Sunday, December 27, 2009

Remembering.

Christmas Eve - Written December 24th, 2008:


Surely, you have forgotten me, Lord.

Do you remember the passion of my youth?

The infinite praise on my lips?
I shouted your name on earth and daily danced in your glory.
I have done all that you've asked me to do,
I've lived a life of surrender.

Not because you mandated, but because you loved.
You have given me breath to live and wings to fly.
Your faithfulness has been sung through generations,
Your hope has carried me through.

You are not a lowly god.
You are King of the universe, Master of the sea -
My friend, my lover, my guide.
You know my heart and whisper me peace.
My head can't help but bow in your presence.

Have you forgotten me, Lord?
How much more must I endure?
Do you truly have a plan?

I know your power and speak of your strength.
Why then, O Lord, have you withheld this miracle from me?

Are you going to answer?
You'll have to be loud.
I cannot hear over the crying in my heart.

Please answer.

Lord, I need an answer.
I need you.

I cannot go on.
Long has been this race.
Your power has escaped me;
The song in my heart gone.

And I feel no hope.



Christmas 2009

There aren't words big enough. My heart is full - joy and hope have returned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Go find your birth mom."

On the way into work, today, my morning radio station had an adoptee call in for "therapy" advice. It's usually about that time, in the show, I switch channels (I have small tolerance for insignificant banter), but I stopped short, as soon as I heard the word adoption. The girl was in her early thirties and wanted to look for her birth mom, but was afraid of hurting her adoptive mom's feelings. She felt caught because she loves her family, has had a wonderful life, and her brother (also adopted) has no desire to meet his birth mom, yet she has this longing to know her biology. Several times over the last few years she'd brought it up to her family, but was always met with cringed smiles and strained answers. Part of her family's hesitation comes from the birth mother's history (what they know of it) - drugs, jail, countless men, etc. The girl was calling to ask what the listeners thought - should she ignore her adoptive family's hesitation and pursue her birth mom or, like her brother, should she just lay it to rest and be content in her present life?

If you're like me, this stirs numerous thoughts.

If I didn't have a strict, no-talking-on-the-phone-with-Ty-in-the-car rule, I would have called in and said, "Go. Go find your birth mom. Your adoptive mom will work it out."

Although this situation is totally unlike ours, I can empathize with the adoptive mom. She is probably experiencing a rainbow of emotion from pride to fear and her protective mama bear heart wants to cover her daughter from further hurt, if it doesn't work out. I get that. I think there would also be an element of - Am I not good enough?

I also feel for the daughter. I try to put myself in other people's shoes, often. It gives me an appreciation for perspective. If I was adopted, it wouldn't matter how great and full my life was, I would still be curious about my beginnings. I understand why adoptees desire reconnection.

As soon as I got into work, I ran to my computer and emailed my thoughts to the radio host. I'm not sure if they read my opinion on air or not, but I try to campaign and cheerlead open adoption as much as I can. When I hear stories like the one above, my heart bleeds for all involved. Nothing about adoption is perfect, but the same holds true for parenting biological children. Adoption is complicated; life is complicated. I'm not saying our way is the best way or that open adoption is always the answer, but it sure is the best for Tyrus...and I know it can be for others, too.

I am so thankful. SO THANKFUL. That God has given us the opportunity to live out open adoption, first-hand. I'm thankful that Ty will not have pieces of his story missing or have to fantasize about what was. I'm thankful that my heart is forever bonded to Rebekah and that we both prefer the other mother, above ourselves. I'm thankful that I'm able to talk freely and openly with Rebekah without ever questioning my words. I'm thankful for Ben and his partnership - that our hearts our in agreement when it comes to Ty and his birth family and our family. I'm thankful that everyone in our life has embraced open-adoptin and recognizes God's mighty hand in little Ty's life.

We are not perfection. But God is.

When I look at Rebekah, I see the Father. I see the same unconditional love he had for his son. Rebekah made great sacrifices, for Ty...and Tyrus will always know. He'll never wonder. Rebekah is a familiar face and name in our home and will always be a standing presence in Ty's life.

This week, Rebekah and I were talking about some things on my heart and from the conversation, Rebekah reminded me that even if she never gets to talk to Ty, she will be satisfied in our relationship, knowing that I am caring for her son in the best way I know - and he's happy. I, of course, immediately responded with, "Talk to him? Are you kidding me? As soon as he says his first word, you better believe we'll be calling to show it off!"

