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My dream to write books began with you, mama.

You, sweet you.

13 1/2 years ago when my first born was just five months old, I cracked open a new book titled Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It by Andrea J. Buchanan. It rocked my world. Andrea’s words spoke to my needs as a new mom, but they also spoke to my needs as a woman. She got it! She understood me! I wasn’t alone in this thing called mothering. Finally, somebody was speaking truth. At that point, I’d been writing in diaries, notebooks and journals for 15 years, but for the first time ever, I understood the healing, transformative power of words on readers. Nobody had written so honestly and tenderly to my heart. Nobody had bared their soul so brutally and beautifully on the page.

I wanted to move people like that. I wanted to touch peoples’ hearts like that. I wanted my words to make a difference in peoples’ lives the way Andrea’s words made a difference in my life. I wanted to write raw and real, tough and tender. I wanted people to know they weren’t alone.

I wanted to write books.

Four years later in the spring of 2007, I set a goal to write ONE book on mothering in my lifetime. In the summer of 2014, that goal morphed a bit. Perhaps I’d write a book on mothering when I was older, wiser, and through the hardest and longest days of motherhood. But now I had a fresh vision for reaching mamas. What if I could impact mamas’ lives and touch mamas’ hearts through children’s books?



Between January and April of 2016, I spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning writing and editing three children’s books. This summer, I received clear vision for book four! While the first book could certainly stand alone, the books are intended to be part of a series.

BOOK ONE is about being bold and brave. The manuscript is complete! It’s been edited by me numerous times and by my husband two times. Even after all the edits, I still sense something special about this story. Of all four books, I have the most peace about this one. If I had to put it in the hands of an agent, editor or test reader today, I have confidence it would read and resonate well, especially with anyone who’s a parent.


BOOK TWO is about growing up. This story has been to the chopping block with a major rewrite, and is richer because of it. The manuscript is complete and REFUSES all thoughts of being discarded! As all moms know, there’s an undeniable push and pull when it comes to our babies growing up. This book speaks to the hearts of moms and their girls transitioning from one stage of development to the next.


BOOK THREE is about becoming comfortable with who we are and fixing broken things. The manuscript is fully written, but is still in rough form. It’s been cut by 900-some words and edited several times through. There’s definitely a book there, but it needs a lot of development before it’s ready. The challenge of this story is piecing together our identity and our brokenness as moms and girls. I’m bound and determined to write this one, even though it’s the most challenging of all four books.


BOOK FOUR is about dreaming big and was just conceived (unexpectedly) this summer! I’ve jotted a FULL page of notes down, and have a clear vision for what the book is about and the unique way it would be illustrated. At this point, I need time to write the first official draft of the manuscript. With all the notes I’ve taken, it should get off to a solid start! I’m very excited about this book. It’s fun and fresh, and will take the series in a new direction.

So here’s where I stand, friends! I took a break from writing the children’s books this summer because I needed to focus on my three kids and my dad’s lung transplant. This fall, I intend to open those children’s books back up. My goal is to spend a good chunk of time editing books one, two and possibly three with fresh eyes. I also need to write a first draft of book four as long as it’s clear in my mind! After that, I’m going to begin writing the book proposal for the series. A book proposal is a formal document that outlines all the details about the book you’re proposing to write and the audience for whom it’s intended. For children’s book proposals, you must also include the full manuscript of your book, which is why I’ve been working on those so hard! The hope is that someday I will pitch the children’s series to a literary agent, acquisitions editor and/or publisher for consideration.

There is never, ever a guarantee when it comes to getting published. But at this point, I just need to keep moving towards the dream that’s been in my heart for 13 1/2 years! I’m committed to doing my part and determined to make a meaningful difference through the lasting legacy of a book.

Here’s where you come in, mama! I need your help. I dreamed up this children’s book series and wrote books one, two and three with YOU in mind. But before I open those books back up and dive into the next round of heavy work, I want to hear from you!

After all, this series is for you AND your daughters. I want to know who you are. What are your struggles as a woman and a mom? What dreams do you have for your daughter? What dreams do you have for your own life? How else can I KNOW you so I can write FOR you?

