12/31/2014

Top 5 From 2014

It's hard to believe 2014 is coming to an end.

I swear, time goes faster as a Momma...

I'm so grateful [and humbled] that thousands of you have found friendship and fellowship in this little corner of the world wide web.

Thank you for riding this journey with us!

Here's a look back at the top five posts from This Family's Journey in 2014:

#1 Most-Read Post of 2014: 

Cheers to a happy, healthy 2015!

12/28/2014

Sharing the news, "We're Adopting!"

Alright now....

Before you get all excited, let me tell ya upfront:

WE aren't adopting again [yet...].

But, I just put together an awesome slideshow of 12 creative ways to announce, "We're Adopting!" that's now live on Adoption.com!
Announcing your plans to grow your family through adoption can be so scary.

How will people react?

Will they have a lot of questions?

Will we know how to answer them?
We announced we were adopting with a little help from our friends at Scratch Cupcakery, our favorite local bakery.

Click here to see more creative ways to share the news!

12/27/2014

3 Ways to Beat the Post-Adoption Blues

Adding a child to your family can be a beautiful moment.

The waiting and anticipation are over, and life as you know it will never be the same.

But sometimes, when you close that chapter of anticipation, it can be sad.

Head over to Adoption.com to read about an important topic that not a lot of parents talk about: Post-Adoption Depression.

12/22/2014

To the Mom Who Wanted Nothing For Christmas

To the Mom Who Wanted Nothing For Christmas
To the Mom who wanted nothing this Christmas:

When we got your information from the shelter, we knew God was using us for something bigger this Christmas.

I don't know your exact situation, but I know most families at the shelter you live at have recently escaped domestic violence situations.

When I read about what you and your kids would like on Christmas, my heart hurt for you.

A gift card for an oil change...A rug for the front door...Hand towels...Socks...

I wanted to reach through the packet of information, find you and give you a great big hug.

I wanted to tell you, "It's okay, Momma. We're going to make sure you're taken care of this Christmas."

When I read you wanted your children's needs met first, I knew we had to go all out.

Not just for them.

But for you, too.

My family and I armed ourselves with two carts in the busy aisles of our local Walmart.

We didn't know what was "cool" for a boy, so we found some boys with their family and asked them to help us find "the best" gifts for guys like them.

Apparently, Disney Infinity toys are pretty cool.

We walked down the Barbie aisle and got lost in the Frozen section.

I watched a little girl sing [loudly] "Let it Go! Let it Goooo!" and then interrupt herself to tell me scream, "This is the BEST toy EVERRRRR!"

I didn't even know what it was, but I threw it into the cart.

Everything she touched, I grabbed. Because I knew if this girl loved 'em, so would your daughters.

I know you said you wanted nothing. And I know your caseworker probably required you to put down items on your own "wish list."

But I also know we had to get you more than a clock, rug and a hand towel for Christmas.

I hope you like what we picked out for you.

More than that, I hope you find happiness in watching your kids smile when they open up their gifts. When they look at you and excitedly squeal at the sight of their new toys and clothes.

I don't know where you live, Momma.

I don't even know your name.

But I want you to know, you mean something to our family.

You reminded us this season is much more than just pretty bows and fancy lights on a Christmas tree.

It's about spreading kindness.

Hope.

And comfort to those who need it.

So, Momma...thanks for that reminder.

I hope this Christmas is the best one yet.

With love, gratitude and prayers for a blessed new year ahead...

Related content:
A Special Kind of Christmas Wish
A Holiday Tradition
When Tomorrow Doesn't Come

12/21/2014

Making Memories

Christmas this year is one of those I remember dreaming about when we struggled with infertility.
Olivia is at the age where she looks at everything with such wonder.

Last year, I spent Christmas anchoring newscasts.

So our first Christmas as a family of three consisted of Chris and Olivia visiting me after the noon show for a catered meal in the newsroom.
This year, it's all about making a mess in the kitchen memories with my sweet fam!

We had lots of fun decorating Christmas cookies this weekend.
Olivia was amazed at how "she" could dump sprinkles out of a container onto dozens of sugar cookies [half of which we ate, by the way...].
I love her sense of wonderment and how excited she is to try new things.

And I especially love that she shares her momma's sweet tooth. ;)
But what I love most this year is that I have time to make these memories with my family.

Merry Christmas, from my "sweet" family to yours!

12/17/2014

Wisdom From My 15-Month Old Daughter

Tonight as I was putting my daughter to bed, I was worn.

Tired.

Exhausted.

Life has been busy.

But here she was.

Wearing her bonnet, all curled up in her fleece pajamas, snug in her crib...and giggling up a storm.

Seriously.

This girl had a case of the giggles!

Then it hit me.

It's so easy to get caught up in work, meetings, voicemails, laundry piles, dirty dishes, unpaid bills, emails...that we sometimes miss these moments.

These are moments we'll never get back.

Take some time to slow down.

Right now.

Look around you.

Breathe in.

Smile.

Appreciate your surroundings.

