Meet Nova Winter!

Our hearts so full as we share news that we’ve been matched with our first daughter, Nova Winter Larson. I shared the (long) story of how we were matched here as well as an informative post about albinism here.

A lot of you have asked about her name! As you may remember, we were previously planning to call her Winter Bloom, but after “meeting” our girl we decided it wasn’t the perfect fit. So for 10 days, we went back and forth (pretty much 24/7) with name ideas. We had a lot of pretty names on our list, but we wanted to give her a name that was stronger—maybe with a little edge? (Haha! We can tell she’s a cool baby—this is obvious, right?)

So after “sleeping on” so many names and then deciding they weren’t right, I found “Nova” through googling lists of “celestial baby names.” It’s kind of a special connection for us because Jeremy made his decision to adopt her official just before the solar eclipse.

And, I don’t know, she just looks like a Nova to us. Sometimes you just know!

Jeremy and I are doing paperwork like crazy right now. There is a lot of immigration stuff, we have to get visas … there are a lot of little steps between getting matched and when we can schedule travel. Our agency is estimating we’ll go to China in December. Then, when we get home, Nova will already be a U.S. citizen!

I’m planning to decorate our house like a freaking WINTER WONDERLAND before we go. Talk about magic!!! Can you EVEN imagine coming home to the holidays??? I still can’t.

Well, thank you so much for sharing our joy! We feel so incredibly lucky.

Thank you for the love and endless support! Elsie

PS …

Now that we know our little gal’s age, I can finally do a little shopping. What are some of your favorite kiddo shops??? I always love a good deal, but I’m especially curious for small businesses I can support. This green dress is from my friend Amy’s shop, June & January. xx!

PS. I am more than happy to answer any questions you have about Nova or our adoption here!

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Elsie and Jeremy Larson.
  • Yay for your entire family! Sweet Nova is coming home. And semi-unrelated….I loved when Ashley from Under the Sycamore used to share a little note with strangers about cleft palette when her daughter was a baby as I think it helped educate others on what cleft was/is. I’m wondering if the same might be helpful for albinism. Not that y’all need (or want) to be the ambassadors of albinism and, at the same time, so many others could learn from you and might become more open to people with albinism (in case they aren’t open already). Maybe Ashley could share more about what worked and didn’t worked for her. Just a thought and BIG congrats to your family!

  • THIS IS WONDERFUL! Ahhhh I can’t believe you’re going to be parents! You’re going to love it. My son is about to turn two and it’s a totally gorgeous, very sweet age.
    My favourite small business is Baby Goes Retro. They stock the most insanely awesome retro-style, trendy, brightly coloured pieces!!!

  • What an incredible journey, she does look like a Nova. May you and your sweet family be blessed! (And may all the dang logistics run smoothly)

  • why aren’t you just keeping her birth name? that’s what she’s used to being called can you imagine moving to a different country to the house of people you don’t know and these people just decide to call you a differentname

    • Something a lot of people don’t realize is that kiddos in orphanages (who were abandoned like in China) don’t have birth names. Sadly, we’ll never know what her birth parents called her.

      She has a Chinese name on paperwork (given to her by her institution), but they don’t use that name in the orphanage. She has a (really cute) nickname in the orphanage that we’ll be using as we transition. We decided not to share her nickname on the internet (it’s nice to keep some stuff private) but it’s a kiddos nickname- not something she’d want for a legal name when she grows up.

      If it were true that she had a birth name that she was called every day we probably would have incorporated it or used it in some way.

      Big picture- our daughter is Chinese, but she’s also going to be an American growing up in America. We considered both when naming her.

      Hope that gives some clarity to our decision.

      • Oh my, you always reply with such grace to questions people ask so bluntly, i admire you for that!
        My brother was adopted when he was three months old, and my parents did change his name; what is wrong with that? Why would you want to hang on to a name given by someone who ultimately rejected and abandonned you?- although adoption stories may differ greatly, this is what he expresses and i can only understand. My parents have always been very open about his adoption, he always knew he was adopted, always knew the name he was given when he was born and in all the discussions he has had with my parents about his adoption, he never mentionned once he would have wanted to keep his birth name – in fact, he mentionned quite the opposite, that he would have hated it. He is now 24, and in the very arduous process of looking for his birth mother with the full support of my parents and me, with a name of his own, given by the two persons who love him the most. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book.
        I am so happy for you and your little family, you and Jeremy are going to be amazing parents! Lots of love from France

        • Renaming a kid at 3 months is a LOT different than at 2 years – by 2 years, she would know her own name. Not so much at 3 months. But it sounds like she doesn’t really have a birth name that she knows, just a nickname that isn’t really suitable for a legal name.

          I’ll admit I have some…feelings… about naming a person with albinism “Winter” – it feels like something for other kids to latch onto and make fun of, or a cute little reference to her appearance like you might do with a pet. But with it being her middle name and not “Winter Bloom”, now, it probably won’t come up. Nova is an awesome name.

          • We adopted a 9 year old from China. We had a new American name chosen but waited from him to bring it up. He did within 12 hours. He was expecting a new name. His kept his Chinese first name as his middle name.

