Category Archives: adventure

when we met your mother

*****this post was written in 2016, but i never posted it because circumstances changed so quickly.  i debated not posting this but decided to post it now because this is still part of our story (part of that transparency).  our experience in june 2016 has had a profound impact on our lives.  while things did not turn our how we hoped or expected it has shaped who we are today and we still talk about it and want to post those experiences for others to have a glimpse*****

when you google the word that i never thought would be us this is what you find.

chosen: having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

i still can’t believe it.  we have been chosen by a birth mother.  now that we have had some time to process, i am able to give a little more information.  i would also like to take a moment to add that we are given very vague information and the birth mother is given very vague information about us (to protect both sides).  at our training meetings we were taught that the entire adoption process will be a part of our child’s story and we should always think about that whenever we are placed and give out information about the specific scenario.  with that bit of information – we encourage questions, but please know and understand that we will tell information as we think it is appropriate.  we may have more information than we are leading on – but we also may not have that information at all.  so don’t be surprised or offended if you ask a question and we either tell you we don’t know or that we aren’t going to disclose that information yet.  i promise it isn’t to be mean or rude.

i mentioned a phone call stating that the birth mother wanted to meet us.  when we called our case worker together after work she gave us some information about the mom and about the situation.  she also told us about the birth mother coming to the adoption agency.

i will break to rant (as usual and again).  we have been officially waiting for over a year.  we went to some of the first meetings and heard people talk about how they were placed quickly.  one story was of a couple that was placed 2 weeks after they were approved.  several stories were that they were placed within 3 months of approval.  so few people that we talked with stated that they waited over a year.  so once we hit that year mark and went beyond it, i was completely convinced that we would never be chosen.  that something was wrong with us and that this was not even meant to be.  it hasn’t always been pretty and when i am feeling especially low and like we would never be chosen i would email our case worker and ask if we had any feed back.  she would tell me that nothing was wrong with us.  that our profile book was being shown and that when it happened it would happen.  we had to just trust the system.  i would roll my eyes.  when we had our home study update we asked again in person about the feedback.  (with the profile books the birth mothers are asked to put them in order of who they like better – i am sure there is a more politically correct way to say that).  she told us that we were number 2 for a birth mother (their number one worked out so they didn’t need to go to number 2) but we were at least in a short stack!  that gave us a little hope.  but we heard once again that when it happened it happened.  and again i rolled my eyes and held my tongue.

it isn’t that i don’t believe in God’s timing because there is a part of that concept i can get behind, but if anyone else told me it would happen when it was right – or any of the other ways to remind me that God was in control i was going to just cry – and maybe throw something.  we felt like it was a cop out answer.  we wanted answers and we were getting generic, religious, pat on the hand responses.

::slams head against desk::

so back to the phone call.  i was holding my cell phone (on speaker) in the passenger seat and andy was in the driver’s seat and we were listening to this information and she told us this: the birth mother went to a friend who told her that they were going to our agency in the morning to talk about adoption and so she went on the website and started to look at profiles.  the next day she walked into the adoption agency and said that she knew who her family was.  she told them she wanted andy and alison.  they asked her if she wanted to see other profiles and she told them no.  they asked her if she wanted to actually see our profile book and she said yes.  she looked at it and said again that we were her family.  they asked if she was sure that she didn’t want to see other profile books and she turned them down.  she said she just knew.  both of us got chills.  (i will admit she loved the family farm and that andy looked goofy and fun).  but she wanted us.  she chose us.

when we met your mother…

we are still using the agency to do our communicating.  the plan was to meet at the agency at 4:00 to meet the birth mother.  we pulled into the parking lot at 3:28 and andy said we couldn’t go in yet.  (i agreed).  we sat in the car and talked a little bit and waited forever before we went inside.  i think i was contemplating throwing up in the bushes and asking what this meeting was going to be like.  andy was looking up a restaurant to see if they opened their new location.  i finally said we needed to go in because i needed to pee and it was time (3:37).  we went in told them we were there and waited in the waiting room.  we waited forever and imagined what this meeting would be like.  finally (3:44) our case worker came to get us.  we asked a few follow up questions before we met the mother and she said you ready?  we walked down the long hall.  my heart was beating out of my chest, my mouth was drying out, and my legs felt like jelly following her down the hall.  we got to the door and walked into a room full of people.  the birth mother was there (and her friend).  our case worker and her pregnancy counselor were there (as well as an intern that has been working with the birth mother).  the agency workers were at the heads of the table and the birth mother and her friend were sitting on one side and andy and i went to the other side.  he sat across from the birth mother and i took the place across from her friend.  we all were introduced (first names only).  we looked at each other with that curiosity and mortification of a really weird blind date.  i was very thankful for the agency workers because they helped us get the conversation going.

the birth mother asked (through her friend) why we wanted to be parents.  we answered and they nodded.  then we sat in silence for hours (maybe a minute).  they asked about the farm and we talked about the animals – and a spark lit up her eyes and the corners of her mouth tilted up and the shyness was drifting away and her full personality started to emerge.  i asked her favorite color – pink is the answer (any shade).  we talked about hobbies (she likes to be outside and loves horses) and playing instruments (she plays the piano – self taught).  she told us that she picked us online before she even walked into the agency out of thousands of other profiles.  i can’t remember the exact course of our conversation, but we talked.  we laughed together.  she got choked up.  i got choked up.  the magnitude of the situation didn’t escape us.

