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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Holden!

Today (October 26th) in India our darling boy turns two years old.  We are thrilled to celebrate his life and everything that he is!  We are really heartbroken that we cannot be in India to celebrate with him. 

Throughout this whole adoption process, I feel like I've done a pretty decent job of rolling with the punches, not letting expectations disappoint me, and not getting super emotional over every delay and setback.  I chalk this up to my life as a military wife.  The unpredictable schedules, ever-shifting timelines, and often-absent husband have all prepared me for the rollercoaster that is adoption.  Holden's approaching birthday has been a completely different story.  My heart has been aching for the past several weeks.  All of a sudden I'll burst into tears for no apparent reason.  I feel like the worst mother in the entire world.  What kind of mother misses her little boy's birthday?  What kind of mother can't express to her son how valued, precious, and irreplaceable he is?  The weeks leading up to Holden's birthday have been a grieving process -- grieving the two years of life that I've missed with my precious boy.  I can't ever get those years back.  When Holden asks where we were for his first two years, there will be sadness and heartache involved in that story.  There is sadness and heartache involved in every adoption story.  While we plan on never missing another birthday of Holden's again and making each year a joyful celebration, birthdays for adoptees are often difficult and filled with mixed emotions.  Holden will wonder about his birthparents and what they're doing on his special day.  He'll wonder if they're thinking of him, missing him, and loving him.  Birthdays will be filled with questions and grieving a loss -- the loss of his birthparents.  We cannot fix or ignore this.  But we can love him with everything we have, listen with our hearts, and do our best to provide Holden with whatever it is he needs.  Most of all, I hope that on his birthday, Holden knows deep within his heart of hearts how truly special and magnificent he is, and how completely and fully he is loved. 

Over the past few months, as I have watched other families transition into the post-adoption stage I have realized how very stressful and difficult the first year home can be for everyone.  I know there will be moments in my future when I will wistfully remember the life I have now-- a life of quiet, and freedom, and not worrying about a tiny person's every need.  In those moments, I want to remember where I came from.  I want to remember that the life I have now is marked with a little hole that I'm desperate to fill.  The life I have now is hope deferred for a future date when I can finally carry out part of God's calling for my life.  When things get tough as Holden's mom, I want to remember the journey.  I want to remember how desperately we wanted him and how thoroughly convinced we are that the three of us are meant to be a family.  Our first year home with Holden will certainly be difficult, but it will be good.  It will be a blessing, and I resolve now to be thankful for every single moment I'll get to have with Holden. 

With that in mind, I wrote a gift for my son so that I wouldn't forget this year of waiting for him. 

For Holden

When your scream shatters every peaceful moment
I will remember
                        how I longed
To hear a million little toddler sounds
Filling the hollow silence that was always in this house

When you invade every closed-up cabinet and unsafe space
I will remember
                        how I longed
To teach you about this fantastic world we live in
How I wanted your soul to be one big question mark of wonder

When your hand reaches out with a calculated slap
I will remember
                         how I longed
To hold those little hands
To feel their feathery weight against mine

When you smash your toys and wreck your room
I will remember
                         how I longed
To watch you wander through dreamed-up worlds
To see you scratch and scuff the universe with your endless imagination

When your voice knows only one word, “NO”
I will remember
                        how I longed
To hear the sweet sound of that precious voice              
To know its symphony above all others

When nights are filled with terror and sadness and toddler thrashes
I will remember
                        how I longed
To hold you close and calm your fears
To know you were right beside me, safe and secure, thrashing and all

When your awkward, eager hands destroy a beloved object
I will remember
                        how I longed
To mend your broken, homesick heart       
To give up everything I had to be your mother

When my world is a chaotic, unending, maddening whirlwind of toddler disaster,
I will remember
                           how much I longed
                                                           for you.

How desperately I wanted you. 

How infinitely I love you.

How lost my world is without you.

A very special thanks to my amazing sister-in-law, Abby for her editing help and mad English skills!