Adoption Fears


Four years ago, when I found out I was pregnant the first time, I specifically stayed away from all child rearing platforms and agendas. As an avid consumer of information, this was no easy feat. But, I stayed away from baby books, Google searches, and tried not to ask too many questions. I knew myself well enough to know that if I had too much information, I would try to birth and raise my baby on someone else’s version of ‘the right way’. I wanted to learn to rely on my own instinct.


But that hasn’t been reality for bringing adopted kids home. Quite the opposite. In a very real way, it has been information overload. There’s no way around it. It’s required! I had to attend classes, read books, watch videos, join support groups; and if that wasn’t enough, I’m co-running Respite Redefined. I’m up to my eyeballs in foster/adoption stories, opinions, and information.


At times, I am grateful I am being forced to read all the books, and watch all the videos, and I feel very prepared to join in the journey. But other times? Some of what I learn really shakes me. Sometimes even the most beautiful and eloquent stories shake my confidence, my commitment, and even my decision making abilities.


Choosing this course in life has been fraught with anxiety. I’m just being honest with you. There have been many questions on my part, and so much prayer. So. Much. Prayer. I’m 90% certain that I am not certain about anything. I absolutely do not know what I am doing or what I’m committing to.

(I’d like to believe that’s just parenthood in general.)


At times, my faith falters and the fear comes rushing in. I believe the lies that I’m not good enough, patient enough, or passionate enough to raise kids from hard places. I start thinking about how great and easy my little family of four is, and how I’d be a fool to allow in anything that will rock the boat or potentially “mess up” my bio kids. At my lowest points, in my most faithless of times, I mentally go into a corner and start rocking and sucking my thumb and I’m ready to pull the plug. I get so close to talking to my husband about quitting the whole thing.


But the Lord is gracious, and He is kind, and He gently takes me by the hand, and stands me up on my own two feet and reminds me how I am capable, and worthy, and lovely, and strong. And even when I’m not, He is for the both of us. Even when I actually do prove him wrong (kinda often), His mercy is sufficient to cover my shortcomings.


So I keep fighting the fear, and closing my mind to the notion that I can’t adopt.

Then I think about my kids. The kids I don’t know yet. They’re out there! My kids are alive and living with someone else. It’s the most surreal thing that I can barely wrap my head around.  They belong with me. They’re mine. But I have never met them. I can’t imagine their faces or voices or personalities. There will be a day soon where I go get them. I’ll buckle them into my car, survive the weirdest car ride of my life, bring them into my home, and they’ll be there to stay. My breath catches just thinking about it. It is all at once the most exciting thing, and the scariest thing, and I have yet to find any emotion in between.


I envision a day several years from now that my husband and I are aged (looking fabulous), our adult children are back together under our roof and we have this moment in the chaos of a full house where share that look that says, “wasn’t it all worth it?”.


Now. I’ve got to figure out a way to get from the present to that glorious future. I have to continue to lay these bipolar feelings at the feet of Jesus. I have to trust that His way is the best way. I have to have faith that He isn’t leading me into a place that He won’t also be. If I’m certain that He’s called me into this, and I am, I also need to possess the certainty that it will come to pass and that I will indeed survive it.



I can’t imagine adopting kids and what it will do to us. But more importantly, I can’t imagine not doing it. So right now, I’ll go ahead and keep filling my head with information. I’ll read, and watch, and nest, and pray. I’ll do a better job at guarding my heart against fear. I’ll keep thinking about my future kids and how they are so patiently waiting for me. I’ll remember that first day of adoption class and how I was so giddy with excitement that I could hardly sit still. I’ll watch my own bio kids with wonder and amazement. I’ll count myself lucky that I was able to see the baby stages for at least 2 of my kids. And I’ll be leaning on my Respite Redefined guys; those beautiful, confident, honest foster-adopt mamas that have paved the way and unknowingly given me drive to see this thing through.


“There’s a difference between being too scared to do hard things and doing hard things scared.” – Shannan Martin, Falling Free

Update on our adoption status: There is no update. We are in the waiting period and expect to be here for some time. As a general rule, agencies don’t match families during the holidays, so there is no expectation of our wait to change until the new year.


PS: I have been cleaning out my hard drive. I’ve always loved these photos, but have never shared them. These were taken March 2015.

The Perfect Morning

It’s been a weird week. It’s been an off week. I haven’t felt energetic or kind or accomplished. But His mercies are new each morning. And oh my goodness did those mercies shower all over us this very morning.

I’m convinced attitude makes or breaks your day. But still, even waking up with a perky attitude, today seemed extra good.

Ems slept a little late which meant I got 2 full cups of coffee down before 7am. Waking up before my kids is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The kids didn’t fight me on dressing them (!!!) and I got to matchy match them in the outfits of my choosing. Huge win. Got them in the stroller right away with a to-go breakfast and no one needed an extra potty break or had a conniption over which side they were on/drinks/food/blankets/hair. Huge win. On our run to the gym we found a monarch butterfly on the sidewalk and he was so gentle we each took turns holding him and looking at all his delicate features. He may have been dying, but that didn’t seem pertinent to mention.

We saw some friends on the jogging path, those kind that you don’t actually mind running into. Then, as if it could keep getting better, the gym was practically empty and I got dibs on all my favorite equipment! This never happens.

On our jog back home we just couldn’t help ourselves. There were rainbows in the sky, the breeze was just right, butterflies and flowers all around, we just had to skip and run in the field by the jogging trail.

And that’s where all these photos come from. I think I’ll frame all of them. It was a good morning. Such a good morning.

