Adoption. Beautiful yet Harrowing. 

When you open websters dictionary to the word Heartbreak it should read Adoption. Can you imagine how much loss is involved when one woman gives up a baby she carried in her womb for 9 months to another woman who never conceived at all?

One woman patiently waits years for her turn to get pregnant. She waits to see those two pink lines on a stick or the flutter of a first kick. She waits for morning sickness and swollen breasts. She waits to see her belly swell and take those bump pics. She waits for something that comes so easy to others. She waits for her turn to be mama..  While another woman realizes she missed her period and is pregnant by mistake. -Heartbreak

She isn’t ready for another child. She can’t take care of two kids. She can’t believe there are 2 pink lines. She starts to see her belly grow wondering how she will provide for this child growing inside her. Should she keep it? Should she deal with it? She she give it up? The guilt, the shame, the panic. She decides what is best for her unborn child is to place it with a woman who can’t carry her own. She’s read her story and seen her struggle, so she offers up her child with grace. -Heartbreak

I want you to know that the sacrifice you are making does not go unnoticed. What you are doing for me and my husband is monumental. You are giving us a gift for which we can never repay you & in turn we have nothing to offer. You are giving me something that until now was unattainable for me. I could not see the end of the tunnel. There was no light there for me shining to light the way. I was bitter, angry, jealous and confused. Then you showed up in my life like God just picked you up and sat you in front of me. You changed my outlook on life. You gave me a reason to smile everyday. You showed me what being selfless really means. You chose me, & for that I am eternally grateful. I can’t imagine what you go thru on a daily basis. What it is like to grow a child for 9 months knowing it is for another family. I see your struggle. I see the emotion in your eyes and I can see the heartbreak that is building under the surface. Thinking about your decision. Wondering if it was the right one. Arguing with yourself to see the good in the situation when you feel like changing your mind.. & I worry you will do just that. I worry everyday that you will change your mind. I worry that you will regret your decision. I worry how you will feel after she is born. I worry that you will later think you made a mistake by choosing me. I worry she will later choose you and not me. I worry that I will never be enough for her. I worry she will always be missing something in her life, you. I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to punch something really hard. I feel out of control. I feel helpless. I feel scared.. & then I choose to worship instead of worry. I force myself to see the beauty in our situation. I call out to God. Take these thoughts from me. I lay them at your feet. Give me the right words to say when she has questions. Give me the tools to be a good mother. Give her peace of mind and comfort in her decision. Make me enough. I know He hears me. I know He is listening & then it hits me.. God doesn’t make mistakes & I know that none of this would even be possible without Him so how could I worry? People can try to explain Him away with circumstances, right place right time, but I know better. I know He has a greater plan for us all. He put you in our lives for a reason. 

I want you to know that she will ALWAYS know how much you love her. She will ALWAYS know what an amazing woman you are and how you opened your heart and allowed God to use you to bless us. She will ALWAYS know you wanted what was best for her. She will ALWAYS know you wanted her. She will ALWAYS know that you made this decision because it was Gods plan for our lives. She will grow up knowing who you are and where you are. She will know the strength you showed during this process and how difficult it was for you to gift her to us. She will NEVER question your love for her because I will remind her everyday. 

How lucky is she that she has so many wonderful people in this world who will love her and care for her. I can’t thank you enough for entrusting her to me. I promise to teach her right from wrong. I promise to protect her. I promise to teach her about God & I promise I will love her everyday of her life. I promise to do my best. Thank you for giving me this most precious gift. Thank you for giving me grace, Magnolia Grace.


 

Toddler Moon in Charleston.

Toddler Moon.
Most of the people close to us know that Josh’s job requires him to be away from home 4 days a week every week. He has been over the road for work for 5 years now. I have never had the opportunity to go with him until now. That’s 5 years of only seeing my husband on the weekends. Talk about a sacrifice and a struggle. However, we make it work. The one thing that is hard is finding alone time when he is home. He’s gone all week and when he comes home Magnolia wants his attention. I have learned to take a back seat so he can spend time with us both, but this week I got the opportunity to go with him for 2 days. We ended our day of work on Thursday in Charleston, SC. We decided to seize the opportunity we were given, and spend the night wondering about Charleston instead of crashing in the bed from exhaustion. We started our night at a restaurant called “Magnolias”.

I was in heaven. It was white table cloth dining with the most relaxed atmosphere. Our server Brad was so friendly and accommodating when I asked him for one of the paper menus they use daily with the date on them. (Y’all know I scrapbook and it had my babies name on it. Pray for Josh if I ever make it to Waco, Tx.) He brought me a menu, napkins that had the name on them and the cutest postcard ever. We were seated in a cozy corner booth surrounded by mercury glass and antique lights on the wall. We ordered fried green tomatoes served over grits with a tomato sauce and sauteed onions, and a skillet Mac n cheese that would satisfy every southerner I know. To dieeee for. Seated across from us was another couple who are expecting their first child in October on Halloween actually and after striking up a conversation we found out they were there on their “baby moon”. She asked me why we were in town and I laughed and thought out loud, we’re on a toddler moon. After dinner we walked down Vendue to a Gelato shop for a chocolate milkshake to take to waterfront park and the pier. Waterfront park is home of the famous pineapple fountain.

