Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Black History Month

I, ashamedly, admit that this year is the first year that I, seriously, and thoughtfully, celebrated Black History Month. Bringing LJ home has altered my world view in all the best ways. It has forced me to look at life through a new lens. A lens that encourages diversity and steps outside my cultural boundaries.

I don't want either of my boys to grow up in a world surrounded by people that look like Ben and I. In fact, I have made a conscious effort to make friendships outside of my community. We even made a difficult decision to leave our home church to attend an extremely diverse church, closer to the city.

At the top of the month, I listened to a presentation on Dr. King. I found myself so pulled in by his life. I have heard the stories and speeches before....but this time was different because I'm different. This time I am parenting a black son. A son who several decades ago wouldn't have been given the same rights as his brother.

Last week, I attended an African-American Literature read-in. All of the literature being read was written by black men or women. Again, I found myself riveted by their stories. So much so, that I immediately went and bought several books, including Maya Angelou's, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

I'm not trying to force myself to be something I'm not. Rather, I feel this strong connection to black history, now, because of LJ. It's embarrassing to admit, because I should have been interested all along. It shouldn't take mothering a black son to care about the sacrifices that were made for me to live in the world as I know it. Before it was just history...and I wasn't that into it. Now it's legacy. And I can't get enough.

Although, we have come so far, I am acutely aware of the racism that still exists. And, sadly, the forms I encounter don't realize their error. When I hear a family say they would never adopt a black child or overhear a young woman say she couldn't date a black man or listen to a student try to reason with the class on why Tiana does not belong among the Disney princesses, I am stunned. Those words would have made me uncomfortable before...but, now, they make me downright angry.

The mama bear in me roars up.

I hope my son never hears such a comment in his life time. God will not judge him on his race, but his character...his actions...his love.

Thankfully, such ignorance seems to be few and far between. Most people are loving and accepting of our family. I am thankful that God has expanded my worldview and given me a hunger for knowledge. When I am talking to my boys about faith and leadership, sacrifice and honor, I am thrilled to have diverse examples.

It's such a true picture of who God is.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


We had a wonderful visit with Rebekah, this past weekend.

As soon as we arrived at the mountains, Ben said, "Don't you feel like this is our town?" There is a drawing sense of home when we enter the Springs. The streets are familiar; memory and family tangle together, welcoming us back.

Ty was a little overwhelmed with the amount of love and people, when we first arrived, but he, quickly, fell into the fold and enjoyed being re-introduced to his first family.

Hands-down, the best part of the trip was watching Ty interact with Rebekah. He had the chance to ask his most burning question - "What did you eat when I was in your belly?"


Watching Ty interact and play with his siblings was warming to the heart. It turns out that his oldest brother shares the same tender spirit. 

I continue to marvel at Rebekah's zest for life and joyful outlook. Ty will only grow to appreciate her more as he gets to know her.

 What a treasure.

(LJ did GREAT. He stayed home with our best friends and only asked about us on our last night apart. He barreled into Ty as soon as we got home and said, "Tyrus! Tyrus! My brother is home!" It was a great weekend with sweet reunions on both ends).

Monday, February 4, 2013

FAQ: Managing Insecurity and Offense

I received a lot of emails and phone calls over my "Mom" post a few weeks ago. I was a little surprised to hear that so many people were surprised that I was okay with Ty calling Rebekah, Mom. One reader wrote an extremely honest email and admitted that she would be crushed if her adopted son called his birth mom, Mom. She was writing for pointers on how to be more secure in that relationship.

We were at church, last week, and someone was admiring the boys and said, "Now, Ty is your real son, right?" I smiled and launched into our story on how both of our boys came to be. I love telling it.

I know that many adoptive parents equate adoption ignorance to cruel and intentional insults...I just don't see it that way. I take ignorance for what it is and understand that it is usually bred by curiosity.

Overall, I would say our adoption community is hyper-sensitive when it comes to talking about adoption. Parents spend more time than is necessary trying to prove their place and position...while the child never questions it. 

Before Ty was born, God gave me a revelation that has never left my mind. It was like a bright light turned on the day I realized Tyrus belongs to him. Not Rebekah. Not me.

God privileged us with the opportunity to mother him, but possession belongs to God alone. That really helped me in the early days of getting to know Rebekah. It removed the pressure of having to define our roles in ways that seemed unnatural.

Love is not finite. There is no limit to the amount you can give - or get. We always approached Ty's adoption with this attitude because we knew he could never get his "fill" of love. Rebekah's presence in Ty's life doesn't diminish mine. The same goes for her sister and mother and grandmother. Those relationships don't take away from the ones he has on our side of the family...they just add to it.

I look at Ty calling Rebekah, "Mom", the same way. He wants to call her mom because he understands the breadth of what she did for him. He understands her love and affection and wants to return it in a way that makes sense to him. It's kind of like me calling Ben's mom, mom. She's not the mother that stressed and sacrificed and poured into me for the 20 years I had before marrying Ben, but she has enriched my life in countless ways over the last 11. I call her mom because I want to show her respect, love, and admiration. My mom doesn't feel jealous, insecure, or out of place because of my acknowledgement of Ben's mom. She knows her place. She will always be my mom.

I know that not everyone has that type of relationship with their mother-in-law, but I hope it helps explain why Ty's recent choice of words doesn't bother me.

Ultimately, it comes down to my security in the Lord. I know who I am in Christ, so it's pretty easy to let insecurities roll down my back. When people use the word "real" when referring to my boys or their moms, it doesn't offend me because I know who they are to me and who I am to them. Most of the people we run into have no adoption experience. They just ask the first thing that pops into their head. I don't feel the need to make it a teaching opportunity because most of them will never run into adoption, again. Instead, I use their curiosity as a platform to tell our story and praise God for his goodness!

In just a few short days, Ty will have the opportunity to be with both of his moms and the rest of his extended Colorado family. What a wonderful reunion it will be. I can't wait to get home and tell you all about it!