Every now and then that statement still surprises me.
When my husband and I began the road to building a family through adoption from China, we simply assumed that we'd have daughters. (At the time we were oblivious to the fact that there were boys who were waiting for the love of a forever family). Initially I was disappointed that there would be no little guy to toss a baseball in the backyard or take camping trips with his daddy.
However I quickly got over the letdown and began to build my vision of a houseful of little girls. After all, I grew up with a sister. My boy cousins lived three states away. A few of my mom's closest friends had boys, but I spent, at most, a few hours a week with any of them. Based on my limited experience, boys were a totally different species. They were loud, wild and unpredictable. I asked myself why I would want to raise one and focused instead on all things pink and hair bows.
The path that brought my little man into my life didn't happen all at once. Slowly my eyes were opened to the waiting child program when we were paper chasing for our second child. At that same time I became newly aware of friends who had raised kids with special needs. And then I realized that there were indeed boys waiting to be placed in homes.
So we took a leap of faith and checked that we'd be open to a boy or a girl with various special needs in our second set of paperwork. Less than two months after our second dossier had been submitted we were matched with a little boy from the shared list, and six months to the day from our LID we were stepping off the plane in Beijing, three days away from meeting our son.
Before he walked into my life I thought the phrase "Mama's boy" had a negative connotation. Now I fully understand how much love and affection can be behind it.
He has added a "rough and tumble type" of joy and exuberance for life to our formerly "pink and hair bows" existence.
He loves Lightning McQueen, potato chips, God, and his family ~ though not necessarily in that order. He is amazingly strong, and quite clever. What he lacks in size he MORE than makes up for in enthusiasm and determination. What he does, he does with all his heart and might. He is fast and impulsive, not always a great combination, but an accurate description.
I've found that many of my earlier ideas about boys are true. He is usually loud. There are times that I'd use the world wild to describe his mood. And he is predictable only in that you can count on him to be somewhat unpredictable. He is "all boy."
And yet, even though sometimes I question if I have what it takes to help mold this bundle of raw energy into a respectful young man, he's stolen my heart and is an integral part of our family. If I had stuck to my plans or preconceived notions, I would have missed him. I'm so thankful for the things which opened my heart to possibilities I hadn't seen and people, blogs, events, and God's nudgings which overcame both our uncertainty of raising boys and our fears of "special needs" and allowed us to see each child as a unique gift from God.
Oh yes, I received a surprise gift.
I have a son. From China.
photos courtesy Tricia Roller Photography