It's only been 17 days since we brought baby boy home and I'm slowly learning to navigate this new phase in our lives. I'm finding that being a mom prior has been really helpful and the same in a lot of ways, but that it's also just totally different with adoption.
You know, the same like:
When you find yourself in the same shirt you wore 2 days ago, then yesterday, went to sleep in, and continued wearing all day and you could care less because you just keep showering and then putting it back on.
Or when when you find that it's 2:30 in the afternoon and you haven't gone pee since 5:00 this morning.
Or when you feel like all you ever do is feed someone, change another, and repeat, repeat, repeat.
When you're constantly doing yet it constantly looks as if nothing has been done.
When your legs are in desperate need of being shaved but you only have the energy to shave the top half and therefore leave the bottom half for the next day.... yeah, that happened.
But it's different in a lot of ways too.
Like when I find myself crying on Mark's shoulder because I'm so overwhelmed.
Like when I scheduled too much, too fast and I just couldn't process and handle it all at one time.
Or when panic set in the night before Mark returned to work and the kids returned to school and I completely and utterly fell apart.
When I feel like I have way overestimated my capabilities and strength.
When the emotional exhaustion far outweighs the physical.
Or when people ask how he's doing with minimal or no regard to the rest of the family. Because honestly, this has been and is extremely hard on Emi.
Or when people ask if "he feels like yours yet". Might I just say if this is something you're wondering ... you should refrain from asking. And particularly if whoever you're asking has biological children as well. It's an adjustment that takes time. Sometimes a lot of time and you know what?
I'm learning that that's okay. And more importantly: It's normal and doesn't make me less of a mom.
I had nine months to grow our other babies. 9 months to form hopes and dreams for them. Nine months of hearing their hearts beat each time I went to the doctor. Nine months of ultrasounds and kicks and hiccups, and belly rolls. The love I had for them on the day I saw two lines on a pregnancy test was vastly different from the day I held them in my arms for the first time.
The same is and will be true for our sweet son. I love him more today than I ever have. We have a deeper bond than we did two weeks ago. And our love and bond will be vastly different 9 months from now. That's just how this works.
I love his big brown eyes. I love his sweet smile and the way he already calls me momma. I love how much progress he's already made. How he's such a great sleeper. How he loves to play with trucks and cars. How he's gradually learning to toughen up and accept Emi's manhandling ways of showing him lovins. I love how he's gone from being constantly on the move to feeling comfortable enough to just sit and relax with us. I love how our other 3 kids already love him too. How Mark interacts with him and how he has the sweetest little laugh. I love how he's unaware of the games we play but has quickly picked up on some of them and now takes off running so I can chase him. I love how he loves to read and how I can sit with him and Emi and, for just a few moments, they're both still. How when I put him to bed he lays his head on my shoulder and just lets me rock him for awhile. Or how when I sing his song to him, he starts humming with me.
It's a process.
I may not know much. But I know this: I have to give myself some slack and rest in the grace of our Father.
I have to constantly guard my mind and not allow the fears and worries to take over... to stop them as soon as they start.
But mostly, I'm constantly reminding myself that my strength is not found in myself, but in The One who gives me strength.
And He's done that each and every day.
And each and every day I have chosen love and replayed the day we got him. The day his foster mom handed him to me with tears in her eyes and said "I've taken care of and loved him, now I'm giving him to you to love." I carried him to the van and cried the whole way, as I buckled him in, as we pulled out of the driveway, and as we drove down the road. Because I love him and because we finally were bringing our son home.
And so that's what I'm doing. I'm loving my son. I'm putting one foot in front of the other and doing the absolute best that I know how. We're rocking and reading, tickling and playing, going to the zoo and museums, and sending 'sissy' and 'bubba' off to school each morning.
And what used to seem foreign is gradually starting to feel normal.
I'm so thankful for those that have been praying diligently for us. We have felt your prayers and I have no doubt that things have gone as well as they have because of your faithfulness in lifting us up to the Father.
So thank you. And thank you in advance for continuing to pray for us as we follow God's calling in our lives - that we'd be the parents He'd have us to be to each and all of our children.