Friday, September 12, 2014

One Year Home

I wake up in the morning after sleeping through the whole night alone in my own bed to the sound of my sweet son calling out "Mama" from his own bedroom down the hall... And I remember the days where he would only sleep on my chest, the weeks we spent camping out on an old twin mattress in the living room, the months I spent in his room/bed, the countless nights he woke up screaming in terror and the endless mornings waking up to the sound of him whining because he will not get out of his bed without permission and he seemed to have forgotten that he can now use his words to call me.

Our bed in the living room - September 2013
We make it through the day, sometimes even a few days, maybe even a week with no major tantrums. I flick on a light switch, turn on the microwave or flush the toilet and my son does not drop to the floor in hysterics because he didn't get to do it. I watch my son get upset about something yet, 9 times out of 10, be able to calm down within ten minutes... And I remember the days, weeks, months where Samuel was screaming more often than he wasn't and I wondered if this was what the rest of our lives were going to look like.

Conked out on the floor after hours of screaming - September 2013

I walk 20 minutes each way to our closest park with Samuel skipping, running, laughing and singing alongside me... And I remember the days where Samuel would not even walk to the car and insited on being held or pushed in the stroller everywhere we went.

Our first trip to the park - September 2013
(Samuel never got out of his stroller...)

We get to the park and I watch Samuel trying hard to play with the other kids. I see him joining in what they're doing and hear him say things like, "Excuse me, I have turn please?"... And I remember the early days where he would insist on leaving the second another child showed up at the park, the many months that followed where he grabbed everything any other child tried to touch causing kids to literally run away from him, and all the playdates with neighbours/cousins, etc. that left me in tears.

Actually making friends at the park - July 2014

I spend the day listening to Samuel argue, negotiate, correct (ME: Samuel, sit properly at the table SAMUEL: Not table, counter!), make excuses, talk back, ask 'why?' about a thousand times and chatter incessantly about anything and everything... And I remember the silent child I met in Vietnam who spoke less than 20 words in his native language and I am thankful for these challenges I never thought I'd have to deal with with my "non-verbal" child.

Locked away in his own quiet little world - August 2013

I spend up to a couple hours preparing dinner with Samuel by my side contentedly watching, helping, learning... And I remember the months where we would not have eaten if it were not for the kindness of family, friends and neighbours as I could not so much as boil pasta without Samuel dissolving into a meltdown that would last long after the food was ice cold.

Making mashed potatoes for the first time
(with the help of pudding and grapes to keep Samuel busy) - November, 2013

I spend 30-40 minutes each night reading to my sweet boy who just loves to hear his favourite books read again and again... I remember the months where he couldn't even sit through a simple board book and I literally laughed out loud when someone said something about him one day reading for half an hour.

Nana making every effort to keep Samuel's attention - September, 2013

Samuel has officially been home one year and when I stop and remember, I truly can't believe how far we've come.
Gone is the lost, disengaged, vacant-eyed little boy a brought home one year ago. In his place is my not-so-little stick of dynamite, full of life, charisma and unbridled potential. Yes, it's been hard, it's still hard (albeit in different ways) but in those early days home I heard the following song for the first time and I claimed it for our first year together...

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

So today I am looking back at just how far we've come, thanking God for every victory along the way and, as we move forward, clinging still to the promise that we never walk alone. 

Happy one year home, baby. You never cease to amaze me with all you're accomplishing... Keep proving them wrong!



Cherie Truax said...

Wow! So amazing what God has done! Love this! Thanks for sharing, Andrea!

Chantal, Zackary et Kélia said...

Good job Mommy ! Keep up the good work ! Samuel has a magnificient smile !

Anonymous said...

Happy smiles from a Florida Grandma! Good job, both of you. :) Truly makes my heart happy. Lord bless you both.

lizzielou said...

I can so relate to so much of what you said here, so happy to see all of the growth and changes in your little man. Love does wonders, and God is good!

Anonymous said...

I adopted a 7 year old 27 years ago. Your blog makes me remember raising my son and it makes me so happy for your family. Great picture video. I hope Samuel has an incredible school year!