      • Good for you dear lady! As a long time reader I can tell you and your husband are going to make outsranding parents. Just remember, there’s no handbook for any of this and every adoption journey is different. Go with your instincts and you’re going to be just fine. PS There a great book a Japanese-American friend recommended to me years ago that deals with girls growing up as both Asian and American. The title is “Yell-Oh Girls” and it’s by Vickie Nam. Take care and congratulations!

    • As someone who has lived in China for 5 years, has taught Chinese students for the same amount of time, is married to a Chinese man, and has a Chinese daughter, I can add that many Chinese people who become part of “western” culture whether it be through education, work, or moving abroad choose a “western” name anyway. Almost all of my students went by English names given to them by their parents and my husband chose an English name when he was in high school.

      • Same age as my daughter! Such a special and fun time. Love Love Love reading about your adoption story!

      • Congratulations!! I Am so happy for you both.

        I adopted my daughter from foster care. She Came to to live with us at 2 and a half years of age. I see that you wrote that you will meet your daughter at about 2 and a half too. After about 4 years we were able to finalize her adoption. It was the most stressful years of my life. There were many ups and downs. She was non verbal at the beginning with speech delays, which made her act out. She was alone in the world with two strangers, that can be terrorfying! It was hard for me because I instantly fell in love with my daughter and I was just a stranger. Give her time and love and she will blossom in your home. My daughter is 8 years old now and she cannot recall a time without us.

        I tell her every day that I am so lucky to be her mommy.

  • The world needs more Elsies and Jeremys (ies?) in it. This little girl just won the cosmic lottery! Everything that you both do, whatever it is, you approach with thought, determination, poise and grace. I’m a little irked by the flippant name comment you got. Don’t let anything get you down. I’m from an adoptive family and people can be so quick to judge every little thing. You will make many mistakes as everyone does, but it won’t be for lack of trying or bad intentions. Implying anything else is just noise you don’t need. I wish you the very best. When I read your post on your family website, I cried at my desk. I was so happy for you and Jeremy and especially Nova. I think most adults would die to see Chez Larson done up as a winter wonderland! Just over the moon for you.

    • Thank you!

      Honesty- after years of watching my mom friends online, I’m prepared to push back on all of my decisions. It really doesn’t bother me (well 99% of the time).

      xx!

    • Cosmic Lottery is right! I am so happy for you! Parenthood is the most joyous journey you will ever take..

  • Well, she’s just beautiful Elsie (and Jeremy)! Congratulations! Being a mom is awesome. It’s really hard sometimes, but it’s so fun and so rewarding. I know you guys will be (and already are) amazing parents!

  • Nova is such a beautiful name, and she looks just precious! You two must be so excited for this new chapter of your lives. I wish you all of the best and can’t wait to see the future to ahead for your family xx

    http://mylovelierdays.com

  • She is so beautiful and spunky. I’m head over heels already. So happy for Nova to begin her new chapter–your article on albinism was informative and helpful in understanding cultural stigma to difference. I work for NASA, and totally agree Nova is the perfect name! 🙂

  • It seems kind of shallow to equate choosing to have tattoos and dyed hair with having a disability like albinism. You can put on long sleeves and dye your hair a natural color if you don’t want people to comment on it, but she will never be able to hide her features.

    • This. I am so happy you guys have been matched and have been given the chance to start the family you’ve waited so long for – and have no doubt Nova will want for nothing and be surrounded by a loving community who can provide all she needs.

      but to equate your personal body modifications (which you willingly opted to have done) to her disability seems a bit insensitive.

      • “equate” is a stretch, I would probably say “relate”. I think that trying to relate is an important step for me, actually. What I was trying to do was see from her (potential) perspective, not diminish the seriousness of her condition. What I said in my post was “in some *small* way”…. obviously, yes, it’s a very small comparison to draw.

        That said, I am a first time mom and I’m going to make mistakes. But in this case I feel like you are maybe taking my words out of context.

  • I’m so happy and excited for you guys that I feel like I’m the one that’s just been matched with a baby. Haha! I’ve loved following along with your happiness, and I love that Ashley has been so inspirational to you. I followed her adoption story as well, and am so touched by their family. I can’t wait for you two to bring your sweet baby home!

  • Shopping for little girls is pretty much the funniest thing ever! ? I like the website Jane for my baby girl, Monroe. It has a lot of different boutiques. Nova is going to look adorable in that green June and January!

  • Isn’t she too old to have a new name just because you don’t want to learn how to pronounce names in another language?!!!

    • Where does Elsie say that she doesn’t want to learn to pronounce names in another language? That’s a big – not to mention rude – assumption. Here’s someone who is adopting a child who has been given up to an orphanage because they have a disability and your reaction is to criticize her? 🙁

    • My sister is adopted from Russia (years before the ban) and has lived in the states since she was 3 and half. My parents changed part of her name. It was a similar situation to the one mentioned here, where she didn’t really have a full name; they just combined her birth parents’ first names and slapped a middle name in. Now at 19, she has no complaints, because – get this: she doesn’t remember it personally. But she is aware of what her middle name used to be and she is proud to tell anyone who is curious all about it, even though it IS very difficult for her to pronounce because, being a toddler with cognitive delays, she didn’t even speak her language yet when we met her. There’s nothing wrong with giving someone a new name for a new life. I mean, many women and men change part of their name when they get married. It’s a big part of belonging together. I follow Elsie’s blog and I don’t think she or Jeremy have any intention of stifling this precious little girl’s heritage. Kinda rude to read such a wholesome and happy blog post and then imply that these sweet and excited parents are doing something wrong when you don’t know them.

