Introducing Emmanuel Nicholas

September 3rd, 2012

Here’s our boy, who has kept me really really busy for the last 5.5 months.

I’m in love with him, of course.

He is calm and happy. He likes long walks in the woods because he can stare up at the trees for twenty minutes just taking in the light and wind and color.

He wasn’t always calm and happy–he was “colicky” for 4 months and we walked him back and forth for 14 hours a day until we figured out he had acid reflux. A little medicine every day turned him into an “easy” baby. Thank God.

Emmanuel’s birthmother, Phiona, is strong, smart, wry and wise and we visit with her all the time. A truly open adoption that feels natural.

Ian has had a little trouble adjusting. A lady at the grocery store asked him last month, “Are you a good big brother?” and Ian said, “No.”

“At least he’s honest,” I told her.

But he’s taking to liking him a lot since Emmanuel started laughing at him and watching him play.

More later.

Introducing Veronica

January 14th, 2012

There’s a new Polish girl in my family! My sister, Jeanne, and her husband, Colin, were matched with Veronica after two years of a paperwork project that is almost unimaginable in scope, unless you’ve completed an international adoption.

Below are Jeanne’s reflections on being matched:

I had a dream last night that my hands turned in to claws. I was horrified in my dream, and when I woke, realized the real life implication of hanging on, gripping, clutching, tightly breathing. My husband and I are undergoing the rigorous – I will not say impossible – journey of international adoption.

I have realized that adoption is a miracle, truly God’s thoughtful, expansive plan: It seems outrageous to me that anyone has survived this suspense without Divine Intervention.

We travel in less than two weeks to see our little girl again: adorable, 4 year old Veronica. Out of our box. Unexpected. Veronica. We have a small glimpse into who she is because of a five day visit. We wonder and ponder, attach, and defend. We worry. We miss. We plan. And love her.

The outrageous things people say: “Does she speak English?” Um, no, she’s 4, and she lives in Poland. “Where are her parents?” Well, um, they got lost on a weekend away and never came back. I especially don’t know how to answer that question.

I don’t know because I can’t imagine that she was ever unwanted.

To be honest, what I’ve realized: The questions, however awkward, are a way of embracing her. A way of assimilating her into EVERYONE’S way of life and understanding. A little girl told me “Veronica is my friend; let’s set up a play date”; people have been dropping presents by my office “For Veronica, I couldn’t help myself,” neighbors have been dropping off luggage, giving me advice about doctors, calling, writing.

A grumpy nurse turned happy after seeing her picture. She was able to fill my husband’s long term prescription in five minutes, something that would have taken weeks on another occasion. She’s happy. She’s happy about Veronica.

My secretary has more pictures of Veronica hanging up than I do. She talks about her more. My colleagues could not wait to throw the shower. They could not wait and said, “We are all adopting her.” And more than one meeting was ruined by watching videos.

An acquaintance at work walked into my office to say: “This day care owes me a favor. I will call it in for you.” What am I but grateful that an acquaintance would call in a favor for me? Maybe I don’t even need that favor. But she wants to call it in. Sincerely.

And Family. Prayers and packages. Hopes and dreams. Money and planning. Thoughtful presents and caring. “We thought of her.” “I started crying.” “She’s beautiful.” “We are so happy for you.”

We are so happy. Everybody’s busy, but not too busy…not too busy for you, Veronica. The whole world watches and waits. And is happy. And you are not unwanted, Veronica.

Our Third Child

August 3rd, 2011

I haven’t told many people, and I didn’t want to for a while. It was a secret I wanted to hold close. And people don’t talk much about these things anyway.

I had a miscarriage. Nick was home on leave for three weeks. For the second time in our marriage that I know of, I was pregnant, and we lost a baby.

I thought: No. No more loss.

It’s so different this time. I feel like I actually know what is going on, that I’m psychically aware. But at the same time, I am more confused. And what I’m thinking about the most is how small and mysterious our baby was. So so so small. When I was younger and miscarried, I felt impelled to name the child. Mary John. And this baby? I just don’t want to.

I am always saying people grieve in different ways, but in the past I had assumed that it would be almost universally good for someone to name a lost baby. And it does good for people. It counteracts a collective silence about miscarriage. It helps us name not only our children, but our grief.

But right now, at least for the time being, I have a confusing relationship with this child we have lost. I feel like she’s so mysterious that I can’t claim her with a name. I can’t claim her actuality or potentiality or pretend like she is really mine. This is what I’m feeling. I don’t like it. I want to feel sure about her, to embrace her and call her mine.

That’s what hurts. She’s not mine. Children never are, whether they are born alive or die early like uncut gems buried in the earth. Whether they are biological or adopted, whether they are close to you or independent.

Our joy, our great sacrifice, what we cannot help but do, is to love them anyhow.

Some of you might know we’re opening a little online shop to raise funds for our future adoptions. I’m setting a Grand Opening date in the next week! For now, here are some pictures of our signature, handmade products. If you know anyone who is involved in adoption, please share this with them!

The Fresh Air Fund

July 21st, 2011

Hi friends,

My friend Sara Wilson works with Fresh Air Fund, which is still in need of 850 host families nationwide this summer.  Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and homes to children from the inner city to give them a Fresh Air experience that can change lives. Host families keep the kids for up to two weeks. If you would like to host a child, or help get the word out, visit their website to find out more.