Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2012

I was excited to be a part of the Adoption Blogger Interview Project for 2012. It just so amazing to me to see how many adoptive Momma's there are out there. I have been so encouraged by so many of these wonderful Mothers and I was blessed to get to learn a little bit more about one in particular! 
*You can read a BUNCH of other interviews over at "Production, Not Reproduction"
 I was paired with Alissa from Not A Visitor and loved getting to know her! Here were my interview questions and her wonderful answers!!
1. What made you choose adoption as "Plan A"? Was there any "backlash" from friends/family about not having bio children first?
Andrew and I have always had adoption on the table -but we did experiment with getting pregnant before we pursued adopting full force. I had been told since I was a teenager that for various reasons it might be difficult for me to become pregnant, so it wasn't surprising to when it didn't happen naturally. Andrew has never felt a need for biological children, though, so for him trying to get pregnant was more humoring me than anything. What we found out about our fertility was that if we really wanted to reproduce biologically we likely could, but pretty serious medical intervention would be necessary. That helped me get in touch with something I felt I had always known in some way - that adoption was how we would find our children. We did not experience backlash from family or friends, although some folks have asked us if we'll ever try for a child that shares our genetics and we just answer cheerfully that we're happy with the family we have. All of our parents have biological grandchildren from our sibs (Andrew and I each have a brother) so our choice didn't deprive them of that experience.

2. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about open adoption? Have you faced any of those?
I think the biggest misconceptions around open adoption have to do with pre-conceived ideas about first families and first parents as a threat to the adoptive family. Especially when J, my oldest, was a little baby I would get questions like "but, her birthmother can't actually find you, can she?" or "What if she wants her back?" I usually explain to people that in my view the situation is the opposite - our connection to Z, the girls' first mom, is an asset, and the fact that she gave birth to and made the first big choices for our girls doesn't threaten my motherhood in any way. Her love for her children adds to the love in their life in general, and the more connected we can be to her the better, even though at the moment most of the communication is from us to her.

3. What has been the most challenging thing about raising two children outside of your race?
The most challenging part for me has been the growing realization that wonderful people do and say racist and ignorant things - and by "people" I mostly mean "white people." I was working my own racial culture issues (I am white) before the girls came into my life but having them as my daughters brings out the worst in other people sometimes, and usually its my people - the white folk - who screw up and say or do something racially insensitive when I or my girls are around. The number of strangers, always white folk, who have asked or tried to ask without actually saying it out loud if my girls are "crack babies" is astonishing to me. Equally intense are the number of times I have had to ask white people not to touch their hair. It has been eye opening, and a great opportunity for me to figure out how to talk to people about race issues as well as how to communicate my boundaries to others in ways that are compassionate and firm - the way I want my kids to learn to respond to that stuff if they need to.

4. Tell me a little about your decision to become a priest? What religious affiliation are you a part of? I grew up Catholic and thought that priests were only in the Catholic faith. Enlighten me! :)
Great question! I am Episcopalian, and we also have priests! The Episcopal church is part of the Anglican Communion which descended from the Church of England - the one that started when one of the King Henry's wanted a divorce that the Pope wouldn't grant so split the Catholic church in England off to be under the king. Long story short - a lot of what Anglicans and Episcopalians do with language (priest, bishop, mass, etc) is similar to the Roman Catholics, but a lot of the theology and dogma is less rigid. In the USA we've been ordaining women for several decades. I decided to become a priest because I feel a deep vocational call to do that work. Part of that call - the explainable part - came from discerning that this is a vocation that will use all of who I am: speaking skills, leadership ability, intellect, love of Scripture, love of people, desire to engage in good and meaningful work. It will never be easy but it will also never be boring! (well, sometimes the meetings are boring, but in an overall sense - the liturgy and people sense - not boring.)

