I LOVE Memorial day weekend. Yes, it means a free day for the family, but it also means that thousands have died so that we could be together as a family. Memorial Day is a day to remember and ponder the true meaning of freedom and the cost that came with that word.
“Home of the FREE…because of the BRAVE!”
My Papa is a Veteran of the Navy and he instilled in me a love for this country and the freedoms that I have been blessed with. Because of that Memorial Day weekend is a celebration for us. This year we chose to celebrate by truly appreciating the freedoms that we have been blessed with; a beautiful country and a forever family.
My grandfather, Doug White, during his service in the United States Navy
My great grandfather, grandfather and great-uncle
My grandma, mom and aunt welcoming home my grandfather from deployment.
I have always wanted to be a more outdoorsy person, but because of severe hay fever and basically an allergy to air, I always ended up avoiding a lot of it. Well, I finally decided enough is enough.
Matt and I took our birthday money and decided to buy hiking carrier back packs. Given, we decided this on friday morning and so we didn’t have anytime to order them before monday (Memorial Day). BUT everything was on sale for the holiday. So… I basically called every sports store within 50 miles to see what ones they carried. We finally found some at Back Country and just like that, we found our new obsession! They are seriously the comfiest back packs ever! We got the Deuter Kid Comfort II. It puts all the weight on your hips and my back won’t hurt at all after the hike is finished. It is seriously a game changer for us. ( I promise I’m not being paid for this)
We went on a “practice” hike, down the Bonneville Shoreline, when Matt got home from work that night. From that, we set the goal to go on a hike every week for the rest of the summer. So far, we are doing pretty good!
When Monday arrived we were all ready for our Memorial Day hike. We planned to meet my family at Brighton so we could go on a small hike around Silver Lake.
When we got there we were beyond surprised to run into our best friends the Marsdens! What are the chances that we would both go to the same place at the exact same time. Of course we all decided to join up and hike together.
So far, we have only been on three hikes with our back packs, but every time we pull them out Tae and Ty start jumping up and down and smiling as wide as can be. They LOVE being outside. It was chillier than we were anticipating, but it didn’t phase them one bit.
The hike was BEAUTIFUL, but we didn’t get to go up the mountain very high because there was so much snow. So maybe it can’t be called a hike, but more of a nice excursion around the lake on a paved path.
Tyce was trying so hard to stay awake. He would be smiling so big one minute and then completely collapse into a deep sleep the next. BUT as soon as he would realize he fell asleep, he would pop back up to enjoy the party again.
It was so much fun to spend the morning with friends and family and enjoy the simple pleasures of living in this beautiful state!
Of course you can’t truly celebrate this National Holiday without a good family BBQ. So after the hike we raced back to my grandmas house for some good old fashioned Hamburgers and hot dogs (only gourmet because my grandparents always go above and beyond).
The poor kids didn’t get a moment to relax, but they had a blast with cousins. Between a bounce house and a game of croquet, I would say the day was a hit.
Plus, Tae was able to enjoy a few licks of whipped cream which is always a reason to celebrate in her mind.
I would just like to say thank you to all the men and woman that have served and are serving our country. I feel truly honored that you would sacrifice so much for me and my family.
In honor of Mother’s Day and Birth Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to talk about our open adoption. Open Adoptions have a lot of stigmas and questions around them, and so I think it is important to address some of the questions that we get asked daily.
Now, I know you all are wondering where Tyce gets his good looks! One of the most common questions we get asked is if we have an open adoption. Then, it is followed by the question, “Isn’t that hard?” or some comment about why the person talking could never do something like that. Pamela, Tyce’s birth mom, gave me permission to share some pictures of our journey, and so I thought this would be the perfect space to give some insight on why an open adoption is perfect for us!
A lot of this is really personal to me and my family, but I feel it is important to share in order to understand why open adoption is an amazing possibility! I would also never share any of this, unless I had permission from Tyce’s birth family.I want to make sure it’s clear I am not sharing this on a whim.