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img_8361Always make time for snacks.

img_8376 img_8377And my favorite part of the whole thing- this hill. The girls had so much trouble with momentum as they tried to get back down to the stroller. In the first one Ellie is completely face down after, basically, a sprint downhill in which she couldn’t stop herself. Ems in the 2nd one is having trouble even standing up straight and was afraid to go any further for fear of a face plant like she witnessed with her sister.

Alas, all perfect moments and hours have to come to an end. I truly wish I could bottle up this day and these feelings and these baby stages. But what makes these special days so darn special is how beautifully rare they are. So I won’t bottle it, or even regret it because it’s over. It’s precious because it existed. I’ll cherish it because I had the opportunity to live it fully and freely.

And then I blogged about it same day. Which is either a sad commentary on our lives, or totally amazing that I achieved it.


imageSaturday night. I’m breathing the greatest sigh of relief. I’m done. I’ve made it. My week is over. Sunday starts our weekend.



I’m completely exhausted. I don’t think I’ve got a single thing left to give. The floors have been swept, the dishes all washed, the bathrooms scrubbed. There’s more miles on my running shoes, more hours logged in the Word. Kids have been babysat, people have been fed, groceries all purchased, meals (& snacks & snacks) all prepared. The laundry has been carefully put away, the closets all organized, the sheets all clean. The porches are swept, the plants all watered. Prayers were fervently prayed, tears were shed too. Sessions were edited, my eyes going numb staring at a computer screen; ministries were valued and cherished and sought out. Emails answered, phone calls made, texts texted, check marks checked.


My heart has been wrung out all over this home, this family, these friends.


I often wonder about the pace I’ve created here and if it’s too much. Or maybe not enough. Am I deciding to use my time wisely. What am I doing with the one life I’ve been given. We move so fast and do so much. I prayed for the gift of friends and ministries, and it was completely and fully given.  With that gift comes a full schedule.


Today I yelled. Yesterday I probably yelled too. For the thousandth time I ask myself if we’ve done the right thing by choosing to adopt. If 2 kids feels like so much, how can I possibly parent more. I asked my kids for their forgiveness. Mommy sometimes gets overwhelmed and doesn’t have great self control. I’m so sorry. I wonder if they’ll remember me as an angry mom.


Tucking in always goes smoother. I know it’s my last impression on them for the day. I know it’s the last day they’ll ever be this little. The day is over, the minutes all gone. I embrace what happened or didn’t happen. I end the day on giggles and hugs. Even when it’s forced.


I’m dead on my feet. My brain is ready to check out. Sunday is our day. The family is together, the pace is slow, the food abundant. I’ll go into church and teach a handful of precious 2nd graders, but the remainder of the day is for rest. I cherish it. I long for it.


Monday will come too soon. The shared google calendar is already full. But I won’t think about it now. Right now the house is clean and I have ice cream and a book. A genuine, fictional, picked just cuz I wanted to, book.


Welcome Sabbath, I’m so glad you’re here.


Ellie Went to School

My mom had been after me for about a year to enroll Ellie girl in a Mother’s Day Out program. I secretly think it’s because she knows how much work Ellie is. But also as a mother I’m sure she knows the benefits of time away from precious children (but not me though. i’m sure she always wanted me close by).

Last year I wasn’t at all ready. Couldn’t fathom sending my girl off, even for a day. Plus, I felt ridiculously privileged to call myself a stay at home mom, and then still send my kid/s away for a day or two. I couldn’t justify it. But over the summer it became very apparent that my type A, extroverted, agenda driven, charismatic child was really ready for some external stimulation.

“Mom. Mom, what are we doing today? Mom. Mom, are we going somewhere? Mom. Mom, who has invited us over today? Mom. Mom, what’s next? Mom. Mom, who’s coming over today? Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom, what’s next?”


img_7037Meet the teacher last night. Second favorite dress. (photo from Armani)

So, glory be, we managed to squeak her in at the last minute into the exact program I was hoping she’d be able to attend. We’ve been talking about it for weeks now. We bought school supplies, prepped her backpack, counted down the days. Finally it arrived. School. By the way, Mother’s Day Out is not like the days of old. This is a full on preschool program. She has a schedule and everything. Computer class, music class, Spanish class. This is legit.

img_7046 img_7048 img_7051Goofing’ last night while talking about school in the morning!

This morning she zooms out of her room and starts immediately packing her lunch. Grabs things from the fridge and starts shoving them into her majorly pink and glittery “Elsa Anna” lunchbox. I rearranged things later for her. She chose her fanciest and largest dress to wear. Asked for one Elsa braid “Elsa brave” and we were out the door.

She got out of the car, asked me to help her put her backpack on correctly (both straps, no twisting), grabbed her lunchbox and tried to walk off without me. I asked her to slow down. Grabbed a few pictures of her, to her impatient dismay, and she pulled my hand all the way to her class.

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When we got inside her teacher showed her her own cubby with her name on it, she placed everything inside exactly like she’d been doing it for weeks and sat down to play with the toys. I stood around in the room for a minute with Emerson wiggling in the Ergo. But then I dejectedly decided she didn’t need me, and walked out. I got one small, “bye mom”, and that was that.

img_7055First day of school. Favorite dress.

I didn’t cry. It seems very monumental, but because it’s only one day a week, I know I still have lots of time and influence over her. But I get it now. I get why first days are so huge for moms. I get why it’s documented and obsessed over. Even just preschool. I get why my newsfeed is saturated in first day pics. The overgrown backpacks and sweet little outfits are definitely not as cute when they’re not on my own kid, but I can appreciate them. Especially since I just added to the “typical mom forces child to stand with pasted smile on face for the sake of social media” on your newsfeed today.


