adoption truth & my eternal gushing

i gaze at her and i just can't believe it.
this week marks 4 months since emery came home.
4 MONTHS! somehow it seems short, and then again, it seems like such a vast amount of time that the before blends into a time i can't remember.
(ps. green legs on the couch in the background? saturday morning couch-diving competition. footie p.j.'s required :)

1 year ago today, i was in a deep abyss of sadness. it felt painful to live another day without my daughter. the wait felt too long. like really really too long. we had moved twice in 6 months. my husband lost his job. then changed jobs 3 more times. but the housing and job stuff didn't even compare to the agony of the wait. i was at the limit. it was a low point to say the least.

i didn't know that one week later, i would see emery's picture for the first time. i didn't know that in 8 months i would hold her for the first time. i didn't know how we would fund the rest of her adoption. i didn't know the incredible people who would play a vital role in helping us bring emery home.

no one ever tells you about the grief associated with adoption. or maybe they don't want to scare you away. or maybe they just don't know quite how to explain it.
the weight of knowing you are missing today. yesterday. tomorrow. with you child.
bathtime and bedtime and mealtime and silly time.
someone else is there for those.
or worse, no one is there for those. 

knowing there is real possibility your child is alone? it's torture. the thought of her being alone takes my breath away when i think back because those emotions are still fresh. it makes me want to go wake her up from peaceful slumber just to hold her again. again for all the time i missed. again for the time she was alone.

and now here we are. 4 months in. life feels fast and busy and there is chatter and stuff spilling and the house is clean one second and a wreck the next. and it's crazy and chaotic and awesome at the same time.

which brings me to my next point.
i can't help myself from gushing. 
verging closely on braging.
she's wicked smart.
her comprehension astounds all of us.
we've started realizing she understands nearly everything we say to her.
um, seriously girl?
how'd you get so cool?

since she won't be able to form words for a little while, i've been teaching her sign language.
so far, she knows:  i want, play, eat, more, bottle, all done, shoes, socks, cookie, again, book, bird, night night, tired, blow kisses, bye-bye, shirt, pants, ice cream...and so on.

but it's even more amazing to see her comprehension. sense of humor. memory skills. fearlessness on a skateboard or leaping from the top of the couch into my arms. her love of books and tea cups and dolls and chap stick. it's the little things all day long.

(princesses can rock bibs, right?)


i never knew about the grief in the before. the pain of waiting.
and i never knew just how amazing it is in the after. the extreme learning and incredible catchup. the insanely awesome reveal of the child you have dreamed of.
she's very gush-worthy

i'm not saying all of this to make anyone think we are oh-so perfect or have everything figured out.

i'm not super mom (not that you think i am) and emery isn't 'better' than other kids. i will say our attachment has been easier than what tends to be typical, and emery has a very content personality most of the time...

but when she's hungry or tired? content goes out the window.
hello crazy town.
that's where we live some days.
crazy town.
amidst flailing and angry screaming and unwillingness to eat eggs because today she doesn't love eggs like she did yesterday. or bananas. or cheerios. or peaches. or crackers. i could list all of the crazy things that she hates and has aversions to (like tule, or silk, or ANY other shoes except her sneakers, or scarves, or yogurt or clothing with accouterments like flowers or rosettes.) or how she FLIPS OUT out if she even looks at someone wearing a motorcycle helmet, or if she sees her PJ's and knows it's bedtime.

it's not perfect over here.
if you know me in real life, you've never doubted the imperfect. you've seen me roll frazzled into wednesday morning bible study, 20 min late with a strange array of clothing donning my body, bags of food and clothes and miscellaneous toys on every arm...boys strung out ahead carrying umbrellas or doughnuts or something odd, and little lady looking like a smashed marshmallow in her puffy jacket. i haven't read our study book, i forgot my coffee on the kitchen table and i may or may not have already lost my keys because my brain can't seem to remember anything these days. in fact, i think adoption fries twice the brain waves of pregnancy. hands down.
i'm a full on, long legged, smudgy mess some days.

but through my piles of frazzled...

i keep learning the same lesson over and over...and i've ever grateful for another opportunity to learn it.

the moments that are the most memory worthy. beautiful. incredible. indelibly memorable...
they can be easily missed.
the beauty of life.
our one life.
the moments we will later love with all of our hearts, knowing we can't ever relive them...

they must be captured.

with a camera. an encouraging word. a picture frame. a story retold over and over. a scuff on the wall.

i can't help but wonder how many days i have.
it might seem strange, but i think about it often.
i read the book "crazy love" last year and haven't thought about life the same way.

if this were my last day.
if tomorrow is.

have i celebrated enough? captured? documented? encouraged? loved? cherished?

have i looked past the mess and the toys and couch cushions scattered and the work i can't seem to accomplish and looked into the eyes of the little ones following me?
have i noticed them today?

have i set aside what i want and put in front what they need?

i shutter to think of the days when i have hustled through. irritated and fedup. missing the moments because my big selfishness was in the way.

i cherish the days i celebrated.

today was one of the celebrated.


