Oops, I meant to post this yesterday, but then I started having contractions, and I got a bit distracted....
2 years ago yesterday, my mom, Abigail, Anna and I landed in DC; Anna had been sick on the flight, and my mom and I had not slept at all. John met us at the airport, and on the way home Anna had her first taste of french fries and milkshakes. My sister flew in and arrived at my house shortly after we did. It was a surreal day.
And in the world of adoption milestones, that day will always be the day I consider our first "Family Day."
Of course, I had met Anna in Ethiopia 10 days earlier, but it was the milestone of having the four of us together- John, the girls, and I- that makes the 24th of September so special. At the time, John and I were dating- not even engaged yet- but when I look back, that is the day that our family finally felt right. Even though I had been worried it would be the day that our family turned terribly "wrong."
John and I were dating for less than a year before I started the adoption process; it was a hard time for him when I announced that I planned to adopt a child. There were a lot of things that made it difficult for him, one of which was the feeling that I was planning a future without him in it, and another of which was the feeling that adoption was simply not a fit for him. In my defense, I didn't realize that he was as committed to our relationship was he was at that point, and I didn't think we were at the point of planning a future together or making decisions together. In the end, we ended up breaking up for a while, with the adoption being one of the major issues that we couldn't resolve. Eventually, John decided that he wanted Abigail and I in his life, even if it meant also adding another child to the mix... although he was pretty convinced that he could never love that child the way he loved Abigail.
But when Anna came home, I knew. I mean, I knew all along that Anna was supposed to be in my life, but when Anna and John finally met, I knew that she was supposed to be in his life- and he in hers. As she started to come out of her shell and open up more, it became so blatantly obvious that Anna and John were 2 peas in a pod that even his extended family and friends commented on it. When John proposed to me less than 3 months after Anna came home, I knew it wasn't just that he wanted to marry me- he wanted to make us a true family and be Daddy to Abigail and Anna because he loved each of them in their own right, as well.
I am a month away from giving birth to the child that John and I have made. I look at our family, and I see how Abigail is my mini-me, and Anna is John's child in every way, shape, and form; I can't wait to see how the next one will turn out. The celebration of Anna joining our family is intricately linked to the joy of being married to John, because in a lot of ways, she could have been the reason we didn't end up together, but in the end, Anna was the piece of our family puzzle that sealed the deal on our love. And as we celebrate how lucky we are to have her in our lives, it seems so natural that we should be ready to start celebrating the newest addition to the family. Because that's what family is all about- growing and changing and becoming and being loved through it all.