Our Family ~ Nov 2017

Our Family ~ Nov 2017

Friday, August 28, 2015

Spoiler Alert!

It's so funny how, in passing Brandon will say things like- This next baby's room is going to be Ridiculously awesome and beautiful! Or we will bring up what ART we want in it!  They may seem like small things but, it's some small details that are meaningful to us. Each of our kids' bedroom has had pictures of birth parents in them. It's to remind us how important each kiddo is, not just to us, but to our baby's or children's birth parents and family.

There are so many secret desires that I have or that I hope for. They might seem silly but, to me, I think they will be bonding as well. Like how I hope the expectant mom of this baby girl, wants to design the room with me, even if we have to do it online! Or I hope she is cool with helping pick the middle name out  together. I hope she likes LOTS of kids who will want to climb all over her, embrace her and surround her with cute chaos , when she visits!  Life is too short to sweat the small stuff, some may say but, I think the small stuff can also be some of the most important. Like tucking your kids in at night, having special dates with each kiddo. Sharing dreams and goals and fears together. Making art together, bouncing on the trampoline with sprinklers with the kiddos and not even thinking about the laundry pile that needs folding!  Some people get so caught up in keeping a perfect image/ household that they miss out on sweet moments on a daily basis!  You can't get this time back, ever. So, I will hire a house cleaner and spend less time on things that don't really matter or things that SUCK your time away- and MORE TIME on Relationships and sweet small things that matter to our Sweet and Small Ones!

And you know- This future lil' one will be So Spoiled with LOVE, Attention, and lots of girly panache! I bet her feet will not hit the floor for a solid year b/c everyone will want to hold her all the time! Well, you know what I mean:) I pray her birth parents will want to be around or that they can visit when possible at least. Open Adoption is so Amazing. I can't say it enough! God Bless!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SUPER FUN! Aria's B-day Party/ UFA friends SPLASH PARTY

WE had a blast- soaking each other, trying out the 90 ft slide, having BBQ and snow cones, playing water games and just being together! 
Aria got horse riding lessons and a bike for her birthday- she was so excited! Her friends had fun and
our UFA peeps joined in too!
I don't often combine my family/ friends events but, this one was just great and HEY, my friends through adoption are always invited! Once I meet you and we hit it off- we are friends forever!
It's crazy how our adoption community is so tight knit and so supportive too!

After a few tries the guys figured out that the more water and soap we had as we went down the hill, the FASTER we went! Great Job Men! So glad we got to have our new friends and old friends here that day! I look forward to more events ahead! God Bless!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Wedding- Dustin and Sarah

We had the honor of not just attending the wedding but, of being part of it! In open adoption, we have become each others' family in the most beautiful way! I really believe this is divine- us all meeting and becoming a pretty awesome family through adoptions.

The boys were the Ring bearers and the girls the flower girls! They all did wonderful and it was fun to watch the boys start off with a good slow walk, then see Josh pull out the candy sticks, watch
Slade start running and Gavin trying to hold him back!

Both girls were a bit nervous but did
fantastic and the ceremony was fun and beautiful. All of Sarah's family were so great to meet and I was able to even meet a few cousins who flew in from the east. I didn't realize that she only has a couple cousins b/c you just figure we have like 30 + cousins, right?

Dustin looked dapper and Sarah looked like an angel/ fairy/ bride. Her hair was whimsical with the baby's breath in it and the gorgeous curls! She is beautiful inside and out. I'm so happy she is part of our lives and Dustin sure picked a wonderful woman! She is a strong woman who teaches special needs children and puts her everything into her passion! She makes Dustin a better man and He makes her a better woman too!

