It was April 2, 2016 when Ezra, our Congolese-born son, first stepped foot on American soil. Ezra, my husband Brent, and I were beyond tired but when that final plane landed on that final runway after so many hours (or was it days?) in the air, I had enough energy to push the plane to the terminal, if necessary.
Although we had waited so long for him to join our family, Ezra had lived in our hearts for years and in my imagination even before he was born. One year just doesn’t seem long enough. In spite of this supposed emotional discrepancy, we will mark the anniversary because it’s been quite a year!
It’s been a year of togetherness. Vacations together and watching TV together and going on walks together and riding in the car together and sitting on a church pew together and just generally being together.
It’s been a year of sharing. One year of sharing big steps and little victories. Sharing meals and sharing stories and sharing bathrooms with sisters who often remind a little brother about toilet etiquette. One year of taking turns and learning what it means to have five other people whose opinions also figure into the equation.
It’s been a year of choices. Choosing books to read, choosing DVDs to watch, choosing clothes to wear, choosing which breakfast cereal to eat. Who knew there could be so many choices?
It’s been a year of searching. Searching for the right words to say to make them understand. Searching for the meaning behind his behavior. Searching for a little more patience, a little more forgiveness, a little more grace.
It’s been a year of promises. One year for him to go from saying “Promise?” in a threatening way with a slashing mark across his throat to saying “Promise?” in a gentle, questioning voice while pointing to his heart.
It’s been a year of tears.
One hundred tears shed in frustration. Why is this so hard?
One hundred tears shed in laughter. How are you this funny?
One hundred tears shed in anger. If only you had come home sooner.
One hundred tears shed in gratitude. But you are home.