But it’s so much more than just documenting for the sake of social media. It feels like one step forward in life that you can never take backward. Most days run together in a blur and you do your best to survive them. Then something creeps in on you like your kid starting school. Suddenly it’s all too obvious that time is moving faster than you ever wished. You realize you’re eventually going to have to let all the way go. Even at the tender age of 3, you see that the future in front of you involves saying goodbye and sending your child into the world. One school year at a time.

img_7062She feels beautiful. You can tell.

It’s also an evaluation as a parent. There’s so much that can happen at school outside of your knowledge that can reflect you as the parent. So it feels like the days and nights and the entire life you’ve built with your child will be put under it’s first test. Have I done ok? Is she smart enough? Will she struggle? Will she be kind and compassionate? Will she tell awkward things like when I yelled yesterday? Is it ok to quiz the teacher afterward and analyze how my child fits into a systemized organization?

My firstborn. The one teaching me so much about life. The one reminding me to sit down more, hold on longer, invest more richly. She’s not a baby anymore. She’s barely even a toddler anymore. She packed her own lunch, walked herself into school, made new friends, and didn’t bat an eye when her mommy left. I think I want to feel pathetic and say, she doesn’t even care about me! But instead I’ll acknowledge that she did exactly what I prepared her to do. She is so excited for independence and that’s my job in a nutshell.


Plus, when I came to pick her up she jumped right into my arms and I got one of those arms-all-the-way-around-the-neck hugs. Then she straight away asked me what we were doing next.


And one of Emmy too. Meet the teacher night. On the cutest bench I’ve ever seen. (photo from Armani)


Oh hai

I don’t know how to mom, and work from home, and wife, and volunteer for Respite Redefined, and do housework, and prepare for adoption, and be a friend, and an active community member, and an active church member, and try to read the stack of books I keep being recommended and never actually get around to reading (or returning, oops).

So the blog took a big time halt. And I really miss it. Because I know people aren’t going to keep waiting on a post from me, and the tiny following I used to have is now totally gone. Even though blogs are dying anyway, and starting one at their decline was never the smartest. But I’m getting old and social media platforms are starting to boggle my brain. I can’t keep up, nor do I want to, and there’s something so blessedly simple about going to an actual website and reading more than a 2 sentence post. I miss keeping up with friends in this way, even if no one was a really great writer or photographer. (no offense, y’all)

I’m way, way behind on organizing all of my own personal photos and that gets really frustrating, so I put it off, and it backs up more, so I put it off longer and….then there’s no magical day where I have endless hours to sit at my computer like I think will happen for me. So then I feel bad for sitting at my computer to write, but then have no photos to add to it. Or sitting down to write, and searching for a photo to add, and then getting sucked into the time warp that is my external hard drive.

So I’ve been avoiding it altogether. Which is sad, because I miss my writing outlet. I sat down to write an essay for Respite Redefined, and it was awful, y’all. Awful. I’ve lost my groove. I would love to pick it back up but I also don’t know if this is one of those things I’ll look back on one day and say, “why in the h did I spend so much time updating a blog?!”. Because I have enough things pulling me in so many directions, I have preemptive regrets on what took so much time away from my precious babies and why I didn’t just sit down and enjoy them.

Hopefully I’ll be proud of myself for working so hard, and being diligent in my commitments, and allowing E&E to see what it’s like to pour yourself out for others every day? Hopefully I never regret any of what I’m doing right now.

I’ll get back to you with that RR post on our adoption process. I’ll have to go back and put wordy band-aids all over it. It really was awful.


Until then, I’ll leave you with this. It was taken way back in April, but it never fails to make me chuckle. My dad said it looks like a dental advertisement. I love them!

Views From A Police Wife {who also happens to be a white christian}

I was asked to share my perspective on last week’s events in our home group last night. My emotions and thoughts have been a big jumbled mess in my head and heart, and my words fell short of conveying how, as a police wife and a white woman, I want to help bridge the gap of racism in this country. I feel like my words last night ended up being just about the injustice of police officers. And as strongly as I do feel about that subject, the world does not need more one sided opinions on injustice. Thankfully I shared those raw emotions in a room of people who know my heart and didn’t leave me feeling judged for having a shallow vision of the much bigger picture of what this is about. Which is race. I came home to write it out. Because I write better than I speak. What I’ve written below is me processing these emotions and sharing a lot of pent up feelings. Some of it will be offensive, I have no doubt. Some of it is selfish. And much of it is very narrow minded. I’m working on thinking differently. At the end you’ll see where I’m back peddling a little bit and trying to refocus the post on what I really wanted to write about. I wrote it all out, and then I started feeling like I needed to trash all of it and start over. I’m going to leave it knowing I have very few readers and almost all of you know me personally. Take it for what it is. A few rants. A desire for police to be widely respected (not just after they’re killed). And a white Christian woman’s attempt at changing racial thinking habits.

Wesley and I were out of town last week when we heard that not just one, but two black men had been killed by police in less than 48 hours. I know that’s a tragedy for the individual and that family. But it’s also a tragedy for the entire police community. Here’s what I think the rest of the world assumes at hearing this news (no matter your race)- another hyper vigilant police officer flexing his authority,  jumping to conclusions, abusing his power and using unnecessary force in a completely bogus situation in which race OBVIOUSLY played a factor.

