Friday, October 30, 2015

The Forgotten Celebrations

I've always been one to make a big deal of birthdays, and have always enjoyed when someone makes a big deal about my birthday.

Today I turn 32.  It's not a fun round number into a new decade.  It's not a birthday that comes with any new privileges.

But it's already my favorite birthday.

It's the first birthday I get to celebrate with my favorite pumpkin: Lila Rose.

I know it's cliche to say, "Having a kid changes everything," but does!

On my first birthday post-baby, here's what it's changed: my appreciation for my mom on this day.

It was on this day 32 years ago, that she checked in at Beauregard Memorial Hospital, ready to deliver an impatient baby.

She had given birth two years earlier to an almost 11 pound baby girl, so I can only imagine her anxiety going into this delivery!

It was before a time of crisp ultrasounds that can show the hair on a baby's head, let alone a definitive answer on gender.  It was a 50/50 guess.

It was also before a time of birthing suites where you can pile in friends and family to see the miracle unfold.

It was just her and the medical staff.

That afternoon, I arrived.

And just like that, October 30 became about Britney Leigh Glaser.

That's how I thought it should be, until this birthday.

After going through the life-changing experience of growing another human, followed by the labor and delivery of bringing her into this world, birthdays have taken on a whole new meaning!

Today is not just my birthday, it's my mom's delivery day!

I'm sorry I have not celebrated you on this day for the previous 31 years.

You were always the one in the background on my birthday, baking the cake, creating a Halloween-themed costume party, stuffing treat bags, and blowing up balloons.

I know that while you were celebrating me through the years, flashes of your delivery day were running through your mind.

I wonder what you felt like: nervous, excited, scared?

I wonder if your reaction to seeing me for the first time was the same way I reacted to seeing my own child as she was born.

I wonder if you got on the hospital room phone to call friends and family and share the news.

I wonder what it was like watching Dad walk into the room to see me for the first time, and make sure you were okay.

I don't have any pictures of you on delivery day.  I know it has nothing to do with you not being put together.  I'm certain your hair was hot-rolled and your make-up was on, just like your two daughters on their delivery days.

I don't have a picture of you holding me at the hospital, but I can just imagine that you had the same pride and love beaming from your face that you show me today.

October 30 changed both of our lives forever.

Today - for the first time on my birthday - I celebrate YOU, Mom.

Happy Delivery Day!


Monday, September 7, 2015

What if "it" doesn't get easier?

It's Labor Day, a day that I have always labored since choosing a career field that knows no holidays.

My husband is off today.  He is home with our now seven-month-old gem.  As I sit here at work, I hope they are still in their pajamas, snuggled up and enjoying a slower pace.

I have no sick days to use.  No vacation time remaining.  I've learned the harsh reality that millions of moms who work outside the home have faced before me: maternity leave in America sucks.

Sorry, Mom.  I know you do not approve of the "s" word.  But sucks.

I had Lila the first week of February, so I burned through all of my paid time off before March even rolled around.  I felt pressure to come back to work early, not because of my employer, but because of a few reasons:

1) My paycheck was going to stop.  Then, factor in hundreds of dollars in childcare costs each month upon return and I knew the clock was ticking.

2) There is only one female morning news anchor in a 70 mile radius.  Broadcast journalism is a very competitive field and if I don't consistently establish myself as Sunrise anchor, someone else will.

3) I have a very visible job and when I am not at work, thousands of people know it.

When I would think about going back to work, my heart would sink to my stomach.

The day before I returned, I literally held my seven-week-old baby all day.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job.  But I love this little girl more..

"It will get easier," said so many people as I waded through this tough transition.

"The first day will be the hardest."

"Just stay busy."

"She will be fine."

"You will miss her more than she misses you."

"She will be in good hands."

"You'll appreciate your time away from her."

"Just wait until she's a toddler.  You'll be begging for breaks from home."

I found myself reciting those same words of advice/attempted encouragement to hold back the tears on those first few days.

Then the next week rolled around and "it" hadn't gotten any easier.

