It just over three years ago, March 10, 2007, that I met my son for the first time. I had dreamed of becoming a mother since I was a very young child and the day had finally arrived. My son was being held in his nanny's arms in an orphanage in Ethiopia. He was quiet and calm watching as the nanny told him that I was his mommy. I remember being concerned that he may have anxiety being picked up by a stranger but he showed very little. I took him to a quiet place where we could sit and watch the other children. It took over an hour before he was willing to leave my lap and even longer before he would take his hand off my leg. When a nanny came over to pick him up, he kept looking at me to make sure I wouldn't disappear.
I didn't take physical custody of Jacob for 3 more days. During our visits together he was getting increasingly attached and would have more difficulty separating from me at the end of the day. It was heart wrenching to hear his cries as I would leave him with his wonderful and loving nannies. He was ready to have a family and didn't want to leave my side.
I will never forget the first night Jacob and I spent together. He was tired after a very full day and easily went to sleep. He slept peacefully throughout the night barely stirring when I changed his diaper. He woke up bright and early the next morning and slowly lifted his head up. He looked at my parents (his grandparents) and then over at me. We locked eyes and he smiled a grin that went from ear to ear. Three years later he still remembers that moment also. He tells me he was smiling because he was happy that I was still there.
A lot of things have changed in the past three years. Jacob continues to deal with the effects of being an orphan for almost a year. He occassionaly becomes angry that I did not come to get him sooner. He isn't old enough to understand that I came as soon as the government and courts would allow me to. He still has fears that something will happen to me and he will be an orphan. We talk about where he will live if I were to die and I promise I will be careful to live until he and I are both old. Those fears are still there but Jacob has learned that they are just fears. He has nothing to worry about and most of the time doesn't.
Today Jacob's days are filled with normal four year old fun. He attends preschool where he is learning to recognize letters and write. He has many friends that he adores including three "best friends" who are all girls. He is a great big brother to my foster son and proudly tells everyone about M's upcoming adoption. He has become a good swimmer and is excited to start playing baseball.
Jacob is well-adjusted and a happy child. He is very securely attached to me as well as to his grandparents, brother and uncle. He is proud to tell people he was born in Ethiopia and adopted by me. He wants to return to Ethiopia to visit but only for a visit. Someday we will do that.
For now, Jacob, M and I are a family. My children came to me through adoption. Adoption works. It is a miracle. God gave me children who needed families and my dreams of motherhood came true. If you don't believe me, look at the pictures. The following link will allow you to see photo montages completed during the past three years. Adoption works. We are living proof.