Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saving the Memories

I love scrapbooking. I mean, I really LOVE scrapbooking. I just knew I would scrap until I dropped once I had a child of my very own. HA! I can't even use the bathroom by myself anymore, so how in the world can I find 45 minutes to myself to work on a scrapbook? But then I discovered digital scrapping. PERFECT! Or so I thought. Now I can't even find 20 minutes to digiscrap a page or two. Thus the reason for my blog. I never thought of myself as the blogging type. But as a relatively new mother, I'm learning a lot of new things about myself.

My friend Sarah created a blog for her daughter, Lilyana. (Apologies, Sarah, for picking the same design for my blog that you did, but I just love the green!) As I read her blogs and realized I'm at risk of losing so many precious, precious memories if I don't do something quick, I decided to give it a shot. So here goes.....

Eric and I have been married for 14 years as of this past April 17. He wasn't excited about the idea of having children when we married, and I just assumed that somewhere along the way I would get pregnant and he would become excited about the idea and we would live happily ever after with our children. Some things just don't turn out as you expect them to. As I reached my 39th birthday and continued to fight the ever-losing battle against endometriosis, I saw my dreams of having children slipping away with the endless tick-tock-TICK-TOCK of my biological clock. I gave in and had a complete hysterectomy in March 2004. As my 40th birthday loomed, I planned trip after trip to celebrate the big day, but came home after each trip to an empty house. It quickly lost it's excitement.

On New Year's Eve in 2004, Eric asked where I wanted to go for our next trip. I said, how about Guatemala? I had been thinking about adoption, but really didn't think he would agree to it. Surprise, surprise ... he agreed! We started the adoption process in early March, 2005. After a long, long wait and a very rocky road, we received a referral for Maya Papaya on August 2, 2005 and she joined our family on May 1, 2006. She was 9 months old and perfect in every way! I cannot describe the wonder, the excitement, the absolute and utter joy that she has brought to our lives.

Maya was born in Esquintla, Guatemala on July 26, 2005. A Leo. Oh, my. Have you read about Leo's? I must say she fits the characteristics to a 't'. But I adore every strong-willed bone in that tiny body. We received regular pictures each month of our precious bundle, and I treasure those early pictures. We flew to Guatemala on April 30, 2006, after a completely sleepless night for mom while I packed and repacked our suitcases all night long. Not only was I going to be a new mother, I was going to become that new mother in another country where we did not even speak the language! Can you imagine my stress level?

Maya was brought to us the next day. I was disappointed we couldn't get her the day we arrived, but as it turned out, after my sleepless night, it was good to have a night to sleep before my life changed (for the better, of course!) forever. I saw her in the lobby, but just smiled at the lady holding her because I thought she was way too tiny to be MY child, a 9-month old. Wrong! The lawyer's facilitator saw me and asked "Lawson?" I replied, "yes?" And he said, "that is your baby!" She was so adorable with her little trademark pigtails sticking straight up! She had on a little pink shorts outfit, frilly white socks, and a new (used) pair of size 2 shoes they had bought for her to wear to her new home. She came with a pink bottle marked "Crayola", and she held on to that bottle like it was a lifeline. Maya never had any separation anxiety when the orphanage worker left us. She and I bonded immediately. It took daddy, ummmm, a few days to break the ice with her.

We met several other couples at the Marriott in Guatemala City that week. We stayed 7 days so that we could have some time alone with Maya before having our rather large family descend upon us at home. We usually ate at the hotel restaurant (Eric still longs for those plantains), and we took a few sightseeing and shopping trips. All in all, it was the very best week of our lives!
We learned that Maya loved to giggle, and that she loved bathtime and the water, and she loved her little pink bottle. She also loved music, so we borrowed the small piano from the children's suite at the hotel and kept it in our room for Maya to play with. She slept through the night from our very first night.

We flew home on May 6 and arrived in Greenville-Spartanburg airport around 8:00 p.m. We had quite a large group there to meet us. I know they were anxious to meet Maya, but I stayed on the plane to dress her (I had left her in her pjs for the flight home) in what quickly became my favorite blue denim dress of hers, with the matching hat. I wanted her to look perfect! And she did, of course. It was a whirlwind of excitement there in the airport. Everyone cried and laughed and hugged and kissed, and Maya seemed absolutely confused by whatever was happeneing. But she was a trooper, and put up with being passed around from person to person. Many of them then came to our house to continue getting acquainted with Maya. We opened presents and ate (family tradition .. where one or more are gathered, there will be food!) Maya sat in the living room floor and put on quite a show for the crowd ... she laughed and clapped and delighted all! We didn't get to bed until close to midnight that night, but she handled the late hour very well!

I can't believe it's been over a year since that wonderful child was brought into our lives. She has continued to delight and amaze everyone ever since that first night. My greatest joy comes in hearing her say, "hey, mommy!" and in receiving a sloppy, wet Maya kiss!

And now we are hot on the trail in adopting Maria, who was born on March 6, 2007. We received her referral on March 16, and we couldn't be happier about our second daughter and our second upcoming trip to Guatemala. We have no idea how long the process will take this time, but we are so hopeful that we will have her home before Christmas.

There is so much more I want to say about Maya and her first year in our family. As we quickly approach her 2nd birthday, I am grateful for our family and friends who have supported our decision and welcomed Maya with open arms. I do hope I can continue to document the amazing moments we have. I know there will be times when I find myself saying, "how in the world can I find 5 minutes to update Maya's blog?" But I hope to persevere. More than anything, I want Maya to know how very much she is loved and wanted and needed. I live for her laughter, and her smiles, and the way she makes my heart melt when she says, "hold you!"
Until next time.....