Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Joy and Completion

I chose the name joy and completion for a variety of reasons. Joy refers to all the joy that Katie will bring our lives and the joy that we hope to bring to her life. Completion sounds kind of stilted, but it has a very powerful meaning for us.

We began trying to have a baby more than 11 years ago. The journey through trying, waiting, testing, surgery, waiting, adopting, etc. has been the most incredibly exhausting (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) roller coaster ride I have ever experienced! 3 years and 9 months into it, we adopted Derek, a 24 1/2 week micro preemie who was doing so well that we were very optimistic about his future. After being a mother without a baby for so long, Derek made me a mother. However, as we dealt with issues that arose (blindness, feeding tube, behaviors), my expectation of what motherhood would be like died and a new form of motherhood was created. It was less like being a mother and more like being a nurse, doctor, therapist, and advocate. While I wouldn't trade Derek for the world, I had to grieve the loss of a dream in order to completely appreciate and embrace what I have.

When Derek was almost 5, we brought Alex home from Russia. He was almost 3 and fit beautifully into our family. While Derek made me a mother, Alex made me content. Depression can be very powerful and debilitating, and little Alex was my therapy. All the typical mother things I'd been wanting to do, I could finally do with him. Simple things like staying at the front door watching while he walked to the bus by himself brought tears to my eyes.

Even though I was content with Alex, I still felt incomplete. I don't know why; I just did. Maybe I just always wanted 3 children. Katie is completing this journey that was started so long ago. She is allowing us to close this chapter of building our family and moving us into the chapter of simply living and enjoying life.

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