easter tidings

It is the beautiful Easter season, and I feel compelled to share this beautiful video. It reminds me of our Savior’s sacrifice, and helps me remember that Jesus has been by my side through every fertility struggle, every lonely moment, and every difficult decision. I am grateful for his sacrifice in death. And I am even more grateful for the hope and glory his resurrection provides.

If there are any among you who are confused as to what we believe, or who doubt our devotion to the Lord Jesus, please take this as a small testimony of our faith, of our belief in his divinity, and of his power to heal our hearts.


In the next two posts we will be sharing our son’s (Danny) baptism, and our family trip to the temple. I am excited to share it with our family and friends who live far away. I also can’t wait to share our special weekend with those of you who we have never met, yet think of as friends, regardless of our different religious backgrounds.

a strengthening of faith

So my best friend is pregnant. And we’re not talking a little pregnant. We are talking bursting boobies, peeing constantly, going to have the little guy any day pregnant. I haven’t blogged much about my personal experience with her pregnancy because 1. this is a sacred experience for her and her husband, which I have done my best to honor, and 2. I haven’t wanted to jinx the good luck she has had with this pregnancy.

It seems like just yesterday that she called me in Bogota terrified and sobbing. I will never forget that moment. Jena and Brian were trying their best to wrangle the wild beasts (that really is what they were at the time) into bed so I could step out on the balcony and take the phone call. It was rainy and dark and cold, and I could hear the franticness in her voice. I knew those emotions and thoughts all too well, and I felt her desperation through the phone. It killed me to know that my house was just down the street, but I was thousands of miles away.

The realization of another pregnancy left us both fairly faithless that it would develop into something miraculous. I am not ashamed to admit that. When you have experienced miscarriage after miscarriage, your first thought isn’t “Woohoo, I am pregnant again.” It is, instead, “Oh crap, here we go again. Are you kidding me?” We end up checking ourselves every hour for the inevitable spots of blood. We remember the physical pain, and emotional anguish, of all the grief we have felt before.

And yet, we still try. Why do we try? Because we are believers. And because faith and hope are tightly and inseparably intertwined. So when we feel like our faith is almost depleted, those little glimmers of hope–however shiny and tiny–pick us up and push us on. Hope that something miraculous could eventually happen. Hope that tomorrow is always better than today. Hope that God knows us individually and is keenly aware of our most righteous desires. Now, eight months from that phone call, we are hanging baby clothes, having baby showers, and sprinting happily toward the baby finish line. A true miracle. A true strengthening of faith.

For me, there have been moments of jealousy, of course. There has been some sadness for our own fertility hopes unfulfilled. But those moments have been surprisingly few, actually. Part of it is due to being so busy with our little adopted sunshines. Part of it is me consciously deciding to be happy, no matter what. Part of it is the ability I have to talk to my friend…there is no pretense between us that everything is always okay!

But also, I am just different now than two years ago. I am so grateful that I purposely allowed my recent trials to refine me and to strengthen me. I can’t wait to hold Baby Lea for the first time, truly. I can’t wait to cuddle him, smother him, and spoil him. And I know that the allowance of these feelings are only due to the compassion and strength I have gained from miscarriage and adoption. Look at what I would be missing out on, if I had allowed infertility to consume me. I am so grateful that my faith continues to be strengthened by wonderful experiences such as Jaime’s pregnancy.

And it is not a moment too soon, since all of my friends have decided to be pregnant at the same time!!!!!!!!! (We are still rooting for you, sis.)

happy 33rd to me

6350YUMMY peanut butter cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.  My mom and dad were in town on business during the week of my birthday so Adam and I were lucky enough to spend the evening out with both sets of our parents. I had the Luau salad, as usual. And we ordered the Factory Nachos as a starter. Does food get any better? Thanks again, mom and dad, for treating us. And Thank You–Angelina and Emily–for watching the kids–and for the scrumptious cupcakes. They were so cute, I didn’t want to eat them.


So becoming a mother is the only goal I wasn’t able to reach in my 25-30 five year plan. Instead of one healthy baby, I mourned three losses. Somehow, even at 33, I am still insanely jealous of those who reach that same goal. I think it is simply because I am used to doing whatever I say I am going to do. In that respect, not bearing children has been a completely humbling experience for me. And yet, I am still jealous. I guess I have a ways to go in the perfection department.

