I know it sounds silly given all we went through in order to become parents, but I think it wasn't until Dylan was finally in the apartment with us that I realized the enormous responsibility I now had. I had to somehow keep this boy alive, make him thrive, and hopefully help form him into a good, honest, strong man, and I had no idea how to go about doing any of it.
Of course, Dylan wasn't a newborn who just slept and ate most of the day (not that newborns are easy, but...). He was a VERY active almost one-year-old child, who already had a personality, who already had a life, a routine, before we came in and took him away from all that. He knew us and trusted us, but I can't help but wonder what went on in his little head those first few days. We were the fun people who came to play with him for a little while every day and then we disappeared and he went back to his regular routine. But now here he was in a new home, with us, and everything he'd known for all his life was gone. You'd think this would affect the child in some way.
If it did, he never let it show. Dylan seemed absolutely thrilled with his new life. He woke up with a smile and went to bed with a smile and he fought and fought against his naps so he wouldn't miss a moment of anything. Mealtimes were especially exciting for him, as we were letting him do something he had not been allowed to until this point: feed himself.
All of Dylan's meals at the baby house had always been very quickly spooned into his mouth by the caregivers, so at 11 months, he was actually attempting for the first time to pick a Puff up and put it in his mouth. It took him a few tries, but once he got a glimpse of independence, there was no going back! When it was time for his meals, I would scoop the baby food onto the spoon and he would quickly grab it from me and put it in his mouth himself. It was a colossal mess, of course, and we both ended up with more food on our clothes and hair than what ended up in his belly, but he absolutely loved it!
The only thing that was not so fun for Dylan was bath time. In fact, his first bath was an absolute disaster. At the baby house, they only gave the babies sponge baths, so Dylan had never been placed in a tub full of water. As you can imagine, he was TERRIFIED! He screamed and screamed and screamed, poor little guy! After giving him a day to recover from the trauma, we tried it again, this time with me getting in the tub with him. It worked much better. After two or three days, Dylan was happily splashing about on his own, and thus began a love of the water that endures to this day.
While we found our footing as parents, the wheels kept turning in regards to Dylan's paperwork. We now had his adoption certificate and his birth certificate, and had sent in his passport application. We hoped his passport arrived soon, because Bill's visa was expiring in a week, and if the passport didn't arrive on time it would mean that he'd have to return to the