The Adoption Letters: Love Always, Krystal

This is the second in a series of letters I'd like to call The Adoption 
Letters. The Adoption Letters will be written free form by moms/dads 
who've adopted, adoptees, and birth moms. If you would like to submit 
a letter to possibly be posted follow this link

Krystal was taken from her biological mom at the age of five. In April 2013, Krystal planned to visit her mom for the first time in almost 20 years but ended up not going. Five months later she and her brothers received some difficult news. Here is a letter Krystal wrote to her mom while grieving their difficult loss. 


What a crazy, surreal week it's been.  It's been a week and one day since Big Brother called me 6 times at 6:53am while I was working the window at Chick-fil-A to tell me the horrible, unexpected news.  When he said, 'You know why I'm calling you...' I had NO idea.  It didn't even cross my mind.  I have never been left with such a strong sense of regret in my life.  

It was SO heavy on my heart earlier this year, just in April, to come visit you for the first time since I was 5.  So heavy.  But I was scared.  And selfish.  So I didn't come.  I wish I had.  It's been on my heart for almost 20 years now.  I wanted to come visit you and let you know that I'm alive and very well.  I wanted to tell you I've forgiven you, and I've been praying for you my whole life.  

I wanted you to know that Big Brother found Brother & me 5 years ago, and the three of us have reconnected after being separated for 17 years.  He's one of my very best friends.  I'm a doctor of Physical Therapy now.  I've done very well and worked extremely hard.  I met The Love of My Life last November, and I'm going to marry him one day.  I started my first real job this week on Monday, and it is my absolute dream job.  The Lord has taken such good care of me.  

I think of you often.  I should've come to see you.  I needed to see you.  I needed to see what you were like after all these years.  I needed you to answer my questions; I have so many questions.  I think Big Brother needed to see you, too.  He's having a hard time with the news, also.  I don't know about Brother because we hardly have a relationship anymore.  But he's here in Houston now; he flew in today.  Big Brother and Kris got a divorce a few years ago, so he's been giving me your letters since then.  

I got your letter in April.  I wanted to believe you that you were so sick, but Big Brother and I both called individually, and a really nice lady at the prison told us you were not terminally ill.  So I got angry.  The prison was supposed to call Big Brother when you went to the critical care unit and send a police officer to his house when you went to hospice on the 30th, neither of which happened.  But we still should've come.  I know that your last wish was to see us.  

I went and picked up all your stuff from the prison; I have it now.  I read your journals & letters.  I know how alone and scared you felt.  And I wish you would have gotten your wish.  Just a few moments, at least; some peace before you left us again.  I am truly sorry, but I know I can't change it now.  Oh, how I wish I could!  Now I just pray for peace for Big Brother & me.  We will cling to each other and to the promises of our dear Lord.  Tomorrow we will say goodbye to you forever.  It is going to be such a tough day.  I pray for the Lord's presence and grace and that I will love my brothers well.  I hope we'll see you again someday.  I love you. 

Love always,


Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Looking Back

So, I went to an amazing party. I should tell you that a wood fire oven was brought in to make the most delicious pizzas. I had three pieces of one called Porky. Yes, you wanted to know. And in case that wasn't enough, a mariachi band made the party a complete success. I loved all the food and fun but was stopped in my tracks when Missie began telling me some of her story.

This woman, Missie, preaches with her life. As soon as you know her you know you want to know her more. You get this? You know a Missie, I hope. I stood listening to her as she stared into my eyes while sharing about her husband dying, raising her downright amazing daughters (I happen to know them too), and the way God cared for her. I stopped her only to say that I wished I had a podcast and podcast listeners so that All The People could hear her telling. 

At one point she told me a specific portion of story that she only remembered when looking back. 

How could she possibly have known I am currently obsessed with looking back on our stories? I almost couldn't handle.

Looking Back: seeing something that has been there the 
whole time waiting to be discovered. 

This. This is the thing that stirs me up and makes my heart beat faster. Not the anxiety beat faster, no, the I-have-to-hear-more beat faster. You see, I believe we each have a story to tell. I know you've heard this before and are probably tired of it, but really. Our story, yours and mine, may seem boring. Sure. Whatever. It may not seem like all the chapters flow well. Except I am here to say they do. Could it be that we only see the bigger story in looking back? I believe The Looking Back may be the most important. Think about it.

Looking back on the defining stories in our life may help us see a single thread weaving all of them together.  

And that thread - Could it be the rescue story? What if all of the chapters of our life weave together to tell the One Big Story?  

If every story whispers his name...
If we are currently living...
Then we were created for this and at this exact time.
The purpose of your days, the living of your life, and the telling of your story...
all of it -
says who He is.

This would mean we each have a telling to tell. Telling the tell makes our party talk gospel talk. Telling makes us become preachers of the Good News. 

Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men

So, there you go. Something to think about maybe. If nothing else you know about a pizza named Porky. You're welcome. 
Here's to the Missie in all of us! 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Beginning Again

It's a strange thing to think about Beginning Again in the same season that I have termed The Goodbye Years. I remember people starting blogs when their family life was new or to document an adoption journey. I know of others who started a blog to showcase amazing design and photos and recipes. I don't remember many blogs beginning in the season of kids graduating high school and moving on to All The Things that are waiting. 

