Monday, October 31, 2016

Baby Carr Update and Advice Challenge

Woo Hoo!  Thanks to a bunch of saving, a ton of support and prayers every day, we've gotten enough for our first installment to the adoption agency so it is OFFICIAL!  We've taken our first steps and are on our way!!!

To celebrate, Mr. A and I thought we would start by expanding our baby education.  I mean, yes, I've spent years as a nanny, had lots of babysitting gigs, Mr. A's been a summer camp counselor, but do we REALLY know everything there is to know?!!?

No.

No, we don't know everything.  And now that we went to Buy, Buy Baby on a Saturday, I'm pretty convinced that we may not know ANYTHING.
Is it jewelry?  Is it something for teething?  Is it fashion?  Is it everything in one?

The stroller aisle was just too overwhelming.  We liked this one best because it looked like a spaceship.  And I'm pretty sure you shouldn't base your stroller choices on spaceship design.

Totally confused.  Are they suspenders?  Is it a scarf?  Is it a baby slingshot?

We're still trying to figure it all out.
 
 
The baby store was overwhelming.  Normally, I go to the baby store to grab something off of a registry so I haven't spent lots of time really digging into EVERYTHING a baby needs.  So I downloaded "What to Expect Your First Year" and will make myself visit the baby store at least once a week to learn something new.
 
I'm going to need some help.  I know we're early, and I know there will be tons of waiting, but I have a feeling I'm going to need all the help I can get.
 
SO, here's the CHALLENGE for all of you who are following and supporting our adoption:
 
For every fact, how to, product or general knowledge piece of info you give me, we've had a generous offer from a friend to MATCH in dollars.  So, if I get 10 fun facts, that's ten bucks.  If I get 100 fun facts, that's one hundred bucks.  Get the picture?  We'll run this contest for 1 week- so that's 7 days to send me all of your best tips and tricks that babies (and mommies and daddies) need.
 
How to participate:
Tag #babycarradoption on social media and tag me ( @ktneverending for Facebook, @katt5498 for Instagram) and give me your best advice or pics of exactly the type of stroller, crib, etc. that we need
 
Next Monday, we will count them up and see what is owed in donations.
 
This is the perfect way to start off Adoption Awareness Month- with a little mom-to-be awareness :)
 
Want to pray, share, or invest in our journey?  You can do so here:
 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Music Story and Prayer

Music has been a part of my life since I was very young.  My mom made sure to have singing time every day and I began piano lessons at 6.
Yep.  That's me ready to go for my first recital.  Cute, right?

I played piano, sang and eventually got into musical theatre, but what stuck from beginning to end was piano.  When I was 15, my parents surprised me with a beautiful baby grand that's when my playing really got off the ground.  I played for pleasure, I played for church, I practiced for lessons, I played for shows, I played for parties.  During my single days, my piano went with me to each apartment and house, and my roommates and I had a blast with piano parties, singing show tunes, practicing audition songs and even teaching voice and piano lessons.  I dug through my Facebook archives and these are the only photos I have of the piano- although I know my mom has more. 

These pics were taken at a cast party and I was clearly in my element.

I took piano lessons for 12 years, entertained and played countless hymns and showtunes (depending on the audience), but when we got married and moved to NYC, the feasibility of a baby grand in at 5th floor walk-up didn't make sense, so Mom and Dad graciously agreed to take custody of the piano.  But every holiday, every trip home, I would grab my visitation rights and head back to Georgia to play, make music and sing my little heart out.

It was always our thought to bring the piano over to Texas once we bought a house- in fact, we picked our house knowing there was a perfect space for the piano- it was a sticking point we gave our realtor.  Since starting to pursue adoption, however, one of the items that God really placed on our heart was the piano.  As much as I'd like to imagine a future with that specific piano at home in Texas, the hard facts are that the cost of the adoption are taking a front seat and requiring us to really think about our wants vs. our needs.

We've been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support.  Through our savings and your giving, we're almost halfway to our total adoption costs of $40,000 after 1 month of sharing our story.  Mr. A and I are so grateful and as we continue to save on our end, it's become very clear to us that part of our journey includes trying to sell the piano to assist with adoption expenses.

It's a little bit of a shot to the heart, believe me, but this journey is not without it's hard decisions.  And we want to be faithful and do what we can so a door is opened for a child.

