Thursday, April 8, 2010

Family Reunion: Words & Pictures

When we dipped into the foothills my mind started to sing. A wash of home melted over our hearts. Neither of us had ever been to Colorado before last April and this was our third trip. Having lived there for nearly a month, last June, its memories contain lingering attachments.

I don't know why the feeling surprised me. I mean, this was the place the light in my world shone its brightest. The place our little family of two became three. Being there, again, felt right and good.

I was unusually unnerved, waiting for Rebekah. Her kids came running to the door first. They each got a big squeeze. I, temporarily, forgot about Ty in all the excitement. Rebekah brought me back, while we hugged, and asked if she could hold him. Of course!

Ty did awesome. He was immediately captivated by all the new faces and noises. The three youngest clamored around him like a new puppy. It was so cool to see never-met siblings falling easily into play time together.

While they played, we talked.

I learned that Rebekah's second youngest (Ty being the first) has the same standy-uppy hair that all out refuses to be smoothed, forcing Rebekah to buzz it (and me to hawk it). Something about that insignificant fact made me smile. Ty has roots, commonality. There is someone else in the world, with the same mom, that has hair just like him.

Those are pieces of him that can't be fabricated by me. Pieces of him that make him unique to our family and bonded to Rebekah's. I love that.

Ty was passed from family member to family member, the first two days, and never complained. It was amazingly natural. We did everything from swimming to park playing to Easter eggs.

We were able to reconnect with all of the family we'd met before and some we hadn't. It was overwhelming to see so much love in everyone's eyes. Rebekah's family has accepted us into their circle and loves us as much as they love sweet Ty. It's a beautiful reflection of our Father.

By our last day, Ty just wanted me. Prior to our trip I was concerned with how this would make Rebekah feel, but she never batted an eye. She understood and seemed to enjoy watching him with me.

Someone asked me, yesterday, if I had a favorite moment.

I had a hard time choosing one because there are so many, but there are definite winners that stand out. The first was watching Rebekah give Ty his first piece of birthday cake.

We celebrated Rebekah's oldest daughter's birthday while we were there and wanted the family to have the experience of watching Ty do the first-birthday-cake thing. We stripped him to a onesie and let him have at it. The kid was all in. Got it all over him, all over Rebekah, and made us all laugh.

The second highlight was during our video shoot. At one point Rebekah said, "It's like we never lost him."
I've replayed those words a dozen times and they make me stand still. As an adoptive mom, I don't think there could be a higher compliment. The fact that Ty's mother still feels as much a part of his be able to say, he was not amazing. Even my pride recognizes that it's not our doing. We try hard to be a complete reflection of Christ in everything we do and mostly it comes down to loving. Loving deeper than we're able to on our own.

We attended a theater-worthy, Easter production at Rebekah's church and one of the songs that was presented after the crucifixion, has a haunting lyric that sings, Is there any way you could say no to this man?

Tears streamed my face as I thought back on this past year. The day before we left for Colorado a co-worker startled when I told her where we were going. She admitted to being fearful of what the outcome might be and ended with, "I could never do it." I remembered her words when listening to the above ballade.

Living in fear, not walking in love, and refusing to step out when God calls are all variances of saying no to this man. Everyone thinks they wouldn't be a Peter, but then God calls them to something outside their boundaries and they deny their Savior every time. I don't ever want to be that person.

Seeing Rebekah and Tyrus together, this weekend, was saying YES to this man.

Our time together was undeniable treasure, but in my true to self/blog form, I have to write that it was not all easy. There are some things that I am not going to share, but there are a few that I will.

Watching Rebekah's kids with Ty was both heartwarming and breaking. The adoption has taken its toll on their little lives. On our first night we were hit with a range of questions...Will you ever move here? Do you let Ty talk to his real dad? Will you teach him Spanish? When will you tell him about us? Do you think he'll be sad that he isn't part of our family?