The reception was so fun and full of great food and drink and lots of conversations with people I didn't know. But, most were very accepting and open of us. I even overheard Tammy telling her relatives our adoption story from her point of view! The sweet old lady chatted with me afterwards and piped in how she thought is was great how we "let them see Gavin" and how we adopted the whole family! I kind of cringe when people say some thing sin a context like we are doing the birth parents this huge favor by visiting with them or being involved b/c I am Honored when the birth parents do want to be involved and don't see this as a Control issue. I mean, Why wouldn't we want to be around great people who love our kids and us?

I remembered back on Brielle being a toddler and being a flower girl for Kara's wedding long ago. It was adorable and she almost didn't make it down (due to stage fright) the aisle as opposed to the boys who RAN down this one!

We all danced until the boys and Brielle were pooped then , Just Aria and I boogied for a few more hours. It was so much fun and I'm so glad this sweet Boy has brought us together. Open Adoption is seriously amazing!



Friday, August 14, 2015

What Open Adoption Really Can Look Like....

I have heard from many different people that their adoption isn't as open as they were hoping it would/could be. I have heard this from many birth parents and many couples as well. It got me thinking, A LOT and you know what that leads to... A blog post about it!!!

I have already posted about the break down in communication and the grief cycle and how we are all flawed people just trying to do our best at this new part of our lives so, I wont repeat myself. But, with all that in mind, let's pretend, we are having good communication with our birth parents or with the adoptive parents and we are feeling open enough with them and we plan our appointments to visit etc. so generally, things are good.

 SO, what's left after that? Placement is over, a year or so has passed and you are left with 2 pretty good relationships that are revolved around a child and the adoption, in many cases. This is where things can go one of 2 ways- either the relationship can get strained, people can move apart from each other OR the relationships can evolve into so much more and get stronger, more unity and love can grow. Or the relationship can become one note or not move in either direction, which is technically- another formed of strained/ weakening.

SO, what can WE as Humans in this situation do?

 And How can My Open Adoption get better than what it is?

 ( this may not be advice for every situation but, if both parties are not on drugs or mentally unstable, it's pretty surefire)

Well, We CAN DO:
-LET GO OF FEAR of the Unknown, Irrational fears and such in this relationship and start

 I've heard things like " I think I am asking them to see the baby too much so I am just going to pull away and it's crushing me, b/c I won't hear from them for weeks and I'm wondering if they are just done with me." And this " Our kids birth mom just disappeared and we had a great relationship all before the pregnancy, I wish she would reach out or confide in me like she used to."

Apparently, there was a HUGE breakdown in communication. It happens. We get busy, life changes come up and we forget. It sucks but, Surprise! YOU are like every person on the face of the Earth!

So, LOOK at this relationship with your birth parents or adoptive couples as one you TREASURE above all other friends/family. DO make it a priority in your life. These people have a huge part of your heart and are worth more than Gold and Diamonds. Do not let a weird Text throw you off or into a tailspin- PICK UP the phone and call or visit in person as soon as possible.

-HELP them to see that you treasure them by, making time for them, sending a sweet note or message, even if you are having a busy day and ALWAYS be Vulnerable and True. Be YOU and say- " I'm having a rough day and I want to talk soon, I just need a few hours " or something like that. Tell them the good and the tough news. Include each other in your prayers and thoughts.

The Universe and your busy lives will always be pulling you apart and it's Your job to stay attached- not just for the Future benefit of your child but, B/c God ( or the universe what ever you believe) Brought you together for a reason.

You see, our relationships ( or anything for that matter) GET BETTER BECAUSE WE PUT ENERGY AND FOCUS AND LOVE INTO THEM! otherwise, they will die!

It's like a Plant, if you give it water and sunlight and good soil, it will grow- if you hide it in a closet with no water or sunlight, it will get as much out of the soil as it can before it withers up and dies!

SO, That is how it can get better- NUTURE your relationships.

Do not let things go unsaid that need to be expressed and shared. LISTEN before you rush to be Heard. Set parameters if needed, to help you to respect each other and your opinions. Agree to disagree on some things and for heaven sakes, be a SUPPORT to one another.