So, we're trying to sell our piano, and we've reached out and let people know and there have been some nibbles but so far, nothing yet.  I am writing to ask you all to please pray for this very specific request.  Pray we can find a buyer.  Pray someone in Georgia is interested and is able to raise the funds.  Pray God opens up funding for this to happen.  You have all been so faithful in your giving and support, I know I can ask you to be faithful in your prayer.

Now, music comes in other forms.  Pretty much every day my nephew and I FaceTime and sing to each other and it's the best part of my day. 

And one day there will be a piano again.  But right now, this piano, which has brought me so much joy is also going to help add to our family and I can't think of any sweeter music to my soul.

*If you know of anyone in the Middle Georgia area who may be interested or who may know of someone interested, can you please share this post with them?  Thank you for your prayers!

Would you like to pray, share or invest in our adoption journey?  You can do so here:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween

Is there anything better as a parent than dressing your kid up and taking pictures that will either:
1. Live on the mantle
2. Be saved for retribution and payback during the child's rehearsal dinner

As we work on our adoption paperwork, Mr. A and I are also talking through some of the "fun" conversations I imagine most parents talk about during pregnancy.  What will we name our child?  What type of things do we want to be able to do (Mr. A's latest kick is researching a baby backpack that will take our child on all sorts of adventures), and of course the most important one, what will our kid be for Halloween?

My friends with babies have really raised the bar, so I feel it's only right to go ahead and be planning these sorts of things early- the photo opportunities are endless.

For fun, here are some of our top contenders for cute baby (and family) Halloween pics:

Babies dressed as grandmas and grandpas.  So cute...

This is the highway to the danger zone of adorable-ness


Stop.  The precious-ness is too much.

Don't take the easy route and be the superhero- Clark Kent with those glasses!  LOVE!


Then there's the family costume routine.  Here are some of my favorites:
Bzzzzzz... the cuteness!!!

Jurassic Park throwback!  Love it!

I mean, can you go wrong with Mario Brothers?

Any child as an Oompa Loompa gets the win in my book!


I think we really need to step up our game if cute ideas like this exist.  I can't wait to get started.

Want to pray, share or invest in our journey?  You can do so here:



Thursday, October 20, 2016

The numbers are in....

Thanks to all of you and your generosity, we were able to raise $2000 over my birthday.  So, that's $4,000 including the match amount by my folks, which they made last night on the site.

Thank you so much!  Including these, we are $1,500 away from our first installment to the adoption agency.

I keep thinking about our child and wondering how in the world I will be able to show them how much they were loved even before we knew the details about them.  This child has so many honorary family members through this journey I should plan a reunion!

We do have some additional pieces planned for next month (World Adoption Month!!) with some fun raffles, holiday gift ideas, etc. and even a potential Live Facebook Event so be on the lookout!

I mentioned it before, but please be praying that we can sell our piano.  I've had some interest, but it's really something we would like to go towards these expenses.  Anyone in the Middle Ga area- please spread the word, as the piano is currently on loan at our old church.

Thank you again!  Please continue to pray and please continue to share our story!
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

42% of the Way

So many of you have asked how adoption works, why is it so expensive, what's next, etc. so I wanted to try to break down a little more in terms of fees, steps, etc. Please know that each adoption may be slightly different in terms of steps, fees, etc.- this is our journey:
Obviously the above is a VERY simplified version, but I hope it gives you a better sense of where we are and the steps that are coming.  Now for the fee breakdown:

$25,900- Agency Fees*
$2,000- Home Study**
$6-10,000- Inner-State Fees***
$2,000- Travel Expenses****
$2,000- Misc Expenses*****
____________________________
$37,900-41,900 TOTAL

*Agency Fees- include the costs for marketing our profile, birth parent counseling, child's birth expenses, post-placement supervision until the adoption is finalized and overhead/operating expenses of the agency
**Home Study- This is the study a social worker must do to evaluate the safety of our home and stability of our lives.
***Inner-State Fees-Each state's adoption fees are different based on the people needed to finalize (social worker, attorney, etc) and the laws of that state.
****Travel Expenses- We want to only consider adoption from states that limit the termination of parental rights to 24-72 hours, however some states require adoptive parents to stay in that state as long as 14 days before being able to travel home.
*****Misc Expenses- We were advised to save a cushion in case of extenuating circumstances- perhaps a birth mother needs more financial care or the state fees are larger than anticipated.


