Adoption Photo Book

She wasn’t where she had been.
She wasn’t where she was going…
but she was on her way.
And on her way she no longer looked for the answers,
but held close the two things she knew for sure:
One, if a day carried strength in the morning,
peace in the evening,
and a little joy in between,
it was a good one.
And two, you can live completely
without complete understanding.

-Jodi Hills

Kevin and I put together a little photo book for Sweet P on Monday night, and I’ll cherish that time we spent at our table forever.

Adoption Photo Book

It’s not a fancy book…just plastic pages, filled with pictures of us and our pets…and stickers that spell his name on the front.

Kevin and Layla Palmer Adoption

From what we’ve heard, two year olds don’t give a rip about “fancy”, and this book is really just about him getting familiar with our faces.

Adoption Photo Book Notes

We tucked a couple of love notes into two of the pages near the back, and it’s so exciting to know that someone will be whispering those words to him for us next week! (Thank you, Someone! We are already feeling so grateful for you taking the time to do that!)

There was a *chance* we could be traveling to Haiti this weekend too, but it’s looking like Kevin and I will (probably) be booking our bonding trip in late February or early March. (which is fine because I already knew that) ;-)

We dropped our photo book off at our adoption agency (Lifeline Children’s Services) in Birmingham yesterday afternoon.

Lifeline Childrens Services

That’s sweet and hardworking Meredith (our caseworker) holding it in the photo above.

She’s new-ish to Lifeline, and to the Haiti program…which, come to think of it, is new-ish to Lifeline, too. The Haiti program, I mean. It’s technically still a “pilot program”, and we’re one of the very first families to be working our way through the (new) system. Oh yeah, did I mention our system is new, too? Yep. Haiti is in the process of becoming a Hague certified country, so the rules and regulations are changing (and tightening) by the month week day. The new system is a positive one, but we are definitely sailing through uncharted waters which makes for a very mysterious journey!

But that’s where knowing believing that it’s okay to not completely understand every-little-thing has come in really handy.

It’s made this adventure feel more like….well, an adventure, I guess- ha!

Sure, there have been bumps along the way, but here’s what I’ve learned about bumps: they slow you down, but they don’t stop you. You run up and over them, and they always end up behind you. And circling back to complete understanding- I’m no expert, but I do know this: chasing complete understanding can be mentally exhausting, and loosening our grip creates breathing room in our brains. Take comfort in the Assurance that clarity will always comes in Due time.

Complete living happens from here to the horizon, so here’s to enjoying more of the adventure in between! :-)

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  1. Centsational Girl says

    Oh my sweet friend, your posts bring a tear to my eye (the good kind!) when I read your adoption journey and see your sweet handwriting signed “mama” – you are both in for such an amazing journey and I can’t wait until you’re holding your little one!

  2. Leah: ) says

    Layla, your blog makes me smile…: )
    Have fun preparing for the arrival of your little one!!
    xo Leah

  3. Kimberly says

    Thank you Layla for your uplifting words! I am grateful for your blog and the sunshine that your optimism exudes! God bless you two AND your little one! :)

  4. Jen says

    Oh man… the notes with “love mama” and “love dad” on them totally made my cry! What a blessed little one.

  5. Ruth says

    Although we are not traveling in the “same” road, I needed your words today. Thank you. May a God bless us all to breathe deep and find joy in the journey.

  6. says

    I got chill bumps reading your post today. Memories of when my husband and I did the book many years ago – wow – 26 years ago – came to mind. Same as you, pictures of us, our son, dogs, cats, and the house where my wonderful daughter would live. And she still has it today. The time flies by – she is 33 now and a fabulous, compassionate woman. Do enjoy every second of the journey because it will simply run by you very quickly. Hard times and joyful times – all will be remembered with love in the end! So happy for you and hugs to you both!

  7. Tracy says

    Precious anticipation. Something about seeing those words Mama and Dad when it’s all unfolding, it’s beautiful.. Bless you Kevin and Layla

  8. Vara says

    I love this:

    “chasing complete understanding can be mentally exhausting, and loosening our grip creates breathing room in our brains. Clarity always comes in Due time.”

    Thank you. I’ve been wrestling my own stuff, though not adoption, nevertheless, perfect word for me.

    Exciting stuff!

  9. Susan Googins says

    How exciting to see what you are living now is what I lived 5 yrs. ago with an adoption from Ethiopia. We also adopted a 2 year old boy, who is the light of our life. His blending into our family was nothing short of amazing. I still have his book we sent to him and seeing a picture of him looking at it was so exciting! Love to you on this journey. It is a wonderful one and I would do it again in a heartbeat! This Feb. 17 it will be 5 years since I first held his sweet lil self. I wish I could attach a photo of him now and then, it is unbelievable!! Let me know if you have any questions about toddler adoption. Knowing someone who has been down the road of toddler adoption can help to answer questions!

