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.