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: . 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...

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


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 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!

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.