When it was time for me to name this ol’ blog my family and web designer, Mackenzie Mathews, threw around lot of different ideas. But when I lost my baby the most comforting thought for me was that the only home better than the one I rest in now is found with my Jesus in a Heaven made Home. So there it was!
The concepts of home and family are so deeply, and really spiritually, intertwined. My sweet two year old loves to yell out “Abigail’s home!” as soon as we pull up to our neighborhood. Whether it’s that she’s relieved to soon get out of the car, or the comfort that being home brings, I do not know? I can sense she finds comfort in these walls, but I see more her sense of pride and deep satisfaction that come from having her family together wherever that home may be. She has just recently grasped the concept of family, and who her family is, and it’s just so enlightening to watch this happen in her little mind’s eye. If her Dad and I are both tucking her in at night she will say with great joy, “OUR FAMILY!” while she puts her little arms around us both. Likewise, we have been found at the dinner table with her grandparents and she will proudly announce, “It’s my family!” I really do love it, and it’s gotten me thinking about what makes a family. It’s the love, the dedication, and the bond that is so totally spiritual. Family is sacred, and it’s ordained by God. Family can look a lot of different ways. But the strength of a unified family, and the security found there, is such a tremendous blessing. Walls and genetics have such little to do with it, amen?
Walking closely with a friend through adoption gives me pause to think through the spiritual aspect of family as well. It’s been a true joy, a gift, and a blessing to watch my friend Keighlee Buchanan become a mother once again as she brought her sweet Gabby Marie home. We are all so in love with this child! I wanted to share a bit of their FAMILY story here, so read on…
How would you describe your family to someone that is unknowing?
The Buchanan Family was established in 2013. Brent and I knew we wanted lots of kids—biologically and through adoption. We prayed and trusted God’s timing with adding to our family. This year we will celebrate 5 years of marriage, 2.5 years of being Lyla Mac’s parents, and we had the privilege of bringing Gabby (14 months) home from India in June.
What is unique about your motherhood journey?
When I was in middle school, I knew the Lord was calling me to adopt. I have always had the desire to have a big family and soak in the chaos! My junior year of college, I was so proud of myself for saving $2,000 from babysitting one summer. I was certain I could adopt at least twice with my savings (HA!)! I was clearly uneducated about the process.
Fast forward to 2015—Brent and I knew we were ready for a family! We thought we would have a few biological children first and then adopt. We joyfully welcomed Lyla Mac into the world February 4, 2016 and started trying for baby #2 when she was eight months old. We had a harder time getting pregnant second time around and sadly miscarried in May 2017. It was a heart breaking yet sanctifying time in my life. I became so in tune with the Lord because I knew I needed Him for my daily bread. He made it very clear to both me and Brent we needed to start really educating ourselves on the adoption process.
We attended an information meeting with Lifeline Children’s Services on July 18, 2017. Brent and I left the meeting heavy hearted, knowing what the Lord needed us to do. We spent a week praying about the process and ended up completing the application within the week!
The adoption journey is a unique “pregnancy” for sure. I experience pregnancy brain, food cravings, mood swings, and could cry over spilt milk! It was crazy! My heart grew more in love each day with my daughter, and I hadn’t even laid eyes on her.
What is something that you’ve learned from your children that has made you stronger in Christ?
Oh goodness! I could write a novel on this question! The first thing I learned immediately after having Lyla Mac was that I am not in control. I did not realize how much I loved and idolized control until the Lord blessed me with her. Being a former 5th grade teacher, I was in control of routine, structure, and schedule. I learned very quickly how selfish I was with my time and I had to turn to the Lord daily for help with my frustration.
Another thing I have learned from my girls that frequently brings me to tears is that they see no color in each other. Their sisterhood was established immediately and fiercely. I can already tell they are going to be the best of friends, and they are connected by the grace of God. He prepared their hearts for each other and it brings my heart so much joy.
I was recently gifted the book God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbel. The book is beautifully written to explain how every family looks differently. Below is my favorite quote: “We live in God’s world. We are all different, but we are also all the same. Everyone you see is different than you, and the same as you. They might look different or speak different or play different. But they are all made in God s image, and so they are all valuable.”
Tell us about the day you met Gabby, and how has it been transition her to her forever home?
I love thinking back to the day we finally met our girl.
On June 1, 2018, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. The day I had been dreaming about long before we even started the adoption process. We quickly got ready at the hotel and headed to the orphanage. It’s hard to explain the emotions we were feeling, but ironically, it was the exact same excitement and nervousness we felt when we drove to the hospital to have Lyla Mac.
When we arrived at the Baby Home, we were greeted by the head caregiver. Sister Thresiamma and I immediately hugged and cried in each others arms. We were clearly both ecstatic for this day. After meeting some of the other caregivers, our little Gabby was brought into the room to meet us. This moment is kind of a blur, but I remember hugging her and I kept repeating, “I missed you sweetheart” with tears streaming down my face.
How could I miss someone I had just met?
The day we matched and I first laid eyes on my baby was December 14, 2017. Ever since that day I felt like a chunk of my heart was literally ripped out of my chest. My thoughts were consumed by wondering about Gabby. What did she eat today? Is she playing with friends and having fun? What does her hair look like now? What does her laugh sound like? Will she love me or hate me? And the list goes on and on. I literally missed her for almost 6 months, and I was so grateful we would never be without each other again.
Gabby thankfully attached to Brent and me almost immediately. The caregivers were so encouraged with Gabby’s response to us they let us take her with us that day. It was a rough transition, taking Gabby away from everything she had ever known. But God prepared our hearts for her grieving and renewed our spirits each day. I can honestly say I don’t remember life without her in our family.
Our sweet girl is adjusting beautifully. We have been exploring new foods, figuring out the whole nap thing, and spending a lot of time snuggling and comforting. The Lord has blessed us with an amazing and generous community that has helped make our transition to be far easier than expected.
How has Gabby redefined what you think of HOME?
When we were trying to prepare Lyla Mac for the changes that were coming, we would always say “let’s bring Gabby HOME!” This phrase became our motto for a few months while we waited for court dates, birth certificates, and passports.
The moment Lyla Mac met Gabby at the airport, she hugged her, patted her face, and whispered “Gabby home.” Since we started the process last July, I have never felt so at home than I did at that moment at the airport. Sitting on the floor with my husband and my girls. Home takes on a whole new meaning now.
All photography by Webber Lyerly