6 Years

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

–– L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

October is one of our favorite months, and brings with it some of the best memories we have had together. This October marks our 6th wedding anniversary {and 12 total years together} – a weekend we remember as fresh as though it was yesterday.

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We opted for a small wedding, and were fortunate to have been able to host it in our “backyard” here at the farm. Having spent many years as a wedding photographer and invitation designer, I (Erica) was intimately familiar with the 'behind the scenes' of the wedding industry, and so we were knew we did not want, as well as what we did.

We were conservative in our spending, and channeled our best DIY personas. We made our own boutonnieres, bouquets and centerpieces (ranunculus is still my [E] favorite flower). We designed our own wedding invitations (naturally). We gave our guests jars of honey we collected ourselves from the beehives on the farm. Close friends (and insanely talented wedding photographers) captured the big day for us on film. Two other friends, both talented chefs, made dessert and homemade pierogies. And we did our best to make each piece as intentional and memorable as we could.

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“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.”

–– Alexander Smith

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Forty guests, including our families and our closest friends {who we consider family}, came from as far as Michigan, Wyoming, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

The best 'accessory' to our wedding was the people who were there.

To close out the evening, we wrote down wishes on lanterns and sent them into the night sky {all of which eventually burned out and landed in our hay fields, which we collected and saved the next morning}.

We did decide to have an “adult-only” ceremony (with the exception of our teenage nieces and nephews), and had a party the next day where all of our friends and family brought their young children to spend time on the farm.

We played horseshoes and bocce ball and flew kites. We ate mac’n’cheese, rode in paddle boats and made sand castles.

It wasn't fancy, but it was perfect.

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To celebrate our anniversary, we are heading to the beach for a weekend in Wilmington. We are hopeful that the “Augtober” weather we are having here in NC will have moved off by then!

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

–– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

#life #love #wedding #anniversary #marriage #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #pregnant #adoptionforyourchild

Siblings

Bryan’s brother, Chris

Bryan’s brother, Chris

I (Bryan) have an older brother, Chris, and a younger sister, Meghan. As children, we got along well, but occasionally had our squabbles. And despite the fact that arguments, fights, spats, etc. were not out of the question, they were definitely not the norm. If someone threatened harm (emotional or physical) to any one of us, the other two were quick to unite in a unified front. We loved each other deeply, even at a young age.

Chris, Beth and their kids, Ben, Connor and Katie

Chris, Beth and their kids, Ben, Connor and Katie

We never questioned whether or not we were loved. We were told “I love you” every night before bed, and in our later youth, every time we left the house. My parents both said they grew up thinking they were loved, but were never told they were loved by their parents in their early years. So early in their marriage, they made a decision that their children would never have to ask themselves if their parents loved them. And we never did.

All the way through high school and upon returning from college breaks, every night – without fail – we ate dinner together as a family. This was a very important part of growing up in my parent’s household. After dinner, we’d clear the dishes, then sit back down at the table for a cookie or two and to talk as a family. Quite often, we’d hear how proud our parents were of us and how much they loved us all. Looking back on this, I recognize how fortunate my brother, sister and I were. My upbringing has cemented in me the importance of family. My family remains very close to this day.

Bryan’s sister Meghan, husband Eric, and their daughter, Juliet

Bryan’s sister Meghan, husband Eric, and their daughter, Juliet

Outside of Erica, my siblings are my best friends.

Although we live fairly far from one another, we stay in close touch. We talk fairly regularly, and text each other quite frequently. We enjoy spending time together and each other’s company.

My favorite time of the year is the holidays when we all come together. I am fortunate to have the relationship that I do with them.


CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

#life #nature #home #morning #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #pregnant #adoptionforyourchild

Sisters

Erica holding Bryce the day she was born.

Erica holding Bryce the day she was born.

