Are you choosing independent adoption?

Ivy Adkins and Kristin Van Hof have teamed up on this blog to provide you with some information on Independent Adoption.  Independent Adoption is where you work on your own to find the expectant mother, you connect with her directly being her main contact, and you have an attorney who handles the legal.   Ivy who is a new consultant with Evermore has adopted twice and both times were through Independent Adoption. 

      Adoption is a beautiful thing. When you know you’re ready to adopt, in your life journey- you instantly have so many questions. You want to do it the easiest and fastest way possible, but you also want the most affordable option. The urgency of wanting to complete your family seems impossible not knowing what’s the best option for you.

Our story is all about Independent Adoption. Independent Adoption is an attractive choice for many reasons. It’s adoption without an agency involved. Many adoptive parents love that they can pursue it “on their own” which in reality isn’t true. With Independent Adoption you will still need legal counsel involved as you need to protect you and the expectant family. You need to hire a lawyer specializes in adoption and a homestudy just to name a couple of things.  Some families choose independent because it is believed you can be matched quicker and have the ability to have more control over the adoptive situation.

Many states have strict rules Independent Adoption. If your state does not allow this- it will be very hard to have independent as an option.  You will also need to be homestudy ready and have a lawyer in mind if you are able to pursue independent.  With adoption you can have communication as open or as closed as you  both want, however,  it can be very hard once you’re chosen and that wasn’t a topic previously discussed. There is so many emotions involved in adoption and for our experience I wish I had worked with a consult or agency to help with speed bumps we encountered with both of our adoptions we did independently. You need to be very cautious of who is involved in your adoption as it is a very big deal.

As a mother of four babies and two through Independent Adoption I want to share the pros and cons of Independent Adoption and my story.   – Love, Ivy 

Many families just starting out have a strong desire to pursue Independent Adoption. The reasons why include costs and the ability to control the adoption situation. What many families do not know are the stress, risks, and scams that come with pursuing that adoption route. That is why we created a 4 week Independent Adoption Education Course starting Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 9pm EST. During this course, Kristin and Ivy will review how to start the process, how to protect yourself, in addition to the pros and cons of Independent Adoption. For example, did you know that with an Independent Adoption, you could be responsible for handling covering the expectant mother’s expenses directly? The course will be recorded and provided to the families after for review. We hope those families who have decided on the route of Independent Adoption will be fully educated at the end of course to make informed decisions when an expectant mother approaches them to adopt her baby.

Evermore adoption consultants will be hosting a course for $400 on this topic and independent adoption education. Please message me if you’re interested!

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Our life with open adoption

What is open adoption? Why would you choose that? Aren’t you scared you will be less of a parent with the biological family involved? Woah, hold up. The endless amounts of questions and concerns regarding and open adoption sometimes makes me so sad. I sometimes wish for one second those that don’t know anything about adoption or anything about what open adoption means could spend a week in our shoes because it would truly open their eyes and explain to them what it actually means .

Let’s rewind for a moment. I’m a mother of 5 children. One of my children is in heaven , my two oldest daughters I had biologically and my two youngest I was blessed with through adoption and I struggle with infertility from being an egg donor in 2015. I remember in 2016 when me and my husband got married we talked about adoption. During our little “honey moon” weekend get away I remember going to a store and he sat in a rocker with a onesie and we both talked about our future and how we would love to grow our family through adoption. At the time in 2016 we didn’t know anything about adoption. We didn’t know how to start. We didn’t know when we would move forward with it and we had no idea the costs or what open or closed adoptions really were, and also we thought there were certain rules on how long you need to be married etc. We just knew one day we would love to do it. we were wrong about many of our assumptions and that’s why I’m here writing this today.

We continued in 2016 on a TTC journey with fertility meds and finally was blessed in 2017 with a baby girl. At 20 weeks pregnant God decides to take our baby girl home with him. I didn’t understand it and I was hurt. I didn’t know Gods plan for us as a married couple. A little over a month after my daughter went to heaven I came in contact with my now daughters birth mom.. let’s call her Momma B. Momma B had reached out to us and told us she was due in a month and although the timing was tough for us she wanted nothing more than for us to adopt her child. The moment I opened up the message my head was spinning. I had no idea what to do but my heart was bursting with excitement. Once we got to talking I remember one of my biggest questions for her was.. are you wanting to be apart of the babies life or are you wanting to just watch from the side lines? During that time I didn’t feel I knew enough and I wish my conversation went differently because I would have looked into adoption so much more deeply (not that anything was wrong but I would have made everything even more special) . She has told us she wasn’t really sure but she just wanted to watch from the side lines mainly. Over the next 5 weeks we grew a pretty strong relationship me and Momma B. We spent time together. We got our nails done. We went to appointments. We found out together baby was a Girl. We chose the name Grailyn. We talked about if we would get to be apart of the birth and what boundaries she would want us to follow and respect. After-all this baby was still HER baby. On Jan 19 ,2018 I remember getting a message from her that she’s in a lot of pain and she thinks she may be in labor. Momma B only lived 30-40 minutes from us so my husband immediately left and picked her and her mother up and came to the hospital. I arrived shortly after them once my mom had gotten our two oldest girls.

