One Big Happy Family Finally
I know everyone is wondering where the sappy homecoming post has been...well, here it is. It's taken me some time to fully comprehend my emotions and feelings, along with figuring out the elusive free time after having little one at home. :)
So exactly two weeks ago from this very moment (11:00 am Tokyo time on Monday, August 14), we were holding our baby girl for the very first time. A few have asked us what that moment felt like...I honestly cannot describe it. I'm sure for me it was much different than what most experience. My anxiety had me a ball of nerves. I was happy, terrified, sad, nervous, anxious, elated, worried, and the list goes on. I wish I could have focused solely on the good feelings, but those other feelings all crept inside and took hold of me throughout our week in Tokyo. Yes, we had an amazing time experiencing our little girl's birth country and bonding with her, but to be completely transparent, becoming a first time parent in a hotel room in a foreign country is so incredibly difficult. I have no words to even describe how hard it really is. We couldn't just run to the store and get baby stuff we may have realized too late that we needed. (Even though we did take a stab at a Babies R Us, which was quite an experience.) There was no way to have some alone time when feeling overwhelmed. We all got on each other's nerves while at the same time realizing the magnitude of this moment. Looking back on it now, it feels as if that week never really happened....it seems like a dream or something I read about in a book. We have been waiting for this moment for so long, and we tried to soak it all in, but those days were so long, yet flew by in the blink of an eye.
Oh, and to go along with the becoming first time parents being hard thing...becoming a parent anywhere is hard, so I have also learned not to judge anyone. There were things I swore I would never do as a parent that I have already done. Desperate times demand desperate measures. So my advice is to prepare as much as you can, then throw out all expectations, because your little one will determine exactly how you will parent.
As for those first moments in that hotel room, let me say this, she smiled at us almost immediately. She looked us right in the eyes and studied us and it was as if she knew exactly who we were. It seemed as if she had been waiting on us. I cannot describe it in any other way because there are no words to explain the level of awareness she had. It was all so surreal. We must also say we loved our hotel, Hotel Okura and the entire staff there. We loved the people at Baby Life; they are so kind and so, so helpful. The country is so beautiful and we are excited to take Everly back there when she is a little older.
Many people have asked us if we had the opportunity to meet Everly's birth mom. We did not. We wanted to meet her so badly, but it just did not work out for many reasons, some of which are not our story to share. She did leave us some of baby girl's first belongings. We have them put up in a secure box and will give them to Everly when she is a little older. She will always know how much her mother loved her and how brave and selfless her mother must have been.
Being home has been an adjustment. We are settling into our whole new normal. Vince and I are taking leave a few days a week alternating so that Everly has one of us home with her every day. She has met so many wonderful members of her family, friends of the family, and people who have just been praying for her all along our journey. She attended her first football game and loved her mommy's cheerleaders, and has met all her fur siblings. She thinks they are so funny, and they seem to like her as well. Jackie isn't too concerned, just a little curious. Sadie can't get enough of her and has become her little protector. The kitties are curious but keep their distance. Everly seems to be amazed by TVs and cell phones. She loves laughing and smiling, "talking" and playing with her little hands. She also enjoys eating and sleeping...thank goodness! She does have a set of lungs on her...I mean baby girl can wail with the best of them! She loves all people though and is so much fun.
These days have been amazing but also so hard for me. There have been so many people pass away over the last few months and years that I wish would have gotten the chance to meet Everly. She would have charmed them all just like she has charmed everyone else who has met her. Even though I know this is impossible, she seems to know Stormy too. The first thing she grabbed on me in that hotel room thousands of miles from home, was my Stormy necklace. She stared at it and smiled. She holds it almost every time I feed her. One time she grabbed it and "talked" to it and then giggled like she knew a joke nobody else seemed to even hear. When we got home that first night she stared at the painting of Stormy hanging in my living room. She pointed and cooed. She stares at it all the time. One day she will hear all about Stormy...she will know that he is her little guardian angel. She will learn to love thunderstorms just like her momma because like a friend I made along this adoption journey told me soon after Stormy passed away, that's just Storm barking from the sky. Who knows, maybe she does know him...my heart would like to believe that. She shares a part of his name, so maybe she shares a lot more with him as well.
We will continue to use this blog to keep our followers updated. This blog has been such a blessing to us and others. We have had a few people tell us how we have inspired them to join the program (which is hard to believe) and we have made so many amazing life-long friends. One day we must have a get-together with all of us and our little cherry blossoms. How truly special that would be. I've also started a book. It may never get published, heck it may never even get finished. And even if it does, I'm not sure anyone would want to read it, but it has been therapeutic in a way. Writing has always been my way of relieving stress. Now I just have to be more creative about finding time to write. :)
This journey has been so incredibly difficult for us...not just the adoption, but the entire year has been rough (so many illnesses and death of family members). People told us that there must be one specific child meant to be ours. We believed that, but we had also started losing hope. Adoption isn't easy, but we know without a doubt everything happened because this little girl was meant to be our daughter. Since we received our referral, the US side of the program has sped up drastically. It's so crazy how things work out. People have also asked if we would do it all again. Yes, yes we would. Would we do it for a second child? I don't know. I know my answer would most likely be yes, but will we? Who knows. I don't know what the future holds. Maybe we will have a biological child, or maybe we will adopt or foster from the US or Japan again, or maybe Everly will be our only baby. Right now we are just enjoying this time in our lives. As for the future, let's just see where life takes us.
Thank you all for following us and supporting us. This part of our journey has come to an end, but the next chapter is just beginning. Love to you all!