Somehow, a year has passed since we received our referral for our beautiful son. We had only waited about 5 months, which to me seemed like an eternity. Since it was past the June 15th "cutoff", I was pretty bummed and trying to resign myself to being caught in the summer court closure. I worked at the studio that afternoon. By working I mean I exchanged pitiful emails with my waiting buddy, Kari. Here is what I wrote to her that morning:
Hey! I guess I am at semi-peace with it. I don't feel like our referral is coming now, so I don't think about the phone ringing anymore. I am just still trying to focus on the positives, and also trying to set up my business so that I can have more free time when the baby does come. I'm not saying it's gotten any easier, but what can I do other than get used to it? It would be an awesome surprise if Kristina was dialing our number right this minute (*gazing at phone*...haha). I just have to figure that our baby just isn't ready for us yet. I can't wait to see what Jan says! I am curious to know how long they expect us to try to hang on. Maybe we do still have a chance.....haha, here I go again. I hope you are doing okay! I know how hard this is for you guys too. I wish this summer would just get on with it already!
Feeling crappy, I left my assistant, Amber to run the place and went home. Around 4, Adam was playing Nintendo (original, baby) and I was watching some documentary on Internet weirdos or something. My cell phone rang, and it was Amber, who was absolutely freaking out. I heard "Kristina called! I accidentally hung up! I'm so sorry! Could this be IT?? Oh, I'm sorry, Oh, my God! Call her back!" I tried to ignore the twinge I felt in my body that maybe, just maybe this was it. I looked over at Adam and explained that Kristina had called and that she was probably letting us know that there were no more referrals coming. Adam could see right through that shit. It was obvious that I was determined that this was the call. He just said "Don't...you know..." and I said, "Okay" and dialed the number. She answered, and gave me that famous line..."Is this a good time?" My heart dropped to my feet. I knew that in a few minutes, most of that heart would belong to someone else. And I was right. I can't describe the excitement of pulling up that email to see your child's face for the first time. I can't describe the devastation you feel for the birth family as you simultaneously celebrate your good fortune. Here is what we saw:
After 8 weeks of carrying this photo everywhere I went, we flew across the world and brought our son home. In the last 9 months, Charlie has changed so much, and changed all of us as well. Becoming his mother was the hardest thing I have ever done, and the most amazing. Looking back, I don't think I even realized how hard it was. He was so out of it at first, and I had no idea yet, because I was still learning his real personality. Now you can see him coming from a mile away. Charlie lights up room, steals hearts, talks back because he "IS BIG!" He wants people to "feel all better", and gives hugs and kisses when he wants to. (They are worth the wait!). He wants to play, to help, and make you laugh. He is the most special person I know. How could I be so lucky? I laid awake for a long time last night thinking about that day, one year ago. I thought about how I would blog about it. How I remember it. And whether I would keep it light and joyful, or let some of the grief and the guilt that has built in me over the last year spill into it. I want to focus on the beauty of Feke's story, and ours, but it is impossible to do that without accepting the tragedy that was the first big event in our boy's life. There is no reason, other than dumb luck, that I was the woman who had a baby placed in her arms rather than having to let him go. I am in no way a better choice for his mom. Her name is Deselech, and I just can't post about our referral without thanking her for her strength and courage. After a long time thinking last night, I went into Charlie's room, scooped him up, and cried to the framed photo of his birth parents. I wondered if, knowing what I know now, and how hard it will be to one day help our son understand it all, would we do it again. My answer is yes. Here are some photos I took of Charlie this morning, one year later:
For anyone waiting for a referral, or waiting to travel, or researching adoption in general...hang in there. I really believe that your child will come to you, with their own story. It's a huge responsibility, but so worth it. Don't be afraid to celebrate, and don't be afraid to mourn. It's all part of the package, but the best part, of course, is becoming a parent. Yes, a 'real' parent...I love you, Charlie Fekadu...