Friday, April 24, 2015

Gavin's turning 4!!!



We will have a big JAR on site Labeled BOOTY for BIRTH PARENTS! Please feel free to contribute any denomination as we raise funds for the UFA Birth Parent Retreat, here in Colorado- Instead of a gift! Without Gavin's birth mom- He wouldn't be part of our family ( and birth dad too)!

 Jessica- His gorgeous birth mom
 
 
Dustin- Handsome Birth dad:)
 
 
 
BIRTH PARENT RETREAT INFO...
 
 
DONATE HERE- if you wish! & Thank you!
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dear Expectant mother...

I wanted to SHARE Brina's letter to others who may be considering Adoption as a choice... It is astounding! She is so brave and so open and honest- everything we all need to hear!


PLEASE READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

Now... Here's a tid bit from it...

"Sweet mama, you are so loved. Many of the women who came before you are thinking about you. We are praying for your peace. We know what this is like and how hard it is. No one but a birth mother knows this path. This path is hard and it's full of heartbreak, but it's also full of joy and beauty. You learn to love like you've never loved before. You learn what true selflessness is. You put this tiny person ahead of yourself so that they can thrive. You do whatever it takes to make sure that their life is the best it can be. For that, you are an AMAZING MOTHER. Don't let anyone tell you different."




Don't forget to read the FULL letter and frequent her blog!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The GROWN-UP adoptive parents!!!

Not that I think I'm super mature or anything ( really, I dance around my house and still do ballet with the teenagers in my class;) BUT, I can say that having adopted TWICE already, having very open relationships, a genuine sense of Who I am and Who God is still Making me to be- brings a sense of maturity to Us as a family and this NEW process we find ourselves in. Hoping to adopt but not seeking!

You see, most hopeful adoptive couples are on pins and needles WAITING for the call/ email/ text from a prospective expectant parent or case worker. I've been in their shoes. I felt this way MOSTLY
with Gavin's adoption. Here we were- a family with 2 girls and I had been told that having 2 or more will MAKE YOU WAIT FOREVER for another! I'm not gonna lie- we did everything to get our profile and blog looking awesome and SUPERB. I don't know if I really wanted it to OUTSHINE anyone though- I just wanted it to be the BEST representation of ourselves- Kind of like when you go to Church on Sunday- people see you all dressed up and you speak up in class ( Hey, ANYONE can put on their BEST for a couple hours or on a BLOG/ PROFILE).  But, this time around- I am just going to be a REAL and RAW as possible- b/c that's ME- this is us! So, we don't have the BEST showing for all to see- we have the Genuine Article- Yoga Pants, scruffy hair and all!

I think younger/ newer hopeful adoptive parents have a sort of  warped mentality that IT'S a competition of WHO can LOOK the best, BE the best, Have the Biggest House and look like Ken & Barbie!That way- they will attract an expectant parent to possibly choose them. Maybe... It's NOT a COMPETITION FOLKS- If Someone adopts and it's not you- YOU DIDN'T lose out. You aren't UP against other couples ready to DUKE it out to WIN the ultimate prize. It's an Illusion Satan is putting in your head.
Well, ADOPTIVE COUPLES--- TONS of expectant parents aren't looking for Ken & Barbie- They are looking for GOOD people they feel a connection with and that connection can be sparked from the smallest thing... One instance i remember was a couple who debated about putting a picture of them in their profile where the husband was wearing a Metallica T-Shirt-  in case someone found it offensive. BUT, that was the thing their future birth mom LOVED- Heavy Metal!!! She saw it and instantly had a connection and it grew from then on! I guess what I'm saying is-

The RIGHT Person seeking to place- is going to connect with you for being YOU- and God's Hand is in it all! You just have to be Genuinely unique, willing, loving and for crying out loud- Take off your GLOVES and treat other adoptive couples with the Same GRACE and LOVE that you hope to be treated with. God Loves you all and it's all going to be Alright in the end!


* top r photo is us before we adopted Gavin 
( who is almost 4 now)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Love Makes our Family

I remember when Brielle had her 3rd birthday and the party we threw at our home with a bunch of her little friends, her birth family and all her grandparents from every side that could be there. We make a fun cake and large bounce house was inflated in our living room! There was FUN in the air but, also a lingering feeling of " OH CRAP- it's about to get REAL!"