We answered as honestly as possible and didn't sugarcoat our answers. You can't sugarcoat adoption. Adoption is complex and scary for adults, let alone children. Knowing that their little minds are trying to wrap their heads around what all the adults view as a "good thing" is difficult.

The girls cried when we left and one went on to tell Rebekah that she isn't sure she can ever do it again. It was too hard to say goodbye.

For the first time I had a full picture of adoption. I thought I knew this before, but it's cemented in my mind, now. Adoption is not God's first choice. As wonderful and great as our relationship with Rebekah and her family is, there was a natural ripping that took place in that family. And some of the splits are still healing. That is hard to see.

The day after we left was rough for Rebekah. That was hard to hear.

I wish that I could remove her ache, the guilt she feels. It seems cold to continue through life...our life, while she works it out, miles away. I know that I am not the cause of her pain and I don't take her hurts on as responsibility, but that doesn't make it less heavy.

It would surely be easier, on me, to not have such an intimate relationship with Rebekah. Then I would not have to feel the ebbs of her heart. But, I learned a long time ago that life is not about me and how easy I can have it. No, I am thankful (SO thankful) for what God has done in my little family. He has given me his heart for Rebekah, his heart for adoption. I am thankful that he has expanded my narrow mind and has taught me the true definition of redemption.

I feel that we are part of something extraordinary. And that's pretty cool.

I know I've only scratched the surface, but I hope I gave you an inside peek at our special time with Ty's family. I'll leave you with some thoughtful words from Rebekah's daughter. She was, quietly, tickling and kissing little Ty's feet, when she looked up and said, "I don't think he knows just how special he is."

I think she's right.


  1. It's a beautiful story, and I was anxious to hear about this trip. It's heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.

    Ty really is a very special little guy. Thank you for sharing your heart and your story.

  2. Again, a beautiful post...and also real. Do you ever get used to the ups and downs of adoption? In one moment, I hear adoptive parents speak of the INTENSE joy their children bring them....and in the next breath, I hear of the uncomfortable moments, the undeniable grief of the first parents, etc. I've said it before and I'll say it again - some days, it's hard to believe I'm doing this!

    Honestly, my goal is allow this process to be led by my heart and NOT my fear (you know, fear of not being my child's REAL mom, of his/her first parents' grief, of my child resenting me, of other people's lack of understanding, and many more REAL fears). But you are such a wonderful testimony of how wonderful it all can be, if we let our hearts lead. I will try to do it as best I can:). Thank you again, and thank Rebekah, for being willing to share such a wonderful story for us all to learn from!

  3. Amazing story and such a blessed boy!

    On a side note I wanted to tell you that I dedicated a piece of jewelry in your name. In reality it has double meaning for both you and Rebekah as you share the same name... and the same story with Ty!

    Anyway when I was listing this and decided what to call this piece you immediately popped into my mind. Thank you for such an amazing story. Please let me know if I may link your blog to the listing. If not that is cool. I won't list it unless I get the okay!

  4. Thanks for blogging about your visit. Adoption is so complex. I don't know how Rebekah deals with the children's feelings of loss. It has to be so hard. I know my children have experienced loss but I don't think they feel it in the same ways since she was born first.

  5. And I thought I was all done crying!! LOL


  6. I am so happy for the GOOD that happened and that you made the HUGE effort to take him to see his first family.

    I also am glad you faced the hurt. The openness you share with Ty's other mom is such a gift, one she probably wouldn't have with another adoptive mom. I am so glad she waited until she found the RIGHT family, she is a wise woman.

  7. Such a beautiful post Rebekah. I love when you say that adoption isn't God's first choice. When I started the adoption process, I didn't realize that, but I do not. It's such a hard realization that so much of adoption stems from pain and loss. I know that has been a humbling lesson for me.

    Thank you for sharing some of your trip with us.

  8. I’m crying!!! Love this post!
    Love to see how open and honest you are with yourself & that you don’t sugar coat things! I love how opened you are with Rebekah and family. Your story truly amazes me; it shows how awesome adoption can be. I love that you do not sugar coat your feelings and I thank you for sharing them with us.

