Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Get off the sidewalks!

Emily's 6 month post is coming. I haven't forgotten. But for now, I wanted to post an update on our oldest. Tamara is 15, 16 in June. Which here in Utah means, dun dun dun, driver's ed! *queue scary music and screaming* Last Monday I took her down to the dmv and she took her test. To my dismay she indeed passed. ;o) As part if the rules of having your permit, she must get 40 hours of driving experience. While 6 hours can be in class, the other 34 must be outside of class, with 10 hours being night driving. This is exceptionally scary for me as a mom. Partially because I have to be the one to drive with her. Because her dad and I have joint custody, and Jacob is not on the custody papers (they were drawn up well before Jacob and I got married), he can't drive with her. She on occasion drives with her dad, but normally it's me. And in our state it can only be me in the car. No one else. Which means if I am to take her driving, we have to get a sitter for Em if Jacob is working. She is getting better. Her turning is still really scary, but so far I have survived several driving sessions with her, without even a scratch to the van. So we're good so far. ;o) Tamara just recently got to go a theatre conference in St. George which she loved! She is seriously considering going to Dixie State when she graduates from high school. This works for me as her other choice right now is UCLA. That would have her way too far from home. Dixie State is 4 hours away, so she would still be "going away" to school, but she would still be within a reasonable driving distance. She wants to major in Drama, and possibly become a drama teacher. She is also going to be trying out for a spot on her high school drama team for regionals. And she has just joined the track team and she is taking photography this semester. She is doing great in school and is very happily getting ready for the sweethearts dance next week with her boyfriend Spencer who is a really sweet guy. And to top it off, she is planning her sweet sixteen (she's thinking black light party, or a kid theme with bounce house type stuff, although she is leaning heavily toward the black light). I can't beleive she is growing up so quickly and that she will be off to college in less then 3 years. I watch Emily grow up, and I watch her learn new things and I long for the days that Tamara was learning those same things. Because I was a single mom while Tamara was little I worked a lot, and I missed out on so much. I was there for all her big firsts, her first words, her first steps, etc. But, I wasn't there for the every day, day to day learning like I am with Emily. That makes me sad. But it reminds me to cherish not only every moment I have with Emily, but every moment I have with Tamara now. I can't back those days I had to work and wasn't there for when she started learning to crawl, but I can be here now. I got to be there for her first high school dance, and take her shopping for her dress and shoes for sweethearts. I get to be here for when she graduates high school and goes off to college, and I get to be here for the day to day now. So I'm going to cherish every moment I can. Sorry for the randomness of this post. I just had to brag on my not so little baby who is growing up way too fast.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Final!!! (Sort of)

I know I need to do Emily's 6 month post. (Can you beleive she is 6 months!) But I wanted to write about what we did today.

Last week I got a call from our most awesome lawyer. Dean Ellis is his name. If you are in Utah and need an adoption attorney, look no further. Dean rocks! Seriously! He was on vacation in southern Utah (seriously, it was freezing here, gorgeous weather there, can you blame him. I was a little jealous, I'll admit it). Anywho, Dean had a court date for us. It was today. I couldn't beleive it! Well, we went to court today and found out (per the most awesome judge we had) we actually could not finalize today. Before you can finalize in our state, it has to be 6 months after placement. Placement should have been July 27th. So we should have been able to finalize today. But because Emily was in the hospital for a week, and because of Kristina's long, horrible, labor, that resulted in a c-section, and Kristina herself having some health issues after delivery, Kristina wasn't able to sign until August 2nd. So technically we couldn't finalize until around the 2nd or 3rd of February. It's an oversight. It was no ones fault. It happens. This is why a friend told me, that you shouldn't schedule your temple sealing for the same weekend you are set to finalize the adoption. (Especially if like us, you have people who may be coming in from out of town.) That, and court could always be rescheduled, this is part of the reason why our sealing isn't until the 19th of Feb. I wanted to give leeway if we needed it. Turns out we did.

When we found out we couldn't finalize today we were also told we may need to come back next week. Our awesome lawyer talked to the judge who allowed us to go ahead and be sworn in, give testimony today, and sign papers today. So here's how it went down.
We made it downtown in really good time (20 minutes, which is awesome in rush hour traffic! And I didn't break a single traffic law to get us there. :D). We found the courthouse, parked, went up to the courtroom and waited outside. Dean got there shortly after we did and took us into a private room to go over the paperwork with us. We were then brought in to the courtroom to find out that the judge would be meeting with us in her chambers.