In our original placement agreement- we would terminate contact in person with Brielle's birth parents except for pictures and letters/emails/ blog at 3 years so, She could have a NORMAL life!

Our heads and our hearts couldn't wrap around the idea of never seeing our NEW family ever again- or Keeping Brielle from knowing her birth family, in person. What kind of selfish people were we? Well, I think when we made that agreement- everything was just so unknown and new (and Yet Kara and Kyle agreed that this would be okay with them.:/)

After our tiny girl dug into her presents and the last pieces of cake were put away- it HIT ME! Why It was awful and felt so wrong. I didn't get any sleep that night and Brandon and myself talked all the next day and we called our case worker who said we could do whatever we wanted in terms of our relationships so...
do we have to say goodbye? This is absurd! I didn't know how to bring it up and their were still others at our home and we all said a quick goodbye with tears and hugs.

We called Dawn ( Kara's mom) the next day and I don't remember word for word but it was something like this...
"We love you guys and don't want to stop seeing you just because we said that in the beginning. There is no reason to not have you in our lives and us in yours- if you are okay with that and if Kara is okay as well?" "Well, Yeah!" then a second of silence was heard between us, followed by an overwhelming sense of relief!  Then She said- " We feel like We have adopted You guys already!"
We didn't HAVE to close off our relationship just because we once agreed to do so. And when we agreed- we had no idea what our lives would be like 3 years post!

You see- you very well may think something might be BEST for you, or your situation and when that time comes- You may totally just change your mind- b/c your heart is telling you to! And logically speaking, there is no reason not to!

We always seek for what's best for all of our kiddos and in our situations we have been lucky enough to have OPENNESS for 3 of our 4 kids birth families. It's such an honor to be part of their lives and have them as part or ours.
 
There is no normal! It doesn't exist and if it did- I would most likely run from it!

Our lives our complex , unique and beautifully broken! But, it's these amazing experiences that make us Stronger and more of ourselves than we'd ever thought we'd be...
 
Like this Bowl- so beautifully broken and repaired with GOLD & silver- it has become a WORK OF ART! It doesn't Matter how many cracks or breaks or problems we all have- It's how we choose to REPAIR, change and grow our ABILITY to accept others AS they are! There is no definition of a PERFECT family and how that should look or function- its different for everyone... But for our family- the perfection is in the gold that BONDS us together & that Gold is TRUE LOVE!
 
 
( the BIRTH cousins at our last visit- the girls thought it would be fun to DECORATE each others faces:) Jr. is actually Brielle's biological Half sibling!
 
*We look forward to seeing them again in the near future and we know our lives would be completely different with out each person in it! We are so eternally Grateful for our Glorious & Unique family- all parts if them!
 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hoping Yet, Not Seeking...

Let me explain exactly where we stand in regards to our status as adoptive/hopeful adoptive parents...

I have to be REALLY HONEST with You ( or myself)... As hard as this is- WE aren't SEEKING or TRYING to adopt right now. In that I mean- I'm not going to PURSUE an agency or solicit our blog/profile out to people. I have done that TWICE and it had amazing success ( and of COURSE the Almighty's timing has a hand in it all!) BUT... We really do desire to adopt again- IF and ONLY IF it's RIGHT, It's Meant to be, and If the expectant parents and ourselves are totally on board with everything.
I mean- come on- we have 4 kids- who is really going to consider us UNLESS they desire a large family for the child? That's a small margin of people who would actually look at our profile or even consider us.

You see, we had this PLAN ( okay - everyone laugh now- b/c we all know God loves to mess plans up) to do our international adoption home study- travel down to the Philippines and come back with 2 kiddos after a month of doing philanthropic work there. This was all to happen by spring of 2017! And Of course, they had to be girls and under the ages of 3.5!

