Not my favorite milestone

OK, this is not a great post to have after not blogging for so long, but I’m gonna share it anyway, because I know some other people who can relate! Please allow me to wallow in self-pity for a few minutes. Yesterday I experienced another first in the adoption process…I have my first public cry. (Not counting the happy cry in the corner room at Michaels.) (Or when I got choked up reading the Toddler Adoption book at Chipotle.) This was a real one–a sad one–and I didn’t like it one bit!

It’s time for us to send Asher’s second care package. We’re trying to follow the guidelines and keeping it simple. We’re sending another disposable camera, more pictures of our family, and a lovey for Asher just like the ones his brother and sister have. But next month is his birthday, so I knew I wanted to send a birthday card too. (I have no idea exactly when our package will arive in Thailand, or when the social worker will visit him, but I’m hoping it’s somewhere near his b-day.)

But as I was standing there in Target, looking at all these special birthday cards for a one-year-old, I just lost it. Usually those silly sentiments don’t do a thing for me…most of the time I skim them and look for the signature. But as I was reading things like “Your first cake! Your first candle! Your first year has come and gone…” Yeah. I was just overcome with sadness that I am missing it. Despite the truth that other families hold to, that the first few birthdays really aren’t THAT big of a deal, since the child won’t even realize what’s happening, we’ve still had a nice big shindig for both kids’ first birthdays.

I want to stay up late to make Asher a special cake…and watch him eat it! I want to snuggle him and laugh as he is mesmerized by the candle. I want to watch him attempt to grab at wrapping paper, then let his anxious siblings actually do the unwrapping for him. I want to sit back and enjoy the glow as our family and friends celebrate this first year of life and look at how much he’s grown.

That’s it–that’s the thing. He’s already grown so much. He might even be walking right now, and I’ve missed it. First words? I’ll miss that too…and I probably wouldn’t even understand them. I know in my head that he’ll be home before his second birthday and we’ll have every other birthday of his life to celebrate with him…even until he is tired of making a big deal about birthdays. But I don’t think I will ever get over my mourning for missing this first year and a half. We got a call that we probably will not travel until April, which seems another world of wait away.

So, I chose my card. It’s not especially significant or meaningful, just one that didn’t make me cry too hard. And we WILL celebrate his birthday, even though he won’t be here to eat his cake. And I probably will hit a major speedbump of sadness…maybe even after he’s home? But right now, I’m snuggling up on that little lovey and sending my love with it, and I find a smile thinking about him sleeping with it a world away from me. And I know most days will be better than this.


  1. TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so sorry you were overwhelmed by all those feelings in a public place, but I know you are not alone in your feelings!! I have had those emotions myself. Praying for you and hoping the next 8 months till April go by VERY FAST!!! Hang in there babe.

  2. My heart is breaking for you. What a lucky little guy he is to be so loved and adored. How your arms must ache to hold him and love on him. Praying him home soon!

  3. Oh you’re doing good to get that far into the process before your 1st public cry! And we aren’t even matched. I might have to get a portable pocket kleenex dispenser for when we do. 🙂 It’s the little things that remind me I am sad that I am missing their life, like the baby play stuff at the local park or a little shoe on the side of the road. Hang in there, Jen!

  4. Jen,
    BIG HUGS!!!! I felt exactly the same way (Lily was 13 months when we brought her home). I focused on all the things we had missed. She was an early walker, for example, so I missed her first steps, among other things. The birthday was really hard, especially since I had my travel date and knew we’d miss her first bday by a matter of only a few weeks.

    However–and this is only after hindsight perspective–when you think about it, you will have dozens–no, hundreds–of firsts with Asher from the second you lay your eyes on him and hold him in your arms, and you’ll get to experience things with him that you wouldn’t ever experience with a biological child. You’ll get to recall the anniversary of The Call, of your meeting, of your adoption finalization. You’ll have a whole new culture ingrained in the fabric of your family that HE made possible. And you’ll be his Mamma for so many, many firsts.

    All that may not give you solace now (cause this is so, so hard), but someday it will. You’ll be able to focus more clearly on what you have to look forward to in the future with your son rather than what you may or may not have missed in his past.

