6 months to a new normal

At our very first post adoption meeting, when we were still shaky and quietly wondering if things were really going to be okay in the end,
our adoption specialist told us that we would probably feel “normal”  again in 6
months.  “Normal,” meaning, we would
probably forget what it felt like before Everly came home.  6 months felt like an eternity away and “normal” felt like a dream at that point.
I am beginning to wonder if the only way we truly adjust to a new “normal” is from an accumulation of daily surrenders. One after another, we raise our white flags to the ever-tempting pull to fight for what was, and we let go of the illusion of security that the past and the familiar bring us. Everyday we work hard to make a home, and everyday I am reminded that we are not home yet.

At 6 months, our kind and feisty little girl now knows most of the letters of the alphabet.  She’s well-versed in Star Wars and can mimic her big brother’s Tae Kwon Do kicks with ferocity. She loves to be silly and to be sung to. When we go anywhere in the car, she often sits in her seat and verbally rehearses the most recent family events that have taken place, or lists each of our family members by first and last name (sometimes she gives all of us one of her middle names). She knows we are all family.  She loves having her brothers home and she’s the sweetest mini mama: if she finds an empty water bottle or cup, she always tries to fill it and bring it to whoever she thinks it belongs to.


Two days ago, we came home from our first mini vacation as a family of 5.  It beautifully marked this passage of time and all that’s happened within it.

When we were in Seoul to bring our little girl home, we met this amazing couple, Amber and Randy.  They were there to adopt a little girl at the same time (their third adoption from South Korea) and they also had two boys at home who were waiting to meet their new little sister.
In Seoul, 6 months ago
Shortly after being in South Korea together, through the tired texts that Amber and I threw back and forth at each other after sleepless nights, we talked about getting our families together. When they traveled to FL for vacation a few months later, they made a quick pit stop at our house on the way back home. Over dinner we planned on our family driving north this summer to visit them in Ludington.  As the trip grew close, I was filled with worry.  What would Everly think when we started packing things up?  Was she old enough to remember the last time bags were packed? Are we crazy to even try?  Is the travel worth it if we lose some of the progress we think we’ve made as a family?  
The first time we dropped Everly off in childcare at church two months ago, we reassured her by saying that we would always come back to pick her up. So, every Sunday since, she’s said, “Mommy and Daddy always back.”  On our drive to Ludington, Everly kept saying, “Mommy and Daddy always back.” She knew something out of the norm was going on and was checking in to make sure that what she’s come to believe as true, is still true.

It turned that out that we had a wonderful time away.  I am so glad we did it.  Sleep wasn’t perfect but that’s true at home anyway.  It was so good to get away and stretch out into new spaces and see things in a new light. This trip is the first we’ve planned as a family of 5 and we hoped it would get our feet wet for the travels we have planned for the months and year ahead.  I’ll be blogging more about that soon.

With our friends, we marveled how much has changed in the last 6 months.  We watched all 6 of our combined kids play together easily and it was beautiful.  Our girls had these funny moments of staring at one another as if they remembered each other from being in Korea together.

Our families, 6 months later.

Just like our adoption specialist said, now we can’t remember what it was like before Everly came home.   I keep thinking, what if we hadn’t said yes?  Not just to adoption and to our little girl, but to every invitation to a new normal. What people and what new depths and heights of Love do we miss in our resistance to welcome the new and the unfamiliar?