The Journey to Forever

For as long as I can remember, fostering and fostering to adopt has been on my heart. It’s been something as clear to me as breathing. Showing love to precious children who otherwise might not be shown love. Giving them a chance to blossom into the best version of themselves. Supporting and hugging them when they otherwise might not have the chance to feel what it means to be encouraged.

My husband, Adam, and I discussed my desire for fostering to adopt early in our dating years and he felt the same way I did. We knew eventually this would be how we chose to grow our family.

A little over two years ago, we began the journey having no idea how it would pan out or how long it might take, but we had faith that everything would happen when the time was right.

We submitted for different broadcasts, sent to us from our agency, which we felt we could take on, and waited. Then waited some more. Then everything started happening pretty quickly. We were picked as one of the final three families for 2 sisters.

2 sisters whose pictures I fell in love with the first time I saw them because they reminded me so much of my sister and me as kids.

They looked like us. It was uncanny.

Adam and I prayed, wished, hoped, and dreamed as we waited to hear the final decision. We dreamed of the life we could have with these girls in our home. The places we would take them, the music we would introduce them to, the activities we thought they’d enjoy.

Then we got the call.

We were picked!

We were overwhelmed with happiness, but also fully aware that we still had hurdles to jump as the journey was only beginning. We got to meet the girls at a McDonald’s playground for a few hours to introduce ourselves and get comfortable with one another. I’m not going to lie, this was forced and awkward. It’s an indescribably foreign (and supervised) situation that you’re never prepared for. We took little goodie bags for the girls with some coloring books and activities we thought they’d enjoy and, slowly but surely, they began to open up to us. By the end of the meeting, they were singing “Hello” by Adele to us and calling Adam goofy. Our hearts were invested. These were going to be our daughters.

A court date came and went and we got to have a few private weekend visits with them. We booked hotel suites and got to have time with them to play, laugh, sleep, and learn more about each other. We quickly learned that laughing was one of their favorite things and that they had a fiercely protective love for each other. They fell asleep cuddled up and hugging on the pull out sofa.

They told us they loved us.

Our hearts melted.

We couldn’t wait for them to be with us.

Weeks passed at a snail’s pace and eventually, we were given a placement date where they would get to move into our house. We visited the elementary school administrators where we’d enroll the oldest and got the youngest enrolled in a preschool.

We got their room ready.

And their closet.

Then our doorbell rang and they were here.

Cautious.

Scared.

Confused.

We gave them hugs. We showed them their room. We introduced them to our dog. They began to warm up.

The next 7 months have passed in a blur. Some days we wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into, but those are few and far between. Mostly, we just laugh, love and watch in awe at how resilient these girls are.

We cannot fathom what their life was like up until this point, but we try every day to meet them where they are and show them that they are safe, loved, wanted, and cherished in our home. By us. By our families. By our friends.

They’ve flourished since arriving in our home and just in the past few weeks (roughly 8 months post placement) we’ve had pinch me moments and met milestones with them we weren’t sure would ever come.

We’ve seen them dress our dog, Senna, up as a princess. We’ve taught them to ride bikes. We’ve watched them learn to swim. We’ve watched their complete and total excitement to see the ocean for the first time and learn to jump waves. We’ve heard them tell secrets to our parents. We’ve built hundreds of Lego projects and put together countless puzzles. We’ve taught them to jump into a pile of leaves without a care in the world and pushed them thousands of times in swings.

Crayons have taken over our coffee table and toys have taken over our house. Their beds are covered in a mix of my old stuffed animals and their new ones. Front rolls and cartwheels are daily occurrences. Pony rides, picking strawberries, calling the Hogs, and singing karaoke have all happened with glee.

Is the hardest part behind us? Who knows. Nothing in life is ever promised, but we’re so incredibly lucky that we were picked for these girls and are happy that forever has finally come for them.

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A Year in Review

Instead of posting my normal Year in Review list I’ve decided to be a bit more long-winded. Humor me, okay?

This past year was almost like a reset for me. In the best sense of the word.

I moved to Austin in late October of 2011 and adjusted to married life – which I LOVE, but I never realized uprooting and acclimating to a new city would take so long.

I had gotten in a funk when we first moved here. I was adjusting (poorly) to working from home and was resentful for a few months that I had been “forced” to move to Longhorn Country.

Living in Adam’s old bachelor pad apartment didn’t help. I’ve told many friends that it felt like a hotel and not a home, I never felt settled. Luckily, we were able to buy our first house and that is what I consider the catalyst to my “reset”.

Once we got settled in our house, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I could either learn to love this new awesome city I was living in (minus the university just down the road) or be a curmudgeon.I had never been a curmudgeon before – in fact I was usually the exact opposite – so why did I let myself get to that place now?

I learned it took more effort to be unhappy and find negativity in situations and it wasn’t necessarily the most healthy way to go about my day. I was FINALLY married to the love of my life, but I was punishing him because I was being a curmudgeon.

I started doing little things to brighten my day – things I used to love to do. I planted flowers around our yard. I learned to make homemade tortillas. I re-joined Jazzercise. I joined a stitching/fiber arts/knitting group. I hosted parties. I watched the Oscars.

Slowly, I began to feel like my old self and I was happy. Why had I let myself get that dark place when I’m having so much more fun now?

Adam, bless his heart, was amazing. He was patient for this entire year letting me find my place in Austin and our life together. He never became exasperated with my negativity and would force me on occasion to get outside or meet him for lunch. He was truly my saving grace.

This year helped me prioritize my life and my interests. I learned to drop the baggage of unhappiness and find the sun everyday. I learned a smile is the best way to change my attitude and I thank God everyday that I have a husband who can make me belly laugh for hours.

I can be awesome, everyday, and I owe that to myself and to those around me.