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favorite-adoption-books-for-kidsFirst of all- I am blown away by the love and positive energy that came our way this week. You’ll never know how thankful we are.

Soon we’re going to begin sharing our adoption story, step by step! But first I thought something more lighthearted might be nice. Ever since we found these adorable books I’ve been looking forward to sharing them with you!

One thing I’ve learned in these past six months is that more and more families who choose adoption are choosing to not only tell their kids about their adoption story from the beginning, but celebrate it!

I cried the ugly cry the first time I found out that celebrating and “adoption birthday” each year is a thing. Wow! I really love the idea of it and we can’t wait to add that special day to our calendar each year. Beautiful!

One of the first things we purchased when we first started our home study sessions this past summer were some children’s books intended to teach about adoption at an early age. We quickly learned that some are better than others, like WAY better. If I can just be straight with you for a sec- a lot of the adoption books we read were either kind of boring, or kind of weird. Some of them made me question whether or not it would be appropriate for a little kid. Obviously there are some dark and very difficult things that come with adoption, but I don’t see myself reading about them to a toddler before bedtime. You know what I mean?

The other thing is that a lot of adoption books are incredibly specific. You can tell it was written FOR somebody’s kid, but not necessarily for all adopted kids. There are adoption books for domestic adoptions, for international adoptions, for older kids, for babies, for Christian families and the list goes on and on. Sometimes it can be challenging to find a book that applies perfectly (or even just “pretty well”) to your unique adoption story.

That said, we’ve already found a couple of gems that are just SO good. I thought I’d share the best of what we found so far incase you are adopting or know a family who is. These would make great gifts are are the sweetest stories. Plus- I know it might be vain- but these are pretty. I like pretty books, especially children’s books. It just matters to me.

i-wished-for-youI Wished For You This book had me sobbing. It’s about a little bear who asks his mama bear to talk about how much she wished for him. It’s my favorite and so full of love.

all-bears-need-loveAll Bears Need Love This book is also so sweet. It addresses multicultural adoption, but is a great story in it’s own right. The illustrations are really beautiful as well.

And the next book on my list is The Littlest Family’s Big Day. It’s new so it wasn’t out yet when I ordered these.

If you know of any other great books you can send me a DM or leave a comment on Instagram. I haven’t done much baby shopping yet (saving it!), but my Amazon wish list is almost completely kids books. I can already tell I’m going to go a little psycho. BOOKS!!!! ♥

Ok- we’ll be back soon to start sharing our story.

  
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omg-were-adopting-a-babyDear Internet,

We can’t believe this day is finally here! For about six months now, we have been in the adoption process. We wanted to wait until we were a little further along to share, since it’s not a quick process (18 months on average). It’s been the hardest thing to keep a secret (like REAL hard). While we were keeping this news hush hush our hearts have grown and grown. In these past six months we’ve gone from being terrified, to nervous, to cautiously optimistic, to full on ecstatic!!

We’re OVERFLOWING with love for this baby and it feels like the right time to begin sharing our story with you here.

Since we’ve been sharing this news with friends and family for about six months we are pretty sure we know what kinds of questions you would ask us if we were sitting down for coffee right now. Most people ask the same 4-5 questions. So we thought it would be a good idea to share a quick  run down of the most common questions.

Q: What is the timeframe?
A: We are in an 18 month program. Now, that is just an estimation, of course. But we’re generally expecting that we’ll be bringing home our baby around late 2017…. ish.

Q: What kind of adoption is it? (domestic, international etc)
A: We are adopting from China. We looked into both international and domestic (we’ll share more about that later) but after about a month of research, meetings and conversations together we both felt like the special needs program in China was the right choice for our family.

Q: What does “special needs” mean?
A: A lot of people closest to us have expressed concern when we share that we are adopting a special needs child. There is a very long list of “special needs” and most of them are minor, correctable and manageable. We don’t yet know what our child’s special needs will be. We have an open line of communication with several medical professionals to help us know everything that will be involved and make sure that we fully understand the responsibilities.

I will share more about this when I share our story, but when we were newlyweds we followed Ashley’s adoption story. Her baby had a cleft lip and palate. Our hearts immediately attached to this story. When we were following along, Jeremy said he would be very open to doing this type of adoption and my heart exploded. It felt very, very right for us.  So many times in life choices are unclear, but this was a very clear one for us.

Q: Boy or Girl?
A: We are adopting a daughter. And yes, we already have picked out her name!

