In some ways I can hardly believe that Super T has been home for five months already, in other ways it seems like he has always been here. One thing is for sure, I don't know what we'd do without him. He is my awesome little dude. I mostly just want to brag about how far he has come, how comfortable he is in his new family now, and how thrilled we are with him, but first, I have to come clean with two confessions.
First of all, the LOVE...it came gradually for me. It wasn't until Super T had been home for about three months that I felt like I FULLY loved him as my son. Of course, even before I met him, I was in love with his picture, but a picture and a real little boy with real (and sometimes annoying) actions are two totally different things. The first month, I probably felt like I loved him about 50% of the time (usually when he was being cute, funny, or cuddly.) It was pretty tough to act loving when he would wake up super early in the morning or test my discipline or do some of the behaviors that I later figured out had to do with his sensory issues. Oddly enough some of the most irritating things were also the most heartbreaking, like rocking himself to sleep. Somehow, through time spent together and prayer, all the rest of the love crept right in. Now I can hardly imagine that I felt that way, but I know I did, and it was challenging. All the more reason to lean on God. Today I love Super T so deeply that I really don't think I could differentiate between my love for him and LOTL and Little Pud. In fact, the other night I was just so overwhelmed with love for the little guy...it was really amazing to think that he was a stranger just 5 months ago.
My second true confession involves my first impression of Super T on the list that the agency sent me. For the rest of the story see my note from Oct. 28 [published on this blog on June 26.] One thing I haven't told anyone is that, because my printer was running out of ink, I actually misread his description that night that I first felt drawn to the 8 1/2 year old boy with Down syndrome. There was just some very basic information and a very brief description. I thought the description said "can READ single words and phrases" but what it really said was "can REPEAT single words and phrases." My actual thought process was "Well, he is learning to read...Little Pud doesn't know how to read yet, so how bad can it be." I am ashamed to say that my initial impression was that he was very high functioning and that mattered to me (I was initially not open to Down syndrome as a special need.) By the next day, when I read the list on the computer and realized my mistake, I already KNEW he was the child for me. God had so strongly placed him in my heart that there was no turning back. The truth is Super T would not be classified as "high-functioning," but it doesn't matter to me any more. I have always placed WAY too much stock in intelligence and now I am finding out that it is NOT the most important thing. The joke is on me, though, because (BRAG ALERT) Tim is NOW reading...14 different individual words and a book I made for him with SENTENCES in it. He is a very quick learner and has just blossomed.
I could go on and on about how Super T has blossomed and the things he does now that he didn't before and how he memorizes scripture and how he has so much fun with LOTL and Little Pud and his fabulous sense of humor and all the signs he has learned and how he initiates so much communication, but I won't bore you any more. The one thought that really troubles me is the thought of so many orphans (with Down syndrome and without) in orphanages all over the world. If Super T, who was in a wonderful home with incredible house parents who truly loved him, in a first world country with great medical care, in a great school with teachers who doted on him, has grown and learned and blossomed so much in his own forever family; what might be the potential of these other children...many whom will be put in an asylum for life if they are not adopted by age four or five...many who will actually die because of lack of care. What about those children?
Adoption is hard. It can be much much MUCH harder than it has been in our family. But it is worth it. It is so worth it.
[It is interesting to re-read this almost exactly a year after it was written. Super T has now been home for a year and five months. He is amazing and such a source of joy in our lives.]