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!

Friday, March 25, 2011

2nd Annual Adoptive Parents Retreat! Super FUN!

Last weekend I was thrilled to attend the 2nd Annual Adoptive Couples Retreat in Orem UT. Can I just tell you, it was fabulous! No, it was more than fabulous, it was fanfreakintasticalfabulousness! Seriously! All the work we as the committee did totally paid off. And really, the major thanks for the awesomeness that was last weekend, goes to Jessa. I hope everyone else had as great of time as I did. Can you believe though, I didn't take a single picture? I even took my camera on Friday and never took a single one. :( I hope someone else did and would be willing to share their photos.

Jacob wasn't able to go with me. He is in the Reserves still for another few months and has drill this weekend so he is gone until tomorrow night. Sure wished he was with me! He was home Friday night because formation wasn't until this morning, but he stayed home and watched Emily so I could have a night off of mommy duty. Although I missed them both terribly and wished they were both with me. :( (Isn't it funny how that happens, you're happy to have a night out, but you end up spending the whole night missing your little one. Is it just me that this happens to?)

Friday night was a mingle night where we got to mingle and get to know other couples who are a part of the adoption world as well. Such a fun night! I got to talk with so many people! Loved it! Such a fun group! I love being a part of this adoption world! We even met another couple, Hi Crystal and Matt! Who also did a family member adoption. They were kind enough to share some insight with me.

Saturday was AWESOME! I was late, I was up all night with Emily who didn't want to stay asleep unless I was holding her, so I over slept this morning (she’s teething so she has been fussier then normal). I got there just in time for everything to begin so all I missed was breakfast and mingle time. Still sad though. :( The wonderful couple behind The r house , Josh and Lindsey, were our keynote speakers. SO fabulous! Seriously love them! They spoke about honesty in adoption, hope in adoption and shared a little of their journey so far. What they do for the adoption world is beyond amazing!

Our Adoptive Parent Panel was great! We had a few different types of adoption represented. David was representing Domestic adoption. He and his wife adopted three children who are all in their late teens early 20's now. It was so neat to hear his prespective on things. Jennifer (who was a guest blogger recently) was representing foster adoption. She and her husband have adopted 2 children through foster care and are about to finalize their 3rd foster care adoption. My favorite line from her was that you should always be open to foster care. There is a misconception that all kids in foster care are bad kids. But they aren't they are children who unfortunately have lived hard lives and have come from not so great circumstances. But they all are great kids. And you never know how your child will come to you, so be open to it. (Side note, Jennifer, I am so sad we didn't get to talk much! I was looking for you afterwards but you were occupied and then the next time I looked you were gone! We need to get together soon!) Ashley is the author of children's book about adoption. She and her husband have adopted 4 children. 3 domestically and 1 internationally. So Ashley was representing International adoption. First of all, her kids are stinkin' adorable! Her son has adjusted to life in America like he was born here. After only 6 months here he speaks perfect English. What really stuck out to me about Ashley was just that she is pure awesome! Hearing her talk about how her family has brought this young boy into their home is nothing short of inspiring. He is from Taiwan and they have not only adopted him, but they adopted a love of his country. They celebrate all of the Taiwanness holidays in their home. I love that! I think that's something every family who adopts a child from a different culture should do. If we decide to adopt again and we adopt a child from a different culture, we will for sure be doing that! Love it!

During lunch the lovely Alexandria spoke to us. She is an adoptee. Her dad is the one who spoke on the adoptive parent panel. She spoke about her love adoption, and more specifically, her love of her life. She had us all captivated. She is beyond adorable! One thing that she said that really stuck out to me was that she can't imagine life any other way, then to be adopted. I love that! She feels that her life is exactly how it should be. Amazing I tell you! She is amazing!

Our birthparent panel was fabulous, what I got to hear of it that is. I had to go out with Emily for part of it so I wasn't there for the whole thing, but what I did hear of it was awesome! Amanda placed her son 6 years ago. She shared her journey and spoke about her healing process. She spoke of her experiences with her son's parents. Sterling placed her son just a year ago. She shared her journey as well, and spoke of the love she has for her son's parents. Daniel was a great addition to the panel as well. He happens to be Alexandria’s birthfather so it was really a neat experience to get to hear the same adoption story from three separate points of view.

