We are on vacation this week. Being in Cape Cod usually makes me wax poetic and reflect a lot. This year is no different. I have been thinking about the last year. Being here, at this moment, has brought up a great deal of memories. Last year at this time, two days into our vacation, we got a call that our agency had gotten the hard copy of our LOA. That is the moment in the adoption process where time finally seems to speed up and you are literally on the fast track to China. Just a few more steps and a few more documents and you are boarding a plane to China. For me, it was when the yearning to just get Felicity home got worse and I just wanted to be on the other end of those documents. So, when we sat on the same beach that I wrote LOA in the sand and posted for the world to see, the flood of emotions came back; but this time Felicity was right there with me. Smiling and swimming and falling asleep in my arms. There was a full circle sort of sweetness and joy to it all.
But it hasn’t been just remembering the events of our last vacation; I have been reflecting a lot on the whole year since our LOA. The travel, bringing Felicity home, and her becoming a part of our family. This year has been oh, so easy and natural, yet very unnatural and hard. It has been one of the most tiring of my life and my emotions have seemed to reach new highs and lows. I cannot quite put into words all that has happened this year in me, personally and spiritually, yet I feel I could write a book on all that God has shown me in all of the sweet and hard moments from the year. From the outside, I hope it all looks simple and seemless, yet this year is not what it seems on the surface. Do not misunderstand me, most of the time, I would not say adoption and this past year have been hard. For much of it, I think we have taken it in stride; all of the changes thanks to heaping amounts of grace and prayer warriors that have carried us through. Yet, when I have sat and reflected on this past year over the last few days, I have realized just how tired and challenging, in an oh so beautiful, get ready for God to rock your world and an incredible amount of growth to come your way sort of way.
For the first time I think I am grieving what we gave up. Our little family of 5 had hit the “sweet spot”. The boys were older. All were potty trained and naps were a distant memory. We could pick up and go on a whim. The house, for the most part could be cleaned in moments, as there were no toddlers around to knock games off shelves, or rummage through the pantry and get food all over. Dates with the boys were regular occurences. I could get my workouts in with ease and run on the treadmill during the middle of the day if I wanted to. I could call friends or stop by a friend’s house for a play date for the kids and much needed mommy chat time for me.
Now, there is an oh-so-cute, yet oh-so-needy toddler who needs attention. Who needs momma to lay with her at nap and bed time. A little girl that goes on date nights with my husband and I still because we both have not left her yet, at the same time, and which, we know will be a challenge for her. Toys and games and you name it get thrown around the home. She is a girl who has decided it is necessary to scream anytime mommy gets on the phone. I have had to be much more careful about our schedule, or lack of, how much time we spend with lots of people. I have had to watch Felicity's cues carefully and I have learned not to get too set with plans. I want to do this parenting an adopted child well and not mess up too badly. There are nights I stare at her while she is asleep and am so thankful to be her mom, but so saddened by that same fact. Because, I shouldn’t be you know. There is a woman who gave birth to my daughter that should be be the one who gets to hold her to sleep. But we live in a fallen world. And so, I do the best I can for the sweet girl whose life was forever altered three days after she was born.
|2015 - Still not complete|
As I sat on the steps in the warm sun today, listening to the boys playing a sophisticated game of cops and robbers, I realized all that we have gained and lost in the past year. This year has been full of growing pains for the whole family and just when we started to exhale and breathe deep all that has been this year, we begin the process again. Those pictures I took last year in this same place, and said “Next year, this picture will be complete.” Well, it isn’t. And that same nagging feeling of having a child across the world that should be with us now, but is not, is still here. And we are in this beauty of the fulfillment of God’s promise of Felicity and this emptiness of missing Thomas all at the same time. And I still hear myself saying, next year we will all be here. We will all be together.
I wonder how we will all do with two years of the same growth and craziness. The same cocooning, and sleepless toddlers, and doctor’s appointments. The wonder and worry of attachment and bonding and another child being melded into our family. I may not have the answers to all of those questions, but I do know one thing . . . . it will be worth it. The sacrifice, the growing pains, the sleepless nights, the work for attachment, the conversations missed. It will all be worth it. Because there will be one less orphan in the world. One more member of our family. One more smile to wake up to in the morning.