Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day Five Years Ago

Valentines day has never been one of my favorite holidays. Probably because I have spent most of them single and none of them in a committed relationship that I thought would become a marriage. Valentine's day is a reminder that I have never found that special someone and for a long time was pretty depressing.

Thankfully, that is no longer the case. I now love Valentine's Day. It is still not my favorite holiday but it is a day I look at with fond memories and a smile on my face. It was 5 years ago this Valentine's Day that everything changed. I received a phone call that my son was now mine. Legally. His case had passed court and the Ethiopian government had officially declared him my son. No one knew when I would be travelling for sure but we all knew it would be soon. A matter of a few weeks rather than an unknown number of months.

I will never forget coming home and finding that message on the machine. Then the next day I received another phone message stating that I would be travelling in March and meet Jacob on March 10. Wow! My first emotion was pure excitement and joy. I couldn't wait! I quickly began making phone calls to start to prepare. Then as evening fell and things began to slow down, I experienced the weirdest feeling I have ever known. The reality that I was a mother to a little boy I had never met who lived in an orphanage on the other side of the world. Was he really as sweet as his picture looked? Was he really as happy as he appeared? Would he scream when he met me? Would he want to be my son? Would I like being a mother as much as I thought I would? What if I hated being a parent?

I can say after 5 years that those questions are now all answered. Jacob is as sweet and smiley as those pictures showed him. He was also (and continues to be) much more mischevious and sarcastic. He loves to make people laugh and just his smile and laugh are contagious. He is as smart as I could have dreamed. He didnt' scream when he met me. He cried when I left him for the night. He wanted to be my son and I wanted to be his mom more than anything else in the world.

As far as if I would like being a mother? I don't just like it. I love it. Being a parent is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am now lucky enough to have two wonderful little boys who both challenge me and entertain me. Jacob has been asleep for 11 hours now. Much longer than he normally sleeps. Why is he so tired? Because he ran non-stop with his brother all morning, spent the afternoon with his Big Brother (aka mentor) and then ran all evening with friends from the Ethiopian community in our city.

I have loved watching Jacob grow and mature. He is now 6 years old. He can read, write and is great at math. He loves sports but loves just playing and running with friends even more. Everyone loves Jacob and I love that about him. I still remember the anxiety and worry I had that I had just made a huge mistake five years ago. I can now say it wasn't a mistake. It was the best decision I have ever made.

While Matthew's adoption process was much more difficult than Jacob's and he challenges me in different ways, his adoption was also a wonderful experience. One that I also worried about. After all, I was making a lifelong commitment to a little boy. Now I am dreaming about a third (and final) child to add to this family. The fears and anxiety are the same. Will I love this child as much as the first two? AmI making a huge mistake? Will I like parenting this child also? Of course, the answers are yes. Just like the first two times. My next child will also be loved and actually already is. I will love parenting three children just like I have loved parenting two. I love having three little boys in this house when I babysit our friend Aidan and I will love parenting three children as well. So when will this next child arrive, that has yet to be determined. As with all things in life, sometimes the best things come to those who wait and are patient.

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