And my jaw dropped.
This is the one year anniversary of our Adoption Education class. Wow.
We began Adopt Ed. immediately after deciding adoption was how we wanted to grow our family... it seems like a lifetime and two very different people ago.
I can so clearly see the two nervous and anticipating people we were a year ago as we climbed the steps (snow covered, of course!) to our Home Study agency. We had no idea what was coming down the pike! (Oh, and what a beauty she would turn out to be!)
I have spent all day thinking of the events that led to this step one year ago, to all the hopes and hurt, the joys and dreams, the tears and many, many leaps of faith. You know, there was a lot of laughter, too.
In the beginning, we laughed a lot... like while sitting at the dining room table for 6 straight hours answering ridiculous questions about each other for our Home Study. Ha! I remember thinking the Home Study was going to be one of the hardest parts of this process! Hee hee!
Many of my friends had a good laugh when the 171-H arrived in the mail (that was a rainy day) and I drove down the street waving it out the window until it blew away I was forced to jump from my car to chase it down! Since then, they have laughed at my various happy dances at the bus stop whenever new news reaches us!
We laughed the greatest tears of joy when receiving our referral of Luciana and seeing her sweet sleeping face for the first time. We laughed harder when we finally received a picture with her eyes open as Sam commented, "OH phew! Her eyes are brown, now Daddy will have someone with eyes his color." We have laughed with pure happiness for the mini-victories of this process, for the updated pictures, and for the realization that sending a package or making a phone call can fill your heart with a kind of love that has no words.
We laughed at every little thing our sweet girl did for one amazing week together, and then again at returning home to our first baby after our longest time apart.
In one year, we have certainly cried, but none of that much matters. I want to remember the laughter and happiness. This journey, this adventure, this becoming the family we are meant to be... it is joy.
It is always eye-opening to reflect on time.
One year ago, I was nervous about speaking in front of others in our class, now I share my life with countless. I wondered how our choice would change Sam's life, now I see how his life has already been enriched by becoming a big brother, by learning about the gift of adoption, and by gaining some amazing life lessons at a very young age. I wondered what this process would mean for my marriage, my family, my friends... I think they would all agree, we have grown together.
One year ago, I couldn't have know the gratitude, respect, and compassion I would have for a woman I may never meet; now I think of her every day and pray she knows how much her daughter is loved.
I could never have know the love I would have for another woman I would meet, and how I would hope that we would remain in touch over the years because, to me, she will always be family.
One year ago, I did not have a picture in my head (though there was one in my heart) of the unborn little girl who was about to change our lives forever. Now, I am ready to bring her home and love her every day for the joy, laughter, and love she has already brought us.
Love, love, and laughter.