Every Year I Pause on this Day

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Seven years ago today – seven years ago – we met our children for the first time. It was a day filled with hope, longing fulfilled, and exhaustion. Dimples was all energy.  Eby was cautious, quiet,and scared. Little Man was a tiny baby who seemingly adjusted with ease. Bee was charming and captured our hearts. We didn’t know then that the next year we would travel back to Ethiopia and bring her home to our family too.

Honeybee-at-airport

This is a day when I pause and consider what God has done in our lives and in our family. We are not the people we were before these four incredible children became part of the Qualls family. The Lord has walked so closely with us, through the suffering, the joy, the tearing and mending of our hearts. He is still with us.

On our Forever Day, February 24, I remember that we are forever changed. Thanks be to God.

Addis-Airport

adoption announcement

We have no idea what the next year will bring. And we trust him.

Do you celebrate Forever Day?

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

7 Comments

  1. Julie Blair Pitts
    February 24, 2014

    Yes, we do. February 14 and August 20. Two days that will forever be imprinted on my mind.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 24, 2014

      It's amazing how powerful the memories of those first meetings are. Good to hear from you, Julie.

      Reply
  2. Emily B
    February 24, 2014

    We do celebrate forever day. We celebrate on the anniversary of the day we picked up our girls from their previous foster family and brought them home with us. We were also a foster home, but we knew we were their pre-adoptive family. We didn't know whether we would celebrate forever (gotcha) day or adoption day, which happened 7 months after forever day., or both. The girls decided it for us. To the older two, they became members of our family on the day they moved in with us. The actual adoption day was a formality, and they really could care less about that day. They love the milestone of "how many years now," and get in the mood to celebrate in July, when forever day rolls around. All of us have really fond memories of that day, and the week of travel and family activities that followed. Ours was an out-of-state adoption, so that first week of getting to know each other and moving the girls cross-country was really intense. But it was also really good.
    Adoption day falls during a time of year when two of the girls already experience seasonal triggers, completely unrelated to the adoption. We typically are working through the reemergence of emotional pain during that time, so we don't even mention adoption day. That could take an already rough time and turn it into a nightmare. So we celebrate forever day instead, and it is a happy day for all of us. My youngest daughter has recently (finally) let go of some of her fear and has decided to work on attaching to us. She has made more progress in the last month than in the last year. She is softening more every day, has begun earnestly seeking our affection, and has begun taking ownership of her actions (admitting when she's wrong, telling the truth, apologizing without prompting, and expressing gratitude). It's like watching her blossom in front of my eyes. I'm excited for forever day this year…I think it will be an even more special day for her, now that she has really begun to "own" us as her parents.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 24, 2014

      Emily, that is so lovely, thank you for sharing it. I am encouraged by the progress your daughter is making. That is wonderful.

      Reply
  3. Anonymous
    February 24, 2014

    When our child was with us, we did not give to much attention to "Gotcha Day." It was too painful of a reminder of how difficult and different our family had become. It also would have ben another day for the child to expect much and nothing would satisfy. The day can cause great pain but also bring back sweet memories of those early days that remind you of how much you love the child.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 24, 2014

      I completely understand.

      Reply
  4. Margaret
    February 24, 2014

    We have a month of anniversaries: Jan 14, the day our son and I met; Jan 7, the day 3 years later that my husband and I got married and we became a family of 3; Feb 1, the day 3 years after that that we arrived in the US with our daughter and became a family of 4. We met our daughter the previous July and spent a week visiting her at Kidane Mihret, but for some reason, we celebrate the day we arrived back in the US and our son met us at the airport. It works nicely to have all these anniversaries in what can be an otherwise dark and gloomy time. Although, to be honest, they haven't always been happy. Our children took a very long time to see each other as siblings. We just found out at a parent conference at school that our daughter shared with the girls in her class that even though 7th grade boys are goofy and annoying, eventually boys can become sweet, kind and wonderful like her 16 year old brother. These anniversaries are a good chance to reflect on how our lives have changed and our belief that we are all growing through this complicated family journey.

    Reply

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