Aside from the three teenagers, I have one wild five year old. He just began Kindergarten. Every single day at 2:45 I get to hear every word he had stored up. His brain is constantly learning, and these days, his body constantly moving. That is until 7 o'clock every night when he asks to be put to bed. He is the kid that is out like a light - so long as his songs play. The bus coming by 6:57 in the morning may play a part. 

And then there are the three teens. One of which, my only girl, is ready to graduate this spring. Today I got a text from her asking if she could get a tattoo on her 18th birthday. She sent the text to EP and me as if we were gonna reply back with a quick yes. She knows at 18 she can officially buy cigarettes and spray paint, but no one tell her that she can get her own tatt without me saying so. I mean, will she love the one she chooses at 18? Can anyone answer this for me? 

I would usually say I am an easy release kind of mom. Like I skipped all the way back from Kindergarten drop off every single time. I pushed the two teen drivers to hurry up and finish those drivers ed courses so they could go get the milk. During late elementary I let them walk alone to the community pool. Gasp. And that just reminded me they use to also walk the four blocks home from school. Sure they somehow think I am overprotective, but they don't even know. Even tonight I was with my oldest son. He was driving and I was his passenger. So basically my life was flashing before my eyes. I happened to comment about a guy walking the street to which my son replied you don't have to mother everyone. Thank you son of my youth, I will remember your wisdom. From this day forward I will reserve all my mothering for you and you alone. 

The tension of simultaneously holding on and letting go is the hardest lesson we all learn. It is not reserved for mothers. If only. As soon as we open ourselves to care, to love, to create, the desire is born to hold on tight. Who loves being open handed with what and who we love. Not us. Not happening. Except we know that holding on too tight takes out life. 

The only real battle in life is between hanging on and letting go. - Shannon L. Alder

The goodbye years. 'Tis the season. Everything is a last to make way for everything to be a first. I couldn't be more excited for my wild people to be doing their things, learning and re learning, buying spray paint and getting the tattoos (whatever). I will probably have a lot of words about these things and those words will probably fall here. But also words about the other things I am learning to hold on and let go of, like justice, adoption, ending human trafficking, loving people, and following Jesus. If things get too serious around here, for the love, send me an email. I mean if we don't laugh together then we have nothing. 

So, In the words of Adele, Hello, It's me. I'm here beginning this blog again. 

From all of our beginnings, we keep reliving the Garden story - Ann Voskamp

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


The Adoption Letters: Dear Birth Mom

This is the first in a series of letters I'd like to call The Adoption 
Letters. The Adoption Letters will be written by moms/dads 
who've adopted, adoptees, and birth moms. If you would like to submit 
a letter to possibly be posted follow this link

To kick off The Adoption Letters I would like to share a letter I wrote to my Birth Mom. It is World Adoption Day. Maybe you've seen the posts and photos? I posted a picture of our family to celebrate along with All The People, because Yes! 

It is such a happy day, but still I imagine it may sting for some birth moms out there. So here I sit to tell you, Dear Birth Mom, the things I felt strongly to say to my very own Mary four years ago. I treasure this letter. I'm actually looking at the original copy in my hand right now. (The reason I have the original is for another day.) The only thing I have left to say is it took every ounce of moxie I could muster to write it, seal and send. She received it on my birthday. I did it. I lived. And I am here to share it with you. 

Dear Birth Mom, 

I am not sure how to even start such a letter. I believe we met today thirty five years ago in a hospital in Texas. 

I thought to find you and write to you because I was needing medical history. But truth, I just wanted to know if you were out there somewhere. I have asked my parents many questions about you over the years. Each question they answered with the information they had. I am grateful for that. 

I don't know what it's like to birth a child you cannot keep. Being a mom myself tells me it must be the very hardest thing. 

I want to thank you, Dear Birth Mom, for giving me life. I want to thank you for being the person that God placed my body to grow in. God chose you for me and me for you. I don't know why but I believe he doesn't do anything without reason. I choose to believe there is a beautiful story here. One that needs redemption, yes maybe, but still a beautiful story. 

I am not worried about your faults, or mine, your past, or mine. In this moment I am welcoming you into my space.

I am only thankful for you. 

I need you to know that. 

I assume you may want to know about me. I have been married fifteen years to a wonderful man. Together we have four kids. Carly is 13, Colton is 12, and Ronel is 11 (we adopted Ronel from Haiti last year), and Jude is 21 months. We live in the Houston area. We truly love each other even though we are far from perfect. I work as a photographer and dream to one day be a writer. I mentor young women and my husband pastors students. 

After adopting my son from Haiti and grieving the loss of his first mom my heart was opened. It was open enough to see I desire to know you while I have the chance.

I admit to often wondering how I may be similar to you. 

I am not sure if you are willing to meet me and share some of your story with me - yours and mine. 
If you are, I am ready. 

If I have siblings that are willing to meet me that would be welcome also. 


If you choose to not meet me, and if siblings choose to not meet me, that is okay. I will be good. Please do not feel like you have to. You don't. I am just opening the door in case you want to come in. 

Today, thirty five years ago, I have no idea what you thought when you saw me for the first time. I do know that God planned us. There is a verse in the bible that says God created me, my inmost being, and he did it in my mother's womb (my paraphrase). 

The conception was not an accident, a confusion, or any other thing. It was on purpose and it is good. Your decision was good. I think of you every single year on my birthday. Today I am glad I get to tell you so. 

You, exactly who you are, and where you are, are special to me. Thank you Dear Birth Mom. Thank you for loving me and carrying me. 



Follow my blog with Bloglovin