Saturday, June 1, 2013

Are We There Yet Revisited.

One year ago I wrote a blog about our adoption journey. I called it Are We There Yet? I wrote the top ten things that we had learned about the adoption process. The incredible privilege of being a mom and dad to "littles" again has surpassed our wildest dreams, it has rocked our world, broke our hearts at times, and made us laugh until we peed.

Re printed from the post June 2012. Are We There Yet?
1. it steals your heart and captivates your soul
2. breathing while waiting for papers is laboured LOL
3. you start to nest without thinking about it
4. everyone you meet asks how how you are and instead of saying you have a any medical issues you automatically tell them where you are in the adoption process
5. there are some really great people you meet along the way...I love my cyber friends
6. the money is second, it is a lot and it is sometimes difficult to explain, but it pales in comparison to the stressors
7. time goes quick in hindsight but drags slowllllyyy when you are waiting on an answer
8. nothing is exactly what you think it should...nothing
9. there are way more opportunities for prayer than you thought imaginable
10. the end of it will be worth every heartache, every minute spent waiting

So this was then,  and today as we watch our girls play and laugh and develop their likes and dislikes their personalities shine and every day is a new day that makes us smile.

This is the top ten things I remember about meeting our girls and our first year together.
1. They have stolen our hearts and captivated every second of our thoughts, and every member of our family, and we forget that they were not always here.
2.  As they walked up the stairs to meet us, almost one year ago,  I couldn't breathe, I couldn't imagine that they were in my arms, I couldn't think.  There will never be another moment that I can explain like this, it tore me apart that it was happening, my heart was breaking for their good byes, and my heart was a puddle of emotions for our hellos, and their eyes were so full of uncertainty and fear, mixed with curiosity and connection. I really cannot explain it. The day we had waited for... was here...
3. They were so amazing, they were bigger, they were smaller, they were quieter, they were louder. They fell asleep the first night and I spent the whole night not sleeping, because I was too busy counting fingers and toes times two, over and over again. I took sleeping pictures, I watched daddy and two littles all curled up and I thought...we never have to wait to hear their voices, feel their fingers in our hands, listen to the sweet sound of their breathing, and see the soft head of curls crowning the little pink pjs. And I cried.
4. Coming home and being in Kinshasa waiting for all the papers we needed was difficult I won't lie. I always thought everyone's blogs were so truthful but now I wonder after our own experience and speaking to many others, it was tough. Did they tell the truth, was it all fabulous?  Don't let the sappy, happy adoption stories fool you into thinking transitions, travelling with two children that do not speak the same language, eat the same food or really have any idea where they are going, is a walk in the park. Couple that with intestinal bugs you pick up along the way, fatigue, and flight changes, and it is enough to make a grown woman cry. I made it home without tears but honestly I was so thankful when I made it to the Vancouver airport I thought I could kiss the ground. Not only was I home and normal and structure could start, but the girls had made it home, nothing could stop our two new little Canadians. I do remember thinking why am I not crying, because I am an emotional person, but in hindsight I think at that point I was on auto pilot. I grossly needed a shower, a meal I made, my bed, a pillow and some hot water.
4. Watching my bigs, meet their littles, was priceless. Nothing else could have been sweeter. Now I was a momma of five in the was so cool! From 35 to 3...and three between!
5. I remember the first few weeks home was nothing like I thought it would be. There were moments that seemed like my fairy tale, but the book had twists and turns we never considered to be part of the plot.
6. I remember the first day of school and now it 21 days until school is out, and I am astounded that Miss G went to school so very excited, waved goodbye, like she had done it a million times and reminded me to pick her up!She had some English but in ten short months has exceeded all the expectations for academics. That day is etched because I laughed and I cried, and I also felt bad that when my bigs were small I couldn't wait for them to go to school and never got choked up when they headed off to their first day. I must be more emotional now, sorry N and K if this is the first you have heard of my fly by drop off your first day of school. LOL
7. I remember thinking when will the firsts stop being so exceptional. The first time in church, the first time at McDonalds, the first birthday at home, Christmas, the list was endless and many times, I was dumbfounded with how many firsts, just seemed normal.
8. I remember being close to having a melt down  and Kelsey reminded me that normal was a setting on the dryer.  From that point on, I remember thinking, this is my new normal and like all parents of children that are adopted over three, life has parallels and life has junctions, and life has cross roads, and some days it seems like I am living all three. Was it going to change, probably not, so one had to dance in the day, and celebrate moments that would need to be remembered.
9. I remember celebrating many other children coming home, and how good it felt to be on this side of the process. My husband always said, one rough day home is still better than one minute of waiting. It was the toughest thing we had to do. We loved them before we knew where they were coming from, so hanging on for two years, was a daily struggle.
10. Last but not least I remember all the funny, sweet moments of childhood that we have witnessed, like learning to skate, swim, ride bikes, play on swings, color, have imaginary chats with random teddy bears, and all the play time spent rough housing with big brother Nick or Daddy. I will remember the first time they were sick and they wanted me....I will remember the first time they played upstairs without needing us there to watch...I will remember the trust that happened that allowed us to be out of their sight....I will remember picking up a kitten at the SPCA or as they called it, the orphanage for kittens and the conversations with the kitty about how safe she was now, and that we were a good family that would take care of her.....I remember catching way too many frogs for fun.....I remember the first assembly and Christmas concert and that six months before that, our daughter lived in an orphanage across the world, scared and alone, and was there singing at the top of her lungs, in her glory to be onstage....I will remember how fast English was spoken and the day they stopped speaking Lingala to each other....I will remember sad days and happy days, and I will remember memories being made. I will remember bedtime prayer so sweet my heart was bursting. I will remember watching personalities unfold, and discovering all the things we liked and disliked that were the same. I will remember conversations where lines were set in the sand...and we never looked back. I will remember the many characteristics that all my kiddos share, and that with three different moms, and three different dads, and yet loved by one mom and dad, we were brought together as a family.

in 2012 I wrote at the end of the post Are We There Yet?

In 2013 I am going to be completely honest...Are We There Yet? Yes and No...It depends on the question.
Are we family....absolutely!
Are we like a normal bio family...nope...we will probably always have challenges that families raising bio kids will never have.
Do we look normal...define normal.
Does it strike us at least one a week or so that we are really all home...yep.
Do we sometimes wonder how we ever made it through the last few years...yep.
We are so thankful for the many adoptive parents that we have shared this journey with and who without, we would have thought we were alone. The beauty of our family and friends is that they still ask, how we are doing, and they pray for us, and they keep us in the loop when we seem to fall off the radar for a few weeks.

In a few weeks it will be a year since that first day...a year since we hopped on a plane...and a year since my heart was breaking thinking will they ever come home....a year since the day we left Kinshasa and part of our hearts behind; a country that we call our own, a country that we will revisit, and the birthplace of our daughters.

So are we there yet...sure....cause I am sure "there" is a heart - a - tude.  

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