Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big Adoption Series - Chapter 12

For the next few weeks, I will be re-posting the posts I wrote while in South Korea, bringing Siley Pants home. Although I know this will be "old news" to many of you, his story needs to be part of this series, and I can't imagine telling it better than I did in real-time, fueled by Korean oxygen and Bi Bim Bob.

At the bottom of each of these repeat posts, I will share a favorite adoption resource. No scrolling down allowed. The blog police are fiercer than you might think.

Ha.

And can I just say that I love you, friends? I do. Your encouragement and connection to this adoption story and the regular ol' stories of our little life warm me up on the inside, every day.

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(Originally posted Wednesday, March 17, 2010)


It's the middle of the night here and I just woke from a nine hour "nap". It seems we're a little on the mixed-up side right now. Just tell me this - how's a girl supposed to sleep when she knows she'll be meeting her son in just 12 hours?

Looking out our window here at the guest house, it seems that most of the city decidedly does not have my problem. The city's eyes are shut tightly, save the lone man walking down the alleyway, the glow from his cigarette mirroring the orangey cast of the street lamps.

As expected, I find that I am unable to really grasp where I am right now. I find myself looking around, doing my best to take it all in, and thinking, over and over, "Calvin used to live here". In fact, he spent time in the very building in which we are staying. These are things that he and his brother will always share - these snapshots of their earliest beginnings.

I am amazed by the sheer foreignness of Seoul, though I'm sure that sounds silly. All I can say is, it is one thing to read about a country, to watch a documentary about a country; but it is an entirely different thing to walk amongst the people of a country; to ride the subway with them, to purchase their wares, to eat a meal prepared by them.

We are finding that most of the people we encounter here do not speak English. Yes, our Western self-importance had us thinking that many would have a basic, working understanding of our language. The truth is, I like it better this way. I like not having the option of taking the easy road. I like being in the position of acclimating, rather than assuming that those around us will acclimate to us.

I am thankful for the brief, pin-dot-small moments of awareness I have had that I am different here. I look different. I am obvious. In these moments, I have not felt less-than, or scrutinized, I have simply felt "other". It brings to life for me just a tinge of what my kids will very well feel as they live their everyday lives. Unaware as they are right now, I know they will grow increasingly world-wise and I know there will be times when they feel "other".

What I am feeling for my boys, right now, is immense pride in their heritage. Their people are lovely, humble, stylish, kind. I am newly amazed that God's plan for both of them required a trip across the ocean, a detachment from their culture, a forfeiting of their language - their blendability.

My kids, all three of them, have a story that I have never lived. Try as I may, I will never really know what that's like.

I am so proud of their bravery, so inspired by their trust, so honored by their willing hearts.

As I look again out our window, at rooftops frosted with snow and buildings NYC-tall, I want so badly to fold up all of these feelings, wrap them in a red ribbon, and pack them safely away for all of those conversations that are sure to happen in our house as the years go by. I don't want to miss a thing. I don't want to forget a single detail.

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Grace from China


It was pure serendipity that led me to this book over five years ago, while I was headfirst in the throes of thumb twiddling, waiting for Calvin Lee to waltz into my heart and my kitchen. The book arrived on the day that I was headed to a conference to work, so I tossed it into my bag for some hotel reading. In typical fashion, a Mexican restaurant wooed me into its lair and I grabbed the book, since everyone knows it's infinitely less awkward to solo dine with a book in hand. In no time flat, I was sniffling into my salsa. And the salsa wasn't even hot.

This book steamrolled me, in the best sort of way. Although we do not have a letter from Calvin or Silas's birth moms, I adopted these notes for them. I curled fingers and heart around these women - women just like me - making a heart-wrenching choice, making it for different reasons, but ultimately, for the very same reason.

I pinned the heart of these stories onto my own, because that's just what you do when you parent a child born from another Mama. Her story becomes yours and yours becomes hers and the life that the two of you love together (apart) begins to see that his story, her story, is ordained. It was not an accident. And it was certainly not a mistake.

I highly recommend this book to any adoptive parent, or any one interested in understand adoption in a truer sense. The stories here are universal and they will move you.

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Join me here next Wednesday for Big Adoption Series - Chapter 13

(To catch up on Chapters 1-11, click here and start from the bottom.)