adoption, family age, gushing, phoenix rising

one month together

He’s really here.

I have remind myself of that a few times a day. I’ll have him on my lap, cuddling his little body in my arms and it will hit me: this is real, we’re together. It happened. During the process of waiting I held a duel reality in my head and in my heart: he’s mine, he might never be mine. Loving without knowing is a different kind of love. It’s a deep, pounding, fight-to-the-end kind of love that doesn’t let go. It’s almost desperate in a way, this feeling of wanting and yet knowing you might never have. Please let him have a family. That was my constant wish. And now he has one. Ours. We’re family. A family rising out of the ashes. It’s another duel reality I hold: he’s my son, he’s another’s son.  I struggle not with guilt but with an awareness of the unfairness of this world of ours. Broken hallelujahs.

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And now it’s been a month of getting to know him. A grand, glorious month of more baby kisses than I imagined possible to cram into that time. Of simple moments of splendor as his personality unfolds, as he lets us get to know him more and more. You watch your baby grow up in pictures and you cling to each slight expression change captured in them, trying to read some personality trait, some meaning into them. And then suddenly the child is real, three-dimensional and complete. It’s like stepping into a painting, it’s an overload of input. I feel quite panicked at times that time is slipping away so fast. We missed so much of his life and now I want time to just stand still for a while and let us catch up on everything we missed.

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It’s good in a way though, to have that ache of missing those moments. They’re a reminder to see him as an individual, as someone with his own feelings and history and strengths. To look at this adoption story from his side of it, not just from ours. Because his is very different from ours. The day our family was complete was also the day he left everything he’d known for so long. The day my heart felt complete again was the day his lost his beloved foster family. He both came home and left home. Another duel reality to hold. I feel so grateful to his foster family. There are no words to say how much.

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To watch him open himself up to our love amazes me. To watch his shyness give way to oh-I-know-you feels like magic. It reminds me of watching mom make the whipping cream at Thanksgiving, watching the blender spin round and round and round and it seems that nothing is changing, then suddenly instead of liquid sloshing there’s peaks and valleys of sugary goodness. Magic. I pick him out of his crib after each nap and bedtime and suddenly his look is one of relief and recognition instead of confusion and surprise. Like his heart is whispering “oh it’s you, I know you.” And I whisper back “yes it’s me, it will always be me, and someday you’ll know that.”

This isn’t the post I meant to write today. I meant to write about his personality, his feisty and affectionate little self. How good he is at crawling now and how he gives kisses and then flashes this little look at that says “aren’t I clever to make you go all googoogaga  over me?” But I guess I just can’t get past the reality and amazement that he’s here. He’s really here.

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adoption related mushiness, family age

six months together

This week we celebrated six months together.  That seems unreal.  It’s been an amazing six months. It’s been perfect and beautiful and messy and amazing.  I love this kid.  He’s clever and brilliant and courageous and trusting.  He’s also really cute and has a smile that makes even gruff old guys and too hip-for-life teens smile back when he works his dimpled magic on them at the grocery store.

Six months ago I was so nervous. Just waiting to meet him, hold him, and to begin the journey of getting to know him.  In those early days people would sometimes ask “how is he fitting into your family” and it always struck me as funny because for me it wasn’t about him fitting in, it was about us growing to welcome this new member of our family that would transform it in so many ways and make it infinitely more beautiful.  And as the months pass and I get to know this child, our little Thane, I find myself filled with gratitude that he changed us.  He changed our family and life will never be the same.  And that’s a beautiful thing.

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six months home (2)

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adoption related seriousness, family age

home

All throughout the process of adoption I tried to be careful about calling our life here “home” for Thane.  Even on his birth announcement I put “together” instead of “home”. I’m not sure all the reasons for the hesitation.  Certainly I thought it, I believed it, I wanted it.  But I also knew it wasn’t. He wasn’t coming home, he was leaving home. Leaving home to come live in a strange place that yes, would eventually BE home. Sometimes I think I over think things.

But I also think that part of it was trying to hold on to the awareness that while we were bonded to him, he was in no way bonded to us. We laid in bed at night aching to hold him. He slept in his foster mother’s home not even knowing who I was. I wanted to honor that. I wanted to acknowledge that his life began long before he joined ours.

There are many reasons I’m glad I did that, kept that awareness. It made it easier when he didn’t want me, didn’t know me, didn’t love me. Why should he? But as the months have gone on I’ve watched that slowly change. He wants me now, he knows how to snuggles into the crook of my arm, I believe he loves me. It’s been an amazing thing to watch unfold. This becoming-a-family thing.

…..

My mother came back for her third visit since baby came home, and then N left for Argentina shortly she arrived.  Those two events are not connected in the way you might thing. Mama come because N was leaving and not the other way around.

N’s brother was getting married to a lovely lady who is from there and that is where they live and so thus the location.  N spent many of his growing up years there with his parents who are missionaries and still spend a good portion of their year down there.

It was four nights and I will be honest and say it scared the living tar out of me.  I was worried about attachment, crying fits, feeling abandoned, etc, etc.  I was also worried about the baby. *evil grin* But after clearing it with some people who specialize in attachment we decided he would go. Thane cannot leave the country right now so all of us going wasn’t an option.

It was a long four days but it went okay.

And then, exactly three months after meeting Thane in an airport, he and I went to another airport to pick up his Daddy.  We walked up behind N who was standing by the luggage carousel and when he turned around Thane absolutely fell into his arms.  No smile, just arms outstretched and a leap of faith. N caught him and hugged him and Thane just laid in his arms hugging him back for the longest time. Relief on his face.

And in that moment I realized that it had happened. I now think of him as home.

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::{{I lack the ability to blog both sequentially and in a timely matter, this post should have been posted on 4/23/2012}}::

family age

four weeks old

Our family age is now four weeks.  If I try to sum up the main theme of each week it would be:

1st week: Changes

2nd week: building trust

3rd week: relaxing

4th week: snuggles

 

Oh the snuggles.  Thane now leans into us constantly.  Grabs our legs when we walk by.  Rests against us when he sits in our laps.  He wants physical contact all the time.  And I love it.  When I used to sit next to him on the couch while he looked out the window he was content to be near.  Now he has to be touching. I didn’t think this would come so soon.  I’m happy it has.