My reaction receiving that kind of news- how is the officer and his family doing?


I am well aware of my ignorance, my naivety, and my white privilege. In fact, I have never in my life been more aware of these things. So maybe I’m way off here, but I just cannot imagine a scenario where a black man is approached by police and the situation ends with the brutal killing of that black man based solely on his skin color. The situation I envision when I hear of these horrific incidents is how badly out of control everything must have felt for the officer/s to get to the point where they have to choose, ‘his life or mine’.

What an awful, burdensome, dark decision. The decision to end a life. Every officer is prepared to do it; I do not believe any worthwhile officer ever, ever hopes that’s part of their career. (notice me not bringing up the specifics of either shooting. I refuse to do that. I’m not the one being asked to make the judgement call on ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Those officers will answer for their actions.)

I think of the wife at home that gets the phone call that her husband has killed someone on duty. What must that feel like? What a nightmare when it turns into a national headline. Life for that family is over as they know it. Most likely that officer’s career is over. Most likely they have to move due to threats and hate crimes. I put myself in the shoes of that family- seeing my husband slandered in the headlines, watching him struggle through the trials and interviews, having my children’s lives threatened, feeling forced out of my community. Then, psychologically, having to deal with the emotional fallout from taking a life. My husband has chosen this job of civil service. He serves the community for the greater good. He is the man standing between us and the darkness. And to have that community hate him, hate us, want us murdered in return…it’s a reality I know can happen, but that I am not at all prepared for.


Maybe that sounds melodramatic and you’re sitting there kinda rolling your eyes at my hypothetic misfortune. After all, we chose this life. Black lives, the ones that feel ostracized, cast out, and less than, they did not choose their lives. We have chosen to stand here as a family and support our daddy and husband even if the world won’t. I do realize therein lies some of the backlash. Many, many more have not chosen to be hated and do not understand why they’re not accepted as an individual, or as a culture. It’s much harder to sympathize with those choosing to wear the gun on their belts, even if they are largely unappreciated, than to hurt over the man that fought back because that’s all he’s ever known.

I’m not exactly sure why the racism of this country lands squarely on the shoulders of white police officers. Have you noticed that? Do you hear the stories of the ignorance and stupidity and outright abuse of white police officers as often as I do? If there’s a story about racism, it will involve a police officer. Because, somehow (mysteriously to me), racism in this country has seemingly turned into a police initiated activity. From what you hear, they straight up provoke people of color- any and all of them. From what you hear, white guys everywhere are signing up for the police academy to get their white supremacy kicks. There’s terrible officers out there. There really are, and that’s a travesty for those that come in contact with them. But guess who hates that more than you? Their fellow officers. Just like one awful human can create a stereotype for a people group, it happens in law enforcement all the more. For who else is watched, and analyzed, and filmed, and spit on, and endangered, and hated more than law enforcement?


Right now what I want to do is defend police officers everywhere and rattle off a long and thorough list of the good they do, and the stories that don’t make it to headlines. I won’t. I can get really worked up over how unfair the world reacts, and how ridiculous it is to hate the very people that save our lives night after night. It never fails to make my cry when I hear of another police shooting where the officer is immediately and irrevocably guilty long before the full story is known (if it is ever known). If your first assumption about an officer shooting is an immediate “police brutality” mindset, I daresay you’ve never fully thought about what it feels like to make a career out of walking around as a giant target.

The media especially would have us believing that each person approached is innocent and should be handled kindly and gently by police. But to actually be the one approaching a house/car/fight/person/group not knowing what exactly is waiting for you; I think that’s far scarier than any of us believe it could be. That’s the biggest difference in being a police wife and a military wife. In the military there is a common enemy and it’s ok to want them brought down. It’s ok to have strong emotions and reactions when my husband is overseas and his base is being bombed. It’s more than acceptable to ask my husband to pull the trigger if it means he gets to come home. In the police world, that is deplorable.

Allow me to pause here. I had more emotions built up than I thought I did and it’s starting to feel like I’m asking for a lot of sympathy. I want to help people understand the mindset of the police side of things. But not at the sake of creating a bigger rift. Because what happened last week cracked our nation wide open. There is a constant bubbling underneath the surface of our society and that’s never more obvious than when racial issues make headlines. The outcry and pain is immediate and seemingly endless. I do not want to add to the pointing of fingers and harsh language. There’s enough of that.

Last week, what started out as the worst outrage toward police and racial division that I remember, turned into the most surprising and astonishing harmony of people groups that I have ever seen. First there was pain in the African American community- the search for answers and the general feel of being wholly mistreated. Then there was the shocking and horrendous ambush of the Dallas officers. Somehow that equaled the scales and allowed both “sides” to better understand the hurt of the other. Now, both are feeling lost, confused, hurt, and misunderstood together. It’s unmistakeable the Lord used tragedy for His glory.


What I want to do here in this space, and in my own heart, is to not create an even bigger “us vs. them” mentality. Like I said above, my immediate reaction to these news stories is to side with the police and offer them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think other people are doing the same thing for the flip side of the coin. As an admission of a personal struggle- I often have trouble with sympathy or empathy for the victim. I can, and do, feel broken for the families of the victims. For the victims themselves, I honestly do have trouble standing up for them and attempting to be their voice. I feel as if that would be saying I don’t support police. I don’t know of a way to do both.

