Tag Archives: adoption milestones

Unpacking: Two Years Ago Today

The tag on the back says “12 mos” – a measure of size and not age. I shake out the blue and white checked pants before folding them, tangible proof that our almost two-year-old is much smaller than most his age. Tiny shirts, pants, footie pajamas and an impressive array of cute onesies emerge from cloth shopping bags, filling the mostly empty drawers. I move the size 2 outfits we’d purchased to the closet. The weight and height measurements we had gleaned from medical files did nothing to prepare us for the Lilliputian dimensions of our brand new toddler.

Brand new to us, that is. Up until now he’d been an abstraction, the idea of a son sketched out in black and white via e-mails and social workers’ reports. He had seemed to come to life in daydreams fueled by my own fervent desires and charitable impulses. Caught up in my excitement, his big sisters painted this very room themselves; a sloppy, but affectionate gesture. Jungle green smeared over princess pink walls. Lions, tigers, bears and a miniature Webkinz elephant were rescued from stuffed animal purgatory to serve as both decoration and entertainment.

He came with his own stuffed animals too. Clothes, toys, soothers, a neon mobile that plays nature sounds and lull-a-byes at the press of a button; I’m told he prefers falling asleep to Bach each night (classy). He has a favourite blanket, book, game, food, way of being woken each morning and, no doubt, a thousand other things I didn’t even think to ask about. In real life, we have more questions than answers. I have no idea if he’ll like his room.

When I brought my daughters home, these same drawers were bursting with clothes. From day one I was the acknowledged expert on who they were and what they needed. It wasn’t that complicated; newborn infants are more potential than established personality. But almost two-year-olds don’t fit neatly into the boxes my imagination had constructed. He came with his own things. He came with his own identity.

A worn blue T-shirt, obviously a favourite, clutched in my hand, it finally occurs to me that, in all their wisdom, the Government of Canada, under the auspices of the Ministry of Child and Family Development, has seen fit to give us an actual person.

First steps in the door bringing our new son home forever!

First steps in the door, bringing our new son home forever!

So here’s us, two years after first bringing home boy. We’ve learned a lot and we still have a lot to learn. It’s been a wild ride! It never ceases to amaze me that they gave us a real, live person. For Keeps!

We love, love, love this little guy. Happy FOR KEEPS Day to us!

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Homecoming Day

A year seems like a long time. 20130618-153034.jpg

I was pretty sure we’d have you ALL figured out by now. You, and adoption, and parenting a boy, and adding number 4 to the mix. Oh, and life. I had planned to have it ALL figured out by now.

It’s not like we’re completely in the dark. I’ve got a few more pearls of wisdom tucked away these days.

Things like…

Keep a Kleenex handy at all times.

A kerchief around the neck is a great “look” (and unobtrusively collects drool).

When the Kleenex runs out, use the inside of a shirt.

Child locks only work for other people.

See also: keeping things up high.

Boys climb – anything, everything, all the time.

Snot trails on a shirt are a badge of honour.

The big sister honeymoon period lasts 3-6 months depending on age and frequency of iPod-chucking-down-the-stairs-incidents.

Keep extra toothbrushes on hand for inevitable toilet/garbage/”helping” scrub the floor moments.

Thomas the Train is quite possibly the stupidest, most mind-numbingly boring children’s show. Ever.

Sesame Street never goes out of style.

A year ago today, we grabbed our brand new diaper bag, a newly installed car seat and every ounce of courage we could muster as we headed down the road to pick up our son and bring him home for good.

The past month had been an emotional whirlwind. A tentative dance toward parenthood – part courtship, part boot camp; strangely wonderful and scary, with gusts to surreal. Of all the different kinds of crazy we’ve been through, this counts as the most overwhelming time of our lives. And we had a good experience – better than most.

We fell in love with you immediately. You fell in love with your new Daddy, and you eventually tolerated me. But even that was a good sign – you were solidly attached to your foster family.

That made this day even harder, though we knew that your healthy bond with them gave you the capacity to build the same with us. But not right away. Not without time and work and a bittersweet goodbye.

I can’t put into words how much we relied on Sally (foster mom) to help us through. This wasn’t her first rodeo. She helped us navigate the handoff.

Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it real, but hopeful.

So with teary eyes and brave smiles they said goodbye.

With teary eyes and grateful smiles we said…

Welcome Home!

So here’s us, one year down… fifty to go. Can’t imagine life without our boy!

Memory Box

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