Basically every single morning a little bit of my soul breaks off and shatters into a million pieces…because it STILL hasn’t snowed! That’s right I’m throwing a tantrum because of the lack of snow. Look, it’s cold enough, and in my opinion, the cold weather serves no purpose whatsoever if it’s not accompanied by the magical wet whiteness. And quite frankly, this is kind of bugging me a lot – it’s like a hang nail or a cankersore. I can not think about it every once in a while but then something will remind me (say, looking out the window), and I get a little irritated all over again.
Last year, we had a couple of the most magical wintry wonderland weeks that were the most magical wintry wonderland weeks EVER! It snowed. And snowed. And snowed. (For Seattle-area, it REALLY SNOWED)! Two weeks of the world just slowing down and looking pretty. Our house – instead of revolving around getting out the door to school, running errands, getting ready for Christmas, going, going, going – became a place of pajamas ‘til noon, lots of hot chocolate, board games and once a day going through the major accomplishment and process of bundling up to go play out in the snow. Magical. We had a White Christmas, last year, for crying out loud! Do you know how spoiled we were?! And now, like a wee spoiled brat, I may just have a tiny bit of a tantrum because we don’t get to experience that every year.
The thing about snow…is like the thing about Christmas…which is like the thing about having (or in our case right now, adopting!) a baby…THE WAITING. I’m a planner. I love me some good list-making, calendar-writing fun. A clear example of how much planning and dreaming ahead that we’ve done – is our baby name list. Mike and I picked four baby names early on in our dating relationship – seriously, like just a couple of weeks, maybe a month, into knowing each other and dating, we had picked four baby names. And we’ve stuck with those names. Two boy options, two girl options and ranked in birth/sequential order.
Now, having Abigail Madeline who kind of totally turned out to have a pee-pee and be 100% boy and actually be Matthew Robert, is certainly an example of God’s sense of humor. He’s like this (in a deep voice that speaks slowly and sounds like the Tom Hanks Santa from the Polar Express), “Hahaha, yes, you can plan as much as you want. You can have the name picked out, you can have all of the clothes with tags cut hanging in age appropriate sizing, but you can ONLY be prepared so much…kind of like you’ll get a snow day when I decide that it’s time for a snow day…”
And this planning, this waiting, this not being in control, this only being able to do so much and then just trusting…waiting…THIS is what makes the adoption process wonderful-yet-torturous for me all at the same time. It’s like the ultimate in faith. We have to be ready – 100% ready to go: crib is up, car seat is waiting – yet we don’t really know what to be ready for.
WHEN will this happen? (Could be New Year’s, could be two years…)
HOW will this happen? (Will a birth mom pick us? Will we pick a foster-to-adopt baby/child?) HOW will we know when we’ve found “the one”?! Yeah, yeah, they say it’s just like meeting “the one” – when you know, you know, but what if we never know?! Or what if Mike and I know at different times with different kids?!
WHO?! Who the heck is this little person? This little mystery being is a part of our family already and we don’t even know her. AND we can’t name her!!! (At least not for a while). And we may decide that one of our chosen names (and we’ve added a couple new possibilities) doesn’t fit at all…Argh. The planner in me gets a little freaked out about this.
WHAT will this all look like?! How will the boys transition to being big brothers to a baby sister? What will happen with my music class business and teaching? How much time will/should I take off? How long will it take for our entire family to feel adjusted to this new dynamic – this three kids – two boys, one girl (one adopted girl) family? They say that so many people have the adoption vision completely idealized – that you see your child for the first time and it’s love at first sight... “They” also warn NOT to have that vision. That it may take a while for a parent-child love to develop and that this can freak adopting parents out. They may start to have a panic like, “Did we end up with the wrong child? Do I totally suck as a human because I adopted this little person, and I don’t completely, unconditionally love her yet?” It’s true. That’s what they say. So, how do you prepare for that if that is what happens without preparing too much and setting yourself up for it?! I read one book that even talked about “Post Adoption Depression” – it’s not talked about because in some ways it’s considered even more taboo than Post Partum Depression. With adoption, you REALLY went out of your way to get this child – you’ve paid money, you’ve waited, you’ve somehow had somewhat of a say in who that person is (i.e. you can select gender…ahem…do we know someone who mentally prepared for a mother-daughter relationship six years ago? You can select the age, race, health needs, etc.). So, if you’re not 100% happy right away, you may start second-guessing yourself.
What kind of relationship will we have with her birth mom? How will people react to our situation (especially since chances are WAY good that Baby Girl won’t look a lick like us)…though that one I’m starting to realizing more and more is just not my problem. Everyone seems to have an opinion on adoption and many will try to push their beliefs on to us. But when it comes down to it, it just doesn’t matter…this little girl – whoever, wherever, however she is – will be ours.
WHERE?! This I DO know. This is the ONE question that I can answer. And the where is the same place where the magic of snow and the magic of Christmas dwell. It’s that fuzzy corner of your being that keeps all the excitement and joy of childhood bottled up. It wasn’t just a corner when you were a kid – it was your whole being – it filled every cell of your body. But as we get older, life and the world, responsibilities and expectations slowly push that sense of utter joy/love/magic to a small little place.
Thankfully, when you become a parent, that little place gets a little bigger. The first time you feel your baby kick within your very internal walls…well, baby’s working on cracking that sucker back open. When you see your baby smile or hear a quiet coo, it grows a little more. The first step, the big milestones, and heck! even pooping in the potty all the time brings some more joy to your world! So, this place – this joy/magic/inner-child place – is the same part of me that is disappointed not to see a magical winter wonderland outside. It’s the same place that has SO MUCH TO DO before December 25th but also CANNOT AWAIT Santa’s arrival. And it’s the same place that makes waiting for another child – an adopted little gift – torturous and yet amazing all at the same time.