This was it. It was GO time! She was in full labor and didn’t even have time for an epidural. The only wishes momma B had was that we stayed closer to her head. She was doing amazing. She was brave and so strong. The staff treated us and Momma B with so much respect and love. Shortly after arriving to the hospital baby girl was born. The most crazy thing was that it just so happened to be the same room our angel daughter was born and the same doctor too. God knew his magical plan after all blessing us with another daughter after taking one from us.

Our open adoption story began the moment we started building a relationship with Momma B. We didn’t even realize what open adoption truly meant. Open adoption is a positive choice. Never once did we question if we should build a relationship with our daughters birth mother. Never once did we feel that she would over step her role. Never once has our daughters birth mom made us feel like less of of parents to Grailyn. Never once did I not want her to be a huge part of our life. I will never claim to have the magic formula for an open adoption but one thing I hold near and dear to me is the woman who blessed me with my daughter. Anytime this woman needs something she knows she can count on us. Anytime she needs a friend she can count on us. Anytime she or her mother want to see us , we make it happen. She gets to watch Grailyn grow up daily with pictures and we talk like great friends. What’s so unique about open adoption is that NO situation is alike. Open adoption is what you make it and the boundaries you set together as an adoptive parent and as a birth mother/ father. One thing I know going forward with an adoption is as an adoptive parent you need to keep your word. I promised my daughters birth mother we can be as open as she would want or as “less open” as she was comfortable with. I will never close that door on her or her family.

Fast forward a little more to 6 months after our daughter Grailyn was born. We got in contact with an amazing strong woman. She has recently found out she was expecting and said she wanted nothing more than for us to parent her child. We prayed on it and soon after we agreed. We were very open with Momma C from Day 1! It was a long “match” and so we got to build a strong relationship. She wasn’t local like Grailyns Birth mother and so it was tough not being able to be at every appointment and do everything with Momma C. But we talked daily. We knew from the start we wanted a VERY open adoption as I told her how our first adoption has gone and how I hoped to have that same relationship with her. We would FaceTime , text and I would also talk with her other 3 beautiful children. She didn’t have too , but she made she were included in everything having to do with baby. During this whole thing we knew this was still very much her baby and we still give her that respect but we made sure to love on her with every ounce of our being.

In October 2018 I officially got to meet our future sons birth mother in person. She and 2 of her children came to visit us. We laughed, we smiled and we enjoyed every moment getting to spend with her. She even got to see our love in person for our children including our beautiful daughter who we were blessed with by adoption. My heart was broken when her and her children had to head back to Indiana but I knew we would remain close and talking often.

Fast forward to December 2018. Momma C was only 29 weeks and she went into labor. Days before going into labor she was put into the hospital for having some complications so me and my husband were on edge. The morning of Dec 11 we got a text “emergency csection he kicked through my cervix” And without hesitation I called my mom crying and she calmed me down. I called my husband (he works at a prison) I was an emotional wreck he couldn’t understand a word I said but he hurried home. Once he was home we found the next available flight to Indiana in the later afternoon Momma C finally got back to us. We made sure she was okay and we made sure the baby was okay as well. We arrived in Indiana later that evening and we immediately went to the hospital. We waited in the lobby while Momma C spent time with her fiancé and then she gave us permission to come up. Once we went up she had brought us to the Nicu with her and it was truly emotional. She was a true warrior just like our son would be.

Over the next few weeks Momma C pumped for us and even though she signed papers she would still visit us as often as we let her! She was a huge help and blessing as we had to go back and forth between Indiana and South Dakota because we had 3 other children. YES, I said the correctly. She was a huge blessing and it meant the world to us she would be there when we couldn’t be.

Over the next about 13 weeks was amazing , but so emotional. We got to spend a lot of time with Momma C and her children and even meeting her mom and her now husband. We did our nails , we went to lunch , we drove around and talked. It was amazing. Leaving Indiana was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Seems crazy right? Wrong. I loved every moment I got to spent with Brooksons birth mother. I miss her every single day. I even have built an amazing relationship with Brooksons biological Father and he was also adopted as well which is a beautiful part of Brooksons story. He keeps us with Brooksons just as much as Momma C. He’s even sent clothes and goodies for Brookson. Me and Brooksons birth mother talk almost daily but I miss being around her. Having a long distance open adoption can sometimes be hard but it’s also beautiful continuing your relationship whether that’s just seeing the child on social media , or video calls or texts.

