We survived Emma’s TWO birthday parties, baptism, and her actual birthday last month. I’m still not ready to say the “t-word” just yet, but I can comfortably say Emma is a year old. Thankfully, she didn’t grow up overnight. She was celebrated just as she should have been. And she loves cake. (And carbs. And just about everything else.)
I spent a lot of time before Emma’s birthday thinking about “this time last year” in addition to cleaning and decorating our house. Maybe it’s normal to reminisce around your child’s first birthday. Our time seems different than most.
This time last year, we were living out of a hotel in a different state. Emma still hadn’t been discharged from the hospital. We were having regular reminders we weren’t your average family, namely social worker visits and calls, questions about birth parents, awkward explanations of how/when/where/why we have a newborn, and confusion around our relationship to Emma. Some of that STILL happens to this day. It can be annoying, but it’s a reality.
Since Emma’s celebrations, I’ve spent a lot of time gathering pictures and writing letters to Emma’s birth parents. A process that I always feel rushed despite the best of intentions. I wanted to “show” them so many things that I couldn’t quite capture in words. And, I hurt. For Emma. For her birth parents. I hope that I was able to capture Emma’s silly personality and adventurous spirit through photos at least.
We also finally received Emma’s birth certificate, and I went to the social security office ASAP to start the process of getting her a social security number. Hopefully, this is the last tedious step and feels like a finalization to the adoption legal process.
Now that Emma’s first year of life is in our memories, I actually feel lighter. Maybe it’s because I held myself to some high, unrealistic expectation. Maybe it’s all the parts and pieces of adoption. Maybe it’s a temporary feeling, but I’ll take it.
Emma is amazing, and we are going to do everything possible to make her 2nd year of life even better than the 1st.