For a long time, I really wanted a hero.

Not like, the hero that saves you from your house in flames.  But the hero that makes your heart wrench, all the while loving hard all the time.

I always said "Jesus" when people asked.  And that's so true for me and always will be.  But a few years ago, for some strange reason, I was really infatuated with the whole hero thing.  I wanted one.  Not to put on a pedestal in my life, that's Jesus, but to honor and respect fully.

It's been a journey for me.  Not just in finding a hero.  That was just a phase I went through.  It's not really about that.  For me, it was about finding out how to get closer to God.  The desire just came in a form of a hero in my mind.

& for me, that's a birthmother.

These women do Jesus stuff everyday.  They put their life on the line for the sake of someone else, all the while loving them wholeheartedly.

This week, all of that became so much more real for me.

Trey's birthmom flew in for his first birthday.  It's been such a wonderful week.  Really great memories.  We've took pictures, loved hard and I'm just so happy about the gift this is to her and will be one day to him.  But this week, a raw emotion came to me again.  One I haven't felt since exactly one year ago today.

& that is the feeling of gratitude coming to life for me.  It just exploded in front of my eyes, in my heart.  I'm with this woman, the mother, the flesh and blood of the baby I have loved so hard for the past year?  & she chose this for him?  She chose to be away from him everyday?  God loves me this much?  God gave me a piece of literal joy to hold for one year, and the woman God used to give this joy to us is right in front of me?  What?

This is all I know to be true...

Exactly one year ago tonight, one woman took a pen and signed on the dotted line.

But this was not just a signature, this was something more.

Something only she could give, a gift only God could create.

This was the relinquishment of her rights.

One year ago, tonight, a woman signed her rights away.  She took a pen, she signed her name, and she made a lifelong choice.  This was not just a signature.  This was a declaration of love.  Jesus-stuff love.

This woman is my brother's birthmother.

This "hero" - the desire of my heart so long ago?  I've found her.  Her, along with every other woman who made the hard choice when she didn't want to.  Chose the hard road when the easier one was readily available, if not easier.  All I know is, this fickle desire of my heart long ago for something I wasn't even ready to process is now here, in the form of a birthmother.

& it's the most precious hero I could ever find.



((Schedule glitched -- three days late works, right?))

One year ago today, I met my baby brother for the first time ever.

Little did I know how much it would turn my world upside down.

Little did I know the Lord had been tearing my heart apart only to rebuild it in this moment.

Little did I know how much my life would be changed, just because of one woman's choice.  Just because of God's choice a very long time ago.  

Little did I know how much I could love one woman for giving us such a gift.

Little did I know, one year ago, just how much joy would be entering my life.

& that's what all of this has been since day one.  Joy.  Pure joy.  A little boy entered the world one year ago today with a birth certificate, and a name, and a heritage and a life.  A chosen life.  God could have chosen anyone... at all for him.  But He knew.  He saw.  And He chose us.  

It has been a journey.  It always will be a journey.  But we are grateful that God said yes to our plead to be on a journey with him.  And his momma.  His sweet birth momma.  

There were times in our adoption journey where I pleaded with God and he said one word.  


I said let his delivery be safe & the transition go smoothly, Lord.

He said okay.

I said give him to us please, Lord.

He said okay.

I said please don't take him away from me, Lord.

He said okay.

I said please, Lord, give us forever.

He said okay.

And today, after twelve months of pleading with God, and after twelve months of God saying okay , he turns one year old.  He turns one year old with so many people loving him.  So many people part of his journey.  The journey doesn't end and it never will end.  I always say adoption is always forever.  It is not sign the papers and make it legal and it ends.  No.  It is constant.  Just like God's adoption of us is, it is never-ending   The journey, it is always going on.  

The past twelve months of Trey Malachi have held some of my worst and some of my favorite moments.  In the end?  He gave us forever.  And amidst my fears, amidst the mess I was in in certain moments, He gave us forever.  He chose forever.  And He'll never stop choosing forever.  I really didn't realize or comprehend the emotions I would feel in my worst lows and my best highs.  

Today, though, I'm clinging to God's unchanging love.  It hasn't changed from the day He chose me as His daughter to the day He chose Trey as my brother.  It hasn't changed when we were unsure and it hasn't changed when we were all standing in the courtroom, all, I think, on the verge of tears, hearing the judge say yes and watching him sign the papers.  

