Today is our two-year anniversary of living in Niger! It really seems like it has been a lot longer than two years, but I guess time flies when you are having fun. In honor of this important benchmark, we thought we would interview ourselves on how the past year has been, like we did last year. The results are interesting. Julie and I both gave very similar answers, even though we answered separately, and we didn’t even cheat. So I guess that means we are on the same page. Anyway, enjoy!
What were some of your highs this past year?
Josh – The highlight of the year for me was most certainly bringing Leon home. He makes me happy every day, and becoming a father is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. Before Leon came, our lives were like a regular, everyday sentence. But Leon has added an exclamation point – literally, he screams a lot – and turned our “Meh” into “Magnifique!” Also, all the visitors that came to see us. We got a lot of love (and peanut butter) this year, and we really appreciate it.
Julie – GETTING LEON!!!, having a continual string of visitors throughout the summer- Naomi, Jessica, Annika, Aringtons, (and in a couple weeks, Josh’s parents!), finding out that Dalia’s cancer was gone!, making some new friends, doing art therapy with the kids at the hospital and really seeing some beautiful changes in their spirits, the births of a new niece and nephew.
What were some of your lows this past year?
Josh – Honestly, there have been quite a few lows in this past year, most of them related to the adoption process. It has been really difficult and slow-going, and has really tested me/us on many levels. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is hard to tell how far away the light is. Still, light, even if it is far away, makes all the difference in the world. On a (slightly) lighter note – UK going to the NIT and Louisville winning the national championship was not a high for me.
Julie – The day I thought we had to give Leon back to the orphanage, all the scary hurdles in the adoption process, not being able to go home this summer, the power outages in April and May (which were the worst in Niger’s history), getting the car stuck in a ditch and having the whole neighborhood coach me on how to get it out, all the really crazy accidents I had: pulling my back out, getting 2nd degree burns on my hands from our oven, getting an abscess on my leg which resulted in a minor surgery. I had to be put under, which was a first for me!
Learning how to change diapers.
Learning how to change diapers with the lights off.
Learning how to change diapers with the lights on but with your eyes closed.
Learning how to clean up after you tried to change a dirty diaper with your eyes closed.
Learning how to explain to your wife why you were trying to change a diaper with your eyes closed.
Julie – The day we brought Leon home. It was so special that my parents were here for it. My dad said it was like when he went to the hospital with my sisters when they gave birth. It was also crazy because we thought we were only bringing him home for the weekend, but in the end it was for good. Also the baby shower our friends threw for me just one month after we got Leon. It was amazing, and everything I could have ever needed or wanted for him (and more) was given to us. But more than that: the love and support we have felt from the community throughout the process (and by community, I mean here and abroad).
What have you learned about yourself in the past year?
Josh – I learned that I have reservoirs of untapped patience that I didn’t know about. A wonderful discovery, retrospectively, and a resource that I am sure I will continue to exploit going forward.
Julie – That being a mom is the hardest job I will ever have, but also the most rewarding, and that I am more emotional as a mom than I ever was before (and I didn’t think it was possible).
What are you looking forward to in the upcoming year?
Josh – I am really looking forward to finishing with the adoption, which, (I hope) will happen in the upcoming year. I can’t even imagine how relieved and excited I will feel. It will be like taking every time I ever graduated from something and putting them all together. That x100. With a cherry on top.