Friday, May 9, 2014

Dear Ivan (6 months home)

My dearest Ivan,

You've been home now for a little over 6 months!! Mama and daddy can hardly believe that we're half way to having you in our family a whole year. Time is soaring by, but deep in our hearts we find it even harder to believe that there was ever a time that you were not with us.

Since the moment I laid my eyes on your baby picture I knew that you belonged in our family, but I never could of dreamed just how perfectly you would fit.

You are growing so much my love... in absolutely every way.

Your english is still rapidly expanding and I'm constantly amazed and filled with joy by the things you are learning. Just the other morning as I opened the shades on your window, you looked over with your adorable sleepy eyes and with your still groggy, soft, little voice you said so clearly, "good morning big world."

I couldn't stop smiling :)

The big world had better be watching out for you little one because I already know that you are destined to change it for the better.

Everyone tells mama that all of your progress is because I'm such a good teacher, but I don't feel like I can accept any of the credit. It is so easy to teach you sweet heart. You try your hardest to absorb everything that's going on around you and I want you to know that mama is so very proud of you.

The truth is, you have taught me so much more than mama has taught you. You teach mama everyday how to find joy in the little things and to never feel sorry for myself. You teach me that we can overcome anything with God on our side. All mama has to do is look at you and I'm reminded that God is faithful, good, and kind. You are teaching mama how deep and mind blowing the love of God is for His children.

Your body is growing and changing. You are getting so much stronger. Just the other Sunday, mama sat you in a chair at church and you sat unsupported all by your self while mama took her coat off and got situated. Don't ever think that these little victories are in deed "little". With each seemingly small accomplishment you are overcoming the barriers that you have grown accustomed to. Again my love, mama could not be prouder of you.

The first months you were home you had to fight fear every second, but now you are secure and confident in who you are. You are a Maxwell, and your face lights up whenever you tell someone your full name. Whenever you say your last name you also have to make sure that Landon, mama, and daddy are also Maxwell's. We go through this ritual several times a day. I know you are trying to cement in your mind and heart the truth that you are an orphan no more.

You still have hard days love, although they are not the norm anymore. I know that there are days when you wake up and all the cement seems wet again. There are days when we have to fight again to gain the ground that has already been claimed by our love for you.

We will never stop fighting for you Ivan Abraham.

You are worth every challenge and fight we will face. All of the pain and trauma of your past cannot compare to the love your Heavenly daddy has for you and the bright future He has planned for your life.

Thank you for being such a great big brother. Thank you for never getting upset when your little brother crawls all over you, hits you with toys, steals your favorite foods right off your plate and replaces it with his veggies, or tries to take whatever it is you've found to play with.

I see how much Landon already looks up to you and adores you Ivan. I love watching your special brotherly friendship blossom. I love how Landon compares Lightening McQueen and Mater to you and himself because you are both "bet fwends". I just love how you love each other. It's a messy, noisy, rough and tumble kind of love that keeps me always on my toes, but I wouldn't trade our crazy for anything!!

You are a precious gift from God Ivan. It has been one of my greatest joys getting to fall more in love with you everyday.

You are my treasure and I'm eternally grateful that God has placed you in our family.

Love you forever and always baby boy,

Your Mama

Photo Dump (from the past month)

He is really starting to master the Ipad and can even drag and swipe now. Sorry Landon is always scantily clad, we're potty training so whats the point in wearing pants ;)

4 years apart, 5 pounds difference = mama's twinsies
Mama's big helper! He filled all the Easter eggs himself!

He was so proud of himself

Landon did not understand why we would go to the park to take pictures haha

coloring eggs

Ryan realizing these eggs weren't going to look as beautiful as he wanted haha
the hunt... also Ivan's first time being on grass. He LOVED it!

Landon realizing there was candy in the eggs

He couldn't get to it fast enough

 The reg. nightly shenanigans at bed time

Down they come!

I love how Landon is kicking Ryan in the face

A daddy with his boys

Sitting all by themselves for story time
such a big boy

Ivan's new favorite thing to do is "make soup". My pots and pans are rarely ever in the cupboards these days.

In the manual sample wheel chair he got to try out. His will be really similar to this.
We were all amazed by how quickly he figured it out :)
Not entirely sure if this is Landon's way of cuddling or wrestling

So many people told us we would be hurting Landon by bringing Ivan into our family... clearly ;)

I often find Landon down on Ivan's level, wanting to be just like his big brother :)

Landon loves to throw all the pillows off the couch and jump into them

This child has no fear!!

How did I get so blessed

Ivan's turn, I sat him up and told him to fall over...I had to push him... where do I get my award for being such an awesome mom ;)
I think he enjoyed it :)

Landon rolled him off the pillow mountain which proved to be great fun and had to be repeated a dozen times.
He rolled himself off the next time
Smile on his face the whole time :)
 Is this even the same child??

Taken while still in the orphanage.

Taken a couple weeks home. Notice the sadness, pain, and uncertainty in his eyes, swollen from days and days of crying, and the mark on his hand from the constant biting which used to be his way to comfort himself.

Taken after 6 months in his forever family!! Notice the joy, confidence, and hope that radiates from his whole face!!

God there aren't words that I could use to adaquatly thank You for what You have done in and through Ivan these past 6 months. Thank You for loving him through me in spite of all my selfishness. Thank you for bringing him healing and wholeness inspite of all my brokeness.

Father thank You for allowing me to witness his transformation. Thank you for giving me just a taste of the love you have for Him. Thank You for using Him to show me just how relentless Your love truly is.

You alone deserve all the glory, honor and praise for this precious life. 

And to everyone who has invested in my sweet boys life, thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, one million thank you's. From the people who brought us meals those first couple months home when we were just "getting through" each day. To the doctors, therapists, and prayer warriors who have fought along side Ryan and I for the transformation we see today. Thank you to the countless people, some I have the privilege to see face to face and some I will probably never have the pleasure of meeting in this life, who have encouraged me through hugs, listening ears, and notes of encouragement (sorry if you never got a response, please know they were all read and taken to heart). Special thanks to all of you fellow adoptive (my circle in my community and of course my Reeces Rainbow family) mama's who came along side me and shared the 4 words that I most needed to hear - things will get better. I may not have believed you at the time, but I clung to that hope with everything I had. Now I have the honor of getting to tell other mama's the exact same thing. Lastly, THANK YOU to our incredible families who supported us through our whole adoption and redemption process. I can't imagine how much more difficult this journey would have been without loving parents that never told us we were crazy (although I'm sure you've thought it;)

We love you all and feel so honored to share our story with you.