Mom, Why doesn’t my Sister live with us?

Ah, yes, The first time I heard that question, how it set off such a panic inside me.

“Mom, Why doesn’t my big Sister live with us?”

Luckily, the moment of panic left as quickly as it came and I started the discussion I had been preparing myself for. The discussion I knew would happen because I made the decision to be so open about my adoption experience and to never hide any of it from my children that I now parent.

As most of you probably know, I single parent two beautiful little red headed girls. They are my world. But I also have another piece of my heart that does not reside in my home and that is their older (half) sister who I placed for adoption. We have pictures of her in our home, her name is known, her story is known, it is not something I am ashamed of and it’s not something I want my girls to ever be ashamed of.

Because of this openness in our home, sometimes these tough questions come up. But we handle each individual one as they come and so far it has been nothing short of a wonderful opportunity to educate my girls on the beauty of adoption.

So now, I am sure you are wondering how I answered her question, how I discussed such a sensitive subject with my young daughter.  How I could ever possibly explain to her why her big sister cannot live with us. I am sure you are expecting some dramatic “sit down conversation”, which is what most people expect when they ask me how I explain it to them, but when someone does ask me how I handle it, my favorite thing to do is call Cambria over to them and let her do the talking for me…

This is usually how the conversation goes…

Me: “Cambria, come here. I need you to talk to me for a second”

*she usually has some annoyed grunt inserted here*

Me: “Cambria, where in the world is your sister!?”

Cambria: *with a roll of her eyes because she knows whats coming* “Moooom, She is in *insert state* with her family”

Me: “WHAT! Why in the world is your sister in another state with another family! Why is she not with us!?”

Cambria: “Mom, she lives with her family. Her Mommy could not have a baby, so you grew her in your tummy and then gave her to them so they could be a family”

Me: “Oh, phew, glad you cleared that up…you can go play now”

I understand that as they get older and start to understand more, the conversation will have to evolve, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. For right now, they are just kids. I know it is such a heavy topic, but we do not have to make it heavy, at least not right now. It can be “normal” or at least normal for us.

My daughters are proud of their big sister, they talk about her often and I wouldn’t want it any other way. They understand that it’s an open door policy on any questions they ever might have. I will always be here to answer their questions, comfort them, and love them.

 it’s just as simple as that folks. Simple as that.


New Chapter

If you scroll through my last few posts, it is clear that I was working through some pretty deep emotions surrounding my adoption. It was “that” time of year and everything came to the surface. In past years, it all comes to the surface, and I quickly shove it back down so I do not have to really feel the pain, but this year was different. And here is how…

First, I did not mourn her Birthday. Yes, tears were shed, but I was happy, so happy. I decided to make a shift in my thinking and celebrate the day she came into this world, not mourn it. Even typing that out makes me see how silly I have been all of these past years…why in the world would I ever want to mourn her birth!?

Anyway, I just happened to be on a cruise ship with some of my most supportive adoption pals on her Birthday  (I know, couldn’t get much better than that).

For the first time, in 8 years, I sang Happy Birthday to my little girl. It was such an amazing moment. Huge Cheesy grin and happy tears were happening, no doubt about that!

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This is now a must on her Birthday. It was so fun, happy, joyful…nothing like her past Birthdays, and its because I allowed it to be different. I allowed myself to see it from a different point of view, to be happy, to be grateful.

Our cruise continued and two days later I found myself on my placement day. We just happened to have one of the most powerful workshops of my entire life on that day. That is the day I mourned. I laid my head down on the beach and “let it go” all the emotions, all the tears, all the hurt and pain. I wrote it all down on a piece of parchment paper, slid it into a bottle, and left it there on that Island. The weight that has been lifted is unbelievable. I actually felt it…I let it move through me, and then when I was done allowing myself to grieve, I just “let it go”…simple as that.

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I will never forget this moment. I was literally collapsed in a ball on the beach sobbing, letting all of the emotion of the last 8 years flow through me. As I sobbed, I felt two hands on my back. I looked up and two of my Birth Mother Sisters were holding me. Not a word left their mouth, they just held me. Once I composed myself, I sat up and we all just sat on the beach like this and cried together. I would NOT be who I am today without the amazing sisterhood I have found. These women and so many more have forever changed me, and I am so grateful for that.

