Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ty's 10th Month

Boy do I miss you! I have never gone this long without posting, but our spring has been quite the whirlwind. From the time our plane hit home from Colorado, we've experienced a death in the family, basement flooding, a broken dishwasher (hand-washing isn't all it's cracked up to be), and an endless supply of exams and papers due - all while maintaining a revolving door of house guests.

There is so much to share, but I am all but drowning in schoolwork. [Word to the wise: working full time while being a new mommy and trying to get a MBA is not for the faint of heart.] Thankfully, reprieve is on the horizon. Only a week of school left and I'll finish for the summer.

I have run-on thoughts and heart stirrings that I want to dive into, but I don't want to miss Ty's ten month post - seeing that we're half way to his 11th month. More on my heart later, today is about Ty!

I cannot believe how much one little man can change your life, heart, and perspective forever. Every day gets better; every month reveals new facets of his person. I don't know how other moms feel - biological or otherwise - but I feel a renewed washing of joy every morning. It doesn't matter how crazy my life becomes or how much laundry and homework cover the floor, Tyrus is a well that I draw from. His smile melts my heart, his roaring makes me giggle, and his gentle kisses make me tear. God has brought so much life to our family through this little boy.

Ben and I have a bedtime routine that involves racing to his bedroom for quiet moments and stares. If ever one of us catches the other in the act, we feign anger...it's something we like to do together. Sometimes we sit and stare, sometimes we whisper quietly, but Ben always kneels down and puts a strong, fatherly hand on Ty's sweaty forehead. Without fail, every night, we leave the room saying, "I love him so much..."

Sweet Tyrus has never been taken for granted. He continues to be a constant reminder of God's love and faithfulness. I don't feel worthy of such goodness.

He is changing so much. Still no crawling - the little buddy refuses to try. What can you do? He loves to walk around furniture and will be taking steps on his own in no time. A rather fearless tenacity has emerged as he is determined to get what he wants when he wants it. It's a deep set quality in me and one I'm thankful passed down.

"Muma" has become the word of the month and Ty says it like it's going out of style. He started calling for me when he was really frustrated or wanted out of an enclosure (bed, high chair, exersaucer), but now uses it more lovingly.

Ty is still a maniac about food. He eats everything and would never stop eating if I didn't declare "all done." I have stopped pureeing all his fruits, as he's able to eat them on his own now, but we still roll with smooth veggies for lack of teeth. Like crawling, he refuses to grow them. A typical meal for Ty consists of 4oz of fruit, 4oz of veggie, a sippy cup of water, a piece of American cheese, and 2 oz of yogurt or similar snack.

We are very healthy conscious, but did let Ty have his first cookie and cake-smashing experience when we were in Colorado. He, of course, made a mess of both and loved every second.

The Daddy/Ty bond gets stronger and stronger as Ty becomes more boy and less baby. They have already begun playing catch, which was a cute skill when it came to ball throwing - not so much when Ty moved on to his bottles...

Our family philosophy is to do everything together. We don't let Ty's age stop us from doing some of our favorite things. We love to include him and expand his experiences (more on that later).

I love watching Ty learn and grow. He is very inquisitive and serious when it comes to figuring out how his toys work. He will sit and work at something for 20 minutes, trying to get it to open or close or move. Watching his comprehension play out is amazing.

My niece has been living with us for two weeks, now and watching her and Ty interact together has confirmed our desire for a sibling. Nya and Ty are almost exactly a year apart and they have been like two peas in a pod, giggling and babbling together. I'm anxious and excited about the next chapter of our story and asking God for direction.

We stand on Philippians 1:6, trusting that God will complete this work he has started. I look forward to exploring what this means for us, with you, in coming weeks.

Hope you're still reading (smile). It's good to be back, my friends, it's good to be back.

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 life...to be able to say, he was not lost...is 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.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Come and Listen.

There is much to say.

In effort to do our time justice, I'm offering our trip in a la carte fashion. Before you read my thoughts, I'd like you to hear the heart cries of some pretty spectacular people in our story. If my world were a made-for-TV-movie, you would be hearing David Crowder's, Come and Listen piping in. Come and Listen...Come and Listen to what he has done...

Meet the amazing, Rebekah.

Her Mother.

Her Daughter.

Her Sister.

"If he never was, we would never be friends. And family."

I can't say it any better.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

One Boy, Two Rebekahs.

I have seen, felt, heard, and experienced too much to write.

I will, but not now.

My heart needs to process first.

Headed home tomorrow.