Here's the thing about our open-adoption. My heart is wide-open to Rebekah. I don't call her because I'm being nice. I don't involve her in Ty's life because I know it's best for Ty. I embrace her because I love her! She is my family and my heart and I want to share our life with her.

I am so thankful that Ty will never have to be the adoptee calling into a superfluous radio station asking for therapy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ty's 6th Month

Man, this has been the best month! So many changes, so much personality, so much JOY. Here's our little buddy in mommy's favorite pj's.





The largest compliment Tyrus recieves is the beauty in his eyes. They tell a story and capture hearts at first glance...

Ty added toe chewing to his resume, this month. So cute!
He has also become the ultimate affection-giver. He loves to cuddle and responds, often, with touch. He's constantly resting his tiny little hands on our lips and cheeks and hands.
This has been the biggest month for changes. Ty took his first shopping cart ride without a car seat...
...started eating food through his baby teether...
...became a jumping maniac in his jump-a-roo and doorjam jumper...

video
... and started using his high chair for feeding time.
Ty also became a professional roller. He literally rolls all over the house, in attempt to get whatever it is he's after. He's very interested in food and has started trying things off my plate - his palatte has become more sophisticated as I experimented with making all types of baby food. Ty actually enjoys food so much that when it's gone, he answers with screams - we have to keep a paci ready, to satisfy him!

His vowels are becoming more pronounced and he's a constant chatter box. He is so aware of the world around him and is interested in everything - the TV, the laptop, the roaring wind, the shower, our kitty (Mr. Moo)...If it's moving and/or making noise he's glued to it! He is getting very sturdy at sitting up on his own and is able to sit and play with toys on the floor. We also introduced Ty to sippy cups and puffs, this month, he's doing pretty good with both. He's holding his own bottle, grabbing his own spoon, walking with help, and flipping pages to books. The cutest change is the eye rub when he's sleepy. It melts my heart and is helpful in letting me know it's nap time!

The only negative change this month has been in sleep. It used to be that the boy would rarely nap, but slept a solid 12 hours at night. Now he takes 2-3 one-and-a-half hour naps, but only sleeps about 10 hours at night. The problem is that he is up at 5:00am, every morning, and no matter what I try changing (bedtime, last feeding, naps, etc), he refuses to sleep longer. Mommy and daddy have been a lot sleepier this month!

It is such a privelege to guide Ty through life and watch his excitement as he uncovers all his firsts. We are loving every minute with him and never stop thanking God for enriching our family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Other Rebekah

I was rocking Ty, this morning, after he got up from nap - soaking in the snuggles. We were chest to chest when he looked up at me with dark brown eyes (they are instant heart melters). Very gently, he reached up and placed his chubby hand on my cheek and just left it there. He does this often, but usually it's followed by seizure-like strikes and nose squeezes, but today he just left it on my cheek. It was one of the sweetest moments we've ever had. I said, "Tyrus, do you know how much your mommy loves you?" He immediately moved his fingers to my lips for a new resting spot. I found it to be the perfect opportunity to tell him his adoption story. He sat mesmorized by the rocking and rhythm of words. He didn't fidget or squeal or laugh. He just stared.

I am so thankful for what God has done in our lives and what he continues to do in us and Rebekah. Naturally, I want what's best for Rebekah and her family, but it goes beyond that. I want to see a miraculous revolution play out in her life. I want God to shake things up and take her to places she's never been before, giving her opportunities she never thought possible. That's how I pray, anyway.

The past couple of months I gave a lot of thought toward what we should do for Rebekah at Christmas. My sister came to me, first, wanting to know how she could get involved. In passing she said, "Rebekah has given this family a pretty substantial gift, I want to show her how thankful we are." Her words were so emotional for Ben and me. Simple words, but filled with meaning. I had never heard anyone, other than Ben, verbalize Ty being a gift to them. Of course, people recognize the miracle he is for us...but to hear someone refer to him as a gift to all of us, was really moving.

One thing kind of led to another and before I knew it most of the family and some of our closest friends were wrapped up in shopping and wrapping and getting excited abour our little project. Rebekah has a great new job, now, that will, hopefully, allow her to start putting some money aside so they can get into a new home. My family wanted to step in and take care of her kids for Christmas so that she wouldn't have to worry about finding money for presents. We want her to be able to save for the future!