Open adoption is everything for us. It’s apart of our life and I would never want to do a closed adoption after having the relationships I do with both of my children’s biological mothers. Open adoption means adoption will never be a secret to my children , it’ll just be apart of their life and story. Open adoption will allow my children to have answers to their questions they may have in the future. Questions like .. why was I placed? Did my parents love me? How did they choose my adoptive parents etc. Another thing I want to make clear and a question I get asked is… Is the adoption confusing to your children? But truly it’s what you make it and it’s the boundries you set! Our children will never be confused as they will always have answers when they are ready for them. I want open adoption because I want my children to feel special not abandoned. With a closed adoption a birth mother never knows who her child goes to (usually) and there is no relationship built. An open adoption opens the doors to get to know each other on a level you both are comfortable with! It doesn’t have to be the same as our story. You can create your own open adoption story.

If you’re looking to adopt I truly beg you to look into why open adoption is for you. It can be such a beautiful thing. If you’re an expectant mom looking to place and unsure on your emotions, move forward with an open adoption and set the openness to your comfort level. Being apart of your child’s life will be a huge blessing.



Self love diary

Being a woman is hard.

Why has the world taught us to hate ourself ?

Why does the world only feel it’s acceptable to have the perfect figure and perfect boobs and the most plump bottom?

Why has the world taught us that being confident in our skin is bad? Or that we are shamed or begging for attention when we are confident within ourself and have no problem showing that?

Why is it that hating ourself is easier than loving ourself?

Why should people feel bad for loving the body they are in? Because the world makes it so easy to hate yourself or feel uncomfortable with the skin your in. That’s why.

Why is it that if you have a nice body that your shamed for showing it?

Why is it that if you are a confident plus size woman your shamed for being confident in that?

This world is confusing and that’s why loving yourself to the point where opinions don’t matter is so damn important. Here’s why I love myself and I’m proud of the body I’m in and why you should love your damn self too.

Body acceptance and self love doesn’t mean you don’t want to change. It means loving yourself now and forever and working on where you want to be. That doesn’t mean you can’t rock a smoking hot bikini next summer because you aren’t the size or image the world expects you to be at that time or that you think you should be.

I texted multiple friends asking their thoughts on self love and the topic in general and they admitted that they struggled with it and they had no idea how to even talk about it because “what is self love” ? Self love seems to be a struggle for so many and better yet a long journey. It’s not easy to accept your flaws or accept yourself for who God made you to be. But it’s important to work on self love. Your journey to self acceptance isn’t going to be over night. Hell you may struggle with it most your life.

Self love isn’t always about body image either. Self love is so many things not just psychically but mentally and at the end of the day it’s who you are as a whole. Self love isn’t magically finding yourself. Because that’s not exactly how it works, you weren’t a quarter that you found at the bottom of your junk drawer, in fact.. you were never actually lost. Your ultimate true self is deep inside. Right there this entire time. The one you’re suppose to love with every ounce of your being for who you truly are. It’s all buried under the thoughts , opinions , and inaccurate conclusions of who you think you “need to be” or what you see on social media and “expect yourself to be”. Loving your true self is going to take some unlearning of what this cruel world has taught you that has made you question yourself in so many ways.

The problem isn’t within your body or within yourself. It’s the thoughts and things that you think about your body and self and how cruel you talk about them. It’s time to let go of who you think you are suppose to be and be who you truly are , whether that’s a size 22 or 0. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop feeling ashamed of where you are in life / about yourself. Stop not feeling good enough. Stop accepting the invite from your negative thoughts to the pity party for 1. Today is the day to release all negative , cruel , mean things that you think about yourself. You deserve love from the person who matters most… and guess who that is? YOU!

I can’t say my journey to loving myself was easy. In fact it was a work in process and once in awhile I struggle myself (I promise everyone will have their moments). It felt amazing to shed the feeling of thinking that I’m unworthy , not good enough, ugly etc. I started believing in my own strength and power and found a whole new deep love for me.. the true , real , hot mess express me.

Literally out of over 200 million sperm cells competing for life, you won the damn race and you my sweet friend are special as hell! You were already a winner with the first breath you took. So let’s dig deep, take a deep breath and go on this journey together.

Self love is a journey you decide to be on or not. Don’t get me wrong, we all get negative thoughts. Our negative thoughts could be as simple as hating how we look in a new swimsuit or comparing yourself to somebody else. But we have to focus on the good in every situation. So instead of thinking “wow I really am not going anywhere in life because I am not where that woman is in her corporate position” the solution is to focus on all the amazing things in your life (I promise if you have a roof over your head you are blessed ) because that very same person who’s spot you are wishing you were in could be wishing the same about the beautiful family you have built, while she couldn’t build it because she was so busy being at the top of her corporate job so she never had the time to create a family. Damn it.. comparitis is a disease and it’ll make you stay ill! Stay far away from it! It’ll make your journey with self acceptance so hard and it’ll spread through your mind like wild fire.

In the journey with self love and acceptance you need to forgive yourself and let go of past trauma. Let go of your past , the bad you have done, the bad people have done to you.

You have to realize you weren’t made to be perfect and nobody is perfect. I won’t lie , I myself love to hit every good angle with my selfies, I love my filters and four kids at home is chaotic. My life nor myself is perfect and neither are you. Accepting that is a big step. If you wait until you are perfect to start loving yourself than you’ll be waiting all your life. Let the thought of being a perfectionist go.

