Wednesday, June 1, 2011


It probably sounds a little crazy given how excited I am about the coming trip (though Darci, I know from our conversation the other day that you'll get this), but I'm grieving the pending change in our family.

Just over seven years ago, the best thing in my entire life happened to me:  Matthew was born.  He is my miracle.  My very own direct, clear, unequivocal answer to prayer.  He was then, and is to this day, my gift from God.  His very name is testimony to my belief about that; Matthew means 'gift of God.'  In the seven years since he was born, we have hardly been apart.  There have been a few weekends over the years when I've been out gallivanting; there are evenings out once in a while when he's with Geoff or with my parents; there are half days now and again when he's with my friend while I work...but that's pretty much it.  Because we h/school, Matthew and I spend our every day together, and most evenings as well, when we cuddle up and talk or read together while he tries to relax enough to sleep.  I know every nuance of that boy, and he can read me like an open book, too.

I remember learning, when I was about twenty-three weeks pregnant, that I was going to give birth to a child of the male persuasion.  I was shocked, to be honest, and asked the technician if she was sure...but there was no mistaking that little protrusion from between his was a boy...we were having a boy!  For some reason, I had totally expected that I was having a girl...primarily, I think, because I had a girl's name picked out (which shall now be given to my daughter).  I knew, of course, that it was genetically possible that I might bear a son, but for some reason, I believed that I was expecting a girl.  And then I found out that I was having a boy child, and I fell in love with boy in particular, but little boys in general.  I started to look at the colour blue in a new light (how had I never known before that there were so many shades of it?), started to love all of the stereotypical boyish kinds of things (lego, the sight of garbage collectors on that day of the week, tractors types, etc, etc), and oohed an aahed over every newborn baby boy that I saw, picturing in them the boy that I might have.  I made up a song about little boys and, after his birth, I sang it often to Matthew (he still loves if I sing it to him now).  In a turnabout that can be best attributed to becoming a mother for the first time, I decided that I wouldn't trade my boy for a million girls, and I could no longer even imagine having a daughter.  When I fell for this boy, I fell hard.  And it's a love affair that has never stopped for me.  I love this child with every fibre of my being.

And there is a good-sized part of me that doesn't want to give up what we have.  The closer we get to leaving for Ethiopia, the more part of me pushes against that coming reality.  It's kind of like that old saying 'here's your hat...what's your hurry?"

When I shared these sentiments with someone recently, it was pointed out to me that adding children to our family is exactly what I've wanted for a very long time.  My first reaction was 'duh.'  My next reaction was that she, too, had wanted her children and that didn't seem to stop her from having occasional issues with them.  Of course, I said neither of these things out loud.  But I was clear that I did know that bringing these two additional children into our lives was, in fact, something I have wanted for a long time.  I know...I've lived the roller coaster of it all.  Seth Asrat and Lizzie Senait are who I have longed for and dreamed about for a very long time.  I am so excited that they are joining our family.

But for a moment, for this short time remaining before they join our family, and as my eyes fill with tears, I want to just hold on to that little boy sleeping upstairs.  Hold on and never let go.  For it to be just him and me, suspended in perpetuity.  Because our lives are about to change radically, and his world is about to be rocked.  And I so don't want to wreck things for him...for us.  I'm terrified that we've done something horrible to him by bringing not one, but two, new family members into our lives.  Children who may, for a time, feel like the neighbours who never leave.  Children who are going to consume much of my time and energy from here on out, all of which will be taken directly from the tank that used to be accessed exclusively by Matthew.

I wish I could mark this time somehow, in the few days we have left together.  I don't know how to do that, but I wish I could.  I miss him already.  I miss us already.


  1. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel about adding a new addition to the family (even those of us bringing a new bio kid into the picture). One really wants this new child/ren , but at the same time you mourn what you had before. Totally understandable.

    However, I truly believe that while it will be hard for a while, Matthew's life will be enriched in so many ways. In a year or so (or maybe even less if you're lucky) you will have a "new normal" and you will strain to even remember your life before 3 kids.

    Congratulations and all the best.

  2. Ruth, I think it is so important you are acknowledging this new change about to happen.

    While it is a happy time, it is a time of change for all of you and how your life operates daily right now.

    Enjoy your days together. Document them thru video and photos and then celebrate the new life about to happen!

    It will be hard but it will be amazing!

  3. Hi Ruth,

    These feelings are totally valid, and it's important to acknowledge and process them. You're normal! Everything we did before the arrival of our daughter, we consciously said "The last *** as the 3 of us" and it helped us to cherish those moments, and prepare to move ahead. Anyone who would criticize you for this has never gone through it, is not a realist, or is smokin' some pretty wacky tabacky. This is real life. It won't be all sunshine & lollipops...and if you don't acknowledge (& celebrate) what used to be - what laid the foundation for your newest additions - you won't be healthy enough to move ahead into the wonderful future that God has planned.

