So you are probably thinking that I abandoned you. I had grand ideas of blogging while we were in China, but between internet problems and scrambling to stay caught up on everything, I really didn’t have the chance. Then we got home, and honestly three kids is a lot harder than two—I think there is a lot of truth in that “joke” about what happens when the kids outnumber the parents.
Sayre was placed in my arms on July 28th, and we arrived back in Chicago on August 8th. Honestly, it hasn’t been the fairy tale that I imagined; some days I’ve wondered what I did to my “perfect” family, some days I’ve wondered if I really can/do love my newest little boy, and some days I’ve wondered how in the heck we are going to survive this newest adjustment. At times, that is all terrifying and overwhelming, and then there are those little moments---a hug, a kiss, a sweet little voice calling “mommy” that remind me there’s no other journey that I’d rather be on.
Honestly, in some ways, it reminds me of the moments/days/weeks that followed Ryley’s diagnosis with CVID. As she was being labeled failure-to-thrive and I was being told that she wouldn’t live past her 5th birthday, I wondered if she would ever get to do normal things and just enjoy her life. The horrible days are still present every once in a while and the fears are never far from mind, but all the negativity is tempered by moments like the day after we returned home from China and she celebrated her 14th birthday, learning that she was named dance team captain this year, and watching her start to wrestle with “life” decisions like college. (She is currently thinking about going someplace warm; meanwhile I am wondering if I can get sabbatical for 4 years to stalk her since I can’t imagine my baby girl being so far from me. Thankfully I still have a few years to adjust to that notion.)
It also reminds me of the moments/days/weeks that followed Caden’s diagnosis with Autism. I worried over the lack of services, if he’d ever be able to attend school, and if he would have anyone to call friend. I still wake up in the middle of night worried about bullying and how he will cope in this world with his sensitive nature. Once again, though, the fears and difficulties are tempered by the beautiful moments: listening to him read the titles of songs off the TV station while he is going to sleep, watching his eyes light up when his friend walks in the door for a play-date, or seeing what a kind and caring big brother he has become to Sayre.
See that’s the thing about the kids. They have accepted Sayre into our family, as their brother, since moment one. There’s never been any hesitation, doubt, or fear over their feelings or how he came to be a part of our family. Caden gets so excited when he sees or hears something about China because that’s where his baby brother is from. Ryley proudly shows off her brother to her friends without hesitation over the fact he looks different or has some physical challenges (arthrogryposis, wind-blown hands, and bi-lateral club feet). I don’t think they are in denial over the challenges ahead, but they are living the journey and know that the road is filled with ups and downs and twists all around.
Adoption, like being a special needs family, isn’t always easy. Sometimes the challenges seem insurmountable and the smallest thing sets off tears. And then just before all turns dark, there’s one of the moments that make it all worth it. Sometimes it is a silly moment—Sayre wanting to play with Caden’s clothes even if Caden isn’t ready to take them off and sometimes it is a sweet moment—the boys playing in a laundry basket together or hearing I love you from any one of them. I’ve always said that sometimes the stories are funny and sometimes they are heartbreaking but they are all just a part of Caden’s tale; maybe the reality is that they are all just a part of our story. The thing about our story is that it is ours and even with all of its imperfections, it is the perfect love story for us.