The more I know about you, the better I’ll be able to tailor my writing to meet your deepest needs. The more I know about you, the better I’ll be able to touch your heart in a way that’s sweet and tender, bold and beautiful. The more I know about you, the better I’ll be able to write books that meet the developmental needs of your daughter while ALSO meeting your needs as a mama. The more I know about you, the more likely these books will actually land in your home and hands someday.

With all of that in mind, I’d be so honored if you could take a few minutes out of your busy day to complete a survey for me. If you’re a mom of a girl ages 2-9, you’re QUALIFIED to take the survey! Biological mom, adoptive mom, stepmom, foster mom, you ALL qualify as long as you’re mom to a daughter! The survey is 14 questions and completely confidential. I’m hoping for a lot of responses to ensure I get the most accurate picture possible of WHO my readers are as WOMEN, and WHO my readers are as MOMS.

Click the link below to take the survey! Make sure to answer all the way to the end, as each question has been included for a reason. Submit your survey when you’re done! Then please share this blog post with friends who have daughters so they can take the survey and share their perspectives, too!


I’m excited and honored to invite you on this journey. Thank you so much for your time, and for all you do as a mom and woman to make this world a more beautiful place.


It’s been a bit breezier here this week. A slight chill is in the air. Fall’s just around the corner. The annuals are looking worn and torn from the dry, summer heat. Our garden is still vibrant for late August, but plenty of plants are overgrown, beyond bloom, and in need of a hearty prune. The kids have their school supplies. My youngest received a letter from her preschool teacher. Nine days from now, we’ll be operating on a September budget, which will include hot lunches, cold lunches, field trips, and more school clothes and shoes. Yes, we’re in the final days of summer now. I can feel it. I can sense it. I know it in my bones.

When I looked through my photographs from the summer this past weekend, it alerted me that I hadn’t taken nearly enough summer photos of my children. Having taken photographs obsessively since I was 10 years old, there’s a certain threshold in my mind as far as when an occasion has been properly marked or NOT marked with photographs. This summer has NOT been standard by any means, nor has it been properly marked with photographs. This summer’s photographs show a lack of routine, instability, inconsistency paired with utter craziness. Where are the beach photos? Where are the sidewalk chalk photos? Where are the “I love gardening” photos? Where are the fun summer stuff photos? Where are the easy, breezy, airy photographs of kids without a care in the world?

If there’s one thing I’m reliably good for under any circumstance, it’s a photograph. I have my camera with me most all the time, only this summer was a little (lot) crazier than normal, a little (lot) more out-of-routine than normal. My photos reflected what was happening, but they didn’t necessarily reflect what I wanted my children to remember as they paged through the photo albums I need to catch up on someday soon. (Yes, I’m 4 1/2 years behind on those photo albums!)

This morning, two of my children played with a Fisher Price doll house while the third spent an hour or more organizing her school supplies and getting them packed in her backpack. It was a poignant moment, for sure, one that brought tears to my eyes when I stopped long enough to look.

Summer and school.



I love summer. It’s my favorite season by a landslide. I’m quick to admit to my husband (and hesitant to admit publicly) that I don’t love summer quite as much when it comes to being a mom. I’m torn. I don’t know. I love summer with kids. And I don’t love summer with kids. Part of me longs to treasure this time, these days with my kids while they’re little and somewhat-still little because I know there won’t be many more. But part of me sees the kids bored, longing for friends and routine, stimulation and more interesting things than me and my not-so-fun mom ideas. I’m the kind of mom who’d fully embrace a year-round school schedule with more frequent 2-3 week breaks throughout the year. I’m the kind of mom who’d thrive in a hot, dusty village with kids chasing balls, and moms gathering greens and cooking all day.

Yeah, I diverted a bit. Back on track now. Sorry about that!

So when I teared up over one kid organizing school supplies and two kids playing doll house, I knew I needed to do MORE to wrap up summer good and tidy in my tender heart.

This is the ONLY summer my children will be 4, 11 and 13 years old. There’s no getting this summer back. And it’s not lost on me that five years from now, my oldest will be IN college.