I (Erica) was almost ten years old when my brilliant little sister, Bryce, came into my life. I had perpetually asked my parents for an older brother, because all of my “cool” friends had one. I remember the very day my mom went in to labor, and I went to spend the day (and night) at my friend Jenny's house. I remember thinking how excited I was to have my own “real life baby” to care for, diaper, feed, carry around, push in the stroller and dress up. Finally, after almost a decade of being an 'only child,' I was in the same club as my friends – I had a sibling to hang out with, argue with, and share clothes with. {Not realizing that we wouldn't actually have clothes to share until we were adults.}

The advantage to our difference in age is that we never experienced sibling rivalry. We never fought over toys, attention or boys. In fact, we have never fought about anything. I watched Bryce grow up, and enjoyed taking care of her; and I have a maternal affection towards her, proud of all of her accomplishments and adventures.

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The disadvantage to our difference in age is that it took us a lot longer to connect. I went on to college, and Bryce was only 7 years old. I moved out the house, got my first job, moved into an apartment, had my first love, got my heart broken, and moved out of state... and Bryce was still a teenager at home. We missed out on some of the younger joys of sisterhood, and were rarely seen together. Most of Bryce's friends at school did not even think I was “real” – until I showed up at her prom to take photos, or graduation to celebrate. It was not until Bryce was in high school, and I was out of college, that we really started to develop our relationship.

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We both inherited the creative gene from our parents, but in slightly different ways –

  • Bryce would be playing the solo on her fiddle in a full auditorium, and I chose instruments that I played at home or as part of an ensemble;

  • She would be singing in show choir, and I would prefer to be painting the set backstage;

  • She would be practicing the finesse and focus required for fencing tournaments, and I was covered in dirt and manure with my horses at the barn;

  • She is not afraid to color outside the lines; I am usually within them.

I was very clear on what direction I wanted my life to take; and she has allowed herself more freedom to discover that organically. We do not always assume the traditional birth order roles in some ways, although if you ask her, its very clear that I was the “first” born; and on many occasions I can remember saying to my parents, “I wasn't allowed to do that...” as Bryce would head out the door to a co-ed prom party. Sometimes, we still relive those moments just to torture each other.

Meghan, Erica and Bryce

Meghan, Erica and Bryce

For the last four years, Bryce has lived in Seattle, and despite the miles that separated us, we maintained a very close relationship. Most recently, she moved back to the East Coast, and we have been able to spend a lot of time together.

Through marriage, Bryce and I have both had the opportunity to add two sisters (Meghan, Beth) and two brothers (Chris, Eric) to our small family; all of whom “fill in the gaps” of the years between us quite easily. Even though we all live in different cities, we have grown to be very close, which I am so grateful for.

• • • • • •

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

#life #nature #home #morning #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #pregnant #adoptionforyourchild

Us

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We met for the first time at Christmastime in 2007, immediately recognizing our shared love for dogs, the outdoors, great pizza and connection with others.

As we dated, we found the qualities we both craved in a life partner, and deep unconditional love. We got married in 2013, in the “backyard” of the horse farm we now call home.

We may not always agree on every issue life sends our way, but we appreciate each other for the points of view we do have. We are never too embarrassed to say “I’m sorry”, and we have never had anything pull us apart to the point where we don’t talk or come back together.

We have uniquely different passions, but we also have the same intentions –– to enjoy what we are doing in life, never stop learning new things and be surrounded by the people we love most.

Click on the links below to learn more about us:

We are an open book and would be happy to answer any questions you might have!

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan


#life #love #family #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #pregnant #adoptionforyourchild

Erica LOVES :: Photography

Erica has always loved creating – drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, things made of wood, and more. In college, she studied photography and later pursued it as a career. She still operates a small design + photo studio, in addition to her nonprofit work.

From family portraits to weddings, senior photos to new babies, corporate to nonprofit work, travel and adventure photography – her portfolio is full of personal and professional images. Over the years she has enjoyed capturing photos for friends, family and strangers (who later and often became friends), knowing that the images would be treasured memories of their biggest milestones in life.

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To this day, she usually has a camera in her hand or strapped across her body, and loves to capture the moments that others sometimes miss.

Her photographs are hung on the walls of our home; and are often requested by family and friends for their own houses, personal notecards and holiday gifts.

