Adoption, Parenting

Wanna Meet My New Daughter?


This little-big girl burst into our lives last summer and we fell in love.  Hard.  Her laughter fills our rooms and we are honored to get to introduce her to you as our daughter, our oldest and newest child.

I mean…that smile…that chin dimple…her sweetheart face.  She likes all things sporty and artsy, her favorite colors are blue and pink and neon yellow, and she loves dogs and cats.  She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and she has a white board set up in her room so she can can play “school” with her siblings.

Doesn’t she look great smashed right there in the middle of us?

We’re all figuring out this thing called family.  Evie’s happy to have someone to sing with and dealing with having an older sister telling her what to do.

Elliott’s learning how to handle being the middle child…and the only boy…

I’m discovering that my brain melts when three little people all try to talk to me at the same time for fourteen hours straight, but oh, look at the cuteness of them together.

After months of cryptic tweets and posts about “A–” you probably want to know her name.

Anastasia.  She likes to be called Ana, rhymes with banana.  She’s our Ana Banana.

We never saw this coming.  Three kids?  Two girls?  There’s a reason I call this blog Unexpected.

I didn’t think I wanted kids.  Then I didn’t think I could have them.  Now I have three, from three different continents.

Thank you all for your prayers, your cheers, your precious likes and comments and emails and encouragement.  I read every word and this mama is oh so grateful for you.


These rad photos were taken by my friend at Donna Page Photography.

In case you want to catch up about our story with A–, here’s a little light reading:

We Chose Her

I’m Unprepared for How Good This Is

The Hills Are Alive

Speaking of Awkward


Deep Loving Means Deep Aching

A Letter to A–

The Most Exhilarating Word in the Adoption World

We Are Spending Thanksgiving In–

My Labor Pains Came By Spork

Best Worst Picture Taker Ever




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  • Awesomemom

    She looks like she fits right in with your family. I am glad that she is getting a chance to have a nice stable family. I can’t imagine that life before her adoptions was very easy.

    • Melanie Dale

      She fits right in. We are so grateful to get to be her family.

  • Tiffany

    So very excited for your awesome little family!! Ana is beautiful!!!! I love when I get an opportunity to read about your awesome journeys through life. Congratulations on everything!!!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you, Tiffany!

  • Amanda

    MY heart is full of happiness for your family! Congratulations!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you!

  • Ashlee

    I have happy tears in my eyes. What a beautiful, amazing little girl.

    • Melanie Dale

      Yay, happy tears!!!!

  • Sarah D. Gorrell

    Many congratulations, Mel!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Sarah!

  • Off The Cuff Cooking

    Welcome to Anastasia to this lovely family, and Melanie, your stories just inspire me and remind me that I’ll have a family someday too– I have no idea who, when, where, how, my child/ren will come to my home, but I have to keep believing that God has plans for us too. Thank you for baring your soul and your home to us all.

    • Melanie Dale

      Oh you are so so welcome! God does indeed have a plan. I never saw any of this coming. Praying for you and waiting with you in this dangling, not-knowing season of your life.

  • Shannon

    Happy tears here too! She is so beautiful and looks so loved!! So happy to finally “meet” her!

    • Melanie Dale

      Aww, thanks for happy tears! Yes, she is so loved. :)

  • Jeanine

    Doesn’t it feel amazing to finally share her photo??? Congratulations to you all!

    • Melanie Dale

      Squeal! Yes!

  • Vicki Finney

    Beautiful family! Beautiful words.

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Vicki, for your prayers and encouragement!

  • Sherrie Sizemore Lunsford

    Awwww, she is beautiful! I am so happy to finally meet her! Congratulations! There is nothing quite like the feeling of having the official papers in your hand and a birth certificate with your name on it.

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you!





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