Saturday, December 17, 2011

9 months old!

Our little guy is growing up too quickly! I cannot believe that he is 9 months old already! 

We went to the pediatrician for his 9 month check-up and as we were leaving, they had me schedule his 1 year check up!! Seriously? Are we really almost there? That's just crazy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Woolley, Party of 3!

Yesterday, we completed the final step in the adoption process! There was a court hearing and the judge approved the adoption and officially declared Ben to be 
Benjamin Matthew Woolley!

From the moment that I first laid eyes on Ben, I knew that he was our son. A court proceeding does nothing to change my heart or love for him. It's impossible for me to love him any more than I already do. But, there is something powerful about standing with your friends and family and having the judge declare that he is our son. 

It was such a special day and we were honored to have our friends and family there to stand with us in support. 

I am so disappointed that I somehow missed getting a picture of everyone that was there, but a huge THANK YOU to those not pictured: 
Kris and Ashley Simpson: both taking pictures for us (such a treasure!)
Rusty's brother, Tim: the videographer
And all of the New Life Staff - Cindy, Sara and Susan

Every person there has played a role in our journey to Ben- loving us, supporting us and praying for us. So, it was so special to have them share in this joyous day!

I am so overwhelmed with the sovereignty of God and his provision in our lives. I am thankful that He did not give me what I thought I wanted, but something so much greater instead. 

And I am thankful that this chapter is behind us and we can officially move forward as a family of three. 

My heart is full. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On a lighter note...

My boy is 8 months old today!!
I know it's cliche, but I just can't believe how quickly he is growing!

And he is MOBILE, which makes most of the out-take pics look a lot like this:

And even though is sick and all slobbery and drooly, he is still a happy boy! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Today, churches all over the country celebrated "Orphan Sunday". It is a day that was created to bring awareness to the call to "defend the fatherless" (Isaiah 1:17).  In many churches it is used as a day to bring awareness to adoption in general. Now, I think that I am as passionate about adoption as anyone I know, but I don't understand why we have to call it "Orphan" Sunday. Even beyond its negative connotation, it is extremely limiting on a day that is meant to honor adoption.

Especially in the church setting, I have found that there is a lot of emphasis placed on the word orphan.  Adoption ministries are often called "orphan care" ministries, despite the fact that they are created to minister to adoptive families in a variety of situations.  The cynic in me might say the word is used because it provokes emotion and sympathy greater than adoption, but presumably it is because it is used in scripture. (Exodus 22:22; James 1:27).  And at the risk of sounding like I am hypersensitive or getting on my soapbox...I don't understand why we (as the Church) continue to use this word.

I realize that, like most things, it is about perspective.  In this instance, it is my perspective as a birthmother, more than my perspective as an adoptive mother that takes offense to the word. It conjures the negative image of a child that is unwanted and abandoned. This is the exact opposite sentiment of a woman that chooses to give life to a child and then make the agonizing decision to place him in another family that can provide for him in ways that she cannot.

Before we use the word so freely, I think that we should consider the definition:

Orphan [awr-fuh'n], noun
a. A child who has lost both parents through death or, less commonly, one parent
b. A child who has been deprived of parental care and has not been adopted.
c. One that lacks support, supervision, or care.

But more importantly, I believe, is the understanding of what the word does not mean.
Orphan is not a synonym for all adopted children.
The definitions of "orphan" do not apply to either of my sons.

In both cases:
a. His parents are not dead. In fact, he has TWO families that love him.
b. He has been adopted.
c. His birthmother made a painful choice to find a family that could always ensure he would be supported, supervised and well cared for, in ways that she could not.

I live with the grief and pain of my decision to place Holland for adoption every single minute of my life. I made a decision, as his mother, to provide him with the family that I could not. I went through more pain than I can describe to ensure that my son was not an orphan.

And as an adoptive mother, I don't want my son labeled "orphan." I think that many adoptees already struggle with abandonment issues in their life and I do not in any way want to contribute to that by giving him a label that has a connotation of abandonment.

I know that everyone does not feel the same way that I do about this word. And in many instances, some may feel that the word orphan is not a negative term and that is applicable to their family. So, please hear my heart when I say that I do not mean to offend anyone by my thoughts. I am in no way implying that you care any less about your child's sense of identity than I do.  And I certainly do not want to seem as if I am attacking a ministry that uses these terms. I believe that many people that are serving in these ministries have a sincere and passionate desire to minister to adopted children and their families. I am simply saying that I do not feel like the term orphan applies to every adoption situation... specifically the two adoptions that I am a part of.

Friday, November 4, 2011

3 stockings

While waiting on our Ben, the holidays were always a hard time for me. For the last few years, I haven't wanted to be home for Christmas. It was a marker of another year that had passed- another year with just two stockings to hang from the mantle.

So, I was pretty stoked to get a special delivery this week:

Since I am a firm believer in NO CHRISTMAS BEFORE THANKSGIVING (a post for another time), they will have to stay in the box for a few more weeks. But, I sure do look forward to decorating my mantle this year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My lil' punkin

Adoption finalization!

Our adoption finalization hearing is scheduled!! On December 2nd, Ben will officially become a Woolley!

Of course, this will not change anything for us. We have known he was our son from the moment we laid eyes on him! But, I know that there will be something very special about having a judge officially declare us a family!

