I tell you that story just because it sets up the next part of this post. It would take way too long to tell the whole story, and I'm not even sure I would, but starting about four years ago, someone began trying very hard to drive a wedge between me and Tish. It was a very difficult season for me, but I just kept reminding myself (and wonderful friends kept reminding me) that "truth and time walk hand in hand". Tish and I have always remained friends, but it was just a bit different - a bit unsure - both of us being fed false information, but neither of us knowing it. Anyway, the timing was pretty wild because one day, after two years, the truth was known by all involved and the veil was lifted. Tish called and we discussed the series of events. The air was cleared. Things resolved.
A short while after that, Tish called to ask me to pray about a decision that Billy Ray was making regarding a possible job. They weren't sure whether he should accept the role or not so she was wanting me to pray about it with her. We talked for about 30 minutes and then at the very end of that conversation, I told her that we were considering adopting a sibling set of three and I asked her to pray about that for/with me. The words she spoke next still blow me away to this day. She told me that they wanted to help us pay for the adoption. I assured her that that wasn't the reason I told her about it, but she knew that. She told me to keep her posted on what we decided and if we decided to do it, she was there to help us.
AND, to make this very long story a little bit shorter, we did and she did. (: They ended up paying for a large chunk of our adoption expenses. Without their financial blessing, I just don't know how we could have done it. We raised the rest of the money and had help from so many amazing friends, but the amount that Tish gave us was above and beyond anything we could have ever imagined, and we will forever be grateful. I knew I wanted to do something special as a thank you and thought that it would be great if I could give one of the kids a middle name from their family to honor them. I began going through African girl's names that meant "joy" because that was what I saw when I saw Bennet's face in the first picture I ever saw of her. And guess what, there it was, right there on the African-girl's-names that-mean-joy list - Leticia. THAT is Tish's name! It means "joy". It's African. What?? Come on!! That is SO GOD. And from that moment, Bennet became Bennet Leticia.
So, on Tuesday, we spent time with Bennet's namesake and the rest of them there Cyrus people. We hung out at their home just talking and taking pictures. We all had a wonderful time, but Tish and Bennet have a special connection. Tish lit up talking to Bennet and you could just see a love for her that was sweet and special. Tish said to me, "I want to be a big part of her life". I am praying that God will arrange moments for them to spend some time together and get to know each other a little bit. Oh, one little funny thing, Tish says Leticia, LeTISHa....but Bennet says it in this most beautiful African accent - it's Le-tea-c-ah. It's so sweet. So, Tish in her country accent said, "Yes! That's how it's supposed to be said, ya'll". Too cute!
After our time with them, we took Cooper and Gatlin over to take their head shots with Deihdra and the rest of us grabbed lunch. We got to say a quick hello to my sweet friend, Jonna, and it was great to see her. After our lunch, we picked Coop and Gat up and headed to the kid's agency to say hi to everyone there. It was great to see everyone at CESD and to introduce them to the new kids. The twins were "on" and it was hysterical. Bennet was a little shy, which was also hysterical.
We were late getting home so just spent the night packing to leave the next morning. Cooper ended up having an audition the next day so we didn't pull out of Los Angeles until about 3:00. We headed for Albuquerque. Stayed the night there and then it was on to Oklahoma to be with my family for a few days!
To be continued (but it'll be the last one, I promise!)...