While Eisley was in the hospital, I was told I was brave. After Eisley passed away, I was told I was brave.

I can tell you this – I did not feel brave during either of those times. There were many other things I felt, but bravery was not one of those feelings. I’ve thought about it a lot since that time and I align with the quote in the image above, it isn’t about the absence of fear. It isn’t about this overwhelming sense of courage. It’s about forging ahead despite those ever-present feelings of fear.

For some, being brave means:

  • getting out of bed the next morning.
  • showing up at the polls to vote.
  • burying your child.
  • burying your spouse.
  • burying your parent.
  • getting a double mastectomy.
  • fighting to get services for your special needs child, even when the fight is so daunting.
  • trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage or the loss of a child.
  • leaving everything you’ve ever known to join your new family.
  • adopting a child.
  • walking into that hospital room every single morning.
  • walking into that office every single morning.
  • standing up against a bully.
  • calling your senators or representatives.
  • moving to a foreign country to bring home your children.
  • starting a nonprofit to help those in need.
  • being okay with major life change.
  • believing differently than your friends or family.
  • serving your country.
  • battling out-of-control wildfires.
  • standing up for the marginalized.
  • seeking help.
  • being a stay-at-home mom.
  • being a working mom.
  • giving up security to chase your dream.
  • being different from those around you.
  • rebuilding after every thing around you has crumbled.
  • loving others, especially those who are hard to love.

What is your brave?


The Juxtaposition

I was in bed last night reflecting on the present and the past. I remember a year ago thinking to myself and sharing with others that I believed grief and hope can coexist. I still believe that. But now, those two things have faces attached to them. Recently, I have been reminded of the small, mundane moments of everyday life that now cause a twinge of grief in my heart. I was working on our taxes and had to indicate that Eisley had passed away last year. For whatever reason, physically typing in her date of death into our tax preparation software was hard. It was another reminder of the finality of her passing. There was another moment from last week that caused the grief and the hope to surface at the same time. I was opening a tub of clothing in preparation for pulling out some clothes that might fit our new little one. I rifled through onesies that I had purchased for Eisley that she never had the chance to grow into. I sorted through outfits that swallowed our tiny, 13-lb, 18-month-old in their 6 month and 9 month sizes. I sadly realized that our newest addition will have outgrown these tiny clothes. What do I do with them? For now, I put them away and decided to finish our taxes. But there it is – that moment of grief and hope now paired with two faces – our daughter who passed away and the one we hope to bring home very soon. And here was the realization I had last night. If Eisley had not passed away, more than likely we would not be adopting this specific child. We weren’t planning to adopt again when Eisley was home with us. We thought our family was complete. I will not go as far as saying “we won’t adopt again” or “we can’t”. I’ve learned that when I say things like “I can’t adopt a child with a complex heart condition”, I later find myself falling in love with the most beautiful brown eyes belonging to a little one with a complex heart condition. I won’t speak in absolutes, but I will say adopting again wasn’t on my radar. If you’ve been following along, you know how that story is being written. As I grappled with the reality of losing Eisley, a thought planted itself in my heart – if we lost her, I hoped we would adopt again.  And here we are a little over a year later and we should be meeting our newest daughter in less than two months.

Because of Eisley’s death, we have the privilege to know a new life – that of a new daughter joining our family. The love does not end with the life that was lost; it continues. I came across this quote tonight,

“God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled.”                           -Anonymous

At the same time, I am reminded of another life and death juxtaposition. As we enter into Holy Week, I will pause in remembrance of His death and how I may have new life through Him. May my daughters continue to point me to the cross, to the sacrifice of the Lamb, and the great love that was poured out there.

Catching Up

It’s been a few weeks since I posted last and I wanted to catch you up on several things that have happened over the last several weeks and months.

