Friday, April 27, 2012


I am so proud of my boys.

Their ability to love and adapt, with few questions asked, is remarkable. Their relationship turned a corner, this week, as both of them realized the other one was staying - for good.

They have become brothers in every sense of the word. They march and wrestle and chase dinosaurs. Ty pushes LJ to do "big boy" things, like him (removing shoes, going potty, getting dressed), and LJ encourages Ty to run harder, jump higher, and take more risks. They whisper long into the night about everything under the moon and come unhinged with giggles when one of them has gas.

They always want to sit together, sleep together, and take their baths together.

Of course, not all their behavior is good as they do create trouble together, mimic bad behaviors together, and throw toys at each other...but at the end of the day they're brothers.

When they bump their heads or knock their knees, they ask the other to kiss their boo-boo and continue on with playing.

They are awesome and fun and more bonded than any of us.

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


The lucky winner of one of Kelli's gorgeous Origami Owl lockets is Jennifer from Journey to our VBK Family!

Congratulations, Jennifer!

I would like to thank Kelli for her generous giveaway. I had a good time going through her site and designing - what a great Mother's Day gift!

Speaking of Mother's Day...did I tell you that we will be dedicating LJ to the Lord (at church) on Mother's Day? I couldn't ask for a more meaningful gift...

Monday, April 23, 2012


Kelli, with Origami Owl, generously contacted me about giving away a precious charm locket to one of my readers. Their site is beautiful if you've never been and would be a perfect place to find a unique mother's day gift.

Kelli will be giving away one medium locket with four charms, similar to the one listed below:

All you have to do to win is "like" my new FB Fan Page and leave a comment, here, that you did. Please also visit Origami Owl and see which necklace you'd like to build if you win!

The winner will randomly be selected on Thursday, April 26th, at 10pm EST.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Another Brother

On the way home from church, tonight, Ty said to me, "Mom. I have an idea! We should take one of the car seats from your car and put it in daddy's van. In the back row."

"We should? Who would sit there if we did that?"

"Our new brother."

"You mean, LJ? But, he's sitting next to you."

"No, mom. LJ and I want another brother."

I laughed out loud.

"Ty, I'm so happy to hear that you love your brother so much that you want another one! Why don't you teach LJ how to pray for the next member of our family...just like we prayed for him!"

For the record, we've asked for six months with LJ, before our agency contacts us again, but I am so thankful that my firstborn has such a passion for people. God is going to use that kid.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Same Chair. Different Boy.

First off, I have to say a tremendous thank you to ALL of you for your encouraging words. I was blown away, reading through them, to see that so many of you have walked this path, too. My spirit soars to know that I am not alone. Secondly, I am so thankful that God's mercies are new EVERY morning.

We are having a GREAT day.

This morning, LJ was up abnormally early. He came shuffling into our room and said "Morning, Mama..." I asked him to climb into bed and he snuggled really close. He laid with me for an hour before he was ready to get up. I thanked God for our sweet time.

At nap, I explained to the boy that we are going to have a new routine. I told them that whoever gets up in the morning, first (this is almost always Ty), will take their nap first, while the other gets special time with Mommy and then when that boy gets up, he will have special time with Mommy while the other one is sleeping. The beauty in this arrangement is that I still am able to squeeze out about 45 minutes of alone time.

I tucked Ty in and then LJ and I headed downstairs where the rocking chair waited. I wrapped the blanket around us and told LJ how much I loved him. I told him how many years I prayed that God would make me a mama...and then after Ty was born, how many years I prayed that God would bring us another son. I told him that he was the answer to my prayers and that we were so glad he came to be a part of our family.

LJ never said a word, he just looked at me, quietly. I asked him if he would like me to sing to him and he nodded, yes.

The Spirit of God rushed over me. Same songs, same chair, just a different boy.

LJ fell asleep two songs in, but I held him longer.

I thought of all the nights I rocked in that chair with empty arms. Our nursery was dark for nearly a year before God gifted us with Ty. I would pray and cry and dream in that chair for the babies to come. At the time, I never could have imagined where we would be, today, or the role that chair would play. It was key to bonding with Ty and I believe it will do the same with LJ.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a good day with our beautiful boys. Give me the strength and heart to love these kids like you do...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

At the Edge

[This post is extremely vulnerable. Please proceed with caution].

