Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Crown of Life

As I cleared out my phone alerts, before bed, last night, I thanked God for the peace in my heart and clicked on the scripture of the day. James 1:12:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Our case worker had visited earlier in the night, adjusting my expectations of how court would go, today. The white man who couldn't possibly be Sweet Boy's father was a no-show for his DNA test, but another man had surfaced from the past, demanding additional DNA work and possible custody.

I knew that resolution wouldn't come, today, but I was able to sleep without heaviness. I can, honestly, say (probably for the first time in my life), I trust God. Fully. Even if that outcome ends, tragically, for our family, I know God will have purpose. I'm sure I've never reached this state of peace before, but I like it and refuse to let it go.

We sang a song in church, last week, that I haven't heard in years ("If You Say Go"). The chorus has been running on loop for me, this week:
If You say step out on the water
And they say it can't be done
We'll fix our eyes on You and we will come
This morning, I drove the hour to the courthouse in silence. All by myself. Reflecting; thinking; praying. A few minutes outside the city, I whispered, "Lord...I am asking for a miracle, today."

We got our miracle. I wish I could reveal confidences and share every last detail so that you would know what we were up against...but the monster couldn't stand in the presence of our God.

I cried through the entire hearing.

After the judge was done terminating all "known and unknown fathers" for Sweet Boy, he asked to address me. He acknowledged my presence in the courtroom every month over the last year and noted that I was the one doing the "real work". He thanked me for giving Sweet Boy an environment of love and stability, while the legalities were worked out. He hoped that I understood why the process was so lengthy and why "right" is necessary in place of "rushed."

I don't understand why the process was so drawn out nor why every grace was extended to convicted criminals, while my baby battled for his life...every day...desperate for normalcy and permanency. 
That being said, I appreciated the judge's address.

I walked out of the courtroom, thanking God for his goodness, and leaving the burden of injustice at the door. I called Ben and sent my text messages, but the only person I really wanted to talk to was Sweet Boy. I could  hardly wait to tell him.

As soon as everyone was buckled in from school pick-up, I turned around and said, "I had the BEST day and I have SUPER news!"

When I told Sweet Boy that the judge told me, today, that we could adopt him, his smile lit up the backseat and he said, "You mean it? I'm, a real Pinchback, now!?!?"


His excitement was contagious and I cried the rest of the way home.

One victory down; one more to go.

Both belong to the Lord.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

This guy turned five, today!
His teacher told me it was a "no tear" day (progress) to which he responded, "It's because I'm five, now!"

I couldn't be more proud.

In the last nine months, I have seen this tenacity and commitment to persevere. A couple of weeks ago we taught the boys to ride their bikes without training wheels. Sweet Boy was the only one willing to try over and over and over, again, until he was riding with ease. As I ran alongside him, I heard his quiet chant "practice makes perfect - practice makes perfect - practice makes perfect..."

He's unassuming by nature, but his determination is unparalleled and seems to be fueled by a desperation to thrive. I thank God for his quiet, fighting spirit...he wouldn't have survived his circumstances without it.

I love all of my kids without debate, but I feel something special for Sweet Boy. His fight for normalcy has left deep wounds, but he never stops pushing through...and, all the while, he does it with a little song in his heart.

We turned DNA testing into a "date day with mom" and I soaked in the special one-on-one time that included making one very sprinkle-y birthday cake and learning how to kiss like a fish.

Our relationship has taken the most work, but that is, exactly, what makes it the most rewarding. I am so very grateful for the creativity in our story. I am thankful for the hardships and setbacks and emotional cliffs...because without them, I wouldn't be as kind, patient, or forgiving. And my heart wouldn't love without borders.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. 
Romans 5:3-5 (MSG)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Treading Troubled Waters

I know it's been awhile. I've been staying away on purpose. My heart is a walking weight. It's easier to think about other things. Sweet Boy is grasping for security and watching him struggle is the heaviest burden I've ever shouldered.

