The third of five Eli posts, originally written on August 27th.
Last time, as soon as we were matched, I ordered up a big batch of
every picture of Rose that came with her referral. We taped them up over
the desk in the kitchen, partly because I wanted the kids to get used
to looking at her cleft, but also because I was so excited I wanted to
shout out her existence from the rooftops. And in my way, with my blog
and facebook, I did just that. We added to that photo wall every time
families from our Xuzhou Yahoo group visited the orphanage to adopt
their kids and took pictures of the waiting children.
time, I printed pictures of Eli, but I haven't put them up yet. I
haven't made a public announcement on my blog, or on facebook, or even
told my best girlfriends on the message board I've been on for more than
ten years. If you know about it, it's because I needed something, like a
reference letter, from you. Annie, in particular, is desperate to tell
her friends, but I keep putting her off. "Tell them when our dossier
goes to China, or better yet, when we have LOA," I say to her.
set up the crib in the girls' room the weekend after our match, mostly
because I wanted the room to represent Rose. We bought bedding, and gave
Rose her own space, even though it would be almost six more months
before she'd start living in it.
This time, I
specifically told the boys that we wouldn't be moving them down to the
basement until after Christmas. I can't start turning their upstairs
bedroom into Eli's room until they're out of it.
know all of this makes it sound like I'm not excited about the adoption,
but I am. I can't wait to have Eli join our family. But it hasn't been
long enough for me to forget how hard the wait was. It was agonizing to
know that our daughter was waiting in China, receiving just enough care
and attention to keep her going, when she could have been home with us.
Last time, all of our paperwork was already in China when we were
matched, and we waited six months from the time we first saw her face--
she grew from a five-month-old to an eleven-month-old. She didn't learn
to roll, didn't learn to sit, didn't learn to crawl, didn't have her lip
or palate closed-- all things that would have happened if she'd been
home with us. I know that every "I" has to be dotted and every "T" has
to be crossed, but that doesn't make the wait any easier.
time, we decided to be matched with Eli before our paperwork was in
China. We still need to get a pre-approval from USCIS in order to send
our dossier to China, and in order to send our file to USCIS, we need to
get background checks and home study updates and all that good stuff.
We are working hard to get it done as quickly as possible, but chances
are that we will wait nine months for Eli. He may be nineteen months
instead of ten by the time he's in our arms.
I know exactly how hard it is to wait. I know that when other families
visit the orphanage, I'll feel a mix of delight and dread-- delight that
I'll get to see his face, and dread that he's still lying on his back,
dread that those four or five images are all I'll have to sustain me
until the next time. I'll print them off, put them on the wall, and
examine every inch of them, just like I did with Rose.
people opens us up to all kinds of scrutiny. You only brought home Rose
five months ago, isn't it too soon? Are you going to be able to meet
Eli's needs? Wow, six kids is a huge family! Do you think you'll be able
to be there for your "own" kids when you've added two more? (btw, Rose
and Eli are my "own" kids).
And once we tell
people, it's fair game for them to want to talk to us about it. On the
one hand, I'm excited to talk. But on the other hand, I usually have so
little to report. I'll be waiting, not very patiently. We may get
something in the mail and run to the notary to get it off for the next
step, but mostly we're waiting, and our son is growing up without us.
the pictures of Eli stay in their envelope, where I pull them out a
couple of times a day, peek at them, and blow him a little kiss. I hope
it reaches him, all the way in China.