When Matt and I decided to adopt, we discussed and agreed that an open adoption was really important for us. On the surface it seems really daunting, but it really isn’t. I personally Love it! I actually hate that we are in Utah and Pamela and Jibon are in Arkansas. And I look forward to visiting them in the future.
Some of the immediate blessings of an open adoption are:
I get to text Pamela whenever I need, to ask her questions pertaining to Tyce’s health, personality, growth patterns ect.
I get to learn more about Tyce’s heritage.
And one of the biggest ones is we are able to extend our family, not just by one, but by many! (I went to start counting, but the number just kept going up! and so I gave up)
Because of the fast moving pace of our adoption, we weren’t able to meet or talk to Pamela or Jibon (his birth parents) before Tyce joined the world. I had created a little profile on my family, that was only two pages long and on a Word document, which was all the information they had on us.
Tyce was born several weeks early and so he was immediately flown to Little Rock to the children’s hospital there. As a result, Pamela and Jibon never got a chance to really meet him.
Me, my dad and Taelynn flew to Kansas City to meet my Aunt Dana and then we drove to a cute little city in Arkansas to pick up Pamela and Jibon and then continue onto Little Rock, so we could all “meet” him together.
I’ll be honest, I was completely terrified. I was so scared that they would look at me and see me with another baby and completely change their minds. I didn’t know how I was supposed to approach them. Do I give them a hug? Shake their hand? My mind was going a mile a minute. BUT, when Pamela opened the door and I had a wave of love come over me. I quickly learned, they were as nervous as me.
My first glimpse of Tyce. I was sent this photo after he was born.
My first glimpse of Tyce. I was sent this photo after he was born.
We loaded up in the car and drove the last three hours to Little Rock, where Tyce was. (He was the lucky one and got to ride in a helicopter.)
Let’s get real for a second, it takes a strong woman to give birth and then jump in the car, with no sleep, and drive 3 hours! I was in awe the entire time. I was torn between wanting to ask a million questions, but then also letting Pamela and Jibon sleep. (SORRY I’M A TALKER, PAMELA! You probably thought I was a crazy person!)
When we got to the hospital, it got really complicated because the staff at the front desk had a hard time comprehending that an adoptive mom and a birth mom were there together. Eventually, we got ahold of the social worker from the hospital and we started making some progress to see our sweet baby.
After who knows how long, we were invited into the NICU to see Tyce. Pamela had me go first. It was the kindest gesture from her! She still had some paperwork to fill out and she didn’t want me to wait. But, I thought it was important to let her hold him first and change his first diaper. It sounds silly, but that was her right. Tyce was hers first.
I have engrained in my memory the sweet way she looked at him. Only a mother can look at their child in that way. It was full of love and caring. Make no mistake about it, she loves Tyce. That is one stigma I want to throw out the window. A birth mother is still a mother filled with love.
We were quite the sight for all the nurses and staff. We were in an open area where the NICU beds are all in a row, so basically everyone could see us trying to figure out our new roles. There is a lot of emotions at this time. It was hard to figure out a way to make time slow down so we could all delve into this moment, while still trying to figure out the complications of paperwork. I don’t have much more that I want to share on this experience.
At some point during this time, I asked Pamela if I had her approval to breastfeed Tyce. It was really important to me that she gave me her blessing. The most reassuring thing was when she gave me a big smile and said, “yes.”
Eventually, we parted for the day so that everyone could get some rest. Pamela and Jibon went with my aunt and dad back to a hotel to sleep.
Matt flew in early the next morning. I was so beyond grateful he would have a chance to meet Pamela and Jibon. My dad had to be back in Kansas City to catch his returning flight that day, so we didn’t have much time.
BUT, we will have a reunion in person one day.
OPEN ADOPTION STIGMAS
Open adoption is a lot more common now than it used to be, and I LOVE THAT! The term “open adoption” is different for every situation, but basically it means you have open contact. For some it means sending picture a few times a year, where for others, it means frequent get togethers. That is something you decide between families. ***Keep in mind every situation is different!***
For us, we have a pretty open adoption. Obviously, there is a distance barrier, but we text often with pictures and life events. We also are beyond lucky to have a great relationship with two of Tyce’s biological siblings that were also adopted, but I want to respect their privacy so I won’t go into much more than that.
