One year ago we were sitting at a picnic table in Adama, Ethiopia making silly faces and sharing lollipops with a scared little boy who was about to become our son. I can see so much when I look back on those two or three hours we had together with eyes that are one year older: so much change, so many blessings, so much left to learn together.
I see his wide-eyed look with the right side of his bottom lip tucked under -- a look he wore in almost every picture we had of him before he came home, a look I haven't seen him make in months.
I thank God today for his healing.
I see the smiling, loving, patient nannies who laughed at his toddler rages, scooped him up, offered him a bottle, and kissed his cheeks.
I thank God today for the love and compassion shown to him before we ever met.
I see us, aware of his fear and guardedness, thrilled with every scream-free moment, every half-smile, every tiny sign of interest and interaction he gave us.
I thank God today for his easy laugh, his willing hugs, his playful spirit.
The last twelve months have been difficult for each of us in different ways, but blessings have woven their way through even the hardest days and longest nights; God has been at work. Love, trust, security, hope, and joy are slowly growing to replace fear, pain, anxiety, and reluctance. Yes, we still have hard days (in fact yesterday was fairly brutal). But looking back I see that the things which helped us make that first meeting with Z go well might be the very same things to help get me through the daily struggles with him today: be positive, gentle, and observant, keep the expectations low, rejoice in the small victories... and have plenty of lollipops on hand.
One year ago:
I swear we are not oblivious to his crying, we were just laughing because even his fits were cute to us... then. :)
his signature look, check out the lower lip bite
(on vacation in Maui with my family)
I know I just used this picture in my last post, but I just had to add it in again. He was happy as a little clam on the beach all week!