Whew, 13 years went by so fast! How blessed we are! 13 years earlier we were at the Denver airport to pick up this incredible young man and begin the privilege of raising him as our son. Eliza tried to give him a french fry and leaned in to kiss him, and Dan and I just looked at each in awe. A son. We really have him home with us. I remember it like it was yesterday. December 10th, thank you God.
I say a daily prayer for his birth parents and the wonderful foster family who raised him for 6 1/2 months. He was supposed to come home to us at the end of September 2001, but we all know how 9/11 changed things and it changed our lives, too. The INS shut down and started looking for all the Out-Of-Status-Bad-Guys, and the adoption paperwork got shuffled to another closed desk. At our adoption agency’s Christmas party our kind social worker asked how I was holding up, and I told her I couldn’t wait for him any longer. One week later he was in my arms and my life was complete. Every adoptive parent I know thinks that their child was meant for them, and we are no different. We thought we were such good parents with Eliza, our first. She was always happy and was the joy of our lives. We knew God meant us to be her parents and we considered ourselves beyond blessed. We had no idea what was coming with our son, but we thought we were ready.
The first night we got home, I laid Nate down on the floor in Eliza’s room, and turned around to get her PJ’s out of the closet. I turned back just as he rolled to his tummy, crawled to her bed, pulled himself up and stood there looking at me. I yelled to Dan, “hey honey, we don’t have a baby, we have a toddler” and we’ve been trying to keep up with him ever since.
He is strong-willed, sensitive and bright. He doesn’t take direction well, and I look in the mirror and think, “yes, God, I get it now.” What goes around, comes around, and I am definitely getting what I need out of raising this young man. He challenges me and stretches my patience and each night that I go to bed, I thank God that he’s in my life.
We took him out to dinner tonight to celebrate. 13 years with us. 13 years of tears and joy and laughter and the absolute certainty that he was meant to be ours. The Keys sunset was beautiful, but his smile is better. Thank you, God.