Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Six years ago today, I finally got my arms around this little guy, my son Nicholas. The wait for him had seemed agonizingly long. In truth, we really only waited 18 months from the day we submitted our adoption application to our U.S. agency (others have waited much longer). But, the years before that were long. We battled the demons that come with multiple pregnancy loss: depression, guilt, jealousy, desperation.
I thought this day would never come. Oh, what a wonderful day it was!
Even after we started the adoption process, the road was hard. We started the process in 2005. At that point in time, China adoptions took 6 months from start to finish (at least that's what our agency was telling us). But slowly, gradually, silently, the program slowed down.
I mean, really slowed down.
It eventually got to about 5 years. No one, including the American adoption agencies, seemed to know what was going on, why the referrals weren't coming in.
We were waiting for a "healthy" baby girl, which was the norm in Chinese adoptions in 2005 and before. I say "healthy" with a wink and a nod because, although these babies did not have any clinical diseases or deformities, most of them had all lived in institutions for their babyhood and had a lot of issues to overcome when coming to a family for the first time. I also put the word "healthy" in quotes because I mean to point out that the children deemed "unhealthy" are not always so. In my mind, a cleft lip or a club foot does not make a child unhealthy, just in need of some surgeries and therapies. But, I digress…
As we were waiting, I saw a post on one of the websites I frequented for waiting adoptive parents. It was a suggestion to look at some "waiting children" on a certain agency's website. Since we were already working with a different agency -- paid a whole lot of money to that agency -- I don't know why I bothered to look. But I did. And I found my son.
It was as simple and as magical as that.
We had never considered special needs adoption. We had never considered adopting a boy (we were told over and over again that it was nearly impossible to adopt a boy from China). But, I immediately loved this little boy in the picture and felt everything, all of my years of fantasies about the baby I wanted, shift. It all shifted from abstract to very very clear.
The little boy in the picture was called Nicholas. It turns out my boy was never actually called Nicholas, it was simply a name the agency gave him as a reference on the site (better than giving him a Chinese name which no American can pronounce, or an impersonal number). But, it caught my eye because John and I had always said we would name our first son Nicholas.
I also noticed his birthday: it was the due date for one of my lost pregnancies. The pregnancy that had gone the furthest and caused the most heartbreak, if you can rank such things.
John immediately went to work doing what he does best: getting things done. He called the agency about Nicholas' file. It was still available. We read ever inch of it. We sent it to pediatricians. John called our agency and Nicholas' listing agency. and somehow convinced them to transfer his file so that we could adopt him without the loss of precious time slowing down his adoption.
And it all happened to easily. After years of nothing going the way we wanted. After years of striving and planning and yearning, everything suddenly got really easy.
We always tell Nicholas that adopting him was the best decision we ever made: because we got him, and because we learned that taking leaps of faith is the way we want to live. In fact, he taught me to simply have faith. That there are two choices in life: fear or faith. And, after such a beautiful and unexpected gift, how could I lose faith ever again?
Happy Adoption Day to my beautiful, sensitive, loving, funny little man.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7