A year ago I woke up with a pounding in my chest. Every part of my body felt numb and wooden. I can hardly move with the weight of excitement crushing down on me.
And then this happened. Then we met the baby we had loved so long from so far. Then he was with us. And today the little moments come back to me. Sitting on the bed and feeding him his first bottle. Willing him to drink when he didn’t want to. Anxious thoughts about him being sick right before coming home. Trying to get his last dose of medicine in him for the malaria. Little gray sleeper with elephants on it. Laying on that bed looking up at us, strangers in a room together, strangers that were somehow now family.
“Home” doesn’t happen instantly. Or it didn’t for us. It took time. But time we have. So that day was a first step. It was the coming of home, not the realization of it.
When I think of his trusting little body lying in my arms for the first time I feel unworthy. How did I get so lucky? When I think of sending that first email to our adoption agency I get chills thinking of how close I was to not sending it, to not ever hearing about him. Why did I send it that day? I can’t remember. I can barely remember sending it.
And that first moment he opened his eyes. I was holding him. He blinked and looked around. He looked at me. He looked at us. And I wondered, how could this have happened? How could we be sitting here with this most amazing treasure held in our arms?
A few weeks ago someone at the indoor playground, watching my son run in circles and laugh asked me where he got his energy. Not from me. They asked if he got his friendliness from us. He didn’t. I joke that my husband and I make introverts look outgoing. We’re a step above cave people. Really nice cave people though.
So that personality that is outgoing and engaging and draws in a crowd? Not from us. That’s all him. I like that. I like that I see a personality and worldview so different from my own. I love that he’s open and bouncing with energy. One of the beautiful things about adoption is there’s no subconscious beliefs at play that see this little person as a mini version of the parents. You can’t delude yourself that all his giftings and specialness come from you. Because they don’t.
I feel sometimes as I watch him that I’m watching the generations collide in him, the other parents, grandparents, whole histories of people coming together to form his unique self. What a gift to watch that unfold. What a weighty thing to realize I’ve been entrusted with that treasure. That life and pain somehow wove together a story where I get to be a second mother to another woman’s creation. That our family is richer and fuller and deeper because of that blending of bloodlines and histories.
And a year ago today I felt that weight in my arms. I felt the unworthiness and the blessing, the unfairness and the beauty come crashing down on me like a rush of water, I feel it still. And all I can do is lean into the wave, let it take me where it wants to go and count myself blessed to be here. To be holding the amazing child I get to hold today. To watch his life unfold. To watch the gift he is to the world unfold. To sit in the sacredness that is the life of every person on this planet. To watch that spark of God’s breath inside his soul come to life.
A year ago I woke up with a pounding in my chest. I feel it still. It’s anticipation. Not of what he’ll do, but of who he will be. The lives he’ll love and blend into his own life. The person he is and the person he’ll become. Him. My son. Created in the image of God. Created unique. Perfect.