When God started speaking to Tomas and I about adopting from foster care, I had an unexplainable peace about it. Any time my nerves would get the best of me, I would pray and instantly feel like God had hand picked the perfect children for us and that it was all going to be ok.
Fast forward to meeting Mia, when I met her I instantly knew she was a world changer. Here was this itty bitty little girl, who was so strong and resilient. She had experienced more change in her 18 months of life then most of us have in a lifetime and she was thriving and determined to beat the odds, you could just see it in her little face. I knew instantly that it was my job to love her with everything in me and create an environment for her that she could flourish into everything God called her to be. I did not take this call lightly and still don’t to this day. This is my responsibility, she is my daughter, and this is my calling, to raise world changers.
Mia performed her first world-changing act when her baby brother was born. She spent the last two years in foster care so that when he was born, he could go right into his family and not have the same road she had. She paid the time and all the transitions so he wouldn’t have to do the same. Since then, she has changed so many hearts towards adoption and is just getting started on her little world-changing journey.
Baby Boy has also defied so many odds in his short little life. Without going into detail, he had a lot to fight against even before he was born but God put a call on his life so he fought and is completely healthy and strong. His spirit is so sweet and I am so blessed to be his mom. I cant wait to show him who he is in Christ and watch how this unfolds in his life.
Every day I do affirmations with the kids. I hold them each in front of the mirror and speak words of life into them. I didn’t sit down and organize what to say I just started speaking and the words just stuck, so now we have our routine 🙂 .
After bath I bring Mia into my room I hold her snuggled in her towel, she rest her head on my chest and I begin to speak God’s Truths into her life infront of the mirror:
“Mia is kind”
“Mia is sweet”
“Mia is beautiful”
“Mia is a daughter of the King”
“Mia walks in authority”
“Mia is blessed and highly favored”
“Mia’s steps are ordained”
“Mia has a HUGE calling on her life”
“Mia walks in obedience”
“Mia is healed from the top of her head to the tips of her tiny tiny toes”
“Mia loves Jesus and walks in peace, healing, and truth”
“Thank you Jesus for Mia’s life in Jesus name Amen!!” and we clap 🙂 (she LOOOVEESS that part)
For Baby Boy I do his affirmations before I put him to bed for the night. I mentioned previously that I can’t share his name with you guys yet so for the sake of this post I’ll use Baby Boy.
“Baby Boy is sweet”
“Baby Boy is loving”
“Baby Boy is a warrior”
“Baby Boy overcomes adversities”
“Baby Boy is blessed and highly favored”
“Baby Boy has a HUGE calling on his life”
“Baby Boy walks in great wisdom”
“Baby Boy is ordained by Christ to carry out the call placed on his life”
“Baby Boy is healed from the top of his head to the bottom of his tippy tippy toes”
“Thank you Jesus for Baby Boy’s life in Jesus name Amen!”
Affirmations and speaking Gods word over my life radically changed my life, you can read more about that here. So it was really important to me that we did this with the kids. God is so good and we are so thankful for our precious world changers!
*photos by the amazing Victoria Bardega!
I am so excited to finally be able to share an update on our adoption process with you all! I have felt like I have had to go radio silent on here because we didn’t share on social media for a bit and it was so hard to blog and not write about it!
To start at the beginning of our journey, read this first! 🙂
I want to keep this as brief as possible and I promise to go into more detail in the future! Ok so back up to May, we had our home study done a couple weeks prior (but it hadn’t even been signed off yet by a supervisor) and really weren’t expecting to hear anything for bit, as you guys know these things can take awhile. I was at the The Balance Culture studio and my phone rang. I recognized that the number was Heartland and quickly answered. It was our adoption specialist and she began to share that they had a match for us. It was a little girl who was a year and a half old. They didn’t have much information and told us they would send it as they found out. They asked if we wanted to move forward with an interview for her and we did! The interview Tomas describes as being The Bachelor for a baby (haha) and he so right because it was us and two other couples interviewing for this little girl.
Two days before the interview we got an email informing us that the little girl had a brother that was going to be born soon and that if we wanted to move forward with the interview we had to be willing to potentially adopt him as well to keep the siblings together.
