Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 12: Unexpected Blessings

Yesterday, Kim shared about the unexpected challenges of older child adoption. Today, she gives us a glimpse into the unexpected blessings.

First Baseball Game
Step by step we climbed to the doorway that led us into the stadium. Below us expanded a stretch of vibrant green grass, a clean-swept infield, and baseball players in crisp white uniforms. It was the boys’ first "big" baseball game, a minor league game between the Iowa Cubs and the Omaha Storm Chasers.  

“Wow,” breathed Getu. “Am I dreaming?”  

Like a pendulum marking time, their eyes flipped back and forth from us to the field to each other in wordless disbelief. My husband Chris and I looked at each other, shared a small smile, and without exchanging words, we knew.

One of the unexpected blessings of older child adoption. Their firsts. Some of those joyful firsts for our 8- and 9-year-old Ethiopian sons included:  trips to the zoo, carryout pizza, ice cream cones, a camping trip with grandparents, hotel swimming pools, roadtrips, 3D movies, snow(!),  fireworks displays, and roller coasters.

First Sledding Experience
I’m not sure you’ve truly experienced joy until you’ve watched an 8-year-old lick the dripping ice cream from his first cone or seen your 7-year-old’s face spread with wonder at the sight of his first fireworks. That, my friends, is the unadulterated, pure joy that comes with older child adoption.

But the special firsts aren’t the only unexpected blessings of older child adoption.

There is also this looming, murky thing called Attachment (and it feels so important that it should be capitalized). We read about it. We worked towards it. We touched stinky boys who felt like strangers because we were working on attachment. We built routines and rituals at home that included just our small family because we were working on attachment. We made up silly games that focused on eye contact and physical touch because we were working on attachment.

Quite frankly, at times the fight for attachment felt like a far cry from a blessing.

Then, when I wasn't even thinking about it, it happened. I was watching our oldest on the playground before school one morning this winter. I thought I knew what it meant to love him, but as I watched him wander alone from group to group in a sea of bright winter coats, as he looked for a safe place to land, my heart physically ached. That pain?  It was new. And for me, that was the moment I knew. I had been fighting so long for them to be attached to me that I hadn’t realized I needed to be attached to them, too. Attachment is a hard thing. It’s difficult to define, harder yet to achieve.  However, when it’s there, it's one of the most beautiful, unexpected blessings of older child adoption.

First 3D Movie
When we decided to become first-time parents to two older children we opened ourselves up to a lot of pain and a truckload of a trauma. My husband and I have learned more about our strengths and weaknesses in the past 15 months than we did in the previous eight years of marriage. Being beaten and blasted with constant growing pains hurts. But we’ve also experienced the countless joys that come with uncovering personalities, laughing at the nuances of language learning, and yes, even answering countless questions about the lives of the characters in Phineas and Ferb.

For us, the blessings of older child adoption have far outweighed the challenges.

Thanks, Kim, for giving us a peek into the sweet side of older child adoption. You know, we talk a lot about the tough stuff, but it's important to note that the sweet times with these kids will melt your heart.  And thanks for reminding us that attachment is a parent thing, too. To read more of Kim's journey, check out her blog, Like the Love.

Read all the posts in this series, starting here.

1 comment:

Comments will be visible after approval by the moderator.