5 Questions to Keep to Yourself When It Comes to Adoption

I have had a lot on my mind lately when it comes to our sons. I wanted to share my thoughts in hopes of it raising awareness in at least our situation. I may be the only (adoptive and/biological) parent dealing with this, but honestly, I doubt it.

We adopted our son, Zeke, almost four years ago now. [our miracle]. He is the most beautiful, brainy, observant, quick-witted, strong-willing, vivacious snuggle monster. He makes every moment an intriguing experience. You can’t help but to be engaged in every moment you spend with him, because you never know what he is about to do or say.

After we adopted Zeke, we were found ourselves completely content with not having any other children. He was what God wanted for us and he was better than anything we could have ever dreamed up on our own. Two and a half years later, we found ourselves pregnant. [another miracle]. Jasper was a complete surprise and he has been a beautiful addition to our family. He is our joy-filled ball of energy. He has turned out to be quite the momma’s boy [and we thought Zeke was bad]. To say God has blessed us, despite our lack of faith in Him at times, would be an understatement. Our journey was not an easy one, but God has truly taught us more than our tiny brains can comprehend at times.

That being said, since our biological son, Jasper, has been born we have had some interesting things said to us. Those things I believe have not come from a place of malicious or spite, but of excitement for our family. It has come from a place of knowing how long we prayed to be able to conceive. The scary part to me is how I NEVER want our sweet sons to overhear those comments especially Zeke.

Here are some of the general statements which have been said to us, as well as how we want to address it:

1.) “Are you guys are glad to finally have a child that is REALLY ya’lls?”

Who’s child is Zeke if not ours?!?! Zeke is ours! He could not be any more ours had I given birth to him myself. We prayed for God to give us a child and He did. Zeke is our eldest. Our first-born. The first grandson. The first grandchild on one side. The first answer to our prayers. We are glad God FINALLY gave us a child three years ago who is really ours. We went through 9 months of labor; doctor’s appointments, fees, interviews, home studies, lawyers, preparations, praying, waiting, and wondering. He is really ours. He was in our hearts from the moment his birth mom said she knew we were the ones she wanted to raise Zeke.

My fear is our intelligent and tender-hearted boy will overhear comments like that and feel he is not as much a part of our family as his baby brother or that he will develop a sense of insecurity, outside of our home, thinking others do not see him as an Ivey. Let me reassure you… He is an Ivey! He is ours!

We also don’t want Jasper thinking he is better, more privileged, or more loved than his older brother.

2.) “Does he knows how lucky he is that you guys adopted him?”

We are the lucky ones. Before we were given the opportunity to adopt him we were in a dark place. We were wrestling with God’s faithfulness, His promises, and His Sovereignty. We harbored so much bitterness and resentment in our hearts that we struggled to rejoice with our closest friends’ pregnancy announcements and the births of their children. We cut ourselves off from those people, because seeing their baby bumps or their children were painful reminders of what we did not have. Every month brought more disappointment and deeper longings to be parents… to give love to a little one and to raise a Kingdom changer. We were sinking into a deep sea of depression… we were drowning in desperation with no life-raft in sight. God threw us a life-raft when He brought the possibility of adoption into our weary hearts. We were the lucky ones. The lucky ones God chose to direct into his birthmother’s life through precious friends who knew our story and hurt for us. We were the lucky ones. Somehow, even through our lack of faith, our selfishness (thinking we deserved anything from God), our billowing sin (anger, bitterness, envy, and resentment) due to our desires the Holy Spirit spoke to me through His word.

“They are like a dream after one wakes up. O Lord, when you awake you will despise them. Yes, my spirit was bitter, and my insides felt sharp pain. I was ignorant and lacked insight;I was as senseless as an animal before you. But I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me by your wise advice, and then you will lead me to a position of honor. Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. Yes, look! Those far from you die; you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you. But as for me, God’s presence is all I need. I have made the sovereign Lord my shelter,as I declare all the things you have done.” – Psalm 73:20-28

