Soup (recipe!), community, and open adoption {31 days of The Life Poetic, day 20/21}

roasted corn soup Last winter, one of our friends did a series of Sunday Soup Nights where she and her husband cooked a batch or two of soup in the crock pot and invited a mish-mash of friends and neighbors over to hang out over dinner together.

It was a yummy dinner-y version of my Ice Cream Sundays that I used to do at our last house. I haven't quite gotten in a groove with something consistent like that since we've been in our current place, which has been, ack! almost two years.  But it was fun to sort of "pass the baton" and see another friend host regular community gatherings like that for a while, stepping outside their comfort zone, and welcoming others in with open arms.

One of my favorite memories of Soup Nights was the week when Brody's birthmom randomly texted me that she was in our neck of the woods (she lives about an hour away) for the evening. I immediately invited her to join us at Sarah's house for Soup Night. Seeing her there and connecting with friends from our little community just seemed so natural. Our kids love her (and so do we).

I don't write about it too much but we've had an amazing experience with our open adoption. It was awkward and unusual at first, not surprisingly, but in the last four years we've grown to love our get-togethers with both of Brody's birthparents. A spontaneous, natural hangout was particularly special though.

Five years ago, when we began our adoption journey, I didn't know what to expect or what the future of our family held. Now, seeing where God has brought us so far has me convinced that this was exactly the path our family was meant to take. Sarah and her husband are in the early stages of their own adoption journey and I'm excited to see things unfold for them.

If you're looking to cook up some hearty comfort soup for your own community or family, here's one of my favorite soups that Sarah made for us.

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Sarah's Creamy roasted Corn Soup
Ingredients
  • 2 bags of frozen corn (we use Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn) (set aside and save 1 cup for garnish)
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 1 sweet onion, diced small
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 stick of butter (salted)
  • 32-64oz of veggie/chicken stock
  • One cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bacon/shredded cheese/corn (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Defrost corn if already roasted. If not, simply dump it out onto a rimmed cookie sheet and roast in a preheated oven (I do it at 425*). Stir and remix every 5 minutes or so until the corn has some nice brown spots. Set aside a cup of corn for garnish
  2. Chop onions, leeks and thyme.
  3. Cook onions, leeks and thyme in three tablespoons of butter for about five minutes until onions are translucent. Do not brown. Add corn- don't be afraid to add more butter (up to 1 stick)!
  4. Sauté the veggies together for 1-5 minutes. Let the corn to soak up all those yummy flavors.
  5. Add stock till it covers the corn. Use your discretion. If you want a thicker soup just barely cover the corn. If you don’t want a super thick soup add more stock.
  6. Bring this to a boil. Once at a boil turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. If using a immersion blender (I have this model and love it), blend in the pot until creamy smooth. If using a blender, ladle out the soup into blender and blend in batches. Once it is all blended smooth, put it back in the pot and whisk in the heavy cream. You do not need to add the whole cup if you don’t want to. Just till the soup is at the consistency you’d like. Bring soup back up to heat before serving, or transfer to crock pot..
  8. Enjoy!

roasting corn

 

sautéing corn and veggies

yum, creamy roasted corn soup

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing this yummy recipe with us.

Linking up with Beth's Sunday Soup Night at Red and Honey.

Affiliate links included, thanks for your support!

the life poetic 250pxThis is Day 20/21 of 31 Days of the Life PoeticView the other posts in this series here.

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From infertile to fertile: a letter from an adoptive mom who got pregnant

tired boy A dear friend of mine just had a baby. Not only is she one of the prettiest little babies I've ever seen, but she's also a real miracle baby, born to two people who were told there was basically no chance of getting pregnant. After a period of grieving, researching, and praying, this couple had moved forward with the adoption process, not unlike David and I, after I experienced secondary infertility.

Before their portfolio could be shown to any birthmothers though, my friend Sarah found out she was pregnant. God opened her womb! And while she was thrilled, it was also a bit of an adjustment to shift her heart from adoption mode to pregnancy mode. The response from those around her didn't help this challenging heart shift.

Those of us who have experienced infertility (even after having a baby), made a plan and moved forward with adoption, and then were surprised to get pregnant and deliver a biological baby, have often been met with comments from people who seem to think that it was inevitable to get pregnant because we were relaxed, or our minds were off it, or because it just seems to happen.

