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Beauty tips, Adoption in Oklahoma, and a story of Infertility

So first of all- hi! I'm still here and still alive!

I know it's been a little bit since I've engaged in the blog world but dang corona virus had me down in the dumps for a bit. After some processing and reflecting, I am back to rock and roll!

Secondly, you might be aware that Anna Rhodes (from First Embrace Birth Services) came up with an amazing idea to start a video conversation series with you guys. We figured, especially in times of quarantine and isolation- smack dab in the midst of a pandemic -that the best way we can still connect with you all and still make it feel as authentic and personable as possible would be to do it in the form of a pre-recorded video series. It is our hope to be able to take these live on Facebook one day- and hopefully one day SOON- but for now, we accept our current circumstances and go with the flow.

We are calling it Bits & Pieces with Dani & Anna and we post the weekly episodes on our Facebook pages every Saturday afternoon/evening. And if you have already been following along with us, then you may have seen our most recent episode 3 that included a very special guest with us: Lea Schoeffler. {If you did not see it, you may watch it here}

Lea is my primary Hair and Makeup Artist at Dani Marie Photography. She has served many of my clients and has helped their portraits to have a final, polished look due to her artistry- I value her immensely! What you may not know about Lea is that she and her husband, Jake, have gone down the road of adoption twice and only then found out that they actually both had fertility issues to deal with as well.

contemporary portrait artist Dani Marie Photography in Oklahoma City specializes in women's and family portraits, creating breathtaking and modern imagery for solo portraits, maternity, newborn, birth, and beyond.

We appreciate Lea so much for hopping on and chatting with us about something that is so personal! She has graciously offered to share more details and thoughts in the following blog post below. In it, you'll find a few quick beauty tips (because hey, we are going into the summer months now and lockdowns are starting to lift, so who doesn't need some quick pointers.....amiright?)


Written and shared by Lea Schoeffler

Beauty Therapy beauty tips:

1. You can disguise your roots with a colored dry shampoo! Your stylist likely sells them or you can find them in the hair section of most retailers. If you’re blonde dry shampoo helps make those harsh growth lines fade some. If you’ve got dark hair you can also conceal new growth with mascara or eye shadow! Everything washes out and won’t hurt your color or hair.

2. If you’re home this is a great time to give your hair a break from heat styling! Let your hair air dry, don’t use hot tools and invest in a great hair mask! You will come out of this with healthier hair.

3. Since you may be home and wearing your hair in a pony tail often, it is important to remember to change the location every other day. Wearing a pony tail in the same place daily will cause breakage in your hair. Try different styles such as a low pony, braids or a half up bun.

At Dani Marie Photography you have the option to add on professional hair and makeup services. You will also be pampered and treated with healthy snacks and beverage.

Our adoption story

I want to start by saying that I’ve rarely felt called to do anything in my life. I’m a believer but always thought there was someone more equipped to do whatever God might ask of me. We are just an average working couple who had no idea of any fertility issues living in our comfort zone.

Our journey began about a year after we got married. We talked about wanting children like many other couples and maybe mentioned adopting down the road.

Around spring of 2012 I began to feel a tug and deep desire for a baby. We hadn’t been preventing pregnancy for at least 6 months and we hadn’t gotten pregnant. I was growing discouraged at every new period but, also had the mindset that when God wanted us to have a child, He would give us one.

One of the things I love about my job as a stylist is that I get to meet and get to know lots of people with different experiences. I had conversations with several clients who had fostered or adopted. I thought that’s nice but that isn’t for me, we have our own plan and maybe down the road after we have biological children we can foster or adopt. These encounters with clients, even people I didn’t know kept happening as God worked on my heart. So, for 9 months I read everything I could find about fostering and what it really looked like in the day to day life. This was during a time that fostering and adopting wasn’t as “popular” as it is now. There was very little information out there. I spent most of those months crying about my plans and what I wanted. Questioning why God was asking us to do something that we were not qualified to do. We were having a lot of discussions about what we wanted and at times I was more ready to take the leap than my husband. One day I couldn’t handle it anymore and during a break between clients I submitted our application online to foster. For some reason my heart was bursting and broken that day. I can’t explain the pull of emotions as I filled out the form. I will never forget the date. December 20th. The day my son was born.

After much discussion we went to an information night with a local agency. I came out of it overwhelmed and my husband who had been reluctant had completely switched was ready to move forward so we started our foster parent training classes!