  1. SERIOUS Princess!
    She is so beautiful!!! Gush-worthy, definitely.

    Read Crazy Love - naming our little boy after Frances Chen

    Did you read Radical.....
    Peace and Love to you and yours!

  2. Aww!!!

    Love her. Love the boys. Love you!!

    You inspire me.

  3. Loved this post! Love and appreciate your heart and incredible love for this little girl!

  4. I absolutely LOVE this post! Not missing anything is what I strive for as a parent. There are some days I get upset that the house isnt clean or perfect, or dinner isnt made right on time etc, but at the end of the day, the moments I reflect on are the ones spent with my daughter and husband. When she's grown and I'm gone, those memories, the memories of us together is what she is going to remember, not that I didnt vaccuum or dust today.

    I love your honesty, thank you for sharing!


  5. ang, i love your heart. i love this blog entry. i love the photos. i love you. you inspire and challenge me, and i miss you!!

  6. Thanks so much for this beautiful entry. My family is currently waiting travel approval. We waited 148 days for our LOA. We are low, to say the least. We are trying to capture every moment with our children through these holidays and speed up time all the same. We were told we were on the "holiday bubble" so we may not be able to travel till January....instead of what we were told which was end of nov. Beginning of Dec. All of this extra information to say...... I really needed your post this morning. Blessings to you, and your beautiful family. We are also fans of the mom and dads bed diving competitions held Saturday's...before the crack of dawn.

  7. i have those days.
    i remember the days before i got sick, when i rushed to get to something "important". the days i was too sick to take care of myself that i thought would never end. and now the good days are so precious to me. i can't say enough how thankful i am.
    the bad days make the good ones so much better.
    love you! mamie

  8. Angie, Thank you so much for your transparency! It has resonated with my heart, mind, and soul. You and your family are precious!

  9. I'm right where you once were. Longing for my daughter. This was a beautifully written honest account and I thank you for that!!! I can't wait to be on the other side of the waiting but trying to revel in what God is teaching me on this side of my daughter! I so appreciate you...wish we lived closer to each other! Hugs

  10. You encouraged me, thank you! We were in the fost-adopt process for a loooong 21 months feeling very analyzed and evaluated. It was tough but the hardest was the four months we waited to be matched with our children. I asked the angels to watch over them until we could. I think from the moment you say yes to God's call to adopt there is a sacred exchange. There is agony that you can't get to your child(ren) to protect and nourish them. All the things that stand in the way are more than frustrating even if expected. Yesterday I hurried them along all day, today I'm going to soak in the blessing.

  11. lovely.

    emery is beautiful.

    your words, heart, authenticity are moving.

    my big selfishness gets in the way too. too often.
    i need to begin, today, celebrating again.

  12. It's a joy to celebrate the moments and her gush-worthiness with you. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  13. What a great post Ang! I struggle with being present, in the moment, with my kids all the time. There are always dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, phone calls to be made, bills to be paid, and files to be edited. But really, it's so, so important to be PRESENT ... I need to work on that. A lot.

    Today I will gush with you. Emery is a beautiful, amazing, miraculous, precious child. And she's yours. Yours to gush over whenever you see fit! What a blessing!

  14. Thank you for introducing yourself to me!! I'm so glad I found your blog. This post (and your little darling--oh my goodness!!!!) are beautiful.

  15. Goodness gracious, how did I miss this post? I'm a bawling mess. You've summed it up beautifully. I needed this today. :)

  16. She looks so cute in that dress, like one of those ladies who lead Colonial Williamsburg house tours. It's fun she loves girly stuff, like dress-up and tea parties. It seems like only last week that you were teaching her to turn over. She has really blossomed!! I'm so happy you love her; every child deserves to be gushed over!

  17. Most fabulous post. Ever. You rock my world, friend, and you never cease to inspire me to be more present. to live more fully. thank you so much for this beautiful message.

  18. I am in the before. The horrible, no-one-else-gets-it before of waiting. This is our third Christmas of waiting. I thought I was the only one who had grief in the before. Thank you for sharing this.

  19. oh this post was soooo incredibly beautiful! I loved every word of it!! I have a friend who is currently in China picking up her precious little girl that looks so much like Emery. I'm going to send you each other's blogs!

  20. omgoodness!! I am totally post-pardum here in China ;)with my daughter....all tears! Beautiful post! Beautiful moments



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