Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Adoption - Here and Abroad

Well, we finally have an official adoption date for the newest member of our family. On September 29th at 1:30 p.m., we will legally be a family of 7 :)
We are so excited for the finalization of a very long process. We are also grateful that our little guy won't even skip a beat because of the age he is at. As for right now, he doesn't know anything different than us as his family.
We are also extremely fortunate to not only have extended family members who have walked this road before us but also close friends that have adopted from foster care. We will and have already used these resources in helping us navigate the journey of adoption.

We are also beginning the pursuit of adoption from Haiti. A couple of months ago, my kids and I went on a mission's trip to Haiti and all of our lives were forever changed. It was impactful, empowering, heartbreaking and eye opening. We did so many things on that trip that we will never forget, but one thing that has stayed at the forefront of our conversations since we have been home is a little boy. He is 1 month younger than Troy and he captured the heart of all 5 us immediately.
Since we have returned home, Cory and I have been praying and talking about him and trying to figure out what God was calling us to. Well, we have officially decided to pursue adoption from Haiti. We know the process can be anywhere from 1-3 years and we are jumping in with both feet and not any idea of the world of international adoption. We are excited, nervous, overwhelmed and at peace all at the same time. We know one of the biggest hurdles in international adoption is the cost. So, we will be trying to raise as much of the funds as we can along the way.
We know that the finalization is not guaranteed and there are several hoops we will need to jump through and there will be several times along the way that God can close the door. For now, we just know we are called to be "willing". The rest of the process and the future we leave in God's hands.
We also know that moving forward in this direction is crazy and doesn't make logical sense. But, if there is anything we have learned while walking with the Lord in our marriage, it is that He often (and I mean, often) calls us to do things that sound crazy. So, here we go. Jumping from a new family of 7 to a soon to be family of 8.

This sweet boy melted our hearts.

It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the children of Haiti

Could this be any sweeter?

Who wouldn't want to hold this snuggly guy?

Monday, August 3, 2015

This one's just for me...

It's been a year and a half since I've written on here. So many changes.
I have been thoroughly enjoying my doula business. It has kept me busy and allowed our family a little extra income. It has been a big adjustment for everyone as well. We know that planning vacations is no longer something that can happen spontaneously. In order to actually go out of town, I have to be sure I do not take clients with a due date within 2 weeks before or after my vacation dates.
However, last Summer, we were fortunate enough to plan the biggest vacation our family has ever done. We rented an RV with my parents and brother and drove across the country in 10 days. The main attraction was the Grand Canyon. But, we visited lots of amazing places along the way. We made memories that no one will ever forget.

Also, in March of 2014, we welcomed a new little guy into our home. He came to us at 3 months old and will officially be a member of the family around August of this year. We had no idea when we began our Foster Care journey that the first placement in our home would end up staying with us forever. We knew that this type of situation is rare and we were bracing ourselves for heartache. I have been surprised at the mixed emotions I have had in this process. Although I am overjoyed at the thought of this baby joining our family, I am saddened at his loss. I am saddened that he will officially have no legal relation to his birth parents anymore. I am saddened by all the things that his parents will miss out on. I am excited to see him grow but I know that there will be milestones along the way that I will be starkly reminded that his birth parents should be seeing this too. Adoption is a funny thing. I think it is one of the most redemptive things on this Earth and I think it is a picture of what God does for his children, but it always starts with a loss and brokenness.

As we move forward, we are not exactly sure what we will be doing. We definitely did not anticipate closing our home after only a year and a half but we sure didn't think we would be adopting so quickly. At this point, we don't have a vehicle that will hold any more children. But, we are not sure what God is calling us to. Are we done with Foster Care for now? Should we get a bigger vehicle? Are we open to adoption again in the future? Do we think our family is complete? Lots of questions and we don't know the answer. It is something we are praying about and looking for God's leading.

One more thing to throw into this mix is that I am starting Midwifery School (to become a midwife) in September and it is a 3 year long program. It will be intense and financially tight, but it is something I have wanted to do for years and will be a logical continuation of my doula work. Again, it is something that we are praying about because we know the stress it would put on our family. Going to school with kids at home is never easy and I don't want to be naive about the consequences.

Morgan will be starting to take college classes this Fall as well (dual enrolling in High School). She also will be looking for a job. Avery will be in 10th grade. Sydney in 8th and Jordan just starting middle school in 6th.

What I know for sure is that God knows what He is doing and I can trust His timing and leading. I am praying for his direction to be clear to myself and my husband and for us to be unified.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Foster Care

Our lives are about to get a lot busier. When I write that, my first thought is... "How is that possible?" As our children get older, we are pulled in so many different directions. We already have almost no nights where all six of us are home at the same time. And yet, God has placed children in Foster Care on our family's heart. Almost 2 months ago, we started attending the classes required to become foster parents. We are excited and nervous all at once.

The kids are all very excited and can't wait to have another little person to love on. Cory and I are also excited for this opportunity but we are also very aware of the heartache that we are inviting into our lives. We know the goal of foster care is reunification and that means that we will fall in love with child after child and then they will leave. We also know that no matter how well prepared we think we are, the heartbreak will still be something we are not ready for.  But, I also know that is how most things in life are.

