An Adoption Story: Kelly’s Mocha Beauty

By on June 2, 2017

I am so excited for you all to read about my friend Kelly’s family. Kelly played a huge role in my decision to adopt Ashlyn. She had recently just adopted her daughter and was back in town while waiting for her ICPC to clear. She reassured me and answered my questions. I am eternally grateful for that day…

I have this great memory of our lovely Perfectly Imperfect mama, Brenna- we were about eight years old, eating the old-school Funfetti icing straight out of the plastic can, and sitting on the floor watching Power Rangers. Basically we were elementary school spirit animals. (Can that icing come back? Did it? I just moved back from three years in Europe so I am behind on a few American things.) We have stayed in touch through the years and I still think she is so fabulous.

Our family is made up of myself, my husband and our three adorable, sweet girls. We have eight year old twins and a three year old. We are grateful to have grown our family through pregnancy and adoption– which often leads to some crazy questions and interesting comments. I usually share that we wanted to adopt first but most agencies don’t take a 22 year old seriously when they call. Also to note we are mere mortals and not Hollywood celebrities- so finances were a bit of a factor.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome made conception difficult: but thankfully not impossible. We celebrated when our IUI (or intra-uterine insemination) was successful and our sweet girls were born that following spring. When the twins were four, we decided the timing was right to pursue an adoption. Initially we wanted to try for an international adoption but our military life made that a little too difficult. I scoured blog posts, adoptive parent forums, and family magazines- basically praying my guts out the entire time that this would work before Uncle Sam moved our little crew again.

I stumbled upon an adoption consultant and had a gut feeling this is who we needed. We completed our home study and paperwork- and worked with her as she connected us to different birth mothers through various agencies and private adoption attorneys. My husband and I had such a strong connection to one woman in particular and she ended up choosing us to parent her baby girl. We spoke in July and our peanut was born in August. Yes, four weeks later! What an answer to years of prayers!

It was incredibly difficult to watch her make the decision not to parent our little Star: a selfless choice made wholly from love. We were able to be there when our youngest was born and I am so grateful to have been there to see her take her first breath. Every adoption begins with loss and that is not lost on our family. There is a woman who loves our little peanut so much and she misses her every day. We honor the choice that she made and are so grateful to her for this incredible gift.

Many have asked us about birth parent contact after an adoption. I think that is what scares people the most- what does that look like, what will be our relationship be, how much will he/she know about our family? Every adoption is unique. Our adoption is totally final- our names are on Star’s birth certificate; we are her parents. Her birth mom receives an update and pictures every year. We also like to send a Christmas update. These are the terms we agreed upon and we honor those. Some families have no contact, some Facetime or call. It just depends. Do not let this stop you from pursuing an adoption, if that is where your heart is leading you. It has shaped our lives so beautifully and can’t imagine being without this experience.

Our youngest is our mocha beauty- and I am super proud of my acquired hair skills. It is so beautiful to see our girls together- each unique in skin tone, hair, personality. We are a family knit together with this incredible love and I am grateful every day to be their mama.

  For more adoption related articles click HERE

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Talking about Adoption to our Children

By on April 27, 2017

  Since Ashlyn is adopted we talk about adoption randomly and are very open with our children. Now that Ashlyn is getting older I try to talk about it a little more than before because I know she is going to start understanding things. 

