The Year of the Squish: Our Adoption Story Part 1

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Last night, a very tired and emotional toddler cried her way upstairs to bed after a long day of well…being a toddler. She’s a pretty typical 18 month old with dreams of endless snacks, chasing the dog, and running wild and free across the church gym. She’s our Squish, our Emmi Boo, our Princess Cupcake, our Baby Girl, our Emmaline Jane. Today we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of THE AWESOME PHONE CALL that brought the Squish into our lives. This date marks the beginning of our first Family-Versary celebration, so I thought it was a good time to fulfill my promise to actually sit down and write out the whole crazy story. Some things are left out-things that are for her to tell when or if she wants to. The conversation about how much of our story to tell has been ongoing for the past year. We have finally settled on this one truth: It is God who wrote this story for our family, and ultimately it is for his glory and for our good. We hope it is for your good as well, so here it is!

May 21, 2014

It was the day before the last day of school at the preschool where I taught 2 and 3 year olds. Teachers, you know….you just know. I was ready for school to be over, I loved my kids, and I was ready for summer. I also knew that a really important meeting happened the day before, and I was wondering if maybe we would get word sometime that week about whether we had been chosen or not. We had been waiting 3 years to adopt, and we were tired and discouraged and unsure if we were still on the right path. A couple weeks before, we had been sent a profile of a ridiculously cute baby girl with pages and pages of information about her rare medical condition. We told our case worker that yes, we wanted to be considered as her adoptive family….and also decided that if we were not matched, then we would quit for a while and regroup. (I don’t know how I feel about admitting that we were just DONE…but there it is.) This profile was different though, because unlike the other profiles that came across our screens, this one was really well-written, and ACTUALLY had a date on it telling us when the adoption placement committee was going to meet and choose the family they thought would be the best fit. Often, we would submit our interest, and then never hear word about the kids again. (Let me be clear, this is not the fault of our fantastic, amazing, superhero case worker. It’s just the byproduct of a huge system with lots of work to be done and not enough people to do it.) We were relieved to have a date and a promise that we would get word. It’s hard to explain how much power is in just knowing these kids through their profiles. You wonder if they are your sons and daughters, you read their (often) heartbreaking stories, and you worry about them and whether they are finally in a forever home. And so, this little squishy baby girl with her tongue hanging out and a gigantic goofy grin was on my heart that morning on the day before the last day of school.

I watched my director and friend Amy walk down the hallway with the school phone in her hand and a wide-eyed look. My heart basically jumped out of my chest when she handed it to me and told me that there was a call for me. This was actually kind of weird, because my case worker knew to call my on my cell…but for some reason that day she called the preschool phone instead. I knew it was our case worker before I even spoke to her. I felt the world changing around me already, as I put the phone to my ear and quickly asked Amy to go watch my class. I sat down in a chair, and I heard the voice of my case worker saying “Congratulations! You’ve been chosen!!”

AND THEN I DIED OF HAPPINESS

I have no idea what she said next, I just kept saying “I have to call Brian, I have to call Brian” and I did, and I choked out the words to him as best I could. I told the best guy in the world that we had been matched, FINALLY!

Then, I called my mom and my dad and my sister and brother and my best friend and I choked out the words that finally, FINALLY it was our time. I ran back down to my class and hugged my assistant Rosemary and Amy and told them I would be taking a year off because I had to be a mom. I love that these two special ladies were physically there to share in that moment with me! They are priceless, and they are still here as the best supporters and the biggest fans of the Squish. We told our assistant director Tanya, and then kept it a secret from the rest of the staff.

That. Was. So. Hard.

Sorry guys, I hope you still aren’t mad at me for that. <3 

Meanwhile, Brian was at work trying to process it all. (I kind of always dreamed that we would be together when we got the call. Boo.) He put down the phone in shock, turned around and looked at his assistant Leah, and said “That was it, that was the call! We’ve been matched!” He got to share the news with his two awesome coworkers, tried to work a bit, gave up, and then decided to just go home. He got on the phone and called all his family members and shared the news all the way home on his 45 minute commute.

We both got home later that afternoon and finally remembered to call our case worker back at some point! Oops. We got word that we would get to meet Baby Girl just two days later on Friday. TWO. DAYS.

And so we met our daughter two days later. Our daughter. Our Emmaline Jane.

(Stick around for Part 2!)