If we had any idea how difficult marriage and child rearing was, I don't know if we would have signed up so easily and readily. If I really understood the pain of child birth, would I have chosen to have my baby somewhere that pain meds were not an option?  But, the cool thing to me about all these hard choices that I might not have made if I knew better is that each of them have also been WAY more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.

I never knew how much I would depend on another human being and how much teamwork it would take to get through the life I have. I never knew how much my husband would teach me about who I am and who God is. I never knew that children would stretch me to the end of myself and bring me to a new level of love I didn't understand before. I never knew how empowering and beautiful child birth could be.

And so I expect it will be with this new journey we are entering. I expect it will be so much more difficult than we can imagine now. I also expect it will bring more joy to our lives than we knew was possible. I expect we will be stretched farther than ever before. I expect that we will learn to love to a new level we've never experienced. I expect we will learn more about who we are and who God is. I expect our lives will never be the same and I expect that there will be moments we wonder why we ever made this decision. But, I also expect there will be moments where we will know without a doubt that God has called us to something so unbelievably incredible that we will feel honored to be a part of it.

Friday, September 21, 2012


The entire Summer passed without one blog post from yours truly. I'm just going to say that means that we were so busy with all the fun that I didn't have time to blog:) We did have a nice Summer and the school year came too quickly. We took some trips to the beach and Aquatica, we did lots of swimming at grandmas, and Morgan recovered from a broken toe. soon

We just finished our fifth week of school and this year is proving to be an interesting one. Our family moved to a new homeschooling co-op after attending the same homeschool group for the last five years. It's been an adjustment for everyone but we are finally getting into a groove. I am daily challenged to remember the privilege I have to teach my children at home. Some days, neither they nor I see it that way:)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Foster Care Awareness Month

Although my family is not a Foster or Adoptive family, it is very dear to my heart. I have several cousins that have been adopted domestically and internationally. Growing up, it was always part of my life. I love adoption and I love how God has used this to bless so many families in so many ways. I also have watched friends walk this journey and have been so awe struck by the process.
Jessica is one of those friends who has invited me along for the amazing adventure. I have been so fortunate to have a friend who allowed me to be part of the details that many adoptive parents  think "non-adoptive" families don't want to know about or think they will not understand. She has allowed me to cry and laugh with her and to know about the paperwork and fingerprints. Even when I didn't understand, she was patient enough to explain.
I am a doula and am extremely passionate about bringing children into this world. Jessica has allowed me to witness a different form of this by allowing me to walk beside her bringing her children into her family. The gift of adoption truly is like watching a mother give birth.
You see her go through the waiting and waiting of "paper pregnancy" (a much longer gestation period).
You see her read book after book to prepare for the arrival of the new life.
You see her go through the pains of labor as she does visit after visit and has to continually leave her child behind.
You see her overcome with the relief of birth as the judge finally says, "He/She is yours."
And, you see her struggle through the postpartum blues as the reality and hardness of motherhood settles in.
It's a hard journey and not one intended to walk alone. I have been more than blessed to walk this journey with Jessica. I love her and her children. I love that I am "Aunt Cassie".
I love the beauty of adoption and the example it is of how God had adopted each of us.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Disney.. just cause I live in Orlando doesn't mean I go every week...

But, we did yesterday! Thanks again to my awesome husband, we had a fun day starting at Animal Kingdom and ending at Magic Kingdom. It was long and exhausting but so much easier with kids old enough to walk the whole time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sydney's 10th Birthday

Last month, my Sydney turned 10 years old. In my family, that means a "real" party (more than just the 20 family members and the option to "go" somewhere). I saw an eversave a couple months back for Rebounderz (an indoor trampoline house) for a birthday party package half off and asked Sydney if she wanted to go that route. Of course my active girl said "YES!". So, we headed to Rebounderz the Saturday before her birthday. We had a lot of fun and everyone (including the adult jumpers) was exhausted!

This was the year of football for Sydney. She has discovered her love for the game and got lots of good stuff in the football category. She also got a huge teddy bear from her sisters and some other fun gifts.

We followed suit with the 10th birthday tradition and had a weekend away just mommy/Sydney. However, this time, she had the bonus of her cousin/aunt joining. Her cousin is turning 9 in a couple months and is in public school. Because my weekend away involves having the "talk" and her cousin has been faced with this subject at school already, she came along. We started at separate hotels so that we could have some privacy with our daughters, but quickly realized that was just silly. Those girls wanted to do everything together and actually made talking about stuff easier when they were together.

They are both easily bored and I think they were both happy to have a friend along to do all the fun stuff with. Cory was able to hook us up with some passes to Old Town, Arabian Nights and IFly (for Sydney and I). We had a fun-filled and question filled weekend. I knew that Sydney was going to have WAY more questions than her older sisters for this weekend and she did not disappoint. We really did have a fun time and it was bitter/sweet to me that this was my last 10th birthday away with mommy. Now, I just am going to have to find other reasons to go away with my girls for the weekend: )

We always have 1 fancy dinner out. Here we are ready for our date out!

The next day, we headed to Old Town and did some rock climbing, zip lines, carnival rides. It was a fun day!

We ended the night at Arabian Nights. Decent food and a very impressive show.