Happy Homecoming Day! One Whole Year!

Yesterday we made it to one whole year as a family of 3!

In my family ever since I was little each of us has always had Homecoming Day. This was when we celebrated us coming home to our family forever. We normally had a cake, card and a small gift. It was always a family only event, which made it special as it felt unique to us. I don’t know of any other families that celebrated adoption in this sort of way.

Ever since we decided to adopt I had looked forward to eventually celebrating our child’s own homecoming day. Yesterday that longed for day finally came and we celebrated our daughter’s very first homecoming day. It was lovely to be able to pass that special family tradition down to her. She seemed to understand that we were celebrating her coming to us a whole year ago, not that she really understands what a year means. She enjoyed the fuss we made of her, the cards she got and especially the cake we ate. She declared it was the best cake ever (thanks Tesco). Hopefully we’ll be able to build on yesterday’s celebration each year, and use it to celebrate who she is, where she came from and who’ll she’ll become.

So, we’ve been a family for a whole year now, and what a year it’s been. Lots of ups, some downs and everything in between. It was a massive learning curve, and continues to be. We’ve all had to get used to big changes in our lives at the same time as getting to know each other. New roles have been made, old ones gone or changed. New routines have been forged. We’ve learnt how to parent, and on top of that, to attempt to therapeutically parent to some extent. We’ve questioned everything, (are we doing it right? does she behave like she does because she’s a toddler or because she’s adopted?) We’ve had social worker visits start and stop. We’ve been to court. We’ve had contact. We’ve explored the child friendly areas of where we live. We’ve spent hours in the parks shivering with frozen toes. We’ve had lots of fun and laughter, and we’ve become very well acquainted with nursery rhymes and CBeebies!

Our relationships have changed, and this was maybe one of the hardest things to come to terms with. We’ve changed as a couple, but I think that this experience has brought us closer. We’re such a good team and compliment each other so well. Those who were close now seem distant, and some of those who were distant are so much closer. We have been incredibly blessed with some great family and friends, and I honestly don’t think we could have got through the year without them.

Everyday I’m amazed by our daughter, we took her away from everyone and everything she knew, and she done so fantastically well. She has shown reliance and strength of character some adults don’t have. She has got through it all with that beautiful smile on her face. She has achieved so much in 12 short months and we’re immensely proud of her.

Of course it’s not always been easy and we’ve all had our moments, but that’s life and I think they only make us stronger as we learn from them. I think we’ve come out the other side of our first year settled, happy and ready for the next year to begin.

So as we go into the next year we can look forward to new challenges (hello formal education!), lots more learning and a whole lot of fun too…….

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