There are so many things about adoption that you really can't understand until you experience them. As we come up on the one year anniversary of bringing Grace home, I am starting to reflect on a few of these things. The number one thing that I DIDN'T anticipate was just how much I would LOVE Ethiopia. I miss it terribly. I miss the beautiful, loving people, the kind and compassionate care givers we met, and most of all, the HOPE that they have. I didn't meet one Ethiopian that complained about a single thing. Coming home to the good old US is a huge blessing, but I can't help but think that WE are the ones missing out on so much. It's hard to comes to terms with our material blessings when I have met and seen so many people living without. I can't wait to go back to Ethiopia. Hopefully I will be writing a post about my return trip very soon!
The second thing that I didn't anticipate, was just how fast Grace would grow after we arrived home. Take a look at these two pictures. The first picture was taken a month after we came home. The second picture was taken ten months later...crazy...she is like a little girl now and not a toddler AT ALL. She has never acted like a toddler, but now she doesn't even look like one. She is still a little on the small side, but she has grown like a weed (and not just her hair ;)).
The third thing I wish I would have known, was just how much the kids would love having a little sister. I had nothing to worry about. They are so good to Grace. She is a lot of fun to play with and has become a mascot of sorts for all of our bio kids and their friends. I am sure it can get annoying at times (like when friends want to play with your little sister instead of you), but for the most part, the kids are so great with Grace. They have welcomed her and treat her like a regular old sibling- fights and all. Now if only I could get her to understand that she does not have the same rules, privileges and expectations that her older siblings have....
One of the most surprising things that I wish I would have known when we decided to adopt, was that is might have been nice to adopt a sibling group. It would be awesome to have another Ethiopian in the house. I doubt that I would have ever been able to convince anyone else in this house to do it though ;) I was goofing around with Bryce and Grace yesterday and I asked them if they would like to adopt another little one from Ethiopia. I was SHOCKED when they both said "YES!!!!" I sort of figured Bryce has had enough with the sharing, business of having four kids, etc., but he was totally on board (even offering to share his bedroom with a little brother). Grace surprised me as well. I figured she liked being the star and wouldn't want to share the spotlight, but she started begging for a little sister or brother. Ha! Well, it is NOT in our near future. I am sure my husband is taking a deep breath reading this post. No worries honey...by the look of our dining room table (and all of the miscellaneous papers and projects on it), there is no way that I could be organized enough to adopt again. I think adding a 4th child to the mix has made me well aware that the other thing I never expected through the adoption, is just how messy our house could get by adding one more person to it!