Is someone missing from our family?

One evening this summer–June to be exact–I was sitting on the couch flipping through my Instagram feed.

Scrolling through, a photo stopped me dead in my tracks.

The photo that changed my life.

My friend Carina posted about her adorable daughter’s reluctant entrance into her ballet class. I was overcome by the photo. My heart started racing and broke at the same time. This is not a normal reaction to scrolling through your Instagram feed.

I felt myself tearing up. I felt that crushing longing that I’ve come to recognize over the last decade of wanting to build our family.

Josh walked into the room and looked at me. I burst into tears.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” I replied sheepishly, totally embarrassed by my inappropriate reaction to social media.

“Babe. Something is up. What’s going on?”

“I feel stupid. I don’t even want to say it out loud.”

“Huh? Just tell me.”

“What if we never get to experience THIS?” I show him the timid ballerina in pink tights. THOSE PINK TIGHTS!

He gave me a look of empathy, frowned with me, and let me feel sad. At this point in our journey, he knew not to fix it. I would work it out, I just needed a minute of self pity, I guess. I’m grateful for the safe place he gives me to feel all the feels.

I had never once expressed or even really recognized my desire to specifically have a daughter. I loved being a mom of 3 crazy boys. In fact, (confession time!) I have always had a hard time with hopeful adoptive couples that are only open to adopting a specific gender. So, where was this coming from? I felt like I had been hit with a ton of bricks.

I missed that little girl that I almost got to take to ballet. I let my heart love on her and ache for a bit.

But the night went on. We caught up on our TV stories. I went to bed.

However, with the help of my friend’s adorable little ballerina …something had shifted in my heart. Is someone missing from our family?

Two months later we had another failed adoption. We hoped to adopt a 2-year-old little girl that we had loved for a long time but it didn’t work out and I didn’t really talk about it except with close friends and family out of respect for her parents. It was kind of a sticky situation for us.

As we prepped to welcome this little girl into our home, my husband did a lot of the work. He arranged all the paperwork and flew out for visits while I held down the fort here with the boys.

When things didn’t work out, he was crushed in a way that broke my heart. To this day we don’t talk about those events very often.

Still my heart whispered to me, “Is someone missing from our family?”


The same time that those pink tights spoke to me, there was a young woman who was pregnant. In June, she began to seriously think about adoption for her baby girl.

Eventually our hearts found each other.

That young woman placed her precious baby girl in our arms 4 months later and they both became part of our forever family.

Open Adoption

Last night I sent a message to Carina telling her this story and thanking her for that timid little ballerina. She (and those pink tights) will always have a very special place in my heart.


From love to love.

Just shy of three weeks ago, Josh and I were invited to be in the delivery room for the birth of our daughter.

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Today I felt this undeniable prompting to share the miracle of my experience. In fact, I was doing the dishes and the feeling came to my heart to “put the scrub brush down and go write while the littles are napping.” It was music to my ears. Sage, our daughter’s birth mother, and I have been talking about this post for weeks but it just wasn’t coming together until now.

But how do you share the experience of someone else’s labor and delivery? I can only share how I felt and what Kim Orlandini photographed by Sage’s invitation. All of this was shared with Sage’s blessing and urging. So here we go …raw emotions and all.

First of all, I was nervous. In my experience, adoptive parents don’t really fit in at the hospital.

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I felt helpless watching Sage suffer.

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I felt guilty.

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I felt worthless.

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And yet, here is this beautiful vibrant woman who is literally entrusting a piece of her heart to me. I would do anything for her and not just because of her sacrifice but because I loved her deeply and recognized her soul. She trusted me. And I trusted her. This experience wasn’t about me. It was about her and her daughter. It was about what we would share together in this sacred space. I had no idea what I was about to experience.

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I would laugh with her.

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I would dance with her. (Badly.)

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I would walk with her.

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I would rub her feet until I passed out.

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I would worry over her.

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I would listen to her. Both what was said and what didn’t need to be spoken.

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I would weep with her.

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I would pray with her.

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We would feel the veil between heaven and earth tear away as this perfect spirit took her first breath.

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We would feel the humbling presence of angels.

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I would cherish the honor of being chosen to be her mother. Sacred.

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I would write these precious moments on my heart so I could whisper her story to her again and again. “My sweet Norah Hope. This is a story of how you went from love to love…”

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Be Courageous | National Adoption Month

In years past, I’ve issued a challenge to my readers for National Adoption Month.

It usually involved an increase of adoption content on social media …you know, to increase awareness. But, this year I am issuing a different kind of challenge. And I am super excited about it.

The challenge is this: BE COURAGEOUS.

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

There is so much fear in adoption. Fear of the emotions. Fear of the reactions. Fear of letting yourself live in the moment. Fear of the hurt. Fear of the grief. Fear of making the wrong decisions. Fear of just letting go and loving unconditionally. Fear of unkept promises.

Maybe you’re afraid to love an expectant parent who has reached out to you because you are not sure if she will choose adoption and you don’t want to get hurt.

Maybe you’re thinking about adoption for your baby but you’re not sure if it’s right for you or your child. You’re afraid to even look into it.

Maybe you’re not sure if you should send that email letting the adoptive family you chose know that you’d like to discuss an increase in contact with them and your child.

Maybe you’re holding a grudge because something didn’t work out the way you had hoped.

Maybe you’re wondering if you should reach out to your biological family. What will your reunion be like?

You never know unless you try, reach out, pull the trigger on that prompting.

Make that call.

Send that email.

Write that text.

Ring that doorbell.

Give that hug.

Forgive that misstep.

Just do it.

Be courageous. Say the thing your heart has been nudging you to say.

Insane courage. Embarrassing bravery. That’s what I’m hoping for this month.

How will you be insanely courageous this month?