Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I’ve had words bouncing around in my head for a few weeks now. Today is a great day to let them out. Today is an important day for us. Today I reminisce, celebrate, reflect, and relive what I consider to be about the third most impacting, life-changing, emotionally charged day of my life. June 25th marks the day we got THE CALL. Over 2 years after embarking on the adoption journey, and nearly 19 months of having our paperwork submitted to Ethiopia, referral day finally arrived. My memories are so incredibly vivid. The June sunshine in my blinds, the quiet afternoon in my living room with hardly a sound but the air conditioner, I can remember it all like yesterday. The America World name on my caller ID. The heart racing, stomach doing flip flops, so shaky I could hardly talk coherently feelings. The words “we have some very exciting news for your family”. The waiting for her to connect Dave to the 3 way call, while I sat on the floor crying and laughing and trying to breathe and looking like this. 

The wide eyes when I heard “we have an unusual referral for you, a nearly 5 year old girl, and her baby sister who’s only 3 months old”. This was only the start of a season of high emotion and life changing experiences, but something about this day was just exceptional. It was sheer, ecstatic delight. The long, aimless wait was over. This was real. It was REALLY happening! And the wait equaling two gestation periods resulted in TWO girls! 
And without further adue, I {re}introduce to you, Cypress Arsema and Sami (Samrawit) Skye Lahman.

And now:

So here we are today. Reliving the excitement. Still amazed at the privilege we were given a year ago today. The days between last June 25th and today have been harder than anything I’ve walked before. Life as I knew it had indeed forever changed, and in such good ways. But it didn’t negate the difficulty of the change, the grief I felt for the life Dave and I had enjoyed for six years prior that had been permanently altered. The responsibility was heavier than I could have imagined. Learning the dance of parenting two children whose lives were so drastically changed as well, who had not know the rhythm of a complete family, was an exercise of great pain before much of the beauty was exposed. 

But in the hardest of days, when I’ve wondered what in the world I was doing, when I felt of all women most incapable of being a good mother to the two beauties in my care, when I wondered if we had honestly bitten off more than we could ever chew, I would reflect on this day. I would go back to the call, to the photos, to the unbelievable odds that this was the referral placed in our hands. Back to the first meeting, to the knowing, deep within both Dave and I’s hearts when we first laid eyes on them, that they belonged, that they were as much a part of our hearts as if they had came from us. And even in the dark moments when I didn’t think I would survive one more day and I was just so scared we would be nothing but an unraveled mess of a family, I drew strength from this memory. No negative emotion I was experiencing could negate the vivid reminder that God did indeed do a great work in bringing us all together. 

Two little girls broken from grief and loss and in need someone to meet their needs and wipe their tears and have tickle fights and call them daughters. Two adults, broken because who of us aren’t? In need of someone to draw us outside of our comfort zones and selfish bubbles, someone to open our eyes to the reality that we are nothing NOTHING without the goodness of Jesus, someone to fill our house with wild laughter and fingerprints, someone to make our hearts so warm they nearly melt, someone to awaken us to love like we’ve never felt. And so we are four. Meeting needs we may not even know existed. Watching redemption and transformation unfold, and at the same time finding ourselves being transformed. 

Although this is written in a reflective tone, we have by no means arrived. I still second guess myself every day. I wonder if the adoption community would disown me and Karyn Purvis would shake her pretty head if they saw inside my house, the impatience, the missed opportunities, the angry words, the unfair expectations. I feel like a 3 year old on a Barbie tricycle that suddenly got dropped in the middle of the Tour de France. A tadpole swimming with the great whites. In over my head and painfully aware that I am bumbling at every turn and severely lacking in the training, discipline, and maturity that is needed for such a greatly important role. It’s not just a gold medal at stake; it is the hearts of my children. 

HOWEVER, we are having good moments by the bucket-fulls, and bad moments by the teaspoon-fulls. Hope is outweighing despair. I have found myself laughing, tickling, giggling, kissing, cuddling, applauding, and smiling more the past month than I have since last fall. Love is on the move in this house. The transformations all around are beautiful to behold. 

Here’s to one year of Motherhood.