Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hey Baby T, I just wanted to write you a note today. I never knew that writing a blog to keep people posted about you would be so hard. Not so hard because I don’t have time to do so, but because my heart longs for you.

Every day, it seems like something gets harder to do. Not that we don’t appreciate all of the things that we encounter, I guess our human nature just brings us to be a little selfish.  It’s hard to go to birthday parties and see all the kids playing and having fun. It’s hard to listen to stories about what awesome new things kids are learning. It’s hard to walk by your room and see your bed. It’s hard to go to Target, because all of the kid stuff seems to be located between Point A and Point B. I want to take you to pick out your favorite toys, buy you clothes, and sneak candy in the basket so your mom can’t see it. I want to take you to get a sno cone.  Your mommy loves sno cones, I bet we can get away with that at least once a week.

Your mommy is pretty amazing. I can’t wait for her to get to hold you. She talks about you all the time. Sometimes I get worried that she misses you way more then I do, but I’m really just appearing to be strong. I know she needs me there for her. But it’s not true. I miss you just as much as she does.  You are always on our minds.

Mother’s day is this weekend. I know it’s a joyous occasion and we have a lot to be thankful for. I just know that there will be an emptiness that we feel. I wish that we would wake up early in the morning and make mommy breakfast in bed. Pick her some flowers from the garden...well maybe the neighbors garden. Actually, I’m pretty terrible at growing flowers, we will have to learn how to do that together. You get to have muffins with mommy at church and then all the moms’ get flowers during the service. Your mommy is going to glow when you get to be there for that. I bet she will hold you extra tight on that day. Who am I kidding, she’s going to hold you extra tight every day, hope you are ready for that.

I’ve been planning out our family pictures. I hope you don’t get tired of the camera. I take a lot of pictures. I’ll take you on adventures and teach you all of my tricks. I hope you think its fun. We will go camping, load up the film cameras and just have a fun day. Maybe we will even catch a few fish and make an awesome dinner. Or maybe we will just eat hot dogs and roast a million marshmallows.

We can’t wait to meet you Baby T. You are the piece that fills our very hearts. We pray every day for you and are so happy that you are growing big and healthy. Hopefully not many more days will pass and we can have you here with us.

We love you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

One Day I Will Tell You...

Dear Baby T,

One day I will tell you how your dad and I came into this world, how we had a birthday like you, and lots of people waited for us and hoped for us and prayed we'd be happy and healthy. I will tell you how stubborn your dad was in his earliest hours, and how God must have had big plans for him. I will tell you about his crazy hair when he doesn't have any left. I will tell you about the times your dad would say, "I'm going to teach him to paint and play instruments, and we will have adventures and collect bugs and do things guys should do." I will tell you that you have a great man who will teach you to be devoted to your faith, to be compassionate for others, and to be wise, because your dad cared about the wise men that came before him, mostly Jesus and his dad.

One day I will tell you about all the people who love you, especially Koko and G. I will show you faces in photos and remind you who all your loved ones are, because, until you are much older, there will simply be too many to remember. And when we head west or south or just across town, you'll know that, wherever we wind up, you will be surrounded by people who love you much deeper than you could ever know. And you will be happy.

One day I will tell you about how much I love Santa Fe, and I will take you there. I will show you how to use a flashlight under the covers so you can stay up reading long past your bedtime. I will teach you how to read everything forward and backward so you'll be a good speller. I will tell you about the adventures I had with your favorite aunts, and you will learn the rule of Sixes. One day I will tell you about your heritage, and you will be proud. I will tell you I am proud of you.

One day I will tell you that you never have to worry about food on your plate or shoes on your feet or anyone taking your favorite stuffed rabbit, because I will protect you from those things that threaten you. And one day I will tell you about how you came in to this world, and how you became my child, and how it wasn't easy at first, because you were my child who was born on the other side of the world. I will tell you how I felt like I walked around with my heart beating on the outside of my chest, and the threat of tears was never far. But then I will remind you of all the people who love you; those same people comforted and protected me when you were not with me. I will tell you about those people often.

