Butterflies

The butterflies he  gives me turned to tiny feet.

We are pregnant!

13 weeks

 

.Baby pics

 

 

Baby pics1Baby pics5

Baby pics8Baby pics7Baby pics2

 

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What Is A Heart Baby?

 

A heart baby is a baby an adoptive mom prays for while she waits, wanders and loves baby even before they meet. Just as a biological baby grows in their tummy, her love for baby grows. 

When we choose to be parents of any sort biological or adoptive we are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position. Our hearts are on the line for as long as we step into the realm of parenthood. I have dragged my feet for fear of my heart being shattered. I know grief. But I also know love. 

Beginning our adoption journey my mind has been filled with questions. What will she be like?

Who will she become?

Will she choose to love the Lord?

I peak in the nursery as my mind wanders.

This is her growing in my heart. 

She is my heart baby. I don’t know her. But as we wait we pray. 

Some babies grow in mommies tummies and some grow in mommies hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adoption Is Plan A

 For us adoption is plan A. It is not us choosing it as a second resort.  Regardless of having biological kids or adopting they are both a blessing. These are children and lives we are talking about, neither hold higher value because they are coming to us differently.  

Even if we have biological children, adoption is still a hope for us. 

Not many understand why adoption is plan A for us. But the world doesn’t have to understand. In the hurt of this world it is hard to recognize God’s love for us and why adoption is beautiful thing. 

Even before Peter and I were dating he knew that I had a desire to adopt someday.  So we started our marriage off with our dream to adopt.

We did not start doing foster care to join in with the government system and support the way they house hop children. We started with intentions with a hope to adopt and get out. After doing respite for six children now we know we do not want to stay in the system very long. But we will stay as long as it takes until we get our girls. 

Thank you all who are praying and supporting us on our journey. 

 

 

My Child Is Not A Gossip Session

It does not surprise me when people ask what is the story behind each baby we get in our home. But it still irritates me when they ask. Knowing their stories isn’t going to benefit them in any way and it is not ours to share to begin with. 

Conversations usually start like this: 

Them: “Do you know anything about the child’s background?”

Us: “Yes we do and we keep it private. Knowing it helps us meet the child’s specific needs.”

Or 

Them: “Did the mom do drugs?”

Us: “We keep all our babies story private.”

Or

Them: “What’s the story on mom and dad?”

Us: “We are not aloud to share that.”

 

The questions usually stop coming after that.

 Every baby we get in our home has their own story and it is theirs to share not ours.

As an adoptee I can tell you not every adoptee is comfortable with sharing their story. It’s a matter that reaches people to the core. The only one who knows my story is my husband. Over time I have shared bits on this blog  and with others only if I see it as an opportunity to share Christ. But it took me about twenty years to get to that place. I would be horrified if people talked about my story as if it was a gossip session. 

Because it’s not!  

The matter is so private and close to the heart that even after we adopt (the hope) we will keep the story between us and our children. We do not mind curiosity from others. We see it as an opportunity to share our journey and teach people about foster care and our mission, but not their personal story. 

 

 

Let Me Make Mistakes

Dear Judging Mamas,

When did it become a society where we police each other in parenting? Where we feel the need to voice our opinion on our parenting style on other moms. To think that its right or “helpful”. When in reality it’s hurtful.

The thing is I am going to make mistakes being a mom, and you have made them too.

Every mom has their own style and their own reasons for parenting the way they feel is best for their child. Peter and I have began our foster care journey  and I have gotten plenty of unnecessary advice and questioning as to why we are not pregnant instead. To these women we are not doing things the way they would do it so it is considered wrong. These are the women who have the “perfect children” with the perfect picture lives. 

 Believe me “perfect moms” I will forget things. 

I will be late. 

And I will lose things too. 

Not on purpose. 

But because just like you I am learning and growing just as you were. Mistakes will happen and that is part of the process. I refuse to be caught up in the lies society tells us. I refuse to carry a blanket of guilt on myself for every mistake I make. Parenting is hard and takes time to adapt to as both you and the child grows.

Instead of using our lazer judging eyes lets bring the unite in motherhood meaning to life. Lets give  an extra diaper to the mama who is down to their last. Lets pass the sunscreen. Bring a coffee to a friend who is just having one of those days.

Because lets face it…..

We have all forgotten.

We have all spilled.

We have all let our emotions get the best of us.

We have all made or will make mistakes on the journey of motherhood. 

Our Christmas Letter 2017

Where to begin….2017 was filled with many unpredictable events. 

This year we learned a lot about God’s provision and how we can have joy in every circumstance. 

-February: we got our little pet bunny, Duke. He was my Valentines day gift. 

 -May: we decided to slowly begin our adoption journey through foster care. 

-June: we had another huge success in blessing Samiton with the Ultimate Frisbee tournament. 

-The Summer was filled with a fun trip to Minnesota and Kauai for our second anniversary. We were also able to take a Montana trip in the Spring and a Pullman trip in the Fall. 

-This fall we are beginning our second year of Bible school,  continuing in the youth ministry and Peter is doing drums on Sundays.

-October: we had a fun time setting up the Trunk or Treat event together, blessing the community for Halloween. 

-December: was the fifth year of Christmas Project Hope. 

