Saturday, September 1, 2012

Colin's First Year in America!

OK, here it is...our year in review. 
On August 22, 2011 we met this amazing boy, in person, for the first time.  You can read about that day here.

I remember how nervous I was about meeting him.  Through all the education that we had before traveling, and all the informal conversations with other adoptive parents, and all the adoption blogs...I thought I was prepared for just about anything.

We sort of expected the "worst case scenarios" that we were told could happen.

After all, we had never adopted before.
I had never been out of the country before.
While Tom had, I had never raised a teenager before.
And here we were, standing outside the civil affairs building in Shenyang about to adopt a 13 year old boy we had NEVER MET. 

 I remember as we took our last picture as a family of 3 outside on the steps that our whole world was about to change forever.

Minutes later, we walked off the elevator and entered a room where this shy, quiet boy sat with a small bag of possessions.

Little did I know just how much change God had planned for the year to come!

This year has been one of many, many firsts in Colin's life.  I will recall several of them here:
His first year with a forever family. 
His first pesky little brother.
His first bed
His first growth chart
His first church day!
His first time seeing the Ocean
(See that post here)
His first Alligator sighting!
His first Halloween festival
His first Thanksgiving with his cousins
His first Christmas.
His first snowball fight!
(ok, it was just flour in cheesecloth--we live in Charleston people!)
His first Chinese New Year
party in the USA!
His first day in American school.
His first mowing job.
His first time working a farm

His first shave

His first 4th of July.

His first Orthodontist visit

His first day of High School

His first American Birthday Party!

It is mind-boggling to me to see him now and to look back as I have in prepping this post.  Not only is he physically bigger, but somewhere along the line...little by little...
he took on, for real, his new identity.
Colin Daniel Rylands
Oldest son
big brother
beloved child of God!
I get asked so very often about what it is like to adopt an older child.  I wish I could answer that question as if our story would be their story.  As if every older boy adopted into a loving family has the same experiences that Colin has had. 
I wish that were ALWAYS true. 
But, I want to say loud and clear that it is OFTEN true. 
Ours is not such a rare story. 
There are so many boys and girls waiting in China and all around the world who are really GOOD KIDS!
These kids just need a chance.  They need the chance to be a child.  A chance to have someone else look out for them so that they aren't always on guard. 
So, while I can't really say that all older child adoptions begin or end like ours...I can confidently say that when you act out of obedience to God's call, he does bless it!
For us, adoption was not a lifelong desire. 
It was not in our plans. 
It was truly a call from God. 
A call that seemed so foreign and frankly, ridiculous to us at the time.
But, oh! the joy that this young man is to our lives!!!!
I cannot wait for the day when God reveals his plans for this man!
I am so thankful to all the amazing people who have poured into his life this year!
I wouldn't dare try to list them all here, but we love each of you dearly.
Thank you for praying for our son and for the love you have shown to him this year.

1 comment:

The Stein Family said...

This is just a beautiful story Angie, and what a precious family you have! Thank you for it. :-)