(Jacob and Emily waiting to go into the courtroom)

We got back there and found out the judge wasn't in yet. So we were taken into the jury room to have a seat until she was ready for us. It was there that we found out that we couldn't finalize today. I'll be honest, my heart dropped a little. We were then taken into the judges chambers. I don't know what I was expecting. But whatever it was, it wasn't what I found. We walked in and the room was very inviting. Sitting behind the desk was a very sweet, pretty woman in a business type outfit. I was surprised she didn't have on robes. Then I realized she wanted to put us at ease. She certainly did. There was some joking and I was pleasently surprised to find out that not only is she an adoptive mom as well, but her daughters name is Emily too. How funny! We took our seats and were sworn in. She was going to allow us to give testimony and sign the forms so we didn't have to come back. She would sign on the 3rd and file the paperwork then. So our adoption will actually be final on the 3rd, but all the paperwork is done.

Anyhow, after we were sworn in I was asked some questions. I had heard about some of the questions, so I thought I was prepared, but truth be told, I was still emotional. Questions like,

"Do you understand that by entering into this adoption today, it will be irrevocable?"

"You've have 6 months of taking care of this baby, do you feel that she is a good fit for your family?"

"Do you feel that you are able to care for this child, financially, spiritually, physically?"

"You understand that by adopting this child, that she will be as if she was your natural child, like she was born to you?"

In all, there were about 15 questions that I was asked. Then Jacob was asked a few questions. Afterwards the judge declared that once she signed the papers on the 3rd, that her findings would be that it is in the best interests of Emily to be adopted by us. That she would be legally our child, as if she was born to us. It was surreal. After the proceedings we talked a little more, she showed us pictures of her kids. We talked about how her son is into photography as well. She applauded my choice of camera. She is a Canon person as well when it comes to cameras. Then she posed for a picture with us.

(from left to right: Jacob, Me, Emily, Judge Atherton)

The judge then put her robes on and headed to the courtroom to start her regular day. Our lawyer led us downstairs the back way so that we wouldn't disrupt the court. Once we got downstairs I realized we hadn't gotten a picture of Dean. So he was kind enough to pose for a photo with a very tired Emily.

(Dean Ellis, a.k.a., the most rockin' awesomest adoption attorney around! Holding our sweet Emily.)

Emily fell asleep on the drive home so when we got home she was all smiles. Here is a picture of Emily in her oh so cute dress that Tamara picked out for the occasion. (Tamara was at school in case you were wondering.)

(Our Girl after court today January 27, 2011)

So it's not technically official, but she's ours!!! I didn't think it would matter. I mean, to us, Emily has been our daughter since day 1. But to be honest, to have it recognized legally, that she's ours. It's a really HUGE deal! Next stop, the temple! YAY!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

At last!

It's funny that last night I posted about waiting for our phone call with our date. Because this afternoon, guess what we got? YAY!!! We will officially and legally become Emily's mom & dad next week! It will be a big week for us since she also turns 6 months old next week as well. We are sooooo excited! We are looking at mid- Feb. for the temple sealing and blessing. I can't wait till the day we get to walk up to this gorgeous building with our baby girl and have her sealed to us as our daughter for eternity. Very soon!


Adoption is full of waiting. Waiting to be approved, waiting to be chosen, waiting for baby to come, waiting for placement.....
Right now, we're waiting....... Waiting for a phone call...... Emily is almost 6 months old. She will be 6 months next Wednesday, so in just over a week. In our state you can finalize your adoption after 6 months of the child being in your home. Even though our adoption is a family member adoption, we still are required to wait 6 months. Any day now we should be getting a call with our finalization date at the courts. I'm getting anxious. Trying to keep myself busy. Our cousin adopted a baby boy last year. She said to keep ourselves busy because the waiting will drive us crazy. Jacob is busy with work, school, the reserves, his church calling, our latest home improvement project. Me? I'm plenty busy. Tamara is starting driver's ed tomorrow (well, today actually since it 2a.m. on Tuesday), and she's joining the track team at her school. So I'm busy with all of that, plus Emily is growing so much. I'm busy with church callings (yes, I said callings, I have a few), making cakes and other things for various committments I have, helping to plan the adoption retreat in March, and so many other things, but yet, some how, that phone call is all I can think about.
I am in no way complaining. So many I know are still waiting for the phone call that they have been chosen. And if it weren't for Kristina, I have no doubt we would still be waiting as well. I have other friends whose babies were born after Emily, as in a month + after her. But they have their court date already. We have a fabulous lawyer, so it is in no way his fault that we don't have our date yet. The circumstances with Emily's birthfather are different, so that took some extra paperwork on our lawyers part. Who knows why we are still waiting. The scenerios are whats getting to me. Wondering if something went wrong. We are so close to Emily officially becoming ours. I didn't think it would matter to me. To me, she has always been our daughter. I thought it would just be paperwork. No big deal. The closer we get though, the more anxious I am. The more I am realizing it does matter. It matters a whole lot. It is a big deal. Like I said, to me, she has been my daughter, and I her mother. But to have the law recognize that.... It. is. a. big. deal. But, I still worry.... Until we are in court and the judge signs the papers, I think I will continue to worry. That's just who I am. And so..... we wait......