The whole chapter of Psalm 73 spoke so deeply to me. I found myself relating to Asaph. I did not understand why God seemed to be blessing others around me. I became judgement of those I felt did not deserve to have children for whatever reason… and I was envious of those I felt deserved to have children and I knew would be incredibly selfless Godly parents. I had on green-shaded lenses no matter what direction I looked in. I did not understand why God was not blessing us when we were honoring Him and serving Him. I saw us as righteous and living how He wanted us to live, so why would He not give us a child?! I had become someone I never wanted to me, so believe me, when I say I was the lucky one. Nick and I were lucky that God worked out our adoption story so effortlessly and so seamlessly. We were lucky God entrusted us to raise someone else’s child as OURS. To love him. To let him love us. God enriched our lives through being able to adopt our wild man. Adopting him brought us back to life and pulled us out of an scary and ugly place. God knew we needed Zeke. He wanted to use our story to encourage and inspire other couples not to give up. To remind other’s we aren’t promised anything in this life. He are lucky that God choice us to adopt Zeke to glorify Himself and all He can do despite our short-comings. I hope that when Zeke gets older he feels lucky to have Nick and I as parents just like I hope his little brother feels lucky. Not because he is adopted or not, but because hopefully we will be good honorable parents. Hopefully he feels lucky, because he is proud to have us as HIS mom and dad.

3.) “Is it easier to love your biological son  since he is your own flesh and blood?”

Refer to number 1. He is our own. If anything, I was afraid I would not love Jasper as much as I love Zeke (which I hear lots of mom’s deal with adopting/having their second child). My heart still has room for loving more adopted or biological children. I love lots of people who aren’t my flesh and blood and some folks who are my flesh and blood make it difficult to love. Amen? HA.

4.) “Does your adopted son realize you guys aren’t his “real” parents? But you are his brother’s?”

Excuse me. If we aren’t his “real” parents, then who are? We have been there through the entire process. Does he know someone else as mom and dad? I think I am confused. We are his “real” mom and dad. We were the first to hold him. The ones who have cared for him since birth with grateful and loving hearts. We are not pretend parents. We are the real thing. We discipline, love, nurture, pray, and provide for both of our boys just the same. If anything, at times, I have felt sorry for Jasper. He does not get the undivided attention that Zeke received, but it is the nature of the beast for a second child. We are real and tangible to them equally.

5.) “Hard to understand why someone would give up their own flesh and blood?”

Please understand something. You are not just insulting the birthmother of our beautiful son, but you are also insulting me who made that same decision. She did not give him up due to lack of caring for him. She made a decision to give him a life she could not provide for him. She made a decision to give him a family that would provide for him in a way she could not at that time. It does not means she did not love him. In fact, she loved him in a way, hopefully, most mothers will never have to understand. Sacrificially. She gave up one of the greatest loves of her life so they could hopefully have a better life. When you ask or make comments like that you are attacking the woman who’s blood and DNA making up my precious son. Trust me. It was not a careless or callused decision; it came from a place of love.

I hope anyone reading this understands this does not come out of anger or frustration. I simply want to help folks understand that both of our children are just that… OURS! Neither loved less or more. God created both of them. He knows them well and loves them deeply.

We want our sons to know we all have an opportunity to be adopted and how great that is. We want “adopt,” “adopted,” or “adoption” to be a word worthy of praise, because of what God did for us.

“But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God.” – Galatians 4:4-7

Hopefully, we will do a good job raising them and by the grace of God, may they turn out as men of character, integrity, and virtue. May they be real men contributing to this crazy world they have been born into and may we take our responsibility as their parents very seriously. Please pray for our family as we continue to raise these precious miracles God has entrusted into our care. It takes a village. 😉

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Look I’m In A Nutshell

Disheartening to realize I have not updated my blog since our anniversary (a year ago). [So much has happened since then].

I guess I should try and give a brief update on our lives between July of 2014 and now.

August of 2014, we went on a much needed vacation with some sweet friends. We enjoyed lots of food, games, laughs, and sunny days.

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September was full of lots of fun adventures. We went to Dallas, TX with Homegrown Band.

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We started renovations on Nick’s memaw’s house, so we could eventually move in.  It was quite a load to tackle.

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I went with the staff and students from CCF. We went to Whitewater Express in North Carolina.  I basically battled illness all of September… sinus infections and constant nausea… even while we were gone on our retreat with the college students.

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October was full of craziness from officiating my cousin’s wedding to attending other weddings.

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Little man also got a new hair cut before all the wedding festivities began.  He is way too cute!  [Bias much].

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If you have been following my blog for a while you know that our son, Zeke, is adopted and we had been told we would NEVER be able to have children of our own.  In October we had talked about beginning the adoption process again starting in January and hopefully adopting from Haiti.  After all the sickness in September and through October, a friend suggested we take a pregnancy test, which we thought was ridiculous since we had taken hundreds in the past with many disappointing results.  Nick also mentioned taking one just to be sure before we made an appointment looking for answers to why I had been dealing with severe sickness with no answers.