So, now to wrap this post up. I want to thank you all for supporting me through the “dark stages”. The stages where I cannot help but blog about the pain and loss, because that is all I can currently focus on. I also want to thank you for supporting me in times like this, when I can so fully and clearly see the joy, love, and undeniable beauty that comes from adoption. I am a Birth Mom, and I have never been more proud to say so.



For more information on the BTG Cruise hosted by BIB, click here…


Time to Celebrate…

Last night was one of “those” nights. I had an unrelated trigger that set my emotions off and it was game over. The countdown is on, my little babe will turn 8 years old exactly one week from today. I can feel the anxiety just sitting in my chest, waiting for any little thing to set it off, which is exactly what happened last night. I found myself sitting in a hot bath just trying to breathe through it, to survive that moment. My heart aches more than I ever imagined it could.

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Not only is she turning 8 years old (which is much too old if you ask me), but she will have the opportunity to be baptized into her families religion. This is a big moment in her life, one I wanted for her. Her Daddy, the man I hand picked for her, will baptize her. She will wear a beautiful white dress, friends and family will be there to show their love and support, she will be nervous, but so excited…and where will I be? I will be hundreds of miles away, completely oblivious to when, where, or how it is all happening. Such a big moment in her life and it will be just like every other day to me. That stings.

I knew this Birthday would be hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard.

This morning one of my sweet Birth Mom friends was checking up on me, making sure I made it through the night (oh what would I do without these amazing ladies). I was explaining why this Birthday has been so hard, how I feel like I am back to her first Birthday all over again. She was trying to comfort me with her sweet words and encourage me with our upcoming vacation, a Birth Mom retreat hosted by BIB. A Birth Mom Community. I was sold when I heard the retreat was on a Cruise, then I found out that the ship departs on my daughters Birthday and I was double sold!

 As we began chit chatting about our vacation, I felt the anxiety and sadness of the night before start to lift and be replaced with joy and pure “lets get the heck outta here” excitement…and that’s when it hit me…

Why am I allowing myself to be so sad about something that is actually really amazing? I brought a child into this world. 8 years ago, I became a Mom! I created a life, a life that has changed countless others, mine included. How can I be sad about that? I should be celebrating her life, I should be celebrating the beautiful little girl she is and how much I love her. Her Birthday is not something to mourn, her Birthday is something to celebrate. I can mourn placement day, I can mourn the days leading up to her Birthday, but the day of her Birth will be a happy day from here on out.

This year I will celebrate her Birthday on a cruise ship with a group of women who understand the emotions I am going through. Next year, I will find another way to celebrate her. Maybe it will be another trip, maybe it will be a party at home, but somehow I will celebrate that wonderful day, the day I met my daughter.

Hopefully, one day, I will be lucky enough to sit down with her and show her how I celebrated her life every year, how I celebrated the moment I heard that beautiful cry. How I never forgot her and how much she is still completely a part of my heart.

My Story

For more info on BIB. A Birth Mom Community and future retreats, make sure you follow their Facebook page by clicking the image below! 


The truths of even a happy adoption…

I originally posted this over on the personal blog but decided to post it here as well, even if its not easy to. Please keep in mind that my love for adoption is still just as strong as ever and this is just an emotion I am currently working through. I do not regret my decision to place my beautiful little “L”, she is exactly where she is supposed to be, with her family. -Haley


They told me it was only a matter of time, they told me it would come, they told me I would only love my decision for so long before the anger set in.

“They” are the adoption haters. The Birth Moms who truly were wronged by the world in a time when adoption was not a very pretty thing. I don’t blame them, they have valid reasons to be upset, hurt, and down right pissed off…but why do they need to push that onto others who have a completely different experience? Everyone’s experience is so unique, why attack it when they are proud of the impossible decision they made. Why not be glad that they are in a happy place when you know how horrible the not so happy place feels?

So why is this bothering me so much? Well let me tell you why…because today, I am angry, I am so angry. I have never ever associated the word anger with my adoption experience in fear of being one of “them”. I cannot fully express my emotions because then “they win”…they think that because I am having an angry moment, that I now regret my decision to place my daughter. Why do I have to write this on my personal blog and not my adoption blog? Why do I have to walk on egg shells so they do not pick up on my current state and try to usher me into their bitter place?