      Got me all worked up.

  • Hi, Elsie and Jeremy,

    Congrats on your beautiful little girl. I wish you all the best.
    We have a chinese girl also. Its a wonderful journey! And travelling to China is the best!!!
    Tineke

  • Congratulations she is SO beautiful!!! And getting her in December, what a BLESSED Christmas gift, the ultimate gift. May beautiful Nova bring you all the joy and happiness of parenthood!

  • What a beautiful name for a beautiful baby! It does totally seem to suit her somehow, based on the photos, sometimes a name just feels right! You guys are so brave to be sharing such a precious and personal part of your lives with us. I have 4 adoptive cousins (all little girls from China!) and I’ve been really enjoying following your journey. I know that you’re a pro at this blogging thing and you don’t need me to remind you to ignore the insensitive commenters – but it just gets me so fired up to read the comments where people are questioning your decisions. You are doing such a good thing here, being so raw and sharing your journey is going to have such a positive impact on loads of readers. Anyone who would go out of there way to say anything other than “AMAZING! CONGRATS! YOU’RE GONNA BE A GREAT MOM!” Is totally nuts. Lot of love to you and Jeremy! This is definitely going to be the best Christmas ever!

  • Congratulations Elsie and Jeremy! I’ve followed your adoption story from the beginning and I am overjoyed for you! You will make wonderful parents! 🙂

  • As someone who has not been able to build their family conventionally, I really appreciate seeing you and Jeremy adopt. It’s been so refreshing to see your journey.

    Will you be having a baby shower? I hope so! 🙂

    p.s. Nova might enjoy learning English through the YouTube music channel for kids that I produce with my partner. http://www.youtube.com/pancakemanor

    • Yes! I am so lucky, my sister is throwing me a shower in our hometown and Laura is throwing one here in Nashville. Beyond excited! (I’ll be sure to share pics!)

      Thanks so much for the link!!! xx

  • This is amazing news and is making me feel all the feelings I felt when I gave birth to my son. Those MOM feelings are universal! So so happy for you and for this sweet baby you will be raising.

  • Nova! I can already picture her as a young 20 something rocking winged eyeliner and some stellar boots. Nova is such a cool girl name! So excited for the incredible childhood she’s going to have with you guys 🙂

  • Hi Elsie. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I was adopted when I was 3-years-old and I’m so grateful for my family, and my unique story. Nova is a lucky, lucky girl and I know that you and your husband are going to be lucky in love parents.

    Did I hear you lived, or are from, Portland? I live in Portland and I own a small business called Seek & Swoon — I believe you purchased one of my throws at Magnolia Goods. I’m honored beyond words that Nova will be cuddling up in her throw before long.

    Thank you for sharing your story and your love for your daughter with all of us. I’m so excited to follow along on your journey,

    xo, Jala

    • Hi Jala,
      We live in Nashville. I still have never been to Portland, but we have some close friends who live there. Planning to visit soon.

      I love that blanket! I bought it on their store opening day.

      Thanks for saying hello! XX!

      • Ah! I’m not sure why I thought you lived in Portland at one time. Well I’m super glad you found my throw and that it’s going to be part of Nova’s room. I can’t wait to see more pictures of that little cutie. You all are so lucky. It’s going to be a wonderful life.

        xo, Jala

  • Congrats! You should check the name in Putonghua doesn’t sound like something else too. I’ve had some not great experiences with these issues when I lived there. What part of China will you be travelling to? I am happy to pass along any advice if you’ve not got enough already; just email me.

  • Congrats on your baby daughter! She is so a Nova Winter!! So incredibly happy for your family! (and do ignore the not nice comments.. You and your family give so much! )

  • Congratulations. You’ll have so much fun getting to know her for the rest of your lives!

  • Congratulations! It’s really cool to see this process from someone experiencing it firsthand and it’s exciting to see your little girl. I’m sorry there are so many people who are judgmental and assume they know everything about you and what you should be doing. You have a thicker skin than I would!

  • Such a joyous and nerve wracking time. We are also adoptive parents (Twins-15 y/o). We were in the delivery room when they were born so our story is different but the feelings are very similar. People will ask dumb questions, sometimes without realizing it. Sometimes because they are dumb. No matter what the universe brought you together and made you a family. That’s all that matters. Enjoy the rest of the journey. Safe travels and can’t wait to watch Nova grow into a beautiful young lady. So happy for you. PS- I have followed your blogs since scrapbooking days. Thanks for being so positive & inspiring.

  • I have a small children’s vintage/handmade vintage inspired clothing shop! I use mostly vintage fabrics and patterns! I’m mostly on ig under @fawnvintage or @fawnvintagehandmade

  • I’m so happy for both of you! Seems like your wish to spent christmas with your family of 3 is becoming real this year 🙂 i couldn’t be happier for you! love and hugs from Germany, Lisa

  • I’m so happy for you guys! I love the name but you should consider keeping her Chinese name as the second name maybe? Not only to respect her roots but to make the transition easier for her, she’s a baby that’s been called a name for more than 2 years, I imagine it won’t be easy for her to adapt to a new family, let her have something from her past for now.

