Friday, July 31, 2009

Love Overwhelming

I could not be more in love. Seriously. Sometimes I just sit and stare...I can't believe he's mine. Most days it doesn't seem real. For years I imagined all sorts of things...laying in bed cuddled close to my baby...taking walks in the park...proudly telling a stranger that he/she was __ months old...watching Ben be a dad...rocking, with baby, in our nursery...

The list goes on and on.

Now, when I do all of those things, I stop and take a moment to remember...As Ty and I cuddled close, today, during a lazy afternoon nap, I remembered all the years of yearning...dreaming...praying. I don't think my tears will ever dry. My heart just overflows thankfulness for this sweet, sweet, little man.

He melts my heart and makes me smile. He's growing so fast and I love every change. His face is full of expression and it cracks me right up. I try to keep camera and video nearby, so that I'll always remember.

His little coos and smiles are thanks enough for all the sleepless nights and showerless days.

Mr. Stripes has become Ty's new best friend. Remember Mr. Stripes? I ashamedly admit, I tested all of Ty's baby gear with Mr. Stripes - sling, wrap, car seat, crib, swing...

I keep him up on the changing table and Ty will just stare and stare at him. It's so cute when they're nose to nose.

He trucks all over the house with us, giving mommy time to eat, brush teeth, and occasionally breathe.

We're dedicating our little buddy to the Lord, this coming Sunday, at church. We believe that baptism is a personal choice, that Ty needs to make on his own, one day, when he can grasp salvation and repentance. So, instead of baptizing, our church does dedications. Ben and I will stand before God, our church family, relatives, and friends promising to raise Ty with godly values and disciplines, that we will raise him in the church, live our lives by example, and verbalize our acknowledgment, publicly, that he belongs to the Lord.

This will be such a special day. Our best friends are also dedicating their baby boy, Parker, and we have many family members coming that will meet Ty for the first time.

We don't need a ceremony to declare all the truths we know...But I think it's a really sweet act of worship, to our Father, thanking him for such a precious gift. We'll take lots of pictures and the share the day with you, too!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My baby is growing fast!!!

Tyrus has been smiling sporadically the last week or so, but never on cue and I sort of questioned whether or not they were truly smiles. He's also been cooing, but again, it was here and there. We woke up this morning and he's like a little man. I started talking to him, as I always do, and his whole face lit up! This continued for a solid 20 minutes before I ran for the camera.

I put him on his playmat, wanting to see if his smiles would continue...and they did!! Up to this point he would just scream when we tried it out. My baby literally grew overnight!

He is seriously the light of my life...we're having so much fun.

video

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Love Letter from Mommy

My sweet, sweet, precious miracle Baby,

I've been wanting to do this for awhile....and I've asked Daddy to do the same. One of my most treasured possessions is a baby book my mother made for me. One of the early pages houses notes from my mom and dad about how they felt the day I was born. Just yesterday, Daddy said to me, "He's never going to know just how much we love him, is he?" I think Daddy is right. I've tried my best to put our path to you in words...but so many times, words just fail.

Oh, how my heart longed for you.

Look at me, I'm already sobbing. I can hear your rhythmic breathing as you lay on my chest, while I write this note. You are my world. Some days I look at you and still can't believe you're mine. Some days I wake up and think it was all a dream and then I see your sweet restful face and know that you're true. Some days I think someone is going to walk in and say, "Sorry. This was all a cruel joke. You must give him back now." But, Daddy assures me you are son. You are mine. You are my heart.

I love everything about you. You love to be held ALL the time and you have the best little fuzzy head that cuddles right into the crook of my neck when I hold you near. You have these dark pools for eyes and they speak right to the depths of my heart. It's like we understand each other without ever saying a word. You are so fiery it makes me laugh. Your screams don't bother me, I know that one day you'll use your lungs for the Lord.

You are 5 weeks old, now, and I've already thought to the end of life. All the things I want you to be...all the things Daddy and I want to instill. One day you'll know what it means to fall in love...really fall in love. The kind of fall in love that captivates you and consumes every piece of your heart. You'll know then how mommy feels about you. I'm so madly in love with your Daddy and didn't know it was possible to love anyone else with the same strength. But I do. I love you with everything in me...

Our life is so full, with you here, Tyrus. Everything is better, with you in tow. [Okay, maybe not shopping...I've quickly learned to leave you home with Daddy for a boy's night!] You give my days so much purpose and push me to be a better woman, mother, and wife.

