of the child AND of the mother. Even when it is necessary that a child be removed from the mother, or when a mother chooses to place her baby, there is still a shift in design. We were not created to give birth to other mother's children. We were not created to grow up without our mama's care. But because we live in a fallen world, these situations are inevitable. I'm a Presbyterian. I believe in predestination. I believe in grace alone,  But even when providence has declared this moment and these situations, there is sorrow. A mother's inability to parent her child does not negate her inherent mother-ness. Her grief is not disposable. When Lazarus died and Jesus delayed and Martha and Mary cried, so did our savior.  It was sorrow over our condition for which Jesus wept. (John 11) The weight of our sorrow. The heaviness of our brokenness. Jesus knew from before Lazarus died that he would raise him from the dead. He never stops speaking that truth to his followers, to Mary and Martha and yet he weeps as he witnesses their sorrow. 
In every adoption he sees the ending. The price has been paid and redemption has been planned, but first there is and must be weeping. I think of our birth mother. I grieve for her, possibly before she even grieves. At the same time I fully believe with confidence that our future holds princess parties, ballet slippers, flannel gowns on Christmas morning, painted toe nails, giggling conversations across the kitchen counter. I have faith in the future, but I'm fully aware of what has to happen first. 
There is a rising online presence of adopted children who are now adults and angry about their story. They have a right to be. Their story is one of sorrow. The adoption discussion does indeed tend to be very adoptive parent focused. But at the same time adoption does not happen to just the child. Ultimately adoption is a story that belongs to God, the author of adoption. The author of parenthood and childhood and relationships. Those stories of sorrow are also stories of hope. Every adopted child should have that, but sadly many do not. Texas foster care is under immense scrutiny because so many children have died under the states care. Tragic ends to tragic stories. But I have to choose to believe that adoption is beautiful. Because He is beautiful. But today, today I grieve her loss. Our daughter's mother's loss.  My daughter's loss. The condition of sin that causes these losses to begin with. 

I cling to the stories I know, the redemption lived out before me in my fellow walkers of this path. Parents who have entered in to their children's sorrow, and some who have chosen to walk beside the birth moms as well. For those who can not know the birth mother I know prayers have been poured out on her behalf. In these hard days... The ones where I imagine my daughter and feel only sorrow, I look through my Facebook for these faces. These Mamas and their beloveds. These little mirrors of redemption and I am comforted by their smiles, by the beauty... By the promise. Hebrews 6:19 is a daily refreshment for me.  I have this hope as an anchor for my soul , FIRM and STEADFAST. For he has entered the inner curtain BEFORE me. These precious women, and so many others not pictured, have entered this curtain of adoption before me and I am so grateful that they surround me. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The day that didn't

Today was supposed to be a huge step forward for us and our adoption and getting to our little girl. Instead it wasn't. Our home studier got sick and could not make the trip down here. We have spent this week cleaning closets, organizing our cleaners on high shelves, figuring out how to "double lock" prescription medicines and learning the difference between the variety of fire extinguishers. We also wrote out a fire escape plan which we practiced multiple times. Turning on the alarms and having our kids walk to the "meeting place" raised lots of questions. What would we take? What would happen to Hershey? What if I couldn't wake up my little brother? What if I don't wake up? Where would we live? It went on and on, until I finally just told them.. It will never happen. This is just in case, but our house is safe and new and will. not. burn. up. This on Sunday. Thursday morning I wake up to my husband saying "honey wake up, the old lady's house is on fire."
Sure enough, two doors down, our neighbor (who is actually middle aged, but looks 20 years older than she is) was found dead in her upstairs bedroom after firefighters put out the fire. There is much we don't know about what happened, and we did not know the neighbor. We only met one time but avoided her home because of her two aggressive dogs. They were also found in the home after the fire. There were warnings that her world was not simple. Police cars on multiple occasions, shady behavior, only going out after dark. Our street was filled with fire trucks and fire marshals and crime scene investigators all day long yesterday. Police and reporters came to our door asking questions. I was prepared for the kids to have more questions, but other than saying that it was sad they haven't. But I have. I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Is there a flaw in our electrical wires? Are our power strips safe? Did I turn off the stove? Are the paints far enough away from the water heater? Should I park in the garage? Is there an evil arsonist burning my neighborhood?
Our entire perspective feels like we are still looking through smoke today. I woke up to noise and expected more trucks, only to realize it was a concrete truck for a new home going up. I've refused to cook today. And driving past her house? Well, its just hard to get past seeing police curtains covering your neighbors windows. My dad said "people live secret lives" and it is true. There is so much we don't know. Somehow this has made all the inconveniences of a home study a little less inconvenient.  If I could know so little about a person I have lived 100 feet away from for the past year, then how can people know me from a few short interviews? Children who have been traumatized should have the right to be safely placed in quality homes. EVERY effort should be made to do that. So if the state needs to know that I have doors on my fireplace, cool. Ill cough up the cash. Because we should be willing to PROVE that we will do everything we CAN to protect these little people. Tomorrow we will attend our second foster training class. We will turn in our long form application and hopefully they will schedule their own home study soon. And I sure hope they do, because we are READY.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Vacationing with three kids, losing your mind, and still wishing it was more. Aka the loony diaries