So...last week, Ben and Ty and I packed up all the gifts and shipped them off to her family. The gifts are great and I know the kids will be so excited come Christmas morning...but the part I love the most are the letters...Many of my family and friends wrote letters to Rebekah thanking her for our little blessing and included pictures of their families, in hopes to make the family connection a little more tangible. I desperately wanted to read all the letters to see what everyone had said...but I didn't want to mess up all the pretty envelopes!

I guess I'm saying all this to say, I'm so touched. I'm moved by the generosity of those around us. That our adoption story doesn't just include us...but a myriad of people showing there support in various ways.

I haven't talked to Rebekah, yet, but she did leave me a voicemail that all the packages arrived this weekend (she doesn't know it, but there are more on the way)! We will never be able to repay Rebekah for the life she gave us, but it fills my heart to know this Christmas...our first Christmas with baby Ty...that both our trees will glow a little brighter. Hundreds of miles away, Rebekah's kids will have dancing eyes and excited squeals, while Ty provides the same joy in our home.
Ty "helping" pack the gifts

Recently, Rebekah gave me the greatest compliment an adoptive mother could ever receive. In response to one of our family pictures she said: "Ty has this look on his face of complete happiness and completeness. He looks as if nothing is missing in his life...Thank you for being such wonderful parents."

My God is so mighty.
He not only moved our mountain, he filled its place with glory...
All that come near are being swallowed up in the lovesong that surrounds one sweet baby boy.
The world is changing. To God be the credit.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Ben!

Tomorrow is my Ben's birthday. And I must throw him some love!

I wish I could say, "Behind every great mother there is a great father..." Sadly, I know that's not always true. But for little Ty and me it absolutely is! I wouldn't be/couldn't be ME without him.

Infertility either rips apart your marriage or glues you together. There's not much room between the highs and lows of emotion for anything in the middle. For us, the heartache of not being able to conceive, wove our hearts together in such an intricate, intimate way. This deep, inner knowing blossomed and Ben always knew when to squeeze my hand or settle my heart. Sometimes we'd cry together, sometimes we'd sit in silence. Sometimes we'd take our anger out on each other, sometimes we'd gang up and take it out on someone else. Right. Wrong. Indifferent. We were always united....and we survived. We survived the barren beast and lived to see brighter days.

Today, there's a different knowing behind his eyes. When he looks at me and words are absent, I know. I know just what he means. We've come so far...

I recently had a conversation with a friend about marriage - except the marriage she described was foreign to me. It's not the marriage I know. My Ben is sacrificial...and sensitive...and serving. He heirs from a long line of family-men that give all and take little.

When it comes to possessions, Ben never complains. He wears the same two pairs of shoes until they fall apart and then he buys a new pair. His phone is the cheapest, oldest, most basic phone you've ever seen and doesn't have a camera or internet (gasp!). Every few years he buys me a new laptop and continues to use the old one. When it's time for a new vehicle, Ben wants me to drive it. When we both decided it was time to go back to school, he let me go, first.

He gives - gives - gives and the beauty of it, is that he does it without thought.

I love his passion. His passion for life, for me, for Ty.

Everything Ben does, he does well.

Whether he's packing the diaper bag or submitting a project at work, he gives each task his undivided attention and doesn't settle for less than excellent and he's the greatest rule-follower you'll ever meet (drives me batty), marking the integrity of his character.

Ben is funny and sweet and charming. His love for ducks and squirrels endearing, his generosity to the lowly humbling. He puts our marriage before Ty and loves both of us more than he loves himself.

I am so thankful for this man that God created just for me. I pray Ty grows up to be just like him.

Happy Birthday, Ben! May your next thirty years be full of joy and family and geeky board games.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More Questions Answered

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Tears were definitely shed as we went around the table expressing what we were most thankful for this year...
I have a stockpile of questions to answer, from last month's Q&A, so here we go:

How did you make it? I'm still at the early end of inferility treatments and countless tests. We've been on this journey for over 2 1/2 years. I don't know how I'll manage for potential years more of this. The road seems so long and painful. How do I not become bitter???

This beast called infertility is VERY difficult to survive. It almost did me in. I honestly don't know how I made it. I was done. At the end of the road. I felt like a hollow shell wandering through life. I had cut my heart off to many things, including all things baby. I stopped going to baby showers, and hospitals, and couldn't celebrate with my friends as they had their babies. We sought out new relationships - people without kids. And really just took it one day at a time....some days one hour at a time. You have to just keep moving.

