Dear Walker

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Walker,

This blog started for your brother. But then, you were added into the mix in a truly crazy, unexpected beautiful way. 7 weeks ago, I went into the hospital to have you. In some ways, it seems like yesterday and in some ways it seems like years and years ago. These past 7 weeks have been the best of my life. I have loved getting to love on you during the day. We have had some beautiful times together that I will always remember and treasure. I have loved the time that you and your brother have been here with me. Your brother is loving on you already. He smiles when he sees you and kisses you in his open mouth kissing kind of way. Sometimes, he gets a little rough and he hurts you, but he doesn’t mean it. He loves you already, little one and I can’t wait until you two are best friends. I have also enjoyed our time as a family, me, you, brother, and Daddy. We have had some precious times, walking in the evenings, going out to dinner, spending time with your grandparents. All of this has been so good, big boy.

Tomorrow, I leave you, but I really will never leave you or your brother. I will have a hard time with it, but just know that your Mama will be a better Mama when she is working. My job is part of my passion, but you and your brother are my hearts. I am so thankful I get to do both! I will miss you tomorrow, Walkerman, but I will cherish the time we do get to spend together even more.

Love, Mama

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Beauty from the ashes.

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Last night, Ken and I were honored enough to be asked to speak at our adoption agency’s endowment campaign dinner. It was such a wonderful experience, until in true crazy Hayes house fashion, we had to leave because one of our babies had um, unfortunate bathroom issues. (His name rhymes with Schward.) Anyway, here is my testimony that I shared. Enjoy! 🙂

After about a year of trying to have a baby, my husband and I were defeated. We began praying about and discussing our next move. From the beginning, my husband was all about adoption. I wasn’t completely on board yet, even though I have always thought adoption was a beautiful thing. On Sanctity of Life Sunday in January of 2014, our pastor preached a message on the value of human life. That day I just felt it was right that we should adopt, so we began the process that next week. It’s a long, tedious process as some of you know, but all along the way there was hope. We had a few bumps in the road, but on November 5th 2014, a day I will always remember, Jane called us about a birth mother that she thought would be a great match for us. We of course accepted and three days later we were able to meet with her and her caseworker. On December 15th, our sweet Ward was born. We were able to be at the hospital, I was actually in the delivery room and was the first to be able to hold my baby, our baby. We stayed at the hospital with Ward that first night, and were able to form a beautiful relationship with his birthmom. Not all birthmom/ adoptive parents stories are perfect, but ours was as close to perfect as you can get. I am eternally grateful to her. Throughout this whole process, from trying to have a baby to the whole adoption process, a verse kept popping up everywhere from songs on the radio, to my daily devotion. That verse was Isaiah 61. 3, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I kept repeating “He will make beauty from the ashes” to myself over and over again. And He did. After Ward was born, I saw the beauty He had made and then again, five days later when I found out I was pregnant. Now, I have two beautiful reminders of God’s splendor. Thank you to Open Door and all supporters of this ministry.