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Susan! And happy 5th! I appreciate you offering to answer kiddo questions. I’m sure we’ll need all the good advice we can get! :-D Most of the little ones at Three Angels are toddler-aged, so I’ve had so much fun getting to know the other adoptive parents and asking them questions, too. We’re hoping to get to travel with many of them on the next trip, so that’ll be fun to go as a group!

  10. says

    Oh, Mama Layla. As the days fly by, I grow more and more excited for you. It’ll be such fun to see if you’re there on 2/26, won’t it?

    Reading this post today reminded me of the song “The Voyage”–I think I told you about once before, because I’d imagined Kevin singing it to you some day.

    Life is a voyage;
    Love is a boat–
    In troubled waters it keeps us afloat.
    When we started the voyage,
    It was just me and you–
    Now gathered ’round us we have our own crew.

    The newest member of your crew is one blessed little boy!

  11. says

    You are wise to let all this happen in God’s time. Why drive yourself crazy, right? We made those books for our two and they still cherish them. I remember how fun they were to make. A tangible thing to do while you wait. This is just a part of your journey. Slan awallya “safe home”.

  12. says

    Layla! That was such a sweet post it made me cry! I am so excited for you and Kevin and know that you will be truly wonderful parents. You little baby is so blessed to be joining your loving family. And your positive attitude through the unknown is so inspiring. Thanks, always, for sharing the sweet moments of your life with us!

  13. says

    I’m lost for words today, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m deeply touched by your words and your story and that you are sharing everything with us readers. Thank you so much Layla & Kevin!

  14. says

    I am so enjoying following your adoption story, thank you for sharing this! Your sweet p will truly be blessed to have such loving parents. I particularly enjoyed your words regarding…..”complete understanding can be mentally exhausting.” Those are profound words my friend that I am writing on my office chalkboard today. It is something I need to see often!

  15. LIsa W. says

    This is beautiful…I am a scrapbooker SO you just tugged a million heart strings darling!!!!! :) Meredith looks beautiful and I can tell she is a lovely lady and you must feel blessed to have such a wonderful case worker.

    I can feel it Layla, its getting close your due date if you will:) So happy for you two.

    Just lovely…making my day, which was NOT so good until now. Thank you!

    Lisa W. P.S. OH Layla have you ever thought about writing, I mean
    REALLY writing. Your post are writtenn so wonderfully
    it just made me think of that!

  16. says

    You are both just plain old AWESOME! I love where your hearts are, your faith, your love for each other, your beliefs….it is really too much so I’ll stop! I love your book idea for your son and I am just so “down to my toes” happy for you both! :)

  17. says

    Layla- I got totally choked up with your notes that both you nd Kevin signed. What an amazing little book your little one will have forever. To be told how loved you are even when you haven’t even met yet- well there isn’t anything better than that. You truly made my day. I wish you both well and look forward to more updates. Thanks so much for sharing. You truly are a blessed.

    • says

      p.s. my boss just walked by my office and paused to ask me if i was crying. i told him i had something in my eye. technically true…i had excitement and love in there!

  18. reggie says

    mwen vreman kontant pou ou ak mari ou. ke Bon Dieu beni fanmi sa.

    sorry my creole spelling might be mixed with french but it says

    I am very happy for you and your husband. May God bless this family.

  19. Amy Y. says

    Amen to that!!!
    Your love book is so sweet! It will be a cherished treasure. Thank you for sharing such a personal project with us. Very excited for you and praying you continue in and on the journey He has for you.

  20. says

    Oh Layla! Those words “Love from your mama” swept my heart with emotion, and I felt the power of the Holy Spirit. To think that he had a plan for you to be the mama of this “sweet P” and him to be yours. What a great and mysterious gift… the plans of a good Father! Blessings on you guys as you wait to one day hold and hug your little guy and bring him into your home.

  21. says

    First, I get so excited when I see you guys have posted something new about this journey you’re on! I LOVE the book…that’s so sweet and something Sweet P will treasure. Also, your post brought tears to my eyes…but in a good way. The words about the bumps…that’s a great way of looking at it!

  22. Charlie Benedick says

    The complete love for someone who lives in your heart, before he / she even knows your face… made me cry. This is beautiful. God bless you all.

  23. Susan_W says

    this is so beautiful. What wonderful parents you are, and I say are, not will be, because your already doing it, Love that poem also! Just perfect in every way

  24. susan says

    I love what you two are doing! And I’m so so happy for you and your Sweet P.
    Are you brushing up on your Français? Might make his transition a wee bit easier if you know a few basic words and/or phrases in French?
    Much love to y’all!

  25. says

    everytime I see your updates , my heart just explodes with happiness for both you and kevin. Getting pregnant was not an easy road for my husband and I but 3 children later, I can honestly tell you that a mother is not defined on who birthed you. It is defined by the love, compassion and guidance that you provide your child. All traits that your child will be overwhelmed with having you and Keven as parents. Prayers are with you that the remainder of your adventure are without challenges and that your little guy arrives safely in your arms.