"Okay, maybe the 'getting easier' happens after a couple of weeks," I thought.

Two weeks passed.  Then three, four, five.  Weeks turned into months and when Lila turned five months, "it" had only gotten harder.

My breaking point was one morning when she had woken up at 1:00 A.M.  I got up and held her in the rocking chair in her room until she fell back asleep.  I didn't fall back asleep, too scared that it would be harder to wake up when my alarm went off at 2:30.

When that time rolled around, I laid Lila in her crib, tip-toed to the kitchen to get my pumping gear and quietly escaped to my bathroom with the fan on to drown out the sound of the daily bottle-making endeavor.

Just as I got dressed, I heard Lila scream out.  I have no wiggle room with time in the morning, since Sunrise goes on the air at 4:30 A.M.  I rushed into her room, picked her up, and she immediately calmed down.  She laid her head on my shoulder and melted in my arms.

It was as if she was saying, "Thank you, Mom.  That's exactly what I needed."

I laid her back down - and she was inconsolable.  I couldn't pick her up again.  There wasn't time.

I woke up Matt and told him Lila was awake, crying, and I had to go.

As soon as I started my car in the dark, the tears started flowing.

I'm failing.  

Failing at being a mom.  Failing at being a wife.  Failing at my job.

It's not getting easier.

For me, "it" has held many different definitions.

It: not being able to hold my daughter if she cries early in the morning.

It: not being home to see her smiling face when she wakes up.

It: seeing Lila's face for the first time each day on my cell phone screen during commercial breaks - and texting Matt for morning play-by-plays.

It: settling for a mad dash to Matt's car to say a quick "hello" on the way to daycare drop-off.

It: watching other women on the daycare's webcam rock Lila to sleep.

It: working as quickly as I can to get out the door so that I can hold her for the first time.

It: pumping bottles versus nursing through much of the day.

It has been really, really hard.

After months of praying for peace, a settled spirit, patience, wisdom, and clarity - I've learned that maybe it doesn't get easier for every mom.

Does that mean I need to leave my career?  Work part-time?  Find a different job?

For me, I can firmly answer "no" to all of those questions.  Here's why:

I worked as a news anchor/reporter for almost 10 years before having Lila and it's something that lights a fire in my soul.  I love sharing stories that affect the community I care about.  I love being at adoption days for foster children I've featured in The New Family Tree.  I love that I'm part of the #1 local news morning show in America.  I love the interaction with co-workers.  I love that hard work really does pay off.

But more than all of that, I love that Lila will see first-hand from me that a job doesn't have to be a "job."  I want to see her succeed in school, college, and in a career that lights a fire in her soul.

I want her to be a difference-maker and I want her to see that in me.

So, how do I come to terms with "it" oftentimes being overwhelming?

I have had to ask for support in re-working "it."

I now have the opportunity every morning after Sunrise ends to go home for a couple of hours.  I grab Lila right as Matt heads out the door for work.

I get to kiss all over her chubby cheeks.

I get to squeeze her and smell her sweet baby smell.

I get to rock her to sleep for her first nap.

I get to see the smile on her face when she wakes up.

I get to make sure she has a bow on her head when I get her dressed.

I get to drop her off at Mother's Day Out.

Then I head back to work for a few hours, but the weight of "it" is gone.

I can exhale, knowing I had some precious time with my favorite girl.

I can go back to work with more gas in my gas tank, because a 20 pounder just filled me up.

I work a few longer days each week now, and two shorter days.  I am so appreciative of the managerial support I have received in making this arrangement work.

A baby had not been born to an on-air personality at KPLC for 14 years before Lila.  A lot has changed in the workplace since then and there is still a long way to go.

I hope that if "it" hasn't gotten easier for you, that you don't feel discouraged as you wait for it to change.

We are all wired differently.

Your solution might be different than mine.

Don't think you're alone if your heart feels ripped in two.

We are moms.  We are on the same team.  We want the best for our babies and families.

It might not get easier until you find a way to change it.

And change can be a really good thing:)


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hot and bothered

Y''s hot.

Louisiana hot.

