In our first year of life with Lily, we celebrated every anniversary we could think of: the day we got the phone call, the day we met her, the day she had her first overnight visit, the day she came home for good, the day of her heart surgery, the day of her cardiac arrest. All of these culminated on September 19th, when we stood, surrounded by our amazing support system, and watched as the judge signed the papers that told the world that Lily was officially ours and today we celebrate the anniversary of that amazing day.
If you’ve heard me speak about Lily’s adoption, then you’re aware that Jess knew that Lily was ours from the moment we opened her file and started to hear about this incredibly tiny girl. I was more cautious, more fearful of things not working out, so while I hoped, I wouldn’t let myself believe that it was real….until the day we walked Lily’s foster mom’s house and all of my protective armour dropped away and I fell head over heels in love.
For any prospective adoptive parents out there who are afraid that they won’t be able to love a child who didn’t biologically come from them, I beg you to not let that be a factor in your decision. What I felt for Lily that day, from the moment I laid eyes on her, is what every mother feels the first time they see their child: a love that is beyond any description, any words. It is a love that it absolutely and completely pure. It is steadfast and strong and can not waver. It encompasses everything that you are and takes over your mind and your soul. I had been so afraid that I would never experience what my sister, my family, my friends had described to me but when she was handed to me and I drank her in, all of those fears melted away.
So, when we celebrate the anniversary of Adoption Day, this is what I’m truly celebrating: that I have a daughter who, in a matter of seconds, changed my life, and my entire self so completely.
Guys, do you remember what you were doing one year ago today? Because I do…well, kind of. At this time, one whole year ago, I was actually pretty out of it because I had just come out of my second open heart surgery. You see, when I was born there were some big time problems with my heart – I had something called an AVSD and coarctation of the aorta. When I was just 7 days old, and still with my birth parents, the doctors at Sick Kids did my first open heart surgery to make my heart a little better so that I could get strong enough and big enough to have the second surgery and on June 16th last year, they decided that I was finally ready. Now, I don’t remember a lot of the details (mostly because I was on a lot of drugs) but the mom’s say that today was the first day of a very scary 3 months for them. My heart surgeon was actually really happy with how well he was able to fix my heart, but as most you know, it was during this surgery that he officially diagnosed me with Pulmonary Vein Stenosis. He was such a great surgeon though, that he tried to fix that (as best he could) at the same time, so that I wouldn’t have to have ANOTHER surgery, but because he spent so much time playing with my heart, it was too swollen for them to close my chest and I spent 3 more days with my sternum open to let the swelling go down. Those three days were pretty scary for the mom’s. I hadn’t even been home with them for 3 weeks and suddenly the heart problem that they had expected from me turned out to be way worse and now they were hanging out in a CCCU room actually being able to look down and see my heart beat. It was pretty surreal.
And now here we are, one whole year later, and not only is my chest closed up all nicely and my heart is amazing and healthy and my right lung is strong and working hard, but I’m also sitting and seeing and have a tooth. And I’m playing in the sand for the first time ever, and hanging out with the mom’s and their friends at the park and trying ice cream and slushies (thanks Rachel!). I don’t know if you guys know, but us babies do a lot of growing up in one year…..
One whole year. Guys, it’s been one whole year since I came to live with the mom’s. It’s been a crazy, whirlwind of a year, but I think overall it’s been pretty amazing. I feel so lucky to be living with my mom’s but really, I think that they might be the really lucky ones. They keep talking today about how much I’ve grown, how big and strong I’ve become and how I’ve come so much further than most people thought I would last August. The mom’s and I were talking about doing a big dinner/party to celebrate my anniversary but in the end we decided to have a really big party in August – to celebrate everything: my adoption, our family and mostly that I’m here, kicking butts and taking names. Life is good.