What a year the past two weeks have been! Several major accomplishments in such a short time:
2/1/07: China LID
2/7/07: Robert turned 46
2/9/07: Alexander turned 11 (OMG!!! My BABY is now 11 years old!)
2/9/07: Cousin Eleni came into the world weighing over 10 lbs. Congrats to my sister Chrisa and her hubby Jaime! They live in Madrid and we have to share in the joy across the ocean.
Celebrating the 11th anniversary of the birth of my son and the fresh birth of my niece, I couldn't help but be wistful about our child or twins in China. Are they already in this world? How old are they today? Who is caring for them? If they are not yet born, how is their mother feeling during the pregnancy? When will she deliver? Where will she deliver? Who will be there to help? I pray for quick, safe, and healthy deliveries.
I'm appreciating a whole new sense of awe and mystery in this adoption journey that is similar, yet very different, from the pregnancy and childbirth journey.
For me, the best part of pregnancy was conception. Then it was 38 weeks of odd things happening to and in my body. The nausea, dizziness, polyhydramneous (yes, I puffed up like a blowfish), and fainting episodes were all quite lovely. A veritable picture of the glowing madonna!
Katrina bruised my ribs from kicking on the inside (foreshadowing, no doubt!). I thought for sure she was a boy and told people, "if this one is a girl, she is going to be a handful."
When she was 6 months old and sitting up unassisted, she seemed to lose some of her "babyness" and we decided that we should take our chances and try for another one. Little did I know that not much practice would be needed.
Her little brother was born when Katrina was 15 months old (what were we thinking?!?). That pregnancy was a blur because I was trying to keep up with our girl. I do remember feeling huge AND thinking that this fella was playing soccer and running bases around my uterus at all hours of the night.
Note to unmarrieds everywhere: I've had unprotected sex TWICE in my life ... and their names are Katrina and Alexander! It CAN happen to you!
This "adoption pregnancy" is quite different. For starters, we needed to get permission to be parents from lots of people and government agencies -- a process far more cumbersome, time consuming, frustrating, and expensive than an evening with a romantic dinner, candles, and R&B music.
The plus side is that life continues on as normal and my body is not inhibited by the biological changes. I can enjoy a glass of wine now and then. There is ample time to prepare (yes, I say that now, with 18 months to go). My "to do" list would be fodder for another day...
The challenge is the sense of a lack of control -- over the timing, the age of the child we'll be matched with, not knowing if she is raised in a wonderful foster family or an orphanage, does she feel love already? I talked to both my kids when I was pregnant and shared my dreams and plans for us as a family. They already knew my voice, my scent, my love. What will our newest additions think of me, their dad, and their instant siblings?
And the stress may show when the belly doesn't. I'm convinced there is an emotional response to preparing to parent via adoption that rivals traditional pregnancy. The social challenge is that it is misunderstood by the rest of the world. Some people think you just fill out some papers, write a few checks, and then you mail order a child.
And of course, there are the questions: When are you going to get your baby? "I don't know for sure but we're looking at an 18 month wait" is hard for people to comprehend. The next time you see them, they ask the same question.
We requested twins or a child under 24 months old, so it is quite conceivable that our little ones are already alive in China. I find comfort knowing we live beneath the same bright stars (hey, is that a song?).
with peace and love,