A few weeks ago we began to feel it. You know, that overwhelming sense of love. The kind of love that you just can’t help, that doesn’t hinge on experiences or success, but is just there. The kind of love that doesn’t have to be chosen but comes naturally. I believe strongly that to love someone, you have to choose to. Not that there aren’t times when love comes gushing in a way you wouldn’t expect, but when that doesn’t happen, choosing to love can be as strong a bond as the love that gushes. When we decide to love someone, whether that is through marriage, adoption or friendship, there are times when the love is a choice, and there are times when it comes naturally.
When we first saw the pictures of our son, love came gushing. There was something in all of the expectation that allowed us to love him at first sight. We stepped on the plane and our expectations were high. The love that we had was finally able to connect with the baby boy that we were so excited to meet.
It is a strange feeling meeting your son for the first time at six months old. Not a bad feeling, just a strange one, one that neither of us had experienced before. We didn’t know what made him happy, what made him upset, how he liked to be tickled, what types of toys were his favorite, what each cry meant…. This made him unfamiliar to us. He had a great personality from the beginning, so lovable, sweet and adorable. I had a hard time understanding why love wasn’t coming naturally. So we chose it and held on to the knowledge that it just takes time. My acts of love toward Johnny remained the same. I held, cuddled, kissed and whispered sweet things in his ear. Every once in a while I would feel the urge to run over, sweep him up and give him a kiss, feeling that uncontrollable love for him for an instant. Then I would go back to choosing to love, holding on to these fleeting moments.
These first months home were really hard. It may have been going from one to two children. It may have been having a 6 month old baby boy in our home that we did not yet know. It may have been the lack of sleep. It was probably a little of each. Each week John and I would check in with each other. Does it feel natural for you yet? No, but seems to be getting closer….maybe. Do we feel like a family of four yet? No, but each day seems a bit more “normal” than the last.
And then it just happened. That overwhelming feeling of love just started to show up on a regular basis. That feeling that our family would be incomplete without our sweet and joyful son was there. It wasn’t there because we chose for it to be, it was there because it was just there. We know that there will be ups and downs but are so glad to be over this first hurdle.
I am so glad that I am part of the blog world. Reading other families journeys is what has allowed me to sit back and wait. Not that I didn’t have some panic days. The days that were really hard. The days that the lack of sleep and the strange feeling were overwhelming. But on these hard days I had other families to look to for support. Some right in the middle of it, some having come out on the other side singing the praises of an attached and wonderful adoption, and some just at the beginning of their journey reminding me how excited we were and how sure we were that this was what God had for our family.
Tomorrow we will hit the three month mark. It has been three months since Johnny arrived home, met his sister and became part of our family. His personality and love for us has blossomed as quickly as our love for him. We are so thankful he is a Pell. He is ours and we are his.
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