So, essentially I was DOING what many of us Have done before- ASKING GOD FOR A HUGE BLESSING BUT,... Only if it fits in this tiny minutia of a box that fits all MY parameters! SO, Nevermind what God may want- THIS IS WHAT I WANT!!!  ( GOSH , I'm Selfish at times- I swear)
Ever since we have been married we've talked about adopting from PI one day. Brandon served a mission there and HE loves the people and I love the people here in the states that I have MET- what a culture of kindness ( can't vouch for everyone) but, those I've met have been AMAZING!
We've learned a lot about the culture, the poverty, the amount of kids who are abandoned, surrendered, foundlings, living on the streets, no birth control for anyone etc. We've learned about all the things you need to even QUALIFY to adopt from there ( we do) and how little AMERICANS actually adopt from there each year( less than 400)! The gov't there has systems in place and I guess you could say its doing better than it ever had before- but its still flawed like most systems that serve children. Poverty isn't even considered a reason for placement. ( HUh?)

 My hubby lived with these humble people who taught him that LOVE is free and money doesn't equal happiness and its a place that made him a better man! I still can't help but think of the things He saw there. It's ROUGH! But , it is what it is!

So, we put or name on a WAIT LIST ( 8-12 months before we can even apply) After application - it could be 12 months, 2 maybe 3,4 years who knows? I hope they make an exemption for us seeing as we have more than 3 kids- we may not even qualify on that end- I HAVE NO IDEA!

Which brings me to this post... We are Hopeful that God will work everything out in His way, in His Time and if that means we wait four years+... Then we wait! If that means we are meant to adopt another child here in the US- Then we do! He Knows More than I do!

This Song Explains it all! Enjoy-( ps I totally had no idea about the cute girl in the middle of this video) I will TRUST that He knows Better Than I!

 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Girls weekend with Birth Family!!!

SO, in February, Grandma Dawn ( Kara's mom) asked us to come to Las Vegas. She wanted to have some time with Just the girls! She bought tickets for the girls and I purchased one for me so we could all visit & I could see my friends and family while we were there! We took 2 days off school and the girls got to fly on an airplane for the first time, as bigger kids! The girls had fun meeting the capt, getting their wings, watching us take off and land and all the bumps along the way! ( this was good prep for the upcoming trip they are taking with us to Hawaii next spring!)

We landed safely and were greeted by Brielle's birth mom , Kara and her mom Grandma Dawn!

Over the next couple of days the girls had time with Just the Grandmas and great Grandma Maxine too!-spending a Day with Grandma Betty- going to jumpstreet out to eat, doing nails, Going to Adventure Dome, restaurants & going to Chuck E Cheese, getting presents and ice cream and pretty much being SPOILED! But that's what Grandparents and birth moms get to do!


<( Brielle & Kara- her birth mom:)







Meanwhile, Since they wanted me to NOT be with them- I was able to have GIRL time all to myself... I got to see my friends, Angie ( who is a birth mom), Miki, ( who is an adoptive momma and birth aunt)  and my sweet friends Heidi, Natalie & Katie too! I was able to get a pedicure with Betty & Angie and see a movie with her, out to dinner with Betty and Brian and Crystal and our girls, see cousins cheer and the girls got to swim and play with lots of birth cousins and friends! We worked out, went to cafĂ© Zupas, went to church, hung out with old friends and GAVE LOTS OF HUGS!
  IT WAS A FABULOUS TRIP!!!                                       (me & Angie)>



I VALUE the time we get to spend with our family and I love that our family is made through this miracle of adoption. Its a HUGE family TREE or BUSH rather:) We are totally blessed and can't wait to have another VACATION with our FAMILY ( yes, no more distinguishing birth or not- you are our family!!!) Love is just that... PURE and honest! And sometimes, I just don't distinguish between birth family and bio family- b/c in my eyes and GOD'S EYES- we are all ONE and We are all His Children! I'm just blessed to be connected to such wonderful souls on this Earth!


 (Aria& Dawn)>

<( Phil, Dawn, the girls and Jr.- Brielle's bio half sibling)

 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

why most dudes don't blog...

SO I know its UBER important when someone is trying to adopt ( not saying we are really trying b/c it's not up to us- its up to God) That the Father be a HUGE part of the IMAGE of What the couple of the Year , is supposed to look like. He needs to WANT to be involved and WANT to be ACTIVE in this process but, the fact is- MEN FUNCTION DIFFERENTLY than WOMEN!

