In March Mark took a mission trip to Guatemala with 24 other guys from our church, Zane attended his first livestock show and carnival, Mark and I saw Brad Paisley at the rodeo, I attended an adoptive moms conference in Atlanta, I began praying with a group of women from HFBC about Human Trafficking in Houston, and Zane went to his first Easter Egg hunt at HFBC's "Spring Loaded" event!
In April Zane and I went on a bluebonnet tour with Grandmom and her friend Patricia, the Kishbaugh's (friends we met in Ethiopia) came to Houston, we took Zane on his first 5K ride in a stroller with Aid Sudan (now Every Village), the Easter Bunny came to our house (and to Nana's house all in the same day!), and I realized I was 4 weeks pregnant!
In May we heard our new baby's heartbeat for the first time, attended Zane's first Aggie baseball game, and packed up our apartment (returned all our borrowed stuff is really more how it went) and moved in with Mimi and Poppi while our house was being finished up in Garden Oaks. This time was so precious to us! Zane got to swim and play in the neighborhood splash pads almost every day...until he fell, hit his head on an iron gate, and got three stitches in his head! So far he's had a black eye, stitches in his head, and several cuts and bruises. Clearly, he is all boy. I'm just crossing my fingers that he doesn't have a broken limb. I nearly threw up just looking at the blood from the gash in his head. I am not good with pain.
The house was originally supposed to be done at the beginning of May, so our apartment contract ran out. As the due date approached, it was clear that it would be June (maybe July) before the house would be ready for move-in. I hear that's how it always goes...but this was certainly a test of our patience. We had not seen hardly any of our belongings since we returned from Africa in September. It was becoming the joke that it would be like Christmas morning opening our storage unit and getting our stuff back! In retrospect, I can see God's blessing in our transition.
As Zane was being uprooted from his transition home, nannies, friends, and what he knew as normal, Mark and I too were being uprooted from our home in New Orleans, our jobs, our friends, and our church. As we settled into an apartment together, all of us were experiencing the oddity of a temporary home, the unfamiliarity of other people's stuff around us, the loss of one life, and the blessing of a new. What a gift God gave us all in being able to relate to one another and truly empathize with each other's grief, insecurity, and excitement that overwhelmed us like a roller coaster ride.
In June, we moved into our house that is still a work in progress as workers are in and out every day refining the details of the construction. We are thankful that Zane is finally sleeping in a bed (not a pack-n-play, as he did for 9 months!), and that we have a nice family room and play room to spread out in. Our decision to add 15 feet to the back of the house proved to be a vital one, as now we will free up a bedroom for the new baby! I'm excited to get started on decorating that room! We have been blessed with the most precious neighbors (who we new previously from HFBC) on one side, and a great Louisiana couple on the other side (did I mention she is a 7th grade teacher?). How good God is to bring comfort and a sense of home to us in this new place.
Surprisingly, Zane has made the transition to the new house beautifully, which we can only credit to God, the Father, preparing his little heart. Just as the peace in his eyes showed he knew the day he saw us we would be his parents, so did the joy in his face as he realized this new home was his house. We are so thankful that he has easily transitioned to a "big boy bed" (trundle of a full size bed). His expression was priceless as we laid him in it. He squinted his eyes, grinned, and said, "Thank you, Mommy. Thank you, Daddy," as he buried his head in the pillow. So sweet.
After moving in, we took a weeklong trip to Galveston where Zane saw the ocean for the first time. This was a remarkable memory for us as he ran out on to the sand, splashed his feet in the water, and squealed like a seagull for about 30 minutes straight. There was so much delight, enthusiasm, and joy in that little boy that he could hardly keep it in. I think if we had spent one more minute there, he would have burst with happiness.
While we were there, Mark, Zane, and I reflected on our first meeting. July 9, 2011 was the day we met Zane face-to-face for the first time. His eyes were engrained on my heart forever. He didn't cry, but whimpered nervously as I took him out of his nanny's arms. In less that 5 minutes, his head was pressed to my chest, and his body limp in my arms. In that moment, we all knew God's presence was there with us. We will always remember this first meeting as if it was a birthday. For us, it was the day our family was finally together, and we would never be the same.
Now that we are settling in to our house, developing a better routine, and getting used to the new normal, I plan to keep a journal of our family and the journey to the new baby. Stay posted!