I’m Kayla Craig, and I’m thrilled to join Des Moines Moms Blog team as project coordinator and contributor.
After five years away from the Des Moines metro, I’m so thrilled to have moved back to central Iowa (Urbandale!) and grateful to be putting down roots here for our family of six. When I’m not reheating my coffee and changing yet another diaper, I’m invigorated by exploring the metro, meeting new people, and writing. Always with the writing!
Motherhood has broken me down and built me up in the most beautiful ways. In the course of five short years, we added four birds to our nest via birth and adoption.
Here’s how we got there.
A few years into our young marriage, my husband Jonny and I were both recent Drake graduates, I was working as a journalist for the Des Moines Register, and Jonny was in his first year of Drake Law. For reasons we can’t fully explain, we both started to feel pulled to adoption. Though we didn’t yet share these unexpected sentiments with each other, we both couldn’t shake the feeling that our hearts were open to growing our family through adoption before anything else.
We knew there were children, in the U.S. and abroad, that for no fault of their own, were unable to stay with their first families. However, we were young and working entry-level jobs, and brushed the idea off. Soon after, I met Eric Idehen, founder of Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage (a 501(c)3 here in Des Moines and a home for orphaned and vulnerable children in Nigeria) at a business networking event I was covering for the Register. Our friendship with him grew, and in a swirl of events, we were sitting at the Merle Hay Starbucks, looking at a photo of a little boy we would some day call son.
That’s the (very) abbreviated tale of how I became a mama.
My world has been cracked open in the best possible ways with Joseph (August 2010), and while I’ve learned that love is what truly makes a family, I’ve also learned that being a transracial family means intentionality, education, and humility.
Asher (March 2013) joined our family the old-fashioned way a few years later, giving me a new and equally beautiful experience of becoming a mother. Since Joseph joined our family when he was a toddler, caring for a newborn was a whole new earth-shattering experience. (And all the mamas said amen, am I right?!)
A couple years later, when we felt our feet underneath us again, we felt there was more room in our hearts and home, so we decided to start adoption paperwork again, this time for a domestic special needs adoption.
We were “paper ready” but not committed to a particular agency — just ready and available if a situation were to arise. My heart has ached alongside friends who have struggled with the very real pain of infertility, though that is not my particular mothering journey, and as we continued to be open to adoption, we also decided to grow our family again biologically (Abram, April 2016).
When I was 25 weeks pregnant, a week before Christmas, we accepted a referral for a perfect three-week-old little girl with Down Syndrome (Eliza, December 2015). Being her mother is an unexpected gift. I can’t wait to share those stories with you, too.
My motherhood journey hasn’t been what I expected — something that all of us mamas can relate to — whether we’ve grown our families through adoption or not.
My heart feels fullest when I’m connecting with others, in person, and through the written word. I’m so thrilled to be joining the Des Moines Moms Blog team where I can combine my heart for connecting with other women in the trenches of motherhood with my passion for communication, and my zeal for Des Moines!
I’m an extrovert who loves to laugh just as much as I love discussing ways to love the world better, so if you see me around, sweaty and chasing my crazy crew, please say hi!
And maybe give me a fist bump, Lord knows we’re all on the same team.
Family photos by Samantha Owenson Photography.