He is our forever.  And God's love is unchanging.  This is what I know in my heart to be true today and this is what I will cling to for all my life.  

Thank you, Jesus, for twelve months of Trey Malachi.  Twelve overwhelming, unexplainable, perfect, compelling & beautiful months.  I have been changed, we all have seen and know it is true.  Everyone asks me... "are you guys all bonded now?"... "How's the transition?"... "Do you LIKE having a baby in the house?"... "How do your brothers feel about this?"... and let me tell you.  The past twelve months have involved change, serious change, not just in our family dynamics.  Not just in our sleep pattern, or in our schedule, or in any aspect of our family at all.  That stuff doesn't matter.  It's just a bunch of baloney the world says matters.  No, we've all been changed in our hearts.  It didn't take the entire year to be "bonded" w/ him.  It was never a transition.  It was never a like/dislike situation.  It was never about what anyone felt.  It was about God telling us to do something and us responding and letting Him work in us.

And He did.

And He will continue to.

And He always will when you allow Him to.

My goodness.  One whole year.

My heart is overflowing today.

(Here comes the photo dump)

Happy Birthday to the little boy that made me realize my dreams.  I love you Trey & every single moment I've had with you.  You are the best!  I'm so happy God chose you for me.  I love you baby!!!!!!



God is sovereign over evil and in His sovereignty will not allow evil to have the last word. —R.C. Sproul

Re; Boston yesterday & the ongoing Gosnell case.

Praying for each.  

This film is really really good.  Warning graphic but very necessary.  Worth the twenty minutes, really.  



A few months ago I talked about the way the world pressures High School students to know what they want to do early on.  I continue to find myself in that awkward silence/thing w/ no way to answer their question.  But let's just clear the air for a sec here.

I'm not going to college for photography.

And that doesn't mean I'm not passionate about it anymore and it doesn't mean I'm done with it.  It just simply means that I don't want to professionally pursue it.  I will always follow that dream and I will always pursue photography and I will always do it for all my life.  But please don't act surprised when I tell you I'm not going to school to learn it.

You see, if there's one thing I've learned in all of my home-education years, it's that learning to love learning is the best for you.  Memorizing things just to get it in your head or doing busy work just to get the credit isn't going to get you anywhere in life.  And it's not that going to school for photography won't benefit me.  I'm sure it would, but I want to learn differently.  I want to learn through experience. I want to learn through the light at sunset and the way people's eyes glitter when the sun shines from behind them.  I want to learn to see people differently and I want to learn how to love the people I'm shooting.  And for me, the only way to do that is to not pursue it professionally.

A dear friend came out from California last week and I got a few shots of her.  I was pleasantly surprised when I looked through my viewfinder and noticed something fabulous.  Her recently dyed purple hair brought her superdarklovely eyes out so wonderfully.  I had never noticed it before.  & what a precious thing that was to me at that time.  Wrestling w/ all this photography stuff... this just calmed my fears.

I shoot to see people differently.  I shoot to see the ways their eyes shine and what makes them laugh.  I shoot to catch their raw personality.  Who they are when they are most themselves.  I shoot because it teaches me to see people differently.  & this little passion that's been growing for quite some time... I now see the Lord's purpose in giving it to me.  I may not want the business part, I may not want the college degree, but I want to see the way people's eyes sparkle when they laugh and I want to see the world through the viewpoint of my camera.

Of course I will always pursue photography.  But this particular shoot with this particular girl made me realize once again how much I truly loved it and how much I want to continue pursuing it differently.

xo emma



I don't forget the details.  I remember the way people laugh and the way they say certain words.  Often I can hear them dying laughing when they say "I'm laughing out loud."

It's the same with moments in time.  I only need ten minutes to memorize definitions for my Marine Biology tests, I love memorizing passages and a lot of things are engraved in my mind.

But this moment, oh, this moment.  It's just engraved in my mind.  After years, I still remember it.  There was no need for encouragement; I was home where my heart is content to be, yet God let the light in.  In a dark and dreary day in the middle of a crater, light streamed in, like a spotlight, and caught with my camera was a really beautiful moment.

The Lord opened the heavens for a moment.

And today, studying this photograph once again, it resonates.  Deaths have occurred since this trip and seeing this photo again makes me know for sure that God was preparing me.  Death stings.  But I have opened up the heavens and I have let the light out.  

What a great thing for my eyes to see today.  A perfect visual for me.  Death stings.  But when we take a moment to see that the Lord is opening the heavens for another person.  Precious.

