No Parenting Book Prepares You For This.
Sometimes you reach a point in your life when the dream in your heart becomes so great that you have no choice but to follow it. Even when it doesn't make sense. Even if the current opportunities before you seem promising. Staying where you are and pursuing a good opportunity or choosing to step out and follow your heart is not only scary, it doesn't happen often.
My name is Emily Pieri, and I am the founder of The Addie Joy Company. I meant to write a blog post early on, but for some reason the words wouldn’t come to me. I tried to analyze what I should say, or what I shouldn’t say to be professional enough to tell the story behind The Why. I finally concluded that I have never been a sugar coater, and I have always been an individual who strives to be as transparent as possible. I don't believe in fake, because anyone can pretend to be something they are not. Authenticity is another story. There is only one you. There is only one person who can tell your story, because it's yours. So here is my personal, raw story of how The Addie Joy Company was born.
I wish I could say that my whole life I had been dreaming about this business but I hadn't. I am just like any normal person who graduated college and pursued a job that came natural to me. I continued to climb the corporate ladder, and follow the promises of promotions, money, and title. Don't get me wrong, I loved my job. I loved the challenge, the teamwork, the reward that came with putting a smile on a customer's face. Everything was wonderful, and life seemed to be going just as I had always planned. I was pregnant with Adeline, and I had just recently been promoted. I worked through the long holiday season as a retail manager while eight months pregnant. Surprisingly, working 60-70 hours a week didn't come as a huge challenge. I remember thinking, “If I can make it through the holiday season in retail working this many hours while being eight months pregnant, then after she's born it will be a breeze."
Boy was I wrong.
The moment she was born my world turned upside down. So many people offer advice and try to explain that your world changes after you have a baby, but I didn't actually believe them. Often, I was left with the words, "You just wait” or “You will understand one day." So when that day finally arrived and I held her for the first time, I remember thinking, "No I don’t understand, it’s not that simple.”
I didn't understand how within a week every single thing you thought was so important melts away to nothing. The time I once took for granted became one of my greatest gifts. Time with her seemed to speed by quicker than anything I have ever experienced. When you become a parent one thing happens immediately, and that is time becomes your greatest focus. A week goes by and you watch your child completely change, then they are one month old, then two months, then it's their first birthday.
I know I can't be the only person on the planet who was surprised at how much my heart changed. I started counting down the days when I would have to go back to work, wondering how I would be able to manage it. In the beginning I was all in.
I wanted to be the working mom, the super mom, the mom that does it all.
About two months into my maternity leave I was sitting in the nursery rocking my baby to sleep while taking in the reality of losing so many of these opportunities after I returned to work in a month.
I clicked on a blog post about a missionary to get my mind off reality for a moment. In the post she talked about visiting another country and walking into an orphanage. She told the story like this: "I remember walking into the orphanage, and seeing so many babies, all of which were two or three to a crib. I remember the eerie silence. There was not one baby crying. So I turned to the worker and asked, "Why are none of them crying?" She stared deep into my eyes and replied, “They all come in crying, but once they realize no one is going to come for them, they stop."
I may never remember who posted that blog, but I will never forget those words I read that night.
At first I just thought it was postpartum emotions, but as time went on I knew it was so much more.
A month passed, and I returned back to working 48+ hours a week, and the only thing that got me through the emotional heartbreak daily as I left her, for at times, 10-hour days, was that she would be ok because at the end of the day I would be there. I would be able to go to her if she cried, and she had loving parents and grandparents to take care of her. That encouragement I gave myself daily started to fade as I slowly began watching my daughter grow up, not before my eyes, but in photos that my mother-in-law would send me while I was at work.
I would often wonder how It must have been like to raise a child in a day without social media. Being a parent in 2018 is a constant game of guarding your heart as you are bombarded with happy family social media posts and precious moments in people's lives. Posts that were innocent photos of moms pushing their baby on a swing started to be daggers to my heart. I started to be embarrassed inside feeling so distant from my baby and my family. I finally faced the biggest question I had been avoiding for so long, "Is this really what I want in life."
Suddenly the money didn't matter because it couldn't buy me the memories, or the moments I was missing.
The day came when I answered that question 100% in my heart. The answer was No.
No, I didn't care about being super mom, I just wanted to be a mom. I didn't care about climbing the corporate ladder anymore because often climbing the ladder meant climbing farther away from my family.
Through all of this that blog post stuck deep in my soul. I finally realized that I didn’t have the experience in management, business, and retail for nothing. What if there truly is something greater out there?
Can I do something that will allow me the time with family, and to be the true person I am deep inside—a mom, a leader, and someone who is driven enough to make a difference?
I started doing research on adoptions. The data was shocking. There are approximately 400,000 children living today in the American foster care system, of which 100,000 are in need of a family. On average more than 250,000 children enter the foster system every year in America. Each year over 20,000 kids age out of the system. This is only the statistic for American orphans. The part that really hit my heart was that 81.5 million Americans have considered adoption.
If under 1% of them actually chose to adopt, there would be no orphans left in the United States.
Although I do not have any statistics to share as to why Americans decide not to adopt, I can only assume finances have a large part to play. There are ways to adopt that come with very low to no fees, but adopting from birth is very costly.
These statistics, along with experience, the most emotional season of my life, and a choice to put hard work into something that truly gives back is how the Addie Joy Company was born.
The company is named after our daughter Adeline Joy because she is the one that helped me put the perspective on my life and embrace what truly matters: Family, moments, love.
The logo is a castle to symbolize the “happily ever after” a family and a child experience when they finally find each other.
Our dream is to fully fund multiple adoptions every year.
Families can purchase for their loved ones knowing that they are making an impact on the life of a child.
So those of you who are new, please check us out. Everything ships directly from the USA.
Those of you who have been supporting our vision already, thank you!
In April I left my career after nine years because, yes, I wanted to be able to see my daughter more, but ultimately, I determined that no matter what I do in life I’m going to have to work hard at it. At least with this, the reward at the end will be worth it—because it’s not about me.
Thank you for reading!
Owner/ Founder of The Addie Joy Company
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill
This was so touching! I’m in tears!
This is so beautiful, Emily. 😘
Dear Em, Thank you for sharing your heart. Doing the will of a God will fulfill you more than anything. What a wonderful thing you guys are doing. I know it will be truly blessed by God. I remember the day Mindy walked the aisle of church, taking a huge step of faith concerning family. She still works out but not nearly the hours, having much more time with the boys. You are brave girls but it is so worth it. Like we hear so often, you don’t get that time back. Now you know why your Mom stayed home. It’s a struggle at times but you will NEVER regret it. I opened a day care when we lived out west to be home with my kids and It was one of the best decisions I ever made. God always came thru with whatever we had need of. Here I am at (almost 77) and I would do the same all over again! You made the right choice and I am so happy for you guys!
Family 1st, and with that comes the most wonderful experiences you will have and you can always look back and smile, with a heart full of love.
I love you and I’m so proud of you! Amazing and heartfelt. I can’t wait to see where this adventure goes! It can only get better.