On days when I know I'm shooting a story outdoors, I pick out my outfit based on "most likely to conceal mass quantities of sweat."

I had one of those days this week.

I was set to shoot the August feature for KPLC's The New Family Tree, where I interview a foster child who is hoping to be adopted.  We were meeting at Lock Park in Lake Charles and I showed up 15 minutes early to get set-up, while also allowing my camera lens to adjust to the crazy high humidity.

When I made my way to the park's pavilion, I noticed one of the tables was already taken.  A man was sitting there, already sweaty from the day, with his overstuffed duffle bag right next to him.

He didn't turn around at first, but the commotion I was making with my larger than life tripod eventually caught his attention.

"Are you doing a news show here or something?" he asked me.

"Hi there.  I'm taping a segment for a future newscast in just a few minutes.  I'll be sure to stay out of your way, so no need to move if you're comfy where you are,"  I responded.

"What's the story?" he asked.

"There's a boy who has spent a couple of years in foster care and is hoping to be adopted," I said.  "I do these stories once a month in the hopes that someone will see the child, connect with him or her and pursue the adoption."

The man's raised eyebrows lowered and he turned away from me for a few seconds.

I could feel the humid air enveloping both of us as the silence lingered.

"That was me," the man said.  "I was a foster child from when I was 10...until...well, until I decided I would just have to be on my own when I was 16."

It was obvious that the years to follow have been tough on this man.  I could see the rolled up blanket shoved into the top of his bag that wouldn't zip.

He was a drifter without a home.

I sat down at the picnic table next to him.  He told me his name was Vladimir. I would have never guessed that.

I told him my name was Britney.  "Britney Glaser," which he heard as "Iglesias."

"Iglesias?  I wouldn't have guessed that," he said.

So there we were.  Vladimir and Iglesias, talking foster care, adoption, and the fears of a 10-year-old boy when life is suddenly disrupted in the scariest of ways.

"It was hard," Vladimir told me.  "And I have several siblings all over the place."

"How do you think adoption would've affected where you are today?" I asked him.

Sticky, hot, stalled silence followed that question.

Then he answered.  "I don't know..."

I could hear car doors close in the distance.  A boy walked toward me, looking at the ground with his case worker next to him.

My heart always breaks in that first moment I see the foster child and my mind races with questions: "This child?  Why wouldn't a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle choose to raise this child?  How long has he been in transition?  Why him?"

"Hi there!  I'm Britney and I'm so happy to meet you!"

"I'm J'Von," he said.

"You're such a good looking guy!  How old are you?" I ask.

"Ten," he responds.

My heart sinks and I wonder if Vladimir can hear our conversation.

Ten years old.  That was when Vladimir's foster care journey started, one that would end with no one ever pursuing his adoption.

When I feature a foster child for a television news story, I know that he or she has been in state care for a long time, typically at least a couple of years.  It takes several months for case plans to go from parental reunification to termination of parental rights to free for adoption.  J'Von has already been through all of that in order to be cleared for this interview.

The featured children are also selected by case workers when they feel all other means of trying to get the child into an adoptive placement have been exhausted.  J'Von represents one of the hardest to place groups of children in foster care: African-American, male, and over the age of five.

When we sat down at the picnic table to talk, I could tell how nervous this soon-to-be fifth grader was.  We talked about his favorite things: green slushes from Sonic, catching crawfish, and mud-riding.

J'Von started to relax and I pressed "record" on my camera.

I've never had an audience for one of these interviews, but today I did.  Vladimir sat about 20 feet away from our picnic table, listening in, nodding his head and smiling as J'Von answered my questions.

I stuck to surface level questions for a few minutes: favorite food, subject in school, sport, etc.

Then it came time for the "meat" of the interview.

"Do you understand why we are talking today?" I asked J'Von.

"To get me adopted," he said.

"Is that something you want to happen?" I asked.

"Yes.  'Cause ever since I was little I've moved from place to place," he said.

"Let's talk about the type of family you'd like to be a part of.  Do you want a mom and a dad or would one parent be okay?"  I asked.