One of the big questions I get asked is if I feel “threatened” as a mom. I can honestly say, I have never once felt threatened. Pamela makes me feel so confident in my ability to parent Tyce because of the way she treats me. I have never felt like it was a competition for Tyce’s love. Yes, he is still a baby, but I don’t see that changing. We both have different roles in Tyce’s life and both roles are extremely important.
I remember one moment, as I was preparing to get a picture of something Tyce was doing, I mentioned that I was trying to get the picture for Pamela. The person I was with gave me a weird look and asked me “why?” The truth is, I get excited to share things with her. How many people can say that they have someone that is just as excited to see your child’s accomplishments as you? I can send Pamela endless pictures and videos and stories without her getting annoyed about my “bragging.” (No, grandmas don’t count.)
I understand why the natural tendency is to feel jealous or threatened. Before going through this experience, I would have thought that is how I would feel. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. I think what helped me the most was putting myself in her shoes.
Again, I can only speak of my experience.
I also get asked if having an open adoption will confuse Tyce in the future. I actually believe it will do the opposite. I’m not trying to hide Tyce’s story from him. I want him to know his heritage and where he came from. It is part of his identity.
What a joy that he will never have to question where he is from and who he is. He now can see that he has a huge army of people surrounding him that love him. My favorite part is, the openness doesn’t just include Tyce, but all of us! One of Tyce’s biological brothers, adoptive mom (that’s complicated to explain) recently told me how her daughter was so excited that I also had a daughter because she has always wanted a sister, and now she has some. We are all connected because of Pamela and Jibon and these precious children.
Jibon and Pamela with Taelynn.
Pamela with two of her children.
My dad was lucky enough to meet two of Pamela and Jibon’s children when he brought them back home.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, PAMELA!!!
Feel free to message me if you have more questions about how open adoption works, or just adoption questions in general. I will answer them the best I can.
Choosing a name for our kids has been very important to Matt and I. We put a lot of thought into it, and make sure that there is a story behind it.
The day after we were sealed to Tyce, Matt was able to give him a fathers blessing in which he gave Tyce his official name that would be kept in the records of the church. Taelynn received her blessing in August, just a couple months after she was born. (I didn’t have a blog then, so you get to hear about both of our little miracles.)
The name we chose for Tyce is Tyce Mitchell Kabua Bosen.
A lot of people have asked me where we came up with the name, so here is your answer. Since I was in elementary school Ty has always been my favorite boys name. I knew that my first boy was going to carry that name. When I think of the name, I think of power and culture. I also feel that it is a gentle, yet manly name. I could see a baby with that name and I could see an adult with that name. I didn’t want it to be Tyler or Tyson or any of the other names that could be shortened to Ty because that just wasn’t fitting. I just wanted Ty.
When I was living in Russia, one of the girls that I was living with was telling me about her friend Tyce. I had never heard that before and I really liked it! I still had the ability to say Ty, but it added some more… character. So I locked it into my name bank.
When Matt and I got married, I had three girls names and 3 boys names. I gave him full veto power if he didn’t like one, but to my surprise he only vetoed one of the names. It worked out though, because I wasn’t fully invested in the name he did veto. But, we did know that our first girl would be Taelynn and our first boy would be Tyce. I’ll explain her name in a little bit. So now that we knew their first names it came time to middle names.
Originally, we had a different middle name picked out for Tyce. I won’t reveal it here, because I still want to use it in the future, and I want that person to be surprised when they find out our child is named after them. 🙂 BUT, when I was on the plane to Arkansas, I was sitting next to my dad, and he had a way about him that was making me feel so at peace. Here I was, in the most stress filled situation, and my dad was completely calm and supportive; knowing exactly what to say. He never questioned Matt or I, but instead, trusted our instinct and the spiritual promptings we had received. After we landed, my dad went to gather our luggage and I was standing back with Taelynn. I called up Matt and asked him what he thought about making Tyce’s middle name Mitchell (My dad’s name is Glade Mitchell). He said he loved it and that was that. The name Mitchell to us stands for hard work, integrity, love, trust, devotion and spiritual strength. Those are all things we hope for Tyce.