I went back to work today for some sanity. I, thankfully, work in an amazing community that encourages my role as mom. They are allowing me to work two days a week, so that I can focus most of my time at home.

I cried my entire way into work.

Not because I was sad about leaving, but because I've reached the edge.

I called our caseworker, first thing, and asked for the name of a child therapist.

We've hit a brick wall with some of LJ's behaviors and they seem to be emotionally tied to his development. Mentally, LJ is on track and a very quick study, but the emotional issues are causing him to retract and they overshadow so much of our day.

I've done everything I know to do as a parent and it's not enough. Everyone keeps saying that we have to follow our instincts....and my instincts say, we have some emotional needs that I am unqualified to handle (i.e I need some insight).

Our caseworker gave us some very sound advice and from everything I told her recommended that we allow LJ to regress. I cried at the mention of it.

As soon as she said it, I knew she was right, but the thought of moving backward to move forward seems like so much work.

She recommended that I rock and hold and love on LJ as if he were a newborn. She thinks the troubles I mentioned are deep-rooted attachment issues that can only be loved away with time and trust. In my head, I formulated a new plan for "Mommy and LJ time" that I hope will help with my bonding, too.

When we got off the phone, I sat at my desk and cried.

I'm just so tired.

I decided that getting out for lunch would be a good distraction and tried to will myself to want to shop. It didn't work, but God had an appointment for me.

I turned down the kitchen aisle and ran into a dear friend.

With care in her eyes, she asked how I was doing and I broke like a balloon.

I cried for so many reasons.

I cried for the loss I feel over the "normal", steady, quiet life we led, pre-LJ.

I cried because I hate who I am, right now, as a mother. I'm angry and resentful and frustrated. I'm trying so desperately not to let those emotions direct themselves toward LJ, but I'm not always successful.

I cried because I don't like this kid...and I don't want him in my house.

I know that's ugly.

I know that falls under the heart cries we, normally, keep to ourselves. But I can't. I'm open and real and brutally honest when people take the time to ask how we're doing.

I didn't realize how much I needed someone to listen. My sweet friend let me rant and cry - right in the middle of the department store.

I told her everything.

She didn't rebuke or judge or offer empty encouragement. She listened, intently, and then allowed the Holy Spirit to use her to speak direct lines to my heart. She encouraged me in my marriage and motherhood, reminding me of God's goodness and purpose. She challenged me to draw from the well and to steal away as many minutes as I can to be with the Lord, asking/begging Him to give me specific words throughout my day for my family. She reminded me to ask God for pictures of LJ's past; pictures that will give me insight into the areas he's struggling. She spoke promise over our family and said, "This boy will bring you great joy, Rebekah. One day you will thank God for him."

The physical and emotional squeeze she left me with, was God's gift to me, today.

I was so low. So tired. So frustrated.

Our case worker asked us this morning if we were still feeling confident in "our decision."

She didn't have to elaborate.

Everyday we question what we're doing and how on earth we thought we were prepared for this, but never have we questioned God's decision to bring LJ to our family. It's the only assurance that keeps us going. God chose adoption and God chose LJ. We merely said, "yes."

I was reminded, today, of the new name God is giving LJ. The label he is painting in blood over his life.

[Jeremiah 29:11 The Message]
I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home.

I know what I'm doing.

I have it all planned out -

Plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

 Mama took these words to heart, too. And replaced LJ's, Jeremiah, with "Rebekah."
Rebekah, I'll show up and take care of you.
I know what I'm doing.
My sweet child, I have it all planned out...
I have plans to take care of you, not abandon you, and plans to give you the future you hope for.
God sent two other people to me, today, to show me just how much he cares. What a mighty, mighty God I serve. He loves me despite my frustrations and weaknesses and reaches his hand from heaven in the times I need it most, saying, "You are my beloved."

I am so thankful for his love.

I am absolutely dependent on Him to teach me how to like and want to mother my son.

Please pray for us. God is stretching our hearts...and it's painful.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Feelings are Fleeting

Everyday our transition gets smoother.