Our agency allows us to break down the fees due to them- the first installment is due at the beginning while the remaining portion is due when we are matched.  This is huge as it allows us to fund-raise, apply for grants, etc. while we are in the "waiting" period.

Several of you have asked why we are fundraising for less than the total amount.  We are also trying to save and sell on our own and it's my hope that we can also apply for some grants once we get a little further in the process.  I'm in the process of trying to sell my baby grand piano- please pray for a buyer for this as it will help with a chunk of these expenses.

Not including my mom's "match amount"  (see that story here), with the donations on the site as well as checks sent in the mail, we are 42% complete with our fundraising goal of $30,000 in less than a month!  That's 31% of our total amount needed.  I'm completely blown away by everyone's sweet generosity!

I hope you will consider sharing this post on your social feed.  Feel free to tag me, but we've found that by sharing, you are actually helping us reach a network beyond what we can see.  Regardless of the funding, it's also our desire to connect with others who are familiar with adoption or infertility.  You can either share the blog or the site below.  If you share and want to use the hashtag #carradoption that'd be great!

If you would like to pray, share or invest in our journey, please do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Birthday Aftermath and Wedded Bliss

Wow.  You all know how to make a birthday girl so so happy!  Not only did I have a very happy birthday thanks to the sweet cards, texts, FB messages, but you all really rallied around and gave my parents a match challenge!  I'm tallying the official numbers and will be sharing those soon, but THANK YOU all. You are helping us get closer to our dream and in the process, we are connecting with people all over through infertility, adoption, family and love.

And, by the way, my birthday was awesome!  A dear dear friend's wedding was on the 15th and Mr. A and I have been planning on attending this wedding for almost 6 months.  It was so nice to watch 2 people so in love recite vows in front of friends and family.  This was a Scottish Highland ceremony and it really just looked like an out-take from deleted scenes from Braveheart... snow on the ground, tartans (plaids) everywhere, and my friends even did the "handfast" ceremony in their ceremony.  Basically, the plaids from the two clans are entwined over the couples joined hands as they recite vows- this is where the term "tying the knot" comes from.

The beautiful bride, my friend Laura, has been through the longest of long distance relationships- he's been in Scotland while she's been in Canada and it was so amazing to see them come together in marriage!  As I watched my sweet friend marry her husband, I thought back to the last time we'd seen each other.  This would be 3 years ago at another wedding and she had just started seeing her man (coincidentally who is also a Mr. A!).  She was so giddy with excitement, so eager for us to meet him, and really just looking forward to what that next step with him looked like.  I remember that they would text/chat and he even sent her flowers during that weekend and the snippets of their budding relationship even at it's beginning stages was so amazing to witness!

In a way, and through all of your support, I feel a bit like my friend when it comes to our baby.  Excited, giddy, waiting anxiously for the day we can be together, anxious for you to meet him or her and desperate to jump to that next step.  Now, while I don't have a child yet to hold or love, it's your communications, your notes of encouragement and your financial support that is getting me through this time.  You keep me excited, you strengthen me when I start to falter or worry, and your confidence in this path Mr. A and I are on is so unshakable- I really draw on your strength.  THANK YOU ALL.  This blog and the response to it has been a bit of a rock for me.  I know we have a long road ahead, and I promise not every post will be so centered on us and our journey, but I have to tell you all what it means to me to have you along with me- I can't thank you enough.

And... for fun and because they are so pretty- here's a pic of the newly married couple!  Congrats Laura and Mr. Scottish A!
If you would like to pray, share or invest in our adoption journey, please do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Birthday Gifts that Keep Giving

It's today!  Happy Birthday to Me!  Happy big 3-something!!

If you haven't seen it, today is a special fundraising day- my parents have offered to match any donations made today as a birthday gift.

If you haven't thought about it, I want to urge you to give.  Adoption is expensive, and in order to grow our family, we do have to raise the funds needed with this agency in order to move forward.  $1, $10, $100- every penny helps.  If you are unable to give, I'd like to ask you to share our story on your social feed- you never know who is affected by adoption or infertility that we could connect with.

To read my mom's letter to you, please click here.  If you'd like to pray, share or give, you can go to our website:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tomorrow!

Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  My Birthday!  Tomorrow!   You're Only a Day Away! (now sing that just like Annie does)



Tomorrow's the big day and a giving blitz thanks to the generosity of my parents who have offered to MATCH any donations made towards our adoption fund on my birthday.

