Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Adoption Day!

I Am Thankful For Adoption #10: I am thankful that one year ago today, the court recognized what God set apart from the beginning of time.  Benjamin is our son!

When we started the journey to adopt another baby, our world looked quite different.  Andrew and Annabelle were 2, I was still teaching.  My dad was still here.  We wanted our kids to be really close in age and we were grappling with how the wait of an Ethiopian adoption would effect that.  We started praying.  A few months later, my dad died.  Our whole world as we knew it came crashing down.  Andrew stopped talking, Annabelle started worrying about everything.  And that is just the kids...  We could not fathom how another adoption would work without our Pappy.  God had other plans.

So we continued to pray.  We prayed for more than 2 more years before God gave us a peace to start our process over again.

We prepared our dossier and as we did, God was changing our hearts.  We had always envisioned 5 Ethiopian babies in our family.  God stopped us in our tracks and reminded us we could trust him.  He had always been faithful before, we just needed to trust him.  So we did.  We let go of the dream of 5 Ethiopian babies and took hold of a dream that seemed much scarier.  Domestic adoption had so many risks.  What is the birth mom changed her mind?  What if, after all of this, we were left with empty arms?

So we kept praying.

As we proceeded, we had the most amazing peace.  As we had a need, God provided.  As we had doubts, God filled the worrisome place.  Four months after our first home study visit, we were meeting Benjamin.  He was just a few hours old and he grabbed our hearts so completely.  His birth mom was and is a treasure.  She made the greatest sacrifice in love so that God could have his way in all of our lives.

Nine months later, one year ago today, Benjamin became a Sanborn.  With our older kids, court was just a formality.   They were already ours in the eyes of Ethiopia, so we couldn't give them back:)  Benjamin's court hearing was different.  He was still Baby Boy P******.  After nine months of loving and bonding and caring for him, he was still not technically part of out family.

Of course I cried.  Our poor Lawyer didn't know what hit her!  I was hysterical, so was my mom.  Thank goodness Aunt Brenda was there to take pictures or we would have literally NO record of that amazing day!  Thank you to Aunt Shari, Gigi, Grandpa and Miss Erin for joining us on that special occasion!  Thank you Lord for the heap of blessing that is our son!  Your plan is always best, and for that, we are so thankful!
This is the judge with our family:)

This is our court appointed lawyer...  No, I have no idea what Annabelle is doing...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful for adoption #7

 I am so blessed to call so many amazing women my  friends.  I treasure so many of the women (some mommas and some not) in my life, as women can be hard to befriend. Not my girls!  They are awesome and funny and strong, and not at all competitive about kids talents or "stuff".   They love their kids and their husbands beyond words!  They aren't afraid to ask for help or to give a hand.   One friend I call and text often as she is going through a rough patch in her life right now and we live very far apart. I love her and wish I was closer to get my arms around her neck each day.  Some friends I share a neighborhood with and will watch my kids at a moments notice.  One such friend drove us to the airport when Benjamin's birth mom was in labor.   Then there are the moms adoption has brought into my life:)  Some I was friends with long before we became adoptive moms.  So we had a basis of friendship before the joys and challenges of being adoptive moms came into our lives.  Some I met through the process and will always treasure the friendship and encouragement I have benefited from.  Some have been brought to adoption by God's miracle of adoption in my family, and are now taking the leap too!  However these precious friendships came to be, I cannot express the gratitude I have for their loyalty and presence in my life.  They have talked me off the ledge about adoption issues, momma issues, husband issues...  They have prayed for each one of my children as if they were their own.  They have stood in the gap and helped when I was overwhelmed.  Most people are lucky if they have one friend like this.  I have many.  God has been so good to me, and knows my heart better than anyone could.  So he made these friendships possible.  He knew I would need other moms here and now to hold my hand.  Three of these super women I speak with almost everyday.  Does this give you a little hint about how exhausting it is to be my friend?!  Christy, Erin and Alyson I love you and your families like crazy!  Your children are precious gifts to me, the adopted ones and the bio ones:)   I am beyond blessed to be able to walk this journey with you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November is National Adoption Month:)

Cool huh?  Guess what else...  November 19th is National Adoption Day and my birthday.  How I was not alerted to this before I became an adoptive mom is beyond me!  I should have known...  Since November is a great time to be thankful, I started listing the reasons I am thankful for adoption on Facebook.  We are now up to reason #6...  So far I have been thankful for adoption in general, Baby #1, Baby #2 and Baby #3, all three of their birth moms and for the "ripples" adoption makes and the families it changes.  Starting tomorrow, I will put a little remark on FB and explain WHY here.  I want to get into the habit of blogging a little more and being thankful for the miracle of adoption seems like as good a reason as any:)  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm so glad they chose life...