Sarah wrote this letter as a response to those people (often strangers or acquaintances), reminding them that it is God alone who opens the womb. Infertile people who adopt are not bound to get pregnant. It does happen, but I've also seen him open the womb of friends who were infertile and went through years of IVF to have their first babies (rather than adoption), only to have a surprise pregnancy later. I've also seen people who adopt, and never conceive again.

God is bigger and more powerful than we could ever imagine. I hope my thoughts and Sarah's letter help you to better understand the heart of those who have both adopted and conceived a baby. We don't love those babies any differently, they are both ours, and they are equally special parts of our family.

a letter from an adoptive mom who got pregnant

An open letter to those with friends who got pregnant after adopting, or starting the adoption process:

I have been putting off writing this because I am worried I won't get it right. But I need to say it. This is from my heart as someone who has dealt with infertility and has gone through the grieving and letting go process.

It may seem strange that I still identify with infertility now that I am pregnant but it doesn't go away. Not when you have so vividly gone through the heartbreak of being told how unlikely it is that you will become a parent biologically. Not when you have gone through months of grieving and giving it up to God after hearing said news. Those months don't just disappear when you get pregnant (or adopt.)

What I want to write to you about is the phrase that people think is helpful or comforting or that is somehow gives hope to those in the midst of infertility or adoption. That dreaded phrase of, "Oh, you'll get pregnant once you adopt," or, "Once you stop trying you'll get pregnant"-- there are many variations to this phrase. It's meant as an off-hand encouragement, but in reality, it's not.

I want to try and bring some light as to why this phrase is oh-so-unhelpful and in fact, sometimes hurtful.  I did not ever plan on writing this before I got pregnant but since I did I suddenly worried people would use our story on their friends struggling with infertility or going through adoption.

I wanted to instantly forbid anyone from ever saying, "well, our friends Rob and Sarah thought they couldn't have any kids and as soon as they were approved for adoption she got pregnant-- you'll totally get pregnant!"

I'm glad I didn't write this letter when that's all I had to say. Because I know now that that is just another post called "What not to say to…" And as helpful as those can be they don't always try to explain the heart of things. 

I had this happen to me when we decided to not pursue fertility treatments but instead pursue adoption. A well-meaning friend told me of a story of his friends who got pregnant after adopting and pronounced that we too would get pregnant. Although most of what I want to say is from the heart I will give you one statistic; only 5% of couples who have dealt with infertility and have gone on to adoption have gotten pregnant. So why does it seem like it happens to so many more?

Because no one goes around telling the other stories. "I had this friend who struggled with infertility and went on to adoption and never got pregnant." It's not sensational and for some, it seems sad.

I had come to a place in my heart where I was okay with this becoming my story. In fact when we found out we were pregnant I was so confused and even let down a little. I had come to peace with plan I thought God had set before us and then He changed it on me. I was annoyed, too, because now I was going to have to hear over and over that which I have heard many times, "Oh, that always happens!"

Here's why this response hurts and why I hope you choose to say something else next time. I won't try to speak for other women or couples so I will try to just pull from my own emotions (not hard I am pregnant after all!) For me it was two things.

First, this response says that adoption is second best. When you say "adopt and you'll get pregnant" it seems to insinuate that pregnancy is the end goal. Can't get pregnant? Try adopting and it will cure all your infertility issues and then you'll get the child you really want. This hurts me because I was passionate about adoption before we even had fertility issues. I knew someday I wanted to adopt. I am also passionate in the belief that love for a child is the same no matter what; adopted or biological. 

Second, this response gives a false hope. This is the one that in my grief probably made me the most mad. I wanted to scream "YOU don't know if I'll ever get pregnant. YOU don't even know all the fertility issues we have! YOU don't know the plan God has for us!" It was like everyone wanted me to keep holding out hope for something that really might not ever come.

For me there was no closure in that type of thinking. Yes, I had to trust that if God wanted to open my womb He could, but in that hard time, I could not just keep on hoping. I need to move on and look to a new future. And when I did, I loved that future!

