My Story

It’s Mother’s day, birth mommy

It’s mother’s day birth mommy.   In the midst of celebrating and being honored, my heart hurts for you.  It started creeping in last week as I considered what the weekend would hold for me… knowing your arms would be empty.

My greatest gain comes at your greatest pain.

I thought of you all day, birth mommy.  I honor you in my heart and know that you are the one that carried the sweetness that fills my house.

Every moment I get to enjoy, and even those that drive me crazy, they were meant to be yours.

How do you say thank you to someone that never meant to lose?  My heart is torn.

I’m filled with thankfulness for this space in life filled with pink and purple, giggles and curls –  a dream I never knew I had.  At the same time I know this was your dream but life’s hard road took it from you.

Something in me feels this isn’t fair.  I know this wasn’t the way the story was supposed to go.  God’s plan for family didn’t look like this… somehow I want you to know that.  This wasn’t always his plan.

It feels wrong.  In all the drama it’s easy for you to look like a sinner while I look like a saint.  I know this isn’t true.  We’re both sinners… and I know your heart is good.  I see it when you look at your girls, when you give them kisses to keep and hope they remember your love for them.  Even on my best of days I feel undeserving… wondering if I can ever love them as much as you.

I remember looking in your tear filled eyes and promising I will do everything I can to love and protect them.  I remember your eyes birth mommy.  They were windows into a hard life, a broken heart and a selfless act of surrender.  You have loved them deeply.

In the moments of Mother’s Day, when I squeezed out one more kiss from baby girl, hugged two twins and celebrated this new-found role of motherhood, through my own tears I see you.  I see you in their eyes, and the way they store up kisses.  I see you in their personalities and in the way they fight back.

I see you and I love you birth mommy – because I know you love these girls as much as I do.

I don’t know how the rest of this story will unfold, but I want you to know, every year that we celebrate with these girls, I promise to see you, to remember you and to know that you were mommy first…and for that reason, I love you more.


Be Still My Soul


What load are you carrying today?  How heavy is it?  I imagine mine as a large bag, filled with an assortment of things, weighing me down.  It’s probably from ThirtyOne and has my monogram on the front because even my crap has to be cute.

Then I come to the feet of the One who has the strength to handle my burdens, the One who invites me to cast these cares on Him; He will sustain me.  I picture myself placing this pretty bag at his feet, opening it up and saying, do you see this?  Do you remember this?   The babies, the horses, the brothers & sisters, my girls, my friend, the ministry, our neighbors, the orphans, all these things, Jesus they are heavy on my heart.

I have to ask myself – how much am I carrying because it’s mine to carry?  Or how much am I supposed to be carrying to the feet of the One who is built for my cares?

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall in to the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46: 1-2, 10

His invitation is rest.  He invites us to cast our cares upon him, to know that He is God.  Even though the earth gives way and the mountains fall in to the sea, know that I am God.

Sometimes stillness is a scary place.  It’s in the stillness of the night that fear can creep in.  It’s in the stillness of the day that I wonder if I have done enough.  It’s in the stillness that I am tempted to question, God are you still there?  I think that’s why He says Be still, and know that I am God.

Be still and remember my faithfulness.  Be still and speak my truth.  Be still and claim my promises. When in the stillness the enemy lurks… remember that I am God.

Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war; when night screams terror there your voice will roar.   –  from Prince of Peace – by Hillsong

In moments of worry, I get to speak straight to my own heart.  Be still my heart.  I know He’s God.

We don’t have control over seasons of waiting, but we do have control over our stillness.  Stillness can be a beautiful place if we allow it.

As we approach Mother’s Day, this can be a beautifully painful place.  I never dreamed of being a mom; but now I find myself praying during the stillness that God would let me keep her –  these precious little ones He has shared with us.  My hope can barely touch the pain of those that have longed for years to be called mom.  Friend, I see you.  I cannot imagine the depths of your pain.  Please know, even as I hope that next year’s Mother’s Day is celebrated with these same little ones that currently fill my home, I pray that God fills your arms with your heart’s desire.

As we wait for dreams fulfilled and hope to come, remember the words of the Father to Be Still.  Even when it feels as though our world is falling apart, He is our safe place.  In the stillness… He is there.


Cracking up

Oh, these girls.  They make us laugh, endlessly.  Brittany put it perfectly the other day:  Having a toddler is like having your own personal comedian.  We are fortunate enough to have two and a half.  It’s not all fun and games, but I thought I’d take a minute to give you a glimpse into our romantic comedy of life.