  9. Ty is so lucky to be a part of both of your families.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. I love your story - your family is beautiful and an amazing reflection of true love!

  11. A beautiful post, as usual. I find myself being a little bit jealous of your relationship with Ty's first family. BTW, I love Ty's faux-hawk. Too cute!

  12. I found your blog about 4 months ago and I am constantly checking it for updates! I just had to leave a comment this time.... It gave me chills to read about your trip to see Ty's birthmother. You all are amazing people... you have really touched my heart!
    Lee Ann, KY

  13. Thanks for sharing the gorgeous pictures and the story of your trip!


    p.s. I LOVE the song you mentioned! Haven't heard it in years...thanks for reminding me of it.

  14. Rebekah - you never cease to amaze me with your blog - with your life. Reading your blog is like reading that good book that you don't want to end, because you always want to know what happens next. In the month's that I have been reading this blog - your story - I have laughed with you, cried with you, felt the ups and downs. Then I think that if I am feeling all of this, how much MORE it must be for you and your family. You are simply amazing. I love "getting to know" you and your family. Your story has helped me as I have been journeying through infertility. I've always been drawn to adoption, but my husband has more reservations. We aren't quite to the point of making that decision yet, but your story certainly warms my heart to adoption. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with us!

    Novi, MI

  15. Wow. God is woven into every detail of your lives, your story. It's breathtaking...

    Please know that I'm praying for Rebekah's children. God is carrying them!

  16. I sit her choking back the lump in my throat, I find myself wishing with my whole heart that we can have this kind of beautiful reunion one day.

    I can also see the pain. It's obvious how hard you are working at making this about Ty and not yourself. You are such an inspiration to me, especially now.

  17. It looks like such a beautiful reunion! The slide pic with you two girls is awesome.. .she is such a pretty girl!!!

  18. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  19. That was so beautiful. You truly are an angel because you go against your fear that many like myself fear and don't think I can truly do what you did. You are stong. Those questions that you were being asked is were my fear would come in bceause you want to talk open and honestly but without hurting anyone like the children. It would be hard for me to go back knowing Rebekah had such a hard time with it and that her kids had a hard time. I am sure it makes them sad but happy. But it is when one out weighs the other that would scare me. That was such a true raw blog I loved it. It was just so honest and I would hope if I had a similiar situation as your I would hope to do the same but I don't know how easy it would be to go back after those feeling so very emotional issue. Adoption is emotional already then add kids like the siblings to it and it makes it so much more emotional. That is a very lucky little boy. Thanks for sharing and showing the other side of adoption it is nice to see that.

  20. You have such beautiful insight. You are such an inspiration to others. I cannot get over your honesty in all of this. You are admired. You have a heart of gold and Ty is very lucky to call you Mommy and your husband Daddy. I stand in amazement...I just wish other people could learn from you of how adoption can be so beautiful for everyone involved. You are not hiding the fact that there is pain in the world of adoption for the birthfamily. You are too selfless to do this. You have given a true picture of this whole story... Wow!

  21. Wow! Said so well. So many thoughts going through my words to express them. Bless you!

  22. Your openess is comforting and helpful as my husband and I get ready to go through this process, when I have questions about what to think and feel I often come to your blog and read through old/new posts. We can never know how it will be as each situation is so unique and different but to know I have blog "friends" to relate to and share experiences with means more than I can say.

    Thank you for sharing, your story is truly one blessed by God. I have never thought that adoption isn't Gods first choice but it would make sense when you think about it in context.

    What a beautiful and touching story, Ty is one lucky litte dude to have two amazing families!

  23. Another chapter in your beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!


  24. Amazing story, amazing trip! Rebekah, you inspire me!

  25. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your experience with the reunion. I felt only a small portion of what a rollercoaster of emotions it must have been. What a blessing for Ty to be able to know his birth family like this. I think I will come back to this post some day. Sweetpea has an older sister (she is 3 now), and I wonder if and when these questions will come up. Thanks again.

