Dear Emma,

We chose open adoption for two reasons: 1. You. 2. Your birth mother.

I wish we were selfless, but we didn’t choose open adoption for us. It would have been so much easier for your dad & me to close that road off. It would have been so much easier. To tell you from the day you were born how we sought you out. How we loved you before we saw your tiny face half covered by the newborn hospital hat. How you had never been abandoned but handed from one mother’s arms to my own where you would always know you are loved by us both. That you are lovable. Your first mom, the one who loved you first by giving you life, wanted more for you, & after much consideration, she picked us. She saw our pictures in the photo album I made in our living room several months before, & she saw it, too. That we were created to be your mom and dad. She picked us, and I can’t imagine how hard it was for her that day. To give life to you & then hand you to us in that hospital room. She was selfless. She wanted more for you. She saw that more in us & she let us choose your name & take you home forever.

It would be so much easier if we could tell you all of those things & that was the end of your adoption story. If now we could be a simple family of 5 & that you believed everything we said as golden truth without question.

Maybe there would be fewer questions down the road. Or maybe the answers would just be easier. Or maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe that’s just what I tell myself because I want more control in your story. I want to protect your story.

But to pretend we could truly close that road would be to pretend you weren’t adopted at all.

And you were. You were adopted.

Do you know what that means?

It means you were chosen. It means you were sought after and pursued before you had a name. It means your dad & I knew you belonged in our family, & we waited for you. We chased after you. We prayed for you all through Sierra’s pregnancy, not knowing she was pregnant or that we were so close to holding you in our arms. We longed for you. We raced to the hospital to meet you. There was a big pink banner in our front yard with your name on it when we got home because our friends had been waiting with us, & now they celebrated with us. You were home. Forever ours.

People sometimes ask us why we chose to adopt when we did. Usually, parents adopt when they cannot have biological children of their own or after they are done having biological children. You are our middle. But we talked about you first. Before your dad & I even dated. We talked about this desire deep down to adopt– there was this feeling, like when you trace your finger on a map & you just have a feeling when you land on a certain place like you’re just meant to go there. It was this excitement & peace rolled into one. We knew we would meet you one day. God placed your hand in ours lightyears before you graced this earth.

Up to this point, we’ve kept a solid relationship with Sierra– for your benefit, but mostly for hers. Babies change so much during their first three years of life, & pictures can’t give hugs. We love Sierra because she gave us you. But remember our why for an open adoption. Our first reason is you. Your relationship will one day be up to you, but we wanted to give you the opportunity to know her. To know it was never about being unloved but the complete opposite– being so loved that she wanted the world for you.

I wish I could have carried you inside me. I wish we could share in that experience together. I wish I could have nursed you like I got to do with your brother & sister. I wish we had been given that bond before time began. But then you wouldn’t be you. And I love you. I love who you are, Emma James. You are kind. You are lovely. You are strong. You are smart. You are my magic girl.

Adoption is part of your story, & I pray it’s a part you’re so proud of. You have so much to offer this world, my beautiful girl. I am beyond grateful I get to be your mom & watch you shine.



  1. Lauren Saunders on May 17, 2019 at 2:25 am

    😭 All of it- giving me all the feels…Couldn’t imagine your sweet family without Emma James! Love you guys!!!

    • Court on May 18, 2019 at 4:33 am


      The overflow of your heart & my favorite post to date.
      What a God-filled message, Jenna Belle.

      • Jenna Winegeart on May 20, 2019 at 6:11 pm

        Thank you, thank you, friend! Love you.

    • Jenna Winegeart on May 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you, Lauren!! Love you, friend!

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