  26. Pam says

    I am BAWLING.. happy tears, of course! I’m so excited for you two. That babe is lucky to have such amazing parents. Sending up prayer and positive thoughts for you, Sweet P, and everyone involved in the process. :)

  27. says

    Hi Layla, I live in So CAL. I’ve followed your adorable blog for a while. I’m so happy for you with your new little one coming into your life. It will be fun seeing his or her room progress. Best wishes to both of you all of you.

  28. chrissi says

    not a better book on the ny times best sellers list. i cannot even imagine how over the moon you two are right now. thank you so much for sharing this journey.

  29. GumTreeGirl says

    I am so excited for you! Two year olds are awesome and international adoption has excited me for a while now. Adoption is something that I hope to do one day (hubby just has to be done with school first) and I have enjoyed these little keyhole views into your experience. Thanks for sharing.

  30. says

    So I feel like I missed something… it’s a two year old boy? I know you had a photo of all of the kids but did you share the photo and name of the darling you’ve been matched with? I’m so excited for you two!

  31. says

    I love your adoption posts and you sound way more patient than I am feeling! Your hearts are wonderful. Meanwhile, I who don’t even know you in real life, am just ‘get that child to them already!!’. Ah, that will be a joyous post to read!

  32. Linda says

    It’s been nearly 31 years since I first held my bundle of joy. I can still remember the long adoption process, filling out all the paperwork, the home study — the whole process that eventually resulted in holding that precious little boy in my arms. We watched him grow into the most amazing man. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to be his Mama. It’s been the highlight of my life! Blessing to you and your husband as you anxiously await your new arrival.

  33. says

    I love your photo book! I remember it like it was yesterday making my photo book for my little man. Our 4th Gotcha Day is coming up on 2/25 and I remember the moment that I held him and we walked out of that Russian orphanage for the last time. It is unlike anything you will ever experience. Everyone will say that your child is so blessed to be part of your family but in my heart it is totally the other way around :) Cheers to you guys and a safe rest of your journey! I love following along!

  34. says

    What a precious gift! Neither of my kiddos would have cared about fancy at 2, but they definitely would have LOVED staring at those pictures. It makes my heart so glad to think of your tiny boy clutching that book in his little hands.

  35. Ter'e says

    Crimany………just put mascara on……….you made me tear up too. You two are just precious. Sweet Pea has no idea what blessings are about to come forth. What a lucky baby!!!!!
    God bless your hearts…………….again………..

  36. Heather says

    I’ve been following you for quite some time. And I know you have been waiting, wanting to share the love you and Kevin have….you have so much love and beauty to share…it’s overflowing. But there has been a shift in what I read and feel from you now. You are now
    ready – Your heart is open for whatever is to come. I just feel it, you are ready to be a mama. What a lucky little Sweet Pea! As a momma to 4 little ducklings, I too, know the overwhelming love that is bursting at the seams. Blessings as you start to write this new chapter!

  37. says

    Layla, what an awesome little book! My husband is adopted, as well as my Grandma,Brother In Law & Sister In Law & sister in Laws Mom…I understand what you’re going through! My husband and I are thinking about adoption as well..this gives us more of a push now! What an awesome opportunity to change ones life, whether they be younger or older. Wish you best of luck!
    With Love from the


  38. says

    How exciting! Especially that you know he will receive it next week. and hopefully you will receive pictures of him looking at it. I look forward to hearing about your trip next month.
    Right now we are trusting in God’s timing also. We had the ok to book our trip to Hong Kong for Feb. 5 but then it go put on hold because of a mistake the U.S. government made. So now we are waiting… again. Hopefully, we will still be heading out of here Feb. 5 to bring Esther home.

  39. Amanda says

    Seven years post adoption of my daughter (now 11) from China and the photo album is still a treasured possession. We had to put it in the memory box because it was falling apart but we pull it out to relive those feelings of becoming a family quite often!

  40. says

    gosh. tears spilled down my cheeks when I read:: “with love from your mama” and “with love from your dad!”

    wow. it’s happening. that little sweet p will be in your arms soon…prayers for all of you until it happens.

  41. says

    I have become completely captivated by your story. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I can’t wait to see, and read about, all the good things the next few months will bring to you and your family!

  42. Genny says

    I love your beginning quote! It says it all! How sweet and loving for you to put together a memory book for your new little one. What a lucky kid!

  43. Lisa says

    Layla, you always inspire me and brighten my day but this post in particular touched me deeply. You were meant to be this little boy’s mama and how blessed will he be to have you and Kevin (and you, him). I have been having a very rough time for the past couple of years and your last paragraph has given me so much comfort. I know your words to be true but at times, a little reminder doesn’t hurt. Thank you!!!

  44. Jen says

    Very cool! We did the same when we adopted our son from Russia. We also slept with a tiny teddy bear for a couple of weeks. We brought it with us on our first visit so he could sleep with it and adjust to some of the smells of “home.” I blogged about it here:

    We recently adopted his baby sister domestically. She was two months yesterday. We are going though the attachment process now. What a whirlwind!

    I wish you many blessings!

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