Sometimes this season of littles everywhere feels like forever. But it isn’t long.

I told the kids we were going to do some special things these last two weeks of summer. Some simple summer things. A day at the park. A day at the beach. A picnic. More time outside. Maybe ice cream one random afternoon. I don’t know.

So yes! The plan for today was picnic at the park, a special park we hadn’t gone to this summer. Because sometimes the simplest things in life are the best things.

I loaded the three kids in the car + 1 friend for my daughter. Heck, a good summer day’s never complete unless my oldest daughter brings a friend.

We drove 25 minutes to grab a bag full of sub sandwiches. Then we drove another 5 minutes to the biggest, grandest, most modern park in the area. We ate our subs and chomped on chips at a picnic table, and the kids played their hearts out for an hour, maybe more.

I followed the kids around the playground like only a good mom would, and carried my camera around like only a photographer would. Kids climbed ladders, spun in circles, glided across zip lines, spun in virtual spider webs, and hopped on giant ladybugs. Moms, nannies, child care providers and day camp leaders watched and followed children casually. It felt good. It felt right. It felt like summer. The kids were being kids. And I was being a mom. Just a mom. In summer.

There wasn’t anything glorious, super special or incredibly poignant about that picnic and trip to the park, but it was exactly what we needed.

A little more summer before school starts.

A few more photos to properly mark the occasion, “The Summer of 2016.” 

A few more moments together before those routines start back up again.






The 13 3/4 year old was the first to say he was ready to go.

The 11-year-old girls followed suit 10 minutes later. “We’re bored. We wanna go home now.”

The 4 year old was much more hesitant to leave the park. “NO! I wanna play more!” But after a while, she was ready to go home, too.

Nobody argued.

Nobody fought.

Everybody ready in their own due time.

As we left the park, my son even said “Thanks for bringing us to the park and getting us lunch, mom.”

This afternoon, he played XBox live with friends and is now outside playing with a neighbor boy. My 11-year-old daughter is playing with her friend. And our neighbor girl just rang the doorbell, asking if my 4-year-old daughter could come out and play. The doll house is out on the porch. There’s an empty water bottle blowing across the driveway. A bunch of boys played football in the neighbor’s yard. A little one rode by on his bike, another on a Hot Wheels. And that little neighbor girl who rang the doorbell? She called me “Maisie’s mother” and asked if I could raise my daughter’s bike seat.

It’s summer here for now.


The days are long.

The days are getting shorter.

Can she use my bathroom “really quick?” Can they play water guns on my driveway? Can he balance on the retaining wall running through our garden? Can he ride her bike? Can she hang on your porch? Can they scream, shout and fight? Can they eat an applesauce from our pantry or a popsicle from the neighbor boy?

Yes. It’s summer.

School’s soon enough.

Do whatever you need to do to wrap up summer good and tidy in your tender heart.



I brought my girls and a friend to the beach yesterday, and happened to plop myself in front of a group of three moms and their kids. Clearly, they knew each other and had the afternoon planned well in advance. Based on the conversation I overheard and behavior I observed (one of the moms took 20 minutes to test her daughter on time tables), I deduced that these three were homeschooling moms.

“Sorry, you get a front row seat to all of this,” said one of the moms after lots of kiddo action transpired three feet from my beach towel.

“No worries,” I said. “I have another one at home who’d typically be adding to our chaos if he was here, so I totally understand. No problem at all.”

“How old is your son?,” she asked.

“13,” I replied.

“So you know way more than we do,” she said.

“Well, looks like two of yours are boys, so you’re quite experienced as well,” I added.

And that was it.

That was my interaction with ONE of those THREE moms.

After that brief interchange, we went about our own business. She continued conversing with the two moms. I continued chilling on my beach towel, watching my two girls and a friend play in the water.


I’ve been a mom for nearly 14 years now.

In the first 12 years of motherhood, I experienced the whole realm of working motherhood. I worked FULL-TIME, FOUR days a week, THREE days a week, TWO days a week, and ONE day a week at some point or another during those 12 years. All things considered, two and three days a week seemed to be the best fit for me.