I was alerted to a disturbing post on Facebook today.  It was a picture of a young African American woman who was pregnant.  She looked to be about 8 months pregnant, except she was pregnant with twins and the caption explained she was 25 weeks.  She was walking out of an abortion clinic where she had just had "the shot" to abort the babies.  She was now waiting to deliver these babies.  She said she did not want twin girls because she already had two girls.  She had to leave the clinic because she did not realize aborting two babies cost more than aborting one.  She had to go get more cash.

Terrible right?  I think so.

Today I burst into tears when I saw this because I cannot imagine how desperate this woman must have been to make this decision.  Who does she have in her life to tell her this is okay and encourage her to do this?  Not because of medical necessity, not because of how the babies were conceived as through an act of violence.  Just because they were girls.  She must have a lot going on in her tourtured young heart to think this was the best answer.

A few years ago, I would have had a totally different thought process than I do today.  Is this horrible, yes.  I feel sick thinking about her delivering those babies today.  I prayed for her today, all day.  I was talking with another adoptive mom about this after I saw this picture.  Adoption involves a great amount of grieving for the birth mom.  More than I will ever know.  More than I could ever imagine.  Towards the end of the grieving process, coming up on acceptance, the birth mom can reach out for hope.  She chose life.  She can hope the child is happy and heathy and loved and has been given everything she could not provide at the time the child was born.  Sometimes, she even has pictures and letters to prove it.  This woman today will go through a grieving process as well.  When she moves to acceptance, she will not have that hope to hold onto.  She made a sacrifice all right, but no hope is attached to the outcome.  None.  

All of my children's first moms had a choice.  Andrew, Annabelle and Benjamin's birth moms could have made the same choice this young woman made today.  Erased their precious lives.  Just like that.  Done.

I would never have had the chance to rock them and snuggle them and look into their eyes as they have a bottle.  I would never have seen them crawl or walk or hear the sweet sound of their little voices saying my name.  No belly laughs, no chasing each other.  No kissing and hugging and patting as they hug.  No breath on my neck as they fall asleep.  I hugged them extra close tonight and cried as we prayed for each birth mom.  Two birth moms I will never know, and one I will never see again.

Thank you sweet first moms, for choosing life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Andrew and Annabelle on July 10, 2006...

Annabelle a few hours after we met:)

Andrew is not so sure about the sleep positioner.  I am sure the Ethiopians thought we were nuts!!

We had soccer camp this AM, and it went WAYYYY better than yesterday (read about it here).  Tonight we have VBS which is super fun, but it goes really late.  So this year our Gotcha Day festivities are limited to lunch.  I am not even sure if we will make it to Cafe LaLibela this year.  I thought, it has been six years, maybe the excitement is fading a little.  Then I posted a status about Gotcha Day on Facebook and cried like a baby.  So I guess it is still pretty fresh in my memory.
For those of you who don't know much about adoption, Gotcha Day is the day we "got" our kids.  With our first adoption we did not know about our kids on their birthdays.  So this is when we met them for the first time.  It is the bio kids equivalent to being born:)  So I guess the excitement will never fade.  Just as Mommas get sentimental recalling the day their children were born, we will continue to get sappy recalling July 10, 2006.
Brother and Sister:)