After some major coaching and persuasion, October 12th, I found an old pregnancy test and decided to take it.  I was honestly in shock when the results showed we were expecting, so shocked in fact that I took two more test just to be sure.  We made a phone call the next day and made an appointment to confirm that this was actually happening.  Needless-to-say, God provided a wonderful miracle for our family, even though that was not our train of thought when we first found out.  We were nervous and scared, because we were so unprepared and planning our move from our larger house to a smaller house.

October 16th, our pregnancy was confirmed by the doctors and we shared the news with our parents that weekend.  There were many excited and joyful tears shed as we all celebrated the life of one that had been long-awaited and prayed for.

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God has been beyond faithful to our family and even though we were scared, we also saw where this precious gift was God’s perfect timing.  God had been faithful to us in working out the perfectly smooth adoption of our amazing son, Zeke, and now He was blessing us yet again with a life we never expected.

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October was an exciting time as well as a blur at times.  We were so busy with fall festivities, packing, and weddings… we had little time to process this little one that was about to forever change our lives.

November was hectic.  We moved to our new house, I participated in the ColorRun at Atlanta Motor Speedway with some ladies from my church, we celebrated Nick’s 28th birthday, I took Nick to see his childhood hero, Garth Brooks, and I went to see All Sons and Daughter and David Crowder at the Tabernacle with Katrina and Sarah.

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This was the night of the Garth Brooks’ concert.  He was so excited and I was thrilled that [I did good] getting him a great birthday present. 🙂

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All Sons and Daughters were incredible!!!  It is rare to hear a band that sounds just as flawless live as they do on their album.

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We also were able to find out that we were having right before we went home for Thanksgiving.

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Jasper Wyatt Ivey.  Our newest addition and BOY were we excited to find out we would be having another little fella.  [We were terrified at the thought of having a little girl].  Thanks to Baby Dimensions in Newnan, GA for their kindness and hard work.

December always brings adventure, business, and chaos with Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas family photos, traveling to visit family, and decorating for all the festivities.  We had an amazing time with our family over the holidays.  Children bring such a fun dynamic to the holiday season as you watch them open presents or they help you open yours.  We had an unforgettable holiday season and our last one with just one little peanut running around.

I took some shots of my sweet men while we were Christmas tree hunting at Redland Nursery in Temple, Ga.  It is our favorite place to go to pick out our Christmas tree.  Zeke wanted to help cut down every Christmas tree.  This was the first time I could really start to see just how much he idolized his daddy.

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These are a few shots from our Christmas shoot with Aislinn Rain Photography.  Aislinn is phenomenal at her job and we never leave worried that we won’t get what we paid for.  She makes our family feel so at ease and can even get Zeke to take pictures when he hasn’t had a nap.  Thankful she works such great magic.  Haha.

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We didn’t have as much room to work with this year as we played the role of Santa, but it was well worth the smile on Zeke’s face when he got the only gift he had asked for in the months prior to Christmas.  A John Deere tractor.
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December had some tough moments as well.  Whit Maxey, one of our dear friends, received an amazing job offer at a church in our area.  We knew that job would not be easy to turn down and so we said our sad goodbyes at the end of the semester.  It was a very difficult night for all of us as a staff, but we were thrilled for him and his family.

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January was not to hectic.  We celebrated my sweet daddy’s birthday.  Nick, Russell, Zeke, and I met my dad in Madison, GA, which is about half way between Augusta and Temple, to celebrate dad’s birthday.  My mom was ill and not able to join which was disappointing, but it was wonderful to spend time with dad.

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February and March were full of sickness within the family and Homegrown’s radio tour to Wisconsin.  We spent a lot of time trying to get well from allergies, bronchitis, sinus infections, and walking pneumonia.  All of us felt pretty miserable.

 

Homegrown’s radio tour was a huge success and help land them in the top 80 on the Country Music breakout charts.  We were all very proud of their efforts and the momentum they were gaining.  Zeke and I were happy when Nick returned home even though he was exhausted.

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My sweet momma also through me a very special baby shower in Augusta with all of my family and friends from Augusta.  It was such a special time with the people who had been praying for Nick and I for such a long time.  It was a great time celebrating all God had done in our lives.

