“Dying Day”: The Love Story of Adoption

By Andy at Our Life in 3D

An interesting thing happened on the way home from work the other day. ~ I’m gonna lose some readers with this ~ I was listening to NPR radio when something got my attention so much that I felt I was meant to blog about it.

Now for all of you that are going to comment on how it is a sign of old age that I am listening to NPR on the way home instead of something to help me unwind, relax. Don’t worry–I am already afraid of this.

The story was on ‘All Things Considered’. It was on a Winter Song List of people who wrote in on favorite or most inspirational songs and NPR got to pick a winner. The collage of songs caught my attention. The winning song, and story behind it, made me take notice and actually pull over to write down the author, the title to the song, and the winning contributor so I could follow up when I got home.

The winning song was Brandi Carlile’s “Dying Day.” Its an upbeat acoustic song about a writer longing for her love that is far away. Its kinda a catchy song in its own right but it is not what drew me in. Take a listen while you read on . . . .

You see the author of this winning story was locked in an adoption. She was going to adopt a darling 5 ½ month little girl from Ethiopia. She was on an international adoption trip where she had the opportunity to meet the potential baby she wanted to adopt.

For those not familiar with international adoptions, usually you sign on for an adoption program, you state what types of children you are willing and not willing to adopt, factoring in everything from race to birth defects to parental drug use and so on. Everything. The agency eventually matches you up with a child and you have to make the long trip to meet the child to see if each one is compatible with the other. Then you talk to the government agency, fly home and wait to hear if you have been approved or not.

The potential mother was Joanna Woodbury of Wauwatosa, Wis. and I’ll let her take it from here or you can listen to the episode here:

“It was awesome, and probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, all in one,” Woodbury says. At the time, the little girl the couple was applying to adopt was just 5 1/2 months old. “We got to be with her for about 45 minutes. I held her for 20, and then she fell asleep. We had to put her down and leave the room, and then take a 4 1/2-hour bus ride back to an Ethiopian court and say, ‘Yes, we want to parent this child.’”

A few days later, they were back in Wisconsin, where there was nothing to do but wait to hear that the adoption had been finalized. It would be a trying 11 weeks before word came through — and during that time, Woodbury says, she found a new appreciation for “Dying Day.”

“I was in the car listening to this song, which has always been a favorite of mine, and all of a sudden the lyrics just meant something different,” she says. “The lyrics are, ‘I just want to kiss you, and I’m going to love you till my dying day,’ and that I should be there to take of you and I can’t be. … It’s all about longing and a little bit of hurt, and just waiting until you get back to that person. And that’s how I felt.”

Meet ‘Nettie’ — short for Netsanet, an Amharic word for freedom

Meet ‘Nettie’ — short for Netsanet, an Amharic word for freedom

I got it. I knew exactly how she felt. In fact, I couldn’t even listen to that song without tearing up a bit. If you are a parent you probably know too. Now, if any of you are readers of my blog you have to know how I feel about my two little girls. They are a gift from God that have far exceeded my expectations of what being a Dad and raising two toddlers could have ever been. But I think only a few may have guessed by now that our kids are adopted.

My ‘Dying Day’ moment was not pre-adoption though. We met our potential birthmother in a meeting prior to the adoption She was beautiful inside and out, as was her mother that came with her. We waited another 10 days ourselves until we found out we were finally going to be parents. Bam! parents in with 10 days to prepare!

But it was so much more than those 10 days. I found out in my early 40′s that we could never have children; Think about it, could never have children. Ever. We tried the IVF procedure several times and while hopes and prognoses always started off high they always ended in tears and silence.

And so, sitting in my car, on the side of a busy roadway, I knew exactly how Ms. Woodbury felt. When we finally were able to receive our new daughter, now about 2 ½ weeks old, we were the happiest people on the planet. But as all you parents know, the magic is only just beginning at that point.

Receiving our new baby girl. The answer to our prayersI

I got to stay home on my company’s FMLA plan to be SAHD for the first time, as our new beautiful daughter slept and ate and pooped and occasionally smiled. And I knew I was going to love her until MY dying day.

Actually, in reality my song was Jimmy Buffett’s, “That’s What Living Is To Me”. The lyrics went, “..the world’s too big to understand. Be good and you will be lonesome. Be lonesome and you will be free. Live a lie and you will I’ve to regret it. That’s What Living Is To Me.”

We had the new tropical DVD version of this song, possibly one of the most scenic videos ever. We had just gotten back from vacation about 3 months earlier and I was still riding the tropical high. Knowing that my daughter was going to grow up loving Jimmy Buffett just as I did (she has little choice living close to the beach) I would play the scenic DVD for her. And when this song came on I would pick her up and hold her gently close to my chest until I could smell her baby’s breath and slowly dance to this song while I quietly sang it in her ear, ” That’s what Dylan is to me. That’s what Dylan is to me.”

So, like Joanna Woodbury, we found our little girl(s) and will continue to love them until our Dying Day. Being flesh and blood means little to us. These girls are a precious gift granted to us by Angels. That’s what Dylan (and Skylar) is to me.


  1. I like how you threaded the stories together and added music as another layer. Wonderful!

  2. Reblogged this on OUR LIFE IN 3D and commented:
    Here is a reblog of a reblog of a story when I had a NPR moment coming home from work one day. If you click on the Dying Day video and let it play while you read on it helps create the mood I had in that car ride home. I think any parent can appreciate this…

    Many thanks to Luanne @ “Don’t We
    Llook Alike” for listening and helping me illustrate my thoughts on adoption(s). ~ And she is the reason I had to change my Gravatar. I think she owes me money for doing it on a dare. 🙂 Right?

  3. my mom miscarried twice – two ectopic pregnancies – and at that point she and my dad knew they would have to adopt if they wanted to start a family. it took about a year – three months extra because of a paperwork glitch that landed me in foster care for twelve weeks while it got straightened out. i am my parents, through and through. i look like my father, i laugh like my mother, i’m stubborn like both of them. your post is a beautiful story – thanks for sharing. : )

    • Jenn, thanks for sharing your story too. I read your blog and so impressed with what you got going on. I never would have guessed ‘stubborn’ though. Maybe ‘determined’. Its funny, we used to out to eat and strangers would often say how much my girls looked like twins.

  4. Thanks for sharing your personal story…..congrats on your sweet babies! ♥ paula

  5. Thank you for posting so honestly. I’ll never hear the song the same way again.

  6. I think these songs are more beautiful to me now that you’ve illustrated them like this. I can imagine you holding your daughter singing Jimmy Buffett songs. So precious. Great story -both of them. Thank you for sharing.

    • It was a special time for me that is for sure. To me that song meant I wanted to hold her and protect her as long as I could Is it any wonder then that her favorite song in Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, which she calls “Salt”.

  7. It has been 17 years since my journey began to get my daughter. Each story is so unique and so powerful. Thank you for sharing yours. Wow!!

  8. Anne, that’s what I have found, every adoption is unique to the different people involved and the different circumstances. Our’s certainly has worked out for the best so far. Even as a fellow INTJ, I find I have more love for these girls than I thought imaginable. Good luck with your journey.

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