two years ago – the email that made us a family

It was just an email. Just one silly email. Ninety five words. And without it we wouldn’t be a family. Sometimes I think of that and I can’t bear it. Can’t bear the thought that ninety-five words were the difference between him being my son and us never meeting.

When you build your family through adoption you are infinitely aware of the fragility of life and love, and yes, even family. Family –  that thing that should be a physically eternal presence in our life, but isn’t always. I have to believe though that in our hearts and in our souls there is a link. A forever link. I rocked Thane in my arms recently and talked about his other mother. I talked about love and souls and the link the five of us share: his other parents, Nate & I, him.


I still struggle with meant to be and Divine Plans and all of that. But love – love I’m good with. Love I can understand. Love brought us together. Maybe not because we were meant to be but because love finds a way to share itself, to replicate itself, to give itself. Maybe love creates the meant to be where there wasn’t one.


That email came out of frustration. We knew we had to leave our current agency. Things had reached a crisis point and there was no trust left in that relationship. I was broken. I’m not proud of that, but I was. Fourteen months and one dead baby can have that effect on you. The saying goes “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” And my heart felt sick. I was almost done. I thought maybe we were meant to just give all the money we were saving to charity. Give to help people start their own businesses and be able to provide for their family. Give to help fund clean drinking water programs. Just give. Give and just be a family of two forever. I look at that and know we would have had a great life. A wonderful, fulfilling life. But I’m also glad that life took a different path because that little boy is the sun and the moon and the stars.


I spent all the week before making our adoption profile. We were leaning towards switching to domestic adoption. Trying to find the courage to try again. So I was making our picture book up, the book that would be shown to expectant mamas who were considering adoption. I just ran across  the files for it on my laptop. I couldn’t delete them. And while I made it I knew it wasn’t where my heart was, my heart was for some reason stuck on the other side of the world.


So I sent an email. Just one stupid email. To an agency I had forgotten about. Our second choice agency. The one we didn’t choose the first time around. I sent an email and told them about our immigration approval paperwork and our homestudy. I asked if they needed families. I asked, and then I forgot about it. And then the next day we got the email that changed everything. The email that talked about Thane, the email that led to a phone conversation, that led to a picture, that led to a baby boy lighting up my world with his dimples. Unreal. Unreal how something so insignificant could change so much. It scares me to think what would have happened if I hadn’t sent it. That one little email. That amazing child. We might have missed each other. Love is a crazy thing isn’t it? It took three people who didn’t share anything and made them a family.



the nursery

Sidenote: I hadn’t posted these pictures before because I was going  reshoot them on a day when there was more light, photoshop them better to fix the color balance, etc, etc. Then I decided that slapping myself back to reality was a better choice and here we are, inconsistent coloring and all.

I’m one of those moms who goes all out decorating the nursery thereby guaranteeing my child will want to co-sleep. Or at least that’s what they tell me. But I adore this  room. I love it for what is and what it represents. I look around and I see a time capsule of the journey of waiting for him.

I see myself not wanting to touch it, afraid that it was too early, too risky, too scary to put that much visible hope into the universe that might throw it back in my face. I see myself curled up in it, crying, while waiting to hear if he was out of the hospital after yet again another stay there. I see myself sitting on the floor painting the drawers and wondering if he’d ever get to scuff them up with his toys, I so wanted those scuff marks. And if scuff marks made my a tired mom stumbling through a diaper change in the middle of the night count then I totally have them now.

This room started out as a green and maroon tribute to the eighties or nineties or whenever this color combo was all the rage. The built-in on the left really dictated much of the finished set-up since I couldn’t remove it due to the lack of carpet. It ended up being a fun ”challenge” (said in the strictest first-world problems sense.)


And now the “afters.”

Backgrounds I made

The color of the walls changes throughout the day from a soft gray to a blue to a green. Kind of like the sea. It was supposed to be our dining room paint and when that didn’t work out I threw it on the walls in here as a stop-gap measure. Then when it was finally time to turn this into his room it ended up working out perfectly.


Taking down the upper cabinets really opened up the room, painting the lower cabinets modernized it, and the countertop redo are boards from Ikea (cheapest wood we could find that I sanded and poly’ed and Nate cut and then we attached them directly to the old countertop by this amazing product we found called… a hot glue gun. I love this side of the room. It’s so happy.

Best of everything

The room was built around my idea for this headboard behind the crib and these fabrics. The navy, the black and white ticking, and the headboard fabric I had in my stash. The other my Mama and I found on one shopping trip. I couldn’t believe how perfectly they came together. Mom made the quilt that same trip because she is a grandma with skills. The headboard was supposed to have a K or the shape of Africa on it. And then, well then Mama surprised me with this crocheted whale which is the cutest thing ever and it became the perfect headboard touchstone. It’s attached with velcro so it can be pulled off easily and played with if he wants. I’ll be taking the little banner behind it off once Tal’s old enough to spend time awake in his crib. So far he pretty much gets picked up instantly upon waking up and we rock him to sleep. Nate cut the headboard design out of a 1/4 piece of plywood. Cheap and perfect.


Best of everything1

Best of everything4

The table was from a garage sale, the whale blanket was also made my mom (this is a theme…) And the cutest whale stool ever is one she found at a thrift store in CO, stashed away in her luggage and then I repainted and added some padding and fabric, I made it removeable so I could wash it. Yeah right. That’s happened.

chair corner

The chair was from craigslist, the outfit on the bottom is from Congo and the closet, well the closet is courtesy of Tal’s daddy who took it from literally nothing to this. I helped a little too. The turtle is from Auntie A who sent it all the way from China.