Ashlyn and YaYa in October 2016

Tonight we were reading a book from her first mommy called Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You. I love this book so much. It is seriously such a great book for children who are adopted. The book is read by her YaYa so in the beginning she says this is a book for you Ashlyn from your Mama YaYa. It’s a great way to remind her that she has two mommies and how lucky she is to also have two more sisters. 
Tonight I told Ashlyn that she was in YaYa’s tummy. When I asked her whose tummy she was she goes JoJo’s (her Godmother). I was like no you were in YaYa’s. She laughed and said no JoJo’s, Gavin’s Mommy. She thought it was so funny. 
This is the interesting thing about an adoption. We are learning how to talk to our children about it and when is the right time to tell them certain things because we aren’t quite sure they will get it. This was a time when I realized I really needed to make Ashlyn a book about her adoption and family so it’s less confusing. 
Another funny thing the girls do is when we talk about Ashlyn’s sisters she will then ask who are Everly’s sisters and I will tell her you are. She doesn’t get yet that she has two extra sisters so then they both just say they have two more sisters. I know as time goes on things will make more sense to them but it is funny to see how they process things. Ace gets everything way more than the girls and seemed to understand it a lot earlier too. I think the girls have a harder time because they don’t understand why one has something the other doesn’t. They don’t really know how to separate themselves from each other in that way yet. 
I am curious how other families talk about adoption with their toddlers. I never want it to be a shock to Ashlyn so we have always talked about it, talked and met up with her first mom so hopefully it will just be her norm.


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The Story of Our Girls: Traveling to Cali & Ashlyn’s Birth

By on May 29, 2016

If you are new here and want to start from the beginning of The Story of Our Girls go HERE.

When Ashlyn’s due date was a week away we planned to fly out to California. We knew this was our best shot at getting to be at her birth. I was super stressed before leaving because I had never left Ace longer than a weekend and we really only left him with my cousins or sister. 
Branden’s Mom was kind enough to come down to stay with Ace so he could be in his own home and we would have someone to take care of the dogs. We also didn’t know how long we would be in California so this just made the most sense. 
By this time things were getting tense, our daughters bio Mom had an awful OBGYN and the day before we were to fly out she basically told her she somehow wasn’t as dilated or effaced as she was the week before. We both were upset. I felt horrible for her because this doctor was so disrespectful to her because she was placing Ashlyn for adoption. 
After we talked I had a meltdown. I was worried about being in California for weeks and being away from Ace, I was worried about whether we should stay home and change our flight and chance missing Ashlyn’s birth or just go and possibly be waiting another week or two in California for Ashlyn to get here. No answer really felt right. I called my friend Christel in tears. She basically suggested just going to California because chances are the baby would come within the week. Branden also wanted to just go because changing our flights could end up being a bigger hassle and we may miss Ashlyn’s birth. This was also difficult because I was pregnant and extra hormonal so it wasn’t like I could even be logical about it all. Looking back Ace was going to be fine here with his Grammy and we would have been fine spending some extra time just us in California. That is probably my one regret was not being able to fully enjoy the week before Ashlyn was born because I was so stressed. 
We flew into California on October 11th. We met up with Ashlyn’s bio Mom and had lunch. We both were so excited to see each other. We talked about the kids and how she was feeling and how I was feeling. We also went over to her house and hung out and looked at pictures of her when she was a baby. After awhile we went back to our hotel and passed out. The time change made it really hard to adjust. 
I honestly don’t really remember much about what we did that weekend. I know we were too freaked out to go to Disneyland in case Ashlyn decided to make an appearance. We did drive around the PCH but really that weekend was a blur for me. 
Tuesday was an OBGYN visit and the new Doctor was amazing. He schedule an induction date (something the other doctor would not even consider). He didn’t think she would make it to the induction date which was the following Monday I think but we had it in there as a just in case. He understood the situation and was very sweet. This man was the right doctor for our daughters first Mommy. 
Another one of our friends came into town to be with all of us during Ashlyn’s birth but mostly for Ashlyn’s bio Mom, knowing this was going to be a very difficult event. We all spent time together and then Thursday we met up for lunch. Branden and I were supposed to go view the hospital after lunch so they went to the store and walking to try to coax Ashlyn out. 
Later that night I was feeling very overwhelmed. I missed Ace so much and I didn’t think Ashlyn was ever coming. Branden and I went to a pier and walked around and he tried to keep my mind off the stress. I ended up breaking down and crying that night over everything. I barely slept. 
Then early in the morning, maybe 5am I get the call! Ashlyn is on her way. I jump out of bed and start getting ready really quickly and wake Branden up. We probably didn’t need to be up and out of there so early but I felt like I needed to be there. Like it was wrong for us to just stay at the hotel and wait for there to be any progress. Now looking back I wonder if it would have been better for us to have given Ashlyn’s bio Mom some more time to just get in the hospital and have some alone time. 
We grabbed some breakfast let family know and got to the hospital bright and early. Ashlyn’s bio Mom was in labor and delivery and we all basically just hung out for the day for Ashlyn to make her arrival. 
Branden and I decided to grab lunch at one point thinking it would still be a few more hours. Of course right before we finished lunch I got a text saying she was at 10cm but to not rush. I didn’t even read the second part and bolted out of the cafeteria and text them we were coming. Then I read the whole thing and they said not to rush they still needed to get the room ready. 
After they were all ready for Ashlyn’s bio Mom to push I started having a minor panic attack. My mind was racing. I wanted to make sure I got video and pictures of the moment Ashlyn is laid on her first Mommy’s tummy and them together. That’s all I could think about. I needed that for Ashlyn and for her First Mommy. The person who is giving me this amazing child. After pushing for a bit the doctor said Ashlyn was sunny side up and had to turn her. He did that and she came right out. I will never forget seeing her little face for the first time. She had the chubbiest little cheeks and seriously the cutest face. She was the most perfect little newborn. 