You need to start fixing what you feel needs to be fixed. What’s stopping you from loving yourself at this very moment? Is it because you have an extra 35 pounds till your goal weight? Is it because you feel you have no curves? Because you should love yourself in every ounce of your journey and it doesn’t mean you have to be the version of yourself you expect you to be at that very moment. What happens next? Change or acceptance?

You need to practice self care on this journey. Make time for yourself. Even as a busy college student , mom or wife. Self care and self love are besties.

Get to know who you really are and not who others expect you to be or want you to be. Who are you? What are your life goals? What are your values? Do not let social influence get in the way of your unique gifts and beauty!

You need to find people in your life that love you for you. Whether that’s on social media or in real life. You know? The people who love that you snort when you laugh, Or that you don’t have the perfect insta feed or that you totally have rocked the same shirt since high school.

Start using daily affirmations. You know why my husband is so obsessed with himself? He use to stand in the mirror naked and talk to himself in a very positive way. That’s such a vulnerable time for us. But if you stand there and tell yourself “you are perfect” “your boobs are amazing” “your nose is adorable” “my body is a work in progress but it’s so beautiful”.

No matter what your past looks like you are worthy of so much. Self acceptance isn’t an excuse for being lazy or allowing yourself to be stuck in your circumstances. Self love is accepting shortcomings, tendencies , weaknesses and strengths.

Your story isn’t over. There are beautiful parts of you waiting to be discovered. Love yourself through the journey , trust yourself and trust the process. You are a master piece and you are also the artist.

So as you go on this journey with loving yourself do not worry what others have to say about your confidence. Do not worry about rocking your swimsuit or finding the hottest piece of lingerie that’s never made you feel better! Remember you are in charge of your happiness. Do not let anything on the outside control that. Don’t give up the power to enjoy your best self! Peoples opinions aren’t your problem and are usually a reflection of themself and not you. Love yourself. Today is chapter one. You don’t have to write in permanent ink but be confident in your story that you’re making for yourself.

Love yourself on your bad days , good days , ugly days , lazy days , happy days and every damn day.


Your friend on her own self love journey.

Mother of a stillborn

Never in a million years did I think I would ever be writing a blog about a loss. Nothing can prepare you for a loss, because one minute you’re okay and then the next moment all the pain hits and your dreams have been ripped away.

Nobody knows what to say to you to help heal your pain and broken heart , not that anything can heal you – but it seems after a loss everyone says the worst things. “Find the positive” , or “you guys can try again” or the best one “God needed your baby more”. I know that there is NO positive beside the fact I was positive my baby was dead. Yes, of course we could try again but it would never be the baby I lost , I wanted her so badly.

Yes gods plan is truly amazing and I wouldn’t question him , but I needed my baby too. No matter how much time passes you still feel so broken and you still have so many questions. Do you know how hard it is to hold a baby that will never cry?

Nobody told me it would hurt so bad to not press the baby button after my child was born to announce over the entire hospital the arrival of my baby. Nobody told me That I will never do normal things with my baby like I would be able to if she was alive. I wouldn’t get to give my baby her first bath, I will never dress them. None of it.

Do you know how hard it is when somebody asks how many kids you have to answer the question without feeling hurt? It feels nobody remembers that child but you. I remember when my sweet friend lost her first baby girl Winslon a year after my daughter. It hurt me so bad to see somebody I loved experience something I know is so gut wrenching. 1 year after she got blessed with another baby girl and everyone tells her “I’m so happy you finally get one of each” Or “yay you finally get your girl” you see us moms of angels have to hold the memory of our child alive because it seems nobody else will.

When people look at our family photos it seems 2 years later our family is perfect and complete. You see a beautiful mom and dad and 4 perfect kids.. but no matter how hard they look at our photos my darling angel they won’t see you. No matter how many babies I’m blessed with I know I won’t ever have you. I should have one more daughter and the kids should have 1 more sibling and my parents should have one more grand baby here earthside. I wish people would understand that even know I didn’t know your bedtime schedule , your giggles , how you liked to be rocked and all the beautiful details about you – We still loved you with every ounce of our being and it hurts us daily that you aren’t here. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years.

I will always fight for you and battle to keep you alive in every part of our life. I can’t lie my sweet baby, most days I cover up the pain and push through and I have gotten so good at pushing through , that every time I’m hit with tears in my eyes or grief that I can just let it go so fast because I should be over it by now right? WRONG. I will never be over my loss. I have just become very good at coping and learning to accept that your gone. My heart will always see you in our family photos , my heart will always have you in it, my mind will always have you in the back of it. You may be invisible to the world but you will always be the brightest star in the nights sky to your mommy and dads, you’ll always be in my soul and you’ll always be my baby. I promise I won’t ever forget that.

