Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Today is my older sister's birthday.

I wish I had a digital copy of my favorite photo of me and Sarah playing together when we were little; she is almost three, and I am almost one.  We are peeking out from underneath a bed.  Sarah is gripping my ear, obviously saying something very forcefully.  It looks like she is trying to drag me somewhere.  I am looking at my mom (who was behind the camera) with wide eyes, as if to say, "Mom, save me from this crazy woman!"

I love my sister.  She is a force of nature.  She has the biggest opinions, reactions, and emotions of anyone I've ever met.  She is passionate.  You would think this would've lead to a lot of arguments when we were little, but it really didn't.  I think I was mostly overwhelmed by her and did what I was told; and I think she was always much too sweet underneath all of that bossiness to ever use or manipulate me.  She has always been my greatest protector and fan.  Of course we had our petty fallouts, but a day has never gone by when I wouldn't answer "My sisters!" when someone asked who my best friends are.

This past year has been especially difficult for me, and I've been grateful for our incredible friends and family who have supported us.  Sarah, perhaps, has supported us most of all.  She was often more able to rejoice, cry, or yell than I (who got fairly numb after all the disappointments).  When we got good news, she screamed in delight.  When we got our hearts broken, she sobbed in agony.  When we were again searching for a baby, she posted our profile link on Facebook so many times it was almost embarrassing.  This past week, when I met some of her friends in St. Louis for the first time, they said, "Wow, we feel like we are meeting a celebrity--Sarah talks about you all the time."  Uhhhh....that's a little mortifying! :)

A few months ago, we had a particularly promising adoption opportunity, but the legal logistics were very complicated.  I knew my family was anxious to know what was going on, so I emailed them the update.  This is an excerpt of what I wrote (expectant mom's name has been changed):


I talked to our case worker.  She says Haley is 100% sure that she wants us to adopt her baby.  This is great news.  The bad news is really bad though, and I am just going to give it to you straight.  There are serious legal risks with this adoption.  Haley isn't sure who the father is, and she isn't sure that either guy will be willing to relinquish his rights.  When the baby is born, they will have to determine through DNA-testing who the father is, and then he will be given the opportunity to take custody.  My case worker said that we could go for weeks, maybe even months, not knowing whether or not we will get to keep the baby. 

Ryan and I need to figure out what to do.  We need to talk, and we need to pray.  I've never needed to pray so much in my life.  I've never had to make a decision so weighty.  

I want you to know what's going on, but I don't really want to hear any strong opinions.  You can share your opinion, but ultimately, it's me and Ryan who will decide what to do.  And we will do that based on what God tells us.  I desperately want a baby, but I don't want that to get in the way of what is reasonable...and more importantly, what is right.  I recently prayed and told Heavenly Father that we would take care of any baby, no matter how complicated the situation, if He wanted us to.  But how can I tell what He wants?

Can I quit my job and take care of a baby that may or may not eventually be mine?

Could anyone in our families even be excited about us getting a baby that we might not be able to keep?  Will anyone even be happy for us?  It will be so anticlimactic.

I don't know what to do, and I would very much appreciate prayers.  We're not telling anyone other than you guys until we have more information.

Love you,

I hope Sarah doesn't mind if I post an excerpt from her response because I think it is so telling of her endearing personality.  Even though this and several other adoption opportunities didn't work out, I want to remember the amazing support that she gave me over the past year:

Here is my opinion.  I will try to keep it non-passionate, although it will be hard, seeing as how I truly meant it when I said yesterday that this baby was the best news that I have ever heard in my life:

