Three years ago today, Hope arrived at DCA with her social worker. She was originally scheduled to arrive the day before, but the weather on the east coast was so bad that her flight was canceled.
I remember heading to the airport that cold January night and waiting for her to emerge from security.
I was alone.
I was alone because I worried that a big group of folks would be overwhelming to a child who, for the previous few weeks, had resisted moving. Hope was afraid. She’s already experienced so much change in her life. She wanted to have some normalcy where she was for just a few more months.
Alas, all the adults thought that it was time to make the move. And so, she did.
I arrived at the airport early, snarfed down a couple of doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts while I waited for Hope to arrive and deplane.
This would be her second trip to see me and her final destination this go ‘round.
I remember she emerged from security looking tired, a bit overwhelmed and a bit afraid.
I hugged her. I was so happy she was here.
She hugged me back, but I don’t know if the hug really made her feel better.
We got her luggage, and dropped her social worker off at the hotel.
And then it was just the two of us.
It has been that way ever since.
In some ways, it seems like a lifetime ago, and others, it seems like just yesterday.
Hope has grown into an amazing young woman. She is creative, feisty, and musical. She is loving and kind. She is polite.
We have built an amazing life together.
We are growing and stretching. Sometimes it’s painful, and sometimes, it’s just the best thing ever.
I love Hope so very much.
This family is everything. It’s beyond whatever I could’ve imagined.
I’ve learned so much about myself during this time. I would not have ever anticipated what this life as a mom to Hope would have been like. It’s beyond my comprehension.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact, often, it has been devastatingly difficult at times.
It’s been difficult for both of us.
Transitioning to motherhood was swift. Understanding the true impacts of trauma and how to parent through it is a work in progress. Checking my anger is a learned process; I’m improving.
Ugh, and the weight gain. I’ve put on about 20lbs of teen adoption weight.
I’m older and wiser though.
Hope struggled with the transition to permanence. She got there with time. We still struggle with horrible memories and persistent grief. As she approaches normalcy we see latent issues emerge, and we tackle them.
She’s a little older and possibly a little wiser too.
We continue to observe these moments in our history; we may stop one day. I don’t know. But we still do count these milestones. We think about how far we have come. We think about how bonded we are now; we think about our futures.
We have a little something sweet.
And then we get on with the life we’ve created together.
I love Hope, and Hope loves me.