Family in the making

The hardest part about this post was the title.? Or was it the content.? Or was it picking from the thousands of photos.? Who am I kidding, it’s all emotional.

2 years ago today we walked into Baby Home #2 in Khabarovsk, Russia as two people traveling on a journey.? We walked out parents (and now I’ve started to cry).? I look back at that first photo of us, as a true family, and think about how far we’ve come.

The little boy that was placed in our arms was quiet and scared.? His world was turned upside down.? He didn’t speak, but at 22 months could drink from a regular cup.? He would get entranced by shredding paper.? He couldn’t deal with transitions.? He perseverated on the smallest things.? He hated to be held.? It was rough.? Parenting a post-institutionalized child has been the biggest challenge of my life.? But at the same time I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In two years my child has far surpassed his age group in speech.? He had to learn how to drink from a sippy cup (although he’s given those up).? He still likes to shred paper, but likes to do it with scissors now.? He still struggles with transitions, but we no longer get a red rage.? He is finally begining to cuddle into me when being held and life is getting a little easier.

It breaks my heart to think about his life before September 5, 2006.? But I try not to forget.? It is a part of who he is and does have a residual impact on who he is.? That is evidenced by the fact that 2 years later he still rocks himself to sleep.? It may just be his thing and is no longer a big deal to us, but it is from never being picked up as a baby.? He is still frightened by loud noises and still has a fear of close face to face contact.

When I looked back at all that we’ve done in the past 2 years I am amazed.? Beach trips, visits from friends, farms, pumpkin patches, Alaska, Disneyland, throwing rocks in the Sound and the best is yet to come.

Here is a little journey down memory lane for you.? The slide show is a little long (probably 5ish minutes, 114 photos), but it will give you a good idea of how much Oleg has grown and changed from that first referral photo.

Happy Gotcha Day my little man.? I’m the luckiest mama in the whole world.

(you can click on the slideshow and it should take you to the big one in Picassa)

24 Comment

  1. Trish says: Reply

    This post was very touching. I admire you and others who have gone through the lengthy (and probably not very easy) process of adoption.

    Oleg is one lucky boy with great parents.

  2. Trusty Husband says: Reply

    Wow, 2 years already. I forget how much ‘baby’ there was back then. You’ve grown into quite the little man, my son. I can’t imagine my life without you. Thanks for blessing our lives with your laughter, smiles, boo boos, kisses, hugs and heart. I can’t wait to see where this adventure leads us next.

    Love, Daddy

  3. Lena says: Reply

    Happy Gotcha Day to all three of you!

  4. NEAL says: Reply

    we love you all!

  5. Happy Gotcha Day!

  6. kim says: Reply

    wow, Wow, WOW.

    It’s amazing to see your family grow with this precious boy.

    Happy Gotcha Day, I’d say all three ofyou are lucky!!!

    thanks for sharing the pics with us, they are beautiful.

  7. Carrie says: Reply

    Wow! 2 years… that’s amazing. Happy Gottcha Day Elle Family!!

  8. Cindy says: Reply

    What an amazing transformation! Oleg is adorable! I recognize so many things in those pictures from the Baby Home and the Markuel. Congratulations!

  9. Heather says: Reply

    I can’t believe its been two years already!! Thanks for the “happy tears” today πŸ™‚ We are soo excited to see you this evening! I love the ducky pics and the pumpkin carving πŸ™‚ We love you all very much! Happy Gotcha Day πŸ™‚

  10. Happy 2 years!

    Amazing – I love how the internet has allowed us all to witness the birth of these families.

  11. Congratulations on your two year familyversary.

  12. Lee says: Reply

    Happy day, nephew! We are so happy and blessed to know you, love you and laugh with you. We are glad we “gotch ya” in our lives!
    Hugs and kisses,
    Auntie Lee, Uncle Wayne and Cousin B

  13. We GotchYA! Congratulations to the Elles. πŸ™‚

  14. Willow says: Reply

    omg you just made my day! over 100 images of my favorite blond boy! just stop! he is so cute it’s stupid!! stupid!!!

  15. Melissa says: Reply

    He looks exactly like a combo between you two. I guess that is because he is.

    What great pictures! His smile and happiness seemed to grow with each one.

    Happy Gotcha Day!

  16. mom says: Reply

    Makes your mom cry too! Watching his growth and witnessing that sad, scared little babe grow into who we all know and love… a beautiful, happy, and priceless little boy. Happy Gotcha Day, from his babada and dedu! We are ever sooooo blessed!

  17. Congratulations on two years home. You survived! When you were in Russia on trip two, I was beginning my adoption. Your blog was a great resource to me…thank you!

  18. Lauri says: Reply

    Happy Day…I could feel the emotion in that post

    Hugs to you all

  19. Lee says: Reply

    Coco-ma-ding-dong handsome man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Love you,
    Auntie Lee

  20. ani says: Reply

    happy gotcha day! his eyes positively sparkle… what a beautiful, happy, little man. blessings to you all.

  21. Tricia says: Reply

    He’s a wonderful little boy! Congrats to your family on making it this far and all the best for the future! You guys have been an inspiration to me.

  22. Joel413 says: Reply

    Your little man is such a treasure. I had a blast hanging out with him at Frist Park, and I am glad to be part of your lives and a part of his too. Here’s to many more years of friendship! Congratlations!

  23. sorry I am late…Happy Family day!

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