We're nine months in and my angel boy, cautiously, walks the line that separates past and future, like it's death and life, wetting the present with a dark fog. It seems impossible to navigate, but I know better.

His weekly nightmares reveal his desperation to escape this trapped world. He's in a boat that's sinking; He's trying to swim, but he's drowning; He's swimming, but a shark eats him.

Every week he asks me or the therapist when he will finally be adopted. He's concerned that I might lose him in a crowd. And he shows an, increasing, distaste for his last name (given at birth).

He flops between surety and unease, effortlessly. One day, he'll draw a picture of our family of six in our house, with rainbows overhead, but then the next day he'll draw a picture of himself standing outside of a crowd. Sometimes the crowd is family; sometimes it's classmates.

Sometimes he draws strangers in his bed; sometimes he draws them in our family.

Some days he asks for squishy hugs and wants to snuggle under blankets. Other days he stands across the room, refusing to join the fun.

Every night he asks to be tucked, tightly, into bed.

Last night he snuck into OUR bed, without notice, and I woke up to his little body cradled in mine.

Today, he made my day when he reached out and asked if I would carry him around for awhile. I think he just needed to be close.
 
Our therapist  reminds me, every week, that wholeness will take an indefinite amount of time. Sweet boy has survived trauma...and healing cannot be rushed.

Even though the days can be long - the steps forward small - I AM encouraged by his progress and closeness to our family. He knows that we are family. He laughs like us; prays like us; and even embraces our unpopular beliefs and traditions.

He knows that we're family...his question is whether or not we're the last.

Words hold little value. He had family twice before and we've been talking of adoption for months.

As suffocating as the sadness can be sometimes, we are standing firm in our faith. God has preserved Sweet Boy's spirit and he WILL push through.


Here is how you can stand with us in prayer.

DNA testing is on November 4th. I am praying that the punitive father (who cannot be the father based on race alone), does not show up for the test. This would allow us to move forward and terminate rights, on all "known and unknown" fathers at the next hearing in a few weeks. If the punitive father does show up for testing, pray that the attorneys will, miraculously, receive test results in time for our hearing. We've been told that it is impossible to get DNA results in less than 3 weeks.

I know that with God, ALL things are possible. We pray for his continued grace in this season, with extra measures of patience, wisdom, and love...for everyone involved.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rebekah's Story

Ty's birth mother, Rebekah, is telling her side of our story, right now, over on her blog. I encourage you to read her compelling words. It's such a good reminder that there is always more to the story...

 Adoption Part I: My Story Five Years Later
 Adoption Part II: The phone call that started it all
Adoption Part III: Rock Bottom


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ty & Rebekah

Because our life has become one long courtroom drama, it has been awhile since I've posted about the blessing of open adoption and how much I just ADORE Ty's first mom, Rebekah. If you're a newer reader, yes, Ty has two moms...with the same name!

Life has gotten busy for both of us as we juggle full lives with many children, but when we do have the chance to connect it is always refreshing. Rebekah has recently turned her blog into more of a vlog, which has been really fun because Ty and I can watch together. Awhile back she posted a video about little known facts about herself. Ty thought it was so cool that she liked to garden because he likes to garden, too.

He ended up calling her the next day and it was heartwarming to listen in on his conversation. Just like a little man, he was relaxed on the couch with his leg propped up. I heard him tell Rebekah all about school and his baby sister and the fruit trees we planted. Even though we, usually, only get a yearly visit in, he loves Rebekah with all of his heart and I am so proud of that!

I wanted to share the message that Rebekah sent to us, this week.

When Rebekah talks about what she's going to do with her pumpkin seeds, Ty actually gasped out loud.

Take a listen.

        

How creative and fun is that? Ty was over the moon that Ms. Rebekah would share her seeds with him. I am so thankful for this woman who gave my heart life. It is a complete joy to watch their relationship grow.