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April was filled birthday celebrations, Zeke moving into his big boy bed, and nursery renovations.  He was really excited about his new bed and sharing his crib with his baby brother.  We were worried how the transition would go with him moving from a crib to a toddler bed, but it went smoother than we could have ever expected.  10426674_10153215704847095_1983319079558101314_n

Obviously, as you can see, he was quite comfortable in his new bed the first night.  We took him to IKEA and let him pick out what bed, mattress, and bedding he wanted.  We also let him pick out some stuffed animals to match his bedding.

Jasper’s room started coming together as well once we had our baby showers and figured out the decor for his nursery.

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We also closed out another year at CCF, which was extremely bittersweet.  The year had been full of changes and laughs, but the biggest transition was losing our three amazing interns; Austin, Elliot, and Paul.  Those three kept our heads up when the days where uncertain and rough.  They kept smiles on our faces through their infectious smiles, ridiculous jokes, and laughter.

At the end of the month we headed to North Atlanta to see one of our favorite boys, Wedds Alexis, play soccer for his school.  We were so excited to see him and spend time with him.  Zeke, especially!  It was his final soccer game, so we had to make sure we attended the game.  He had grown so much in the last year and had matured a great deal.

 

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Megan also graduated from the University of West Georgia with her undergrad.  We were so proud of her for her hard work and determination.

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May was busy!!!!  Homegrown had concerts almost every weekend.  We were getting last minute things together before Jasper made his appearance.  We spent as much quality time as we good with Zeke before he was no longer the only little guy.  We made the most of date nights as we could as well.

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Homegrown played at the AMP in Carrollton at Adamson Square for an event to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club.  It was a lot of fun with tons of people.  We had a great time, especially Zeke.  He loved watching his daddy playing lead guitar.  It made my heart melt.  🙂

The next weekend Homegrown Band had a private event for some of their backer who had invested in their newest album, “Summer Song.”

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The event was held at the Train Depot in Carrollton, GA.  It was such a great way for the band to say, “thank you” to those who have given for their efforts, money, and time to see them into this next chapter.  It was also great to see some very sweet friends.  Sherry Sullivan is truly one of a kind.  It was fun spending an evening unwinding with her.  Crazy to think I was nine months pregnant.

 

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Here is one of our many car rides during the last month of our pregnancy.  Zeke is getting so big and it makes me overwhelmed with emotions at times.  He is our stylish kiddo. 🙂

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Nick and I also enjoyed a date and took one last picture of us as a family of three.

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I am sorry for the extremely long post, but Evanda Estes and Sarah Steffes have been asking me to update my blog (this is for you two).  I will hopefully add another post soon about our newest addition and our growing family.  We are so thankful to our Heavenly Father for all He has done and is continuing to do in our lives.  We are very blessed!

-Mrs. I

Celebrating Freedom

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite times of the year. Celebrating our freedom, honoring the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom, and making memories with friends.

We started off celebrating in Villa Rica, Ga with our church family and some friends on Thursday night. Afterwards, some friends came back to the house and we shared some laughs.

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Friday, we had several of our friends over for a cookout at my in-laws. We had lots of delicious food, laughed a whole lot, and played a serious game of volleyball in the pool. Afterwards, we headed into Carrollton for the firework and 4th of July festivities. We took all of our leftovers from lunch, coolers, homemade ice cream, and our corn-hole boards to enjoy the rest of our evening.

God has given us some of the most loving and selfless friends. We enjoyed every moment with each of them, individually and collectively, this weekend. I have never laughed so hard and smiled so much; my abs still hurt.

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I am looking forward to many more memorable weekends with these precious friends.

Orevwa, darlings!

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What It Is All About

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Wild imaginations infused with playful chatter and laughter often drift through our home. It engulfs my spirit; sweet music to my soul. My green-eyed teddy bear with a heart of gold wrestling with a blue-eyed ball of energy brings joy to me and I revel in those precious moments.

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My husband is a creative, talented, and well-rounded musician. When I met my husband 8 years ago, music was his muse; the core of his being. For hours on end he would sit and play in his own musical world and creating licks, riffs, and refuge for his soul.  Music wasn’t just some hobby, it was his way of existing; like a wave that engulfed his body, mind, soul, and spirit.  It was where he went to talk to God and often where God met him.  His love for music and his love for God fascinated me, and ultimately captivated my heart.

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This endeavor of ours has caused us to journey through some strenuous obstacles, but more often than not, we enjoy the hand we have been dealt.  There is great pleasure that comes from living life with your best friend and it is even better when your best friend is your husband.  I’ve watched my husband grow from a young man into a diligent leader within our home.  Prioritizing has been a constant conquered struggle for us both.  We try to make continuous efforts to place God first and our marriage second [we don’t always get that right; we try]. 