Now is the Start

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I feel that familiar “I’m such a failure at blogging” feeling as I just looked at my last post from OCTOBER 2014. Granted, there has been tragedy and upheaval and sadness and joy and stress and traveling all stuffed into this 5 month silence. There is a giant lump in my throat as I try to type words about losing both my paternal grandparents 49 days apart. The holidays were tough and joyful and fun and somber all at the same time. We just bought our first house, and I’m literally having regular nightmares about it. My little brother recently got married to his perfect match, and I smile and laugh out loud as I edit those photos. Our little Emmaline Jane is growing and talking and learning and defying the odds every day. YOU GUYS, SHE IS SO HEALTHY! There are more words to say about her, and I am working on writing our story. She needs me to write it, and every day I become more sure that God wants us to be very vulnerable and share the story he wrote for us. The photos above are from Easter Sunday, and like every other poor child in the Southern United States….she was forced to take photos outside instead of being allowed to eat and take a nap. It’s a long and glorious tradition. Look at those curls! We didn’t know they existed until the good old North Carolina humidity set in last week. The dress kills me, and she loves her disco shoes and the way they throw sparkles on everything. She’s a mess. I love every bit of her.

I opened an Etsy shop, and I’m still doing sessions and weddings and events! Running a small business and taking care of a family is a hard balancing act, and I’m ok with working less and pouring energy and creativity and love into fewer sessions and events. Many of the people already on the calendar for 2015 are those who have stayed with me for years! I love getting calls and emails and texts from clients who have become friends. They are the heart of Bonnie B. Photography and I could not stay at home and watch my little girl grow up without their loyalty and support. It’s an honor to watch their children grow up, to document their memories, and to be a tiny part of their family history.

I’m dreaming up new ideas and projects! The need for foster families and adoptive families in the US is so great, and I’m looking for ways to advocate and share and hopefully use my words and any influence I have to encourage families to bring home these sons and daughters. I’m also hoping to branch out and help families preserve their memories by offering a photo archiving service. It’s hearbreaking to sort through a loved one’s belongings and find photos that we will never know the story behind. I would love to help families tell those stories, preserve them, and have a family narrative to treasure and read and look at and show to their children and grandchildren.

Well, that is a random assortment of what I have been up to! How about a song?

This song is one of my favorites from A Fine Frenzy. The lyrics are all about a fresh start and renewal and pushing forward. I love the line that says “Unafraid you can name your scars.” You can watch the video if you want! Thanks for being a pal and reading all this.

Bonnie B.

Stuff I Like or “High Fives”

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I’m terrible at titles, so whatevs. This is STUFF THAT I LIKE and HIGH FIVES TO ALL!

Before we begin, I solemnly swear that this will not turn into a mommy blog. I am a mom, it’s awesome, no denying that. Being a mom is not my one and only. I like stuff that is not baby-related, and apparently even though I was supposed to check my interests at the door when the Squish rolled into my life…I’m a rebel and I refuse. There are some awesome baby-related items that make our lives easier, more colorful, or have helped the Squish so I will feel free to mention and adore them along with my latest food obsession.

 

1.) Audible.com

I love reading, but the days of sitting for hours and devouring a long book are kind of over. It’s all good, because I can now listen to those really long Lord of the Rings-type epic 900 pagers and get to tune out the 12 and a half chapters where they slowly and painfully describe ancient swordmaking. I’m sure there are lots of people out there (cough: Husband) who are spellbound by those descriptions, yet I feel no shame for not listening to the boring parts and swooping back in when the best buddies go out adventuring together and save the world. I’m currently listening to the 3rd book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Each book is roughly 25 hours long. Yup. That’s twenty-five. Hours. This series is really fun to listen to, and Brian and I actually talk about these books in depth like REAL ADULTS.  (even though he already finished the series on his commute, yet still attempts to talk to me about these books as if he doesn’t know how it ends.)

2.) Skiphop Water Bottle

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BABY ALERT! If you don’t care…just scroll right by. The Squish was taught by our awesome feeding specialist how to drink from a straw at like 7 months old. I then became obsessed with finding her the perfect water bottle with a straw. She loves the hedgehog, they are $6.99 a piece, and you can get them at amazon.com, Target, or Baby’s R Us. It’s possible that we named it “Hedgie” and she does a little dance when we give it to her.

3.) Ipad Mini

The mom in me is like “MAKE ALL THE THINGS ABOUT BABIES” and I’m trying you guys, I’m trying. I need to work sometimes, so maybe sometimes I cue up Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on the Ipad mini, set it somewhere in front of the Squish, and see how much work I can get done in 26 minutes. It’s also awesome for traveling, since I can download The Proposal and watch it in the car and not bother the husband while he drives. This is how we like it. I don’t bother him, he doesn’t mention my slight infatuation with Ryan Reynolds. It also fits in my purse…and NO I haven’t forsaken my purse and thrown all my belongings into the diaper bag. The very idea.