I am angry.

Usually I would push this anger out as quickly as I can in fear of it taking over, but today, I am not going to push it out. For once, I am going to feel it. I am going to be angry for a second. After 8 years, I am going to let myself be upset, because I have a right to be upset. Broken promises hurt and I am not going to sugar coat that.

I might love adoption, but right now I don’t have to like it

Runs in the Family?

I am a Birth Mom. I placed my little girl for adoption when I was 15 years old. This was not my first encounter with adoption though, when I was a 10 years old, my mom was suddenly facing an unplanned pregnancy as a divorced, single mom, of 5 children. My Mom is a Birth Mom. She placed my half-brother 14 years ago.

I guess you could say being a Birth Mom runs in the family? Or the apple doesn’t fall from the tree? I’m not sure how to describe it, but I can tell you that it is a very unique situation, a situation that I am very grateful to be a part of.

When I found out I was expecting a child at 15 years old, I was terrified, to say the very least. My mind was a complete ball of questions, worries, and fear. My Mother is the one who calmed all of that. She never yelled at me for my unplanned pregnancy, she never said harsh things about the decisions I had made to lead me to my pregnancy, she only had kind, loving, and concerned remarks for me. I cannot imagine her handling it any better than she did.

The day I found out, she was the first person I told. She rushed home from work to find me sobbing in my bed. I remember her rubbing my back, crying, telling me that everything was going to be okay. We were going to make it through this. She presented my options to me, adoption, parenting, or abortion. She never pushed any of these options on me; she presented them all with the same love and care and let me be the one to make the decision. She never, ever forced adoption on me, but I can say that without her example, I probably never would have decided on adoption.

I watched my Mother give birth to a beautiful little boy. A little boy that I knew I would not call my Brother. She lovingly placed him in the arms of another woman and it was an amazing thing to be a part of. My mom always kept things so positive during her pregnancy. She simply told us that a family was unable to have a baby, so she was using her belly to grow one for them.

I took that mentality into my adoption experience. Yes, I knew this was MY child, but once I had selected a family, I really did see this as their baby. It did not make my pain any less, but I knew that this is where she belonged. My Mom was by my side through-out my entire adoption journey. She went to every appointment, every meeting with my social worker, all of it. She was my saving grace. But, the thing I appreciate the most about my Mothers support was that she never once sugar coated what I was about to go through. She told me from the moment that I decided to make an adoption plan, that it would be the hardest thing I ever did. She told me about the pain, about the loss, about the life long grief I would feel, but I went ahead anyway, and she completely supported that.

I feel as though I had an advantage to some expectant parents who decide to place. I went into placement ready, ready for the pain. My mom had prepared me and I knew that it was not going to be easy. Now, as a mother myself, I cannot imagine how my mom must have felt watching me sign those papers. I know that every inch of her must have been hurting. I could never watch my daughter go through something that I know would cause her so much hurt, but my mom did…she put her feelings aside and allowed me to make this decision completely on my own. A decision that not only broke her daughter’s heart, but that took away her first Grandbaby.

My Mother is my super hero and I will never be able to thank her enough for her amazing leading example in my life. Our adoption journeys have been completely different, but knowing that I have her there on the bad days, there to comfort me and completely understand how I feel, what more could I ask for?

*Article originally written for by Haley*

To the Birth Dad…

This article was originally written by me, Haley, for I am re-blogging it here for your reading pleasure ;)

When I told the Birth Father that I was expecting, his first response was to try and deny that the child could be his, even though he knew that our one sexual encounter was my first, ever. His second response was to not only suggest abortion, but tell me that it was the only option. There was no sympathy, no concern for my well-being or emotional state, only excuses, excuses to make it so he could accept zero responsibility for what we both created.

Over the next few weeks he informed me that he was switching high schools to avoid “drama.” He told his mother and this was her solution– not to make her son step up and help me make the hardest decision of my life, but to run away.

I was so angry, so bitter. How could he move away and pretend like this never happened? It expanded my teenage body to the point of no denial. I had no choice; I could not just “run away” from this. This was now my life, no matter what choice I made my life would forever be changed.