The Housing Situation – If you have read one of the more recent posts, you know that we put a contract on a house shortly after Labor Day and listed our house for sale. We decluttered and cleaned, organized and got our house in the best shape that we could to make it market ready in a week’s time. We had a lot of showings. I loved having the house so clean and tidy, but at the same time grew tired of always having to maintain that look. We began to feel like we were living in a museum rather than a home. We had a lot of interest in the house, but no offers. Then around election time, we seemed to hit radio silence. Oddly enough, interest peaked around Thanksgiving with 6 showings in 6 days. We had 2 very interested parties, but neither of those resulted in a workable offer. The contract on the new house expired on Nov. 30th, we had a showing two days after and an offer came in the next day. We looked at all of our options and walked through several houses before finally deciding to reject the offer, take the house off the market, and stay put for a while. While we were hopeful that we would find a new place that would allow us to grow as a family, we also didn’t want to increase our mortgage at a time when we were taking a step into the uncertain world of freelance work. We do love our home, our street, our neighbors, and our neighborhood. And we’ll make it work for the immediate future. As difficult as the decision was, I’m proud of us for sticking to our original intention of not increasing our mortgage.

The Adoption Status – The Saturday after Thanksgiving we received our fingerprint approval from US Immigration Services. I took the last of our paperwork for certification through County Clerk and Secretary of State and then shipped the rest of our adoption paperwork to our agency. Hopefully in the next week, the last of our paperwork will be sent from DC to our agency. They will review and translate our paperwork and then hopefully we will reach the milestone of being DTC (or Dossier to China). Our dossier is a fancy word for a big stack of paperwork that represents months of appointments, running around to various offices, multiple meetings with our social worker, a CPA, 2 doctors, 3 letters of reference, police clearances, and more. Once our paperwork is logged into the system in China, they can officially begin to search for our child.  I’m hopeful that we’ll be logged in by the end of the year.

The Love Tree Fundraiser – Oh mercy. Where do I begin? I am humbled by the outpouring of support for our first fundraiser. In a month’s time, we have sold almost 150 ornaments! Many thanks to each one of you who have purchased ornaments. I love seeing pictures of them hanging on Christmas trees.

The Newest Addition(s) – Our oldest daughter has been asking for a kitten for some time now. We decided we couldn’t entertain that thought while our house was on the market. (But that didn’t stop me from looking!) I had been in touch with a girl I had met through Instagram who was looking for a home for some kittens. This past weekend, we drove out into the country, down a gravel drive, and further down an even smaller gravel drive and ended up in front of the most charming home. I went with the intention “just to look” at a kitten. When we found two kittens curled up together and they instantly started purring as we approached, I knew then I wasn’t coming home with just one. Truth be told, I may have wanted a kitten just as much as my daughter did. We came home with two grey tabbies who are the most loving, snuggly, funny creatures. And here’s the small world part to the story. The lovely people we got the kittens from? It turns out they are longtime friends of my brother. I was apprehensive about going through the holidays without our Eisley girl. I think our newest additions will help lighten the mood when things feel heavy. They have already brought many laughs and lots of smiles. My new favorite ritual is to curl up in bed and get some kitten snuggles before falling asleep. As my 5-year-old said, “All my dreams have come true, well, except for being a ballerina.” Without further ado, here are our kittens Gidget Fluffelpuff and Gizmodgery “Gizmo” Squigglefizz.


AdoptTogether – If you would like to further support our adoption and make a tax-deductible donation, you can do so HERE at our AdoptTogether profile. In only 5 years, this wonderful organization has helped over 2,300 families raise funds for their adoption expenses.

Learning about Grief

I have been wanting to write a post about where we find ourselves these days and what we have termed “finding our new normal.” But those words haven’t hit the paper or the screen just yet. They will in good time. For now, I’ll leave you with an article I came across when I googled that phrase. You can find it HERE.

Here are a few points that I really connected with:

  1. “The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life — warts, wisdom, and all — with courage.”
  2. “Healing is seasonal, not linear.”
  3. “Trauma is terrible. What we need in the aftermath is a friend who can swallow her own discomfort and fear, sit beside us, and just let it be terrible for a while.”
  4. “Love shows up in unexpected ways.”
  5. “This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again…….In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you.”

Whether you are in a place of finding your new normal or you know someone in that place, I hope the article might be helpful. Continue to show up. Continue to love. In the end, love always wins.