Ava with her grandpa - Summer 2004
The spring and summer of 2004 was an amazing test of my faith. At times it seemed like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, I was exhausted everyday with stress and worry that Ava would be taken away from us, but we also enjoyed many precious days together and created wonderful memories as a family. Ava was with our family for 8 ½ months before her adoption was finalized. For those 8 ½ months she wasn’t really “ours.” I know I will get criticism for saying that because some people feel she wasn’t really “ours” in the first place, but she was placed in our home, not by us begging for a child but because her mother felt it was the best place for her to be. When we were finally able to meet with Ava’s birth father he also agreed with her being in our home. I found a line from another adoption blog that I think applies to our situation “adoption is not designed to find babies for people who want them, but rather, to provide homes for children who need a home.”
Camping at Yellowstone in the Spring of 2004
Looking back now I can see how so many people were placed in our path to help us along. Many times I was inspired to make a phone call, write a note or ask a certain question and my life was blessed by listening to those promptings. I am so grateful for the power of prayer and for a Heavenly Father who knows my strengths and weaknesses and is aware of what I am capable of.
Together at an amusement park (I love how Cole and Preston can't let go of Ava).
I am still friends with Ava’s birth father. I share pictures of Ava with him, he has sent her presents for Christmas and writes notes to her via e-mail (all of which I keep for her to read as she gets older and understands more). I am sharing my experience with open adoption with hopes that others will realize that open adoption can and does work. It may not be appropriate in all situations and it is definitely not easy ~ most things in life that are worth anything are not easy while you are going through them, but adversity shapes our lives and makes us who we are and who we will become.
Graduation Day (finally!) with Mykel and Ava!
"Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly.
Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.
This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.
Thomas S. Monson
Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. "
I had to stop stressing about things I had no control over and instead “find joy in the journey” and oh what a journey it has been!