Daddy and I often talk about the things we'll teach you...

Yesterday, we were talking about our families and your Daddy said he felt like he walked into our marriage with all of the bests from his parents. His mom's best qualities. His dad's best characteristics. I mulled over that all night. I want you to follow in your Daddy's footsteps. We want all the best for you. I hope you'll look back one day and say the same thing to your wife..."I left the house with the best of my mom and the best of my dad in me."

There are many qualities I pray that will stick...funny how many of them I see in your Daddy. I want you to be a gentleman...opening doors for girls, helping old ladies load groceries into their car, viewing your elders with the greatest of respect. I want you to look at women with beauty and love, cherishing the gift they are and treating them as such. I want you to always love spending time with your mom...and like your Daddy does with his mom, I want you to lovingly call me "babe."

I want you to set soaring goals that others would consider lofty...and to always know you can do anything you set your mind to. I want you to desire the extraordinary and never settle for ordinary. I want you to be a man of integrity, with unparalleled character. And just like Samuel, I pray that your words never fall flat. Oh, how I pray that you will be a man of your word. That you would speak and people would listen. I want you to be full of wisdom beyond your years...for people to look at your life and see Jesus. I want men and women alike to be changed for the better, just by knowing you.

I want your Dad to be your hero.

But, most of all, baby. The thing I pray most...the area I will devote my life to, is your heart for God. I don't care how many sports you'll play or how many friends you'll have. I only care how fervently you pursue your God.

I want you to run after Him with everything you have...to lay your life surrender before him...to be led by the Spirit...accepting the call He has on your life. I want you to unashamedly worship Him, like King David, and to encourage your peers to do the same.

I don't want you to be tainted by the world. I want you to lead. To be strong and mighty. I want you to see the traps of the enemy and call them like they are. I want you to believe in the supernatural.

I want you to be better than me. I want you to be better than Daddy. I want you to have every good gift...I want your life to be a testimony of God's goodness. Do you know what I tell people, now?

You are God's faithfulness. I cannot say it without crying. When I look at your sweet, perfect face I actually see the faithfulness of God. I had given up all hope, Tyrus. I was at my lowest point...angry at God - angry at the world. I had convinced myself that God had turned his back on my cry...that my arms would never be full.

The Sunday before we got news of you, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart...I am faithful. Even when you are faithless.

And then there was you.

I will never again doubt the faithfulness of our loving King. You are my living reminder. You are my son. I may not ever be able to show you the fullness of those words, but I'm going to devote my life to trying.

You, Tyrus Lee, are my heart's cry.

~ Mommy

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tyrus Meets his Namesake

Isn't Ty's great grandpa, Ty, the cutest old man you ever did see? I cracked right up when he came to the door in a "Ty" hat - his golf buddies made it for him.

It was such a special moment to see Grandpa hold his first great grandson...let alone one named after him. Grandpa was very emotional when we called him with the news. He actually dropped the phone and Ben was fearful we'd given him a heart attack! He told us, this week, that he was just so honored.

It was neat to be able to tell Grandpa why we named our son after him. Grandpa Tyrus has had an incredible life legacy. His successes are monumental (founded his own company, invented his own products, several patents, honorary doctorate, etc, etc), let alone his heart for his family...especially the grandkids. He is an incredible man. If our Tyrus can accomplish half of what his great grandpa Tyrus did, we will know we've done our job well.

We hope our Tyrus will have several more years getting to know his very special namesake...great grandpa, Ty.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not to Read

I want to thank everyone for your input on the subject of whether or not to read Rebekah's letters for Ty. Ben and I discussed it at length...and the points many of you brought up.

We've decided to leave the letters sealed.

It was my initial leaning and Ben confirmed it when we talked it through. Ty will never lack for information. He will always know Rebekah...and Rebekah's kids...and Rebekah's family. There are pictures in his nursery, a birth day scrapbook (which mommy hasn't started, yet), a binder full of every email Rebekah and I ever wrote to each other, and presumably birthday cards and gifts throughout the year from his first family. All of those items are available to Tyrus.

Ben and I want him to grow in the confidence of the Lord. To know who he is, where he came from, and his purpose in life. When he's three I want him to proudly be able to tell strangers at the park "I'm adopted!"...when he gets his first A on a big test, I want him to come home and celebrate - and then call Rebekah...When he graduates high school we want his first family there. There will be no secrets, no underlying "monsters," and certainly no dramatic moments.

