Friday, September 18, 2009

We Really ARE A Forever Family!

Forever Family Day, September 18, 2009

Forever Family Day, September 18, 2008

Our first family photo, September 18, 2009, India

Fast approaching is our second anniversary of being together. The minute details of our first embrace are a little less vivid than they were last year, but I still find myself staring at Devi with amazement from time to time, finding it difficult to believe that this life we’ve been sharing for two years is real. Teaching, disciplining, learning, observing, care giving - we are really doing all of it. It still feels surreal, but we ARE a forever family!

We are often asked if becoming parents in this way has become all that we’ve dreamed it would be, and I have to honestly answer that I don’t know. My answer has nothing to do with disappointment, or an unrealized vision, but rather that we never allowed ourselves to risk thinking of life after boarding the airplane. For if, for some unforeseen reason our union did not happen, the heart break would have broken us.

To call an adoption journey emotional is a gross understatement. We learned early in the process that to keep our sanity we must be guarded at each step of the way, for you have absolutely no control over what might happen next. While celebrating the small steps of progress, we always held a little back, never knowing if your hand may be drying the eyes of your spouse or if your shoulders might become the one’s providing the strength your partner needed to clear the next hurdle. Our focus quickly became getting a judge in India to assign us guardianship, but even then, our vulnerable hearts were not totally open to receive a child’s love until our feet hit Indian soil. The day that happened, the magnitude of this journey was realized. We were in the same country as OUR Devi Rose and the time until we were joined could not pass quickly enough.

This is why the two years since that union have been like exploring unimaginable uncharted ground - full of excitement, some terrifying moments, the unexpected and more joy than we ever thought could come to three people sharing our lives together. I can’t recall another time in my life, except perhaps discovering my budding love for Patrick, that I could physically be with someone and have the hands of time stand still. To be with Devi, watching her play, or learn, or overhear her silly conversations with her daddy or even to steal a glance at the stillness of her sleep fills me up. It is a warmth that contents one’s soul, how could anyone ever imagine that kind of magic?

September 18 is here. Call us weird or perhaps creatures of habit, both Pat and I wore, again this year, the same outfits that we were wearing the day that we met Devi. Out to Gateway to India we went seeking a table for three. We had a great meal of Mutter Paneer and Tandori Jinga with all the necessary appetizers and breads to go with. Devi downed a whole mango lassie on her own. All through dinner we discussed our story; how we were told to come at 11 am, how Anju Roy answered our pages of questions and told us how calm and quiet Bhargabi was and how we couldn't take our eyes off of her once the door was opened revealing her standing crib side. At home we sang "Happy Forever Family Day", blew out a candle on a shared cupcake and went through Devi's life book. So these are the things that traditions are made from. Gone is the awkwardness of trying to do it right, or make it meaningful. We are really doing all of it. It is surreal, but we ARE a forever family.


Kathy said...

I have been following your blog. My name is Kathy from Michigan. We are currently in process to adopt from India. A sister to our daughter from China whose name it Jazmyne and our final fmaily member. Jazmyne's 1st Gotcha Day was this past Wednesday. We first held her last Septembe 16, 2008. Your post made me smile. We kept watching the clock and remembering each vivid detail. Every mememory tucked somewhere deep into our vary souls as if they are pressed in a Bible along with a Rose. Our daughter's name is Jazmyne Rose-Noel. Please visit her blog the memories of those days will make you smile too!

The Labontes said...

Amazing. Your words are so sdescriptive I can feel those emotions right along with you. I remember being engrossed with your blog and Karen's blog and longing to be with Max Rup. These journeys are amazing and the ends are even more wonderful than we can imagine while going through the process.

What an amazing family,

Shad and Maggie Alsworth said...

My eyes are all welted up with tears reading this... I love reading your posts, Julie! Thank you for sharing your Forever Family Day!

Traci said...

What an encouragement to me as we approach this day. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

jasonliberty said...

Julie, You have a way with words that is phenomenal!! I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my face as I "listen" to your mommy heart. What a wonderful beautiful story!


Peter and Nancy said...

I loved reading your blog when you were in India, and I can't wait to follow along as you meet your new daughter. This post made me remember the (almost) 24 hours in Kolkata before we met Anya Rashi -- I was absolutely twitchy knowing we were finally in the same city, and it was all really going to happen!

Happy Forever Family Day -- the first of many, and soon to be celebrated with another little blessing!


P.S. Anya Rashi consistently makes a meal of a mango lassi and naan at our favorite Indian restaurant. :o)

Sandy & Butch said...

happy forever family day! it is hard to believe there are 3 consecutive pictures now. doesn't seem that long ago we were reading about your trip to India and eagerly waiting to see that first family photo. your story is truly inspirational and heart-warming. we are so happy for you.
hugs, Sandy
p.s. also, wanted to express my condolences at the loss of Cayenne. Pets become such an integral part of a family and are very much missed when they are gone.

ColleenC said...

Oh, I just LOVE the pictures of the family growing! Amazing! Happy Forever Day!!

Amy said...

Congrats on this special time of celebration :) I love hearing your words describing everything - it brings tears to my eyes :)

Beth said...

Congratulations to all three of you!!! A wonderful celebration indeed. It really resonated with me reading about putting the emotions of being a family "on hold" until you knew it_would_be.

We've emailed a bit (I'm the gal from the Hague class you all visited)...our recent trip did not go well and we won't be moving forward with adopting the boy we'd hoped to adopt. I wrote about it in my blog:

We still hope there is a kid in our future...just one kid. But some days it's hard to keep the faith.

I know most journeys end well, even if it is a long road getting there, so reading your 'anniversary' story brightens my day.