Growth Spurts: Not the First, But the First of Many More
My adopted sons have been with us for about three months now, and they have been adjusting beautifully. There have been lots of firsts–first time for us to see each other face to face, first meal together as a family, first plane ride, first night in their new bedroom, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas in our home, first day at an American school, and even their first snowman! Well, iceman, really.
It would be easy for me to dwell on all the firsts I have missed in Carlos’ and Brandon’s lives. Quite a lot, actually, since they are now 13 and 10 years old. I don’t know how old they were when they took their first steps or spoke their first sentences. I don’t know who taught them how to ride a bike or tie their shoes. I also don’t know if they were fussy babies or giggly ones. I don’t know where their names came from or whose personalities they take after. And I have no idea what they even looked like as babies and young boys. We only have one picture of each of them that was taken prior to two years ago; Brandon was around age four, and Carlos was around age seven in those pictures. Very basic pictures that were taken for their ID cards.
As much as I would love to have experienced all of those moments with them as they were growing up, I know that this is not the journey that we are on. We don’t get to know everything about the first decade of their lives. We may get to know more about it as time goes on, but that is not a certainty.
Mourning and coping with significant losses are an inevitable part of the adoption process, no matter how young the adopted child is. While it is vital to help these children navigate through these issues, it is equally vital to help them continue to move forward–to create a new home with new memories and a bright future. It is not helpful to dwell in the past. Remember it? Face it? Deal with it? Yes. But don’t live there. (Hmmm…Maybe that’s a good rule of thumb for all of us?)
I may not have been there for the initial decade of firsts with Carlos and Brandon, but I am looking forward to many, many more firsts to come in their future.And our family intends to celebrate together!
Parents, don’t miss all those little firsts and big milestones that your children experience. Celebrate them and remember them and talk about them over and over with your kids. Don’t take them for granted.
Carrie Bevell Partridge is looking forward to her sons’ first trip to the beach! And so are they.