Saturday, March 21, 2009

A new kind of waiting

Our dossier will probably be mailed to China on Tuesday. Yun Gui's first birthday is Thursday. This is the point at which my emotions take a downward slide. The excitement and urgency are waning, the void of distance is more apparent, and the feeling of helplessness takes over. We wait to hear some news, but we don't want to talk about it anymore. Admonishments to cheer up will be met with grumbles, or ignored altogether. It won't be a long wait - they say we might be in China by July or August - but it feels like time is stretching out.

The builders are starting the addition sometime next week, too. I'm hoping to focus on that instead of the long stretchy void of waiting. We'll see how that goes. Maybe I'll just end up micromanaging too much and the builders will have to tell me to go away. :)

My husband and i went to a "waiting families" meeting at our local agency. It was nice. We had pizza and a birthday cake for Yun Gui. The other parents there were great people. It's good to connect sometimes.

There was one interesting bit of conversation about how a child fitting into a family. I mentioned that I thought Yun Gui would fit well into our family. Everyone else, except my husband and me, said they believed in the idea that a child was 'meant to be'. That you knew your child right away and felt a singular pull to him/her, and that everything works out in the end because of the rightness of it all.

I'm always interested in other people's attitudes toward adoption, the ideas they build on to keep them strong throughout all the ups and downs. 'It was meant to be' is different from the approach my husband and I take, of course. We like to think that we're capable of parenting children with a wide range of personalities, and with a lot of hard work, love, and thoughtfulness, we can get whichever child we adopt to fit into our family. Yun Gui is not "the one for us" to the exclusion of all other children, but we love him and we cannot wait to bring him home and start cherishing him and raising him and teaching him everything we know. And, who knows, there may be more children in the future - whoever they are, we're looking forward to loving them too. But it's not about fate to us; it's about circumstance.

Even so, I'm fascinated with the fate-filled philosophies of others. One mother has her child already, via domestic adoption, and she gushed over how perfect he was for her and her husband. The agent has adopted two children from Russia and loves them to death. The last couple is still in the process of a domestic adoption, and they seemed to like the fate idea.

In the middle of it all, we each discussed the children we didn't adopt; the near-misses, or the matches that came at the wrong time, or the children whose parents changed their minds after the hopeful parents had already fallen in love. Our agent had a "meant to be" moment once and then the adoption fell through. The new mother had ten matches before one baby finally became hers. That put the 'fate' idea a little more into perspective! You need to feel a bit of love for the child in order to say yes to a match, but you don't dare fall too far in love until it's a done deal. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's a difficult decision, and sometimes a pragmatic attitude helps. But afterwards, when the child is yours and you allow yourself to love more deeply, it may be comforting to look back and say, "This family was meant to be."

This family is a little bit chosen, a little bit random chance. We chose Yun Gui before we knew anything about him except his gender and his special needs category. We didn't choose him among other children; he was the only child offered to us at the time and we had to say either yes or no. We said yes because... well, because yes is generally a better answer than no when you want a child; no better reason than that. We were pleased about his details when we learned them. But that doesn't mean we said yes because his details suited us so well. We said yes because we said yes, and his details suit us well.

But keep in mind, also, that he's a baby. He doesn't have a lot of details. If he loved football and wanted to be a cattle rancher, he might not think our family is very much of an ideal. But he's healthy and easygoing and loves musical toys. He's a baby. We want a baby. See? Good match.

I didn't share my outlook at the meeting. I regret not doing so now. Maybe the other families would have been just as intrigued at the compare-and-contrast of ideas. I assumed at the time that they'd just think I was disagreeing with them. I don't disagree. I like diversity. But I don't always know when my love of diversity is shared. Sometimes the impression of similarities creates more of a connective feeling for some people.


  1. Interesting perspective. I guess I can see it from both sides. I can understand a sense of accepting a child as the one fated to be part of the family, and that not being a bad thing. I can also see your point of view that you wanted a child, this child was the one available, so of course you said yes, and of course you will fall in love with him (which is how I understood what you're saying, ignore me if I'm incorrect, or correct me. Whichever.).

    I won't tell you to cheer up, but I will say you're in my prayers!

    I don't believe babies to be blank slates, they come with their own personalities that will be shaped by their circumstances. I'm confident that whatever personality he has, you will adore him and he will "fit".

  2. Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog party with cake! Yum. :-D

  3. Well, if he really really wants to be a cattle rancher someday, I'll support him however I can. But I'm not expecting it to be an immediate issue. :)

    And you're welcome! Party on!

  4. Can't wait to meet Yun Gui! His birthday comes just a month before my daughter's; maybe they can be friends . . . fellow someday gamers . . . and co-conspirators to thwart our ambitions for them! (I'll keep my mouth shut on the whole cattle ranching issue, hailing from North Dakota as I do.)

  5. Hi MaryEllen! I didn't even know you had a blog. I shall follow you. And welcome to mine.

    Fellow gamers... that sounds about right. We'll train 'em early and train 'em well, and then they'll still manage to surprise us.

    And hey, if Yun Gui shows any interest in cattle ranching, maybe a trip to North Dakota will be just the thing. I wouldn't know what to do once I get there, but now i know where to get advice.

  6. Thank you for not thinking I'm creepy to comment on and follow your blog without any forewarning!

    I'm sorry about your hard day with your little birthday boy still so far away (geographically and paperwork-wise and everything). I can't really fathom all you're going through, not having experienced things in your shoes, but please know your family is cared about and prayed for.

    I'm almost embarrassed to tell you about my blog - partly because it's mainly a "cute kid stories" blog, but mostly because I haven't written on it in so long. (My profile is not public because my kids have been using it to write blogs of their own and I wanted things as safe as possible for them.) It's if you want to look anyway!

    Hope your next day is happier.

  7. Creepy? No way. I've met you in person. Besides, I've had a blog at Livejournal for 8 years, and over there it's acceptable to friend people left and right. It's also considered rude not to reciprocate when someone friends you. I guess maybe the etiquette on Blogger is different; if you don't wish for me to follow your blog back, I will totally understand and won't take offense. But I do like stories about kids.

    Thanks for the well-wishes... today I am thoroughly physically ill, so I'm starting to wonder whether my awful mood the past couple of days was also due to the subconscious precursor to a bad bout of the flu or something. I'm not going to dwell on what the "or something" might be, though. Hoping it's just flu.