I remember sitting in my car reading the email outside the studio and being in literal shock. One minute later Tomas called me asking if I had seen the email. I took a deep breath and asked him what he thought about it. Instantly he was like “yeah, lets do it!” (a very Tomas answer lol). I was like well we really have to think about this, this is a really big deal. It would not be one but two under two and in such a small amount of time. Before I knew it, I was in the Starbucks drive-thru so I could at least process the whole thing with an iced green tea in hand. ; )
I did what every woman does when she’s panicking, I called my mommy 😉 . We talked through it and I decided I was just going to take the day to pray about it. Once the shock wore off, the more I thought about it, the more peace I had. It felt like a lot but I also felt like we could do it. When we actually started the process we had a sibling group in mind so I guess it was kinda working out how we had planned. I emailed back that day saying we wanted to move forward.
We went to the Baby Bachelor interview and you guys I was sooooo nervous like Tomas kept telling me “I have NEVER seen you this nervous before”. I thought I was going to throw up like 25 times. I couldn’t shake it no matter what I told myself to try to calm down. When we walked in we were greeted by about 6 people and they began to fill us in on more information about the kids. We got to see pictures of the little girl and the more we learned the more peace we had.
When we left the interview I knew I really wanted those babies. I knew I needed to trust God and that ultimately He knew what was best for us but seeing pictures and having more information took it to a whole other level! We waited about a week before we finally got the call that we were chosen. Longest week of my life but we got the final rose 😉 .
The following week we met with an adoption specialist at Children’s Home Society (that’s who we were getting the kids through) and went through this process called disclosures. This is where they disclose any information about the child, their history, and potentially their parent’s history if they have it. We were then asked again if we wanted to move forward, which we did, and we scheduled our first visit. The visit was scheduled for the next day and then they told us we could have her for the weekend. We left and I ordered too many things on Amazon 😉 .
The next day we met at a Panera Bread! Again, I was so nervous! Would she like us, is it going to be awkward, like “Hi, you don’t know us at all but we are going to be your parents in a hot second, ok?” Adoption is so beautiful but there are just some things that are undeniably weird about it lol. But when we saw her, it was game over. She was shy but so precious and sweet, We knew she was ours.
The next day she moved in! Technically it was supposed to be a weekend visit but we didn’t want her to leave! I could not even handle the thought of it! We had to go out of town for a couple of days the following week so she stayed with her amazing Guardian Ad Litem. When we got back from the trip, I was so excited to never have to leave her again.
I have to do a whole separate post on this but the connection was pretty immediate. I can’t explain it but everything has felt normal and natural from the very beginning. Mia (we did change her name to this) was shy in the beginning and pretty reserved but got comfortable really fast. Now she feels and acts 100% ours and it has been just six weeks. More on all this soon!
Ok so now baby boy! So about a month into Mia living with us we got a call that baby boy was born five weeks early. He had to stay at the hospital for about a week and a half but then we would be bringing him home. We were so excited and started to get things in order. I need to do a whole other post on the journey we went on to get him after that but I would like to keep this post more positive. The short of it is that it was emotionally exhausting and didn’t end up getting him until he was almost a month old. But now he is with us and all is well, and in this moment our family feels so whole and complete.
I am still in awe of how God knit our little family together. I pinch myself on an hourly basis that this is my life and that these beautiful children are ours! In a few months both children will be officially adopted by us. For the time being we can’t post pictures of their faces on my blog or social media, but I at least want to give you guys an idea of what they look like!
Ahhhh you guys!!!! We had our home study a few weeks ago and we are officially done with the adoption from foster care process (at least everything we can do on our end)!! We are SOOO excited!!!! So many of you have reached out to me about wanting updates about our process for yourself because you want to adopt or because you love us and just wanna know! So here we are to fill you in!
So we finished the adoption class through Heartland the middle of March. We were told to wait to hear back from the social worker at Heartland through email to schedule the home study with us. We really didn’t know how long that would take but first week of April she reached out and we scheduled it for April 20th. This is the last step in the process and once it’s done and written up you are put into the system and can be matched!
