Lisa Leonard Designs

chrissie’s story {chapter four}

February 22nd | adventures, family

**want to start from the beginning? scroll down for links to chapters 1, 2 and 3**

And there wasn’t much spare time to worry about the next step. Each day was so full of adventure and challenges and hard work. Matt and I decided that I should quit my teaching job and home school the girls for Kindergarten. We needed more time to bond. They needed the security of being able to see me constantly, get lots of hugs and cuddles, and get to know me better. I hadn’t known them for the first three years of their lives, and I wasn’t ready to be separated from them for half the day.

Staying home with the girls was the best and most difficult decision. It gave us opportunities to talk, play, learn, and resolve conflict. Most days were a mix of joy and desperation. It was wonderful to have full, uninterrupted days with the girls, but sometimes I wondered if we were making any progress in learning to love each other well. This getting to know each other, building this trust, meant seeing the darker sides of each other as well. Apologizing became a regular feature in our day. Most of the apologies offered were from me to them. I’ve never been so humbled.

After a year, we found a lawyer, and began the adoption process. In addition to the wonder and stress of relating, we had a constant stream of papers to fill out, checks to be written, phone calls to make, and appointments to keep. We hit some bumps. We wondered how long this process would take or if it would ever end. We saw God provide again and again. One key person, whom we had no idea existed, came out of the woodwork and advocated for us. She was an absolute miracle. With her help, we were able to schedule the final court date.

The final court date. The words are so beautiful and so terrifying that I almost couldn’t comprehend them. I wrote them on my calendar. I sent out emails to family inviting them to join. I felt numb. So much had led up to this one, pivotal day. The girls would be legally ours forever, they would be issued new birth certificates with our last name. It was unreal.

The day finally arrived. There were metal detectors, security guards, friends and family. We waited for an hour and a half for our case to be called. The security guard yelled at me when I took a picture, but the judge was kind. She led us in taking our oaths to be loving parents. She posed with us for a picture. And then we celebrated. We went to the zoo, we went out for spaghetti, and we walked along the beach. There were gifts and dancing. It was official! They had been ours for a while, but now they were adopted.

Today, three and a half years since the girls came to live with us, my cup overflows. One of my daughters just came in, cuddled up next to me and said, “I love you so, so much.” I said, “I love you, too,” as a wrapped a soft blanket around her. We are still learning to love each other. We still owe each other lots of apologies. God has brought us so far, and is continuing to work in our family, and we are so, so grateful.

catching up? click here for chapter three, chapter two, chapter one

*click here to see the new chosen {adoption} necklace*

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thank you chrissie for sharing your sweet story with us. you have been blessed and your girls are an amazing part of our family. {i love you all!!}

47 Responses

  1. Bethany Rogers says:

    What a beautiful story of your journey to fulfill God’s plan. Your girls are simply adorable. I am struck in this chapter how you talk of apologizing as you spent each day loving them. My life with my daughter is not perfect and we apologize to each other every day. Our journey is different than yours but parenting brings so many similiarities. Saying “I’m sorry” is just as important as “I love you” … maybe even more so sometimes.
    Thank you and Lisa for your stories. Both so powerful and full of love.

  2. Jamie says:

    I have the crazy privilege of working with Alabama adoptive families. I cannot imagine any greater joy than seeing children find their forever families!


  3. Katie Snow says:

    I loved this and enjoyed reading the full story. Thanks so much for sharing yet another example of God’s amazing love.

  4. FunkySteph says:

    A beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. The only thing I keep in mind from those chapters is love, love, love (and certainly courage) ( and faith)… You are a wonderful family Lisa, and so is your sister!

  5. Chrissie, you have truly touched my heart. Thank you so very much for sharing this. You are beautiful!

  6. Christy says:

    This was so beautiful, thank you for sharing your story Chrissie & to Lisa for sharing your blog. What a beautiful family.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. My husband and I were blessed to be in the delivery room with our birth mother and have had our son since the second he was born. Adoption is an emotional and amazing advernture and we are all so blessed to have our gifts from God! Your girls are beautiful!

  8. JD says:

    Serious optical leakage… *sniff*

    I love that you had them first, and then adopted them… what a beautiful way to begin.

  9. Susan says:

    What an amazing journey. Thanks to you and your sister for sharing.

  10. MelissaF says:

    This story makes me so happy! I am just thrilled that the 4 of you found each other. Thank you for being so honest and open and sharing this very beautiful story of how you became a family. Again, so happy for you and many blessings to you all!

  11. Thank you for warming my heart and sharing your story. And thank you for loving those girls–children who need the most love of all.

  12. Amy Lynne says:

    Thank you! Your story is so wonderful! I hope you continue to grow and love each other always!

  13. Charla says:

    I love it! God has such a beautiful way of orchestrating life, doesn’t He? I was adopted at birth and now, at 38 years old, am meeting my biological sister (who I didn’t know existed until last November) in less than two weeks. It, too, is an amazing God story. Blessings to your sweet family!

  14. Nina says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing!

    kisses from Brasil

  15. liz r. says:

    Made me teary-eyed. Chrissie, you have a beautiful family.

  16. Kelly H-Y says:

    What an amazing, beautiful, and honest story … thank you for sharing your journey, and blessings to your family of four!