Q: Have you seen the baby you’re going to adopt yet?
A: No. We’re not to that point where you get matched with a child yet. It will probably be a little while, but can’t wait!

Q: Are you scared?
A: Yes, of course. This is our first child and I think anyone would be crazy not to be a little scared to become parents for the first time… you know?

That said, with the support of our adoption counselor, our agency, our family and our friends we’re feeling VERY supported. We’re learning so much. Adoption is a very intense process and requires so many steps, so much paperwork and so many meetings. In the end, I think it’s impossible not to feel pretty damn prepared. We appreciate that.

Q: Are you going to blog about your kid?
A: Yes. We’ll share photos and memories here.

…and the biggie that most people admit later they were afraid to ask…

Q: Did you struggle with infertility?
A: The short answer- no.

The long answer- We tried to get pregnant on and off for the past few years. I say on and off because during that time there was travel, moving and a few things like that so we didn’t try super hard the whole time. But we did definitely try to conceive. And, yes, we have been to the doctor (regular check ups, not a special fertility doctor) and we have no reason to believe there is anything medically wrong with either one of us.

That said, we knew we didn’t want to try IVF. Instead, we always knew we wanted to adopt at least one of our children. So we were already open to adoption when the time came. We just hadn’t considered soley adopting. But once we did consider it we realized that it might be the right thing for our family. It felt right. It does feel right. 

If you know me well at all, you’ve seen me cry. I cry A LOT. At least a couple times a week. It’s just who I am. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m upset. I cry when I’m overwhelmed. I cry during commercials. I cry when I talk about how proud I am of Jeremy’s music.

So when I realized that in two years of trying to get pregnant that I had never once cried about it I was shocked. That small thing helped me realize that adoption was our path… 100%!

And then when I realized that… haha… SO MANY tears!

Q: Are you still planning to have a pregnancy?
A: Nope. After starting this process we began preventing pregnancy because if you get pregnant during your adoption process you have to put it on hold until your baby is a certain age (at least in our program you do). And it might sound weird to some of you, but this baby is already our baby in our hearts. So we don’t want to change the timeline in any way.

Once we made that initial choice, it felt natural and we decided that we’re going to adopt two children from China (after we get settled in with our first child we’ll begin the second adoption) and at this stage we’re feeling pretty good about having a two child family. Or at least, we want to experience that before deciding one way or the other.

But no, we’re not planning to get pregnant anymore. I have seen on some people’s faces that this is disappointing to them. But know that we feel very confident and very excited about our choice to soley adopt!

At one point in my life it felt very important to me to experience a pregnancy. But that changed. We’re not sad, so don’t worry about feeling sad for us.

Adoption is extremely fulfilling… I can’t even explain it in words. It’s incredible. Our hearts could not be more full. We are in the best, most beautiful emotional place. Thrilled AF, you guys.

omg-were-adopting-a-babyOk… well thank you so much for your love, support and for following along! If you want to follow our adoption journey please bookmark this blog or follow on Bloglovin’ (or whatever you use to follow blogs). We plan to use this site to share our adoption story as well as our family memories.

We have way WAY more to share, but I’ll leave it at that for today!

Here are some more photos from our announcement shoot. Funny story- we used one of these photos for our holiday cards (we sent them out last week) and we have already received 10+ questions asking if our baby’s name is going to be Hunter. It’s not! It’s just the name of the boots brand. haha! I should have picked a different photo where you could see we were wearing the boots too. Ooops.

On a completely random side note- Hunter did used to be on our baby (girls) name list… but it’s not anymore.

omg-were-adopting-a-babyomg-were-adopting-a-babyomg-were-adopting-a-babyomg-were-adopting-a-babyomg-were-adopting-a-babyThank you for sharing our joy!! Love, Elsie + Jeremy

*Photos by Amber Ulmer.

  
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casa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexicoThis past week we traveled to Isla Mujeres, Mexico and stayed at Casa Coracol aka The Seashell House! It was the most insane and magical trip. We traveled with a couple of our best friends and it was just so refreshing.

underwater-elsie-katieKatie and I have an underwater photo tradition, so we kept it going!

casa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexico casa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexico ar5a0044 ar5a0035 casa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexico casa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexicocasa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexico casa-coracol-in-isla-mujeres-mexicoThis trip could not have come at a better time. It’s the busiest time of the year so if we hadn’t booked this so far in advance I know we never would have done it. But, as it turns out, we REALLY needed it. We came home feeling so clear, so connected and extremely inspired. I’m so grateful.