5. How do you decide on what to share with your readers and what to keep private?
My first rule is to only tell my story and not anyone else's. So if, for example, I am struggling with a behavioral issue with one of my kids I don't write about "her" problem but instead I write about my struggle as a parent and what's going on for me. I don't want my children to look back and feel like I was spilling their secrets or intimate childhood moments all over the internet, but I do want to be authentically myself in my writing. My second rule is that I don't write anything that I wouldn't want my mother or my husband to read. Which is necessary, as both do read my blog. Finally the stuff I write here isn't private - I would share it in a homily if appropriate, or talk about it with someone I didn't know well. I'm more open than many people - but for me this is public stuff. These rules end up meaning that I generally don't complain about the people in my life or tear down any other human beings in what I write.

6. How did your family react to your transracial adoption? Was anyone one way before you adopted and another way after you brought the girls home? Meaning, did you have any "supporters" before that turned into "not so supportive" after?
If anything it was the other way around! Meaning that the few "not so supportive" turned into supporters once they met our J and saw us together as a family.  My family is different than me in many ways - the same is true for Andrew and his family - but they are hands down one of the most loving groups of human beings in the universe. From the moment we announced we were adopting and how it would happen they were extremely supportive - with one exception whose generational location among other factors contributed to some anxiety on that person's part over the transracial nature of our adoption plans. Suffice to say one facebook album of photos later and all doubts were gone. 

It is my experience that biases against a category of human beings (race, class, sexual orientation,etc.) are much easier to maintain when people don't know or love anyone who belongs to that particular category. I want to be careful how I phrase this, because it is in no way a justification for transracial adoption, but one of the happy byproducts of having my girls in my life is that family members who maybe have never had the chance to be close to and love someone who isn't white now have that opportunity. And just that can change people. We don't have a mono-racial friendship community, but some of our family does, and this has been good for them. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

9 Months

I can't believe our little angel is already 9 months old! She is such a delightful baby. This past month she learned to crawl, clap, dance, and pull up on everything. She likes to stand by herself and she has one tooth on the top and 4 on the bottom. It's SO CUTE!
She loves table food....has NEVER liked baby food! She prefers to drink from a cup or a sippy cup with a straw! She is 18.4 lbs and 26inches. We are just so in love with our little lady.
It seems like she does something new every day. We think she's super smart (maybe a little biased).

We took a few "Fall" pics last weekend.....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tickets On Sale TODAY!

I'm really excited about the Choose Joy conference coming up. Tickets went on sale today! There are women coming from all over the don't let that get in your way of attending. You never know how God will speak to you through this event unless you GO!

Tickets will be $65 through November 8th, then Earlybird Registration will be over and prices will go up to $75. There will be a BIG CASH RAFFLE at the end of the conference to help one attendee grow their family!

Go to to register!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Choose Joy Event- speaking about fundraising

I was excited to here from Emmy today on what topic she would like for me to talk about at the Choose Joy Event in February. I will be leading a breakout group on Fundraising for Adoption! Oh do I know the ups/downs/ins-outs of that! I am exciting that I can now start to pray specifically for what God would have me share on this topic and that he place on my heart the words that will hopefully encourage families that are financially frustrated. Been there!

If you are walking the painful and often lonely road of infertility, or even if you have never experienced infertility but still have a desire to grow your family through adoption, I would love for you to attend this event!  Registration will open Wednesday, October 9th. Just go to the Choose Joy Event website to read more about it and register!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

8 months, wha????

Seriously, can you believe it's been 8 months since we were blessed with this angel? It seems like yesterday that I was writing this post about "the call". The one that would change our lives forever.

Lyla turned 8 months on the 16th of September. She is still the happiest, easiest baby I have ever met...and she's my daughter!! She has two teeth on the bottom and 3 that have decided to pop through all at once this week!! She loves eating table food (girl will have nothing to do with baby food!) and drinking out of a cup (she doesn't want a will I cope??). She is starting to pull up on stuff and would rather stand then sit. She is slowly attempting to crawl, but again...would rather you stand her up! She LOVES her Daddy. He can make her smile more than anyone!
She got her first sleep cap this week and kept it on last night until about 3am! She has SO much hair that we either needed a sleep cap or satin sheets. So we started with the cap. It's pretty adorable on her!
I have yet to master a hairstyle that can "go the distance"... but I'll learn. For now the fro is what we love the best.
Laynie and Blake have been great with their little sister. Blake makes her laugh and scream and she lights up when Laynie comes in the room. It's really precious!

