This year, Elizabeth Rose, WACAP’s China adoption supervisor, and her husband Steve Mohundro will celebrate their first Mother’s Day with their son Theo, adopted from China through WACAP last November.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing this inspiring story about being Theo’s mom … and the joy he brings this Mother’s Day, and each day.
Coming Home to Theo
“No, mama! JEANS!” Theo stomps his little foot down on our floor. The effect is quite dramatic as he happens to be standing directly above a heating duct, making his little stomp sound like rolling thunder.
This is the scene in my house nearly every morning as I get ready to go to work. Theo is not the fashion police – he has just picked up on the fact that on the days I stay home with him, I wear jeans and the days I go to work, I wear dress pants.
My husband and I adopted Theo in November. He’s our first child, so it has been quite a change in lifestyle for us. In the first months after we were home, there were times when I couldn’t wait for my husband to get off of work and relieve me for a little while. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy my time with Theo – he is an affectionate, delightful, sweet little boy – but I was exhausted. It was mostly the little things such as wanting to go to the bathroom alone or wanting to have a conversation with another adult that lasted more than one minute without interruption. I was also exhausted because Theo would often wake up well before 6 a.m. and want to go outside to play. In December. I am not a morning person. And sometimes dressing Theo is like trying to put pantyhose on a cat. It could be really frustrating trying to get out of the house on any sort of a schedule.
But I remember clearly the moment all of that frustration faded away for me. I was touring the perfectly nice child care center that Theo was going to be attending after my husband and I returned to work. The director was showing me their outdoor facilities and suddenly, I felt like she was telling me that this was where they would be torturing my son (when, of course, she was talking about where he’d be learning and interacting with the teachers and other kids). The thought of leaving him with anyone else overwhelmed me. It took all my strength to keep from crying and to keep myself from running out to the car, calling up my supervisor at WACAP and quitting immediately. From that moment on, I didn’t look forward to those little breaks from Theo. No one was going to come between me and him if I could help it.
Taking him to child care each day has been nearly as heartbreaking as I expected it would be. Every morning, not only does Theo try to get me to wear jeans, he also has a little speech he makes: “Theo sad. Theo cry. Misses mommy.” And I tell him every day that I’m sad and I miss him too, but that I hope he has fun and we’ll be there in the afternoon to pick him up. When I walk in the door in the evening, Theo runs to greet me yelling “MOMMY!” It’s one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.
And if I spend too much time settling in once I come in the door, Theo will run into my room, into our closet, and he’ll fish out a pair of jeans from my hamper and bring them to me. It’s the best homecoming a mama could ask for.