The decision to spend time at our beach “home” came late, only several weeks before spring break commenced. Due to the busyness of life, we truly hadn’t put any thought into traveling until then.
The focus has been college. All year→ college. This school year has been nothing short of intense. I can say that Holden has narrowed down his wonderful options and will likely make his decision as soon as we return home.
In the mean time, we enjoy what is seemingly the last family spring break for years to come. College, primary and secondary school breaks rarely match up. The kids are aware of this…
Me? Well, I alternate between feeling wistful and proud. And I also feel selfish, wanting more time to:
- Be with my kids, watching them with that fascinating absorption a new parent has, soaking them in and memorizing their interactions with one another in my mind to recall later when I miss him and all of them together—giggling, hunched over a competitive board game (we play a lot of board games), or playing bocce and soccer on the beach.
- Appreciate their siblingness—how they champion for one another, learn from and teach each other with subtle and not-so-subtle lessons. How they really like and love one another and seek to spend time together. Someday, when Mark and I are gone, they will only have each other and it is important that they understand this.
Parenting is challenging (an understatement) and often we question ourselves about how effective we are at preparing our kids for their futures. But when we have time away from the chaos, time where we can really “listen”—sinking deep into the bosom of our families devoid of all of the “white noise”—hopefully we will see that indeed we are doing alright.
Mark felt we were done, but I felt that there was another soul waiting to join us. (This story of Greyson is in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families.) Through a series of unusual happenings, we followed our path to Guatemala.
Guatemala had its own system, almost a polar opposite of China’s. The best thing about adopting from Guatemala was that we could visit our baby. The hardest thing about adopting from Guatemala was that we could visit our baby.
We were able to spend five days with him when he was six months old. Greyson was a sweet baby, with one dimple – the opposite check of his brother’s. We threw him in a baby carrier and wore him throughout our travels to Antigua. It was difficult to leave him in the loving arms of Emma, his foster mom.
His paperwork was delayed in the infamous PGN and we spent another three months in anguish. His adoption came through on my brother’s birthday and we were in Guatemala within thirty six hours of receiving notice of the pink slip.
Greyson’s adoption initiated healthy adoption dialogue from Josi and Holden. Aubry was still not processing or speaking. We took Holden down to see Guatemala and Tikal (he was studying Mayan anthropology) and to experience adoption first-hand – and it was something he will never forget because Greyson’s transition was rough.
“Why adoption/why did you adopt?”
“Are you done?”
The above questions are those that I am asked on a regular basis.
There is so much published and discussed about listening – how to be a good listener, how to be an active listener. I’ve read and heard it all and taken it to heart and put it into practice. Listening is an important skill set when raising four kids ranging in ages seven to sixteen.
But, there is another kind of listening. It’s the non-verbal listening that resonates deep within the essence of who I am. Listening with my soul.
This is the listening that directed Mark and me to adopt. Listening took us to China. Twice.
Convinced we were done expanding our family, we began to give away the baby gear. And then the most wonderful thing happened. I found myself listening again to the kind of message that wouldn’t be denied. In short, we adopted our beautiful son from Guatemala.
Are we done? We think so, but we continue to listen.