First off the words “there is no heartbeat” are the most evil words a mom could hear. It feels like your beautiful world just stops in that moment and you never want to continue on. Nobody warns us mommas of angels that during delivery we would hear the cries of beautiful healthy babies next door, or pass by nurseries with everyone’s baby beside our own. Nobody tells you that you only get a short amount of time with your beautiful angel and their body starts to change so fast in the worst ways and that to us moms it doesn’t matter because every second we physically get matters… and then you have to pass them off to a stranger to take them to a funeral home and that’ll be the last time you’ll ever see them again. Nobody tells you that the extra money you had saved for the beautiful arrival of your baby would be spent on cremation / burial, autopsie and memorials. Nobody tells you how you go through all the normal post partum pains including the beautiful site of getting a full milk supply that will never be used by your angel. You would have to continue changing pads for days or weeks after your birth. That you’ll barely notice all the horrible cramps as your uterus goes back to normal only because your heart hurts so much worse. Why didn’t anybody warn me that time would go so fast? One moment everyone cares about you and sends flowers and texts and the next it seems your memory is forgotten. It was so hard for me to understand. My baby was stillborn but damn it she was still born.

The worst thing in the entire world is feeling as a mother and woman you failed. Your mind starts telling you how this is your fault and you start to question everything. People would say how they were sorry but if anything I felt sorry because I had one job and that was to keep you alive and in my mind I failed. My mind was everywhere. You become a prisoner in your own mind. My angel baby , Your life and future was robbed from me and instead of planning your arrival and first birthday I planned your funeral. Your due date hurts. The day I was told you have no heartbeat hurts. The day you were born hurts. Your funeral day hurts. It all hurts and that will never go away. I can let go of a million balloons in your memory , get tattoos , get a ton of teddy bears in your honor but it will still never heal my broken heart. A piece of my heart is always going to be in heaven and I will never be the woman I was before losing you. My grief is my grief and I live it daily and in the ways I need to survive. I cannot apologize for the things I feel or do that may upset others (pregnancy announcements , attending showers etc). Sometimes I feel ridiculous feeling those ways but no matter how many children I’m blessed with , certain things still hurt me. My grief cannot be rushed because it’s always apart of me. If somebody cannot understand this part of my life then they are fortunate to have not experienced a loss like losing you.

Even if somebody had warned me what it was like to lose a child there would have never been enough preparation for moments that I went through and feelings that I felt. I had to take it day by day. I wanted to write your story over and over again but my blog stayed empty. I will never be able to write the feelings I feel down exactly , that’s how deep my loss has affected me. I have gone through so many periods of grief and also so many periods of healing which I will share. But for now let’s talk about a few things my loss / angel taught me.

Ugg I hate to say it because In the moment it made no sense but God’s plan is so beautiful. I have come to realize that no matter how much it hurts he knows better than me.

Crying is 100% okay. Some days it feels good to cry and let it all out and that’s OK! It’s normal.

People can grieve differently. Mostly since it’s been 2 years later I try to be as positive as I can be: don’t get me wrong it still stings but talking about it less helps me cope. Me and my husband both hurt , but we grieved so differently and sometimes that was hard.

Dad’s grieve too. Everyone always shows love to the mother of the child loss and so often a dad is forgotten. He was excited and happy for his baby. People don’t always see the dads tears or hear their cries. My angel taught me how strong my husband truly was/ is.

It’s so important to stay strong in your relationship and to love your spouse through this hard time , even if you grieve differently. So many couples after losing a child it makes them stronger or breaks them apart because it’s so traumatizing.

It’s okay to have good days and to live your life. It feels like your world stopped when your babies heart did but you need to still live your life and keep your angels memory alive. I felt so guilty on the days I would be 100% happy. But being happy or having good days didn’t change the fact I was a mom of an angel or that I didn’t love or miss her.

Not every day will be amazing. You can have an amazing year and then one day grief hits you like a freaking bus! Suddenly everything reminds you of your baby. Everything hurts and everything isn’t OK! (Not that it ever was but in those moments you can cope)

Stillborn happens to 1 in every 160 pregnancies and yet people feel it’s still so personal to talk about or that you share your child for attention. It’s not just a statistic it’s me. Some people cringe when you share your dead child’s photo as if this child didn’t exist. Stop hiding your angel! Stop feeling ashamed! Your angels story deserves to be told and you shouldn’t feel guilty for telling it / sharing it. Your baby matters. They existed! Also 1 in 4 woman will have a misscariage. Stop letting these woman suffer in silence!

Not until you lose a child do you know what it’s like to be sad every day even when you experience joy. I have gone through so many periods as I heal (not completely but learning to cope with myself) and I want too share them.

Part of healing is hoping people know – Every time I talk about my angel baby it doesn’t have to be sad. Sometimes I just want her to be included and her memory remembered. I need her story to be heard. It’s helping me talk about her.

Part of healing is accepting that it’s okay to have more kids after and it’s okay to not feel guilty because they are not a replacement and us having them doesn’t mean we are trying to replace them in any way. Nobody will be them and that’s that. I love all my children including my angel equally.

