Our adoption story does not have trips to Africa, long months of waiting to find out if we had been chosen as adoptive parents, tons of money spent on legal fees or making our picture book for birth mother’s to flip through. Our adoption story starts with a cancer diagnosis. My sister was diagnosed with cancer at 28 years old. She had a 5 year old little girl. I can not imagine the sadness, fear and anger she must have felt. We talked a little bit about it, but mostly we tried to stay positive and not talk about the sad things. Now that I look back on it, I wish we would of had enough courage to talk about the sad things more often. That is the important stuff. Three years after her diagnosis, my sister Hailey died and I became an instant mom. We had been living in my sister’s house for about 7 months before she passed. We planned it that way so Colleen would be used to us being there all the time and so we would not have to move her out of the home she loved right after she died. It was also a perfect situation, because our lease was up on our rental house and she had a spare room. Perfect timing.
Mike and I talked over adopting Colleen for all of 10 seconds. I looked at him on one particularly hard day and said “You know, we are going to have to adopt Colleen. Are you ready for that?” He said, “Yes, of course I am. Of course we are going to take care of her.” That was it. We were in this boat together.
A lot of people don’t know that we tried to get pregnant for years. Failed fertility treatments, no answers and lots of money went into trying to have our own baby. I finally said that I needed a break from trying and then my sis got sick. Then all my energy went into her, trying to keep myself healthy and trying to keep my real estate business alive after the housing bubble popped. No time for fertility treatments. My spirit could not handle it.
Some people say that “everything happens for a reason” and I don’t like that saying. God has a plan – or maybe we just make the best out of bad situations. We could have chosen a different path, a different attitude… but we chose to see the rose and the thorns and then work our way though it. It has not always been easy.
Colleen is doing great. Everybody wants to make sure she is adjusting well and is not sad. She is really not. She has her days. We all do. She talks about her feelings, draws, plays, has an incredible heart and teaches me about compassion and love every single day.
She wrote Mike the most adorable Father’s Day card. She calls him her “Funcle.”
Father + Uncle = Funcle
How sweet is that?
This Father’s Day card she made him says so much. She loves him and he loves her. She is our daughter now even though we didn’t get to spend her baby years with her as her parents. I know my sister is watching over us and I hope she is proud. Watching Mike and Colleen grow together and their relationship is so inspiring. Love is a VERB. You have to show people that you love them though quality time, sage advice and most important of all, listening. Tucking her in at night, making lunches, driving her all over creation, sneaking her ice cream when I’m not home, practicing soccer with her… that is the stuff that makes a good dad. Mike jumped into this role with both feet and never looked back. They have a very special relationship and I am a better woman for being a witness to it.