This is Ty's testimony; his life. We are so thankful to have the relationship with Rebekah and her family that we do. He will never lack love from either side or have to piece together his story. Even the birth father has made strides to check on Ty. I hold on to every piece of knowledge I have...printing emails, writing out phone conversations, saving cards. I know these will be treasures later.

When it comes to the letters, we really feel like they are an extra special gift for Ty. Something special for him to read when he's ready (we have no pre-determined date/age). The letters aren't going to reveal some unfound truth or secret that's been hidden...they are love letters...straight from Rebekah's heart.

Sweet Rebekah read my words and emailed me a copy of the letter she wrote, so I wouldn't have to physically open the one in my hands. It was an honest, heartfelt read. Reading through her words, confirmed that the intimacy they held were for Ty's eyes alone. I know how she feels. I know her love for him. I get to hear it in her voice, see it through her blog, and read it in her emails. All of her words for Ty are the same ones I would use in describing her love to him...

However, he will get the added bonus of actually reading them himself. For the first time. We are at peace with our decision. With so many pieces of his story already shared, I'm glad our little man has something special...just for him...that he doesn't have to share.

There was one line in Rebekah's letter that brought my heart to its knees. It will replay every time a new letter is found in the shuffle of mail:

...I love your mom and dad, they are amazing people and I thank God for bringing them into my life because even though you came from my belly, you were meant to be there son....

I wish that every adoption out there included a woman like Rebekah. She is remarkable; she is the first mother to my son. With that...the letters will remain unopened...bundled together for my babyheart, when he's ready.

Friday, July 17, 2009

To Read or Not to Read

This is a picture of Rebekah sealing up her first written letter to Ty. I received it in the mail, today, but am unsure whether or not I should open it...

I knew Rebekah wanted to write letters. Part of our hospital gift to her was beautiful stationary, that I had to search far and wide for. [Doesn't anyone write letters anymore?]

I love the relationship we have with Rebekah and I know Tyrus is going to be so grateful when he gets older. There are no gaping holes or missing pieces to his story. I imagine having letters to read from his first mother will be incredibly special and fulfilling...to be able to read her heart, in her own words, opposed to hearing them filtered through me.

Rebekah gave me permission to read the letters...which made me realize I had never given the idea any thought. As I finger the first envelope my heart is torn. It leans toward leaving them sealed. I can only put myself in Ty's shoes...If in the middle of deep conversation, my mother one day pulled a bundle of letters from a special box and told me they were written from my birth mother just for me...and that they had remained unopened over the years, I would be honored. I can't think of a more special gift...for any child...but especially an adoptee. To know that my mother had treasured them over the years and trusted me to open them first, would be such a privilege.

My only real reason for wanting to read them is curiosity, I guess...what is she saying...how is she saying it...what is she feeling (especially years down the road)...

It's not a matter of content. I'm not concerned with how she will tell Ty his story...or the details she'll include. I know she wants the absolute best for him and covers his life in prayer. I definitely feel no threat or need to "screen" the letters. I'm also not concerned with when I'll give them to Ty. God will lead us.

I know that either decision will still leave Tyrus full...in that he has such a special gift. I just want to give him all the best...

I'm opening up the comments for your thoughts. What would you do? I know I have several adoptees reading...how would you feel?

I'll let you know what we decide.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ty says thank you!!

Ty wants to thank...or rather yawn...everyone for the outpouring of love. I think Ty is going to be just like his mommy (who LOVES getting gifts). He can barely contain his excitement for our daily trip to the mailbox!

From groceries to meals to clothes to books, we have been blessed beyond belief! We waited so long to be a family...and the expense has been suffocating. Your showing of love has meant so much!

I have to give a shout out to Sarah for her thoughtful, uber-creatvie gift! She sent me a fun box with onesies and these homemade blocks:
The top block, hidden among the moos, has Ty's name and birth picture on it...the second shelf houses his name and the bottom block contains his birth statistics. Aren't they cool??? Thanks, Sarah!
We love our little man so much. Thank you for sharing in this journey with us.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy First Month, Ty!

**I can't get the full video to load you'll have to watch it on You Tube. If you're interested click HERE.**

I have been trying to take as much video as possible...I know I'll never have these moments again....