  26. You all are so brave. A great story...thank you for sharing.

  27. Wow, what an intensely beautiful & emotional post! You are such an amazing woman, your faith & strength are incredibly inspiring! I love reading your blog & always leave feeling inspired, which is why I nominated you for a blog award...check out my blog for more info:)

  28. I loved reading this. I am so glad that you got to spend time with Rebekah and her family -- I loved seeing the pictures from your visit.

    What a wonderful post.

  29. What a beautiful story !!!! It was so nice to see the videos. One thing I did notice is Ben is always very quiet during those. What does he think during those times or what is going on in his mind?

    Is he just naturally pretty quiet? It seemed maybe he felt a little akward during the meeting??? At least that was the impression I got???

    Gorgeous backdrop with the mountains in the background. You guys take such gorgeous family photos ; you all look so happy!!! :)

  30. Rebekah, you aren't just part of something are the creators of something extraordinary, supervised by the man upstairs!!!

    How he has blessed and touched so many people's lives through this one miraculous little boy is awe inspriring!

    Beautiful, beautiful post. I was crying for everyone as I read it!

  31. I have now successfully cried my eyes out...thank you. Thank you for sharing your story of this beautiful meeting, and for showing all sides of it...not just the warm and fuzzy. This is one of those rare times where I am speechless. You are such a wonderful woman, and I wish there were more like you. Now back to the kleenex.....

  32. Wow...just WOW. These posts about your visit are so gripping. What a special time...your story is truly crafted by God. Your heart is beautiful! :)

  33. love reading about your journey...God is so good! amazing what a peace he has brought between you and his birthfamily. i have a good relationship with my birthfather..but my birthmother is just now talking to me again after a few years. she was hurt because i met my birthfather before my birthmother..and so she is just now able to accept it. i'm so happy for Ty that he won't have to go through that...that he will be loved, accepted and apart of both of his families forever. such a blessing... :)

  34. I continue to be amazed every time I read your words! The Lord has blessed you with such an incredible use of the language and ability to share in the written word! So incredible!!!
    Thank you for sharing your story, so boldly and so honestly! You express so very well what I can't so eliquently!

  35. Your love of Christ, Ty, and Ty's birth family really shows through every single one of your posts. You are a beautiful person, on the inside and out! I truly wish every a-parent could be like you and your husband.

  36. i've read this post three times now - tears each time.

    thank you for sharing the hard bits, and helping us to also step outside of our comfort zone. the mixed emotions of adoption are so intense. we cannot truly embrace the joy without acknowledging the pain.

    our trip is coming up this summer and i'm filled with anticipation and nervousness ...

    you are such an amazing example of love to so many. i always enjoy reading your thoughts.

  37. I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful heartwarming and heartbreaking moment.

    Happy birthday Ty!!


  38. ok, so i'm bawling, but i'm glad i'm bawling. you put so much of my heart into words. i'm THANKFUL i feel the ache b/c that means LOVE is there. Detachment might be easier, but it is not better for any in our special family. I'm probly breaking down a little extra b/c we have this reunion visit coming up the day before mothers day, and amidst the excitement and anticipation of all, I know pain will be present. Please pray!
    ps. I'm one who checks in on your blog every nowandagain but doesnt follow (sorry), but I think I remember you're in MI and in case you don't follow rachel at barren woman, she's inviting a gettogether in detroit area on memorial day! link: :)

  39. Oh my...I thought I commented on this post,but I guess I did not!!

    We are so glad that your reunion went so well. I am happy that God has allowed Ty to have two wonderful family to love him. What a luckly little guy. We serve an awesome God. We are so happy for all of you.

    Thanks for the encouraging words on my blog today!!! It has been almost 2 years and we are so excitded because we are finally seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel. =)