I didn't want people to keep bringing up what I had used to envision for us. That was old news. God had a new and exciting plan for us and I wanted to focus on that. Why couldn't everyone else? When I said, "We're adopting!" why couldn't people say "Wow! That's so exciting! Tell me all about it!" Or "How is that going? Can I help in any way?"

I loved it when people would focus on our new future with me. When they would ask me for updates regularly. Cheer with me when paper work went fast. Hug me when I realized how long our wait might be. These people didn't focus on the future that couldn't be but on the one that was right in front of us! Those people rock!

encourage you to do that for your friends. Be with them in their current situation. Help them focus on the future that is.

If someday they do become pregnant by the grace of God celebrate with them but don't focus on what could be or might be.  Rob and I still plan on adopting. In fact I may have cried a few tears that we wouldn't get to meet "Little T" (our future adopted child) as soon as I thought.

I continue to anticipate May 2015 when we can get back on the waiting list. Not because the child growing in me now is less than, but for a long time Little T has been more real to me. I worry that in the excitement of the child due to be born soon, people will forget about our other child that will grow inside another lady.

I pray that my friends and family will continue to support the future we see before us, not the one that might be.

In love,

Sarah

I'm so thankful for my friend Sarah communicated what was totally on my heart after I got pregnant with Hallee when Brody was just five months old. My story and my infertility was a little different as I had had four miscarriages before Hallee (I always say that getting pregnant wasn't our problem so much as staying pregnant). But now I always say that that was just the road God took us down to bring Brody to our family. You can read all about our adoption journey here.

Related: when your friends do adopt, use this awesome video as a guide of what not to say to them.

Photo of Sarah by Alexander Pavone.

10 on 10: April 2014

I'll return to the weekly surf report and three little things next week. This week I'm linking up with Rebekah as I share a handful of beauty bits from my day yesterday. 10 on 10 april-1

 

Good morning!

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Signs of spring at our CBS class.

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Fro-yo for lunch? Yes, please!

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She savors sweets treats.

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color.

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Our first bloom on the sugar snap pea bush!

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My new favorite spot in the kitchen/dining area.

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Four years ago today, we brought this guy home to our forever family. What a blessing. We love him so. (Also, hi, Amanda and random photobombing mustard guy!)

10 on 10 april-9

 

"Chockit cake," anyone?

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The most amazing s'mores spread I've seen yet at a beach bonfire-- with toppings such as: milk & dark chocolate, PB cups, bacon (!!!), salted caramel and the giant marshmallows & organic grahams to boot! Booyah! Our community group peeps rock.

ten on ten button

10 on 10: April 2013

Today is a special day, it's the anniversary of the day we adopted Brody! We brought him home from the hospital when he was four days old. How we love our special boy, and how grateful we are to his birthparents for choosing our family for him. We'll be seeing them and their extended family this weekend. They are truly a blessing to us.

And now, on to today's photos. I started out strong but missed a lot of the day once things got going. It was a busy day, but there were definitely little glimpses of beauty here and there.

10 on 10 april-1

10 on 10 april-2

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10 on 10 april-4

10 on 10 april-5

10 on 10 april-6

10 on 10 april-7

10 on 10 april-8

10 on 10 april-9

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Linking up with Rebekah at A Bit of Sunshine. ten on ten button

 

P.S. If you subscribe by email, you might have noticed things changed a bit-- I switched subscription services. I hope you like the prettier look! Let me know if you have any problems viewing any of the posts.

Recently...

I love this little corner of our living room-- favorite photos, our nature bowl and now a "new" linen I thrifted in Fort Bragg. I've been meaning to share with you what I've been writing over at Simple Homemade. Here are some of my favorite recent posts.

*****

a little Bennett family update...

Going in for the kill!! (lazy mama's birthday cake= donut & whipped cream)

  • Hallee turns 1 today (!!!!) -- how is this possible?
  • We had a super-fun party last weekend to celebrate her. Details to come.
  • We took a 10-day road trip and had a wonderful time visiting family, friends and beautiful parts of our state. Maybe I'll share some favorite photos in the future.
  • Before that, we had a really fun get-together with Brody's birthfamily. We see his birthparents every few months and have settled into a tradition of getting together with their extended family around Brody's birthfamily. They really love on our whole family and we are thankful to have them in our life.
  • Gigi has 3 days of preschool left. I'm so looking forward to the chill-ness of summer but sad for her to leave her preschool that we all love (counting down until Brody is old enough to start!).
  • Am I the only one who thinks preschool "graduations" are silly? Thank goodness our school doesn't put them in a cap & gown.

