Our 8th year of marriage ended on an amazing note but also on a stressful one. We woke up the day after with a very heavy heart. This day would not be easy. We couldn't wait to scurry over to the hospital to be with our sweet baby girl. If all went as planned, she would be returning to the hotel with us later that day.
We spent all morning with her precious birth mama as we waited for a discharge order to go in and for the attorney and witnesses to show up so she could legally sign her rights to this precious little one away. I don't say those words lightly because it was such an emotionally hard day for all us, including her sweet first mama. There are not even words to describe our emotions in that moment. Finally after hours and hours, the attorney had arrived with a room full of witnesses and we were asked to leave the room with the baby while the attorney helped her sign. As soon as she signed the paperwork, there was no going back. We sat in the nursery holding this baby in pretty much silence as the full weight of what was happening a few rooms down took over us. Either we would be leaving the hospital with broken hearts and empty arms or the woman who gave her life would be leaving the hospital that way. The maternity ward is generally a place filled with happiness but in this moment it felt like anything but that.
The moments seemed to tick by at the slowest pace imaginable.
And then we got a call. The papers were signed. She was ours. The hardest moment was to come as her birth mother had requested we bring her daughter back down for one final goodbye. I didn't know how our hearts could handle it. All I wanted to do was cry for the immense loss that this woman was going through before our eyes. Her love for her daughter shown through. As she whispered I love you's in her ears and kisses to last a lifetime before she handed her to me one final time. This day will ever be sacred in my heart. There was nothing but love coming forward for our daughter by her birth mother and her sacrifice will never be forgotten by our family.
Then it was back to the nursery for us to sign discharge papers and get her dressed and into her car seat. We couldn't wait to break free of the hospital just as soon as we could as the memories were growing too hard for us to bear. This was a day of immense grief but also great joy as we gained our new daughter!
We got ourselves settled back into our hotel with our new little love and waited in town for a few days just to make sure that our attorney didn't need anything further from us. We were not allowed to leave the state with her until all the paperwork had been filed and sent between the state of Florida and our home state.
Expecting this to be a several week process, and our hotel bill growing by the second, not to mention we were bored out of minds. We found it cheaper to head to one of our favorite places - Disney World!
Not many 5 pound babies probably get to spend their first week of life exploring Disney World!
Even in the midst of some fun, we couldn't wait to get home. I was growing very homesick for my kids and couldn't wait to get our girl settled in at home. Finally the news came that we could leave! And we jetted off just as quick as we could to introduce this little one to the rest of our family! It was a real day of celebration!
Malachi had been dreaming and asking for a brown baby for years and his wish finally had come true. He adored her and was the best big brother ever!
Big sister was in love too!
We made it home just in time to celebrate Malachi's 4th Gotcha Day in our family! Parties all around!
Apparently the transition to 4 kids was going smooth enough that we got Malachi into swim lessons within weeks of our return. Peter returned to work right away as he hadn't been at his job for very long and the routine of another little one just kind of fit into day to day life. We were feeling like pros at this baby business at this point!
Peter took our first daughter on yet another adorable date night!
And before I even knew it, we were starting another year of school! I expected the transition to four kids to be much more difficult than it actually was and didn't know how school would look but we were able to jump right back into routine, and this year I had 3 preschoolers.
The boys started another year of soccer as fall approached!
Malachi turned 4 1/2
Bina turned 2 1/2
And then we really mixed things up with Peter going to Ireland on business for 2 weeks! With some help from family and a really great friend I was able to survive the weeks pretty well, but I really missed my husband and was jealous of all the sights he was seeing.
But we stayed busy at home!
And I even had an adorable date with another important guy in my life!
Soon after Peter came home, we had another really big and important day for our family. Little Miss had her adoption finalization on Halloween day and the judge deemed her officially official as a member of the Keyser family!
Then we were off to celebrate an epic halloween!
In November Peter and I and a special baby girl jetted down to California for a quick business trip. Time away is always fun even if we didn't have any time to ourselves because of our sweet little tag along!
Malachi won some movie tickets so me and my guys went on a fun night out!
Peter and I were able to escape in early December for a weekend in Seattle to meet a special new lady in Peter's brother's life who would soon be joining the family!
And then another Christmas came and went! We were having a blast with our adorable little family. We had the usual challenges that can be imagined with a house full of little ones but we made every effort to make each day special and fun for them.
And then another year was beginning. This was a really special time for our family even though we were incredibly busy. We were handling the transition to four kids with ease and our family was finally in a place where we felt settled and content with where we were in life. We still had challenges and stresses and many things to worry about but overall we couldn't have a single real complaint. I felt so blessed with the family I had been given!
Eli turned 4!
I had the most adorable little valentine's.
Our trips out shopping were hysterical and always got us lots of looks. We were one busy family!
We went for a little vacation together to the beach in March and had a blast with the kids!
Malachi turned the big 5!
Sabrina turned 3!
The school year was winding down as the boys finished up a year of Awana together!
We got busy with another year of projects around the house!
Eli was pretty darn happy about his onion harvest!
Then it was back home to celebrate 4th of July with the kids!
And a weekend away at the beach down in Coos Bay with Peter's grandma, What fun we had!
I decided to change up the school year and alternate to a "year round" program which has worked out perfectly for our family. I had two preschoolers and an important year for Malachi as he entered Kindergarten!
Summer days were a blast as we enjoyed the sun and the pool and berry picking!
We also decided to try our hand at a new sport - taekwondo, which has proved to be a wonderful thing for the boys as they test their skills and learn respect!
And before we even knew it we were at our baby girls first birthday! Another year had passed right before our eyes!