Hands down the key to my survival was blog world. I wish I could say it was my relationship with God, but I was so angry with him, we were barely on speaking terms. I used my blog as an outlet to pound out all the thunder I was feeling inside. It also helped to surround myself with women who KNEW what I was going through. I did come to a point where I stopped reading most of the "matched-happy-family" blogs and poured my energy into other waiting womens' stories.

The best advice I can give is to just keep pushing through. Seabird sings this song with a line that says, "Sing 'til your heart hurts....and then sing some more. Don't stop singing....until you reach the shore." You just have to KEEP SINGING. Keep going. Keep moving. Don't give up.
Pour yourself into other projects. I spent 6 months decorating and perfecting a nursery that I had no baby for. I started exercising, redecorating, cleaned and organized my house like a mad woman. Do whatever you have to do to keep your mind occupied. I know it never goes away. Your heart will ALWAYS ache. But keeping busy does help.

When you first decided on adoption as a way to start your family.. Did you start out wanting open or closed adoption?

Our agency requires all adoptions to be semi-open (one meeting before birth & pictures/letters until child is 18), so closed wasn't an option. We didn't want a fully open adoption in the beginning - there were too many unknowns that made us nervous. As we went through the process, however, and became more educated on the subject/listened to birth mother stories, we were more open to the idea of being open :). When Rebekah requested an open adoption we agreed, but took it one day at a time. We didn't jump right in and exchange phone numbers, addresses, etc. I think every situation is different and must be evaluated when the time comes. Our relationship with Rebekah was a natural progression and I'm so thankful for our transparency with one another.

When did you really start to feel like Ty's mom? I remember you said that it was rough at first.

Ben felt like Ty's father immediately - as soon as he held him. It took me about a week, which shocked me more than anyone. Because I was so close with Rebekah and knew how bad she was hurting, it was impossible for me to look at Ty without seeing her pain. I loved her as much as I loved him. The first couple of days he was very disoriented and looked around the room searching for Rebekah. There was this innate sense that he knew I was not the mother who birthed him. There were so many emotions that first week. I knew it was important to allow all of them to manifest, so I did. By week two, Ty would search for my voice in a room of people and I knew we'd both be just fine.

Will you tell us about Tyrus' name? Did you name him and what does it signify?

We named him at Rebekah's request and she was the first person we told. She loved it from the beginning which made us love it even more. Tyrus is named after his great-grandfather (Ben's Grandpa). He is the first grandson and great-grandson; it was really an honor to use the name Tyrus, as Grandpa Ty has lived an incredible legacy. If our little Ty can be half the man his great-grandpa is, we'll have done our job well.

How is Rebekah (and her family) doing? Do you speak on a regular basis?

Rebekah is doing well. God is moving big-time in her life, as she just landed a great job. She was under-qualified for the position, but her boss was won over by her bubbly, out-going personality. It's a Christian office and she's making more money than she's ever made before, and she gets three day weekends every week. When I heard the news I cried with joy, knowing that God is taking care of her and opening new opportunities for her family. We do talk on a regular basis and email often. She is/will be on my short list of phone calls I like to make on holidays, so I talked to her on Thanksgiving Day. We consider her family!

We are actually planning a trip to fly out and see Rebekah over Easter. We are so excited to go back. Rebekah's kids did not have an opportunity to meet Ty, last summer, and Rebekah (of course!) is itching to see him agian. It will be a grand celebration and we're counting down the days!

Once you had been matched with Rebekah, how did you "survive" the wait until Ty's birth? Our b-mom is due Jan. 9 and I can't hardly think of anything except that...

I was a crazy woman. I literally went through every closet and cupboard in the house, tearing it apart. I finished all the projects I had been wanting to do, I repainted, redecorated, and cleaned every nook and cranny...I picked out birth announcements, shopped for the perfect take "home" outfit, stocked the nursery, went on dates with Ben...My prego friends laughed because there's no way I could have gotten so much done, had I had a big old belly weighing me down! Those 5 months we had to wait went by suprisingly fast. It was all so much fun!

Are you using a specific cookbook to make his babyfood? If so, what book?

No cookbook as of yet. Just some internet research. It's all pretty easy right now, steam the veggies/boil the fruit, add water, and puree! I've had lots of requests for where I bought my jars. They were only about a $1 each, here: http://www.sks-bottle.com/340c/fin18a.html . I LOVE them by the way, and even use them for serving up Ty's oatmeal and rice cereal.

