Another fabulous guest today. Bridget writes elegant thoughts and shares gorgeous pictures at Sticky Mango Feet. I’ve been a fan for ages, but a relatively silent one, so I was a little hesitant to ask Bridget to write for us. I’m so glad I did! Here are her thoughts on ‘the wait.
In September of 2008, I made the mistake of telling my hairdresser that we were adopting. Little did I know then that the 25+ months that were ahead of me would be some of the most challenging months of my life. Every month thereafter when I went to get my hair cut (short hair has it’s drawbacks, folks!), she would say, “Soooo…..any word on the adoption?” Groan. I’ve been to five hairdressers since. You’d think I would have learned my lesson the first time around. Keep your “news” quiet, woman! But, I can’t. Our child, who I do not know yet, is still our child. She feels very real to me. So, when someone asks me, “How many kids do you have?” I reply that we have a 3 ½ year old daughter and that we also have a daughter in Ethiopia who we do not know yet. The predictable questions follow and I (usually) politely reply. I mean- they’re just curious, well intentioned people after all. This last weekend we attended a Halloween party and three seconds after we arrived, someone yelled across the room, “Any word on your adoption?” I love her. I do. But, I wanted to yell back, “Any word on your ex?” I busied myself with my daughter’s costume and pretended not to hear. Sometimes, it is just too painful to answer. Because my answer is “no.” There is no word on our adoption. And for the last 698 days I have awoke thinking of her and for the last 698 days I have fallen asleep thinking of her. I’m not as bitter as I sound. I promise. I know I shouldn’t equate our “wait” with someone else’s painful journey. We all have something. It’s just exhausting. Lately, I’ve been saying to people, “It’s (the wait) just too long.” I don’t think they understand and how can they? My words are vague and they sound overly simplistic for the angst that I feel. I have spent the past 698 days trying not to wish away precious time. I am head-over-heels in love with my daughter and love our days together (even if I’ve gone completely mad by 3 p.m. on most days). My husband and I have been drawn together in a new way. We have strengthened our relationship by enduring the pain of the process. It absolutely has meaning. The wait. And yet, 698 days to wait for our daughter to join our family…it’s a long time. I need her home. I need her in my arms. I need to start the journey together. I know it is a journey full of challenges, hurdles, complications, more angst. I know. But I’m ready to begin. I’ve spent the past 22 months reading, blogging, going to classes, attending webinars, meeting adoptive families, connecting with other mothers who “get it.” I’ve poured over conversations of ethics and transracial parenting. I’ve searched for truths, all truths. I’ve tried to learn all I can about Ethiopia and her people- a country I have grown to love from a distance. A country I already love intimately and without reservation even though my feet have yet to meet her soil. I’ve cried. Oh, how I’ve cried. I’ve cried and cried and cried and cried. I had no idea the grief I’d process throughout the wait. And yet, I know I have not even experienced the tip of the iceberg, as I don’t even know our daughter’s story yet. I haven’t met her. I haven’t met her birth family. I’m naïve. I know this. I was when I first started this journey and although I have learned so very much, I know I have so very much yet to learn. I am committed to the journey. I now look at the world in a much different way. Adoption has changed me. And even though our wait has been tremendously difficult, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know that our joy is someone else’s sorrow. I don’t wish this upon anyone. In a perfect world, adoption would not need to be an answer. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world. In the next 2-3 months, we will have an answer to our question: Who is she? And we will have a lifetime together to continue answering that question. We will have a lifetime together. A lifetime pales in comparison to the 698 days that we have spent yearning. And so, we wait. Because waiting means seeking, understanding, learning, questioning, grieving, celebrating. Eventually, the day will come when we will know who she is. We will know her story. We will be the honored ones to spend our days with her. I know that months are nothing compared to a lifetime. And it is, in a way, selfish to be so exhausted by the wait. I need to remind myself of that. Daily.