The Good (BAD) Dinosaur

Warning: Major spoiler alerts included in this post! If you don't want to know the ending to The Good Dinosaur (oh wait, if you're over the age of 16 you probably already know how it ends), then don't read on. 

Once again, Disney and Pixar have created a (fantastic) movie with an all too familiar theme. 

About a year and a half ago, Brian and I realized that almost every good kids movie had one thing in common: an orphan. If you have already come to that epiphany, you're many steps ahead of us. It seemed like we couldn't rent or watch a movie with our Little Lady without her being thrust into the plot of a little girl who was lost in a scary world without her parents. 

I'm not just referring to the obvious ones like Annie...if you start looking for it in kids movies, you'll see it everywhere. It makes sense - the best way to pull at a kids' heartstrings is to help them imagine their worst fear - losing a parent, or worse, both of their parents. 

The Good Dinosaur follows the journey of a wobbly-legged premie dinosaur who attempts to find his way back home after getting lost and losing his dad. It's absolutely adorable and the recreated Wyoming backdrops perfectly satisfied my husband's wanderlust needs. 

Everything was going great until the last 10 minutes of the movie.  

It was at this point that the sweet little dinosaur had to say goodbye to the "creature" he had befriended along his journey. It was time for the creature to begin a new life with his new family and for the dinosaur to return to his home.  

Naturally, the scene was accompanied with instrumental ugly-cry-your-heart-out music. Their final hugs and glances over their shoulders seemed to never end and I couldn't help but think of our Little Lady on our final day together. Let's just say we all shared a bittersweet cry together in row 6. We left the theater loving the movie, but quietly hating Disney for causing our emotional breakdown. Rude. 

We knew it was time for her to move on. We knew she'd be well taken care of with her grandparents. We knew she'd be loved and would find healing. What we didn't know was our own future. How would we function without her daily presence? We didn't know how serious her grandparents were about her being able to visit us. Luckily, they were very serious and kept their word! 

This week, our Little Lady is in town for our 11th visit with her in 13 months. We do not take these visits for granted and we feel beyond blessed to spend time with her. We have a great Thanksgiving week planned with this little girl! 



We are not ashamed.

Today marks four years that Brian and I have been trying to start a family. We thought it might take a few months (ha!) to get pregnant...little did we know we'd spend thousands of dollars, shed many tears and sleepless nights, or that we'd be diagnosed with infertility. We're not giving up yet, but we know there's still a long road ahead of us.

I don't share this to seek pity, but rather to raise awareness about infertility. For too long, this subject has been shoved under the rug or ignored, or worse, covered in shame by the couples who bare this diagnosis.

We are not ashamed.

1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, and unfortunately, we drew the short straw on this one.

We know that if we are meant to have biological children, they already have names and a birthdate and a favorite color. If we aren't meant to have kids the "traditional" way, then we are confident that God will bring kids into our lives in another way.

I say all of this to say that you just never know what people are going through. I know I've probably said some inconsiderate and even hurtful comments to people in the past, without knowing their whole situation. The one that still stings for me was when a friend said in front of my mother-in-law, "When are you gonna make that lady a grandma already??"

If you know someone going through infertility and they've been open with you about their struggles, let them know that you care about them and ask them what they need. Maybe offer to watch their older children so they can attend a doctor appointment.

Unless you've experienced infertility yourself, or have done a ton of research, AND the person has been open with you about their diagnosis, please do not offer suggestions such as, "You just need to relax and then you'll get pregnant," or, "It'll happen when it's supposed to," because the truth is that it may never actually happen.

It is a touchy subject to talk about, but the conversation needs to be had. People struggling with infertility need to know they are not outcasts, they are loved, and they are supported.

We are so lucky to have amazing friends and family around us who have loved and supported us over the last few years while we've been going through treatments. I just hope I can return the favor and be there for someone else someday who is brave enough to share their diagnosis.


Will you be my Valentine?

We've been a little quiet around here over the last six months or so. I've wanted to write so many times, but it was hard to find the words to say.

Since our Little Lady left us at the end of September, we've had several exciting visits with her! It's only by the grace of God that we're able to continue having a relationship with our girl. We are beyond blessed to be able to visit her, text her, talk to her, FaceTime her....it's simply amazing and we don't take it for granted. 

Here's a recap of the last few months.

Sept. 29: LL moved south to live with her grandparents. 
Oct. 11: We drove down to grandma's house for the day to deliver all of her things. 
Nov. 25-30: LL came to our house for Thanksgiving Break. 
Dec. 14: We went south to watch her sing with the church choir. She had a solo and she did so well! We also celebrated her 8th birthday and met her mom and dad. 
Feb. 13-15: We have our little valentine here at the house for the weekend!!

