I realize that using the blog format to write to Rose is a fiction-- after all, she lives halfway around the world, the people caring for her don't speak English, and she's a baby and wouldn't care anyway, but I hope that writing to her will help me feel connected to her, so indulge me.
It's been a little more than a week since we first saw your picture, and the week has felt more like a year. Waiting twenty more weeks, well, I just can't think too much about it, because it will mess with my head. It's kind of like when I run marathons-- if I think of the race as a 26-mile run, I get overwhelmed. Last month, on the Top of Utah course, I met a new friend, and just when I started to get discouraged, she said, "we only have to run to the next water station." We did. Then we set a new goal-- the next water station. I have a feeling that I'll be breaking down the wait into weekly increments. With your older brothers and sisters I looked forward to the "Your Pregnancy This Week" emails from BabyCenter. With you, I'll be pacing myself. I'm notoriously impatient, so it will be hard (and file that fact away for when you get here).
Only we won't be as alone in this wait as we thought. After we got your referral, I spent the next two days unable to focus on anything except you. I taped copies of your picture over my desk so you'd always be with me, I researched cleft lips and palates, got the next series of shots for our trip, and spent hours on the internet watching videos of Xuzhou, the city where you now live. I found that there's a whole community of people who have adopted babies from the orphanage where you're living right now. The families who have already gone to get their children say that's it's a great place, and that the people who work there have their hearts in the right place and take great care of their kids. That is such a relief, because your welfare has weighed heavy on my mind since the first time I saw your beautiful brown eyes. With luck, we might be able to get new pictures of you from the families who are planning to travel to the orphanage before we can make the trip.
I'm also gaining some confidence that we'll be equal to caring for your medical needs. I've learned that several people I know have kids who have had cleft palates, and they've assured me that we live in a place that has a great team of doctors and specialists who will work with us. Leslie, who has worked for years with Operation Smile, is working to find you a great surgeon. It may be a long path, but we're no strangers to kids and surgeries-- we'll get through it fine.
So how are we going to get through the next few months? I'll be working hard on my thesis, getting ready for Christmas, and shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. I have a weakness for all things frilly and pink, and you already have three outfits, two dolls, and crib bedding waiting for you. With four to six months to wait, I could do some serious damage. I hope that you'll be eating a lot, growing big, and learning how to live in this world. We can't wait to come get you!