August 2nd is coming up and it marks the second anniversary of our Family Day. In some adoption circles it’s called “Gotcha Day,” but we refer to it as Family Day because it was the day we became a family. I’ve also heard someone call it a “familyversary” which I think is brilliant. I get reflective around our Family Day since it was the day that changed my husband’s and my life forever. I will be eternally grateful we had the means, eligibility and ability to adopt. It was through adoption we had our miracle. Without the mechanism of adoption, there would be countless families that never would have come into being.
It’s amazing how time has flown by as quickly as it has. The older you get, the quicker it goes, while growing up, time couldn’t go by fast enough. I can’t believe it’s already been 2 years. 2 years since we brought The Littlest E home with us from Ethiopia and 2 years since we became parents. He recently turned 3 and it’s been the most amazing, awesome, and profound experience watching our little guy grow up. When we brought him home with us, he was just shy of 19 lbs, and now has doubled in weight and grown over 9 inches. His development has been phenomenal (at least to me; I’m his proud Mommy). He’s gone from infant to toddler to little boy, walking, talking, and expressing himself. He’s such his own person.
We’ve grown as a family too. There was some awkwardness that first year, a bit of stumbling along doing the best we could do. It was a massive adjustment, especially for me going from working to staying at home. I also felt in some ways we inadvertently drew attention to ourselves when we went out because we were a conspicuous family and a new family all at the same time.
We’re still conspicuous that will never change, but we’ve gotten used to that dimension of our lives. We’re beyond used to each other as a family unit; it’s not new anymore. We just are. I’m Mommy, Tom’s Daddy and The Littlest E is our son. It’s a wonderful thing. I love it when he calls out to either of us. Those were words we both longed to hear and thought we never would. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure I’m not dreaming and remember there’s no other shoe that’s going to drop.
The older The Littlest E gets, the more prominence this day may hold. The social worker, who did our home study, and her husband and adopted daughter make a full day of their Family Day. For this year, our son will go to school as usual. We’ll probably go out to dinner or make a special meal. We often show him pictures of our trip to pick him up and how he came to us. On our Family Day, we’ll make a point of sharing his story with him. It’s important for his identity.
Our son’s preschool class is studying Ethiopia. Tom and I went several days last week to his class to teach the kids about The Littlest E’s birth country. We read a children’s book which took place in Ethiopia, danced to Ethiopian music, and the kids enjoyed a mini coffee ceremony, which is a traditional ceremony Ethiopians have to show hospitality and respect. In a way, that week was a precursor to our Family Day celebration. Whatever we do, whether it’s grand or quiet, the only thing that truly matters is we celebrate The Littlest E and that we are a family.
Soon, we will be going to African Cradle, an Ethiopian heritage camp for families who’ve adopted from Ethiopia. It’ll be our first year attending and we can’t wait. We’re excited to spend a weekend with 50 to 60 other adoptive families, learn more about Ethiopian culture and food and have The Littlest E take part in activities with other children. It’s the icing on the cake since it falls so close to our Family Day and I’ll be writing about it in an upcoming blog.
While we were waiting to be parents, I didn’t believe my friends who said, the right child will come to you at the right time and once you hold your child in your arms, all of your pain and sadness will go away. I can state with certainty, this happened to me the minute I held my son in my arms. I truly believe The Littlest E was meant to be our son and can’t imagine any other outcome. To all the waiting parents and families no matter where you are on your adoption journey, your Family Day will come. Keep the faith, keep the hope and know it will happen.
Images: Melanie Elliott