Please hear me, this is not because I have trouble liking black people. Please do not equate that statement with how I have trouble empathizing with African Americans. That is not what I’m confessing to you. With my extreme emotions from last week also came the very deep desire for racial reconciliation. More than ever before. I know I’m not alone in that. Our church and our home group feel that same desire and are taking steps to hear the voices from the black community. Black lives do matter. Not “and”, not “but”, just- black lives matter.

I have the emotions and the outcry for the police on lockdown. Now I want to work on hearing and feeling for the black community. I usually feel like I have to choose between the two. I’m so sorry for this. I’m so sorry for who I have unknowingly hurt in the past by such a divided mindset. In fact, this makes me no better than those that abhor police. I don’t hate black people. God knows that isn’t true, and Wesley and I know that it’s likely we will adopt black children (and we love the idea!). The “us vs. them” in my mind is never “police vs. blacks” (more so, us vs. the very, very outspoken people groups raging against the police, and the media that relentlessly tells the worst stories about them) but that can be a subconscious by-product of even entertaining the idea of “us vs. them”.

There is a reason for our black brothers and sisters to feel an outrage at another police shooting of a black man. I can’t pretend to fully understand why that is, but I’m willing to learn. You don’t see the outrage about other police shootings- white on white, black on black, or multicultural anything. It seems to just be the white on black that has the biggest impact. The media has definitely picked up on this. And simply stated, that has to be because black people in this country still feel a certain sense of injustice. How to go about repairing that is the question of the century. As the church, we have a duty to model the renconcialion we hope to see in the nation. I have no doubt that will be awkward and maybe hurtful for all parties involved, but darn it, we’re jumping in to really try.

Sunday, our pastor warned us about not having such strong opinions toward situations or tragedies like these that we become more concerned with being right, than with being Christ-like. So please don’t takeaway from this post that I’m trying to win you over to the “police side”. I know I ranted a bit earlier, but I do genuinely wish more people understood the police and the decisions they make. I am working on my own heart to not idolize being right.

Another beautiful truth our pastor shared on Sunday is that tragedies on Earth are meant to be the smelling salt to wake us up and remind us that this is not our home. If I’m being honest with you, there has never been a single time in my life where I’ve desired my heavenly home over my earthly one…until this last year. Forcing my eyes open to a myriad of hurts and horrors of this world have left me feeling restless, uncomfortable, sickened, and alienated and I very genuinely cannot. wait. to. go. Home.



Resources I Have Found Helpful {after the week of the Dallas Five}

In my attempt to hear from all sides and to resist being narrow minded in this time of crisis, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for good links and good info to help me process the week of the Dallas Five.

I have steered clear of news stories, google searches, and most social media. I am being a hermit. I can’t really handle the ugly words and pointing fingers. It’s not a brilliant idea to choose to live under a rock (since ignorance is acceptable there), but I’m being very intentional about what words I allow into my world right now. I’m protecting my heart.

The list is short for that very reason, but as I find more words of comfort and truth, I’ll share them.

Dear White Christian Women from one of my long time favorite bloggers.

Ask Me Your Stupid White People Questions from a new favorite blogger.

This podcast with a black woman, white woman, and a white mom to black kids attempting to teach us how to be more mindful of the black community and racist actions.

These Bible Verses:

Romans 12:14-21
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
PS: In the podcast I linked, one of the ladies asked the question, “what happened to the taser??”. Meaning, why is the gun the first weapon of choice for a police officer, why not give the taser a chance first? I wanted to answer this so badly. I think many people wonder this very thing and it’s extremely difficult for a police officer to explain where they’re coming from and how they arrive at the decision to draw their gun. If I could, allow me to shed a little light on this. My answer isn’t all encompassing (I can’t answer for every officer), but it might make a little more sense to hear a few facts.
A taser is a finicky weapon in that it has to be used just right to be effective. When a taser is deployed it shoots out 2 tiny probes with small hooks on the ends that embed into the skin and create an electrical shock. The problem with a lot of tasers is a moving target. If the probes are not both hooked into the skin, the taser is not effective. When the probes are deployed, there is no control where they land. It’s hard to aim a taser. When your subject is moving around, running, fighting, or is partly blocked, the taser is not a good weapon of choice. Same as if your subject is high. Drugs in someone’s system can render the electric current useless as well; they simply can’t feel it.
So you’re saying, “ok fine, but what if said subject has just been pulled over in a car and is sitting completely still?” I’ve got an answer there too. Did you know that action always beats reaction? It’s a fact. If you have a gun drawn AND pointed at a person ready to pull the trigger, and that person reaches into the back of his pants and pulls out his own gun, he will shoot you first before your brain even has a chance to react. Look it up. There are many examples of this anywhere on the internet. Did you also know that this is drilled into the minds of law enforcement everywhere? They learn this in the police academy and then they watch hundreds of videos of officers being shot/killed because they were not quick enough in reacting to the situation. I know this because my husband came home and told me about them. And then I watched the videos on my own to verify it.
If an officer suspects a person around him has a gun, he’s on high alert to be sure he’s the first one to pull that trigger. By the time he’s seen a gun being drawn, he’s already dead. If an officer suspects a gun is about to be drawn, that officer will not reach for his taser. A taser does not stop a bullet.
Watching videos of an officer shooting, what appears to be a defenseless or retreating person, is a very sickening sight. I won’t pretend to know what’s happening in that situation. I think it’s worth it to try to get to know police officers, see the world from their eyes, or ask to shadow an officer for a day. Going on a ride along is free and is always appreciated from a law enforcement stand point. They genuinely enjoy educating the public.