And there is so many parts of the healing journey but part of healing is admitting it’s Okay to not be okay. Cry whenever you need to. Scream. Shout. Live your truth. Be real and raw. Be vulnerable. Coping with the loss of an angel takes time.. maybe even forever.

Despite the pain of losing my angel. I will forever be grateful I was chosen to be her mom and forever grateful you lived within me. I will cherish those moments I had with you. You are not forgotten my angel and you will forever have mommas and dads heart.

To all you mommas with an angel baby. You are not alone. And I will always share our truths. Our angel babies matter.

Xoxo A grieving mother.

My beautiful friends Kristan’s display for her daughter Winslon. Us angel moms do anything to keep the memory of our babies.

Achieving your health goals Part 2

In our previous post we talked about how to set attainable and realistic fitness goals. Today we are going to talk about what you need to do to actually reach them. 

Tip 1: 

Foundations first! Whether you’re building a house, a business, or a dream body, the place to start is a strong foundation. When it comes to your body this means three things. Eat well, drink water, sleep. If you do nothing else, working on these three areas will yield results. If you do not address these three areas, you efforts in the gym will be minimized and you risk an injury. 

Tip 2!

Document progress! The scale is a deceiving little device. Be careful about basing your progress solely on what the scale says. We recommend taking weekly pictures and measurements in order to track changes over time. 

Tip 3!

No day wasted! This doesn’t mean you need to kill it at the gym every day and can never have birthday cake again. The opposite is true! It means that each day you have an opportunity to take a step closer to your goals. Maybe it’s rest day and you go for a nice walk around your neighborhood. Maybe you’re planning on enjoying birthday cake at a party tonight so you make sure to drink all your water so you don’t get too bloated.  Follow your fitness plan, make each day count. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. Do something every day that brings you closer to who you are meant to be!

Tip 4!

Get support! If you want to achieve something great, tell someone. Tell lots of people, especially people who love you. If that makes you cringe, you especially need to do it. It’s not realistic to just lose a bunch of weight in secret. Let your friends and family know what your goals are and how you are going about them. You’ll be surprised how people step up to support you, or maybe even join you in achieving your dreams. 

Tip 5!

Get help! You do not need to be an expert at fitness in order to crush your fitness goals. This isn’t even a shameless plug for our own fitness and nutrition products. There are lots of options for trainers, nutritionists, supplements, etc. Find someone who you trust, whose expertise will help you bridge the gap between what you want and how to get it.

Achieving your health goals part 1

How to set realistic fitness goals (and achieve them!). Part 1

Did you set a 2019 New Year’s resolution related to fitness? Did you vow that by summer time you would have a slim figure for the beach? Or maybe that you would finally tone up after having your baby a year ago? Did you decide that 2019 would be the year that you finally got serious about slimming down or bulking up? Or did you wanna achieve the best version of yourself?

This isn’t some personal failure. You are not naturally bad at setting or working towards a goal. What probably happened is that you set an unrealistic goal with good intentions but without a plan, and then the year got rolling and you haven’t been able to make anything happen towards that resolution. Not for lack of ability, though!

The good news is: you can accomplish anything. I am proof of that, and I believe with my whole heart that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams. In this post I’m going to give you a little cheat sheet for how to make a realistic goal. In the next post I’m going to outline how to achieve that goal. 

Tip 1: 

Be specific! The best of intentions die in ambiguity. Be precise in what you want to achieve and you will be more likely to achieve it. 

Instead of: I will be in the best shape of my life by the end of 20/20.

Try: I will lose X percent of my body weight by April, and another X percent by December.

Tip 2: 

Don’t look back! If you’ve had a baby, you may be inclined to set a goal to achieve your pre-pregnancy body. Wrong. Having a baby permanently changes your body. That doesn’t mean you can never have a smoking hot physique, but it does mean that trying to reverse time and erase evidence of your pregnancy isn’t the best use of your effort. Look ahead, to what you’re going to achieve in the future

Instead of: I will get my pre-baby body back!

Try: I will lose the baby weight and fire up my core strength. 

Tip 3: 

Be where you are! If you have never run a single city block in your entire life, setting a goal to run a marathon within the year may not actually be realistic. It’s good to challenge yourself, sure. But if you set a goal that’s too far away from your current capabilities, you may get too discouraged along the way and quit altogether. Set yourself up for success by setting attainable, incremental goals. 

Instead of: I will run a marathon this year!

Try: I will run four days per week, sign up for a 5k in the upcoming spring, and a 10k next summer.

Tip 4: 

Acknowledge your limitations! This may not be a sexy tip, but the truth is if you’re a single mom of three under four with a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night, it’s probably more important for you to get enough sleep than wake up extra early to grind out a workout at 5am. This doesn’t mean you can’t set sexy goals, but it means you need to be extra smart. Be meticulous in how you execute on your goals, because those of you with little kiddos or other hefty responsibilities are extra prone to burn out on your resolutions. Also, it’s even more important for you to dedicate time for yourself so that you can show up for the people who count on you. 

