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Three years ago….

This… Little did we know three years ago where this little conversation would lead… #hopingtoadopt #hopefuladoptiveparents #adoption

We met online in the summer of 2015. Dennis said that he messaged me because he liked my photo with the pink cake (our friend Allie takes credit, and rightly so, for our introduction because she made that cake for my birthday). I messaged back because he was an English teacher, and I found that fascinating.

We messaged about 5 or 6 times that day, and then again the day after, and again the day after. Our messages became deep and emotionally intimate quite quickly, and we knew that we had made a connection that we had to explore further. We graduated to phone calls on Day 5, when the messages got way too long and had to be split into 3 parts b/c too many characters!

Our phone calls lasted for hours and hours, and we could not wait for work to be over so we could talk. The same emotional intimacy we had in our messages continued in our phone calls. We talked about everything! And we found that we had very similar philosophies on life, and very similar emotional styles. We met in-person three weeks later, and knew immediately we loved each other. He proposed about 45 days after we met in person.

We waited so long and experienced so much heartache before we found each other, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our past experiences are what make us the people we are today, and they are what we have used as a springboard to create a phenomenal marriage. We feel so grateful to have found each other. It feels wonderful to be married to a best friend. We approach our marriage as the most precious thing we have. We cherish each other, we uplift each other, and we make decisions every day to put the other first. We are so blessed to have had this wonderful beginning. <3

LAGOON!

I  (Valerie) love roller coasters. So as part of our Summer Tour 2018, Dennis took me to Lagoon in Salt Lake City. We had so much fun! We went on all the big rides: Cannibal, Wicked, Colossus, and all the other stuff. Dennis got to hear my blood curdling screams followed by delirious laughter. I am sure that Dennis had claw marks in his hands on the really scary ones. Dennis isn’t much of a screamer on these rides. He was pretty calm until the last couple of rides. I heard one or two little bursts of sound from him, but other than that, I was the noisy one of the pair. It was really fun to see that different side of our personalities.

 

 

If You’re Going to San Francisco…

Be sure to take a walking tour with TakeWalks.com (also, if you use the code MorrisSF10 you’ll get 10% off)!

But really, we loved San Francisco. It is a beautiful city with amazing history. Our first night in SF we took in a Giants game at AT&T Park. We haven’t been to too many MLB parks, but this is definitely a favorite. This park felt like there was something new around every corner, and being right on the water was so beautiful. The weather was perfect, and we just loved it.

Alcatraz was an amazing experience. Its such a solemn place, even with hundreds of people there. It was a self-guided audio tour, and the guides on the audio were former inmates and former guards. We had flashes of Shawshank Redemption, except that this place was very real.

After Alcatraz, we had lunch at Boudin Bread Company in Fisherman’s Wharf…. Man, that sourdough bread was the best ever. <3 The Haight-Ashbury Tour was incredible. It’s amazing how musical genres merged in the late 60s. We saw the house where the Grateful Dead lived, the house where Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix got stoned out of their minds, and of course, we visited Amoeba Music. Later that evening, we went on a Taco Tour with TakeWalks.com. We got to sample some fantastic empanadas, pork tacos, and pan dulce. That was arguably my favorite part of the trip. The tacos were from Cafe Vallarta. We loved them so much, we went back the next night for dinner.

Our last day in SF started out in Chinatown. We both loved that tour. We loved getting samples from the Original Fortune Cookie Company, and watching how fortune cookies are made. Our last official tour was North Shore. That was a highlight for Dennis, as it covered a lot of the poetry and film history of SF, including the Zoetrope Building owned by Francis Ford Coppola and the Caffe Trieste where he wrote most of The Godfather. We stopped at City Lights Bookstore where Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and other beatniks shared their works.  We even got to see an original Banksy! Oh, and of course, brownie ice cream sandwiches.

One of our favorite stops was at Grace Cathedral. One of our favorite songs is The Decemberists’ “Grace Cathedral Hill,” so we made the hike up the very steep Nob Hill and spent some time in that gorgeous edifice.

We saved the most iconic for last and visited the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It is a marvel of engineering. It was cold and windy and beautiful and clear and perfect.

Seriously though. Walking tours are the way to go. We really felt like we got a great view of the city, lots of info about the history and cultures, and we logged in about 27,000 steps each day 🙂 San Francisco is absolutely wonderful. One of our favorite vacations so far.

Los Angeles, I’m Yours*

Dennis had never been to actual Los Angeles. He wanted to go to a game a Dodger’s Stadium, see the Hollywood sign, visit Amoeba Music, and pay homage to a favorite musician Elliott Smith at the famous wall he stood in front of on the Figure 8 album cover. So we did all those things on a quick overnight on our way to San Francisco.