Do you worry about such negative, hateful and bitter people coming to your blog, seeing your photos and reading about your life?

No. I feel it's more beneficial for me to be transparent and deal with some haters, than to keep our story all to myself. I am confident in who I am, in the Lord, and don't let nasty comments bother me one bit. I don't acknowlege, post, or read them. I wouldn't have Ty, had I given in to internet fears, as Rebekah would have never found us. I trust God for my family's protection and use wisdom as necessary. I know God's not a cookie-cutter kind of guy, but I do secretly hope that maybe another birth mom will one day stumble across our story...



I did receive a few "heavy" questions that I want to address in a more serious manner. Look for those in the near future! Hope that gives you a little more insight into us and our story. Feel free to leave your questions in the comment sections, for next time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In a Year's Time

Here's what I wrote one year ago, today:

I thought I would be able to sneak through the holidays in one piece. It's so busy and fun and wonderful. I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes with it. I was so sure I would breeze through upbeat and cheerful and was mostly concerned about what I would feel like on January 1st. But I didn't escape. It's the day before Thanksgiving and my heart is so sad, my arms so empty, it's hard to be thrilled about doing any of my favorite things....I just want a baby. Lord, is that too much to ask? Lord????

It's really difficult to watch everyone else move on. Blog friends, real friends, strangers in the grocery store. Everyone else is making Christmas memories, starting traditions, continuing old ones. Me and Ben? Sitting at the same dinner table, eating the same dinners, having the same conversations. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband more than life. I love our friendship and camaraderie. I love all the time we've been able to spend melding our hearts and laughing. I love that we can take four hour naps on the weekends without having to think about anyone else but each other. But none of those things fill the empty hole in my heart...the arms that are always holding someone else's baby.

Are we doing the right thing? Did we pick the right agency? Should we forgo the dream of a newborn and adopt a toddler first? Do we need to be more open? Should we have less restrictions? Do I need to change our profile pictures? Do I need to change our profile? These questions run through my head every single day. I know the waiting anxiety is normal and my questions are not the first to be asked, but again that doesn't help me make it through the day. Call it foolish or naive, but I was so sure we would get chosen right away. I never imagined getting to the end of the year without a baby and now the faster it comes the harder I cry. Can I really make it through a 5th January, hoping the next year will be the year?

I completely understand why grief-stricken women steal babies from hospitals. The pain is simply too unbearable.


I have been a blubbery-remembering mess the last couple of days. Every time Ty smiles, I cry. The above words are so fresh in my memory, yet the thankfulness in my heart wets Ty's head as I hold him close, this morning.

I woke up singing Tyrus an old praise song we used to sing in youth group:

Look what the Lord has done,
Look what the Lord has done.
He healed my body,
He touched my mind,
He saved me just in time.

I'm gonna praise His name,
Each day He's just the same.
Come on and praise Him,
Look what the Lord has done.

Back in the day, we had crazy motions as we enjoyed dancing and jumping and praising God. I, of course, had to give Ty an original delivery - moves and all. We both ended the song in giggles.

My life will never be the same.

Come on and praise Him. Look what the Lord has done...

video

If you are still waiting for your miracle, hold on. God is faithful; he is moving.

From our family to yours, have a wonderful, thank-filled Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Find My Family

Sobbing.

I'm sitting here watching ABC's new family search show, as I'm sure many of you are, and I just can't stop crying. For many reasons.

I had mixed feelings as I saw preview clips over the last few weeks, but all my fears have been laid to rest with this beginning episode. Each side - birth and adoptive - honored each other with their words and tears were shared all around.

I would have been emotional watching the reunion, even removing adoption's presence in my life. It was a heartwarming story of love and regret and hope. Throw in our own experience with adoption and I am a mess! It hits close to home.

I am so thankful for Rebekah. Apart from the obvious, I am thankful that she wants to have a relationship with us...that she loves little Tyrus as much as we do. Watching the adopted daughter talk about her experiences and desire to know her birth parents, confirmed in my heart how important our contact with Ty's parents really is.

I was also encouraged to see that after 20-some years, knowing very little about her birth family, the adopted daughter held nothing but love in her heart for them. She was not bitter or angry or resentful. She was nervous, but excited to finally reunite after so many years apart. For that, her adoptive parents should be commended. Thanked. We need more adopting families out there that extend Christ's grace into every situation. That hold birth mothers in high regard and speak nothing but love, no matter what the circumstance.