One day I will tell you about Pistol Annie, my grandmother, your dad's Nanny and Papa. They would all have loved you very much, and you'd feel the same way too. I promise.

One day I will tell you about the people who mean most to me--you know who you are.

And one day soon, I will try to tell you how much I love you, but no matter how hard I try, no matter the combinations of words I string together, it won't be enough.

Trust me, darling boy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Love Is Thicker Than Water

Image taken from the Internet.
 i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear: and whatever is done by only me is
your doing, my darling)
     I fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

-e.e. cummings
I have heard about the dark days of adoption. Naively, I thought I was immune; I was wrong, hence the long absence from our blog. Just when the days seemed darkest and I was uncertain as to whether I could persevere, Eric and I were given a gift by two families we both hold near and dear to our hearts, and we are now and forever will be grateful.

Thursday night, we agreed to meet our good friends Blake Behrens and Kyle Simmons for a quick photo opp for The Okay See. (Shameless plug: If you've not yet visited The Okay See, you absolutely should and may do so here:  http://www.theokaysee.com/). I was praying the photo would be quick, because I was cranky that I had not yet been allowed to change in to my pajamas and slippers. We walked in to the garage, and Kyle, a fellow writer, or wordsmith, as he prefers, began to read this:

Adopt the mindset that if we try to change the world of an individual, 
together we might actually change the World.
For every shirt we sell we will donate the majority of our proceeds to families trying to adopt. 
This shirt will help Eric & Kylie Lyons bring little Joah home 
from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Love IS Thicker than Water.

I was confused and uncertain and momentarily lost touch with reality. Blake then unveiled our design--OUR design--the one that we have been thinking about and brainstorming and researching. Blake and Kyle then told us the story behind their inspiration and how sneaky they had been to keep the secret from Eric during printing nights. When Blake held up our first printed t-shirt, the floodgates opened, and the cry I'd needed to happen for a while began...and didn't stop.

There are not words that can express the love we have for Blake and Kyle, their sweet wives, and their beautiful children. Eric and I have both been blessed in our friendships with the Behrens and the Simmons, but neither of us could have ever anticipated their abilities to show us God's love in such a way. "Love Is Thicker Than Water" is the foundation upon which we will strive to bless others who are adopting, because, to be honest, adoption is not cheap. Just as mothers and fathers experience pregnancies and births of children, adoptive families experience trials and periods of waiting and financial obligations, and we understand that. Blake and Kyle have helped us realize our hope of blessing others monetarily in order to bring more babies home to deserving families. The Okay See is now selling our shirt and poster prints, and the proceeds will help us bring Baby T home. The shirts and prints are available at www.theokaysee.com and are amazing! In the future, The Okay See will continue to bless others going through the adoption process through design and printing. Blake and Kyle, we love you.

Update on Our Process: We are anxiously awaiting for I-600a approval. The I-600a petitions for approval for the advance adoption of an orphan. We've signed the form and were fingerprinted. Fingerprinting was a bit intimidating. Security is comparable to that of an airport, and as we inched toward the front door, I realized that, somehow, I had picked up my dad's pocket knife, a sizable pair of toenail clippers, and some cuticle scissors and shoved them in my purse. I ran to the car and dumped out my purse, then took in only the essentials, just to be safe. We made it through sans pat down and were soon waiting for our fingerprinting. I've never been good about wearing gloves when cleaning, and during cold and flu season I do wash my hands a little more than usual, but we had a difficult time getting a print because my hands are dry (read: sandpaper). Fortunately, the woman who worked with me was very patient and even offered her home remedy for dry hands: Vaseline and tube socks while sleeping. Although I have not tried it yet, I have been moisturizing a LOT! We know that our paperwork is being processed, as we were asked to send additional information this week. Fingers crossed that we'll be processed and approved quickly. As soon as we receive approval, paperwork will be complete in the United States and will be sent on to the Democratic Republic of Congo for processing. Our current modus operandi appears to be "hurry up and wait."

