Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Reason to Celebrate, A Reason to Hope and A Reason to Share!

Today is Robert’s birthday. He turned 19 today. As I contemplate his age, I realize that my youngest son is a young man! Even, more significant in many ways, he is mobile and is gaining more independence each day. He got his driver's license this morning and is now out driving on his own...behind the wheel without another licensed driver for the first time!

This is a milestone and a reason for celebration.

For years now, Robert has been responsible for maintaining our yard. He has been mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, power edging, spreading the mulch and planting new trees and shrubs. He has helped our neighbors with power washing and deck staining, spring and fall cleanup projects and snow removal. With his new mobility, he can now easily perform these services outside of our neighborhood and share his love of nature with those in Northern VA.

To see "Robert's yard" the fruits of his labor, and his latest venture and dream, visit Believe in a Ray of Hope website.

This milestone also brings to mind other celebrations and memories of years gone by. Flashing back, I recall, when I first learned that Robert would be joining our family. It was a sunny July 4th. The year was 1995, and yet I remember the details like it happened yesterday. To learn how this miracle unfolded, contact me and I will send you the full story.

In September 1995, Sandra and Robert joined our family and the picture above was taken in the early months. We enrolled Sandra in kindergarten and while we used our limited Latvian vocabulary, Sandra quickly picked up English and became a translator for Robert. Meanwhile, Robert quickly picked up a household broom, adopted it as his favorite toy, and has been sweeping up ever since!

Greg quickly bonded with them and they were seen as three peas in a pod. Our family, friends, and neighbors joined us in celebration. Everyone around us embraced Sandra and Robert and showered them with gifts. Within weeks of their arrival, their closets and drawers were bulging with clothes and toys.

Now, 15 years later, much has transpired. Greg has moved out, is happily managing the kitchen of an organic restaurant, has become a great cook, and is engaged to Christy. They share an old farmhouse, have planted a garden, love their Great Dane, Peyton, and plan to marry next year and begin their own business in the spring.

Sandra is in her second year of college. While attending classes full time, she is working part time, earning money, shopping, and paying off a portion of her college expenses. She is loved by the children in the neighborhood and their parents who see her as a warm loving spirit. She is highly sought after as a baby sitter and is determined to become an elementary school teacher.

Looking backwards, I realize that our lives have been tremendously enriched by their presence and through adoption. We have experienced great joy, success, pain, and frustration and we have weathered life as a family. I was naive and made many mistakes in the last 23 years as a parent, yet, I would not change my life in any way today.

Experience has been a great teacher. I have learned that transitions are seldom easy but when we can face our challenges with those we love and admire, we often find greater meaning in our lives.

While Sandra and Robert both still share the front doorway, I realize that time is marching forward and they too will be looking to venture beyond our doorsteps. Soon they will be marching out with high hopes and dreams for themselves, following in their older brother’s footsteps.

I continue to believe that our dreams and hopes will propel us to new heights and both Robert and Sandra seem to have caught the beat! What do you think?

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