    • I be thinking she will be really excited to have an official name 🙂 I can’t imagine what it would be like to not know your true name. And I’m sure the cute nickname she was given is endearing but likely childish. Regardless, knowing Elsie and Jeremy I imagine they are doing everything possible to make the transition as unabrasive, soothing, and comforting as possible.

  • I know we’ve gushed about it a million times via insta, but we are just both over the MOON happy for you!! Sending you a huge hug from us both!! ❤️❤️❤️

  • So happy for you and your family, what a blessing! I am sure every paperwork is going to be worth it once you have your baby girl home with you. Congratulations! <3

    Greetings from beautiful Greece 🙂

  • Congrats!!
    As for clothes, Tea & Company is *lovely* (though just a bit pricy) and their tagline is “for little global citizens” how perfect 😉 They do lines based on countries, and they’re just gorgeous!

  • She is beautiful and I love her name. As a kid of the 70’s, I loved the cartoon Star Blazers and Nova was my favorite character. I wanted to be her. My husband and I are in the process of foster to adopt in GA – it’s been inspiring to read along throughout your journey. Congrats!

  • Congratulations! My heart melts as I read over and over your words on your adoption story here and on your family blog, Elsie.
    I truly wish your family the best, you never cease to inspire me, as a creative soul, entrepreneur and human being.
    Thank you for sharing all your thoughts, hardships and joy with us.
    I’m so excited for you!

  • Congratulations to both you and Jeremy!

    I read your longer post on the Larson House blog, and it was lovely reading about how you guys both decided to go ahead with this adoption. Your little girl is so beautiful and I think she has a lot to look forward to with both of you.

    I bet you have thought of this already, but would love to see some Chinese-Art-inspired art and craft projects on the blog, for kids or adults, in the future, whatever you come up with! It is such a beautiful culture, and I’ve always adored Chinese Ink Paintings. I know it’s a fine line to do it all in a respectful way to the culture, but I Still think it can be a nice way to learn about and appreciate different countries too.

    Nova will be so lucky to learn about being creative from you. It’s so inspiring to see all the thought and preparation you have put into her arrival. It would be lovely if every child could be so appreciated and wanted.

    Your blog is one of my favourites to visit because it is so uplifting and colourful. It’s my go to as a little escape from a stressful day! Thanks for all your hard work, and best of luck with your new family.

  • Dear Elsie,
    I’m Brazilian, so I speak Portuguese! I think you already know this, but “Nova” in Portuguese means “new”, in feminine. If it were masculine, it would be “Novo”. So, “New York” for us is “Nova york”, and a “new dress” is “vestido novo”.
    I think you may have found “Nova” in celestial names because we say “Lua Nova” and you “new moon”. And maybe in other astrological things as well.
    We also use “Nova” and “Novo” to talk about young people, like “I was really young” we say “Eu era muito nova”. It’s the literal sense of new, I was born not so long ago, so I’m “new”, I’m “nova”.
    I hope I managed to explain, it is difficult for me to write in English. I really loved the name with an English accent, we spoke the word with another intonation.
    All the love for you guys,
    I wish you a very beautiful mess!

  • Congratulations. It is the best thing you ever do in life. One quick tip for the pick up. We adopted out daughter from China at about the same age. The most useful thing we packed was some brightly coloured stacker cups (the cups that all fit into each other). We spent many, many hours stacking them up for her then letting her knock them down and laugh and laugh. Wishing the 3 of you so much happiness together. Our daughter is now 15 and she brings up joy every single day. Enjoy.

  • I just find it beautiful that you are open in sharing something so personal. Who are these people that get off on having negative commentary on your personal life (especially when it comes to an adoption)!? This isn’t a post about a DIY table- This is an amazing chapter in a person’s life that shouldn’t be evaluated and scrutinized in a thumbs up or thumbs down review…Happy for you and your husband!

  • Thanks for sharing the photos of your baby girl. So thrilled for all of you! Nova is one lucky girl. My two girls are teenagers now and I used to love putting them in Baby Lulu which was so soft and comfy for them and the colors and patters were so FUN. Congratulations mama.

  • Wow! This is such exciting news. She is so blessed to have you two as parents. You are going to be a great mama! (long time reader here!) . My first son is Nova Grey! We chose not to find out the sex of our child and one night a long stare into the full moon and sky of stars decided that that was the name of our child no matter the gender. I love the name because it holds so much possibility and power! And a reminder that we are all made of star stuff and part of a vast universe! Also! I’m not sure if anyone else has made the connection with the name Winter yet but there is a dolphin in Clearwater, Florida named Winter and she uses a prosthetic tail fin and has done well with her unique experience while inspiring many people. Just thought I’d share. Much love to your family.

  • I am tearing up reading this. I am so happy for you even though we’ve never met, but your story is so touching. I’ve followed ABM for a while now but just added thelarsonhouse to my feed. I’m sure you’ll be going a bit crazy these next few months. Wishing you and Jeremy all the best.

