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?


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.


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

Tyrus is my joy unspeakable.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Ty turned 4 months old, today. I can't believe it. His video and photo shoot will come later, this weekend. For now, I've been thinking a lot about influences. In Ty's lifetime, there will be countless footprints, by countless people, pressed into his heart. One person, already shaping up to reach superhero status, is Ben. His daddy.

We went to Indianapolis, last weekend, to see my longest-running friend, Laura, and her family. We had an absolute blast and enjoyed our first ever family road-trip (with an exception of the 24 hour homecoming ride, with Ty).

We spent a good chunk of Saturday afternoon in downtown Indy, enjoying the sights, catching up with old friends, and listening to continual reminders from a three year old, that she had not and would not forget about the promised esclator ride, on the way back to the car.

We lunched at a quaint, little street deli, Au Bon Pain, and braved the cool temperatures to feed on the patio. It was a bustle of activity as I balanced the tray, ordered our soup (new lunch menus intimidate me), kept Ty quiet, and maneuvered the stroller through tight aisles. I was so focused on what I was doing I never noticed the man who's soup we ended up paying for, upon check out.

Have you ever heard Monk & Neagle's song, 21st Time?
[It's amazing] It starts out:

Nowhere to live,
nowhere to fall
he used to have money,
but he’s wasted it all.
His face is a photograph burned in my mind,
but I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

In the course of the day, I saw no less than 10 homeless men on various street ends. It's not that I didn't notice them...I did.

He sleeps under stars,
that’s all he can afford
His blanket's an old coat he’s had since the war
He stands on the corner of Carter and Vine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

I saw a wiry, old man holding a "Vet" sign and thought how sad it was that he had served our country so courageously...and was now reduced to collecting coin on the street.

He may be a drifter, he’s grown old and gray
But what if he’s Jesus and I walk away?
I say I’m the body and drink of the wine
but I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time...

We're standing in the middle of Au Bon Pain and I hear Ben say, "Grab yourself some soup and whatever you need. I got it." I looked up to find a very dirty, disheveled man. Looked to be about 60. He had come in looking for soup samples when my Ben found him.

Later, someone asked, "Did you buy that man's soup?"

Ben answered, "Yeah. He was hungry."

That's it. That's the whole story. Ben didn't sit down and have a major theological discussion with the man or even ask him where he was from. He saw he was he fed him. I haven't been able to shake the experience from my mind, all week.

Life as a mom is so different than life not as a mom. Naturally, I want to be a better person for me...but when it comes to Ty, I'm continuosuly evaluating my actions and attitudes. I have been given the gift of shaping little Tyrus into a man - a good, godly man. And I want to do it right. My footsteps need to be sure and strong, if sweet Ty is going to follow in them.

I keep replaying our deli experience for two reasons. First, I never noticed the man. I was so wrapped up in my own life, my own agenda, I didn't see the opportunity within arms reach. I don't want this for Ty. I don't want him to pretent not to see people...

I want him to live God's love out loud.

Is it ever okay for us to walk past homeless men and women on street corners? I understand that we have places to be, shouldn't hand out money, etc, etc. But what if we came prepared when heading to an innercity area?

I thanked Ben for showing such kindness to that man and told him that next time we go into a city we're packing lunches. As Ty grows up, I don't ever want him to pretend not to see...

I want his eyes to be wide open to the pain this world aches...and to know the healing his hands and feet posess. I want him to be generous and kind and non-judging. I want him to walk in the confidence of God and the compassion of Jesus. I want him to look for every opportunity to be love.
I want him to be just like Ben.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blogger Love Needed

Please go love on Hope. She is a dear blogger friend in desperate need of our support. Here are the only rules - you are not allowed to tell her to "trust God" for her family or that "God has a plan." Those lines are completely over used in this community and fall on deaf ears, when those ears also have broken hearts.

