Saturday, May 27, 2017

Levi's First Year

A year ago today, we received texts and phone calls that Levi's birth mother was in labor. (Of course, we were outside with family and I didn't have my phone in hand.) Once I saw my phone, we frantically commenced the packing and flight booking. As no flights were available, we opted for the first plane out in the morning. The 3 kids were already taken care of and set, thanks to incredible family. We just had to somehow fall asleep, knowing that in only a few hours, we'd be on a plane headed to meet our son and his birth mother. Sleep was hard to attain.

The morning was early, but we eagerly drove to the airport. When we arrived, I remember excitement fill my soul. We had been waiting for so long, or so it felt, and finally the time had come. We hadn't been matched with this birth mother for very long, and even during the weeks leading up to it (which was all the time we knew about it), I was cautious not to get too attached to the idea of this little boy and his birth mother. Certainly we'd had failed placements before....but we had never arrived at the hospital to be sent home after a birth mother's change of heart. That's an experience I know many have had, and one that I'd rather not experience myself.

When we arrived at the hospital, we waited. J wasn't ready to meet us, but I felt peace. I felt this confirmation in my heart that this boy was chosen for our family...that we were chosen for him...and his first mom just needed time. That peace and confidence was all I needed and we waited some more.

And then...

My heart melted when we met this angel boy. Soon after, J was ready to meet me officially. When I walked into the room, she exuded this beautiful spirit that just pulled me in. When I think about meeting her for the first time, I remember her smile and her warm, inviting hug. She was so outgoing and kind. We talked for a short time and she told me that after meeting me, she felt even more peace, that this was right. That we were the right parents for her son.

The 2 days in the hospital went by too quickly. I was ready to leave the hospital with Levi, but I wasn't ready to leave J. I wanted to know her more. I wanted her to know us more. I wanted...more. But every adoption situation is different...something I personally understand. But I cried as we said our final goodbye and she walked out the door with the caseworker. I just didn't want to stop hugging her.

When I look at Levi now...oh  my goodness he's 1...I see her. I see his first mother, the one who carried him, nurtured him, and sacrificed all she had for him. I see her personality, or at least the glimpses that I was lucky enough to see. Levi is one of the happiest kids I know! He's just - happy. Among our kids, personality wise he's most like Sammy. He laughs easily, smiles easily, and is just happy to be around people.

And yet, he's content to be on his own too. He plays on his own, explores, and does it all on his own schedule and time table. He didn't crawl until he was just over 10 months, and then about a week later he was standing on his own and taking steps. He walked independently about 2 weeks later. Eating? He wasn't interested in food at much so that his Grammy was nervous he may have a sensory problem. But now I can't keep enough food down him. He'll put nearly anything in his mouth that has calories! He loves everyone around him. Sure, he's suspicious of "strangers" and may take time to warm up now that he's older, but he'll usually smile for anyone. I truly believe one of his gifts is bringing joy to others. He heals hearts.

I remember one day, Micah wasn't so nice to Callie. He had just come home from camping with his birth family and Callie was so excited to see him. She ran outside to greet him and give him a hug...and he didn't reciprocate. In fact, he was a down right nasty little brother. Callie went inside and cried. I witnessed it and went inside to comfort her. It's hard for her to not have contact with her birth family, plus Micah just wasn't nice and sorta rubbed in it. As I talked to Callie, she asked, "Can I just hold Levi?" I handed Levi over (he was maybe 2 months old), and she just held him for about 10 minutes or so. After, she came out, her heart healed by this little bundle of joy. It's one of my best memories of both Callie and Levi.

I find that, especially as life has been happening and there have been several unexpected twists, turns, and inconvenient potholes -- I hold Levi in my arms a little longer. He feeds my soul a dose of heavenly love and comfort. As he lays his head on my shoulder and wraps his left arm around my neck, he reminds me that things may not be perfect or how I planned, but they are pretty amazing. I don't need to know or understand the why of all things, but I can feel the joy from most things. And that Levi is joy personified.

I can't imagine our lives without him. I used to dream about a little boy who was about 5 or 6 years old. It was a recurring dream, nothing too interesting happened other than this boy kept appearing and I knew he was my son. I'm not sure I can say that Levi is the boy of those dreams...but he is the boy of my heart.

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