I used to be Ryla's nanny when she was teeny tiny and we became the best of friends. She would model for me when she was just a tot (above). Her family moved to Minneapolis last year but came back this weekend for a visit, yay!
Now she is four and loves all things girly, so it was easy to get her in to this 1950's birthday dress for a fun little photos shoot. Ryla, i love you so much. you are beautiful inside and out.
i love the one where she is jumping :)
oh my, its been a whirlwind since i last wrote. I can hardly believe what i am about to tell you. i am still processing it.
saying goodbye to Emerson left us unimaginably broken-hearted, but day by day small healing began with God's help. Steve and i reacted so differently to losing Emerson. Steve was immediately ready to be a parent again, because he realized how much he loved being a dad. at first, i felt as though i would never love again. but slowly i began to realize that i did really want to be a mom again, and soon.
On Thursday march 8th, after many good but difficult talks, Steve and I felt peace about the decision to put our names back in the pool at the adoption agency that we are working with. Though we were still in pain, we felt we were also the same people who wanted to adopt, and are so ready to love a child.
Exactly two weeks after we joined the pool, on thursday march 22nd, i received a phone call from our social worker. when i saw her name pop up on my phone, i quickly ignored the call. i just KNEW that she had a little baby for me, and i was terrified (sorry tracy:). she texted me, and said "call me, maria" I called her back and she said, "maria, there is a little baby boy in florida who is 2 weeks old, BOTH his parents have signed consent and we wanted to know if you are interested. my hands are shaking." my mind blew up a little bit.
It is extremely rare that both parents consent, and this is exactly what we had been praying for.
i called steve, who immediately said, "I'm in!"
i couldn't believe how soon after Emerson this opportunity came and i wasn't quite sure i was ready, but i felt we could at least be ONE of the many profiles that the birth mom looked at and if God felt we weren't ready for the little guy then he would help the birth mom decide "no."
the next monday we learned that the birthmom wanted to speak with us on the phone. we had an incredible talk with her that night in which she told us she wanted us to adopt her boy.
The next day, Tuesday, we hurriedly packed, did a bunch of paperwork, and drove the 19 hours to florida! (straight through, with the special adrenaline only felt by parents trying to get to meet their child for the first time :)
On wednesday at about 3 pm, we signed some paperwork with a lawyer and were granted custody. Then, we got to meet our son. he is beautiful (as you can see). His birthmom wanted to be there to give him to us, so we got to meet her and get to know her a little bit.
His birth mom had named him michael, which we changed to the middle name. His full name is Asher Michael Huxley Casteel. Asher means "happiness, blessed and fortunate" which could not more perfectly describe how we feel to get to be parents to this little boy.
We will never forget little emerson and his place in our heart cannot be taken, but he was not able to be ours. And thankfully God made our hearts to hold love for so many people at a time :) We are so happy to be bonding with Asher and knowing that he will be in our family forever. he is beyond precious.
life with Asher is wonderful. we are thankful every single second for this little miracle. he is SUCH a happy boy. full of smiles at such a young age.
(don't judge my ugly outfit and hair, these were taken right when we brought asher home and i had been riding in the car for a VERY long time :)
a few incredible facts:
--at first we toyed with the idea of waiting one month before getting back on the list at the agency, it seemed like a logical amount of time. but had we done that, we would not have gotten asher.
--in my family "5ths" are really special. my parents anniversary is february 5th, my birthday is april 5th, my dad's birthday is may 5th. apparently my mom told my sister about ten years ago, "maria needs to have a baby on march 5th to complete our 5ths". March 5th is asher's birthday.
--we had emerson with us at the ash wednesday service, i sat there feeling as if i was giving up my SON for lent. Asher was there with us on Easter. what redemption! ( i don't mean that to sound as if asher is a replacement (for you cannot replace one human with another), but rather a great gift, after great loss)
--we had to stay in florida for awhile for interstate paperwork to clear. this caused us to arrive home on my birthday. i finally brought my son home, for good. the best birthday present ever.
--asher's birth mom chose a family in kansas city because she had already placed a son into an adoptive family in Kansas city. we already know the mom of Asher's biological half brother. they will grow up being friends and knowing they are brothers.
thank you for ALL of your kind comments. i can't tell you what they mean.
i can't wait to share Asher's life with you...mixed in with a bunch of vintage of course.
oh, and this is more the factual account of asher, i want to share the emotional journey more later :). you know me.