Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Real

Last night at preschool orientation, I spotted the little basket assigned to our son. His name is taped to the front. It made me want to cry. I smiled and pointed it out to Ted, just like all the other parents in the room who are charmed and a little saddened by seeing their child's name looking all official on a tiny little preschool cubby.

The teacher is making a photo album for the kids to look at during the school year. She asked everyone to bring in photos of their kids, especially ones with their extended families and early baby photos. She likes to let the kids tell stories about their homes and families and even baby stories they've heard about themselves. At this point, she nodded in our direction and said that kids love to hear about how they joined their family, whether by birth or adoption. I had good feelings about this school already but this confirmed it, the awareness of this teacher to remember to include different types of families.

I also got a little choked up at the mention of baby photos for our kids. We have plenty of baby pictures of Abe. But we probably won't of our next one. What if she's four when she comes to us and is able to start preschool but doesn't have baby photos to add to the class photo album? Will this make her feel sad? Will this be her first lesson in how she's not like everyone else and that the loss in her life is sometimes glaring, not just to her but also to others?

I know I'm worrying about things I have no control over. As we've approached the "window" of time when we could receive a referral and now as we sit smack dab in the middle of it, I've been thinking about these things a lot more. I've been thinking of her a lot more. This child is not a theoretical child anymore. It's possible and maybe even likely that someone already knows who she is, that we've already been matched and are just waiting for all the paperwork to fall into place before that life-changing phone call is made. I can't stop thinking about that.

The other day, I was out by myself shopping for a baby gift for a shower I went to on Sunday. I wasn't intending to buy them, but when I found matching girl and boy Halloween pajamas, I had to get them. The boy's are black with glow-in-the-dark skeleton print with a pumpkin where the heart should be. The girl's are pink but with an actual heart where the heart should be. I could try to figure out some metaphor for the girl having a real heart and the boy having a pumpkin, but that makes my head hurt, and I think it was just a weird design choice. But they are cute nonetheless, and I got all kinds of emotional when I walked out of the store with them.

I came home and showed them to Ted who reminded me that the chances are that our kids won't be wearing them this Halloween. There's next year though. I tucked them away with the rest of the things I've been collecting and squirreling away for our little girl. A little girl I now think about all the time. She's becoming less and less the theoretical girl we are hoping to adopt. She's real. She has a little heart beneath her rib cage and a dollhouse with hard-won furniture that her brother doesn't really like to play with. She has a string of lights to be hung over her bed to make it cozy. She has a huge bag of hand-me-downs from the two neighbor girls down the block. She has a pink down-filled vest for the winter and a pair of pajamas with cherries on them that match the ones I'm wearing as I type this. She has a full set of Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somali grandparents in Oregon who are going to cover her in kisses and dollar bills stuck in her pockets, the same way they do her brother every week. She has a dad whose eyes turn red and fill with tears at the mere mention of her. She has a mom who is reading many books to prepare to love her well. She has a family here with hearts beneath their rib cages too, a family who will honor her loss, will try to love her well, and who can't wait to meet her.

17 comments:

The Hedwall Family said...

Hey Laurie, Which preschool are you sending Abe to? I'm starting to look for Eva for next year. Thanks!

jill said...

i can't wait to meet her...and i'm so excited for abe to start preschool. does he start next week??

June said...

I have goosebumps. I love that you're in the window. I love that she's becoming more real, less theory. I remember feeling that way both times and it's such a strong realization. And? I cannot wait to see who the newest Rooney will be. I know that she will be very, very loved. (And thanks for sharing such a beautiful post.)

Corinne said...

Lori, I loved this. Beautiful. We are waiting for our second too.

Julie said...

Oh Lori. This makes me cry and cry.

Cindy said...

What a sweet post Lori. Not having pictures for Mihiret has made her feel exactly as you described. It points out her otherness and breaks her heart which breaks mine. We always do our best to turn it around into a special moments with varying success.
Exciting you are in the window. I look forward to hearing about your daughter : )

kristine said...

Lori,

I had no idea you are so close! Oy...this post made me cry when I was still with you on looking at Abe's cubby! Then with the baby photos and all! Snot dripping cry.

I think about the photo thing. We will bring home a child between 2 - 6 years. Q is the son of a photographer. We literally have thousands of photos of him for the first year of his life. I worry about this. It is not fair. There is no way to make it fair. We can only try to do what we can do from the moment they enter our house.

Lovely post dear Lori.

Oh, and very funny comment about the food at the Fair the other night!

Claudia said...

oh yeah, that difference between hypothetical and real is quite mind-bending, isn't it?

You know that next year (or possibly this, if all the stars align) we are going to DEMAND photographs of your two in those matching outfits. You know that? Ok, good!

wildflowers said...

the last few lines gave me goosebumps as well :)

Christine said...

Oh, Lori, how did time get by me so quickly and now you are actually in the window? I love all the beating hearts waiting for you girl.

Meg said...

Oh, this one can make you tear up a bit! I just love that Abe's teacher is aware enough to acknowledge all families. It's a little gesture that is HUGE to APs/PAPs. And I am right there with you in imagining our future children; we'll likely receive a referral in the next 2-3 months and all this reality has me a bit freaked out!

Anonymous said...

Lori, You are pure and honest and inspiring, and you share yourself in such an artistic but natural way. Not only do I get lost in your beautiful language, but I'm misty-eyed and lost in love with my children and my vocation as a mother. What a gift we have in our feminity!

becca merlefest albertson said...

sniff. tears.
i'm caught up in your writing... i feel so connected to this next adoption of yours too, probably b/c i followed your journey to abe so closely (with sam coming so soon after...). i have those same feelings of our future daughter... we'll adopt an older child, and who knows? who knows what she'll have to remember her past? nothing? a few pictures? it's heartbreaking for me.
thinking of you all out there in lovely oregon...
love love.

Kerry said...

Last November 1st I bought Halloween pajamas for my son (the glow-in-the-dark skeleton ones). We received his referral 3 months and 1 day later. I hope your referral comes quicker than that. Tay has been home since May 7th and wears the pajamas all the time... they probably won't fit by Halloween and I would hate for the $1.99 I spent on them to go to waste.
Your daughter will be coming home to wonderful, wonderful family.
Kerry

Evelyn said...

Oh, the waiting! So hard to wrap your head around what all is going on in the world that directly affects you, directly affects her. You and her. Family. Almost. Not yet, and yet forever joined already. Crazy stuff. Sweet, sweet post.

Eryn said...

I'm all kinds of teary reading your thoughts about your daughter to be. Cant wait!

Autumn and Dan's family said...

I can't wait.