I still can not explain those feelings from that day. My heart could have exploded but also broke into a million pieces all at once. It was the definition of bitter sweet. To watch my friend hand her daughter to me and call me her Mommy still to this day makes me feel like the most honored person in the world. For her to trust me with this person she loves so much because she knew I was meant to be her Mommy is unbelievable. Seeing her look at her from across the room when I was putting a headband on her head and knowing she was hurting broke my heart. That moment is forever engraved in my mind. I never want to forget these moments because I want Ashlyn to know she loves her so much. She wanted her more than she will ever understand but made the biggest sacrifice she will ever have made. 
Then I watched my husband hold Ashlyn and there was nothing like it. He bonded with her instantly. Nothing was different from his bond with Ace and Everly after their births. It was incredible. I didn’t know if it would be the same for him but it was. 


If you want to read a more detailed post about Ashlyn’s birth story you can HERE
Stay tuned for the rest of our time in California.

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The Story of Our Girls: The Announcement

By on January 23, 2016

If you are just reading The Story of Our Girls you might want to go HERE to catch up.

The weekend we found out both babies would be girls would be the same weekend I announced my pregnancy and that we were adopting. 
When we made the announcement it took people some time but after some guesses and people putting it all together they found out we were going to be expecting two little ones! One through adoption in October and one through my own pregnancy due in March. 

I made a picture with clues on what the announcement would be. I figured if you didn’t know I was pregnant you probably wouldn’t figure it out but if you knew I was pregnant you would at least know that part and figure out what the rest was. 
So the clues were a pear to represent two girls (like a pair of girls), Irish Twins soap since the girls would be less than a year apart, the calendar to represent when they were due, 4 rulers which meant 4 feet, A&E for their first initials and the baby beanies for two babies one in October (pumpkin) and one in March (clover). 

After the big announcement we had so many people supporting us. We never had anyone who was negative about adopting and expecting at the same time (well, not till later). 
Now that we had made the announcement we continued on with our Home Study and preparing for our trip to California for Ashlyn’s birth. We would meet Ashlyn in less than a month! 
Next up: Part Six: Traveling to California!
Don’t forget to enter this months GIVEAWAYS HERE
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The Story of Our Girls: Finding Our We are Having GIRLS

By on September 29, 2015
If you are just reading The Story of Our Girls you might want to go HERE to catch up. 

