I had the most interesting conversation with our priest the other day. What he had to tell me was so fascinating . Something that I really hadn't thought about really all of a sudden made so much sence. I felt it was so encouraging, and with the new year upon us, I felt I would pay it forward.
What if I told you that people change every 6 years?
From 6 years old, to 12 years old, to 18 years old, to 24 years old and so on...
Could this really be true? Ill tell you, for me-
It is SPOT ON.
It is pretty obvious from 6 to 12, and from 12 to 18 there are going to be some major changes going on, but after 18 is when there are some dicey questions about what changes.
It is evident that you are the same person, however,
your opinions, your goals, your hobbies, your tastes, your habbits, your ideals, your loves, your passions... they all do change over time. And each one of those characteristics make up who you are- they make up who I am.
Going back to 18 years old, I can tell you I had MAJOR changes going on. 16 years ago at the age of 20, I decided to move to New Orleans by way of south Mississippi and I dove right into the big gay pool on Bourbon street. It was like a picturesque swan dive, with little to no splash! I must say it was a score of 9 out of 10- Comparative speaking of course. ::crowds applause::
Everything I knew then consisted of what I had been taught in south Mississippi.
I was told what to think about the views on homosexuality, the president, on global or domestic issues, even on drugs. It was all taught to me without arguement.
This was my first time in my young life to start making my own opinions about life's issues. I can tell you- I am a very opinionated person, so this was the most liberating experience I had ever had at this time in my life.
I had always been told what to do, and how to do it. Even who to vote for.
But now, in New Orleans... on my own, I was able to make my own decisions and develop my on opinions and start to become an adult.
I will not go thru age by age of who I changed to be, but I will say, every choice I made, whether it be a good or bad decision at the time, molded me into becoming a sharper, smarter even more of a compassionate and empathetic person.
People often ask me,
"Have you always wanted kids?"
My response to them is, " I could always see myself having kids." At different points in my life it was harder for me to know if I actually would or not simply because I was still a kid myself.
As I grew up and as I grew older, the idea really started to become more clear and I could actually see a time line starting to develop in my head. I envisioned a little frog jumping from one lillie pad to another- one opportunity that led to another, and then to another- and before I knew it, I was standing tall, with my head held high as an adult. I was able to think back on my past and wrap my mind around my future. To know that I was able to build it with Douglas gave me all the motivation in the world.
It was so important for me to understand that whether I wanted kids or not, I needed to take personal inventory of my life- Of the feelings I had and the reasons I may have felt the way I did.
Maybe it was my job that really stressed me out? Maybe it was where I lived? Maybe it was a relationship that really tore me down? It could even have been habbits or a way of life that stoped me from becoming who I want to be.
I needed to realize that the only way anything was going to improve in my life was to make things happen. I needed to see that change was my best option.
Maybe you are embarking on your 6th year? Maybe the things you knew are not actually things you want to continue to believe or know?
In my opinion, The only way I got to my next 6th year is to have enough motivation and endurance to change myself and what I thought about life and what I wanted out of it.
I needed to "sweep my porch" and cut out bad relationship(s), change my habbits, and find my passions. I think most importantly I needed to move to a new place and to start a new life. I needed to be able to to live the one life I am given on my own, so I then could grow to love it, appreciate it and then own it. I needed to become who I truly was, so I could finally be able to smile, laugh and then... pay it forward.
It was then when my "ah-ha" moment really arrived.
I'm 35 now. This means my next 6th year is happening in less than 6 months! I can already see the changes happening daily.
My beautiful Alli Mae makes it loud and clear
for papa. ❤️
Follow my family's journey on Instagram @nolapapa!
It is so hard to wrap my head around at what this past year has been like. This time last year Douglas and I continued our dialogue about adopting a baby. Although we had talked about it many times in the past, this is when the conversations really became much more in depth.
October of 2015 started the serious discussions about whether or not we were ready and when we realized we were... just how the heck we were going to make it happen.
Ill first of all say this... EVERY SINGLE PERSON you know in life, you have met for a purpose.
There is a reason for everything, you just may not know it now. And in time, the reasons reveal themselves. We reached out to everyone that we knew of that have adopted, which was not alot of people. And most of them did not get back to us. So we were left full of unanswered questions and a path we wanted to go down, but absolutely no idea how to go down it.
So I suppose we started like any other couple would that wanted to adopt. GOOGLE.
We found 2 agencies that were located on the west coast that seemed like our type of route. We would have to fly there and begin orientation. The wait time for gay couples usually ranges between 3 to 5 years. But we were ready and eager to wait. We made the call and requested our starter packet. And we waited...
