Thursday, September 26, 2013


Photo by Amber Holritz

 So where have we been. We have been with ivey for 15 weeks now - she is 16 weeks today. WOW time flies. I had always heard that with children but I never really got it. It is all still surreal to me. Still strange to hear myself called mom. Still wild to look at her and realize she is OURS!

Ivey is a perfectly healthy, happy girl. We are amazed every day by her strength and happy moments. She is smiling and cooing and "gabbing" up a storm.

Before I can go forward I need to start back where I dropped off on my last blog post. After we met Ivey - we went back to the hotel with our two fur babies in tow. We didn't know how long we would need to stay - all we knew is we were a family. We spent 9 LONG days in that hotel with two fur babies and a newborn. It was quite the adjustment. Ivey did great in the hotel - she was still in that newborn honeymoon phase - it was nice and quiet before the storm of home and all our visitors happened. We were lucky enough to have Rick and Susan of FAS and Amanda, Matt and Mills who told us about FAS - it was like we had family there. And luckily my mom, daddy bob and dad all made it over to birmingham to visit their new granddaughter. 
hard to believe she was ever this small
so thankful for these 4

love at first sight
Grammy and Pop Pop meet Ivey
Pap meets Ivey
I think the FUNNIEST story we have had to date is one late night Ivey was crying uncontrollably and we had fed her, changed her, burped her, etc WITH NO RELIEF. Ivey was crying, I was crying - Corey was pacing. Corey asked me to google inconsolable crying. To which I asked while trying to type. HOW DO YOU SPELL INCONSOLABLE?? This moment will be laughed at for years to come. We started getting the hang of it. At first I thought Corey was more maternal than me - he just had that knack. One morning I woke up and saw him strapping Ivey on, and putting leashes on Olive and Nellie and venturing out on a walk. I knew right then and there I was BLESSED. More than I could ever imagine. 
a moment I have always dreamed about
We finally got out of there - after finally getting clearance from Alabama to leave the state and from Tennessee to come back in. We were able to meet with the judge and go ahead and get the "pat on the head" so we won't have to come back October 23rd when Ivey's adoption is final. We started out on the road and said our goodbyes to our amazing agency, our sweet friends the Leaches and the beautiful town that Ivey will always call "home."
We arrived home on June 21st to a crowd of friends and family. Our home was decorated and cleaned.  It honestly took my breath away. Thank goodness my sweet friend Brittany of Moncrief Photography took photos of the day because honestly it was like a blur. Here is the link to the blog from Moncrief Photography - and Here is the video of that wonderful day.

Then it was just us in our home. So thankful Corey is home since he is just in school for now. Granted he is still super busy but it is great truly having a partner in this. Thankful the fur babies took to Ivey - they love their little sister and vice versa. We had visitor, after visitor, after visitor. We were so grateful but we were still in the adjustment phase and some days were just HARD. Some days it was hard to put on a happy face. The first few months honestly were the reason I didn't want a "baby" and wanted an older kid. I didn't think I could do it, I was emotional and was sick of crying. I felt bad because Ivey was a GREAT baby - but I felt like I had lost myself. I missed my work, I missed time with my husband, I missed time alone. I did a lot of soul searching and reaching out to friends via phone, instagram and facebook and in person - it was so nice to hear others had gone through the exact same thing. People don't tell you about this part. I had NO idea how emotional I would be. I thought that was just a hormonal thing and well I didn't give birth. I thought I would just have happy tears not overwhelming almost sad tears. People keep saying it all gets better around 3-4 months and they were right.
Photo by Amber Holritz
Photo by Amber Holritz
Photo by Amber Holritz
Here we are at 16 weeks and we are getting true genuine smiles and giggles. It already has gone so fast. We already look back and almost forget the days in the hotel. I almost, almost forget about the first few weeks when I would cry nonstop. It is still hard don't get me wrong - I am still excited for the time when we truly will interact and play with Ivey. I already know I am a better mom when I get a break. Corey and I make sure each of us get alone time and make sure to still go on dates with each other. We want to remember where this family started and want to make sure we nurture us along with our girl. 
Photo by Amber Holritz
These first few months have been OVERWHELMING - we have been showered with love, gifts, meals, and prayers. Through it all we know we are blessed. I always thought people were crazy when they said it would all be worth the wait. I didn't want to hear it at the time - but today I know it is all true. All of this was to get to her. Ivey our gorgeous daughter who gives us a reason to smile everyday. She was made for us and to her birth mom we are FOREVER grateful for making a beautiful, healthy, happy girl. And to each of you thank you for loving our girl and us. Thanks for following along on our journey. God has blessed us. Our story is truly just beginning.......
Photo by Amber Holritz
Here is a wonderful blog post by Amber Holritz - most of the above photos are from Ivey's first photo shoot with Amber. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Really and truly bringing Ivey home