  • Such wonderful news!! I have been looking forward to this announcement. 🙂 You guys will be awesome, loving parents. I know two people who adopted from China and although it is a challenge at first adjusting to each other, it is so worth it. Nova is beautiful and I love her name!

  • She’s beautiful. 🙂 Congratulations!

    This isn’t parenting advice because I’m not a parent, and likely you’ve already considered this anyway, but I *am* disabled so – try and make sure she has some disabled friends and role models growing up, in the same way that you’d seek out Chinese ones. It can be quite isolating when you’re never around people who can really relate to the different challenges and normal of your everyday life. Especially for Nova, since albinism tends to have some nasty stereotypes nearly everywhere (think about how many villains vs heroes or even just ordinary people you see in films and on television which superficially resemble people with albinism). It’s not even close to the most challenging thing about parenting but it is an extra layer to consider. 🙂

  • Hi Elsie! I’m from little country in Europe called Croatia and in our language Nova means ‘new’! So, with that said I wish you and Jeremy happy new chapter of your lives, I’m shure it’s gonna be a beautiful one, just like Nova is!

  • I am so excited for you two! I am a teacher of the Visually Impaired as well as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist and have worked with a few kids with Albanisim before. In my experience, kids with Albanisim often have quite a bit of functional vision and can often read print. They sometimes have accompanying vision issues such as nystagmus (a shaking of the eyes). All of the kids I have met that have Albanisim are wicked smart with fantastic personalities.

    On another note, we have friends who adopted a son from China about 6 months ago. Their experience has gone exceptionally well, including developing a strong family bond. My husband and I are considering adopting too, possibly from the foster system here in the US, and I have loved seeing my friends having such a great experience as well as getting little glimpses of your adoption process through your blog.

    I am so inspired by you both – and am sure that this little girl was meant to be your daughter. Please remember that there is lots of help out there from Teachers of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialists – you don’t have to do everything on your own! I wish you all the best as you continue this journey with your lovely Nova?

  • I love Gardner and the gang clothing everything is colorful and gender neutral and well… cute.

  • Beautiful, inspiring story from beautiful people! The world needs more people like you in it.

  • Congratulations, can’t even begin to think how exciting this must be for you! Kids clothing tips: Polarn o Pyret and Mini Rodini. Good luck with everything! Xx

  • Yay, congrats! Cool kid with such sweet parents, looking forward to it all! Also very happy for you guys<3

  • I’m so happy for you, this post made me tear up. You’ll be a wonderful family and Nova is a beautiful name (not that anyone else’s opinion should matter:) ) Much love to all three of you!

  • CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What wonderful news and a beautiful name! We’ve just submitted all our documents and are patiently waiting (probably another year or so) to be matched with a child in India (we live in Italy). As soon as I saw the picture of the “three” of you my eyes teared up…. my hands are shaking as I write to you. I can just imagine how you are both feeling and am extremely happy for your family. It has been an emotional rollercoaster ride, as you would know, and each step has it’s own sentiments and feelings so just having her picture and name is just amazing!!!! What JOY!!! All the best 🙂

  • Nova is a lovely and strong name. My sister’s name (not birth name but who she became) is Nova. She picked it as was told it meant new, burst forth, creating. I have always felt it was a dynamic name. Nova is a lucky girl. Congratulations.

  • So so excited for you, Jeremy, and Nova! I shared your story with my husband as I teared up while reading your post on your personal blog and he teared up too! xo

  • This is all just so wonderful! I’m so happy for you and Jeremy and both of your families! Nova will bring so much joy into your world, and you will both be such wonderful parents!

  • Just caught up on all the readings. Congrats! What a wonderful roller coaster you two have been on! There is one thing I’ve been thinking about over and over. In your Larson post about albinism you relate having tattoos and dyed hair to having a disability. It is not even remotely the same thing. You choose to have those things. That’s like saying “I broke my ankle once, so I have an idea of what its like to be in a wheelchair” or “I was on the hip-hop team in high school, so I know what its like to be black.” In this day an age recognizing our privilege and our ability to choose is just as important as lifting up and listening to those who don’t have a choice. I know you are trying to relate to this little angel, but you don’t have to relate to her, you just have to understand, support, and listen to her and her needs. Of course you will, you’re gonna be a great mom!

    • Thank you for wording your critique in a kind way. I can appreciate that.

      I just don’t think this is AT ALL what I was saying. I was saying that I know how it feels to be harassed in public, I NEVER said any of this other stuff. I can see your point, but do you really think I am being disrespectful like these other examples? Please just read my words for what they are- this is reading so much into them. I was trying to share helpful information.

  • your daughter is beautiful.
    she is lucky to have y’all as you are lucky to have her.
    congratulations to your growing family. xo

  • Elsie,
    I don’t have words to describe how much happiness i felt reading your adoption story. Nova is going to have a truly amazing life with parents like you and jeremy.

    All the very best on this new adventure..trust me a child is life altering…

    Lots of love and prayers

    Nisha

  • First and most important – I want to wish you both (you all!) heartfelt congratulations. I’ve read ABM for many years and I admire that you do everything with intention grace and kindness.

