The Story of Willa Rose

“Our nephew Oak, who is 4 years old, before he even knew that Willa died, he had a dream where Jesus told him that some babies are special and they get to go to heaven before they are born.” 

A friend shared Willa Rose’s story with me, and I wanted to pass it on to all of you. Her story is one that embodies beauty amidst the brokenness. Her parents inspire me to seek it daily. Thank you for sharing Willa Rose with all of us. We grieve and yet celebrate her life with you. And the lives of all the sweet babies that get to go to heaven before they are born. 

Video credit: Of Thorns in Roses: The Story of Willa from The McKellars on Vimeo.

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Friday FUN + Food for Thought

Friday FUN + Food for Thought on Maison Everett Blog
Happy Friday, friends. We decided to extend our stay in Nashville one more week. No complaints here – because we are in the final stretch. By this time next week, Greg will be finished taking the TX Bar and law school will officially be OVER. Done and done! It feels like ages ago that we made it to the halfway mark. The last 3 years of life have been full for our little family: full and chaotic and adventurous and exhausting….but always beautiful. I am feeling gratitude for all of it. I’ve been rereading my original Friday Favorites posts like this one and this one that I started when Greg was in his first year of law school and Remy was a bitty babe. They mean more to me now than I realized they would. In one of them I wrote, “when our day-to-days seem monotonous and routine, this project pushes me to think bigger…” To think bigger about the work I’m creating, the life I’m living, the love I’m giving to those around me. Sometimes routine and monotony is exactly what I need to do those things best. So here’s to another week of taking each day as it comes, and celebrating the victories however big or small. Squeeze your loved ones and enjoy the weekend. xo

Food for Thought to Explore over the Weekend: 
Katrin Korfmann is the genius behind those photographs above.

Are we trying to teach our kids too much too soon?

The passion, wisdom and work of Peitro Zito (in gorgeous short film form)

Should More Women Give Birth Outside the Hospital?

This may be old news to some of you J Crew lovers, but if not…meet Mayhem

Real Food for the win! 

What it’s like living with kids on the island of Saba

And lastly, my good friend is the genius behind ANKR. I’ve had the opportunity to work from their office this week and witness the hard work+energy that surrounds the day-to-day of a start up. I can’t wait to see what happens with this company. Just remember, you heard about it here first! 

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Selecting an Adoption Agency

Selecting an Adoption Agency You’ve recently announced your plans to adopt. Family and friends are thrilled for your growing family! You’re experiencing the joy and anticipation of new life. But at the same time, there’s work to do. Friends start asking details about your plans: So how does this work? Are you adopting domestically? Internationally? Do you want a boy or girl? Do you even get to choose? Before you know it, you’re more overwhelmed than excited. You realize how much you have to consider to even begin the process. You have to decide what you are open to as a family (age, race, gender, special needs, etc). You have to consider the birth mother’s relationship. Are you open to foster-to-adopt? Do you want to adopt from another state? Another country? Are you using an adoption agency? How do you select the right one for your family? How do you know which one to trust? 

So many things to consider and decisions to make! These decisions are very personal, and only you and your family will know what’s best for your situation. But that doesn’t mean you have to navigate it alone. The adoption community is an incredible resource. After announcing our plans to adopt, I had friends (and friends-of-friends) share how adoption has been a part of their personal story. They expressed support and a desire to give advice and wisdom. I welcomed whatever they wanted to offer! I also reached out to a few people that I didn’t personally know but had read their stories of growing their families through adoption. I asked if they were willing to share any information pertaining to the early phases of the process or if they had an agency to recommend. All of the responses were so helpful, and I was able to use them as a launching pad in selecting our adoption agency. 

For us personally, our desire is to grow our family and meet the need that exists for people to adopt. We decided early on to adopt domestically and that we’re open to a baby of any race & gender (and even multiples, which my husband is convinced we are going to get:)  So moving forward with that information, I called 5 different local agencies that had all been recommended to me personally. I also talked with an adoption consultant (they work with various agencies nationally). After several phone conversations, there was one agency that seemed a good fit for us. A friend was in the adoption process and recommended this particular agency to me. She loved their emphasis on relationship and their focus on caring for the birth mother…and I did, too! We filled out the initial paperwork, and then a few weeks later, attended an orientation. Orientations are fairly common practice for local adoptions. It gives prospective adoptive families the chance to learn how a particular agency works, what the entire process will be like, their relationship and commitment to birth mothers, and much more. It is also a great opportunity to ask questions and get referrals from other families who have worked with them. After our orientation, we knew that was the agency for us!

Selecting an agency can seem overwhelming. If you’re in that phase of the adoption process, I encourage you to reach out to friends or family members that have adopted or were adopted themselves. Even if they can’t directly help, they may put you in touch with someone who can. You can also reach out to bloggers or others online sharing their adoption stories. More often than not, they have been where you are now; they know this journey can be overwhelming and have a desire to help. Once you have a list of resources, take your time considering your options. Ask a lot of questions and look for red flags. Attend an orientation if you have the option. Compare costs and get a breakdown of where those costs are going. And, remember, you aren’t alone! Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.

Here are a few resources that may be helpful in selecting an adoption agency: 
 3-step approach & on keeping perspective

6 big questions to ask

Q & A with another adoptive mama 

How to choose the perfect adoption agency

Adoption consultants connect prospective families with a network of several agencies throughout the US. Here are two that I have heard good reviews from personally: Christian Adoption Consultants & Faithful Adoption Consultants

If you are in Houston (or surrounding area), this is our agency. We are really excited to be working with them! I’m happy to answer any questions or put you in touch with families who have already adopted through them.  This agency also came highly recommended to us. They work with families in Texas, Louisiana and Missouri.

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Love Many Things

Maison Everett Calligraphy, Van Gogh QuoteENJOY THE WEEK!
xo, holly.

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Friday Fun + Food for Thought

Summer Fun Inspiration on Maison Everett Blog
Happy Friday! We’ve been in Nashville all week while Greg is back home studying away (he takes the bar in under two weeks…so close to being completely finished with law school)! I’ve taken advantage of a babysitter and spent as much time possible creating new ideas for Maison Everett Shop and working on our adoption paperwork. The paperwork is no joke, but I really don’t mind it at all. In some way, I feel like it reminds me that we are excepting. I may not be pregnant, but we may have a baby in the next 9 months. That’s crazy! So anything that helps get me into that mindset I gladly welcome…be it paperwork, or name books;) Anyway, what are your plans for the weekend? Whatever you and your crew are up to, I hope it’s a good one! 

Food for Thought to Explore over the Weekend: 
Incredible story of a Jewish man who fled Nazis and now helping Christians flee ISIS

writing assignment that could change your life

Are you a coffee drinker? Good news for you! 

12 Empowering Children’s Books
 for Little Girl’s Bookshelves

Can’t afford organic all the time? Consider focusing on the Dirty Dozen: here’s the list for 2015 

“Sprinkle a little nonsense into the work you do.”

Have a Toddler? Some insight into the tantrums they throw

On Planned Parenthood, Mother and Child, and Justice for All

And lastly, how gorgeous are the colors in those images above? They are so rich and full of life, so naturally they inspire me and I wanted to share. Credits:  top, leftright

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