November 23, 2008

Final Reflections and & Top 10 List

I asked my husband for some reflections on our adoptive experience. This piece is written from his perspective and I love it. Thanks, Chris!!

The world looks funny when you’re upside down. Things you took for granted abandon you. How you thought the world works, shifts. What you noticed with firmly planted feet feels unpredictable and new. Adoption has had that effect on us. In some ways, the change has been subtle, like the slow erosion of healthy predictable sleep.

Sleep has been perhaps the biggest barometer of how things are going in the Kenward household. When Josie ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Early on, Emma decided she would sleep downstairs in her lavishly appointed tween bedroom.

Well, that fantasy quickly faded when she realized little sister might gain extra air time via nighttime crying fits and the like (and the fact she believes we have ghosts living in our finished basement). So, with sibling jealousy riding high, she abandoned a good night’s sleep, opting rather for fair and equal Mom & Dad time, despite the likely reality of screams and crying interrupting every night’s dreams. But for every struggle at bedtime, some treasures remain. I have become fairly adept at getting quite cozy with a comforter and pillow snuggled close to Josie’s bed. Like her sister before her, I listen for the sure sounds of sleep overtaking her, her body slowing down, the deep, protracted breaths, and the gentle twitches her body makes as it settles for the night. Some things never get old.

In this vain, I have compiled a top 10 list of how we've changed since adopting a toddler:

10. Kim has cut back on checking her work email from home. Thank goodness for her personal gmail account! Her overdrive work tendencies are much more under control.

9. Our cupboards are fully stocked with more food than we've ever had in our 17 years of marriage. Who would have thought a 25 pound child would ask for seconds, thirds and fourths during most meals!!

8. Kim and I can tolerate more mayhem, whining, fussing, crying, and fairness issues than we ever thought possible.

7. Attending Church now looks like a combination of WWF wrestling and an episode of Jerry Springer.

6. Car rides can be peaceful or a horrendous torture for the two people in the frontseat. I still contend if the BIG 3 need some help getting out of their financial crises, they need to invent an invisible shield (like a cab’s protective glass) which creates complete silence from all the chaos in the rear seats.

5. Diapers and baby wipes have replaced fine bottles of wine on our grocery list.

4. Our washing machine and dishwasher have never been used this much!

3. The Holidays are magical all over again.

2. Everything takes more time. There is no such thing as a quick errand with a toddler in tow.

1. Feeling far more blessed than I ever expected because of our adoption experience. At the end of an exhausting work day, when I look across the table and see that that we are FINALLY a family of four, makes all the stress and frustration worth every part of that horrendous adoption timeline.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. Last year at this time, I was feeling so heart-sick in the anticipation of our travel timeline to China. What a difference 9 months can make. I can't wait to share this upcoming holiday with my two girls.

This year, we'll be traveling across the state to visit the Kenward clan. Get ready family...Josie's on her way and she's expecting lots of "nummies" on her highchair tray. I'd love to hear from my readers what special traditions or celebrations you have in store this week. It's been fun reflecting on our adoption experiences over this past month. I've enjoyed all your insights and personal experiences. Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving holiday.


The Young's said...

I LOVE your top 10 Chris!! So funny! You have a wonderful way with words. It is interesting how it changes us!!!

Yes...we've experienced sibiling rivarly since bringing Sadie home. Sophie would NEVER admit it...but we can see it in her actions. I hate that it is that way....but we arae continually striving to make each one of them feel loved and valuable!!! It's a challenge with multiple children!!! :) Guess that's part of our growth as parents!!!

By the way Kim...I LOVE Emma's dress. WHERE did you get it?!?!? I would LOVE to find one like that for Sophie. It is SO elegant!!!!! It's hard to find dresses for their age that isn't too little girlish or too growny, know what I mean?!?! And it is just PERFECT!!!!

Better go. Hope yall have an amazing day!!!! Talk to you soon.

Kay Bratt said...

I am loving #6. Car riding with a difficult toddler was always my weakness. At the age of 22, when my now 18 year-old was in the terrible two's, she would make most short trips into a battle of wills. Unfortunately, she would usually win because I would end up in tears from the screamfest! I shared with her recently how when nothing would satisfy her rage, I'd just turn the radio up and cruise along pretending like I couldn't hear her! [really I would be near hysteria myself but I played it cool..] When my 2nd child came along five years later, I had gained much more control!

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

I love the holiday photo of your girls in the header.
Chris did a great job on his top 10!
We've begun our holiday tradition of cleaning and decorating for Christmas over Thanksgiving holidays.
Once we go back to school, there's not time for that!

Oatsvall Team said...

I am really starting to think that Maggie and Josie might be related ... They are just two peas in a pod and have changed our lives very similarly (no sleep, lots of food, unpredictable behavior, unimaginable blessings, and surprises at ever corner) ... love that we can journey this together and you better get ready to help me when we start our surgeries !!!! love ya bunches !

redmaryjanes said...

This is a wonderful post. I can so relate to your car insanity and we too have dreamed of a chauffeur window that we could just rise up to give peace on road trips :)
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mike and Barb said...

Another great post!
Guess what's in my fridge right now..... Pecan balls dough, and a double batch, too!! They sounded just too good, and will be perfect for us to take with us to Thanksgiving. We'll be doing lots of driving this year!
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
Love, Barb

Shanna said...

Great job Chris! I always love to hear your perspecitve. So many of your top 10's are also on ours.

Bottom line.... our lives are crazy, but SO MUCH sweeter because of adoption.

Happy Thanksgiving to your wonderful family :)

Truly Blessed! said...

Oh my word -- that post was wonderful! How in the world did you coerce Daddy into blogging?

All of your top 10 resonate with our household as well. What an incredible difference a year makes, eh?

As for Thanksgiving traditions (other than the FOOD?) -- we have a family basketball tournament -- no matter what the weather and it's brutal! Winners get bragging rights until the next major holiday's basketball tourney!

Miss Scarlett said...

Y'all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!