To say the last 11 days have been a whirlwind is an understatement. Last Tuesday (after feeling like maybe our agency knew our birth mom and Ivey might be coming later this year) my mom and I went to buy buy baby to buy some Ivey essentials. We had a beautiful day - one I will never forget. My mom and I both said we felt like for the first time Ivey really was coming home soon. I had been texting with Susan at the agency all day and she kept wanting to know if i got home safely. When I let her know I had arrived home - we got the call. Susan asked if Corey was home and asked to be put on speaker phone. This was it. The call. Susan started reading a text from iveys birth mom that said she could come get Ivey "honey bee" (nicknamed by Susan after watching the secret life of bees in the hospital room). Susan then said the words we would never forget "I am holding your daughter, you can come get her" I thought i was going to pass out. Susan said we might want to get a good nights rest and head to Birmingham in the morning. We asked for photos and this was our first view of our 5 day old daughter.
Meet Ivey Mariposa Weldon

Ivey - named after her great, great grandmother
Mariposa - meaning butterfly in Spanish - named after our beautiful friend Laura who we lost unexpectedly almost 3 years ago. Laura left quite an impression on our life - and even gave me my 2 godchildren. We all see butterflies since she passed and we wanted our daughter to always know about her. 

Born 6/6/13 In the beautiful city of Birmingham, Alabama 
7 lbs 6.7 oz
20 and 3/4 inches long

After shuffling around the house trying to do some quick cleaning and oh yeah get some sleep we left Wednesday morning. Arriving in Birmingham with schnauzers in tow we are first greeting by our awesome friend Amanda (who found me on Instagram and told us about family adoption services- more on this special soul later) she filmed us walking in and meeting our daughter for the first time. We will have video and photos to share later. 
Laying eyes on Ivey for the first time erased the last 9 years. All of this wait was for her. She is the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. 
Here she is with her aunt Amanda 
Our amazing friend and half of the Rick and Susan team from family adoption services. Susan and Rick kept our beautiful girl in their home until she was ready for us. Susan even got to see Ivey born. I will write way more about these two soon!!

We just sat in amazement and watched our daughter who had been surrounded by love from the moment she was born. It all felt surreal.....

But she is ours. 

Will come back soon for the rest of the story. Feeling very blessed. Corey and I are so lucky. 

We love each of you. 

And many more photos to come. You might stop following me on Instagram and Facebook lol 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

14 months

Today marks 14 months since we started this latest journey to Ivey. I want to say every month gets easier and easier but honesty it only gets tougher. We appreciate the constant love and prayers. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

13 months

Hard to believe we are on month 13 on our most recent wait to Bring Ivey Home. What's harder to believe is that it would be 16+ months if we are supposed to stay with Ethiopia. We are hoping and praying our domestic route will bring our girl home. Our new motto in life is "let's climb the mountains together" we have gotten through this with each other and all of you. Thank you for your continued support. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18th, 1998

April 18, 1998
15 years ago today my life changed. 15 years ago I made a promise, a promise to live.

For those of you who don’t know – I was in a house fire on UTC Campus at the Sigma Chi Fraternity House in Chattanooga, TN. I escaped the fire by jumping out of the top floor only to land on a sidewalk. I broke my back, both feet and burnt over half my body 3rd degree. They said I would never walk again; I had 4 surgeries the first few days – skin graphs that now cover both of my arms and my entire back. Rods were put in my back that later would be covered in staff infection and be removed. Left foot – clean ankle break, right foot crushed and basically wired back together on the inside. I don’t sweat, I can’t cool myself off, I can’t be in the sun, I can’t push myself physically, my foot sometimes just likes to “go out” on me, I wake up with an aching back everyday, I have gained a lot of weight due to not being as active, I have lost a lot of my self esteem, I look in the mirror and see scars from head to toe, and I always wondered why it happened to me?

