Halloween time is always an adventure. Jodee gets to use her creative mind to have fun with our costumes. This year the whole family dressed up as Mario Cart characters. It was a lot of fun and the kids got tons of candy.
Halloween time is always an adventure. Jodee gets to use her creative mind to have fun with our costumes. This year the whole family dressed up as Mario Cart characters. It was a lot of fun and the kids got tons of candy.
Family reunions are so fun. The kids play non stop and actually asked to go to bed. This family reunion was on Bryce’s side of the family. There are 26 grandkids on Bryce’s side and there were an additional 20 kids from Bryce’s cousins. Most of the time was spent building grasshopper homes in the dirt and Hunting for grasshoppers. The zip line was also a favorite. Family is what it’s all about.
One of our favorite places to be is up in the mountains at Bryce's parents cabin. During the summer we go there a couple times a month. The kids love to explore the woods and find bugs and frogs. There is also a lake close by where we go fishing. We take the kids out on the row boat and always catch fish. Both brother and sister love to real them in and play with them before putting them back in the water. It is usually 20 degrees cooler up there so it is one of our favorite places to be during the hot summer days. We create a lot of fun family members there and love seeing brother and sister creating fun memories too.
There are no words for the love we have for mother’s. Jodee was so excited to celebrate her birthday with Banks and Emmi’s Biological Mother’s. It was so special to see the love of Mother’s in all three of them. We cannot express the love and respect we feel for them.
Family time is very important to us. We enjoy playing yard games and just spending time in our backyard. Banks and Emmi are usually teasing our dog Porter while mom and dad play some game. Our games usually involve a ball or frisbee. Summer nights are definitely one of our favorites.
We recently took a road trip! One of our favorite places to be is in Southern Utah. Bryce's sister and brother-in-law have a vacation home in Southern Utah. The kids love to play in the pool. Banks even dared to jump off the water fall into the pool. We enjoy family time there, we swim, hike, and of course, we catch lizards. Everywhere we go, Banks finds critters to catch. Half way through the week we decided to keep going south. We ended up at the beach in California. This was the first time the kids got to see the beach and they loved it! Emmi was in Heaven playing in all that sand and Banks was catching Hermit Crabs and cray fish. They had a great time and did really well traveling in the car. Family trips have been a big part of our little family.
Emmi’s birth mother chose us very early on in her pregnancy. Not only were we thrilled for the opportunity for another baby, but with it being so early we got to experience so much of the pregnancy with her birth mother. I knew after I found out I couldn’t have children that I would be missing out on a lot of little things that come with pregnancy; and I think I still occasionally grieve the loss of those small opportunities. With our first adoption we had just over a month to prepare, but with Emmi we were given nearly 6 months of updates and excitement we thought we wouldn’t get to experience. For the first time I got to have a gender reveal party. Not that it is really of any significance to many people, but until the chance to have one is taken, no one really know the excitement of getting to have one for yourself. I got to see and receive ultrasound pictures, which I had never had an ultra sound photo of one of my children before. I got to hear the heart beat, see belly updates, touch and feel a pregnant belly and the baby kicking inside! These were all little things that I never knew meant much until I finally got to experience them. But the biggest thing that I never thought I would ever get to experience and still nearly brings a tear to my eye is I finally, ACTUALLY, got to see one of my children being born. We were all set up and ready for Emmi. We had a lot of crazy coincidences between our two children and their birth mothers, and one coincidence was that they were both due in December. We tried to plan accordingly. Emmi was going to be born in Texas, so we made arrangements to fly out there ahead of time with Banks, stay with a family member, and celebrate Christmas in Texas until we would get the all clear to come home. Luckily Emmi’s birth mother was able to schedule an induction date, which doesn’t usually happen when you are giving birth for the first time. So we were fortunate enough to know the dates of when we needed to fly and have a hotel. Unfortunately enough, Emmi’s birth mother was being threatened with preeclampsia, so we were keeping in touch in case anything happened unexpectedly. We were going