Kids were playing in the fountain and families were taking pictures everywhere. It was surrounded by the most beautiful flowers and landscaping. It looks out over the ocean and the pier and a small island. Breathtaking is the only word.

Trust me we took the opportunity to take pictures. If you ever find yourself in Charleston do yourself a favor and take time to go to Waterfront park and just sit on a bench and soak in the beauty.

While we were strolling the streets we randomly found a pamphlet for a ghost tour and decided instead of going back to the hotel early we were again seizing this night and taking our first ghost tour. We killed two hours wandering downtown waiting on our tour to start. We found the open air city Market and got lost perusing the vendors items and stopping to listen to the different musicians set up. There is not an a single inch of Charleston that isn’t covered in character.

You can’t turn down a wrong road. We got lost on back alley ways and cobblestone paths. Everywhere we turned we were met with floral all’s and deep rooted trees that the city has just grown up around.

It is a historical buffs dreamland. This city rich in history. We met up with our ghost tour group at 8:30 and spent the next hour learning about the ghosts at St. Philips church, the Mills house and the cemeteries all around downtown Charleston.

Our tour guide was so full of historical information and is the oldest ghost tour guide in Charleston. When our tour was over we dragged ourselves to the truck and just when we thought the night was over, Josh who was driving slow so we could soak up the night, drove up to the ye olde fashioned ice cream shoppe and I got the best banana split I’ve ever had in my life. Hands down. When we finally dragged our butts back to the hotel we were both so exhausted we fell asleep before our heads hit the pillow. Now it’s Friday and time to go back to work, but I’m so thankful for our spontaneous night adventure in Charleston.