But then I was called to step away from my work as a speech-language therapist to pursue writing and photography. In order to make a real run at writing and photography, I KNEW I needed to stop my therapy work entirely. So for the past 18 months, I’ve lived this very ODD life of being a full-time stay-at-home mom AND a mom who’s trying to launch two work-at-home careers.

Let me tell you, I’ve learned a great deal about stay-at-home moms during these past 18 months. More than I ever thought I’d learn. More than I ever cared to learn. Enough to give me a TRUE perspective on what it’s really like to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.

First of all, staying at home full-time in America is NOT a cake walk. For the most part, it is NOT valued by our capitalistic, work-centered culture. I don’t know the statistics and no need to go into the details, but everyone knows that the majority of modern-day moms work outside the home in some capacity. And most of the moms who stay home full-time have children on the younger side. So if you’re a mom of children of mixed ages like me (13, 11 & 4), the whole stay-at-home mom situation gets even more awkward and makes you even more of a rare bird.

In America, if you’re not actively making money, you’re not as valued. We like to believe we value full-time stay at home moms, but to be honest, now that I’ve experienced full-time stay-at-home motherhood, I’m not sure we do.

In America, if you can’t answer the question “What do you do?” with a real, active job title, you’re up a creek. “You stay at home full-time? Oh.” (Awkward pause. Person doesn’t know what to say. Person wonders what you DO with your day. Person wonders WHY you have an education but you’re not using it. Person wonders WHY you have solid experience in the workforce and aren’t “working” anymore. Think I’m making this up? No way. It’s humiliating and humbling.)

In our neighborhood, streets are pretty much EMPTY during the daytime. I’d go so far to say that our neighborhood streets are pretty much EMPTY during the daytime, even in the summer. When I’m home alone with my daughter during the day and she wants to play with kids, I can’t guarantee even ONE child will be available in the neighborhood. Maybe yes? Probably no. Let’s just say this…I’ve resorted to texting the neighborhood daycare lady so we can meet at the neighborhood park once in a while.

In America, if you’re a highly educated woman who’s staying home full-time with her children, you have days where you feel incredibly vulnerable. Is this really the right choice for me and my children? Am I wasting my college degree? Are my children really better off with me at home, or would they be better off at daycare or day camp where all the other children are having fun socializing and doing fun kid stuff together all day? Honestly, most of the time, I’m not really sure.


I’m new to this staying at home space, and won’t be here much longer. Only 14 months of staying home full-time before all three of my children are in school full-time. Once they’re all in school full-time, I’ll be focusing solely on writing and photography and other related PAID and UNPAID endeavors during the daytime hours. So honestly, I’m not really seeking long-term answers for myself. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have experienced stay-at-home motherhood, and when I look back at this time of my life, I know I’ll never regret it.

But here’s the thing.

Many days, I wish I could step outside to a village full of moms and children doing this motherhood and childhood thing together. The moms would chat about all the things that matter and don’t matter. Perhaps they’d begin dinner preparations together, or enjoy lunch together. The children would run, play and entertain themselves. There’d never be a shortage of kids, because staying at home to raise the children would be the norm. You’d always know that if you stepped outside, the village would be waiting. Kids here. Moms there. Support everywhere. People who understood your stay-at-home mom lifestyle everywhere. (I’m unrealistically optimistic, okay? I fully realize I’m not in Africa anymore.)


Since we don’t live in villages in America, it’s imperative that we not only embrace, but adopt and whole-heartedly support secret societies of stay-at-home moms that are already in existence.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms at the gym.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms at Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) groups.

Secret societies of stay-at-home homeschooling moms.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms doing playdates together.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms at the maze on Monday, toddler Tuesday at the mall, the park reserve on Wednesday, swimming at the pool on Thursday, and the zoo on Friday.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms who bring meals to one another when life gets crazy.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms who can lend a hand for an hour or two when you just can’t do this anymore.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms who get it, who understand it, who can say “yep, been there, done that, I totally get it!”