I look forward to receiving his birth certificate in the mail and seeing it officially say Benjamin Matthew Woolley! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Parent Commitment

Yesterday was our parent commitment service at church. It was a sweet time where we had the opportunity to publicly declare our commitment to raise Ben in a godly home. It was a special night and one that I have looked for to for a long time. 

And as an added bonus, we were surprised to see that the famous Jen the Newlywed was there to sing. I am so proud of that very talented friend. 

Is this the sweetest thing? Ben will now grab your face and go in for a big open mouthed kiss. It melts my heart every time. 

I didn't get many pictures, but here are a few of three of my most favorite kids on the planet:

Sophie le giraffe was an essential to keep him chewing and happy because his first tooth popped through this weekend! He is growing too fast!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baby food

My new project as a stay at home mom: making my own organic baby food. 

It really is easy and economical! I never thought I would care so much about knowing exactly what is in food, until Ben came along! 

There are several different machines out there, but I use the baby brezza. I have been very happy with it!

So far I have made pears, sweet potatoes, bananas and apples for Ben. (And some strawberry smoothies for myself!)

He is my little helper in the kitchen:

Ben is a big fan!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


A few months ago, I went to get some old pictures off of my external drive. I am pretty sure that my heart stopped for a few beats when I realized that my drive was dead. DEAD.

Wedding photos... gone.
Honeymoon photos...gone.
Pictures of Holland...gone.
All of my photos...gone. And folks, y'all know how much I love my photos.

I tried not to panic and instead went into total denial. I thought that if I ignored it, I would come back to it in a few weeks and it would magically fix itself. So, I came back. But it was still dead.

I have this amazingly smart friend that works for IBM and I am pretty sure was building his own computers when he was four. I begged him to help me. He said he would give it a shot, but couldn't promise anything.

Well, PRAISE. THE. LORD!!!  He worked his techie magic and restored ALL of my photos to a new hard drive! How amazing is that?

As I thumb through all of the photos, I am just overwhelmed with thanks! These are a few of the MANY photos that I would have lost!

One of our first dates 

The picture that created my nickname... Tia

Our rehearsal dinner

Front row tickets to Aerosmith

Saying "goodbye" to Holland

Our engagement photo

In Costa Rica on our honeymoon

My nephew Jacksson's birth

My favorite photo of Nate

Poppa's retirement party

Halloween 2005

New Life fundraiser where I was the speaker

Rusty and George

Sweet friends at an Aid Sudan Event

Our first Christmas

Rusty's sweet Nana

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

I've sat down to update this blog about 15 times for every one post that actually makes it. 

I type. 

I stop. 

I quit. 

You see, I am torn. 

Right now, my life is Ben. 24/7, 100% Ben. And I love every single minute of it. (Ok, let's be honest- some of those minutes are pretty exhausting. You know, make me want to cry, call Rusty at work with very frequent phrase "When are you coming home?", go to the gym just because you want an hour of childcare, minutes. But deep down, I still love it.)

That's where I am. That's the season that I am in right now.  But, I feel bad blogging about Ben as if I have forgotten the pain that came with the waiting or not acknowledging those that read this blog who are still overwhelmed by that pain.

This started as my "infertility" blog and I don't want it to turn into my "bragging about Ben" blog. 

I've had that debate in my head for the last few months and yet somehow as I put the thought into words, I am realizing how I actually feel about it. This is not a "bragging about Ben" blog. It is what it was always intended to be... "Bragging about what God has done!" blog. 

Being given this amazing gift is not the end of my journey or ours as a family. It is just a step. God has been faithful. I love to look back over this journey and see all that He has done and how He has provided. But, I know that He isn't done yet. He has more in store for us! I just know it. 

So, this blog will continue to proclaim God's faithfulness to us. 

But during this season of my life, that will probably include lots of pictures of this sweet boy:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Boy clothes!

On March 4th, we got the phone call from Cindy that changed our lives forever... 
We had been chosen by a birthmom due in March with a baby boy!

Within less than one month prior to that call, we had lost two babies- Sarah and another girl that I never blogged about. So, for obvious reasons, we were hesitant to get excited. 

And yet, I just couldn't help but be. 

Rusty and I were on our way out of town that afternoon for a long weekend with friends in Scottsdale, Arizona. We weren't sure then, but know now that it was to be our "babymoon", our last childless vacation!

While we were there, my mind was reeling with all that we needed to do to change from girl mode to boy.  Though we had tried to stick to gender neutral, I had pretty much failed and had a closet full of pink, a drawer full of bows and lots of flowered accessories. So, I was ready to start the switch ASAP. 

Rusty was more hesitant, but he loves me :) and knows me well enough to know that I wasn't going to rest until I had something "boy" in my hands, so we went to the mall in Scottsdale. I bought the most precious little vest and slacks that I had ever seen!


My heart felt full as we walked out of the store with boy clothes in hand. Somehow it just made it feel more real. This is the picture that I took of the outfit as we rode in the cab back to our hotel. I was full of hope and prayer that one day soon, we would have a little boy wearing that suit.

And (though the pants are still too big) Ben was finally able to wear the vest to church a few weeks ago. It brought tears to my eyes to see my symbol of hope fulfilled! 

And he looked pretty stinkin' handsome in it too, if you ask me!