I have something to say, I'm just not sure how to say it. I've been thinking about how I wanted to write a 1 year “Gotcha-day-anniversary” blog post for a couple weeks. Every time I think I know what I want to say, it comes out wrong. Basically, nothing about this past year has been crazy. It's been completely normal. Easy. Just life. Rayla is just a kid. Just like every kid. Actually, probably easier than most kids. Over the past 365 days (366, it was a leap year), she has done exactly the same things that every other kid has done. She ate and played and slept (love what a great sleeper she is!). She tried new foods, she's learning to walk, and she mastered English comprehension. She expanded her vocabulary, and she learned how to express her desires (yogurt... all the time, she always desires yogurt). She developed a fantastic sense of humor, she is quite the little ham. She is also very polite and remembers please and thank you most of the time. On the down side, she also has acquired her father's horrible taste in hip-hop music. We compromise with Taylor Swift, but I'm slightly disturbed by how much she loves “Bad Blood”.
When we walked out of the orphanage in Vratsa, Bulgaria 1 year ago today, we knew all our lives would be completely changed. The same way that any new parent's life is changed. I've been pleasantly surprised to discover though, that your life only changes in the ways you want it to. The things you enjoyed doing before having kids are still possible to do with a kid (gasp!) Trivia night, movie night, sushi night, sleep in Sunday mornings, random car rides, hikes in the woods... turns out that kids can do all those things too! So.... to answer everyone's favorite question.. No, my life didn't completely change! My life is pretty much exactly the same, with the addition of a cute little side-kick.
To answer a few other popular questions...Is the medical stuff scary?... No, her medical stuff is not scary, I'm a Vet, medical stuff is cool to me. Besides, her medical stuff is rather boring. She is basically a very healthy kid with an undiagnosable abdominal distention issue. Some parents get up early to take their kids to hockey practice, we get up early to drive to Boston Children's and play “Let's Stump the Smart Doctors!” It's almost as boring as hockey practice.
Does she feel like your “real kid”?... Well, unless I've been having a year long hallucination, she is my real kid. Oh, biological kid!? Yes, she does feel like my real kid. Not that I have anything to compare to, but I'm fairly certain I like her more than I would a bio kid, because she didn't make me gain a ton of weight or lose a years worth of sleep. In all seriousness, I was concerned about this too. I was worried that there was something about squeezing a slimy newborn out of you, that made you more attached to them, than if you just picked them off the internet. I was wrong. She is my real kid, I couldn't possibly love her more! Want to know something else strange... I would have never believed that postpartum depression could happen when you adopt, but IT DOES! Crazy, huh? I was lucky, mine wasn't bad and only lasted about 2 weeks, and I only cried a few times.
Aren't you worried about her future and having her live with you forever? Yes, I believe this sets me apart for all other parents. I'm certain that parents of typical children NEVER worry about their kids futures or what happens if they become liberal arts majors and spend most of their 20's and 30's “finding themselves” while playing Xbox on their parent's couch. Do I worry about her more than other parents... nope, I'm not that big of a worrier. She'll be fine.
Speaking of being fine, I guess that was the point I wanted to make. In a world full of deadlines and goals and pressure and anxiety and the need to excel at everything, everywhere, all the time …. ahhhh.... it is so relaxing and unburdening to know that my child is happy and that's all that matters. She's fine. We will all be fine. Other parents may want their children to be the best baseball player, or the smartest doctor, or the President of the United States..... (Rayla will never become President, as she wasn't born on US soil... sorry kid). The secret to life isn't about reaching the top, its about being happy to go through the journey. Have fun, eat yogurt all day long, rock out to a little “Bad Blood.” It doesn't matter if your journey sounds a little crazy. It's not a competition.
I guess that's all I really wanted to say. Happy 1 year Gotcha-day munchkin! Mamma and Dadda love you so much!