At approximately 9:30am Ethiopia time, we saw our two bundles being carried down the sidewalk at Toukoul by two sweet nannies.  I was handed Andrew, Bill was handed Annabelle.  They were Yecheneku and Hamelmal then.  All I remember is holding my son and crying.  The tears were for the sheer relief of having him in my arms after knowing him by his picture for a whole month.  Tears of joy, we were finally a family!  Tears of anxiety- WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?!?  TWO BABIES?!?!  ETHIOPIA?!?!?  I even cried tears for their birth moms.  After the first time my eyes locked on Andrews, I was in love.  What a decision his first mom had made.  A miracle, there is no other word to describe what happened that day.  we went from a family of 2.  A sad, waiting family of two.  We were magically transformed into a family of 4.  Okay, those of you who do know adoption will attest to the fact that is wasn't actually magic.  There was A LOT of prayer and paper work and prayer and waiting and prayer and disappointment and more prayer and a really long flight and more prayer.
We should give him a pookie right?
Okay, maybe the pookie was not such a good idea!

  See the "face silky"?  We have only known her for 2 hours and she is already taking to life as a princess!  My face touching the bed?  I don't think so.  
Her other favorite position, being walked around by Momma.  For most of the trip this was the only time she was not crying:(  She wasn't at her best, she was a little sick.

Dressed in our jammies waiting to go back to the orphanage for the night.

Wait, we are going back where?!!  

Thank you Lord for giving us such an amazing reason to celebrate today!  Happy Gotcha Day Andrew and Annabelle!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saturday was a big day!

Since we are "done" with Benjamin's adoption, I have dedicated this blog to all OTHER things adoption.  That is until God decides to add another to our family:)

That being said, I had the most amazing day Saturday.  I had the kind of day that woke me up at 4am because I was too excited to sleep.  I had an hour + drive to my destination and I cried almost the whole time.  I even thought about not wearing make-up to said destination knowing I could not keep my emotions below the surface.

You see, 6 years ago on Saturday we got the call that changed our lives.  We got referral of a 2 month old baby boy and a 2 month old baby girl.  We were finally a family after 5 years of trying:)  On that date another milestone was recorded.  My Bestie, who has 4 seriously adorable, healthy bio kiddos cried her eyes out like a baby.  So what you say??!!  She is seriously sensitive and giving, but not the kind of crier I am.  This sweet friend of mine doesn't quite weep at tissue commercials like I do...  Or at the births of ANY OF HER BIO CHILDREN!!!  It has kind of been a running joke that I cried more meeting each of  her precious babies for the first time than she did.  When we got referral, she absolutely lost it.  The story goes she actually stopped the car and cried.  When I found that out, I knew God must add to their family through adoption.  I didn't know how, and I didn't know when. So for 6 years, and the addition of 2 of her bio babies and the addition of one more adoption to our family,  I prayed.

Six years to the day after I started praying the adoption prayer for them, I had the absolute privilege of conducting their first home study visit.  God has answered my prayer, which turned out to be hers for quite a long time too.  Isn't it amazing the way God works?

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey!

Delp "Crazy Party of Six" it might be time to update your blog:) 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Adoption Day

Five years ago today we celebrated what would be our very first Adoption Day:)  We went to court with two little ones all dressed up and promised to take care of them forever.  We loved them in our hearts before we even met them.  We prayed for them before we saw their pictures.  God knew the plan for how amazingly our lives would be intertwined before the creation of the world.  And yet, this formality of standing before the judge surrounded by our family was so monumental.  The words in the adoption decree state, "...From this time forward you shall bear the relationship of natural child and natural mother and natural father...".  Not biological, because no matter how much we love them, no matter how much they are just like us, they will never be biologically our own.  I think we have something better, "natural" in fact.  It is only natural that we be a family. That day 5 years ago, the court recognized our babies as "Sanborns", naturally.  We love you Andrew and Annabelle!  Happy Adoption Day!
This is us "becoming a family"

Yes, I let her have a chocolate chip cookie with whip cream for breakfast

Yes, and him too!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dear Birthmom,

