A year earlier, when we had gone to the same room in the same office building in the same city to get Rose, we waited for the longest half hour of my life before the babies arrived. This time, the orphanage people were waiting for us, and we turned the corner to find Eli, with a look of terror in his eyes. They placed him in my arms and he screamed. Rose patted him and said, "Okay, baby." And within just a little while, it really was okay.
Once his tears dried, Eli seemed to accept quickly that life with us was the new normal. And he's been easygoing like that for most of the last year. I'm not sure he would have survived the early months, with new casts each week and surgeries every month, if he hadn't had such a sweet disposition. And, like most two-year-olds, he definitely has his moments when he wants to be held or he whines or he climbs on things over and over and over again, but really, he's such a sweet, gentle, nice little guy. I feel so incredibly blessed to be his mom.
I feel like all of this is building up to a "but." I've tried to be as honest as possible on my blog, and while Eli is incredibly awesome and smart and funny and has made so much progress this year, this has also been the hardest year of my life. Ed warned me. The social worker warned me. The reading I did about adoption warned me, but I didn't believe them. I was a seasoned mom. I could handle this or anything in my path.
I thought that the year Ed was an intern and we moved to Minnesota and it snowed all winter long and the house was all brown and dark and depressing and Bryce was a toddler and Annie was a newborn would go down in the history of our family as the hardest year, but this year beat it. I love my kids fiercely, but having two two-year-olds brings me to the brink of my sanity almost every afternoon between the hours of four and six.
|photo by Crooked Pinkie Photography|
There's no doubt that I would still adopt these two sweethearts again in a heartbeat. Would I recommend that others adopt? Absolutely. Would I recommend that others adopt two kids the same age? Yes, but with their eyes wide open. I think I thought that having two toddlers would sort of be like having a friend over for a perpetual playdate.
This year has been stressful for all of us, but our lives are better for being together. Eli is such a fantastic kid-- he's adapted so well to the chaos of our lives, and he's grown so much. He's adorable and funny and the perfect completion to our family, and we love him to pieces. I hope that this year will show our kids that we can do hard things, and even when those hard things don't stop being hard immediately, it's ultimately persisting through the hard things that bring life's greatest rewards. I consider Eli one of the greatest rewards of my life.