As a native of Destin, Florida, many people say I grew up in paradise. As an adult, I’d definitely agree, but as a naive 18 year old, all I wanted was to move away to someplace new. That someplace was Birmingham, Alabama and my new home would be a dorm room tucked away on the side of a hill in Homewood at Samford University. It was the beginning of my new life, or so I thought. But what I found in Birmingham was not a new life, but rather a new phase of life that only built upon the beauty of my childhood.
It’s been a decade since I was that eager Samford freshman. My life looks much different now, but my love for Birmingham has only grown. This is the city that taught me to be an adult, the city where I learned so much about life, met my husband, celebrated our marriage, bought our first house, began my career, and began raising my daughter. This city has become my home, and it is truly its own version of paradise to me.
Admittedly, along the bridge over 24th Street is quite different than driving over the Destin Bridge. I’ve traded emerald water views for rusty, red brick buildings, but I love both views just the same. Birmingham, I’ve learned, leans into its rust, its grit, and its history. I’ve lived in the Crestwood South neighborhood of Birmingham for the last four years and I count myself blessed to be able to watch the city revitalize and reinvent itself. New breath has been breathed into Birmingham, and I find myself experiencing the familiar feeling of new phases that build upon the past, beauty building upon beauty, that is reminiscent of my first few years in this wonderful city.
Becoming a mom has been its own journey of growth. When my husband, Jason, and I began dating in 2010, we talked about adoption from the start of our relationship. Due to a few hormonal imbalances, I knew that it could potentially be difficult for me to get pregnant someday. As Jason and I became more serious, got engaged, and then got married, we made the decision to adopt at least one child before we tried to have biological children. So, after our first year of marriage, we began pursuing international adoption in Ethiopia.
Almost three years into a really, really hard adoption process, I looked around my home and it dawned on me that what fueled our desire to adopt is the fact that there are children who need loving homes. It was time to widen our parameters and be a family to a child who needs one. Last summer Jason and I updated our home study, got in touch with a few adoption attorneys, and began a domestic adoption process alongside our Ethiopia process. After just a few months, we became parents to Brighten Storie, born in Houston, Texas in September, 2016. Her birth story is quite miraculous and our path to her is nothing short of God’s grace.
I’ve been a mom for about a full year now, and it has been the most wonderful, sanctifying, exhausting, and amazing thing. Brighten is incredible, and I am so thankful that she is my daughter. I cannot imagine a world in which I don’t know Brighten, and I am so grateful that God led us to her. One of my greatest joys is to watch her grow and learn. Right now, her favorite thing is walking and holding something in each hand. It’s adorable. She is beautiful, independent-minded, adventurous, and hilarious. I’m thankful to call her mine.
I began writing my little blog, mrsblogbacktome, about 6 years ago when I was working in advertising and didn’t do much writing as part of my job. I have a journalism degree and I am of the school of thought that writing is a use-it-or-lose-it skill. I began writing random little things for an audience of about 10 of my friends and family members. It’s changed a lot since then, as has the world of blogging and technology, and I feel privileged to be part of it in some small way. That’s why I’m so excited to be part of Birmingham Moms Blog.
I say often that I’m not good at many things, but the things I am good at are random and specific. Sometimes it’s been difficult to find a way to figure out how to tie my interests and abilities together. A few months ago, I left my job in the non-profit world to begin my own consulting company, The Storie Co. Through the process of launching this business, I’ve learned that the thing that ties my random and specific skills together is storytelling. Whether blogging, grant-writing, branding, or copywriting, storytelling is at the very core of what I love.
I’m grateful to Birmingham Moms Blog for allowing me to contribute my two cents, and I’m thankful that that spaces like this exist where we can all come together and read stories by one another that are encouraging to you, to me, and to the amazing women across our city.