to fly out on Banks’ birthday, so we decided to celebrate the weekend before. As always I am scrambling last minute to finish his cake and do the entertaining. Right in the middle of the birthday party I noticed I had a missed call from a number I didn’t know and a voicemail. I hurried to listen in another room and our birth mother’s mother was letting us know that she the fear of preeclampsia was getting too real and the doctor decided to keep her in the hospital and try to induce labor that night. If we wanted to be there for the delivery or even be at the hospital, we needed to leave immediately. I about peer my pants and cried at the same time. I hurried Bryce in the room to listen and we were both stunned. Everyone noticed we were absent from our only child’s party and we had their full attention as we walked out of the bedroom. We explained about our birth mother being kept in the hospital and that she was going to have the baby the next day. Everyone was ecstatic and all the excitement made poor Banks nervous as can be. They asked us questions and after only a few short minutes of talking they rushed us into action. Bryce has a brother who is a pilot and fortunately his wife had come that night. She jumped on our computer and found a flight for that night to Houston, but we had about an hour and a half until it left and we live just under an hour away from the airport. We wouldn’t have time to check our luggage that we had planned on and had to find our carry one in storage. Luckily my sister was in attendance and luckily I had most of my stuff packed. She helped me through the basics of what I needed in a small carry on bag. Bryce’s sister quickly helped him start his packing... apparently he didn’t think to be prepared a week in advance of our planned flight. His parents jumped into action as well and were throwing our necessities into our bags and our bags into their trunk all while our sister-in-law was yelling for our information to book our last minute flight. From the time we got the call to when we were speeding down the road was barely over 30 minutes and we left a filthy parties house to a couple of siblings and their spouses. What broke my heart even more was leaving my poor boy at his birthday party and it being a week before his real birthday, I would be missing that too. We arranged for family to take him and show him a good time without mom and dad, but it barely did anything to comfort my bleeding heart. We raced through the airport and found a less busy security check through another terminal. We ran as fast as we could drag our bags to our gate and boarded as they were making their last calls. We barely sat down and got situated as they closed the door and began to pull away from the gate. We were frantic, giddy, and couldn’t come up either a cohesive thought. We tried to distance ourselves with conversations to other passengers and the flight movie, but it all did very little. We arrived in Houston shortly after midnight. We scrambled though a nearly empty airport to the car rental that Bryce’s dad had fortunately booked for us while we flew, loaded up, and drove in complete darkness with jittery hands to the city our birth mother was in. We pulled into town at nearly 2:30 and got a room at the first hotel we could find finally crashing at nearly 3 AM for a few hours of rest before the grandeur of the morning began. Our alarm went off around 7, we took a few minutes to freshen up before packing and heading down to breakfast. During mouthfuls of waffles, yogurt, and juice, we got a text that they had given our birth mother an epidural. We couldn’t believe it! An epidural already?! We grabbed what we could shove in our pockets and took off down the road to the hospital. The excitement of waking through those halls to the labor and delivery was more than the excitement of Christmas morning. The nurses knowingly smiled at us as they let us in the wing, anticipating who we were the they happiness they had for us. I felt like I was going to burst walking through that door. I was going to meet our birth mother in the flesh for the first time and she was nearing the delivery of a sweet baby girl that all of us have been waiting to meet for the first time. I am not someone who cries very often, but I was choked up trying to keep myself together and laughing as I met her and her mother in their room. They filled me in on the experience and how the night had gone and we sat getting to know each other better. The epidural that the doctors had given our birth mom had sent her blood pressure scarily low, so the staff stopped the delivery until they were able to bring back her blood pressure and make sure both she and the baby were fine. That meant that we had the majority of that day to meet her family, talk, laugh, and touch on plans that we had discussed post placement. I loved it, I absolutely loved every minute of it all. I got to