Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Year

It's difficult for me to put into words what I've been feeling today. All day long a rush of gratitude and emotion have held me in their grasp and threatened to overcome me at any moment.

It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year since the day when Gideon was placed in our arms and we were finally able to bring him home. And yet at the same time it seems impossible that there was ever a time when he wasn't part of our family. He just belongs with us.

I remember that day a year ago. A very cold and very windy Sunday. (Much like today, only without the inches of fresh snow we got today.) I was more nervous than I'd ever been in my entire life. Everything had been building up to this day, this hour, this moment. The years of being unable to concieve. The pain of learning that we never would. The years spent waiting. The adoptions that fell through. The weeks before he was born when we knew he was coming and yet were afraid to get too excited in case something happened. And then the day he was born, waiting, waiting, waiting for a call. Getting to go see him and hold him and then having to walk away and leave him there. And then that 10 days. Easily the worst 10 days of my life. Knowing that my baby was out there and he wasn't with me.

I remember walking into the LDS Family Services building with an empty car seat and a spare blanket just praying that everything would work out and we would finally, officially become parents.

I remember as we sat in the room with the caseworker and her intern signing all of the paperwork I was shaking so badly she twice asked if I were going to be okay. It was amazing that I wasn't hyperventilating. (Actually I kind of was, but oh well.)

I remember agonizing over what we might say when Gideon finally arrived with his birth family. I remember sitting behind that closed door of the caseworker's office and hearing them arrive. I heard his cries mixed with hers as they were ushered to a room past us down the hall.

And then we were led in to meet them. There were so many of them. So many people there who loved that baby so much. My heart started breaking the moment we entered the room and I saw her tear-streaked face. She sat on a couch in between her parents, clutching him tightly while he drank a bottle. Her sister and brother-in-law sat in chairs at the end of the room, and an aunt she's very close to sat on the other side.

I had to start blinking back the tears immediately. We talked quietly for a few moments. Mostly with her parents. (She wasn't up to talking.) They told us about his habits, his milestones, things we should be aware of. They told us how wonderful it had been to have this time to spend with him. They gave us bags upon bags of clothes, blankets and other gifts that he'd been given in the days they had him.

I began crying in earnest as they started talking about some the things they hoped and dreamed for him. His birth mother talked about how important it was to her that he be raised in a home with a mother and father who were in a loving and stable relationship.

We visited for about an hour. Nearly everyone getting emotional at one point or another. We gave her a gift. A lap quilt I'd made months before and a CD of songs that were uplifting and hopeful. It seemed so paltry and ridiculous next to what she was giving to us. And then the caseworker (who moved things right along because she had a family dinner to get to) turned to her and asked, "Are you ready."

She shook her head no and kissed him a couple of times before standing up and walking over to me. I didn't think I'd ever stop crying as she placed him in my arms and ran back to her mother. Then his birth grandparents came over and each gave him a kiss.

And then they left. The caseworker and her intern walked them out and for the first time ever, we were left alone with this tiny little baby. OUR tiny little baby. The minute everyone was out of sight, Travis took him away from me (and we haven't stopped fighting over him ever since.)

There were so many people waiting for us at home. Waiting to hold him and kiss him and welcome him into our family that we didn't really get to hold him ourselves for about an hour.

I didn't sleep at all that first night we had him home. I was so nervous and emotionally overwrought sleep was out of the question. Especially when every coo and sigh sent me running for the bassinette. But somehow I didn't care. I finally had my boy at home with me. And that was all that mattered.

Here we are a year later. And it's odd to think that there was ever a time when we didn't have him. And yet I can so easily access that memory and those moments that were so bittersweet, that my heart was breaking even as it was experiencing the greatest joy I've ever known.

Playing with Lola the bunny

Such a great big boy!


Angela said...

Wow. What a beautiful picture of that day. His mom is beautiful and strong and I'm so grateful for the struggles she went through that bought she and your family together. I'm sure the last two years haven't been easy for her but I hope she feels the love we all feel towards her for the gift she gave you.

Juli said...

Wow, that's amazing. So many emotions. What a special little boy, he is definately loved.

Hillary and Jake said...
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Jessica said...

Cali you have such a way with words. Somehow I did manage to hold back the tears while reading, but it was quite difficult!
It is so weird how shockingly fast babies grow up yet hard to remember your life without them.
Gideon is such a cutie and it's quite obvious that he is blessed to have you and Travis as parents.
Do you still want to get together this week?

The Clegg Family said...

You made me cry. Can't wait to see the two of you.

Ron and Jessica said...

Love this post. Love it!