A couple weeks ago an adoption-hater adoptee (fault of her parents...by the way) told Rebekah that Ty would grow up hating her for what she'd done to him. Those words really rattled my cage. A righteous indignant spirit rose up in my protective mommy heart...she was talking about my son, speaking ill will none the less. I didn't take it lightly. My son. My Tyrus, will grow up hating no one - least of all his birth mother. Hate and love cannot consume the same heart...Tyrus will be a lover. If I only instill one principle into his heart, it will be that. He will love all people...because God does. And we will lead by example.

The adopted daughter in tonight's show said she grew up praying for her birth parents. So will Ty. Rebekah is already a normal part of conversation. I often ask him, "Do you know just how loved you are baby boy?" I tell him of his first family. His mother and siblings and aunties. His grandma and great grandma...They all are part of God's plan, God's story.

I don't know what the future holds for us. I pray that our family will expand and that we'll have relationships with all birth families involved...but know that might not always be the case. For now, this week, this Thanksgiving, I will praise God for the tremendous blessing he has gifted us. Not only Ty, but a beautiful extended family. A family by God's design.

I am proud of ABC for showing such a positive, loving example of adoption and how families really can come together, in love, and celebrate life together.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ty's 5th Month


I am living the dream. I am. And mine has little (nothing) to do with success or fame or money. It all has to do with one world-rocking little boy...
I cannot contain the love in my heart for him. He laughs, I cry. Not in a blubbery-sobbing-mess way, more like a I-can't-believe-you're-mine way. His eyes melt my heart, his giggles make me remember. I remember the darkness...the heartache. It's far-gone, but fresh. Tyrus is my constant reminder of God's faithfulness. His goodness. He represents all things good and true and right. I have never taken one day for granted.
My little man turned 5 months on the 16th. And I can believe it. I lived every day.This has been a very big month! I'm not sure who flipped the perfect baby switch on, but someone did. For months we've struggled with nap time. Ty just would not nap - no matter what I tried. But, all the sudden, this month, he just started sleeping! He fell into his own schedule, sleeping 12 hours at night and taking 2 2 hour naps. He's eating like a champ and I've had a lot of fun making all his baby food. Because I couldn't breastfeed, this makes me feel like I'm giving back. Ty has loved everything we've tried, so far: sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, cereal, and carrots. I feel like I'm living the world brand new...through him. I am giddy schoolgirl every time we get to try something new!
Ty's little personality has really started to crack, this month. To my sheer pleasure he is a complete cuddle bug and loves to snuggle at every opportunity. He is growing and changing so fast, I just drink him in every day. His eyes are deeply gorgeous and they speak volumes to my heart.
He is putting everything in his mouth; we just love watching him explore his new world. The funniest change, this month, has been with his paci. He thinks he's pretty big stuff now because he can pull his paci in and out on his own. As soon as I give it to him he takes it out - as if to show me who's boss...of course, as soon as I turn around, it's right back in!
We're still rocking the mohawk...and, of course, smiling up a storm!
Lastly, I had to share these cutie videos with you. The second one is the closest we've gotten to rolling over. The first one is hilarious. For whatever reason Ty has started fake coughing for attention. He started doing this a few days ago and does it every chance he gets. I have no idea where he got this from or why he's doing it, but it cracks us right up!

video

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Month 6 will take us through the holidays. Every time I think about them I cry. Last Christmas was the darkest day of my life...what a revolution God has done since then.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm back!

Have you missed me? I have been exercising extreme discipline, this past month, as I tried to juggle mommy, student, trainee, and employee. Thankfully, one hat can be hung (literally) until the spring, as the Iceman is, now, behind us.

I spent nearly a year training for my very first mountain bike race and was sorely disappointed with my results. Ty brought the flu home 2 weeks ago and our home has been a recurring pool of sickness. Neither Ben nor I should have raced, as breathing proved difficult after the first few miles...but we persevered...and crossing that finish line never felt so good.


Ben started a ficticious club that has grown in popularity - League of Extraordinary Bikers. Although there are several members, Meeghan and I are the only women brave enough to get our pedal on.



We overcame tremendous odds as we both became moms,this June, and trained on little sleep and pure exhaustion. Not to mention Meeg actually had her baby - 5 months ago! She is also mom to two others under the age of 4. I started my Master's, we both went back to work, and in the last month it was dark before I could even get home from work. But, we did it! We pushed through and cheered each other on the whole way.


