When I was medically retired from the military in 2017, we made the decision to move back to our home State of Vermont. Living in a state that supports our family without objection made that an easy decision. Our lives as parents, however, has been much more difficult. It wasn't our intention to have more than one child, let alone two newborns a mere five-weeks apart in age. When we received the second call asking if we were willing to adopt our youngest daughter Charlotte, how could we have said no? In fact, it was one of the best decisions we've ever made.
It's true. When both of our girls came home for the first time, our lives changed overnight. Waking up at 3am to feed two newborns when you need to be at work by 6am is no joke. Simply put, it was rough. Not everyone might agree with us, but we say it was for the better. We now see the world through a different lens. One in which the future our daughters will grow up to view is now our priority. Their future families are now our priority. Everything we do is now based on that future.
In fact, we recently purchased an Airstream and are living out both of our dreams of traveling as a family. We are currently traveling full-time around North America showing our girls all that our country (and the world) has to offer. What better way to learn about something than seeing it in person? When it's time to learn more about the Hoover Dam, we'll drive to it. When it's time to learn about forests and the trees that live within them, we'll spend a month in Yosemite National Park. We hope to give them a different perspective of the world they live in. One in which anything and everything is possible.
We also plan to take our motto of "Acceptance Through Visibility" with us on this journey, having conversations with strangers, showing everyone that love is what makes a family. Our travels will take us to many of the U.S. military bases, National Parks, and baseball stadiums across the United States. Visibility and personal connections are how we change things, so hopefully, we're doing our part, especially as parents!
— Papa West