5 months ago I met Jacob and prepared to bring him home.
Jacob has grown steadily and quickly. This is him last week. 3 pounds heavier and 2 1/2 inches taller.
It was 5 months ago this week that I met Jacob and brought him back to the United States. The past 5 months have had good times and bad but the good times far out number the bad.
Five months ago, I arrived in Ethiopia on an airplane in the late evening hours. The Ethiopian on the plane began cheering as the pilot brought the plane in for a smooth landing. I began crying. I was in the country that my son was born in. In just a few hours, I would see him for the first time and be able to tell him Mama was here. As the Ethiopian cheered, I shed tears of thanksgiving that I was finally going to meet my son. My dream was finally coming true.
I left the airport with several other families. I was not the only person fighting tears as we drove down the rocky road towards the guest house. I looked at the buildings and the beautiful people along the road trying to remember everything. This is where my son had lived for the past 11 months. It was the country he was born in seventeen months earlier and the country who gave me the greatest gift I have ever received.
Early the next morning, I awoke anticipating meeting my son. I was both excited and scared. Would he scream and cry when he saw me? Would he accept me as a mother or hate me for taking him away from everything and everyone he knew and loved. I got up, ate breakfast and tried to seem cool, calm and strong. I tried not to show my fear or my anxiety.
I finally met Jacob at 9:30 that Saturday morning. He clung to me and stared at me. He did not want me to let him go but he was also overwhelmed and probably scared. We sat together as he clutched a small bear I gave him. Eventually, he cried when I removed a shoe. The stress came off of him and he began to slowly relax. We spent about 2 hours together before the adoptive parents said goodbye and headed back to the guest house.
Jacob came home few days later and for several weeks was afraid I might leave or choose someone else. He got upset when left in the church nursery or when I held another child. He screamed if he did not get food whenever he wanted even if I was cooking food in front of him. Jacob was a good walker but was still clumsy and fell often. He became frustrated when I did not know what he wanted and would refuse to go to sleep unless I rocked him first. He loved me from the beginning but was overwhelmed and not sure that I was going to stay forever.
Jacob has now passed many milestones and is well adjusted. He smiles often and laughs until he chokes. His teacher described him as "always happy" and fun to have around. Jacob not only walks but he runs and climbs as well. He loves to dance and play with toy cars. He has begun sharing toys without being prompted and loves to share his snacks with other children. Jacob gives spontaneous hugs and kisses while telling me "I wuv."
Jacob no longer panics when left at preschool or in the nursery. He tells me "bye bye" and will push me towards the door if I stay too long. I return a short time later and he excitedly runs to the door to greet me and show me what he played with while I was gone.
Our lives have changed forever. Five months ago Jacob was living in an orphanage with several other children. I was living the single life going out when I wanted and doing as I pleased. Jacob was on a strict schedule getting up at 6 AM and starting his day. I was sleeping in until at least 9 AM and often did not get out of bed until I left had to get ready for work at 1 PM.
Jacob now sleeps until 8 AM and I now get up at 8 AM. I no longer want to go out with friends every weekend but would prefer to be with Jacob. Jacob no longer fights with other children to have a toy to play with. He now has more toys than he or I can count and willingly shares them with his friends.
Five months has gone by and I could not be happier. I have the child I dreamed of. Jacob is resilient and happy. He loves me and I love him. I cannot imagine life without him and do not know what I would do without him. I love being a parent and would not change a thing for all of the riches in the world. I look forward to many more months and years being his "mama."