4.) Trader Joe’s Popcorn with Herbs and Spices

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It’s $1.99 for a bag and you can eat it in the car on the way home from TJ’s with zero guilt. Can I make herb popcorn at home? Yes. Does it taste as good as TJ”s? No.

Get some. You won’t regret this decision. Actually, do what I do and just buy 2 or 3 bags.

Apparently they sell it on Amazon now.

Edit, as I was doing my final edit of this post, the Husband brought me a bowl of this delicious snack. Keeper? Yes.

5.) The Honest Co. Diapers

BABY ALERT! If you don’t care…just scroll on by.

We were in a fight with Target diapers. They turned on us. It was not pretty. We had to go out of town unexpectedly, all the cloth diapers were dirty, and the disposables we had were basically toxic to her. I spent the money on a box of the Honest Co.  expensive diapers, hoping they would help the Squish with her ish. They did. The lovely people at Honest sent me a super awesome coupon and I got a bundle of diapers and wipes for suuuuuper cheap. A bundle includes 6 packages of diapers and 4 packages of wipes, and you save over $20 when you subscribe to the bundle. This is a fantastic fit for us, since we cloth diaper at home and use disposables at night and when we go out. These are the gentlest diapers and wipes, and the designs are super freakin’ adorable. This company is for real, and for us it is worth the investment to have products that we know are safe and gentle. If you want to save $10 on your first order, click here! 

6.) Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I crave this soup. It has a chicken broth and coconut milk base and it tastes way different than you imagine. It almost has a cheesy taste to it, and it’s imperative that you get fresh basil to put on the top. Make a ton, freeze it, and hoard the leftovers. It’s one of those recipes that tastes a million times better the next day, especially when you mix in the leftover rice and just let it sit. I’d imagine that it would pair really well with millet too. We added sausage to the leftovers last week and it was ah-mazing.

 

What are you high-fiving lately?

 

Bonnie B.

I’m Back!

Excuse me while I dust off the Bonnie B. blog and remember how to write posts! Wow, I mean wow. So much has happened in that silent period since my last post. We have one happy, squishy, hilarious, loud, special, smart 11 month old ruling our world right now. I wish this post was full of photos of her. (Trust me, I have gigs and gigs of photos on my hard drive and I’m constantly backing up my iphone to make more room!) Brian and I are discussing how we will handle online exposure, and since the adoption will be finalized any day now, we will probably wait a bit until she is officially a Horton. Crazy times, God is so surprising in how He works out the glorious details.

Many of you have asked if I’m still doing photography, and the answer is Yes! I took the summer off (though I still did the sessions already on the books) and I’m back behind the camera! Juggling mom life and wife life and small business life and church life is quite the interesting thing, but we are slowly making it all work out.

I recently did a session with the sweetest senior girl, have I mentioned how much I LOVE senior portrait sessions? So much freedom to really take some risks and make the session unique to the client. Mary and her mom contacted me through the brilliant Angey Price, and we scheduled a face-to-face consultation to chat about who Mary is and what kinds of things bring her the most joy. We ended up in a super fun (secret) location and Mary brought along her vintage typewriter. I was basically in heaven. Here are a few of my favorites, and stay tuned for a full post of Mary’s session!

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Our New Summer Jobs

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We are pleased to announce an addition to our family through the blessing of adoption.

She is coming home next week!

We can’t wait for you to meet the  happiest, squishiest baby ever!

She is a gift.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

(More details soon!)

Brian, Bonnie, and Lucy

(photo cred goes to the amazing Angey Price, thank you for helping us share the news!)

 

Photography Classes with Bonnie B.

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I had a lovely time this morning with a sweet couple who wanted to really learn how to make their cameras work for them. My classes are fun, practical, and there is always coffee and a snuggly dog to play with. Need a last-minute gift? You can pay online and I will send you a printable gift certificate!

Email me for more info! Hey@iambonnieb.com

Bonnie B.

Brent + Nina Preview //Wake Forest Wedding Photographer

Brent and Nina are Married!

I had the very awesome privilege of documenting this great and glorious day. The weather was gorgeous, the bride was gorgeous, and the groom couldn’t quiet smiling.

It was pretty special to be there to document the new beginning for this amazing little family.

Here’s a little preview of Brent and Nina’s wedding, I can’t wait to share more!

I’m off on a vacation next week (Praise the Lord!) so I wish you a very Happy Easter!

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