It was almost exactly two years ago that I sat with my best friend in my dining room folding little girls’ clothes. Timidly, I spoke her name out loud. The name I had uttered so many times before. Silently in prayers pleading with God to give her a family, quietly when asking my hurting friend if she’d heard anything more about her. But I had never said her name in a conversation so heavy with meaning for me personally.
Right now, I can’t believe that this same little girl is lying asleep on my bedroom floor next to her little sister. Curled up in a sleeping bag that her daddy bought for her because hardly stops talking about “when we all go camping.” In the moments when I pause to think about her and her sister all I can come up with is–how can it be??
On that day two years ago after a long discussion about the whys and the why nots, I had pretty much talked myself out of the very idea. She would not be my daughter—could not. There were too many impossible hurdles to overcome. I wasn’t sure why I felt so burdened for her. Certainly, it wasn’t the first time I had prayed for a family for this precious child.
But still….something was different. God seemed to be calling us to action.
This story has been a long time in the works. Maybe even longer than any of us realize. I have been hesitant to share the details of our adoption story. For so long everything just felt so raw. Like opening a not-yet-healed wound. Although, that’s a poor analogy because there has been so much joy. But the heartache that is so entwined with every adoption has hung like a shadow over me at times. As we near the anniversary of our time in Uganda once again, I’m filled with nostalgia. Everywhere I look I remember this time two years ago. How we were so prepared for our daughter. And then God knocked us off our feet again. This year I’m able to look beyond the pain to see how God brought us all together at just the right time. And in a way only He could.
Well, after I blogged about our first ever day of school with Teddy, we turned around and had another first day with JJ about 2 weeks later. The girls are in two separate schools this year, which sounds like way more of a headache than it actually is ;). We’re able to manage pick up and drop off times easily on my days off, and we have childcare lined up for both on the days I work. One of our huge saving graces here is that Teddy’s school is right across the street from Corey’s workplace. He can drop Jovia at her school on the early side, swing through the drop off line with Teddy, and then head to work. I’m so thankful that even though this has been a big transition all the logistical details sort of fell into place.
It’s been a huge change, but both of our kids love school, and we’re really grateful for the schools they’re in. I’ve actually struggled a lot with the adjustment of not knowing what goes on every day and what and how they’re learning and still trying to help them at home. I really did enjoy seeing how their little minds worked and getting creative with how we did school. I also loved that I knew exactly what they were learning and how.
There are still some times that I miss the home school days, and I’m still struggling with a lot of guilt over making the decision to put the girls in school. I don’t tell you this to garner any sort of sympathy or praise. When I’m able to think this through logically, I still know that sending my kids to school does not make me a bad mom. It’s just that I’m slowly coming to this realization that there is often a difference in our parenthood ideal and our parenting reality. And even more slowly, I’m coming to terms with the fact that what I imagine to be best for my kids sometimes in reality just will not work for our family. And you know what? I think I’m finding some peace and rest in that. God has given me the life I have and the kids I have. If home schooling really was the better choice for our family, I have no doubt that He would change our circumstances to allow that. So for right now we find ourselves in the pulic school system and we’re just really really thankful for access to good education for our kids.
So, JJ. She was more excited for school than just about any kid I’ve ever known. There was not a day that went by in the weeks leading up to the beginning of the year that we didn’t hear about school and how thrilled she was to be going. And the questions. She had aout 50 million questions about what would happen and how. Most of them I could not aswer adequately (sorry, JJ) because this girl thrives on details and wanted every.little.one. Several days before her first full day she and Corey attended the school open house and were able to meet her teacher. That night she was over the moon with excitement over a teacher who has “brown skin just like me” and a little girl she already knew from our friends’ old neighborhood in her class. I think from that moment on she was literally counting the hours until she got to start school. Her excitement was contagious and relieved a lot of my anxiety about sending a kid who had never seen the inside of a classroom into second grade.
Does she look so sweet or what? Jjajja sent us first day of school dresses and this one had tiny elephants all over it and a crisscross back. Her sense of style is on point. 😉
I got to walk her into her classroom on the first day and meet her teacher quickly before saying goodbye. She skipped down the hallway, holding my hand and chattering about how great her classroom was and how much fun she was going to have.
e second day, she was ready to tackle the walk by herself. She stopped me about 30 yards from the front doors, said “I can go by myself now,” walked a little way, turned around and waved at me, then skipped the rest of the way to the doors.
And that’s that. She’s been just as enthusiastic about school every morning since. She’s put in a lot of hard work so far this year—she’s still really behind in a lot of areas—but she is loving the social aspect of attending school and her desire to learn has not waned. For now, this seems like a good fit and I’m so thankful for God’s provision and grace for my kiddos. ❤️
I’m going to tell you something I’ve learned about myself since having kids. I’m grouchy after working night shift. Like, really really grouchy. I think Corey pretty much got used to tip-toeing around the sleep-deprived monster (yep, that’s me…) when it was just us. But kids kind of expect you to act the same whether you’re well-rested or spent the previous night taking care of sick people. Which is how I’ve learned that sometimes I’m just incapable of patience and thoughtful understanding post night shift. I’m crabby and nauseous and all around not a very fun person to interact with.
I tell you this because I’ve worked nights for the last two weeks. It’s been rough on all of us. So on Sunday, after my last night shift for the week, when Corey suggested going to Duke Gardens, we all jumped at the chance to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful weather. For those of you not in Durham, Duke Gardens is over 50 acres of gardens on Duke University’s campus. It is especially lovely in the springtime and such a fun activity on a warm afternoon. We spent the afternoon wandering the grounds of the gardens, pointing out various colors, running in the open spaces and just enjoying time together as a family.
Here are some pictures from our time there if you’d like to see :).
You can only catch JJ being serious for a minute or two before she’s back to her happy, smiley, silly self.
This one is totally a daddy’s girl.
Enjoying the sunshine while the girls ran around one of the big fields.
Teddy stood and stared at this statue of a little girl for such a long time, it was cracking me up. The girls were also scandalized by her, um…lack of clothing on her backside ;).
Up close and personal, the way she likes to be, haha.
What do you do to rest and recover from an exhausting week? I also had lots of iced coffee on Sunday, which I think helped me perk up quite a bit ;). Coffee and my family…two of my favorite things in the whole world.