We are in the middle of a super fun family vay-cay. The hubs grew up in Saint Paul Minnesota, and most of his family is still there enjoying snowy winters and caribou coffee. Since airplane tickets are crazy too expensive for us we drive the pilgrimage when we can. Last year our drive to Hershey PA taught us that enjoying the drive is key. So we leave super super early in the morning and reach a mid point destination where we usually spend a day or two. This year, thanks to we booked the cheapest room at Great Wolf lodge in Kansas City. I'll write up an entire review of Great a wolf because it was fantastic, but not for the reasons I expected. What I did want to post today is that the kids have been classic children travelers today. "What city are we in?!" "When will we get there" "he's rubbing his warts on me!" "Stop whispering!" "Don't color on MY dinosaur!"     It never ends y'all. Well, that's not completely true. It ends when a movie is on or when finally 30 minutes from our destination the baby fell asleep. But as hard as parenting three very different children can be, there were several moments when I felt HER missing. -Standing in the splash zone area of the water park and watching a daddy snuggle his damp haired 8 month old. -passing the salon where mamas can take their daughters for banana split scented pedicures  -or even just bathroom breaks when I'm left alone. Don't get me wrong, one of the best parts of being a boy mom is that I can just wave as they all stumble about into the gross gas station. But I miss her. It's weird I guess but I do. I want her here with me. I also have a strong feeling of DO EVERYTHING because next time it might be an entirely different trip. This is definitely an adventure worth taking. I just hope the next one is a little more pink. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

For the pharmacy dude who made my day... Or things you should say to moms of many

I switched pharmacies today. The thought of this process was enough to make me almost not, but after having some pills literally crack open in the medicine cabinet we realized that maybe we needed to make a change. Every single drop off had some kind of issue and we were constantly spending way too much time trying to figure out what had gone wrong with our prescriptions. Once they even lost a prescription for about six hours. For a major controlled substance. So I braced myself late this afternoon, gathered up three VBS tired kids and bribed them with fresh tortillas so we could head to Giant Grocery Store. I drove there once only to remember my insurance card was at home. So after the second drive we finally get to the counter. The friendly pharmacy tech took my prescription, and then I remembered the insurance card was still in the car... (Because one forgetting is not enough). I wrestle the kids back to the car, and try to keep them from being distracted by cotton candy and movies at the door to No avail. Awesome pharmacy tech has my info up on his computer and plugs in my card right away and then ever so gently asks me if I might possibly have a prescription card as well. But of course I don't. Well I do, but it's who knows where because I've been using crapola pharmacy for a year. He then tries a few other methods, all while my three monkeys take their turns poking me and wrestling and making sounds they only make when I'm face to face with another adult. I mention that it was a doomed trip from the get go and He then catches on that I'm switching pharmacies and gets super excited and tells me "oh! I can call them! I can get this done!" I then tell him we used crapola pharmacy at uh-oh address and he sighs and purses his lips and says, well- I can try. We then agree that crapola pharmacy is super awesome and do really super awesome work so if he can really try this would be great.  Because I would rather go cut my preschoolers toe nails than call them ever again. He asks for 20 minutes so the boys and I went for the tortillas. When I get back he hurries to finish another project he's on and gives me the good news that every thing magically works, my prescriptions were cheaper than my groceries and that he just has to get final approval, file paperwork and they were all mine. He chats a bit about how he has to be able to multi task with his job and nods at the kids and says "I bet you know something about that".  Maybe it was the ferral  tearing open packages of dried mangos while I tried to keep a three year old from climbing over the counter into the pharmacy that gave it away. Or maybe the waving at a friend while I attempted to prevent a six year old from opening chocolate. Who knows. Whatever it was he saw my NEED for a happy pharmacy experience and that guy made. It. Happen. Like we were on a team and that pass was so perfectly executed it will be replayed on mega mom tron for at least a week. He even sent me off with the comment, "see, not a doomed trip after all !"  Sometimes blessings are big, but kindness from a stranger- and not the weird I paid for your coffee stranger-  but kindness that digs in to the moment can be a blessing unmatched. Doing your job the best you can with a positive attitude so that others who need you to do your job well can go on and do theirs. Thank you Awesome Pharmacy Tech. You won my my day. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Little things are big things