Instead of: I will wake up every morning to exercise before work. 

Try: Each week I will plan five workouts into my schedule. 

Tip 5: 

Focus on the process! It’s fun to have a main goal you’re working towards, but if you hate the process of doing the work, you won’t get very far. If you want to slim down, but you love to have a treat after supper, exnaying sugar forever will only last so long before you binge on a carton of ice cream after dark. Make the process a fun adventure and give yourself grace along the way. 

Instead of: I will not eat baked goods until after I hit my goal weight. 

Try: I will only enjoy treats that I make so I know they are minimally processed. 

It’s not too late to revise your new goals with these tips in mind. Get serious about changing your life and make goals to match. Of course, if you want additional help shoot us a message on Instagram and we can help you get on track with any health goals !

Egg donation journey

My 2015 egg donation story. I remember growing up playing with my baby dolls always being that motherly figure never expecting to be blessed with children at such a young age. Lucky me , not only did I have one beautiful baby girl but I can proudly say I am a wonderful mom with two healthy beautiful girls. Although I am young never once did I take for granted all those beautiful moments of pregnancy and the fact I was so easily able to conceive (without even having to try). Never once did I actually ever think about how many people were out in the world that weren’t as blessed or as you call “lucky” as myself. After having kids and almost losing one during pregnancy it made me stop and realize so many things. God is truly amazing and I have a gift that I can so easily share with other people who’s hearts are so heavily hurting for a child. People looking in magazines touching the paper hoping once day they will get their miracle. I never had the idea to have more children and adopt them out to people in need, that just wasn’t possible for me. I never actually thought in my head to much about surrogacy because I feel my body wasn’t quite ready. I never got the chance to even apply to be an egg donor. This journey fell into my lap, and theirs only one way possible… GOD!! I know somewhere out there a family was hoping and PRAYING…Sure enough a beautiful family all the way out from Spain has hoped for 10 years they would be so lucky to concieve, but that wasn’t exactly gods plan. God wanted to send them me! I was their missing piece. A company by the name Grace LLC reached out to me ,saying how they have a family that is very Intrested in me being an egg donor for them and if I was able to fill out an application they would greatly appreciate it. That moment I knew what was right in my heart. I then talked to my mother who crazily researched everything she could about the company and about egg donation. Before my mother could change my mind I had my application filled out, tons of child-hood photos sent, photos of myself, photos of my daughters. I decided on an open egg donation. I didn’t want a baby out their in the world I wouldn’t know a thing about. This was it. From their I got to talk to many people from the agency, a lady named Lenka in specific. Everything after that point went so fast! I got to meet the family from Spain from that point I was eager to get my donation process started, their story made me cry. If only I knew why God waited 10 years to bless them with me. I got flown out to California for 2 days to be able to get approved for my egg donation. They did my weight , height , pap, blood tests and a super duper (that’s a mom word right) long psychological evaluation. They had to make sure I knew exactly what I was getting myself into because I’m younger than an average donor. (Usually they like you to be 21, but since this family requested me everything worked fine, because they don’t even like to take anybody out of california. But they family didn’t care they were willing to pay for me to come.) I waited about two full weeks before I knew details, sure enough they approved me and I was on my way to doing legal paper work. I had gone to a monitoring clinic only an hour or so away from me to get blood work done to check on my blood work before anything else also.Weeks passed by and the second weekend of November I got my contract , I read everything, changed things to my liking and signed my signature with my whole heart!

After thanksgiving everything was officially confirmed (communication was hard because they only spoke Spanish and they were all the way in spain) . After everything was confirmed I got to skype the surrogate mother who will be carrying my eggs for the intended parents. So basically how this works is they take my eggs (yes my DNA) the intended parents (the guy) his sperm and put this inside the surrogate mommy who will carry the babies for 9 months for the family…. Because sadly she’s unable to use her eggs or carry the baby. At the begining of December I was being monitored in a clinic close by and they gave me the okay for me to get started on my injections (which the company one day shipped) I then stopped the birth control they put me on and learned how to properly mix and do the shots. Night one my body wouldn’t allow myself to poke itself, I just couldn’t do it- so thank god nicks mom is a RN. The next few nights I made my boyfriend do my shots for me, although the the initial poke didn’t hurt it was the thought of doing it to myself in my own belly. I had to be checked after being on my medications a few days to check on my eggs they do blood work and vaginal ultrasound. As soon as they believed I was ready(average is 12-14 days of injections) they flew me out to California to safely be monitored at their clinic. When I had my appointment in California they then told me I was flown out to soon and I wouldn’t be ready till much later then planned. At that point my body was pumped full of hormones, I couldn’t handle it I wanted to turn around go home and give up. What was I thinking? I’m leaving my kids at home , to give my eggs away? I was beating myself up at the time and sorta regretting what I got myself Into. I had to learn to give myself my own injection in my stomach which after all wasn’t as bad as I thought. I got myself calmed down after awhile because Lenka took me out and we enjoyed ourself the best we could. I was bummed I was there on my birthday but all in all sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

 What was the worst is that I am an “over thinker” so the pain, the swelling/bloat and feeling uncomfortable sometimes got the best of me but I had to stop myself and realize how the intended mother would do anything to feel what I’m feeling

 (something anything!! )

I had multiple appointments to check my eggs in California and things were kinda slow (although the I was on the highest doses of medications I was on my birth control longer than planned and messed it up ). (Enjoy my selfie on the examination bed )

Finally it was time on a Sunday we scheduled the set in stone precedure day and I was prescribed a trigger shot to make things grow to be fully ready! I got my blood taken Tuesday and I was scheduled early wenesday morning to be there an hour before my procedure.I filled out paper work and agreed to things and got fully prepared.

