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Step Parent Adoption

I am cracking my heart wide open as we dive into this beautiful, challenging, stressful and memorable moment in our lives; The moment my first baby girl took the last name of her Dad and the man of our dreams.

I use the term "Step Parent Adoption" to give some insight from the legal side of things but in our home, Steve has always been her Dad. We found ourselves falling short when researching information specifically on Step Parent Adoptions. There was so much to learn, so much to prepare for as each form of adoption is unique in it's own process. So here I am, to share our story. The good, the bad, the ugly - from the honestly relatable, me.

I have to say, the amount of love our family has received is overwhelming, and appreciated more than I could ever put into words. We chose, at first, to keep this process between close family and friends simply because we had no idea what this season would look like for us. As a family, we prepared for difficulties and unexpected bumps in the road, hoped and prayed for the best but knew what we were pursuing was ultimately out of our hands. Thirteen months of so many different emotions; fear, worry, excitement, hope, sadness and strength. 13 months in the legal aspect but our road to adoption started long before that.

I have spoken about my journey into motherhood at a young age, about a relationship that took so much out of me yet gave me the greatest gift on earth. "Beauty From Ashes" is a prologue to this new chapter in our story and if you haven't read it yet, it's a great place to start (click to read) ---> Beauty From Ashes

From someone who was so used to hiding all her struggles and pain from the world, I have allowed myself to feel these moments all over again. To share with you my lowest of lows and highest of highs. This life is a roller coaster ride, and although I'm always up for being strapped in and soaring through the air, sometimes we need a break from the loops and cork screws. To hop off and let someone else take our seat, while we sit down to breathe, collect ourselves and take in what we just experienced.

Our decision to file for adoption was not made overnight and not one that we took lightly. Explaining the concept of adoption to a 7 year old is not a simple conversation. We spoke about it often and wanted her to feel comfortable asking whatever questions she had - making sure she understood not only the meaning of the adoption but as her parents, why we felt it was the best decision.

As parents, we do everything we can to shelter our children from this cruel world and the madness that surrounds us. And as much as we try to protect them and their innocence, they instinctually sense when things just aren't right, just like you and I. And as much as I hate to admit, and as painful as it is to look back on, my beautiful, blue eyed, curly haired little girl saw me during some of the darkest moments of my life. I did everything I could to hide my tears, to put on a brave face and protect my girl at all costs. Only 2 years old, but she was wise beyond her years. Even still, 7 years later. Our life was far from normal but I made sure that she understood what it meant to feel safe, to always feel loved. They say you grow through what you go through and without rain, nothing grows. I learned to embrace the storms in my life, to provide a shelter for the two of us, to ready our hearts and rebuild together into something even more beautiful.

When Steve came into our lives, I saw such a difference in not only myself but Kayleigh too. Especially in her smile. Deep down, I knew her smile was brighter because she saw that mine was too. She had stability and routines, two parent figures who love each other and never go a day without showing it.

My biggest piece of advice for someone considering filing for adoption, is this: Ask yourself "Why?" Why are you questioning or exploring the idea? If any of your reasons or thoughts come from anger, resentment, hurt, or spite, I urge you to take more time. To really think things over. It can be difficult most times to set our own emotions aside, clear our lenses of all the junk that has built up over the years, to fully understand what finalizing an adoption actually means. Although this day was by far one of the best days of our lives, there was still sadness. Sadness, as we reflected on everything that led us up to the very decision that brought us here. I don't think anyone wants to see a child separated from their parent. Even when the separation is welcomed. No matter what mistakes are made, a child's innocence has a way to see past it all ; To love them unconditionally even if it's not always reciprocated. Never once, have we told our beautiful girl that she is unloved by anyone. She knows that we love her unconditionally and her biological dad loves her too.

Our job as her Mom and Dad is to protect her. To protect her innocence, by the way she remembers things and the way she see things now. And through it all, at the end of day, we have found an overwhelming sense of peace. The saying "what's meant to be will always find a way," has proven true over and over again in my life. I am so incredibly blessed with the life I have and continue to build alongside my beautiful family.

We cannot thank our family, friends and the entire adoption team at WCC enough for the continued love and support - not only through this part of our journey, but through every victory or loss we have faced or will face in the future. They say it takes a village to raise a child and we are certainly blessed to have one that is filled with so much strength, joy, kindness, selflessness and love.

To my family and friends; The ones who have helped me grow through some of the lowest times, never with judgement and always with love. Those who have helped me pick up the pieces and build it into something stronger and more beautiful. The ones who have never given up on me or looked down on me, always being there to remind me of my worth, my beauty and my strength. If it wasn't for you all, I am not sure what my story would have looked like or where I would be. Words could never fully express how grateful I am for each and every one of you. You know who you are!

To my bonus family, my in-laws; The ones who welcomed Kayleigh and I with open arms from the very beginning. No questions asked, no judgement passed - Constant support for your son, without needing an explanation, because his happiness says enough. I could not have asked for anything greater; A family who loves us as their own, who shows up front and center to every sporting event, school musical, art show and dance recital - any where in the world to cheer us on, there you are. Watching the special relationship you have with your son, the bond you share with your two granddaughters who love you more than the world, and the relationship we have built together over the past 7 years is something I will never take for granted. I am forever grateful for The Moulton Family!

A huge thank you to In Our Image Photos and First and Last Productions LLC for capturing our special day, having these memories means the world to our family. We are also so thankful for The Cookie Lady's Daughter who used her incredible talent to create thoughtful, tasty treats as a small token of our appreciation to the Judge and the entire adoption staff. (Click to view their galleries or to find out more information on booking their services)

Documenting this day was so important to us - to always look back on the moment that changed our lives forever. September 14th will be joyfully celebrated every year as one of the greatest chapters in our story; A reminder that it's not about where we start, it's about where we end up. Happy, together, forever!

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Beautiful, beautiful pictures and a heart warming story. Congratulations to the entire Moulton family, God bless you all !!

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