"It doesn't really matter," said J'Von, "as long as I have a family to live with."

I asked J'Von if it's scary living in different homes and not knowing how long he will be in each place.  He said he's gotten used to it and he's not scared anymore.

I don't know if that answer was the truth or if J'Von was just trying to be tough.  Either way, both answers bother me and I hope they bother you.

A child should not have to be so accustomed to moving around to strangers' homes that he gets "used to it."

And if J'Von is covering up his fears about this uncertain, transitional life, that is indeed another tragedy.

I gave J'Von a hug after our interview and told him I was incredibly proud of his bravery in doing the story.

I always want to tell the child, "I know someone is going to want to adopt you," but what I've learned is that lots of people do respond after seeing the story air, but baggage scares prospective parents.  J'Von told me himself that he's had some behavioral issues, but that he is working to be better.  He also said having a mom or dad would help him behave more.

I believe him.

I told J'Von he definitely earned a green slush from Sonic for doing this story and he gave me a big smile.

We posed together and his case worker snapped a picture for his life book, something children in foster care have to document memories and experiences.

All the while, Vladimir sat with his duffle bag in the heat, 20 feet away.

J'Von and I said goodbye and I started packing up my camera gear.

"So do these stories actually help?" asked Vladimir, the first words he'd uttered since J'Von arrived 30 minutes earlier.

"They do," I said.  "Not 100 percent of the time, but children are being adopted, more adults are pursuing adoption certification and we are constantly raising awareness about the need for adoptive families."

"I didn't know there were so many children without homes," Vladimir said.

"It's sad," I responded.

I wanted to tell Vladimir I was sorry that he aged out of foster care without a family. That I was sorry his shelter on this 96 degree day was a public park pavilion.  That I was sorry when the holidays roll around in a few months he won't have a place to carve a turkey or share Christmas memories with loved ones.

"It was nice to meet you," is all that I found myself saying as we parted ways.

"You too.  Good luck," he said.

As I drove away, I couldn't help but imagine what will become of 10-year-old J'Von if he is never adopted.

Here's some statistics from Partners for Our Children, a policy center at the University of Washington, where 600 former foster kids were studied after aging out of care at age 18.  By 24 years old:

*Less than half are employed
*Only six percent have a two or four year degree
*Two-thirds of the women are pregnant/have had a baby
*60 percent of the men have been convicted of a crime
*Almost 25 percent have been homeless at some point

Can't we do better for kids like J'Von?

I know we can.  Don't let the "baggage" of a child in foster care turn you away.

Vladimir's overstuffed bag was a physical representation to me of what years of foster care can turn into - a continuation of survival mode, but this time with no real promise of a change.

J'Von has promise.  I hope you can see it.


J'Von's story will air in The New Family Tree on Tuesday, August 4th at 10:00 P.M.  Click here to read more about J'Von.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Daddies and dynamics that are changing

Father's Day is this weekend and I'm so excited!

It is hard to believe that it was on Father's Day last year that I told my dad he was going to be a grandpa for the third time.  It was a special day and if I had known what the next year had in store, my heart might have burst that afternoon in Dry Creek.

Now, as Matt and I wipe the sleep out of our eyes, we cannot help but beam over our sweet four-month-old daughter.  

Lila Rose is our definition of the word "joy" and nothing compares to the feeling of her smiling back at us!

Lila smiles a lot.  

She has since her first week of life.

I made an interesting observation on our first weekend getaway this month when it comes to the best smiling images of Lila.

She smiles with her whole being when she's looking at her dad.

Lila knows her daddy's face, voice, shoulders to drool on and arms to hold her.  She lights up when he is around her.

There is no doubt in my mind that the quality time that pair spends together each morning without me has created the deepest of bonds.

Matt and I both work outside of the home full time, but our hours are quite different. 

During the week, I go to bed shortly after we put Lila down for the night.  My alarm is set for 2:30 A.M., I pump her bottle for the morning, get dressed for work, and leave the house 45 minutes later.