    We had a big birthday/welcome party for Lily about a month after she got home, and you know what? She still smeared cake all over her face, and we all had a blast!

    Take care; my thoughts are with you.

  5. Oh girl. I so get it. The missing the first year and half just stinks. No bones about it. Stinks. You are allowed as many public and private crying sessions as you like. I do love what Wendy said though. It encouraged my heart as well while we wait and wait. I am so bummed it won’t be until April before you see him! I knew it probably wouldn’t be before Christmas but boy was I hoping. Love your mama’s heart.

  6. Just so you know, Jen, your Mama sure wishes she had been there for your first public cry (about Asher)to hold you for a minute.
    Love, Your Mama

  7. Now y’all are making me cry! 🙂

    Hugs to you friend and prayers for you and your whole family, whether they’re present there with you or not.

    I know HIS plan is for the best for you and for Asher. I’m praying you’ll be able to find comfort in that. But honestly, your fortitude in this just astounds me. I would be a wreck. Asher is very blessed to have you for his Mommy 🙂

  8. Jen –

    My thoughts go out to you. I just shed a tear reading your post. I remember being there. Birthdays are so so hard. Nothing really makes it easier. I know for me, that was a really hard month. Hang in there. First approval is right around the corner!


  9. Jen, I totally understand. Missing the first birthday is such a bummer. I was so sensitive during the week leading up to Lydia’s birthday, the smallest things made me weep. Things are better now that we’ve passed that very difficult birthday (not that I still don’t feel so very sad that we missed it!!)

    I don’t know if this will comfort you, but one thing that has helped me to cope with missing out on this time in my daughter’s life is imagining how incredibly special her SECOND birthday truly will be. I know, it’s not the same as a first birthday, but under the circumstances of adoption I’ve come to feel that the 2nd birthday is even more special (or 3rd, or 10th, or 16th- whichever is the first birthday at home). It will be so special because you will finally be together, after so much time, distance, and many obstacles. Your son will be with his family at last. I always imagine Lydia’s second birthday, and how I’ll think, “Last year she was an orphan, but this she is my daughter!” That is defnitely something to celebrate.

    In the meantime, I feel these pangs right alongside you. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but not without many tears. May the Lord bring our kids home soon!

  10. You already love him so, so much, Jen. Of course you would cry! You are an incredible, HEAR ME, INCREDIBLE mother and I cannot – CANNOT wait to see you hold your third baby in your arms. Until then, we will keep praying for that day! I love you!

  11. You already love him so, so much, Jen. Of course you would cry! You are an incredible, HEAR ME, INCREDIBLE mother and I cannot – CANNOT wait to see you hold your third baby in your arms. Until then, we will keep praying for that day! I love you!

  12. I think it will always be hard to handle the lost years, yesterday I was looking at some photos we were given of Conrad from before we knew about him, and some of them are so sad, he looks so very sick and lost and it is very hard to look at them without getting teary and it makes me hold him so much tighter, I can imagine it is going to be hard for him when he is older too wondering why we couldnt be with him sooner.

  13. My first feeling is to run to you and hug you for a long time. You are a Mama with a longing for her son. God gave mothers a beautiful strong love for our children . You want to be with your son and that is the right and perfect feeling. God knows and stands next to you as you wait. I am praying for you my sweet Jen. What a day that will be when I see you with Asher in your arms. I see him everyday on my wall of loved ones and I pray for him. Love you

  14. Oh, Jen. I can’t say I know how you feel, but I can certainly understand how this would be so difficult. I’m thankful for your vulnerability in sharing this so you can open the door for the onslaught of love and support. Praying.

  15. I’m so glad for the birthdays he will get to spend with you. My poor Penny never had anyone celebrate her birthday with her for the first thirteen years of her life. So, her first birthday party, ever, was her fourteenth birthday party here. When everyone sang to her she almost started crying. And that’s amazing for my tough girl who rarely shows her emotions. Can’t believe today she started high school. Praying you’ll get to hold Asher soon!

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