We got an exciting letter today! We passed our background check at "agency a" and can make our fingerprint appointments! Woo-hoo! We are hoping to make these count for both agencies. Not sure if that will fly, but excited to have something else we can DO. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


So my last post came from a pretty deep place of vulnerability. I received so much amazing encouragement after it and I'm so thankful for those of you who stepped up to encourage me. I'm thankful for you silent ones too. I see the clicks and know you read it. Knowing you see this helps. It's strange, but just having that number that says, yup two people read such and such post makes me feel heard. Selfish, but honest.

We received lots of questions too. The number one question was why are we looking into a new agency? What's wrong with the first one? Nothing. Nada. We love "agency a". They stole our hearts the first night we met met them. We are going forward with the documents they need. For now. 
Adoption is changing. More and more mamas are choosing to parent their babies. This is largely because there is no longer the stigma of single parenthood. This can be a good or bad. Being a single mom is hard. It's super hard. It's uber awful hard. I know. I did it. And I did it with copious amounts of support and a husband who showed up fast. And while I'm grateful I was surrounded by grace and mercy, I also am horrified that young women (or even older professional women) think being a single parent is easy and a trendy goal. No matter how you slice it, being a parent is crazy hard. There are so many single parents in my life and I am so proud of all of them. This is no way a judgement of your situation, but the problem is that parenting is harder than one thinks, and love does not feed babies. Both agencies we have met with have long histories of Domestic Infant adoption (DIA). They've placed hundreds of babies. Both agencies value openness between adoptive families and child regarding the truths around that child's birth story. Both agencies have seen dramatic down turns on the number of mamas placing babies. Last year, these two agencies- one small and one huge- both placed 3 babies. That's all. Every baby brought to them is now in a loving safe home. The gentleman we met with last night showed us 13 children available for a legal risk (foster to adopt, meaning will most likely be legally free to adopt soon) since last THURSDAY. And that's just in his region of Texas. 

The facts were not what I expected. He gave us percentages in the 90% range of kids who are "legal risk" being adopted by their foster to adopt family. He said hoping for a young toddler and maybe even a young sibling group was not at all crazy. I've watched adopting friends grieve lost placements. I've watched adopting friends revel in the joy as well. This is a scary road. But I'm hopeful. We are now going to pursue foster adoption. Two roads. Two options. One God. One story. He's got this. We are just along for the ride.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Naming Rights

Naming your child is your right and privilege. It is an inherent accepted important part of parenting. In scripture with all of the parents and children we rarely see examples of day to day parenting. There are no examples of potty training or teaching little ones to tie their sandals or clean their room. There are no nursery decorating chapters or how to pick a doctor tid bits. In fact there are very few scriptures even dedicated to pregnancy. But with almost every single example of children being born there is a huge emphasis on naming that child. It is a big stinkin deal. Often, as with the children of Leah, those names come from a very intimate place within the mother's heart. Naming my children has been a treasure for me. The names matter.  They aren't selected because of popularity or ease of spelling, but their meaning and inheritance matter to us.

As a parent naming your child is your right and privilege. {Even when you place them for adoption.} Waiting  on a child that will be born from another woman's womb has so many complicated layers. Expectations have to change, and often be beat back with a pitch fork. You simply can not plan for the unknown, and yet naming your child matters. To reconcile these truths is a reality I haven't come to. 