>> Scroll through the gallery below to see some of Erica’s favorite photos that she has taken for others or traveling! <<

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan


#passion #hobby #fun #getaway #life #photography #photo #creative #creativity #art #family #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild

Childhood Moment :: Go Outside

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As a child, Erica spent most of her time outside.

Rain, sun, snow, hot, cold.

Her parents would send her out after school and on the weekends to explore with the neighbors, create “fancy” paintings out of mud and other findings, or help her dad build things (like her swing-set and model horse barns).

Bike riding, swing-swinging, dog walking, stream-walking, exploring, gardening, tree-climbing, swimming, boating, ice-skating, day-dreaming.

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Weekend evenings would be spent at the beach searching for hermit crabs in tide pools, building sand castles and collecting sea shells. Sunday mornings would include a walk on the boardwalk at Hammonasset Beach after a breakfast out at a favorite restaurant. [To this day, Erica’s parents still spend Sunday mornings this way!]

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Being outside, enjoying nature and spending time with animals is one of the most important experiences in life for Erica and Bryan (and their families) … and every day they hope to spend more time outside than in.

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” ~e.e. cummings


CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

#childhood #passion #life #nature #beach #ocean #boats #sand #family #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild

Childhood Moment :: Fuel in the Veins

Bryan grew up with a deep love of automobiles; and weekends would often find them at the race track, working on his dad’s 1967 Mustang (which he still has to this day!)

Bryan and his brother, Chris | Limerock Racetrack

Bryan and his brother, Chris | Limerock Racetrack

Bryan and his brother, Chris | Limerock Racetrack

Bryan and his brother, Chris | Limerock Racetrack


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Bryan’s love of cars has remained a big part of his life. After several years a pro racer, he now enjoys time working on his car and driving through beautiful parts of our country.

Additionally, he spends several days every June with his family and friends driving more than 1,000 miles through Michigan in unique and classic cars.


CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

#childhood #passion #life #cars #automobiles #family #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild

Off to a Horse Show!

We have been pulling together several stories to post in our blog and on social media that share even more about who we are – as a couple, and as individuals. We hope to expand on our profile book, and tell more about our childhoods, our passions and what we do for fun on the weekends. We aim to start sharing those more 'in-depth' posts next week.

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In the meantime, I (Erica) am off to a horse show this weekend! Horses have been a huge part of my life since childhood. Having a relationship with horses taught me many things over the years – responsibility, empathy, communication, hard work, dealing with loss, and much more. I believe that every child (and adult!) should have the opportunity to spend time with a #horse, and at the very least, experience that sense of wonder that comes from standing next to kind-hearted animal of that size.

I currently have a handful of students who compete in an equestrian sport known as “eventing” and several of them are off to a large show this weekend in North Carolina. These kids have become part of our family over the years, and their own families have become an extension of ours as well.

I have been teaching in the equestrian field for a long time, and have been able to turn my love of horses into a career [more on that another day!]. Horses, and our relationship to them, have a lot of parallels to other areas of life – and I am so grateful for the opportunity to coach these riders in a sport that I love, cheering on their accomplishments and supporting them through the struggles.

"Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world." // –– Quote by Josephine Demott Robinson

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#summer #horseshow #horses #horsesandkids #equestrian #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild

Summer Daze

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It may seem strange that this photo – where we are both wearing jackets – reminds us of summer, but it does. Often, summer is a time when we are able to get away with family and friends. A long weekend, a week at the beach, or a trip across the country to the Pacific Northwest.

Believe it or not, this photo was taken at the end of July, and it was cold enough in Sitka, Alaska to warrant the same jackets that we wear during a North Carolina winter. But regardless of the wardrobe, photos of our summer travels bring back the best of memories. And they spark a yearning to get away and travel again.

This year we have not planned much travel far from home, as we are hopeful to get an email, text or call that we are matched. Adoption requires dedication in a lot of ways – emotionally, financially and in time/availability. For us, this year, we are dedicating ourselves to the process now; and we are thinking of future summers when we plan other adventures as a bigger family. <3

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” –– Quote by Henry James


CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

#summer #travel #explore #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild

Asheville, again.

