We have two 7 weekers on our hands. These past seven weeks have just flown by. I feel like the girls are huge, even though they are still around 6 pounds. The past few weeks have been full of visits from friends, summer outtings, and visits from family. My mom just left today. It was so nice to have her and watch her love on our girls. She has such a calming presence. She would rub the girl’s temples as they would fall asleep, and give them nightly foot rubs with lavender lotion. The girls were very pampered by Grandma!

We have felt so loved and support by our community, our friends, our family, our church, during this huge transition to parenthood. We get sweet messages from the girl’s birthmom, saying hello, telling us to tell the girls she loves them. We get a lot of questions like how are the girls sleeping (Surprisingly well! I think the NICU got them on such a good schedule. We fed them before we go to bed, pretty late, and then they wake up for one 3am feeding and then usually not again until 6 or 7am!). Josh recently finished and loved his family practice round. He even got home early some days to spend the afternoon at home with us.

Again, we are so thankful for everyone that was a part of our adoption story. We will forever be grateful to all the people that prayed and gave and shared to help us bring Ezra + Olive home. When I look at these two girls, I am just so humbled that we get to call them ours. Our adoption consultant recently blogged our adoption story in two parts, if you want to read it you can do so here and here!

Here are some photos since we brought the girls home. If you know anyone that has an incredible adoption story – please have them email me at hello(at)hannaheloge(dot)com! I am working on a project and would love to include some adoption stories!

 

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Almost two week ago Josh and I watched our twin girls be delivered. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Back in November, Josh scheduled his big medical school test for April 15th, giving him a couple of weeks off before starting his third year rotations. We had been praying that something would happen with our adoption during these two weeks off, so when we got a call that the girls’ delivery date had been moved up to the 18th, we were in shock and found it slightly humorous that our girls were going to be born the Monday after Josh’s huge test – actually the very next business hour! We had one week to study for and take an important test, quickly wrap up things in Chicago, and buy our plane tickets to Utah. We were amazed by our community and family who completed surrounded us by providing funds to finish fundraising our adoption, and buying us (and the girls) gifts to come home to.
We always thought our baby would be born in Florida because all of the agencies we applied to through our adoption consultant were in Florida. Utah came as a surprise, but we are so thankful this is where we landed. And incredible HopeChest board member took care of our stay and found us a car to use here in Salt Lake City. It has been such a huge blessing to have an apartment in the mountains to retreat to at night during our NICU stay. Our first day in Utah was picture perfect. It was the most gorgeous day. We drove up the mountains and did a little wine tasting at this beautiful French restaurant pictured below. As we drove around, cherry blossoms were in full bloom. We had been considering the middle name Bloom for one of the girls, and seeing all the beautiful trees in Salt Lake in full bloom solidified the name. It was the most peaceful day before becoming parents and we felt like we were exactly where we were supposed to be. Fear can definitely take over in the adoption process. Will the girls be healthy? Will our birth mom change her mind? But that day when we drove around a new city, we were filled with so much peace.
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Monday, April 18, we woke up at 5:30, got ready and drove to the hospital with the most beautiful sunrise leading the way.
first-few-days-adoption_0013first-few-days-adoption_0014We got to spend about 2 hours with our beautiful birthmom before delivery. We had only met for the first time the night before but we felt like we had known her much longer. I held her hand, we prayed together, we talked about travels and her love for Shakespeare and acting. We got to see ultrasounds of the girls and then it was time to go! She wanted me to be with her during the whole c-section. I was so honored. I held her hand during the epidural and rubbed her head as they began the operation. I told her that she was my hero, and she said, “No, you are mine”. It was precious moment after precious moment and I hope that I can always remember every second of it. It was getting closer to the girls arrival and they brought Josh into the surgical suite. I looked at the clock at it was 9:30 am. I thought in my head that these girls were going to be born at 9:37 (see my last post for the significance of 37) and sure enough, at 9:36am Ezra Bloom was born and at 9:37am Olive Anderson was born.
first-few-days-adoption_0015first-few-days-adoption_0016first-few-days-adoption_0018first-few-days-adoption_0019first-few-days-adoption_0020first-few-days-adoption_0021first-few-days-adoption_0022They were so tiny. Ezra took some extra care immediately after birth, because she wasn’t breathing very well, and Josh stood staring over her, worried, already acting like a protective father. While the girls and Josh were whisked off to the NICU, I stayed with our birth mom telling her everything that was happening. The rest of that day was hard. We weren’t able to hold the girls until much later that night, our family was asking for updates, but we didn’t want to introduce them with a photo of them tied to a million cords and in big plastic bungalows. So the official announcement of their names and pictures didn’t come until 10:30pm. That day when I was with our birth mom I was missing the girls and wondering how they were doing, but if I was with the girls, I was worried that our birth mom was feeling alone. I spent the day running between the two rooms. It was also hard, because the first day, the girls were not officially ours, and they wouldn’t be ours until the next afternoon after papers had been signed. The tension of adoption was evident once again. I will never forget Josh holding both girls that night, he looked down at them in his arms and just lost it. I was in charge of blowing his now and wiping the stream of tears off his face since both of his arms were full. Josh has been so incredible these last two weeks as a Dad, I am so glad that I get to figure out this whole new world of parenting with him.
first-few-days-adoption_0024first-few-days-adoption_0025first-few-days-adoption_0026first-few-days-adoption_0028first-few-days-adoption_0029first-few-days-adoption_0030first-few-days-adoption_0031first-few-days-adoption_0033first-few-days-adoption_0034first-few-days-adoption_0035first-few-days-adoption_0036first-few-days-adoption_0037I have so many stories to share of these last two weeks, I will have to blog about them in pieces. The girls are doing great – They are eating mostly on their own and the Dr thinks they will be discharged on Tuesday! Thank you for all your prayers, they honestly mean the world to us. After the girls are discharged we will need to wait for adoption paperwork to wrap up so we can be cleared to go back to Il, and we will need to make an appearance in court to finalize our adoption. We are hoping that this can all take place next week so that Josh can be back next Monday, for his first rotation of his third year of medical school!
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  • May 1, 2016 - 12:57 pm

