“Today I saw a happy ending.”
The road to adoption is not easy. It’s often fraught with ups, downs, and sometimes immense heartache for families. Paperwork drags painfully slow, plans fall through, and emotions run high. Getting through an experience like that no doubt requires unwavering love of course, but it also requires a very strong tribe.
New mom Millie Holloman has both. In fact, when she officially adopted her 5-year old daughter, Vera Wren, on March 7th she made sure everyone involved was part of her special adoption day photoshoot.
She and her sister-in-law who work together as photographers in Wilmington, North Carolina came up with the idea. On the day of the adoption, she and her co-workers took turns snapping everyone’s photo. “I only took a few because I wanted to be in the moment,” Holloman tells Scary Mommy. In them, you see the judge, the case worker, grandparents, aunts, little cousins, (seriously adorable) best friends, co-workers, you name it. She posted the precious photos on Facebook as a way to honor everyone who stood by her during the process.
“Today was a big day for me and my girl, but it wasn’t just about the two of us,” Holloman writes. “We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it takes a village.’ Well it’s true!”
She continued, “I’ve often said that when I signed up for foster care, I signed up for the heartache and pain that often come with it. But my family and friends didn’t sign those papers, just me. I just drug them all into it. They’ve been through the ups and downs with me.”
Holloman fostered her daughter, who she calls Wren, for over a year before they officially became a family. After the adoption ceremony, she asked each person involved in the process to be photographed as members of her ‘village.’
There’s the judge smiling, ear to ear, who’s sign says, “Today I saw a happy ending.”
The adoption attorney holding a sign that says, “Sign, sealed, delivered, she’s yours.”
The smiling social worker.
“Today we welcomed our sixth grandchild,” reads the grandparent’s sign.
The aunts who drove hours to be there for the big day. Their sign reads, “Today we were reminded that family is more than biology.”
The seriously adorable cousins holding a sign that says, “Today we’re still outnumbered” because they gained another girl cousin in their crew.
Holloman says the day was undoubtedly about Wren, her feelings and honoring her, but it was also about honoring the people there for them too. “We think about these big achievements in life, we think about the big things in life, and we don’t thank the people that help,” she says in a phone interview. “I signed up for foster care, the good and the bad, and these people, they’re still here.”
Holloman never pictured herself as a foster mom, although she did have the idea that she wanted to become a mother. She says it was after losing one of her dear friends to breast cancer that she had an epiphany of sorts. She thought to herself, “Why am I waiting for everything to come to me? If I’m single and want to be a mom, why am I waiting?”
She made a pact with herself that if she wasn’t married by 35, and didn’t have children, she was going to become a mother. On March 7th, she officially became a mom, a week shy of her 36th birthday. She noticed the irony of the timing weeks later to which she says, “The Lord is orchestrating it all.”
Here she is, officially a mother with her daughter kissing her cheek.
And here’s Wren. Officially, fully,completely, and forever loved by her mom.
As for her name, Holloman explains that there’s a special meaning to it. Admittedly, the decision to change her daughter’s birth name was not easy, and took a lot of time, research, and careful talks with everyone, including Wren. Ultimately, it seemed like the right decision for Wren, who was the first child Holloman ever fostered.
“She kept leaving, coming back, leaving and coming back. I say she flew into my heart and forever nested there,” Holloman says. “She’s my little wren.”
Since she’s shared the photos online, her adoption story has gone viral, capturing the hearts of so many. Holloman says, “It’s beautiful and mind-blowing.” She says she’s recieved private message and emails of gratitude from other parents who’ve adopted. She’s also received kind words from people who were adopted.
“I never thought it would be healing for an adopted kid, which is pretty neat.”
Holloman says it was unnerving at first to see her daughter’s image shared so much, but if she can inspire people to become foster parents, it’s worth it.
“I hope other people will be inspired to foster,” she says. “It is hard, fostering is hard, a lot of things can go wrong, adoptions can fall through. But even in all of that, it’s beautiful how people come together for the common purpose of the kid.”
When I was done interviewing Holloman I told her I thought she was amazing. In her truly remarkable and humble fashion, this is what she said to me, “When people say to me, ‘you’re amazing’ or ‘you’re changing lives,’ they don’t realize that these kids, they’ve actually changed my life more than I’ve probably changed theirs.”
She laughingly adds, “It’s easy to live for our selfish reasons, but living for others is what’s more rewarding.”
H/T: Huffington Post