The first of the three things I wish I had known from yesterday was, "The misery is temporary." It won't feel like it at the time, but I promise, it is.
When I first brought Hannah home I truly had no idea what I was doing. My expectation was lightyears away from my reality. The two were so entirely different that I couldn't reconcile them. My days were exhausting. She was infuriating. Life was miserable.
The worst part? Having no hope that things would ever get better.
Hopelessness was a powerful emotion, one I had never experienced before. I was spending lots of time in prayer. I was committed to raising this kid and I was stubborn enough to do it. I had accepted the fact that she was awful and that this whole experience was going to be dreadful. I told God that I would see this through. I would give her the next nine years. That's what I needed to get her through high school. Nine years. The end of my tunnel had a light. It was a long way off, but at least it was there.
Imagine how this all must have felt. Here I was with my third-grader looking forward to the day she graduated! She was in third-grade! That's some real emotion right there. That's what months in the trenches with these kids will do to you.
I will tell you, seven years later I can't remember how raw those emotions were, I only remember that I felt them. The intensity goes away, but I remember they were intense. I've not felt those kinds of emotions since the beginning with Hannah. The next two didn't have the same impact on me. I had grown to love Hannah so deeply, that I no longer feared the next one would never change. I had seen the change in Hannah and I knew that time would do the same for Ashley and Amy.
Two years. You know how I preach the two year mark. I think it's magical. It's not a set day and it may come a little sooner or a little later for different kids, but there is something about two years. I didn't come up with that number on my own. When I was in the thick of the mess with Hannah, I had the opportunity to speak frequently with another adoptive mom. She was a friend of my sister and she was a lifeline for me. She had walked my valley and had seen the mountaintop waiting on the other side. You know when she said I would be able to see it? Two years. And she was right.
A few words of wisdom regarding the trenches, it won't last forever. It only feels like it at the time.
As I look around at the three daily surrounding me, I can't imagine a day without them. God's faithfulness is evident in each of them. I'm so thankful for that. The mountaintop is a great place to be, but I'd have never been able to experience it without that valley.