Sunday, August 8, 2010


This is my friend Ashanka. She lives in Florida but her mother lives here in Minnesota and she comes to visit with her daughters several times a year. We first met several years ago while the boys and I were helping her mother with her ponies. We didn't get a chance to visit much the first time we met, but when her mother asked her about a good way to thank me for my help, she suggested a subscription to Mothering magazine.

What she didn't know was that we were in the depths of our journey through infertility so when the first issue showed up with a picture of a very beautiful and very pregnant women on the cover, I burst into tears. I couldn't even open that first issue. I came home a buried it in my closet. I hoped that someday I would get something of value from that subscription.

Fast forward a year, I'm helping her mother Sue with the ponies. We had decided to pursue adoption. I was a little nervous about telling Sue because it would mean I wouldn't be able to come help her on the farm. However, when I did, she told me that two of her three kids were adopted and that they were adopted through Lutheran Social Services, the same agency we were considering. I had no idea! Ashanka was 7 months old when they brought her home.

It was such an encouragement to me. To see the the love and connection Ann and Sue shared and to see the connection between Sue and her granddaughters. It helped me see that adoption works. Ashanka and I had so many great talks while working in the barn together before Amanda came home with us. Ashanka's adoption was closed so they know very little about her birth mom. She is very much at peace with this and with her adoption but her daughters have actually spent more time wondering and asking about her birth mom. They wonder what color her eyes were and what she liked to do, etc. I had never thought of that side of adoption.

Ashanka was here visiting during the week we learned about Amanda. We came to a dinner party at the farm but only shared our potential baby news with her because we just didn't know how it would turn out. Ashanka is a doula and she encouraged me to begin pumping again so I would be conditioned and ready to nurse Amanda. I took her advice.

Since Amanda came home, I have gone out to visit Ted, Sue and the ponies but haven't had much time to help. We did get out for some rides when Elisa and her kids were visiting once and I always tried to get out to visit when Ashanka would come up to visit from Florida.

We missed each other last summer because while she was here in Minnesota, we were in Florida meeting Christiana. So, when the girls and I went to visit the farm last month, it was the first time Ashanka met Christiana and Talitha. It was so great to connect again. It was fun to see how much her daughters had grown and fun to see Amanda interact with the ponies.

Here's Ashanka's daughter, Christina, teaching Amanda how to feed Molly grass without getting her fingers nibbled. Molly is an old favorite pony who gets to just roam around the barnyard like a big pet. She was the first pony Amanda saw when we pulled into the farm. She started shouting, "Momie! Momie!" Now Amanda can say "Tony" and she can say "puppy" but she always says "pony" as "momie."

By the way, I did find something of value in that Mothering subscription- baby wearing, cloth diapering, elimination communication, adoptive nursing, natural health care and food ideas. In hindsight, the timing was perfect. I was getting the magazine back when I had time to actually read magazines. :)


Myrtle's Turtles said...

Great family. What a life you are creating for your children. I nursed one of my adopted children at the same time I was nursing my biological child. It was a difficult experience for me. This caught me by surprise. I ended up pumping and that worked out better. How was it for you?

Mandy said...

This is so beautiful!! I love to see how God works - and how his plan for our families is always so perfect, even when we're left clueless wondering what he's up to! WE're there now.. just waiting to see what he's about to do in our lives. Love the pics!!

Davene said...

I loved this story! It's amazing to see how God's hand was moving, even during the days and nights of tears. And now look how full your heart and lap and arms are!!

I read your comment about sleep training. Oh, my heart goes out to you. You know I understand. Last night Jeff slept on the couch for the first part of the night, and I was actually much more relaxed doing Shav's sleep training because I didn't have to worry about how it was disturbing Jeff. The night before, he had been very involved when Shav was awake during the night, and I was grateful for his help...but last night, I'm glad he just got to sleep peacefully and I got to focus on Shav without worrying about how it was affecting Jeff.

I hope this weekend of sleep training makes a big difference for you and Talitha, and I'll pray that she makes significant progress quickly!

Mike and Katie said...


I was not able to nurse Christiana after Tali was born. She too attached to her bottle. But I did enjoy nursing Amanda and Christiana with the supplementor. I only nursed Christiana once in a while until I was about 7 months pregnant. Then I stopped because of her wiggliness, my soreness, nausea and growing belly. I have been content to just pump for her.