Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy 6 months home!

Six months ago today we walked out of an orphanage in Ukraine with our son. OUR son. It felt so surreal. Like "really? We get to leave with him?" Although really how much more paperwork could we have done?!?

It feels crazy that it's been six months, HALF A YEAR! How can that be? Six months really is a good place. So different than 1 month home, or two months home. Better than 5 months home. He's really settled in. We've settled in. We've adapted, learned each other, built trust. Worked on attachment. And it's gotten easier, it feels more natural, it comes from a real place now. 

I know some are more experienced from previously fostering, or some feel an attachment from the very the beginning. I gotta be honest, we read, we talked to other adoptive parents, we talked, we prepared mentally, we did all the things. But nothing is the same as actually doing it, actually bringing your child home who hasn't been your child for the first years of their life. And the doing can feel really different than the theory of doing. We had a honeymoon period for 10 days, then it was craziness and screaming and raging and not eating, and raging about eating, and hitting and head butting and crazy eyed craziness. And of course if I could have seen into the future and known that at 3 months home it would drastically start to improve, 3 months really isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but in the moment you don't know how long the crazy will last, and what if it lasts forever? What if it never feels natural, what if what if what if....and you dig deep and come up short and drink coffee and and go out for a girls night sometimes, and get up in the morning and just try to take one day at a time because to think of more than one day is too much. You might fall exhausted onto the sofa at night wishing for a good cry which really is too much effort to bother so you go to bed instead. And the rejection you thought wouldn't bother you actually does. And the screaming you thought wouldn't be such a big deal is, and you just choose to believe that it will get better because that's what everyone says.

And guess what? It did. And we found our sweet boy again, and we love him. He's our son, and at 6 months home it feels real to say that. And that's pretty darn good. 

So if you're at the beginning of it, just arriving home, I can now join the ranks that can tell you "hang in there, just survive, just do the loving things you need to do, and eventually you'll catch up with the actions and it will feel real." 

6 months home is a good place to be. To everyone who has supported us along the way, here's a special thank you today!! We couldn't have done it alone. 

We love you Tavin!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Coming full circle

Recipe for joy:
1 little boy who until recently spent too much time in a crib with little outside stimuli, who loves water

1 large sandy beach with perfectly shallow waves

Mix well and enjoy. 

Here's a glimpse of the joy that peeks through redemption. 

This week is especially meaningful because one year ago we spent a week here, same beach, same house. Every week I refreshed this photo listing of a little boy who had grabbed our hearts on Reeces Rainbow. Every day we prayed for a family to find him, and wondered if that family was us. Every day we played in the sand, ran in the waves and wondered if this little boy could be part of our lives. Really a better question that we asked was whether we could adapt ourselves to be the family he needed. I would see our sons running and jumping in the little puddles left from the outgoing tide and think "he can't run but I bet he would love to sit in those puddles and splash". Picturing our lives with him. Praying for wisdom. Researching arthrogryposis a little more. And all week God was tugging on our hearts. 

So this week, a year later, here we are, and here he is. And while we fell in love with a picture last year, knowing it wasn't really him, we've spent the last five months knowing the real little boy and falling in love with each other. So to see his joy in the waves, his laughter when they smack his feet and belly, his love of living, well I don't think it was sand in my eyes. 


A kind man near us found this starfish, alive, so cool to hold and feel his little jelly like tentacles feeling our hands. 


Me: "what was your favorite part of the day?"
Maddox: "dada bury me in da sand."

All that fun wears you out though. 

"Mama Maddox gonna catch all da fish and eat all da fish!"


And we ended the day with this reaction to "we will play in the water more tomorrow" when he wanted to get in, again, at dusk.