As we got closer and closer to the finalization day, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing from Tyce’s name. It didn’t feel complete. I was talking to his birth mom one day and learned more about her last name Kabua. The name Kabua comes from Kabua the Great, renowned paramount chief. To date, the two RMI presidents (Republic of the Marshall Islands), are grandsons of Kabua the Great. Well, being part of a culture that loves genealogy, I thought this was really neat. So we gave Tyce the second middle name, Kabua, in honor of his birth mom. The name for us stands for love, sacrifice, family, culture and heritage. And just like that, his name felt complete.
We can’t forget my little Taelynn Fedelina. When I was younger, I used to baby sit a little girl named Taelyn. It was such a fun time. She was the most ADORABLE baby, and I loved the responsibility of taking care of a baby. Her family was incredible and I only have happy memories when I think of the time we lived next to them. That name has always stayed with me because it was a time that I learned responsibility and I guess you could say, my motherly instinct came out.
BUT, what made it even more special is that it carried the name Lynn as part of it. My mother’s middle name is Lynn and she then gave me the middle name Lynn. So I guess you could say it is tradition. On top of that, my grandma’s name is Carolyn. Both my grandma and my mom are two of the most influential people in my life. From them I learned service, love, gratitude, friendship…you name a good quality and those two woman possess it.
But, while we are going off the importance of the name Lynn, we have to add Matt’s grandpa into the mix (because not everyone can be named after my family! hahaha!) Matt’s paternal grandpa is also named Lynn. Talk about packing meaning into a name.
Fedelina, this name came to me shortly before I gave birth. I knew that Taelynn was already named after my mom and my paternal grandma, but it didn’t feel right leaving out the third most influential person in my life, my Grandma Esther, my maternal grandmother. She grew up catholic and as such, has several names. I tried to memorize them once, but I don’t fully remember all of them (she didn’t remember all of them right away either, so I feel a little better). One of her middle names is Frieda. However, my grandma is Spanish, so if you were to say Freida in spanish it would be Fedelina. How beautiful is that?! So of course, it had to be. So, Tae may hate us when she has to fill in the little bubbles to write her name on tests in the future, but I feel like it will all be worth it. Those names stand for courage, love, charity, honesty, virtue, devotion, love, hard work, perseverance, a little bit of stubbornness but most of all family. (I kind of sound like I am checking off the Young Woman’s theme…)
I don’t think there is anything more powerful than watching all these strong influential men in your life, standing around your child in a wall of protection, giving a blessing to my most precious gifts. Both times I have been able to experience this with my children my heart has burst, as I feel at peace that my kids will always be protected and watched over. I don’t know if all of you men know the gentle power you have. I sincerely thank you, for honoring your priesthood and using it to bless and protect my children.
Matt gives the most beautiful blessings, and I am so glad that I have friends and family members that were smart enough to record them. I can’t wait to let Taelynn and Tyce listen to them in the future. As a mom, there is something so heart warming about listening to your husband, the father of your children, talk to God and ask our Heavenly Father to grant these blessings on our babies. What is more attractive than a father that loves his children beyond comprehension?!
Matt’s Face!!! HAHAHAHA!!
I felt like I was in the movie, The Lion King, after the blessing was finished. Matt lifts our children in the air, presenting them to the ward, and you can hear a rumble of happiness and “awe’s.” You can bet that puts a proud smile on my face.
Of course a celebration isn’t the same without food, so afterwards we went to our house and served up our take on Cafe Rio salads. (Anyone that knows me, is that even a surprise?)
Blessing days are my happy days! Family, Food and Perfect Babies! Thank you all for helping us celebrate our wonderful children!