We got back into Springfield on February 10, 2008 sometime in the evening hours... I have no idea when we got back as we had been traveling for over 30 hours, with two children who barely spoke any English, had been in 3 different countries, and had completely tainted multiple airport toilets in 3 different countries.
When we were planning what to eat on our anniversary day, I asked the kids what they wanted to eat. I was thinking along the lines of Injera and Dora Wat... they requested pepperoni pizza. Go figure! That's their favorite food now!
It is partly because of this sweet little angel Jayden that we have our wonderful kids! Jayden is from the same orphanage as our kids! Tim and Julie have become our best, best, best friends. I think it is so awesome that our kids knew Jayden before her parents knew her, and Tim and Julie knew our kids before we knew them! What a beautiful, wonderful circle! (Hey Roger and Abby - this pic is for you!)
12 months home. What do I say? EVERYTHING is better. It seems that as we finally came out with the fact that Grandma had died, they kind of mellowed out. Maybe it was hanging over their heads. Maybe it was hanging over ours. Maybe they were dealing with the guilt of those they left behind? Maybe her death made them realize that they are stuck with us and can't go back. In reality, everything was getting better before that. It's just a gradual thing. We are all so much closer today than we were even 3 or 6 months ago.
A Few Stories to Illustrate:
Yesterday, before the Gotcha Party, Justine fell on the trampoline and straddled a spring. Her thighs were really tore up. Jameson and I put her in the bath and took care of her. Jameson looked at me, with tears in her eyes, and said, "My poor baby." She helped wash Justine's hair, put her in her pajamas, and took care of her. The compassion I saw in her eyes was breath taking. I could not love her more.
Josh, as you know, has been the difficult one this year, but even he is getting better. He is learning to talk to us. He is learning to share his feelings with us. After we told them about Grandma dying, he shared with us that every year since he was 5, someone had died. Can you imagine? Can you imagine your memories being defined as before and after someone died? When I asked him about something in his family, he had to remember it in terms of who was still alive and who had just died... It breaks my heart! He still comes upstairs with his clothes on backwards and doesn't listen much of the time, but he takes his laundry down every single day and takes out the garbage without being told to... which is something I can't get the other kids in this house to do, so I consider that a victory. I consider a lot of things a victory. The hugs, the smiles, the conversations. Everything about this kid is a victory, and I'm lucky to know him.