There were some momentous positives to my before 30 plan. I got married, traveled to five more countries, and finished my masters degree. All things I am extremely proud of, and grateful for. So at 33 I am left wondering, why didn’t I make a new five year plan at 30? I am all about goal-making and attaining. I think fertility and adoption took over my life for awhile, and it was difficult to focus on anything else. I am now resolved to have a two year plan. I will post the results when I am finished contemplating.

the fertility verdict

My post-miscarriage consult with Dr. S. went well. We reviewed the past five years, and talked over all of my options. I appreciate my doctor’s candor. He has never promised me anything, although he is still hopeful. At this point, our only option is to seek a fertility specialist. Been there, done that, not too excited to go back just yet.

After pondering our options for a couple of weeks, Adam and I are both of the mindset that right now all our efforts should be focused on the ninos. They take all of our energy and all of our time, in the most delicious way. Although I have many dear friends who are opposed to this idea, if I had to choose right now, I would opt for Adam getting snipped. But we don’t “have” to make a decision so we are going to wait a year and see how we feel. Maybe we’ll go to a specialist. Maybe we’ll try naturally. Maybe we’ll go on clomid again. But for now we are choosing to do nothing.

So back to square one we go. At least this time around we have a house full of joy.

zero to five, and back to four

Finally, I had ‘that’ moment. For months I have waited and wondered when it would actually happen. This morning, as I awoke from a very vivid dream, it did. It finally hit me that I am actually a mother of four children. And not just any four children, but four little Colombian strangers who I would never have known, let alone have the opportunity to mother, if it wasn’t for our faith and hope in adoption. How did this happen?

Everyday I realize just how fantastic my reality really is. I did not create my children one, or even two, at a time. I went from zero to four quite literally overnight. Why am I not overwhelmed? I should be overwhelmed. One awesome August morning, at the age of 32, I woke up, packed my bags, drove to a lush hillside on the outskirts of Bogota, and instantly became a mom. Isn’t that surreal? It’s the coolest way to become a mom, I think. It’s not the easiest, but definitely the coolest.

And maybe my recent reflections on the adoption are just my way of coping with the recent miscarriage. This miscarriage (we’ll say it’s #5) was weird to say the least. I mean, it was unexpected, short-lived, and just weird all the way around. Part of me is too busy doing mom stuff to think about it much. And the other part of me doesn’t want to go back to the warm comfort of functional darkness. And yet, the thought of that familiar place is so very tantalizing.

I am so grateful that my experiences have given me not only perspective, but also wisdom. The ninos demand all of me all of the time, and that is a job worth doing well. We still want a baby. The kids want us to have a baby. But we don’t crave a baby. We don’t pine for a baby. We don’t hate people with rear-facing carseats. I mean, come on. There is so much more to living.

As for fertility, I guess this particular miscarriage takes us back to the proverbial drawing board. We were just getting to the point where we thought we might start deliberately trying, so I guess the timing couldn’t be anymore perfect. Do we try? Do we call it quits? Do we do more testing? Do we go back on Clomid? Do we…..? I have a consult with Dr. S on Tuesday–we’ll see how it goes. Decisions, decisions.

simply, thank you

“The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar, which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes.”–Thomas Hardy

You know who you are. And we are so very grateful.


six months, seriously?


How did we spend our anniversary?

Grocery shopping, practicing the alphabet, lunching with daddy, and driving through town with the windows down singing to the tip-tops of our lungs. Just another ordinary day full of messes, tantrums, games, and laughter. And I cannot imagine it any other way, nor would I trade it.

What is the biggest lesson learned these past six months?

That the soul’s capacity to love is larger and more encompassing than I ever imagined. This adoption has helped me see beyond myself in very specific ways. It has acquainted me with the darkest parts of this world. My mind now houses real images that were previously only viewed from an armchair. Images that remind me of exactly what my children have risen from. Images that, although I wish didn’t exist, have increased my ability to love. Images that have increased my capacity for compassion and mercy.

Just as I have seen the cruelties of man hard at work, however, I have also seen the magnificence of the heavens right along side. Our children are living miracles! Each of their ability to love and forgive is incredible. Danny’s gentleness, Ezzy’s sureness, Nikki’s sweetness, and Juan P.’s–well he’s just Juan P.–assures me that tender mercies still abound. There is beauty to be found, and there is joy to be had!!!

