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.


  1. Sobbing right along with you and I cannot stop.

  2. i recorded it, gonna watch it later tonight!

  3. I missed the show!!! I'm glad that it is a positive show. It looks really good and emotional!!!

  4. I watched and cried too! As an adoptee I can relate to her in many ways. I grew up knowing very little about my birthfamily. But what I did know my mom(adoptive) always was honest and positive about it all. I have found my birthfamily and have a relationship with my birthfather/extended family but my relationship with my bmom has fizzled. I lost my mom to cancer and was having a hard time letting go of her to meet my bmom. And my Bmom was having a hard time understanding that and understanding why I would meet my bdad. I love reading your remind me of my momma....things you say, the way you talk about TY.... just as she did about me. :)

  5. You know what Rebekah, I can TOTALLY hear you, voice and all (thanks to your video clips) telling Ty those sweet words.
    What a blessing all around!

  6. After watching this show, I had to go online and check what others were thinking. Your post brought me to tears, especially this line:

    "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. ... My son. My Tyrus, will grow up hating no one - least of all his birth mother."

    How lucky Tyrus is to have you as his mother, someone who teaches him to love, through words, but especially through being a great role model.

  7. I meant to catch it... thanks for the review!

  8. I didn't get to see tonight's show. Hopefully, I can download it somewhere.

    We recently lived out own "Find My Family". Twenty-one years ago, we were blessed with our first son in a "semi-open" adoption as things were done then. We exchanged letters and pictures through the agency. When our son was 18, the agency let her name and address come through. We gave it to our son and talked to him about his decision. We had talked about meeting his birthmom his whole life, but now he struggled with actually opening that door. Knowing that she was still struggling with life choices, we didn't want him to be hurt and also wanted to make sure that he respected her feelings and desires. He kept that info for 3 years until writing her this year. They finally met in October. It was a private meeting between the two of them due to circumstances that I won't go into. It seems to have brought a "settling" to him. I even got to speak to her for the first time. How do you say thank you for 21 years of being a mom? I've written it many, many times, but this time I got to say it and share stories about "our" son.

    Our second son is an open adoption and that has been so good for all. A child cannot be loved too much. Our extended family relationship seems so natural. Although, we no longer live close, he has the sweetest relationship with his birth grandmother. It is a special bond that I am so glad he has. God puts together the neatest families. Thanks for sharing yours.

  9. This is good to know. I told my husband I didn't want to watch that show and changed the channel. I said I just "wasn't there" yet. Not yet having adopted (still waiting), it just didn't feel like something I wanted to see. I am so glad it is positive though. Maybe I will check it out next week!

  10. I missed that show. I never even heard of it. Im going to start looking for it now. :)


  11. I watched the show last night and had many of the same thoughts you had. The parents who raised her showed great strength in teaching her to pray for her birth mother - by not holding too tightly and living in fear they actually kept her close because of their openness.
    I've enjoyed watching your journey with Ty. You are going to have such a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! Enjoy!

  12. Rebekah,
    I wanted to comment (I've been lurking since before Ty was born. I used to journal with the other Rebekah at tlol. I was pregnant with my youngest son when she was pregnant with Skyler). The way you raise Ty is beautiful, and his life will forever be enriched by having such a beautiful relationship with his extended family.
    I am not the biological mother of my two older kids. My oldest, Dalton, is actually neither mine, nor my husband's biological child. He is the biological brother of Rikki-jo, my husband's bioligical daughter. (THey are mine though, and I am their mommy). They were abondoned by their Mother when they were 1 and 5, and Rick raised them on his own until we met and married. They do struggle with the fact that their biological mother abandoned them (the oldest remembers), but both are happy, well adjusted kids because we teach them to love, not to hate. We pray for their bioligical parents as a family, and we make sure they know that they love them as much as she is able. (Their biological mom is a struggling addict). We have welcomed their biological extended family into our family with open arms. In return, they love our all children equally (we have four kids all together), so all the children have gained an extra set of grandparents. I've always believe that the more people in this world that love your child, the better off your child will be. Ty is so blessed that he will never have the unanswered questions that my kids have, but as we tell our older two, their Mother loved them so much that she knew she couldn't give them what they needed, so she let my husband have them and raise them. God brought me into their lives because God ALWAYS gives us just what we need!

    How the children look at things is all about how they are raised. I wouldn't say that children that grow up resenting their birthparents are always a result of bad parenting, but a lot of times, it's a result of parents that didn't make it clear, repeated message of the birthparent's true love of the child. In years past, in most adoptions, these things weren't talked about. People thought it was better to sweep it under the rug. Open adoption wasn't common, and children's questions were often kept to themselves. Thankfully, the times, they are a'changing!
    God bless you all!

  13. I'll have to catch this show sometime. I hadn't heard of it. As always, your observations on the benefits of open adoption are spot on. Thanks for sharing!

  14. i am so glad to hear that the first episode was a good one. i also had mixed feelings watching some of the previews and also the name of the show kind of set me back a little bit. maybe find my "first" family?? i don't know... :)but i'm so happy to hear it was representative of happiness in general. yay!

    i, too, am SO thankful this thanksgiving.....we, mommy's, are so blessed by these little ones.....

  15. I did not see it. Wish I had DVR'd it!

    I received my first 'hate' comments on my blog the other day on my re-post about adption.
    I locked it for a few days. Have opened it back today with comment moderation.
    I was just so blown away!!
    I admire how you have handled that so well in the past!
    Do you worry about such negative, hateful and bitter people coming to your blog, seeing your photos and reading about your life?
    I am really pondering privacy now!!


