July 07, 2011

Lessons From The Second Year

This week marks the end of my second year of blogging.  450+ posts later, I can't believe that I am still doing this.  Aside from my husband, I've never stuck with anything this long.  At times, it's been a chore.  At times, it has been a release.  And at times, the community that it has rallied has made me feel so proud, I could pop. (Hello!  Y'all donated over $10,000 on this little blog this year to kids in Congo and moms in Haiti- AWESOMENESS!)  And at times, it has been such a pure joy to have this to look back on and see the fun and cute things that my  kids have done.  I always wonder what it would be like if I stumbled upon diaries of my mother's deepest thoughts.  Even though it isn't always pretty- here it is for my children to look back on and hopefully understand their mother in ways that can't be learned any other way.  In so many ways- this blog is my gift to my children.  I want them to know how deeply they are loved and how deeply they enrich my life and give me purpose.  I also want them to be grounded in the reality that things are sometimes tough and the only way to get through it is to put on your big girl panties and muscle it out and then laugh about it later.  So let's take a stroll through the last year, shall we?

We celebrated!  We honored Miles as he turned two, Noah as he turned 4 and Sadie as she turned 7 (that's the one where I told the world how K-mart made me pregnant.  I also turned the dirty thirty and had a moment of panic over it.  I later recovered, but oh boy, did I panic!  We also celebrated the end of a great year in first grade for our Sadie bug.  Miles celebrated a year of being in our family and becoming a US citizen.  And Noah- well, Noah just celebrated every single day over something.  He truly is such a happy kid!  That hunk of a man that I call my husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.

We adjusted.  And adjusted and adjusted some more.  Some of us adjusted better than others.  I hit rock bottom mid summer last year.  It was the worst case of post adoption depression ever! (In my mind at least)  But after lots of reflection and bonding (and meds) and help from a huge team of therapists our family got to a place where we could thrive!  We tried to share lots of the things that we were learning as an adoptive family in hopes of helping other families understand what we were up against.  We talked a lot about attachmentattachment therapy, trauma, husbands and adoption reluctance, domestic vs. international adoption and supporting adoptive families.  We spoke at churches and conferences all over the place and loved every minute of sharing our story and the way that God has knit us together.  One of our favorite things about this whole crazy scene that is our life is talking to other families and encouraging them on their journey to adopt.

We traveled.  We are frugal people, but my how we love to travel.  It is our one major splurge in life and I never ever regret that we take trips as a family.  My kids are awesome travelers and they become these darling little explorer versions of themselves when we go on vacations.  This year I went to New York.  All. Alone. And stayed in a blissful state of aloneness for three whole days.  It was awesome.  We also took the kiddos and Papaw Johnny to the beach.  Then hubby and I went on our first trip as a twosome since we got married.  We rekindled the romance in Hawaii.  It was a busy travel year- but those memories of our trips and the time that we spent with our kids in an unplugged intentional way is invaluable to me.

Then there are the MRG's. (Mom's Retreat Girls) I had this idea to get a whole bunch of women together from the internet for a weekend retreat.  I had no idea if anyone would show up or how the whole thing would go. The first annual mother's retreat decended on Cincinnati for a weekend last October and what happened was nothing short of magic.  Those girls mean the world to me.  We are there for each other- cracking jokes, giving support, lifting each other up and having insane amounts of fun when we get together.  I sure do love those women! 

We took family pictures... twice and I love the precious memories that we now have on film.

We advocated for the fatherless in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  For us, our adoption was so much more than becoming a family.  It was about fighting for the rights of the children that we left behind and for the mothers that have to make the impossible choice to give their children a chance at life.  I tried my hardest to make sense of what I saw in Africa even though I couldn't really wrap my brain around how I was supposed to live in a world where the disparaging difference between the haves and the have nots is so great.  We lit candles on the bridge in honor of our son's birthmother.  We grieved over the babies that we connected with in Congo.  We became outraged at the ongoing attrocities in Congo. We begged people to get involved.  And with your help, we raised an insane amount of money to help care for orphans.  We celebrated the beauty and the resilience of the Congolese people- truly, there has never been a more beautiful, loving group of people that the people we love on in the DRC.

I found that I talked way too much about myself.  I did a follow up to my hundred things about me with a Megan 201 of 50 more ridiculous facts about me.  There were times that I struggled as a mom and wondered whether or not I should go back to work. I rolled with the punches when I got called fat. I gave birth to the world's largest burp.  I talked about my endless trips to Target a whole lot and also talked about my hatred problems with the laundry. I tried hard to find whatever semblance of balance I could. I laid down the law for my kids and gave my boys a special set of rules.

I talked about some tough stuff like race (and race again) and gay marriage. It sometimes drew some really mean criticisms, but that is part of it.  It also means that we no longer allow anonymous commenting :-)  I've heard that's how you know that you've arrived- when you start getting haters.  I'll take meanness as a good sign!

And we had FUN!  Oh my, we have had so much fun this year.  We've watched these tiny humans grow and develop such awesome personalities.  They kept me laughing all the time.  Children are some times the very best therapy that life has to offer.  One of my children cussed like a sailor while the other one wore a button to school promoting "hooch" health.  Noah's observations about life kept us all entertained.  He also learned about his own royal anatomy.  We had a couple of issues with boogers.  We separated fact from fiction and answered some of life's most plaguing questions. We celebrated Christmas with our kid's own brand of funny and Miles made a Thanksgiving video that melted my heart.

This is the stretch of the year where our family actually became a family.  We loved on each other and found the joys in the little things.  We reveled in the time that we got to spend together.  We could look back on our progress and feel good about where we were going and where we are at this very moment.  All in all, I call it a challenging year- but the very best year of our lives so far.  Sometimes growth hurts- but growth is AWESOME!  And the best... is still to come!
My favorite picture from the second year of blogging- September 2010

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