Meade couple celebrate life while awaiting (a bundle of) joy
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
When you meet Tyler and Rachel Bennett, there are two things you will discover right off: 1) they have a warm and welcoming spirit, and 2) they love cheese.
On their kitchen table sat a platter filled with crackers, salami, and three kinds of cheese. There was also a platter of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and two pitchers, one with water, the other, tea.
“Are you hungry? Help yourself!” Tyler said.
The Catholic gratefully helped itself. The Catholic loves chocolate chip cookies and cheese and crackers!
The gracious young couple are another in a line of fine, Kansas couples who are awaiting good news from the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.
“We had a neighbor who had success adopting through Catholic Charities,” Tyler said. “There’s a need [for guidance in the adoption process]. People don’t realize what goes into it — the study, the patience.”
“He’s still working on that last one,” Rachel said with a grin.
In July, the couple will have been married five years, a date which also marks one year since they officially became eligible to adopt.
Unlike many small-town Kansas couples, Rachel and Tyler didn’t grow up in the same community or attend the same school. In fact, he was reared in Texas, and she in Nebraska; the road that led to their eventual introduction in Copeland, Kansas was filled with twists and turns that could only have been navigated by a Loving Lord bent on seeing these two together.
“I was a track coach and teacher in Copeland,” said Rachel, who today is a high school teacher in Kismet. Tyler, an athletic trainer, works with student-athletes and physical therapy patients. They both have earned Master’s Degrees in their various studies.
One day, duty took Tyler to Copeland Junior High School, where he met the woman who would redefine his future. They were married on July 20, 2013.
“It’s been a learning process,” Tyler said of their year-long adoption journey.
“Learning and growing,” Rachel added.
“A lot of people give up after two weeks,” Tyler explained, referring to the patience needed in the adoption process. “It will happen in God’s time.”
The Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program requires each couple to pass a stringent application process that includes classes, home visits, and meeting with counselors. And it’s not cheap (although far less expensive than other adoption programs). The process is designed to ensure the child is brought into a good home.
Obviously, there are many legalities involved, especially when considering that Catholic Charities uses the Open Adoption system, which allows the birth parent(s) to continue to be part of the child’s life.
“Catholic Charities makes sure it’s all by the book,” Rachel said. “Once the child is ours, we maintain complete parental control.” In other words, they will decide how and in what capacity the birth parent is involved.
“It’s beneficial for the child,” Tyler said. “For example, if the birth family has a history of diabetes or heart issues, we would have no idea without open adoption.”
Both Rachel and Tyler were reared surrounded by extended family, and both are fully intent upon bringing those values into the life of their future child.
“When I was young,” Rachel said, “we took yearly trips to Colorado Springs, got together with extended family at either of my grandparents’ farms, went on day trips to shop or visit zoos and museums, or just hung out at the pool.”
“That’s one of the reasons why we get along,” Tyler added. “Family is huge to us.”
The child who is lucky enough to enter into the Bennett home will be introduced to the couple’s loves: the joy of cooking and baking, the peaceful rewards of gardening, love for hunting (complete with four retrievers barking excitedly from behind a closed door during the Catholic’s visit), and a yen for home construction projects. Oh — and cheese.
And they will find a couple practicing a prayerful life devoted to the Loving Lord, a backdrop to everything they do.