$1, $10 and so on- every little bit helps!

Read my mom's sweet letter here.

If you would like to pray, share or invest in our journey, you can do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Birthday Letter From My Mother

Happy Birthday to me on the 15th!!

Normally, birthdays are a hit and miss, since every year that goes by has normally just reminded me of what I'm missing.  But this year it's different.  I'm lighter, more excited and really anticipating what this will bring.

The day of my birth was a major one in the tiny town of LaGrange, Georgia.  I was the first baby to ever get to stay in the room with the parents- it was a pretty big deal and the local newspaper even wrote an article (complete with my first public photo) about the notion of babies staying with the mother.  In thinking about being a parent, I think about my parents.  What did they feel when they saw me for the first time?  In those first few days of bonding, were they just overwhelmed with joy and happiness?  Did they know even then how much that relationship would define all of us for the rest of our lives?

My mom has been a source of education, knowledge and the best prayer warrior I know and she and my dad have written a sweet letter to all of you that I wanted to share along with an exciting piece of news:
In honor of the big day, any donations towards our adoption journey on October 15th will be matched by my parents.  I am so grateful for them and for all of  you.  Please see the below, share this story through your social feeds and if you can, give on October 15th.

You can do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

From my mom:

Whoever would have known that in 1989, God began to prepare my heart for adoption of a grand baby! I had the opportunity to work for a Christian adoption agency in Macon, Ga. I was responsible for conducting Home assessments for couples adopting in Romania from orphanages. As the agency grew, I was the Adoption Caseworker for domestic adoptions . 

My life was impacted by so many couples that desired to parent ...and birth parents in crisis that chose an adoption plan for their child. What an awesome job and privilege to see God match the right baby in the best forever family ! Many of these babies have graduated from high school now and have thrived in their family. Some adoptive couples met their baby in the hospital the day they were born and others were introduced on "placement day" in our office . Regardless of the circumstances, it was a day of tears and thanksgiving!

In 2005 after our relocation to Atlanta , I began working for the State in the Foster Care and Adoption unit . A different experience witnessing children being removed from homes due to neglect or abuse . We worked hard to reunite these families through many services and court plans but there were some that adoption was best for the child . What a celebration to have a child with their forever family!
Through this job, God continued to teach me about His love for children and birth parents that are unable to parent.

My retirement from social work was rewarded with the opportunity to be a "nanny" for 2 children that God blessed through adoption . I was actually at the hospital when the oldest went home with his forever family! Lots of tears of joy!

And now I am a Nana to two precious grandsons! God is faithful and we want you to know we are committed to Katy and Adam's adoption journey! We will love this child and always have respect and grateful heart for sacrificial birthparents who have made an adoption plan.

We've been so humbled by the prayers, donations  and support of our family and friends ! And just wanted you to know we are committed to this journey as well!
In closing, when Katy was only 12 years old and lived in Macon ,Ga. she was introduced to the ministry of Adoption!

God brought Adam into our family to love and NOW we anticipate a grandchild through adoption.
Happy Birthday Katy!!! Love you and Adam! And Committed to be Forever Nana & Granddaddy!

PS

We are matching your support in honor of our bday girl and her precious husband!


Thanks Mom and Dad!  We love you!
Nana and Granddaddy

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Failures of the Body and Hope of the Heart

**Disclaimer** This post contains some medical knowledge surrounding our infertility, my personal struggles and is pretty emotional (at least for me).  Please note that infertility has many faces and many paths- I'm not advocating for a particular type of treatment or option- this is simply our path.

For a long time, I took personal responsibility for our failure and inability to get pregnant.  To explain further, let me give you a little personal medical history:

Before marriage and babies even entered my head, I was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at 18.  Physically, this means small cysts have taken residence in my ovaries. Symptomatically, this can mean a host of different side effects and it's different for every person.  For me, these included:
Weight gain
Low metabolism
Inability to ovulate
Hormonal imbalance (low estrogen)
Irregular periods
Heavy cramping
Some women exhibit these same symptoms.  Others don't have issues with weight gain but their periods put them on bed rest.  Some ovulate just fine, but the suppression of estrogen causes mood swings and depression.

