I noticed yesterday our little flowering bush that we planted seven or eight years ago has leaves and buds on it, even though it's been snowed on more times than we thought it would survive, and for sure I didn't think it would survive this long winter. Our neighbor has the same one, and every year, hers blooms much sooner and longer than ours does. Here it is though, the little shrub that could. It's finally getting ready to show us its pretty purple flowers.
After what seemed like the longest winter possible, both of our boys are home napping and I'm sitting on the couch with the windows open and listening to the birds and enjoying the peace and the quiet and the fresh air before reality sets in again. I'm soaking in the hints of our actual, physical spring to remind myself that our family's spring is coming.
Because how we're feeling right now? It's like we're in some never ending winter season.
Hi. It's been awhile. We're still here. We're still in the thick of it.
Sometimes, we feel like we've been in the thick of it for almost two years. After all, it's been almost two years since we brought Jet home, and how quickly we forget how unprepared and inexperienced and scared we were during those first months that seem like just one long blur until his discharge after his heart surgery. It wasn't what we expected, and of course it wasn't what we wanted, but God had other plans.
Feeling pretty confident, we barely waited a day after Jet was cleared after his surgery before we full speed ahead hopped right back into our adoption plan again...expecting a longer wait before being matched again...but God had other plans.
I know it seems like an exaggeration, and that you've heard it before, but I have paper (or I guess electronic) evidence that one day we were told it would be a 12-24 month wait for the special needs I inquired about and the very next day we got the call that there was a little boy available that fit our profile, with a special need we hadn't even considered because the likelihood of a match seemed low, but God had other plans.
Judah has been home for almost a month, and for us adults, the adjustment period is a bit easier. Our minds are capable of understanding these changes. Sometimes, we don't like them, or are frustrated with them, but we can understand them. But for our two three year olds? They could use some time yet, both of them. Adoption is not natural, so how can we expect an easy transition for something that comes from brokenness? We can't.
So when we're low on patience and sleep, when our older son is so overstimulated he's up until midnight or is so frustrated he loses the ability to communicate, when our younger son is refusing a hug or when he stands in the corner because he doesn't understand the meaning of "no" and refuses to join the family, we have to look for our hints of Spring.
- Two years ago, neither of our boys were home.
- One year ago, Jordan was still sedated more than a week after his open heart surgery with no immediate plan to extubate.
- Six months ago, we got to go on a family vacation and received the news we would *not* have to wait to adopt Judah due to policy changes.
- Six weeks ago, we were still a family of three.
- Two weeks ago, we were awake at night longer than we were sleeping.
- One week ago we started to actively put a plan in place to help both of them deal with their feelings.
- Three days ago, Judah chose to sit next to me with his books instead of in a chair by himself for over an hour.
- Yesterday, both boys played basketball and sung along to The Song of the Cebu (it's very catchy; they get their taste from their mom). Athletic and artistic, we keep them well-rounded.
- This morning, they both ate their breakfast, and second and third breakfasts...Jet didn't choke on a single thing, and Judah was picky--milestones for both of their respective developmental progress.
And we don't forget the meals, the encouragement, the prayers, and the affirmations of friendship over the past years and months and weeks, especially this past. It would be and sometimes is very easy as adoptive parents to feel misunderstood, isolated, and lonely, but these brief interactions have showed us that we are not any of those things to our friends (and family) who love us.
Every year my poor little shrub has stubbornly held off, long enough that I start to think that this was the winter that finally ended it,yet it still surprises me every year. Last year, at a brief glance it held not even a hint of flowering the morning Jordan went in for his heart surgery, and yet the day of his discharge was the first day it started to bloom. Even though sometimes we don't feel like we're making progress as a family, we know we just need to look a little harder. We have full confidence that with time, both of our boys will blossom into their full potential as individuals, as sons, and as brothers.
We have no idea what the future holds for us. Derek and I are looking forward to a our kind of normal year with no expectations except the anticipated (and let's be honest, maybe a few unanticipated) doctor appointments, spring soccer, maybe a baseball game, a family vacation, some yard work, some house work...normal things that we've put off for going on two years.
But God might have other plans.