Although I am writing this at 1:30 AM on 11/4, it still feels like the night of the 3rd to me and I couldn't let the day go by without marking it somehow. Today is the third anniversary of the day you became our son. I remember standing on the steps of the courthouse in Uralsk after court feeling as if there should be some fanfare, some sort of parade of celebration. Instead it was business as usual for all passers by, their lives had not just changed forever. We went to take you from the orphanage that afternoon, from the familiar surroundings you were used to. I'd love to say it was a fond farewell and off we went, but it was gut wrenching and heartbreaking, and left me in tears. It wasn't because of the joy, it was due to the sorrow you exhibited. We literally took you from the orphanage kicking and screaming in fear, and not for just a moment did I wonder if we were indeed doing the right thing that overcast afternoon. We took you back to the apartment and you spent the entire evening screaming and sobbing, so much so that we were actually concerned that our neighbor might report us to the Police. I have a photo of you, finally worn out and asleep, thin hair matted to your head. You looked so peaceful then, and as I lay beside you I had no idea just how much was yet in store for us, so much pain to be worked through, so much fear to be overcome.
In sharp contrast to that day three years ago, yesterday you and I went shopping together...a perfectly unremarkable trip to Walmart to get shoes, groceries and other sundry items. And I did pause and reflect on the unremarkability. This same store was the one I had to walk through with you screaming at the top of your lungs in anger a couple of years ago. Now I had this affable, warm, tender hearted boy of almost 4 with me who willingly helped get items off the shelf, who conversed back and forth with me about everything under the sun, who wanted to sit in the seat in the cart just so he could hug me easily. You spent the morning gazing directly into my eyes, something that was almost comically impossible 3 years ago. You have become a child that radiates good humor and happiness, you have become the child that hid within. You, my dear son, are my treasure. You are my joy. You are living proof of God's goodness and grace.
I know many parents who are so happy to send their kids off to camp, or to get that night out without them...but we are not like that. Just as I have always felt with Matthew, there is nothing that I enjoy more than having some time alone with you, doing nothing more than the ordinary. My sons are FUN to be with!! They are intelligent, are wonderful company, are people who if they were adults and not my own children would be dear friends of mine. Josh, I see in you oodles of potential. You are a social butterfly with a flair for the dramatic. You have an imagination that is put to use every day in your play, it is a gift that I hope you tap when you are older for other pursuits. You are my little old man inside a 3 year old body. You are also one of the most empathetic children I have ever been around. Your beginning in this world was a difficult one, no doubt, but it has served to make you emotionally deeper than most your age.
Saying I love you and that I am so happy I was chosen to be your mother seems so inadequate. You walked me down a path I never would have chosen for myself, but one that was life altering and allowed me to see things in myself I never knew existed...you have been a wonderful teacher. You have prepared me for bigger challenges. And even though there are moments when your insecurity still is apparent, as it was today when I was outside in the yard and you couldn't find me...and you came out sobbing calling my name...you turned to me for comfort, you expected me to be there, you WANTED to be in my arms. You are precious to me, my son. Much Love Forever, Mommy.