once it seemed like our first date was coming to a close we prayed and were told to take 24 hours and get back with our case worker (and her with her pregnancy counselor).  she basically said before we walked out of the room that she had made her decision.

andy and i went to dinner to celebrate getting to the next step.  i called our case worker and left a message for her to call me.  she called a little bit later and answered a few questions.  my biggest one being – how did she think it went.  she told me great!  i looked at andy across the table and shrugged – he nodded and i nodded and i told her we wanted to move forward.

after dinner we went to babies r us and walked around.  a place that made me cry hundreds of time over the past 6 years had me crying again – bittersweet tears.  the end of one journey and beginning of another journey.  it wasn’t that big of a shock that the theme we picked out years ago had been discontinued, but we did buy a bear to remember the day we meet our child’s mother.



ruined birthday plans

my birthday was on a Saturday this year.  we had huge plans to work on our to-do list and get our house in order.  when we woke up that morning we decided to heck with that.  we went to the zoo.  we love the knoxville zoo.  it isn’t a huge zoo and it is currently being renovated in some areas, but it is a wonderful place.  it was a hot day, so a lot of the animals were just lazy.

prairie dog

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hogs (2 babies)

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elephants (they were the most active we have ever seen them.  one of them got in the water and was taking a bath)

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giraffe (we didn’t get to feed them this time)



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elephants again (construction makes you walk by them again – this was the one taking a bath)

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red pandas

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birds (to look at the beaver there is a section closed in and these birds fly all around you.  very traumatic when they dive at your head).



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turkey (told you it was hot.  it was standing in front of the fan).


i got home that night and looked at my to-do list and realized that i didn’t cross anything off my list.  my birthday plans were ruined.  thank goodness!

home sweet home

we bought a house!  we closed on it in january and took our time moving in.  we wanted to scrub the house, replace the carpet, and paint the inside.  we decided that it would be easiest to do this while the house was empty.  even though we didn’t want to spend the money, we decided it would be quicker if we hired someone to paint.  we called to get an estimate and in the mean time picked out new carpet.  we asked if they could pull up the carpet so that we could paint the rooms.  they did.  we still hadn’t heard back from the painters, so we decided to start (so that the new carpet could be put down).  once we started we just continued on.  my mom helped remove a wallpaper border in the kitchen and cleaned the fridge!  once we had the carpet and the paint we moved on in (it took about a month to get everything ready).  we have a garage and I love it, but I wouldn’t let us park in it until our boxes were unpacked (so it wouldn’t get messy).  I have loved it (especially in the rain)!  now that it is getting colder outside I can’t wait to not have to scrape ice off my windshield!

we have a beautiful view of the mountains and the sunrise from our windows and porch.


the first time pulling into our garage the night we closed!


not long after we moved in we got snow.  it was beautiful! Otis loved it (he got to wear his sweater)!

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grandmamma coming to see the house for the first time.  she was more interested in our garden area and plants.  she came back a few weeks later and helped andy trim rose bushes.

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another beautiful sunrise.


apparently robins come back to the same nest year after year.  so we had a nest with several eggs in it.  baby birds are ugly.  I was just getting used to them and they flew away.  didn’t even say goodbye.

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we tried our hand at gardening.  we had strawberries (but didn’t get to eat any because of bunnies and birds), squash, zucchini, and tomatoes.  we got so much out of the garden and it was fun.  the food was amazing.

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some inside pictures

[master bedroom]

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[master bathroom]

ignore the dog drinking out of the shower…

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we will use this room as a nursery when the time comes, but for now it is my sewing room so that I can lay out my projects and put the baby gate up so Otis doesn’t mess up the fabric.


[guest bathroom]

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[guest bedroom]

in charlotte right before we put the house on the market we did the guest bedroom very similar to this design.  my parents got the frames at an auction and we loved the look so we did the green stripe to high light the dark wood of the frames.  i loved the look in charlotte and was glad that andy let me do it again here!

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we aren’t done with the office yet.  the desk in the picture was a treasure find from ginger and sandy.  it is currently in the garage being sanded and stained.  once the desk is done we will start looking for some sort of chair to put in place of the guitars.  i keep going back and forth from a real over sized chair, to a bean bag…still haven’t made up my mind.

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left: looking from our bedroom towards the office.  right: looking from the office back to the master bedroom

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[living room]

ignore the sewing table…it isn’t a permanent fixture of our living room (sort of).

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we didn’t love the landscaping along the driveway and near the house, so we are in phase one of who knows how many to get it how we want it.  (pulling bushes is so much easier when you have a tractor).

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beautiful rainbow on 10/28/15

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i think that pretty much is our new house and the things related to it.  hopefully soon we will have more pictures on what we have been able to do to the outside of the house.

blackwelder beach trip 2014

this post is about a year late…but here it is anyways.

we joined andy’s family at the beach again last summer and got to spend some time away from work and with family.

the drive down was long (it always is) but the views were beautiful and then we hit a ton of rain!

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we went dolphin sight seeing.  most of my pictures are of dark specks in the ocean but there are a few that turned out.  ellen was less than impressed but she had a great nap.

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cj told us that she saw three pirates.  we didn’t see them, but she saw them.  i think they were nice pirates because she waved once and then that was it.  they showed us some “trash” that the shrimp boats get and that included a baby shark and andy and cj where thrilled.

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we had fun at the beach playing in the ocean and in the sand and before we know it beach trip 2015 will be here for more sun and sand!