Our hubbies were only able to see us off and then had to head to their race. Believe it or not, the burly-bearded man pictured with me, below, is Ben. Iceman is usually in the low to mid 30's (hence the beard), but we got lucky, this year with mid 50's!

Meeghan and I lined up with our wave (right side - hands in the air). We were significantly prepared, but it is impossible to explain just how horrendously difficult this 8-mile off-road race was. The best way it can be explained is monstrous sandy hill after monstrous sandy hill. I knew I was in trouble when I could barely walk up some of the hills with my bike!


Biking has given me great purpose. I started riding because Ben was. I wanted to be with him and I needed a distraction from infertility. There are few things in life we have control over, having a baby being the hardest one for me. Jumping on my bike, however, became healing.

I finally had control over something in my life. I contolled my speed, endurance, competitive attitude, and mental ability to push my body to new extremes. There is something freeing about throwing all caution to the wind and racing over bridges and flying down hills. There is an adrenaline that comes with conquering obstacles and an accomplishment at exceeding goals.



Even being sick, I was able to finish middle of the pack. I definitely could say "been there, done that," but I'm not quitting now. I want to win. Next year's goal. I want Ty to see his mom as a fighter...a conquerer...I want him to know that he can do anything he sets his mind to, no matter how unlikely.

If he doesn't learn that from mom, he'll definitely see it in dad. Our crazy hard race was nothing compared to Ben's. Same style, nearly 4 times longer! I was able to cheer Ben on at mile 19 and I could tell he was hurting...we learned a valuable lesson about flu recovery that day! Ben refused to quit and pushed on for the last 10 miles.


Shout out to the boys for all their hard work. They rocked it!

After the big race, we indulged in a much deserved break on the beach. Ben and I were minus Ty for the first time in 5 months...and really enjoyed each other, for the weekend.




We caught the tail end of Juno, in our hotel room one night and I looked over to see tears streaming down Ben's face. Tyrus has rocked our world and life will never be the same. We smell every flower and see every blue sky. The crickets don't escape us and we are forever thankful for Rebekah's sweet gift to our family. There isn't anything the three of us can't handle together.


Because I know you want to see Ty, I will leave you with this cutie picture and let you listen to Ty's new means of communicating (see below).


This just started, today.

video

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Your Questions Answered

Each week, I have readers ask me questions - be it through comments or emails. I try to answer as many as I can, but due to time constraints I often have to skip over some. I'm going to start doing a monthly Q&A post, so if you've got questions, now's the time to ask!

Here's what's up for our first Q&A session:

What do you think of the song "From God's Arms, To My Arms, To Yours." It was originally written by Michael Mclean, but has been rerecorded by other artists, including Marie Osmond?

I had actually never heard of this song before and had to do a Google search. The lyrics are beautiful! I'm embarrassed to say, I had no idea Marie Osmond adopted her children - how cool!

Where do you guys live?

Michigan.

How did you and Ben choose your agency?

We first decided to adopt domestically. It was really important to us to have a newborn. We selfishly wanted every minute, every first, with our soon-to-be child. Adopting a 6-12 month old, internationally, would have been okay the second time around, but we wanted to experience full parenthood the first time.

Once we knew domestic was the best fit for us, we weighed the pros and cons of using a national agency versus an in-state agency. We decided to go the route of an in-state agency because we knew out-of-state adoptions could be more complicated and expensive. (Ironically, we chose a Michigan based agency to avoid the out-of-state hoopla and then Rebekah found us...and lived out of state!)

Once those two factors were decided - domestic, in-state adoption. We simply looked for the agency that did the most adoptions, in Michigan. (We did meet with and research the agency - we didn't just sign on the dotted line!)

What kind of camera do you use?

My wonderful husband bought me a Nikon D60, last year, and I couldn't love it more! My favorite shots are taken with a longer 75-300 lens because they lend well to the artistic eye. My bestie and I took a photography class at our local community college to get wised up on shooting manually - very helpful. I'm a long cry from professional, but it's been a really fun hobby (and has saved us a lot of money on buying professional pictures!)

Do you have to take calls from the birth father?

