We've been texting, mailing and messaging photos,since the day we brought him home. We've even talked on the phone...and Monday, God willing, we will see her again. And she will hold Levi. And meet the other children. And I'm nervous. I find myself wondering if she will approve of him--of how we are taking care of him. And then I tell myself, how stupid that is. Because I know that he is where she wanted him to be and far over and above that fact: Levi is where HE wanted him to be. He was meant to be here in our family. But then I notice that his nails need a trim, and I think, "Oooh, I gotta get the clippers, can't let D see him with unkept nails..."
And then there are The Children. Their cute little mugs staring up from the pages of our Dear Birthmother Book might very well have been the deciding factor in her choice. But Monday she will meet the real show--coming to her live, loud, and in person--and probably in her lap. And I wonder what they might say..or ask. Should we coach them with a list of do's and dont's? Or will that make our meeting all the more stilted and forced? Will they meet her and automatically and effortlessly invite her into our circle as they do with church friends, neighbors, the Wallmart Check-Out Lady? Oh, I hope so. And why is it so easy for children to do that?
The last time we talked on the phone, I said, "I love you." It just popped out. I always say that to my family. But I didn't know; I didn't realize she would feel like family. I was surprised to hear myself say it, but I instantly realized it was true. I do love her. And if that sounds a little...off...to you, well, I can relate.
I remember our very first homestudy interview for Marina's adoption. The social worker asked, "How did I anticipate feeling about the birth family and the birth mother in particular?" At first blush, I thought that was a stupid question. Ummm...duh, we are here for a Russian adoption. What birth family? The child will be in an orphanage, without family, abandoned. But of course I knew that wasn't a good, open-minded, adoption savvy response. So I distinctly remember telling her that I didn't anticipate any strong negative emotions (and having positive ones never crossed my mind) toward the child's biological relatives--perhaps, in their situation of extreme poverty, leaving the child in the orphanage was in every one's best interest. However, I indicated that I might feel differently if I knew my child had suffered at their hands. When she prompted, "Such as..?" I gave her a long list: "abuse, neglect, alcoholism, drug addiction..."
My babies by adoption have endured all of these evils and then some. And yet, I am not angry at their birthmothers. Sometimes I am angry--but it is at the darkness at work in the world. For them I feel only sadness, regret, pity, hope and yes, love.
And D? When I told her I loved her, she choked on a sob. What kind of a life does one live that hearing that sentiment overwhelms you? I cannot imagine.