Let the Adoption Journey Begin!

AdoptionWriting these words is simultaneously exciting and scary. Exciting because this means we are starting the process to grow our family of three to four. Scary because the road that lies ahead will undoubtedly present its fair share of challenges and character-testing.

Why adopt? The short answer is that God put the tug in our hearts years ago and has presented circumstances along the way to reinforce that feeling. Knowing there is a child out there (possibly in utero as we speak) that is meant to be part of our family is indescribably awesome. Although I won’t be carrying this child in womb, it already has a place in my heart and prayer life.

Why now? The adoption process can be agonizingly slow. Case in point, my niece’s adoption from Uganda took three years. Starting the process around Lo’s first birthday seemed like a good milestone so that she and her future sibling can be close in age.

International or domestic? The gist of it is that there is need everywhere, including right here in America. A life is a life no matter where it comes from. The obstacles, risks, and stipulations vary by country but the truth of it is, it’s going to be complicated wherever route we go. Right now we feel a greater pull toward international adoption, but until we find the right agency to work with, we aren’t ruling any option out.

What about expenses? The average number I’ve found by talking to adoptive parents and researching on my own ranges from $30,000-$45,000 (regardless of whether you go international or domestic). Of course the result will be worth it, but let’s face it, that’s a tough pill to swallow no matter how you dice it. In addition to our savings plan, we will be doing creative fundraisers along the way. (If you have any fun ideas be sure to send them my way!)

What can you do to help? First and foremost, we’d love your prayers. Additionally, if you or anyone you know has gone through the adoption process we’d love insight on the experience, recommendations for an agency, and any other info you feel would be helpful.

Thanks for all of your support as we begin this journey. We look forward to the day when we can introduce you all to the newest member of the Stordahl family!

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MOMtrepreneur: Spotlight on Harts & Pearls

Harts and Pearls Desiree Burgess

Harts & Pearls owner Desiree Burgess with her adorable daughter Hartley.

Last week at the Spring release party for Harts & Pearls I fell head over heels for the custom-made accessory line and the inspiring story behind it. Harts & Pearls is the brainchild of Desiree Burgess, a thirty-something, single mama who was determined to follow her dreams of being a successful business woman AND stay-at-home mom.

Intrigued by her journey, I caught up with Burgess to find out how she does it all. What follows is not only an insight into what it takes to run a business as an independent woman, but inspirational advice for aspiring MOMtrepreneurs and single mothers everywhere.

How did H&P get started?

I had previously studied fashion merchandising at FIDM in LA and obtained a business degree at San Diego Christian College, but it wasn’t until eight years later that my two educations came together. I was on a three-month maternity leave, and started to create things for my daughter to wear. Before I knew it people all over were asking me where I got them.

 Instead of going back to work, I made a faith decision to sacrifice materialistic and superficial things to be home with my baby. I had such a strong desire to be by her side, and right away I could see the choice to start my own business was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.

How do you manage the work-life balance of running a business and being a single mom?

 I have to admit my work-life balance is very unbalanced, but I see this as a temporary thing. The busy-ness of my life is best managed with prayer. I have very few minutes of downtime but if I am spiritually fit I can handle anything.

 Do you still have time for a social life?

 To be successful at what I do, I have to take care of myself. I know at times I am deprived of “girl time” or  “me time” but I evaluate my need and if I can see it is a must, I make sure I take a break.

 What’s the most difficult part of running your own company? What’s the most rewarding?

The most difficult part is having to care for the parts of my business I am not passionate about.  One of my goals is to start delegating each business task I am not passionate about so I can put all my energy into my passions of designing and creating.

The most rewarding is by far seeing or hearing from a happy customer. Knowing anything I did had any kind of positive impact on anyone. I feel completely blessed that I get to do something I am passionate about every day, and if that passion provides for my family, even better!

 If you had one piece of advice for aspiring MOMtrepreneurs what would it be?

Fear is your greatest enemy. Don’t allow fear to stop you.

When I see fear, a part of me likes it because it is a personal challenge to feel that fear and proceed in faith anyway. This doesn’t mean I don’t evaluate decisions and go into them blindly believing it will be “OK”. It’s the opposite; I evaluate, pray, get help from others, and if fear is the only thing holding me back, I proceed. 

Any advice for fellow single mamas?

 I will never be able to give my daughter what she can only get from a father figure. All I can do is my best. Don’t let an ounce of guilt reside in you.

 I think single mothers are some of the strongest and most courageous women in this world. We all had a way out if we wanted to give up (abortion, adoption). I chose to take on the role knowing I would be doing it solo. I wouldn’t have a successful business without the life of my daughter, and I wouldn’t be half the woman I am. She awoke my soul and softened my heart in a way no one else ever could. That is enough purpose for me.

Click here to check out Harts & Pearls handmade accessories including headbands, hats and scarves for little ones and adults.

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So Much to be Thankful for!

17-DSC_0608-37 Despite genetic testing and ultrasound results that showed the precursors to Cystic Fibrosis, the results of Lo’s screening came back and she’s in the clear! Praise the Lord! A huge thank you to everyone who poured out their prayers over our little baby.

As challenging as these first few weeks as a new parent have been, getting the results back from her test reminded me of how blessed we are to have a healthy baby.

By no small coincidence, earlier today I was watching a Joyce Meyers broadcast on raising special needs children. As I sat there with tears streaming down my face, I was reminded of just how precious and purpose-filled EACH and EVERY life is. One of my personal favorite examples is a girl at my church who stands at the front to pray over anyone who comes forward and has need. Despite having down syndrome, she understands God’s love better than most people in this world and wants to help others in their struggles.

If you know someone with a special needs child I highly recommend watching this video. Even if you don’t, watch it anyway and get your Kleenex ready.