On November 4th, Jaxson turned THREE years old! It's hard for me to believe, especially since he was 22 months old when we were matched with him. On his birthday, he had been with us for almost seven months - which have FLOWN by. We hated that we missed his first two birthdays, so this birthday seemed extra special and sentimental to us.
Before his birthday party, we wanted some calm time at home to celebrate as a family of four. Jaxson was so excited about his new train table!
Next, we celebrated with a big party with family and friends at our church. Jaxson has so many people who love him dearly! What a blessing it was to see their genuine excitement and happiness for him.
Entrance to party!
Jaxson's awesome "Cars" cake - made by my talented sister!
It was yummy, too!
Family photo time!
The cake table
Jaxson's "smash" cake
We had a wonderful time celebrating Jaxson's third year of life and his journey to us. I was quite nostalgic and emotional in the days around his birthday, as my mind often wandered to thoughts of his birth mother, the time we had missed with him, etc. It is difficult to put into words the range of emotions that adoptive parents experience. I am thankful - beyond words - that Jaxson's birth mother chose to give him life - and a hope for a future. Her choices gave him the greatest gift he will ever receive, and we will always be thankful and grateful to her. I'm sure that I will always think of her and reflect upon his birth experience (or the experience that I have imagined and created in my mind) each year. I hope that somewhere in China, she is thinking of him and that somehow she can be comforted in imagining his current life, as I have done the same about his past.
During his birthday, and the holidays that have followed, I have decided that I need to focus on the new memories and new experiences we are creating together. I am thankful for all of our new "firsts" that we will experience together, even though we missed some of his initial "firsts."
Overall, Jaxson has adjusted beautifully. Generally, he is a happy, smart, active and sweet little boy with an enormous love for his new family. He loves his Jie Jie fiercely - even though they have fully achieved "sibling" status (play, fight, play, fight). He has adjusted well to preschool, church and our families. I fully expected many tougher days than we have faced, and for that I feel very indebted to his foster home and foster family. His language amazes us the most - he is incredibly fluent! His articulation is developing well, and he will receive speech services to help with some minor delays.
As we approach Christmas and the end of this calendar year, I am overwhelmed with how our lives changed in 2012. Traveling to China, welcoming Jaxson to our family and adjusting to life as a family of four has been a wonderful, stressful, chaotic, blessed and amazing experience - one that I wouldn't want to change one bit. Our lives have been radically changed for the better. I am glad that we didn't ignore the "pull" that we felt toward adoption, and I am glad we ignored the fears that sometimes made me want to step back. I have experienced two very real and very different approaches to parenthood - and both have brought me immense joy and love.