Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Treading Troubled Waters

I know it's been awhile. I've been staying away on purpose. My heart is a walking weight. It's easier to think about other things. Sweet Boy is grasping for security and watching him struggle is the heaviest burden I've ever shouldered.

We're nine months in and my angel boy, cautiously, walks the line that separates past and future, like it's death and life, wetting the present with a dark fog. It seems impossible to navigate, but I know better.

His weekly nightmares reveal his desperation to escape this trapped world. He's in a boat that's sinking; He's trying to swim, but he's drowning; He's swimming, but a shark eats him.

Every week he asks me or the therapist when he will finally be adopted. He's concerned that I might lose him in a crowd. And he shows an, increasing, distaste for his last name (given at birth).

He flops between surety and unease, effortlessly. One day, he'll draw a picture of our family of six in our house, with rainbows overhead, but then the next day he'll draw a picture of himself standing outside of a crowd. Sometimes the crowd is family; sometimes it's classmates.

Sometimes he draws strangers in his bed; sometimes he draws them in our family.

Some days he asks for squishy hugs and wants to snuggle under blankets. Other days he stands across the room, refusing to join the fun.

Every night he asks to be tucked, tightly, into bed.

Last night he snuck into OUR bed, without notice, and I woke up to his little body cradled in mine.

Today, he made my day when he reached out and asked if I would carry him around for awhile. I think he just needed to be close.
 
Our therapist  reminds me, every week, that wholeness will take an indefinite amount of time. Sweet boy has survived trauma...and healing cannot be rushed.

Even though the days can be long - the steps forward small - I AM encouraged by his progress and closeness to our family. He knows that we are family. He laughs like us; prays like us; and even embraces our unpopular beliefs and traditions.

He knows that we're family...his question is whether or not we're the last.

Words hold little value. He had family twice before and we've been talking of adoption for months.

As suffocating as the sadness can be sometimes, we are standing firm in our faith. God has preserved Sweet Boy's spirit and he WILL push through.


Here is how you can stand with us in prayer.

DNA testing is on November 4th. I am praying that the punitive father (who cannot be the father based on race alone), does not show up for the test. This would allow us to move forward and terminate rights, on all "known and unknown" fathers at the next hearing in a few weeks. If the punitive father does show up for testing, pray that the attorneys will, miraculously, receive test results in time for our hearing. We've been told that it is impossible to get DNA results in less than 3 weeks.

I know that with God, ALL things are possible. We pray for his continued grace in this season, with extra measures of patience, wisdom, and love...for everyone involved.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rebekah's Story

Ty's birth mother, Rebekah, is telling her side of our story, right now, over on her blog. I encourage you to read her compelling words. It's such a good reminder that there is always more to the story...

 Adoption Part I: My Story Five Years Later
 Adoption Part II: The phone call that started it all
Adoption Part III: Rock Bottom


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ty & Rebekah

Because our life has become one long courtroom drama, it has been awhile since I've posted about the blessing of open adoption and how much I just ADORE Ty's first mom, Rebekah. If you're a newer reader, yes, Ty has two moms...with the same name!

Life has gotten busy for both of us as we juggle full lives with many children, but when we do have the chance to connect it is always refreshing. Rebekah has recently turned her blog into more of a vlog, which has been really fun because Ty and I can watch together. Awhile back she posted a video about little known facts about herself. Ty thought it was so cool that she liked to garden because he likes to garden, too.

He ended up calling her the next day and it was heartwarming to listen in on his conversation. Just like a little man, he was relaxed on the couch with his leg propped up. I heard him tell Rebekah all about school and his baby sister and the fruit trees we planted. Even though we, usually, only get a yearly visit in, he loves Rebekah with all of his heart and I am so proud of that!

I wanted to share the message that Rebekah sent to us, this week.

When Rebekah talks about what she's going to do with her pumpkin seeds, Ty actually gasped out loud.

Take a listen.

        

How creative and fun is that? Ty was over the moon that Ms. Rebekah would share her seeds with him. I am so thankful for this woman who gave my heart life. It is a complete joy to watch their relationship grow.

