Monday, February 17, 2014


Since starting this adoption I have been pretty hesitant at telling people about this whole thing. It’s not exactly the fact that I don’t know how people will respond but really because it is an intimate part of Riley and I’s life. Anyone who knows me pretty well will tell you that I am pretty afraid of anything that is intimate or emotional. I have no idea what to do when people cry or are going through a tough time. I guess I’m just a little awkward sometimes.
Having to tell people about something that is a big part of my life is a growing process. Adoption initiates many personal questions. This is not a bad thing; in fact I think it’s a good thing. I like to see people curious about something where the specifics are not widely known.
            The crazy thing is the more I told people, the more support I received. I am blown away with how people are genuinely caring and supportive.  We have had some wonderful support, emotionally, spiritually and financially.  We have had support from so many different people and places we that we never expected. It has been very encouraging to see how the Lord has provided for us by making our story resonate in the heart’s of others.
            That being said, here is a big update on this Alderton adventure. Riley and I saw a beautiful little 5 year old boy on a waiting children’s list back in September. The moment I saw him I knew.  I never thought I would adopt and when I decided to, I always imagined adopting an infant. I never thought I would adopt an older child. However, looking back it seems funny to me that anyone, myself included, would think of a 5 year old as too old to join their family. Thank God he understands family better than we do. That said, Riley and I have been working to adopt this little boy for a couple months and just got his official referral.
            Even though Riley and I are very new to this process and adoption in general, I am learning more and more about adoption through this process. I feel as if it has changed us both. We have grown and become such better people through this journey! Adoption has truly changed us and I am so glad to go through this process and grow and become a better person.
            Overall I would definitely say my life is very different than what I had originally thought it would be, but in that same breath, it is so much better than I would have ever imagined. I am grateful that plans don’t work out how we want them to and that God knows what he is doing in all circumstances.

            Lastly, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped us get to the point we are at. God is so good in that he will often move people to a cause. We have seen this in our adoption and can’t express how grateful we are to everyone for your support and love thus far. We are excited to bring our son home to a community where he is already so loved and cared for.

This was our scenery when we got our referral call!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Riley's Words

While on the topic of adoption ethics I thought I would post a piece written by my husband, Riley, regarding this topic. This post was originally written as an open response to all those involved in the adoption world who have taken a closed stance specifically regarding infant adoption. It is not meant to be antagonistic. It was written as a reminder that we are all doing the best we can and that while ethics must be upheld, it is not our place to judge people based on who they’ve adopted or what started them on their adoption journey. What matters is whether or not they have gone about the process in the right way.

Adoption is an issue that has a million hot buttons and pressing any given button can strike a nerve and instantly divide people against one another. I do not believe that an issue so complex can be boiled down to “I’m right and you’re wrong.” The truth is that there are millions of orphans in the world. Some of those orphans are infants, many others are not. Some of the orphans live in the United States. Others do not. There are tragic cases of forced relinquishment and child trafficking. There are plenty of couples who would not consider adopting a child over 12 months old. However, there are thousands of cases that have started and ended well that we do not hear about in the news or on blogs because families are too busy being together and enjoying one another.

As a Christian who is adopting, my desire is to always consider Jesus and how he viewed the world and sought guidance from God the father. In the Lord’s Prayer we are told to pray that “Your (God’s) kingdom would come and your will would be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” I don’t take this to mean that we are praying for an end to this world but that we are praying for a daily reality of the things that are always true in God’s kingdom to be true here. In His kingdom, there are no orphans. Families being divided was never a part of the design but it is a reality in humanity because of poverty, war, disease, rape, irresponsibility and a million other reasons. The reality faces us whether we want to admit it or not. The world is full of orphans.

I never want my faith to be only talk. I believe in the power of prayer. I also believe in action. The best way I know to ensure that an orphan is no longer an orphan is to seek every possible avenue for them to have a family. I believe in the reunification of birth families as the first option. I believe in seeking out relatives and close friends. I also believe there are instances where these options are exhausted completely and a child is truly unwanted by anyone who we would all hope should have a desire to raise them. The question then becomes how does this child, the truly unwanted child, “the least of these,” get a family. Adoption is an answer to this question whether this child is 1 day old or 17 years and 11 months old.