One of the most common questions I've heard from people during my pregnancy and up to today is, "What will you do with Lila when you have to be at work so early?"

My answer has been an easy one.  "Her dad will take care of her."

"Oh, alright," some might respond.  

"You're so lucky to have him," others have said.  

"That's got to be hard for you to not be there" is another common reaction.

And then there's the "Mr. Mom" comment, as well.

Here's what those reactions have taught me: gender roles still have some pretty old-fashioned expectations that are not beneficial for mom, dad, or the baby.

Sure, I know the dynamics have changed a lot since I was a baby and definitely since my parents and their parents were babies.  It would have been unheard of for my grandpa to stay at home to raise children while my grandma was the breadwinner.  Even in my parents' generation - child-rearing duties fell primarily on the moms, while the focus for dads was oftentimes financial and disciplinary.

All of those contributions are important.

But if those are still the roles adhered to today, I think we are all missing out on something special.

Dads can be incredible nurturers.  Dads can be fantastic midnight bottle feeders.  Dads can be brilliant burpers.  Dads can give baths, read books, and rock a baby to sleep.  Dads can do daycare drop-offs, pick-ups, or arrange for sitters.

When we encourage dads to do more than diaper duty, we are letting them in on the magic of a bond so many moms experience in those first months, but dads might not feel until baby is a little bigger.

On this first Father's Day for Matt, I say thank you for mastering daycare drop-offs. 

Thank you for showing Lila the world around her.

Thank you for getting up in the night to hold a baby that isn't sleeping - even that time a bathtub was the only place that worked.

Thank you for being a comforter after shots appointments.

And not changing your clothes when I dress Lila in coordinating fabrics.

That comment about me being so lucky to have you is true.  And I know a rosy-cheeked little girl who will smile and agree:)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Bringing Home Baby: my biggest and toughest lesson

I adore being a mom.

I love holding my baby girl.  I love kissing her dozens of times a day.  I love her little noises.  I love the different faces she makes.  I love when she wraps her tiny fingers around mine.

Lila Rose has made my heart mush.

The first few weeks with her are a blur.

Sure...everyone told me to expect that, but I did not realize how true their warnings would be until I was snapping Lila's one month pictures on the floor of her nursery.

I felt sadness.  I felt guilt.

Where did the time go?

When I think back to the first month, it's a rush of visitors, nursing, pumping, logging dirty diapers, documenting the length of each nap, swaddling, unswaddling, rocking, bouncing, worrying about her weight, worrying about my weight, writing thank you cards...and going, going, going!

I would have classical music playing in the house while Lila stared at me - attempting to engage her on her play mat.  "This is an elephant.  These are blue polka dots," I would say aloud.

Next it was off to a walk around the neighborhood, or to the swing with a colorful mobile twirling overhead, then to tummy time, reading, nap time, feeding, rinse, wash, repeat...

I was super-engaged, super-charged and super-distracted by everything I was doing to try to be a super first-time mom.

Guess what, though?  When I stared down at my one-month-old during our amateur photo shoot, readjusting her headband and onesie for the "perfect" shot, something hit me like a ton of bricks: I needed to learn to be still.

Be still.

"Be still?" I thought.  I don't have time for that!  After all, I have memories to make...

And that's just where I got a bit off balanced.

In the rush of trying to achieve my own version of motherhood success, I was running a race with no finish line, keeping up a crazy pace, and missing out on the beauty of the mess around me.

So there I was, sitting on the floor of the nursery, and I found myself taking off Lila's little outfit.

With her in her diaper and tears rolling down my cheeks, I let my fingers touch her baby soft skin.  I felt her chubby little rolls and played with her hair.  I kissed all over her face, fingers and toes.

I sat in the stillness and took her in for what felt like the first time.

Why hadn't I allowed myself that moment before?  It certainly was not my intention to miss out on anything - in fact, I was doing everything in my power to appreciate the significance of every moment during that blurry first month.

But I did not realize how easy it was to become distracted in that process.