What a good reminder that God stretches us for his purpose - and it's always good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mess

I prayed all morning over a letter I had written to Sweet Boy and Little Miss' birth mother, trying to figure out whether or not my intentions were genuine. Would my letter offer her peace...or was it, merely, a way to soothe my conscious? I wrestled with the question and did  my best to stuff my nerves.

I am ready for this part of our journey to be behind us. The other day Ben took the boys out for lunch and as Sweet Boy came back into the house he knelt down beside his sister and said, "Sissy. It's always so good to come home." He went on with his day, but his words stopped my heart. Sweet Boy knows he's home. Adoption will be the final key to opening a future of security.

I walked into the courtroom and listened to the attorneys lay out the morning. 1, 2, 3 to termination. Barring any further courthouse fires it seemed straight forward.

It wasn't.

My compassion tank emptied the minute birth mom and dad were escorted in. Matching jumpsuits. Shackled.

I was angry. So angry. Angry that in the past month she was willing to jeopardize her future.

It all unraveled from there.

She voluntarily signed over her rights in hopes to keep the baby boy she is pregnant with, now, but dropped a bomb on the way to her seat. Sweet Boy's "father" was in the room to petition the court for custody. Even though a different father had been removed from the record for abandonment, a month earlier. The young kid stepped forward and was as Caucasian as Caucasian comes. The judge drilled him on his story, timing, and intent.

He let the kid know that he was too late...but given his "recent discovery" of his alleged son, he was willing to give him a chance. The judge pushed our next court hearing out two months and ordered a DNA test for a kid who could never be Sweet Boy's father based on race alone.

No one fought for us.

When it was all said and done, one of the attorneys sneered and asked me if I happened to have a picture of Sweet Boy on me. I had several sitting inside the letter I never delivered to birth mom. I pulled one out and they all laughed at the ridiculousness of the claim. The boy's appointed attorney said, "Well that makes my job easier!"

I wanted to vomit. It's just a game. Time doesn't matter. Little hearts don't matter. It's all about winning. And they know they'll win....eventually.

There were several moments that I wanted to jump up and shout, but was forced to take it all in as a "nobody" in the crowd. No one asked my thoughts or cared enough to hear about how a goodbye visit would affect my Sweet Boy.

I let myself be angry all afternoon, but then nearly sobbed when I picked Sweet Boy up from school. We packed in the car and as he belted, he said, "Hey, mom, what are you thinking for dinner?" For him, today was just like any other day.

How on earth am I going to prepare him for a goodbye with a mother he is not attached to that is distraught from grief, followed up by a DNA test with a "father" he has never met, that looks nothing like him?

I am so burdened by the thought of putting him through any further confusion. I know that God will protect his heart...as he already has, this far. I'm just trying to sort it all out in my heart.

This mess isn't just a problem for my kids. It's a problem for all kids. 




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Little Miss is One!


Little Miss,
You were quite unexpected. Quite. But, in only 7 months, you've won our hearts and love in the deepest way. You are growing before our eyes and it is such a privilege to encourage you along the way. I have never doubted God's hand on your life, but I believe your naming - prosperous in war- was divine. You are a fighter. A survivor. Your fierce independence makes us laugh, but sets you apart from the others. Your tenacity will serve you, well, as you pursue every dream.

I was such a content Mama with all boys before you showed-up, but your presence in our family filled an area of my heart that I didn't know sat dormant. You will, likely, want to fish and camp and catch lizards with your brothers, but I hope that our life is marked with meaningful relationship.

Recently, we met with a case worker and as we sat on the floor to watch you play, you walked over and plopped right in my lap, as if to say, "This is where I belong." You stayed there until the meeting was over, resting your chubby hand on my thigh. It was near the beginning when I first felt like mom, but that moment revealed our connection from your perspective.

You are a firecracker. Your own person. May your life be extraordinary; your story as God wrote it.

Chase after God with every fiber and never let your flame dim.

You are my treasure.

Muma

Thursday, September 4, 2014

God Bubbles.

The boys started kindergarten, this week. Gasp.











They are awesome. Raising three boys the same age is so much fun.

On the way to school, we were praying and I just started sobbing. I waved my hands and said, “Okay, boys. We’re done. God loves you. We love him. You’re going to have a great day!”

“Mom….Are you crying?”

Sniffle; head nod.

“Why?!?!”