see the monitors, learn what every single number and beep meant. I watched both heat beats like a starving hawk and tied to pay attention to every little detail. I got to watch our birth mother move to get comfortable, get her back massages by her mother, and listened intently as she described every little thing she was experiencing. As the day faded she was getting ready for delivery once again. I talked to her though contractions and counted every minute in-between. I held her hand, pressed the button for her pain as she needed, and frantically watched for the doctor as things started getting close. I warned her that if the doctor didn’t get there soon I was going to take charge! My heart couldn’t have been more full of gratitude and compete joy towards our birth mother. I couldn’t believe the selflessness she had and understanding of my feeling to let me be there and be a part of all of it. She was so uncomfortable, yet she made sure I was a part of it all. She let me hold her hand, to wipe away the sweat and tears, to see moments that I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought I would get to witness. I got to see my sweet baby girl be born. I saw her long hair as she crowned, and squeezed birth moms hand as she delivered the most precious infant I have ever layer eyes on. I was so touched and moved that, being a person who doesn’t cry or show too broad of a range of emotions, wept. I couldn’t believe the power this amazing woman had to go through so much so selflessly. To love me, a complete stranger just a few month back, so much to let me be a part of this whole journey and to place a child in my heart and home that I otherwise could never have had. The rollercoaster of emotions was all over for the next few days. We tried to give the birth family their space and to not be bombarded by us all the time, and spent a few hours together in unbelief at how luckily we were. We were now the parents of two! We tried to not over stay through the hospital stay, but couldn’t not bring ourselves to leave from them. We had the most remarkable conversations, full love, laughter, and often times tears. We did all we could to help the birth family with the closure of letting this sweet baby leave the hospital with us. I couldn’t be more in awe of our birth mother and her devout decision, glaring at anyone who tried to say anything or sway her in any way. It was a hard goodbye, them not wanting to let Emmi go, and I not wanting to let her go. We drove late into the night to Dallas to finally stay with family and spend some time alone with just us and our new baby girl. We couldn’t have been more taken aback by our immediate love for her and the connection we made in just an instant. Bryce spent a few day with us before he went home to Banks and to get everything arranged for us to bring Emmi home. Meanwhile, I stayed in Dallas doing late night feedings, midnight poop sessions, and doctor visits. I honestly believe that this time alone bonded Emmi and I so strongly that we have a hard time being away from each other for too long even to this day. We got the ok from all the legal sides, and I was able to pack everything I could fit into my carryon, purse, and newly acquired diaper bag. I had Emmi strapped so tightly to me, for fear that this might all be a dream. The airport staff couldn’t have been any more understanding and helpful and Emmi couldn’t have flown any better. This amazing child didn’t make a peep and slept soundly until shortly before arriving home in the car. I still feel like this whole entire experience was a complete miracle. From the stories our birth mother told me to how she came to find us, to all of the small things that lined up to get us to the hospital in time, and to the hand of God watching over is all! I cannot be more grateful and thankful for this little girl that I am completely obsessed with, for the amazing birth mother that I have become such good friends with, to the miracle of adoption that has blessed me with a family of my own!
We got an email from Banks' birth mom about three months before her due date. We didn't have much hope for it because we have had so many failed adoptions and scams in the past that left us empty. After emails and texts we were able to set up a meeting. She had informed us that she had met with other families and was weighing her options with each family she met with. We enjoyed talking with her and keeping in touch of the next month. She also introduced us to her family and we got to know them well, since they had been friends with family members. After a while contact died down a bit. That next month Jodee traveled to New York for a women's trip and Bryce kept working hard. When Jodee returned and a week had gone by, Banks' birth mom sent us a message asking if she could stop by. She and her family knocked on our door with balloons in hand to tell us that she had picked us to adopt