Today is the four year anniversary of the day we met our daughter, Elise. I don’t think I’ll ever forget waiting by the phone in the hotel room, surviving a wild cab ride and arriving at the orphanage. It was all so surreal, and left us forever changed.
At the time, we knew so little about the parenting challenges we would encounter — though we thought we had educated ourselves pretty well. And as we continue to learn more on this adoption journey, today I am reminded of how expectant my husband and I were. December 18, 2008, was the culmination of a very long journey for us. We had traveled a combined 24 hours to meet our daughter. I was sick. We were scared and nervous and tired. But December 18, 2008, was different for Elise. She was tired and hungry and probably wondering who these strangers were that were taking her.
And now in 2012, we are all a little older, and my husband and I are still tired. Sometimes we are frustrated that we are not farther along in our relationship with Elise, while Elise is frustrated that her little sister keeps breaking all her toys and that she can’t have more sour candy. Though we, the parents, process our family story differently than Elise, I hope and pray that as she remembers and makes sense of her own story, she will bring us with her so we can support her in her journey.
So today, December 18, 2012, we will remember where we were four years ago. And we will remember that although December 18 was the start of the story of our family, Elise’s story started before we were ever a part of it. And we will honor her story — all of her story — and how it changes our family as we continue on this journey together.