Three years ago today, half way across the world, TM became our son. While we celebrate the fact that he joined our family, today is not necessarily a day of celebration because of all the pain and grief that the transition caused TM. When you're 3 1/2, you may understand the words that people are telling you, but what it really means to suddenly have a new mommy and daddy is beyond comprehension. This is particularly true when you have been happily living with people you thought of as 'Mommy' and 'Daddy' and can't remember anything or anyone else.
We were the interlopers. We were the ones taking TM away from everyone he knew and loved for what seemed to him no discernible reason. You can't explain to a 3 year old about being a ward of the state or about having no permanent place. All you can do is what you think is best and watch as the child grieves. And because TM grieved by raging, we found it difficult even to grieve with him. The best we could do was to pretend we liked him and hope and pray that we weren't making the biggest mistake of our lives.
But, today, I can look back at our beginning together and grieve for him now. He is now my son and his pain is my pain. The journey to reach this point was probably one of the most difficult paths I have ever walked. Parenting can be a humbling experience, but adopting a difficult child is positively so. In the process of learning to love TM, I discovered things about myself that were not very lovable. Being TM's mother has made me a better person.
I also look at our family today and wonder what it would look like if we had not taken the path that we did. When we were in Vietnam adopting TM, we had no idea that another of our sons was alive and living in an orphanage outside of Saigon. The path to TM also led to K. And because as Robert Frost says, "way turns onto way", I have to ask if our two new precious babies would exist had we chosen a different way. It's probably just as well that three years ago, holding a raging child in a hotel in Danang that I didn't know we would be adding four children in three years. Some things are better not known ahead of time. But I am eternally grateful that God led us down that path the He did.