Sunday, July 22, 2012

an adoption reunion story

Tina & Matt in Haiti 
The archives of a seven year old blog are overwhelming to search.  I wish I could link to past posts wherein the multiple stories of how adoption has impacted my family have been told.

Obviously as the adoptive parents of three amazing Haitian sensations we've been immeasurably blessed by adoption. Our open relationship with Isaac and Hope/Phoebe's first families is something we once feared. We've come to cherish those developing relationships. The gift of our adoption has grown exponentially as we have become family with the tenacious women that gave life to our three children.

In the past I know I have written about my little sister Tina and her husband Matt. These are two strong people that Troy and I deeply admire. We had a chance to spend 8 days with them when they visited here earlier this month. It was good to be able to look them in the eyes and tell them how their growth and healing has been a witness to us - how we've seen Jesus in them.

Tina and Matt are unique as the adoptive parents of Annie (adopted from Haiti in 2010) because they have lived the other two roles as well.  The "adoption triad" as it is called in fancy adoption vernacular is totally represented by these two people.  They are the birth/first mother (Tina), the adoptive parent (Tina/Matt), and the (adult) adoptee (Matt).  

They understand the loss of every angle, they undersand the joy of every angle, they understand the pain of every angle, they understand the redemption of every angle. They understand the gift of grace in ways most others cannot. I feel like I am a better momma because of the things they've taught me about adoption.  

As many long time readers know, my niece Whitney was placed for adoption. She was born in between my oldest two girls, Britt (in 90') and Paige (in 94'). Those three births and the situations Tina and I landed ourselves in with the choices we made were all part of a five year period none of us would ever choose to relive.  (Especially not our poor parents.)   God is always reliable to redeem these things and He has done exactly that with all three of our unplanned baby girls.

Everything I have ever written about adoption, I've written with the stories of my own children's adoptions and the individual stories of Matt, Tina, and Whitney on my mind.

I quickly searched and can find one post written in 2006 on the 13th birthday of my niece, Whitney.  Each year we have celebrated the life that Tina carried into this world, the gift of the baby she placed into the loving care of a chosen family, the beauty of the sacrifice Tina made ... And of course each year we also mourned with Tina over what she'd lost.  

Adoption is beautiful and redemptive but those of us anywhere in the middle of the triad know it is not without pain.

For 19 years we prayed faithfully for the amazing family that Whitney became wholly a part of and we prayed for Whitney.  I regularly stood in awe of Tina's strength and grace over the 19 years.  She has always hoped to one day meet Whitney but also lived in the knowledge that that decision wasn't necessarily up to her.  She prayed and hoped and hoped and prayed. As her family that loves her dearly, we all did the same. 

Friday night the most joyful amazing thing took place.  

Tina & Whitney reunited after 19 years 

Troy and I on Skype getting to meet our niece 
(and also we got to watch Paige meet her cousin)

Paige, Whitney, Tina, Proud Grandma Carolyn

Paige, Tina, Grandpa looking on as Whitney and my Mom meet 

Nineteen years is a long time to wait for an answered prayer but I think Tina (and Grandma and Grandpa and cousins and siblings and Aunt Tara) would tell you it was totally worth the wait.

Whitney is a gorgeous, happy, intelligent, joy-filled college student that grew up with a loving Mom and Dad.  She and Tina trust God to help them navigate their future relationship ... Seeing all that He has already done for them makes that a pretty safe plan.

We want to share our joy. We want to share God's faithfulness and Tina's answered prayers. We want to introduce you to our precious niece, Whitney.  :)