her baby. We stood in the doorway in tears and hugging for what seemed like forever. We talked for close to an hour about the joy and excitement we were all feeling. We were overwhelmed by all we get to experience soon and only had two months to prepare. We quickly jumped in preparing for a baby. We purchased everything we needed to and had blankets, bottled, and pajamas all washed and organized. We continued to spend time with her and her family, making sure we were all on the same page with what she wanted and the openness of the adoption. We got to share the excitement with family and close friends by surprising them with the announcement that we will finally be parents. They couldn't have been happier for us and they got to help us and be a part of the getting ready moments. We were so grateful to have people in our lives to help us prepare and be there to support us. The morning we got a text saying that she was in the hospital, it was like a child waking up on Christmas. We knew that it could take some time and she was dilating slowly, so we went to work with our minds in the clouds. Jodee said her goodbyes to her office as this was going to be her last day and they were well aware. Shortly after lunch our day was over and we waited at the house to hear more news. Banks was born at 3:22 and that evening we were allowed to come and visit for an hour before visiting was closed. We were jittery, jumpy, and couldn't stop smiling. We were so excited and it seemed to radiate from the both of us. Our eyes were glued to this beautiful baby boy; so tiny and sweet. We looked at him up and down, making memories of his fingers and toes before we had to leave for the night. Our birth mom had asked for the next day to herself, which we understood and respected. It gave us time to make sure we had all of the little things done before we brought him home. When Banks was two days old we made sure we had everything done we needed and kept in touch with the birth family. We made sure everything was going to be done right and we were able to have a fairly smooth signing. We hugged and thanked Banks' birth mother and told her how much we loved and appreciated all she has done. We thanked her family and made sure they knew how much we appreciated their support for her. They have been the best birth family we could have asked for. They have been so understanding and supportive of our birth mothers needs and of our adoption of Banks. We have loved every minute of having Banks in our lives. He is so curious and full of energy that sometimes we have a hard time keeping up with him, but we wouldn't have him any other way. He is easy to make smile when he is crying and is quick to do something crazy and goofy to get us to laugh. He is non-stop into everything and wants to know how things work. He is scared of very few things, loves to climb, and thinks the dog should be ridden like a horse. Our family and lives would be nothing with out him and we often look back with fondness of his birth and everything it took to get him here in our home. We have so much respect and admiration for his birth mother and for all birth mothers. Those women are such amazing people with so much love and sacrifice for others. We appreciate them with the fullness of our hearts.
I just wanted to write a quick post about the first time I met Jodee. I was working as a bank teller when I met Jodee for the first time. She came to my line and could tell there was something special about her. I took my time, flirting with her and trying to find the courage to ask for her phone number. I finally devised my plan on how I was going to see her again. I was too scared to ask for her number so I decided to write my number down on a paper, I slid it to her, and said, "Here is your account number." She gave me a confused look and then finally realized that I was handing her my phone number. She told me that she wouldn't be able to go out any time soon because she was going to Africa the next day and wouldn't be coming back for three months. I was pretty let down when I found out she would be leaving the country for a while, she left and I figured that was the end of that. Four months later, I was walking through the hall at my church and I saw the cute girl I met at the bank. I didn't remember her name but I knew she was the girl that went to Africa so I decided to talk to her. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "how was Africa??" All I got was a stunned look, like, who the heck is this guy. I reminded her who I was then the stunned look went away. We started dating at that time and I eventually convinced her to fall in love with me. We dated for over a year then decided to get married. Seeing Jodee's love for the kids she served made it really easy for me to fall in lover with her. We have really been best friends since we started dating and I am eternally grateful that she came into my bank.
