This is why...

This blog has been created to give our family and friends an idea of our journey through infertility and the steps we chose to take to make our dream of becoming parents a reality. There may be a few graphic details here and there, along with some fun photos, but most importantly, we wanted to document these events in our lives for our future children and for anyone else who dreams of becoming a parent. Enjoy!

*Anyone who may be interested in us as adoptive parents, please feel free to check out our link at Bethany.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Number 2 has arrived!!!!!

More to come this summer! I promise! Chase Kayden Martin Shirley is our new addition and the sweetest little thing. We love him dearly and through the art of adoption he is forever ours.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day thoughts (An Open Letter to Pastors)

Well another Mother's Day is around the corner and though for me, this Sunday will be filled with complete joy, I can still remember what it was like to go through that day wishing I too could be a mom. My friend Stephanie (AKA, the girl who post heart wrenching letters on Facebook that make me cry my eyes out) posted this letter on her facebook and I thought it was so good that I'm re-posting it here. This is a letter to all the pastors who preach on Mother's Day. Reading it was hard, because all of those sad broken feelings came rushing back. But it was a good reminder to me of what we went through and what so many of our friends are going through now. Being childless does not make anyone less of a woman and Mother's Day should be a celebration to anyone who longs to be a Mom.

As written from Amy Young and The Messy Middle Blog

Dear Pastor,
Tone can be tricky in writing. Picture me popping my head in your office door, smiling and asking if we could talk for five minutes. I’m sipping on my diet coke as I sit down.
You know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind, part of the reason you love me (mostly!), so I’m guessing that internally you brace yourself wondering what might be next.
I set my can down and this is what I’d say.

A few years ago I sat across from a woman who told me she doesn’t go to church on Mother’s Day because it is too hurtful.  I’m not a mother, but I had never seen the day as hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day. This made me sad, but I understood.
Fast forward several years to Mother’s Day.  A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat. I do not normally feel this way. I do not like feeling this way. I want no woman to ever feel this way in church again.
Last year a friend from the States happened to visit on Mother’s Day and again the pastor (a different one) asked all mothers to stand. As a mother, she stood and I whispered to her, “I can’t take it, I’m standing.” She knows I’m not a mother yet she understood my standing / lie.
Here’s the thing, I believe we can honor mothers without alienating others. I want women to feel welcome, appreciated, seen, and needed here in our little neck of the body of Christ.

  1. Do away with the standing. You mean well, but it’s just awkward. Does the woman who had a miscarriage stand? Does the mom whose children ran away stand? Does the single woman who is pregnant stand? A.w.k.w.a.r.d.
2.  Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering.

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
3. Commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Imago Dei (Image of God) by bringing forth new life, nurturing those on her path, and living with the tension of providing both freedom and a safety net.
I know I might be an unusual one to be speaking about Mother’s Day; but maybe that’s why so many talk to me about mothering, I’ve got the parts, just not the goods.  Thanks for listening and for continuing to mother us in a shepherding way. Even though I’m a bit nervous to come on Sunday, I will be here. But if you make us stand, I might just walk out =).
Warmly and in your corner,

 This letter brings me back to so many Mother's Days where I was the empty shell sitting in the crowded church while all the REAL woman stood. Amy's ideas for the pastors are right on and I'm so thankful that she came out and said the ugly truth. I do remember my last  Mother's day at church when we did not have a child yet, and was thankful that our pastor actually lead a prayer and included most of these people in it. I told Darryl on the way home that it was pretty cool that Pastor Rick acknowledged my situation in his prayer. Who knows? Maybe someone got Amy's suggestions. Thanks again Stephanie for posting this and to Amy for writing it.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy first birthday Claire!

Yes, yes! I know, it's been a while but I realized I should probably blog about our precious angel turning 1 before she turns 2! I didn't want to throw Claire some over the top crazy birthday party because (A) she's one, and will never remember it, (B) it's a lot of work that I don't have time to do, and (C) we are not rich! :) But with the help of Pinterest, my bestie Emmy, and my friend Sarah we were able to throw Claire a decent Minnie Mouse first birthday party. Here's some pics of our day. Happy birthday to my baby girl! (who turned 1 in October!)Wow! Time really flies!
My sister-in-law's sister-in-law (if that makes any sense)...made Claire this super cute Minnie Mouse dress for her party!

Claire had a fun time running around in her Minnie Mouse bounce house! She didn't do much bouncing but still had a good time.

Auntie Arielle and Uncle Kirt gave their niece some birthday love!

The boys doing what they do best!

It was a small bounce house but the kiddos had fun!

Bro, Dad, Bro!

Our little princess waiting patiently for her cake!

Our messy girl loved her Minnie Mouse cake! Thanks Auntie Tina and Uncle David!

Our good friends Stephanie and Casey, from our adoption agency along with their daughter Sydney.

Auntie Arielle helped Claire Bear open up her presents!

We had a great day! Thank you to all that helped out, came out to play, and have prayed for our family and adoption! We love you all! Happy birthday Claire!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


On August 22, 2012 Darryl and I were officially and legally named the adoptive parents of Claire Elise! Though her birth mom lovingly signed away her parental rights in the hospital, it still takes several months for all the paperwork, signatures, and state documents to go through the court system. I almost felt like this was my "labor" day in a way. A day where I knew that this baby would be ours and nothing or no one could take her away from us. Darryl and I have always considered her ours since day one, but hearing it announced by a judge and taking an oath to love her, take care of her, and treat her as our own in front of family and friends made the adoption seem complete. I think Darryl and I can truly say that this day was the greatest day of our lives!
Our good friend Tammy came to witness this special event and documented it through pictures! Enjoy!
Our little Claire spent a lot of time crawling around the waiting hallway.

