Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thoughts on family

I'm going to have what appears to be two sort of random thoughts that I'm going to string together.  It may not make much sense, but there is a point.

When I began the adoption process nearly two years for my daughter, I thought of myself.  And my daughter.  I'm single--in my eyes starting a family didn't affect anyone else. I didn't see the impact on the rest of the family, on my work or colleagues, nor on my community or the world as a whole (which is a topic for a deeper thought somewhere else).  Having said that, I'm beginning to see things differently now. 

As a kid I would see my dad play with my male cousins or any little boys that come over.  He always looked so happy to be rough housing with the boys--which is something he was able to share somewhat with my sister.  I know I asked him on at least one occasion if he would have liked to have a boy and being the gentleman that he is, he would say something along the lines of "no, I got exactly what I wished for" or "I only wanted girls" or something to let us know that we were the only ones he ever wanted.  I know they considered having a third child when all their other friends began having babies one final time--a last ditch effort for a boy.  And many of them were successful, but they opted to stay a family of four. 

My parents were very excited when I announced my intention to adopt a daughter from China.  It was something I had talked about for years, but I just hadn't gotten that "ah-ha" moment--that heavenly push (or turned 30 for that matter).  But when I announced my intention to adopt a second child, a boy, I got a surprising reaction.  I think my mother was a little hesitant initially even though I'd been talking about it since shortly after I started the dossier for my daughter, but she admitted she wasn't ready to change the image of what she thought my family was going to look like.   My father, on the other hand, was very excited from the beginning (my mom adjusted to the news quickly and is also excited).  He has made several comments along the way about how excited he is and even said to me a couple weeks ago "I can't wait for Duc to come home.  I don't think you have any idea of just how excited I am."  Most recently my sister and I were talking and she was telling me about a conversation that she and dad were having and my son's name was brought up.  He mentioned to her about how excited he was and my sister (perhaps feeling a bit defensive) said, "well, we are planning on trying for a boy this summer."  She laughed when she told me his response "oh, but this one is guaranteed."  I couldn't help but think of the scene from "O Brother, Where art thou?"  when Clooney's ex-wife defends her soon-to-be new husband by saying "he's bona fide". 

Duc has begun seeping into not just my family, but my family and those that are closest to me.  While his life began 8,000 miles away (ok, that's just a guess), his life is beginning to grow here as we wait on him.  It's beyond looking at crib sheets and stuffed animals for his room, my family is including him in the head count when planning vacations.  My sister is already picturing her daughter bossing him around while she plays house.  My neighbor pictures him playing on the large limestone formations in her yard, just as her children did 30+ years ago. I walk through my house and lay my hands on the doors to my children's rooms and I pray for safety and comfort for them and their birth parents.  And now, I'm not the only dreaming of my son.  Mom mentioned this morning that Dad had a dream earlier this week (and he rarely remembers or mentions dreams she said) that I received some sort of news on Friday about Duc.  While I did not receive any calls, I have to wonder what might be happening on the other side of the world.  Perhaps someone grabbed my dossier and his dossier and thought we might make a nice family or maybe my family is making a connection to him much deeper than I imagined.

I'm beginning to see the bigger picture more now than I did two years ago.  It's not about me and my child.  It's about me, my children and the rest of our world.  It's about family and community in ways that I never saw before.  Yeah, I will be the biggest one affected by his arrival, but it no longer ends there.  I know that my family will be over the moon (and I really hope my dad is able to go with us to Vietnam), but I also know that my colleagues, many that have now become my friends, will also be affected.  it won't be just that they have to pick up the slack on my maternity leave, they will share in the excitement of having a child in the department again.  While this post is all about me, me, me, I do realize that are bigger issues here as well and that the biggest people affected are really Duc and his birth family.  Perhaps I will have a chance to look a bit deeper at these issues at a later date.  For right now, the sun is finally coming out and I want to see what it looks like!


Kelli June 7, 2008 at 9:06 PM  

Hey, I saw the sun today too! Onto sons- I too am seeing how my son is going to be part of my whole family. The grandparents are getting just as impatient as I am! From day 1 my dad always told me he would fully support my decision to adopt...if I adopted a son...grandson! It's so exciting to think about!

PS- I take no fault in the bad travel experience. My aunt seems to be the culprit!

Anonymous June 10, 2008 at 1:27 AM  

I couldn't agree with you more! I began seeing all of this while we waited for Mattix. Thank you for writing this beause it is so true. Mattix has affected so many people in such an amazingly positive way. It sounds strange, but so many people tell me that their lives are touched in a very positive way by him. I feel so fortunate that our family is so supported and loved and that Mattix has so many people who care for him. But also like you said, HE and HIS family are very profoundly affected in a different way, something I didn't initially appreciate or understand when we began the process. Great post, Erica. You know I love your thoughts...this one is great.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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