Thank you, God.  Almost four years later this photo still resonates with me deeply.



As we continue to get closer to Trey's first birthday, a lot has been on my mind.  Little things... just going back to my thought process from just one year ago.

One thing, though... it's been really lurking in my mind.  Really processing it.

One of the the things I've heard when people realize we have an open adoption with T's birthmother is the question of whether or not that's healthy for Trey.  If knowing his biological mother in such a close way is going to affect him later in life.  "Isn't that more painful for him to see the woman who gave him up all the time?"

My answer?

Not at all.  In fact... the complete opposite.

There is an interesting story going around lately.  A birthmother w/ a painful past wishes not to have contact/a relationship with her birth daughter... solely b/c she does not want her painful experiences brought up front in her face once again.  Now she is fighting to have the right for birthmothers to remain anonymous to their birth children... to "protect" other bmoms from having to come face to face with their past once more via contact w/ their birth children.  And I get that.

But.... I have an issue with it.

We have a superclosetightknitlikefamily relationship with Trey's birthmom.  She loves her son, she loves the family she placed her son in, she thinks of us as family.  I hear "I love you"s at the end of voicemails.  She calls once a week.  She sees pictures on Facebook.  She's flying in for his first birthday.  She desperately loves her son and wants him to know that.

There very well may be a day when... lo and behold... she moves on with her life.  Gets married... moves on... lets go of a little bit of contact... we trust God with that.  But the months of spending time with her... the hours of phone calls... the experience... the information... we know about her and her story... those will be such precious gifts to Trey one day.  Even if she herself leaves the picture... he can hold onto those photos and that information... ponder it, process it, accept it.

So the issue I have with remaining anonymous as a birthmother.... what about the child?

And the issue I have with the question "Isn't that going to be more painful for him?"... what about the child?

I think every person... usually around their teenage years... goes through some sort of something where your mind is transforming.  You are figuring out what you are made to do... who you are made to be for God... your DNA... where you come from... it all goes into your thought process.  For me, maybe it's much easier because I know who my family is.  I know my story and I know where I come from.  But to go through that without knowing exactly where you come from... your story... knowing you are different/adopted... but wondering who your parents are?  It's got to affect you.  We need to keep in mind the adoptees' hearts.  And when we ask that question, when we wish to remain anonymous... we forget about the adoptee's heart in all of this.

And I'm not saying everyone going through domestic adoption needs to have an open adoption.  Definitely not.  Every situation is completely different.  That's the beauty in adoption.  Every story is going to turn out different.  There has to be discretion and discernment and we have to really think about it.  It's definitely only for certain situations.  But... I want more people to know that the information we know about the woman who gave life to Trey is precious to us, and, one day when he can understand it, it will be a precious gift to him, too.

On the other side of things, Trey's birthfather... chose not to have a relationship with him.  He had the choice.  In the past I've thought about it this way... He didn't just not show up in his life.  He made a choice.  Things have gone on.  We know some of his story.  But in the end... what a painful thing for my brother to have to process one day.  It's sad... so sad.

And when we think about other situations..... International adoption where files are missing... even domestic adoptions where there is abuse.  Some things need to be protected... some things God may even hide from us.  At the end of the day though?  Trust.  in the Lord.  And good old discernment.  Adoption is never perfect.  But I'm thankful everyday for the relationship God gave us with T's momma.  Such a beautiful thing.

That's the kind of stuff that people don't always see in adoption when they're not right in front of it.  The pain and the hurt of losing parents.  There's grief in that... there's grief on both sides of things.. for the birth mother and the birth child.  And all of us need to educate ourselves on that.

In all situations... international adoption where the adoptee has no idea of their birth parents... domestic adoption where birth parents choose not to have contact... foster care ---> adoption where the birth parents are not safe... domestic adoption w/ a good relationship with the birth parents... we have to trust the Lord with that.  We have to know that we have a God who chose each child in each family... who chose each situation.  Special.  For each circumstance.  Isn't that fabulous?  So in whatever situation adoptees have with their birth parents... God is in control.  <3 emma="" p="">



Easter Sunday was one of those good days for your soul.  Relaxing.  Spent w/ my dear church family and friends that are like family.  Perfect day celebrating Christ's resurrection from the dead.  Hallelujah!

In desperate places He paid our wages / One time once and for all.

Trey had a double ear infection and, well, he wasn't quite his happiest.


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