One year ago today, I had finished my first day of school and gone for my usual workout only to be interrupted by a phone call from our agency with the words, “You’ll never believe it but…” I don’t think I’ll ever forget being on the elliptical, listening to Avril Lavigne while watching ESPN debrief Carson Palmer’s bloody nose and its impact on his football season. (His team had a bad season by the way.) This was followed by my hysterical descent down the stairs causing the poor rec center staff to think I was off my rocker, ah the memories. My social worker had to remind me to call Scott, who later tweeted, “So, um, we got matched 2 hours ago. That wasn’t supposed to happen. No guarantees, but here we go. Could fall thru by Sunday.” Thus started the beginning of the end of our fantastic journey to bring Elise home…..Today, I go to work, drop Elise off at school, and wait to see if Elise will display her new found temper tantrum skills when I pick her up. I have no more gym workouts, just sweating it out in the heat with the dog, and I get to see Scott try new things, like giving Elise a haircut. Finally, instead of Avril Lavigne in the background, I have the lull of the white noise machine competing with the TV. Isn’t God amazing? Look what can happen in a year.
Elise and I went back to school this week. We had a rough start that included Elise throwing her first fit because she didn’t want to leave school on Monday – that was fun. The director of the infant program came down the hall to see who it was and was shocked to find Elise on the floor. Elise needs a lot of sleep, and as I type she’s working on her 13th hour, so hopefully we will have a good weekend.
These are just some pictures of our last days enjoying our summer. There is the park by our house, going to family court, cousin Laura and Hannah coming to visit from Houston (Laura never got in a picture), and she got a late birthday present which she loves. Enjoy and stay tuned for her first haircut pictures. Scott did a great job.
Peering down the slide
Sliding to daddy
Checking on her dog
One of his few calm moments
August 10, Elise officially became Elise McClellan. She loves this stuffed bear.
My cousin Hannah reading to Elise
Of course, Elise had to try out everybody’s shoes
Kind of looks like Shiner’s holding her hostage
This is fun for Elise.
Daddy made her a paper hat
Loving her new stuffed doggy
(PS – If you subscribe to Adoption Today, don’t be alarmed by the giant full page picture of us. We are just an example of a family who needs “Help!” someone else wrote the article.)
Summer is winding down so we’re doing our best to make the most of it. Recently, we took advantage of a day off to take a family trip to the Dallas World Aquarium. Of course, I had to shoot some video on my phone (beware the shaky footage for those with weak stomachs and beware the bad acoustics of a crowded aquarium).
In a bible study, I came across this sentence, “…a precious little stranger wondrously comprised of the two of them.” The precious little stranger is a new born child in the hands of his or her biological parents. My first thought was I can’t relate or that excludes me from the moment. But it so happens, that after some thought I can relate.
I looked back at our videos from our trip to Vietnam, and I see a different Elise. When placed in my arms for the first time, she was “a precious little stranger wondrously comprised of the two of them (her birth parents).” Elise had (still has) beautiful eyes, skin, full lips, and a petite stature. When she was brought into a new situation, she observed everything in silence, but when she relaxed she had an inherent joy. When she came home and met her dog, she immediately adored him. These are precious gifts from her birth parents, and they were strange and new.
Now, that Elise has been home eight months the lines are beginning to blur, and Elise is a stranger no more. We know her sounds – cries, squeals, and laughter. We see her likes and dislikes. We receive her hugs and kisses. We see she loves books. She wants to be read to and to pour over the pictures herself. We, her mommy and daddy, love to read. She loves to listen to music and even dance a few steps. We, her mommy and daddy, love music, and daddy plays guitar though neither of us can dance. She loves to play with my jewelry and shoes both of which I love, but I also loved to play with my mommy’s things when I was a child. She, of course, loves the iPhone and the laptop as does her daddy. She loves to laugh and be silly, mommy and daddy do too.
Somewhere along the way Elise became comprised of us, too. We don’t share DNA, but we are sharing our lives together as parents and child. Elise is our “precious little stranger wondrously comprised of the two of them (birth parents) AND us.” Thanks be to God.