Monday, August 29, 2011

7 months

We have been home with Ade 7 months today!

I cannot tell you how different this day is from our first weeks home.

It was all so overwhelming and so much more difficult than I ever anticipated.

With hard work, lots of tears, and tons of "We can get through this." on Yvan's part, we are doing so much better.

I feel like we are truly starting to bond as a family!

Our homecoming from Ethiopia had started on such a positive note. We had enjoyed our time with Ade in Ethiopia so much! Never in our minds did either of us think it would be so difficult to transition to our life back in Canada to a life that included Ade.

But it was.

It got better. Slowly.

People told us "the first 6 weeks are the hardest!" and they were.

The next mile marker was 3 months. Still very hard but better.

6 months hit! Major regression.

All on my part. Our 6 month anniversary fell one day after our 2 year referral anniversary.

It was hard for my brain to comprehend we had only been home with Ade for 6 months when we had first seen his wee little face 2 years before.

He was 6 months old when we got his referral. I think knowing this and the fact he had only been home for 6 months triggered some repressed grief and anger in me.

For a long time people asked me how I felt about the fact it took so long (18 months) to get Ade home. I would say it was extremely hard but that I wasn't going to let that be our memory. I took all of the pain and anger I had and hid it. Pretended it hadn't bothered me or that I wasn't angry with the circumstances and sometimes the people who had been a part of our lengthy process. I said "it is what is?" a lot.

But I was angry. Hurt and saddened for all the lost time we had with Ade. Had he come home "when he was supposed to" he might have been a year old. But life doesn't always happen "the way it is supposed to", nope not all.

I had to admit that I had wanted him when he was younger. Bonding would have been so much easier. He wouldn't be a running, jumping, bouncing, never-staying-still 2 year old who would have like to cuddle more. Or maybe he wouldn't have.

At 6 months home, I grieved for all the time we had lost with him. I grieved for the 6 month old baby I first saw on our referral day.

I let out all the anger and blame for delays I had.

It wasn't pretty.

But it needed to come out!

Then I looked at where we are now. The reality of Ade being 2.5 years old and only with us for such short amount of time. Took a deep breath and said "O.k. this is where we are! Stop living in the past and get on with it!"

Today, this morning, as I sat and had my tea and watched Ade playing with his trucks I realized the daily anxiety of "What have we done?" was gone.

In its place was routine. A Comfortableness I hadn't felt before.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are still days that are hard. Days where there are tears on all our parts.

I have come to the realization that a family is a lifetime in the making. No matter how your family came to be.

We will always be a work in progress.


andrea said...

So... at least 4 more months, you say?! I am so glad to hear that you are finding more peace and joy in your days and life as a family! You give me hope, girl (and you've helped me to know that everything I am experiencing is ok). Hugs, A

Liz said...

So happy you are where you are right now - and that you know it can only get better!

Shannon said...

Thanks for sharing this! Since we are expecting a two year old I have spent some time thinking about how I will feel about those lost years and how I will talkabout them with others and with our adopted child. I haven't been there yet but the feelings you are describing sound pretty normal to me.

Joy said...

Well-said, and I appreciate you sharing this. Within our first two months, there were definitely weeks of simple survival (even though I knew things were going "very well" as far as the kids' was my own sense of invasion that the permanency of the situation that was getting to me). I would say that more difficult emotional time has generally passed, but I am still working away at a few things in myself, and waiting for that true sense of "comfortableness" you mention - getting there, but not quite yet...I wonder if "comfort" can take longer with verbal kids (our two eldest) than pre-verbal ones (baby girl) - something about the ability to communicate independently and demonstrate cognitive awareness of everything seems to make me more conscious of the other person, and see them as separate from me, which then makes it more difficult to integrate that distinct (and somewhat unfamiliar) person into my own identity...hmm...

Ranavan said...

Joy, I think you are so right. Although, for me, baby or toddler I think I still would have had my was having someone so dependent on me 24 hours a certainly was aggravated by the fact he was 2 though.

While I am feeling more comfortable I sure do have moments where I miss my old life. The quietness of moments, being able to sleep in or go for a walk in the evening just me and yvan with the dogs.

But it is getting better and I am no longer curled up in a ball beside the bed crying and trying to hide from the world like I was when we first got home. This is a true story.

Anonymous said...

Well cheers to muddling through many months, some stumbles, some tears, but lots of smiles and kisses too! Stumbles are what life is all about....and we still have a lot even after 2.5 years....

Julie said...

So beautiful Rana. I'm so happy that you feel this way now.

Anonymous said...

Three cheers for comfortableness. :)

Melissa said...

I have to say, I am becoming down right ter-ri-fied about the "first 6 month", ack.

Despite my mounting fears, I was glad to read this post. It is good to know that things do get better and I am glad to hear that you are getting into the groove as a family of three.

Extensive post-referral waits are maddening (and damaging) and I too, would be angry about this - especially because the waits usually have more to do with politics and work climate than the actual adoption procedure. I am sorry you got stuck in that mess.

And, a work in progress, yes. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the growing/changing/learning never ends!

Carolyn said...

I have felt all the feelings that you just described! I still feel angry for the time we missed with Leul- I think I always will. But like you I am trying to focus on the time we have now- not what we missed. Believe me- each month gets better and better!



Anonymous said...

Rana you truly have a great gift of commmunicating authentic feelings and emotions. I always love your blog posts. Glad to hear that things are going so well now ; )
Big hugs!

Brendan and Mary said...

I was in the airport Sunday night and was amazed thinking the last time I was there was to welcome you three! Feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago!!! You are an awesome mom and exactly where you should be. :)

Jenna said...

my name is Jenna and i came across your site. Ade is a handsome little guy. He is so lucky to have loving parents like you, and you are lucky to have him. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and love it when people sign my guestbook.

CinnamonOpus said...

It's so nice to read how you are in a contented place now. It was a long journey with lots of hard work, but no doubt worth it.

emily said...

Oh Rana, this post is so eloquent and so true. Glad you grieved as you needed to. It makes complete sense that you would hold some of that pain in....
So glad you are more at peace today and that image of you drinking tea watching Ade play with trucks is beautiful! Love it.

The Gaboury's said...

Happy 7 months home as a family of 3. Very well written, thanks for sharing!!!!

Carey said...

Hi Rana,

Loved your post and honesty! I feel like it is sometimes me talking as I have felt like you. I too grieved for the 2 and some years of lost time with our little guy, so unfair. I mostly live in the now but can't help but be mad at the system.

Life has gotten better as each day and month has come and gone, I think what I get angry with is having to work so hard to create this bond when I thought it would be second nature.

But all is well and connecting and couldn't imagine our life without our son just grieving for our lost time.

Maple Walnut Mama said...

Man, that was an honest post. Makes me smile knowing you are settling into comfortableness - and, it is only going to get better & better.
Hugs (MEC bag to MEC bag)

Karen said...

Great post Rana.

To me (and very much in hindsight), the victory was not so much having everything seem perfect, but of getting to the point where what we'd built felt like it was (is) worth all the tough days and tears.

Glad things are so much better, but you're right, it's always going to be a work in progress!


Claudia said...

Love, love, love your honesty, girl!