    Danalee McConkey - Hannah and Josh,
    I know I don’t know y’all very well but I came across your story and my heart is just filled with excitement for y’all. I have been praying for peace and strength and endurance and everything you might need during this time. I have never adopted and so I don’t know all the emotions y’all are probably feeling but I can certainly imagine the emotional highs and lows and everything in between. Y’all are on my heart and my mind. If you need anything, anything at all that I can provide all the way from Texas please let me know. God bless you both for your obedience to His call on your lives.ReplyCancel

Yesterday we announced that in 13 days we will meeting our twin girls! This still has not sunk in. As our minds are spinning, we are hurrying to apply for grants, figuring out some messy insurance details, finishing up registries, finding flights, I wanted to take a step back and share what brought us here.

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As many of you know, we are working with Christian Adoption Consultants, they work with many agencies all over US and we had officially applied to multiple agencies with them in Florida. But I was following a few other agencies they work with on Facebook.

Since the beginning, Josh has been joking (but in a total serious way) that he wants twins. To be honest, I thought he was nuts. I kept telling him that I was on a “one child, every 10 years” plan. I grew up in a family that is very spread out, and I liked it that way! One of our first meetings with our social worker, back in October, Josh mentioned that he wanted twins and asked how common it is. She replied, “Twins are very rare, I have been doing this for 15 years and have only placed about 2 sets of twins.” This gave me a lot of confidence to check that little box that approved us for multiple children. 

As we looked at strollers, Josh would remind me again, that we need one that holds TWO children. And again, I told him, no we do not. (See where this story is going?).

So on March 30, on the agencies that our consultant works with, put up a status that they were having a hard time finding a match for a mom carrying twins. I tagged Josh in the comments with a smiley face, more as a joke, because the post said they were only looking for people in the Utah area. (See where this is going?)

Josh said we should send them an email and just get more information.

They emailed that they are flexible on us living out of town and that they were going to show profile books to this expectant mom that Friday.

