Sunday, December 3, 2017

Plus One

Plus One Day: the day when your child has been home with you one day longer than they weren't. 

Typically, it's used as a marker for adjustment and attachment. When you reach it, it's a good measurement for where your family is in your attachment journey. For many, it's indicative of how well-adjusted your child is. To fully erase the damage of being alone, institutionalized, without a family, some experts say this particular day can be when your child will finally begin to feel wholly and completely a part of your family. A Plus One Day is a good thing. Some families even choose to celebrate this day, especially since it only comes once. 

Well, we didn't. 

In fact, while I've thought about Jet's time with us off and on over the past eighteen months or so, I never actually marked the date, and it was only yesterday that I saw a post on Facebook by someone else who mentioned it and I realized I should count back since surely it was coming up. Well, it actually came and went over two months ago, with no acknowledgement and absolutely zero pomp and circumstance in this house. 

I brought it up to Derek even, marveling at the fact that Jet has been with us for more than half his life. Part of that is due to the fact that he was just barely sixteen months old on our Family Day, which is atypically young, and the other part is because time truly does fly. Ten pounds and nine inches worth of time, actually. 

So while we (belatedly) acknowledge this day, it's also bittersweet. It's one more day removed from his country of birth. It's one more day removed from his birth parents, who may never know that their son is still alive. One more day removed from his Nainai. It's realizing that he no longer responds to Jian Guo. It's realizing that his little "xiexie" has morphed into "thank you". 

Please, don't misunderstand. These are all good things. I'm thankful that Jet's adjustment and attachment went smoothly. Of course there were bumps in the road, as expected, but overall we're grateful that we have a pretty confident, well-adjusted little boy who we can call our son. Yet we can't help but grieve, to realize this isn't the way it's supposed to be. 

In a perfect world, Jet's birth family wouldn't have had to worry about their son needing costly, open heart surgery. They wouldn't have had to make what I can only imagine was a devastating decision. Their son would grow up happy and healthy, with his family who loved him. 

But, that's not how things worked out. His birth family was forced to make the hardest choice parents can face. For reasons we'll never know but will always be thankful for, God orchestrated Jet to be able to receive his lifesaving surgery while still in China. Then, while recovering and up to the time of his adoption, Jet was able to learn to live in a family, a part of a family with a woman who loved him as a son, teaching him important things like how to love and how to be loved in return...thus making his transition into our family as our son smoother than most. We're forever grateful to her for her sacrificial love. 

We don't live in a perfect world. We have lots of questions, and never enough answers. But we do know that God doesn't make mistakes. His plan is perfect. He's in control. 

So we forgot Jet's Plus One Day. I haven't even done the math to figure out when it was exactly, because right now, it doesn't matter. What matters is our son, growing up happy and healthy, with his family who loves him. Jet is where he's supposed to be.