    Second, I really applaud you for choosing to adopt and for sharing to much of that story. There are so many humans in this world, and so many children who need good homes – thank you for setting such a loving “alternative” example of parenthood. I hope that many of your readers decide to emulate you and Jeremy. The world will be a better place if more people choose to broaden their circles of love and their definition of family beyond mere genetics (and species, while I’m at it!).

    Bless you both!

  • May the blessings of the Universe float down and cover your new family.

  • Elsie, reading some of these harsh comments makes my heart hurt for you. But, I know that you must have been somewhat prepared for this after all of these years of sharing your life on the internet. People can be so critical, but just know there are many out there (like me) who are SO happy for you and look up to you for your strength through this process. I have been following ABM for years and always admire your poise and grace when talking about tough subjects. I cried happy tears when reading yours posts about finding Nova and I think that you and Jeremy will be the greatest parents. She is beautiful 🙂 Sending lots of love and happy vibes from Wisconsin! <3

  • I love this story. You two are going to be incredible parents to this beautiful child.

  • Congratulations! I wish you and your husband all the best in becoming new parents to beautiful Nova. She is blessed to have you both.

  • I am so happy for you both. She will be a beautiful addition to your household. She will bring so much joy, and you both will make wonderful parents. Congratulations. One thing to note, perhaps. My best friend in high school had been adopted from S. Korea as an infant. While she was raised as an American, her mother learned the art of making kimchee. It was something to show that she wanted to become a part of her child’s birth culture. I always thought that was very kind and loving. Maybe there is some small part of Chinese culture you guys would feel like adopting also.

  • This is the most beautiful story I’ve read on a blog before and I can’t wait for you guys to get Nova home so I can follow your journey!!

    Congratulations xx

  • Parenting is both challenging and wonderful at the same time. Enjoy it! The only people who really matter are you, that baby girl, and your husband. It’ll be great!

  • First, congratulations! I am SO excited for you and Jeremy! I have followed your blog for nearly 10 years and it has been such a joy to “share” your big moments. Second, I cannot believe there are so many judgmental people in the comments section, I had to stop reading. I hope you know there is nothing wrong with anything you’ve shared or your decisions. Nova Winter is a beautiful name for a beautiful girl. Can’t wait to watch this next season unfold for you <3

  • Nova is an amazing name! I love it. I’m a married 29 year old, with no intentions of becoming a mother anytime soon. It’s always on my mind, but I’m simply not ready. I have enjoyed following your story because I feel like I can have some insight into other parenting options…which isn’t a readily available topic in the blog world (at least not that I’m familiar with). Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to hearing the ups and downs and glorious life of all that is motherhood! Plus, your nursery home decor is spot on. And I love you for that. 🙂

  • Congratulations. How wonderful to adopt a beautiful little girl. But it is great to be an American.

  • God bless you both she is so beautiful ! You both will be great parents. Welcome to parenthood it will teach you a lot about life,love and patience ❤️

  • Elsie, I met you 10 years ago at Scrapfest in Minneapolis. I was bald and had no eyelashes due to 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 48 radiation treatments. You were so kind and embraced me. Little Nova will be so lucky to have you and Jeremy as her parents.

  • Dear Elsie,
    In my book, you’ve been a “mother,” in a different and unique way, ever since this adoption waiting period began for you. You have been excited, thoughtful, concerned and worried, preparing yourself for your first child just like any “conventional” mom does, before she lays eyes on her precious bundle of joy. And to top it up, you’ve managed to keep your cool and togetherness, grace and integrity despite any odd comments as you share your adoption news. So I feel compelled to express my respect, admiration and adoration for your choice, your decisions and the manner in which you handle it all. So, to make a long story short, you and Jeremy are amazing! Congratulations for your wonderful news! I truly hope you decide to have a second child soon enough! 🙂 Love, Velvet

  • I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been expressed here, what a beautiful gift–for you and Jeremy & the beautiful little Nova! Big love to you all on your journey!

  • Elsie, I’m so very excited for you! When I’ve seen that first picture of your post I almost couldn’t believe it. I thought you’d have to wait much longer, and now you already KNOW which child you’re going to be a superb mom of! This is SO great! I was in tears reading your post.
    Also I wanted to tell you that I’m very thankful that you’re sharing the whole adoption process. I didn’t know anything about that topic before. Now that I’m in my 30s and have difficulties to get pregnant my husband and I started to think about adoption as an alternative way to start a family, and you have been a real inspiration for that. And when I’m in a difficult phase of impatience, anger, or desperation it always helps to hear or read stories from people who’ve experienced something similar. So, thank you for that.
    And please don’t care about those impolite people who confront you with their uneducated, blunt questions. <3

  • Hi Elsie, Congrats again on the amazing Nova! I just wanted to share that I was lucky enough to go to school with a girl with albinism, she was a few years older than me so I didn’t really know her, but was always fascinated by her look as a younger child.
    She became a paralympian and competed in the 2016 Winter Paralympics and was such an inspiration to our school, town and country! Just in case you ever want to show Nova what a girl with a similar condition (although I know you don’t know her level of vision issues etc just yet) can achieve!
    Kelly actually won Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal!
    http://www.kelly-gallagher.co.uk/

  • My mom’s name is Nova – great name! She’s the only one I know with that name so it’s cool for her to have a name twin somewhere in the world 🙂

    Congrats on your placement – I’m so, so happy for you three, all the way over here in Johannesburg!