I don’t believe in only adopting infants, or to closing your heart to older child adoption. I also don’t believe in chastising people who have adopted infants ethically and with every attempt to reunite the child with their biological family. The age of an orphan doesn’t define their status as an orphan. There may be an orphan who is 5 and still has a chance to be reunified with his/her birth family. There may also be an orphan who is a newborn who has no one in the world to care about him/her. Praying for a baby isn’t done with evil or malice in someone’s heart. It is often just the first place people start when considering adoption. We are used to the idea of our children starting out as infants because biological children always do.

 I would encourage people to open their hearts to the idea of older child adoption but have nothing but love for anyone who is trying to navigate the world of adoption ethically and with the best of intentions. In the end, God is the only one who can judge whether or not our hearts are truly obedient to his purposes. Families may grow in different ways. Children of different ages need families today. God may take the tragedy of a child losing their family as an infant and work mightily to give that child a family while they are still in their infancy. Others may be orphans for years and should not be overlooked by those able and willing to bring them home.

My point is that at the end of they day, it is easy for us to sit at our computers and peck each other to death about who is right and why when right now, in this moment, real orphans of all ages are in need of a family. We should all do our part to be educated on the complexity of adoption and the reality that adoption only exists because of tragedy. We must also remember that in all things, God is able.

 In closing I would say, don’t pray to adopt a baby or a seventeen year old or a child with curly hair or straight teeth. Pray that God would allow you to be part of restoration and healing in the life of an orphan by bringing them into a family, possibly your family, no matter what their age, gender, etc. happens to be. Adoption is too big of an issue to relegate to polarizing views. Ethically, with faith and love, one step at a time, let’s do our part to bring his (God’s) Kingdom to this Earth.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Home Study

         Riley and I are currently completing our home study. For those of you who don’t know, this is the point in the adoption process where you are assigned a social worker that evaluates you and decides if you are fit to parent adopted children. First off I have to say our social worker is an amazing woman, we are so blessed to have her to do our home study. I wish that all adoptive families could be so lucky to have someone who does there job with grace, efficiency, professionalism and a good sense of humor.
            In the home study process you have to answer a lot of questions. Our first meeting was my individual interview. Different agencies and states have different regulations. For our agency, you must complete three couples interviews and each of you must complete an individual interview. I went first because of how our schedule worked out. I have to say being a person who generally does not like talking about anything that has to do with emotions, I was quite nervous. It turned out that the interview wasn’t bad. I credit our social worker for helping me feel at ease about the process.
            As I said before, there are many questions and it ended up taking an hour and a half. It felt like a lot of talking for me but Riley’s individual interview ended up lasting over two hours! A lot of the questions are about your family. Our social worker got to see our family first hand because of an entertaining turn of events during the tail end of Riley’s individual interview.
            Because we were in the middle of talking to our social worker, we were not answering our phones. Riley’s dad called us to ask if we would like to go to dinner and we didn’t answer. As the day drew on, he called several more times and we continued to not answer our phones. Riley’s dad is a loving worrier. He calls when he hears sirens, he calls to check in, he calls to hear your voice.
            Because we didn’t answer, he began to get worried and decided the best thing to do would be to come to our house and check on us (both sets of our parents live within 20 minutes of where we live). As Riley was finishing up his individual interview, I was in the bedroom on the computer. We heard frantic running up the stairs and then Riley’s dad burst in. Riley introduced him to the social worker who was very gracious and thought it was sweet what a caring father/ future grandfather he was. Needless to say, you never know what’s going to happen.
            With these meetings and questions, adoption is becoming more real and not just an idea to me. Sometimes I just look at Riley thinking, “This is really happening.” I feel like this process is changing us but in the best of ways. We are becoming better people through this process because each step has less and less to do with us and more and more to do with a child who needs a family.  It’s not an easy process or even close to over, but it’s a growing process and we are moving forward little by little, day by day.
 The paperwork can be daunting so we have been trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, while the weather is still nice.
Here are some pictures of a hike we took right outside of Durango.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Adoption Ethics