If your life is Chaos- leave it at the door on visits. If your life is good, do not overshare and rub it in when wounds may still be fresh. If you are wondering how much info is enough to share, Just ASK!

-Create a false picture in your mind of what your friendship should look like or COMPARE it to Others. Each relationship is unique and it's unfair to do to yourself and them.

-Overshare when it's not necessary- the last thing you want to do is sit around worrying about things outside of your control b/c you love that person so much.

- Text when you are mad or upset! Be slow to anger and don't just spit fire when maybe no harm was truly meant.

-Don't look at the other as " she is doing/did what I could not." Or stay in your own pity party for what is out for your control now. Focus on what Is in your control and send lots of love and good energy to them.

- Tear the other person down- in private or publicly. Bridges should not have to be burned in most cases. This can cause the most severe damage. Words can be "quick and sharp as a two edged sword"!

IF you can Be Real, True and Honest, have a relationship full of LOVE and a Great Friendship! Your relationship in open Adoption can look and be AMAZING....

Like taking vacations together, walking on the beach, hiking through the mountains together, sitting on the porch overlooking the sunset and talking about things that matter to one another.

Or planning dinners together and nights out with just the Mommas or Dads! You can have Holidays traditions you create together- like Easter celebrations, cookie decorating, a annual picture session.

You can plan Birth Parent dates with your kiddo and the BP's. You can be in their Weddings, baby showers, Graduations, children's lives and involved and assimilated as Real Family members b/c YOU ARE! You just happened to be a GRAFTED BRANCH of One Another's Family Trees!

I have been making more of an effort for my  extended family to Understand that our Adopted Families ( birth families) are a HUGE part of our lives and that They too can enjoy the amazing people who are such a precious part of Us!
Grandma Tammy( Gavin's birth grandma) myself
 and Gavin on the ferry to Coronado

We just had a Big Round Trip Visit with all the Grandmas, birth grandmas and birth grandpas, birth
mom , Kara and Birth dad, and Dustin and Tammy W. got to meet my cousins and their families, my uncle, my dad and step mom, my aunt, my brothers and their families, my nephews and meet Kara's mom and dad too!  It was pretty FUN and special in so many ways than I could have ever imagined!

Open Adoption can Really Look like A HUGE Outpouring of Love for You, Your family, their family and Everyone involved! It Can be LOADS of laughs and fun, mingled with happy tears and milestones. It Can Really be So much more than one could ever really imagine- IF You treasure one another and keep your relationships Nurtured with Love!


RIP Max Hall- Grandpa!

Yesterday,we lost a huge part of our hearts! It is hitting me extra hard b/c we just saw him on Monday! We stopped by for a short visit to see him and Tammy and whoever was roaming around. The kids
helped him feed the goats and collect chicken eggs and the whole time my phone was saying" full" so I was trying to delete things to get space on my phone to take pics but, I didn't do it in time. So, we just talked and visited instead of me worrying about it. I can't change the fact that I didn't capture the moment but, I can tell you and share with you many of our special moments...

We met Max the day we met Jessica! She was pregnant with "puma" as she called him and we were in his house before he was home. So, he entered his home with a couple of strangers and their 2 girls just hanging out! I am not sure what He thought of us at that moment but, we spent the rest of the evening, just chatting with everyone and checking out the cats, dogs and bunnies.Max may say its the kids that love them, but, He has always had a special place in his heart for animals! He made us feel at ease and part of the family right away, no hesitation. He was like that- very himself all the time I knew him.

We roasted marshmallows and talked about life for those two days and ended on the third day doing dinner together. He and Tammy let me take over and make Lasagna for them! We took pics of Jessica and her gorgeous baby bump! Before we left, He hugged us and thanked us for being us and we parted until four weeks later...