The training and paperwork is very involved and lengthily! It took us awhile to get everything completed and to officially be a licensed foster home. We choose to go through Angels out of Edmond. We created a gender neutral nursery and prepped the best we could. When we told our families and friends our plans they were surprised and hesitant, scared for us and our hearts. We felt so passionately that we were being called to do this that we didn’t let others opinions change our minds.

We received our first placement during a tornado! Really, we got him in a parking lot of the DHS office and raced home to watch the weather and decide if we needed to get in the shelter. He was a precious 4 month old. We only had him for about 4 days but it was long enough to be instantly attached. He left us to go to his grandmother and while I was happy he was going to family, I was heartbroken. How could I fall in love with him so fast? I decided then that every child deserves to be loved and missed. I was already being told that “I could never give them back” but the truth is that as much as much as it hurt to give him back, he deserved to be loved and held tightly for 4 days when his world was turned upside down.

Two week later I was still sad and missing our first little guy when I got a call from our agency about a 4 month old boy. He had been sick and in the hospital but he was ready to be placed. We agreed to take him. I will never forget opening the door and seeing him for the first time. He was precious of course but unsure of everything. We quickly bonded with our precious boy that we nicknamed “Bear”. He was a happy baby but fought a lot of ear infections and colds. He struggled to sleep at night and loved to be held and loved on.

One night I had a dream so vivid I thought it was real. This is not unusual for me as I dream frequently but, in this dream I saw a baby girl and named her faith. I told my husband the next day and said I think there might be another baby. We saw bio mom several months later, pregnant. We had a good relationship with their biological mother, seeing her only a few times at visits and court.

Through lots of tears and so much fear we stood with their bio mom and held her hand as she gave up rights to my son. It was a bittersweet day. He had been “ours” for over a year and we loved him so much but, it was a heartbreaking.

When our caseworker called to tell us she had the baby, he mentioned it being a girl and I knew. We had to take her. Bear was about 16 months old when his little sister was born. When sister was born, we brought her home from the hospital at 2 days old. We had less than 24 hrs to prepare to bring her home and we did not have a thing for an infant. Plus, Bear was still in the crib. We were questioned by family if we were making the right choice to bring her into our home. The night before we were going to pick her up from the hospital I went to target with a close friend and we threw everything in the cart we could think of that a newborn would need. She was also tiny! I thought we really don’t need to be spending $600 + right now but I can’t tell them no. I knew that I owed it to my son to foster his sister as well.

Having had very little time to prepare, we hadn’t had much time to tell anyone about little sister. We didn’t even have a real plan for who would care for her while we worked until daycare. There was so much unknown. The morning of picking her up we were generously given several boxes of diapers and an envelope of cash. The amount of money we were given was exactly what I had spent the night before. God took care of every detail.

There is nothing like walking into a hospital with a carrier and walking out with a tiny newborn baby you did not birth. It was the strangest and coolest experience of my life. She was a very easy baby. We had several visits with bio mom and as I got to know her I let her know how much I loved the kids. I wanted them to be together. I told her how much we loved her as well.

My children spent over 500 days in foster care with us before being adopted. That was also the most amazing experience and I got to do it twice! My kids have always felt like ours. My son, so much like me it drives me crazy. My daughter, so much like my husband! They are each other’s best friends and I can’t imagine life without them! I can’t imagine what life would look like had we said no. God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. His plan was greater than anything I could have dreamt.

outdoor family pictures and portrait photography in Oklahoma City, Edmond, mustang, Piedmont, Yukon, jones, and Guthrie Oklahoma

Our fertility story is different in that we did not know we had any issues until both kids were adopted and I finally said we need to get things checked out. We have since learned that both my husband and I have factors against us. Mine most recently with a cancer scare that turned into an unexpected diagnosis of severe endometriosis. I still long to carry a child but the truth is I forget I didn’t birth the 2 we were blessed with. The pain of wanting a child is real, I feel it in my core and I stand with others who desperately want a child. I understand and still long for a baby, but if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and done something I knew very little about; I wouldn’t have the family I have today. They are the best gift and I don’t take it for granted. I honor their bio mother as she gave me the gift of them. They are hers in a way that they will never be mine and they are mine in a way that they will never be hers. When I reflect back on the rollercoaster of infertility, foster care and all the life that’s happened in between the greatest joy I have is from the biggest leap of faith!

Oklahoma City family studio portrait photography

If you’re interested in fostering you can visit:

You may also reach out to me anytime- I'm an open book and happy to offer support and help however I am able:

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