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Those shoes.

May 13, 2016

Those shoes.

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When he was handed over to us, two years ago today, those shoes and the clothes on his back were all that came along with him.

No favorite toy. No beloved stuffed animal. No security blanket. No special memento from his first two years of life. Nothing. And that broke my heart.

On the night that we met, he screamed when I tried to take off his clothes and shoes to give him a quick bath. It was clear that he trying to cling to the only things that were familiar to him in that moment. His clothes. And, especially, his shoes. He cried through the entire bath, and cried when I put on his comfy, new sleeper. He was distraught. So, I grabbed his shoes and put them on his feet…over his sleeper. It looked ridiculous. But, I didn’t care. It worked like a charm. It calmed him down. And that’s all that mattered in that moment.

He had been uprooted that day. His world had been rocked. His 2-year-old mind had no idea what was happening. All he knew was that he was no longer surrounded by those familiar orphanage walls. All familiar sights and sounds were gone. Everything was new. And it was scary. So, he clung to those shoes. For the first few nights, he slept with them on. Wearing them was comforting to him. Eventually, he let me just leave them in the bed with him at night, rather than putting them on his feet. Then, he got to the point where he no longer needed them in sight to fall asleep.

Those shoes were everything to him, two years ago on this day. They were everything.

Today, since his Gotcha Day had me feeling nostalgic, I decided to pull those shoes out of storage. He hadn’t seen them in almost two years. His reaction when I showed them to him? Nothing. He just smiled. I asked him if he remembered them. He said, “No.” He had no recollection of those shoes that he clung to so tightly on the day that we met, and the days to follow. Though once they meant everything to him, today they meant nothing. Those shoes – Haven’s former “everything” – have been replaced by a family who adores him, friends around every corner, a spacious home to call his own, a backyard to run and play in, a bedroom full of toys (HIS toys), a pantry full of food, top notch medical care for his ongoing needs, a closet full of clothes, and a rack full of shoes in various styles and colors. His “everything” today looks so much different than his “everything” did, two years ago today. Haven has so much more today than he once did. And so do we.

Haven won big on May 12, 2014. And we won big, too. Really big.

That’s the beauty of adoption. Everybody wins.

No, it isn’t a victory that comes easily. It can be a very difficult road to walk, at times. But, despite all the bumps and bruises, in the end, everybody wins.

If you’ve ever considered adoption, please keep that in mind. Please know that you have the power to become an orphan’s “everything”. In doing so, they win, and you win. In the end, everybody wins.

 

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