Happy Gotcha Day, Mila Mae!


My dear sweet baby Mila Mae,

On this morning, one year ago, I woke, not yet knowing my sweet baby girl. The anticipation was high, for I would meet my child today. Your dad and I, along with the other adopting families, had just sat down for breakfast at the guest house, when we looked up to see a large group arriving. It was your foster family. One by one little children came walking into the room. At first I thought you weren’t there, because I’d scoured every little face, and none of them were yours. My heart sunk at the thought of having to wait another day to meet you. And then, at last, there you were. With tiny puffs in your hair, and an unsure look on your face, we laid eyes on you, our precious baby, for the very first time. This day had been a long time coming. I was a mommy, your mommy, at last, and Dad was your Daddy. On July 17th, 2011, the Taylor two, became three.

You were a bit timid that day. Of course you were. I can’t imagine what was going through your little mind. Daddy and I introduced ourselves, embraced you, and sat you down for our first meal together. It was the best day! You did not cry, you actually laughed and played with your oh-so-smitten Daddy.

We spent today, one year ago, easing into our new lives. And one thing was clear to your dad and I, right away. You were something very, very special. You were worth the wait.

Days and weeks passed, and we had some wonderful times, and also some bumps in the road, as we learned each other more. You grieved the loss of your foster family, for that was all that you knew. They loved you very much, and I know it was hard to see them go. They knew that giving you a forever family was what was best for you. But how hard that must have been to understand at such a young age. You and I bonded, you allowed me to love you, to rock you to sleep, and sing improvisational lullabies in your ear. (Remind me to tell you about my made-up lullabies someday. They were quite comical.) We became fast friends. You made me cry, and we cried together many times. You made me laugh…a lot, and I realized you’re as goofy as I am, maybe more. I loved you beyond words, and you began to love and trust me in return. I was learning to be a Mommy, and you, you were learning to be my baby. The three of us flew home after 5 long weeks in Congo and were welcomed by lots of loving family and friends. Smiles and embraces were a-plenty. It was another good day!

Photo by : Allison Lewis Photography


Mila, your smile is radiant, your laugh, infectious, your beauty, striking, both inside and out. Your dance, hilarious, your mind, so sharp, and your sense of direction, unparalleled. You have a personality as big as the sun, and equally as beautiful and bright. You keep every day of our lives interesting, and you bring us so much joy.

I cannot believe an entire year has passed. Our great God has poured out so much mercy, so much love on this family, that we do not deserve. This year, He has overwhelmed us with His grace as He’s healed wounds, and formed bonds that we never imagined He could so quickly. He has filled us all up when were empty, and given us so much love to give to you guys. Mila, our God is an awesome God. How cool it is to think that He’s always known you, and knew you would be our child…before the beginning of time. He is always trustworthy, and will continue to guide each of us through every trial, through every joy, every step of the way. Your Daddy and I sit around thinking of what He is going to to with your little life…and we smile. We believe He has great things planned for you little girl! We pray constantly that He will continue to pursue your heart, and that you will one day come to know your Father in Heaven as we have, and grow deeply in your love for Him. We ask that you give us grace, as your dad and I fail miserably at times in this whole parenting thing, but please know, that our greatest desire as your parents, is to constantly point you to Christ. To show you that He is better than anything. Any possession, any family He gives us, any-thing that this world has to offer. We praise Him, for great things He has done!

We love you sweetheart, and look forward to spending the rest of our lives loving you more, and more.










What a Difference a Year Makes


This time last year…

We were waiting for Mila. Our preparations had begun long before July of 2011, but the gestation period was coming to an end. The anticipation was high, especially when we received this video. How things have changed! When we saw this we actually thought Mila was going to be shy. Man were we wrong.

It was just the two of us. Living in a 4 bedroom house. Ready to fill it up with some kiddos.

I’d turned in my notice to quit my full-time nursing gig, and become a full-time mommy.

