December was a awesome month. Like really so good! It started with Tavin's birthday. Now if you've adopted you will know that celebrating your adopted child's birthday, if they've come from a hurt place, could go very badly wrong. Over stimulation is a good probability, the whole new experience could be scary, as your child doesn't know what to expect or what's happening or it could drum up some memory seared into the subcounsience that you have no knowledge of. So to be honest I was pretty nervous about the day. That probably sounds crazy unless you've been there.
We gave him our gifts in the morning, so he would know a little what to expect in the evening, and so he wouldn't have as many gifts to open later in case it was overwhelming. His brothers were happy to help him rip the paper.
After that the day started off..terrible. Like bad. Tavin was resistant all morning to interaction, and one of his brothers who will remain un-named woke up on the whiny side of the bed big time. All morning I contemplated canceling his small party I had planned just for family but seeing as I come from a large family "small" really means over a dozen people so....well, not so small. By lunch I had been almost in tears more than once, and may have had a meltdown when the hubs came home before dinner. I grieved the birthdays he hadn't celebrated, and imagine his first lonely days after birth. Happy birthday right?
But nap time was a reset for Tavin and his brother. At dinner he ate spaghetti like a champ.
The evening was awesome. He relished in the happy birthday singing, loved blowing the candles out and figured out how to rip the paper mid way through gifts. He would have been happy with any one of his gifts, stopping to look at books till we promoted him to open more. He was relaxed, sweet, engaged the whole time, and insisted on shaking everyone's hands and hugging them when they left. He's been singing his version of happy birthday ever since and blowing out an imaginary candle afterwards.
Christmas was fantastic. Two moments stand out, one was Christmas Eve as we sang carols with candles lit at my parents house, a Christmas Eve tradition from when I was young. Tavin sat tucked under my arm, sing-songing along and swaying to the music, wanting to blow out the candles and sing happy birthday. I choked up knowing the alternative his life would have been. One of THOSE moments.
The other was Christmas morning. We (and by we I mean Steve) knocked off a set of stairs that flip over to be a boat/rocker for Tavin. He loves stairs and needs sensory input as he lacks mobility in general and various kinds of input as a result of orphanage life, which the rocking will be great for. He sat on the stairs sucking a sucker (which he only recently learned how to do, his under developed mouth muscles finally getting strong enough) playing with a little toy he had opened, happy, care free, relaxed. And the image of him laying in his orphanage crib, eyes blank, where he spent too much time, was a stark contrast. His little room mates faces were again before me, and the reality that his Christmas would have been what theirs still is was overwhelming.
We are blessed with three amazing boys. Tucker and maddox waited patiently as they took turns opening gifts, "thank you mommy and daddy!", relishing in the day, enjoying giving the gifts they chose for each other and us, and the gifts they opened.
It was the best kind of day. A day to celebrate the ultimate redemption, our adoption as sons and daughters into Jesus' family, made possible by the most upside down swap ever as he took our punishment and offers us His righteousness in exchange.
Merry Christmas and happy new year!