It's been over 3 weeks since we have been home and 6 weeks since Willow has been in our arms. I have a flood of emotions going through my head. I feel like honesty is the best policy right? That is what I'm going to share. I think its important to document it all so you can see how far you have come. I hope that somewhere, in this deep post I'm writing today, that there is something you can relate to. Please be kind as well as I debated over and over whether to share some of this. After all, we are all just on this journey of motherhood together trying to figure it all out.
There are good days since we have been home and there are very challenging days too. Which is to be expected right? I anticipated my 2 year old Libby would not do well with this drastic change in her life. She went from having most of my attention (especially when both boys are at school) to now always having to share it with Willow. I get it! She is deservingly pissed about it. Not to mention she is 2 and its hard to process your feelings at that age. Heck, its hard for me and I just turned 33. Lol. Libby and I have a very close mother daughter relationship and she is a sweet sweet girl. Lately though, I spend so much time trying to discipline her that I don't get to enjoy my sweet girl like I used to. And it tears me up inside. Then I feel like it takes away from the relationship thats forming between Willow and I. It's nobody's fault. Its just something we are working through right now. It's totally normal that I have these feelings even though sometimes in the moment, they can make you feel so guilty inside. Thankfully I have some close adoptive mama friends to encourage me along the way and relate to what I'm feeling. Having that support is HUGE! My husband Tyler and I have to also be open and honest with each other. There is no other way to do it other than being on the same page with your spouse. We fail some days and other days, we look at each other and think, we totally got this!
Sometimes the moments and/or entire days are just so hard that I keep hitting the reset button All Day Long. Not only are you trying to just keep some peace in the household but you are also striving for this strong bond between you and your new child as well. It's doesn't feel so much like I'm babysitting anymore like it did in the very early days, but sometimes its takes a little longer for your heart to line up with what is on paper. It takes time. Not a lot of mamas share this part openly but its true. The bonding works both ways and its not an instant magical relationship that is all rainbows and butterflies. It's also normal after your child has been home for awhile and gets more comfortable, that new behaviors arise. Willow has really been such a dream so far but I see her coming out of her shell more and more. Its a wonderful thing. It's great that she is comfortable enough to have a little outburst and voice her opinion. She is getting really good at holding her own too. She has a BIG personality inside a tiny body. Each adoption journey is different for everyone so I'm speaking purely from my experience but what I'm saying is stuff I've heard from the mouths of other seasoned moms over and over again.
There are those "magical" moments though that God gives you where you literally feel your heart grow for your child. I'm totally smitten by the little things she does. For example, I love how she sucks her little thumb. I have recorded several videos of her sleeping on my phone because I just Can't Get Enough! She almost always does it when she gets sleepy and is about to fall asleep. Then it will naturally just fall out of her mouth as she dozes off but as she startles a bit or moves, her thumb frantically makes its way back into her mouth. It's just so precious. Very similar in what newborns do I suppose, and it just absolutely slays me. I've wrote about moments on this blog too in China where I literally felt my heart swell for her in random moments. But it takes time and there is no amount of time that is right or wrong. I love Willow but I know the intensity of that love will grow and keep forming into something fierce. And I mean fierce in a profoundly amazing way.
Adoption is a Faith Journey. God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the unequipped! We can not do this on our own. God didn't choose our family because we have it all figured out or because our marriage was at the highest peak of awesomeness and all 3 of our other children were little angels. Haha. He laid it upon our hearts and we are just average people that are saying a big bold YES! That is the truth! We are simply just trying to mirror God's love that He so abundantly and unconditionally gives us daily. It doesn't take an extra special person to adopt and it especially doesn't take an extra special person to adopt a child with Down syndrome. Which brings me to my next point.
My dear friends, I want you to know that Down syndrome is a gift. A true gift from God. It is not a mistake. Willow is already showing the world what she is capable of and I know she will leave a BIG mark on this world. I say this because I pray the world will change its views on Down syndrome and see it for what it is, a pure GIFT! Willow is not a down's child, she is a child with Down syndrome. Really though, "There is nothing down about it." A phrase you might have heard before because it is so true. Will there be challenges? Yes of course. As there is with any child.
When we were starting our adoption journey and I learned the sobering statistic that close to 40% of all the orphans in China have Down syndrome, it broke me!!! I couldn't shake it! So God lead us down that road and we are so thankful he will be by our side the whole way. We have very challenging days but we also have those moments that are so completely JOY filled (which only comes from God) you can't even explain them. God gives us those moments and we see his unconditional love through Willow.
I wrote this post because I wanted to share my heart and my honest feelings about our journey so far. I want to see how they transform and how we are stronger people on the other side because of it. I want that. I want the hard stuff. I want to be challenged. I want to bend but I know that I will not break. Kind of like the Willow tree. I know I won't break because my Savior carries the load for me. He equips me. He encourages me. He gives me the strength to do this. I'm doing this all for him, not me! Our family could never do this on our own. We simply could not.
If you are in the process of adoption or have already adopted, you are not alone. Find a girlfriend or fellow adoptive mama you can say absolutely anything to with out judgement. Find some time to yourself. Find a way to do "one on one" time with your kids because whether a big family or a small family, you need it just as much as they do.
Give grace! Lots and lots of Grace!!! I'm just tackling this day by day. Its all I know how to do at this point. Also, Prayer!!! That's the most important and I find myself lacking in prayer the most right now. There is a lot that I can improve on but at the end of the day, I'm proud we said Yes to Willow and I'm so thankful we didn't chose the easier route. When you are doing God's work and making those bold Yes's despite all the practical reasons to say no, you will be BLESSED!
"May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever. Amen. "
Yes. I'm still working on our final days recap in China, I hope to have that done soon. :) XOXO