What a good reminder that God stretches us for his purpose - and it's always good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mess

I prayed all morning over a letter I had written to Sweet Boy and Little Miss' birth mother, trying to figure out whether or not my intentions were genuine. Would my letter offer her peace...or was it, merely, a way to soothe my conscious? I wrestled with the question and did  my best to stuff my nerves.

I am ready for this part of our journey to be behind us. The other day Ben took the boys out for lunch and as Sweet Boy came back into the house he knelt down beside his sister and said, "Sissy. It's always so good to come home." He went on with his day, but his words stopped my heart. Sweet Boy knows he's home. Adoption will be the final key to opening a future of security.

I walked into the courtroom and listened to the attorneys lay out the morning. 1, 2, 3 to termination. Barring any further courthouse fires it seemed straight forward.

It wasn't.

My compassion tank emptied the minute birth mom and dad were escorted in. Matching jumpsuits. Shackled.

I was angry. So angry. Angry that in the past month she was willing to jeopardize her future.

It all unraveled from there.

She voluntarily signed over her rights in hopes to keep the baby boy she is pregnant with, now, but dropped a bomb on the way to her seat. Sweet Boy's "father" was in the room to petition the court for custody. Even though a different father had been removed from the record for abandonment, a month earlier. The young kid stepped forward and was as Caucasian as Caucasian comes. The judge drilled him on his story, timing, and intent.

He let the kid know that he was too late...but given his "recent discovery" of his alleged son, he was willing to give him a chance. The judge pushed our next court hearing out two months and ordered a DNA test for a kid who could never be Sweet Boy's father based on race alone.

No one fought for us.

When it was all said and done, one of the attorneys sneered and asked me if I happened to have a picture of Sweet Boy on me. I had several sitting inside the letter I never delivered to birth mom. I pulled one out and they all laughed at the ridiculousness of the claim. The boy's appointed attorney said, "Well that makes my job easier!"

I wanted to vomit. It's just a game. Time doesn't matter. Little hearts don't matter. It's all about winning. And they know they'll win....eventually.

There were several moments that I wanted to jump up and shout, but was forced to take it all in as a "nobody" in the crowd. No one asked my thoughts or cared enough to hear about how a goodbye visit would affect my Sweet Boy.

I let myself be angry all afternoon, but then nearly sobbed when I picked Sweet Boy up from school. We packed in the car and as he belted, he said, "Hey, mom, what are you thinking for dinner?" For him, today was just like any other day.

How on earth am I going to prepare him for a goodbye with a mother he is not attached to that is distraught from grief, followed up by a DNA test with a "father" he has never met, that looks nothing like him?

I am so burdened by the thought of putting him through any further confusion. I know that God will protect his heart...as he already has, this far. I'm just trying to sort it all out in my heart.

This mess isn't just a problem for my kids. It's a problem for all kids. 




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Little Miss is One!


Little Miss,
You were quite unexpected. Quite. But, in only 7 months, you've won our hearts and love in the deepest way. You are growing before our eyes and it is such a privilege to encourage you along the way. I have never doubted God's hand on your life, but I believe your naming - prosperous in war- was divine. You are a fighter. A survivor. Your fierce independence makes us laugh, but sets you apart from the others. Your tenacity will serve you, well, as you pursue every dream.

I was such a content Mama with all boys before you showed-up, but your presence in our family filled an area of my heart that I didn't know sat dormant. You will, likely, want to fish and camp and catch lizards with your brothers, but I hope that our life is marked with meaningful relationship.

Recently, we met with a case worker and as we sat on the floor to watch you play, you walked over and plopped right in my lap, as if to say, "This is where I belong." You stayed there until the meeting was over, resting your chubby hand on my thigh. It was near the beginning when I first felt like mom, but that moment revealed our connection from your perspective.

You are a firecracker. Your own person. May your life be extraordinary; your story as God wrote it.

Chase after God with every fiber and never let your flame dim.

You are my treasure.

Muma