“Because. My babies are growing up –“ Sob.

They burst into giggles. “We’re not BABIES! Mom….!”

All three of them went right to their desks without a second glance back to me. When I picked them up, I got a chorus of “KINDERGARTEN is AWESOME!” 

I spent the whole day worrying about Sweet Boy.

Ty is in the same class, but I knew it probably wouldn’t matter. Sweet Boy is still so quiet; fragile. He doesn’t bother connecting with anyone outside our family.

I wrote his teacher a thoughtful note prior to school starting. I just shared enough to help her understand our family and Sweet Boy’s needs.

After I picked the boys up from their first day, Sweet Boy started heaving and, frantically, calling out to me that he was going to throw up. Thankfully, we mastered breathing/talk through techniques a few months ago and I was able to calm him within a few minutes. It broke my heart to see him so anxious, but I am thankful that he has been episode free for about 8 weeks.

He couldn’t tell me anything about the day and didn’t remember any of the kids in his class. He did remember his teacher’s name, but we had been practicing it for several days.

Early in the week, his teacher let me know that he was stuttering quite a bit. Another sign of distress. He desires to play/be alone all of the time.

I was feeling pretty discouraged and helpless when his therapist arrived, tonight. We have continued to do weekly therapy in our home and, although, I haven’t seen drastic changes, Sweet Boy really enjoys meeting with her.

I started our session by filling her in about the week and then left the two of them alone to play and talk. Toward the end of their session, his therapist asked for me to join them. She prompted Sweet Boy and then he, proudly, demonstrated his homework assignment for the week. She had taught him how to introduce himself….why didn’t I think of that?

He looked at me straight in the eye and stuck out his right arm. “Hi. I am [Sweet Boy]. What is your name?” He paused a minute before giggling.

I couldn’t believe the confidence behind his glance and marveled at the miracle worker in front of me. He went on to tell me that his job was to be brave enough to introduce himself to two friends, this week, and that he was going to keep practicing on our family.

He skipped out of the room and his therapist and I finished up. She took out his drawing from, today, and I was in awe. He had drawn the entire classroom. He knew the number of boys and the number of girls. Where the activity centers and lockers were. And was able to articulate his entire day.

They talked about what an observer he is and he admitted that he liked to watch people. There were some cute little bubbles at the top of his drawing and when asked about their significance, Sweet Boy said, “That’s God’s love in my heart.”

I didn’t cry when she showed me his precious drawing, but tears are streaming down my face, now. 

What an amazing little boy. So strong…despite his insecurities.

His therapist used his words as a platform. “You know, [Sweet Boy], God wants you to make friends. That would make him happy. He gave you all that love in your heart to help you be brave.

He told me, tonight, that he plans on being brave, tomorrow. He practiced shaking my hand and each of his brothers'. 

He is such a gift to our family. And so is his therapist.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Birthday LJ!

We are marching through the parade of birthdays and, this weekend, was LJ's turn to turn FIVE!



I love this kid so much, I hardly remember life without him. He is so FULL of life. He can't go anywhere without jumping, skipping, dancing, or headbanging. He has a continual song in his heart and belts it out when he sees fit. He is the only five year old I know that can do a dozen push-ups AND pull-ups. He wears his heart on the outside and is the most tender  boy in our family. He is fiercely loyal and conservative in his relationships. He keeps Ben and I very close and is not afraid to tell us when he needs to be held. Whether we're on the couch relaxing or on a bench eating ice cream, he yearns for closeness and affection. While this concerns us with the ladies in the future, we love his full-hearted devotion, now.

He is one of the few people in my life that makes me laugh out loud. He says the craziest, funniest stuff, and has a thumb/finger point that never gets old. I admire his spirit and ability to pull out words like "Shazam" and "Booyah". I could never insert such animated terminology into conversation without sounding like a complete fraud. LJ is genuine in everything he does.

He loves his daddy more than anyone I know. Although he doesn't verbalize it, it's as if he remembers all the homes and years without one and holds on to his with surety. I love his love. Pure and genuine. He is quick to forgive, first to forget, and has an extremely generous heart.

He adapts easily and is laid back in nature. He teaches me to live in the moment and challenges me to give more. He is one-of-a-kind. I am so thankful that God chose us for him.