Friday, June 27, 2008

One year ago, I saw this face...

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...

13 comments:

Jess Addison said...

I just cried into my pancakes!!

I remember waking up from a nap hearing your shaking voice in my ear..."It's a boy! He's beautiful!"

I love this post. I love your strength, your compassion, and your family.

Happy One Year Referal-versary!

Julie said...

If I weren't crying so much right now, I'm sure I would be able to write a coherent comment expressing my admiration for you and the warmth I feel emanating from your beautiful family.

Jen and Dan said...

Ok, You should have had a disclaimer that said, do not read without a tissue box! Thank you for sharing so beautifully and honestly your story. Happy 1 yr referralversary!!! :)

Mama Sweet Pea said...

Yes, full tissue warning should have been posted....Now I have to go reapply my mascera! Thank you for sharing your heart, and your beautiful family!

Gypsy said...

Why don't you put warning labels on your blogs. I'm about to pull a Tammy Fay at work. You have this gift of being able to put pure emotion into your writing. I LOVE MY BEAUCHAMPS!!!

BoShanks said...

I am lucky.

Lauren said...

You gave me chills. I really enjoyed your post, it was moving and real. God Bless you guys and your little Charlie. Happy anniversary!

Lauren

The Krumwiede Six said...

Happy day to you all!! I am sitting her bawling... I am so very happy for you all... you give me strength and the courage to follow our dreams....

love ya!
Kristin

Melissa Jackson said...

Heather, when i read this i began to cry and thought to my self, ugh i always cry over everything then i read everyone else comments and thought ok i am not just a softy this is truly one of the many reasons i am so glad we became friends and have remained friends even though we dont see or talk as often as i would like. I can remember 5 years ago when we meet, all the crazy work days and now here we are it is amazing how things change. I am truly so happy for you and your family and you may not realise it but you are an insperation to people like my self who feels adoption is one of the greatest things a person can do in life but at the same time wonders if the process is to complicated. You and Adam show that real people in their 20's can do it as long as you have love and determination. It does not take someone in their 40's with tons of money to do this it just takes the want and determination. Every time i read one of your bloggs about Charlie, i keep telling Steven and my self we can do this, and maybe that is why you came into and remained a part of my life (thru the time and distance) is to be my insperation to follow my dream of the ultimate gift in a childs life and that is to give them life with love and family. You are one special person and i am thankful to call you my friend, your story is truly my insperation to add a beautiful little Charlie (we will call her Emma) to our family one day. Happy 1 year and i missed you guys tonight, maybe one day i can pull self away and have a girls night.

Kari said...

You made me cry too! I can't believe it's been a year. WOW!! I love this post, and love the honesty that you brought to it as well.

It is SO hard to fully embrace the joy of our kiddos without acknowledging someone else's loss. I am proud of the mom that you are, and CF's mom and dad would be too.

We miss you guys terribly and can't wait to see you soon. Maybe after is Mallory is born????
Love, Kari, Ron, Makenna & Kya

Mark and Sarah said...

Oh my goodness, I am a mess. You said it all. Your post brings so many of my same thoughts and feelings to my mind, and tomorrow is our first Famiversary with Ashenafi, so I'm pretty emotional already. Okay, picking myself up the floor. Thanks for being so real.

Anonymous said...

I remember that day oh so well..I was there with Amber that day at the studio..Thinking of that day brings tears of joy to my eyes...We all were so happy for you and Adam...And I can't ever tell you how much I love Charlie...He is the most amazing little boy...And he is truly a blessing...I love you guys!

Rachel B.

nosmallfeat said...

Ah shucks... I'm crying my eyes out! What a great story and I am so honored to have been a part of the journey to Charlie...

... and the journey to Mallory.