Friday, 11 February 2011
I am all out of words lately. I write post drafts and I can’t bring myself to publish them. I think of my audience and you’re fuzzy (it’s not you; it’s me). I want to give my words away, hoping they will give life and love but I also, for the last year, have been too fixated on what I get here: affirmation, comments, ego boost.
It’s not why I started, and it won’t be why I continue.
But in my book writing, even though it’s now puttering along instead of writing itself so fast my fingers can’t keep up, my book writing is where I feel like me, where I can give give give and it’s exactly what I want to say, where I know who I’m writing to because I am her. I have been there. I’ve met so many just like me, too.
And so maybe in this little space, once a week or once a month or once a quarter, will you indulge me in reading just a little of my work-in-progress? May I borrow my own words for this space? And please pray that I can sort out where things are going, with the blog and with the book and with another little dream I have but am terrified to jump in, because I’m sure I’d really like to know.
This excerpt is from Chapter 7: At the Airport and After: Coming home to family adjustment.
It’s a marathon, and you’re coming to the end (or are you?). You got the court ruling, you finally got the visa in hand, the paperwork is signed and somehow, impossibly, the very thing you worked for has come true: You’re coming home, with your child.
You sleep on the plane, or you don’t. You can’t believe it when they “prepare for arrival and cross-check” after you wondered whether you’d survive that three-hour crying fit 10 hours earlier. The taxiing makes you wonder if they’re driving the plane to another city it’s taking so goddamn long. You wonder if you can shout an abbreviated version of your story, or at least start telling the passengers within earshot so they let you off the plane first, and why wouldn’t they, they had to endure the same crying fit and wouldn’t they like to get away from you? You come into customs and have to wait an eternity, or an officer spots you and pulls you to the front of the line (hint: It helps to have a baby strapped to your chest in this scenario). The immigration officials open the do-not-open-unless-you’re-immigration envelope, and you’re on your tiptoes, trying to see something, trying to make out what that impossibly important, thick stack of documents could contain. You know your family is waiting on the other side of the doors, down the escalator, in baggage claim, and all the hours on that God-forsaken plane with the kind (or not) flight attendants and your I-haven’t-showered-but-I-don’t-care hair, and your hoarse voice from singing the entire 20 hours home, all of it just evaporates in the adrenaline. You are electricity, your body hums with it, you can hardly keep still, you know you’re annoying the immigration officers with your mouth shut but your body SHOUTING in nonverbal HURRY UP HURRY UP HURRY UP.
Finally, the stamp and the “Welcome to America,” and you could kiss them you’re so relieved, you could throw up you’re so excited and everything has built up to this, again, all these moments in adoption building and exploding, and you are about to be home with your child, something for which you’ve fought, you’ve prayed, you’ve cried for months, years, a lifetime. Everything’s shaking now, you’d rather just leave your bags behind, isn’t there someone you can pay for this? And you’re running to the escalator, or punching the buttons on the elevator and giving others waiting your most desperate eyes so you can go first, you want to scream when you see your husband’s feet through the doors, you forget everything, forget that the baby’s still strapped to your chest when you gather your kids into your arms after a month, more, less, and you’re crying and they just want to see the baby and oh yeah, time to meet this new little one. There’s family laugh-crying, there are signs and balloons, you almost forget to kiss your husband in all the craziness, oh yes, there you are, now I’m home, now I have you again.
The baby is charming or not, he screams with delight or with terror (you’re not really sure which), she’s shy and afraid, you know this is just one of those moments that has to be lived despite the wisdom about attachment and cocooning and keeping things low-key. They’ll just have to be dazed for the next 20 minutes because it can’t be helped. The airport homecoming is just one of those experiences. It’s exhilarating, and exhausting, and you can’t stop smiling.
You made it. You made it home, with a child.
It’s what our entire praying community was waiting for, and it’s beautiful and good and to be celebrated.
Then you’re getting into your van, and you realize this is your family now. You shut yourselves into your little cocoon, buckle into your seats, and look ahead, sighing in relief. This is us now. And now what?
Welcome to the beginning of everything again.