-We are ending the year off with taking in little blessings whenever the foster care system needs us. Peter is continuing his job as a welder at the shipyard and I have opened my schedule to full-time ministry and nannying for Norah. 

When the year began we never expected our year to unfold like this. But through it all we have fallen more in love with each other and the Lord. 

Merry Christmas, and many Blessings to you from the both of us,

Peter and Mihaela Echols 

Little Feet At 4 a.m.

 

It’s four in the morning. You hear the little feet heading to your bedroom, or the cry for you.

Mama you are safe.

You are hero.

You are home not matter where your located.

Some dread the middle of the night cries. Very few are eager to get up. When my sister was a baby my mom said this. “I don’t mind getting up for your sister in the middle of the night. If I could I would have for all of my children who I couldn’t go to. ” Being adopted at an older age no one came for my cries. 

She gave me a perspective that I wish many would have. It is a blessing to adopt, to do foster care, to give birth, and be a mom someday. Children are a blessing not a nuisance. Our lives are changed but not ruined. 

Many women have “warned” me that when Peter and I start getting babies 

Saying things like: “Enjoy your sleep now” or “your going to be so cranky” or “good luck because your going to hate it.” 

I respond shaking my head saying ” You make it sound so bad.” 

First of all shame on you. Simple fact: babies cry. They need you. The specific babies we are getting don’t know I am safe. So yes they may cry longer and harder then most. Why? Because they don’t know that I am safe, and I too can be hero and home. Snuggles are foreign to them. As I rock  my bunny in our nursery I say a prayer for all the children who do not have safe arms to rock them back to sleep. 

Mamas I encourage you in the lack of sleep to cherish the moments. 

Hug a little longer. 

Count it as a blessing. 

They don’t stay this small forever. 

 

 

How Our First Placement Went

After getting back from vacation we unpack and settle. The phone goes off.

“Would you like to take a placement for a three year old girl?”

My mind spins. The plan was babies. But this felt right. 

I look at Peter he says “yes.”

Without much more to say I say “Yes” We knew nothing about her. 

The next day arrives. I did not know what to expect. When it comes to pick up or children I don’t have expectations. I just go with the flow of the day and stay in prayer. I pray I can be mindful of what’s going on with the child and that we can be in tune with behaviors and how we can react in a way that will benefit them the most. 

I pick her up. She came with me just fine. No fear, just said hi and jumped in my car. 

She was very good with Duke “Brown Bunny goes hop hop” she squeals. 

I was told she was active so I took her to Ahoy Kitsap play area where she could climb and run. I saw her shut down after about ten minutes of playing. I knew it was finally sinking in for her. She is not with mommy. Although, she called me mommy through out the day children know. I gave her space. Letting her process. Asked her if she wanted to play or go back to Miss Hyla’s. Angrily she runs away. So I continued to give her space. Then I set a 10 min timer told her she can do what she wants for 10 min. and then we go.  Transition went really well. She sat on a bench. Looked at me. Smiled and played some more.  By the end of the night she was sitting in my lap reading stories with me.  

me and ARianna for blog
Me reading to her. Sitting on the floor giving her space. Before she warmed up to me.

 

You see with foster care it’s about their emotions and us being flexible. It’s not that she didn’t like me. It’s the reality of me not being a familiar face. Each child is different. This isn’t us impressing our parenting styles on them It is us simply showing them God’s love. 

 

Shedding Light On A Dark Holiday

Trunk or Treat is one way to shed a little light on a holiday that has been called evil and unsafe. In the world we live in we never know what people are putting in our children’s candy. We see it as an opportunity to shine. Our church, West Sound Community Church wanted to create a fun and safe night for families on Halloween. Every year we get together in a parking lot and decorate the trunks of our vehicles and dress up to match the theme of it. We also joined with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and staff from Community Family Service Foundation. 

We were able to bless many kids and foster families. The smiles on every ones faces is why we do this. We want to show the community that the body of Christ cares and wants to go above and beyond to show Christs love. 

 

Hunter and Deer

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Mathew 5:14-16 

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before all men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Our Preference For Ethnicity

When we were in the beginning process for foster care there was a stack of paper work asking us specific questions to select what would be a good fit for us. We came across a question that made me wonder why are people specific on what the child would look like? 

The question asked:

“Do you have a preference for ethnicity?”

We looked at one another confused. Ethnicity never came across our minds. Things like behaviors, age, needs made sense to us, but ethnicity didn’t make sense. Curious, I asked our Home Study worker why some are specific on what the child will look like. She said some want their kids to look like their bio kids so people don’t ask questions. When anyone is doing foster care or adopting the crazy questions are apart of the journey. Having them look like you is a small way to avoid it which still becomes unavoidable. The child will still be different from your birth children, because they are. Being an adoptee myself I already know I’m different from parents. I know I look like my birthdad. Looking like my parents isn’t going to change the fact that I am adopted and struggled with what other adopted kids  have struggled with too. Our kid isn’t going to look like us and that is ok. It doesn’t make them less our child. 

 

I recall an old Sunday school song Jesus Loves The Little Children  as I write. 

“Red and Yellow Black and White they are precious in his sight” (tweet)

It says. Ethnicity doesn’t hold value. At the end of the day no matter our hair, skin, eyes, height, weight, or story Jesus loves the little Children.