For 20 years, I've been searching for answers to combat PCOS- I'd go on these crash diets, lots of pills to regulate hormones and periods, regiments of extreme charting of symptoms as well as months (sometimes years) of denial and pushback to just live "normally" and not under the radar of this disease.  I'd get frustrated that normal dieting and exercising wouldn't work for me, yet not want to commit to the extreme steps I'd have to take for fear that I would lose parts of my life I considered "normal" (going out with friends, enjoying food/drink like everyone else).  This has led to what is still a seesaw of back and forth that I still have trouble managing.

When we started seeing our reproductive endocrinologist in TX, my assumption was that I wasn't getting pregnant due to the constant symptoms of my PCOS.  Instead, to be safe, the doctor recommended additional and tests to rule out what could also be other factors.  We agreed and in doing so, we also found the following:
Fibroids in my Uterus
Blockage of my Fallopian Tubes

Even with the fibroids, blockage and PCOS, the doctors have been hesitant to truly define my infertility.  People with PCOS have been able to get pregnant, fibroids can be removed (I've had 2 surgeries to remove), but even with some intense procedures, every month, we saw the same negative pregnancy test and I think I felt a little more broken every day, not to mention the expenses that started to pile up with each test and procedure.
Image result for infertility
You see, I viewed infertility as it being about me- my failures, my inability, my brokenness.  I felt like I was cheating my husband and my parents with my inability to give them that next generation. I felt personally responsible for denying my nephews more cousins in their life.  I really took my medical issues personally and the more I searched for answers, the further I felt I was getting from where we wanted to be.

When we started talking about adoption initially, I was hesitant to bring it up.  If I opened up to adoption, wasn't I confirming my own brokenness?  I'll admit, for a few weeks I felt like I was in the middle of a mental and emotional boxing match- but at the end of the day, I kept asking myself the question, "Why do you want to grow your family?"  Was it just to experience pregnancy?  Was it to ensure our bloodline grew to that next generation?

I think others who adopt go through similar self-questioning so for me, once I started asking these questions I realized that this infertility journey- so far- had been so selfishly about me.  MY inability, MY failure, MY body.  Adoption, however, isn't about ME.  It's bigger than me, bigger than my husband and it doesn't rely on the faults of my body but instead on the courage and love of everyone involved- me, Mr. A, the birth parents, the adoption agency, our families, etc.  And I'll be honest, in our decision to move forward with adoption, I've felt a lightness and a freedom that I haven't experienced in a long time.  This has been confirmed by the outpouring of support we've received since our big announcement.

I will always struggle with PCOS and the effects of it- our adoption journey doesn't change that.  I will always struggle with weight issues, will probably always feel some type of body image issues and will continue to fight to figure out a balance between my disease and living my life.  But now, our future family is not dependent on my PCOS- and my heart has never felt more full.

Want to pray, share or invest in our journey?  You can do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Elephant in the Room or Why is Adoption so Expensive?

**Disclaimer** I am not a caseworker, social worker or expert other than the journey of my own life.  Adoption and infertility are different for and I can only describe our path.  If you have any questions, need some prayer or just want to reach out, please do so!


Navigating the hows and whys of adoption remind me a little of being a senior in high school and choosing the right college.  Similar questions need to be answered:
1. Small or large school/agency?
2. Study/Adopt abroad or Study/Adopt domestically?
3. Public School/Foster care or Private School/Agency or consultant

Mr. A and I gave ourselves the summer to ask questions, research agencies and find the best fit for us. And you know what we discovered?  Adoption agencies- just like everything in life- are not created equal.  They do not operate in the same way.  And adoption can be handled in many different ways as well.  We could have spent years researching and still be at a crossroads, so it was important to us to put a time limit on the research (we decided to research over the summer and have a decision by Labor Day on where to go).  This way we stayed actionable with our next steps.  This is an attempt to navigate through the maze of options, decisions and questions that came up during our research.

Questions you need to answer before you start researching:

1. What's the age range of the child you want to adopt?
2. Do you prefer to work within your home state, nationally, or internationally?
3. What are your state's rules when it comes to funding, grants, etc.
3. How involved or open do you want your adoption to be?  This means how much birth mother/father contact are you open to having once a child is placed with you.
4. Are you open to foster-to-adopt programs?

There are more questions (lots and lots), but these will at least get you started on how you choose to research agencies.