The very next day we recieved an email from one of the original parents we had reached out to months prior. This person was actually co workers with our neighbor at the time. She had given us his email and we reached out to him. As life would have it, a few months later, he responded. He knew of an adoption attorney that was in need of a family, particularly a gay family that was ready to adopt. So he gave us the attorney 's contact and we immediately reached out to her.
It was the first week of November and I remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt. When she said that she had a birth mother in our city... Our hearts jumped. But when she said that the birth mother was particularly looking for a same sex couple... our hearts nearly jumped out of our chests. We both looked at each other in our kitchen with our eyes as big as saucers and with cautious optimism asked what we needed to do. We frantically composed a bio with a few pictures to send the birth parents to hopefully, maybe match. We sent it over and all we could do was wait.
That night we left a restaurant and were in the neighborhood of where the hospital where the baby we were hoping to match with was. As soon as we passed it a huge shooting star shot across the sky. In New Orleans you really don't see shooting stars. We were amazed and just hoped that could just be a devinely planned sign.
We found out the next day that she wanted to meet us in person. As much as we wanted to shout from the rooftops and tell everyone we knew... we knew it needed to be kept secret. We heard so many heart breaking stories about how some adoptions fall through, and we didnt want to jinx anything. As hard as it was to keep quiet, that is what we did.
We met with the birth parents multiple times, and each time got to know them and their families a little bit better.
We soon found out that we indeed matched. They picked us! As soon as that became clear, we scrambled to get the nursery in order! It was quickly transformed into a peaceful wonderland. It was exactly how I envisioned it.
We knew that adpotion has high points and low points. We also knew that the baby was born at 32 weeks. That is a little premature. She needed to stay in the NICU until she was healthy enough to be discharged. We had a few close calls on finalizing. We knew the birth mother started to get attached to the baby as she was in the hospital. It even was told to us that she had changed her mind in the 11th hour. It was being labled as a "failed adoption".
All I could do was cry. It felt like there was a death in the family. Everything had been done on our end. We did everything we needed to do. We even had a brand new nursery. I just prayed that I could get my heart in a place to accept it and be happy for the mother. To just allow myself to know how difficult it must have been for her. To put myself in her place. As hard as it was, I did.
And then, the phone rang.
It was about the birth mother. She again, changed her mind and said the papers would be signed on Friday. Of everything that we went through... this was the hardest to wrap my mind around. I was just in 2 days of mourning and then all of a sudden I am to be completely over joyed? How could I be? I was more scared than anything, just because I was terrified It could fall through again. However, Friday came... and we adopted our baby. Our beautiful
Roberta Allison Mae Alexander... "Alli Mae."
We were told at first we would wait between 3-5 years. We ended up waiting 3 and half weeks.
No one we have talked to, the agency, social worker, attorney, no one has heard of an adoption that fast. But it happened. As hard as some of the days were to get through... we made it. And we wouldn't have changed anything that happened. It all made us stronger in the end. We are so grateful for both the birth mother and birth father. They both have such supporting and special families. We are honored that they chose us and this wonderful life brought us all together at this very important time. We will always be eternally grateful to all of them.
If you and your partner are searching in hopes to find a baby just know... it will come in its right time. You will know in your heart.
Talk to each other. Lean on each other.
And if you need to, cry with each other. Sometimes, adoptions do fail. And when they do, have faith that you will pick up the pieces and march forward. Stay strong. Think positive.
What will be, will be. You are here for a purpose. You meet everyone in your life for a reason.
And everything that happens in your life is destined.
Always remember that.
I would love for you to follow our family's journey on
I made a sweet birthday banner using the month stickers we have taken pictures with since she was born. I attached the according picture to each month and tied to a pompom string. I added a few more pieces of flair to set it off and I think it came out perfect!
I also thought it would be imporant to have an activity that the adults can do after presents and cake. I figured arts and crafts would be a perfect way to have casual conversation and laughs, then when we are finished they would have a take a away from Alli Mae's first birthday. Most of the people coming are family anyway so they would want this gift.
I have never done finger or hand prints before so this should be an interesting experiment. When we are finished the canvas should look like two feet creating a tulip flower and a hand print creating a daisy.
The grand parents should love this!
I'm baking my delicious Meyer lemon star cookies that I have made for years and years. I thought this would be perfect because of the shooting star we saw in the beginning of our journey.
They are usually yellow but for her birthday party I will ice them white and pink. If you would have told me last year when I made them with my fresh lemons off my tree that next year I would be making them for my daughter, I would have laughed at you.
So far everything is coming together perfectly for the party! Only a little over a week left!!