Fairhope Alabama

This weekend trip was the 1st trip Josh and I have been on alone in over 2 years. It was way past due and we soaked up every minute together. People keep asking me why Fairhope.. I started watching a t.v. show called The Hart of Dixie in 2012 and fell in love. When the series ended I was heartbroken and was online looking up information on the show where I found out it was based on a small seaside town called Fairhope, Al. If you love the South and small towns you have to watch this show. Since I found out that it was based on a real place I have been begging Josh to take me there. 5 Years later we finally made the trip. It surpassed every expectation I had.
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FAIRHOPE ALABAMA! [In my best Forrest Gump voice.] Cool fact, Winston Groom, the man who wrote the novel that the movie Forrest Gump was based on, lives in Point Clear and visits Fairhope often to peruse the selection of books at Page & Palette, and enjoy a cup of coffee. We got to see his signature on the sidewalk outside the bookstore on S. Section St. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on N. Section Street across from the Welcome Center. Which I highly recommend since it is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Fairhope so you are able to walk everywhere. When we arrived on Friday we couldn’t check into our room yet so we rode the motorcycle over to Texarbama BBQ for lunch. [Totally could have walked, we didn’t realize how close everything was at 1st] When we pulled down the gravel driveway there was no parking, so we started to pull out and turn around when the owner whistled at us from the front porch and waved us to park in front of the restaurant. [Harley perks] We were greeted by everyone once we got inside and enjoyed some amazing BBQ while listening to Willie Nelson in the background. If you watch the show Hart Of Dixie then imagine the atmosphere of eating at the Rammer Jammer. I had a brisket loaded tater with sweet tea, and Josh had a pulled bbq chicken sandwich and a Ghost Train light lager, [similar to Michelob & the coolest beer that is brewed out of Birmingham. We picked up a case on our way home at the local Greers.]  When we finished lunch our waitress gave us a list of things we had to do while we were in town and after making mental notes we headed out for a ride down 98. It was breathtaking. We stopped 1st at the Fairhope pier. You could just make out the outline of Mobile on the other side of the bay, and nothing but charming homes and docks as far as the eye could see. As we rode by the homes on the bay I think we both did 100 double takes as we passed stunning southern homes that looked like something straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Everywhere we looked there were people walking their dogs or riding bikes and stopping to talk to neighbors. It was what my southern girl dreams are made of. After checking in to our room the woman at the front desk told us that we were in town for what they called 1st Friday so most of the stores woud be open later, and they do an Art Walk downtown. So, that afternoon we went out to explore the shops and art. There was live music on almost every corner throughout the night that seemed to float in the air and we found ourselves walking down every street to find where the music was coming from before we ended up at a concert in the park at the College. After what seemed like hours of walking around and asking locals where the best place to eat was we decided to eat dinner Friday night at Dumbwaiter. Josh and I agreed it was the best food we have ever had in our lives. The service was exceptional as well. Our waitress, Heather, was extremely knowledgable and engaging. She even entertained our uncultured taste in beer by sampling us different craft beers til we found one we liked. Love Street! I watched the general manager, Hailey, inspect each plate that came out of the kitchen before it was presented to each table and even she came over to talk to us. Fun fact: The Dumbwaiter was an elevator system used in old homes that the cooks could use to hoist food to different levels of the home so they did not drop trays of food going up and down stairs. Which is a much cooler story that the one we made up about all their waiters being dumb. We finished dinner with a warm brownie covered in vanilla ice cream that almost sent me into a sugar coma. After dinner we strolled the streets some more that were now lined in trees that were covered in lights and look like part of a movie set. We found our way over to a local bar called The Bone and Barrel. They have a live band most nights and a relaxed atmosphere that made us feel right at home. We sat at the bar and chatted with the manager/bar tender and his girlfriend and had a few drinks before walking back to the hotel. On Saturday morning we were so excited to see more of the area that we set our alarms for 8 a.m. to catch a good breakfast and have a long day. [We are parents of a 2 year old and sleep is precious so this tells you what a good time we were having.] We walked to Another Broken Egg Cafe for breakfast. Our french toast was to die for. It kept us so full that we actually skipped lunch. After breakfast we jumped on the Harley and headed to Magnolia Springs, a nearby town. Other than just being tickled that the town is called Magnolia, because of our daughters name, there is a road in historic Magnolia Springs notorious for photographers and travellers alike to take photos. Oak Street. Imagine tree branches entertwined above head, flowers blooming on both sides of the road and old homes that scream their history at you. It was beautiful. [See photos.] We hung out on that road for a while taking pictures and one of the residents actually came out in the road with us and offered to take one of us together. Then we headed to the Magnolia river and back out 98 towards Foley, Al. We stopped in Stacey Rexall Drugs & Old Tyme Soda for a scoop of ice cream and a chocolate shake. Being in Staceys was like taking a step back in time. There was a train that ran a track around the entire shop and  antiques that  gave a nostalgic feel. We sat outside on a bench and ate our snacks while chatting with a couple passing by about Jesus. The man told us that we were a kindling for Jesus just waiting to be set on fire and spread His love like a wildfire. We didn’t meet a single stranger on this trip. We shared the good news of our Lord with this man while finishing our snacks and hit the road again headed towards Mobile. It was a beautiful 45 minute ride down 98 and then across Mobile Bay. Riding on the Harley at sea level on both sides with the waves crashing up was absolutely breathtaking. It makes you feel very small. We stopped at the U.S.S Alabama and took a tour of the 5 deck ship, and browsed the Airplane hangar. We are nerds. Then we drove thru the mobile tunnel and stopped at the Harley Davidson in Downtown Mobile. Josh manages to find one everywhere we go. Our ride back to Fairhope took us through the heart of downtown Mobile and you could still see the left overs from the Mardi Gra festivities the weekend before. I did manage to score a string of stray beads before we left. For dinner on Saturday night we got dressed up a little nicer and went to Sunset Pointe at the Marina. We got seated outside at a cozy table just in time to enjoy the sun going down and the owner ringing the Sunset Bell while toasting all of the guests. We had some of the best fried green tomatoes I have ever tasted for an appetizer and our server Trace was extremely accomodating when I ordered seared sesame tuna and didn’t realize it wouldn’t be cooked fully. However, it was delicious. A happy mistake on my part. After dinner Josh and I enjoyed a cocktail by one of their fire pits under the stars. It was a very romantic and relaxing way to finish dinner. We never felt rushed to leave, and the hanging edison lights were a nice touch for the kids to run around and search for “gems”. We enjoyed conversation with a couple of locals and headed back downtown. We ended up back at the bone and barrel again because why mess up a good thing. We enjoyed a drink while getting to know our bartenders a little more. Dustin was very friendly and personable, as he referred to us as the Watsons serveral times & as luck would have it, their kitchen was open til 11 so we ate AGAIN, [this town would get is fat] and had the best burger & heavenly slice of chocolate cake. We managed to roll ourselves off the barstools we had began to stick to and closed our tab wishing we had a place like this where we live. On Sunday morning we drug out of bed a little later and checked out of the hotel at 10. We had been all set to eat at Sandras place for breakfast this morning but got there and they were closed. A local couple we stopped to talk to told us to give Julwins a try so we rode a couple blocks over and put our name in. We got seated next to an older couple, who would later be known to us as the Tates, who have lived in Fairhope for years, but also have a home in Mobile and Birmingham. They gave us the scoop on Fairhope and how it came to be this picturesque town we fell in love with. After having an amazing southern breakfast we said goodbye to our new friends and headed for the motorcycle. We rode out to a church that we found on the side of the road that said closed for the season, but the gates were open so we cruised thru. We stumbled upon a beautiful hidden church on the bay surrounded by live Oaks and Southern Magnolias covered in hanging spanish moss. We sat on a swing down by the water and watched bait fish jumping up to catch flies just trying to soak up every minute we had here. We decided to take one more ride down to the Fairhope pier. Imagine Julianne Hough in Safe Haven after getting off the bus in South Port, with the seagulls overhead, looking out into the ocean and not getting back on. That’s how it felt. We walked the pier and stood for a long time just looking out. The fog was heavy so you could barely make out the outline of Mobile. I could have stayed there forever. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather the 3 days we were there. It felt like a dream. We took one last look out into Mobile Bay & before hopping in the truck to head home we stopped in Mr. Genes Beans for a scoop of ice cream. We enjoyed it outside on the patio across from Fairhopes own little Italy. There are literally hidden gems all over this small town. As we loaded up the bike, got in the truck and made our way out of Fairhope I wasn’t even sad because I knew we would definitely be back to visit this sleepy little drinking town with a fishing problem.
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I also can not thank my mom enough for keeping Magnolia for 3 days while we got away, and my aunt for keeping our furbaby.