He had absolutely zero contact with me during the pregnancy except to ask when and where to sign the paperwork. The day she was born, I called him to let him know that his beautiful daughter was here, healthy, strong, and enjoying her new family. I told him that if he wanted to see her, this would be the time. He said that he had no desire to see her and asked me not to contact him again, and that was that…

It has been nearly 8 years since that gorgeous little girl entered the world, 8 years and he has never once asked what her name is, if she looks like him, where she is, who she is with, nothing. I know a lot of birth parents prefer no contact just because it is too painful, I get that, I really do, but the part that made me so angry was the lack of apology, lack of recognition, and lack of respect.

So with all of that said, I do have a few words for the Birth Father, some of which Katy Perry puts perfectly in her song “Roar”…

“You helped me down, but I got up/I went from zero, to my own hero/and you’re gonna hear me roar”

Dear K,

You may have helped me down, but I got up. You may have escaped the responsibility of your child, but I didn’t, and I am so grateful I didn’t. We created a beautiful life, a life that has blessed countless others. I will never deny that. I will never run away from that. I went from zero, to my own hero, without your help, and without your support. I did it. I created beauty from ashes. Now you can listen as I “roar” and proudly share my adoption story with anyone who will take the time to listen.

I truly do hope that one day you will realize the magic you missed out on. I truly do hope that you will at least ask what her name is, or ask if she is okay and happy…but if you never do, it won’t affect me and my journey. I won’t allow it to.


The mother of your child

Adoptive Mother Interview with Traci

Hi, my name is Traci and I have been asked to write down our adoption story… So here goes. I have to admit that I am not quite sure where to start. I feel that I have personally seen adoption from pretty much every avenue; my little brother is adopted, my best friend placed a child for adoption, I have numerous nieces and nephews who are all adopted, and then my husband (Jake) and I have chosen to grow our family also through adoption. I think I am just going to start with the journey Jake and I have had through adoption, it’s heart breaking, it’s an endless roller coaster of emotions, and it’s happy endings.

Shortly after my husband and I were married in 2001 we found out that we weren’t going to be able to have children the “natural” way. We tried fertility treatments but they were horrible, so we knew adoption was our way to build our family! 10 months after having all our paperwork and homestudy’s approved, we got the call.

A young woman in Arizona had chosen Jake and I to be the parents of her little girl that she had just given birth to. We were ecstatic! Shortly after a quick phone call, Jake and I were on our way to Flagstaff to meet our WONDERFUL birth-mother, Marie, and our gorgeous baby girl, Jessalyn.

Everything went perfectly. 6 months after Jessalyn was placed in our home her adoption was finalized and she was ours. Our story doesn’t end here… When Jessalyn was 19 months old we got another call, this time for a baby boy in Tennessee. Again, we couldn’t be happier. This time, with a 19 month old in tow, we headed for the Southern State of Tennessee. We were definitely old enough to rent a car this time… no worries.

While we were in Tennessee, everything seemed perfect. We all loved our new addition, Colby. He was the best baby ever and both Jake and I felt everything was going to be alright. I want you to remember that last sentence “everything WAS going to be alright.” It’s important in this story. So after spending 2 ½ weeks in Tennessee and spending a lot of time with Colby’s birth family, we headed home with our +1 family and began settling in. That was mid-July in 2007.

Two months after we got home with our new baby boy, we got a call from our agency, there is a problem. Colby’s birth father is contesting the adoption. What! Again I begin to cry, a very UGLY cry. So for the next 15 months we were thrown into a court battle. We went to attorneys, bonding professionals, through paternity testing; we traveled multiple times across the country to fight for our little boy. But to no avail, The Monday after Thanksgiving 2008, 17 months after meeting Colby, we had to put him on a plane and never see him again. I can’t write down the heart break we felt, and we continue to feel even almost 5 years later. I miss him every day of my life, even though he was adopted, he was my baby boy.

After this we had two more failed adoptions with expectant mothers changing their minds. We had been hurt, very hurt, at this point in time and we had an awful taste in our mouth about adoption. We didn’t know what we were going to do to grow our family. So we waited, we prayed, our families prayed. Then finally about a year after the second loss, we cautiously put our papers back in for adoption. Fast forward two years!!