Over the past five years, there have been many many days when I have felt as though my beating heart was literally being ripped from my chest. Moments when I could not breath for the feelings of emptiness and loss were so great. Even now, I can picture vividly those tumultuous times, and feel the despair that engulfed me. But those feeling cannot and never will compare to the feelings that my oldest son felt as a toddler when he was expected to beg for drug money on the streets, or when he was bounced from home to home finally ending up in an orphanage with his siblings. My experience will never hold a candle to my youngest son’s experience of being taken at two days old and never having a mother to bond with until now.

Can you imagine?

Can you imagine never knowing from day to day, especially as a young child, if you will be fed or bathed or clothed or safe? Although I have seen it, I still cannot fathom experiencing it. And yet, my children are valiant little spirits. They have keen minds, and they try to do good (except when it comes to toothpaste–don’t ask:). In six short months, I have felt more love for and from them than I ever expected. Even in my best of the best case scenarios I am still blown away by our Colombian Sunshines, and our overall adoption experience. I know not everyone has the same sort of experience, and I know that we have a very very long road ahead. Our home runs far from perfectly! But we trudge along each day…finding joy in the journey.

Six months seems like six days, but also like six years! And I think that is the way it is supposed to be.

not my season

Man, am I glad this week is over! If you stick with the post, you will see why. :)

1.I was scheduled to work (from home) for the first time since we brought our Colombian sunshines home. The only shifts I can work start at 2:30 and 4:00, which is primetime for Mama Rach….homework, snacks, dinner prep, running interference, etc. Since the work requires silence and my undivided attention, I knew after a couple of stressful days that I had to cancel the rest of my shifts. It is a good thing I did. The next night (when I should have been working), Adam did not get home until 9:30. I had to run Kavika to basketball, make dinner, take Adam dinner, discipline three of the five children–two of which resulted in marathon meltdowns, and get them all into bed since Adam was not home. 

The job is something that I really enjoy. I am able to utilize my writing and editing skills. But I learned this week that our four small children truly require my time, attention, and full emotional capacity. If I am to be the mom I expect for myself then this particular job has to be let go. Alas, it is not my season!

2. Adam and I had an emotionally charged visit from a friend on Tuesday. The visit was in reference to a sacred and special religious event that our family is planning. Unfortunately, and yet again, I am reminded that my fertility issues define every part of my life (even when I am not particularly obsessed). Most parents in our church not only get to name their newborns, but also get to celebrate with family and friends as they bless and welcome their little one(s) into the world and into the church. It is a rite of passage, if you will. A ceremony that most dream about and then take for granted.

For our little McFamily, Daniel’s baptism, and subsequent family sealing, was to be that moment for us. Thank you, friend, for your efforts on our family’s behalf. We appreciate your willingness to not only “go to bat” for us, but also to be so understanding and sensitive in discussing the results of our request. I am not bitter, and I am not angry. I am a little sad. But mostly, I am just reminded! 

3.Kavika, our 13 year old “foster son” (don’t know what else to call him) heads back to Arizona on Monday. Yeah, I know! It is completely out of the blue, and kind of cool. There is a family member who has wanted to take Kavika for awhile, but never considered asking because she thought that Kavika’s grandma was not open to splitting the siblings up. Once they found out that Kavika was gone, and where grandma had sent him, they cautiously approached grandma and asked if they could have him.

This family is well-suited for Kavika. They live just one town over from his grandma and sister. He will continue on at the same middle school. And the family’s children are closer to Kavika in age than our little ones. In addition, this family member, and her husband, feel spiritually led and directed to do this–which makes them excited and overjoyed. We just found out yesterday…and they want to pick him up tomorrow. The uncle flies his own plane, and the weather is not looking good, so he is shooting for Monday morning.

Kavika has grown up a little since coming here, and he has learned a few life lessons. We are happy to have provided that for him. I have been especially hard on Kavika because I want him to learn the lessons that discipline and hard work can provide. He has responded like a champ, showing that he is teachable and moldable, even at 13. We are grateful that we were the catalyst that opened the door for this family member to take charge of him. If we had not taken him, they never would have asked. So that makes us feel good. I am a little sad because Kavika has really grown on me the past month. But alas, it is not my season!


That is how it’s done around here! A seemingly calm, mundane, and ordinary week ended up actually changing the course of our family. The upsides–my children get me totally full-time. The church is still true, and prayers are individually answered. Kavika’s future is bright. And the best part of my week– I spent an hour on the phone this morning with a dear friend from college. Just hearing her voice envigorated me. My spirits were lifted by our conversation, which had nothing to do with said crappy week. And she has no idea how the timing of her phone call impacted my day. My life continues to blessed by the relationships I have fostered throughout it. And that is a blessing from heaven.