Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birthday Celebration(s)

Since Micah is now 2, I suppose it's fitting that he had 2 celebrations.  On Thursday we made a family trip and drove over to Lindsey's house.  We wanted his birth family to be able to celebrate, and it seemed like it would be a whole lot easier for us to come to them this year than to ask them to drive down to see us.  Marcus was already going to take 1/2 day off work, so it just worked better all around.  And of course, we're so glad we did.  Every time we leave their house, we wish we'd come up more often.  They are so warm and friendly and we love being with them.

 Cake #1

Happy Birthday dear Micah...Happy Birthday to you! 

Lindsey and Sammy are buds.  They just are.  Sammy really loves Lindsey, and Lindsey...she seems drawn to Sammy.  I'm not exactly sure why.  Perhaps it's because Lindsey so easily sees people for who they are and not what they appear to be...what their outer shells are made of.  It seems that they have a very sweet bond.

When we began our road toward adoption many years ago, before Callie was born, we knew that there would be people who saw we had a special needs child and decide that we weren't the family for their child.  We knew that for some, that would be a turn off.  Callie came very quickly, and it didn't seem to bother her birthmother at all.  Latice knew about our family as much as she could and felt peaceful that Callie would have all she needed.  Samantha's disabilities didn't seem to bother her at all and we were grateful for that  

Years later, we met Lindsey.  One day I asked Lindsey about Samantha and how she felt about her.  Lindsey told me she didn't have a problem with us having a special needs child; in fact, she thought it was a good thing...that her son would grow up with a sister who would teach him compassion, patience, service and Christ-like love.  I don't remember the exact words she said, but it was something along those lines.  I'm not sure if she understands how much that meant, and still means, to us.  I think one reason we love Lindsey so much and it's been so easy to accept her and her entire family with open arms is because she has always accepted us as we are since day 1.  Now, from day 1 she didn't know we were her family, but from the first email, there was a tenderness and humility...she is so full of love and that shows in how she so easily and readily accepts all she meets.  

And Sammy loves her for it.

Two beautiful ladies 

 Micah wasn't as interested in being with everyone else.  He just wanted to do his own thing and tried to force others to do it with him.  Of course, it's pretty easy to be weak and go along with whatever it is he wants.  I think this is around the time he was forcing his birth uncle, Jake, to play with him.  And I think it worked.  Look at if he owns the place!

Callie was happy to be there with Cindy.  We're working on that smile. 

 Half the group...

aaaaand the other half.

I was so happy that Micah's birth family could celebrate with us.  And I was so happy to meet Steve's family.  See that stellar man standing behind Lindsey?  That's Steve.  And Steve has been by Lindsey's side since during her pregnancy.  As a friend (who has also been adopted), he has been there for her to answer questions from the child's point of view.  He was a friend...who just wanted to help her out however he could.  And when you go through something like that, you develop this beautiful relationship -- one with a foundation of trust, faith, and selflessness.  And now....they're getting married!!!!  And I'm sooo excited!  I was so happy to be able to meet the rest of Steve's family.  They are delightful and great and I'm so over-the-moon happy for these two and hope for all the happiness in the world.  Can't wait for the wedding!  (Micah will look so handsome.)
 We came home with a trunk full of gifts.  That night, we got home pretty late, but I let Micah open 1 present before bedtime (because Callie insisted).  Micah was pretty thrilled about his new golf set.  So cute.  One thing that's not so cute?  Him banging the golf club against our glass sliding door!  That was loud.  And worrisome.  But I think he's learned not to do that anymore.  

I think.

 Today was round 2 of Birthday Bash.  And, this is what he did when I told him to smile.
I mean really.  This kid kills me.

 I'm not really a cake person.  But when it comes to birthdays, I believe there should be cake...of some kind.  Callie decided Micah should have a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  And baddaboom baddabing.  Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting was had by all.

I know I've been trying to be "healthy" and all, but come on, this is birthday cake.  So you better believe this was packed with cocoa powder, chocolate chips, caramel filled chocolate chips, sour cream, whipped cream...a ton of fat and sugar.  Happy Birthday Micah!  We all willingly clog our arteries for you...because we love you that much.  (And tomorrow, I start healthy again...because I want to live to see your next birthday!!!)
 Micah having some pre-cake strawberries.