When we got the ball rolling on our adoption we couldn’t wait to find out what our newest little one would be. Since our friend was so far along she decided to find out what she was having so we could start naming our two little ones. 
When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t have a strong feeling I was having a girl but for some reason when we decided to adopt I knew they would both be girls. It was a huge feeling I had. With Ace I never once doubted he was a boy. I just knew from the day I found out so I felt strongly we were having two girls this time around.
The day of Ashlyn’s ultrasound I was on pins and needles all day. We don’t live in the same state as our friend and it’s a 3 hour time difference so the day of the ultrasound felt like the longest day ever. She wasn’t even out of her appointment when she text me “Are you ready to find out what the baby is?” 
I text back “YES!!!” And it felt like those minutes between texts were hours. “It’s a…”
I started crying and told Branden “We are having a girl!!!” 
I can’t really remember anything after that because I was so excited to know what this little one was. It made me feel even closer to her. We still wanted to wait to name her because I had two girl names I wanted to use but if only one baby was a girl she would get both names. 
Everly Ashlyn was my original girl name from when I was pregnant with Ace. By the way I screamed when Channing Tatum named his daughter Everly because I knew it would become popular haha. 
Anyway we were going in for our NT scan and I had made sure to schedule it closer to 14 weeks just in case our friend who does my ultrasounds could tell what we were having. She was able to tell with Ace but wouldn’t give us a definite answer for our gender reveal party because it was too early but she was right so I figured it was worth a shot this time. 
We asked her if she could give us an idea of what she thought. I was looking at the ultrasound and thought I knew but she was nervous in telling me. “I don’t want to tell you if your heart is set on one or the other.” She knew we had a son and that we were probably hoping for a girl. So I told her “I promise we won’t be upset because we are actually already expecting a girl!” We told her about our adoption plan and she said ok and told us she will not say 100% but that she is 80% sure this baby looked like a girl but for us not to tell anyone or get our hopes up. She told me to come in in two weeks for a follow up one to confirm and we did just that. We had my sister, sister-in-law, cousins, Branden and Ace there to find out we were going to be having another girl! This meant that our first little girl would be Ashlyn and our second would be Everly! 
There is another reason each girl got the name they got. I wanted Ashlyn to have the middle name Lauren because it is from her biological family and since my sisters name is Ashley Lauren I really wanted Ashlyn for her. I also wanted her to not have the only E name and none family-ish first name. I also wanted Everly for our last baby because it reminded me of my name. It wasn’t a popular name, it was a bit more uncommon and she would get my middle name since she would also be born in March. Both girls got another middle name after each of mine and Branden’s Moms. 
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The Story of Our Girls: Surprise We’re Adopting

By on August 17, 2015

This is the third part of a series I am sharing called The Story of Our Girls. To read the first part click HERE and second part HERE.

After finding out I was pregnant with Everly we were excited but very cautious. I had had my first OB  appointment and I just didn’t feel confident. I worried I would have a miscarriage and it just freaked me out. I had only told my closest friends and family. 

When I was about 8 weeks along I got news from one of my closest friends that she also was pregnant. I thought she might have been due around the same time as me but when I asked she revealed she was almost 7 months along. She then told me she was placing the baby for adoption. My stomach sank. The thought of the pain she would go through made me want to run to her and do whatever I could to help her through this. 

I text Branden while he was at work and his response was “Want to adopt the baby?”
I figured he was joking so I text back “Haha you know me so well.” 

But then a little bit later I get another message from my friend saying “I don’t want you to feel like you can’t be excited about your pregnancy because of what I am going through.” This is where I realize even more how fortunate I am to have the friends I do. With everything she was going through she wanted me to know she wanted me to still be happy. 

From there our conversation turned into so much more. She made a comment not completely asking us to adopt her baby but when she said it I laughed and said “So funny, Branden sent me a text asking if I wanted to adopt the baby.” Then she said “No, I am serious.” In that moment I was a ball of emotions. I was happy, scared, excited, and of course sad. I didn’t want my friend to have this loss. I didn’t want her to go through something that would bring her so much pain. I didn’t want to be the person to cause this by “taking” her baby. 

She later told me she always felt I was supposed to be Ashlyn’s mother. She had told our other friend, her best friend, that she wanted me to adopt the baby but didn’t think we would because I was pregnant. For some reason this always amazes me when she tells me this. 

She told me to really think about it and talk to Branden. She felt we were supposed to be this baby’s parents and for her to have that kind of faith in us as parents meant the world to me. 

