Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ty's Special Box

You probably don't remember this box.

I purchased it months before sweet Ty ever came home. I wanted him to have a special box to collect all the mementos of his story. There are pictures, letters, cards, and special gifts from Rebekah and her family in this box. It wasn't that I had forgotten about the box (I add pieces to it every year), but I hadn't thought about the timing of showing it to Ty. One day we were in his closet and Ty said, "Mom what is that up there?"

I carefully brought it down and said, "You know what buddy. This is a very special box. Let's go sit down in the living room and I'll tell you about it." I explained that it was the place that I put everything sent to him by his birth family. I got tears in my eyes when I opened it up and together we went through every piece.

There was a DVD in there that I had forgotten about. Rebekah made it for Ben for his first Father's Day (we hadn't left Colorado, yet). We immediately put it in and watched it together, as a family. Ben and I cried watching the combination of hospital pictures and video clips. Ty asked a hundred questions and was so excited to see "baby Ty".

As we walked through the years of Ty's life in his special box, we read every card and looked at every picture. I explained who each person was and whether or not Ty had met them before. The only thing I didn't let Ty do was to open the letters Rebekah has written him. They are still sealed and I want him to be the first person to read them...not me. There are plenty of other cards and notes to read.

It's been about a month since we looked through the box for the first time. Now, Ty asks me, every few days if he can get it down. I snapped these shots, yesterday.

We are going to Colorado in February and my heart is bursting for that time to come sooner. Ty has such a strong handle on his story and the people in it. To be able to put faces to their names is going to be so special.

I love the story God has written for this little boy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I sat with nervous hands on my chest while the technician squirted warm gel on my belly and turned the monitor screen toward me. It was at that moment that I bit my lip to choke back tears.

For a minute I pretended that I was pregnant.

I thought about what it would be like to sit there looking at my baby on the screen. To hear the swish swish of her heart beat and catch a glimpse of her teeny tiny fingers.

I thought about what it would be like to have the most fantastic secret. To see Ben's eyes get wide with excitement and then fill with tears.

I thought about how fun it would be to announce our pregnancy over Christmas festivities - how surprised everyone would be to hear that the girl who couldn't get pregnant, did.

In order to make it through the ultrasound, I, quickly, returned to reality and hammered the technician with questions regarding fibroids, the retroverted uterus that I didn't know I had, and how far technology has come in regards to hysterectomies....After all, that was why I was there.


I hate writing these posts because they shed negative light on the miraculous arrivals of my sons and make me sound ungrateful toward God's goodness...but I have to write these nagging pieces of my story that quiet for a time, but always resurface.

I went in for my annual a few weeks ago and told my doctor about some irregularities that I am experiencing. It only has me concerned because my mom had similar symptoms and had a hysterectomy at 31. I turned 31, this year. The doctor agreed that further testing was needed and sent me in for ultrasounds, today.

I have been operating under a heavy cloud for a couple of weeks thinking about it. Even though I don't think God will open my womb down the road (he has us on a greater mission!), the thought of closing the door to all possibility fills me with sadness.

My heart nearly tore out of my chest, today, watching the ultrasound monitor. I had many pelvic ultrasounds when we were going through fertility treatments, but this was the first time I had one, topically. As fun as it was to dream for a few minutes, it was devastating to come back to the real world.

It's something I can't talk about....not even with Ben.

It's just this secret place in my heart that I don't venture to very often. A place where I can long to be normal and wish that babies didn't have to come at such sacrifice.

I let my dark cloud dampen my heart for the rest of the day, until LJ snuggled up into my arms and fell asleep on my chest. That boy longs for affection and comes for it when he needs it most. I held him tight and thanked God for the family that he's rich and colorful and full of life.

I know he understands my sadness and desire for more children. He hugs me close, whispers I love yous, and assures me that his plan is still unfolding...

What great peace I find in that promise.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Understanding Adoption at Age 3

Last night, Ty started the most thoughtful, insightful, conversation we have had about adoption, yet. Then...a few hours later, LJ shared his wisdom. It is amazing to me what these three year old boys are capable of processing and expressing.

First with Ty's story. We were making dinner and Ty said, "Did my first mama, Miss Rebekah, live here with my when I was a baby?"

Ben: No, but she took really good care of you in her belly before you were born.

Me: That's right. Remember how you were born in Colorado? Rebekah stayed in Colorado and we brought you home to Michigan.

Ty: Mom, did that make Miss Rebekah very sad not to live with me? [Insert lump in throat]

Ben: Yes, Ty. She was really sad...she loves you SO much.

Ty: Is she still sad?

Me: Miss Rebekah is sad that she doesn't get to see you every day, but she is so happy that you get to live with us.

Ty: We should go see her so that she can be really happy!

Me: We are going to do that in February, remember? You, and Mommy, and Daddy.

Ty: But, I want my brother to come.

Me: I know, but this is a very special trip that you get to take with Mommy and Daddy.

I think the conversation switched to cheese after that, but I was floored with the tenderness Ty showed. I am so excited to take Ty to see Rebekah in February, she hasn't seen him since he was around 20 months old. My how much has changed! It will be so cool to re-introduce Ty to his Colorado family, show him the hospital he was born in, the places we took him, and watch him interact with Rebekah. I am giddy with anticipation, it is going to be such a rich time!

Later that night, we were laying with the boys in their beds and LJ said, "Miss Rebekah is Ty's first mom."

Me: That's right, buddy.

LJ: Ty is adopted just like me.

Me: That's right, too.

LJ: 'Member how Buddy went to find his first dad?

Me: What?

LJ: Buddy went to find his first dad in that movie.

Me: Oh....that's right! LJ, you are so smart. What a good memory you have!

We watched Elf a few weeks ago and used it as an opportunity to talk about adoption (I had forgotten about that part of the story!)

I love that my boys are piecing together their stories and exploring the meaning of adoption. It breaks my heart, however, that Laron's story is spotty at best and, currently, void of first parents. We haven't decided what to do about that, yet. We keep going back and forth about whether or not we want to give LJ a special "G-Mama" (Godmother). Part of us feels like it's unnatural to fabricate an important figure, while the other part sees how he is already starting to reconcile his story with Ty's.

In talking about it tonight, Ben suggested finding a male mentor that shares his race to help teach him about his culture. We are still chewing on it, trying to determine what will be the most beneficial to our second born. I am also holding out hope that LJ's mom will respond to my letter (I haven't written it, yet). From everything I see on Facebook, it's far-reaching...but the mom in me has to try.

The dichotomy is difficult to parent. In no way can we reduce Ty's kinship with his first mom or pull back on the healthy, open relationship that exists, but watching LJ battle the difference in his story is heartbreaking. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm praying on it.

Either way, I am encouraged that my little lovers are secure and confident in our family and their respective adoptions. It's really fun watching them grow.