Monday, September 11, 2006
9/11 and Me
8:32 am 9/11/2006
It was just about this very minute 5 years ago today that as I watched in horror and confusion at the World Trade Center attacks on my television, that my phone rang with a call that would change our lives on many levels. It was our agency calling to tell us that we had received an invitation to travel to meet an 8 month old girl. We would leave in 11 days. I think it was at that moment that I truly began to grow up, at age 41. I had to face down many fears and summon the courage and resolve in areas of motherhood that I had never faced before.
I was excited and nauseous. Happy and afraid. Confused and angry.
As if adoption doesn't hold enough unknowns as it is.
As if traveling so far away from my son wasn't hard enough.
Our adoption journey and the wait this time had been so much easier than the first time. Because we were using the same people, the same region and hopefully returning to the same orphanage, we were much more relaxed. Because I had a two year old at home, I was busy and mentally occupied. Unlike the first time where I would sit in a finished yet vacant nursery waiting and wondering if this dream would actually become a reality. This time , I knew sooner or later it would all come together. I wasn't worried about the travel, referral process, attachment,health ,court or any of those fears that traversed the mental landscape 2 years earlier. I had dealt with my fear of flying. Wine, Bailey's, Denial and an Ambien handled that just lovely.
What to pack, what not to pack , gifts, Russian food and language , all subjects that fill waiting parents conversations were no longer an issue. This time , as long as I did not succumb to the intensity of missing my son, we could relax and really enjoy each step in the process and insert some "vacation" like atmosphere into our two trips it would require to bring home our new daughter.
How dare those damn Terrorists mess with my groove, my Chi, my positive aura I had going.
It may surprise you to know that many pre adoptive parents on the message boards opted to postpone travel and some even dropped out completely in the aftermath of 9/11. That thought never crossed our minds. Those attacks on day of the CALL only made our resolve stronger and reinforced our desire for our daughter, a child we knew nothing about and had never glimpsed. It was on 9/11 that we claimed her and her future with us. That was the maturing I speak of. For me, in adoption, you become a Mom or Dad long before you know anything about your child. You begin to parent in your heart without knowing the due date, gender, even age. You have no idea whose eyes, hair, personality or feet they may have. You love them unconditionally by instinct, long before you can feel them move or smell their hair.
9/11 is the day I felt my daughter move.
In the days to follow, many Americans began to reprioritize their lives and schedules and slow down and really live every moment. It comes as no surprise to me that in the year to follow many families also began the journey to become first time parents, added to their families, got married or began to make a dream a reality.
Our easy, mostly carefree adoption became an onslaught of trying to get Fed Ex to drive our stuff to a closed down New York City, visas from a closed Russian Embassy and buy plane tickets on planes that were grounded. I was scared about leaving my son, terrified of the thought of taking him with us. My most terrorfying thought was what if this somehow stopped our adoption or delayed our trip. This child had waited long enough for a family. My idyllic small country town didn't seem quite so safe anymore. My fear of flying reared its ugly head again. For some perverse reason I kept thinking about my son's scrapbooks that were not up to date and how sad if something happened to us and no one would be able to finish them for him. Not afraid of dying or of who would care for him, but preserving his memories and life for him to have always. It is still these thoughts that spur me on to try and keep my scrapping up to date. I want them to always know, not only by feeling our love, but in words and pictures how truly wonderful we think they are, how precious every second with them has been and how truly pursued, wanted and chosen they were.
I think the moral of this story is that there is no easy way to adoption. The difficult times may come in the beginning , the middle or the end. It may come in the days and months after you come home with your child or it may have been in the years preceding your adoption if you had infertility or pregnancy difficulties. For others the most difficult time is coming to the decision and acceptance of adoption or in both parents agreeing to the many choices that adoption brings you. Also while half of your life ,time and emotions are living in the adoption world, life in general also goes on about you. Your adoption journey may coincide with health or extended family issues. Your travel may come at the worst time for your job, your finances or during your sister's wedding. One day you may be saying that you will just die if it doesn't happen and the next day you may be asking yourself "Am I sure I know what I am about to do ?"
Every adoption story has mountains to climb and miraculous moments. Seconds that creep painfully by and moments that move at the speed of light. Looking back on my two adoptions ,it was equally the valley of the lows and the tremendous sky highs that made it the blessing and trip of a lifetime that they were. I wouldn't trade a single difficulty or missed a single step of the way. Each disappointment , delay and difficulty made it all the sweeter. I mourn today for all the families that lost mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sister on September 11. Also for all the children that will now never be born to some of them.
But that day also holds good in it for me.
My daughter is one of the good things.
The hardship it brought to our journey made the end that much more wonderful.
I am more thankful to be a mother , for the simple family times and for life in general than I was before that day.
I know for sure that nothing will ever stand between me and my children. That I can make those difficult decisions and be strong in the face of danger for them and for my family.
9/11 was a sort of Thanksgiving for us.
To all of you still waiting to travel, being able to only parenting that child in your heart right now, know that as hard as the road may have been or continues to be during this adoption, there is a reason for it. It may be months or years before you see it. But I have faith that you will.
God's timing, those things that seem unfair. Everything that you cannot control and it seems as if just one more thing goes wrong you will go crazy. Trust me you won't.
You will be stronger , wiser and have more faith when you are finally tucking your child in bed.
It is all of this that will make you a better parent and prepare you for all the other decisions and difficult times ahead of you.
Because they will come.
Life is life, infinitely rewarding and heartbreakingly sad.
I would not want it any other way.
That is what makes it so worth the ticket and price of admission.
September 11,2006.
I would not be the woman I am today if not for this day 5 years ago.
And that I am thankful for.


Post a Comment

<< Home