When people hear “home study” they think of someone coming into their home and checking outlets and child safety around the house. This does take place but it is also so much more.
Instead of scheduling multiple home study sessions, Heartland does one all day long (some agencies do 2-3 visits), which honestly I preferred, knock it out! So the social worker showed up about 8:15am and she just started asking us questions as a couple, like about schedules, work, and lifestyle. Then she had questions specific for me, which we basically went through my whole life and I answered questions along the way. Then she did the same with Tomas. It ended up being about an hour and a half for each of us. Then she went back to both of us and she asked questions about marriage, conflict resolution, our views of each other, parenting and discipline styles, school/nanny/daycare plans, ect. That was another couple of hours and then the interview portion was done!
This wasn’t surprising and none of the questions caught us off guard because they were all things we talked about through the adoption classes and during homework we were assigned. By time we got to the home study we had already figured so many things, now it was just sharing it. The classes really do prepare you.
It might sound overwhelming and borderline invasive to have someone come in an ask you a million questions about your life but it really wasn’t. You’re just talking about yourself the whole time (which people are usually pretty excited to do haha) and this whole thing kinda comes with the territory. They are screening potential parents so they can be sure they will be a good fit for a child and to write your home study up as accurate as possible when describing the couple.
Our social worker was phenomenal! She was so down to earth and really made us feel comfortable making it easy to talk with her.
Side note- Tomas is going to be the BEST Dad, just as we were talking to her I was reminded about how much he treats me like a Queen and all the little and big things he does to make me happy, I can’t even imagine how much he is going to do for his little princess! He’s the most patient and loving man in the world! He also makes these little comments all the time like we’ll be at lunch and he’ll say “if we had our daughter she would be here with us right now, I’m so excited”. *Que heart exploding*, he’s so freaking cute!
Ok back to the home study, the last twenty minutes she walked through the house and checked things out and then she left around 4:00pm! The second she left we were exhausted, I think our adrenalin was going so when she left we crashed.
After we went to Cold Stone and got ice cream to celebrate finishing the process, and just chatted about how excited we are! The experience really was great and we are so excited for what’s next!
P.S. I’m gunna do another post about the steps we have gone through in order and answer any questions or common misunderstandings about the process soon, so if you have questions outside of this post let me know so I can answer it!
Love you guys!!!!!
Me and cardio have a love/hate relationship and have for years. As you guys know, I love fitness and have for years but have never gotten on the cardio train. I would do it because I felt like I HAD to and afterwards I was always glad I did it, but before and during I was miserable, counting down the minutes, anyone else? At that time the only cardio I had really been exposed to was running outside, the elliptical, and treadmill (snooze fest, I would get so bored).
When The Balance Culture studio opened I started doing Kickboxing and loved it (still do!), but I think it is best to mix it up because I can get bored with workouts so I like variety for my mind and body.
When we decided to bring Spin to the studio I lost my mind! It felt like it was the missing link I didn’t even know we needed! There were several steps that needed to happen but we were determined so we expanded the studio space and applied for a grant to get the bikes. We ordered them, got certified and have been training the last couple of months! You guys, I am OBSESSED!! It is seriously my favorite form of exercise right now!
I think the reason I love kickboxing and Spin is they help me to stay focused and my mind doesn’t wander onto other things that I need to do or figure out. I don’t get bored and I’m fully engaged the whole time which can be hard for me #ADD. They go by super fast and, are high intensity and I love that they use music that gets me hyped up!
I also love it from an instructor standpoint because its high energy, fun, and people of any fitness level can do it because you choose the resistance for your own bike so your ride is very personal. This way I can have super advanced level person alongside beginners and everyone gets a great workout! Instructor win!
Here are some deets about our BC Spin program!
- We launch Thursday June 1st!
- We have a BC Spin grand opening party Saturday June 3rd– side note, I heard a rumor that the classes were free all day that day 😉 and Concord and Juice Box might be out there! Ok all that is facts 😉
- We will be offering Spin Memberships, Spin Membership add on’s (if you already have a BC membership) or you can pay per class or for a week pass.
- More deets on this and the schedule will be announced soon, so be on the lookout!