Our lives are hectic with 3 kiddos, but we wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

God, give me a platform

For those of you who are not familiar with infertility or more specifically our families's a quick update.

In the fall of 2009 we decided it was time to grow our family. In April of 2010, after having an appendectomy, I was told that I had severe endometriosis and would need to have surgery to remove it before we could move on with trying to conceive. In July I had my surgery to remove the endo. I was optimistic that this was the answer and we would finally be able to move forward. After my surgery we did our first IUI. Man was I excited. 2 days later we were called up to the doctors office with news of what looked like a cancerous cyst on my right kidney. I think I went numb. More talk of what do to and now talk about the "morning after drug" were flying around in my head. It was devastating.
After many tests we were told that the calcified cyst did not seem to be growing and it was something we could watch every 3 months. Praise Jesus.

Come to find out the IUI didn't take. It was then that I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure.

Together we had comfort in knowing that God must have something very special in line for us.

Being a step-mom and a foster mom, my heart has experienced what is really means to love. That love doesn’t know a blood type, or DNA. Family is what you make it. I discovered that in a whole new way.

One day, after our fostering journey had ended, I was alone in my car driving. Suddenly I was overcome with this feeling... my God, the God that I know and love, and that knows my hearts desires to be a mother, was telling me that I would never be able to have children. What? Yes, that’s right. It was the one and only time in my 31 years of being alive that I have ever been so overcome by God’s word. It was so plain, so clear. Me? Never to be a Mom? No way. That just couldn’t be what I heard. After confiding in a few friends about it, I (along with them) quickly brushed it aside as just the “aftermath” of feelings since our foster son had recently left our home.

Fast forward a year and a half….there we were, with every door closed, with every doctors appointment left in tears, with all ideas of becoming a mother by way of my husband and I was never to be. It was a surreal moment. One that still makes me shake my head in “awe”! God WAS speaking to me. He WAS telling me that I wouldn’t bare children of my own, but that it didn’t mean I wouldn’t be a mother.

I knew this was it. It was my “AH-HA” moment. One that has left me with more clarity then I have ever experienced in my life.

We were being called to adopt! That was it! That was what God was saying all those months ago!
Since our “Ah-Ha” moment we have been shown time and time again that this was the path we were supposed to be on.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus Christ has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Fast forward about 2 years and here we are, with a precious baby girl and an amazing testimony to the faithfulness of God!

I have prayed many times for the way in which God would have me share our story and give hope and encouragement to those who feel alone in their infertility or in their adoption journey.
A few months back I was looking around on Instagram (I LOVE that app) and I'm not sure how, but I found Emmy. She is a sweet Momma of 2. One bio son and one adopted chocolate baby girl. I quickly started following her pics because I loved that she had a chocolate daughter too. One thing led to another and I found myself reading her blog, and she was also reading mine!
She has such a wonderful story of how they grew their family through adoption and about how God really "showed up" in their time of financial need!

She recently asked if I would speak at an event that she was heading up called the "Choose Joy Event" in Laguna Hills, CA.
I was honored to be asked and of course I said, "YES".
What an answer to my prayers. To be able to speak to other women that are going through what we went through and to be able to share with them how God's plan is SUCH a mighty one.... I can't wait!!

So, I hope to be back blogging much more between now and then. Little Lyla has just cut her first tooth (yes, at 5 1/2 months old) and she also just learned to roll completely over... she's growing WAY too fast.
She is still just a precious little doll and one of the happiest babies I have ever known!
With my big kids home for summer break, it's been a little busy around my house. No excuses though. I love blogging and really need to get back to it!

So stay tuned!!!!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Picture Overload :)

This is Lyla's "scream with excitement" face!

She loves her jump-a-roo....and loves to chew on it!

Melt my heart!