Our plane tickets were purchased, 101 things to take to Congo were being packed, and I had very important adoption paperwork coming out of my ears.

This time this year…

We are rolling 4 deep in the Taylor house.

WE HAVE A CONTRACT ON OUR HOUSE!! We have no idea where we are going to live in couple of weeks, 🙂 but we are blessed to have the opportunity to be hunting.

Hudson got his first 2 teeth in the past week or so. He is rolling over, and trying to sit up. He’s not quite there yet, but it won’t be long.

He is growing like a weed, and blowing through clothes sizes. He has many new sounds and some hilarious faces. The whole “blowing raspberries” thing, has turned into a full-on spit fest. I’m soaked, he’s soaked, and so is everything around us.
And…he screams. At the top of his lungs, sometimes until he coughs or chokes. And he does it, A LOT! Not because he is upset, but just to hear himself talk. And there is no stopping him once he gets going. While I think it’s cute (most of the time), it’s not my fave Hudson trait while we’re in public places. Let me tell you, I get some looks.




And Mila…well, she’s still Mila.

She continues to steal the show, keeps us laughing every day, and always amazes us with her ridiculous intelligence and sense of direction. Adjusting to big sisterhood, has had it’s ups and downs though. She is slowly learning that whining each time you don’t get your way, doesn’t fly in the Taylor house. This was a brand new thing she started when Hudson came home. We’ve definitely made improvements in this area, but it’s hard for her to get why “Brother” gets positive attention when he fusses, and she does not. Being a big sis can be super confusing at times.

As for Dylan and I, we are in a mad rush to find somewhere to move in a few short weeks, which is pretty much consuming any down time we’ve had lately. Life is moving at the speed of sound, and we’re just trying to hang on for the ride.

Life with the Newest Taylor


Hudson and I have been home 7 weeks now, and life is moving pretty fast. This cool cat is rocking his new role as a baby brother.  I, however, have figured out that many things in my day-to-day have had to be seriously adjusted and others just given up completely. Blogging is one that I am hoping can just be adjusted. I want Mila and Hudson to be able to look back on this and know how their lives with us began, and see how God has worked in our family along the way. My lengthy posts are not quite as easy to make happen with 2 littles, so I’ve decided, for now at least, to try to break it up and make little tiny snippets of posts so that I can get some of this stuff down in black and white. Today, it will be few words, with lots of pictures. But everybody likes pictures, right?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve made lots of introductions…

Had some family time at the house…
The kids have gotten to know each other a little better…
Hudson had his first bites of baby food. He was not a fan at first, which he showed by “blowing raspberries” with a mouth full of cereal and applesauce. It made for a messy Mommy and baby…
However, the next day he changed his mind, deciding this food stuff is not so bad after all…
In fact, he was so pleased with this meal that he felt it deserved a good round of what we have named “Slap it!” in the Taylor house. We discovered this hilarious Hudson-ism  early on. He loves to wave his arm up and down, slapping whatever gets in it’s way…even if it’s his face, or yours!
Mila has had a few firsts of her own over the past few weeks. She played in her baby pool for the first time. This chick is crazy about the water.
She got her hair braided for the first time…
and then, it looked like this when we took it down. I think I liked this ‘do as much, if not more, than her braids 🙂 . Dylan called this her Tracy Chapman.

All in all, we have had a great 7 weeks home. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many trying times, and some bouts of frustration and serious impatience on my part, as I adjust to the new circumstances of my baby becoming a big sister, and my new baby just being a baby. The transition from one to two means little respite for this Mommy who some days… just wants a nap. That being said, I am overwhelmed with joy when I think of how the Lord has greatly transformed our lives in the past year. He’s continued to show Dylan and I His unending grace, provision for our every need, and guidance through each obstacle we face. We are so thankful for His blessings, and so grateful to every person He’s led to assist us financially, emotionally, and/or by providing a meal or prayer, along the way.  We could not have done this without you all. By God’s grace and with your support, we now have a family that I never could have dreamed of having just a short time ago. Two kids, entrusted to us… so crazy, so fun, so perfectly meant to be Taylors. We are so thankful to finally all be together, learning to live our new lives as a family of four.