Update on Life: I am not sure why our lives seem so crazy, but we continue to exist in the whirlwind to which we have grown accustomed. We recently took our annual trip to Beaver's Bend and spent a long weekend together in a cabin in the woods. As usual, we had a wonderful time and rested and caught up with each other. I realized that Eric is a better cook than I, we are really good at sleeping, and the key to laughter is an episode of "Honey Boo Boo Child" and an hour in the hot tub. We had a great time! The Fancher clan happened to be in town for the weekend as well, so we had supper with them, followed by a campfire! 

Eric is in the middle of his first year as the president of the Oklahoma Art Educators Association, and it's keeping him pretty busy. He and Blake and Kyle have formed The Okay See, a printing company, purchased a screen-printing press, and if Eric is not at home, he is at Blake's printing in the garage. Between that and Thunder games, he's very busy. I think he's finding ways to keep busy while I spend time between working and attending classes at OU, putting in counseling hours at my internship in Moore, and traveling. I am off to Las Vegas on Sunday for a work conference. I've not been to Vegas, and I'm getting more and more excited as Sunday gets closer.

Last weekend, I drove to Austin and spent some time with some of my best friends. We celebrated the upcoming birth of Baby Sofia, who will be the newest baby in the crew, and showered Camille with love and goodies. Now that it is February, we are on the final countdown and are continuing to pray for a happy, healthy baby and a safe, easy delivery. We weren't quite complete and missed Emily and Mary Beth. It won't be long before we are Birmingham bound for Mary Beth's wedding! I love these sweet girls:
Top Row: Becca, Jennifer, & Lindsay. Second Row: Ashley, Kylie, Camille and Baby Sofia, and Rosalyn

I hope your February is off to a wonderful start. I'm ready for warmer weather and spring flowers!

Lots of Love,

Eric and Kylie 



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Catching Up

Phew! It has been a crazy month! October always seems to be jam-packed with traveling and celebrations and even a short vacation, and this month has followed suit. Here's a quick update on the goings-on in our neck of the woods.

Last weekend we attended our sixth Austin City Limits with good friends. Eric and I have made it an annual trip with Jennifer, one of our closest friends, and this trip proved to be adventurous. We had so much fun and caught some of our favorite bands at the Festival. We'd live in Austin if we could, and maybe one day we will, but right now our roots seem to be growing deeper in Oklahoma. It was lovely to see our best friends Ashley and Ryan Akers and Marcos and Camille Acosta. Had we had a little more time, we would have caught up with the rest of our crew, but we will next weekend when we head to Lubbock for sweet Becca's wedding (more on that later). The weather was good (minus the torrential downpour that struck Saturday afternoon), the food was delicious, and the company was spectacular!

This weekend I'm headed to Fort Worth to celebrate with our good friends Jordon and David. Their wedding is right around the corner, and so the celebrating has begun! Couples' shower this weekend, the bachelor/bachelorette parties are coming up, and then the wedding is in Austin on December 29. It's all so excited, and Eric and I are both thrilled for David and Jordon. Now, if my bridesmaid dress would only get here!

Last but not least, Jennifer and I will trek to Lubbock next weekend to celebrate with Ryan and Becca and the rest of the girls at the Templeton/McPhetridge wedding! I had some fabulous help in finding the perfect dress and gold shoes, and I've seen a sneak peek of Becca in her dress and it's gorgeous. It's going to be a fun weekend, and I'm so glad to have another chance to see all of my best college friends. I think this year might hold the record for the most times we've seen each other since college. I hope this pattern continues!

