…and my what a year it has been.
I remember watching the movie Hook when I was a kid and for some reason when Captain Hook repeatedly talked about death being the only great adventure, that line always stuck out to me. I don’t know why that was the case, but as my kids continue to watch that great movie (parenting win) I am more and more convinced how false that premise is. I realize it is just a movie, but movies provide a great viewpoint on life in many instances.
Everyday of our lives is an adventure, and if nothing else it is one more chapter, or page, or paragraph in our story that is taking us to the next adventure. The thing that I am learning more and more each day is that every decision we make, including not making decisions, leads us down the path that we are choosing to follow.
I am starting to wander a little from the initial premise I had in mind for this post, but sometimes you just need to write to get your thoughts out, and based on the fact that I haven’t posted here in almost a year, I guess I needed to get some thoughts out.
This has been one of the most uprooted, frustrating, happy, confusing, irritating, fun, crazy years I have had. We adopted our little boy, we moved back to the States, I left active duty, my parents left the country, my in-laws also left on a mission to the other side of the country, and my little kiddos are growing way too fast. Adoption has added an interesting dynamic to the whole thing as we have worked to take care of Ty’s medical conditions, as well as work out the final legal steps to get his paperwork complete. (Thank you Nevada for making us readopt our son in your state for some silly reason.)
I actually hate that I still associate my son with adoption. It isn’t that I am against the practice, obviously, or I wouldn’t have done it, but I really just want him to be my son who simply had a different set of circumstances for joining our family than the rest of my kids. I don’t want there to be an added stigma or any comma when it relates to his story, I just want him to be my son, period.
To be clear, no one has made me feel there is anything different about him, or that he should be treated any differently, it is just that his story is different. No matter how much I said I loved him when we first got him, it is different than it was with the other kids. Not better or worse, just different. As this year has progressed my love for him has grown stronger, and I know that it will eventually click at the same level, but it frustrates me that I don’t feel exactly the same way about him.
Fortunately, he does a pretty good job of endearing himself to me. One of his favorite things to do now is climb up in my lap and wrap my arms around him. It doesn’t matter where my arms are, or if I have stuff in my hands like a book, after he sits down, he grabs my arms and wraps them around him. It is a good reminder to me that he needs that warmth and affectionate connection because he did not have it for what is still the vast majority of his life.
It is also amazing that we are starting to see some real progress in his speech. He is starting to use phrases all by himself without prompting. He is stringing together three words at a time, and words that have three syllables. This may not seem like a big deal for a four and a half year old, but our lack of ability to truly communicate with him has been one of the hardest things about this last year. No kid is great at communicating clearly, but not being able to communicate at all about basic needs and wants with a four year old will drive you up the wall.
The most amazing thing about this whole last year has been the dedication of my dear sweet wife as she is the daily manager of this process. She has done countless hours of research, taken him to dozens of hours of therapy, searched for alternative methods to deal with his seizures, and at the same time taken care of our other three kids and our house while I was still in Japan for 2 months, and as I regularly leave town for work.
We would not have made it through this last year with her complete commitment to our family, and I could not be more grateful to have such an incredible blessing in my life.
Adoption is nothing like any of the videos we watched or the articles we read. No matter how much you try to prepare, I will promise you that it will be different than you think. But, I will also promise you that those sweet moments of love and affection, and the triumphs you see your kid make will completely outweigh any of the other struggles. That has been the true wonder to me in this last year. While the whole process has been significantly different, the end result is still the same.
I love my son.