I can live with this arrangement. I can deal with talking to her several times a week and visiting her every month or two. This is manageable. 

If this had been a "typical" foster placement, we probably would've never seen her again, or even heard about how she was doing. That fact alone makes us apprehensive to take another placement. We know we'll never be in a situation like this again, and I can't imagine what it'd be like if we never saw her again. 

Even still, we know we want to foster again. It could be months or years, but we will do it again. There's still a need, and we can fill it. 

Day 1:

Reunited with her best friend! (Note: I will continue to blur her face to respect her family's privacy.) 

Yes, she put Lucy's collar on her neck. 

She always has so many gifts to open when she gets here...I save a stack of gifts from Bry's mom, my mom, my sis-in-law, and us. She loves gifts as much as Bry does, so this is always fun! 

The beautiful dress my mom-in-law got her for Valentine's! We're so grateful to have so many people who love our girl as much as we do and she is so blessed to know all of you. 

Day 2: 

Shopping at REI. 

Playing soccer in the beautiful, unseasonably warm weather. 

Playing with Laurie Ann before her volleyball game! 

After LA's game, we got all dressed up to go on our Valentine's date! Bry even bought a boutonniere to pin to his suit. 

Wish you could see how beautiful she looked! 


Ironically, if we wanted a booth, we would've been able to be sat immediately. But, we wanted to be at the pizza bar, of course! We waited almost an hour, but it was worth it. 

While we waited, Bry and LL were taking selfies on the buzzer. ;)

Dinner was delicious and the company was perfection. 

Day 3:

Our last day together included bagels at Einstein's (LL's request), church, and lunch with the whole family. After lunch, it was a long drive dropping her off and driving back, but it was definitely worth it. Looking forward to our next visit with this precious girl! 

LL's quotes:
- Bry: "What makes you happy?" LL: "Seeing you guys. And burping my ABCs." 
- "Ms. Julie, can you please take out your driver's license? I can't see your portrait."
- "This song is about me cause I used to care what people thought about me. Remember?"
- "Mr. Brian, are we going to play soccer? Cause I brought the perfect outfit!"


About Us: 

We began our foster journey in mid-August 2013. We finished our classes in October, had our home study in early January, and we were licensed on February 7, 2014. After seven calls from CPS, we received our first placement, a 7-year-old girl (our Little Lady, or LL for short) on April 3, 2014. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our journey through the craziness that is foster care. Most importantly, thanks for your prayers, love, and support. We hope to encourage fellow foster/adoptive parents as we document our ups and downs each day. 

Key Posts:
Oasis (post from Brian)
Why I don't usually write (post from Brian)

LL...if you just stumbled upon this blog and you're freaking out because you see pictures of yourself, please START HERE.


Thanksgiving 2014

I know I'm way late posting this, but here are some photos of our visit with LL when she was here in November. 

Day 1: 

We got new floors over Thanksgiving Break, so Bry stayed with the construction workers and Lucy and I drove south to pick up our Little Lady. We were a tad excited. 

She jumped into Bry's arms before we even made it in the house. 

Still hasn't touched the ground yet. :)

We dropped her stuff off at the house then quickly got back in the car to go to our favorite place!

Walking around Frisco after dinner...

Already exhausted and it's only day 1! 

LL was so excited to give me these Christmas presents! 

Day 2:

Day 2 started with some tv shows and snuggling with her doll. 

And some jump roping. 

Then she decided to dress up as a scary bank robber.
The blur on this picture makes it even scarier.

Snuggling by the fire. 

That afternoon, LL and I did her 8-year-old photo shoot at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Here's another post about her photo shoot and Thanksgiving. 

Day 3:

We spent Thanksgiving day at my in-law's. LL helped with the taters! We had a great time with Matt, Jan, and David! 

Day 4:

Our fourth day together started at the skating rink. LL did much better than last time, and she had a blast with Mr. Brian, of course! 

When we got home that afternoon, we were inspired to set up Christmas. We hadn't planned to decorate this year, but there's something about having a kid in the house and cold weather outside to get you in the holiday spirit. Bry went to buy a Christmas tree while LL and I got the ornaments ready to hang. She "helped" by wrapping herself in bubble wrap and drawing us pictures on the tree box. 

Day 5:

Day 5 started with rowing lessons on the bar stools before we headed out on the canoe. 

Canoe time! Here's another post about our time at "sea." 

That evening we ate burgers at Freddy's and then went to the neighborhood Winter Wonderland event. 

Day 6:

Our last day together included church, lunch with the family, and then driving south to drop off our Little Lady. 

We had an awesome visit together! Can't wait for the next one! 

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