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!

Locks of Love

Locks of LoveWhen my sister Delanah sent me this picture after spending 3+ hours adding length to my niece Essie’s hair via the “yarn twists” method I almost started crying.

You see Essie of course has different hair then the rest of our family. She constantly wants to play with my hair and tells me how pretty it is. Sometimes she even tries to whip her head around as if she has long flowing locks.

Essie of course also has a different skin color than the rest of our family. Since she was adopted from Uganda there are no newborn photos of her, but sometimes she points to pictures of little white babies and asks “Me?”.

Essie of course was brought into this world by another woman than the rest of her siblings. She knows she didn’t grow in my sister’s belly like her brothers Finn and Huxley did. Instead Delanah had to explain to Essie that she grew in all of our hearts. Essie is very proud of this, and now she likes to tell me that baby Lo grew in her heart.

So why did I almost start crying when my sister sent me this picture? Because a part of me knows my sister just wanted to give Essie those long flowing locks that she always admires… even if it took 3+ hours and it’s only temporary. That’s the kind of love that doesn’t depend on whether you share the same genetic code, and it’s just a small example of what my sister would do to make her daughter smile.

Essie will always be a little different, and that’s a good thing. She wins over everyone she meets with her gorgeous smile. She makes us all laugh with her animated expressions and hilarious ramblings. She can make any outfit look good with that beautiful black skin, and she’ll melt your heart with those puppy dog eyes.

Every little sweet hug and whisper of “I love you” from Essie feels like a gift straight from God because that’s truly what she is.