Brody’s 1st Birthday- A Baseball Party

Well, since Brody's first birthday happened to fall during MLB's Opening Week, we thought it was only appropriate (especially for our family) to do an Opening Day baseball theme. My brother cooked up a sweet logo from the official MLB one, and the rest is history.

{I added a thank-you line to it to use it on our party favors.}

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one of the staples of Opening Day: Bunting!

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cupcake toppers from Cap Creations.

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somehow Daddy ended up with lots of these... hmmm...

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what's a baseball party without hot dogs {nitrate-free, of course} and lemonade?

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friends and more bunting.

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He's not usually this patient in the high chair.

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He started slow {with one sprinkle, no joke}.

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But then, wasn't afraid to go for it!

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Man, he is just too cute.

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{This funny little outfit he's wearing was Daddy's, almost 30 years ago! The shorts may be short but it's so cute!}

It was really special to have so many friends and family members be there, and also for Brody's birthparents to come, too. We loved getting to finally introduce them to our family.

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It was truly a special day, celebrated on Bro's Adoption Day even! We have been so blessed to have him part of our family for this last year and can't imagine our family any other way.

{all photos by Alex Pavone}

Sponsorship, Advertising, Recommendations, etc.

Hey friends. I just wanted to let you all know that I'm gradually going to be adding some recommendations to my sidebar. Some are paid-for sponsorships/ads; some are not. Any clickin' you feel like doing will be greatly appreciated by me, and by my sponsors. The only way they will be there is if they are promoting something I truly love though, you can count on that. And I'll be sure to tell you all about each of them as we go.

If you are interested in sponsorship, you can email me.

For now, any proceeds that come from blogging (as well as my etsy shop and "our" coffee shop) are still going towards financing our adoption of this flippin' adorable little guy. Seriously, I think he is the cutest thing ever. Thank you again, for all your support, prayers, and just for being here. :)

The Cutest Boy I've Ever Seen

xo

For more information, you can view my updated disclosure policy.

Adopting Brody {my journal}

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Today our little Bro-Bro is two months old! I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts on our adoption process. These were the journal entries I wrote as we were progressing, starting with the first meeting with Brody's birthparents. I decided to post it all in one place for easy archiving, so please bare with this long post, as I bare my soul a little here.

{written Friday, March 26, 2010}

Today was marked a potentially monumental day for our family.

We had lunch with one of Bethany's social workers along with a birthparent couple that chose our family after looking at some family portfolios. It was pretty exciting, just to be chosen, let alone to meet them.

The meeting went well. It wasn't awkward at all and we got along great with them. The birthfather is totally a baseball fan so that was fun. They each have some great goals and aspirations for themselves. Overall, they seemed to really like our family and expressed their interest in adoption.

They seem to have quite a bit of outside pressure against their choosing adoption which must be making their decision that much more difficult. It really does seem like adoption would be in the baby's best interest in this situation, but I simply cannot imagine the difficulty in making the final decision.

We're really trying to stay guarded and not get too emotionally attached since nothing is for sure yet. Her due date is April 16th, so we should know pretty soon what's going to happen. I must admit though, that thinking about having a little boy (!!) about a month before our nephew is born would sooo fun and such a blessing to the family.

Thankfully, it's all in the Lord's hands, and He knows what's best for all parties.

I love this verse that my friend Heidi recently posted on her blog (Heidi and her husband are picking up their son in Rwanda right now!):

"And the Lord answered me: 'Write the vision... For still the vision awaits it's appointed time; it hastens to the end- it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." Habakkuk 2:2-3

{written Monday, April 5, 2010}

Peace in the Waiting...

Since we met the birthparents, we've had ups and downs in our waiting. But through it all we've felt peace.

I was at the park with a friend, a week ago today {March 29th}, watching Gigi run around, "making friends" while playing with other kids' toys. I overheard a caretaker (either a very young mom, or more likely a babysitter) call out to a little boy... "Brody!"