P.S. Our Spin instructors are killing it and our classes are going to be beyond fun! I CANNOT wait!!!!!
If you have more questions definitely reach out, but I promise to send more info your way as we release it! Love you all and I am so excited for the next phase of The Balance Culture!
Ladddieessss! So the question I get more than any other is about hair products and how I grew my hair out super long! I haven’t updated you guys on my products in while (too long) so this post is well over due!
For the sake of all of us, I want to keep this short! My hair care routine is pretty simple and at the end of the day if you try to wash your hair less and put less heat on it, I really think those two things take your hair to the next level preventing damage and help it to growing. I wash my hair about every five days (thanks to dry shampoo #BBFL), and use heat (a wand or straightener) like twice a week. I don’t use a blow dryer because I wash my hair before I go to bed and wake up to it dry and style with a straighter or wand then next morning. My wand tutorial is here.
———– here are my top tools and products ———
Wet Brush– I try not to brush my hair a bunch to prevent breakage. I brush it in the shower when I condition and after the shower and probably not until I wash it again. This is the best brush because it doesn’t break my hair and doesn’t torture me when I’m brushing because my hair can get knotty (probably from a century of not brushing it).
Unite 7 Seconds– After I towel dry my hair I spray this leave-in conditioner. This is what I think makes the biggest difference so if you can only purchase one product it should be this! It’s like “It’s a 10” on steroids. It protects my hair from damage, is a detangler, and repairs. GAME CHANGER- buy it! I buy it from my stylist Jenna at Liquid Hair here in Lakeland but if you aren’t in the area it can be difficult to find Unite products, so it is also on Amazon* but if it were me I would buy it from a salon.
Wella Luxe Oil – I use this to seal my ends and protect them, this is SOOO important, especially if you are trying to grow out your hair! I buy it from Ulta but again if you don’t have access it is on Amazon*. Oils=Life
I want to keep the brief but I will do follow-up posts on my shower hair products and styling products in the very near future!
Final words- Keeping your hair healthy through less heat, less dying/bleach, and using the products listed above is really what helped me grow my hair so long, it’s so simple it’s borderline annoying. Obviously, I bleach my hair but I wait pretty long in between, I get it done about every 3 months. I don’t mind a little rootage especially if it means protecting my hair because bleach can be SOO harsh, I also usually ask for a hair condition treatment for while she washes my hair to help immediately after the bleach is applied. I usually get an inch or two cut off each time I get my color done. Having long hair that looks dead isn’t cute so definitely continue to get it cut even if its just a “dust” (hair stylist takes bare minimum off to keep ends healthy) while you grow it.
I don’t take any supplements to grow my hair and I have no idea if they work or not, I do think diet and eating healthy is important so eat your fruits and veggies if you want long hair 😉 .
Jenna at Liquid is seriously the best hair stylist in the world! I call her the Blonde Guru but she is really good with any hair it’s just hard to find someone good with blondes and she is literally the master.
*sometimes I don’t trust buying hair products on Amazon so I always try to get them from my salon or Ulta.
Let me know if you have anymore questions, let me know, and I’ll answer them in my follow-up hair post!
When God started speaking to Tomas and I about adopting from foster care, I had an unexplainable peace about it. Any time my nerves would get the best of me, I would pray and instantly feel like God had hand picked the perfect children for us and that it was all going...read more
I am so excited to finally be able to share an update on our adoption process with you all! I have felt like I have had to go radio silent on here because we didn’t share on social media for a bit and it was so hard to blog and not write about it! To start at the...read more
Ahhhh you guys!!!! We had our home study a few weeks ago and we are officially done with the adoption from foster care process (at least everything we can do on our end)!! We are SOOO excited!!!! So many of you have reached out to me about wanting updates about our...read more
Me and cardio have a love/hate relationship and have for years. As you guys know, I love fitness and have for years but have never gotten on the cardio train. I would do it because I felt like I HAD to and afterwards I was always glad I did it, but before and during I...read more
Ladddieessss! So the question I get more than any other is about hair products and how I grew my hair out super long! I haven’t updated you guys on my products in while (too long) so this post is well over due! For the sake of all of us, I want to keep this short! My...read more