This weekend was the one year anniversary of Tyler moving in. In some ways it is hard to believe a year has passed but in other ways I can’t believe it has only been a year..it feels like he has always been a part of our lives. Last year when I decided to start blogging our journey he had been with us a month already so I thought I’d share with you his first week with us.
Tyler officially moved in on Sept. 7, 2012. His move-in day came after a series of visits. We began with a one hour “get to know you” visit with Tyler and Jay, our adoption placement social worker. The first time Tyler stepped out of the car I was standing across the lawn and I remember thinking how cute his was and how little. His first visit was a quiet one. We took him on a tour of the house, showed him the secret tunnel, the playroom, and the animals outside. You could tell he was nervous. He wouldn’t look us in the eye. He wanted to be outside playing with the animals or watering my garden.
The next time Tyler visited with Jay we drove to a local park so the kids could play. Tyler kept asking Toby to lift him up to the monkey bars. After playing for an hour we drove home so that the kids could “slip and slide” for a little bit before Tyler had to leave for home. During that two-hour visit we could see him becoming more comfortable with us.
Visit #3 was also a two-hour visit with Jay. For this visit we had a special surprise waiting for him when he arrived..a bike just his size. A friend passed onto us a bike that had been her son’s bike so when Tyler arrived he was thrilled to find a bike just his size. He spent the entire visit biking up and down the driveway. All was well until he slid on some gravel and face planted on a large rock. He stood up crying and bleeding and all I could think was, “Thank goodness Jay was here to witness that!” It wouldn’t have been good to send Tyler home with a bloody forehead and an “alibi.” After Tyler left to go home Toby and I went out shopping for a booster seat for the car and a bike helmet. 🙂
After three supervised visits we were finally given permission by the judge to have a weekend visit. We were all excited to get Tyler on our own without a social worker watching us. Tyler was dropped off by a driver after school on Friday and we had a party planned for his birthday. He had turned 6 a few days before so Gracie made him a cake and we bought him a scooter and a playdoh. The scooter was the big hit and he spent the rest of the evening scooting around the house.
Our weekend visit was filled with many fun activities. We took Tyler to Living Treasures Animal Park to feed and pet the animals. We went swimming at Moraine Lake..this was partly to evaluate his swimming skills before we left the next week on our houseboat vacation (more on that later), and playing at the park. It was a wonderful chance to get to know Tyler a bit more personally without the added pressure of being evaluated my a social worker. When the driver came to pick up Tyler on Sunday it was so hard to say goodbye. I felt our life together had begun and I didn’t want him to leave again. We all stood on the porch and waved goodbye as he headed back to his foster family and then the impact of Tyler’s high energy level and the emotions of the weekend hit all of us. Everyone headed for their separate bedrooms and laid down for a much-needed nap. 🙂
That week we received the confirmation call that we had been approved for placement. We were told he would arrive on Friday and sure enough at 3:00 Friday afternoon our new son was delivered. Tyler showed up at our home with all his earthly possessions: 2 garbage bags of clothing, 2 book bags full of toys and $20.00 in a piggy bank. The kids took Tyler outside to play while I sat down with Jay to sign the paperwork needed to gain guardianship over Tyler. I was then handed his medical card and a copy of his birth certificate and Jay left. We helped Tyler carry his things into his room and put them away..toys in the toybox, clothes in the drawer, Little Ducky and Blankie on the bed. It was official…this was now his home, he was ours.
I remember the intensity of emotions felt that day. I was so full of joy that we had received a son. The adoption process often consists of years of waiting for a placement so we were overwhelmed and grateful for how quickly God brought Tyler into our lives. I was humbled..humbled by the responsibility that had been placed upon our shoulders. When Jay began to drive away I felt a lot like I did as we left the hospital with Grace, shocked that they would trust us to leave unsupervised with a newborn and certain that at any moment they would come to their senses and take her back. 🙂 I also felt fear. Fear was a big part of this adoption journey, I’m not going to lie. It is scary to open your doors to a child you don’t know. When people hear that you are contemplating adoption you will have many “well-meaning” people share horror stories of “a friend of a friend they know” who was set on fire in their bed by an adopted child. You worry about disrupting the calm and order of the life you know. You are fearful of the baggage these kids might come with and whether you have the skills, talents and patience to handle it. You worry about the negative consequences it could have on the lives of your biological children. You know that loving friends and family are whispering words of concern behind your back and some are convinced that you have lost your mind. We, as a family, took a huge leap of faith when God called us to open our home to an orphan but as Max Lucado has said:
“Great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation. It wasn’t logic that caused Moses to lift his staff on the bank of the Red Sea. It wasn’t medical research that caused Naaman to dip seven times in the river. And it wasn’t a confident committee that prayed in a small room in Jerusalem for Peter’s release from prison. It was a fearful, desperate band of backed-into-a-corner believers. It was a church with no options. And they were never stronger. At the beginning of every act of faith there is a seed of fear.”
Stay tuned for “One Year Anniversary Part 2” …our adventures in houseboating! 🙂