When I published my first blog post on May 22, 2008, our file was still waiting to be sent to Ethiopia and I think the only person reading this blog was my mom J. When I think back to that time, it seems so far away from where we have travelled.
I’m trying to remember the reason I even started this blog - to document milestones, maybe meet a couple other families like us along the way, to share our journey with family and friends, just something to pass the time... Regardless, I thought my blog would be short lived; maybe a year, tops, cuz we were told that we’d be home in no time with our little one, and my investment in this blog would be minimal.
I was so green when we started the international adoption process – I naively thought that since we had already adopted domestically and the process for Sara’s adoption was seamless that “we could easily do that again!” I also believed everything I was told and that procedures and processes would follow a fair and logical path...another novice mistake. Little did we know that our international adoption would bring some of the most difficult moments (as well as joyful moments) of our life. It was the ultimate rollercoaster ride, with many unexpected ups and downs, and twists and turns. We have learned firsthand that international adoption is not for the faint of heart - it takes patience, determination, plenty of tenacity, and a whole lot of faith to navigate through its trenches.
We had some very dark days. Darker than I ever thought my life could ever become. And just when I truly thought it could not get any worse, I was sucker punched and left stunned yet again. We almost lost our boy, more than once! More than twice!! Although my beautiful son is now home safely and life moves forward as though nothing had ever gone wrong, I am still healing. I think there will always be a part of me that will be stuck inside that small, cold room, alone in Ethiopia being told to go home because I wasn’t (and never would be) good enough to be Seth’s mom. I knew it wasn’t true, I didn’t have to prove that to myself or anyone close to me, but I fought to prove that it wasn’t true so that Seth would have a chance at a family and I would have the chance to be his mom. Regardless of the outcome (the wonderful, truly miraculous outcome), remembering those moments will always sting and have left a hidden scar that will likely never completely heal.
I don’t think most people realize how close we were to losing Seth. In fact, we DID lose Seth, but we wouldn’t let him go that easily. We had truly exhausted every possible option and were repeatedly told that “it does not look good”. Everyone, including us, had very little hope left and by the end we were simply going through the motions to be able to say that we did everything we could.
We had begun to grieve. We had begun planning our life without Seth in it. But the plan for our family, for me, and for Seth, was bigger than all of us, and what seemed like out of blue, life finally found its resting place with Seth in my arms. It was a jaw-dropping miracle leaving us awed at the humility and change of heart in humanity and the higher powers working through all of it.
The only constant and absolute throughout this entire process were the people who surrounded me through each and every long day – following, leading, guiding, carrying me along the way, whatever the moment required, someone was ALWAYS there.
One of the most unexpected and wonderfully surprising experiences of this journey was the support I found through this blog. Strangers became invested in my family, sending thoughts, prayers, and encouragement. As the months moved forward and our wait seemed to move backward and our world came crumbling down around us, this blog turned from a simple milestone marker into so much more – it became validation, a form of therapy, support, safety, and escape. My investment in this blog became something I relied and depended on; it became one of the ways of coping with everything that was falling apart around me.
Regardless of how my blogging world has evolved over the years, I have cherished every bit of it along the way. I could literally feel the compassion, support, and celebrations through the words, (((hugs))) and even the simplest little happy face J.
With some bloggers, our relationships grew beyond posts and comments into something outside the virtual world – some I have only met once or twice through the years, others I have never met at all, some I correspond with regularly still, others we chat occasionally now, and with some our contact has faded but they are never far from my thoughts. Regardless of where life takes us, I hold a connection with these fine women far beyond a blog.
I’ll admit that it was sad (but I fully expected it) to see my blog followers taper off after our arrival home with Seth. And I really can’t blame anyone; I myself have admittedly done the same thing many times to fellow bloggers. I would become invested in each journey, the ups and downs, the drama, the excitement, the joys and pain. I would hold on to each word, while lending support and encouragement when I could. I would celebrate, sometimes with as much enthusiasm as my own, the referral, passing court, the visa, and the homecoming. I would stock a blog waiting for THE post that would reveal the first glimpse of the wee babe we have all been craving to see for so long.
The ultimate is seeing a new mom holding her long awaited babe in her arms. All becomes well in that moment and you can feel the peace through a simple picture. There is a sense of relief and satisfaction that comes with finally seeing a child home with his/her family. And a feeling like maybe I had a small part in getting that mom through to the end, as she had done for me. That moment is my closer, an end to the investment I had with the family, but never the end of thoughts for the family.
And with that, I think the same thing that I have experienced with others blogs has ultimately happened to me with my own. I don’t NEED it or depend on it anymore. Saying good-bye to this blog has not come easily, but with much reflection, I feel it is now time to let it go. Its purpose has been accomplished. And as much as I wish “Wordless Wednesdays” could exclusively exist and thrive as my blog, I know it cannot. This blog will be a valuable piece of our family’s story – each and every post and comment will be filed away in our memory box and cherished many times over through the years.
Our first year+ home with Seth has been full of many adjustments and milestones for everyone. For Sara, it was learning to share her things (including mom and dad) and not being the only-child anymore. For Seth, it was learning a whole new language and culture and trying to find his place in his new family and home. For us, it was focused on helping Seth to form a strong attachment to the two new strangers in his life that he now called mom and dad. We have come a long way in one year; we are in awe of our wee boy, with such resilience that he has flourished beyond our wildest expectations. Seth is a typical busy, never-stops-moving three-year-old boy who fills our life with endless love and laughter.
I tell my children that they grew in my heart - not under it! My children may not share any of my blood, DNA, or family history; yet they breathe life into me every day.
In the end, this blog did exactly what I had hoped it would do...and SO much more. Thank you for being part of my journey.
I wouldn’t change one thing about this ride...