That night we did not sleep. I spent the entire evening crying, praying, and googling “How to Take Care of Twins” and wondering if we should present our book (it was much more expensive than we were hoping for, and it was TWINS……and they were due in two weeks.) At about 1 in the morning I got a text from a friend that has TWO sets of twins. I hadn’t told anyone about this situation except for her and her husband. Her text told me that she was trying her hardest not to be biased but that twins are simply the best. She said it God was presenting this special opportunity to us, that we should listen. She reminded of the verse that says that sometimes we have to toss the coin and let the Lord choose how it lands.

Josh and I woke up the next morning knowing that if we didn’t present our profile book, we would always wonder, if we do present and get a no, we will know it’s not right, but that SO many doors would need to open for it to be a YES that it would only be God opening those doors.

So, we sent our book to Utah.

WAITING WEEK

And then we waited.

and waited.

and waited.

We thought we would hear something that Monday, but Monday passed, Tuesday passed, Wednesday passed, Thursday passed.

And it felt like the longest week of our life. Every day felt like more time that we were not able to prepare to bring these girls home if it was a yes. Every day we woke up wondering if today was the day that there would be some news. We waited by the phone. We cried we prayed. We freaked out. And we were so thankful to have a small community around us that was keeping us sane.

Then on Friday we got a call.

“L” (the expectant mom) wanted to talk to us. The agency told us they would set up a conference call at 4, so that “L” and Josh and I could talk.

And then we talked for almost two hours. We clicked right away. She had a LIST of questions. You could tell she had given so much care and thought to each one. She told us she has felt our prayers because God has cared for her emotions during this pregnancy and that she knows her job is to find the best parents she could for these baby girls. We laughed, and shared, and talked about faith. As the conversation went on, I know Josh and I were feeling more and more like this is it. Little ways that God was revealing that this was our story. “L”‘s due date is May 8th, which is exactly 9 months from when Josh and I decided to adopt. I have this thing for the number 37. It began popping up in my life, maybe 10 years ago and it would show up in big moments of life or just mundane moments. My family didn’t believe me at first, but they have witness the craziest, countless times that this number has appeared. Josh and I filled out some registries early in our adoption, and many of them are not adoption friendly, you have to put in a due date. So we would always put March 7 (37) as our due date. We always thought something significant would happen on March 7. We were excited when March 7 arrived, we thought for sure we would get a situation that day and it would be a little sign that this was IT! But March 7th came and went with silence. At the end of the day, we were both a little sad that nothing happened on our 37 day. But back to talking about our phone call with “L”. One of the questions (of many!) was what our favorite holidays are. Josh told her how much I love my birthday, and I explained that I love my birthday because I am always surrounded by family. She asked when my birthday was (see where this is going?) and I said June 30, and I asked her when hers was… and she said March 7th. Josh and my mouth fell open. I think there was a silent shock on the phone. There was a 37 in our profile book, so we had “L” open the book and we told her the whole story. This may seem insignificant, but to us, it was big. It made us feel like we are right where we should be.

After about an hour and a half into the the conversation “L” said a few words that would change our life “I am confident that I want you guys to be the parents”.

And then the phone call cut off.

Not kidding. Without us even responding. The agency’s cell phone died. We sat in our living room in a panic, thinking we were not going to hear back, that we weren’t going to be able to call families that night and that we would have to go through the weekend, kinda knowing but that nothing was for sure. Thankfully, after the longest 40 minutes, the agency called back and we were able to wrap up our talk.

“L” told us again how thankful she is that God brought us together and we told her how much we love her and that we are also confident in accepting! It was officially a match! Josh and I cried and hugged and told her we couldn’t wait to see her in just two weeks.

I thought back to a moment I had about 3 months ago. I was think praying. Asking God to give us the craziest biggest story possible and then changing my mind and telling him, “just kidding, I didn’t mean that, a boring, average, story will do.” I have only heard God’s voice audibly the twice in my life and this was the second time. He said, “Hannah I have the BEST surprise for you.” It was so intense that I started to cry and I wrote down the words so that I wouldn’t forget. Looking back now, I know why the would surprise was used. I know Josh saw this coming, but this was such a shock and surprise to me.