Before I could even know what was going on I was put under. It went so quick I was told the procedure was about 30ish minutes. I wokeup from being put under … I super emotional, overwhelmed with what I had just done. They were beyond impressed and happy because they took a whopping 27 eggies from my body!(they say usually 12-20 average)! I was crying when I found out because those are something im wasting away and the fact these are treasured is everything. (They do genetic tests on some eggs and the rest get frozen stored egg) (I told them when they are done having kids they are not allowed to donate to science and if they wanted to donate MY eggs to another family I would have to be notified and I would also have to agree)

After I recovered fully I got to go home that same day, in fact I ate Jimmy johns subs after leaving the surgery center. They told me they never seen somebody bounce up or “recover ” as fast as I did. I was on high pain meds and got to fly back home to South Dakota the same night. I didn’t care about the pain I wanted to see my babies. Since I have been home I am super bloated, a little sore and uncomfortable but it has been 4 days and I even went shopping at the mall (with a pain pill though). They say watch for signs and (the risks) for ATLEAST 10 days but so far so good. I feel like a million bucks and I could honestly say with my whole heart, I would do this a million times over and honestly I will be a egg donor ATLEAST 1 more time. (They say you can only donate 6 times at most)

People need to know this is not something you just decide to do. I have to live knowing I have another baby out their that is half of me that I’m not raising. You need to be a strong person to accept this. I made my egg donation open because since I’m not pregnant with this child and not raising the child I know I am strong enough  to meet them etc….NO this is not adoption, because that would be my egg and my boyfriends sperm and I would carry my baby to term and then give the baby up. (I couldn’t handle that) 

On January 6th is when they plan to do my transfer. They are using 2 eggs and are hoping to expect twins whom will arrive probably in later August. I don’t think I will be sharing photos of the family or the babies. As far as those babies are concerned I’m in no way shape or form their mother not even their “bio” mom. The intended parents hope so much for this… I would never want to steal the joy of this family finally having their own. 

As far as the injections, I started out doing 1 a night mixing 5 different viles together. I then went up to 2 injections and then I had my trigger shot at the end. I did them in my belly and I just pinched my skin a tiny bit and poked in fast like a dart motion. The needle has to go straight in and not angled. It honestly doesn’t hurt bad just a tiny sting which is easily gotten over. I have to switch sides also so I’m not constantly doing same exact spot. (Ouch) The shots basically trick your body into dropping more eggs and having the eggs grow to a big enough size to be harvested  

And last main question YES their can be risks Ofcourse to egg donation because everybody will react differently to the injections. Please be careful because a company will make it seem like theirs no risks and it’s all gonna be okay but their are in fact risks that need to be taken seriously.My fertility could change in the future because of this, I could have pains later in the road just have to be that person willing to take the risks if you are truly ready.

This is my story and how things went everybody is going to feel differently and go different because you are not me. Please be careful and if you have any questions I would recommend talking to the company I went to. You can donate your eggs or company’s have compensation plans for $$ to sell your eggs! My flight hotel and food was all paid for for myself. You need to be healthy and fit to be able to donate. Usually ATLEAST 20 (with kids) no smoking drinking and no health issues with you or family members that are bad. No tattoos or piercings within the last year. Std free as well! – you need to call and just bring up my name Ivyonna North and ask them anything . I don’t feel comfortable answering questions that may be different for you! 

Sometimes I still think about how those babies will grow up and how this all got thrown into my lap. Although I had some very emotional times in my journey , this is something worth doing. The good outweighs the bad for me.

I want to thank the company for being so great and helpful during all this time. And also my mother for watching the girls and Nicholas for being by my Side and agreeing to take this journey with me. And trust me when I say….This is just a short version of my journey I could truly go on forever in details. But I’m not an expert in egg donation. I am just a girl like any other who was called to bless another out of the kindness of my heart. Even in days I regretted my every decision in my heart I knew I would go through with it. I couldn’t ever back down and dissapointed a family who has waited for the perfect match forever. To think I blessed them with 27 eggs is beyond me. That’s the true work of Jesus! 

2019. – it’s been 4 years! Another family got eggs from the family I originally donated too. The original family ended up having a beautiful baby girl with a beautiful name and she’s a doll. I keep up with the family and I’m so happy for them. I would do it again!