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Happy anniversary, son! December 12, 2010

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.

My mind was racing as the flight continued its descent. “This is crazy,” I kept thinking. While the opportunity to glance over miles of horse farms that stretched out below me offered some distraction, it couldn’t mask the significance of my journey. But despite my apprehension, I knew it was destined to change my life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that day lately—Dec. 12, 2009—one year ago today. It’s the day I made the ultimate leap of faith, boarded a flight for Lexington, Ky., and introduced myself to the boy who would become my son.

One year has passed since the day I met Austin at a holiday adoption mixer. Where has the time gone?

You may have already read my reflection on what it was like that day, meeting Austin at a holiday mixer for perspective parents and children awaiting adoption. I’ll never forget the sense of awe I felt watching Austin—then a 16-year-old whose image had previously been nothing more to me than a photo on a Web page—walk down a stairwell and make my acquaintance. Awkwardness quickly transitioned to rapport and then, before the day was over, genuine fondness.

Our journey together since then included his two-week visit to Rochester last holiday season, his foster care placement with me in February, and then the formal adoption proceedings in August. Of course, there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way, adventures and mishaps, but I dare say our relationship has remained strong.

People still frequently inquire about how he and I are managing. And as I reflect, I still marvel at how well he’s doing. Austin enjoys being a normal teenager. He continues to work at Wegmans and he does well in school. He’s made several good friends, including a girlfriend he’s been dating for five months, and he’s also doing better at diversifying his interests. His favorite pastime these days is riding his BMX bike.

Austin’s biggest challenge is managing his desire to soak up the childhood he’d previously been deprived alongside the demands of a rapidly approaching adulthood. As for my part, the greatest challenge remains managing my expectations. As hard as I try, frankly, this never seems to get easier, and it is most often the intersection at which he and I collide.

Moving forward, I remain resolute in supporting Austin no matter which direction life takes him. He’s a special kid, and I believe deeply that he’s destined to make a positive impact on this world. Of course there’s just no telling what that impact will be.

One year! I’m not entirely sure yet how Austin and I will mark the occasion, but I plan to make sure he knows I wouldn’t trade a moment of it. Happy anniversary, son!



1. Maureen - December 12, 2010

Paul and Austin,

Happy Anniversary! I love receiving updates of how things are going with both of you. Whatever you do to celebrate, have a wonderful day!

2. Debbie Ferris - December 12, 2010

It makes my heart happy to hear such wonderful things about you and Austin becoming a family!
Happy 1 Year Anniversary and hope that the two of you will always be happy.


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