  • Second hand! I’ve found like new condition at thrift stores or consignment stores for my baby boy. But girls are easier to shop for. But I do dream of buying new sometimes from North of West out of Portland. Also, Primary.com is great because they have bright solids and stripes.

  • Congrats!!! ? I’m so happy for you guys. Y’all are going to be the best parents. She is one blessed little girl.

    I thought Nova may have been from the book/movie “Where The Heart Is”.

    For all the negative comments about changing her birth name ~ my neighbor adopted a little girl from China years ago, she was almost five when she got her. She changed her name and she’s doing just fine ?

  • I love to order from the UK company, Next. They have a lot of great girly stuff. I also love Old Navy for baby girl items. They have the cutest fabric they use for some of their dresses. Congratulations! Nova is a beauty, and so lucky to have you and Jeremy as are you lucky to have her.

  • Thank you so much for sharing. The joy and love brings tears to my eyes. Looking forward to hearing more about your family journey because it is so beautiful and inspiring. <3

  • Congratulations! It’s been a long time coming and you deserve all the happiness that this time will bring. So glad you get your special holiday wish <3 And listen, any first time mom is subject to unwanted criticism and speculation. You don't owe anyone any explanations and you're gracious to even let us in on this in the first place. Best of luck to all of you!

  • Wow…so many opinions out there!? After watching my son and his wife go through infertility and then finally being able to adopt their little boy last year, all I have to say to you is CONGRATULATIONS! It will be a fun and precious journey for everyone involved! As a NICU nurse, I can vouch for the fact that there are many ways to do the same thing to take care of a child–and they’re are all right! Children are more resilient than we realize–and thrive when loved…and you will do that in abundance! So very happy for you! Mary Wilding

  • So happy for you guys! Our son turns 2 this November and you are in for such a delightful treat! Hope everything goes smoothly! xoxo

  • She is such a beauty and would adorable in Zara Kids!!! Continued thoughts and prayers in this anxious time of waiting…Good things come to those who wait?

  • I am totally not a baby person (or a small child person… basically I’m kind of scared of kids until they’re old enough to have a conversation about which Avenger is the coolest) and I was CRYING at your adoption post. You’re so happy! You can just feel it radiate off the screen through the internet. I wish you and Nova all the best!

  • I am so very very happy for you and Jeremy!
    I’ve been following along for your adoption journey and you have shared so much, in such a beautiful, informative way.
    I’m so sorry to read some of these difficult comments. It is clear that you are making the best, informed decisions and I’m so glad of how much support you have around you.
    I’m so excited to see the next part of this adventure with you gorgeous daughter!
    You are such an inspiration.

  • I am absolutely absorbed with this incredible journey I totally got choked up reading “the match” post (and previous posts) and really just in awe at your thoughtfulness and honesty. Thank you so much for sharing your story of your growing family–I’m looking forward to the next chapters.

    PS And also, welcome to the world of unsolicited parental advice! 😉

  • What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing. I am so happy for you both and wish you a safe trip to China. I love the name you picked for her, it’s so pretty. She looks like such a sweetie!! I’m sure she’ll fill you home with love and happiness.

  • Congratulations to you both 🙂 I read the story of your “matching” on your family blog, so emotional. She’s beautiful and Nova is a great name. I saw some comments from people who didn’t like that you chose a non Chinese name. To that I’d like to add a tidbit from personal experience. When I was a child growing up in the 90s in the Canadian Province of Québec (where the main language is French Canadian), there had been a big surge of adoptions of little girls from China back in the 80s and I had a few friends my age who were some of those little girls. These girls could not look more foreign in our little south shore of Montreal suburban school. But aside from their looks, these girls were true “Québeckers”. They had French names like everyone else and they spoke only French Canadian like all of us. Their parents, their siblings and their culture was the same as everyone else. My best friend at the time was called Stéphanie. She was born in China but she was a true French Canadian. It’s always great to keep some of their heritage alive but this kid is gonna grow up to be an American citizen with a Caucasian family. Her culture will not be Chinese (even though her heritage might be and she’ll have the option to embrace it if she wishes to). It’s logical for her to not have a Chinese name.

  • Please be careful of your adoption. I have several friends who went through a nightmare adopting a child. One of the children they were matched with ended up to be kidnapped and sold into adoption. The one they ended up actually adopting became very aggressive a few years later and would hit them, and threw their dog off the deck. It caused them to divorce and put her in special care. A lot of these children have a lot of special needs that you don’t realize until you get them here and are their new parents. It’s really a gamble whether you receive a child that was put in foster care legitimately, and there is absolutely no way to determine what they will be like once you have them home.
    Best wishes!

    • I appreciate your concern, but please know we’ve done our research and we know the best + worst case scenario for our particular adoption program. We are taking on risk, but we’re not going into this with our eyes closed. 🙂

  • Just read your Larson House entries and had happy tears! So happy to hear Nova will be with you in December! What a beautiful moment as you two decided Nova was your girl – thanks for sharing that intimate moment with us.

