Finally, the pictures and the details of everything becoming official. Okay, before you read or scroll down any further you better go to the bathroom, kiss your kiddos good-night, grab a nice cold glass of water and maybe a tissue. I am not kidding, there is almost 150 pictures here. (you know I am very crazy about pictures.)
Now are you ready? Where we live, the law is Charlee had to be in our home for 6 months, before we could finalize. Charlee was placed in our home November 5th, we were in court on May 5th, at 8:00 a.m.
The adoption has to be finalized before we can have her sealed to us in the temple, and before she can get a blessing. After much thought we decided to do the sealing in Manti, where we were married almost eleven years ago. We were able to get the same sealing room we had before. Here is what happened that day.
The week before was crazy busy trying to get everything ready, thanks to our helpful friends who loaded there cars and helped with the preparations it took a lot of the stress off. It was going to be a day of celebrating, a day to be grateful, a day to recognize the miracles.
Charlee woke up all happy, like always, and we started getting ready to head out the door.
Charlee played on the floor waiting for us to get ready, she stayed in her pajamas,
to keep her cool for the 3 hour drive.
Here we are, our family has officially grown!!
Many of our friends and families drove long distances to share the day with us and to witness the sealing. It was amazing to be back in the Manit Temple, we were just taking it all in. We knew we were there because of the sacrifice of Charlee's birth families, we were there because of our desire to have a forever family, we were there because of angels watching out for us.
As I sat in the bride's room waiting for our turn, I watched the newly married brides worry about the smallest things, like their hair, their bouquet, and that everything was perfect. I just stayed quite and laughed to myself. I wanted to tell them it was not going to matter, in 2 years they would not even remember, the piece of hair that wasn't perfect. I wanted to tell them to hold on and get ready for married life, because it is not always pretty flowers, and everything going perfect. They might have a wonderful life all planned out, but there was so little they had control over. I really wanted to tell them, why I was there, what I was doing that day. That even though things will not work out like you think, they will work out better then they could even imagine, if they are diligent with their desires in righteousness. But instead of pouring out all my wisdom, my thoughts turned to Charlee and the amazing person she is, how beautiful she is and how much joy she had brought into our home. So I had a good cry while I was waiting, tears of happiness, tears of relief, and tears of gratitude.
Our time finally came, we watched as all of our friends and family came into the Sealing room. You could feel the spirit, the love and the peace that you only feel in the temple. It was a sacred day. Our Sealer, shared many things with us about Eternal Families and why they are important and then a temple worker brought in Charlee, in her beautiful, eyelet and ribbon dress, with her hair in pigtails with white bows. She really is an angel on earth. She looked around at everyone before she looked at me and Karst, she was very calm and peaceful. The Sealer performed the ceremony, and just like that, we were an Eternal Family, she will have all the blessings as if she had been born to us. There were lots of tears being shed. We hugged everyone who came to share the day with us, we held Charlee close to us.
On the way down to Manti, we talked about our journey to have a family, we talked about all we did, and Karst said, "This never would have happened without Elle and Kolby, they are the ones who have paid the price, it is because of their love of Charlee that we get this experience." We are humbled they choose us to be Charlee's parents. We thought about them often throughout the day. We are so grateful Elle and her family was able to join us to celebrate.
After the sealing was done, we went outside and took so many pictures. These are a few of the pictures Kim Orlandini took for us. She did an amazing job. I could stare at the pictures all day.
And what a saint she is, coming all the way down to Manti,
seven months pregnant taking pictures in the heat,
on the hill with us non photogenic people.
She has been a blessing in our lives in so many ways.
Here we are with Elle. She really is an amazing person. I am a mother, because of her.
I don't know how to put in words how important she is to us and how much we love and care about her.
Can you see why Charlee is so beautiful, she gets it from her birth mother.
How wonderful that she came to share the day with us.
Okay, enough talking, more pictures.
These are candid shots my sister Ashlynn took for me of everyone.
Here we are waiting for everyone to gather.
I know this picture looks odd, but if you look at the people, there is my sister Rebecca and her husband Dan, my sister Ashlynn, my parents, Karst's parents and our friends the Geddes's all coming out of the temple. It was such a great thing to have them there with us. This guy is Steve, he has been a good friend of Karst's for fifteen years, he has also become one of my closest friends. We actually bought our house with him and he lived with us for 3 years, until then he got married and moved far away.
The girl holding Charlee is Veronica, her sisters Cassie and Mary are beside her. About 7 years ago Karst taught her in Sunday School and he came home one day from church and said if we could have a daughter like Veronica he would be okay with us having kids. She is so much fun and a very talented dancer. This is Pat and Becky, Pat and Karst went to High School together and they have remained good friends, they have two little girls. Then there is Steve and his wife Tammy they have two boys. How lucky we are to have such long term friends.
Here is some more group shots of our friends and family that drove all the way to Manti
just to see Charlee, and maybe us.
These are my parents, and my younger sister Rebecca.
Here is Ellee, her parents Jane and Lane, her brothers Martin
and L. J. (he is hiding beind his mom but you can see his arm).
More pictures of Charlee and Elle.
Knowing that we would be taking lots of pictures at the temple, we sent all of our friends and family to the Old City Hall to enjoy some lunch. And we joined them later.
We had gone there earlier to set it up, and my dear friend Christie stayed and got everything ready, and she had everything perfect. My friend Gaye helped a lot with the decorations, and her husband Randy and son Justin did a lot of the heavy duty work.
