As we have shared with others our plan to adopt again, we have received many different reactions...some extremely supportive, some calling us "saints" (totally NOT accurate), many who have indicated that they think we should be happy with just two children, and some who have flat out rolled their eyes and let us know they thought we were crazy and they simply can't understand why we would do it again. I have touched on this in the blog before, but I have never really addressed the more personal side of it.
How can I possibly explain to someone (actually I don't really feel the need to with people like that) that our family feels incomplete, that I, as a mother, still feel that one of my children is not home yet? It is an emotion that I can't quite put into words and have felt since we first brought Matthew home. I remember when we had thought we would be proceeding to adopt Joshua a year earlier than we actually did, and sometime around the holidays Dominick and I looked at one another and realized we just couldn't proceed yet financially, and we decided to put it off another year. We both sat there and cried, and as the tears ran I could only think "Our child is still going to be alone...". Stupid, I know, as Josh wasn't born yet and I feel strongly that God has led us to each of our children specifically. But those feelings were real, and are even more so with "T" as he is a real, live, breathing child waiting for his family. He is not unknown to us.
I thought about this much more after we did actually adopt Josh and learned his history. Josh was abandoned by his birthmom behind an apartment building in the dead of winter. How long did my son lay there crying for his birthmom? How long was he alone in the cold? What fear must he have felt, a totally helpless infant suddenly finding himself separated from his mother? I imagine the panic he felt, the trauma inflicted which we continue to deal with on a daily basis. Do you know how heartbreaking it is to have your child frantically searching the house for you screaming hysterically because he can't find you? And this is 3 years later...not immediatly following adoption.
I explain this because perhaps it gives you a little insight into what it is to be the adoptive mother to children who you KNOW are in desperate need of your love and care, and yet are so darned distanced both in miles and paperwork that there is nothing you can do. Adopting is in some ways no different than giving birth, in terms of the love you feel for your child, but is very different in many other ways. When pregnant you may have fears of getting proper nutrition, birth defects that are out of your control, etc. but when adopting you have fears of a different kind. You find yourself worried that your child has been abused, neglected, abandoned or starved. Matthew came to us at 11 months old, weighing a mere 14 lbs. and in the beginning stages of rickets. He was physically malnourished but emotionally very healthy and ready with an open heart to accept love. He frankly was so severely ill on the way home that it is not an exaggeration to say that something as minor in this country as bronchitis could have killed him, but he survived and thrived.
But it is at night as I am in bed with my mind wandering that I feel it the most. Communing with God in prayer, we all ask Him to keep our new son safe until we can bring him home. It is during the long drives of winter that I make to get to work that I am often touched by this sense of feeling as if a part of me is not yet here. I felt it all winter long last year so strongly, even though we did not yet have a firm adoption plan. We had begun the homestudy update, but we had no idea where our journey would really lead us. All I knew was that he or she was counting on us, and that our family had a hole in it that was waiting to be filled. Once "T" is home I wonder if I will have a sense of relief that my family is now all under one roof where they belong, or if there will still be this nagging voice inside of me that gnaws and chews at my insides. I want to be done, I want our family to be complete. However if God has other plans we will follow His leading...how, I am not sure, but then I guess if that is His plan I don't need to worry about that as He'll have it all figured out for us.
For now though, we wait, and we feel "T" is already a part of us...and I at least have the answer to who it is that is missing at our dinner table every night. Now it is only a matter of getting him home.