What It Really Means To Be Adopted

What It Really Means To Be Adopted

I used to think traveling halfway across the world was a long way to go for a child, but heaven to earth is quite a bit farther.
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I really love the quote, “She had a baby growing in her heart, not in her belly, like so many other mommies,” which is taken from a favorite adoption book that sits on a shelf at home, Mommy's Heart Went POP! And it's true—adoptive mothers probably all agree their adopted children spent some time growing inside them...just not in their womb.

I know I got to see my mom’s heart swell with anticipation and excitement as she meticulously completed paperwork, prepared our home, and ultimately neared the day she and my dad would hop on a plane to go get their child—a child that was born to another mother but belonged in our family.

What I didn’t realize during our first adoption is that I would be fostering my adopted siblings inside my heart, too, and my life would be changed because of it. Let me try to express how incredible it is to be the sister of adopted children.

When I was no older than nine, my family made the prayerful decision to begin the adoption process of a little boy from Rwanda, Africa. Ten years later, I now have three brothers and a sister who grew not in my mother’s belly, but in her heart. To imagine them not being in my life would be like imagining a different me altogether. There are a number of reasons why I would be a different person, but here’s the most powerful image I can think of.

Imagine you're at the airport, waiting for your parents and new sibling to come home after weeks of being away. From the very moment you see them walking in from the terminal, you become keenly aware of a section of your heart you previously didn’t know existed; a section filled with unexplainable love for a person you’ve never even met.

Those seconds of waiting for them are excruciating. You take everything in as your parents stride toward you, your new sibling wrapped in their arms. “This is it!” you think. “This is my brother, the one I’ve been praying and preparing for all this time!" When they reach you, it seems as if two worlds have finally collided.

Suddenly, the child you only knew in pictures and dreams is standing before you, and as you squeeze hands and kiss cheeks and hug the tiny body of your new sibling, you see yourself reflected in this lonely child that was pursued out of a deep, profound love.

Oh, what a love. It’s the sweetest picture of adoption I know, and it’s that of my own.

“In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” —Ephesians 1:5-6

I was a spiritual orphan; I was destitute in my sins, having no inheritance and no name. Jesus paid the ultimate price so I might be welcomed into his family. And it was all done out of love. Because of that, adoption is constantly reminding me of to whom I belong. So yeah, adoption is pretty life-altering, for all involved.

I used to think traveling halfway across the world was a long way to go for a child, but heaven to earth is quite a lot farther.

Cover Image Credit: Heather Nelson Photography

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!
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I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!


1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"


A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.


Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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Advice For High Schoolers By A High Schooler

Everyone takes different paths throughout high school, just make sure you're taking a good one.

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The years of high school are the four years that everybody remembers about themselves. The memories that go along with it may be good may be bad. If you are reading this and you're about to go into high school or currently in high school, these are five basic things but you need to know before going in.

Do what makes you happy. 

I know that sounds cheesy but it's true. High School is your chance to find out what interests you and what doesn't. If you find out that you like something or you're interested in something then stick with it. As long as you're doing things in high school that you enjoy, and they don't harm you or anyone else around you, the four years you're there will be great.

Don't care about other people's opinion

I know it's hard not to be consumed with what other people think about you. Everybody wants to be popular. Everybody wants to be liked. If you are genuinely a good person and people don't like you, don't worry about it.

Throughout high school, you will learn there'll be people that love you for the same exact reasons there are people that hate you and you have to be able to learn to accept that. You can't please everybody and you cannot make everybody happy.

 Make good grades and make an effort

Good grades should be something that everybody wants to achieve. With that being said, a lot of people just don't want to put in the work to achieve good grades. Coming from somebody with a 3.87 GPA and a member of my high school's NHS, I honestly wish there were more people that cared about their academics.

Having good academics teaches you how to balance school work and outside school activities. Yes, I have also had a job since I was 16. I know how to balance my school work, sports, and my job and still be able to be involved as I am. When you're able to balance everything, it makes you proud of yourself and prepares you for college/ future work.

 Don't be the person that has a new significant other every week

In high school, the term "slut" is thrown around very loosely. I can think of ten girls off the top of my head that got called this on a daily basis just because of the boyfriends they had and how many they had in the span of a month.

This doesn't apply to just girls either. Fellas, if you go out and mess with girls all the time, eventually they'll get the message that you only want to play a game. When a girl finds out that her crush is nothing but a player, she will lose interest in him. People will not take you seriously.

If you don't take my second part advice, gossip and rumors also like to spread around the school so just be careful of who your friends with and who you're associated with.

 There will be times were you feel like you failed and you're at rock bottom, but you’ll get over it. 

No matter if you spend weeks studying for a test only to get a 50% or you got your first heartbreak, there will be multiple times where you feel like you're at your low point. If you're anything like me, you will blame yourself and get more stressed about it than anything. However, you can't do that.

You have to move past things, no matter how hard you think it is, it will be okay. Everybody in high school has the same end goal: to graduate. As soon as you feel like you're at rock bottom, you just have to remember your goals and what you're going to do to push forward.

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