Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life in the Hanson household

When I was pregnant with Robby, people told me "Once he's here, you'll wonder that he wasn't here all along."  And I found, when holding my beautiful, perfect newborn, that as amazing and strange as that sounded at the time, it was true!  It seemed unbelievable that Robby had ever not been with us.  A part of our family, integral to our lives.  The very same happened when Ella came home.  Our beautiful girl changed the dynamics of life (and the power balance), drastically, but life before her?  What was that?

And Friends, I feel so blessed that the very same can be said of our newest addition to our family.  Be it a honeymoon period or a time of grace or simply our new life as we know it, life with our Congo princess could not be easier.  

These past couple of months have definitely been filled with new things, for us as well as Mbo.  There have been dental cleanings, cavity fillings, doctor appointments, blood draws, fecal samples, immunizations, parasites, language barriers, lost teeth, shared rooms, new schools, changed routines, family additions, social security applications, green cards, re-adoption paperwork, tax questions, workout routines... and on and on and on.  

But through it all, Mbo has reacted with grace and resilience, far more than I'd expect from a 5 year old.  She LOVES her brother and sister, but she's learned to stand up for herself.  When she gets home from school, she flies into my arms with a grin, and she can't wait to tell me all about her day.  While she is growing amazingly fast in her English skills, she sometimes struggles to find the words to fit a situation.  But once things are figured out, she laughs and laughs at the misunderstandings, willing to see the humor in the mistakes.  I sometimes wonder, how did I get so blessed, to be this little girl's mama?  

It seems amazing to me that just over a year ago, I was hesitating to accept the referral of an "older" child.  I grieved a little that I'd never again experience being a mama to an infant or toddler. I worried about what kinds of behaviors we might be bringing into our home.  I ached for the precious years I'd never regain with my child, those early moments.  And while all of those emotions are perfectly valid, perhaps even sensible, my heart breaks to think that I might have missed out on this amazing girl, my wonderful daughter.  

For any of you considering older child adoption, let me leave you with this:  for nine months, we got solemn, somber, sad pictures of a little girl across the world.  She didn't smile.  She didn't look at the camera.  And that same little girl, within a month of being home?  Mbo's happy spirit shines through, every day.  

This is the difference that love makes!

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