  17. Debbie says:

    I have waited so patiently for each Chapter of this most beautiful and loving story. All of life with children is love and then some apologies too and that’s what makes one a family.
    Bless you, your husband and your wonderful girls and thank you so for sharing your family’s story.

  18. Lydia says:

    Wow! I hadn’t checked the blog for a while, so I had missed all of the chapters of Chrissie’s story. As I started to go through each section and saw the pictures of Matt, I immediately recognized him…he was one of my professors in college! Such a small world!
    What a beautiful story to hear of how God brought Matt and Chrissie’s family together! My sister and brother-in-law went through the process last year to foster/adopt through the county. They are still waiting for the Lord to bring a child to their family. I love to see His hand at work in the lives of families and children.
    Blessings on Matt, Chrissie and the twins!

  19. Nancy says:

    So, so, sweet. I often take my three children’s births for granted as the pregnancies came so easily. We all need to be grateful for our own journeys through life’s ways….

  20. rhea says:

    amazing story – so happy!!!! thank you for sharing your journey with us. twins are amazing – double trouble, but double blessings too. mine are 5 – owen and olivia. olivia came to live with us when she was 1 1/2. our journey ended with a happy ending too! she was in hospital and wasn’t even supposed to make it to her first birthday. i love miracles.

  21. <3 <3 <3 <3
    what a blessing.

  22. April says:

    Simply beautiful story:)

  23. Melinda says:

    What an amazing journey! A great reminder that sometimes the biggest decisions in life are presented to us with the answer bursting from our hearts. Chrissie you have a beautiful family!

  24. Michelle in N. Cal says:

    What a beautiful story! I looked forward to every chapter! Thanks for sharing …

  25. Cara says:

    This is such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!

  26. Joanna says:

    Such an incredible story. I appreciated how you opened your heart to us and shared your journey. It was incredible. I was adopted at birth, I’m now 42. I feel so grateful and blessed that I was/am adopted. I am in contact with my birthmother. I am ever so grateful to my parents for providing me a place to grow and become the woman I am today. I so love the adoption necklace. I think its called Chosen….I’ll be ordering that for myself one day. Its an honor to be chosen.
    I need to go back and read more of your blog.
    Thanks again for sharing this story!

  27. laurie eller says:

    that was the most beautiful story chrissie. you have all been chosen for each other. what a lovely gift. :)

  28. Marcia says:

    Tears of joy are in my eyes for this beautiful story. My parents were married for 9 years before adopting my older brother. I was born to them 3 years later. I love adoption stories!! Thank you for sharing.

  29. Iowamom says:

    What a wonderful story! I have many friends and in-law relatives that are adopted and each experience is a blessing from God! Thank you for sharing.

  30. Amber says:

    What an amazing story and such a beautiful family! Thanks for sharing.

  31. terri says:

    what a super duper sweet story. i am so excited that god blessed you with this wonderful opportunity. he works in very mysterious ways! blessings to you and your whole family!!!!

  32. Beth says:

    Thank you for sharing. Your girls are lovely and you seem to be, as well! :)

  33. amy says:

    thank you both for sharing your stories. your families are amazing. both gifted with beautiful children, touched by God. thank you for sharing God’s faithfulness in such a public space. p.s. i love my lisa leonard “cream in my coffee” necklace from christmas. saving up for the camera one next–with my 2011 word “focus”. xoxox

  34. Robin Chapa says:

    What a moving story! I feel lucky just to have found and read it– thank you!

  35. Melissa says:

    I love reading your story! What a blessing you are to others! I am so glad I found your site and can be part of receiving the gift of your story. Thank you!


  36. allison says:

    Absolutely incredible!!! Thank you for sharing your journey. What a beautiful story and what a lucky family you are to have each other… all of you. Your parents must be so amazed by their daughters. What inspirations you are to us all.

  37. Brooke says:

    I loved the whole story! Thanks for sharing it! Amazing how God works!

  38. Michelle says:


  39. erin says:

    i loved every part of this!

  40. Staci torgerson says:

    Love your fulfilled story! We too are waiting on our God to complete our family.we have 2 beautiful little girls and have been in the adoption process for 3+ years. There are 2 little boys in Africa that are waiting on their forever mommy and daddy to be allowed to come get them. The country has shut it’s borders to adoptions but we won’t back down. We have even sold our dream home and moved to a much smaller home so that we can continue to give to them. We can always buy another home, we can’t find 2 little boys who have already captured our hearts!

    I love your necklaces and would love one with all my children names on it…. It would be so special. Hoping for birthday or Christmas. Thank you for you heart and making these for all of us to treasure.

  41. Mallory says:

    Wow…what a blessing you all are for each other. Thank you for opening your hearts to each other and learning to grow together! You are all amazing, thank you for sharing your story!!!

  42. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story! Very touching!

  43. Patty says:

    Haven’t been on here in awhile, so I just got caught up with all four chapters….and I am in tears! What a wonderful, touching story. The girls are beautiful, and so very lucky to have a happy, loving family.

  44. Valerie says:

    What an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  45. debbie says:

    what a heart-warming story. thank you for opening up your lives to us.

  46. Jenn says:

    We’ve just started on the roller coaster of trying to adopt. I’m so glad I found this story. It helps to know that there are happy endings. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Chrissy says:

    This just simply made me smile!

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