We are all THRILLED!  I went out today and bought your little girl a gift, and I wanted to tell someone about you so badly that I told the checker at the store and I burst into tears!  (Incidentally, she seemed delighted.)  I will love that baby fiercely.  If it is only for a few days, then fine.  She'll be my neice for a few days.  I will make a detailed list of the things you should register for to get for baby showers once things settle down and the things you'll actually need RIGHT AWAY.  (Not much.  Lots of fuzzy PJs, bottles, formula, burp cloths, a couple of blankets, diapers, and a bassinet or pack and play.)  I was already telling Logan that I'll need to go out this winter or spring to help you and spend time with the baby.  You will have no shortage of help or support!  I will take beautiful pictures of your baby with my camera and we will hang them all over your house.  We can use my new cricut to make baby announcements!  EVERYONE will be thrilled for you, Rachel.  EVERYONE!  And, if the worst should happen, EVERYONE will be devastated with you and be there to do whatever we can.  But NO ONE will withhold their excitement and joy from you.  We love you and Ryan far, far too much for that to happen!!!

I think that you should pray about it and FULLY trust your ability to receive answers from God.  If you feel good about this baby then you GO FOR IT!  Let yourself get excited.  Spend money and plan.  Not allowing yourself to get excited won't make it any easier if things don't work out; you'll be fully committed emotionally either way.  You know you will!  So allow yourself to be joyful!  What if it DOES work out (which I think it will!) and you didn't even allow yourself to be excited about it or celebrate and love that baby from the first moment?!?  You will always regret it.   

You and Ryan are both two of the most thoughtful, spiritual people that I know.  I admire both of you so much and have full confidence in your connection to the Lord.  If you feel one way or another about this baby, then go with it. You've been living the type of lives up until this point that has led you to this moment and prepared you to be able to receive this most important answer.  When you tell us what it is, we will all trust it.  Because we love you.  And we trust you.  And we have all been hoping, and dreaming, and praying for you to receive this blessing.  

Have faith, Sissy!  You were promised joy with your family in this life, and I think that joy is about to begin.  I may have said that before, but I'm saying it again.  If you decide to go for it then I am going to plow ahead so crazily excited that I will burst into tears at at least 12 more cash registers.  I can't help it.  My sister is getting a baby, and I can not imagine a more joyous piece of news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you!

xoxo Sary

Thank you, Sarah, for being my big sister.  I don't know what I would do without you.  Thank you for your exuberance, your joy, your passion, your thoughtfulness, your outrage when things don't go my way, your fierce loyalty, and most of all, your undying love for me, for Ryan, and for this baby that will join our family in August.

That little baby will be one lucky kid to have you as an aunt.

Happy birthday, Sister.  I love you.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Okay that was my deleted comment above...I was signed in under David's name and didn't realize it so it looked as if he posted this comment below: (Didn't want to freak you out thinking it was him haha!) Sisters are definitely the best! Don't know what I would do without mine. David just told me the other day about Ryan getting scary!! I'm glad he was okay but still!! And as I was reading through your latest posts I saw that you are getting a baby!!! HOORAYYYY! I am so excited for you guys! Seriously I started crying. SO happy for you!

  3. Thank you, sister!!! I am so honored! I have my very own tribute post! I love you!!!!

  4. I am crying again reading this new post! I love your sister too (not having ever met her). I'm so glad you've had such loving support all of this time!

  5. I am so glad you've had such support helping you get to this point!

  6. Aw, I love you guys. I have always been a little jealous that I am not a sister to you guys-how's I end up in the family of all brothers? :) Such an amazing trio of ladies.

  7. Oh, I love her too (and're both wonderful :) ). I hope that you being in Colorado will translate to me getting to see more of you!


  8. She really is the best. I love how "not passionate" that email was. :) xo

  9. I don't know if I can ever get enough of whatever it is you decide to write Rachel. Thank you for sharing you with us. I love Sary too and am so grateful for her. :)

  10. I love the sweet relationship you have with your sisters! I have always noticed how good you are to each other. You are all so lucky! Happy Birthday to Sarah!
    Best of luck with your decision too. You are always on my mind lately. Thinking about ya!

  11. that post made me tear up. Partly with gratitude that you have such a wonderful sister, partly with awe at the potential for how absolutely wonderful human relationships can be, and partly out of pure jealousy that I never had a sibling or parent who even lived on that same planet!


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