Thank you for showing your support!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Infamously Anonymous

I do not read or post hurtful, mean anonymous comments. And believe me I've had my share. I've been called every name under the sun by anti-adoption birth moms. I don't read them because they're ridiculous. I don't block them because there are encouraging anonymous readers. And I don't post them because they don't deserve a minute of your (or my) attention.

However, as long as "You bleep'n bleep...." isn't in the first line, I do read all my comments and even respond to many of them that offer email replies (Do you all know about/use that function?) I'm not afraid of conflict or answering tough questions. Like so many things in life, adoption needs a learning curve. There are many people that are simply uneducated, when it comes to adoption. Because it's one of my favorite topics, I enjoy answering questions and sharing my experiences.

All that to say, I received an anonymous comment, this week, that made me laugh out loud...and then want to fall to my knees. There are so many people blinded by lies...

Here is the comment:

Another way to see your "god":

How well do you think it would work out if psychiatry dropped the charade and diagnosed 85% of the population as paranoid schizophrenic because they believe that a Jewish zombie was observing them 24/7 and constantly interceding on their behalf to prevent his father from roasting them after they die?

Funny... but heavy, right?

I don't claim to have this super "in" with God, but we're buds for sure. I think this would make him laugh too.

I didn't post the comment to make a laughing stock of this infamously anonymous reader; instead, I want to clear up a few misperceptions. I promise not to get up on an overstated soapbox, I only have two things to say.

1) Jesus, the Jewish zombie (his/her words, not mine), is not observing us like laboratory mice. Yes, He's all knowing and everywhere present, but he only shows up when invited...and the interceding that's taking place isn't for my soul. I've already given that to my Father. Rather, Jesus intercedes on my a friend. And boy am I glad he does! Let me tell you, for two years straight, I closed off my very dark heart to all-things God. I was angry and bitter and resentful over the fact that he wasn't answering my prayers for a baby. But, my sweet, sweet friend (same Jewish Zombie guy) continued to plead my heart before our Father. In the busy-ness of life, prayer often gets pressed into compact "thank you, God"s, instead of the steady stream of communication He so desires. I, for one, am thankful that I have a friend, going to God on my behalf...and the behalf of Ben...and Ty.

2) God is not some culinary artist that heats up the flames when it's time to roast one of his kids. I do not honor God with my life because I want to avoid hell. It's a benefit for sure...but the real reason is that I want to praise him. He knows me and loves me like nobody else on this planet. He knows all the deep intricate parts of my fears and thrills and happy places. He whispers encouragement and fills my heart with desire and purpose. He is my mountain-mover, my David in the land of giants.

I don't have to work at loving God, my heart just sings it. Likewise, I don't have to prove my faith or defend my position. Love God or don't. It's everyone's decision for themeselves.

My love for him is a natural expression of who I am. The same way I breathe and smile and laugh. My heart was captured at a young age and I've been smitten ever since.

Anonymous commenter, whoever you are, I hope that some day you can experience the same heart flutters....not to keep you from hell, but so your life can overflow with all of His goodness.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finalization is Set!

We got our court date!!! On February 9th at 11am, Tyrus will become an official member of our family! I'm a little sad that we don't actually get to go to court...but am thankful we get to spare the expense. If you'll remember, in order for us to come home when we did, after Ty was born, we had to agree to let our out-of-state agency do the finalization. After three long weeks, we were more than ready to come home and would have agreed to anything! The agency is licensed for expedited services and allows for finalization over the phone. Not quite as exciting, but we'll still record the momentous day and have a big party to celebrate!!!

I still can't believe this sweet, sweet boy is ours! Every so often Ben will look at me and say, "Can you believe Rebekah gave him to us?" I will never believe it.
We have been given the greatest possible earthly gift. My heart is so full of thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Deleted Post

I had a lapse in judgement and decided to delete my last post. I had a moment of anger, but am over it. I don't want Ty's (or anyone else's) view of his birthdad to be tainted by my words.

It's all good.

Ty with Auntie Rachael!!