adoption, expectations

on loving and expecting and trying to hold two babies

Tal is an amazing human being. I guess that goes without saying, isn’t every baby? And of course I’m his mom so my opinion comes wildly biased. But throughout the process of his adoption, as we got update pictures I’d wonder of course about who he would be, what he would be like, his personality and his strengths. It’s a strange thing to fall in love with a person and then get to know then. And now that I’ve gotten just a small, small taste of who he is I can say firmly that I adore him. I adore what I know about him and I look forward to getting to know what I don’t.

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I try very hard to keep expectations far away from my motherhood experiences. Expectations of what he’ll be like, if he’ll like me, how our family will fit together. I was worried I hadn’t done such a good job this time. In many ways it was much, much harder this time. I’d already experienced motherhood, that first rush of change and excitement. With Thane it was easier to keep expectations low because I didn’t have any idea what to expect. This time, unspoken, unrealized expectations kept rearing their head throughout the process.

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At one point I sat down with myself and forced myself to imagine everything exactly the opposite of how it was with Thane. I tried to imagine a personality as far from his as possible. It was hard, but good too for me to do that. It brought a lot of those unspoken expectations to the light and let me get rid of most of them.

But of course there were some I wasn’t prepared for. I hadn’t realized how challenging it would  be to show love to children at the same time. Loving two is no problem, but I wasn’t prepared for the physical feats it would require to show that love. When Nate, Tal, and I arrived in the Denver airport and there was Thane with my family and friends to greet us it suddenly hit me. I had one baby in my arms, how the heck was I supposed to pick up another? So I ended up on my knees. Not in prayer. That’s just literally all I could do to get them both safely in my arms. Sidenote: A friend told me recently that she kickboxes to work through the adoption stress, I ate Oreos, I’m thinking now that hers is the better plan.

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The thing about expectations is they can keep me from seeing what’s in front of me. If I’m so focused on what I thought it would be I can’t see what is. And what is? That’s something I don’t want to miss. And his personality? As the stress of all the changes, and his cold, and his two new teeth subside I see it coming out more and more. And it rocks.

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adoption related mushiness, expectations

expectations of love

A few days ago I woke up in the middle of the night to a little voice calling “mommy! mommy! mooooomyyyyyy”. The little voice crawled from down by our feet where he likes to sleep on top of the covers up towards me. Then his plead changed to “quish! quish!” So I gave him a little squish and he settled down in my arms to fall asleep again.

That’s it. No big deal. It only changed my life.

I remember the first time he woke up and crawled towards me for a cuddle. I thought my heart would stop. I remember the first time his little voice tried to say “I love you”. I remember the first time he smiled at me.

I never really expected him to love me. I knew I loved him. I knew from the minute I saw his picture that I would move the world to make sure he had a family. But I was careful to remember during those months of waiting that he wasn’t waiting for me. He had no idea who I was.

A few months ago we tried leaving him at a church nursery. Epic fail. Long story. But before we left I told Nate “I’m not sure how he’s going to handle it, he’s never been left with strangers before.<pause> Except you know for that time they gave him to us.” Yeah. Strangers. Complete strangers. And they put him in our arms and that was it. We had to muddle our way through to becoming a family.

And when these little moments happen that say we are, we are becoming a family, they still surprise me. It surprises me when I’m with my mom or sister and he wants me and not them. It surprises me that my cuddles sometimes have magical properties that make owies disappear. It surprises me that when he threw up for the first time while we were in CO I was the one expected to clean it up. It surprises me that I’m the mom now.

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This month it will be ten years since I fell in love with my husband. We’d been dating four and a half months and then it hit me – love. It took the wind out of me and I knew life would never be the same. He proposed a week later. I guess in some ways love is always a surprise. First it isn’t and then it is. Or maybe it was there and you just didn’t realize it. And for me it’s always come when I wasn’t looking or prepared or expecting it. Like a rainstorm out of a sunny sky.

I’d like to keep that attitude through life. I’d like to keep not expecting love and then being surprised by it. I often think about what life will look like when our boys are adults. Will we be friends? Will we be close? In some ways it doesn’t matter what happens, and it can’t be my focus. All I can do today is love. Because love is eternal. Love that we put out into the universe can’t return void. Maybe we won’t see the rewards or results of it. Maybe it will feel like it just fades away into the air. But somewhere out there that love is doing something. It’s changing things, it’s changing people. It’s the divine light I crave. It’s something more, something outside of me.

When I was putting the baby to bed a few nights ago Daddy said “I love you” to him. And for the first time he responded “I love you mo”. And Daddy replied “I love you most.” And another little family ritual got passed down. Passed down to a beautiful soul that somehow ended up as our son.

Speaking of surprises, I found him finger-painting with yogurt on the living room mirror yesterday so I gave him some on his highchair tray to play with instead. Apparently he decided a yogurt facial and hair treatment were needed.

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