In April 2011 my friend, Lori (also an adoptive mother), called me. She told me she had been contacted by a birth mother in Las Vegas who had a two-year old little boy that she wanted to find a home for. I was nervous and honestly didn’t think anything would come out of it. But I called Val, and she said that she and the birth-father, Jay, knew this is what they needed to do for their son. So I had them go meet with our agency, and they did! We drove down to Las Vegas a week after being contacted by them, met them, met little Zander, and instantly knew that he needed to be in our home. Val and Jay felt the same way. So that Friday, with all the papers signed, we brought Zander home.

Everything is ok. We knew that everything would be ok. It hasn’t been easy; I never expected it to be easy. But it is what it is, and you take the good with the awfully bad. We now have had Zander for almost three years! He fits. He is ours and we love him so much.

We don’t ever hear about Colby, he is in my constant prayers. But we have Jessalyn, and we have Zander and we are a family that God created and I know that he meant for us to be together for eternity. And we will be. It is through adoption that we have been able to have these amazing children. We are blessed, so very blessed.


November Adoption Photo Challenge

For the Month of November (National adoption Month) We participated in a little photo challenge over on our Insta-gram. Each day was assigned a word or topic, and you then posted a picture to go along with it. I really enjoyed this photo challenge and so I thought I would share it with you all…


Day 1. How I relate to Adoption. Hi! I am Haley and I am a birth mom to a 7 year old little girl.

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Day 2. Bravery. This is what bravery looks like to me. This was our first annual Birth Mom Meet Up here in SLC Utah. A group of amazing birth parents all coming together to support each other.

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Day 3. My Family. I have two gorgeous little girls. After placement I married and had these two little red heads, I have since divorced and am figuring out my way as a single mom. Birth Mom to 1 and Mama to 2!

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Day 4. The hardest Decision. Putting the tip of my pen onto this paper and signing my name. Relinquishing all parental rights to my daughter. I knew it was right, but it didnt make it any easier.

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Day 5. Best Memory. Feeling her wiggle around in my belly. I knew my time with her was short and I tried to enjoy every little movement and kick I could.

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Day 6. My view. This morning I am looking at our adoption Facebook page in complete disbelief that we just hit 2,400 fans. I think I like this view quite a bit ;)

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Day 7. Childhood. I was 15 when I had my sweet little babe. I have always felt like a big piece of my childhood was lost. In this picture all of my friends came to visit me in the hospital, they are all in our school colors because it was spirit week, I missed it all. After placement I did not go back to school, instead I did home study packets, graduated right away, and started working full time.

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Day 8. Love. The love I have for this little girl is unimaginable. I have not seen her in 7 years, but I love her just as much today as I did in this moment.

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Day 9. Openness. Today I am sharing my story at an adoption conference herein Utah. Opening up this piece of me is never easy, but it always does seem to help me heal in some way. Writing out my bullet points that I want to cover and letting my heart do the rest.

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Day 10. The easiest decision. The hardest decision suddenly became the easiest decision when I had the peace of knowing what an amazing family she was going to be a part of. I knew without a doubt that this was her home, where she was meant to be.

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Day 11. First Adoption Memory. My mom is a birth mom, awesome, right? She placed my half brother when I was 10. My first adoption memory is her explaining that she was growing a baby in her tummy for a family who could not have a baby. It was never confusing, it didn’t cause life long issues, I went to the hospital and held my baby brother with nothing but excitement for him to be with his new family. I am so beyond proud of my mom for the amazing journey she has been on, highs and lows. I would not have made it through my placement without her by my side.

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Day 12. Birthday. Every year on January 27th at 7:37 PM, I pull this box out. That is the exact time my beautiful little girl entered this world. I open this box and go through all of the amazing things inside, things that are so precious to me, things that I only have the strength to look at once a year on that special day. When its time to close the box, I always say a little birthday prayer for her, a prayer to know that someone hundreds of miles away loves her to the stars and back.

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Day 13. Worst Memory. My worst memory is how difficult my pregnancy was. I was extremely sick and went into labor at only 24 weeks. I was put on strict bed rest and had weekly stress tests to make sure she was still okay. I was under 100 pounds when I delivered and it took my body several years to finally feel like it had fully recovered from those few months of what felt like I was honestly dying.

