March into My Heart

Today’s Drip: Building a Nest in Tennessee, Part 2

In honor of Mother’s Day, a special two-part guest blog by Jody Cantrell Dyer, author of THE EYE OF ADOPTION: The True Story of my Turbulent Wait for a Baby. Part One: Jody was published last week and Part Two: Tobi follows. Thanks to Jody for her thoughtful contribution.

My dear friend Tobi found a well-constructed American Robin’s nest (pictured) in her East Tennessee back yard last week. Doesn’t it look like a sweet place to snooze with feathered siblings or gobble down a juicy worm? Like fellow author and blog host Patty and me, Tobi has suffered great loss. Patty lost her precious mother and I lost my father, both at young ages. Tobi survived a horrific house fire in college and spent months recovering from burns and surgeries. Years later, she endured a complete hysterectomy, which made her unable to bear a child.

We three mama birds have suffered great loss through tragedy and infertility, but we were and still are determined to fill our nests with baby birds.  Patty has two well-adjusted sons and “the light of her life” in her beautiful daughter. I have my miraculous biological son, Houston, and I brought home my “Smiling Boy Scotty” in 2010. Tobi still anxiously waits for a daughter through adoption.

Patty illustrates her longing for a daughter in her poignant memoir, March into My Heart: a Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption. I chronicle my trek through the rigors of infertility and adoption in my narrative The Eye of Adoption: The True Story of my Turbulent Wait for a Baby. We wrote these books to help others, especially those who are still waiting, like Tobi. Like many of you.

NestTobi is diligently focused on her nest. She is an artist and sells her hand-crafted pieces made of woven yarn, stitchery, and felt to finance her adoption efforts. She named her business Ivey Handcrafted for her future daughter, Ivey. When Tobi posted the bird’s nest photo on her Facebook page, eighty people “liked” or commented. We all saw those delicate blue eggs in a meticulously interlaced bed of twigs and had emotional reactions; we thought babies or family. “Only a mama could make sticks look so cozy!” I commented. “Print that picture on canvas and hang it up in her room!” I thought the cradle of blue eggs would be a beautiful illustration of safety to place over Ivey’s baby bed.

Many waiting adoptive parents shy away from creating a nursery or child’s bedroom. That is completely understandable. No one should judge the decisions of waiting parents.  During my wait for Scotty, I admitted to Tobi, “I feel so weird and sad when I buy something for my baby.”

She replied, “Yes, it’s like shopping for a ghost.”

In 2010, I introduced Tobi to a birthmother named Morgan. The young girl was beautiful, kind, and committed to the adoption plan, but the birth father broke all our hearts when he would not relinquish rights at the last minute. Tobi was on the way to the hospital to meet her baby when a social worker called and gave her the shattering news. We were all devastated and Morgan was terrified to face single-parenting in college. The failed adoption evolved into a unique friendship and Tobi, Morgan, Scotty’s birthmother, and I are friends to this day. We cheer Morgan on as she raises her child. We cheer Tobi on as she waits for Ivey.

You may ask, “Why did Jody expose us to this sad story just before Mother’s Day?” My biggest fear throughout the adoption wait was that a birth parent would lead my husband and me all the way to the hospital, then change his or her mind and crush my soul. Although that happened to Tobi, she recovered, regained enthusiasm, and knows that adoption is an enlightening, spiritual experience.

Currently, Tobi is an “official waiting parent” on international and domestic waiting lists. Every day, Tobi binds branches of spirit, effort, fundraising, relationships, art, and prayer to construct her nest.  I recently told Tobi, “You are one heck of a mama bird. You just need your little chick!!!”

To all the waiting parents:  I encourage you to pro-actively anticipate your child. As soon as you become pregnant, you are a mother. Once you decide to adopt, you are a mother. Build your nest.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Tobi Weldon is an artist and waiting adoptive mother in Tennessee. You may read her blog and learn more about Ivey Handcrafted artwork at Bring Ivey Home.

Jody Cantrell Dyer is a mother, writer, and teacher in East Tennessee. You can learn more about Jody and her book, THE EYE OF ADOPTION: the true story of my turbulent wait for a baby, at, via The Eye of Adoption on, or by “liking” her page: Facebook: The Eye of Adoption.

Patty Lazarus is the author of a new book about adoption titled “March into My Heart: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption.” Available on Amazon:

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Comments (3)

  1. Patty,
    Thank you once again for being so gracious! It is a pleasure to know you and collaborate with you! Readers, my book, THE EYE OF ADOPTION, is available for FREE Kindle downloads this Sunday (Mother’s Day).

    Happy Mother’s Day!



  2. Bree

    Excellent article and reaffirms my plight with being a childless couple. Sadly we are treated like we don’t count and or that we are not into kids or just selfish. All are so untrue and horribly judgemental. We have been left out of events, parties and vacations with friends because we do not have kids for their kids to play with. As if our company is not enough. Hmmmm who is the selfish one now right?… Sad.

    We wanted kids and checked into adoption a little with respect to the life of a human child. However, that road was not taken so we went the next best way and wow what a surprising loving ride we were blessed with. Our feathered bird came into our lives a few months after we were married some 26 years ago.

    Tragically, our sweetheart was taken from us due recently due to a heart attack from an enlarged heart last May 18, 2013. We are devastated and find ourselves so alone and isolated in our grief. Our Bird was emotionally connected to us and loving and could make real and his own thoughts with no teaching or repetition. He knew the difference of my, me & mine and knew how to connect those words to other people and animals and situations. Truly he amazed us. Who knew a one pound bird with the brain the size of a walnut could be as capable as a toddler. He did and as he grew just kept acquiring more intelligence on his own volition. That said our grief is tremendous and we are destroyed inside with not many to turn to in our grieving process. I get that most do not understand but love is love and we loved with all our hearts our adopted bird and loved him as a human child and he equally loved us back. Since we could not have children our sweet talking, emotional, telepathic, singing with perfect pitch and cuddly bird is our joy that we will always call our beloved child. I wish the world could’ve met him. He charmed most he encountered.

    With tears that flow in my silent screams my soul is lost. We simply cannot just get another one. Ridiculous to say to anyone who has just lost a feathered or fur baby. Just saying. Would a human child be replaceable?…Absolutely not. The same goes for our feathered sweetheart. This journey now is difficult and our future stopped. The feeding, the play, the vet visits, the social interaction, the daily routines that focused around our birdy has all ended. I am sad beyond any pain I have suffered in my near 50 years on this earth. I ask just respect the love and understand adoption comes in many forms. Ours involved a beautiful feathered child.

    I love you my precious bird. Your feathers go where I go and you will never be forgotten ever. You are our son and we could not have asked for a better boy than you. xoxo Your mom & dad “tweet”.

    • Bree,
      I am so sorry about the loss of your bird. Lessons of love and loss and longing are universal, aren’t they? I am glad the article was meaningful to you, and I pray you find peace of mind! Jody