We WOMEN worry and loose sleep over things, nit pick details or what might be misconstrued. We carry on with an overload of pictures where we BOTH look wonderful in every setting! We especially don't want a potential expectant parent to look at our blog or profile and think " did they even put any thought into this?" 

Now GUYS... They help get the finger prints and financial paperwork done, hang back until it's GO time. And in between, they may day dream or look at another person's child and wonder but, heck if they will tell you that! Once it's GO time and its time to meet an expectant mom or expectant parents- It's like you sprinkled Pixie Dust on that Man and now- He steals the SHOW! It's fantastic to watch men in action!

None of this means than either set of parents love any less deeply- we all just function uniquely and that's just the way it is!

PS. I think men are almost more afraid of a broken heart or getting attached to quickly! B/c Brandon is such a SWEET dad. Yes He can be stern but, he also is the one who gets the most Tickle wars in and when He comes home- He Is The King of Hearts... " Daddy, let's play kickball, tickle war, help me with math, Hold me etc." I'm happy to take a back seat when He is with them. He is the BEST ever and I see it in his eyes when he gets choked up b/c Everyone is just growing up waaay to fast!

SO, don't blog, Honey!- its not your thing- Just keep playing with our babies and loving on them - forever! Or... Take them all fishing!!!

*** no, we don't DRESS up to go fishing:)
YES, we are an affectionate bunch! Even sticky toddler kisses are okay!





PSS- I get tons of cuddle time when daddy is at work:)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Birth Parent Retreat in COLORADO

BIRTH PARENTS of CO and SURROUNDING STATES
COME JOIN WITH OTHERS ...


ENJOY THE OUTDOORS AND FUN HIGH ADVENTURE SPORTS like the Leap of Faith, ropes courses, obstacles courses, canoeing, hiking, rappelling, rock climbing, zip line and night hike! Come to get in touch with Nature, other birth parents, have fun like a kid again, grow and learn from others and ALL FOOD is provided for you!

75. per birth parent and YES you can come for FREE with our  ADOPT A BIRTH MOM  sponsorship! Travel can be included in this program- so- if you want to come- LET'S GET YOU HERE! We can make arrangements for birth fathers or couples (separate tents)

5 Spaces are filled so we only have 11 LEFT! REGISTER by Clicking Here and depositing 25. to hold your spot ( if you are getting sponsored- you can get this refunded)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Holy Blog Hiatus...

We are......
SO BLESSED living up here in the Mtns of CO!
The kids are growing like weeds ( Especially Brielle, our oldest!) and Its currently April and we have 2 inches of snow on the ground! But, it will melt and give moisture to some of the most gorgeous wildflowers!!!

SO, Updates... DUSTIN IS GETTING MARRIED!

YEP, He has found the gal for him- SARAH! She is amazing and I am so Happy for the two of them. She is a Special needs teacher who works with children from hard circumstances which makes her job even tougher but- She loves her kids and what she does. She has a heart of GOLD and Dustin is a lucky man! Between the two they own 2 homes and are very smart with the choices they are making in life! I know they will find happiness and success together.
GAVIN will get to be the cutest ring bearer Ever and the girls will make some fine Flower girls too!

SO, for us currently there is a bit going on...

We are remodeling the home we bought and it seems like there are people here at least every few weeks doing some upgrade or repair. We have some electrical still to do like adding lights to the family room and a few more lights in the gym room as well.

The kids are finishing the last 2 months of school and LOVING IT! ( more later on them) Slade, our youngest is now 2 and into everything!!! Gavin is almost four and LOVES preschool, being outdoors and playing in the pond behind our property. Aria is doing Karate and choir and loves hanging out with two of her BFF's ( one is Hope who is adopted:) , Brielle loves choir and ballet and always wants to do activities with friends or create art in any way she can!

We Recently got to visit with my family as we watched my sisters twin get baptized in AZ. My dad, uncle, mom, step dad and other family members got to be there as well.

