Sunday, February 17, 2008

On-hold membership to the mommy-club

I have to start out here giving props to our caseworker, Mary, who spent part of her weekend trying to get through to anyone who might know what happened Friday at court. She finally got through Sunday morning and let us know that a court date has been assigned to us on March 4.

Is this reason to celebrate? I'm not sure. I certainly feel glad to know there's a concrete date, but this long, twisty tale has succeeded in shooting my naive optimism to smithereens. We now know all too well that a court date doesn't necessarily mean this the day you get to celebrate becoming parents. For some, it does mean this. For others, it means other things, sometimes sad things.

I'm not saying that the "half-empty" girl is back. She's not. But I can try explaining it this way: back in 2003, one of my best friends in Slovakia, Hena, was pregnant with her second child and her mother-in-law got angry with her for buying a stroller for the still unborn baby. Apparently, buying too much for the still unborn baby is bad luck: something could go wrong and then what do you do with all that baby stuff? My friend actually ended up putting an end to her grief by stashing the stroller at her mother's house and telling her mother-in-law that she'd returned the thing until she was closer to delivering.

At the time, I thought the whole thing was a little crazy. Now, I understand a bit better. Between December 18 (referral day) and January 4 (first court date), I was in a whirlwind of getting ready. I was even complaining about all I had to get done before leaving...stupid, stupid girl. January 4 put an end to all the preparations, and one of the hardest things for me was having to go into the room where all the baby stuff is. I didn't want to look at it, and I certainly wasn't buying anything else.

This is where the up-and-down nature of international adoption can do quite a number on one's psyche. After you get the referral and have a face to put to your dreams, it becomes thrilling to look through the baby sections in stores and in my case, to go to the scores of baby-gear consignment places in this eco-friendly town I live in. Life looks rosy when you're suddenly made a member of the mommy-club...

...until your membership is revoked.

This isn't just about buying baby stuff. I don't know how to answer people we meet for the first time who ask if we have children. One time, I actually said, "Sort of." Of course, I got a weird look and while I was trying to explain, the person was politely nodding, but I could almost hear the words being repeated in his head as I was speaking: who is this freak?

One day this week while in the shower (a place of frequent epiphanies for me), a thought settled itself into my brain, "Just get ready to travel." It was almost like a voice outside of myself said it to me. It made me excited and scared at the same time. Excited because it meant I could go back to the consignment places and scared because...well, you know: the voice of Hena's mother-in-law is a loud one.

I pulled out my list again of things we need for our trip, and yesterday I started checking things off. I can't say that it was fun the way it was before January 4th, but it wasn't torturous either. I wasn't pulling out my photos of Abe to show everyone like I was doing before. As I was picking out diaper cream and baby oil, I was almost doing it sneakily, hoping I didn't run into anyone I knew, like I was trying to get away with something I shouldn't be doing, like I was afraid the burly mommy-club bouncers were going to whip around the corner of the baby-aisle and turn their blaring sirens on, shouting through their bullhorns: "Mrs. Rooney! Did you forget about January 4th!? We said the answer was 'no'!"

As I paid for my things, successfully avoiding these scary men (uh, maybe I am a freak then), I drove home vaguely pleased to have gathered butt-paste and motrin, cautiously optimistic that I'll be able to actually use them eventually.

And there's one thought I can't get out of my mind through all this: Merlefest. For the last two years, I've been with my dad who is a volunteer coordinator who gets us back-stage passes to be able to sit on the stage with Emmylou Harris, The Duhks, and Allison Kraus. I love Merlefest. Love. It. At last year's festival, we were about two months into the adoption process, and I just knew we'd have our baby home by 2008's festival. I kept pointing out all the moms walking around with babies, telling my dad and sister, "That'll be me next year!"

The first thing I bought for Baby A was a "Half Full" t-shirt at Merlefest '07 because I've had the adult "Half Full" version for a while. I was scared buying it. The voice of Hena's mother-in-law almost kept me from getting it. Now '08's festival is coming up in a couple of months. One shirt is empty. One shirt is filled. Half Full. Ironic, no?


-Samantha- said...

I hope you realize that there are a whole lot of us already mothers that are voting for your membership.

Shelly Roberts said...

