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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

1st Family-Ru-Aversary

One more thing before I head out the door...

It's been a year since we first met Ru. It has been a year since he first came into our family, both literally and legally.
He walked through the door of that Chinese office building, and he was the exact opposite of every orphan stereotype that ever existed. He came straight into our arms with his arms open wide and hugged us. He smiled the biggest smile the whole time. He laughed. He giggled. He played and interacted with us from moment one. From that very first day he was obviously so so very happy to have people to call his own. He continues to boldly defy the stereotype of the sad, forlorn, defeated, need-to-coax-out-his-personality, orphaned waif.
But then again, maybe all this shouldn't be so surprising. Ru had 7 years of living in an orphanage. From the time he was 4 months old, he lived with the same group of boy 24/7. He went to school with them, slept in the same room with them. They had the same ayi's (nanny's) and teachers. He ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with these same boys for 7 years. He survived with them. I this group of boys, Ru was one of younger and smaller ones. I'm sure he played with them and both bickered and fought with, was picked on, and a moment later laughed and called them friends, as siblings do in any family. It was a family, albeit an nontraditional family without unconditional love or a mama and papa.
I also think that Ru and these boys were very much encouraged to work out differences on their own, in the way that boys do. I believe that there was a hierarchy within these boys and that Ru, due to his size and age, was towards the bottom. Enter a family structure. It's been hard. It's been amazing. It's been full of stuff I don't share here. And it has all absolutely been worth it.

Strangely, or not, Ru doesn't seem to miss his "China family" at all. He hasn't ever asked about them and doesn't seem to remember them any more. He does dearly miss a foster family in China that cared for him for about a year when he was about 4 years old. But regarding his orphanage family he doesn't mention them at all and when asked, has no desire to see or connect with them.
My thoughts on our first year? It's hard to put it all down in words.

Going in, I thought I was that adoptive parent that was experienced and prepared. I thought I had done my homework and had my ducks in a row.
And actually I totally was.
But I wasn't.
I was right, and I was wrong.
See, that doesn't make sense already. That's how older kiddo adoption is. You just don't know what you're walking in to.
You research and you read books. You talk with other parents that have been there and done that. You analyze medical documents and the orphanage. You pray. You get online and join support groups and ask them and yourself the really hard questions. You plan for the what if's and you make a plan for the worst case scenarios. You hope. You worry. You do everything you can and still you know that it'll never really be enough. And that's the point that you just can't appreciate. It won't be enough. No matter what, it won't be enough. Nothing can be enough. Nothing can really prepare you for the journey of older child adoption, becuase there's stuff you just can't know know until you've experienced it first hand.

A lot of this journey has taken me by surprise, and a year in, it's an honest statement to say that we are still finding our new normal. It's hard. It's really really hard. And we're still getting used to each another. We have a ways to go in our attachment journeys. And as the year has passed, I've come to feel less guilt and more acceptance for that.

But one thing I do know is that the hard stuff is rarely easy, but it's the very stuff that's so very worth it in the end! That's something I did know going in. And now I've come to appreciate it all the more.

PS-I'm probably heading to the airport as this publishes. I'll see you in the land of tulips, wind mills coffeeshops, (not to be confused with coffee shops!) bicycles, museums and really amazing pancakes! Or so I hear! I'll be posting to Instagram and Instagram stories while I'm there if you want to follow along!

1 comment:

  1. Wow where did that year go. He is an amazing boy & you are amazing parents. You have come a long way & even though it's not perfect the changes are incredible to see. Thanks for allowing us to share part of this journey:)


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