Never mind the dishwasher in the background, my chopped off head, and the delay at the end...we didn't have daddy around to help us!


I can't believe it; my baby is growing up!! Tyrus is one month, today.
It's been a big month for the little guy. For starters, he was born...That was a pretty big deal!

He finally decided to enjoy his bath (today, as a matter of fact!)And he found his fingers. He prefers two at a time.He quickly figured out that being held is way better.Being wrapped counts as being held and it's the only way mommy gets anything done! (I'm sorry I don't know the name of the wrap, many of you have asked. My sister used it with Nya and passed it on....)Ty enjoys a little cow time everyday.And he's lifting his head all on his own. [Isn't he too cute????]
And cooing with smiles...contrary to what Daddy believes!His eyes are as blue as the midnight sky and they speak of God's goodness.


We love him with every fabric of who we are and can't wait to see what month 2 holds. Happy first month, Ty!

Monday, July 13, 2009

How Great is Our God

I'm not trying to turn this into a super-spiritual mega blog or a variation of. I hope that no matter where your belief in God lies, you find this blog to be a well of encouragement. A realistic view of open adoption from a girl that once had a very dark heart...hallowed by heartache and anger...that now lives on the mountain of motherhood and can't stop singing praises for her little man. If you only know the highs of my story, please go back and read the lows...it's the only way to grasp the full miracle of this precious baby boy.

Yesterday, was our first Sunday back in our home church. Maybe one day I'll be able to stand in church and not cry...but yesterday was not that day. My heart just overflows with thankfulness for our sweet baby boy.

It's not just thankfulness for him...it's everything.

I cannot believe the incredible flood of support we've received from everyone. Our family...friends...this community. All hearts, big and small, were rooting for our son. Our friend's little girl told her, "Mom, someday I want to adopt a little baby just like Ty." I love it! I love that this boy is a walking testimony. I hope that his life does change the lives of others. I hope that people will want to hear his story and that he'll confidently tell it. I hope people will look at him and want to adopt. I hope that people will see him and see Jesus.

The flow of gifts and cards have been unbelievable and many of them from you (FYI: Sarah you'll get a special salute in an upcoming post. We LOVED your gift!) . We've gotten so much mail from people we've connected with, but never met. People standing in celebration with us.

We are humbled beyond words.

About halfway into our journey home, we received a call from our attorney, at the agency. We were still steaming over their lack of professionalism and let the call go to voice mail. The message went something like this, "Hi Ben, this is __________. Now that we're doing the finalization we'll need to have you return the contract I attached in a recent email to you, with payment, before we can proceed. Both items need to be received by the end of the month."

Funny thing. We thought they were doing the finalization the whole time. And the money they need by the end of the month? It's $3,000.00 and we thought we'd have until January to pay it off. The finalization, afterall, doesn't take place until then.

We were too excited to be on our way home to let it ruin our day. After a few days passed we started to stress a little. Even with the help we've received, this adoption has sucked our pockets clear. The little bit of money we had tucked away - and by little bit, I mean $800 - was going to help alleviate the pressure of me taking unpaid leave to be home with Ty.

Someone asked me a few days ago, "Is there anything you guys need?" She was referring to baby items: clothes, bibs, bottles, etc. My head screamed, "YAH. MONEY."

I spent the weekend getting our house settled, wading through the massive pile of mail, and reconciling our bank account. I was shocked to find extra money in our account (partly because we spent way less than saved, while out-of-state) and a few pieces of mail containing cash/checks for our finalization...all were sent anonymously. We were feeling pretty good on Saturday night that we only needed 1000 more dollars for the agency.

After worship, on Sunday, an envelope was handed to us with exactly that. I don't even know if the person knew what we needed or when we needed it by. But God knew. God provided the full $3000 that we needed...and we didn't have to do anything. How great is our God?

I am overwhelmed by the miracle of my son. He is living proof that not only is there a God, but that he is marvelously faithful...even when we're not. I know that God has big things planned for little Tyrus, giving him a story like this.

Yesterday the tears were flowing as we sang Chris Tomlin's, How Great is Our God.

Age to age he stands
Even when I was a crumpled mess on the floor and it felt like I'd been run over by a truck.

And time is in His Hands
He saw me take my first pregnancy test...

Beginning and the End,
He held me as I wept and walked out the door of my last RE visit...