Hey there! .... so great to get the update! I've marked the date! (my calendar is having all sorts of little "Lori" reminders. :) Will praying for you all while you wait for this next date and trusting God to keep carrying you through each day, each hour, each moment. Much love, Shelly

Natalie Fournet said...

Praying for you and my heart is breaking for you. I know what it is like to have the membership revoked and that is sooo hard:( It must be even harder to be a mother (at heart at least) to this precious adorable boy! Praying for March 4th....hoping his shirt will be filled soon and hoping for happy shopping!

Karen said...

One day you'll have butt-paste all over your fingers, and think back at this day and smile.

obligato said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now checking in to see whats going on with court for you! I TOTALLY understand the mommy club stalkers...I am waiting for my court date and am using AGCI they dont tell u your court date just after u have gotten thru. I decided this weekend i was going to pack and really take the step and live expectanly that i am going to get the if some how that will help move things along! Anyway, thinking and praying for u tonite. Julie (TN)

shelly said...

I am not a mother yet....but please know that I have been praying and am STILL praying for you, your husband and baby A

graceling said...

Lori, I was thinking about you today, and it's funny you should write about half full, because I was praying that God would fill you with His love and joy.

Anonymous said...

Well, i think a court date is progress. I totally get you in wanting to be in the mommy club, but as far as i'm concerned you already are. i'm glad you are getting ready to travel. i think it's smart.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lori
My husband and I are sending our dossier to Ethiopia this week.

I want you to know that there is a gentle web of people out here loving you and supporting you. You WILL get your baby. Hang in there.

And you are already a mother.

Its all going to work out. It is.
I check in every day with your blog. We are sending you endless strength and hope.

Blessings!! :0)

Vicki and Ross
Bellingham, WA

Aimee said...

I will be praying for a half full t-shirt that is full of a beautiful little boy this year at Merlefest.


mama becca said...

Sweet friend... thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love what you write. I like that you were given permission, in a strange way, to prepare to travel. That is GOOD. What a great sign. Why not cling to that for awhile? I think that's okay. Do you think we'll have the same court date? Hmmmm. Maybe have our babies home by Merlefest and I can go buy that shirt too? :)
I agree... someone above said "you are a mommy". You are. This baby had taken a bit of your heart, now. And I don't think that will ever be returned, regardless of the outcome. So yes, you have a son, now. None of us ever know what tomorrow will bring... so yes, let's celebrate the approaching court date!
Come visit...

Drew Carey Show said...

Oh Lori, as always your words are so rich and moving. My heart is aching for you, but I'm glad for the concrete date and that your case is being heard. And I'm hopeful that this is it once and for all. There's a cruel irony in all of this, because I remember when we met how cautious you were about proceeding with any preparations -- as though it was somehow too presumptuous. I'm glad that you're finding the strength to resume your preparations for mommihood. You two are already wonderful parents, and what a gift Abenezer has having the two of you advocating for him.

Heather said...

Yea! March 4th! That is a big concrete step. Praying for Baby's A's adoption to be swiftly approved, and for endurance for his mama!

Nicholas said...

I cannot say anything worthy except to ditto everything that Carey said - so wise and true...

You WILL be a Mommy soon-

Keep shopping and nesting..

xo Lori - NH

Stacie said...

Ditto to what everyone said - we all want you in the mommy club and you already are - your heart is filled with love for a sweet babe and that's what it's all about. Of course, I know those are just words and what you want is that babe in your arms as well as your heart. Praying for that to happen, and happen soon! I want that t-shirt filled too! Thinking about you all the time!

(Oooh - do I sound like a stalker? :)

Susan Isaacs said...

Ooh yea hooray. March 4!! Let's organize another day of fasting and prayer. March 3, what say ye? Fill both Lori's glass and abe's sippy cup to FULL with prayers for a YES FINALLY!

Jenn said...

Hi. I am Tara's sister in law and have been stalking your blog for a little while. I really relate to this post! We have had a lot of trouble with our adoption as well and know exactly how you feel! I almost feel silly buying baby stuff for a baby who isn't here, and we have had a nursery with a crib in it for over a year now, but I guess sometime buying stuff and preparing can be a sign of faith, even when you don't 100% feel strong in that faith! I'm praying for you guys and your court date!