Congo hat was made by… you guessed it! Gigi/Grandma/My mama.


My favorite update picture of our little boy – nestled in his foster mummy’s hands.


The picture of us on referral day.. And the cuddliest white whale from Auntie L. I’d tell you who made the blanket but it’s just getting repetitive at this point.

Love, that’s what this room is covered in. Love. It’s also currently covered in dirty laundry and other messes but that’s why you take the pictures BEFORE the baby comes home right?


Linking this post to “that diy show off



the three rons in my life (a father’s day tribute)

My dad’s name is Ronald. Ron. Ronnie if you knew him when he was little. I used to giggle with my sisters when we would go back to his little hometown in Montana. We would attend church with my grandfather and then afterwards there would be “bars and coffee” in the church basement. Lemon bars, rhubarb bars, yumminess in a pan. And the little old ladies would call us “Ronnie’s girls” and say things like “so good to see you Ronnie” and that was ridiculously funny to my little six-year year old self, that someone as big and strong and perfect as my dad could ever have been little enough to be called a thing like Ronnie.

My dad is the kindest person I know. He truly loves people. When I think of what Jesus must have been like on earth I think about my dad. Minus the beard. And the robe. Dad is a pants or shorts only kind of guy. He’s also a learner. It’s something that has always stood out to me about my dad, he never stops learning and growing and changing. He’s never content to stay where he is as a person – he wants to be a better version of himself and he never stops working on that. Someday he’s going to reach perfection and then I’m afraid he’s going to get terribly bored, but what can you do?

When we knew our oldest son was on his way I knew immediately I wanted to name him after my dad. I wanted him to have that physical sign of the heritage of love and kindness that my dad passed on to his children and grandchildren. So, at Christmas we gave my dad this picture of our little baby boy, with this written on it: “Dear Papa, Mommy and Daddy said they are giving me four names. They said the third one is after a man who is a true example of a Christ-follower and whose legacy I am blessed to have as my grandfather…”

fifth set (4)

We couldn’t have guessed then that about a year later we’d get another picture, taken in the same bouncer seat (minus the blanket), with another baby boy wearing the same outfit.

October (3)-001

{{I wish I could ask their foster mummy if she did this on purpose of if it was one of those happy happenstances of life}}

And this little baby would also end up being named after his papa, my dad. Talron is a name we’ve always loved and wanted to give one of our children. It has a special connection to my husband as well, so in more unique way Talron is also named after HIS daddy. But that’s another story for another day.

Tal means dew or rain of heaven. Ron(ald) means mighty warrior or wise ruler or counselor.  I love those two meanings together. I love how perfectly it fits with his other names – his Congolese one being the name of a royal in Congo’s past and Phoenix being the picture of new beginning, of rising from the ashes, and also used in medieval times as a picture of Christ.

So today, Dad, this is my little tribute to you. The story of how both my boys came to be named after the best dad I could imagine having. I love you


motherhood is kicking my butt and other ramblings

As the nice lady at the grocery store told me all about post-adoption depression and how I should look into it I vowed to never again run to the grocery story without doing my hair and throwing on some makeup. So not worth the self-esteem hit. I know PAD is a real condition and no one should feel guilt for experiencing it but surely there is a difference between that and just looking like crap. Now if there’s a pill that helps with the latter I’m all ears.

04 April4

My sister was here for almost two weeks. It was amazing. First time she’s met either of my boys. Then we were home by ourselves for a week and then went to Colorado for a week and a half. I probably won’t blog about any of it because I usually journal family visits privately, just easier that way. And because, well because I like to process feelings slowly. Like a cow chewing it’s cud. And that picturesquely too. Memories don’t get stored in nice linear sequences, instead they are a jumbled mismatched mess. I love it because it means that random feelings can jump into my present at any moment.  So that’s how I journal too, a mess of memories that resemble “eat all the leftovers in the fridge” night.

04 April1

Thane refused to be quiet while I was rocking Talron to sleep this morning. So I put him in his room, instructed him to play with his toys, and shut the door. About ten minutes later I hear “I’m here, rescue me! I’m here, rescue me!” I feel that way too sometimes but do you hear me shouting it? No. (I call my husband instead.)

04 April2

Thane’s talking has exploded again. It’s by far his strongest skill set (along with singing random snippets of pop songs but that’s another day), at eighteen months we counted 150 words  and now I have no idea because he can say pretty much anything. Like a little parrot. It’s hard to remember that he doesn’t always have the comprehension skills to go along with the vocab. We were going through the grocery store a month or so ago when he started raising his arm at people and shouting “polite! polite!” I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I caught myself praising him for interacting with people by saying “you’re so polite!” heh.

04 April

Having a little parrot is scary of course because parrots lack filters but sometimes it’s only adorable, like the morning I walked into the living room where they were with Daddy and he asked me “how you sleep?” To my credit I didn’t respond “Great! I love being kicked in the back and being climbed all over while I sleep. I especially love it when  your brother drapes himself across my neck, I find the lack of oxygen relaxing.” Co-sleeping is the sweetest thing that has ever irritated me. I love the snuggles, the morning snuggles especially. I wouldn’t change our half in their crib and half with us routine for anything. I think that’s been the most surprising thing about motherhood. How easy it is to adore these kids who are kind of driving you nuts. It’s like motherhood is kicking my butt but I’m loving it.