We don't have to do anything. Sadly, many adoptive parents don't deliver on promises made pre-baby...and there are no legal ramifications. We continue to foster relationships with both of Ty's birthparents because we feel it's in Ty's best interest. If he could talk, there isn't a question I wouldn't be able to answer, right now. I hope that our relationship with his first parents adds fullness and health to his story. We are very thankful for the contact we have, as long as we have it.

If God allowed you to get pregnant, now, how would you feel?

This is not an easy answer. My gut response is "I don't know." Having a baby would be, of course, amazing and wonderful...not to mention miraculous. But. God has put such a purpose in my heart for adoption. There are so many orphans in need of family. And we're family! For months, God has been stirring my heart toward our bleeding foster system and the need found within. I want God to use me! I know that we've made an impact on the lives of Rebekah and her family...I want to do more. I heard a missionary speak,yesterday, of his time in Haiti. He was walking to his helicopter when a woman held out her dying son and begged the missionary to take him - to give him health and a better life. The missionary talked about the impact it left on his heart.

Whether domestic or international, there are SO many kids in need of homes. I want our home to be that home. I can't rescue them all...but I can rescue one...or two...or ten!

Back to the question. Pregnancy would thrill me because it would be a quick, no-worry solution to giving Ty a brother or sister. But, if I'm answering honestly, I'd have to mention the possability of disappointment. If we were able to birth a whole clan of Pinchbacks, we would not be so aggressive at welcoming the fatherless into our home. And the Father needs us to do just that.

Can life get any better?
No way. I'm walking in the complete fullness of God. Any extra blessings that come our way will just add equal amounts of joy. There is nothing better than waking up to a squealing, happy boy in the room next door.



Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section for next month's Q&A.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Awe Never Fades

I totally get the mother's love thing. How there's no cuter baby than your own, everything baby does is adorable, you can never get enough, etc, etc.

But the awe of looking at a son you did not birth, knowing the great sacrifice paid by his first mom, and the tremendous thanksgiving in your heart for him, is love at its greatest height.

Ty finished up his cereal, this morning [Can you believe he's eating cereal already?], as Ben sat down on the couch to watch. Very reflectively, he said, "I can see why people look at their adopted babies and think they were created just for them. I don't believe that...but when I look at Ty I see such a gift."

(You can read this post to understand why we don't feel Ty was "meant" for us.)

The thanksgiving in our hearts for this joy-giving boy has never dimmed. He has given so much fullness to our life; a week doesn't go by that we don't remember how he came to be.

Last night, I had a dream that we adopted one year old twins and renamed them Molly and Max (both names were on our names list). The girls name was Dahly (pronounced "dolly") and it seemed they just needed new names for a new start, in our family. The dream was so real, I woke up this morning questioning its truth and experienced a wave of emotion from disappointment to how-in-the-world-would-I-handle-three-babies-under-the-age-of-one.

It almost seems selfish to think about/desire siblings for Ty. Could we really ask someone to gift us such an incredible blessing, again? I understand that Rebekah needed us as much as we needed her...but it's hard to see that when all I can see is a bubbly, coo-filled little boy that represents all of God's best.
I feel so undeserving of such miracles, but am thankful God saw otherwise!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ty's 4th Month

Every month gets better. My heart explodes with love for this kid and just thinking about him makes me cry. I knew life was going to be good this side of infertility (it had to be), but I didn't know it would be this good.

This was a big month of firsts.

First grab for his toy - first pull on mommy's hair -first drool drenched shirt - first road trip to Indy and first time in the big city - first miserable up-all-night(s) cold - first explosion diaper (sorry Meeg) - first signs of balding - first freezing temps - first taste of cereal - first faceplant caught on camera.


Our big guy is actually a little peanut compared to his similar aged buddies, weighing in at 14.5 pounds and 24.5 inches. He melts my heart and has a shoe collection comparable to that of any hollywood diva.

It seems that every month is my favorite photo shoot...but this really is my favorite. I'm usually snapping shots, but this month Ben got behind the lens. A beautiful boy on a beautiful fall day.

Sometimes it takes the photographer some time to find just the right spot. Good thing she has a camera crew.

Ty didn't quite understand that Mommy wanted him to look at the pumpkin...not eat the pumpkin!

Favorite season - Favorite men - Favorite family

Mommy and Ty share sweet thoughts.
There's nothing better than big squeals after nose-smushing kisses.


Click Here for Ty's 4 month video.


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Love Love LOVE this. It speaks of every healed heartstring.


Tyrus is my joy unspeakable.