An update on the adoption front: We are patiently waiting for our approved/signed home study report to come in the mail. Our social worker, Heather Hope, has been so great to work with. With the report ready to go, we have begun compiling the rest of our paperwork. There's so much to do, but it all seems to be coming together. I had a very small pity party recently with how slow the process seems to be but was quickly reminded that someone greater than me is in control, and all things are going just as they should be. Before we know it, we'll be bringing home Baby T!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Sweet Home Study, or Babyproofing 101

Photo credit goes to: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=baby+proofing&view=detail&id=A124CF294109AA9BB3402A9DEA7E19F6DD22CD24&first=36
"Ha, babies!" (Tina Fey, "Bossypants")

When it comes to babyproofing the home, there is an endless amount of precaution one can take: socket protectors, cabinet locks, toilet seat locks, doorknob covers, table bumpers, rubber ducky faucet protector, etc., etc., etc. As I worked late into the night, crawling on my hands and knees so that I could, following the advice of the experts (who are the experts anyway?!), view my home from "a child's perspective," I realized we would all be safer bringing children home to padded rooms than the death traps that are our houses. Don't worry; after the brief moment in which I lost complete touch with reality, I called it a night and came back to my senses. As Eric and I have diligently prepared for our home study, I realized that what my mom has always told me is true: With your children, you try your best to protect them; you do what you can, but at the end of the day, it's not in your hands. Honestly, I can't wait for the day that my brilliant son is "taking a bath" in the toilet or attempting to brush our Labradoodle's teeth with his toothbrush, because that will mean he's home with us, safe and sound.

With a TON of help from my mom, Rhenea, we got our house (including the garage, every closet, drawer, cabinet, nook, and cranny) cleaned out, organized, and safe in record time: four days. We worked from sunup to sundown (literally, just ask my mom) and were exhausted but rewarded each day by the prospect of a baby moving in soon. I have been putting off purging closets and drawers for quite some time, and I finally cut ties with many pieces of clothing I have been holding on to for those "what if I'm in this particular situation at this time of year and need to wear a __________," including but not limited to my first "power" suit with shoulder pads Suzanne Sugarbaker would be proud of (If you are unfamiliar with Suzanne Sugarbaker, I suggest you Google "Designing Women" right this instant.); a hot pink broomstick skirt; and the purple dress I wore for my high school graduation...in 2001. After numerous trips to Home Depot/Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Target, and Sonic, we got everything in tip-top shape. There were even a few adventures, including a hornets' nest, a near broken nose, and a mishap with a staple gun, the details of which I will take to my grave.

For those of you who are anticipating (and probably freaking out about, just as I did) a home study, I have some advice: Breathe. I can't count the times my mom, Eric, and our good friends reminded me of this simple, life-sustaining practice--just breathe. With this, coupled with an unending amount of kindness, love, and gracious understanding from those we love most, we did it!

We were extremely blessed to meet our social worker, Heather. If you're an Oklahoman looking for an AMAZING social worker to conduct your home study, I've got the gal for you. The first time I spoke to Heather on the phone, I felt like I was talking to someone I had known my whole life. She was understanding and more than willing to answer my constant barrage of questions. She talked us through the process and really took the time to get to know us (especially during the 4.5 hours she was in our home on Friday). Some people say their social worker knows them better than anyone else, and I absolutely agree; I can't think of anyone better than Heather to guide us through this exciting process.

St. Francis of Assisi said, "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." This Friday, Eric and I are headed to Dimmitt, Texas, my hometown, to participate in 4th and Bedford Church of Christ's Summer Celebration. The theme of the Celebration is "PUSH": Push yourself beyond a life of complacency and answer God's charge. We have an amazing opportunity to share our story and our plans to travel to the DRC to spread God's Word and bring home our baby boy. We are humbled that James has included us in this opportunity and pray that God will be glorified through our testimony. We are so excited to share our journey and hope to educate others about adoption and the opportunities we have as Christians to ease the suffering of the sad and broken, whether in our hometown or on the other side of the world. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On the Fourth of July

Photo by Eric

"And the smell of the smoke and the lay of the land 
And the feeling of finding one's heart in one's hand
And the tiny tin voice of the radio band singing "Love must stand..." 
Love forever and ever must stand
On the Fourth of July." 
-James Taylor, "On the Fourth of July"

Happy Fourth of July! As I write this, I can hear hundreds (maybe thousands...) of fireworks soaring into the night sky. It's lovely to think of our freedom, of those who have and continue to sacrifice so much for us, including very dear friends and family members. A HUGE thank you to all of you! It's because of you that we can look forward to bringing a child home to this amazing country. 