When family was visiting last week, we loaded up the cars for a day trip to Asheville. We spent a few hours exploring downtown's shops and galleries. We had a wonderful lunch at a brewery nestled into the mountains; and we spent some time just enjoying the view.

“Stop staring at mountains. Climb them instead, yes, it’s a harder process but it will lead you to a better view.” –– Quote by Unknown Author

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#family #travel #explore #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild #family

July 4th Reunion

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A July 4th Family Reunion.

We started planning before Christmas of last year, and last week, we welcomed 25 family members (Bryan's side) for a Fourth of July reunion at the farm in North Carolina! Relatives came from Michigan, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Connecticut to join us for six days of fun and family fun – a group ranging in age from four months to mid-seventies.

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The week included a trip to Asheville, go-karting, rock-wall-climbing, miniature golf, riding bikes, swinging from trees, feeding animals, swimming, dock jumping, kayaking, fly fishing, lawn games, fireworks, wish lanterns and delicious meals together.

Despite a lot of different schedules and many miles to travel, everyone made it happen, and we are so grateful for such a fun and memorable time together!

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." –– Quote by Erma Bombeck



CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#family #july4 #holiday #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild

Pick-up Sticks

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Another game of pick-up sticks, with our sweet niece.

So far, our #july4th week has been filled with giant lawn games, jumping off the dock into the lake, family meals and time catching up.

We are waking up this morning on day 4 of a six-day family reunion and are looking forward to another day of time #together.

• • • • •

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#family #july4 #holiday #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild 

Happy July 4th!

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We hope your #fourthofjuly is full of the moments that make you #sparkle.  

Regardless of the holiday, please don't hesitate to reach out. For us, holidays are full of family, both our current and our future.

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#family #july4 #sparklers #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild 

Quiet Blogger

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It's no secret that our blog has been a bit quiet lately. Over the last couple of weeks, we have been preparing to welcome 25 family members to the farm for a family reunion (on Bryan's side) for the Fourth of July week. A full week of activities, travel to the mountains, family dinners and relaxation has been planned... and a LOT of grocery shopping has taken place. :)

We are excited to spend time with family who we do not see that often – cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces and nephews are traveling from Wyoming, Michigan, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina to join us.

Grateful to have loving, supportive families on both sides, we treasure the time we have together, and we look forward to sharing it all with a child in the future.

Photos of the holiday week to come!

Photo: a quick snap of the sun setting the other night on the farm – with one of our horses making a cameo in the bottom corner with his superhero mask on (it keeps the flies off his face in the summer!)


CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#family #july4 #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild 

Plant Life

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I (Erica) am not known for my green thumb.

Growing up, my mother's garden would explode with tomatoes, spicy edible flowers, enormous lettuce and squash the size of my torso. Bird feeders scattered our trees, wild raspberry bushes edged the property and a trellis of morning glories climbed the side of our house. Despite agonizing over my “chores” of having to water the gardens, I envied my mother's ability to create a green space for veggies to thrive.

Today, my mom's garden still remains a focal point, overflowing with home-grown edibles and surrounded by a custom-built fence to keep the deer from helping themselves. Plants that are decades old sit in giant pots on the deck and in the sun-filled living room, having lived though my adolescence as though they were another member of our family.

My lack of gardening ability does not match my affection for plans, however. I love being surrounded by nature, trees, gardens, flowers and more; and make it a point of spending as much time outside as possible. So, to continue to stretch my boundaries -and- surround myself with greenery, I find comfort in creating small pots of succulents, which seem to have the stamina for my plant-inspired learning curve.

CONTACT US :: ebs.adoption@gmail.com | 336.298.8292 | ericaandbryan.com | insta @ericaandbryan

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#plants #garden #green #succulents #adopt #adoption #hopetoadopt #hopingtoadopt #readytoadopt #adoptionrocks #waitingtoadopt #adoptiveparents #adoptivefamily #infantadoption #unplannedpregnancy #teenpregnancy #domesticadoption #birthparent #birthmom #expectantmother #openadoption #homestudyapproved #homestudy #pregnancy #adoptionforyourchild