Friday, September 17, 2010

With Gratitude And Hope And Support

As a writer, I tend to let my fingers do my talking, my thinking aloud, my sorting out. Even when I'm internalizing a situation, I'm writing it in my head, and when I do that, the pieces fit together in the right way. Some people lift weights or garden. I write.

And yet. Tonight I am so drained, so overly emoted, so anxious and a dish rag and a wet-noodle that my fingers don't want to press the keys. I have written this story a thousand times in this day, as the hours dragged on. I'm reminded of when my girls were infants and I had nothing left, and I didn't write for sheer exhaustion, and though I wish I had, I recognize the lack of writing as lack of brain function, lack of sorting ability, lack of cohesion.

I'm tired from crying, from gut-wrenching sadness, from earth-moving goodness.

And oh, God.

We had our day-long adoption training today. We left early - at least an hour before the sun rose - and though we were excited, we felt relatively prepared. We read the books, the blogs, the travel stories. We have gotten it, and we're just ready already. We're so ready that we're tired of feeling ready. We're so ready that we're choked with excitement about being ready.

It was good to be surrounded by people who support adoption. It was good to talk about it again, single-mindedly, and speculate and wonder and be in the company of those who are also ready.

The morning was ruled by extreme possibilities and maybes - hepatitis, ADHD, low birth weight, non-attachment, terribles and scaries and could-be-manageables and treatables.

And there were photos. Photos of happy children, photos of babies lined up on potties where there is no running water. Photos of goats' bottle nipples and babies who don't leave cribs and of children who don't know how to walk on tile/grass/carpet, for whom physical touch is actually painful because it's so uncommon.

Oh, God.

Movies. Movies from orphanages. Hundreds of diapers hung to dry. Dozens of broken-down baby shoes lined up. Blank stares. Empty plates.


And happy stories, of course, of families and children and good outcomes. Stories of hard work and its rewards within families. Stories of absolute ease and joy from the first meeting.

Stories that weren't intended to make anyone cry - a walk through a city, the first time trying a Korean dish. Tears, still.

Stories of success, stories of short stature and 3-inch heels and oh, God, why am I still crying?

Stories about children, from those very children, who remember being taken to the orphanage by their mothers and being left there. Confusion. Sadness. Fear.

Oh, God.

Somewhere within every half hour today I wanted to round up all of the children in whatever photo, movie or book I was looking at and tuck them under my arms, against my chest, behind my back. I don't care, give me 300, I'll take them all just get them out, God, why doesn't everyone work together to get. them. OUT.


And while we were there, our two darling daughters had their first long day of school, in which they began together and separated later and did first new things. Trevor's mom took them, and I didn't get to see their faces when they were finished, or hear their stories, or give reassuring hugs. I watched my movies about my Korean baby, who is at this very minute in an apartment on the other side of the world, being cared for by someone else, and I was crying for all of the kids, none of whom had their mother or father, who were both so very, very focused on their lives today.

And the guilt. Our Korean child comes from foster care. His or her birth mother was in a maternity ward run by the orphanage. He or she is healthy and bonding and stimulated. We are so very, very fortunate.

Because so many others don't have enough food to continue to survive another week. So many others are in physical and psychological peril. These children, these babies, have no one to pick them up, to rock them to sleep. They quit crying because no one answers. Oh God, the guilt. Why are we making it so easy? Why aren't we adopting one of these more needy children?

And then we speak to Marta on the phone, who tells me about the sucker she got at the bank today, and that she made a bracelet for her sister at school, and that in the library she'll be very, very quiet. And we know why.

On our run we finalized baby names (though we always think we do this). We missed our big girls. We celebrated our seventh anniversary. We imagined what our baby was doing just then, and we were glad for it.

The social workers today advised us to write a "coming home" story. It seems natural that I would - I've written down both of my daughters' birth stories. But when I imagine that time, when our child is home and our family is complete, I don't imagine writing a single word. It's a physical sensation that arises instead, one in which I wrap my arms around three children and don't think, don't write, just protect and hold and rock and sing and be grateful.

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