Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Court Day

Friday cannot come sooner for me.

Friday is LJ's adoption court hearing.

It is an exciting day for our family, but for me it's only affirming what I already know to be true. For LJ, however, it's a re-write for his future. A formalized decree that will hopefully soothe his insecure heart. We have been talking about his "adoption day" for a couple of weeks, now. We wanted to prepare him for what could seem scary, but also help him understand what this day will mean for his place in our family. It helps give teeth to forever.

He is not an introvert by any means, but when it comes to emotional expression, he is stunted. Even at three, it's clear that he has mastered the ability to gloss over heartache and ignore challenging conversation....but, we are working on that!

Up until the last couple of days, he hadn't said anything about his court date and wouldn't participate in our conversation about it at the dinner table. On Sunday, we put him to bed a few minutes early for an act of disobedience. After a couple of minutes, I could still hear his quiet sobs. I went in and sat on his bed and put my hand on his chest. The conversation went something like, "Honey...I know today was a tough day for you. But you know what? You are a GOOD boy. And tomorrow is a new day. Mommy and Daddy love you very much and we are so glad that you are in our family." We sat for a few minutes in silence, while I rubbed his head and patted his belly. He then looked right at me and said, "Mom. I want to go to court tomorrow."

His words grip my heart. I knew it was his way of saying, "I'm insecure" or even worse, "I'm still afraid you might give me back."

I hugged him tight, whispered more lovelies, and told him we only had a few more days to wait.

The injustice of what has been done to this precious boy's heart makes me angrier than I've ever been. This is my son. And he's three. He is battling insecurities that his brother will never experience in his lifetime. It's just not right.

This little boy deserves more. And we are going to give it to him!

Only a few more days...

...and LJ will have his forever family.

Monday, October 22, 2012


We got word, last week, that LJ's adoption finalization will be next Friday, November 2nd! We are really excited to celebrate such a special day. We have been talking about it to help LJ understand what will be happening and to ease any insecurity that the courthouse might bring. The first couple of times I brought it up he didn't say anything, but yesterday on our way to church he said, "Mom, are we going to court to be a family?"

His little voice pierced my heart and reminded me that this sweet boy knows and understands more than he lets on. I did call and invite LJ's G-Mama. She responded that she would let me know...I haven't heard back. Either way, I'm not going to tell LJ. No reason to stir up emotion if she doesn't make it.

This baby boy has added so much flavor to our family. He is a direct blessing from God and makes every corner of my heart smile.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Sharing Bag

Ty was so excited that he was selected for the sharing bag at preschool, this week. He must have asked me ten times before dinner when we were going to work on it; I am not sure the last time I saw him so excited. The letter inside the bag explained that he was supposed to select an item that had special meaning and come up with three clues, so that his classmates could try to guess his item, before the big reveal.

Ty selected the book Rebekah recorded for him on his first birthday. I wrote the clues in picture form on big pieces of paper, so that Ty could pull them out one-by-one and "read" them. Ben and I were taken with his excitement and eagerness to practice the clues - It's a rectangle...It has pictures...It's something you can read.

I explained to Ty that once his classmates guessed his special item, that his teacher would ask why it was so special to him. It was really sweet to hear Ty explain that he is adopted and that his first mama lives in Colorado and took care of him in her belly. I wish more than anything I could have been in the room for his big moment...to hear him explain his story to his three year old peers.

Because LJ was so new to our family, we did have a meeting with the teachers, before school started, to talk about our concerns and the ways we have found to reinforce security in LJ. In that meeting, I mentioned that both boys are adopted, but we didn't get into much detail about their adoption stories or that we have a relationship with Ty's birth family. I am so curious as to what he said and if it made sense...I did not see the morning teacher when I picked the boys up in the afternoon. I will, definitely, inquire about it, next week, at drop off.

Whether it was a cohesive conversation or not, I am just thankful that Ty is so proud of his story. Tomorrow happens to be Rebekah's birthday and I wanted to share this cute video of the boys singing happy birthday. They pretty much melt my heart with every word.