I noticed a new light in LJ's eyes this week. He's laughing and smiling and affectionate. When it comes to his affection, I've noticed a couple things. He is very tender and sweet with Ben and me. This morning, in fact, he woke me up with a big kiss and said, "Good morning, Mama." Unlike Ty, he loves to snuggle in the morning and let me pull him right into bed with me. When I pulled him close he said, "I love you."

He shows the same tenderness toward Ben and Ty.

When we're with family or friends, however, he's much more reserved. Most of the time he won't talk to adults or Ty's friends and refuses to say goodbye or give hugs or high fives. We don't push it.

I think he likes us fine. He's comfortable and sweet. The worst of his defiant behaviors have ceased.

Love on the other hand is going to take time....for all of us.

Mom and Dad and brother have no meaning for LJ. Twice this week, we had to correct LJ when he called other men in our lives "Daddy." Trying to explain to him that he only has one mommy, one daddy, and one brother was futile. I'm not sure what else to do, but give it time.

Ben and I still struggle with the lack of bond.

I love LJ, deeply, and enjoy his kisses and cuddles...but it doesn't feel any different than the affection I have for any of the lovies in my life that call me "Aunt B". I'm not concerned about our bond. I know it will form, it just feels strange. It feels unnatural.

I was flipping through the TV the other night and overheard a God-inspired snippet that I've been hanging onto. Bishop T.D. Jakes was talking to young mom that had adopted her nephew from foster care. Due to some difficult family history, the woman had built up resentment toward the little boy's father (her brother) and was taking it out on the little boy. She said, "I don't feel anything for this child...and I know that's not fair to him."

The Holy Spirit spoke right to my heart when T.D. Jakes said, "Our feelings are fleeting. You cannot trust them; you cannot depend on them. If you don't feel love for this boy, you go through the motions until you do." He went on to give her practical advice, but the above encouragement was all I needed.

One day I WILL feel like my boy's mother.  Right now, LJ just needs a mother. Whether I feel it or not is irrelevant.

The feelings will come.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trying Times

Our life is crazy, right now.

The boys looked so handsome in their Easter wear, today, but the constant energy required to keep up with two two year olds, left me not caring whether or not we snapped a family picture. I regret it now...

We sat at the table for a plated family dinner, but before I could take a bite both boys, uncharacteristically, spilled their the same time. They screamed as milk poured down my tablecloth, into their food, and onto their laps. I laughed because, really, I just wanted to cry, too.

Some days are better than others. We have seen remarkable progress in LJ, already, but it doesn't make this time any less exhausting. 

LJ's incessant crying has lessened, but his attitude has not. He thinks he's king of the castle and consistently responds to our instructions with "I don't WANT to do that," or "No, I WON'T do that," or (my personal favorite) "Put me down, right now!"

And Bravo isn't the only one giving us grief. Alpha has found that if he mimics the new guy's behavior, he gets just as much attention - albeit negative.

On top of the two years of undoing and emotional turmoil, we're also dealing with normal sibling stuff - fighting, tattling, instigating, etc.

It's exhausting.

God has given Ben and me a tremendous amount of patience to keep up the bad cop/bad cop routine. We are strong, united, and consistent. We take turns tagging in and out and have managed to keep our humor. Speaking in army code helps.

At one point, this weekend, while the kids were playing in the backyard, Ben said, "I have an idea. Why don't we run in and shut the door. Whichever one of them comes in alive, we'll keep."

It is completely God's grace that keeps us going.

The most difficult part, right now, is watching Ty struggle. LJ is struggling too...but he still feels like someone else's kid. Watching Ty pull away as LJ comes close is difficult. Knowing that his misbehavior is only a result of the upheaval we've introduced is weighty.  Twice, this weekend, Ty had the opportunity to play at the park and instead he chose to cuddle on the bench with me, nestling his head into my neck, as LJ played.

It breaks my heart.

I KNOW that we are all being stretched in really good ways and that a year from now we will look back and wonder how we ever lived without LJ, but right now, in the midst, it's really tough to hold on and watch your first born work it out.

We are doing what we can to give individual time to each boy, but it never feels like enough.

I just keep entrusting them back to my heavenly Father. It's all I can do. We had such a sweet time of worship, tonight, with the boys before bed. Ben started bringing his guitar into the boys' room. We all pile into one bed and sing praise and worship.

