Jason and I got married in July of 2004, in a very small wedding, on the side of a mountain, in rural Appalachia. We honeymooned in Gatlinburg, then returned to move into a one bedroom apartment. We both worked, and lost jobs in the first year. We bought a house, and moved in to do life and ministry in an at risk neighborhood, along with some other families.
Our oldest daughter, Abigail, came along a few months after our fourth wedding anniversary. She was born on a Tuesday in September of 2008. I was in the room for her birth, and we fell in love quickly and deeply. We fought over who would get to hold her, feed her, and so on. We were the typical doting parents who assumed everyone found her as cute and endearing as we did. At nine months old she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 1. She has since then, also been diagnosed with asthma and mastocytosis. She is sassy and sweet, with her father's nose, and her mother's ability to weave words. She is passionate about justice. We love her deeply.
Our middle daughter, Shilo, was our intentional adoption of a child with a disability. She was born on a Friday in November of 2011. We met her the following Tuesday. Shilo has Down syndrome (which was our intention when we set out to adopt a second time). She also had congenital heart defects, hypothyroidism, a g-tube, is non-ambulatory (without the use of a walker, although she uses her wheelchair more often), hard of hearing, and has epilepsy. She has been the child who has taken us on the medical ride of our lives so far. She is as ornery as they come, and has a smile that originates deep in her soul. She is passionate about Moana and Sesame Street. We love her deeply.
By our tenth wedding anniversary we assumed pregnancy wasn't in our future. We had not done anything to prevent it, and had never been pregnant. But, as life had shown us over and over, unexpected things happen. So ten years into our marriage, our son was born on a Saturday, two days after Christmas, in 2014. He came six hours from home in an emergency situation due to my developing preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Thus far he has a congenital heart defect, hydronephrosis, congenital scoliosis caused by misformed vertebra and ribs, genitouriniary defects, a tethered spinal cord, bone age delay, hypotonia, and a growth disorder. He is goofy and compassionate, with a strong resemblance to his Mama. He is wholly obsessed with dinosaurs. We love him deeply.
Our lives are a beautiful mess. There are lots of appointments, therapies, and meetings. There is also a lot of playing at parks, dancing, and reading together. We have learned to keep moving in the hardest of times. Our lives do not look at all like what we imagined in July of 2004. We have moved three blocks into an accessible house for Shilo's sake. I stay home and navigate the world of medical. Jason runs a small business.
We like to be outside, eating at our local ice cream shop, and collapsing together on the couch after our children are in bed. We laugh a lot. We get frustrated with our children and each other. We navigate hard questions and struggles surrounding adoption from our oldest. We watch Moana everyday with our middle. We learn about dinosaurs with our youngest. And, I make it through some days with a great amount of joy, and others by the power of Zoloft and Jesus.