My life is richer than I ever dreamed it could be.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Naming Adopted Kids

I want to start an FAQ series to respond to a number of questions that I get asked in emails. Today, I'm going to talk about our boys' names.

Even though we adopted Ty from birth, we were still very sensitive to Rebekah and approached the subject of naming with deference. We started by asking Rebekah if she would like to name Tyrus (who we called "Baby Boy", at the time). Rebekah's heart for us through her pregnancy was evident in everything she did. Her response was consistently, "I have done this before...I want you and Ben to have all the firsts. I don't want you miss out on this." I know the honor we offered one another in those early days is the chord of unity that still runs thick to Tyrus, today. The love he has for both of his mothers is pure, genuine, and overflowing.

I could talk about the connection Ty feels to Rebekah all day, but I'll try to stay on topic here! Once we found out that Ty was a boy, we really wanted to use Ben's grandfather's name, Tyrus. We couldn't think of a better namesake. Because we wanted Rebekah to be a part of the decision, we came up with two more names that were a close second. I think they were Maximus and Cole. We gave all three names to Rebekah and asked for her feedback. When she said she loved, Tyrus, I cried with joy. Even though she had left the decision to us, we wanted it to be a collective choice. We used "Lee" as the middle name because it held significance on both sides of our families and funny enough, both Ben and I share the middle name, as well. Had Ty been a girl, I would have absolutely used Rebekah in her name.

One of the first questions LJ's foster mom asked us was whether or not we would change his name. She admitted that she would have. Prior to PRIDE training, Ben and I probably wouldn't have thought twice about changing a young foster child's name. As it turned out, I was the volunteer for the exercise that left me with lasting impressions. The trainer had different people in the class come up to the front of the room to represent the biggest pieces of me - my family, my friends, my church, my job, my education, this blog....maybe a few others. One by one she "took" pieces a way from me until I was only left standing with my name...and then she took that. After a dramatic pause, she asked me how I felt.

Most foster children have had everything dear to them taken. Unless we adopt a child with a name that binds him to his past in an unhealthy way (I know a family that adopted a child named Dark Dragon) or the child is old enough to request a name change, we will keep our children's given first names.

I use LJ on this blog, for LJ's protection. It is not his given name, but has become a nickname that we do call him. LJ's first name remains, but we did change his middle name to Jeremiah because we love the promise that comes with it. LJ's first name starts with an "L", so LJ has become a natural nickname that he enjoys, especially because we often call Ty, "T-Y" (saying each letter). We use LJ's given name and his nick name, interchangeably. When he's writing or spelling out his name with letters, he always uses LJ, but when he introduces himself, he always uses his given name. I beam with pride when I hear him tell people his full name and he ends with an emphatic "JEREMIAH PINCH--BACK!!" He sounds like a boy that knows exactly who he is. I love it.

If we are able to adopt LJ's sister (PRAYING!), we will also keep her given name and call her Mia for short, as it is a part of her longer name. I don't think I've given an update on her in awhile....we are getting closer. Her case is moving toward termination and her, current, foster family has expressed that they do not intend to adopt. If we had been asked to adopt her a few months ago, the answer would probably have been no, but we are feeling much more settled in our family, today. We pray for Baby Mia every day and trust God for his perfect plan, recognizing that it may not include us.

We are no where near expert status in the field of adoption. Every child is different and right answers vary. I will, however, continue to share our experiences and the ways God had led us on this path, in effort to encourage your heart.

Feel free to leave your questions in the comments and I will use them for upcoming FAQs!

Monday, October 1, 2012

LJ's Sweet Prayer

My dear, sweet friend is fighting cancer (and winning, I declare!)

Tonight, we prayed for her at bed time.

I had to share this video of LJ's sweet prayer. This boy is the most loving three year old I know. He thanks God every night for his mommy and daddy and "friend Tyrus".

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.