Both boys were all smiles, tonight, when we sang "Deep and Wide" with coordinating hand motions. Mommy was all tears when we broke into Amazing Grace. I held Ty's hand and listened to LJ hum.

My heart is full. Even in this trying time, God's goodness is like a sun-shining day. It just pours through the windows of my soul, illuminating the incredible plan laid out for my family.

Don't you just love how you can feel torn to bits, but in an instance, God brings warmth and healing and tape. He puts your bits back together, calls you beloved, and paints a new tomorrow.

What a beautiful, beautiful God.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How much our life has changed.

We had a perfect day on the farm. On the way home from church, tonight, LJ was singing softly in the back, "Jesus loves LJ...Jesus loves LJ...hmmm...hmmm...hmmm...Jesus loves LJ..."

My eyes filled. I looked at Ben and whispered, "THIS is why we do this."

Jesus loves LJ...Jesus loves LJ... And now he knows.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Score One for Mom

It only took me a week, but I figured out the secret formula to dissipating sibling rivalry and frequent tantrums.

Structured play.

I was armed and ready for today. After our morning routine, we turned cartoons off and spent three hours cycling through activities every 30 minutes. We did crafts, puzzles, story time, took a walk, played basketball and then had "free" time, right before lunch. 

Mama, of course, is exhausted with so much hands on play-time...BUT we escaped any episodes. Both boys were kind and loving to each other and genuinely enjoyed being with the other.

I snapped these shots during their free play. Alpha and Bravo banned together to hunt dinosaurs with nets.


 In case you're wondering where the nets are...the dinosaurs ate them.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday is coming.

We had a good day, today. It started with the most meaningful Palm Sunday service I've ever been to. Our service ended with this powerful video. It's three and a half minutes, but worth every second. If you're like me, your insides (and maybe outsides) will be shouting YES, by the end. Given our week with LJ, I was moved by what my Jesus did for me and encouraged that although it feels like Friday...Sunday, with my new son, is coming.

Take a minute (or three) to be encouraged:


This was the exact encouragement I needed to get through my day and week.

Sundays in the Pinchback home are usually our "get ready for the week day" and we typically spend the afternoon grocery shopping and cleaning. Ben and I decided that the boys would benefit from special individual time, so Ty (who we've affectionately deemed Alpha) went with Ben and LJ (Bravo) stayed with me.

Ben works in a sea of acronyms (government) and thought code names would be appropriate. It worked out handy, today, because we were able to discuss them at dinner without them being any the wiser! Anyway, Bravo and I had a really good time at home. I let him help me load the dishwasher, set the table, and start dinner. He was so excited to contribute, he seemed to forget how much he likes to throw fits. When Ben and Alpha came running through the door (okay, just Ty was running), LJ rushed to him and hugged him and grabbed Ben's hand, saying, "Look. I set the table!"

I had no idea that such a small task would make him feel so proud. Victory! We're going to focus time on these tasks, this week.

After dinner, I was sitting on the couch with both boys. We have been talking about our similarities to help connect with one another. I've been telling the boys that they share the same beautiful dark eyes. Ty said, "Mom, look. Me and LJ have the same eyes!"

"I know isn't that cool?

Ty: "Mom, what else is the same?"

"Well...Ty, you and mama have the same dark hair."

Ty: "LJ, Me and mommy have the same hair!"

"And LJ...You and mama have the same squishy nose."

LJ: "The same nose?"

"Yup. Look at how they smush (I demonstrated with my finger)."

LJ got the closest he's ever been and smushed his nose right into mine, staring intently at my eyes. And then he shocked me by giving a sloppy, wet kiss (while continuing to smash my nose)!

My heart soared at the first real moment of connection.

We still had tantrums and tears, today, but the assurance of progress made all the difference.

At bedtime, LJ was glued to me. We read several books and sang songs - some silly, some serious. I love the below picture that Ben captured. It says so much about our relationship, right now. He will let me hold his hand and sing and pray with him, but his demeanor is always the same. Very somber.

I pray for the day that I see freedom in those beautiful eyes. Freedom from his past and hope for his future. It will take some time to dig it out, but I know that God is singing over him.

He'll hear it one of these days...and his life will never be the same.

I am praising God, tonight, for this week, his Son, and that our Sunday is only around the corner.