I am sure you remember today like it was yesterday.  In my heart of hearts, I feel like you knew from the minute you found out you were pregnant exactly what you would do with your child.  I think you had a few other children already struggling and the thought of another hungry mouth was almost too much to bear for 9 whole months.  I think you watched after you left to make sure she was okay, you took such care in where you placed her.  On the other hand, if I were you, I would have run as to not change my mind.  6 years ago today, we were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary with no idea our daughter was being born.  We think it is so special to share our anniversary with her birthday, only God could have ordained that!  Your baby girl is growing into quite the young lady.  She is so smart, like wicked smart.  She loves history and the human body.  She wants to know how everything works.  She is one of the smartest kids in her class.  She has even started asking a lot of questions about you and her biological brothers and sisters.  She is touched, deep in her soul by Ethiopia and by you especially.  She is kind.  She is quite beautiful, striking to say the least.  When we go places perfect strangers compliment her on her hair, it is really long and lays in shiny curls at her shoulders.  She worries about all of us quite often,  I am afraid she gets that from me.  We are working on it, together!   She likes to know the plan for the day as soon as she gets up.  She loves to "shnugg" as she calls it, lay on the couch and hug while we chat.  This is the most treasured time of my day.  She loves to read, shop and she has started dance, ballet, at a Christian dance studio.   We pray for you each night, although Annabelle has taken over most of those duties.  I wish so badly I had a picture of you to give her I know she would love to put a face to the prayers.  She told me she knows she will see you in heaven, I don't doubt that.  We pray that as the years pass by you would continue to feel a peace and know your sweet tiny baby girl is safe and loved.  I mean really LOVED.  We pray that you would remember the short time you had with her fondly, and not with sadness as the years go by.  We pray that somehow you would understand how blessed we have been and continue to be by your sacrifice.  Thank you doesn't quite say it, but there are no words to describe how we feel about this amazing little girl.  You made it all possible.  Your decision changed the course of our lives forever, in ways we NEVER could have imagined.  Thank you for giving us Annabelle Cate Hamelmal.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear Birthmom,

I have no doubt in my mind you know just what today is.  I pray that as the years go by you have a simply overwhelming peace about the sweet baby you left 6 years ago.  He is so funny.  Like "come out of no where" funny.  He often surprises himself with how funny he can be.  He is strong and so tall.  He loves to run, jump and laugh.  He loves football and baseball.  He loves to get dirty and wet.  We added a new baby to our family and Andrew is his #1 pal.  They do everything together and Andrew could not be more sweet and patient.  He is smart, almost too smart for his own good!  He has had some struggles in school lately because he is learning to work the system.  Don't worry, we are on it!!!  He is a gentleman, holding doors and always helping with anything.  He is becoming more and more independent and he is very strong willed.  He is passionate and fiery about everything!  He is beyond handsome.  He is so striking, complete strangers tell me how much trouble I will be in with his "beautiful browns".  He is a protector of his sister and brother first and foremost.  We still pray for you each night.  We pray that you are healthy and safe and that your whole family has enough to eat and drink.  That last part is new as of just a few weeks ago.  He is starting to really think about the world around him.  We thank God for you and the indescribable sacrifice you made so that we, halfway around the world could become a family.  Six years ago today you made a decision that would change the course of your life and ours.  I cannot imagine what must of gone through your mind as you looked on that sweet face.  Probably the same thing that goes through mine each time I look at him, "how lucky am I?"  Thank you for giving us our precious Andrew Jess Yecheneku.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just a moment...

My life is disappearing in front of my eyes.  I feel like I have just blinked and Benjamin went from a baby to 13 months.  HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!!!  My "babies" are turning 6 next week.  How did that happen???!!!!!  I was doing a bible study about the book of James and one of the things James says is that "our lives are but a vapor".  He wasn't kidding!  Nothing to make your life feel like a vapor like watching your babies grow up in front of your eyes.  Today, I took just a moment to rock Benjamin a little bit longer before laying him down for nap time.  I am usually in and out of that chair in a whirl wind because I am basically at his sleepy headed mercy when it comes to getting work done during nap time.  Today I held and rocked him, maybe ALMOST dozed off myself.  While he was laying on my shoulder, he wrapped his tiny arms around my neck and just breathed.  His hot, sweet breath was on my neck for longer than usual.  I took a deep breath as tears ran down my cheeks and I realized, just for this moment he was still that tiny 5 pound baby we brought home 13 months ago...  Just for this moment, everything stopped and I relished the quiet, soft sound and comforting feeling of his breath on my neck.  What will you do today to remember that it is just a moment?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pics from Mr.One-derful's Party

