Family Recap of 2016-WHAT A YEAR!!

Happy First Week of 2016, friends!!!

I will have to say that I am very happy to say hello to 2017!  I always love the feeling of a fresh start, and I am looking forward to seeing all that 2017 holds for my family and me. :)

But let me just say this…2016 is going down in the record books as the craziest year of our lives! Cy and I often just look at each other and say, “What a year!” We seriously cannot even believe all that has happened to us…the good, the bad, and the ugly! ha!

To be honest, the craziness started in the summer of 2015 when we hosted this sweet little girl from Latvia named Sanija.

She rocked our world in every way possible! It was love the moment we laid eyes on her at the airport. #destinyinmotion

Here is a short video of when we first met her.  I wasn’t able to show her face on my blog during the adoption process, so I have never showed this actual clip.  But y’all, when I saw this little face for the first time, I knew she was my daughter.  


Little did we know how much this little girl would change our lives!  It was a fun and crazy summer with her.  (Doesn’t she look like a little Punky Brewster?) :)



She was sweet and funny and loving, and yet difficult and unpredictable and exhausting.  None the less, we were smitten! :)


We hosted her for five weeks that summer through Project 143, and also during that time (the last week of July,) Jonathan was invited to a private, invite-only audition for NBC’s The Voice in Nashville!!!  Sanija went with us on this trip, and we had a blast.  We drove down on Saturday morning, Jonathan had his audition that afternoon, we stayed at a hotel, and then we drove back home the next day. 


Good news was that Jonathan made it to callbacks in Los Angeles!!!  And the amazing journey of him being on The Voice had begun.  :)

Sanija was with us until the first few days of August when she and the many other orphans that were hosted by other families through P143 had to return home to Latvia.  That was such a difficult day for us, but we were filled with hope that we would see her again soon.


Days later, Jonathan and I were hopping on an airplane to Los Angeles for “Executive Callbacks” for The Voice.  We spent a week out in LA with about 300 other contestants who were auditioning as well.  All of the contestants had to learn three songs, practice their songs, fill out all kinds of paperwork, take a psych test, etc.  At the end of the week, Jonathan performed his 3 songs in front of the producers of the show and was selected in the top 100 to come back for a month in October for the blind auditions!!!  We were shocked and thrilled!



When we got back home, we couldn’t tell anyone.  We had this huge secret we were hiding, and it was killing us.  :)  For a month and a half, we went about business as usual, and we were continuing to finish our adoption paperwork and getting all of the details finalized. 

We found out that we would be going to Latvia in December to bring our girl home.  Every Sunday, we would Skype with her, and we loved seeing her little face on the screen.  The anticipation was building to bring her home. 

In October 2015, Jonathan and I flew back to LA for 4 weeks.  This was a very exciting and special time for Jonathan and I, and one that I will never forget as his mother.  We shared a hotel room for four weeks, and I soaked up every moment knowing in just a couple of years he would be out on his own.   This boy of mine is a treasure.


The first three weeks were made up of dress rehearsals, voice lessons, staging, interview prepping, and lots of waiting.  Finally, the fourth week was auditions and Jonathan sang on the last day.  Cy and the boys flew in for this special moment.  He was the “last chair” turn for Pharrell Williams, and it was such a thrilling experience!  One our family will never forget!  


You can see his full audition HERE, or check out this clip with Carson Daily…

Even though this all took place in October of 2015, it didn’t air until March of 2016!

We got home the first week of November, Jonathan went back to school and things went back to normal.  We began focusing on finalizing our paperwork for our trip to Latvia to get our little girl.  We would be staying in Latvia for 3 weeks in December before bringing her home the week before Christmas. 

Preparing to leave our four boys at home while Cy and I traveled to Latvia for three weeks was very difficult.  We were very emotional about leaving our boys, but over the moon about seeing our girl.  

As many of you know that have followed me for a long time, our adoption did not go as planned.  We were in Latvia for two weeks, and then came home early without our girl.  There were so many factors that went into what happened that it is hard to explain in a blog post.  It’s one of those “let’s go have a cup of coffee and talk a few hours” kind of conversations.   

Coming home without our girl was the most painful thing I have been through besides losing my mom.  Christmas last year was painful for our whole family.  

Praise God, however, in the first weeks of 2016, we received glimmers of HOPE that we would be able to continue the adoption of Sanija. 

There were many tears, many hard conversations, more paperwork, more money, and more prayers, but God began to slowly work out the process for us to be reunited with our girl.

In the depths of our heartache over our adoption, we were in the middle of the most exciting time of Jonathan’s life.  And trying to continue life as normal for Luke, Adam, and Eli.  Those precious three little troopers.  :)

In February of 2016, Jonathan and I flew back to LA for his battle round, even though his blind audition hadn’t even aired on tv yet.  We were there for almost three weeks, and again, it was the most amazing experience. 