Adoption Updates

I want to take a minute and spell out one of the more confusing aspects of the foster adopt process. “So are you fostering first?”, is the question we’ve heard most often. The answer is no. We are doing a matched adoption. There are 3 separate avenues of foster care and lemme ‘splain:


Fostering- When the state investigates an allegation of abuse and/or neglect a child is found to be unsafe within their family of origin and other relatives and friends (kin) are not immediately available, the state assumes custody of the child and places the child into foster care. Foster families provide temporary care for children while birth families work through a 12-18 month plan with the court in order to regain custody. CK Family Services (our agency) seeks to partner with families that are able to commit to caring for a child regardless of how long they will need to remain in placement.


Foster to Adopt– When a child is unable to return home to their biological family, their foster family will have the opportunity to adopt them as apart of theirs. This is a beautiful opportunity for a family to offer a child a forever family. The termination of parental rights and the legal process of adoption are complex procedures. In 2014, children spent an average of 12 months in foster care between the time when parental rights were terminated and their adoption.

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Matched Adoption– Sometimes a child who is placed in foster care is not able to be reunited with their birth family, other relatives or kinship caregivers during the 12-18 month service plan issued by the court.  In these situations the court will typically sever the legal relationship between the child and their biological parents.  While this is usually the case, there are also times when a child’s biological parents will voluntarily relinquish their rights to parent the child.  When either of these scenarios occurs, the child is considered to be legally free for adoption.
Children in foster care who are legally free to be adopted are matched with adoptive families for the purpose of providing a permanent, forever-family for the children. These matches may be made through the foster care process by the foster family who has cared for the family choosing to add the child to their family permanently, or with families who are matched with children specifically for the purpose of adoption. Adoptive families assume the permanent responsibility for the child, forever, and welcome into their family, permanently.
During the licensing process, CK adoptive families can expect to have a home study written as part of the preparation for deciding what strengths and weaknesses your family possesses that might compliment a child’s specific needs. These may include age, gender, race and physical and mental health. These home studies will be evaluated as our team works with CPS to find an appropriate adoptive family for the child.

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I copied those straight from our agency’s website. In a nutshell- foster parents are middle parents. Foster to adopt are foster parents with a combined license to foster IF the opportunity is available. Matched adoption is straight adoption of orphans.

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Obviously, each of these titles (if carried out properly…not all foster adopt parents are doing it for the right reasons) are vital to foster care. Adoption parents can’t adopt if there are no foster parents caring for the children. Foster parents can’t continue to foster if children are not adopted out of their homes. There isn’t a “better” or more important job in any of this. But foster parents carry a special load, in my opinion. Loving on babies they never intend to keep. Or falling in love with children that they know they have to “give back”. Because if there’s one thing you’ll hear in this foster world it’s that, “reunification is our goal”.


Judges, case workers, and agencies alike know the importance of a child being raised with it’s birth family. Culturally, biologically, or spiritually, this is the way it was designed. It is tragic for a child to be removed from their parents and the only thing they’ve every known. But. Because this is a broken world, sometimes it’s very necessary for the children to be removed. I don’t think there’s a one of you reading this that haven’t heard the horror stories of neglect and abuse involving infants and children. If it all possible, with aid and assistance, the bio parents are able to regain custody of their children. When the situation is extreme or when the parents voluntarily terminate rights, that’s when adoption is the best for these children. And adoption is a beautiful thing. Parents willing to take care of, and raise a child they’ve never met, makes me cry all the time.

I’m about to be one of those parents.


To tell you an honest story, I really felt a lot of guilt for choosing adoption and not foster care. Everyone in this foster world preaches on how very NEEDED foster parents are. Especially for emergency placements. Emergency placements are children being removed (often when parents have been arrested) and then having no where else to go; no biological family to step in and claim them. They need immediate placement, and those are foster parents.


It has taken a lot of sweet friends listening to me talk about this, and lovingly pointing out that I’m not choosing a selfish path by choosing to adopt children! I know there’s a shortage of foster parents, and I know foster parents are heavily burdened with the responsibility of bio families, agency demands, and then the actual children who are in a very needy and vulnerable place. My first instinct is to jump in and relieve that burden. (and as one friend told me,) But while I, as an individual, can feel like I can handle that life, I have a family to take care of and make decisions around. My husband especially is very focused on adoption only, and so that means I am on that train too. Maybe our future holds foster care, but right now we’re adopting. And I’m not at all disappointed!


We’ve made tough decisions on this already. We will be matched with children that best fit our profile and personalities. But first we have to fill out that profile. BY FAR, that been the hardest part of this entire process. It feels like picking and choosing which children are good enough for us, and we’ve hated every single check box of those forms. We understand the agency is just trying to get a good idea of what we can handle, but I can’t shake the feeling that every time I choose the option “no”, another kid’s face is crossed off of the adoption list. There are things we are willing to tackle knowing a lot of kids working through abandonment and abuse carry behavioral issues; there are also a lot that we are not ready to tackle. And the only thing I can really do is pray I’m making wise decisions.


The part that came easy for us was being open to a sibling group. We’re hoping for 2! If that makes us seem crazy, I don’t blame you. I think it’s a pretty crazy thing to hope for! 4 kids?! But it’s a common occurrence that siblings will be removed from their homes and never see each other again. The majority of foster adopt families accept one child. We know we want 4 kids, but we also know it will mean everything to the siblings that get to stay together. Forever.


One more thing to touch on, for those with burning questions- we have no idea how long this will take. We’ve been told we have a very “narrow” profile (funny, because opening my home to 2 kids with any number of issues makes me feel pretty wide open!), and matching can take longer than a year. From the stories from real life people we’ve heard, it will be anywhere under a year. So really…this is a crap shoot and should be quite the emotional rollercoaster.