Their first meeting was over a Skype call, across a vast ocean and 7,076 miles, to be exact. My mom had already gotten to talk to Mila and I a couple of times, but this day, my stepdad John was there at the computer, to say hello. We had not decided on the grandfather name we were going to use for John, so I told Mila that the man sitting next to Bibi, was John.  And Mila, who was barely speaking English at the time, said “John-John”. So that day, in our little family at least, John became John-John.

On my first trip to Congo, we received the unfortunate news that John’s cancer had come out of remission. This was so hard to hear, being far away from home, and unable to really comfort and be comforted. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of years earlier, and had done amazingly well up to this point. But the tumor was back, and he would be starting a hellish chemo/radiation combo once again.

Once we were home, we were able to properly introduce Mila to her John-John. And with great joy I can say, that like Mila’s favorite candy, even with a hard outer shell, John melted in my little girl’s hand. It was one of the relationships that we were just not sure how it was going to go initially. He never said anything negative to me about our decision to adopt internationally, but there was never too much inquisition on the whole matter either. I assumed that he just wasn’t really on board with the whole idea, or just didn’t really care either way.

My opinion of all that changed the first time they met. He scooped her up in his arms, and I got to see his face light up as he met his granddaughter, and became a grandpa, for the first time.

She loved him, and he loved her. It was good stuff.

As the cancer began to grow, and his health continued to deteriorate, you never knew it when Mila was around.

He would make sure she had whatever she wanted, and would always stealthily teach her to shout, (much to mine and Dylan’s dismay), a good ‘ole “Roll Tide!“. This man was CRAZY about some Alabama football, and (much to his dismay, I’m sure), I went to Auburn. So this  has been the story of my family ever since.

Nine months later, while in Congo again picking up Hudson, I got more tough news that John was placed on hospice and that, in his words, “Carrie needs to get home”. I knew that it would not be long, and I did not want to be halfway around the world when his time came. By God’s grace, we made it out of Congo, got home, and I was able to introduce John to his second grandchild, Hudson, as well.

It was really precious, the last time we saw John, I don’t think he even noticed I was in the room, which was fine. He knew those kids were though. He made sure he said “Hey” to Mila, AND to Hudson! It made me smile. He was so weak, and in and out of sleep every few minutes, but he knew those babies were there, and wanted to be sure he spoke… to both of them.

We lost John on May 17th.

Thank you John, for being my stepdad for the past 20 years. For putting up with 3 rowdy teenagers at one time. For moving into the basement and then adding on to our house, so that we could all have our own rooms. For loving my mother, for loving me, and for providing for our family the way you did. Thank you for loving my children like your own flesh and blood. We will miss you so much, and will never forget all of the good times we’ve had. We love you John-John!

John G Mooney

February 10, 1953 – May 17, 2012

A Happy Mother’s Day


For years prior to this one, Mother’s Day was a very hard day for me. The pain of infertility rocked my world beginning in 2008. Dylan had just returned from his mission trip, and I was headed out on mine. We decided it was time to start trying. We were giddy. The thoughts of a family and LOTS of kids, began to flood my mind. At the time, we agreed that we wanted 10! Not sure we’d still go with that same number today, ;o) but who knows, the Lord has it all planned out anyway. We’re just along for the ride.

Month after month, and then year after year, we were met with more of the same news. No pregnancy, no baby planning, no exciting news to share. We watched family and friends, over, and over, continue to celebrate the one thing that caused me so much pain. Mother’s Day seemed to peak these difficult emotions, and going to church that day was super tough. Everyone was celebrating motherhood, and I, longing to be able to do the same, sat in the sanctuary with empty arms. Every pregnant tummy, every family… full of children, every cry from a hungry infant, even a mother giving her little one “the look” that only a mother knows how to give when her child is misbehaving, made me physically ache. I wanted to experience these things so badly. If you’ve been here, you know what I mean. As we drove away from church, I’d have tears in my eyes, and this happened many more days than just Mother’s Day, but the empty arms were especially achy that day.