Cy and the boys were flown in for his battle round.


Jonathan sang with Moushimi in the battle round, but unfortunately was not chosen to move on to the knock out rounds. His battle didn’t air, but I synced it to a video I had taken during practices, and you can see it HERE.


We flew back home in March and waited for it all to air out on tv.  It was so much fun to finally share our experiences with you and our family and friends.  The love and support we received was amazing, and Jonathan has had some incredible experiences come from his time on The Voice. 

Now it is almost the end of March 2016, and we are preparing for our next trip to Latvia in June to spend time with our girl and bring her home for good.  

We left for Latvia on June 8th and spent four of the most precious weeks of our lives with our girl.  We took Adam and Eli with us this time to make it easier on them and easier on us as well. :)  Jonathan and Luke stayed with family in the states.


After a month in beautiful Latvia, we returned home with our girl the first week of July!!!!


Since July, our sweet girl has been “settling in.”  She has come so far in 6 months, and we can only imagine the work that God will continue to do in her life in the years to come.  

In November, Luke and I traveled again to Latvia for a few days to finalize the adoption in the courts.  We have one more trip to Latvia with Sania Louise in two weeks.  I will be sure to share all the details of that trip with you too.  

Her name is now Sania Louise Hutcherson.  She is a little spit fire and full of hugs and kisses.  She loves to play basketball with her brothers, watch Doc McStuffins on Disney Jr., eat chocolate, and learn all the English she can.  She is soaking everything up like a sponge.   And yes, this mama is having fun dressing a little girl!  The best part of dressing her up is how excited she gets to show her brothers.  She will say,  “Boys, you won’t believe this…” as she walks into the room in front of them.  And then they “ooh” and “aah” and tell her how pretty she is.  They absolutely LOVE having a sister!  And let me tell you that they will take care of this little lady her whole life!


Sania Louise has some obstacles to overcome.  She has developmental delays and sensory issues.  She will probably start going to public school a couple hours a day to get used to being around other kids.  She needs help with her social skills.  I’m excited to see how she will grow and develop over the year.  We have an amazing support system that love her and will help her succeed. 

Our Christmas this year was a stark contrast to last year. Last year, we felt hopeless, and this year, we had HOPE standing right in front of us!  She made Christmas so extra special for every single one of us!


Cy and I are just now feeling like we can start to “breathe again.”  The past year and a half has definitely tested us.  We have been stretched in all different directions, but things are starting to pull back together again, and we are enjoying our life as a family of seven. 

More than anything, we can see God’s handiwork through it all.  He never left us.  He was always working out His good.  And let me be sure to say that even if our adoption failed and did not work out as we had hoped, we would still praise HIM.  Our love for Jesus is not only when times are good or when things work out the way we want.  He is sovereign over every part of our lives, even the difficult times. 

But we are very grateful that God has given us the opportunity to be called Sania Louise’s parents.  Every time she calls me “mom” my heart skips a beat.  What I did to deserve this honor, I will never know.  But I will treasure my sweet daughter all of my life.  



Thank you, again, for all of the love and support you have shown our family over the past year and a half.  I have truly felt your prayers. 

I have no idea what 2017 holds for our family, but I know that God has us in His hands.  

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives, all fear is gone.  Because I know, He holds the future.  And life is worth the living just because HE LIVES.”





  1. Love to hear all your adoption progress! Adoption is def. one of the most trying experiences. We are going through our second adoption and it has def. been harder than the first! It’s a walk of faith and clinging to hope.

  2. Beautiful story. I followed your story all the way through and prayed for you. A miracle from God. I think it’s wonderful the love your family has had in wanting this sweet pretty girl in your home. What a true Blessing.

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us. Yours is an amazing story that shows there is no doubt that God was with you and your family every step of the way. I’m so happy for you all and look forward to be able to go on your journey with you through “Beneath My Heart”. And just wanted to say, the verse you posted to really sum up His Grace, is one of my favorite hymns. Happy New Year and God Bless!

  4. Traci, I have followed your adoption story from the beginning and joined the band wagon of prayers for you all. It is wonderful to see God’s miracle come to life. And can I just say what a good looking family you have. All of you are beautiful!
    Blessings !

    1. Debbie, thank you so much for coming alongside my family in our adoption journey. We are so grateful for your prayers. Happy New Year!
      xoxo Traci

  5. You go, girl! What a year, what a story. My heart and best hopes are with you and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your stories, they are so uplifting and full of hope, God bless you all!