I hope we get to do a retreat next year! It was seriously fabulous experience!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hope your day was awesome!

My Girls, March 17, 2011
Tamara sporting her Green wear!

Emily in her Green! Tamara made her bow, sooo cute!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blessing pictures

Just a quick post. If you're on my facebook you've seen this. If not, I thought I'd share. I was going to get professional pictures of Emily in her blessing dress done, but was never able to. So I decided to see what I could do. These are all by me. I'm not a pro, just a hobbyist. I love taking pictures. :o) Enjoy!

Classic Emily look. She's so goofy!
Silly girl!

Baby feet. :D

My friend Kim had the greatest idea to take a picture of Emily's shoes at her baptism and at her wedding as well. Love it!

The hook and eye closure that was used on Em's dress was from my grandmothers sewing supplies. She passed away in 97 and my mom got a lot of her supplies. When I heard my mom had added it to Em's dress I about cried. I love that there is something from such a special person on her dress.

Details of the dress

The Gorgeous dress my mom made.

Sweet girl!

My baby!

Love her!

Emily's birthmom has a matching necklace. I had to get a picture of Emily wearing this special bracelet. (Custom made and avaliable at the r house couture etsy shop)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

7 and a half!!!

So I'm totally great with the milestone blog posts right? I promise, I post the ones for Kristina on her blog on time. I just don't get around to doing them here like I should. *sigh*

Emily is now 7 and a half months. She is doing great! She goes 3-4 sometimes 5 hours between naps. She is always looking at what's going on around her. When I took her in for her flu booster shot on the 2nd she was 20lbs. 12 oz. She was sick a couple of weeks ago so she wasn't sleeping through the night while she was sick and since getting better won't sleep more then 6-8 hours at night, but it's getting better. She is developing right on target the doctor says. She says Mama, Dada, and even said Daddy the other day while looking at the door Jacob had just dissappeared through. It was so cute! She babbles a lot and is working on teething still but those little buggers just don't want to push through, so our normally happy baby is abnormally fussy at times, and drools and chews on everything. We're hoping the tooth will break through soon. Emily laughs a lot, I mean A LOT! and she growls at everything. And makes this adorable growling noise whenever she gets excited about something. She recently started as my sister-in-law calls it, the squishy face. Case in point:


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Blogger: Jennifer -- The Revelations That Led Us Here

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a sweet new blog reader. She had stumbled onto my blog through the blog of a mutual friend. I invited her to be a guest blogger and share her journey of bringing, not 1, not 2, but soon to be 3, children to her family through foster care adoption. She asked me what she should write about. I told her that she should write about what she wanted to. I really didn't have a topic to give her. And I am so glad I didn't. The following is in her words, exactly as she sent it to me. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your journey. And congrats on the upcoming finalization of your little man! Jennifer is going to be on the adoptive parent panel, representing foster adoption, at the upcoming Adoptive Parents retreat! Can't wait!!! To follow Jennifer's journey, check out their blog here.


I am so excited to be invited to share our story with you & yours! We love spreading the good word of adoption, and we love sharing the tender mercies that foster care adoption has to offer.

A little about me: My name is Jennifer (aka Mama Lark). My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years. 4 1/2 of those years we have spent as foster parents. We have been blessed to be able to adopt 2 beautiful daughters, and will be finalizing our little man's adoption in April. Enough about that... if you want to read more of our adoption story, please feel free to check out our blog.

I feel prompted to share the revelations that moved us to become foster parents.Foster care is hard. It has its tough moments. It also has its amazingly spiritual moments! My husband and I have always been very QUICK folks. We don't wait around for anything.(We knew each other 7 days before getting engaged!) We started planning for a family immediately. The Lord had another plan for us... After struggling with fertility issues for 12 months, I begged my Heavenly Father to provide us with an answer. Why were we struggling to have a baby?!? The answer came in the form of a blessing I had received weeks before our wedding. I stumbled across my patriarchal blessing in our dresser drawer where I had left it for safe keeping. Without divulging the specifics, part of my blessing indicated that I would raise children carried in my heart. What the heck did that mean? I found out what the Lord had planned for us late one night while I scoured the Internet for "cures" for our fertility woe's. There was a small Google ad on my screen about adoption. What the heck, I clicked on it. My heart became full when I read the adoption agencies mission statement, and it read WORD FOR WORD what my patriarchal blessing had promised me... children carried inside my heart! The bells went off, and the next morning we were calling every adoption agency in the Yellow Pages.