         Adoption is a messy thing. In a perfect world there would be no such thing. It is something that exists because of a broken world. Adoption rises out of tragedy. It happens because the original plan for a child to be a member of their biological family did not work out for one reason or another. With all this in mind, I still believe adoption is beautiful.
            I wish all orphans weren’t orphans. I wish that reunification of families was something that always worked. I wish that poverty and disease and a million other things didn’t create broken families. The best way I can see in a broken world for orphans, true orphans, to become beloved sons and daughters is through adoption. This may not have been the first choice, but it can be, and is, the beautiful alternative when the first choice is no longer an option.
            Sadly there are people who have taken a beautiful thing and tainted it. There are some horrible things that have happened when it comes to adoption. As I have researched I have learned of shady adoption agencies that have looked beyond the needs of children and focused on their income. There have been instances where there are parents who are willing to parent their child, only for the child to be sold or taken from them. There is no way this is even remotely okay.
            This doesn’t mean that adoption should stop. What this means is unethical adoptions should stop.  Agencies should always put the children first with no exceptions. This is why Riley and I took our time in choosing an agency. We put the ethics of the agency before the cost of the adoption, time of referral, and everything else. I want you all to know this because this is a messy business, but within that messiness there is beauty. Something truly amazing can come of a real, ethical and honest adoption.
            When Riley and I first started looking into adoption we didn’t really realize everything that goes on in the adoption world. Through research, we have found out about the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m sure there are still things I don’t know. Every day I feel as if I learn more about something. There are many issues out there. I’m not saying that I know the answers but I will tell you that Riley and I are doing our best to search for the right and ethical way to go about things.
            We will not stand idly by and let the opportunity to adopt pass us when we can act now. We also want everyone to know about the importance of adopting ethically. At the end of the adoption journey is the beginning of the rest of an orphan’s life. After all that these children have been through, they deserve to know that they were brought into a family in the most honest and loving way possible because really adoption shouldn’t be about us getting a child. Adoption should be about a child who has lost or never had a family getting the very best one possible.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


           This word means different things to different people. Some people have negative experiences with parents, but for the most part parents are a positive thing. People need good parents.  When I think of parents, of my own and my husband’s, I am extremely grateful. My parents have helped me become who I am today.  If it were not for them I do not know where I would be today.
            Parents help shape who you are, for the better or worse.  I don’t think many children realize how difficult it is to parent well and how many people do it well day in and day out, all around the world. The lives parents are living in front of their children are impacting the lives of their children for years to come.
            I grew up at a Christian camp for low income and inner-city youth. I watched my mom and dad single handedly keep this place running in times where there was virtually no money coming in. I saw their faith working. They trusted that even though resources were thin, God would always pull through. I have applied much of that to my own life.  I look back and see my parent’s actions being reflected in my life. This is true in the smallest details like eating healthy and absolutely no sweet cereal. It is also true in the big things like how I have chosen to pursue Christ with my life.
            My father was offered some land in thanks for everything he has done with the camp that he started. He declined and only wanted that land for the camp. This selfless act has shown me how to put the life of others before my own.
            My mother has been such a silent helper. She has cleaned so many buildings, on her own for the good of the camp. She has done so many things for others. No one seems to notice, but she just keeps helping. There are many large buildings on camp, and in the off season the camp rents them out to help pay some bills. Someone has to clean them. For so long it was just my mom, cleaning. I have also cleaned these buildings on my own and let me tell you, it is not an easy chore. It takes roughly four to six hours (if you’re quick with no breaks) to thoroughly clean one of these buildings. For so many years my mom has cleaned these buildings by herself with no reward other than a job well done and the knowledge that it would need to be done again in a matter of days.
            I can’t help but look at my parents and see how selfless they are. The camp that they have invested so much time and money in is a camp for kids who normally would not have the money to go to a summer camp.  Camp is expensive. When I look at my parents I see how, with their faith, they have accomplished so much for kids who normally would not get to experience horseback riding, backpacking, ropes course stuff, and the opportunity to hear the gospel.
            Of course it is not only my own parents who have shaped my life. If you are blessed to marry into a family where your spouse has great parents too, you are very blessed. Although I did not grow up with my husband Riley’s parents and have only known them for the time I have been with Riley, they have also helped and encouraged Riley and I in so many ways. They are loving, caring, and welcoming to pretty much anyone. Their home is open and they are always willing to take anyone under their roof. I cannot count the amount of times they have encouraged us to be a blessing to others.
            When Riley and I were in one of our last semesters in college. He was student teaching. If you have never experienced this, or been around someone who has, let me break down the scenario for you. Usually you are working 50 hour weeks with absolutely no income and no time to get another job. I was working some jobs along the side and trying to get my biology research done. This meant spending every spare moment in the lab trying to dissect fruit flies with needles for my senior thesis. All this to say, money was tight. Riley and I had sat down to a dinner of potatoes with salt when Riley’s dad called to say hello. This is roughly how the conversation went,
 “Hey son, what are you up to?”
“Just eating dinner.”
“Nice, what are you having?”
“Just potatoes”
“And is that all you have been eating lately?”
“Pretty much”
 “Meet me at the grocery store in 30 minutes.”
That night we came home with enough food to last us for a month. Good food too. Riley’s dad thought nothing of doing this for us. It was just what he felt he had to do.
            According to Riley's account, his mother spends hours each day reading her Bible and praying for each one of us. She always takes the time to ask how you are doing and is one of the best listeners I have ever seen in a family full of talkers. On top of all that, she will willingly make you a delicious chicken pot pie with little to no advance warning after her own hard day of work.
            With these stories in mind I come to my final point, the importance of parents.  I’m sure after reading these stories, you have stories of your own that are reminding you of what a blessing parents or parent figures have been in your life.
             Now imagine your life without your parents. Imagine yourself with no one to guide you through life, no one to comfort you when you fall, no one to tell you that you are loved. Imagine yourself completely alone in the world.
            There are many children who are faced with this every day. Orphans who have no parents to tell them they love them and will take care of them. Honestly, I cannot imagine my life without the support of parents. It would be a nightmare. Some of these kids live this nightmare every day with no hope of an end. Life isn't about living for these children, it is only about surviving.
            I have been reading many blogs about adoption. I see various children’s referral pictures posted by their adoptive parents. Hardly any of the children are smiling in these pictures, they’re scared and they don’t know who to turn to. To them, parents are as far away as a dream. One of the most beautiful things is seeing the transformation in their pictures as they come home to a family. There scared faces become bright, they start to smile, and there is a twinkle in their eye. They are no longer orphans. They are beloved children.
            This is one of the many reasons adoption is something to consider. Adoption isn’t about us getting a child, adoption is about family and the heart of the Father who first loved us.

