Kevin officially became a father for the first time on February 10th, 2004. After only 6 and 1/2 hours of labor Anna Elisabeth came into the world.
It has been such a neat experience getting to know my husband as a father. We found out we were expecting our first baby on our one-year wedding anniversary back in 2003. We had just moved up here from Santa Barbara and bought a new home and I had just gone back to school to finish getting my degree when the two little pink lines came into focus. We were both elated and those nine months seemed to draggggg by. They were filled with lots of anticipation. Kevin got to paint the nursery, assemble the nursery furniture, and get kicked by the baby in my growing stomach every night. (The picture below is me 9 months pregnant, just one week before Anna's birth!)
It has been so awesome to see the relationship between Kevin and Anna. He is the sweetest, most empathetic, fun daddy that he could possibly be! When Anna was a baby Kevin was great at cuddling her, but especially at making her laugh and doing fun, silly things with her. Now that she's 28 months old, he loves to fly her around like Superman, tickle her, and talk to her about all sorts of things. Each night before bed he gives her a blessing, and she loves it. He brings such a fresh, different perspective to parenting than I do.
And last spring I burst out with a seemingly from-out-of-nowhere idea: "There are so many children without homes all over the world, and it shouldn't be that way. We need to adopt someday." I had no clue how Kevin would react to this--the minute Anna was born, we both knew we wanted a large family (kids are AWESOME!) but this was something we had never, ever considered/discussed. And here I was suggesting we pursue international adoption. Kevin was amazingly receptive, wanted to hear more about my thoughts on it, and it only took maybe a ten minute discussion for him to be as passionate about it as I was. It was settled and July 1 we mailed off our adoption application to adopt siblings from Ethiopia.
It was so neat to see Kevin's heart grow throughout the 7 month process to get our sons. When we got the call in December saying that twin baby boys needed a family, he was in love--before we saw their pictures, or their medicals, before he knew anything more than two children in Ethiopia had no family to take care of them.
On February 15, 2005 Yosef and Biniam were placed in our arms, our very first sons. Adoption is very, very different from giving birth. I have been blessed to see the depth of my husband's patience, love, and strength in loving his sons, especially when they were grieving, sick, or afraid. Without a doubt this has contributed to the fact that our boys trust us and feel secure in our family. And Yosef is the ultimate "daddy's boy"--that kid LOVES his dad!
One of the greatest things about Kevin as a dad is, in my mind, the fact that he truly delights in each of his kids. You won't find him complaining about how much work, stress, or trouble kids are--although he does have a great sense of humor about things. And I get to see this delight play out every single day, in the way he "rough-houses" with his giggling sons, the way he'll sit and read story after story to his daughter, the way just last night, after Yosef woke up from a sound sleep screaming and crying, Kevin held him tight, carried him around, and reassured him.
All of that to say, I am so, so happy that my kids have such an awesome dad that loves them so incredibly much. Having a baby changed both of us in ways unimaginable, and being blessed with two more children through adoption has changed us in even greater ways. Today I thank God for my husband, for who he is, who he has become and for the love he has for and receives from his three children. Happy Father's Day!
(Unfortunately blogger isn't letting me upload any more photos so I wasn't able to get any of Kevin with our boys! I'll try to add them later.)