  16. I am not an adoption hater. I have adopted 3 and working on the 4th. But, I have a question that I have been struggling with as I find these private adoption posts where the adoptive parents have this wonderful relationship with the birth family, or are so thankful for them, etc. I think that is a wonderful thing. Here is where I am having difficulty. The birth parents of my children abused my children so strongly that they LOST custody of their kids. It was not by choice. As a matter of fact, even after losing their children, they continued to be abused not only by the occasional visit at the birth parents convenience and also by the foster care system itself. I have NO warm fuzzy feelings for these people. They were born addicted to drugs that they did not choose to partake in and they will suffer from the choices their birth mothers made for the rest of their lives. Not ONE time did these birth parents choose their child over themselves. NOT ONCE! How in the world am I going to expalin to my adopted children about their birth parents? I have all the information and they know they were adopted, but there are no warm fuzzy feelings there. I am not a bitter birth parent hater. I really am not, but in our case, these birth parents are out living their lives while their children are struggling to pick up the pieces. Seriously, any advice is appreciated.

  17. I WATCHED THAT SHOW TOO AND LOVE IT! My husband is adopted (closed) and it got him thinking about contacting the show...interesting huh?

  18. Thanks for sharing! We pray for our son's birth family, too, every single night. We pray that we meet them, either here or in Heaven, which ever is God's will. Now I'm going to go watch that show!

  19. I liked it and thought it was real
    good, I just didn't like the part where he said well now you are found, was she ever really lost?
    I don't think so.

  20. i haven't watched it yet but will soon. i was excited for this show but almost nervous to watch it esp. considering our kids were taken from their parents & what that could mean for the relationships they will or will not have with their bio parents.

    i am so glad ty has BOTH of you.

  21. Mom2many ~

    I was adopted from DHS at 3yrs old after my parents rights were terminated due to their stupidity, bad life choices & child endangerment.

    I've always known I was adopted, my parents always left my meeting them as an open option & told me that they would help me in any way if I wanted to open that door. They carefully, over the years, explained what happened / why I was up for adoption. There were many details left out, most because they didn't know for sure & didn't want to spread gossip if it was untrue. When I met my bio sister at 16 I realized that this was NOT the dream family Oprah and Sally Jesse always portrayed in their reunions (she had not been adopted out, she was left with our grandparents). Shows like ABC's family or The Locator worry me because 1. what if members of my family decided to use a show like that & I was ambushed with meeting people that I'm not ready to deal with? 2. not everyone has the happy story that Tyrus is blessed with. Sometimes it's just a truth of life that the family you are born into is NOT the healthiest place for you to be.

    I won't write a novel on Rebekah's blog ;) but if you want to talk you can reach me at bellamomma at rocketmail dot com. Part of my adoption story is on my blog ~ I haven't been able to write all of it ... I'm just not there yet.

  22. I don't think Ty will grow up hating anyone, as you said, because you will teach him otherwise, and show him by your example. I have 2 good friends that are adopted, and truly are thankful for the wonderful life they have and a gift of family that love them. They are well adjusted, not regretful, and successful people in all aspects of their lives. It's all in how you raise your children. Ty is a very lucky little boy. ;)

  23. I cried most of the way through the show. I was adopted as a baby but have been given very little information. Last night I was wondering how to get on the show so I might could find my birthparents. When I was adopted back in the 60's there were very few open adoptions. The babies were given up because a young lady was pregnant and usually not married. Today many adoptions are open and I'm go glad. I have a lot of questions and no answers. I grew up an only child with older parents. They have been gone for years so now I'm all alone. No family except for my husband and my children. I would love to meet my birth parents but do not really expect it to happen.

    The babies that are given up by choice to loving homes are very different than the ones that are taken away because they have been abused. The ones that have been abused may never want to meet their birthparents but the ones that were given up out of love have all the reason in the world to have a relationship with the special lady that allowed someone else to raise and love her child.

  24. I am an adoptee and I feel no hatred, resentment or malice towards my biological family. They gave me the opportunity to have the life I have today. To know my parents, my siblings, and my many life experiences. I know a lot of how I feel about my adoption does come from the positive introduction to adoption that my parents gave me. I have no need to hate, resent of begrudge. Instead I feel respect, appreciation and admiration for my biological parents.

    I have not met my bio family, and I do not feel the need to. Not everyone has a burning urge to find out "where they come from" I know where I came from. And more importantly where I belong. So to me, there are no deep unanswered questions. There are some superficial ones...gossipy ones, similar to what you would wonder as a fly on the wall. But those, they aren't important :) At least not to me.

  25. Rebekah, thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. I appreciate it so, so much.

    Love this post and the beautiful way that you write what's in your heart. I haven't seen this show, but I'm intrigued now! I think it's wonderful that you will raise your son to know and love all of the special people in his family. You are giving him such a gift and such a promising future!

  26. To mom2many:

    As much as I liked the show, I think your story reveals a very valid issue.

    How nice it would be if every adoptee wondering about their birth parents found out that their birth parents have been married to each other for over 25 years, have three kids, earn honest livings, and still care about them.

    Unfortunately, many if not most adoptees wondering about their birth parents will not make that discovery. Maybe they'll find out that their birth parents were abusive, or their birth father ran away before they were even born. Maybe they'll find out that their birth parents are 'normal' people but simply don't want to be reminded of that time in their lives. Maybe they'll hit dead end after dead end and never get answers.

    The Steinpas's story is pretty rare for birth parents. It's wonderful and I'm so happy for all of them, but I worry that it'll give adoptees unrealistic expectations.

  27. "Maybe they'll find out that their birth parents were abusive, or their birth father ran away before they were even born."

    I find it ironic that so many people say they just "don't know" on behalf *of* the idea of an adoptee searching... yet immediately go on about all the negative stereotypes.

    Even the "don't knows" are biased because they presume the worst.

    P.S. I don't like Find My Family. It's far too simplistic.