We were given a name for her. But we hold it loosely. If we have an infant through open infant adoption she will be called this name from the moment we hold her. But her mother will also be able to name her, a name from her heart that she will treasure. We want to honor her if possible by incorporating her chosen name into our chosen name... If possible. Some families adopting older children change their name, and if that makes sense we might consider that as well. The difficult picture would be if we go down the foster adopt road. Then we would have to call the child their given name for who knows how long. At that point it might too difficult on everyone to change it. 

But we have her name, or at least her waiting name. Over a year ago our sweet Balin, who was then five told us that his baby sister would be named Charlotte Grace. 
From the first time he said it, we recognized the name as special. And then when playing with some third names ( yup.) we found a combination that means "The undeserved gift of a wished for daughter". There's no denying that calling our sweet girl Charlotte, even if it is just a temporary while we wait for her name, makes perfect sense! So no hating if ten years down the road I'm blogging about Nora or Bethe or Violet or Pearl. But for now, we call her Charlotte.  It seems a fitting time, as we prepare for another road trip for that interest meeting I wrote of a few days ago, to reveal our hash tag. Laugh yourself silly, but I need a way to mark my posts about her. I need a way to invite y'all in to go through this with me. I'll be labeling fundraiser posts and blog posts in Instagram so if you feel like sharing you can tag it too :). So here we go, continuing on our journey, wondering how many #milestocharlotte. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pearls and Anchors

You see, there was this man. He was a jeweler, a salesman, a trader in fine things. His specialty was pearls. He searched the world for the prettiest, the largest, and the most valuable. Over the years he collected quite a bounty and traded for fine fabrics, tents, sandals and the best carts and ships to assist his journeys. Then one day, after years of hunting, there in the middle of a crowded marketplace he found her. A beautiful, perfect pearl that was so glorious and unique he had to make it his. But the price? Too high. So he went home and without a second thought gathered every beautiful piece of his collection and sold it all. He took the money and returned to that pearl, which he bought at a great price. While I've imagined the circumstances, Jesus gives us this example as an example of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 15.  It is worth giving up everything we have to attain. There is nothing we possess that compares to the Glory of God.

We have long associated this pursuit with our pursuit of our daughter. I found a journal entry to our "Lulu" a name that means pearl from 2011. (Other names we have considered over the years are Margaret and Margeaux/ Margot which also mean pearl). Going into this journey we knew it would be a long hard road. We expected disappointments and trials. We expected cost. What I did not expect was the loneliness. Even surrounded by fellow adopting/ adopted families there is no way to share this with anyone. Even between the two of us, we are experiencing this journey in our own ways.

I've seen about 32,458 articles this week pop up on my various news feeds about Saying YES! Being brave! jumping in! care for the orphans! If not you then who?! And you know what? If article 32,459 pops up I just might scream. I might throw my phone out the window. Or flush it. Or just look at it and cry. Because you know what? {we. have. said. yes.} So these articles make me wonder if HOW you say yes matters. I often wonder if I accidentally said ours in mandarin, or martian. It has been 9 months since we submitted our first application. 18 since we first "requested information". 9 years since I married a man who I knew would adopt one day. The reality is, even when God has our yes, his answer might be no if our yes is from a selfish place. Let me be clear. This is HIS story. Our yes might matter, but our submission to his will matters more. Our pearl is NOT our daughter. And that sentence right there is where the lonely lies. We want so badly as humans to be a part of something bigger. We love nothing more than a flash mob, or a box office smash hit, or a  reality show we can talk about with everyone in the office tomorrow. Community matters, and so does joining in on the fun. With pregnancy you automatically enter the belly club. You get to joke about who groped the belly that day and how many grandmothers gave you unsolicited advice. I'd give anything for some random lady to grab me by the shoulders and tell me what to expect from this adoption. I'd give anything for ANYONE to tell me what to expect. The unknown is scary and this is by far the foggiest cliff we have ever stood on. We believe that God hears our prayers. We BELIEVE that our father loves adoption. We BELIEVE that he places the lonely in families. We HOPE that we are one of them. Our pearl, must remain HIS story. Our Pearl MUST remain HIS glory. Our Hope lies in his character and promises.  Hebrews teaches on this anchoring of our hope.

