I cannot imagine our family without this little boy and his big grin, deep laugh, and mischevious eyes. The wait to bring him home seemed so long, and now our time with him feels like it is already flying by.
We are all settling in nicely as a family, every week I can see signs that Tope feels more comfortable with us and we are understanding this whole family of four thing better too. Some signs things are going well - while playing, if I'm nearby he will lean against me with his back or even his knee, just so we touch. Caleb and Tope are playing together more, hugging more, laughing more together. He jumps into his Daddy's arms when Jon comes home from work and has pure joy radiating from his face while giving a big hug. The dog now wags her tail and smiles, instead of looking worried that a new little boy is trying to love on her. All these signs make my heart melt and remind me to sing praises to God for the biggest blessing he has given us.
Some signs that we are all settling in aren't as much fun. We are honest about adoption, not everything is sunshine and roses. Like all children, there are "growing pains" and hurtles to cross at every stage of growth, and it is no different with Christopher, even if he has only been home for a couple months. But we see these signs as a good thing as well (even if they are a little more wearing by the end of the day). Some of these good, but not so exciting signs include more whining and a consistent "no". We have been dealing with a temper tantrum about everyother day, typically after he has been in the wrong though and doesn't want to fix it, such as hitting his brother because he was upset; although tonight we actually had our first big melt down which we are pretty sure occured just because he seemed extra tired tonight. All of the tantrums have included a lot of time, a lot of hugs, and we're sure a lot of miscommunications. The hardest part of international adoption for us is not knowing how much he really understands. We know he can comprehend a lot of what we are saying, but it is just so hard to know what all he truly grasps when trying to do some form of safety or discipline. It will all get there though, and although things potentially could get worse before they get better, it's all good.
We are learning more and more this child has a LOT of energy! It has been a blessing that the weather is finally starting to have some nice moments so we can burn a little energy with bike rides and running on the playground. He does not like to be in one place for too long, so some of our adventures out of the house have lately become interesting, like when he tries to take off out the store door while I'm paying at the counter - oy. But he is testing the waters and seeing what he can do and when he can do it - and he (at least so far) always keeps me in his site - he knows his Mommy and wants to make sure I'm still there - this is a very good thing.
The best part since our first month report is the people in our lives being so incredibly gracious to our family. In the last month both of our parents have visited (click here to read more about their visits) and we have started going to church in the last couple weeks. Tope has been welcomed with complete arms wide open from both our immediate family and our church family, and that my friends, feels completely awesome. At this time I am struck with silence almost, not knowing what to say, because I feel such emotion knowing that our family is so loved. It is one of the most incredible feelings I have known. We have had the opportunity to see God's love, face to face, on a daily basis, because of all of these wonderful people in our lives. Wow. We are so blessed.
I'm amazed by the people that are so excited for our family. Today at church we were given the brightest smiles by old and young alike. I was sent a message later in the day that the 6th grade boys were jealous because one of them got to catch a glimpse of Tope a week ago, but today they finally all got to see him which made them very excited, and they can't wait to play and spend time with him. We know these boys, but I would have never expected a reaction like this - it's so neat to see how this adoption is affecting the people around us. A woman leaned over as we walked the aisle after communion and said our family was absolutely beautiful. I cried tears of joy and thanks. Our close friend that is the boy's age has now met Tope a couple times and when he realized Tope was there he RACED to go see him and give him a hug. The friendships are already starting.
Did I mention Adoption is Awesome? :)
I know it isn't for everyone. I know that we have both good and bad days behind us and ahead. I know that we have been blessed multiple times over. I know that without a doubt, God has shown us a love that is uncomprehendable but feels so, so good.
Thank you to all our friends and family that are loving us with arms wide open. And more importantly, thank you for taking this journey with us, we appreciate it more than words can explain.