We took our first family vacation last week.
Parts were magical. Parts were carefree.
Parts were full of teaching big brother and little sister what a vacation is… it’s about resting, having fun, and trying new things.
We stayed on a private 60-acre lake and spent waking hours fishing, boating, swimming, and also make s’mores.
The first few days after the closing visit I would ask our kiddos how they felt. Noticing that the answers were pretty consistent, “I’m sad”, and then followed by a hug, my husband suggested I stop asking. So I stopped asking. Then towards the end of our time at the lake my son seemed content one morning fishing with his dad… my courageous husband… and so I asked… “Big brother… how are you feeling?” He replied, “Happy.” I inhaled and asked, “Why is that?” Internally I was bracing for a mention of the bio family as he had done days before at the mention of happy. He paused… then said, “I didn’t want to tell you… but I want you to be my mom and dad.” I replied, “Well, that’s the plan… forever.” And I gave him a big hug while trying to hold in my melting heart.
A friend asked earlier today how our kids are doing… the truth is after a trip to the bio family we see regression in some areas and we were ready for that to be true and even more severe for this final visit. These behaviors usually last 2-3 weeks followed by a week when we feel like our kids are back to themselves again and then another bio family visit and the cycle repeats itself.
We are a little over 2 weeks from their final visit with their bio family and I’m amazed. Our kids aren’t just themselves… they seem happier, more carefree, and excited as each day brings about new adventures. We spent nearly every night this week staying up past their bedtime playing water gun tag in our backyard and swimming at our in-law’s house. When they’ve asked why we let them stay up late we shared that good attitudes and following directions deserve to do extra special things.
It was surreal taking our vacation rental car back this past weekend. As we dropped it off with kids in tow one asked me when we would borrow the car again. I inhaled and had a little chuckle internally and said, “It’s going to be a long time. Maybe years.”
It feels so nice to have our weekends to our choosing, to have our children in our care without old influences, and to just be together. The Hershey kisses have worked so well to get little sister to take a nap during the school day that we’ve begun offering extra kisses for dinnertime Q&A. We ask them to say their first, middle, and last names (each answer earns a kiss)… their forever names… how to spell their last name, their address, and they are just now beginning to learn dad’s and mom’s phone numbers. We can finally teach them these details without fear that the wrong person will misuse the information.
Some of you have been reaching out asking for the date of the court hearing to finalize everything. I feel so loved knowing you all are still cheering us loudly on. Thanks for that. Well… I talked with the powers that be this week and we learned that our hearing will be scheduled for sometime after August 10th. We hope to have a locked in date and time in the next 2 weeks. I know our judge – yes! we got the hearing moved to our town – and know he will help us get a date set quickly.
In the meantime, we are making preparations for a celebration. Little sister has requested everyone receive a blue balloon and big brother has asked for a cake. We’re working on details.
Adoption is an untraditional way to raise children. We are not ashamed for our choice to electively add children to our family through this path. However, there are traditions in our society that don’t quite mesh with this path. One of those traditions is baby showers. Some asked to throw us a shower as soon as big brother and little sister moved in a year ago but we declined out of concern that we would receive multiple placements and we wouldn’t want to go through emotions while trying to be cheerful at a party. Then, as our time together as a family grew longer and longer others have asked us to have an adoption shower. So far my husband and I know we want to have an adult party prior to the adoption hearing for us to celebrate the ride we’ve been on. But then, there’s this part of me that feels overshadowed by culture a part of me that feels let down. A part of me that feels like validation as a mom happens for those who take the more traditional path of having a baby either through her own body or through another woman’s body. So instead of giving into the quietness of celebrating an adoption, I invite you to celebrate with us.
Here are a few ideas…
(In case you’re wondering, in a few weeks we are discontinuing our foster license as we intend to raise and love well the two children whom God has given us.)
You could help get big brother and little sister ready for the upcoming school year, expand our family library, or give our family new experiences by buying something off our registry.
I believe this blog will have one more post. And I hope for that post to include our first family photo. Which I have. I just can’t show you yet.