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms who can love and support and care for one another in the best and worst of times.

Secret societies of stay-at-home moms who do life together, who honor one another’s hard, hard work, who understand that this lifestyle has value and worth beyond measure.




I think I was sitting behind a secret society of stay-at-home homeschooling moms yesterday at the beach. Good for them! I’m grateful they have a space to joke “We need to go to counseling together,” and “I get so agitated with her dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD.” I’m grateful that one of those moms felt comfortable enough around the other moms to scold her child “Stop kicking that sand, move away, it’s getting in our faces!” and NOT feel like a “terrible mom.” I’m grateful they were able to eat lunch together and chat while their children played in the sand. I’m grateful they had an opportunity to feel supported and loved and cared for. I’m grateful they created this secret society for themselves.

Stay-at-home moms. Rise above the mainstream. Keep up those secret societies! Build them. Support them. Nurture them. Invite other moms to them. Never, ever forget that America’s in desperate need of secret stay-at-home societies. Never, ever forget that moms are in desperate need of secret stay-at-home societies.

If staying at home full-time has value and we want it to be more highly valued in the United States of America, we MUST find a way to support our stay-at-home moms and children.

Secret Societies of Stay-at-Home Moms.

They’re a solution to an epidemic of a problem.

Moms and children need support. Moms and children need community. Moms and children need love. Moms and children need to know they’re not going crazy. Moms and children need to know they’re making good choices for their family.


End of story.



It’s a joy to introduce you to Disa who’s sharing her unique journey to and through motherhood as part of our month-long guest post series, Special Mamas. Disa and I went to college together. We attended the same campus church, were student deacons together, and I’m sure we had some overlap of coursework as she was majoring in education and I was majoring in speech-language pathology. Disa is now a mom of FIVE, including a set of QUADRUPLETS! Today, she’s sharing the hidden blessings she’s found as a mama of quads. I think you’ll find her post interesting, enjoyable and easy to read. And yeah, there are a bunch of super cute big brother + quadruplets photos you won’t want to miss! Please extend a warm welcome to Disa.


As anyone will tell you, being a Mom is a blessing in so many ways. For the past six to seven years especially, I have been spending many days thinking about the hidden blessings that have occurred in my life. For me, some are very evident, and some took me a while to realize the blessing God was busy creating for me.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother of a nine-year-old son, six-year-old daughter and THREE six-year-old sons (QUADRUPLETS). I am a planner and organizer, and until the end of August I had been a stay at home mom for the past five years. Now I am back to work teaching 4th grade. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t think I could ever be a full-time stay at home mom, but I loved that a teacher offered some stay at home mom opportunities for me. I knew I wanted this long before I went to college or was even close to becoming a mom. I also knew I wanted more than two kids; four kids was what I thought would be perfect. 25+ years later, I am back to teaching again after being a stay at home mom for the past five years to care for my busy family. (I got my four children, just a little different from how I thought or planned!)



Finding out we were pregnant with quadruplets was an extreme shock and took us forever to fully grasp, maybe it still hasn’t sunk in. We knew having four babies at once was a HUGE blessing but seeing all of the blessings it would offer is still coming into view for us. Upon finding out this news, we were struck with worry. How would this affect our then three-year-old son? How would we financially handle this? How would we fit four more children in our modest three-bedroom home? How can we handle four babies, a three year old, and still have some form of a life without living close to any family? How would all of this affect us mentally and emotionally?


Our nearest family members were three plus hours away. We thought for sure we would need to be moving closer to family, but the thought of trying to sell and move while pregnant was too much for us. From the instant we told our families the news, they were by our sides. They made extra trips to visit, took care of our son, found extra baby things we would need, and prayed. They are family, we knew we could count on them regardless of the distance.

Early on in my pregnancy, I remember a good friend of mine coming and offering to help me in the classroom once a week right after she was done volunteering in her daughter’s classroom. My first instinct was to say no, but I distinctly remember a voice saying to me, you need to say yes, you are going to need a lot more help in the next few years, you better start saying yes now.