And remember, sometimes it's okay to stay up an extra five minutes to just giggle.

12/16/2014

Six Ways to Show Birth Parents You Care

With the holidays coming up, there's no better time to think of the individuals who make brave decisions with an adoption plan.

I just submitted a piece for Adoption.com with six ways to show birth parents you care this holiday season.

Click here to read the suggestions.

Adoptive parents: How are you celebrating your child's first families this holiday season?


12/10/2014

Making the "Owie" Better..Just Got Better

When your children get hurt, you'll do anything to make their "owie" better, right?
Can you see Olivia's bandage on her forehead?

Look closely.

It's not your average Band-Aid.

Actually, it's not a Band-Aid at all.

Did you know Band-Aid's "skin color" bandages match only white skin?

Yeh. Not cool, Band-Aid.

I contacted the company about a year ago to express my concerns, and a spokesperson responded with a generic, We-appreciate-your-feedback email.

Little did I know that while I reeled with frustration over the lack of diversity in Band-Aids, there was a man -- a dad in a transracial family built by adoption -- finding a solution for bandage equality.
 Meet Tru-Colour Bandages: The real skin colored bandages.
These work just like any other bandage, except they match Olivia's beautiful skin tone!
And they come in this convenient waterproof bag instead of a flimsy box, so it's easy to slide in my purse or Olivia's diaper bag.

Making the "owie" better, just got better, dontcha think?

12/09/2014

10 Ways to Support a New Adoptive Family


Bringing home a new child can be one of the most exciting moments for a family.
But when a family grows through adoption, people may not know exactly how to best support them. I've searched high and dry, talked with other adoptive families and taken our own experiences into account to come up with a list of the top 10 ways you can support a new adoptive family.
Click the link below:

12/08/2014

5 Tips for the World's Relatives: Infertility during the holidays

Infertility Advice During Holidays
It's no secret my husband and I are infertility survivors.

We have found so much joy in growing our family through adoption, and we wouldn't trade it for the world.

While we're not grateful for the hellish years of becoming human pin cushions and doctors' experiments, we are incredibly grateful for what struggling through infertility has taught us.

Because so many of us who are diagnosed with infertility suffer silently, I'm going to use this blog post as a platform in hopes it reaches ALL of the world's relatives this holiday season.

First, relatives -- let me tell you this:

If you don't know anyone suffering with infertility around you, look again.

According to Resolve.org, it's estimated that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.

One in eight couples, you guys.

You can't always see it, but infertility hits close to home for ALL of us.

So, relatives -- while your family members are likely happy for your pregnancy -- let me give you some advice from your [infertile] family members and friends who may be too deep in the trenches to talk about this over the holidays:

1. Don't ask 'em when they're going to have kids.

And if you do ask your second cousin once-removed when she's going to have kids, be prepared for a comment like, "Ummmm maybe when the sperm analysis comes back with a clean wash and my Fallopian tubes are clear after next month's Hysterosalphingogram."

In all seriousness, though, when you ask someone who has been diagnosed with infertility when they're going to have kids, it can be really, really painful.

If you don't know whether your cousins are having trouble getting pregnant, then don't ask 'em in the first place.

It's a personal question, after all.

2. Don't launch a Grammy-winning surprise pregnancy announcement in front of your 30+ relatives. 

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I'm sure the majority of the family will be thrilled,

But based on the statistics, there's at least FOUR couples in your group of 30+ relatives that have been impacted by infertility in one way, shape or form.

If you know one of them and still want to do a surprise announcement so everyone can see the Grandma-to-be's reaction, give that person a head's up.

They'll appreciate the courtesy and privacy to process it on their own terms.

3. Understand your relatives may not be happy.

Infertility is a hard diagnosis to live with.

But battling infertility during a season hallmarked with joy and happiness is sometimes unbearable.

Allow your family members time to grieve the loss of the family they wished they had by now.

You may not understand why they're angry or sad, and that's okay.

Please refrain from telling them how they should feel this Christmas.

Choosing joy is hard when you're in a hard place.

4. Don't complain about being pregnant.

Your infertile relatives know you can't drink the spiked apple cider because you're pregnant, but please don't give a dramatic play-by-play of your swollen ankles and alcoholic craving.

Remember, there is someone in your midst who would happily take on any "price-tag" of being pregnant; they'd happily forego the spiked cider, and they'd willingly accept those mornings in the bathroom hovering over the toilet with morning sickness without complaining.

The best [and I mean the best] thing you can do is embrace and treasure the gift of pregnancy you've been given.

5. Give them a hug.

Sometimes, people don't know exactly what to say to those struggling with infertility.

That's okay.

Because sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen.

Or just give 'em a hug.

12/04/2014

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Alright, friends.

This could be the easiest, most delicious dinner recipe on the face of the planet!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
2 small chicken breast
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 packet of taco seasoning
1/2 cup cheese

Cook chicken in crock pot and shred.
Mix in enchilada sauce, taco seasoning and cheese.

Enjoy!