  • I just read your adoption story and I am BAWLING. It happened when your husband said he’s never seen you happier in all the time he’s known you. My husband said that to me when we gave birth to our baby girl. Get ready for the MOST FUN you will ever have. It’s true…I’ve never been happier. Best of luck to you! <3

  • Wowsers. Your relationship is already beautiful. God knew you would belong to each other “before the foundations of the world were formed.” Isn’t that amazing? Her unique needs and yours. There is that passage, “I knit you together in your mother’s womb,” and adoption always makes me think of how God chose us and grafts us in to His lineage. It’s a beautiful representation.

    I watched an older adopted Chinese boy assimilate into an adopted family last year. I took Mandarin (pin yin) in college and so I was able to speak some useless phrases to him, which I think helped him feel connected in such a big, different new place. When I didn’t understand him back, I acted like I understood him, and just validated that he had something important to say. As I saw him week to week, I was amazed at how much English he learned each time. He was such an amazing addition to our class.

    You seem so careful and intentional, Elsie, I am sure you will be so sensitive to her little heart and needs. Strength like the eagle to you as you help her assimilate, rear her, and grow with her, which is what Mommy’s and their babies do, grow together.

    What a Divine match!

  • I’ve been reading your blog since before you were engaged to Jeremy! This is definitely my favorite post yet. You’re going to be an amazing mom! What the two of you are doing for this child is incredible <3

  • As far as shops, not much to add, but for helping with any anxiety she might feel in a new environment, you might already do this since you have your own line, but diffuse stress relieving essential oils, and give her something to manipulate in terms of sensory experiences…sand (colored sands are inviting), and water play go over well.

  • Congratulations, Elsie! I have loved following along with your adoption journey and am so, so happy for you!

    The shop Cuteheads makes the most darling clothes for little girls, and through the month of September, their proceeds are going towards Hurricane Harvey relief!

    https://www.cuteheads.com/

  • That is so great. Congratulations!! I have been reading your blog for 3 or 4 years now. I love it. I currently live in China and work at an English Kindergarten so it’s cool to see you adopt from here.

    What city will you be adopting from?

    I might know a church or family that I could contact to maybe help you guys out when you get over here. I will keep you and your family in my prayers during the whole process.

  • Congratulations to your whole family! Y’all are going to be great parents and are sure to fill Nova’s life with love. I actually went to school with a girl named Nova, when I was in elementary school. It was indeed a name that drew attention, and I still remember her as a spunky, fun, and kind person.

  • My mother’s youngest brother was adopted. My granddad went to get him from the hospital when he was born. They brought him up telling him that they chose him out of the entire world to be their son. At 10 months old he got an eye infection that damaged his nerve system and he became blind. My grandparents named him after my granddad, Christo, but only his first name. at age 18 they gave him an envelope with his birth mothers information, he tore the envelope apart and told them that he couldn’t ask for better parents and he is not interested in meeting his birth parents. He then showed him his identification, He went to change his name to my granddad full name, Cristoffel Jacobus. the biggest present he could ever give them, choosing them back.

    good luck with your journey of adoption and parenthood, the best thing ever, being parents and giving life to someone,
    E/South Africa

  • Hi Elsie!

    First of all, I want to thank you for sharing your adoption story! I’ve been following along since the beginning, and am overjoyed to hear about your match! Nova is beautiful and I can’t wait to see how incredible you will both be as parents! She is one lucky lady!

    Because of reproductive health issues, my partner and I knew we’d have to consider alternative options (namely, surrogacy or adoption) if we wanted to add a little one to our crew. For a long time, we weren’t sure if adoption was for us, but after hearing about yours and Jeremy’s experiences, we both feel so much more open to the idea and excited about the potential to do so in the future!

    Do you have any adoption blogs, stories or books that you’d recommend? I’d love to read some of your favorites! We’re definitely a few years out from taking the plunge, but I want to read everything I can get my hands on, haha.

    Thanks again, and many well wishes and congratulations to your family of three 🙂

  • WONDERFUL NEWS i CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU ALL TO GET BACK HOME WITH THAR PRECIOUS DAUGHTER,. HOPE YOU WILL SHARE LOTS OF PICTURES. GOD BLESS YOU & YOUR FAMILY SAFE TRIP HOME.

  • I am so happy for you! Adoption is such an amazing adventure. My husband and I adopted a sibling group two years ago. We decided to foster this year and are on our third placement. Watching children grow is such an experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • An old friend of mine and her sisters started a children’s clothing company that evolved to also include women’s clothes. It’s based in Central Illinois, but my friend lives in Nashville. Her shop is:
    https://www.royalandreese.com/

    I am a big fan!

  • Congrats on your referral! We adopted through South Korea, so a bit of a different process, but they are all in the same when it comes to the hope, longing and love that you will feel during your wait.

    I saw several posts questioning you on a few things-I know you’ve blogged a long time so you’re probably used to it, but keep your chin up! People get very used to giving their opinions on adoption and what you should do and shouldn’t do and they forget that you are NOW parents and can think for yourselves. Good luck during the wait and in your future as a family.

  • So precious and sweet! What an amazing new chapter this will be for you! This post is so beautiful and inspiring! You and your husband are going to make wonderful and creative parents…I can’t even imagine the wonderful opportunities little Nova will have being under your nurturing wings!

    Congrats!!