At school, my coworkers were amazing. Once they found out I needed to rest as much as possible, but needed to work as long as possible too, they started doing little things like walking my students to lunch and other places so I wouldn’t have to. They also started preparing food for me and my family twice a week starting in December and continued to bring dinners to us until the end of May. It was amazing to not have to worry so much about food and grocery shopping.

A good friend from church started a list of people in church who would be available to help when the babies come home from the hospital. For at least the first two years, I had helpers come spend time with us. It allowed me time to run errands, spend time with our older son uninterrupted, and just give me a break to save my sanity. Little did we know this would create some incredible bonds for all of us. Because of the connections we have made in the past six years, we have rooted ourselves in our community. We have gained some wonderful “extended” family. One of our helpers lost her 50-year-old son to an accident just before our babies were born. The time she was able to help hold and play with the babies was healing for her too. We are still close with all of them and they are still available to help when needed.

We knew I would need to stay home with the kids for several years, so now we are significantly cutting our income and more than doubling our family. Also, remember I thought I wasn’t cut out to be a stay at home mom, full time anyway. But, amongst this struggle we knew we needed to do something different. Our three-year-old son was really having a difficult time going to daycare the weeks and months before we found out we were pregnant with quads. We knew we needed to make some type of change, but we were not sure what that would be. In reality, I don’t think I would have ever considered staying at home with my children if I had only been pregnant with one baby that time around either. Funny how God works in these situations.






The more I stayed home with the kids, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it. I was there for all the little things. I remember calling my husband on more than one occasion to thank him for working so hard, so that I could stay home and be there for the little things. Like the few times my son forgot his tennis shoes and he didn’t want to miss gym as it was his favorite class. I was there to get them to him. I was able to make myself available to volunteer in his classroom every week. I was available for the little programs and events in the class. I could stay home to take care of sick kids without having to worry about missing work. I had the time to bake and cook for my family. We had time to do little projects, play games, just let the kids be kids and stay in their warm winter pajamas all day long as we weren’t going anywhere and it sure felt good on a cold winter day. I was able to get involved in our local MOPS group and meet other Mothers of Preschoolers. Being it was difficult to leave the house with five kids, I was able to have moms over for coffee and playdates. Connections I was able to make because I was at home. I didn’t realize these little things were so important to me, but as I stayed home I began to realize how much I liked doing all of those little things.

If there is any suggestion I can offer to mommas regardless of the number of children you have, remember: there can be hidden blessings in everyday life, just be open to watching for them and willing to say yes to any help that is offered to you. Above all, have faith. God will provide in ways you may not be ready to see yet. I am still working on this daily.





SpecialMamas2016_smallThis post is part of a month-long guest post series titled Special Mamas. The series runs all May and is in honor of moms who have unique journeys to and through motherhood. To read all 10 posts in the Special Mamas series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the introductory post. There, you’ll find all guest posts listed and linked for easy reading!

It’s a joy to introduce you to Caroline who’s sharing her unique journey through infertility as part of our month-long guest post series, Special Mamas. Caroline is not a mama yet, but I can assure you she’s on her way to becoming one! Caroline and her husband, Mike, tried for years, met with fertility specialists, tried infertility treatments, and experienced more than one miscarriage. It’s been one roller coaster of a very long journey. Caroline and Mike have now decided to grow their family through adoption. Caroline’s words are thought provoking and heart warming, and prove that if we’re able to look beyond our circumstances, God is faithful to weave a beautiful story through our lives. Caroline is a very special woman, and will undoubtedly be one very special mama. Please extend a warm welcome to Caroline and her husband, Mike. (And be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post so you can follow their adoption Facebook page!)


Our story began in graduate school. We dated for a year and married six months later. During our engagement, we chatted about our future plans as a couple – what we wanted our family to look like, where we might live, etc. We were both pretty independent and wanted to have a solid foundation of at least two years of marriage before growing our family. We agreed that at least three children would be nice and that a warmer climate, like here in Virginia was ideal. The two year mark came and went – after another couple years it was time to face the facts, we needed to get some help. I remember the first appointment with the fertility specialist. Wow. That was something.  The doctor asked us, “Why do you think you are here?” As we began to share about the challenges we faced trying to conceive, he interrupted us by stating, “You are here because you are infertile and you want me to help you have a baby.” That was the first time we were told we are infertile. It was a hard diagnosis to stomach. At the time I was working for an adoption agency and was very familiar with “unexplained infertility.” It seemed to be the diagnosis for many whose adoption journey began with infertility. Although I was familiar with it, I never thought it would be something that we would have to deal with.

