Well, one year and a few weeks.
June 23, 2014 we met our XS.
We should have known this kid was smart. He quickly learned enough words to play with his siblings, tell us for certain whether he loved watermelon or HATED the pool. He lifted his arms and asked to be held. And we tried to meet his needs. Even when that watermelon threatened to stain the shirt he received from ba-ba policeman (the man who found him, checked in on him and visited him for 3.5 years, until the day before we took him to be an Asker.) Even though we loved swimming and wanted to make him like it, we tried to be flexible. Even when it was hotter than Hot-Lanta (people from Atlanta told us it was) we picked up this sweet kid and hauled him all around the hottest cities we have ever tried to tour.
We should have known it would have been hard. We struggled to know how to completely understand all he was going through. We watched his silent tears when he fell asleep.
We knew it would be hard when we struggled with jet lag times 3 in the middle of the night and then mid-day with 2 who were wide awake when it was light out. We knew it would be hard when we had forms, after forms, after forms, after forms to fill out, keep track of and then only come to lose right before taxes. We should have known…
We should have known it would completely wreck Elam’s world. When he struggled to give up his favorite pair and now too small pajamas to this little brother who seemed to get all the attention. When he always got blamed when his little brother was crying. When he went off to preschool but then got home only to find his little brother was getting into all of his stuff.
We should have known Calista would really take the brunt of feeling left out now as the only little girl. We might have foreseen her struggle to be “the only one is alone at night with no one in her room.” When she went to school all day, every day, and never really got to bond with her little brother who seems to love his big brother and daddy more than anyone else. When every single time she tried to hug her little brother, he gave out a loud pterodactyl scream. When she just craved girl dates and girl time and little brothers to just stay out of her room!
We should have known we would have to sacrifice. The grocery budget adjustment. The lack of sleep. The scrounging for hand me down shoes that XS could navigate without a pterodactyl scream. The additional laundry, bathroom cleaning and meal planning.
We should have known our marriage would take a hit. When we would be so tired we would fall asleep right after dinner on the couch. When we couldn’t leave the house without 66% of our kids having a tantrum. When we never had a 3 minute conversation without interruption. When one spouse had to travel every other week, for 9 months in a row.
How very, very tired I am most days. How I need a nap as often as I can get it. How my marathon seemed like a cakewalk compared to parenting. How I would let my hair grow white/silver (?) simply because it gives me one less thing to keep up with. How dusty I allow my house to get now compared to 7 years ago when I would dust 2-3 times a week. How the carpet is dirty from 3 pairs of muddy feet from our backyard. How people at the Y ask me, Now HOW many kids do you have?
We should have known all of this, after reading adoption blogs, books and articles. We should have known it would be harder than we thought. We should have known…
But if we had, would we have obeyed the call to adopt? If we had known, would we have challenged ourselves, our kids and our families with all of this?
I don’t know if we would have.
But I do know that had we known that we would laugh while scooping serving spoon sized dessert into every Asker mouth at dinner, I would have done it sooner.
If I had foreseen how my 2 kids who have always been BFF would simply add another BFF to the mix. How Calista would lead the boys to imaginary games that even an MA cannot follow. How Elam would race his sister to the silverware drawer in order to serve everyone first. How XS would develop a tender heart towards two babies in our lives. How we have learned a number of Chinese characters and can recognize them on food packaging. How much more I’d love this already great dad.
Sometimes obeying God is a challenge and it takes discipline. But the longer that I do boey and say yes to those inside urgings from the Spirit the more 1 John 5:3b becomes true for us:
And His commands are not burdensome.