When Branden and I got home I told him what she had said to me about adopting the baby. I could see the wheels turning in his head. He of course began to think about the logistics, cost, age of the babies and would we really be able to do this? It didn’t take long, though, for us to decide we were going for it. We had always wanted to adopt. We envisioned our family with two biological children and two adopted. We just always thought we would have two now and then two later on. 

We realized that this wasn’t what we had planned but it what was meant to be for our family. 

Next: Finding out we are having GIRLS! 

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The Story of Our Girls: First OBGYN Appointment

By on August 1, 2015

This is part 2 in a series about Our Girls. If you would like to read the first part click HERE

I knew exactly how far along I was with Everly since we were trying to get pregnant. We had actually planned to stop trying but since I ovulated on my Moms birthday I knew it could be good luck to try. So when I was about 6 weeks I went in for my first OBGYN appointment. 
My OB office does an ultrasound for your first appointment to estimate a due date. When she did the ultrasound I noticed the faint heartbeat. My OB is amazing and looked at how nervous I was. She said “It’s ok the heartbeat is just starting to beat.” I said “You don’t think it’s just slow?” 
She reassured me that she didn’t think it was a slow heartbeat and I was on the verge of having another miscarriage. She told me to come back in a couple of weeks but that she was not at all concerned. She knew I had miscarried in the past and this was exactly what we saw then. A slow heart beat. The only difference was I was further along and the sac was irregular. I tried to not freak out but of course it was my go to reaction. I got in the car and called Branden crying. He immediately went to the store with Ace and bought baby girl outfits. He knew this baby was going to make it and apparently we were having a girl. I couldn’t help but smile.
I got a call from my friend Erin who had been anxiously waiting for me to call her after my appointment. She knew something was up (can we talk about what an amazing friend she is?). I told her that the heartbeat was slow and she could tell I was holding back tears. And here is where she wins, she said “Brenna, that probably just means you’re having a girl and she won’t be crazy like Ace.” After that I couldn’t help but laugh and I kept that thought in my head. This baby was just taking his or her time.
See with Ace I went to the OB at 5 weeks 5 days and his heart rate was fast! My OB was so excited for me that he said now this is a viable pregnancy! So to not get that reaction this time was difficult. My OB  didn’t give me any reason at all to be concerned, it was my own issues but it still scared me. I didn’t want to go through the heartbreak of a miscarriage again. I didn’t want to keep trying for a baby because having PCOS meant long cycles and lower chances of becoming pregnant. This baby was conceived on my Mom’s birthday so I had to have faith that was a sign. She was also due in March which is a big deal for my family. My Dad was due on St. Patrick’s Day, my Grandpa was born in March, my cousin Mike and nephew are all in March too. My Dad actually told my Mom they had to try for a St. Patrick’s day baby and even though I came 10 days earlier it was just something I always wanted too. When we were trying for Ace I didn’t even ovulate for 3 months at a time so I had no option to even try for a March baby. So the fact that it worked was like a little miracle. 
Next up: Finding out about Ashlyn! 
Thanks for following along with my Blog. Make sure to check out the most recent giveaway I have going on HERE!

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What Adoptive Families Want You to Know: What Not to Say

By on May 26, 2015

When we adopted our daughter Ashlyn we started hearing some really interesting things. We would be out in public and it was interesting to people that we had two babies so close in age so getting stopped became a regular occurrence. People would be shocked to learn we adopted one of our daughters and had the other. This would prompt people to ask us questions out of pure curiosity. We have heard things that have been incredibly sweet to things that have been incredibly rude.  Here is what we want you to know when you say certain things to us. 
Aren’t you afraid her birth family will take her back? This question bothers me a lot. Ashlyn’s Biological Mother is one of my dearest friends and asked us to adopt Ashlyn when she told me she was pregnant. It is not a typical adoption relationship and she told me early on that she wouldn’t have asked us if she wasn’t sure of this difficult decision. Although I knew she could still change her mind up until I believe 48 hours after she signed papers and would have every right to do so.