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Day 14. Turning point. My turning point was February 27th, 2012. The day I took a huge leap of faith and started my Facebook page. I thought no one would care about my story or what I had to say. Never let your fears hold you back! You only miss the chances you never take.

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Day 15. Birth Family. I will always be her birth mom and my girls will always be her birth sisters. I cannot wait until the day when I see all 9 of my girls together!

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Day 16. Family through adoption. I wish I had a picture of them all together as a family, but I only receive individual pictures of her. But, I created a family…that’s a pretty powerful feeling. I created a family that would not be without my decision to place.

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Day 17. Lessons learned. It’s almost been 8 years since I placed this little girl into another woman’s arms. That pain has not gone away, it is still so real and apart of my life, but so is the joy. I can look at this little girls beaming face and know, without a doubt, that I made the right choice.

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Day 18. Friends. The list of life long friends I have made throughout my adoption journey is endless. I had no idea that opening my heart up to the adoption world would allow so many inspiring people into my life. You all know who you are!

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Day 19. The best sound. This little girl had a tough time getting here. I was finally induced 6 weeks early because she was showing signs of stress with no fetal movement. After she was born they realized that the placenta had torn away and she was not getting any nutrition. The sound of her cry when they laid her on my chest was the most beautiful sound. After going into labor at 24 weeks my goal was to just get her here safely, and when I hear that sound, I knew I had done my job.

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Day 20. Something Little. My sweet little “L”s ankle band from her hospital stay. I am so grateful to have such small and tender reminders of my short time with her.

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Day 21. Sacrifice. I will never be the one to wipe her nose, kiss her toes, or tuck her in at night. The sacrifice was great, but this was never about me, it was about her.

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Day 22. Joy. Joy is having these two call me mom. Best title in the whole world…birth mom comes in for a close second though ;)

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Day 23. Something Big. This is the house I lived in when my life forever changed. Something happened that night, in that front room, that I was planning on saving for marriage. He left that night and I was so sick to my stomach. I could not believe how quickly that dream just went down the drain. Little did I know what was happening to my body and the changes I was about to go through.

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Day 24. Moment of Courage. When my story was posted on the huffington post. I knew it was a large audience and I expected the negative comments, but it didn’t make them hurt any less.

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Day 25. Life before adoption. I was just a regular teenage girl. In all honors, on dance company, with a great group of friends. I never imagined that placing a child would be in my future.

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Day 26. Parenthood means….

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Day 27. My happy place. Yes, I did pick my bed as my happy place. If you didn’t notice in my “Giving Thanks” blog post, its right up there with my family ;) I love my bed, a lot. As a working single mom, sometimes it takes all I have to just make it to my bed by the end of the day.

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Day 28. Thankful. I am so thankful for an awesome thanksgiving with my huge family.

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Day 29. Family Tradition. We have always put the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving, ever since I was a kid. Love these moments with my family.

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Day 30. Hope for the future. My hope for the future is that I will someday see this beautiful little girl again. I cannot wait. And that’s it people! The last day of this challenge! I cant believe I made it all the way through!

This photo challenge brought up a lot of emotion, but it was also so healing. I loved having the opportunity to my adoption story into pictures. I hope you enjoyed it!


Giving Thanks

We have an awesome Holiday coming up this week, I cannot tell you how excited I am to shove my face with food for an entire day. But, I hear Thanksgiving is about more than just all of this delicious food, so I figured I would put together a little list of what I am thankful for…

My Family. First, my precious little girls, all 3 of them. Birth Mama to 1 and Mama to 2! Then my wonderful parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I have a huge family and I love them all to bits.

Adoption. I am sure you guessed that one.

My Career. I have a fantastic job that supports me and my two little reds.

My Bed. Yes, I love my bed…a lot.

This page. I am so grateful to have a place where I can share your stories right along with my own story.

My Friends. I have an amazing group of friends who have been with me through thick and thin. I also have lots of new awesome friends, most from this page. I love adoption pals!

Where I live. I live in a gorgeous state that I much too often take advantage of. I have huge mountains to play on, countless lakes, snow, sand dunes…really, Utah is an amazing place to live.

And last, but definitely not least…All of YOU! Thank you for being here, for caring, for participating, for showing your support, for being respectful of each other, and for sharing the LOVE!

Happy Thanksgiving!