When Lila would make a cute face, my default reaction was to grab my phone to capture it.  I'd turn away, get the phone, focus the camera, then guess what?!  No more cutesy face:(  I only enjoyed it for a split-second because of my attempt to enjoy it more later.

I can also think back to long nursing sessions in the middle of the night and reading more "What to Expect" than one should be allowed as Lila filled her tummy.  Why couldn't I just hold her and let that be enough?

Let me tell ya - it is enough now.

I have not cooked a meal in a while.  I need to go to the gym.  I have not been to the grocery store in weeks.  I am way behind on thank you cards and returning phone calls.

But I'm okay with that.

In the stillness, I've fallen madly in love with every adorable ounce of my little girl.  In the stillness, I've come to appreciate and respect my husband more than I would have thought possible.  In the stillness, I feel that peace that passes all understanding.

I understand why we are told in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God."

When our lives are so noisy, it's hard to hear from our Heavenly Father and be in tune with His Spirit.

Similar to my good intentions in being an all-star mom, we busy up our lives with work, service opportunities, ministries, and activities in the name of a greater purpose - but are we creating so much chaos that we miss the very calling right in front of us?

The brakes are part of a car for a reason.  For me, it has taken the brakes and "park" to get to the point of savoring this season of life.

And it's pretty darn sweet...


Monday, February 2, 2015

The day I found out I was pregnant

Let me preface this post by stating that I am not a strong believer in coincidences.  I believe in divine appointments and divine intervention.  

I will clarify, though, that I see coincidences in minor things, like coordinating colors with my co-anchors on the same day - or going to a restaurant for a specific item and seeing that it is the daily special.

Sure...that's coincidental. 

Then there are life events that are undoubtedly orchestrated by God that reaffirm our faith and our purpose.

When Matt and I decided that we were "ready" (whatever that means!) to have a child in the fall of 2013, I truly thought that it would not take more than a couple of months to find out I was pregnant.  Heck, we were both healthy, active, young-ish, and had no reason to think otherwise.

Add in my Type A personality, and you best believe that I had ovulation kits, thermometers, apps, and a plan.  It was going to

Then it didn't.  While it did not take years, it took several months - long, disappointing months.

I was neurotic about taking pregnancy tests days before I would have even been able to see two pink lines.  After the first two months, I had already depleted whatever budget we might have envisioned for pregnancy tests.  That led to bulk purchases of what I called "science experiments" (much more complicated than peeing on a stick) from the Dollar Tree to satisfy my testing fervor, $1 at a time.  

Winter passed, spring came, and 25+ science experiments only continued to confirm that I was still not pregnant.

Every evening, Matt and I would pray together about a pregnancy.  I would say words and want to mean them, like, "If it's your will, God," and "In your timing," mixed with, "I surrender this to you..." 

But no matter how much I wanted those words to reflect the feelings in my heart, they were empty as I was focused on myself and what I thought the best plan would be.

Still, we prayed.  

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."  Romans 8:26

It was in March 2014 that Matt and I started talking much more seriously about adoption.  We were both still confident that we would have biological children one day, but started wondering if this delay was meant for us to pursue adoption first.  I have always felt an equal desire to carry a child biologically and to adopt.

Maybe that was the answer.

We got the wheels in motion by completing the orientation with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), enrolling in the next round of MAPP classes (part of the certification process) and talking about this option with family and friends.

Then something happened inside of me.  No, not a baby growing:)  Instead it was an idea and conversation about children in need that turned into a conviction.  I knew that if I did not pursue this path, that we were being blatantly disobedient in God's call to care for orphans/parentless children.

The conviction for these kiddos is not something that I could turn off in my professional life.  I met with my news director about launching a new adoption segment and found a new energy and joy with my career that I had never experienced.  Work was not work, it was a mission.  

Here's an excerpt from a March e-mail to the DCFS office about the idea for the segment:

"I can’t think of anything that would be more fulfilling using this media platform than to connect a child with a mom, dad or family. I definitely understand that there are limitations in the information that we can share and assure you it will be treated with extra sensitivity and the sole purpose of using TV as a service.

Who do I need to speak to in order to get moving in the right direction?

