Maybe more people would adopt from foster care it was framed this way…


“Maybe foster care agencies could do more recruiting among the parents who are looking to adopt privately or oversees and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got kids right here.’ They could manage the odds, being even more careful to tease out the birth parents who don’t want to, or can’t, take care of their kids. And frame the argument in a new way: from the adoptive parent’s perspective there’s a risk, and from the biological parent’s perspective there’s a chance—but if a mom takes her baby back, you’ve provided a young person with a vital foundation. It sounds terrible, but if you lose that baby, you could try again. It sounds terrible, but that sounds a lot like pregnancy. Or like love.”

From To The End of June by Cris Beam.


Alianna’s adoption finalization hearing on August 8, 2012

(Photo by Beth Rose Photography.)

We’ve had the privilege of adopting one child and giving three other children a loving stepping stone into a future with their biological families. I consider all four cases to be success stories. There is risk—actually, I’d say that heartbreak is a guarantee—but I’ve never met a heart broken person who feels the love wasn’t worth the pain.


Phone Photo Friday


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Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mrsallbright if you’d like!

Real Life


In an effort to keep up with writing more frequently, here’s a really random post. I’m practicing with my wide-angle lens on my DSLR and photoshop settings as I’m starting to get into real estate photography. Practicing with my own house was the obvious choice. The living room was pretty tidy but I made no effort to clean up the other rooms. I’ll spare you from Ali’s bathroom and our bedroom. Here’s a little real life peek into my house:

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An Open Letter to the Other Other Mother


Dear Other Other Mother,

If I were you I’d be really mad at me. Actually, I was in an eerily similar situation a while back and I was quite mad at the other potential-other mother who didn’t seem to care about my heart. But as far as I can tell and you’ve said, you’re not mad. That means a lot, because I really didn’t go into this to make any enemies. You said you’re not mad, just hurt. I can imagine the hurt. I really, really can imagine. In fact, so many times we’ve almost walked away for that reason. At the very beginning I told myself that as long as we knew baby sister was safe, we wouldn’t fight for her. We’d leave it alone and walk away.

There were several weeks of uncertainty between her birth announcement and learning about her whereabouts. We prayed hard for her every single day—that she would be safe and loved—and we still do. Even after I had a general idea of her location, I still wasn’t sure if she was safe and loved. That has always been the primary concern. Once I knew that was true, a huge weight was lifted. Our prayers were answered. I am so grateful for you. You’ve given her the love and protection she needs and deserves. You are invaluable part of baby sister’s story.

I took a step back until I heard from her mother through a letter, the first contact we had in almost 2 years. I had written to her to let her know we were willing to be baby sister’s home, her parents (temporarily or forever), so that she could be with her sister. She wrote back with her blessing and the contact info of people to call to pursue that end. We felt like it was the nudge we needed to start fighting for the secondary concern: family preservation.

We’re passionate about foster care and adoption. I believe that love makes a family. Family is more than just blood. (As an adoptee, I know you know this well.) My husband, my daughter and I don’t share any DNA. I know that I can love and care for a child that didn’t come from my womb and doesn’t share my biology. When we initially approached foster care and adoption we didn’t plan to get involved with our future kid’s biological family. When we fell in love with our girl, our hearts started opening up more and more to her biological family in ways we didn’t expect. I have a deep love and respect for her first mother—the one who carried her for nine months, who chose to give her life, who wanted to parent her and then ultimately wanted better for her than she believed she could offer. Adoption can leave a lot of unanswered questions about family and what it means. I don’t have all of the answers but I know that there are connections I wouldn’t dare severe, bridges that belong to my daughter and are not mine to burn. She came to my home with a history that involved a different family—a biological mother, another grandmother, three older sisters and a brother—family that’s connected by blood. We’ve chosen to make her family, our family—her people, our people.

I believe that you could do the same. You could join with baby sister as part of this broken, patched together, rag-tag family. I believe, as I have from the very beginning, that her love and safety is the first priority. You’ve given her that and I’m thankful. Family preservation is the next priority. For whatever reason, it wasn’t considered from the very beginning. There were several placement options for baby sister that would have accomplished both priorities. We feel that we can meet both of those priorities. We did everything in our power to be considered as her placement since before she was removed from her parents’ custody—even before she was born. I hate that it’s taken so long for anyone (CPS, DCS, legal system) to even seriously consider us as her long-term placement. I hate it because I know how badly it’ll hurt you both to be separated after spending this long together as mother and daughter. It breaks my heart to know that it will break your heart if the judge decides it is in her best interest to move with us for the sake of family preservation. I want you to know that I don’t take that lightly. That said, I still believe she belongs with her sister if it’s possible. It’s hard to put into words, but I’ve loved baby sister since before she was born—all because of my love for my daughter. I don’t know her the way you know her but I care deeply about her.

The decision is out of my hands now and we wait as patiently as possible for the judge’s word. If this doesn’t go how I want it, I want you to know that I have nothing but gratitude in my heart for you. I pray that we can keep in touch for the sake of the six siblings. And if this doesn’t go how you want it, I want you to know that I have nothing but gratitude in my heart for you. You will always be an invaluable part of baby sister’s story and I hope we can stay in touch for the sake of you both.


The Other Potential Other Mother

Alive and Well


Remember when I used to blog 5 days a week? An unannounced 10-day silence was enough to get several emails from long-time blog readers, including one who thought perhaps I was in the middle of a crisis and wanted to check on me. That made me chuckle a bit but I really do appreciate how many of you are here reading my ramblings. This place is so special to me to record day-to-day happenings, process big feelings, share our stories and testimonies of what God is doing, and spread plenty of randomness, too. I’ve been in a little rut lately and haven’t been feeling inspired to write. If you’re reading this – thank you. Thank you for caring about me and my little family.

Since I don’t know where to start, here are some photos from the past 10 days…

I mixed up another batch of homemade bubble solution


Ali discovered my collection of costume jewelry and has been making this a regular occurance


In our house, if you spit cracker crumbs all over the place, you get a lesson on using the vacuum


Is it swimming season yet?


Date night with my handsome husband


…up here, overlooking Music City and mingling with people from his music publishing company


The chicken coop is mostly finished. I’ll do a full tour when I add the final touches.



Lucy loves to watch chickenTV (Speaking of which… this is a real thing! Someone posted a live stream of their chicken coop and you can watch it online here at People are so fun.)


Scramble is still alive and kicking…flapping, stumbling…it’s bad. We really don’t know what to do with her.


“I wearing Mommy’s big boots!”


We had a flock of blue birds living in this house until recently when it fell out of a tree. (I think it was vacated before it fell.) It’s now cleaned out, relocated and waiting for it’s next tenants.


It’s officially Spring in Nashville with the putrid but beautiful Bradford Pears in full bloom


Phone Photo Friday



Most of my Phone Photo Friday pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow me @mahlbrandt if you’d like!

I Will Wait


Short answer: nothing happened with the custody petition in court today. Not enough time was allotted for a custody trial so we go back in a month. More waiting. It’s been 6 months… I think we’ll survive one more. It seems fitting that my song for Trust is “I Will Wait,” by Mumford & Sons.

Well, I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
Which we’ve known
Will blow away with this new sun

But I’ll kneel down,
Wait for now
And I’ll kneel down,
Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step
And relent
Well, you forgave and I won’t forget
Know what we’ve seen
And him with less
Now in some way shake the excess

‘Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

Now I’ll be bold
As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So tame my flesh
And fix my eyes
A tethered mind freed from the lies

And I’ll kneel down,
Wait for now
I’ll kneel down,
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow

‘Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you