 My dad and his wife Mary had fun making this cutting board for us! Notice there are a few open branches b/c they know OUR FAMILY ISN'T COMPLETE YET! Dan( my dad) and Mary live in San Diego and we get to see them every year and plan to see them often this year! We love visiting the beaches and the theme parks as well! 

WE ARE CURRENTLY OPENING ALL THE WINDOWS AND DOORS and Letting GOD take the Lead on how we are to grow our family through adoption again. We have been down many roads and after 5 miscarriages, 2 births and 2 adoptions and 2 almost adoptions- we are very blessed indeed. Brandon and I both know in our hearts that we have a couple children in our family that are MISSING still. We HAVE NO idea how God intends to line this all up and we are excited to see how His plan for our family will go. I will go into more detail on the next few posts! 

***One interesting FUN FACT about our family is that I HAVE NO NIECES- only 11 nephews! CRAZY LEGO HOUNDING BOYS! Gotta love them:)

My kids love catching frogs and salamanders in the pond behind our 2.5 acres.
Aria is holding BIG SAL ( which is what we call any BOY one sally for the girls:)
Gavin loves to hunt but wont touch them until we are holding them still.
UNTIL NEXT TIME.... Have a wonderful EASTER and enjoy one of my FAVORITE SONGS...
I sang this last week for our Church's Easter Celebration! The words ring true for us all!



Friday, November 21, 2014

UFA conference!

The UFA conference went well!!!
Terra Cooper and i got to finally meet and i was able to shoot for the event and had a great time being INSPIRED and getting connected with many of those in the adoption arena! I even got to see my old friends Tamra & Jessa and meet new amazing people as well! 
I was able to be the photographer for the event and we learned alot about leading with LOVE and not fear in our adoption journeys. I considered so much of this b/c our international adoptions are still 1-2 yrs out and its seems daunting and scary and i worry. BUT, i know i shouldn't and that God has everything lined up for our family. And we need to do all that we can do and leave the rest in his hands and timing!

Can't wait to watch out CO chapter grow! It's going to be great!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Halloween 2014

We had such a fun time doing our first Family Costumes this year!!!


We had a great FRIDAY going to school parties and our ward Trunk-or-Treat where we won most creative for my Gluten free Turkey Chili and we won BEST FAMILY COSTUMES for our CREW!




Brielle refused to be be WENDY- so i got that opportunity! She made a Darling First Mate of Capt, Hooks crew!
ANd who could beat this JOHN boy- those cheeks and eyes just melt your heart!


OUR TINK is especially feisty too!


It was such an Adventure! Now to plan for next year's costumes!

seriously- BEST Gavin Costume yet- He is PERFECT for this role!


the girls got heeps of treats!


And we still have way too much Candy left over:)

Monday, November 10, 2014

OUR FIRST UFA PARTY!

WE had our Kick-Off Party and ENJOYED getting to know each other!


We had VISITORS come all the way from CO Springs as well!
and our OLDEST decided to WRITE what she feels Adoption means on the white board and helped set up as well! Her birth momma would be proud- she is growing up so fast!


FOOD and Adoption Art/Literature  Tables!

Kids being kids:)



We Played a Getting to know you GAME! 

The Reddekopps even made it here from down south! It was such a treat to see them!

You read a question then tossed the ball to the person you wanted to answer that question!


Some were easy, some were funny, ALL got us talking and thinking!


Myself and Gavin ( He was in a back scratching coma:)


Jessica- our birth momma friend ( not my son's Birth mom though:) and SLADE our baby!


Our Guest, LCSW, who specializes in working with foster care and adopted kids and her little man!


Ray, who was recently adopted this year through FC! Such a handsome guy!


Sporting the PINK Carrier:) Go Randall!


Brandon( adoptee), with the wild boys!


The kids doing the handprint cards for birth parents and family!


Ray's parents- Randall and Gwen! Our Awesome friends/ foster parents and legal TEAM 
( well kind of:)

It was a great start for our first UFA CO meeting! I'm so excited to see us GROW with every month and as we advocate for Adoption/ Foster care in our community!  NOW... to UTAH on FRIDAY for the UFA Conference and a visit with our son's birth father, his family & friends! YAY!