I am absolutely amazed that it is already the last day of 2009. Tomorrow morning will be the first day of the year that we hope to be matched to our baby. 2010 will bring changes that neither of us can fully prepare for, but are more than ready to embrace. I have learned so much in 2009 about life, love, family, adoption, and change.

Life is what happens while you are making other plans. It is God's way of showing His sense of humor and His sense of understanding what you need and what you can handle (more than you can understand it yourself). Life is what keeps me sane while I wait for our referral. Life is what happens those other 29 days that we don't get an email update. Life is what we are still trying to live even though we are so, so ready for a new life, a life of parenting. 

Love is a strange thing...the way I can love a tiny person whom I have never met. Who may not even have been born as I write this. I love the idea of this tiny person changing the way I love forever. Love that does not need "biological" or "blood" ties. Love that does not need to share the same DNA and genes. An immediate and overwhelming love that can only be described as "motherly love". I did not "grow" this child in my body, but I don't think it is possible to love anyone or anything as much as I already love this child with every fiber of my being. I hope that I can love my child in a way that builds him or her up, creates an atmosphere of respect and communication, and instills a healthy sense of self. I hope that I do not cause my child self-doubt, and I hope that I do not ever break my child's spirit like some mothers do. I am blessed to have a mother that loved me in the same way I hope to love my child - not everyone is this blessed. I hope that because of her love and my father's love for me, I can in turn show my child this same type of love. This year I also learned that love is not always enough. Love cannot make up for the holes that will remain after being taken away from the only language, culture and home our child will have ever known. I know that I will have to provide other things in addition to love to fill these holes. I may never be enough to fill them, but I will try every day to teach my child about the Korean culture, about his or her foster family and birth family, to the extent that I have the information. I will bring my child to Korea if and when he wants to visit, but if he doesn't want me to go with him I will remember this post and I will stay behind. 

Family. As we build our family in 2010, we recognize the changes taking place in the family that we know now. For our relationship with each other, we find ourselves thinking less about us and more about becoming three. We are already starting to see a lifestyle change, especially with the holidays that just passed. We are holding more tightly to family traditions that we have created over the five years of our marriage. I have also realized in the past year that not everyone we come into contact with will recognize our family unit because there is often so little emphasis on adoptive families as families. I don't want us to be called "adoptive parents". We will be just parents. I don't want our child referred to as an "adopted child". He or she will just be our child. I really would prefer our family be referred to as simply a family, not an "adoptive family" or some term that would indicate we are a less-than-real family. Though my skin has gotten ALOT thicker this past year, it still hurts very much when I hear people use the terms "real child" or "real family", or inquire if we are going to try to have "our own" children. These people, whether friends, family or impersonal acquaintances have no idea how I have fought tooth, nail, and every piece of my heart for this child. If that is not real love, real motherhood, and real family then I can't possibly know what is. 

Adoption is the hardest, most joyous, terrifying and eye-opening process there is. I have laughed, cried and screamed during this journey, sometimes all at once. I hope that more people will choose adoption as Plan A, rather than seeing it as a last resort when pregnancy, fertility, in-vitro, etc. doesn't work out. Many people say adoption is not for everyone. I firmly believe that pregnancy is not for everyone. Fertility treatments are not for everyone. And correct, adoption is not for everyone. Adoption has tested our marriage, and we have passed that test and are stronger than ever. Adoption has tested our family, and our friendships, some of which have passed and are stronger, and some of which have not fared as well. We have made choices that we feel will help us survive this process and that will help our child thrive during the process as well. 

For all of you who read this blog, you know that change is coming for us. The biggest change of either of our lives will most likely happen in 2010. We are expecting a referral sometime in the new year, and if the timing is right the baby will also come home in 2010. Or at least early 2011. Stay tuned, as updates come around the beginning of each month, and I'll blog when I can. I am so ready to see my child's face and bring him or her home forever. Prayers, please, as we enter the New Year!! Thank you all for the support that has gotten us this far. And forgive my rambling, philosophical post-holidays do that to me lately. :)

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