But you know…I am ALIVE to write this today. I lived, I fought, I stayed strong and pulled through. I walked again. . I kept my good attitude “most” of the 3 months I lived in the hospital with my mom. I left the hospital in crutches even though they told me I would be in a walker. I was and am completely supported by the BEST friends and family a girl could ask for. The most genuine man I know loves me unconditionally and I am fortunate to have been married to him 12 years this July. I have four fur children that bring smiles to my face on a daily basis. We are on an incredible journey to bring our daughter home. I have a business that continues to make my heart happy. I live in a beautiful city surrounded by friends and family.

I wake up thankful everyday that I was given another chance to live. God saved me that day for a reason and I plan to spend my entire LONG life discovering why.
To all the people in my life that day and the 15 years to follow – thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you. All of you are part of my journey. I love each of you and thank God for the difference you have made in my life.

I leave you with this….remember to tell the people you love you LOVE them! We are reminded EVERY DAY that this could be our last day on earth. Thank God you woke up today. Thank God you were given another day to live. Enjoy it. Make the best of it. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff – there is ALWAYS good! Thank God for your blessings every night. Make a promise to live. I have kept my promise and will keep living my life one day at a time!

With my love and appreciation,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

1 year

 Well I would say time flies, but honestly it feel like forever. This is 1 year this go around. 8 years before this time. I can't believe it has been a year since we were officially approved for Ethiopia. Since then the wait has gone up 20+ months which lead us to add in domestic. This was a hard decision to make since we have had 4 domestic adoptions fall through. We were scared but have been blessed with an AMAZING domestic adoption agency. We feel very hopeful with Family Adoption Services - with this agency we are truly a part of a family.

We have more decisions to make - it is almost time to do a homestudy update and new fingerprints for international adoption and what is scary is we probably will have to do it again before we get a referral. This is a huge decision to make. Do we stay in line for Ethiopia also and hope for both? Or do we back out of Ethiopia and stay with just domestic. Definitely decisions we never thought we would be faced with.

Everyone says it - it will all be worth it. And we know in our hearts it will be. Ivey is already the most loved little girl in the world. She will be surrounded by friends, family, prayers, love and support. She will have the MOST amazing story to share. We will be the lucky ones - we can't wait for our family to grow.

I have said it over and over and over - but thank you. To each of you for all the love and support you give us. We have grown so much over this journey and are humbled by all the blessings we have been given. We love each of you and thank you for being a part of Ivey's story.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

11 months

This is absolutely perfect for our wait. We know that all of this is happening for a reason - we may have days we don't believe....but we always come around to knowing that our story will include Ivey and she will come when it is time. Until then we pray, wait and hope - thanks for being with us on the journey.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10 months Waiting

10 Months - this is a hard one because when we started this Ethiopian journey we were told our wait would be 8-10 months. So we thought by this time we would have a referral. We thought we would have seen our daughters face. We thought we would have held her. That is just hard to think about...the what ifs, the would haves.....

Looking back, our first email to an adoption lawyer was in 2004. 9 years ago. 9 years of growth, heartache, love, support, money lost, money raised, moves, new jobs, 5 adoptions failed, new friends, new babies in the family, godchildren, death, new fur babies, new jobs, a college degree, new business ventures and more and more and more. We are blessed, we know that but sometimes it is just hard. Sometimes I just want to scream or cry and sometimes honestly I do. Corey is lucky (lol) that he has school to keep him busy. I just stitch and stitch and stitch. I told Corey tonight if I didn't have my work I think I would go crazy. I have pity parties - and for that friends I thank you for listening to me! 

This past weekend I was blessed to go to Created For Care (I will write more about that soon) in Atlanta and met some amazing new adoption friends and came away feeling very positive, blessed and reminded again that we are exactly where we need to be. This may be a horribly long journey but we know we are suppose to adopt and WE KNOW our daughter is out there. Ivey is already so loved and has SO many people waiting for her to come home. Isn't that amazing? This girl who may or may not even exist yet has a fan club? She is going to be showered with love, prayers, hugs and kisses and We can't WAIT to introduce her to each of you.

So until she is home we will wait and pray and hope. We need our friends and family. We couldn't do this without you guys. Every day we are reminded how blessed we are to be surround by friends and family on this journey. Corey and I have grown so much throughout this journey and through it all we have just gotten stronger. Every time we have had a heartache Corey reminds me that through it all he and I, and our relationship is the basis of this whole adventure. None of this would be possible without us. We are blessed. God is SO good to us. 
Even with the hard stuff.....we know God has a plan. 

So thank you to each of you for all you do for us. 

with love and thanks,
Tobi & Corey