First item of business when we arrived was to eat lunch. We opted for the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs on La Brea near Paramount Studios. We’ve had better dogs, but you go there because it’s an icon.

Next stop was Amoeba Music. It’s a beautiful store. I’d love to see a show there sometime. And yes, we went to Amoeba Music and all we got were two awesome Tees.

More sites around LA:

The Dodgers game was super fun, other than our obstructed view. We got Kiké Hernandez bobble heads, nachos in a Dodgers helmet, and enjoyed being in that beautiful stadium.

Before we went to the game, we had a moment at the Elliott Smith wall. To explain what it meant to Dennis is really difficult to do. Elliott is an artist that Dennis connects with. It would be like Valerie at Abbey Road.

LA, it’s been real. Thanks for the moments and the traffic. Peace out.

*We don’t actually want to belong to LA. But we love The Decemberists, so that song lyric comes to mind.

Dennis & Valerie Summer Tour 2018!

We LOVE road trips. Trips in general, yes, but road trips are so fun. We get to have great conversation in the car, play games, laugh, and have a good time. Also, blog 😂.

This summer, we decided to visit LA briefly so that Dennis could visit some places he’s wanted to see for some time, and San Francisco so that Valerie can visit some places she’s wanted to see for some time. Then, of course, over to Salt Lake to visit some family.

On the road, we do fun things like…

Puzzles

 

listen to songs we don’t actually love but fit well on a road trip to California…

Point to fun things along the way…

And of course… Silly Putty.

Which brings us to our first #PublicServiceAnnouncement:

He’s gonna be a great dad!

It is so fun for me to watch Dennis with kids. Last Saturday, we went to the baptism of our good friend’s niece. She had received a nice framed photo with some ribbon around it, and she wanted to take the ribbon off so she could take a photo with it. She was struggling for a few minutes, and without a word, Dennis just went over to help. Later that day, our 3-year old niece experienced some mild trauma with her cousin of the same age pouring water on her. I picked her up and brought her in the house and Dennis was coming around the corner with a towel in hand. I absolutely love that he steps in to help in such practical ways. <3

Social Media Fast?

img_6462So, Valerie is writing this post. Shocker, I know 🙂

On Sunday, a man that we consider to be a prophet, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, invited all the youth, their parents, and their leaders to make some changes in their lives. The first, and the only one I will talk about here, is the “7-day social media fast.” Basically, sign off of social media for one week, and use that time to connect with others IRL (in real life, for those who do not speak teenager), and to connect with Heavenly Father.

As a leader of the 16-18 year old girls in my congregation, I decided to participate. It was a hard decision for me, as we have some facebook ads running for our adoption search. I worried that not posting for a week would hinder our chances of connecting with a birth family. As I lay awake Sunday night mulling all of this over, I came to the realization that if I really believe that President Nelson is a prophet of God, and if I really believe that God has power to bless my life for being obedient to his prophet’s counsel, I need to choose to trust and be obedient. So I deleted the social media apps from my phone and started my 7-day social media fast.

Now, there are some who would claim that writing this blog is social media… I look at it more as journaling 🙂 Maybe it’s a stretch, but in order to make this a non-social media post, I turned off commenting and my automatic feed to facebook and twitter, at least for these seven days.

What I really wanted to share is that just in one 24 hour period, I have vacuumed my house, done three loads of laundry, had two meaningful scripture studies, and read some magazine articles at night before going to sleep. I slept better and I feel better and I have been more connected and sensitive to spiritual things.

I noticed throughout the day that I would pick up my phone and try to check facebook, instagram, and twitter, only to realize they weren’t there. It was eye opening to me how often throughout the day I do that out of habit.

One day down, six to go. I’m so far really grateful for this opportunity.

On rejection…

The same week that our home study was approved, we had the opportunity to submit our profile to an expectant mother who was choosing an adoption plan for her baby. We were so hopeful. We wrote a personal letter to her and we prayed that she would choose us.

She didn’t. We cried.

It reminded me a lot of dating. You may be the most awesome person in the world, but if the other person doesn’t love you or want to be with you, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You just have to move on. A good match (in dating/marriage or adoption) is mutual. Both parties have to be invested in the match for it to work. You can’t pray away someone else’s choice.

There is so much emotion involved in adoption. And the expectant mother has every right and responsibility to select an adoptive family that she feels is best for her baby. Our responsibility is to continue to be ourselves and hope that something about us resonates with an expectant mother.

So we move on and wait for the next opportunity to share who we are. Right now, we are grateful to even be considered as an adoptive family. It is a privilege to be in the running.

Thank you to everyone who is helping us connect with women considering an adoption plan. We appreciate you <3