Beginning and the End
His heart paralleled mine as we held Ty for the first time...

How great is our God
Of the thousands of blogs out there, God used a longtime web friend of Rebekah's, whose real life friend told her about my blog, to connect us to our son...

Sing with me, How great is our God
He took care of every detail...weaving our story before it ever began...

And all will see how great...how great...is our God.

Just as the rainbow reminds us of God's promise, I will forever look at Ty and remember His greatness.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Settling In

The last few days have been a whirlwind...Daddy had to go back to work on Monday (sad) so Baby Ty and I have been finding our rhythm without him. I'm pretty sleepy...it's a big shift taking all the night feedings...but I'm enjoying it all.

Our biggest problem is that little guy doesn't ever want to be set down...truth be told I don't really want to put him down...but there are things that must be done (like brushing one's teeth!) Today, I wore him most of the day in a wrap and it was perfect! He was as content as can be and I managed to get us unpacked, finished the birth announcements, straightened the house, and walked to the bank and the post office...all before 2:00pm (this was a major feat!)

I think we'll try it again tomorrow...
I will never tire of having him close to my heart. My eyes well with love for this boy.We've had lots of visitors!!!
Cousin Nya is completely infatuated with little Ty.
So sweet!!Besties and their buddies. Baby Parker is 11 days older than Ty. Man I look tired...
Ty is changing everyday. He gave us his first real coo, today and finally agreed to sit in his swing...as long as it's not moving. Baby steps!Our favorite part of the day is when Daddy gets home. He tells us how much he missed us and showers our cheeks with kisses.

It feels so good to finally have a family to call my own.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Homecoming

Our little man did great in the car ride home. My mama heart was so very proud! We went through six different states and it took us about 25 hours (We spread it over three days). We stopped every three hours to feed and change Ty, gas up the car if needed, and use the restroom ourselves. Ty was a champ and slept most of the way! He fussed a little here and there, but was always lulled back to sleep by mommy's voice and the sway of the moving car. We thought for sure he wouldn't sleep during the nights, with all that day sleeping, but he did!!!

Our last stop before coming home was to our sweet friends, Dan and Laura. Laura has been my best friend since 7th grade and had a baby boy 7 days before us. All I've ever wanted in life was to be a mom alongside my best friends and it finally happened!!Baby Gabe and Baby Ty gave us a few good shots before the cries started...They will be best buds for sure!

The sweetest moment occurred when little Maddy (Gabe's big sister) came running down the stairs and said "Auntie B, Auntie B you got your baby!!!" It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me just how many hearts...big and small...our celebrating with ours.

I was flooded with emotion when we pulled into our driveway! I know people say "Home is where the heart is"...but there's something about those four walls too...

Three weeks is such a long time to be away...Surreal.Within minutes of being home, my sister brought over a huge surprise...My mom!! My mom was going to fly out and visit us while we were away (she lives in Texas) but broke her elbow right before Ty was born! She didn't think she'd make it back to Michigan until his dedication, at church (in August). I was SO excited to see her! There's something about wanting your mom during life's biggest events!
Intimate moments with Auntie Rachael, cousin Nya, and Nana JJ.Nya just loved her new little cousin and kept saying, "Baby..baby!"My dad and sister made this giant stork last summer, when Nya was born, and added a heart with Ty's info! It's such a fun little shout out...by little, I mean 9 feet tall!Such fun famly moments that I'll never forget...I held back tears most of the day! Seeing my mom hold her grandson for the first time was really emotional. Without her financial support, Baby Ty would never have been ours. I am forever indebted to both her and Rebekah for such an incredible gift...
It was a fun day with family and friends! We literally dropped our bags in the garage, visited with my family, and then all headed over to our best friends' 4th of July party. Our closest friends were all there ready to shower us and Baby Ty with hugs and kisses! I cared more about seeing my friends then taking pictures, so you'll have to imagine the hugs and tears!

When we got home Ben's family came over to meet their first grandchild and nephew! Sharing our sweet boy with all the people we love is amazing.

(Ben's mom)

My mom and sister spent the night and when I got up this morning (at 12pm...Life with a baby has turned my sleeping upside down), my sister had gone out and grocery shopped - fully stocking the kitchen, made us a huge breakfast and meals for the next few days! She rocks!

We still have so many people to see...and unpacking to do...but we're home.

Our life begins.