My little family had a whirlwind of a weekend. We started our Saturday at my son's Chinese language class, across town. No matter how early we get up or how well we plan the night before we always seem to be participating in some sort of evil family olympics event as we race to get out the door. Our race to the finish line Saturday morning included packing an overnight bag for all three of us as we prepared to leave for class and not come home until Sunday evening. We made it to class with time to spare.
Our little guy is doing pretty well in this class. He is a little younger than his classmates and so every week we hold our breath waiting for the moment when his age gets the best of him and he can no longer contain his three year old enthusiasm. While he has his moments, overall he is doing very well participating in the class.
After class we met with a mom from our fu social group to notarize some (more) paperwork for our dossier. If we use a lawyer to notarize the documents we can skip the step of obtaining state certification, which is a huge time saver when you are attempting to pull together a dossier in three weeks. (three weeks!)
While we were hanging out at class we got to see another mom from our fu group who just came home from China last month with two beautiful toddlers. Two! That must have been quite a trip, coming home with two new little ones!
Documents notarized, Chinese learned, we headed to Cleveland. On Sunday Brad and Matthew headed to the Brown's football game. I had my own to do list to complete.
I set up shop in the Border's cafe to finish our photo collage for our dossier. I don't mind sending pictures of our home overseas for unknown strangers to view and pass judgement on. I really don't. I love our home. I like the way we have decorated it- it truly is a reflection of us. I like the toys mixed in with the books in the living room. I like the child's artwork hanging from the cupboards in the kitchen. I like the painting one niece completed on the mantel and the one another niece painted in the dining room. But these photos of our home threw me a little. They did last time also. How do you capture who you really are in a handful of snapshots? When I look around my spacious living room this is what catches my eye: the grouping of framed photos of our son and his cousins hanging on the wall, small for now, but with room to grow as our family does. The photo I took of the Great Wall of China, framed and hanging by the fire place. The wooden doll bed hand made by my great grandfather and passed down from child to child over the years. My mom, my sister, me, and now my son have all put dolls (or stuffed dogs in my son's case) to sleep in this bed. I see the big overstuffed chair that we bought when we still lived in Cleveland and the floor lamp that we received as a wedding gift. I see the photo's I took of Coney Island and Radio City Music Hall framed and sitting on high shelves in the hallway. I see my books scattered throughout the room mixed in with toy cars and stuffed pandas. But as I sat in that cafe placing those pictures into the collage I didn't see any of that. I saw a clean room, a sofa, a chair, a fireplace. How will these pictures accurately tell our story?
There are so many unknowns in the adoption process. Do they want the photos of our home to prove we have the space for another child? Are they looking for signs that we will be good parents? Every step of the journey is taxing, invasive, and, often, frustrating. With every task completed there is a whisper in the background reminding me that not everyone has such hoops to jump through. Babies leave hospitals everyday with biological mothers and go home to unsanitary or unsafe conditions. We have all seen those parents in the crowded aisles of Walmart who certainly would not have passed a home study. Those whispers are there and they are real. When this week is over and my mad rush to finish our dossier is over, the whispers will quiet again and my mind will retreat into thoughts of what color the new baby's room should be and how will we ever agree on another boy's name... I like it when the whispers are quiet and my heart can hear what is truly important- that we have the children we are meant to have.