Because I think a post is not a post without pictures, here are some pictures of us with our parents.

I know these pictures are older but our parents were such a big part of our wedding I couldn't resist posting these.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

To Start...

             As many of you know my husband, Riley, and I have decided to adopt.  As we have told family and friends, there have been a myriad of questions. I hope to answer some of them here. I have decided to start a blog of our journey through adoption.
             The most often asked question would be why are you adopting? It may be easier to give a list of reasons that aren’t motivating us to adopt. We are not adopting because of any medical reasons or because we feel empowered to save someone or because we want to make ourselves feel good.
            Adoption is, and always will be, something we were naturally led to. As we have watched friends and family walk through different aspects of adoption, we felt a tug to grow our own family in the same manner.
            Another thing people ask about is money. The short answer is that adoption is extremely expensive for many reasons. I will write a separate post about why adoption costs so much at a later date. The best explanation I have heard regarding the cost came from another blog. The author said to imagine your child in another country, alone, waiting for you to come get him. Would you not do everything in your power to get your child, regardless of cost? When you think of the child as your own already it changes your perspective completely. The cost stops being too much and starts being just an obstacle to tackle to bring your child safely home. In other words, the cost is really not the biggest part of adoption.
            These are short and simple answers to complex questions. With many of these questions, know that we have not begun this process without serious consideration and prayer. We have thought through it, and prayed about it countless hours. I have been doing research for over two years now. I have read countless blogs and books, talked to many families that have adopted themselves and come to the conclusion that this is right for our family.
            I hope you guys enjoy this blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us. I will be trying to keep you guys updated as we get further along in this process. We haven’t been the best at keeping everyone up to date. In a small town it’s sometimes easy to live under the assumption that if someone knows, everyone knows. Riley and I know this isn’t always true and will do our best to document our journey for ourselves, our child, and those we love and share life with.
            Being visually inclined, I tend to steer away from blogs without pictures. Because of this, I will do my best to post with pictures even if they may be slightly off topic. Just to give you a glimpse of our year.

Hiking up to the Highland Mary's this past summer.

We also acquired a puppy in the early spring. Her name is Tulip and she is a purebred mutt.

We have been spending lots of time down by the river this summer. Our pup loves the water and if there is water around she is bound to find it.

Riley and I jumped this beautiful waterfall.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Beginning

I have been contemplating starting a blog for some time now. I cannot say I am the best writer but I can say I have many thoughts. My wonderful husband finally convinced me that I should start sharing my thoughts and ideas with others instead of just him. So here goes, hopefully I will be able to navigate the blogging world.