I really appreciate your help and hope that we can further a partnership that makes a positive impact on this community."

Since then, we have formed a fabulous partnership and I am thrilled that several of the children we featured since the segment debuted last May are now in adoptive placements or in the final stages to be placed with a family.

So what does this have to do with pregnancy?  I'm getting there:)

By the time May rolled around, I felt different.  I could pray and say the word, "surrender," and actually mean it.  I could see other people around me and not be so focused on what had caused me to live life with blinders for several months.

On May 29, I had a work day to look forward to - I was set to have a girly day at Club Tabby with a foster child hoping to be adopted.  Her name was Danielle and we snapped this picture before parting ways that day. 

I rushed back to the office after spending twice as long on the interview as I had anticipated and then hopped in my car, stomach growling and pulled into the Wendy's on Lake Street - ordering a salad I never got to eat.

It was on this day that I am so grateful my eyes were open to someone other than myself, because I saw a family in desperate need across the street at a bus stop and felt God's presence, telling me to do something.

The next morning, I wrote about the events that unfolded with this mother and her three children in a post entitled, "Turn around and do something."  I had been deeply moved by the community stepping in so fast to meet the needs of strangers who had been homeless the day before.

May 30 was the date and I can remember feeling absolutely overcome with emotions as people shared the blog, then offered food, beds, couches, and money to help this family.  

When I got home from checking in on my new friends that afternoon, it dawned on me that May 30 was the day I could start up another round of pregnancy tests.

On this day and for the first time ever, it was positive.    

Maybe some won't see any sort of connection between the struggle, the stress, the adoption heart change, the family in need, and the pregnancy.

For me, though, I can see God's hand in every detail - working on my heart and the unveiling of my eyes to so much more.  

I learned first-hand that when we are obedient, it is impossible to not see God's faithfulness.

We are now days away from having our first child, officially certified to adopt our next child, and still in touch with the sweet family I met at a bus stop on a hot afternoon in May.

As Matt and I embark on our biggest adventure yet - welcoming a baby girl this week - I hold onto God's promises that always ring true.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9


Friday, January 16, 2015

A blog worth following

The online world can be a blessing and a curse.  It can lift you up or pull you down.

When we are looking for answers or support, social media can connect you with people you might not ever meet - but you know that there is a kindred spirit on the other side of the e-universe.

One of those people for me is Shelley Skuster, a former TV reporter at KWWL in Iowa (not I-O-Way, the Louisiana town!).

A former colleague of mine at KCEN in Waco began working at KWWL and I noticed Shelley on her page one day.  What stuck out to me was that part of her professional bio included an adoption blog.

That intrigued me because I had just started navigating the best way to utilize my on air role in a way that could raise awareness about the need for adoptive families in our community.  I was (still am) pretty obsessed with the issue and really wanted to find support from someone who had "been there, done that."

On the personal side: Matt and I had just enrolled in classes to get certified to adopt through foster care.  I was yearning for the personal and professional opinion of how to share this passion with others, while also being transparent about this real life chapter in our marriage and family-building dream.

As soon as I clicked on Shelley's blog, I realized she was living it out and reaching people near and far on her blog, "This Family's Journey."

Yall...I read every single post in one tear-filled day!  Shelley and her husband, Chris, have been open about the pain of infertility, their decision to adopt, the hurdles/stress/money needed to get through the process, and their journey as a transracial family.

Her words will touch your heart and hopefully open your eyes even wider to the fact that love, not blood makes a family.

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for the Skuster family.  Shortly after the rush of the holiday season, the couple got an unexpected facebook message about a baby girl needing a home.

What would you do if you didn't have a crib, car seat, diapers...or hint of an idea that your family of three would grow into a family of four within a couple of short days?  Heck, it's taken me nearly the entire nine months of my pregnancy to ready our home, our jobs, and our minds for one planned addition!

This couple said YES in a big way to love and raise another beautiful daughter, born in their hearts even before they knew she existed.  Check out how the Skusters are being obedient in the call to care for the fatherless and trust that His ways are always higher than ours.