Lyla, 4 months

We went to my bosses lake house and Lyla had fun in her sun hat!

Checking out the golf cart.

So big! She lifts up really well. She would rather be on her back when she's awake, so she quickly rolls over.

Hair Everywhere!

Oh my sweet, sweet girl! She is growing so much! 12lbs, 10oz and 23.25" to be exact.
Last week, with the temps getting into the 90's here, I decided that it was probably time I tried a hairstyle on her. It would allow her scalp to breath a little and give her some much needed relief from the heat. She has the THICKEST hair I have ever seen. Beautiful tight curls and LOTS of them!
So after consulting my friends at CHVC (Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care) I decided to just try some box puffs. WOW....was I thankful that my sweet Lyla is SUPER patient and sweet...she just sat and enjoyed a few toys and a little "Doc McStuffins" on the iPad.
My sweet friend Kerri helped me too!

 Yes, it took 4 hands to start....... oh us beginners! ;)
 You can't really tell, but there is our first puff....
 Isn't she the cutest!?
 The princess teething ring was a necessity!
 We finally got the top one and side ones done. She was SO good. The parts were fairly easy to do and I can't tell you how much I LOVE "Kinky Curly, Knot Today". It's a leave in conditioner and it's wonderful...and smells great too! Oh, and you can find it at Target!!!
 Working on the back...
 Pardon my face in this picture...such concern. I really didn't want to mess up!
So here was the finished product. I was fairly pleased with it being my first time. At least I know she will sit still and really let me work on her hair. Now I just do the 4 puffs in the front... the back got WAY too messed up during sleep time!

We are still just amazed every day at the blessing God has given us. Lyla continues to be such a sweet girl. She giggles, screams (with delight) and loves to play with toys. She chews on EVERYthing!
We got the green light to start cereal and veggies....I can't believe it!
She will be 5 months on June 16th. Holy cow.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane!

It's crazy how life is moving so fast! Lyla is now 4 months old and just as precious and wonderful as day 1! The big kids are busy with sports and end of school activities. Clint is the family sports chauffeur.. every single night of the week! I am busy with Lyla, our household, my Etsy shop, the big kids, work and oh yes, being a good wife ;)

I just realized I didn't post for Lyla's 3rd month! It's crazy because I used to blog all the time. Now it's only on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays when I am at work and have the time to do it! Ugh.

At 3 months Lyla loves to chew on everything, especially her hands. She loves to scream and make lots of noise! She loves read books and has started to show a lot more of her cute/spunky personality. Clint always said that she's going to talk our ears off when she learns how! I agree!!
At 3.5 months I decided that getting up at 2am for a feeding needed to come to an end. I took the weekend to try it...and it worked. I had to go into her room a few times to give her her paci back, but overall it went great. She now sleeps from 8pm to 6am! YAHOO! 
Lyla also learned how to roll from her stomach to her back at 3.5 months. She is a PRO at it now. Bad thing is is that she is a tummy there are many times that she gets mad because she can't get back over in the middle of the night, so I have to go assist! We are working on rolling the other way now! Here she is at 3 months. CUTENESS!

 I LOVE this picture of her and Elmo. She's looking over at Laynie (who can always get her to smile big)

I can't believe i'm posting about 2 months at a time, but oh well. I do what I can! ;)
This week Lyla turned 4 months. She is such a happy baby!
She has really mastered swatting at toys and grabbing for things. It's SO fun to see her grow and learn new things! Makes me so proud!
She loves to scream and talk...especially when you lay her on her changing table. It's the funniest thing. She will be silent...but as soon as you lay her down on the changing pad, BAM... she's screaming and laughing like crazy. She's done this since she was like a month old! Here she is trying to master the new sippy cup/bottle. It's a bottle, but with handles to teach them how to old on! Genius! She did pretty good.

 I love her hair after a bath. I lather her up with coconut oil. Her curls are SUPER tight and thick. I can't wait to start doing some actual hairstyles! ;)

Our adoption is getting closer to being finalized. We are praying like crazy for the obstacles that have come up to just GO AWAY. We know that God has built our family exactly the way He wants it, so we just pray that everything goes through and we can move forward! We have court on June 28th.