We could not have had such a wonderful day without their help.
This room was the old Social Hall that had recently been restored,
I was so happy I found this place.
Since I had a few pictures of Charlee over the last seven months,
we used them as center pieces on the table, with buttons and daises for confetti.
My friend Becky (picture further down), made me this family hanging for my birthday. I love it, and the picture of us was our Christmas present from Santa.
One of my all time favorite things was these m&m's my sister Rebecca and my mom got for the day. Some had pictures of Charlee on them and some had the date. Too priceless! Many people brought salads to share, and we also enjoyed meat and cheese trays, on the warm afternoon. But I think the best part was the fresh made donuts we got next door at the local diner. They were perfect!!
Cute Pat & Becky again.
This is my talented friend Becky (who made the family sign) and her husband Dave,
they are some of the funniest people I know.
Its time to eat. I like looking at these pictures because we weren't there
so I can see what was really going on.
On the left is my sister in law Jenn who was just married to Karst's brother Tommy, then there is Randy, in the back, the strong man who went up and down the narrow flight of stairs with heavy boxes, then my sister in law Celeste and her husband, Karst's brother, Brad.
This is Uncle Tom, he is the one that made the beautiful quilt that is on our bed,
he has always been so supportive and helpful throughout our marriage,
we were so glad he was able to make it.
The food line up, don't worry Christie had it so organized they just flew through
and there was not a lot of waiting.
On the left is Karst's brother Brian, then on the far right is Karst's youngest brother Tommy with his son Jaxon and his wife Jenn, we were so happy they were there to share the day with us.
Here is my mother, Shannon and again my sister Rebecca
(remember my other sister Ashlynn has the camera,
so she got a picture of them every chance she could)
These three little cuties are my nieces, Brad's daughters, Katie, Cora and Serah.
Okay, not a good picture, but the two that have their back to the camera are Kris and his wife Karee, they have a little boy that was born just 2 months after Charlee.
One woman who made another woman a mother,
Ell and I, when we finally arrived at the luncheon.
Totally unplanned but we both wore our pearl bracelets.
What can I say, great minds think a lot.
On the left we have Jan, Kart's mom, and next to her is Jane, Elle's mom. These two have been friends for many many years, Elle found out about Karst and I because in November of 2007 Jan told Jane we were wanting to adopt. Miracles! (gives me chills)
Rebecca & Charlee,
I think someone needed a nap??
Now I am sure you recognize Rebecca and my mom,
here they are with Charlee and their husbands, Dan and my dad.
Look at her cute bracelet, almost as cute as her hair ribbons.
She is so good at always finding something to play with and eat,
even if someone else is wearing it.
This is Alan Stoddard, from our bishopric, he came with his family to share the day with us and since he was there, Karst was able to give Charlee a Name and a Blessing.
L. J is the on on the left, he is also the one who made Charlee's crib.
Me, my sister Ashlynn (who was taking pictures for me)
and you know the one in the pink by now, Rebecca.
Our good friends, neighbors, strong and talented, Randy & Gaye.
Karst's brother Tommy and Charlee.
And since I am showing a lot of pictures of a lot of people who don't like their pictures taken,
I thought I would let you see this unflattering picture of me.
Good friends, good times!!
Again, Tommy and Jenn, next to them on the right is
Karst's Grandparents, Robert and Myrtle.
She finally got her nap when she was sitting with Karst's dad Rich
and his Grandma.
It is the end, and Ashlynn is done, the heels are off.
We finally sat down and ate, see another great picture of us.
In no time Charlee was back awake and ready to play with everyone.
Here she is with Justin, Gaye's son,Charlee's first dance.
So while everyone else was cleaning up, and packing up.
I needed to get more pictures of Charlee in her dress, I couldn't get enough.
Love it when she laughs and holds her foot.
I could not take it any more, I got on the floor and played with her.
She is such a happy fun baby.
As we were leaving I had to get more pictures.
This is the building, we were on the top floor.
Amazingly restored just 4 years ago.
Here is Justin and his crazy mom Gaye,
even though it was getting late they didn't want to leave.
There it is Manti in the back as we were leaving,
if you look close you can see the temple on the hill.
This is were I show some of my crazy. The next day was Sunday, so I put Charlee back in her dress for church and then that night when it was time for her bath I had quite the emotional break down, I did not want to take the dress off her. I did not want the days or the experience end. It seemed I had waited for so many years to put my baby daughter in a white dress and then I had to take it off, never knowing if I would get the chance to do this again with another child. I got out my camera and took more pictures to try and help hold the memories of the amazing day.
I love this picture of these two.
Seeing them together is one of my favorite parts of being a mother.
Another crying spell as I unbuttoned the dress.
We kept the bows in for awhile.
She was done, time for bed, didn't want to be on her stomach, either.
Just like all things you wait for, you blink and the day is gone. This was an amazing experience, a day of celebration, a day to feel the love from Heaven and to have such a strong spiritual feeling all day. Even if I had not taken too many pictures, we will never forget,
when Charlee became our daughter forever.
The pain, bitterness and hurt that was there all those years from infertility, has been healed. The hope, the dream, the desire to be parents and have an eternal family all came to really be. And through all our tomorrows yet to come we will never forget the paths that brought us together and the hands that worked to make it happen. I can't wait for Charlee to be old enough for us to share all this with her.