A picture mail text of Lyla’s drawing of us.

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Snail mail of Joycelyn’s drawing of the dogs.

A picture mail text of Lane with his “Justine socks” on.


A voice mail from the boys begging us to come play Just Dance.

My favorite picture of the boys cuddling with the three dogs watching cartoons.

A birthday card from McKinley.

The moms in my life will never know how much the small gesture of letting me know their children are thinking of me mean to me; as they mean the world.

I will forever spend my energy making sure these children know I love them and I am here for them and more than anything I want, and really need, to be part of their lives.

As, these are our chosen children.

The children we have the honor of being godparents to. The children we have the privilege of being their guardians. The children we get to see grow up. The children who ask to see us. The children who love us. The children we love more.

Or maybe, it’s really that they are the children who have chosen us.

Surviving the losses of IVF and accepting a childfree life to redefine family for us has meant we figure out what it means to still have children in our lives. It means living my truth as a woman who wanted, and desperately, tried to have my own children. It means having the courage to say adoption isn’t for us. And yet, it is also making sure my heart is not closed off to all the light and love that family and children can bring to my life, even if it comes with the bittersweet sadness that they aren’t my own.

It means traveling to Vegas for McKinley’s birthdays.

It means going to Noah’s piano recitals.

It means sending happy birthday and happy valentine’s videos of the dogs singing to all of the kids.

It means having a toy room in my house.

It means having the pool for everyone to enjoy all summer long.

It means watching the boys play the Wii for hours.

It means hosting chosen family every spring break and playing St. Louis tourist.

It means embracing my sadness that I will never get to parent in the traditional sense, in order to make room for the endless, ever upward light that all of these families and kids bring to my life every single day.

I do it because the alternative is too dark. I do it because it is my journey. I do it because I have fought for my recovery. I do it because it is ever upward.

And, because we have all chosen each other.


37 thoughts on “Chosen Children

  1. Sabrina says:

    Justine, I absolutely love this post. Tears in my eyes. Those children are SO, SO fortunate to have you and your husband in their lives.


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you so much Sabrina! If only you all lived closer! 😉


  2. FacingCancer says:

    So beautiful – SO beautiful. Your writing fills me up with hope. I hope to have so much love & family in my life, one way or another. ~Catherine


    1. jlbf4 says:

      Thank you so much Catherine! It’s there, we just have to be open to finding it when we’re ready… Much love ❤


  3. Janine says:

    Love this post. Thanks Justine. Lucky are these children, because you and Chad have chosen to be a part of their lives. But lucky too are the parents of these children, because they get to witness this love. Nothing makes me happier than hearing my kids talk about slumber parties at Justine’s house, or eating at restaurants with Justine and Chad. Or them running and dancing around your house when you first moved in. It makes me so happy that they get to experience how fun it is to be with you two. If you had your own children, my kids would play with your kids. And they wouldn’t have as much of a chance to get to know YOU. How fortunate we are that our kids get to see exactly why you and Chad are our chosen family!


  4. jlbf4 says:

    Janine, Thank you, you are so right and I love this! Thank you, thank you! So thankful that the Porters are part of our chosen family, love you guys!


  5. Beloved says:

    I thoroughly enjoy this very honest and brave post. It is a strong testament of what one can do to extend love and joy… not many in your situation can do this. Or want to.
    You live selflessly when you adopt other children into your life and give them a piece of your heart in this way that you do. It is very commendable and I wish more people would be brave like you to do just that. Extend love.
    Thank you for showing me this.


    1. Beloved says:

      In fact, I would like to reblog as a guest post sometime in the near future if you allow. Thank you.


      1. Thank you so much for your words! And please feel free to reblog, I’d just appreciate if Ever Upward by Justine Froelker was made clear. Thank you again, so happy to have connected with one another!


      2. Beloved says:

        O good, thank you!
        One of my goals for the blogging 201 course is to bring in guest bloggers to feature. I have it scheduled for the month of July. I will notify you as soon as I have it online. I will make sure to include Ever Upward by Justine Froelker.
        I think your words are so necessary for many that struggle with the pain you describe. I look forward to reblogging your post and getting that message out again!


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