God continues to bless us and show us how faithful He is. We are SO thankful.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lyla Video

This video was taken just a week or so ago. So she was 2.5 months old. Our pediatrician says that she is a "mover and shaker", and she IS! She kicks those legs so fast!

This video was taken at 12 weeks. She loves this "Sing-a-majig".

2 months

Lyla had some precious "firsts" at 2 months!

First coo/big smiles at Daddy when he walked in the room: March 1st
First laugh out loud at Daddy: March 4th
Cooed a lot and blew a few spit bubbles at Aunt Kerri: March 11th

At 8 weeks she started cooing so much more. She loves when you make noises with your mouth/tongue. She is a TUMMY sleeper. I know, bad mommy, but I can't help it. The girl LOVES to snooze on her belly. Little rebel! :)

On March 12th, my sister and her family came up from San Antonio to meet little Lyla. My neice Izzy (7) and my nephews Luke (5) & Matthias (4) just LOVED all over Lyla. I loved hearing little Matthias say Lyla (Little "Wy-Wa"). I loved seeing them with her. She is so loved and that just makes my heart so happy!

My sister and Lyla.
Izzy and Lyla.
We also go out and enjoyed a nice day at the Zoo. Another first for Lyla!

We celebrated Clint's 40th birthday on Feb. 27th with a surprise birthday dinner. Lyla had her special "I love Daddy" onesie on.

1 month

From the time we got home until Feb. 16th (Lyla's 1 month birthday) went by super fast. Lyla grew so fast, yet was still such a tiny little beauty! She was 8lbs 7oz at her first doctors appointment. Still such a joy. Always so content and wide eyed.

We just count our blessings every day that Lyla is our daughter.

Our God is faithful!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coming home to our new life with Lyla

It almost felt like we were dreaming... boarding a plane after 9 days... with our precious girl in tow. You can imagine the looks we got. Not only was she outside our race (that will get you enough looks as it is), but she looked like she was just born like 5 min before! Super tiny and sweet!
It was a later flight..6pm. We were exhausted, but had just enough adrenaline to get us home! Lyla was the perfect passenger! She ate when we first boarded, but then slept pretty much from then on. It was awesome!
Flying with a baby was surprisingly easy too. We didn't have to wait in the long security lines and we got to preboard! ;)

I cried on the flight home. It was just overwhelming. We were finally taking our baby home!

Here we are... tired, excited, overwhelmed, overjoyed!

So happy to be holding my baby... in the airport... on our way HOME!

We didn't get any pictures of our arrival. To my sweet friend Kerri's defense, it was like 11:45pm and we were pooped and forgot to ask her to take some pics! I'm sure she was too excited to see Lyla to care about pics! ;)

Only by God's amazing timing... at midnight on the night we arrived (Tuesday the 24th) time had elapsed for the birthmom to change her mind.
Talking about watching our clock as we sat and waited on our luggage! Thank you Jesus..we could breath a little easier and enjoy being home that much more! God is Good!

Over the next few weeks we settled in as a family of 5!
Lyla continued to be the PERfect baby. I had 3 more weeks of maternity leave, so it was wonderful to get that time at home with her.
We were blessed by all of our friends and family to come home to a spotless house, a week of hot meals and LOVE...LOTS of LOVE for Lyla. That was the best part.

Our sweet friend Kerri and her girls loving on Lyla.... I love this picture!

Grace and Caroline were so excited to get to meet Lyla and hold her.

Big sister Laynie got to meet and love on her on Wednesday night.

One of the sweetest times was when my Dad met Lyla. He was super smitten. It melted my heart. You pray and pray for everyone to love and accept your adopted child as much as you, but you just never know... and that's scary. I am more than proud to say that we have felt nothing but LOVE and Joy and Peace and acceptance since we've been home. Our families and friends have been so amazing and it really does fill our hearts with joy and happiness. Lyla is SO very loved.