When I was 18, I learned that I wasn't going to be able to bear children. I was a senior in high school when I found out, and I will not lie, that was very difficult for me to hear. I quickly began to study as much as I could about adoption and I gained a lot of hope when I learned of all the blessings and miracles that come through adoption. Because I knew I would be adopting, I decided early on that I wanted to go to Africa and meet and serve some of the beautiful children there. The time finally came when that dream became a reality. I found an organization that helped orphaned and underprivileged children. My role was to go for three months and teach those students basic skills. To raise funds for the trip I did car washes and other fundraisers. The day before I left, I decided to go to a bank to change some coins into cash. When I walked into the bank, the ony available teller waived us over. It was Bryce. He then spent the next two hours flirting and helping me count my coins and change them to bills. As we finished, he slipped me a piece of paper disguised as my "bank account" number, but it was actually his phone number. He thought he was pretty clever. I was pretty oblivious to his flirting and didn't even notice his phone number, but, to my defense I was flying to Africa the next day and had a lot on my mind. I spent the next three months in Uganda and had some of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. When I returned home I went to church at a friend's ward. While in the hall, a stranger tapped me on the shoulder and asked me how my trip to Africa was. I was confused how he knew I went to Africa, but he reminded me that he had helped me at the bank the day before I left. Bryce never let's me live it down, but to my defense he didn't remember my name... The first time we hung out was at his apartment watching a Jazz game with his roommates. After a couple late night drives and fun walks, we decided to date exclusively. We dated for a couple of months when I decided we needed a little break. I was busy with school and a new job and I just wasn't as serious as Bryce wanted us to be (he never lets me live that one down either...). We were apart for a couple of months when I started to realize I was missing him. I decided to invite him to a campfire with me and my friends. I was really excited when he said he and his friends would come. He brought his repelling gear so we repelled down a cliff and then ate hot dogs and mallows, one of our favorite treats. Bryce conveniently had room in his car so I drove back to town with him. After everyone left, Bryce and I finally had some alone time where we were able to talk and reconnect... yes, we kissed. Fireworks were definately going off! I knew at that time that I wanted to be with Bryce. We dated for the rest of the summer and by Thanksgiving we talked about getting married. By Christmas we decided on a date and started making preparations. March 15, 2012: We got engaged! Bryce was waiting for the perfect time to surprise me. We went up to his parent's house for spring break and Bryce planned a snowmobile trip/picnic. We almost ran out of gas while looking for the perfect picnic spot. He pulled over and we had our picnic, Bryce was really nervous for some reason... In the bottom of the picnic basket was the ring box. We were so happy to be engaged! June 2, 2012: We got MARRIED!!! Our wedding day was so much fun and so CRAZY! We were married in the Bountiful Temple. One of the few things we remember was the words our sealer told us about adopting our children. He told us that we would be blessed through adoption with sweet angels. No words coud fill our souls more than to hear that our Heavenly Father was sending us comfort. He is absolutely aware of all his children and He will reach out to you in His own way and time. Halloween 2013: We moved into out first home, YIPEE!!! (Next year trick-or-treaters, we promise!) We now live in Northern Utah in a home we were fortunate enough to buy. We live close to family and friends and feel so blessed with the experiences we have. April 2014: We finally started our adoption process! We were so excited to start our paperwork that we couldn't even eat. The thought of bringing a child in our home filled our every moment of thought. June 2014: Our adoption agency, LDSFS, made an announcement that they will only continue placing children in homes until the coming December. Nevertheless, we excitedly continued with our paperwork with hope and faith that there may be a chance we could receive a child before their deadline. July 2014: Our first opportunity and experience with adoption. We were contacted by a wonderful woman who could not care for another child. For weeks we tirelessly did all we could to make this placement work, but for circumstances beyond our control we could not receive this child. We were so heartbroken, but continue to go forward with continual hope for a child. October 2014: We had our second opportunity and experience with adoption. We were contacted by a local girl who was pregnant and diligently looking for a family to care for her child. We met and constantly kept in touch with her. We grew to love this wonderful girl and became excited at the possibility to have a baby girl in the near future. But we learned that The Lord cannot say yes to every couple every time. In December we found out that we were not the family for this sweet baby, but we know that the children meant for our home will come on time. In 2008 when I heard I would not be able to bear children, I didn't realize the great blessings and experiences that I would have because of that. At the time, it was a very difficult trial in my life, but that trial has turned into a blessing. Because of that I made the decision to go to Africa. I gained so much love for the children I served. I gained a whole new perspective on life and gained SO much gratitude for the blessings I have enjoyed all my life. While I was preparing to go to Africa, I met the love of my life, who luckily remembered me after four months since I saw him last. I also learned that Heavenly Father has been preparing Bryce and I for adoption all our lives. We are so excited to have a family of our own and are grateful for the blessing of adoption. We are so grateful for the sacrifice of those who will make our family possible. We wouldn't have life any other way. We hope all who read our blog will fill inspired. We invite all to experience our adoption process with us.
We are anxious to get started but there will be many posts to come!!