Much to my dismay, we did not meet the requirements of most agencies because we had not been married for 2 years. After another prayer to my Heavenly Father, and another Internet search, we learned about foster care adoption. Within the week we had contacted the Utah Foster Care Foundation, met with a recruiter, and signed up for the required 36 hours of training. Everyone thought we were crazy!! People told us all the time, "Just relax. The babies will come naturally if you just chill out." To them I would respond, "Adoption is NOT our second choice."

After completing half of our training with the state, we were dismayed when both our trainer and our caseworker told us the likelihood of us getting an infant was very low... Not that we were against raising older children, but we didn't want to have the children dealing with looks and hushed questions when we had only been married for 2 years but had a ten year old. We knew we would get them. So, we gave up on the idea of foster care, and continued living our lives as newlyweds. There was nothing I wanted more than to be a mother. After spending a weekend crying to my husband about our lack of babies, I thought it would never get any better. My infertility was controlling so many of my emotions! We knelt together in family prayer and studied the scriptures and went to bed early that night... I woke up covered in sweat, crying out in panic. I shook my husband awake and told him that I KNEW our baby was out there! They needed us to find them as soon as possible, and that we needed to be ready. (He thought I was insane, but went with it.)The next morning, I contacted the Foster Care Foundation, and scheduled us to finish our foster training.

September came, and I went back to work as a pre-school teacher with our school district. A job I LOVED! My husband lost his job and was working temp agencies in the area. It was a stressful time for us. We still had not gotten our child, and we were still waiting anxiously. We were prompted to finish a nursery, and have everything ready. In October, I lined my cute pre-schoolers up to take them out to the playground. I reached out and grabbed my cell phone off my desk to use as a clock, and we were off. I helped toddlers cross the monkey bars and played kickball. When my phone started ringing, I felt the urge to answer. I had my assistant take over the class and stepped away. It was my caseworkers voice on the other end. When I realized I was on speaker phone, the tears started streaming down my face... I don't remember much from the phone call except the part where she told me I was going to be a mother. We brought home our beautiful daughter and our adoption was finalized 7 months later.

During the summer, we fostered a sweet little boy. He was so much fun! Our hearts were broken when he left our home on October 2, 2007. I found myself angry with Heavenly Father for taking this sweet spirit away from our home. With prayer, came comfort... After a week of tears, we received the call that our daughters biological sister had come into custody and she was coming to join our family. (This was almost EXACTLY a year from receiving the first phone call about our oldest daughter.) She joined our family and her adoption was also finalized quickly. We were so happy! We decided that we were content as we were, and we closed our file with the state.

Fast forward a year... I had been spending lots of my time thinking about our daughters birth mother. Where was she? Was she safe? Had she had more children that were in danger? We toyed with the idea of finding her, but decided that it was not in the best interest of our girls. They had been removed for her lack of parenting skills because she was a drug addict and a petty criminal. Not what we wanted for our girls!! The promptings got stronger, and my fears got worse. When studying my scriptures, I came across this:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

With faith in our Heavenly Father, we began searching out our Birth mother. We had no luck with conventional methods, and we started searching social networking sites. I found her!! I panicked because she had another baby... but everything on her site seemed like she was doing better. I contacted her, and agreed to meet up with her. I was pleasantly surprised when I did! She was a totally different person. She had stopped using drugs, she had gotten a job and was attending school. Her spirit was amazing! We now share an amazingly close relationship, and enjoy having "Tummy Mommy" as part of our family. We are proud to say that we are one of the few families that have an OPEN foster care adoption!