The issue with this question is people don’t seem to understand the long and stressful process that adoptive parents go through just to adopt a child. We are asked to prove we can afford to take this child on, we are mentally and physically healthy enough to raise a child, we had to go through multiple background checks, and pay a large amount of money to prove all of this then we went through it again after she was born since we adopted her from another state. It is not easy to adopt a child and to think that this process is as simple as someone asking for a child back feels disrespectful. Like this child isn’t truly ours but someone else’s and we are at their disposal. None of us came to this decision on a whim and none of us finalized this adoption without some type of difficulty, including her Biological Mother. She went through a lot for us to have Ashlyn and she made a difficult decision that she knew was a lifelong one. Oh and this isn’t a Lifetime movie so please don’t assume she can come and take her back or would do so.

You already have a child and are pregnant (when we in the process), you should give her to someone who can’t have children. Now this is actually the statement that angers me the most. If you have any common sense don’t ever, ever under any circumstance have the nerve to say this to a Mother.  The anger people had towards me when they found out we were adopting a baby and I was pregnant and had a child was incredible. The issue I have with this is my daughter is not a puppy. I will not just hand her over to another person. That is like telling me “Well, since you are adopting Ashlyn you should just give Everly to someone else, you have too many kids.” Would anyone ever think to tell me to give up my biological daughter? No! Then why is it ok for someone to tell me to give up my daughter I adopted? This was such a disgusting thing to me. The first thing people need to understand is that Ashlyn’s Biological Mother asked us to adopt her, no one else. She didn’t seek out another family. She knew I was meant to be her mother and that is a huge honor. That is one of the most incredible things anyone has ever given to me. To be able to raise their child, to be able to love this person who otherwise I would never have the privilege to be her mother is beyond words.  Ashlyn would never have been ours if it weren’t for her Biological Mother and her decision to choose us as her parents. So, if you think it’s as simple as saying “Oh, I am already pregnant and have a son so here let me hand her over to another woman who can’t have a child” you are wrong. She would go back to her Bioloical Mother if I had felt that way. Why? Because without me she would have not placed Ashlyn (yes she told us this). She didn’t make this decision lightly, she knew who she wanted to raise her child and it wasn’t a stranger. It is her choice on who raises her baby, not some angry person off the internet.

If you’d like you can read my original post about this HERE.

What about her real family? I know people don’t ever have ill intensions when they use this term. It is a term I have used in the past and totally understand why people misuse it. But try to remember real does not equal biological or birth. We are all her real family biological or not and so is her biological family. No matter what we are all her real family. Use biological if you want to ask about them.

Don’t ask me why her biological mother placed her for adoption. This is something her and Ashlyn can talk about when Ashlyn is older. It isn’t an easy answer. It’s not always as simple or complicated as people think. It also isn’t our place to discuss this.

She is so lucky to have you!  When people hear our story they say “You are a saint.” or “She is so lucky to have you.” it makes me feel so awkward. Adopting Ashlyn is really no different than having our biological children. Yes, we had to go through a completely different process to have her but she is no more or less lucky than the other two. The thing I want people to know the most when they make this statement is Ashlyn would have been fine if she was with her biological family. She would have lived a good life with her awesome sisters and Mom. She wouldn’t have grown up suffering. And this statement is actually hurtful to her biological family. I know people have a small idea of what adoption is really like. They don’t understand the complexity of it all. The types of adoptions vary so much that while some children come from tragic situations others do not. They simply come from a mother who did what she felt she had to do. We are the lucky ones to be able to raise such an amazing girl.

We are ok talking about it. I don’t mind when people ask me questions about adopting Ashlyn. I know people are curious or are looking into adoption themselves. I am a pretty open book and if you are respectful of our situation we have no problem talking about it. Just see number 4 first.