 (no, he's not trying to burn his hand.  I assure you though it may appear he is touching the flame, he is not.)
 Callie coaching the candle-blowing-out
 He took the coaching quite well and blew the candles out like a pro.
Sammy was clearly proud of her younger brother.  Or else she's just happy she can finally eat some of that cake.  And yes, those are pink candles.  Our son is wearing a football jersey and blowing our pink candles.  We want our kids to be well rounded.

 Oh I love this boy.

 Micah kept trying to grab the little chocolate chips off the cake.  Callie kept sliding it further and further away.  He wasn't too happy about that, but he was distracted when he got his gift from Grammy and Grandpa.

 Which was...a keyboard.  Let me tell you...Micah has Lindsey's musicality.  For sure.  He LOVES pianos.  He always wants me to sing to him.  And I've caught him singing along to songs and it melts me every time.  He's been playing with the keyboard non-stop since we've gotten home.  It's been about 2 hours!  Ok, so the "non-stop" part is an exaggeration...but seriously, it's been a whole lot.

 All the kids cuddled around Grandpa watching home videos on his phone.

Back in the day when I had to walk to school in 5 feet of snow, uphill both ways...way way back...when we wanted to watch home videos, my dad had to take the HUGE video camera, dig through a shoebox of cords, connect the video camera to the tv, and we'd watch it on the screen...none of this home videos on the phone business.  My kids have life so easy!


Two years have flown by, and yet, it feels like Micah's always been here.  Always.  I guess that's what happens when a missing part of the puzzle is found and placed next to the other pieces.  It fits.  Perfectly.  It's as it should be.  As if it's been there all along.  Micah, in a very real way, is one of those puzzle pieces.  He fits.  He belongs in our crazy family puzzle.

And a word on Lindsey: Lindsey has been such a great surprise.  She was like adding a puzzle piece that we didn't even know was missing!  We didn't know what an open adoption would really be like.  We knew we were open to it.  We wanted an open relationship with Latice, but quickly lost touch with her after a few weeks with Callie in our home.  Luckily we have pictures together, but we had certainly planned on more and we sad to lose that connection.

We had ideas for openness.  We felt comfortable communicating and sharing pictures, emails, staying in contact.  We felt comfortable with visiting, etc.  We were honest when we told Lindsey we wanted to keep in touch.  We wanted those things because we felt it was the best thing for our child.  We wanted anything that was best for him.  And that meant embracing Lindsey and having her be a part of his and our lives.  BUT.  BUT BUT BUT.  Who knew that it would also be the best thing for us and for all our kids?  We had no idea that we would fall in love with her.  I quickly felt connected to her.  It was odd.  We hoped that she was the one carrying "our" baby, but we had had 3 other adoptions that didn't work out.  Those were horribly painful.  We didn't want to go through that again and tried to express to her that she had NO obligation to choose us unless she knew for sure...not to rush into it...let's just get to know each other.  We wanted her to feel really good about her choice.  Quickly, I grew to love her and who she is.  When she told us that she felt we were her son's family, there was no way we could ever shut her out.  Not only because we felt that would be harmful to Micah's future, but also because I had grown to love her so deeply, I would feel a part of me missing if we were to just go separate ways.  Lindsey's become a friend and a sister in so many ways.  A piece of our family puzzle.  And our entire family is blessed because of our relationship with her.  Sammy, Callie, and Micah all have more people in their lives who adore them because Lindsey (and her family) remains in our life.  We are blessed.  I love her and on Micah's birthday, our hearts are so full of deep gratitude and honor for this amazing woman who is an incredible example to me of faith, love, hope, charity, patience, forgiveness, and humility.

On Micah's birthday, I sent her this message.  Though I told her this on September 11, we think it everyday of the year.

Lindsey the Great. Today, we celebrate Micah's birthday. But today we honor you. We will never ever be able to express our gratitude to you. Maybe one day in the eternities when we're hanging out and chatting, I'll have a language that will be able to better express the deepest feelings of my heart. Until then, know that you are our earthly angel. You were a humble instrument in the Lord's hand and delivered (quite literally) what Heavenly Father had for us. Your faith, love, and amazing sacrifice is never lost. You are an inspiration to me and who I hope to more like. I love fellow mother and friend. Gosh we sure got lucky. Who knew I'd gain another incredible sister. I love you. I love you. I love you. Happy Birthday to little Micah. Can't wait to celebrate with you and the family tonight! Wow. We gained soooo much when Micah came into our lives. I love your family! I love you!

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