Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Review {2011}

 January: Ty goes sledding for the first time and has a ball!

 February: Ty's vocabulary starts to explode and we enjoy a quiet month at home.

March:  I take a fun trip to Chicago with my girlfriends!

April:  Ty moves to a big boy bed and gets bunk beds!

 May:  Rebekah came to visit!!

 June: Ty turns two and starts getting haircuts by mommy (thankfully, they've improved!)

July: We take Ty on his first camping excursion exploring caves, swimming in waterfalls, and kayaking in the beautiful Watauga lake. 

August: I turn 30 and graduate with my MBA in the same week. We celebrate with the coolest pirate murder-mystery party ever! (And TY gets potty-trained in a weekend by Nana!)

September: We had a crazy family camping trip that produced 90 and 40 degree weather in the same weekend!

October: I finished teaching my first college course, we finished our PRIDE training for foster adoption, and we enjoyed two trips to the orchard for apple picking!

 November:  I made my goal time of under an hour (by 30 seconds!) at our annual mountain bike race.

December: We book-ended our travels with a trip to Houston and San Antonio for Christmas (Other trips included: Toronto, Hocking Hills - OH, Appalachian Mountians - TN, Lake City - MI, Port Huron - MI, and Holland-MI).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace From the Inside Out

I am just bathing in peace these days. I've never quite felt this way before so it all seems serene and somewhat strange. We haven't heard from our case worker since the news came in on little boy, but I suspect that will be how the next several months go. I was contacted last week by a sweet bloggy friend that has connection to a foster mom with a 3 month old baby girl facing parental termination (the foster mom does not have plans to adopt). Baby girl's mom is a baby herself...14. I know next to nothing about the mother or her daughter, but I have inquired on whether or not they both would be available for adoption.

I haven't been able to shake this young mother from my heart. Pregnant at fourteen? Where were her parents?

I don't know exactly what God is doing in my heart, but he has given me an extra dose of love lately for his people. There are two other adults in my life, right now, that haven't had much of a home or family life. God has connected them to Ben and I and given us a real opportunity to take them in and show them the face of Jesus. I know that adoption is "my thing", but my eyes have been wide open to the hurting people around me...all in desperate need of family.

I made a pact with God. I'm going to lovingly mother each person he whispers to my heart. Whether formal adoption transpires or not, I'm ready to use my passions for my Savior. Even in adulthood, we need family - community.

Yes, we would love a little person for Ty to brother and, of course, the above mentioned situation lends itself to Ty's two year old cries for a baby sister, but God is transforming my mind to look past the natural.

I don't know where our path is going or how our family is shaping, but I do know that I've never been so rooted by peace. What a wonderful surety to take into Christmas.

My heart is bursting, my lips singing, JESUS IS LORD.

If I don't talk to you before, have a very Merry Christmas and hold your loved ones tight. I also ask that you stand with me in prayer for this young mother. Pray that she, too, would feel peace from the inside out.

Monday, December 12, 2011


This is my husband. And boy do I love him...

I walked in commencement for my master's, this weekend, on his birthday. He never complained. 

I could feel his pride as I walked the stage and spent the next two hours of the ceremony reliving some of our moments. I have always had huge vision and lofty goals. In high school, Ben would say, "I just want to spend my life carrying your luggage from adventure to adventure."

Back then I thought it highly romantic, today I see the sacrifice in his heart. His loyalty is fierce and friendship faithful. He really had no idea what he was signing up for when he picked me.

I thought through our successes and failures as a family. The high highs and low lows.

There were several moments through my program where I almost quit. Working, schooling, and mothering was enough to get me to the edge of breakdown within minutes. When the tears started to peak, Ben would say, "You can do this. You only have __ more months left. The end is in sight" or "You're either going to be 30 with a son and graduate degree or you're going to be 30 with a son and no degree - it's your choice."

God gave me Ben. He is a gift to my life, a constant cheerleader, a forever friend. He's funny and generous and kind. His heart is tender and mind quick. Ty is just like him.

I'm shouting thankfulness to heaven for the man created for God, but living with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Little Boy

We heard from our case worker yesterday that little boy's case worker has three families to choose from. Emotionally, we have removed ourselves from the running. The other families both have connection to him, one family fostered him earlier this year and the other adopted two of his siblings.

I was not able to talk/write about it, yesterday, because I wasn't quite done holding him in my heart. I'm not devastated or emotional, but I am sad. From little boy's view, he's a big winner and I'm thankful that his transition will be smoother given the history with both families.

Last night I was folding laundry, while Ben and I sat on our bed and talked. I said, "You know I'm going to do this every time, right?"

Ben answered with, "What? Tell everyone we know and reorganize our lives as if that child is coming home tomorrow? Yes, honey, I know. It's what I love most about you. You only know how to be extraordinary."

I love my husband.

I love that the two of can be so vastly different, yet so appreciative of the other.

I admit. In my head I had started raising twins. I was dressing them alike, while searching for coordinating quilt patterns for their bunk beds and planning a welcome home party. I took little boy into my heart the moment I heard his name...and I don't regret doing it.