Just to set the stage...  I have instituted a policy of huge birthday parties every 5 years (thank you Kristen Plamondon).  Last year the big kids turned 5 and we had a BLOW OUT!!  I mean like 70 people at Marley Farms to celebrate.  I MAY have felt a little guilty (insert healthy dose of Mommy Guilt) about them having a new sibling and everything and went a TAD overboard...  Like bedazzling the hot pink bandannas because they weren't girly enough.  All of that to say, the big kids are having smaller parties this year to make room for Benjamin's First Birthday!  We had 54 of our closest friends (remember our family is HUGE to begin with, so we aren't as popular as that number makes us seem) over to celebrate!  Here are a few pics!
What?  I'm one???!!!  Where has the time gone?

We love our baby brother!

The bears we sent to Benjamin's bio siblings on his birthday

Thank you Mimi for printing and CUTTING all 72 of those cute circles!

Army of cupcakes

And all of these too...  It takes a lot of cupcakes to fill up the special friends we have in our lives!

Thank you Mayes Family for loaning us your bounce house!

Thank you Mr. Ryan for sweeping out our trampoline!

You can't tell from Annabelle's expression, but the Cotton Candy Machine was a HUGE HIT!!!  Thanks Mimi!
As was the popcorn machine- Thanks Jeff and Lindsay!

Benjamin's first hot dogs!

The party was such a "rager" that some of the guests dressed in costumes...  Spidey (Carter), Superman (Andrew) and Buzz (Trevor) made special appearances.

"Is this for me????!!!!!"

"Kinda squishy...."

"It's official, I LOVE butter cream!"

Present opening was PANDEMONIUM!!!!!

Brother love- Our cousins Caiden and Cooper, often referred to as one entity, CaidenCooper

"Is it time for another nap yet?"

Cousin Blakeleigh...  This is kinda how the party went...  Really fast!!!

Could he BE any cuter?

These are the sweet people who bought our tickets to and from Utah, just because they could!!!!  We love you Mr. And Mrs. Ellis!

UB with the birthday boy

More presents!

"Was there any cake leftover?"

Our friend Baby Will, 5 moths younger than Benjamin.  I will someday write a children's book about the adventures Will, Benjamin and Ryan (another buddy not quite a month younger than Benjamin) will go on!

"Here dad, surely this would go faster if I helped!"

See what I mean about lots of special people?
Well, as you can see we had so much fun!  The party whizzed by just like the last year has.  We cannot believe this is the same five pound bundle we brought home just a year ago.  What a blessing this little man is:)
Stay tuned for more "adoption news" as I will detail the lengths at which we will go to secure a copy of Benjamin's birth certificate!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In the mail...

I know this is kind of backwards since I haven't blogged about the birthday yet (pics are coming), but today was a big day.  Today we sent Benjamin's birth mom her update.  We wrote a letter, 2 pages of how much we love him.  No holding back this time.  With each update we sent (1 a month for the first 6 months), I felt like we were reporting his height and weight and telling her thank you for choosing us.  We kind of left out the parts we thought too painful.  With this update, we told her everything.  How he is the EASIEST baby on the face of the earth.  He is a great eater and an even better sleeper.  He is beautiful, so beautiful he gets noticed everywhere we go.  I have to kiss him every time I pick him up.  It is almost a reflex.  I cry nearly everyday when I sit with him during playtime and realize how empty my arms and heart would have been without him.  We told her how Andrew and Annabelle love their sweet brother.  A smothering kind of love only siblings can give.  We told her how he was named for my precious daddy and that I often tear up when I state his whole name.  We told her he is kind of a peanut, but that is God's gift to me as I prayed for a tiny baby for years before we knew about Benjamin.  We told her every little detail, not withholding because we thought it might be too painful for her to know the intimate details of the baby she gave to us.  Also included in the box was a hard bound photo book with a zillion photos of his first year.  Finally, we sent all of his bio siblings a small teddy bear.  Benjamin has one in his room (so do the big kids), and we wanted them to have something to remember him by.
We would love your prayers for this sweet family in the next few weeks as they get the box.  Pray, as we have been, that their hearts would receive the gifts with tenderness, not with hurt and sadness.  Pray that this year finds them in a better place than last year did.  Pray that Benjamin's birth mom would be more and more convinced with each sentence she reads and each picture she sees, that she made the right choice.  Pray that God would give all 6 members of that family a peace about the decision that was made.  Pray that they would come to see (if they haven't already) adoption as the miracle it is, orchestrated by God's hand. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One year ago today...