That's our name.

Long before we were married, that was the boy name my husband liked. I loved the sound of it, so it's always been on the list of prospective baby names for us. My heart skipped a little, knowing that someone who was carrying a baby boy was considering us to be that baby's family. Will we have our Brody?

Just then, my phone rang, and sure enough, yes, it was the social worker calling.

My understanding friend took over on Gigi Patrol so I could chat.

It wasn't the best news for us. The social worker explained that the family pressure to parent is so strong. The birthfather's parents wants to raise the child, despite the birthparents' desire to make an adoption plan. The social worker is not sure what will happen now.

Then, a couple of days later, she called back.

The birthmom, sweet and soft-spoken, had lovingly stood up to her boyfriend's mom, expressing her (their) desire to choose adoption. The social worker told me she was surprised. Encouraged.

The birthparents still want to meet us again.

Her due date is in 11 days.

So we wait, and pray for God's will to be done for this little one.

{written Thursday, April 8, 2009}

I can't sleep. I can barely type.

Yesterday we got the call from our social worker that the birthmom had the baby!! Our potential, hopeful baby has been born! He's alive and healthy and in the hospital.

The little guy (!!) was born on April 6th. We don't have all the specifics yet, but we do know that the birthparents are still leaning towards adoption. That's what they've told people in the hospital that their plan is anyway.

He was born by C-section, and is being breast-fed. This of course brings up the question as to whether this will create more bonding between him and the birthmom, but as our social worker said to me, it's going to be hard enough for her already. So I guess my feeling is, it's better for the baby, and it's all in God's hands anyways.

If this is the baby for our family, He will work out all the details, and there are lots of details to work out.

I hope to hear again from our social worker this morning with more of those details, and hopefully a little more confirmation if this is actually going to happen, um, tomorrow. I do after all still need to go get some bottles, formula and little clothes that aren't pink (we have lots of pink stored up but only a handful of unisex items).

It's so crazy. I knew all along that it could very well be a very quick process, but it's so surreal to actually have these events unfolding.

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and feel covered by prayer. Still trying to guard my heart, but that is getting harder by the hour.

{written Friday, April 9, 2010}

After talking to the social worker a few more times, it's {almost} official that we are picking up. our son. tomorrow. Wow. Still can't believe I just typed those words.

We are going to visit the birthparents and the baby in the hospital this afternoon, stay over at my bro and sis-in-law's place and then head back to the hospital tomorrow (Saturday) to sign papers and take him home.

I feel like there's no way to truly prepare for how emotional it's going to be.

I spent what felt like a boatload of money yesterday on some bottles, formula diapers and little boy clothes. I let Gigi pick out an outfit for her brother. I really love little boy clothes.

I'm really hoping we can find the missing box that has the unisex baby clothes we saved from Gigi's birth. They're in a *really safe place* apparently.

I'm anxious and excited and nervous.

We're going to meet our son today.

!!!

{written Saturday, April 10, 2010}

We met him.

It was amazing.

He is so tiny (even smaller than our little Gigi was). He's so precious.

Visiting the birthfamily in the hospital was a sweet time. They filled us in on the specifics and how things had been going and we talked a little bit about the plan.

The air was surprisingly light, and it definitely did not feel like it was only our second time meeting them. We have a connection. We've been praying for them so much, as have our close friends and family, that I feel that they are already apart of our little circle of life, if you will.

I feel such a love for their family, that I cannot even explain.

It was surreal.

"Surreal, but nice."

~~~

I just realized that I never really put my thoughts down on "paper" after our meeting with them all at the hospital. But I think the truth is that it was much to hard to process, let alone describe right away. The experience was so unlike any other. The relationship we now have with another family is so unlike any other.

The morning we took Brody home from the hospital was, hands down, the most emotional experience of my life. In the lobby of the hospital, our family of three waited as we were about to become a family of four, receiving a most precious and undeserved gift.

Amidst an abundance of tears, the birthfamily said their goodbyes and each embraced us. Our birthmother hugged me tightly and then whispered, "Thank you," as the birthfather handed over their son to us.

Thank you? She said that to me? My heart melted for her.

I could barely reply through tears, "No, thank you."