An anniversary of the day you came home with your new family. Synonymous with “Gotcha Day”, “Adoption Day” and the like.
One year ago today, a very tiny, skin-and-bones, wide-eyed 7-year-old Haitian boy stepped onto U.S. soil hand in hand with his Mommy and Daddy and became a U.S. Citizen and the youngest McGreevey child. I am sitting here completely exhausted, a text to study for, remnants of pokémon card packs strewn all over the kitchen table and a pile of dishes in the sink…and I. Am. Overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed that we flew through an entire year and it feels somehow like the Haitian sun was overhead just yesterday, yet simultaneously – eons ago.
We’ve come a long way in a year. If anyone had told me, “don’t worry it gets better” when we were in month two I probably would have said a few choice words that shouldn’t be repeated and then cried myself to sleep. My anxiety was high, we were walking on eggshells with our new family member avoiding conflict as much as possible while trying to build a base of trust and dependence that we could use for support when the conflict became necessary. We had a few really, really rough days – but thankfully the good ones far outweighed the hairy, and about the 6-month mark had settled into some good routine and processes.
In one year, Wesley has put on almost 25lbs, (guessing about 95% of that is pure muscle mass), grown about 5″ in height, grown an additional 5″ in hair (LOL), and gone through 3 sizes of shoes and clothing. He has gone from happily accepting any clothing I had him to wear, to meticulously choosing his own outfits each morning (and subsequently changing 1-3x before a final decision is made). Wesley is a wealth of knowledge, a human sponge, and can tell you how far we are from the sun, the planets in their correct order, the rank in hottest to coldest and what each planet is made of. He knows which ones are likely to have a climate like earth, and which ones are uninhabitable. He even told me the other day exactly how many moons each planet had and how long it would take for us to travel there.
One year ago, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up – he responded with “nothing” – because in Haiti I really don’t think anyone asks these kids that question. They will be lucky if they can answer that question “full” or “loved”. When you ask Wesley that question today, the top of his list is “professional soccer player like Christiano Ronaldo”, followed by “astronaut who studies rocks on other planets” and “a dad” and a rotating fourth choice. He lives for school and sports, is battling the internal push and pull of happy/sad that school is ending for the summer, and is super excited for the local outdoor pool to open up for summer swimming.
Wesley has more friends than I can count, and consistently makes friends around him easily, even if he doesn’t know their names. He still hovers over the acceptance of physical affection with mom/dad, brother and sisters, and refuses to say “I love you” – but some days are more obviously vulnerable than others, and nearly every night, regardless of the day, he snuggles up next to us as we read stories and lay with him until he falls asleep. He loves his big extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas and grandpas, loves to be silly and plays the “obnoxious little brother” role like he was gunning for an Oscar. When the kids bicker and fight, tattle and whine, we know we’ve arrived at “part of the family” status.
A few months ago, we took a family trip to California over Spring Break, and Wesley got his first taste of California sunshine and Disneyland. He had the time of his life and often tells us we should move to California. 😉 His favorite ride was the Radiator Springs Racers, with the new Guardians of the Galaxy (previously Tower of Terror) as a close runner up. We had some fantastic laughs on scary rides, and he surprised us all! Braeden was once again left holding all the bags and pin-studded lanyards at all the crazy rides! While we were there, we also celebrated Wesley’s 8th birthday, so he got to be the only one in our family who has ever celebrated a birthday in Disneyland! Some good friends were able to connect with us while we were there, so we shared some memorable rides and birthday cupcakes to celebrate the extra special day.
Our lives here are moving from one adventure to the next as Spring sports wrap up (PRAISE JESUS – we had 7 sports at the same time between 4 kids – stinking overlap!) and we head into a super-light summer round. Wesley just had tryouts today for a local club soccer team, just finished baseball, and will be going to several day camps and sports camps over the summer to keep busy! Braeden finished his JV Baseball gig playing for the high school (after he finally got his cast off…he finally played the last few games) and decided that since he hadn’t been able to play much, he wanted to play summer ball – so he snagged an available spot on a summer league roster and is playing one more round! Logan is wrapping up the last few weeks of her softball team (Kris is coaching) with a bunch of girls from school and loving it! When summer hits, I thinks she plans to sit poolside, and eat bonbons until September…she’s in for a rude awakening. LOL! Abby is finishing her last week of rec soccer this week and will pop into some summer trainings to prep for fall soccer at King’s Way in the fall. Kris is almost done coaching until summer is over! I’m hopeful I’ll actually get to hold a conversation longer than 3 minute update sessions when he’s finally done! 🙂
My Haitian goods company, Bél Lavi, is closing its doors – so if you want some incredible pieces at great prices, shop online at http://www.bel-lavi.com with code CLOSEOUT20 at checkout for an extra 20% off already-reduced prices!
With the exit of that company comes a brief bit of sadness, but also a joy in knowing that I was able to share so much of my son’s heritage through handmade pieces around North America! We had customers in Canada, Florida, East Coast and all over in between – it was amazing! Those of you who have supported that venture – THANK YOU!
My teaching this year at the school has turned into a blessing – albeit a hard one – but I have grown to love and cherish those 360 elementary students so much! Which makes it even harder to know that I’ll be leaving my position when school finishes. The school decided to pull the program from the lineup, and there isn’t yet another place for me to transfer into – so until there’s a spot that lines up with my passions, I’m going to sit it out!
However, due to the influx of free time in my schedule and a long-time brewing interest, I started (and finished) Real Estate School and am taking my broker’s exam on Friday morning! I have wanted to get into Real Estate here in Washington for over 10 years, and each time Kris and I mull it over, it just hasn’t been the right time – well – we finally decided there’s no time like the present! 🙂 I’m super excited, and will be teaming up with a local firm here in Vancouver. If anyone is in Washington State and needs help buying/selling you know where to find me!
As I prepare to close my laptop on Wesley’s Year One, I want to end with a heartfelt “Thank you”. To those of you who prayed, thank you. To those of you who listened, thank you. To those of you who laughed with us, thank you. Cried with us, thank you. Rolled your eyes with us – ESPECIALLY thank you to you eye rollers. Eye Rollers UNITE. There are so many pieces of these processes and parenting in general that just need a good, solid eye roll. I actually saw a T-shirt the other day that said, “I’m sorry, did I roll my eyes out loud again?” Yes. I need that one.
Thank you to those of you who have walked beside us and continue to walk (and sometimes run) the course daily. Thank you to those of you loving on our kiddos, loving on Wesley, encouraging us as parents and friends. Please don’t stop. We haven’t “arrived” until the day we step through Heaven’s gates, so we will graciously accept your prayers and encouragement!
My eyes are rolling around now, not because I’m annoyed – but because I feel like I haven’t slept in a year (which is actually highly probable). So, with that, I’ll say again,
Happy Famiversary, Wesley! We love you!