No, I haven't lost it and forgotten when my 3rd child's birthday is... I have been weepy all week in anticipation of Benjamin's big day:)  I have also been thinking a lot about one year ago today.  One year ago today, we were just packing and unpacking a gender neutral suitcase in anticipation of our baby boy who was to be born on Februaty 4.  My Aunt Brenda and my mom had helped finish the nursery just the day before.  My good friend Emma's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis called and offered to pay for our airfare to and from Utah.  What a blessing!!!!!  We politely declined and said we shouldn't need help with airfair unless birthmom went into labor the next day (funny joke huh?).  We still had no name for him, and were were growing quite fond of "sweet pea", as we were referring to him as we decided on his name.  Little did we know that we were experiencing some lasts.  We had dinner together for the last time as a family of 4.  We did bath time for 2 babies for the last time.  I tucked in my kids for the last time as a momma of 2.  I said good night to my "Baby Boy" without having to differentiate which one I was talking to. I had one son and one daughter that night.  As I laid down to sleep my mind was racing with the thoughts of that sweet baby and all the preparations needed.  Would he have dark brown eyes, or light brown?  Did I restock the diapers in the changing table?  Did I pack enough wipes for the trip?  Would he have a ton of hair or none at all?  Did I include the bedazzled hat and bow just in case the doctors were wrong about the sex of the baby? Would his birth mom change her mind?  Would she like us?   How many pairs of gloves would we need?  I remember thinking, "slow down Molly!  You have until February 4, none of this is going to need to happen tonight!"  I also remember praying, "Thank you Lord for giving me just enough time to wait.  Not too much, not too little."  Of course we never could have dreamed that night would be the last night without our sweet Benjamin in our arms.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Okay, so we missed a few milestones....

Hello, my name is Molly and I am a TERRIBLE BLOGGER!!!  So let's rewind a little so we can share some "big deals" happening around our house!

November 10, 2011
THis was soooooooooo deserving of it's own post on the actual day, but I was exsausted from all the crying (you know me).  The crying actually started the second we started speaking with our court appointed attorney.  Just to fill in a few details, It took us a long time (seemingly) to finalize because of the  laws in Utah and Arizona.  Utah requires a 6 month wait after the baby is placed in the home.  This isn't for birth mom to change her mind, or for other family to come out of the woodwork, it is just to make sure the family is working well and everyone is adjusting.  Well, we did and when Benjamin was 6 months old, we got clearance from our agency in Utah to finalize (that was in July).  Then we applied for finalization with the state of Arizona in August and were granted our court date of November 10th.  So that takes us to the court house with our little family of 5, Mimi, Grandpa, Aunt Frankie, Aunt Brenda, Aunt Shari and Gigi.  We were joined outside by our friends Miss Erin and Baby Will.  We were late (of course) and when we finally made it through the metal detectors and into the waiting room, I was already crying with the weight of the day.  Benjamin was still "Baby Boy P*******", legally anyway.  We were making him a Sanborn!!!!  When we met for a few minutes with our court appointed attorney, she read over the docs with us (we had already done this, so it shouldn't have been so emotional, but it was) and I was crying again.  Inside the court room, I of course got really nervous and started crying all over again as we got sworn it.  The wording of the court documents really hit me, "..from this day forth you shall bear the relationship of parent and child..."  WOW!  We have been caring for this sweet peanut everyday of his life, but to swear on a bible with your right hand and promise to do what is right...  It really reminded me how very important being a mommy is.  It also reminded me how good God is to bring 3 babies into our home.  Three precious ones whose stories are being written right in front of our eyes, stories God has known from the beginning of time.  Stories we are beyond blessed to be a part of.
This is us with our attorney

And drumroll please....  Our first official photo of Sanborn Party of Five