September 23, 2012
Dearest Asher Saran,
A year ago today, I was a blubbering mess. I knew you were celebrating your first birthday a world away. Then I worried that maybe you were NOT celebrating! But I knew whatever you were doing, whatever your foster family was doing with you, I was jealous and sad and heart-achy and very weepy. And I consoled myself with the thought that your second birthday you’d be here in our home, in my arms, and I’d throw you a huge party. It’s sometimes hard to believe it’s actually come true!
We met you a little over 3 months ago, and it’s amazing to see how you have changed in those few weeks. When we met you, you were a sad and anxious boy, crying for most of our time together. You were very stingy with your smiles and were not interested in having any physical contact or comfort from us at all. You were so full of grief that you were not interested in any of our distractions, except food and many, many bottles. In those first few weeks, you acted out on your grief and confusion, and tried to plow through any boundaries we set for you, taking your frustration and anger out on the only people around: your new family.
Now, admittedly, you are still testing those boundaries daily, but you have a mischievous and familiar defiance in your eye now, not a blank stare of hurt and anger. It’s very rare that we see those crocodile tears come out these days, and usually only if you get physically hurt, or object to your frequent time-outs. You run to us, hug us, bring your owies and scrapes to be kissed, and squeeze our necks tight before going to bed and snuggle when you wake up. YOU ARE SO CURIOUS! Wherever you are, whatever you see, you want to inspect up close, touch it, squeeze it, stretch it, throw it, bite it. You are still developing your English language, so all day long you just yell “MaMAAA! MaMAAA! MaMAAA!” and point to something. This happens non-stop in the car, and unless I respond and acknowledge “Yes! I see the tractor! Yes, that’s a cow! Yes! A bus!” then you will continue to YELL my name at the top of your lungs! I get frustrated by this ongoing game, but then remind myself how long and hard I fought to BE your MAMAAAA and it helps me have more patience with you. J
The world is so exciting and fascinating to you…perhaps the extravagance of the American life adds a whole new level of intrigue and eye-candy. I remember the second day you were home, we took you to Lowe’s. We passed an aisle of chandeliers, and you stared, but when we saw a wimpy, days-old mylar balloon advertising a sale, you shrieked in delight! You pointed and fluttered your arms and squealed. It was the first of many times when your innocence and your inquisitive spirit have delighted us.
You are also showing us that you have a great imagination. Two of your favorite activities are “cooking” in the toy kitchen and pushing a doll (or duck or kitty or even a block) in the toy stroller. We have a small oven mitt that you wear around the house for hours, saying “SHOT” which is how you say “HOT” and carrying a little toy pot around. You found one of the dolly bottles a while back, and half the time you have it in your mouth, and the other half you are feeding it to any number of dolls or stuffed animals. (As for your real bottles, we are down to one a day, so maybe you miss it!)
You often have a hard time being away from mommy. You usually want to be literally touching my leg, which can mean some frustrating afternoons when I’m trying to move around the kitchen to make dinner and I keep tripping on you or stepping on you. So one evening I convinced you to go work in the little kitchen. You found a polka-dotted rubber ducky and he (she?) was your kitchen companion. First, the poor thing got put in a pot and cooked in the microwave. But then he was amazingly resurrected and you had him drink from a bowl and shared an ice-cream cone with him. My favorite activity, though, was when you put him in your *ahem* special corner and said “MOUT” which means “Time Out.” J I laughed hard at your imagination and your interest in having the power to put someone ELSE in time out. So we set the timer together and gave the ducky a hug afterwards. It was pretty priceless.
I’d be lying if I said the last three months have been easy, sweet guy. They’ve actually been pretty challenging. Your whole world was changed in a matter of hours, and I can’t imagine how painful and confusing that was for you. As you joined our family, the rest of us struggled to get used to our new normal and try to figure out how best to love you, when sometimes you seemed to be pushing us away with your behavior. But over and over again, as we’ve fallen more and more in love with you, we are affirmed in our hearts that IT IS WORTH IT. That YOU are worth it. We know without a shadow of a doubt that God intended for you to be in our family, that you are a child worth fighting for, and our family was not complete until you joined us. We can see your humor, your intelligence and your good natured spirit becoming more and more apparent each day. I love that now I KNOW you and can observe and learn these things about your personality, not just dream about them while staring at your picture. At the dinner table when we ask who would like to pray to Jesus, you shoot your hands up in the air, just like your big brother and sister. We all realize you aren't fully comprehending the question, but it brings us joy just the same. Sometimes the kids "help" you pray, and you mimc them. It sounds like "JESUS...[mumble, mumble]...AMEN!"
I’m so overjoyed and blessed to be your mommy every day, but especially today. As we celebrate the day of your birth, I’m beyond grateful to have you in my life. I’m beyond grateful for your sweet young first mommy, who is no doubt thinking of you and missing you today. I’m beyond grateful for your faithful foster family, who cared for you (and spoiled you—in a good way) so very well before you were sleeping under our roof. And I’m beyond grateful to our heavenly Father, who whispered to our hearts before you were even born, telling us that our son was waiting for us in Thailand.
And my dear Asher, you were SO WORTH THE WAIT.
Love you always,