I had a massive number of people in my sphere of influence praying for little boy and the right family for him. I believe that those prayers are and will be answered. Sure, I have to go back and tell everyone that we are still a family of three...but, I'm an all-out-there, heart wide-open kind of girl. I want people beside me, especially in these moments.

I told my co-workers, today, that my heart remains hopeful and true to my present family. I will continue to dream and pray, of course, but I am compelled to soak in every second of being mommy to one.

When I told Ty last night that little boy was probably going to live with another family, his response was, "I want a baby sister!"

I had to laugh. Ty is certain that God will bring him a baby sister. Maybe he will...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Waiting Game

Tonight we were sitting on the couch and Ty said, "Hey...Mama. I just tootied on your leg...I'm sneaky."

"Oh, good grief, Ty. What is with you and your daddy? Lord help me! I'm surrounded by boys."

I roll my eyes and tease and feign disgust at some of their actions, but the truth is...I love living with boys. I love mothering a son. For the past week I haven't thought much beyond mothering two sons...

Sigh. No news.

I have been praying and hoping and dreaming for little boy, wondering if he's safe...warm...and feeling loved. It is extremely difficult to stay neutral in the matter when your life is run by explosions of passion that make it impossible not to dive in deep.

My time sitting on the start-up agency's board, however, gave me an important perspective to this process and respect for the people who drive it. I heard multiple case workers refer to prospective adoptive parents as "high maintenance" because we tend to only see our case, opposed to the worker's twenty others. Those words have echoed through my thoughts this week. I haven't called since the call.

If our case worker had news, she would pass it on. Pestering her for updates each day will only waste precious time needed by other children and/or families. The waiting, however, is horrific. I just want to know.

I want to know if little boy's case worker has had time to read our file, yet...I want to know what the process looks like from here if we are matched...I, of course, want to know when we would get to meet him...and when he'd get to come home...

His case is laced with sadness that makes it difficult to restrain from beating on every door in the county until we find him. Ben is playing it very "cool" and taking each day in stride, remaining cautious. Not me. I threw all reservations to the wind and fully connected with little boy on paper. I've read and re-read his case six times and counting.

A mother's heart doesn't need a picture or touch or relationship to care deeply.

I am, however, daily handing over a specific portion of my hell-bound flesh to the Lord. It's the part that automatically connects my compassion for little boy to God's will. I recognize the danger in walking that line and have seen enough to know that my feelings are completely unreliable and lead me astray time and time again. Just because I felt an instant connection to little boy doesn't mean that another mother didn't feel the same connection. Just because I read little boy's file and feel like his mother doesn't mean that God's redemption won't play out differently.

I've never done this before. I've never been handed a heartbreaking story and then been asked the question..."Will you choose this one?" I might feel this way every time. I don't know.

Because of this unknown, I'm choosing to trust the One made known.

The waiting isn't easy, but the trusting is.

God is faithful.

All the time. In every way.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Family of Four...?

For all the obstacles we faced early on in the foster adoption process, God has granted us tremendous favor. We talked to a couple the other day that has been waiting 9 months on paperwork processing, alone. Last night we had our last meeting with our case worker and the first meeting with our licensing worker. The meeting was a little intense as the foster information was quite extensive, but we took it in stride.

As our workers walked out the door, our case worker wished us a Merry Christmas and said, "2012 is going to be a big year of change for your family." We smiled and thanked them for their time.

We truly are in a state of God's perfect peace. I hope that our family will expand, next year, but I'm okay if it doesn't. I hadn't put much reflection into what 2012 was going to bring for us (isn't that what January is for?), therefore was blindsided by an email I received this morning. It went something like, "Rebekah, I submitted your family assessment this morning to my supervisor. I’ve attached a child adoption assessment on a 2-year-old male. I provided your information to his adoption worker for review."

I had to read it three times before I understood what our case worker was saying. Getting linked with a child this month was never in my realm of possibility. I, honestly, hadn't even thought of such a scenario. We, of course, looked through this sweet boy's profile, reading and re-reading all 12 pages. With every word our hearts screamed Yes, Lord. We're ready.

At this point, we know a lot about this little boy, his parents/termination of rights, and the story that brought him to this place. What we don't know is how many families have been submitted for consideration or whether or not his case worker will deem us a good fit.

There is something really special about this two year old that resonates with us. It's strange to feel so connected to paper. There's no picture or emotion provided, yet, the resilience in his report stirs our hearts. 

I am praying for this sweet boy tonight. Not that he would be ours or that we would receive confirmation tomorrow. Rather, I am praying God's perfect will for his life. I am praying protection over his little heart. I am praying that God would give wisdom and clarity to his case worker, so that she can quickly identify the best family to meet his needs...knowing we may not be the choice.

Please join us in prayer for this gift of God. Wouldn't it be wonderful if baby boy could be matched with his forever family for Christmas? I'll keep you updated as I find out information. Thank you for continuing to stand with us as we trust God for our family.