You’re going to be a Daddy.

Infertility I have noticed is often a very one sided focus. Mainly we look at the “barren” woman who can’t get pregnant, but all too often we forget about the men. So in honor of Infertility Week I am writing this blog to highlight my husband and all the other men who suffer silently with us. 

“He ran his hands over my past -lingering over the dents and worn edges of my heart. & when I thought he’d run away like all the others.. he told me I was a warrior, and that I’d never fight another battle alone.” 



You were so optimistic and excited when we started trying to get pregnant. You wanted a mini Josh, your own little boy. What man doesn’t. It’s natural for men to want their “own” children. You would talk to my belly and sing songs or just lay next to me and rub my stomach like there was already a baby growing inside. However when things didn’t go as planned and I couldn’t get pregnant within those first few months I saw that dream start to fade from your eyes, & in its place a little sadness. I worried that you would stop loving me because of my inability to produce children for you. Instead, you held me every month while I cried on the bathroom floor. You would say it wasn’t my fault and that we would just try again next month. You were always strong and encouraging. You had to be, for me. When all our friends started getting pregnant and having babies I would get so angry and bitter, but you would kiss me and say our turn will come. 

After a year or two went by and still no babies you turned from trying to make me feel better everytime the test was negative to trying to shift the blame on yourself. Even after being tested & being fine you still tried to take part of the blame. You found ways to take my mind off the empty room we wanted to be the nursery and the despression. You were my rock. I don’t think you know how much I actually depended on you to be strong. I found myself saying, if Josh can be this strong about it, then so can I. You were the only other person on this earth who understood the pain I went thru each month and who wiped away the thousands of tears that could have filled up the bathtub.. As another year passed we both started to get antsy that this might not be in the books for us and I brought up the idea of adoption. You said as a last resort we would consider it, but that you wanted to keep trying for our own. You had so much faith and hope that I couldn’t bring myself to tell you that I didn’t think it was going to happen. 

You stood by me for 5 years. You never made me feel inadequate or less worthy of your love because I couldn’t give you children. You saw me hurting, you felt my pain, but you felt so helpless because there was nothing you could do to fix this problem. As a man, I know how hard that must have been. You want to fix everything. If my car is making a funny noise you fix it, if my neck hurts you rub it, if I cut my finger you put a bandaid on it.. but this, you couldn’t fix.. I won’t lie and say that I had no fear when Lauren messaged me about adopting her baby. I was terrified that you would still be closed off to the idea of adoption. I was scared that you wouldn’t want somebody elses baby. I worried you would tell me no and we would be back at the beginning again. But when I called you that day, choking back my tears, and told you about the hand God had dealt us you didn’t take a moment to hesitate, you said YES LET’S DO IT. I don’t know if in that moment you saw your opportunity to finally fix the problem or if you just felt it in your heart, but I’ve never loved you more than I did in that moment. Josh you gave up something that is so important to most men. You gave up being able to have your own children. You stayed with me despite my shortcomings. You loved me regardless of my empty womb. You have loved our daughter from the moment we decided to embark on this journey. You have been so selfless and compassionate thru this entire process and I don’t think you get enough recognition. It takes a real man of God to love another persons child like their own. I count you among my most treasured blessings from God when I say my prayers at night. You are going to be an amazing father to Magnolia. We are so extremely lucky to have you. I am thankful that God looked at the world and decided it needed you, because without you all of this means nothing.

Photo Courtesy of Endless Memories Studios. http://www.endlessmemoriesstudios.com 678)476-5236