In 2011, Mother’s Day was different. I actually was a Mommy at this point, across many, many miles. But I knew nothing of her touch, her smell, her soft curls or her sweet voice, and I never could have imagined her infectious laugh and personality. All I had was a picture. I’d never met my child, yet I was a mother…finally it seemed. But over the past 10 months, I have ACTUALLY become a Mommy…not once, but twice! I now know my children, and I love them dearly. So this year’s Mother’s Day was something quite special.

The Lord has chosen to form our family in a way that is not traditional, but is more than exquisite. We don’t understand why we’ve been given these two precious gifts, but we praise His name for His goodness and mercy. For years prior to Mila’s arrival, I couldn’t imagine how my infertility could be a good thing. The ache for children would not go away. I’d asked the Lord many times to just take the desire from me if He was not going to give me children. But He did not take that desire. He was creating my family… I just did not know it yet. He created Mila, in her birth mother’s womb, just a few months after Dylan and I began trying to conceive. The Lord made me the Mommy that I longed to be… in His time. And in a way that can only be explained as His perfect plan. He showed me so much about His love, His provision, His purpose and timing, by withholding motherhood from me for a time. He showed me how much I needed Him… so much more than the things of this world, even the good things, like a family. He filled me up with more knowledge of Himself during those years of heartache. And… then He chose to fill those empty rooms in our home, and heal that void in our family, with the most precious of baby girls in July of 2011, and an itty-bitty, smiley-pants, great-natured, baby boy in April 2012. We are more than blessed. He’s given me a story to tell that He continues to write, and I hope it brings Him great glory.

Happy 1/2 Birthday today to my sweet Hudson!! We are more than proud to call you “Son”, and while we’d love for you to stay just the way you are now, forever, we cannot wait to continue to watch you learn and grow. We love you Buddy!!

Happily Home


Tuesday of last week, a mad rush to get out of Congo began. The morning started just like every other one since I’d been there. Well, except for the dual lice treatments and added fun of stripping down every piece of linen in close proximity to Hudson and me. Yes, there was a lice infestation in our group of adoptees, and we were not taking any chances on carrying these little critters home with us. Not sure if the two of us had it or not because I never saw a bug, and I am bad to get sympathy pain, itching, nausea, etc. if someone around me is complaining of an ailment. Either way, I know we’re lice free now, and that’s what counts. 🙂

Even though Hudson and I had a flight scheduled to leave that evening, we were just taking the day slow, knowing that we’d likely have to postpone it yet again. I’d gotten news that morning that the exit letter had not been issued, and there was yet to be a sign of the person who had to approve it in the immigration office. I Skyped with Dylan around 1:30pm, and let him know the unfortunate, but expected news that we would not be coming home today. I let him know that I planned on changing the flight to Friday just to be safe. We said our goodbyes, and Hudson and I went downstairs to see what the others in the group were up to.

When I walked in their door, our translator was in there on the phone. He hung up and said….”Your letter has been issued!”.  In total disbelief, I cried tears of joy and realized that I had little time to get everything done that had to be done to fly out in a number of hours. I ran (literally) upstairs to my room, threw everything, randomly into my checked bags, made a quick Skype call to the hubs to relay the incredible news, and jumped in the carbon monoxide filled cab to confirm my flight, and check my bags. You can’t just hop on the internet in DR Congo to confirm a flight, and you actually check your bags at a totally separate location than the airport. Interesting. I can’t really describe just how close we were to us not making it out of there on Tuesday, but I’ll just say, it was ridiculously close. The airline check-in closed 15 min after I got there, and I was 30 min late to the airport. Traffic was at a standstill. Everything seemed to be getting in the way of us getting home. But it all worked out. Our flight was actually delayed due to some bad weather, which was exactly what needed to happen.  I boarded the plane and exhaled, a humongous sigh of relief. We were going home.

