Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gotcha Day... One Year Later

So on this day, one year ago... we were rushing from Bogota to Pasto (our original plane was cancelled and then the second flight, the following day, couldn't take off).  We were a little frustrated, a lot nervous about making it in time, and a whole lot tired.  We landed in the Pasto airport, gathered up our stuff, managed to stuff it all into a van (I don't know how it all fit, it much have been enchanted like Hermione's bag), and raced down and around the mountain to our hotel.  Connor got car sick on the ride down and we all arrived a little worse for the wear.  But our real adventure had yet to begin.

We managed to get some food and unpack and just relax for a little and then we were swept away again to meet our kiddos.  In case you don't remember:

This is us waiting for the kids to come in.

Here come the girls.

Diana was so very timid.  It's hard to think of her that way.  It was one day out of the whole year.

Poor little John.  He was so upset.  It breaks my heart to think about it.

Everyone but Rylan in this picture.  I'm not quite sure how we got out without a 'family portrait'. 

Look how young she was!  Has it only been a year?

Anyway, a LOT has happened in the past year.  The kids are growing up and adjusting well, for the most part.  We've had some bumps in the road.  If I'm going to be honest, one of the kiddos is having a really difficult time.  We have a long road to go with her.  However, God has truly blessed us and we are so very happy we chose to say 'yes' to adoption.  These kids are mine.  I don't care where they came from or how they got here.  They are mine.  There are some days, and some mannerisms, that make me wonder how it is that they didn't come from my (or Ken's) genetic data.  Diana and her determined nature, the fact they all love to sing, John likes to drink his water ice cold, Juli and her defiant side (pretty sure that didn't come from Ken), the fact that they all love video games, how Cody and Diana are so much alike, how John is just like a mini Connor and it just goes on.

And yet, it's hard to forget just all they've been through.  They all have so many hurts, there's so much pain bottled up inside.  There's physical scars, there's emotional scars.  And more still, even with the happy experience of joining us to be a forever family, there's the loss of their foster moms.  It's just one more loss in a long line of losses for my babies.  Adoption is a happy thing and we are so very happy we have these kiddos, but there's so much loss.

So, since I've been delinquent in posting for quite some time. I just want to let you know that we've learned a lot from our new kiddos.  Here's a list of what we now know that we didn't before:

  • No one can go forever without sleep.
  • You can carry on a lot longer than you think without sleep.
  • Six kids drink a LOT of milk.
  • Six kids eat a LOT of food.
  • Six kids use a LOT of toilet paper.
  • Six kids make a LOT of noise.
  • Sometimes, the kids that need you to hold it together the most are the ones who are the best at making you fall apart.
  • You shouldn't talk about your kids in front of them because they learn English faster than you think.
  • Having a toddler with a pitching arm is dangerous with a bowl of cereal.
  • Don't be surprised if those people you expected to be excited, loving and supportive about you adding to your family aren't.
  • Don't be surprised when people you don't know are excited, loving and supportive about your addition to your family.
  • Cultural differences learned in the first seven years of life are difficult to unlearn.
  • A child that has had to take care of herself for the first five years of life is not so happy when you expect her to do something just because you told her to.
  • Just because twin brother and sister didn't come from the same womb at the same time doesn't mean that they can't be best friends.
  • Even though twin brother and sister are not biologically related, they still can't get married.
  • You can't make a kid eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom if they really don't want to.
  • You learn that the little irritants in life, like traffic, don't really matter as long as no one has to use the bathroom.
  • Having six kids can really help you learn to be more patient.
  • Learning patience by having six kids is a little like learning to swim by diving into the deep end of the pool... sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires.
  • There is always someone in the background sounding off, "Ma...Ma...Ma...Ma...Ma..." like the seagulls in Finding Nemo.
  • When in the midst of a power struggle with a little, it's good to have a book within reach, because you could be waiting for a very long time.
  • Sometimes the tiniest moments of accomplishment are the most celebrated.
  • It feels so very good to overhear someone reassure themselves that you are, in fact, their mom.
And I couldn't end this post without a big shout out to our friends and church family.  We have so many friends who have really stepped up and stepped in when we needed help. The gracious gift of hand-me-downs seems to always come when we need it. The people at our local congregation have really, really helped us in ways that I can't even begin to measure.  They have prayed for us, fixed us food, given us a shower and gifts, shared knowing looks and hugs, encouraged us when things were tough, and seen us through in so many different ways.  Even now, a year later, we have people calling out of the blue to see if we need anything.  So many have taken one or more of our kids under their wing and made sure they feel welcome.  I still receive cards of encouragement in the mail.  I've never given much stock to the old phrase "It takes a village to raise a child" mostly because I feel that Americans are too prone to subcontract their parenting out these days but I really and truly have no idea how we would have made it this past year without y'all.  So thank you.  And thank you goes as well to our extended brothers and sisters in Christ.  I know so many of you have been praying regularly, even daily, for us.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  And thank you just really doesn't seem like enough.

Like the old saying goes, "The days are long [very, very], but the years are short."  It seems like the past year has just flown by.  Now I'm getting stressed about how little time I have left with each of them.  It just doesn't seem like enough.  

Anyway, here are some more recent pictures of the kids:

Ok.  So there's no doubt in my mind that we are a family.