It was somewhat of a relief to get the ball rolling and start the testing process to better understand our “unexplained infertility.” The testing revealed some minor deficiencies that were easily corrected and we felt optimistic moving forward with medications and IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) procedures. We attempted several IUIs, all unsuccessful. We decided to take a break from infertility treatments and went to California to connect with good friends – time to relax. To our surprise, I became pregnant shortly thereafter.  I was in complete disbelief (I think I took about four tests to make sure each indicated a positive result). We were so excited, but a little skeptical because it had been so long and we weren’t sure what to expect. We only told close immediate family members because we were so early in the pregnancy. Since I was a high risk pregnancy situation, they asked me to get blood drawn every other day. Unfortunately my hCG levels began to drop and they indicated I should expect a miscarriage. I remember the day well. I was at work in the middle of typing up an adoptive home study when my phone rang. It was the nurse who told me the news. I don’t believe I ever felt such instant, gut wrenching grief. I instantly began to weep. My colleague heard me and approached my office. I could not even speak or communicate I just continued to sob. I called Mike and tried to get out the words and eventually did. He was calm and collected, but also very disappointed. One minute we were on cloud nine and the next we were in complete despair. How was this possible and where was God?

We decided to take a break and grieve and process before moving forward with an IUI procedure as previously planned. There were days we felt sadness, other days we felt anger, and some days we distracted ourselves in an effort to not feel. Thankfully, we are both trained clinicians and held each other accountable to communicate and deal with the loss and grief individually and together as a couple. Many conversations and prayers later, we felt it was a good time to move forward again. The IUIs and medications began and continued, to no avail. Each unsuccessful attempt began with a glimpse of hope and ended with many questions, doubts, and frustrations. It had been about five years of trying now and not only had I become older, but my body had taken a toll from all the medications and procedures. I was emotionally and physically worn out. So again, we decided to take a break from actively trying.



One day, I was reading Facebook and an ad popped up on the screen that indicated the early signs of pregnancy. Most days I would roll my eyes and ignore it, but for some reason, I opened the link. My cycle was a bit atypical so I thought maybe there is a possibility that I could be pregnant given I experienced some of the minor symptoms the article described. Sure enough, the pregnancy test was positive. I was in complete disbelief. How could this be? I wasn’t on any medications nor had we sought any treatment that month. I called my sister to share the news and my doubts that it was accurate. She suggested I get another test. I took four more tests and all indicated I was pregnant. I didn’t know whether to feel excited or to brace for grief. I shared the news with Mike who responded very excitedly, which was not typical of his personality. He is usually very relaxed and laid back, but he was overjoyed. We called the doctor and again went through blood testing. It was interesting timing given we were headed to a family beach vacation the following week. My hCG levels were increasing. I was so grateful. Then came the third test – the levels had dropped. We knew what to expect and it could not have been worse timing given the planned vacation. I was disappointed, but I think in the back of my mind, I had doubts from the beginning and thought it may end as the previous pregnancy – in a miscarriage. Mike, on the other hand, felt immense grief and sobbed. This was the first time I had seen him really grieve on a deep level. It was awful. We felt completely helpless. 

Soon after, Mike brought up the option of growing our family through adoption. I was ecstatic! Adoption has always been on my heart. At a young age, I watched the commercials for child sponsorship and would dream about adopting one day. During high school and college, I nannied for two children who were adopted. After graduate school, I worked with adoptive, expectant, and birth parents through my work as an adoption specialist. Adoption has always been an important part of my life. Although this was something Mike and I chatted about early on in our relationship, I knew first-hand the importance of both Mike and I approaching adoption as a viable option together. Mike’s suggestion was confirmation we were both ready to begin the adoption journey.