Claire and Auntie Pam

Our little cutie patootie!

Our dear friends Matt and Melanie with their son Hunter (aka...Claire's future husband) Haha! Matt and Melanie have been with us since day 1 of this journey. They spoke with us about their first adoption experience when we were thinking of adopting, they were at the hospital when Claire was born because their adopted son Hunter was born on the same day at the same hospital, and then for the big finale....they closed their adoption on the same day at the same courthouse! We love them and they have been such a blessing to us!

Claire and her Auntie!!!

Awwwww! She loves her Auntie!!!!

Mommy signing the adoption papers!

Daddy holding a sleeping Claire and signing the adoption papers!

Our wonderful Judge telling us our responsibilities as adoptive parents and Claire bear starting to wake up.

Yay!!! She's awake!!!

Picture perfect moment!

One happy couple with their...uh....tired baby. :)

Us with Grandma and Grandpa!

When we all entered the courtroom, the bailiff said, "No,no...this is just one adoption going on at this time", and we had to explain that yes, we were all here for that one special adoption! :)

I'm awake!

Another picture with our fabulous photographer! Thanks Tammy! We love you!

Us with the Aunties, Ma, and cousin Audrey!
Thank you for all of you who have been praying for us throughout this journey! It finalized with lots of happy tears and an overwhelming sense of joy! We will continue to blog about Claire's childhood and any future adoptions. *Darryl has already picked up the paperwork from Bethany and seems to be wanting to get back on that list ASAP! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Claire's birth mother...

Yesterday we had lunch with Claire's birth mom. We have an open adoption so we take Claire to visit her every 3 to 4  months or so. An open adoption allows Claire to get to know her birth mom and ask her questions as she grows up. She will always know that she was adopted and that she grew in her birth mommy's tummy. Our adoption agency primarily deals with open adoptions because they have been proven to be much better for the child than a closed adoption. Who wouldn't want to know where they came from and what their family history is? Claire will have all these questions answered and will grow up knowing the person who will have all the answers. We don't want them to be strangers and as Claire gets older it will be her choice on how often she wants to keep in contact with her birth mommy.
As we sat at the park yesterday having our picnic I started to realize how lucky we were to have a relationship with our birth mom. She is so easy going and lets us decide when and where our meetings will be. She loves receiving pictures and letters about Claire but never once have we felt that she is overstepping her boundaries. The other day she sent me Claire's first pictures! Her ultrasounds! When I got the text, I almost had a heart attack because I thought there may be another one on the way. But when I opened it, I realized it was my precious little girl. How sweet is was of her to send me these!

After visiting yesterday, I realized that our birth mom doesn't always feel accepted by her own family. Though she admits to making some mistakes in her life (as we all have), to us...she is an angel. I wish I could call her mom and tell her how amazing her daughter really is. She not only gave us the best present anyone could ever give us, but she made that choice knowing it would be the best thing for her baby. Right now we have no connections to her mother and at this time, she doesn't even know about Claire. I hope that when the time is right and that conversation happens, that she realizes how strong and brave her own daughter is and what a loving thing she did for a couple who couldn't have children. Thank you H for the decision you made and the little life that you gave us. xoxo

Monday, July 2, 2012

Claire's First Vacation

Sorry we haven't posted in a while but we have been super super busy! Now that it's summer time, I have a little more time to keep up on our blog. So now I'm going to take us back to April. We were able to take Claire on her first vacation to Yosemite. When my Grandpa died, he wanted his ashes spread in Yosemite so we promised to take a family trip each year to not only keep his memory alive but to visit one of the most beautiful places on this Earth. Darryl's sister Trisha, her husband Bryan, and cousin Audrey also came with us and we had a blast! Here are some pics of our trip.

 Uncle Bryan and cousin Audrey
 The whole gang climbing one tough Mist Trail
 The Shirley family! Look at our little Claire Bear!
 The Vine family!
 We love Yosemite!
 Trying to feed the little one and not the 4 squirrels who had us surrounded.
Audrey and Papa

More Yosemite Pics!

Here are some more pics from Yosemite!
The hubby and I getting ready for our first hike!

Our sleeping beauty. She did so good on all of our hikes. Thank God for the Bob!
Waterfalls everywhere! This was one of my Grandpa's favorites.
 It's cold out here but I'm a happy camper! 

Audrey, Bryan and Trisha looking all cute by the river.
The Shirleys. This is where we said goodbye to Grandpa a year ago. The big rock marks the spot.
I told Trisha she has to take a few pics like this. :)
Audrey and Mommy
Papa and Audrey walking along.
Such a cute pic! :)
Claire loves her baby Bjorn. I think Daddy likes it too!
Off to see another waterfall.
"Hi Mama!"
We felt the need to re-enact the Dirty Dancing scene! (We didn't know other people were watching us! Hahahaha!)
Standing at the foot of one of the waterfalls and getting pretty wet!
Smile! Pretend you're not getting soaking wet right now! :)
So pretty!
The whole gang!
The deer just walked around everywhere! Pretty cool to see!
Trisha and Audrey taking a little walk before dinner.
Beautiful Audrey
Uncle Bryan and his girls.