Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Gift of AJ

I didn't give you the gift of life, but life gave me the gift of you.

Being the parents of AJ is one of the greatest gifts we have ever been given.  It is an honor to have him as our son.  Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful gift. Countries and agencies may put a price on adoption, but a child is priceless. AJ is priceless, and he is of great value to us. He is our son.

One year ago today, we brought AJ home. Home. He now understands what a home is. Home is where your family is. Home is where you are always loved.  And oh how Ryan, Brody, and I love him so very much!

I think of his birth mother often. She gave this world the gift of AJ. She chose to give him life, and then she made the best plan she could for him to have a life. I am grateful for her. On the day we left the orphanage, the director presented me with this poem.

“Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother
Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears
One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.
Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of?
Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.”
-Julie Anderson

I will never be able to say thank you to her for giving the world our handsome and full of life son, but not being able to tell her "thank you" does not make her gift any less special. Maybe it makes it even more special. One day when AJ is older, I will tell him of her story. I will tell him their story. I will give him a gift she left for him and only him. Maybe he'll share the story and gift with the world one day or maybe he'll keep it to himself. But it is his to tell or keep. Our darling will know he is loved, and he is a wonderful gift. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Still Welcome Home AJ

For 11 months this Welcome Home AJ balloon has been on our ceiling. Who knew a balloon could even stay inflated this long?

It's actually kind of a good and humorous representation of our life. Life still doesn't feel normal. It's a constant effort of finding what works best for everyone in the family. There is a small routine to our life, but it's not the routine I'm used to having. We seem to be floating around in search of normalcy. This is not a bad thing. It's just surprising. Surprising like there's still a balloon on the ceiling. If someone had asked me what I thought our family would look like after AJ was home for a year, I would have said we'll find our groove in a year's time. Who knew what time would be like for our family? Time is a funny thing. This time period has gone by incredibly fast. Seriously, it's like I've blinked and we're now a couple of weeks away from the one year mark. The welcome home balloon is quite fitting because it still feels like we just got home with AJ. I'm incredibly thankful for this year. I only wish this year felt longer. 

Anyone else ever have one of those years that seem to pass by too quickly?

Friday, January 16, 2015

9 Months Home

Today marks 9 months of AJ being home from India! 
It's been a wild ride!!!
Wild and crazy and beautiful and messy and awesome is this journey.

Today's update will be from questions I have been asked lately.

What does AJ like to do?
MICKEY MOUSE! He loves all things Mickey. Family and friends supported Disney greatly during Christmas because all of AJ's presents had The Mouse on it. He has also recently started to watch Little Einsteins. There is so much music in that show, and AJ loves music. Another activity AJ likes to do is take pictures of himself on any phone he can get his hands on...even strangers' phones. We have the conversation often of not taking over people's phones. It's hard to be the King of Selfies!

How is his language? 
There is progress, but his language is still developmentally delayed. AJ tries to say sentences now. Sentences come out a little jumbled at times, but he is making effort to communicate. You know how some adoption books say there is a Language Explosion at six months...I'm still waiting on that explosion. On a positive note, AJ understands us very well!

How is his sleeping? 
AJ is a great sleeper! He stays in his bed all night, and he takes an afternoon nap. There is still some rocking while falling asleep, but it is a much more gentler rocking than nine months ago. AJ is very particular about playing the same lullaby cd every night. Music is calming to him.

Is AJ a good eater?
Yes and no. It always depends on the day. Some days he is a great eater while other days he can be a picky eater. AJ is holding a spoon and fork better. He has also learned his parents will make him stay seated during meal time (this is one of his biggest accomplishments).

Has it been an easy transition?
Bringing an independent five year old into any family is going to be challenging. It takes lots of patience. Some days I feel like I have no more patience, and it's only lunch time. The Lord provides everything we need so there is always more patience. You have to make a top 10 list of things to work on, and then work with 1 goal at a time. Our oldest son Brody will ask sometimes why we let AJ do something, and we tell him that we must pick our battles with AJ. It's too overwhelming to work on several behaviors at a time. AJ does have a sweet, gentle heart. One of my favorite things about him is how he tries to comfort those around him. He gets very concerned if he sees someone crying. He brings a new comfort into our family.  I think AJ has adjusted very well for the short amount of time he has been home. He is silly and all about having a good time which brings a lot of fun into our family.

What are his favorite books/songs?
Books- Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, Going on a Bear Hunt, and Baby
Songs- 10,000 Reasons, Jesus Loves Me, and Come and Get Your Love (Guardians of the Galaxy Sound Track)

Has AJ grown lately?
YES! Whoo hoo!!! He is 41 inches tall, and he weighs 33 pounds. He is a very active little boy so gaining weight is awesome.

What did AJ think about the holidays?
AJ had a blast at Christmas! He was very humble in receiving presents, and it was a joy for all of us to watch him. He would sweetly ask, "AJ's???" This was our family's best Christmas ever! Seeing both of my boys excited and happy was the greatest gift. Spending time with grandparents was a big treat for him. New Year's Eve was also a hit for AJ. Baby Boy loves fireworks! He cheers for every "boom." The holidays all include great desserts, and AJ has a major sweet tooth. We love how he still calls dessert "Happy Birthday."

It been a good nine months, and it just keeps getting better!