One year ago today, we met for the very first time. There was so much anticipation as I stepped off the plane. The anticipation quickly turned to chaos as I tried to navigate the Kinshasa airport and got into the taxi that broke down several times on the way to our guest house. I sat in that taxi- just trying to breath in Africa and Congo and soak up memories like Frederick the mouse does when he soaks up colors for the winter. I wanted to etch those images of your beautiful birth country onto my heart and mind so that I could tell you about how beautiful the people of your homeland are and how giving and resilient and loving they are. I wanted to soak up the sounds and the smells so that I could share that piece of your history with you as you grew. As I was basking in it, all of a sudden we pulled up to the guest house and there you were- in all your tiny, sad, scared glory. You were just a precious little peanut! I remember thinking that you were so much smaller than I ever could have imagined. I wondered for a minute if they had the wrong baby. But then I saw your sweet, sleepy eyes and I knew you were the same little boy whose picture I'd stared at for months. The memory of you that sticks out the most in my mind from that first day we met is when I stripped you down naked to inspect you and you just stood there in the middle of the floor, scratching your butt like your life depended on it. At the time, I couldn't stop laughing, but now that I know you- that move is soooo classic Miles!
Our week together in Congo was one of the most memorable times of my life. It solidified for me the reason that we chose Congo for our adoption in the first place. Yes, the need is great, but darling, Congo is amazing. Miles, if ever you remember anything that I ever tell you about Congo, remember this: never ever will you meet stronger people than in DRC- especially the women. Their quiet strength is breathtaking. I see that strength in you, dear. You are a survivor.
Then we landed in America after that never ending flight across the ocean and our adventure in becoming a family began. You met your daddy and siblings and for several months we seemed to be on a smooth journey. Our honeymoon came to an end about two months into this adventure. Miles- you just did what you felt you had to do. You weren't sure how to handle the permanence, or the love and the attention and you rebelled against it. And it's okay. I get it. I understand it. It wasn't easy on you or any of us, but we kept putting one foot in front of the other. We kept trying, we kept loving. And for the most part, you've fallen into it. You are beginning to embrace it. It is always two steps forward and one step back, but the progression is positive and I give you and A for effort :-) The struggle makes you who you are. It's made me who I am. It's molded and changed and stretched our family in ways that we never thought possible, but also in ways that allowed for growth. Growth is good even though sometimes growth hurts.
We've done a lot of fun things over the last year. We went on a couple of vacations. You were built to travel! We've been to several churches and lots of places to speak and you always put on a show! You love to play outside (as long as the dog is not around and it's at least 75 degrees) and you can run around and keep up with the big kids just like you were twice your age. You watched your brother start preschool and your sister start first grade. You wait by the window for the bus to come around every afternoon. You also wait by the door for daddy to come home from work. As soon as you see his car pull up you work yourself up into a frenzy just waiting for him to open the door. You make sure that no one leaves this house without lots of hugs. You bring so much action and life into this house (read- you are NEVER still!) You love to eat, but you are starting to get picky about what you like and don't like. You take after your mama wanting to eat sweet stuff for breakfast. Yummo-brownies before 7am! You enjoy music and television. For a long time I thought your need to be the center of attention was attachment related. But darling, I am learning that it is just your nature to be an entertainer! Move over Bill Cosby and Will Farrel- Miles Terry is hot on your heels.
You are ridiculously smart. You are a master at anything electronic. You only need to be shown how to do something once and you've got it figured out. You are fiercely independent like most toddlers your age. There really isn't much you can't do. Sometimes I wonder if you've got webs that shoot out of your hands because you have the ability to climb things that defy gravity. Your tiny stature makes you endearing. People are always smiling at you and saying, "He's so cute and little!" You eat up compliments like a fat kid and cake. And you get lots of compliments because you are just so darn magnetic! There is just something about you that draws people in.
Miles, you are such a blessing to our family. You've taught me more about being a mother than all the others combined. Most importantly, you remind me that LOVE is a VERB. You remind me that love must be shown over and over again- that it is something that takes work. And oh baby- have you made me work for it! But sweetheart, it has only made loving you and having that love returned that much sweeter. Happy adoption day! We are so lucky you are here!
I love you to the moon and back,