Our flight went well.  Economy actually treated us right this time. It was no business class, with 5 course meals and hot towels for our face, but we managed. 🙂 Hudson did incredibly well and did not fuss until the last leg (the 2 hour flight from Chicago to B’ham). I was pretty cranky by this point too, so I don’t blame him. But we got off that tiny United Express flight, and were greeted by the two faces that I’d been longing to see for weeks now. It was Daddy and Mila. The entourage of spectators were not there this time, and that was fine. I was so glad to see my little family, all together for the first time. We loved, and made introductions, and my precious and talented friend, Allison, was there to document it all. Then, we went downstairs where the rest of our family and friends who came to welcome us home, waited. Click here to check out some pics and a sweet story to go with it.

My bags didn’t quite make it home, but I cared not. I was home, Hudson was home, and that was all that mattered.

We made it the house, after a quick stop at Publix for one more lice treatment (just to be sure). I got home stripped down in the garage, de-loused myself, and shaved my poor infant son’s head. It was slightly traumatic for all involved, but we made it through. And we’re kinda liking his new ‘do.

So we’re home, we’re all together again, and life is good. Mila is doing great and is crazy about her new brother. Daddy is happy to be able to get back to working regularly, and Mommy is loving juggling her new job responsibilities. It is NOT easy, but worth every minute of it. I’m finding my new normal. It means zero “me time”, but isn’t that what this is all about? Giving more of yourself than you even knew you had to give, and then giving a little more. That is parenthood in a nutshell…how it is meant to be anyway. There is no way to explain my sanity right now aside from God’s grace. I am totally sleep deprived, can’t believe I haven’t blown a gasket at one of the kids, and my house, well, it is far from “show-ready” 99% of the time (which is not good when it’s on the market). Oh well, I’m a work-in-progress as always. Going to try to grab a little shut-eye while the two babes are napping. More…soon.

Wait We Will


I should be on the plane headed for home, as we speak, but instead, I am here in my room, writing this unfortunate tale. I got the tough, but sort of expected news this morning, that my plans to depart today had been squashed, by one dude who did not sign one sheet of paper. No exit letter = No leaving the country with my new baby boy. So, after another $250 change fee to move my flight, and a journey in the exhaust-filled taxi that lasted 5 ½ hours and cost $65, I returned to the guest house for more days of fun in the hot Congo sun. 🙂 Hope you can sense my sarcasm.

Really though, I am fine. And Dylan is fine…much better today than yesterday when I gave him the news that this may not be happening. I don’t think it was so much the fact that I would not be returning as planned, but the reason that it wasn’t going to happen.

Life in Congo is not like life in the States, of course, everyone knows that. But things that are just the norm for us, like taking care of your responsibilities and there being consequences for not taking care of them, aren’t the same here. I won’t go into detail about why I did not get my exit letter because, #1 it would floor you, and #2, I’m not sure that punking out an official of the country I am trying to get of, is such a good idea. I will say that my letter has been ready and waiting to be approved for DAYS now, and just needs one little tiny signature that isn’t getting scribbled in. It is beyond frustrating.

Aside from all that silly business, me and the little guy are doing great. I took him back to the doctor today and got a good report. His lungs were clear, and he has been fever free for over a week now. The cough and spitting up continue, but I think getting him out of the smog- filled air and to a good Children’s Hospital, (I think I know of one ;)), seem to be the answer to that. So, we wait. Wait to get home, to get to the doctor, to unite this little guy with his new family and friends. We wait.

But I’ll be spending the next few days soaking up all of these moments alone with my precious baby boy.

And anticipating the reunion… with the bestest of hubs (and daddys), and my lovely, quirky, ridiculously snuggly, hilariously unpredictable, one of a kind, Mila Mae. The ache of the absence of these two is getting fierce.