Saturday, February 1, 2014

When The Symphony Starts...

i first started this blog as a place to collect stories for our children.  a memory box for them to open one day and find pieces of their childhood, and tales of our journey toward becoming a family.  and then the journey got hard.  and i sometimes found it difficult to navigate my way through my old life as it melted into this new one.  and because i didn't know how to feel about it much less write about it, i stopped.  today it is time to start again.  today is as much a part of our story as any.

i have spent time in sierra leone each of the last five months working on our adoption.  nine weeks total spread over three separate trips.  i missed thanksgiving, trips we had planned to see our families, my husband's birthday, and our first anniversary.  while i feel like i have missed an entire season of life here, i am so very grateful that i have been able to spend an entire season of life with my children there.  i am grateful, but i am exhausted.  

my most recent trip finally provided us with the target we had been aiming for: a court date.  on january 16th i rented a van and we piled in.  myself, mohamed, mamie, gerald, geraldine, my mom and dad (they were able to join me on this trip), our children's birth father, birth uncle, birth aunt and a social worker from the raining season.  we left the center at 8am and headed to our court appointment.  we found seats in the room outside of the judge's chambers and waited.  the judge arrived at 11:30am and invited our attorney into her chambers.  they spoke for about an hour and when he finally came up for air he whispered, "this is going to be difficult".  we were ushered into the courtroom and were instructed to wait for the judge to meet us there.  my children tried their very best to behave, and took turns sleeping in our laps and sneaking pistachios from my dad.  when the judge called court to order we all stood up out of respect, and my attorney and i didn't sit down for the next two and a half hours.  because of the knowledge i have acquired from those who have gone before me, especially my dear friend and the founder of the raining season, i knew how to fight for my children that day.  again, grateful but exhausted.  ultimately the judge decided that she needed more time to reach a decision and court was adjourned.  i stayed in freetown for another week, and after no answer still i followed the advice of my attorney and came home to wait here.

for the last two years i have lived with a heart that's been keeping dual residency.  i have had a front row seat to God's timing not being my own, and there have been both taxing and beautiful examples of that along the way.  if there is one thing that i have learned from my journey it is that it is not mine alone.  it belongs to everyone who has prayed for and supported our family.  you are just as much a part of it as we are and i will never be able to adequately thank you.

a good friend of mine called this week to check in and reminded me that we never know who our story is affecting.  she told me that God is slowly pulling together each instrument, and filling every single chair in the audience.  she told me that when the symphony starts it will be absolutely breathtaking, and everyone that is witness to it will know that all of the glory goes to Him because we could never orchestrate something so lovely ourselves.  i pray for each and every instrument, for every heart filling the seats, and i thank God for using my life in such an extraordinary way.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Love Outside the Lines

working, preparing, filing, stressing, writing, scheduling, singing, volunteering, worrying, playing, booking, dreaming, eating my feelings, and if we're being honest, more eating.

it's been a busy month for me.  a busy month full of a range of emotions and, truthfully, i've just been trying to stay on the roller coaster.  but today?  today i celebrate.

today is release day for my new ep, love outside the lines!

music is an outlet.  an escape.  an expression.  therapy even.  and this ep was no exception.  i got to sit in a room with friends who i love and look up to, friends who have known me for a long time, friends who are either in their own adoption journey or who have been a steadfast part of mine, and create.  we buried ourselves for hours in conversations about what it feels like to become a parent overnight to a child who has seen more than we ever have, possibly ever will.  there were admissions of fears of inadequacy.  fears of royally screwing up some of the most beautiful and delicate hearts we have come across.  fears coupled with mountains of joy over the incredible additions these children are to our lives.  i'm doing the boldest thing i've ever done in my personal life and my musical life needed to reflect that.  

we were honest.  we were comforted.  and we are hopeful that the final product will help others on this journey feel the same.

100% of the proceeds of the title track will go toward the raining season, the non profit that runs the orphanage where our children live.  the remainder will help us bring them home.  6 songs.  7 dollars.  over 100 kids feeling the love.

get it here.  and please share!


ps - the biggest thank you i can muster goes out to capri, gabrielle, selena, and lexi.  4 gorgeous girls, inside and out, who have recently made their way home to tennessee from the orphanage in sierra leone.  pay close attention to the title track, you just might hear a little something special...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mamie!!!!

yesterday was a complete emotional disaster.  i have come to the conclusion that i over feel.  is that possible?  i've always been sensitive, but lately i've been a regular cocktail of phantom pregnant lady hormones mixed with reasons to cry.  let me tell you... it's not pretty.

yesterday started out with me not sleeping.  i was up all night thinking about and praying for a little girl at the covering named sarah who myself and one other woman have been working on obtaining a medical visa for.  tired and emotional is always a great way to start the day!  

at various point throughout the day i read new blog post updates from good friends who's week old daughter is fighting for her life (they need major, deep down from the core of your being prayers right now. read more here), and got an update that the hospital we've been working with has officially approved sarah to receive treatment there.  so after tearily flip flopping from joyful to sad to hopeful back to sad to overwhelmed what did i do?  i came home and watched the film 'the impossible'.  it's the true story of a family's experience in the 2004 tsunami.  TOTAL TAILSPIN.  

to top it all off i climbed in bed and watched the video of vince gill and patty loveless singing at george jones's funeral yesterday.  hysterics.  crying, trying my best trying not to go into the rib shaking cry, laughing at how ridiculous i was at that very moment, and trying to soothe the heavy heart i had been carrying around all day.  

