I have to share a new disorder I traditionally experience which needs to be listed in the DSM IV - Adoption Insomnia. This disorder seems to appear about 3 weeks pre-adoption travel, and leaves the patient incapacitated during normal daylight hours, yet fully functional during non-traditional evening hours, as long as the patient is being kept on fluids (Diet Coke). The patient will be doing much non-essential housecleaning, blogging, and planning. Tasks such as touching up paint on trim and walls, organizing pantry cupboards and arranging canned goods by type, and picking lint off of new bedding are commonly attributed to "AI". For those afflicted with AI,thus far, the only known cure is traveling to far off lands to embrace a child.
During my weeks long bouts of Adoption Insomnia, I often have the time in between lint picking and paint touch up to think...the kind of thinking that is usually reserved only for my morning shower time, when for 5 or 10 minutes...or until the hot water is completely depleted, I am uninterrupted by little voices making requests for oatmeal, bananas and "logurt", and yes the misspelling is correct and is how Joshie pronounces yogurt.
So, one of my Deep Thoughts this evening was trying to picture what our first meeting with Toktogul will be like, how awkward it might be, what might be running through his mind at that precise moment when he walks through the door to meet us. I am actually a tiny bit intimidated as I think about this special moment, wondering what I might be able to do to break the ice. This is definitely not feeling at all like adopting Matthew and Joshua as infants. I was not at all nervous or uncomfortable about the thought of meeting them, and it felt natural. This time around I am already nervous just thinking about it...I can't imagine how much worse I might be the day we actually meet in a mere couple of weeks! Add to that the lack of a shared language and this has the potential to be very stilted. I think of stupid things like: Should I immediately hug him, and what if he stiffens up at that? When the time comes will I just instictively know what to do? What can I bring along to distract him and engage him? Will he like the clothes we picked out? Will he smile...cry...show no emotion?
You would think this shouldn't be a huge issue in my mind, after all I am around 8 year old boys all the time with Cub Scouts and volunteering in Matthew's class. I know in general what they find funny (farts and burps are of course #1 and #2 on the list), I know that they are still little boys in many regards and yet at moments they are already on the way to being men, I know that some are already no longer willing to accept physical expressions of affection while others still crave it. Why should I be nervous about this??
I guess because this is the beginning of forever for our family and him. Because this child already bears our name and yet I don't know his favorite color, I don't know the sound of his voice nor the feel of his hand in mine, his gifts are yet unknown to me as is the way he walks. All of these things I can easily describe with Matthew and Joshua, that is part of what makes them my sons.
I guess I will cut myself some slack and give myself permission to be nervous, and hopefully when the time arrives it will be a non-issue and we will look at one another and both know this is right.