1 month home with Everly

On our flight to South Korea for our first trip to meet Everly, I wrote a piece about the capacity of our hearts for She Loves Magazine. Our new normal has my heart, mind and body stretched wide beyond what feels like capacity once again.  Daily, I have to remind myself that an immeasurable God has made me and everyone in our family, and that the same immeasurable God is for us and carries us.  It’s only been one month since we brought our Everly home, but it feels like a lifetime has passed.

Shortly after we came home someone asked me what we wished we had known about adoption before starting the journey.  I couldn’t answer.  We’ve been walking this journey for years and yet now it feels like we only just arrived at the base of the mountain and we’ve only just begun our trek up. I told her to ask me again in 6 months.  This month has been thick with tears, sleep struggles, grief and so much joy.  Our little Everly has faced sadness and confusion and our hearts have broken as we have walked alongside of her in it.  Though her grief has been greater than any of ours, our whole family has grieved in the midst of this transition. We have gained so much with the addition of Everly, but it would be inauthentic to say that’s all we felt this past month. There has been grief and gain.  The two have been inseparable this season. 

One evening shortly after we brought Everly home, all the kids were asleep and Matt and I sat on the couch and ugly-wept. We cried for Everly and the amount of loss we were watching her face.  We cried because we know she will always carry some of that loss with her.  We cried as we recounted how awful our flight home was. We cried for our boys who were adjusting to the transition, and for the one who struggled the most to welcome the changes.  We cried because the “us” we had been waiting and working for, for so long, felt different in the reality of it, and the “us” we had known so well, was altered.  We cried because we knew we were in uncharted (by us) territory and the loss of control we felt terrified us.  And we cried because we were so tired.

Our tears were healing as we released them that night.  We told each other what we feared and what we grieved and what we hoped for.  I remember looking at Matt at one point, my face swollen and snotty and his eyes red, knowing we were right in the sweet spot where the space before us was wide open with the chance to lay our full dependence on God.  Would we release our tears, give them up to God, and lean fully on him, entrusting our whole family to him?

“Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”  Psalm 30:5

Our sweet girl is laughing often these days.  Her joy and delight are contagious.  She has already added so much to “us” and though we were told that it might take 6 months before we feel like we don’t remember what life was like before she came along, it’s already beginning to feel that way, bit by bit. She is beginning to speak and try to communicate.  She was almost silent those first few weeks, aside from crying. She has come so far.  Our first week together, we spent most nights with her screaming, resisting sleep and resisting most of the ways we tried to comfort her.  We co-slept, had her in our room next to us, and then moved her to her own room.  She’s sleeping really well in her own room now, and is starting to go to sleep without a single tear. She loves to share and dance and give hugs, bopos (kisses) and Baymax-style fist bumps.  She adores her brothers. She loves being outside and squeals with delight over the smallest things, like walking on grass.  She is observant, inclusive, empathetic, joyful, silly, sensitive, feisty, shy and curious.  

We are in love with our littlest warrior. We are falling in love with what the 5 of us looks like as well.  Bumps and all.  And we are praying for the things in our family story that are bigger than we know how to fix or change or control. Releasing those things in prayer, instead of looking for another way to try to fix them ourselves, has been so humbling yet so freeing, powerful and unifying. We look ahead and have hope despite the unknown.  I pray the verses below to be true for our girl.

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and
clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11-12