The Certainty of God’s Promise
13For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15And thus Abraham,b having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Monday we will attend another interest meeting with another agency. This one will open us up to the possibility of pursuing adoption from the foster/foster adopt angle. I'll be super honest. This scares the boogers out of me. Talk about treasure I don't want to give up. Security, simplicity, avoidance of government agencies, naming our daughter the name she will be called from birth, knowing the birth mom, or at least the possibility of it, baby showers, a big coming home spectacular, a promise that the baby we bring home would most likely stay. Even the bringing home of a baby. These are all treasures we would likely need to lay down. BUT we are beginning to feel that our "yes" looks more like multiple options. Our anchor is God's character~ His promise to go before us while we wait. It is in remembering what our pearl is that we stay focused, and feel a little less lonely.

** clarification: we are not ending our journey with our original agency. They encouraged us from the beginning to pursue adoption in any and all ways we want to. This is just acting on that encouragement. I'm actually making appointments for some dr notes and filling out some additional paperwork for "agency a" right now. **

Sunday, April 13, 2014

On Another's Sorrow

This weekend was FULL. We had our second garage sale fundraiser for the adoption and raised just shy of 1000$ to go towards our adoption expenses. We are so grateful for everyone who donated items, helped us sort and set up, and then everyone who shopped. I was so blessed to meet two adoptive mamas ( one who adopted from our agency ! ) and also a grown adopted daughter. These sweet connections encouraged us and gave us some much needed motivation to get through our last few bits of paper work.

Along with the garage sale we hosted my little sister ( who is almost 13) for the weekend. She is fun and active and is in crutches at the moment. We had a sweet time hanging out and even found a chance to venture out to see Rio 2. I also enjoyed trying out 4 kids and was pleasantly surprised that the chaos didn't feel any more chaotic! Woo-hoo! Hope!

This weekend was also a weekend of tenderness. We have always been blessed, every city we have lived in, by friendships with families who grieve. And I say blessed because I have learned more about our Father God through friendships with parents and families who have lost children than I otherwise would have. There is a depth of understanding of his grace and mercy when a mother or father who has experienced that loss looks you in the face and tells you it is true. Here in this town in this moment, this was a heavy weekend of memory as we as a congregation remembered a sweet little boy I will one day meet in heaven. His mama, and other women I deeply care for and respect have heavy hearts this week as it is an ebenezer of the day he began his journey home. I do not usually shy away from these moments as they arise, but as humans we have our own grief, and grief triggers grief. So Thursday and Friday nights were long nights of hard dreams. The ones where people visit. The ones you don't want to wake up from. And so we wonder. How do we, people living our busy lives with adoptions and fundraisers and children and events, share in the sorrow of another? How can we carry the grief of our friends? How do we enter in to their sorrow when the reality is that our sinful selves are incapable of true empathy. I'm comforted that this is not a new question. William Blake wrote of this in his Songs of Innocence (1790's) in "Sorrow of another." His answer to grieving with each other? Our Father in heaven grieves too. We do not carry each others burdens alone. He carries mine. He carries yours. He carries what I carry for you. He weeps with us. "Till our grief is fled and gone, He doth sit by us and moan."

William Blake
Sorrow of Another

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easier out than in, or is it?

Teething. The bane of early childhood. The most common answer to "why is your baby screaming like a lunatic?" 

When our babies are little we hold them and struggle with them and cry with them through every minute of their teeth coming in. We seek advice, buy remedies, rock, snuggle and lose sleep. And then they become toddlers. When their molars come in, well darling... Just let me know and I'll bring the wine. Let's just say those days can be so long and so hard that years later you are willing to write a blog post lamenting their difficulty. 

