Monday, January 07, 2008

365 Days, or Now I Have You

Right now, as I type this, it is about 7:40 PM Eastern Time in the US on January 7th. But, in Vietnam, it's about 7:40 AM on January 8th.

Which is roughly the time that, one year ago, we left our hotel to travel to Lana's orphanage for the last time.

Lana left the orphanage with us, and two other families, in a taxi a few hours later. She had never been in a car before. At times it is hard for me to wrap my head around the enormous changes this little girl has been through in the last 365 days. She had never been in a car before.

She had never been outside the province of DaNang before. She had never seen snow. The list is endless...

If you've been reading our story for a while, you know this. If you haven't been reading...well, I blogged the whole thing here:

and here

As I type this, Lana is sitting in the big bathtub in my bathroom, tormenting her brother with a fish-shaped water pistol.

A year ago, as I concentrated on getting through each second without flying apart into a gazillion pieces of emotional wreckage, I don't think I allowed myself to believe that such normalcy was attainable.

I'm not going to lie and say that every day of our lives is an exercise in normalcy. (And I'm not sure that I would want to be living that kind of life.)

I strive for honesty here in this bloggy place.

The truth is, this has not been an easy year.

The truth is, this year has been more difficult than I imagined it would be on the day that Lana became our daughter.

The truth is that Lana crawled into my lap two days ago, played with the buttons on my shirt, and matter of factly said, "I used to have a different mommy. You used to be not my mommy. I had another mommy. Now I have you. I love you, mommy. I love two mommies." (I am NOT paraphrasing. That is, word for word, what she said to me.)

The truth is that is I was so stunned by her statement that instead of forming a response, I blinked and I just said, "I love you, too, Lana."

The truth is that while watching her adoption video with me on New Year's Day, she pointed to the footage of the orphanage and said, "I was scared. I was scared in that place, Mommy. Scared." And my heart broke for her.

The truth is that she was up half the night after watching that video, screaming in her sleep, "I don't want to go, I don't want to go, I don't want to go."

I don't think you have to be Freud to draw some pretty hefty conclusions about that.

At the end of the day, at the end of a year, the truth is that I love this child. I didn't fall in love with her right away. I fell in love with her in bits and pieces. When I think about what our journey to this child means to me, and the family of four that we have become with her in it, there are two verses of a song that run through my head. And begging the pardon of the person or persons who wrote it, because I don't pretend to know what they were writing about, (and it is most certainly about a woman, because, come on, isn't that what all the best songs are about?) - the song is Pat Green's Wave On Wave - and to me the words sum up the way Lana brought us to find her, and then made us love her - wave on wave, piece by piece, over and over. The words go like this:

So caught up now in pretending
That what we're seeking is the truth
I'm just looking for a happy ending
All I'm looking for is you.

You came upon me, wave on wave.
You're the reason I'm still here.
Am I the one you were sent to save?
You came upon me, wave on wave.


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Anonymous Christina said...

Wow. I am just so touched by what Lana said - I think it's great the way she understands that she can love both (all?) of her mommies - and you help her to feel that this is okay and even good.

I know what you mean about that first year... ours was much harder than I expected too. But wow have you come so far in one year.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy Desserich said...

Thanks for sharing this story today and for being so honest in ALL of your posts - about the good, the bad, the ugly, the scary, the happy, the humbling, the blissful, and everything else.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:46:00 PM  
Blogger mam said...

I second Tracy's comment; your honesty is one of the best thing the internet has to offer me. I think about your banana-in-the-car post often when I've grow frustrated these past 6 months...your sometimes-insanity keeps me sometimes-sane. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

First congratulations on one whole year!

Second, thank you SO MUCH for your honesty. I remember soaking up everything you wrote last year as we were waiting on travel approval to pick up Sera. I appreciate your honesty and I'm so happy that things have worked out well for your family. We will hit 1 year in March and it has been a tough road for us as well. I can honestly say reading your blog helped me through the rough patches. THANK YOU! And thanks also for the many laughs along the way...I just love your writing style. :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:18:00 PM  
Blogger Irshlas said...

I ditto the thank yous from everyone. I can't believe she's been with you a year. I've been reading for that long as well. I truly can't believe it's been that long! From the mouths of babes, as the cliche goes..... it's so obvious how much Lana is loved and how much she loves you guys. Best wishes!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:47:00 PM  
Blogger thecurryseven said...

Congrutulations! Has it really been a year? I think it's probably a good thing that we can't see exactly how hard something is going to be. It we did we might decide it's not worth it and then you wouldn't have Lana and I wouldn't have TM. I've loved seeing the pictures of Lana; she's beautiful...and so emotionally intelligent. (TM just told his brother the other day that he never knew how to speak VN. I hope it's just a boy-thing and not some bizare represion-thing that will mean years of therapy when he's an adult. :-) )

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Congrats on your one year! As everyone else said, you honesty is invaluable to PAPs of older children. It is so important to have realistic ideas of what are possiblities with adopting an older child. You are great! I think the song fits perfectly for your story.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

Well, I have just spent the last hour going all the way back in time through your blog and of course ended up at June 3, 2006. I could just cry a river of tears reading those pivotal posts. Something just made you "know" that Lana was your daughter

I know things were difficult for you because of Lana's age but glad for you that it is all coming together for you now. I find great joy in seeing the pictures of Lana growing and becoming more attached to you.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger MaisyJoinsThePack said...

Well I'm boo-hooing. ;-) Thanks for that post. I'm sure I'll be coming back to it in the months after we get the girls.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008 1:42:00 PM  
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