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Adoptive Couples Retreat!

How exciting is this! Seriously! I can't wait for this event! It's gonna be fabulous! (And not just cause I'm on the committee. ;o) That has nothing to do with it, despite my involvment, it will be rockin' awesome!)

Here are the current details:

When: March 18-19th
18th: 6:00 pm-whenever we get tired. (no childcare but feel free to bring your kids) 19th: 9:30 am - about 1:00

Where: Hampton Inn and Suites in Orem (right off I-15 across from UVU)
(It will be in the conference room. If you need somewhere to stay you can stay here. Make sure to tell them you are with the retreat. If you can't afford it email me and I have several people who are willing to lend their houses out)

Friday : Mix and Mingle (this was one of my favorite parts of last year! Share your stories and get to know eachother; also first chance to buy raffle tickets)

9:30 - Breakfast, Welcome, Keynote by Lindsey Redfern
10:15 - Adoptive Couple Panel (1 foster care-Jennifer Larkin, 1 domestic adoption Mr. Rowley, 1 international adoption- Ashley Hansen Bigler)
11:30-Lunch (during lunch we will have a speaker, and adoptee named Alex Rowley)
12:00 - Birthmother Panel
12:45- Raffle

Again. You do not have to have already adopted, really anyone interested in learning about adoption is welcome. You also are not required to come with a spouse.

PLEASE RSVP to birthmothers4adoption@gmail.com by February 18th. If there is someone who needs to RSVP late that is okay...its just easier for planning if you RSVP early.

Also we need to get a 15 dollar deposit to paypal (if you don't have it email me) by Feb 18th as well so we can reserve a few of the things.

For up to date info, check out the blog here!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Christmas picture 2010

Christmas was amazing. It was so great to be a family of 4. Not only were there 4 of us here for Christmas, but there were actually 10 of us Christmas day at our house. My brother Matt was here, my nephew Jamie was here from Maryland. He is coming out to UT for college after graduation so he was coming to tour the campus of his new school, and we got to play host to him while he was here. I hadn't seen him since he was a baby and Jacob, Tammy and of course Emily, had never met him. But it was so great to have him here. But, that's not all for guests. We also had my dad, stepmom, Kristina (Em's birthmom and my little sister), and David (my little brother) here to celebrate Em's first Christmas. I will post more about it later because Em is tired and needs her bottle so she can go to sleep for the night. But for now I wanted to share our Christmas photo from this last Christmas. So here you go! I am also including this years Christmas card since I never got it sent out. oops!

Friday, January 7, 2011

4 & 5 month updates!

So much has been going on, yet life is blissfully normal. I have so much to say, yet my brain is having a freezing moment and I can't thinking of what to write. I had a sweet comment on my Formspring the other day saying that my posting is missed. Seriously, I figured that I was talking to myself out in blog land. Well, that and my mom, because my mom reads my blog. HI MOM! But other then that, I figured I was talking to myself. Nice to know I'm not.

I realized that I never posted Emily's 4 month update, or her 5 month update, so we'll go for a two for one and I'll do both.
Emily at 4 month's learning the art of texting from big sister Tamara. ;o)
In the last two months Emily has grown a lot. At her 4 month check up she was 16 lbs. 11 oz. and 26 inches long. At an appt. on the 27th to check her meds for her reflux she was 18 lbs. 7.5 oz. She fits 6-9 months and is starting to outgrow that size as well. Her doctor told us we could start her on solids, so we have so far done peas, carrots, applesauce (big mistake, don't do applesauce if you have a baby with reflux!), green beans and of course baby cereal. I have been making my own baby food, which has been a fun experience. Next week, sweet potatoes! Emily has rolled from her tummy to her back several times, and can roll from her back to her tummy but doesn't like to. She scoots around when she is on her back which is funny. When we lay her on her tummy she is starting to try to figure out how to move. She still loves to kick, and she loves to laugh. She is a definate momma's girl, but doesn't give smiles to anyone like she does to her big sister. She is in size 3 diapers and sleeps through the night most nights. Since we brought her home we have had to put her in her bouncy chair to sleep. We recently got a crib wedge so she can sleep elevated. I put her in her crib for the first time last night. She didn't sleep for more than a couple of hours, but she had also slept a lot yesterday, so that may have had something to do with it. She is teething but no teeth have broken through yet. She has recently started pressing her lips together when she doesn't want something like her meds, or more food or her binky. It's really funny and I try not to laugh when she does it because then she'll think it's funny and keep doing it, but it's so hard not to laugh. She keeps us all laughing and is an all around happy baby. Emily hasn't really talked yet, but she coo's alot. And her new favorite thing to do is blow raspberries. Silly girl!

Emily at 5 months, the day after Christmas.

We are now less than a month away from being able to finalize Em's adoption and we can't wait! A court date has been requested and we're just waiting to hear more.