One year ago: metcha.

Wednesday marks exactly one year ago since we met our little man.
Trip one; day one. 
When he first walked into the director's office in that Moscow orphanage I stared at him, overwhelmed with the thought there he is. He was the most beautiful child I had ever seen and I could hardly grasp the reality that he- my long awaited child- was standing right in front of me.

I was lost in that moment, swimming in an endless sea of affection for this little man and wanting so badly to bring him to shore. I new nothing about him then- nothing about his personality, his likes, his dislikes, his needs or his desires; I knew only that I loved him and that love was enough. It had to be enough because it was all that defined my motherhood. I had nothing else- no meal times, no baths, no getting him dressed in the morning. No doctor's appointments, no middle-of-the-night fever checks, no bandaids for his scrapes. No books read, no movies watched, no stories lived and re-told. I had only love, but I had a sea full of it.

I lived the next four months on love and whispered prayers.

Then we brought him home.

I've had eight months now of please eat your toast and don't jump on your bed. I've been to the ER with him in an unnecessary panic. Together we've blown a thousand sticky bubbles and covered our sidewalks with chalk. I've cut hundreds of cheese cubes and wiped nearly as many milk spills. I've given dozens of daily kisses and received the tightest of tiny hugs.

Before I met him, I wondered so many things about my son. I wept to think of him in his orphanage, motherless. Often I walked through my days, wondering what he was playing or eating, who was dressing him or brushing his teeth, and what sadness he held in his heart. I've been surprised to learn that as I've settled into my motherhood, my wonderings about those years have only become more intense. Perhaps I think about them less frequently, but when they poke at my mind and my heart, they are more intense. Today when I picture his life for those two years he lived without me, he's not just a baby without a family. He's my Arie.

He was this same little boy. He was baby Arie, alone in his crib and I can picture the look in his eyes. He was my timid and sweet little man, learning to crawl and then walk. When I see pride on his face, I can imagine the way he radiated when he first got up to stand. When he grumpily pushes away his plate, I can picture his baby self eating solids for the first time. When he's scared or when he shuts down, overwhelmed in new scenarios, I can feel my heart breaking to think he used to face new situations alone.

When it comes to a mother's heart for her child's lost past, it seems that time doesn't always heal. Time opens the wound and time hurts, more.

I don't reject the pain, though. I cry about his past more bitterly but I hold those feelings close because I believe they are righteous. Those tears drive me forward as I walk beside my son on his journey to healing. This is a pain that makes me grateful for restoration, even when the past cannot be re-done. The hurt makes me compassionate. It reminds me to give my son grace. It teaches me how to live within the paradox of adoption- between the brokenness and the beauty.

I think about those two years when he lived and didn't know him. Then I watch him playing with his blocks on our carpet or sleeping, sprawled out like a starfish on his bed, and my breath catches a little as I think that same thought I had a year ago....

There he is. 



  1. What a sweet day. This is also the one year anniversary of meeting our son, but we gained custody that day too. I've followed your blog for months, although I don't know if I've ever commented. But your words so resonate with me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Congratulations to your family as well! Thanks for leaving a comment; it is cool to know that you can share in our special kind of joy. Enjoy your day!

  2. This is beautifully said. And it gives me hope :)


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