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We were drawn to the beauty of adoption because it reflects the acceptance we both feel through the Gospel. However, the emotional cost associated with beginning a new journey came with new uncertainties. It came in waves, questioning if we had set out on another path with no answers – would we ever complete our family? We had many conversations together and with friends and family about our anxieties. So many prayers. It felt like we were leaving something we knew – albeit something that was unsuccessful – and venturing into new ground. God has been faithful to remind us of his goodness regardless of the outcome. We are excited and hopeful that at the right time God will bless us in the way He sees fit.

We wanted to share this story not as a therapy session for ourselves (maybe a little), but to hopefully help someone else feel normal. One of the challenging things during this process has been feeling “different” – having to deflect questions about why you don’t have any kids but you’ve been married for 8 years. It can play on your mind and lead to some untrue conclusions about your purpose. We hope that through our story we can help expose some lies about what it means to be “infertile” and offer hope that God is good regardless of that diagnosis.

We have created Facebook and Instagram pages to document our journey and help spread the word. If you or someone you know is considering adoption please message or email us with any questions or comments.





SpecialMamas2016_smallThis post is part of a month-long guest post series titled Special Mamas. The series runs all May and is in honor of moms who have unique journeys to and through motherhood. To read all 10 posts in the Special Mamas series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the introductory post. There, you’ll find all guest posts listed and linked for easy reading!

  1. Nedra Henline says:

    Miscarriage is an emotional journey, but having loss in a relationship seems to strengthen what you have in your partnership. I’ll be praying for a smooth adoption. Your son or daughter will be lucky to have loving parents. I always tell our two oldest boys that we got to choose them because God wanted us to have them- and that’s just as special as carrying them.

  2. Emily Kirtz Hoffman says:

    Thank you for pouring your heart out and telling your story. Truly incredible, and I have no doubt your story will help others! I am excited for what God is going to do for you and Mike through adoption. I will be praying for you guys during this journey!

  3. Ann Popovich says:

    God spoke to us thru His prophet, Jeremiah telling us He has a plan for us and a future…to give us hope. Knowing that He placed adoption on your heart and that He controls the outcome will keep your hearts and minds at peace. Praying for His direction to be clear to you both and that His blessing of children comes QUICK!❤️ We are thrilled for you and so look forward to all the He will do in your lives! Love, Ann

  4. Debbie Mittmann says:

    Oh Caroline. Thank you so much for sharing your and Mikes journey of so much loss and grief. Now to help so many others and too letting us be a part of your lives with adoption. We are excited for you and will be praying for the children our Lord has for you. We love them already!!!! Love you both❤️Deb and Harold too❤️

  5. Jackie Lederman Suderman says:

    Your story is and will continue to be such a gift! You are amazing people and I am thrilled that you are allowing us to be on this journey with you!

  6. Francine Danno says:


  7. Cathy Coggins says:

    I have 3 adopted children, all are adults now. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 15 and knew there was little chance of me ever being able to conceive. I am so grateful for my 3 gifts from God, He knew best and each one is a special gift of God.

  8. Lynn Ainsworth says:

    We weep and rejoice with you. The child you afopt will be blessed indeed!

  9. Brenda Scott Devine says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! Someone will be blessed by it and know that they can still be a mother even though they can’t carry a baby. God bless you and your husband.

  10. Caroline says:

    Thank you Nikki!! We appreciate your prayers!

  11. Nikki Bobda says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and for being so transparent. God bless you! I’m praying for everything to work out for you in God’s perfect timing.

  12. Carol Femling says:

    What a beautiful story!! I am Matt Hjelmhaug’s aunt and Amy’s mom. I’ve heard your name many times from Bobbi, but I never realized that all of this had happened. You and your husband will be amazing parents and I know that God has special plans for you!! My heart is with you in this new journey. I have many friends that have adopted children and it has turned out to be a complete JOY for them. Wishing you every possibility for a “baby” to call your own. It really will be a special gift from God! Bless you! Hugs!! ❤️❤️+ ❤️

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