We had an absolutely lovely weekend with two of my favorite people in the world, Ryan and Ashley. They drove in from Austin on Saturday and stayed until Tuesday morning, when the real world demanded we cut our party short. On Saturday night Jennifer joined us before leaving for Tremaine Dance Workshop at the Gaylord Texan, and so we took a short drive to Okarche to eat at Eischen's. We were able to muscle ourselves a table (which is a little stressful for me, I admit) and had fried chicken and okra. If you haven't been, you absolutely should; you won't be hungry for a week...or at least until the next day, like we were. We visited Tucker's Onion Burgers for supper on Sunday and then went to the Myriad Gardens for the Summer Jazz Concert series. Again, if you haven't gone, you should! The weather was awesome, and the band was really good, especially their cover of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Monday we swam and visited the Wedge, which was absolutely delicious; even Ryan said so, and he should know. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend, and I am so glad we were able to spend a few days together, relaxing and reminiscing.

Right now we are preparing for our home study and continuing to compile mounds of paperwork. Our home study is July 27, and even though everyone I've talked to who has gone through it before says, "Hey, don't worry about your home study. Just make sure you (fill in the blank)...," I'm still a little panicked. Okay, A LOT panicked. I've cleaned out almost every drawer, closet, and cabinet, and I'm amazed that a) I've found lots of little things I forgot I was looking for; b) we've collected so much stuff that we might be on the next episode of "Hoarders"; and c) I've managed to "hide" Eric's passport, my birth certificate, and the deed to our home in the most illogically logical place. I'm sure I will find it eventually; I'm sure it's all tucked away safely, right beside my brain.

If you're looking for something to do on Friday night, specifically between 7:00 and 9:00, Eric has a photography show at T, An Urban Teahouse, located at 7518 North May Avenue in Oklahoma City. He has taken some really beautiful photos, and he's working hard right now getting boards cut and photos mounted. I even chipped in for a little bit, until I couldn't handle the feeling of sandpaper a second longer. I am really excited about the work he has chosen to share. The folks at T have been gracious enough to allow him to show, and all proceeds from the show will go toward our adoption. With our home study on the horizon and our dossier near completion (okay, okay, "near" is a relative term, right?), we are getting closer and closer to bringing our little guy home. We don't know him yet, and while we do have a name picked out, for the the time being we are calling him "Baby T," which is apropos, don't you think?   
Photo from http://www.urban-teahouse.com/T_Urban_Teahouse/Home.html

Friday, June 22, 2012

Home Sweet Home Study

Hello! We haven't had much to report lately, but I guess it's time to post that we've found our social worker, and our home study is planned for July 27! We have been planning and working frantically to get things in order for this much-awaited day. I have been scouring sites with tips and tricks for preparing for the home study, and we recently raided the Ikea Home Safety section for socket protectors and cabinet/drawer locks. After a fun evening with our Marriage Mentor group from church (five kids under the age of 10 included), I realized that our house is not yet baby proof!

Other than preparing for the home study, we are right in the middle of "the Great Paper Chase." We are working on compiling our dossier and scheduling doctors' appointments, getting fingerprinted, and praying for sanity. There is so much to accomplish, and our summer schedules are just not allowing the time we need to sit down and focus. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend at home while Eric is in Austin at an Art Educators conference, and my good friends Jennifer and Kalyn have graciously offered to come and help me purge closets and drawers and work on paperwork.

My parents, Gary and Rhenea, came down a few weekends ago for cousins James and Sarah's wedding. We had a lovely time with the Baker side of the family, and we were so happy to celebrate with James and Sarah!

I hope you're all having a wonderful summer!