We made some big changes to our lives in the last 6 months. We have felt for some time the need to relocate to Utah. It was a tough decision to make for many, many reasons. Dennis had a great job with people he loved working with, Audrey’s birth family was close and we were able to visit several times during the year, and my family lives in Arizona. Not to mention we owned our home and loved it. It was the home in which we suffered the most and rejoiced the most. It was hard to leave that sacred place.

After lots of prayer and discussion, we made the decision to sell our home and move. It would allow us to be a one-income family, and I could stay home with Audrey and be full-time Mommy. Dennis found a job near his hometown of Salt Lake City, and we packed up and headed North. It took a couple of months to find a place to live, but we are now settled in a lovely new home just outside Salt Lake.

Audrey is thriving. She’s smart, funny, active, and inventive. At 19 months, she’s healthy and hitting all her milestones. She is the light of our lives and we are beyond blessed. She loves climbing on things and learning sign language. She has a handful of words, both verbal and signs. She’s helpful and sweet, with a love of singing and dancing. Audrey is an amazing human. If you’ve followed us on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that 😁.

Rodeo in her future????

We are working on updating our adoption home study to hopefully grow our family. Preparing to adopt takes a LOT of work. There are background checks and home improvements and interviews and education requirements to meet. We are grateful to have such a supportive family that helps us meet these needs while raising a busy and active toddler.

In Arizona, we worked with Calli Tidwell. She was absolutely amazing, and we recommend her services to anyone in Arizona contemplating adoption, whether placing or adopting. She has been an amazing support to us and she has an incredible network of support for birth mothers. I mentioned her in our post about Audrey’s birth. She did an amazing job with Audrey’s birth parents and with prepping our finalization. She connected us with the county attorney who finalized the adoption at no cost. We are tremendously blessed to know her and work with her.

Here in Utah, we are working with Utah Adoption Specialists. We are excited to get to know them and grateful for their work on our behalf.

We will update again sometime when life allows me to sit and write 🙂 Thank you for your support and love!

Loss and Love: Part 3

Well this is the hardest post I have had to write so far. Since this is a blog about our journey, I will try to share what it feels like for us. There are three sides of the adoption triad… But I only know one intimately enough to write about it. I’ll leave it to others to share their stories. This is ours. 

Part three of this story is the faith part. Remember how I said this season is a season of loss for us? While that is certainly true, it has a different dimension for me this year.

For the past two months, the scripture that has relentlessly embedded itself in my brain is in The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 11:17 “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”

I have also thought a great deal about the purpose of suffering, and why bad things happen to good people. Many people find comfort in believing that each test we are given in life is for a specific, planned lesson. For example, “I am going through this so that I can learn patience.” There isn’t anything wrong with that perspective, and for those who find peace in that concept, I am grateful they have it. 

For me, I personally struggle with that, because I do not necessarily believe that every decision is master-planned. I do not believe that someone else’s choices were predestined so that we could learn a specific lesson. What I do believe is that Heavenly Father knows what choices we will make in this life because He knows us well. But HE does not instruct people to be violent, hurtful, or manipulative in order to teach someone a lesson on faith or hope. He allows His children to make their choices, and for those who are hurt as a result of someone else’s choices, He brings the healing. 

So for me, I find comfort in knowing that I signed up for mortality. And mortality contains death, sickness, violence, neglect, and all manner of awful, dreadful things. I signed up for a mortal experience. And this heartbreak is part of the mortal experience. 

The test for me is will I allow Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ to heal me? Will I turn to them when Mortality beats me down? Will I use them as my source of peace and comfort when Mortality deals a near-fatal blow? Will I not place the blame on them for the tests and trials of the Mortal experience, but will I instead allow them to be the solution? Will I allow Jesus to perform His role as Savior, and save me from Mortality? 

Deuteronomy 8:2-3
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

We are in the wilderness. We are going to be hurt—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The test is… will we let Him be our Savior? 

We have lost. His love will heal us. 

Loss and Love: Part 2

Well this is the hardest post I have had to write so far. Since this is a blog about our journey, I will try to share what it feels like for us. There are three sides of the adoption triad… But I only know one intimately enough to write about it. I’ll leave it to others to share their stories. This is ours. 

The part two of this story is that in our loss, we have felt an outpouring of love from our community. From family and close friends, to members of the adoption community, to strangers living thousands of miles away who now feel like family, we have been blessed considerably.

After our Facebook and Instagram posts yesterday, we received so many sweet comments, texts, phone calls, and messages filled with love and support. We have lost, but we are loved. We feel it.

Through this process, we have seen what life looks like without profound and unconditional love, we feel extremely blessed to have such loving and kind people in our lives. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for believing in us and for strengthening us. We love you.

Click here for Loss and Love: Part 3

Loss and Love: Part 1

Well this is the hardest post I have had to write so far. Since this is a blog about our journey, I will try to share what it feels like for us. There are three sides of the adoption triad… But I only know one intimately enough to write about it. I’ll leave it to others to share their stories. This is ours. 

Part one of this story is the loss. Our expectant mom has chosen to parent. I don’t know where to begin. How do you describe what it feels like to lose a child you never held? A baby that was never yours but felt like she was? A daughter that will never know you, or how much you love her, prayed for her, cried for her? How you carefully planned your nursery and your life around her?

She is not just “some baby” to us. For months, she felt like ours. I could feel her through the distance. We imagined her childhood with us, her teenage rebellion, her wedding, her first baby. We imagined the great relationship we would build with her biological family, and the trip we would take to Ecuador for her graduation. We saw our life with her. We saw her playing with her cousins as they grew up together. We have so much love to give her. Not just any child… her. We longed for the day that we would get the call that it was time to meet her.

That day never came. And will never come.

I have a new perspective on open adoption. “Open” has very little to do with the amount of contact between the child and her biological family. “Open” has everything to do with hearts.

We opened our hearts wide for this little girl and her mom. We chose to be open, vulnerable, and to feel excited, to hope, to plan, and to love. We loved them fiercely. We prayed for them, we worked hard for them, we gave them every bit of ourselves. The love that we poured from our hearts to theirs has left an gaping hole, a wide open space that will take time and patience and love and faith to heal.

Last year, on December 10th, we had our first positive pregnancy test. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I miscarried. This year, we planned to spend Christmas with a new baby girl. We found out on December 6th that she would not be ours. This is a season of loss for the second year in a row. More on that later…

Some dear friends and I used to talk about the difference between walls of doom and healthy hedges. Walls of doom are built around a heart that has been broken so many times and in so many ways that the only way to protect it is to build walls of doom around it. Walls of doom keep out grief and pain, but they also prevent good things from getting through. Walls of doom do not allow hearts to heal properly. The only way to heal a broken heart is to allow love, hope, connection, courage, and faith to rebuild it from within. Walls of doom are impenetrable.

Healthy hedges, on the other hand, provide a safe space for healing. They do not protect from destruction completely, but they are permeable and allow love, hope, connection, courage, and faith to seep through and begin the healing process. Healthy hedges are what you build to give yourself time to heal. Be a little wary, but not paranoid. Give yourself time, but don’t shut yourself away. Watch for red flags, but don’t turn away every opportunity. Keep loving, keep moving, and keep hoping. Cautiously for a time, and then when you’ve healed, tear down the hedges and bring your heart back out into the world to love wholly and completely.

Love cannot exist without risk. Grief cannot exist without love. To love someone is to lay yourself bare and to open yourself to grief and loss. We loved profoundly and lost exquisitely.

Click Here for Loss and Love: Part 2