I think that is about it for now! I hope this helps you all understand adoption a little better. If you have any questions please email me at

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Ashlyn’s Birth Story

By on November 17, 2014

birth adoption story
It is National Adoption Month and I am finally sharing Ashlyn’s birth story.
I never shared it before because of many reasons. One it was a very emotional and intense time when she was born. We were in California away from our son and getting to know our brand new baby. Two I felt like it was such a different experience compared to my births that I didn’t know how to explain it without giving too little or too much information. That probably doesn’t make sense but there is another person involved who must be respected. Ashlyn’s biological Mother is incredible and I always felt it was somewhat her story to tell in one way but obviously our side is also important. So here it is, over a year later…
When we were asked to adopt Ashlyn I didn’t know then how different and similar it would be compared to being pregnant and giving birth to my two biological children. First of all when we were asked about adopting her (before we knew she was even a girl) and we were all in it felt very much like finding out you are pregnant. It’s like you have this overwhelming excitement and can not wait to find out what you are having and who this little person will be. You become overly protective of this baby and pray they come into this world safe and healthy. The obvious differences were physical, we didn’t create her nor did we get to lay in bed each night next to one another with her in my belly. It was very strange being pregnant with Everly and expecting Ashlyn in another state. 
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Ok so back to the birth story. This birth story starts a week before she was even born.
Branden and I got on a plane on October 11th, super early and headed to California. We got there around 9:30am I believe and headed over to meet with Ashlyn’s bio Mom. We will call her L. 
When we met up with L we immediately hugged and touched each others bellies and told each other how good the other one looked pregnant. It was so surreal to finally get to be there and see her. We had lunch and talked about Ashlyn and our other kids. After that we headed over to her place and hung out for awhile. Not too much else happened until the following Tuesday and L and I went to her doctor appointment and talked about inducing the following Monday. He didn’t think she’d make it passed her due date which was Friday but had it scheduled just in case. 
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The next day our other friend came into town and we all went to lunch. Poor Branden had to deal with us and our obnoxious friendship and inside jokes (they have wraps here?!) but thankfully he survived. They went back to L’s house and Bran and I went back to our hotel and basically finished up some things with our home study and all that fun stuff. 
Thursday we all met for lunch and then Branden and I went to the hospital to meet with a social worker and toured the hospital. We wouldn’t get a hospital room (some adoptive parents do at other hospitals) but they had a nursery we could be in if we needed to be with the baby alone (some bio Moms don’t want to stay in the rooms with the infants, not the case for us). 
Later that night I was feeling super emotional. I was missing Ace like crazy, he had been sick and I was pregnant and hormonal. It was probably one of the most difficult nights I have had since my parents passed away. It was like I was having an emotional breakdown. Branden took me to a pier and we walked it and then went and picked up food and headed back to our hotel. I could not sleep that night of course.
At around 5:45 am L called me and said her water had broken but not to rush because she was going to get ready and then head to the hospital. I tried not to freak out but of course that wasn’t happening. Branden and I got ready and when we got in the elevator all I remember was saying “We are going to have a baby girl today!!!” It was the most insane feeling. 
We got to the hospital and L’s OB came in and broke her water since it was just kind of trickling out or something and after a bit she got an epidural. 
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We all hung out and watched Vanderpump rules because that’s how we roll. After a couple of hours Branden and I decided to go to the cafeteria to eat. Right before we finished I got a text from our friend about L being fully dilated and not to rush because they had to prep the room for her to push. All I saw was she was fully dilated and I immediately rushed to the elevators and text them I was coming. I then reread the text and had to chill out in the waiting room, ha! 
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They told us to come in the room and I immediately started getting emotional and tearing up. The amount of emotion that took over me was crazy. It was such an unexplainable feeling. I was feeling excited to see our daughter, absolutely devastated for my friend who was about to experience probably one of the hardest moments in her life and back and forth between those feelings. I grabbed our camera and asked if she cared if I took pictures and she said she was ok with it. Branden, myself, L and our friend were all ready for this little girl. This little girl who would bond us for life, was about to be born! 
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Her doctor and nurse were super casual about her pushing. They were having a conversation and would tell her to push and at one point L and I both were kind of like um should she push? Ashlyn was sunny side up so the doctor had to turn her and finally L was able to push her head out, the doctor turned her again (I swear I thought he was going to break her neck) so we could see her chubby little face and that moment I will never forget. I remember crying saying she is so cute. Those cheeks still kill me! After that I got to cut her umbilical cord. It’s not as easy as it looks! 