  4. Ruth,
    What a great post! And totally and completely valid! I remember feeling scared before the birth of my bio kids, let alone bringing in a 5 year old! The reality is that it WILL change things and it WILL be hard,and to think otherwise, is to set one's self up for a very rude awakening!
    As I have had many many other adoptive moms tell me over the last few weeks, I will (and you will!) handle this SO much better, because you are going into this realistically and prepared. Doesn't mean it's easy...but it certainly means you aren't as "caught off guard," you know?
    Enjoy these last few days...take Mathew out on a date, or two. Talk to Geoff about setting aside a designated time during the day/evening when you all get home that Geoff looks after Lizzie and Seth while you spend some alone time with Mathew, it just has to be a bit more intentional.
    Very excited for you!


    and BTW, this does not mean in any way shape or form that you are any less excited about bringing those kids home...and those of us that have done this, know that, and anyone else just doesn't have a clue!

  5. Ruth, your post was very touching. We have been home just a little over a week and while I too have longed for our sweet little boy, it certainly isn't what I thought it would be. It's normal to feel anxiety about the changes about to happen. It's normal to want to cherish the time you have left with your son before you start a new journey with 3 children. Be kind to yourself during the transition period. Take time for yourself and don't feel bad about having someone watch Lizzie Senait and Seth Asrat while you spend some one on one time with Matthew. I know it's not exactly the same thing but I have had to do that with our dogs. There was some jealousy and to be honest I didn't expect it. My biggest worry was that Addis would be afraid of the dogs (not so btw). In order for us to adjust it was important for us to keep some routines the same. Like I said, I realize it's not the same thing but I think both you & Matthew will transition better if some things do remain the same. Maybe you two can sneak away for special library time or off to Starbucks for some coffee for you & a special drink for Matthew while Seth Asrat & Lizzie Senait spend time with Geoff and have their own special time. They might not want Matthew around all the time either. You will all be fine. Love goes a long way and you obviously have that in spades. Good luck!

  6. Oh what normal feelings. I had these feelings everytime I was pregnant. I had these feelings last year when we invited a 17yr old boy to live with us. There is always a period of adjustment and you guys will do great. Pretty soon it will be the new norm.

  7. Ruth, I remember being terrified that bringing Tegegn home would change my daughter. I didn't want to loose her. I didn't want the person I knew to change even though I so badly wanted my son here. It was an adjustment, and yes, we made a lot of one on one time with Celine so that she knew that our love for her didn't change. In the end, Celine did change, but it is so wonderful to see. I love watching her as a big sister. It has brought out so many wonderful sides of her that I never saw before. Just remember that it is ok to feel like this. We all did....

  8. Hi Ruth, I so appreciate, like all the others here, how you are able to articulate even the things that are hard to say. As Joni Mitchell says... "somethings lost, but somethings gained, in living every day". your faithful reader, Katie (awaiting a child from Vietnam)

  9. I have the same feelings right now. As much as I am so happy to have my son with me very soon. I realize also how much change he will bring in our live. This change is good but also very radical as I will not be able to do what I want when I want... but in the bottom of my heart I know this little one will bring something that I do not have right now. This two feelings are so opposite.

  10. Been there... and still go through it at times. Keep being real and honest with yourself (even if it's not on here). And don't forget your hormones are also playing into all this! Our minds and bodies are processing things in so many ways and it's amazing what it can to do o the chemical makeup of our bodies/minds. My little piece of advice is don't let the guilt eat you. It doesn't least it doesn't help me...
    I met a lady yesterday who I don't think had any idea that she was speaking to a bit of this and the guilt I carry about it and oh how I needed to hear the words that it was ok and normal.
    Absorb all you can of today, and when you can, embrace what tomorrow holds. Grieving doesn't mean you don't appreciate what's to come (or has come) but shows it's hard and you are working towards healing and a newness. And oh how great we have Someone holding us and there to carry us through this crazy life!

  11. Yes, exactly. It took me a few weeks to forgive myself for feeling this way, and to acknowledge that it will take time to have those same feelings about our children, who were adopted at ages 5 and 7.

    I am grieving the loss of our family of four, and sometimes I have to say out loud, to myself, "It's okay to wish things were the way they used to be. It's okay to wonder if it's possible to love E and Z as much as I love A and S. This doesn't make me a bad mom."

    Good on you, for anticipating this. Enjoy your last few days as a family of three, and know that, although things might be pretty crazy for the next little while, you'll make it through. :)

  12. Hey Ruth..yes, as I said in our convo..:) every pregnancy I had those same feelings....and now of course there is no imagining going back! I think it is totally normal and actually important to allow yourself to grieve the " normal" you have had for so long. Soon you will have a whole new normal and there will be a day you can't imagine wanting anything else..but you aren't there yet, and it's good to say a goodbye to what you've known and cherished for so long to make room for th welcome of the new to cherish. Praying for you girl! Darci :)