For us, we focused on 3 main agency types:
1. National agency- we figured being on the tail end of our 30's we would want more national exposure to birthmoms- increased chances of being matched quickly
2. Consultant- these are small groups that assist with profile creation and then market you out to agencies nationally
3. Specific foster-to-adopt programs- Here in Texas there are private agencies that connect with the State for specific needs based on where we live- we looked into an agency that worked with homeless birthmoms who were interested in adoption.

If you are thinking or praying about adoption, you'll find that as you navigate your research, you'll discover items that are important pieces for you in your journey, and those will be specifics you look for in an agency.  For us, we were really focused on finding an agency who:

1. Would advocate for us and protect any financial investment we made.  Some agencies have contracts that expire and if you are not matched within that time frame, any funds you have invested expire as well.  It was important for us to find an agency who would protect any fees we paid despite however long it to be matched.

2. Would care for the birth mom before, during and after pregnancy.  We wanted to make sure that part of the fees went directly towards that birth mom's needs.  I don't know what it's like to not have anyone to depend on, but it happens quite often that a birth mom has nowhere to go.  If she is kicked out of her house, or has to drop out of school, we wanted to make sure that housing, counseling, etc. was available if she needed it.  We also felt it was important to ensure she received counseling after giving birth and placing her child with us.  This birth mom deserves all the praise in the world and the last thing we would want to do is cut her off with zero support once a child has been placed in our care.

3. Would treat us as more than a case number and walk on this journey with us.  We knew we needed an advocate and someone we could connect with, share our questions with, and be able to do so without any fear or prejudice.  Once we made a connection, that sealed the deal for us.

So we took our summer, talked to different agencies, talked to each other, talked to our families, talked to friends who had adopted, prayed, prayed and prayed.  I remember one adoptive mother saying to me, "You'll just know" as I was explaining our indecision over an agency.  And you know what?  After the research, and the talking and the prayer that's exactly what happened.  We decided to go with an agency who really embodied the pieces we were looking for- financial protection, birth parent support, and personal connection and the peace that has come out of that decision is so affirming that it's the right decision for us.

Now, many people ask me why adoption is so expensive.  Just recently I've heard from people who have funded adoptions ranging between $18,000 all the way to $70,000.  Based on the agency size, states they work in, marketing efforts and support for birth parents, this can all play into the fees.  Remember, an adoption agency is still a business that employs multiple people from caseworkers to attorneys to counselors.  The fees add up, but they are all going into a wonderful cause.

I used to complain to Mr. A about the unfairness of it all.  Not only was I not getting pregnant, but now we needed to sell a kidney just to be able to be available for a match.   I mean, we both work, make a decent living, but I don't know of many people who are automatically able to finance adoption without some assistance, etc.

Now, my thinking has changed.  These fees are an investment.  Not just in this child but in these birth parents.  It also promotes adoption throughout the country and who knows how many other adoptive couples, birthparents, etc. are affected by seeing an ad or marketing campaign about the positive power of adoption.

Want to pray, share or invest in our journey?  You can do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund






Monday, October 3, 2016

Lessons from Mothers

I am so fortunate this week to be spending a few days with my family and after the whirlwind of our big announcement, it's nice to be able to take a couple of days and relax.  And when I say relax, I mean hang out with Mom, Dad, Brother, Sis-in-law, and the 2 greatest nephews ever.  There's no relaxing with 2 kids under 5!

There are giggles, and cleaning up spills, and water guns and snuggles on the couch, and early morning wake-up calls and meltdowns over sharing- and that's just day 1- but I'm loving every minute of it!

Sometimes this extended family time is surreal to me.  I watch these precious nephews of mine grow, look at the relationship they have with their mom and my mom (who will forever be known as Nana) and I'm cataloging the lessons I'm banking for when it's my day to step into the grand world of motherhood.

Lesson #1- Don't sweat the small stuff
Lesson #2- Kids are just as happy with a game of "I Spy" as they are with a brand new toy
Lesson #3- Be firm when you need to be but always with kindness and love
Lesson #4- Enjoy family time
Lesson #5- Enjoy (savor, cherish) nap time
Lesson #6- Don't take one day for granted

I'm looking at my mom and sis-in-law as well as other mothers in my life with fresh eyes knowing we're at the start of this parenting journey.  I can't express my gratitude for each and every mom who has shown me the example of what mothershood really looks like.

What to pray, share or invest in our adoption journey? Do so here:
www.youcaring.com/carradoptionfund