Gav at 6 months at Christmas time
We got the call in the early AM and headed to UT for Gavin's birth. He was doing okay but, was an emotional wreck! Over the next couple of days and placement, we saw more to him than his tough and fun exterior. He wept and prayed over Gavin at placement. God knew that prayer was extremely Hard for him and He again Thanked us and I'm sure wondered if we would ever see him again ( there are horror stories of people doing that) But, only a few short months later- We stopped in around Christmas on our way to my moms place. He and his family welcomed us with open arms. I knew of no inner turmoil or trials He might have had and it's not my job to analyze anyone anyways, just to love them! We exchanged gifts and ate and laughed together. We stayed with them and became a true part of the family.

Over the years we had bbq's and parties and sweet reunions , bowling and kids running around and we made timeto visit even when Jess has been overseas!

We would always make it a point to stop in and let Gavin and the kids get to know this man, his family and all the love they have to share!

eating apricots from the orchard
Max loves kids, loves the outdoors, and will tell it to you straight! He wasn't one to sugar coat it very often! He told us of his past and how He was dealing with things in life and He is a loveable man who is open to a fault! I admired his courage to talk about his struggles and be REAL with me and everyone, unafraid of  the Judgment of Others. He knows that God Knows him and his heart and I Know that He is going to be an angel for Gavin , specifically! Gavin will need that extra help from a Man who knows what Fiery red heads are like and how Strength isn't always on the outside but, in. Gavin will have us to rear and guide him and Max to watch Over him now!

We have lost Brandon's father, my grandma and now Max. It's been a long couple of years but, God is Good and has a greater plan for us all.

I am grateful we will get to reunite with Jess and for all the many contributors to her flight home. It was very expensive and we were happy to help too!

She gave Gavin a Father when she chose Us! The least we could do was Give her the chance to say her farewells to her Father now. This reunion will be bittersweet for us all. I am beyond grateful that Max loved us and we had the chance these last four years to know an love Him too!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Visit with Kara!

Can't believe We were so lucky to have her up here to visit with Brielle and our whole family! Her little man, Jr., came too. He was able to experience what it would be like to have 4 siblings!!! He had a blast too!

Kara came up the day before the Birth parent retreat and we spent the day just catching up a bit! She is a special part of our family and we all just fit together like we have never been apart. When we are together, we cook and clean and play and nothing is awkward, its just natural and feels like home when we are together. We snuggle on ALL the kids and when we left to the retreat, Brandon surprised all our kids + jr. and took the to see Minions movie and out to panda! He was Brave but, they had a great time and He is a Super Dad, so it's not too shocking! He also took them to a furniture store- now that is even more impressive!

After the retreat, we spent some time playing on Evergreen lake,
Us ladies!
Navigator Slade

 Swimming FUN!

Brielle and her half bio bro- Jr.


...and Brielle got to have a her Birth mom and birth daughter date! I watched Jr. and the rest of the kiddos and the gals went to Heritage Square
K gets pretty sick on twisty rides so, some of them B just went on by herself!

 and played around, went to Olive Garden too!

Brielle LOVES Italian food and so does Kara! 
Kara said the waitress Got an earful when Brielle said " This is my birth mom and we are on our date!" at first the waitress looked confused like Kara had kidnapped Brielle but, Kara explained everything and the lady was so touched! She comped half the bill! It was so sweet!!!

I am so grateful Kara takes the time and effort to make Brielle's relationship with her so, special! Open Adoption is so freaking amazing, when all parties are having the same goal of love and unity!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

home is such a special place

its the place we rest our heads at night, the place we greet our friends and family and create such precious memories together. We just finished a Very long and FUN vacation and I'm exhausted and so happy to be HOME! And with my family! Family is everything and on this vacation we got to see just about everyone who is related, related by adoption or married into our families! More detail about this trip to come! Oh and about Aria's Birthday too! she was able to take her very first riding lesson on her birthday day!:)
Open adoption is incredible and we were able to visit with almost everyone in our adoptive families! I will post about it soon! til then!