When we felt prompted to open our file back up, we did not question our Heavenly Father like we had always been so quick to do in the past. Within a week of an approved home study, our Little Man came into our home. We were told that this would be temporary, but He calmed our hearts and minds and assured us that this sweet child would be ours for eternity. He was right as usual. We are so thrilled that we will be completing our family in a matter of weeks... unless Heavenly Father feels that we should be blessed with just one more sweet spirit. The revelations we have enjoyed, have truly been great blessings!

For the most part, we have had nothing but support from our family and friends when it comes to our adoption decisions... I can actually only think of a few people that were not supportive. They think that we just "fly by the seat of our pants". Well, honestly, we do! But believe me, its not without much prayer and much divine intervention from a loving Heavenly Father. For those of you struggling with non-supportive family/friends, I close with this quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley...

"Let us get on our knees and plead with the Lord for direction. Then let us stand on our feet, square up our shoulders, and march forward without fear..."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Blogger: Devin & Jared, hoping to adopt

Today I'm excited to bring you my wonderful guest blogger. This is Devin and her husband Jared. I met Devin a couple of months ago at a planning meeting for the Adoptive Couples Retreat (which is in a couple of weeks by the way! YAY!!) She is awesome to say the least! They are a hoping to adopt couple. If you or someone you know is considering an adoption plan, they may just be the couple for you. To find out more about Devin & Jared, you can check out their blog here. If you have an adoption story to tell, I'd love to have you guest blog for me. Just email me at jandscrown at yahoo dot com.


Hi! My name is Devin, and we're hoping to adopt. I'd like to start out by thanking Sharon for letting me take this opportunity to share our adoption story. I personally feel like it's somewhat unique. I'm going to give an abbreviated version of it. For more details, feel free to e-mail (jndpayne@gmail.com) or look at our blog (jndpayne.blogspot.com). Anyway~ we went into our marriage knowing we'd adopt. Yeah, we've been totally blessed in that way. So here's how we knew:

It all started when I was born. I was extremely sick and the doctors could not figure out why. The doctors decided to run every test imaginable (and available for the time). One of the test they ran was a genetic test... looking at my chromosomes and how many of each I had. Well... it turns out that I'm missing a sex chromosome; I have XO. Women are suppose to have XX. This condition is called Turner Syndrome. As one of the consequences, and pretty much the only one in my case, is missing/non-functioning ovaries. Hence, I don't have eggs and I don't ovulate each month. I have more info. and a link on my blog if you're interested. Feel free to e-mail too. Sorry if this was too much info. I'm very open about it, as you can tell.

A little from my husband's perspective. Jared is one of my heroes! I was so scared to tell him that I could not have biological kids. I've gotten better, but I use to be total chicken about telling people. Don't know why. Anyway~ when I finally got the nerve to tell Jared, it was late one night. I just kind of blurted it out. He went home and over the next couple of days he thought about it. He went over to his brother's (who at the time was about to enter into medical school) and talked to him. Together they talked and found out more about Turners. Jared also talked with his parents. After about 3 days or so, Jared decided that he didn't care. Turners was apart of me, he loves me, and so he could handle me having not giving birth. Totally an incredible man in my opinion.

A little from my perspective. I was raised and grew up knowing I'd never get pregnant. For a long time I was okay with that. It was not a big deal to me. I thought I had emotionally dealt with it. However, that all changed when I got married. After we got married, I was at the point in my life where I could be a mom. I'd say the first couple of years of our marriage was so hard for me in the fact that I wanted to be a mom, and knew that I couldn't get pregnant. This is when I really did emotionally deal with it. I have now come to terms with my infertility and at each chance I get I talk about adoption.

So, yes, we went into our marriage knowing biological kids were out of the question. We chose adoption though because of the sacred, special nature of it. Birth moms another one of my heroes! I don't think there's anything that comes closer to the atonement of Christ then placing a child for adoption. We also feel like there are tons of kids out there needing a good home, and adopting is how we can help.

We love getting to know more people, don't mind talking about our story, and like I said we're very open about who we are. Please, ask or comment away! Thanks so much taking the time to read our story. Thanks again, Sharon, for letting me tell our story.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to the most wonderful man! I love you honey!

My favorite picture of my man in uniform. Taken in Iraq in 2005.

My hot man!
Love him!

Happy Birthday love!