Will you please pray for our kids? Both the ones in our homes, and the ones we have yet to meet. We can tell we have prayers being sent up on our behalf, because this process should not be so smooth and easy this far! No roadblocks, g ffno panic attacks, no questioning. It’s been truly amazing as Wesley and I have come together on this like nothing before…not even the birth of our own children. So we thank you…and we yearn for more! I will update often. Probably more so on Instagram. But we need your prayers even on the days you don’t hear from me.

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(someone left a message ^ I’d put money on the little one)



Very quickly, let me tell you how I have recently jumped on board with Respite Redefined. It’s a blog, a podcast, an Instagram, and a Twitter for the foster-adopt community. Online community that is. Which is almost as legit real community these days. It’s a place for those choosing to foster and/or adopt to feel welcome, to share burdens, and to feel less alone. I’ve been following them for a while now, in fact I listed the podcast as one of my Favorite Things a few months ago.


I contacted the lady in charge over there after one particular post on Instagram where she mentioned doing all of these things on her own and struggling with keeping them all afloat. In the midst of adopting 2 kids! So I prayed about it, asked Wesley what he thought, and then contacted her and asked if there was some way I could help her. She told me that running the Instagram account was by far her least favorite of any of them and always dreaded creating those posts. She asked if I would take it, and I said sure! (omg, it’s been so much work, I had no idea!) Which all leads me to say, that I wrote a post for the blog last week which sums up nicely what I’m about to say next!

Go read it first, and then continue reading this post >>> respite


So yeah. We’re adopting. WE’RE ADOPTING! I have a million feelings. I have a million thoughts. Let me pause to think of how to write the next part without trying to convey ALL of them



To say we’re adopting feels a little bit like saying, “we’re going to have a baby”, before you actually start trying to have a baby. How do you know you can? There’s so many things that could go wrong. There’s an endless list of things to accomplish, and check off, and stages to hit. It’s scary to tell people what our plans are when we don’t even know if it’s going to work. I should say, “we are hoping to adopt soon”, but carrying that doubt seems like a sure sign that I don’t have faith that the Lord can do this. So I’m saying, we ARE adopting, with full knowledge that this is a big, scary, long process and anywhere, at any point, someone could declare us unfit. I don’t expect that to happen, but I know that it can. Just like I never went  into my pregnancies expecting a miscarriage, but knew (with anxiety) it was possible.


I have gone back and forth on a giant roller coaster of emotions since we started this process. For the record, we have one more class, and have completed 90% of the “pre-service checklist” to get us ready for our home study (more on that later). Naturally, when Wesley told me he was ready to jump on board this journey I could’ve cried happy tears for days. But then, as a total shocker, and confusing as heck, fear and uncertainty weren’t far behind. Just hours and days into our new status as “pre-adoptive parents” I felt a crippling amount of doubt. Doubt that I wouldn’t be enough, that I couldn’t handle the process; that I might not be able to love a child that I didn’t birth, or raise a person with possible trauma and abuse. It felt heavy and stifling and I willingly admit I have felt downright terrified. I’ve wanted this for so long, I know I’m meant to do this, but then I experienced a giant wave of hesitancy that knocked me of kilter.


In the breakdown of these emotions in my own mind (I analyze everything. Especially my feelings), I found relief and comfort that this mixture of exhilaration and panic wasn’t new to me. I dug down and found the memories of the beginnings of both of my pregnancies. Oh there you are, exhilaration + panic! Because I never really had to try to get pregnant, I would immediately feel petrified after finding out I was. It’s exciting! And it’s really, really scary. The big difference is, I have never struggled with wondering if I would LOVE my biological babies. Of course I would! I could never have anticipated the intensity of that love, but I knew I would be in love immediately. With adoption, I can feel all the scariness, but then I can’t fall back on the comfort of knowing I will love that child immediately. Because I can’t know that, and I don’t know if that’s how it will happen. I have faith that I will grow to love that child, but I do wonder what it’s like to parent a stranger. I also linger on thinking about how long it might take for total strangers to feel like my children. (minutes? days? years?)


My church, and my home group, have been studying the Holy Spirit. It’s fascinating and I have learned so much already (I’m also reading Forgotten God, and can’t recommend it enough). With this new knowledge, I know it’s nothing short of a sweet, precious gift from Him, that these paths are intersecting in my life at the exact same time. Because while I am experiencing those very overwhelming feelings of doubt, I am also learning so much more about my God. And it has given me the peace and the capability of saying, I know I will be adopting children from hard places, but I know that I will be able to parent them, and love them well. I don’t have to be ready (because how could I ever be!), and I don’t have to feel like my life is in the correct order (is that even a thing?) to be able to take this on. I will be given grace as I need it, and I will be held up and supported when I need it. It will the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken, but I am trusting, and I am obedient in what I have been called to do.


I’m going to keep you up to date on our progress, and our process. It’s so much, and I understand most people’s ideas of the foster-adopt world are very fuzzy. I hope to clear some of that up for you, and I’m also hoping to have some of those questions cleared up for ME! It’s going to be crazy! I am so excited!


Easter and A Gender Reveal

My Dad’s side of the family has trouble gathering at Christmas these days. Since the beginning of my life, and who knows how long before that, Christmas was our time together. But families grow and life gets complicated and Christmas is no longer is a guaranteed time of gathering and celebrating. This year we started a new tradition where we will come together at Easter and celebrate and fellowship and eat a lot of things.

