written in Russia while finalizing the adoption of our youngest son...
My first memory of you: your daddy and I were told to wait at the end of the hall while our facilitator entered what we would soon find out was a small playroom and asked your caregiver to bring you out. The woman dressed all in white stepped out of the room with a tiny little boy in her arms. You were wearing a t-shirt and thick tights, with little red shoes. She gave you a little push and you suddenly started walking towards us. You were unsteady, just like your older brother was when he took his first steps towards his forever family.
Even though you had let us hold you and feed you and play with you on our first trip to meet you, and even though we had heard that you loved looking at the pictures of our family we had left with you, we knew you had to be confused. After all, you were almost two years old! All you knew was life in that hallway, and to you, life was good. You had friends, caregivers you loved... And then one day Mommy and Daddy came and took you away from all that. And you cried. Oh boy, did you cry.
Your brother didn't cry like that when we took him away from the nanny who had accompanied him on the hour long drive to meet us. He wasn't as attached, maybe, and he was younger than you. But we expected your tears and your confusion.
You stopped crying almost immediately, though, easily settling in to your new life. Now you cry when you don't get your way, like when you want to go outside but it is raining, or when you don't want to take a nap. You cry when you think it is taking me too long to heat up your lunch, or when I accidentally walk out of your line of vision. But you don't cry because you are leaving the only love you have ever known. You will never cry like that again, my little boy.
Today you have been unsettled, a little, as you watch me move about our room packing our suitcase. I have told you a thousand times that we are leaving for home tomorrow, but of course you don't understand. You take your clothes out of the suitcase every time I turn my back. Finally I give up. I can pack tonight, when you are sleeping. I wonder what you are thinking? Do you think we live in this hotel room? Do you remember Daddy? Do you wonder where that Chinese boy who is in all your family pictures is hiding? I cannot imagine how confusing this must be. I didn't think so much about that when we traveled home with your brother. Maybe because he was 9 months younger when he got on that plane.
I will always hold in my heart the memories of our time together in Russia. How we often had nothing to do but lay on the bed and stare at each other for hours, or sit on the floor singing songs. Those memories will create the bedtime stories your daddy and I will share with you one day, just like we often tell your brother his story, the story of our time with him in Guangzhou. But right now I am looking forward to an event that will, hopefully, be a happy memory for me for years to come. I know your older brother is excited to meet you, and I cannot wait to walk into the baggage area in Columbus and see him and Daddy waiting for us, waiting for you. I can't wait to pick up Matthew, who I have missed so much, hug him tight, and introduce him to you. That is a memory I have been waiting to make for a long time.