  6. Your family story is so beautiful!! Even with all the wonderful highs and the lowest lows the love and happiness you have given this beautiful little girl, and in return all the joy she brings to each of you is so uplifting! Your boys are obviously so loving of their sister…and she to them. How blessed you all are. I so enjoy reading your family blog, hearing Jonathan’s musical story playing out, seeing what all your sons and daughter are growing to be, and of course your beautiful home! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us…

    1. Thank you, Sandy! It has been an amazing thing to watch my boys love and accept their little sister. It has not been easy, but they have been troopers through it all. I’m praying this is building character and strength in them that will be with them throughout their lives.
      God bless you and Happy New Year! xoxo Traci

  7. Such a beautiful post Traci! God is so good! All the time, God is good! So grateful for His faithfulness to each of us. God bless you and your family in 2017!

  8. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME! I love this recap and so happy that this Christmas was so much happier. My heart hurt for you and your family last year. And the next time you come thru Knoxville give me a shout 😁
    Love love love hearing about your beautiful family and all your adventures.

  9. She fits in perfectly with your family. I have two boys adopted from Russia. I know the highs and lows the adoption process can take you. It’s all worth it. If you are interested there is a Facebook page for Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption and Neighboring Countries. It offers a wealth of info and support from families that adopted in eastern Europe. It is a closed group and monitored so people are polite. If interested message me and we can get you in.

    1. Hi Lynda! Adoption is amazing, isn’t it?! :) It is quite the journey, but so worth it. Thank you for mentioning the Facebook group. We have actually found a couple of Facebook groups for families who have adopted or are adopting from Latvia, and I agree that they are full of such great information and support.
      God bless you and Happy New Year!!

  10. Thank you for sharing your journey as it unfolded over the past year and a half. It was an honor to walk in it with you (even if virtually) feeling the ups and downs and hopes and hurts and praying over you through it all. I am thrillled and delighted that Sania Louise is home. I am so proud of Jonathan’s music career and equally as proud of Luke, Adam and Eli for the love, patience, grace and support they have been during this time. I and pray 2017 gives all of you a chance to catch your breath, fill your cup and bond together. Much love and Happy New Year!

    1. Traci,
      Would you please either hide or delete my post so it doesn’t show up on the feed? I gave TMI to the blogosphere, I’m afraid.

  11. What a crazy journey your family has been on and I love your testimony all the way through the highs and lows. Thank you for sharing your story with us and allowing us the privilege of praying for y’all along the way. Take time to rest and renew. May God continue to richly blessyou and your family!
    On another note – our son was just 4 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. When I heard the clip about where to administer the shots….I totally understand the fear & courage it takes to give a little one a shot. You are amazing and the perfect mom for your little girl :)

  12. I have so enjoyed following along with your adoption story! It’s easy to see why you fell in love with Sonia. She is beautiful! And I love her spunk. My husband and I have a granddaughter like her with a lot of energy and vitality and “Joie de vivre” (exuberant joy of life) and we enjoy her to death! We enjoy our grandson too, who is quite different. Each child is a treasure! I hope and pray that your family will continue to grow together in love and be blessed in 2017. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Happy 2017! What a wonderful blessed 2016 was for you and your family. Sania is beautiful and seems very sweet and loving. Honestly she looks so much like you. Blessings are well just blessings and you’ve been very blessed. May the lord continue to bless your family in 2017. I love your matching outfits!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story with its highs and lows. I continue to follow your blog and pray for your family. You are all such a testament to what God can do. Bless all of you.

  15. Traci,you should write a book. You have a knack. Your story is so heartfelt and readers would love the story of the adoption and how your sons opened their hearts and arms to their sister. I was exhausted after reading your year in review, your one busy momma. Happy new year.

  16. A beautiful story, Traci! We adopted 3 (siblings) 12 years ago. Definitely ups and downs–as is true with any family. We can relate to sensory issues, developmental delays, PTSD, etc. that we still deal with on a regular basis. It has not been an easy journey, but it’s the journey God had planned for us, and we are grateful. God is so faithful!

  17. Thank you for providing us your personal struggles and showing the world how you would have excepted God’s decision no matter if it were for the adoption coming through or not.

  18. What a year… Your mama would always be proud of you, no matter what. But to see you mothering a daughter….. You know words can’t describe it

  19. Your daughter is beautiful as is your whole family! Wondering how your son’s singing career is going. .He has a beautiful voice. All the best for 2017.

  20. I love to hear the progress with your family,lovely story. God is good all the time, all the time God is good.

  21. What a year y’all have had, Traci with the trials and joys all wrapped up together! It’s been encouraging to watch y’all walk thru all of it with a deep trust in God and I’m pretty stinkin excited to see what He has in store this year! 😘

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