I love looking back on the little things that make this our this story. Our thank you cards that I had my friend Jenny of ThreeLetterBirds make said the words “They won’t have our eyes, but they will have our hearts.” All plural.

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My brother texted me out of the blue on the day that I saw the post on Facebook about this special expectant mom and it said, “I’m sure it’s easy to get anxious and impatient – but there’s a mom our there who desperately needs you. And you’re ready for her when she seeks help.”

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WHAT’S NEXT
We are so excited to meet this special woman that we have been praying for, every day. As we are busy preparing we are trying to not let fear seep in. We have so much to fundraise in the next 13 days to bring these babies home. But we know that God has opened so many doors, and been so faithful through this process. We are going to move forward in faith. We have some BIG mountains that need to move. We still have a lot of money to raise, and we wish it wasn’t so expensive. We are doing EVERYTHING we can to try to bring down the costs. What is making it so expensive is medicaid is not covering her c-section. Josh is working tirelessly to try to figure something out. And we are applying to every grant and loan we can find.

There is still a risk, over 35% of matches end in “failed placements”, which means the mom decides to parent. Please be praying for these sweet girls, for their health and safety, and for the beautiful woman that is carrying them, that she may experience an intense peace.

We are so thankful for the community that is surrounded us. So many people shared our announcement video yesterday, we raised over 2K in one day, and we already have a beautiful place to stay, for free, the entire time we are in Utah. We are counting every blessing, and we are so so grateful.

 

 

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Today has not been the relaxing, coffee sipping morning that I prefer; after a night of not sleeping well and a long meeting, our toilet overflowed and the majority of the house was underwater. I was hoping to get this post about our adoption profile book up earlier, but as you can imagine, that just didn’t happen.

But, despite the rough start to the day, we are excited that Blurb is featuring our adoption profile book on their website today! They saw our adoption profile book on Instagram and reached out a few months ago and asked if they could feature Josh and me! I was so excited that they wanted to feature our book, but more importantly, I was so glad that this company values adoption and wanted to share our story!
blurb-adoption-profile-book_0001blurb-adoption-profile-book_0002blurb-adoption-profile-book_0003In the past few months, I have had countless adoptive families reach out to me for a little advice on their profile book. These things can be so overwhelming. I have been working on some ideas for adoptive families and I can’t wait show them to you, but in the meantime, I would love to help families design their adoption profile book so that I could help relieve a LITTLE of the stress that comes with the adoption process.

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If you adopting domestically and want a fresh, clean design that is photo focused and highlights your unique family I would love to help you create it. Just send an email to hello(at)hannaheloge(dot)com! 
blurb-adoption-profile-book_0004blurb-adoption-profile-book_0005DISCOUNT!

Blurb was very kind and is offering 20% off to my readers!  The promotion only valid for books created by the purchaser. Just use the code PROFILEBOOK20 at checkout. I loved using Blurb and I hope you can take advantage of this offer! 

 

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  • March 22, 2016 - 9:19 pm

    Susan - I am Beverly’s cousin. We have two kids that we adopted as babies. Please let me know if you are interested in our experiences.ReplyCancel

This weekend I escaped to one of my favorite places to celebrate one of my favorite people for her baby shower. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona – but every summer we would travel back to western New York to get away from the heat and enjoy Chautauqua Lake. This place is so special to me. I would spend summers gathering crawfish, going fishing with my dad, eating breakfast at the local greasy spoon,  and spending as many weeks as possible at camp. When I was little I would jump on my bike and cruise the neighborhood looking for friends. When I was about 4 years old, I found Hanna, and we have been the Hanna(h)s ever since.

Hanna and I have the best kind of friendship – one that never wavers, and always picks up where it left off. Hanna and her husband Peter are expecting their first little one this March (who I am calling Rodney until they spill the beans on his name!). I am so excited that Hanna and I will have little ones around the same time (fingers crossed!). I can’t wait to watch them grow up together, the way we did. Going tubing, finding worms and crawfish, making secret forts and experiencing life together.

So thankful for these two and the adventure ahead of them! XO.

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