Monday, February 13, 2012

Two Years

Two years ago, we were mid-flight, winging our way across continents.

Two years ago, we were ending a decade filled with paperwork, FBI fingerprints, background checks, and first  meetings.

Two years ago, we were stepping tentatively into the world of tweens and teens, of girlie giggles and hair raising hormones.

Two years ago, all that was certain was commitment and discomfort.

Two years ago seems like a century, and like yesterday.

Our anniversary is tomorrow, the day we stepped off the plane so weary, friends having quickly assembled a caravan to bring us home from a redirected flight an hour away.

60+ hours en  route with 5 kids in tow...everyone was beyond tired!

It was an inauspicious beginning to a new life, as anxiety and exhaustion took it's toll from the surprise extension of a trip initially to be 2 weeks stretched to an unbelievable 2 1/2 month ordeal.

Would we ever bond as a family?

Would we ever fully recover from the emotional nightmare we had just been through?

Would we ever be the same?

No, we would not be the same, ever.  Yes, we indeed would bond, yes we would all recover and become something unique, incredible and quite remarkable.  We became a family in every sense of the word.  To outsiders just catching a quick glimpse it appears simple enough, as if some Family Fairy had sprinkled sparkly dust over the top of us all and magically it all just fell into place and strangers instantly were emotionally connected.

Time creates a hazy cloud over it all, two years has shown that time, indeed, has healing powers unlike any other potion.  Let no one fool you though, it has been work...and at the same time it has been easy.  Maybe because it is the work of our heart, the work that we were called to.

Images of this weekend fill me up, my almost-unheard-of mid-afternoon nap on the couch as I hear the girls moving about the kitchen concocting treats, playing with blueberries, cookies and cream ice cream and a blender.  Bread is baking, and as I drift in that place between fully alert and blessedly dreamy I smell the aroma and feel full in ways no meal could ever fill me up.  A blanket is draped over me quietly by my tallest son, then gently tucked in around me. I look up, he grins and leans down to give me a peck on the cheek.  I know how many moms of twelve-going-on-thirty-year-olds are not this fortunate, and I say a little prayer of gratitude for the gentle natures of all our sons.  The house is quiet as whispers go round " is sleeping!", and the muffled sound of thousands of Legos being sorted is my background music.  I eventually rise and leave, bound for a meeting and I return to a darkened house to find Olesya's darling note on our white board "Night Mama...we love you SO MUCH!". She couldn't have known it was just what I needed.

It can't ever get better than it is right now.  We stand already on shifting sands, as children mature and begin the steady process of moving forth into the world.  There are moments when already I feel the sting of loss, of separation, and I know it is premature.  But to those who have lost most of a childhood together, the time left to us is compressed and ever more precious.  Every moment is savored, every hug a gift.

Our family was completed two years ago, but not finished by a long shot.  Everyone was home, finally, and that in itself was a relief like no other.  after ten years there was no more yearning, no more sensing that someone was missing (OK, there is this odd thing happening lately, but I am choosing to ignore it), no more pictures taped to a fridge to greet me in the morning as first meetings were months...or the future.  That fridge is gone, in fact, and a new one in its place, just as a new version of our family is now in front of us.

12 years ago, as we started the building of our family, we never imagined five children.  I never imagined daughters.  I never imagined returning to Central Asia over and over again.  I never imagined 3 dishwasher loads a day...15 loads of laundry a week...a dog, a hamster and a blind  mouse or two.  I never imagined 12 years ago our dining room table forever with 3 leaves in it, or a beat up old 15 passenger van, or a teaching cart as a piece of new living room furniture.

I never imagined just how darned fun it would all be!

Me, who was terrified of daughters and loved boys to death, now has two that are the perfect fit for this less-than-girlie Mom.  I have someone who will watch chick flicks with me, who will roll their eyes at the antics of all the men of the house including Daddy, and who will stand side by side at the kitchen counter slicing tomatoes.  I have daughters who will stand rocking in my arms as we hug goodnight, who will rest their heads on my shoulders, one in each arm, as we stand there relishing the moment...wishing it would last even longer.  The husky "Good Night Mom", the higher pitched hint of a giggle "Night Mama" as they make their way down the hall and into their bed, Sunny at their heels ready to go to sleep with them.

They are each more thoughtful than I would have ever dreamed of.  They are each so different, and yet so twin-like.  They are each so strong, so warm, so amazingly resilient.  They are each oddly so much like their Mom...adopted or not.  One will leave little notes and offer to clean the car out.  The other says she doesn't need shoes despite the gaping hole in the ones on her feet, as she tries to keep us from spending money on her and I literally have to force her to try on a new pair.

Each has the most beautiful heart, beautiful soul, beautiful mind...and I am still wondering how in the world it all worked out.  The odds were stacked against us over and over again, years of waiting, weeks of painful processing of emotions, months of building relationship. It took a willingness to be vulnerable on everyone's part, it took a level of patience not usually seen in children this age, and an inordinate amount of trust in complete strangers and God's plan.

Somehow, it worked.  Two years later, I am still unable to really take it in.

Yes, the day we stepped off that plane two years ago was the end of an era, in many ways it was the beginning of the end of our younger family and the bridge was before us to the next era with older children learning who they are and thinking about who they will become.

We were never the same, and I am so glad.

Happy Valentine's Day, my dear, sweet daughters!

 Happy Valentine's Day, my handsome, helpful sons!

 Happy Valentine's Day, my rock of a husband whom I adore.



Anonymous said...

How fitting this new adventure began on Valentine's Day, Cindy! So much to celebrate!
Love, blessings, and shalom to you and yours.

amanda vigale said...

You are so right you have so much to celebrate and each and every wonderful child was chosen just for you!!!
Reading your blog is a pleasure you both are such great parents a true family made in heaven, Happy Valentines day Lajoy Family!!!

Anonymous said...

Anniversaries are about remembering the start of a new family, but of course that start was long before the wedding, the touchdown of the plane, the first adoption papers filled out, or any of the other markers you might use as the day of the anniversary. Happy anniversary for the completion of that phase of family building.

First, there was the meeting of Dominick and Cindy, courtship, marriage, wishing,yearning, waiting, paperwork and on and on. Or did it first begin with the conception and raising of you Cindy and you Dominick.

It is mind blowing to think of the links of life that go back into antiquity, but it is heartstopping and hopeful to look forward into futures that stretch out ahead just as history stretches back.

This is a momentous day for each of you. Congratulations and may the blessings continue on and on. You Team LaJoy are both a link to the past for us who read your blog and a window into the future.

Joy and thanks from a friend,
Ms. L

Anonymous said...

The most blessed woman in the entire world!

Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine Lajoys!!!

Complete family? Are you joking.
We can see very well a few more little ones.... :)


Ps. We all remember well that adoption trip, me crying in the living room in England, my husband staring - Why are you crying again???
Me saying - But it is soooo sad.:(
It was fantastic it all finished so well and the girls are doing great.

Karen D said...

It took me three tries to read this- so many tears of joy I couldn't see! Not only thanks for what you do, but for sharing it with us.

Dee said...

I can't believe it's been two years! Michael came home in 2007, and I think I prayed every day after meeting Angela that y'all would be her forever family. I could tell she was such a bright, sweet girl, just from our brief meetings at the orphanage. I also remember the agonizing adoption trip, and just being beside myself with anxiety for you. God works in mysterious ways, doesn't he?! Give her and Olesya a hug from me...

Dots said...

happy day after valetines!!! haha Hi olesya!!!!


Carrie DeLille said...

You are a precious crew filled with love and it's been so incredible to know you and watch you follow where the Lord takes you!!