We’ve had a bit of trouble at daycare the past month or two.  The twins have asserted themselves and decided to take a stand against naptime.  These girls do not like to sleep.  We strategized with the teacher and administrator… nothing was working.  Pep talks and prayer on the way to school every morning… reminding them that even if you don’t go to sleep you need to stay on your cot quietly so all your friends can sleep.  “Yes Ma’am”.  Great, we’re in agreement.

Their teacher sends a note home every day letting me know if we succeeded or failed. Try again tomorrow.  But one day… the teacher told me that Little Miss Prissy said

“My mom didn’t pray for me to take a nap, so I don’t have to.”      –  fail

And another day, after I had highlighted the importance of staying on the cot –  you don’t have to sleep but you have to stay quiet, and you’ll get a treat.     So, how did that translate?

“My mom said I don’t have to sleep and I still get candy!”    –  fail again

After about 3 weeks we knew we weren’t getting anywhere.  Our strategy had to change. We met again and discussed the possibility of splitting them up.  Yep, I said it.  We will not be overcome by a pair of 3 year olds.  Divide and conquer.   We’re seeing small victories.

We are really trying to help the girls learn to regulate their emotions, make good choices, listen and obey, etc.  These can be very challenging for kids coming from hard places, so there’s a whole training on how to manage some of this.  But something we do is reward positive behavior and good choices and at all costs seek to avoid shaming bad choices or behavior.  Honey, this can be hard.  Our culture shames.  So part of our strategy is that when we pick the girls up, we assess how they did that day, and on good days we go do something fun – like the park, playground, icecream, etc.

One particular day, things did not go so well.  When we walked in to daycare it looked as though the teachers had been in a battle.  I recognize that look… I look that way every Sunday night.     We get the girls loaded in the mom-tank and start heading home.

“Are we going to the park?”  –  twin
“No ma’am”  –  dad
“Girls, when you listen and obey, we get to do fun things.” – dad
“And when we don’t obey, we have to eat at home!”   –  twin

Ha!  Yes, that is how they see life.  If they obey, we get to have fun.  If they don’t obey, punishment looks like eating whatever mom was able to cook today.   We are all punished!

And that little baby girl… she’s not too far behind the twins.  Every morning when we have successfully gotten dressed, teeth brushed and hair fixed, we reward with a jelly bean or marshmallow.   “who wants a treat?!”   Screams of “ME!” come running through the house.   It didn’t take baby girl long to figure this out.  Now, as soon as her teeth are brushed she steps down from the stool and starts running through the house screaming “ME!”   – even when we aren’t ready.   She thinks  “ME!” means treats and she throws it out there all the time.   Sweet girl.  This morning, she saw the marshmallow that Sissy had placed on the table, reached just far enough to sneak it off and ate it… then said ME!   Yes child, you stole your sister’s treat but are cute enough to get away with it.  Well played.

And of course, later this morning the twins’ teacher pulled me aside to tell me that yesterday when Prissy got really mad at her she said “My mom will cut you!”

I was stunned in a moment of shock, funniness, embarrassment and laughter not knowing exactly what the appropriate reaction should be but realizing that laughing probably was not it.  I am not a violent person, maybe a little sarcastic, but not really violent.  I apologized to the teacher and asked her to tell Prissy that is not how we handle things if she says it again.  Dear Lord.  What are we doing?!?

On one hand I’m glad she has the confidence that mom is going to get the job done.  On the other hand, I’m a little concerned with how she thinks I’ll take care of things. At the same time I can’t let her know that it was really funny. And I can’t help but question if I have ever said that in front of her.   I’m just gonna believe it came from Dora.  I’m pretty sure I heard Dora the Explorer say that one time.

Last week…

“Mom!  Sissy hit me!”-  Prissy   (Sissy is crying loudly in the other room)
“She did?  Then why is she the one crying?”  –  Me
“Well, I punched her in the face.”  –  Prissy

I guess that makes sense.  Everybody goes into safety break so mommy can take a moment to laugh, again.

Life is exhausting. Some days I can’t even see straight.  But we laugh, a lot.  If you’re ever interested in participating in some of our madness, just stop by, we’re happy to share.  Although, you can’t get the full experience unless you have them for about 2-3 hours and we aren’t around.  Let me know when you’re ready 😉