phew.  i am glad yesterday was just that, yesterday.  and i am glad that today is bringing a huge reason to celebrate and be joyful. 

my sweet girl, mamie, turns 6 years old today.


i saw you first.  did you know that?  before your brothers and sister, i saw you.  on my first visit to sierra leone i turned the corner to walk up the hill toward the center for the first time and there you were.  the prettiest thing i have ever laid eyes on.  shy.  holding back your smile a bit.  i was terrified and excited and you were a touch hesitant, but as soon as i reached out my hand for you you put yours in it and didn't let go all week.  

my second trip to see you was no exception.  i barely had both feet out of the car that dropped us off before i saw you running full speed toward me.  your best dress on, earrings in, and a cute little headband on top of your braids. 

i hope you always run at me like that, arms open.  i hope i never screw up and make you feel like you can't.  i hope you don't ever become the difficult teenager i once was, and always want to hold your mom's hand.  i hope you always keep this 6 year old joy inside of you.

happy birthday, my sweet girl.  i am so proud to be your mom.

i love you something fierce.

the moment we met

baby face.  i would give almost anything to have known you when you were this little.

blurry birthday skype

Friday, April 19, 2013


last night i had the privilege of sitting down with a group of people to take part in a town hall meeting of sorts.  we weren't discussing zoning or high school football coaches or voting on an issue that had the city divided, but instead we began a conversation.  a very important conversation.

i was born in 1982.  i was born into a world where women have the same rights that men do.  i was born into a world where the content of your character is considered more important than the color of your skin.  and i was born into a world where millions of children continue to live outside of a family unit.

women's rights, civil rights, marriage equality, a child's basic right to a family... they are all human rights.  i didn't get to chose the era into which i was born.  i didn't get to choose my gender, skin color, sexual orientation, or the circumstances i was born under.  i was simply born.  while i might not have had the opportunity to choose my starting point in life i certainly have the opportunity, responsibility, to make sure that millions of children don't get stuck at theirs.

the documentary is called stuck.

watch it here. 

sign the petition here.

learn how you can get involved here.

ask yourself the question...
would you allow your children to live this way?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday's Best: Catching up

the sun is out.
it's finally spring.
70 degrees.
i'm sitting on the front porch with my computer and a cup of coffee.
the birds are singing away.
and it's tuesday's best.
doesn't get much better than this.

i'm long overdue on a tuesday's best update.  we've been finishing our home study and working overtime to save up for the adoption expenses that are about to start flooding in.  as someone who spent their 20's investing in the contents of their closet i'm shocked to announce that i have never been so excited to empty out my piggy bank.  and by piggy bank i mean josh's yazoo brewery growler.

we've been busily dreaming these last few weeks and holding tight to the hopes we have for the weeks to come.  

hang tight, my four favorites.  we're coming for you.

four favorites

geraldine said her abc's for us today all by herself.

auntie kelly taught gerald how to throw a peace sign.  word.

looking at pictures of mom as a kid is hilarious...

... but not as funny as pictures of dad and granddad!

last week we surprised the kids with three special visitors...
their friends abdul, mabinty, and sorie!
these three came home to america a few weeks ago after a long three years of waiting for their parents, jason and erica rust, the founders of the raining season.

they spent the night with us monday so they could get up early and skype with us tuesday morning.  
our house has been way too quiet ever since...

surprise!  mohamed and mamie were so excited to see their friends.

happy tuesday's best,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Welcome Wagon

over three years of waiting.  
over three years of fighting.  
2 different families.  
2 different cities.
2 different news crews.
1 lacrosse team, in uniform.
dozens of welcome home signs.

11 children altogether.  

one giant homecoming.

some of us stayed in nashville and some of us drove to kentucky to evenly disperse TRS love, but we were all in it together.  checking each airport's arrival times, texting updates and pictures and videos, and placing face time calls to allow people across the country to join in the celebration.

stories of abuse are now stories of love.  histories full of oppression are now futures full of hope.  childhood's are being handed back to children who deserve them, and families are slamming shut chapters of resistance.

i am overflowing for the pyle and jones families today.  you can breathe now.  they are home.

welcome home jones family!
that's 8, yes 8, children coming home to make an even jones dozen.

josh at the nashville airport anxiously awaiting the the great 8's arrival.
these kids make up 4 of the 5 nashville rust children.
all adopted out of sierra leone, the youngest 3 just a month ago!
left to right:  nash, capri, jayda, maddox.

welcome home pyle family!
lori jumped so high off of the ground when she saw her children walking toward her!  her oldest son sam took off running straight toward her and hugged her so hard i thought they were going to fall over.

the louisville welcome wagon

waiting on his brothers and sister!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Garrett

it's monday and i'm coming down off of the best weekend.  no alarm clocks, a spontanious friend sleep over, home made pizza, a celebration for a sweet friend and her soon-to-ber baby girl ryman (is that the most perfect baby girl name or what?),  and a wedding shower of our very own.  i even washed my hair for it.  this is a big deal, people.
if you thought these hats didn't light up you'd be wrong.
i ate that cake for breakfast the next day.  obvi.
drove around running errands like this all day sunday.  welcome to the south y'all.
bling it home girls.  plastic rings are still fun even when you're 30.

thank you to my sweet friends liz, heather, siebe, and jenn for throwing us the most perfect party.
damn, it feels good to be a gangsta garrett.