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After Ashlyn was out they placed her on L and cleaned her off. Another moment I truly don’t have words for. Seeing L and Ashlyn together was so bitter sweet. I will love that moment forever. I have it on video and when I watch it I cry. You can see how much love L has for her. This must be what Dad’s feel like when they see their wives with their babies for the first time. 
You can not appreciate this person enough, you can’t love that person enough, you can’t cherish that moment enough. 

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After cleaning her off and giving L her time they finally took her over to get weighed and cleaned off. I remember looking at her and just thinking she has the most perfect newborn face! She looked like she had teeth already because she had these big gums and her little gap already. I mean the cuteness of her was unreal. L’s nurse, who was seriously an angel, took Ashlyn’s feet prints and put them on her paper that monitored her heart beat and then put her prints on her side where Ashlyn would always kick L. 
After she was cleaned up Branden and I got to have alone time with her. 

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We all spent the day together in the room with our beautiful baby girl. Night time came and she got to stay with L and our friend while Branden and I went back to the hotel. Talk about guilt in leaving your baby but also feeling completely ok with it because she was with her first Mommy. I almost felt bad that I was so ok with leaving her there. I knew they needed that time though. The next day we all spent the day together again. Hanging out watching trash TV, hating on L’s social worker who was awful and of course snuggling with our perfect angel. Night time came again and Ashlyn spent the night with L and our friend again. The next day we would be bringing Ashlyn back with us and I was so nervous, excited, and sad. 

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We got to the hospital that morning and I couldn’t even take her from L. I didn’t want to separate them on their last moments together that day. I said hi to her and gave her a kiss then we all left L and Ashlyn to be together till the time came for us to leave with her. I don’t think I have ever hurt for anyone more in those moments. Watching L looking at Ashlyn broke my heart. 
We went down to the cafeteria and a few hours later got a call that our attorney and L’s social worker were there. We went up to the room and got L and Ashlyn ready to go. We headed down to a waiting room on the main floor and all sat together at a table as L signed her rights away. We also had to sign papers as well. Ashlyn was so peaceful and sweet in her carseat. 
Once it was done we all took pictures together. Branden and our friend got our cars and L and I sat with Ashlyn. It was such a weird moment. I didn’t want to take Ashlyn from her but then I wanted to just have her in my arms. 
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After we got her in the car and left I still couldn’t believe she was ours. This perfect little person, this person who is loved by so many was our baby girl. 
Later that night we got to FaceTime with Ace and Branden’s Mom so they could see Ashlyn. Ace was so excited to see his baby sister. It was so sweet.
We headed home after a few more days and Ace got to meet his baby sister! 

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Adoption | Ashlyn | life

Ashlyn’s Adoption Finalization!

By on August 25, 2014

This past weekend we celebrated Ashlyn’s adoption finalization.
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We finalized her adoption on Wednesday and celebrated with family on Sunday.
It was so weird for it to finally be finalized. We have had to do so much to get to this point that it seemed so simple in that moment. 

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Everly’s Shirt / Ashlyn’s Shirt  / Headband

Our attorney called us on FaceTime and we were able to see the judge (we finalized in California but didn’t have to fly out for the hearing) and we had Ashlyn on our laps so she could be apart of it. 

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Headband / Chair

It took a total of 10 minutes and we were done. So simple.
It was 12 months and 12 days since we found out about our little princess and decided to adopt her. 
12 months and 12 days since we knew we would be a family of 5 and had no idea what all that would entail.
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I still think back on that day and how everything came together. We are so blessed to have her in our lives and getting to be her parents is the most incredible experience. She is the sweetest baby and we imagine our lives without her. 
She sure enjoyed her cake to celebrate officially becoming a Kania! 
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