When we first started this process I focused so much on the people that were not supportive, said mean things and were downright horrible about it. With every turn I learn to tune these people out more and more and hope that they never have to feel the feelings and heartbreak I felt by their words and actions. But as we have gone along in this process, not only has our life been changed by a little boy that has filled a hole in our hearts, but we have been uplifted and transformed by the amazing people that have come into our lives, or become stronger influences in our lives through their love, support and friendship.
I have to start with family. Family can mean good and bad things to people. To me, it brings out good. We have always had a great family and amazing support, but I never knew how much they would embrace us and help us through this process. We haven't even gotten Hugo home and they are just as excited and in love with him as we are. They have taken on caring for Adriana when we travel to visit him and do it with a smile and are so happy to have her. We could not ask for better people to have in our family. Whether they are a Smith, an Etchepare, living near or far, they have all been so fantastic. We are truly lucky and blessed with an amazing family.
After we visited Haiti the first time, I was invited by the wonderful people we met their to be a part of a private group on Facebook called Team Haiti. I was really excited to stay connected with all the families we had met and have a group to talk to about this process to that were feeling and going through the same things we were. And as excited as I was, I never knew the impact this group would have on my life. They have literally become a lifeline of support, friendship and sanity that I could have never imagined finding. It is such a diverse group of people in different stages of life and parenthood, but we are all connected with a common bond of adopting from Haiti and knowing the happiness, pain, and anguish that comes with this process. And we are all going through it together. We may be in different stages of the adoption game but we all know the feeling of waiting and hoping that everyday good news will come our way. And being there for each other when that day doesn't turn out the good news we had hoped for. What is so remarkable is the friendships I have created and that these people are people I would want to be friends with even without this life circumstance. To say I am thankful for this group is an understatement. I am thankful to the 1,000th degree.
We are also blessed with such an amazing group of friends and nothing has made us more thankful for that then the love and support we have felt from them over the past year and a half. To our old friends that have stepped up and loved us, to the new friends we have made through this process, to the people that have just surprised us and supported us, we are forever grateful.
And lastly, to the random strangers that we have run into, met and have given us encouragement from the most strange places. I am thankful for the lady that gave me a hug at Olive Garden when I started crying because I was so overwhelmed by the crapiness of my day I could no longer hold it in. I am thankful for the checker at Wal Mart that asked about the 30 rattles I was buying for the orphanage and gave me so much encouragement for what we are doing in our 5 minute interaction. I am thankful for the blog comment of encouraging words I received from a lady in Arkansas that got my son's information from her church to send him a present this Christmas at the orphanage. We have found hope and encouragement in the most unlikely of places and I am so thankful.
And for the caretakers, the workers, the people in Haiti. They are such an amazing group of people with a faith that inspires and amazes me. To Angie, the missionary that loves and takes care of our children. I have met her once and she is such a blessing. She is faced with things each day that would break me down. And she faces it with grace and courage. She inspires me to do better and be better. I am so thankful for them and sending prayers to them for strength in the face of sadness and tragedy they have endured this week.
And last, but certainly not least, our daughter. She is 3, but sometimes I feel her wisdom and kindness are that of an adult. She has been so amazing and excited to have a brother. She has prayed for him to be safe and happy until he comes home to us. She talks about him every day with such excitement, it is catching. She does not understand this process and I would never expect her to, but I feel that she gets the bigger picture. She has endured me and my mood swings that have been created by this process, and she has hugged me and given me words of encouragement at the very right moments. Every day she tells me something new she wants to do to help her brother feel ok when he comes home. She gives me hope, strength and the power to just be ok on days that I feel nothing but ok. She while this is all foreign to her, she somehow finds a way to comprehend and understand in her way. She keeps me laughing and focused on what is important in life. Every single day.
Our cup runneth over.