But then. But THEN. Oh the audacity. These same teeth that took an eternity to work their horrible necessary selves INTO the mouth of your beloved first born start flying out once a week when he approaches his 11th birthday. Every other day this week has brought me yet ANOTHER tooth. Four this week. And I hate them. These horrible pieces of bone that I don't know what to do with ( seriously, they feel too sacred to throw away and too morbid to hold on to) they are taking over. Not cool teeth. Not cool. And the worst part? They are causing his sweet little mouth, the one I tenderly held ice and teethers and tablets and the forbidden orajel... This sweet little mouth is no longer sweet and little but older and teenagery and saucy and smart (in a good way). 
The same little teeth the bit my shoulder one unfortunate midnight feeding, these same precious teeth that chewed the Cheerios, rejected the peas and claimed many a pizza crust , these horrid little beasts have the gall to just fall out. Without even a to do. Without drama or consequence. Without even a fairy request. And I'll miss them. Oh man. I miss them already. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

And all the mommies say "oopsie"

So today was a generally great day. A friend mentioned last night that today is national waffle day. So my husband, who is practicing being the opposite of harsh {thanks to a great sermon} woke up early and cooked so I could wake up to waffles. Then we had a friend come play so Silas was entertained for free. This afternoon I connected with my next Noonday hostess and was encouraged and reminded why I do what I do. Ayden had his first solo and ensemble competition, which did my music mama's heart good. But then  IT happened. The big ole moment. Balin, my sweet six year old,  came flying through the room on his tippy toes, Happy as a clam. He snuggled in for a hug and said this " I'm SO glad the adoption is happening this weekend!!!"  {cue the sound of screeching tires}. 
                      Say what? 
My darling one. My sensitive sweet boy who every. Single. Night. Prays for his future sister. Who every. Single. Sunday. Asks his class at church to pray for the adoption, has heard us talking about a trip this weekend to our agency and misunderstood our agency orientation as our actual placement. As I told him his error he wept. Big ole weepy tears. {with plenty of snot}. He was so sad that we would be going away and returning with NOBODY. Especially not a sweet somebody wrapped in pink. 
 So this mama of three homegrown who's expecting an import needs to know... HOW MUCH do you tell the kiddoes? I kinda feel my error here was in not telling him enough. He didn't understand and the reality is that even though we have pink shoes and a cradle and clothes are starting to find their way into "her" closet... This could be a long wait. And I have not adequately prepared his tender heart for that. I wonder if I've even prepared my own. Hopefully we will get through that wait together. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Very special photos for a very special book

 Four years ago, the first time we lived in this little ole college town, we were members at a sweet little church (that's not so little anymore!) and were introduced to a music leader/photographer name Ryan Price. I instantly connected with his photography and grasp of light and human nature. When Silas was born I hoped to have him take our newborn pictures, but Lucas got his job in Victoria and our newborn days flew swiftly and photos were not taken by anyone but mama. In the meantime, I've stalked his website and instagram page, lamenting that I had never heard of him before my own wedding photos. {I've got plans for redeeming that by the way... see you in a year or two!} Anyways... While we were off in smallville Ryan adopted his own son and continued capturing incredible photos of some of our mutual friends who also adopted. Naturally, when we started planning our adoption and the need for some fresh and current family shots Ryan Price was the ONLY name that came to mind.  You see, these are more than just shots. The goal of this session was so much more than finding the perfect image to hang above the fireplace. These photos will be part of the most important "Hello" of our lives. Hopefully,  In the coming year, or possibly months, a scared but BRAVE mama will receive a stack of books put together by ourselves and other hopeful parents. She will use these books full of images and letters and information to begin a conversation, one that will end with her placing her baby in the arms of another mama. I am fully aware of the responsibility and importance that lies underneath the "pretty" of these pictures. READ: this is not a sales pitch. We are not marketing ourselves. These gorgeous shots will be layered in our book with many other not so gorgeous shots. But ultimately, I love what Ryan was able to capture, even with a three year old who acted LIKE A THREE YEAR OLD and threw a tantrum complete with tears for 90% of the session. These pictures somehow show US, maybe not the friday night after pizza floor covered in toys us, but definitely the US that words have trouble conveying. Here are a few of my favorites and how I hope she might see them... 

She will see that I'm a baker

but maybe she will taste the sweetness
She will see that we mess around

but maybe she'll know we never let each other fall

She will see that we like books

or maybe she will feel her daughter's story could be with us

She will see flowers

or maybe understand this husband loves his wife well

She will see a family that fits together

But maybe she will feel we have space for one more

 Thank you Ryan for sharing your gift with us. If you need a photographer locally or are planning a wedding and are willing to fly him out click the photo in the sidebar and check him out. Start with his blog. You wont regret it.