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In the last two years, things have changed drastically.  We adopted a baby boy and he has changed our priorities yet again. Brave. Chivalrous. Selfless.  These are words that have always encompassed who he is, but seeing him has a father has been magnificent.  His love for me has always been selfless and he showers Zeke with that same love.  He is also selfish with Zeke; selfish with his time.  He is a busy man; two jobs, one band, and a family make for a very busy schedule.  Yet, he constantly makes sacrifices for us both.  He takes lunch breaks at home to cuddle with Zeke (our son) before nap time.  He rushes home from band practice in hopes of praying with Zeke before bedtime.  He cuts grass with Zeke securely tucked under his arm while he rides the tractor.  He lavishes all kinds of musical knowledge into our son, even at the age of two.  He disciplines him with grace and love while teaching him to respect himself and others.  He contributes to Zeke’s love for fishing, football, hide-n-seek, hunting, and wrestling.  He gives Zeke his undivided attention even when his phone is flashing emails, reminders, and text.  He makes sure Zeke knows he comes before his dreams, hobbies, or work.  He shows him how to thrive and take pleasure in his family.

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My favorite thing is watching him teach Zeke about God and prayer.  The sweetest sounds to pass through my ears consist of Zeke repeating his daddy’s prayers at bedtime.  It is humbling to be privileged enough to experience the awe of our Creator through the babblings of our innocent son as he whispers the honest words of his daddy.  I love watching my hubby lead by example and not just saying, “Do as I say, not as I do!”

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Ox Ox, we are so lucky to have you in our lives.  You are the greatest loan God has ever given me and I hope that as your partner in adventure, crime, life, love, and parenting that I honor you always.  You are a gift that keeps on giving not just in our marriage, but also as a parent. Zeke and I can never thank you enough for loving us so selflessly.  We love you with all of our hearts!

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Happy Father’s Day!

I love you, my beloved!  xoxo

Celebrating Two

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Photography by Aislinn Rain Photography

Two years ago, on March 6th, 2012, I received a excited yet, panicked phone call.  Our son had been born (a month early).  He and his birth mother had both been in distress and an emergency C-section had to be performed.  We were urged to head that way as quickly as possible.  I remember confusion and panic come flooding over me.  I called Nick, who was at work, explained the situation, and we dropped everything and rushed to North Atlanta to be with our son.

I felt like we were caught in a whirlwind of emotions, but mainly helplessness.  Our son was alone.  His birth mother nor us could be with him.  We couldn’t hold him… reassure him that we were there.  The thought brought tears to our eyes and pains to our stomaches.  Acceleration took on a whole new meaning.

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I have never believed in love at first sight until we saw our son.  He was the most precious bundle I had ever laid eyes on.  God’s hands had been all over the situation from the beginning.  Two different families had been brought together by God’s Sovereign hand and forever changed in the wake of our son’s birth.

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Photography by Aislinn Rain Photography

Ezekiel James Ivey is the best gift we’ve ever been given by two others; God and Zeke’s birth mom.  He has been our bouncing ball of energy and stubbornness coupled with cuddles and tenderness.

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Photography by Aislinn Rain Photography

Celebrating two comes all sorts of hidden meanings.  Two years of life.  Two families forever joined together.  Two years of frustrated prayers answered.  Two different sides of the family celebrating two different families’ decision to change a child’s life.

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This weekend we celebrated Zeke turning two with both sides of our family.  We find ourselves overwhelmed with the love and support we’ve had throughout this constant evolving journey.  Our families and friends have been by our side throughout this entire process through hugs, laughter, prayers, and tears… all the while God has been in the midst weaving our paths together, so delicately.

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My husband and partner in crime makes this life absolutely perfect.  We are blessed beyond belief.  I surely don’t deserve all I have been given… from God’s grace, my husband’s love, and our son…. more than I imagined and through means I never dreamed possible.   Celebrating two…

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…to God be the Glory…

Zeke’s Antique Dresser

Nick and I ended up getting a dresser from the 1940’s and we decided to refinish it and paint it and put it in Zeke’s room.

These are the drawers after sanding them to get them ready for primer.

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Nick finishing up the sanding.

This was after the first coat of primer!

This was only after the first coat.  It looked great!!!  😀

The final product!  We love it and feel like it turned out great!