Staying at NanaKinny’s is one of the highlights of Ellie’s life. She gets goofy excited at the mention of a trip to Mt. Pleasant. Hops around and sticks out her tongue. Always, always asks how many other family members will be there. The more, the merrier. She prefers it when we can all be together. And as I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever told the story about how my dad got the Grandpa name of Kinny. I won’t interrupt this post with that story right now…scroll to the bottom and let me tell you there.

My sister Jade, who announced her pregnancy over Christmas, had her gender reveal at my parent’s house this weekend while we were all there. She had a sonogram a couple of weeks ago and had the technician write down the gender. She mailed it to her cake baking friend who didn’t tell a soul. Then over Easter her friend delivered a cake that had a pink or blue inside and we all waited impatiently for her to cut it the heck open so we could finally find out!

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A gender reveal party is a silly thing. Until it’s for someone you know. And then it’s really exciting and fun and you want to have another baby so you can have one too!

Needless to say, we are over the moon excited about adding a baby boy to this family of mostly girls. We whooped and hollered and hugged and stared at his little boy body in his sonogram pictures. He is already so adored. Ellie has named him Artimaous. I wouldn’t know the first thing about where she came up with that name.

As a side story: Mom was taking a poll on gender guesses the day before the party, and Wesley, not knowing prior to this question the topic of discussion was approached by my mother and was asked what his “sex vote” was. He was so stunned by the bluntness, and mightily confused, that for once in our relationship he was rendered speechless. I quickly corrected her question but I think it’s one of those awkward things that will be a joke for us for a while. (Like over Christmas when he asked Ellie if she was ready for Satan to come down the chimney. Still laughing.)

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Easter has never been a very big holiday for me. Not in the material sense. Obviously Easter is a really, really big deal in the Christian sense. As I mature in my faith, I find more and more joy in the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, and a deeper respect for his torture and death. But I’m not into the Easter bunny or buying Easter gifts or even this year, putting effort into Easter outfits. We had a very small Easter egg hunt with just my 2 girls since there aren’t many little kids in our family. I didn’t even end up making “special treats” for their Easter eggs. If you remember, last year I made healthy treats and I had plans to make some again to replace normal sugar treats, and then the weekend got crazy and I just had someone pick me up some “organic” teddy grahams (it cracks me up to call something processed organic, but whatevs, I try to let things be easy once or twice in my life).

Ellie remembers the significance of Easter eggs. It’s those colorful things that house candy. So naturally she was elated to have an Easter egg hunt. It’s not a race for her, she meanders around the yard picking up eggs at random (skipping over 5 to get to the “sparkly one”) and will stop to pop one open and have a little snack for sustenance. Half the time she bent over she spilled her entire basket.

Emerson hated it from start to finish. Tried to put her down to show her how to collect the eggs in her basket- nope. Wasn’t interested at all in being put down, eggs or no eggs. Clingy McClingerson. We did mange to have her pick up the last 3 eggs in the yard, which you see in that above photo. I didn’t get many pics of EK hunting this year since Emmy was gripped to my neck. Wes took my camera and, bless him, is a terrible photographer and not many turned out. But I let them eat their snacks while I took some of them afterward.

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After we church we attempted family photos like the rest of America. They didn’t turn out great- I have high standards. But there’s only so much you can do to cajole tiny humans into being still for .5-1.5 seconds.

DSC_2332I really think Ems was going for a biker chick posture. Ellie is…um, Ellie.
DSC_2348This one isn’t awful. But I can never frame it. I have issues with the lighting. Squinty eyes are never anyone’s best features.
DSC_2353This one however will be framed as a reminder of how Emerson behaved as a 16 month old. Weepy.

How Kinny Got His Name

From the time I was pregnant with Elliott Kate, my dad would insist that he couldn’t possibly choose a grandpa name. It would be hers to make up, or decide. A made up grandpa name is the best of all.

Despite being his namesake, EK didn’t care much for my dad. It wasn’t his fault. She didn’t like men in general. Not even her own father. It took her until at least 18 months to open up to being held, or loved on by, her father and grandfathers.

The entire time my dad is waiting patiently for her to accept him, love him, and name him. I’m not even sure what we referred to him as during this time. I can’t remember now.

Finally she starts talking and stringing together sentences and she has a name for everyone in the family. Mom had chosen her name months prior and was easily “Nana”. She began calling Aunt Amanda “Armani” and Uncle Ethan was “Ephant” (which was how she said elephant). She had cute names for everyone. Except my dad.

We all concluded that he needed to call himself something to give her the opportunity to identify him. We took it up to a family vote. Grandad would be his name.

Around the age of 2 she starts using a name for him. Grandad became Grandy. Adorable. We loved it. But very quickly that was Gandy. Which is even more adorable. It also didn’t stick however and within 2 conversations about him it changed to Ginny.

Ginny and Nana. We were going to keep it just because it was so funny. But she was in this face of repeating words 3 times, very quickly. “Mommy, mommy mommy”, or “Emmy, Emmy, Emmy”. So you know, “Ginny, Ginny, Ginny” said really quickly sounds a whole lot like “Kinny, Kinny, Kinny”. And that’s really how it stuck. She just dropped the G and went with K.

We like to joke that my dad (named Eliot and is known as Bo) is actually our stepdad named Kenny. We also waited for her to change that name once again. Ha, never again though. He’s Kinny forever now and we’re still laughing about it. They’re referred to as NanaKinny.

Just your average mom blog